There is so much political chaff swirling around that I find it useful every so often to follow the Buddhist dictum: "Don't just do something, sit there." In other words, meditate on the quiet core, pay less attention to the noisy fringe.
At the outset, let it be said that there are a multitude of complex
factors at work below the surface of the daily news that could, and no
doubt will, affect and significantly alter our society, our world,
ourselves. We might title these subjects "What's REALLY Important." I'm
referring to technological breakthroughs in science and medicine and
agriculture, the effect of viral pandemics around the globe, seismic
political and social shifts due to economic developments and catastrophes
(including wars of choice) in various regions of the world, the
ramifications of huge global changes in climate, and on and on. (For more
on some of these events, see Ernest Partridge's companion Crisis Papers
While we need to keep the larger picture in mind -- always
making our decisions with at least a glance at what is coming down the
pike -- in the main, the tectonic kinds of shifts I'm talking about here
are deep below the surface, barely noticeable by most politicians in the
early 21st Century. Their effects may or may not show up years or even
decades from now. So let's concentrate here on What's Important in our
world today, and how we might want to react to those events.
1. The planet: Mother Nature is sending us loud messages; don't stop
nightmare environmental scenario that could take us all down. Global
warming is just the tip of the melting iceberg, but it can serve as the
poster-issue for all our other crimes against the planet.
Per usual, the policies of the Bush Administration make everything worse.
For years, the Bushistas denied that global warming was a problem, then
dismissed any human culpability in the worsening global-warming disaster,
and now are putting up obstacles in the way of doing anything about it.
The Bush Administration, which permits polluters effectively to write
pollution regulations, finally has had to reckon with an unexpected
opponent on the global-warming issue: evangelical Christians, who are
actively engaged in calling attention to humanity's sins against our
planet, which is another way of saying, in their terms, sins against God.
Bush&Co. have had to pay attention and have made tiny little noises about
the need for change -- but not really, and not now.
Interestingly, Al Gore ("the former next President of the United States")
is climbing back into serious consideration as a viable 2008 Democratic
nominee on the global-warming issue that he has been pushing for nearly
2. America's war(s) abroad: The rise and fall of empires is a mighty,
terrifying thing to behold.
For three years, it's seemed as if those of us opposed to the war in Iraq
were beating our heads against a wall of apathy in the American public.
But, lo and behold, nearly two-thirds of that public now believe we were
manipulated into that war by the Bush Administration's lies, and that the
war there is a lost cause in any case. (I know and hear from a lot of
traditional Republicans and not one, not one!, believes any good will come
out of this stalemated conflict.)
The constancy of liberal opposition had something to do with keeping the
Iraq war front and center in the American mind, but it was really what was
happening on the ground there that swayed the populace -- and what was
happening there largely was a response to the ideologically-based
Cheney/Rumsfeld policy that got us into that war in the first place. The
insurgency also was a response to the Bush Administration's indefensible
torture policy that robbed the U.S. of any claim to a moral high ground.
Bush can own up to using inflammatory language as a big mistake ("bring it
on," "dead or alive," etc.) but isn't man enough to admit that it wasn't
the words but the policy that was wrong.
and deception, the U.S. was virtually destined to sink into that sandy
quagmire, especially when Rumsfeld mismanaged every aspect of the war and
Occupation from the very beginning.
In reaction, what happened in this country in the military was a covert,
and in some cases overt, rebellion against the cockamamie neo-con
theorists in the Bush White House; the Pentagon and CIA began leaking like
sieves. This was especially the case when it became evident that having
learned no lessons in Iraq, the Cheney/Rumsfeld crew were unleashing the
propaganda barrage to prepare Americans for the necessity to attack Iran,
for pretty much the same phony reasons they gave for why Iraq simply had
to be attacked ASAP (nuclear capabilities, support for terrorists, WMD,
evil rulers, etc.).
The generals know the U.S. military has been used and abused, especially
so in the case of the National Guard and Reserves, which have been
stretched to the limits of endurance. Those officers don't want to see the
troops under their command suffer the same fate as those that are in Iraq.
And so high-ranking military officers inside the Pentagon spill their
anxieties and opposition to warhawk Rep. Jack Murtha and to investigative
reporter Seymour Hersh, and, in so doing, join the many generals and
colonels who, as civilians, are free to speak their minds in opposition to