Archive for August, 2012
For those of us who have been viewing the world through what some would refer to as a “spiritual” perspective, it’s much deeper and more profound than Beck’s conclusion. It’s also more exciting and hope-filled.
The Divine Feminine aspect of Creation has been suppressed and oppressed for at least 5000 years. With few exceptions, there has been a deliberate and repeated attempt to write the role, and power, of women out of the history of humankind. Oftentimes, when obliteration wasn’t quite possible, denigration was the substitute as in the trafficking of women as sex slaves or the burning of them as witches.
Women’s wisdom (and therefore our unique contribution) was recognized early in Western culture by the Greeks. They were called “philosophers,” a term which has survived millennia, without our ever stopping to realize the name means “lovers of Sophia”…the Goddess of Wisdom.
The return of the Divine Feminine to her rightful place alongside the Divine Masculine has been a long time coming. Her absence has been the source of an imbalance that has perpetuated thousands of years of aggression, greed and war. We have waited patiently, hopefully and longingly for her reemergence and recognition.
Ann Romney took the stage at the RNC and stood firmly in her Self. She was convincing without being overbearing, powerful without being forceful, authentic without being contrived and wise without being didactic. She exemplified what true power looks and feels like. It is power born of experience and strength, tempered by compassion.
Some say they wish she were the candidate. I say let us be aware and grateful that her husband, an example of the drive, aggression and achievement oriented energy of the Divine Masculine has standing by his side this long-awaited and actualized representative of the Divine Feminine.
Together these two balanced energies may actually represent the necessary hope and welcome change we were promised and which has so far eluded us.
Note: You have to watch her give the speech (not read or listen) to understand the power of the energy. Click here to watch the raw video.
As I write this post, the predictors are that Hurricane Isaac, now barreling across the state of Florida toward the Gulf Coast, could result in catastrophic damage to Louisiana equal to that of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Not just in the same location but on the anniversary of the Katrina disaster. Let’s pray otherwise. Since I’m a proponent of the theory that there are no accidents and everything happens for a reason, and since I’ve mentioned prayer, let’s see if there’s any ancient wisdom to be gleaned from the name of this Hurricane.
Isaac was the son of Abraham, the first Patriarch and progenitor of all three major religions. Abraham was told by God to bind Isaac to a rock (Mt. Moriah) and there offer him a sacrifice to God. Although Abraham was distraught at the instruction, it was Abraham’s unwavering faith and trust in God that caused him to come within seconds of slaughtering his own son. But it took more than Abraham’s faith. It took Isaac’s as well. Isaac was 37 years old at the time.
We all know the outcome. At the last moment, God directs Abraham to cease and desist and Isaac goes on to become the second Patriarch of the Jewish People. So what’s the message Isaac brings?
Our safety, our very survival, is dependent upon our unwavering faith and trust in a benevolent, if not always understood, Creator. It’s this unwavering faith that is often tested and, when found to be heartfelt, as often rewarded with the protection and well-being promised.
We are going through some rough times and each of us is being tested. There must have been a lesson to be learned from the Katrina disaster that we somehow missed. Perhaps it is about subjugating our Will. Perhaps it is another attempt by Creator to awaken us in time to the compassion we lack and the priorities we have confused. Perhaps it is to remember that as Abraham and Isaac…we are not separate but in this together.
Regardless of our age or our inclination to doubt, let’s follow the example of Isaac and surrender to the Will of Creator by having trust that there is meaning in the chaos and faith that there will be goodness in the outcome.
In the meantime, pray for those in the path of this Isaac.
There’s a lot of hate speech flying around these days considered to be standard rhetoric for an upcoming Presidential election. The Democrats (via their SuperPACS and minions) have called Mitt Romney a felon, a murderer and a racist while Republicans (via their SuperPACS and minions) have called Obama a Muslim president who hates farming, hates the military and hates the U.S.
It seems differences of opinion or policy are no longer sufficient grounds for debate. Now, its personal. Not only is it personal, but the opponent isn’t just in disagreement he (or she) is wrong, bad and often just plain evil. While personal, political attacks aren’t new (you can read some pretty mean-spirited exchanges between Thomas Jefferson and James Madison) it appears that we’ve reached a new low. Now it doesn’t even matter if they’re true.
So what lessons may there be out there for us regarding hate speech? I’d say the Bible is a good enough place to start.
There are two mitzvot in the Torah that specifically address improper speech: “Thou shalt not go up and down as a tale-bearer among thy people” (Lev. 19:16), and “ye shall not wrong one another” (Lev. 25:17, which according to tradition refers to wronging a person with speech). In fact, on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement in Judaism, of the 43 sins specified in the communal confessional prayer, 11 are sins committed through speech.
How we use words must be pretty important since God apparently wanted to be heard on the topic. And, yet, we continue to be reckless and unconscious when we speak.
A war of words is a war none-the-less. As long as we choose to communicate in this manner (or remain silent while others do) we continue to support the foundation for wars of a greater magnitude. After all, a war of words is simply the first step taken (the microcosm) towards the final destination (the macrocosm): war that actually kills.
In case you think this is an overblown and exaggerated conclusion, or too great a leap from a war of words between individuals to wars between cultures or nations, allow me one final spiritual reference.
In the Torah, the gravest of speech-related sins is tale-bearing or lashon ha-ra (literally, “the evil tongue”), which involves discrediting a person or saying negative things about a person, even if those negative things are true. In fact, true statements are even more damaging than false ones, because you can’t defend yourself by disproving the negative statement if it’s true! Some sources indicate that lashon ha-ra is equal in seriousness to murder, idol worship, and incest/adultery (the only three sins that you may not violate even to save a life.
Let’s evaluate this campaign season, and the candidates in particular, by their lack of evil speech. Let’s give them the message that the last one standing with the electorate will not be the one who perpetuates the hate, but rather the one who promotes the highest good.
Where did all the hated come from? At what point did it become fashionable, even preferable, to lash out through emails, Facebook, editorials, even in person against others whose political or spiritual ideas differ from one’s own? How and why did we close our eyes, bury our heads in the sand, while the Nation “chose up sides” and created two opposing teams based upon the philosophy of “Us Against Them?” Have we been manipulated into intolerance or did we get here on our own?
Recently I experienced the stark contrast in the ways in which we can choose to live our lives. I believe our very survival as a country rests upon each of us making the right choice.
On my Facebook page, through a Facebook “friend,” appeared several postings to another page that was titled “Dogs Against Romney.” It is what it’s titled. People who don’t think Mitt Romney should be President because he and his family traveled on vacation with their dog in his cage on the roof of their SUV. As someone who has spent her life rescuing animals, I understand the outrage (although I’ve seen dogs on motorcycles thoroughly enjoying themselves so whose to judge?) but also commented on the page regarding the narrow and single issue approach to why someone would or would not vote for anyone when we have so many economic and foreign policy issue to address.
Expressing my thoughts was, apparently, my sin. What followed were personal attacks on me, targeting my heartlessness and my obvious hatred for Barack Obama. Neither is true, and both are extreme and personal attacks targeted at me rather than a dialogue about substance.
On the same day, I watched an interview with Chris Williams, a Mormon whose car was struck by a 17-year old drunk driver named Cameron White (also a Mormon). The accident instantly killed Williams’ pregnant wife, their unborn son, 11-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter. Only Williams survived. In the instant that he regained consciousness immediately following the accident and looked around the car, realizing his entire family was dead, he made the decision to forgive whoever had caused this tragedy. The entire story, including the ongoing relationship Williams and White maintain is chronicled in a new book titled “Let It Go.”
Since both the Facebook incident and the Williams/White interview occurred on the same day, I had to ponder the message. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and so I’ve come away with two thoughts…one personal, one Universal.
Personally, I’ve forgiven those who lashed out at me on Facebook for expressing my differing opinion and send them nothing but love and blessings in return. Universally, we need to awaken from this sleep of illusion that we are all separate, that we can treat one another any way we please and if that includes anger, hatred and even violence we can somehow survive and prosper.
As difficult as it is to comprehend Williams’ forgiveness, it is none-the-less a reality and a clear message about the powers of forgiveness and love. Forgiveness (and tolerance) heal and we have become a critically wounded species. It is our only cure.
Refuse to be seduced by both the political war and the social media illusion that “I can attack you from a distance and somehow walk away myself unharmed.” We are all connected. Until we understand, accept and act upon this reality we will continue to try and destroy one another with words and weapons.
The saying is true.
United we stand, divided we fall.
Several decades ago I had the opportunity meet, and briefly work in conjunction with then Delaware Senator Joe Biden. It had to do with a change to the U.S. Code that was being sought in order to grant Honorary U.S. Citizenship to Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat and humanitarian known for his successful efforts to rescue somewhere between tens of thousands and one hundred thousand Jews in Nazi-occupied Hungary during the Holocaust.
I had returned to law school after a decade in the private sector. One of my Professors had been approached by the law firm of Davis Polk to become involved in the lobbying effort needed to add the necessary Code change to pending legislation. Because I had previously co-founded a PAC (Political Action Committee) and had spent time meeting with and advocating before members of Congress, my Professor enlisted me in the project.
Which is how I came to meet Senator Biden.
Prior to that personal experience, I only knew of the Senator as a dedicated father who, after the loss of his wife and daughter in an auto accident, remained in the Senate only upon deciding to daily commute to Washington from his home in Wilmington, Delaware via AMTRAK in order to be there and raise his two surviving sons, also seriously injured in the tragic accident.
I found the Senator to be a decent man, polite, personable and genuinely interested in the issue before him. He readily put his energies behind supporting our goal which was ultimately a success. So it saddens me to see a once respected public servant make a fool out of himself, and the office of the Vice President, by “staying too long at the fair.”
It has been evident for some time now that Vice President Biden has become, like Madonna, someone who was once appropriately positioned in their career choice but, unable to face the realities and natural limitations of the aging process, is unable to timely “exit stage left.” What remains in such situations are self-imposed caricatures of once talented individuals.
In Madonna’s case it shows up as a scantily clad, religion-bashing middle-aged woman trying to look like a teenager. Yet more tragically, in the Vice President’s case, it shows up as his telling a partially African American audience in North Carolina this week that Mitt Romney wants to “put y’all back in chains” and condescendingly saying those words in a speech pattern that mimics how many African Americans often speak. Followed by a pathetic and again, condescending, imitation of the ASL (American Sign Language) interpreter standing nearby.
I would prefer to remember Senator Biden as he was at his best and be done with this travesty of a political figure he has become. That option appears not to be a viable, or likely, as long as this Administration does what it did in reaction to the Vice President’s most recent inexcusable gaffes by “doubling down” in support of such mockery. The President’s refusal to face the reality that the Vice President is no longer fit to serve is yet one more indication that President Obama is out of touch, indifferent to what is best for the Nation, and determined to win at any cost.
Sadly, in this instance, the cost is the ever-increasing humiliation of Joe Biden and the degradation of the Office of the Vice President.
Note: Since publication of this post at 1PM Eastern, a story has broken that Vice President Biden has now gotten the century wrong in a speech given earlier today.
When I was practicing law, nothing frustrated or angered me more than a dishonest or unethical lawyer. After all, aren’t honest inquiry and outcome the method and goal of the Socratic Method? So imagine the dismay when a President Clinton (a lawyer) lies under oath or plays the semantic game of “it depends on your definition of what ‘is’ is.”
Or…when the highest lawyer in the Nation, Attorney General Eric Holder, needs to be sued in order to comply with the law and cease hiding behind his boss via Executive Privilege.
Truly if this Administration had any shame, or even regard for the Constitution, they would have stopped the political maneuvering months ago (or not begun it at all) and produced, under subpoena, the documents demanded relative to Fast and Furious. But “therein lies the rub” as Shakespeare says. They have neither shame, regard for the Constitution, nor interet in the welfare of the American people.
This Administration is busy either paying off the Unions and its big contributors or demonizing the opposition. For them, it’s not about substance or truth; it’s about obfuscating the facts in order to retain power.
Attorney General Eric Holder is the same man who prematurely dismissed the Civil Rights law suit against members of the Black Panther Party who intimidated voters at the polls in Philadelphia. It seems his propensity for doing what is political rather than what is legal knows no bounds. Which is why I am encouraged that Congress has seen to file suit against him.
Regardless of the pace of that litigation (for who doesn’t know the snail’s pace at which our Justice System moves) the remedy for an incompetent and/or corrupt Attorney General is more immediate.
Fire his boss on November 6th.
While awaiting Mitt Romney’s live announcement of his Vice Presidential running mate, I watched a 6-minute You Tube video clip of Congressman Paul Ryan taking apart Obamacare, fact by fact, false projection by false projection…and doing so face-to-face with President Obama. Then I watched Congressman Ryan’s acceptance speech. Overall, one word comes to mind.
Whether it was Ryan in the video telling Obama that the overall cost projections in Obamacare were “smoke and mirrors” or Ryan stating that he and Romney will not be about “blaming others but taking personal responsibility” or “that our rights come from Nature and God, not government” I am struck by this 42 year-old’s willingness to speak Truth and, more importantly, Truth to power. It is long overdue.
What we as a nation need, more than anything, is a reality check combined with leadership that exemplifies that “the buck [really] does stop here.” It is time for each of us to roll up our sleeves and get back to the work of creating, not destroying; uniting, not dividing, and believing, not doubting.
Paul Ryan said it best when he said America is “more than a place…it’s an idea. The only country ever founded on an idea.” The idea he spoke of is a compound idea composed of individual liberty, personal responsibility, and mutual reliance.
A bacteria infected our Nation about 100 years ago and reached a critical stage of development during the current Administration. It is predicated upon deceptions that contradict the very idea of this Nation. These deceptions are that individuals are subject to government, that irresponsibility has no consequences and that we cannot trust one another to look out for the best interest of one another.
It’s taken awhile, but as with all infections, American intelligence and ingenuity has discovered a cure. Mitt Romney, by his choice of Paul Ryan, has made a bold statement we cannot afford to overlook. The choice of Paul Ryan is the throwing down of a gauntlet to Barack Obama and others who continue to spread the disease by not believing in the uniqueness and exceptionalism of the American Spirit.
My only regret is that we have to wait until November 6th to line up and begin the recovery. Until then, I look forward to the healing words of Truth that Paul Ryan seems more than capable of delivering.
Don’t blame the gun. It’s an inanimate object. It can’t fire itself and it cannot maintain the requisite intent to commit a heinous act. Murder, mass or otherwise, is about the lack of conscience, morality and, occasionally, sanity of the perpetrator. So let’s not get all puffed up, Mayor Bloomberg, about gun control and carried away with the moment while losing sight of the environment that fosters such monstrous acts.
Our energies are better spent understanding and quelling a society that promotes violence in every form of media, condones or remains silent when “winning” is achieved by stepping on the backs of others, and so totally devalues human life as to make abortion a method of birth control.
We have so lowered the ethical and moral bars that we’ve descended to a shameful level of human consciousness. We refuse to take personal responsibility for where we are… while too many still think the “right” candidate or “right” leader will cure all their ills.
The shooter, the hate-filled neo-Nazi, who gunned down innocent worshipers in Wisconsin is a symptom of what ails us. The disease which he portends, chaos, is spreading like a cancer. Yet, each of us can, by our personal actions, slow and even arrest that spread. However, it means not letting people like Mayor Bloomberg, and others, divert our attention from our personal responsibility by finding a scapegoat in gun control. Would it be nice to live in a world sans guns? Certainly. But it will do little good to take away the guns without instilling a corresponding understanding by humanity of our connection to one another and our Oneness. For without such conscious awareness and personal responsibility, there will be the same diseased hearts and minds who will find alternate means of destruction.
It’s not about them and it’s not about the guns. It’s about us…what we value, what we espouse and what we teach, by example, to the next generation.
There is nothing extraordinary about President Obama’s announcement that “undocumented workers”( a/k/a illegal aliens) will be able to buy their way into a minimum two- year extended stay in the U.S., after which time their status will need to be renewed. The cost is $465. Even fee waivers will be available under “limited circumstances.”
Bypassing Congress to afford special status to certain individuals isn’t new. However, it’s usually done by Executive pardon by an outgoing President and granted to the rich and influential. To wit: Mark Rich. You remember. He was the fugitive financier and husband of a large contributor to Bill Clinton’s Presidential Library who was convicted of securities fraud then fled the country to evade incarceration. When his wife “petitioned” the Clinton Administration, it resulted in Rich’s pardon by Executive pardon as one of Clinton’s, literally, last acts as President.
The only difference between what the Obama Administration is now doing and the usual route via Presidential pardon in this “pay to play” amnesty, is one of cost. It’s Obama’s latest implementation and variation on redistribution of wealth. It’s redistribution of patronage. Now gaming the system can be accessed by those less rich and less influential. Unless, of course, you dismiss the influence that Latino’s will have via their vote come November 2012.
I saw “The Dark Knight Rises” this past weekend and I was struck by how much the horrific tragedy in Colorado unfortunately obscured and overshadowed the prophetic message of the movie. Gotham was driven to the brink of extinction by political corruption and manipulation of the masses through class warfare and the continual lowering of both the ethical and moral bars.
Obama isn’t the first. He’s the inevitable result of our allowing greed, corruption, deceit and indifference to flourish not only in the political arena but in our own lives as well. When each of us lives Gandhi’s message to “be the change you want to see in the world”… only then will we be able to lift ourselves, the culture and the Nation out of the ethical and moral morass we’ve created through self-interest, apathy and our endless desire for more of everything.