Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Myth of Reagan's Conservative Fundamentalism

Ever since Ronald Reagan left office, he has achieved a status of demigod among Republicans. Last year, twenty-eight years after Reagan left office, the Republican National convention presented a video that deified their fallen hero. RNC Chairman Michael Steele and Newt Gingrich constantly reference him as some great political sage who was a hardline conservative who never compromised on the Principles of Republicanism. However, if one takes a deeper look into Reagan's eight years in the White House they will not see so much a great Right Wing Champion but more of a disengaged pragmatist, not so much interested in achieving conservatism but doing whatever he believed worked.

Case in point, one of the greatest hallmarks that Republicans like to tout about Reagan is his tax cuts. In fact that has now become standard lip service for Republicans today who whine about Obama's supposed socialist agenda of taxing people with $1 billion in the bank. However, as explained by Joe Klein's Time article "Health Care: Do the Right Thing on Taxes," after one year on the job, and huge tax cuts that dug a hole into the deficit, Reagan implemented the largest peactime tax increase in American history with the the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act. The act increased the nation's GDP by 1%. Reagan would go on to raise taxes ten more times during his two terms, including to save social security.

Ironically, in a 2007 MSNBC Republican Presidential Candidate debate, when asked if Mitt Romney would follow in Reagan's footsteps to save social security, Romney said he wouldn't. There were never any Tea-Party protesters or 9/12ers in front of the Reagan White House when he raised taxes. That very statement shows a key point about modern-day conservatism; they don't necessarily care about Reagan and his Presidency and judging by some statements, some of them probably don't know Reagan history at all. What they love is the idea of Reagan, which goes back to the fact that Reagan was a Hollywood actor. It didn't necessarily matter if he was a true hardline conservative or not. All that mattered was if he sold his product with the right lines given to him by Peggy Noonan.

In a sense, the image of Reagan has become very much disney-fied, where the most basic parts of his persona have become magnified into a sort of caricature. Much like how the Beatles will always be remembered for the mop tops with Rickenbacker guitars, and Clint Eastwood will always be seen with a cowboy hat and a pistol, Ronald Reagan's persona has become a similar poster, something for conservatives to salivate over

The persona of Reagan becomes nothing more than the equivalent of fashion magazine ads which force young girls to try and lose ridiculous amounts of weight in order to look like the women that are in the photos, not knowing that all this time, the photos are airbrushed and the models themselves don't look like that. In the same way, the image of Reagan has become something that all conservatives vy for by purging moderates, all the while not seeing that in truth Reagan's conservatism is not the fundamentalism that it is perceived as.

In turn, since the Republican party's defeat in last year's election, rather than looking at Reagan's common sense and at time moderation, the GOP and conservatism has started a sort of great purge, choosing not to fund moderate or centrist candidates and rather, go further to the right, in an attempt to appease the birthers, the Tea Partiers and the 9/12ers with disasrtous results. In April of 2009, after threats of losing his funds for the Republican Primary, moderate Republican icon, Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania switched sides after negotiations with Local Democrats like Ed Rendell and by Vice President Joe Biden.

In November of that same year, in a special election for New York's 23rd Congressional district, despite endorsements from the NRA, Newt Gingrich and Peter King, Republican candidate Dierdre Scozzafava was driven out of the election thanks to conservatives widely endorsing Conservative Party Candidate Doug Hoffman. As a result, Democrats took a seat that had been represented by Republicans since 1858. It appeared that night that conservatism might actually be killing Republicanism.

Yet, if Republicans want to know how they can return to winning ways, they need not look any further than results of that same election night in other areas of the nation. In New Jersey, corrupt former Goldman Sachs man and Democratic Governor John Corzine was ousted by moderate, anti-corruption opponent Chris Christie. A little more South in Virginia, despite controversy about his views on women and gays, Bob McDonnel defeated flip-flopping Creigh Deeds in the run for governor of Virgnina after running as pragmatist.

Republicans may always be enamored with Reagan and there are indeed many reasons to like him. He was a charismatic speaker, a great salesman and witnessed many great accomplishments during his presidency. However, he was far from a perfect conservative. In a recent RNC test dubbed ironically the Reagan purity test, it was found out that Reagan would have failed, a classic case of not confusing people with the facts when they have already made up their mind.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Can We afford to Stay in Afghanistan without Public Support?

This week, Afghanistan was scheduled to have a run-off election after there were claims of fraud on behalf of incumbent President Hamid Karzai in the initial election in August. However, on Sunday, Karzai's opponent, Abdullah Abdullah, who at one point was the president's foreign minister. pulled out of the race, effectively handing the election over to Karzai. All of this came off of the heels of President Obama's deliberation as to whether or not he will send more troops to Afghanistan and stories breaking that the United States CIA had funded Karzai's brother in a string of crooked political dealings. In a sense, Abdullah Abdullah's pulling out of the election may signal the devalidation of US Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal's push for more troops to be sent to Afghanistan.

General McChrystal and General Petraeus, the Centcom leader and former top Iraq General, are proponents of Counterinsurgency, a method of warfare that encompasses using abundant military forces to essentially duplicate the methods the enemy uses.. In fact, Petraeus wrote the Counter Insurgency field manual, which has been seen as the gold standard for counterinsurgency, or COIN as it is known in military circles. The method is hailed among many high ranking politicians and officials like John McCain and Lindsey Graham, but is not without its opponents, namely Gen. Colin Powell, his former aide Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, and Vice President Joe Biden.

However, COIN is completely contingent on "winning hearts and minds" of the native people as General Petraeus would put it. In many ways, the push for more troops is very similar to Petraeus' "surge" method, which he executed in Iraq. But Afghanistan is very different than Iraq. In Afghanistan, one is dealing with the threat of Pashtuns, who are not only the main ethnicity that the Taliban recruits but are also Karzai's own ethnic group. The Pashtuns are known to be very militant whenever they feel as if Justice is being violated.

Prior to the election, it was no big secret that Karzai was a very ambitious man and it was not below him to play dirty tricks to get what he desires. While the Bush Administration hailed his arrival, many people remained wary of him both in the United States and in Afghanistan. However, in a world where justice and following the will of God is more important than liberty, it would be unfair to characterize Karzai as a diametric enemy of native Afghans. For one, just before the election, he re-instated Muslim Shar'ia as the supreme law of the nation.

Yet, in the same respect that Karzai can be revered for administering the will of God, he can also lose public support for being President without the democratic mandate from the people of Afghanistan. In turn, without a strong ally that the Afghans can trust, the US would not be able to initiate any kind of counter-insurgency, given that we have no credible allies from Muslim Afghan leadership. Without a partner, the United States basically becomes an infidel force, just like the Soviets before us and the British before them.

As a result, the only way the United States can really be seen as victors is to be able to curb Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and in Northern Pakistan in hopes of being able to catch Bin Laden. However, as long as we are a foreign force occupying a Muslim land, the United States is susceptible to attack from Taliban, who would become a perpetual thorn in our side.

While Abdullah Abdullah probably would not have gotten a fair shake in the election, it appears that it would have been better if he had stayed in the election, if anything for the purpose of the United States. Without an ally in the Afghan government that has the support of the people, the United States is now susceptible to constant battle with insurgents.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Review of the Bob Dylan Show

On October 15, 2009, me and my old pal Jay went to see the legendary Bob Dylan perform the last show of a three night stint at the equally legendary Hollywood Palladium. Dylan has been known to be a vital if somewhat elusive presence onstage. Yet he is also one of the most enduring acts from his era, a true survivor if there ever was one. Each year since 1988 he plays over one hundred shows and this year alone, Dylan has put out two albums. In April he released the Tejano Outlaw-flavored Together Through Life and just this week, he released Christmas in the Heart, an odd product considering the fact that despite his largely publicized conversion to Christianity in 1978, Dylan is widely thought to have converted back to Judaism. All of that aside, I was very excited to see one of my favorite musicians of all time.

Despite the fact that I love Hollywood, I had never been to the Palladium. Hence, I figured that it would be packed and I would have bad seats. However, as I walked in, I saw no rows of seats but rather, people converging at the front or by the bar. I couldn't believe that I would be able to see the legend from that close of a distance.

After a strong performance by opening act George Thorogood, there was a drumroll that culminated in a circus-like introduction where Dylan was hailed as "the poet laureate of rock and roll" as well as listing significant parts of his career. Finally, there he was; the man himself, plucking away at his piano, in a pink suit.

For those of you who expect Dylan to bust out his electic or acoustic guitar and do "Hard Rain's Gonna Fall," I'm sorry to dissapoint you. For the past four years, he has opted to play piano because he can't find a pianist who can play how he wants. As a result, Dylan spends most of the night behind the electric piano. On occasion, he comes out and performs sans guitar or piano with just a harmonica and only performs one or two songs on guitar. This night, he brought out the axe for a rendition of "Things Have Changed," his Oscar-winning song from the film Wonder Boys and on the slow blues tune "My Wife's Hometown" from Together Through Life.

But that is a rant for another day. Dylan began the performance, flanked by his touring band, which now features former Arc Angels guitarist Charlie Sexton, who left Dylan's band in 2002. Oddly enough, Dylan opened with "Gonna Change my Way of Thinking" from Slow Train Coming, which was one of his Christian albums. However, as the night progressed, it was clear that Dylan did not care what songs people wanted him to perform. Throughout the night, people yelled out for their favorite songs, yet Dylan adhered to nobody. If he did perform them, he did it later on.

Dylan has had a weird relationship with his fans. He loves them for allowing him to do what he does, but in the same respect, hates them for trying to box him in and in turn, box themselves in. He shows his defiance is through his re-arranging most of his songs almost to the point beyond recognition; he changes their key, throws in different lyrics at times, sings the verses in a different syllable style and often adds solos for his bandmates as well as making room for his own stellar gospel piano solos and muscular harmonica riffs. Unless you are a true Dylan devotee, it will be hard for you to recognize songs like "It's Not Dark Yet" by the beginning of the first verse, and that's the way Dylan wants it to be. He wants you to listen to what he has to say now, not what he had to say in 1967.

However, that does not diminish Dylan's performances at all. In fact, it enhances them. One never knows what they will hear when they go to a Dylan show. They may hear a Gospel version of "Blowing in the Wind" or a barroom rocking "Highway 61," with Charlie Sexton and Bob trading off solos. For that reason it is always a joyus experience to see Dylan live or get the latest bootleg.

Throughout the show, the background curtain has different settings for different songs. It's very dark for blues numbers, bluish for sad songs, and starry nights for more bluegrass songs. The most haunting part comes right before the encore when yellow light from below illuminates Dylan as he busts out his harmonica or a spine-tingling version of the Highway 61 Revisited spooker, "Ballad of a Thin Man." You feel goosebumps rising as his deadpan voice sings of a naked man, geeks and one eyed midgets all the while, Mr. Jones doesn't know what's going on.

After, Dylan leaves the stage, briefly, before he returns to perform his signature tune, "Like a Rolling Stone." He sings it a half step above the original recording, but that didn't stop everyone from trying to croon along. He introduces the band and plays a blues before closing with "All Along the Watchtower," the John Wesley Harding classic that guitar magician and noted Dylan accolyte Jimi Hendrix made famous.

Throughout the night, I look around me at the looks of the faces on fans. I see people with their mouths open. I see some dancing, and others simply humming along. They are of all ages and all walks of life. One man I met saw Dylan the year he became a Christian and saw him seven times after, who had brought his teenage daughter. I asked her what her favorite song was and she said "Tangled Up in Blue."

It was then that I realized that Dylan has become more than a rockstar to most of these people. To them, and to me, he is a national treasure; a piece of history who tells of a world that is both inside his head and in the real world. While Elvis, John Lennon, George Harrison and Jimi Hendrix, people who many thought would be around forever, have all passed on, here is Bob Dylan, still standing behind his piano, still blowing away at his harmonica. To many people, he is the perfect manifestation of America. He is a scop in the truest sense of the word. He tells of days of old, but treats the stories as if they are happening now, and tells us where he wants us to go. To compare him Elvis and the Beatles is unfair. Rather, Dylan can be canonized with Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, Henry David Thoreau and other great American poets who wrote about their times and in turn, shaped them.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Atrocious Racism of the Right Wing Dogs

Political dissent is the life force that is supposed to fuel the politics in this nation. The idea that all men are created equal was the foundation for a representative democracy. But what happens when reasonable and rational dissent is turned into visceral, disgusting slandering? What happens when the political climate of our nation adopts a lynchmob mentality?

Unfortunately this is the case with the current political climate surrounding President Barack Obama. There are many rational points where people can disagree with President Obama, from the continuation of the bailouts on the big Wall Street Banks, to his policies on energy, the increasing deficit or how to go about health care reform. Despite my fervent support of him last year, I have used ths forum to criticize the President on many occasions. In fact, it can be said that we must have those voices of dissent during this critical time in order to keep the President's policies in line.

However, the type of attacks that currently being hurled towards the President in recent Town Hall meetings, protests and rallies have, instead of being rational discussions about where we may not agree on policy, have turned into a shining example of the divisive, hate-filled politics of racism that is still festering in this nation.

Of course, we probably should have seen this coming during last year's campaign when there were insults at John McCain/Sarah Palin rallies hurled towards the President using terms like "traitor," "off with his head," and "terrorist." The divisive nature of the campaign became so much that Congressman John Lewis of Georgia, one of the original Freedom Riders who traveled throughout the South to ensure racial equality and who was also an aide of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior, spoke out in concern, and compared the rhetoric to that of former Alabama Governor George Wallace.

Congressman Lewis wrote in a note this past October, "George Wallace never threw a bomb, he never fired a gun, but he created the climate and the conditions that encouraged vicious attacks against innocent Americans who were simply trying to exercise their constitutional rights. Because of this atmosphere of hate, four little girls were killed on Sunday morning when a church was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama." Lewis continues, "“As public figures with the power to influence and persuade, Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are playing with fire, and if they are not careful, that fire will consume us all."

That fire unfortunately was not extinguished on that evening in Grant Park on November 4, 2008. Nor did it die on that winter day on January 20, 2009 in Washington D.C. Rather, it appears to have been purified and it is in this form, that it looks to have begun to "consume us all," as Congressman Lewis had warned us it would.

All over the country, it seems that people, instead of talking about the policy differences, have favored to insult the President on issues like his race and even of his Americanism. In one town hall this past July, a womanyelled out "[President Obama] is not an American citizen, he's a citizen of Kenya" and later proclaimed, "I want my country back." This has unfortunately become a rallying cry for this hate-filled movement; that these people, have been tricked into believing that they are losing their nation. The nation that they stole from the indigenous people and built on the backs of slaves. The nation that for years harbored and even encouraged hatred and the treating of certain people as second class or even non-citizens. That is the nation that they are longing for. The nation that allowed them to publicly express their hate.

It has gone so far in fact, that in the House of Representatives, there is currently a Bill that will ask for future Presidential Candidates to provide a Birth Certificate. We have birthers in the House of Representatives. The people who are supposed to knock down these ridiculous ideas are the ones who are increasing their validity.

As a former Republican myself, this makes me question why I was ever a part of this party. The fact that the actual Republicans in power have done nothing to try and tame their constituents is even more dispicable. By doing so, they are fanning the flames of this hatred.

Of course, this crazy movement of hatred is not being executed by all Republicans. When at a rally for his Presidential Campaign, John McCain denounced the idea that somehow his then-opponent was a foreigner. RNC Chairman Michael Steele, has himself denied the "birther" conspiracy. Yet, unfortunately, it appears these voices of reason are the minority of their party rather than the majority. In a poll done last month, less than 25% of Republicans believe that President Obama is an American citizen.

America was founded on the backs of slaves. Racism is an inherent part of Americanism. Yet, what is going on here is worse than that. It is reverting black people back to the Dredd Scott decision in 1857, where it was decided by then Chief Justice Roger Tamey that Blacks were not citizens and therefore, did not have the rights as the White man did

The campaign to strip President Obama of his legitmacy as an American citizen is of course nothing new. The Right Wing Propaganda machine has always tried to strip liberals of their Americanism. They did it with Michael Dukakis in 1988 with the Willie Horton ad. In 2004, they stripped Bush's Presidential opponent Senator John Kerry of his service to this country to make him seem like less of a patriot than a man who dodged the draft.

Yet, what these same people are doing to President Obama is even worse. In last year's campaign, they accused him of not being a Christian, therefore making him seem like a threat to the American Culture. They stripped him of his patriotism, to make him seem like he would not protect this nation. Now, they have committed the ultimate insult: stirpping a President of his citizenship. I never thought I would see the day that a black man would become President but I never imagined I would see the day where a group of right wing lunatics tried to strip a President of his Americanism.

So now I address my attention, to the moderate Republicans. The rationals who do not buy into this propaganda, like my friends ASU Western Senator Matthew Gregory Phy, Andrew Acevedo, and Brinn Knutson, if you do not try and tame the fringe members of your party, you are just as responsible for spreading this hate speech as anyone who is actually proclaiming this rhetoric. Unless you admit that not only is President Obama a citizen, but also a Patriot, who, even though he may be wrong, still loves his country, then you are helping to fan the flames of the fire that Congressman Lewis warned about, and in turn, consume us all.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The glorious fact about Christ: His empathy with Death

The beauty of God's love for through the sending of His Son, Jesus, is a tremendous expression of love in many ways. We all know, of course, that the greatest part of Christ's time on earth is His Crucifixion on that Friday and Resurrection that Sunday. And while we should rejoice in His resurrection and His ascension into Heaven, we should also realize what Dr. Cornel West, Professor of Religion at Princeton, calls “the painful laughter of blues notes and the terrifying way of the cross;” the concept that we have a God who actually is able to empathize with us in all aspects including death itself. That in itself is reason enough to rejoice and couple that with the fact that He would eventually defeat death, is a reason to see that we truly have an awesome God.

When Adam and Eve committed the Original Sin, mankind was condemned to death; not just in the physical but also in the Spiritual as truly separated from God Himself. Romans 6:23 claims that the wages of our sin is death. The fact that we are descended from Adam and Eve means that we are completely depraved from the moment we are born means that we are born as enemies of God and therefore doomed to die.

However, God loved us so much that He sent His son to die for us, therefore, sending Himself to die for us. John 1:1 claims "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." The Word of course is Christ.

Because of the Hypostatic Union, Chr ist was and is Fully God while still Fully Man. Therefore, while He is still God, because He is also human, He was able to empathize with us. He ate like a man, had parents like a human and had all of the bodily functions that a Human had, all the while still maintaining His Deity.

Hence, when Christ was crucified, we witness one of the most glorious parts of the whole Christ story; that Christ, our God, not only would be able to empathize with us in the pain of life but would also be able to empathize in the facing of death. This is why Christ cried out "My God why has Thou Forsaken Me?" to God the Father; He knows He is about to face the ultimate consequence of sin, which is death.

To have a God that is able to not only empathize with death but also to have experienced one of the most gruesome manners of being killed, can give us comfort in that we should have no fear of dying. If our Lord and Savior can face death in the face and defeat it when He rose on the Third Day, then we, His Children have nothing to fear because he has allowed us to live and not have to experience the painful separation from God. Because Christ experienced death, we do not have to experience separation from him. What a wonderful fact and all the more reason to rejoice in Christ.

Isaiah 53:3 "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. " KJV

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Since he announced the launch of his Presidential Campaign in February of 2007, Barack Obama has been frequently compared to Presidents like Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy. However, an analysis of his foreign policy, as far as the Middle East is concerned, shows history will more likely than not compare him to one of two Presidents who were in office during wartime: 34th President Dwight David Eisenhower and 37th President Richard Millhouse Nixon.

Consider these facts for a second In 1952, when General Eisenhower ran, America was embroiled in the middle of a Cold War battle with the Korean War. The nation had turned on its haberdasher President Harry S. Truman and looked to Eisenhower, a war hero from World War II, to get them out of Korean War. In the election, Eisenhower and his Vice Presidential Nominee, Senator Richard Nixon, crushed Adlai Stevenson, winning all but nine states and 55.2% popular vote and won again in 1956 with all but 7 states and 57.4% of the popular vote.

For the most part, Eisenhower delivered on the hope he promised on the campaign trail. Under the Eisenhower Adminstration, the US signed a Cease-fire with North Korea. He also instated the Eisenhower Doctrine regarding Communism in the Middle East, declaring the US would be "prepared to use armed force...[to counter] aggression from any country controlled by international communism." He also appointed the Judge who would help overturn Plessy v. Freguson and order the historical ruling in Brown v. Board of Education. As a result, Eisenhower is revered as one of our greatest Presidents, despite his misgivings on other issues.

While it is hard to believe now, when he ran in 1968, people looked to Eisenhower's Vice President, Richard Millhouse Nixon for help. After an embarsassing defeat for President at the hands of John F. Kennedy in 1960, Nixon returned to the national spotlight in 1968, after President Lyndon Johnson and the Democratic Party was viewed by many as the man who had got them into this mess. claimed he had a "secret plan" to win the Vietnam War. After the assasination of his one formidable opponent, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, and the mayhem that ensued at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in the streets of Chicago, Nixon was seen as chastened, wise and able to win the Vietnam War. As a result, he beat his general Election opponent, Vice President Hubert Humphrey with 32 states, and 43.4% of the Popular Vote and crushed his 1972 opponent, Senator George McGovern, carrying all but one state winning 60.7% of the popular vote.

However, while Nixon would eventually end the Vietnam War with the Paris Peace Treaties, under his term, the Vietnam War dragged on for four more years and almost 40% of the soldiers killed in Vietnam were under President Nixon's watch. Along with this, there were the terribly misgiven bombings in Cambodia and Nixon's belief in the Silent Majority. As result, while America would walk out of Vietnam, it would be with heads down in defeat as opposed to the marching home in victory of Nixon's former boss. His many missteps in Vietnam, along with the embarassment he endured through Watergate, have since earned Nixon a blacklisted name in the pantheon of horrible Presidents.

Fast forward to the present. In 2007, when then-Senator Obama said he was running for President, violence and casualties from the Iraq War. According to icasualties.org, a site that tracks casualties for the Iraq War, the highest months for casualties were November 2004, right after Bush's re-election with 137 and May 2007. Also, America's standing in the world was at an all-time low, thanks to the "cowboy diplomacy" and secrecy of the Bush Administration, among other things. Many people, myself included, began supporting Senator Obama in his campaign because of his opposition to the Iraq War. In turn, Obama beat his opponent, Senator John McCain, carrying 28 states, and winning 52.9% of the popular vote (ironically, Obama recieved endorsements daughters of both Eisenhower and Nixon).

While Obama has for the most part stayed on schedule for Iraq and has called for the closing of Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp, many people are questioning his foreign policy agenda. In an interview with DL Hughley in Spring of 2009, Congressman Ron Paul decried Obama's policy on Iraq, claiming that he was still following the Bush Policies as far as embassies in Iraq and occupation of the Middle East, as well as the invasion of Pakistan. Bob Woodward, one of the legendary journalists who broke the Watergate Scandal in 1973 for the Washington Post and a chronicler of the George W. Bush foreign policy, in July of 2009 claimed the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan was now "Obama's War." Obama has recieved criticism as well for his secrecy pertaining memos from the previous administration and for his unwillingness to prosecute those who executed torture on behalf of the United States.

We are still only eight months into this new administration, so it is still too early to judge Obama alongside the likes of Eisenhower or Nixon. However, one thing is certain: Obama's foreign policy now will either haunt his legacy for eternity as one of the worst Presidents or lionize him as one of the greats.

Mr. President, greatness and folly are calling you. Which one will you answer?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Looking at life in hindsight while pressing forward

I am about to graduate high school. For many, including myself, this is a glorious and joyous time. Time for dancing nights away, grad parties, cramming for exams and doing nothing in class because teachers have given up on class.

But then what next? After this time of celebration and bacchanalian debauchery, we shall leave the oyster that we have collectively known as childhood for the "Real World." We will lose the coverings and the protective clothing of parental guidance and minor's protection in exchange for college cram sessions, working away our weekends and trying aimlessly for that elusive loch ness monster we call love, success and happiness. Why do we celebrate this? Is it a celebration of the things we will do? If you ask me, it's a little preemptive. Are we esssentially having a childhood Mardi Gras, where we gorge ourselves with everything childish before going into the Ash Wednesday of adulthood?

What is ahead? Will we matter as much as we did in high school? Or will we proceed to just be another meaningless number sitting at a desk, anticipating the weekend with every breath because we have no intrinsic value in our careers? Will the people who were the Olympians of High School be thrown into the Tartarus of Washed-Up Alley, while the geeks and the servants wind up becoming the emperors of our society with their intellect, policies and technology? Or will evil triumph over good and idiocy still continue to be rewarded in this new realm?

Will we maintain those values we held when we were younger? Or will our ideology come to clash with the harsh medicine known as reality? Will we still be the good little Puritans we were raised to when we come to face crisis on our own? Or will we break under the pressure and change our philosophy to the way of the world?

What is next?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I am not offended

These days, so many Christians are up in arms about these things that in my opinion should not be the focal point of our lives. Instead of fighting poverty, or caring for Widows or ending unwanted pregnancies, so many Christians are angry about things like Twilight and Bill Maher's anti-Christian tyrades.However, honestly, alot of that stuff does not offend me. I kind of expect the world to be like that. Romans 1:18-19 says "18The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them." The will not understand it unless Christ reveals it to them. The best thing we can do is pray for them.But in the end, we are so upset with how these things are so anti-Christianity and so "immoral" when we, the church really need to take a good look at ourselves. In a sense, born again Christians have become the bloated, overpaid rich church that they so despised in the Catholic church. We have become so obsessed with the ritual and the church that we have forgetten our way. Because of that, we make pretty easy targets for movies and television. In my opinion, we should not see these as insults and attack the media itself. Instead, we should see it as an opportunity to prove them wrong. We should be mobilizing in the streets, loving our neighbor as ourselves. In this economy especially, people need Christ to know that they are safe. Yet instead, we become more sequestered. I don't see many of these things as offensive. Rather I see opportunity. In Genesis 50:20, when Joseph encountered his brother in Egypt, he says "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." Instead of being angry about these things, they should motivate us to be better Christians, and therefore, save souls for Christ.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

There is a saying out there that goes "confidence is a funny thing; not enough and you think you are a fool; too much and you are the fool." It seems like that confidence is what it is all about. It seems like in today's society, we are so afraid of being vulnerable because if we are vulnerable, we let people in. And to let people in is to let them be able to hurt you. That alone is why we seek this elusive figure called confidence.If you do not believe me, then tell me, why do you own the things you own? Why do you do the things you do? It's because it makes you feel good. We put on these clothes and drive these nice cars and listen to the trendiest music so that we feel like we belong and that we aren't "strange" or "different." Yet the strangest thing to me is the avoidance of being strange. The most different thing is not accepting that you are different. We have been told by society that we must be monolithic and have our next shopping lists of clothes and cars and entertainment dictated to us by the magazines and the televisions.In the end, this rat race drives us mad. It is scientifically proven that people in more prosperous nations are less happy. Why? Because they have saturated themselves with too much stuff and not enough time learning how to be happy. However, I say it is time to be happy. I say it is time we stop wearing clothes because we are told we have to. I say we drive the car that makes the most sense to us. I say we listen to the music that we want to listen to because it sounds good. And I know that it may sound weird because it seems so obvious but everything is so topsy-turvy. We have become so stupid that we really have to do this stuff.Also we got to stop trying to find comfort in the stuff we have and find more comfort in the things we can't put on credit. Spending more time with God and with family. Instead of being worried about losing you money or stuff, why not tithe, or buy a homeless person a meal? Or why not take your family to Disneyland? I guarantee you will be happier. So I say, stop fretting and feel confident with who you are, not the mold that society tells you to be.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

My first blog on this thing

I usually blog on other websites, but welcome to my official blog, the Philosophical Bluesman. Here I will show my thoughts on music, politics, and religion and show some of my terrible poetry. Let's get started:

Woodrow Wilson once quipped about the point of college being to help young men not be like their fathers. Well if that is true, than the point of high school is to be the least like yourself and the most like everybody else. Everybody says that high school is about finding yourself and whee you fit in the world. That's a load of crap. High school is about conforming to what society wants you to be and then knowing your place. You are then forced to fight throug these idiotic cliques in order to fit in, while they strip you of your individuality in exchange for acceptance by your peers. In other words, it's the perfect training facility for corpoprate America.

But what if it didn't have to be that way? What if somebody tried to go against the grain and chose not to worry about fitting in. What if they just chose to be themselves and see if the world would accept them and if not, screw it? What if we stopped going by what we are told to think and feel and instead went by what we actually did think and feel?

Of course, I say this because such a travesty cannot happen in this little microcosm we call high school. People who have morals and values realize that there has to be compromise and wind up drinking on the weekend. The kids who party hard realize that they must be presentable in some way or shape, so they go to church and become involved in student government. Then the losers realize they do not belong in society and choose to sequester themselves from the world and do not even try to interact with others because they are essentially the lepers of high school society.

In the end, there is no hope for high school life. In truth, the best way to find yourself is to live outside of high school while in high school. Then and only then can you be your true self.