Monday, May 23, 2011

Kennedy and Obama

Ever notice how the mainstream press corps in America treated Kennedy, our first Catholic president, and Obama, our first black president as if they ruled by divine right?

It was just their way of saying welcome to the party, you're so charming, we love you and want you to succeed so we can put an end to racism and other forms of prejudice. Nevertheless, this will not happen with the next Catholic president, nor with the next black president.

And that's a good thing. Only when the adulation ends shall we know that real equality has arrived.

Divine Right doesn't sustain itself very well in a Republic.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Did Gandhi go to heaven?

Few people realize that Gandhi drew his idea for a non-violence protest against British rule in India not from his Hindu religion, but from the Christian faith of the British people, whom he hoped to influence using Biblical precepts.

His favorite author, Rudyard Kipling, wrote a poem "If--" that Gandhi posted on his wall at home:

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!

As to the question of whether or not Gandhi went to heaven... clearly he held some reverence for Jesus, but the question of his admission remains in God's hands.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Mother's Day

Julia Ward Howe wrote "The Battle Hymn of the Republic", one of my favorite old tunes, and then issued her Mother's Day Proclamation, which launched this holiday in America. In so doing, Julia hoped to lessen the chance of a future war. She saw the role of women in society as moral guardians. They did not yet have the vote.

That was 1870.

Meanwhile, the Pope proclaimed himself infallible the same year.

I'd rather honor a billion mothers, each with a different opinion, than one pope.

Monday, May 2, 2011

another parallel

I wouldn't normally want to point out a tenuous connection in the 70-year pattern, but this one struck me as relevant. The deaths of Osama bin Laden and Adolf Hitler both came to public attention on May 1, almost seventy years apart. Taken in context with my previous post about the Japanese tsunami following about seventy years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it looks like we have two symbolic events.

In the past, these two events signalized the end of the WWII in Europe and Japan.

Today, however, the only signalize the end of the first stage of a much longer war running both hot and cold, probably until the end of this century.