Monday, October 19, 2015

Apples And Rotten Oranges

I was a bit dismayed today (although not surprised) when I read a Facebook post suggesting the U.S. not consider accepting any Muslim refugees. It did bring a wry smile to my face for many reasons, including but not limited to:
  1. What would Jesus (pbuh) do? What would Thomas Jefferson do? Did they miss the whole religious freedom thing?
  2. Do the posters of these things ever think they will be hosting or put out by a refugee?
  3. Does trick or treating for UNICEF once upon a time satisfy their global philanthropic responsibilities?
  4. Do they think that Muslims discriminate in the same way they wish to?
  5. Are these people who post this stuff about the greatness of America really think they have contributed to this perceived greatness? For example, most people I know who have seen real military action, or who have been in war zones, realize just how many innocent people are carried away by political issues, and would not callously toss away their welfare. 
For the sake of brevity, my blood pressure, and somehow connecting the title of this blog to its content, I will address the fourth question listed above. My supposition here is that these people have perceptions of Muslims that are negative and wish to reciprocate in kind. No thought then of the fourth grade when they were to have learned that actions were right or wrong regardless of who displayed them or who got away with them. In other words, a Christian reciprocates a Muslim's behavior, regardless of the virtue of the act or the rarity thereof. If they believe Muslims don't offer charity to non-Muslims, then they as Christians do not offer charity to Muslims. The critical question becomes "who is defining their Christian faith?" These folks are taking a wretched minority of Muslims and justifying their actions in reciprocation. Rotten oranges to rotten oranges.

I lived and worked in a Muslim refugee camp for two years. I have worked for five more years in refugee camps in the Middle East and Africa. In all cases, there were no prohibitions on who was granted sanctuary other than genuine need and desperation. It is hard to know how to penetrate such ignorance, especially when they get messages in their own redneck genres - I am referring to the movie Lone Survivor, where the American protagonist is saved by a Muslim community that is honor bound to protect strangers, no matter what faith or creed. None of these people who post these abhorrent ideas have spent much time with Muslims (I suspect strongly), for the thousands of Muslim folks I have interacted with all over the world aren't as intolerant as these Facebook fascists.

Finally, it is interesting that the internet hasn't broadened our knowledge or opened our horizons - it has instead shrunk the world, uniting various knuckleheads giving them an artificially inflated sense of community. Maybe it is time to get our of our garages, basements, and parent's houses and see how the world actually works.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

It Was, You And I Aren't, Great

I am referring, of course, to  America. America was great, by and large, but for what I am no longer sure. Whatever it is now, it isn't what it was and will soon be far less. This loss of "greatness" is due primarily to the fact that too many of us think we are great because the nation was. We think we are somehow responsible for our own heritage, bringing new definition to the term "backwards." The moment we forgot to earn our greatness on a daily basis was the moment ignorance and sloth overcame ingenuity and industry. Few folks work much harder than I, or have served their country much more assiduously (with startling exceptions however). Speaking for them and for myself, I believe most of us would contend that the debt we owe is never paid. The work, the sacrifice, and opportunity costs purchase the trivial things that center so prominently in other's esteem. The minute our displaced identities turn to sports, guns, alcohol, drugs, gossip, pornography, patriotism, and politics for primary sustenance, we chip away at the foundation of our inheritance. When we close our eyes to the collateral damage our obsessions wreak on the rest of the world, we cheapen the very things we praise in our history. We are feeding off of a long dead carcass. You are not great. I am not great. A nation that maintains itself and betters the world around it is. Imagine a country that isn't full of second-hand greatness. Imagine a presidential campaign therein. Imagine a country endeavoring to be great again, but not through the convoluted revisionist notions of selfish people. Instead, though the eyes of a people longing to create a country and a world that is great for all, and something that their children can be proud of. 

Friday, October 2, 2015


I am saddened by the events today in Oregon, and angered by the politicians rushing to respond who will disassociate the need for gun control and this incident by next week. I suppose gun supporters will tell us that if we all carry guns, this couldn't happen. We are a country then that needs to have instruments of death everywhere - schools, churches, community centers - and that would be a healthy thing. I think Americans watched too many westerns growing up, romanticizing gun wearing. The bottom line is that a lot of selfish people want to have the right to collect weapons and will make any sort of bizarre justification to do so. I wonder what happens when they come face to face with the victims of these crimes. I guess it does make sense that guns are so sacred here; we have been at war since we were created. I can think of no other country with this sort of violent heritage. Honestly, I really don't know what to think anymore.......