Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Today you have to have heart

Driving down the main drag in Deer Park I saw a Baptist Church with a message to the world from God that those who support freedom of speech really support "loose lips." I don't know how many times I keep being told "freedom isn't free" by conservatives who don't believe in sacrifice. "You don't understand, they want to attack us." "9/11 changed everything." "Shut up and support the troops who are defending our country." "One thing you have to give credit to Bush is he is defending our country."

How is it defending our country to be occupying countries that have not attacked us? Just who are we supposed to be so frightened of? Are Syria and Iran going to sneak attack us from Mexico and capture Brownsville? We are making more terrorists then we are getting rid of in Iraq but we are also not letting them in the country. What ships am I sinking when I say that Bush and Cheney are dangerous reactionary fools?

The US spends one trillion dollars a year on military security, more than all of the rest of the world put together. Don't the Baptists feel safer?
For fiscal year 2006, Robert Higgs of the Independent Institute calculated national security outlays at almost a trillion dollars -- $934.9 billion to be exact -- broken down as follows (in billions of dollars):

Department of Defense: $499.4

Department of Energy (atomic weapons): $16.6

Department of State (foreign military aid): $25.3

Department of Veterans Affairs (treatment of wounded soldiers): $69.8

Department of Homeland Security (actual defense): $69.1

Department of Justice (1/3rd for the FBI): $1.9

Department of the Treasury (military retirements): $38.5

NASA (satellite launches): $7.6

Interest on war debts, 1916-present: $206.7

Totaled, the sum is larger than the combined sum spent by all other nations on military security. - Chalmers Johnson
That doe not count the black budget programs for the CIA, NSA, NRO, and other programs not disclosed. We have more than 700 bases in 130 countries to defend us! Defend us from what? We are so powerful our biggest enemy today is a few thousand men without a country forced to spend years planning ways to steal our stuff to ram it into buildings.

How do we heal the authoritarian minds, easily frightened, wanting to follow strong leaders and looking for scapegoats?

Today on Democracy Now! there was a long segment with psychologist, author Mary Pipher, who says she now works to give people moral imagination, to open their hearts and put themselves in someone else's place. Authoritarians have a problem with seeing another point of view, with empathy. It is too easy to demonize faceless objects, the unknown other. Pipher tells stories that hearts can understand to get through.

At a Houston UU church I told people I was on the Universalist side of Unitarian Universalism. The Unitarians were the clever ones who went to college and kept whittling away at the Bible because they had brains. The Universalists were the non-college educated preachers who kept expanding the Bible because they had hearts. Today's UU churches are where their descendants come together and argue over coffee.

There is more to be gained with urging action from the heart than from the mind. Compare the two founders of the American Unitarian and Universalist religions. In the early 1800's the Harvard educated William Ellery Channing was the first internationally known American religious leader and scholar and lead the Arlington Church in Boston. He was the most scholarly and brilliant speaker in Boston churches. But the most popular church in Boston was lead by the self-educated Hosea Ballou who preached the message of universal love and forgiveness and converted the masses.

What can we do today to speak to the heart of frightened mislead conservatives? What do we tell our Southern Baptist friends and neighbors to make them realize that the gays aren't going to destroy their marriage, that Muslims are not followers of Satan taking over the world, that Armageddon need not happen now? Can we even convince them in the face of the other sides relentless propaganda that the media isn't liberal and liberal is not a bad thing?

Mary Pipher says when you despair of the world take some action. You'll feel better and part of the world will get better.

Catherine Austin Fitts, who I wrote about earlier, says to quit watching the unimportant fake stuff on TV and stop shopping at places supporting a corrupt system. How many people like me have been sticking with one bank because of their many ATMs when they support and enable actions that our hurting this country? I shop at Wal-Mart because they are close and cheap, ouch. How much am I willing to inconvenience myself to protest their anti-union, anti-worker, anti-American policies?

So, my easy actions are to quit patronizing large multinational corporations I disapprove of. Bringing compassion to my local uncompassionate Christian neighbors may take longer.

I have been incredibly busy, so busy I failed to note my five year anniversary in blogging. That is 35 in blog years and feels like it today.

1 comment:

Gary said...

I have a comment from

which might be posted later.