Tag Archives: hope

Politics 2012

8 Jul

There is a presidential election coming up.  Again.  If you’re one of the millions of loyal readers that I’m sure The Juno Blog has, you know that I used to post articles about politics.  I even endorsed our current President.

I haven’t been writing about politics in recent years though, and the reason is simple: I’ve lost interest.

This is, perhaps, Obama’s biggest failing.

Now I do not believe that he has been a bad President, and in fact I think he may be a really good President.  But I admit to getting a bit caught up in his rhetoric.  He wasn’t supposed to just be a good President.  He was supposed to transcend politics.  He was supposed to change the system.

He hasn’t, and honestly this is not a surprise, nor is it his fault (though the expectations that arrived with him to the White House are).  The system is designed in such a way that it cannot be quickly changed, nor can it be changed by one individual, even if he or she is President.

And I’m just not really interested anymore.  I’m interested in human beings.  I’m interested in the future of the world.  I’m interested in the evolution of humanity.  I’m interested in community.

I want a world where what each does counts for all.

This makes all things possible.

What each does counts for all, means everything can be done.

This means every individual does the work they love.

This means no one goes without.

This is the kind of thing that I want a politician to say.  I want them to be able to say this because I want the system to be working for this.  Then I would be interested.

The Three Movies I’ve Seen Most Recently

12 May

– Crazy Heart
– Children of Men
– Ironman 2

Crazy Heart was about what I expected. Jeff Bridges won an oscar for it, and Maggie Gyllenhaal is just as good as he is. It’s about an old and aging country star, who is drunk all the time, finding his muse (a young pretty girl, naturally) and as a result changing his life for the better. In other words it’s very predictable and you’ve seen it before and I really didn’t care all that much. But it’s very well done in terms of performances, writing, cinematography, editing, etc. Perfectly enjoyable movie, but nothing spectacular.

Children of Men is still genius. Still one of the most brilliant end-of-the-world movies. It is, however, largely devoid of hope, save for the metaphorical aspects of bringing the key of humanity into Tomorrow. This time I was also keenly aware that it’s (nearly) completely absent of any kind of spirituality or religion, a lack which is made more noticeable by the fact that the end-of-the-world movie I’m currently writing is largely driven by spirituality.

Ironman 2 is, well, it’s Ironman 2. It makes sense that Marvel Studios is the one place in Hollywood that can make, over and over again, movies which feel precisely like comic books. Robert Downey Jr. once again manages to play a guy that should be entirely loathed, but is incredibly enjoyable instead. While Tony Stark and his incredible (and admitted) narcissism is the most entertaining part of the movie, the villain is the least interesting (and over-the-top) part (just like the first movie) but the hints and glimpses into the larger Marvel Movie Universe are both more frequent and exciting, particularly the scenes with Samuel L. Jackson. They’re trying to pull off something with The Avengers that I don’t think has been done before in movies. I hope they manage to do it. Oh, and just like the last one, be sure to stay until the end of the credits for the final scene.

Hope and Change

24 Jan

Obama saw Brown’s victory as a mirror-image of his own: “The same thing that swept Scott Brown into office swept me into office. People are angry, and they’re frustrated, not just because of what’s happened in the last year or two years, but what’s happened over the last eight years.”
It seems the secret to getting elected, especially if you want to capture my generation’s vote (which numerically is often necessary if we’re voting at all) is convincing us that you will change what’s come before and what is there now.

How many people do we elect who convince us that they’re going to change things, only to have them not change things, before we become skeptical again and stop caring and voting?

Time

1 Jan

So I was catching up with “My So-Called Life” on hulu (what a great opening, huh? Reminds me of “I was just sitting in the U-bend thinking about death”) and the main character (15 in 1994, which makes her thirty now) said something about how all of the older generation knew exactly where they were when Kennedy was shot but my generation has nothing like that. She kind of wished that there were something like that to unite us, or something. (She’s not the most eloquent of confused high-school girl characters.)

But I remember that precise growing-up-in-the-nineties feeling.

Dave Barry wrote about it too, about how his younger nephew (or something) once told him that he wished there would be another world war so that something would be going on during his lifetime. Something interesting. Something involving. Something on a worldwide scale to be a part of.

This is all, of course, before 9-11 happened and we can all say exactly where we were when it happened. It’s not really what I wanted from a generation-unifying worldwide event, but it’s what we got.

Here’s hoping to much more positive one in the coming year and/or decade.

Things to learn from history

1 Aug

A few facts we could learn from history:

– Making war, engaging in war, declaring war, etc. does not produce peace.

– Manufacturing goods in the most financially lucrative ways is destructive to the planet and to the human beings that live on it.

– An education system based on regimented levels and common-to-all curriculums does not result in citizens who are educated in humane well-being.

CHANGE

23 Jan

One thing that changed on Tuesday, in addition to the President, was the official website for the White House.

It now has a blog.

At one point during the television’s coverage of Tuesday’s proceedings a broadcaster made some comment about how, to people of my generation, Obama’s election is historic not because he is an African-American, but for other reasons. This is true.

For me this is very true: I couldn’t care less about the color of his skin, where his father was born, where his mother grew up, what geographical region his ancestors lived in, etc. It’s simply not important.

For people of older generations, who lived through segregation, this may not be as true. For people like my grandmother, who resonated very strongly with Obama’s comment that his father wouldn’t be able to eat in a restaurant in DC a mere 60 years ago, that’s probably not as true.

But for me race is a false classifier. It is an outmoded, divisive, and dangerous human category that has been scientifically proven to not exist.
Obama marked “this day with remembrance of who we are and how far we have traveled.” I’m ready to mark this day with the vision of change which brings us into a new future. With a vision of who we will become and how far we will go. Where Obama remembers America’s tasting (and overcoming) of “the bitter swill of civil war and segregation” I’m ready to mark this day as the beginning of a new world where the old “bitter swill” of concepts like race and its underlying foundation, that view which is predicated on an us and a them as separate conflicting entities, is washed clean away, replaced with a new complete picture of our planet as host to a magnitude of gloriously complex and different individuals.

There will be no them. There will be no us.
There will only be individuality forming humanity in massive throng.

HOPE

21 Jan

Hope, Not Change, and Change
A three part response to Obama’s inauguration speech
In late December I wrote down the following:
“Now that we have an intelligent President, can we stop believing that the very foundational concept behind a “war on terror” is anything but a fallacy? Terrorism is an ideology. “The use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims” says the OED. I wonder how it defines war then?*
Terror is a feeling. An emotion. What effect will a bullet or a bomb have on terror but to increase it?
Fighting fire with fire results in a bigger fire. Fighting terror with war results in more terror. Can we perhaps fight fire with water?”

I ask and Obama answers, “we have chosen hope over fear.”

I managed to catch the end of Obama’s inauguration speech during my lunch break and was powerfully struck by how smart the man is. Perhaps it’s easy to appear smart in that venue in comparison to what had recently been there, but even so. My overwhelming initial response was a wave of gratitude for intelligence in power. Speaking of power (intelligently):

“our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please.”

Watching the whole speech later on I was struck by the thing that’s always impressed me most about Obama in the first place: for whatever reason(s) the man can inspire the masses. Two million people were there to watch this man take a 40 second oath and give a 20 minute speech. Two million people. Two million people heard him say in person that

“The nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous.  The success of our economy has always depended … on the reach of our prosperity, on the ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart — not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.”

Two million people stood in the cold and heard him say

“we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.”

Countless millions more heard and saw the speech on television, the internet, the radio, etc. Who knows how many billions of people heard him say that “we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.” All these people heard him present a nuanced and complex view of the state of the world, and America in particular. Even my mother, the devoutly pacifist hippie sex therapist, after hearing him say

“Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life.  They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions, greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction”

was ready to enlist. Seriously. My mother told me that if Obama asked her to, depsite being physically unable to carry a gun, she would enlist and do what she could. If you know my mother at all, that may blow your mind a bit, as it did mine. She heard him give a message laced with a spiritual undercurrent of a changing world and a new inspired generation of Americans. She saw hope. So did I.

I see hope that humanity will move beyond tribes, beyond political affiliations, beyond countries, and beyond all but our humanity. I see hope that we will move toward a common good, a common humane state of being.
I hope for this “new era of peace” to be of a peace that is more than the mere absence of violence but the presence of the humane art of living.

Part 2 of 3 tomorrow.

* a state of armed conflict.