Tag Archives: domestic policy

Do Unto Others

I was minding my own business, at the bar nursing a drink,
when a big old boy slid onto the next stool;
he ordered a cheap, cold one for a buck fifty, I think,
then turned to me and said, “I’m no one’s fool.”

Now, I’m of the opinion that a bar in a small town
is no place for a liberal point of view;
and so I simply grunted in a noncommital way
and tried to figure out what I could do.

He wanted conversation, so I gathered from his tone,
on politics in general, and the war;
he waxed on philosophic while I tried hard not to moan
for nearly two full hours, maybe more.

The gist of his opinion, if you want to call it that,
was that world was too big for its jeans,
and those old fashioned values he prized were being left flat.
I finally had to ask him what’d he mean.

He said, “I said it once before, my mama didn’t raise no fool:
the answer’s pretty simple, seems to me.
It’s only application of that saw from Sunday School,
that’s what America needs to be free:”

Do unto others; make it a pre-emptive strike.
That way they won’t talk back and make you do things you don’t like.
Apply the golden rule and we can keep the world in line;
and freedom’s light will continue to shine.

Do unto others; pay it forward, so to speak.
If they say something you don’t like, just knock ’em in next week.
Apply the golden rule before they sneak one in on you;
Now that’s what this great country ought to do.

I’d had about enough of this, as you can understand,
when he slid his bar stool back and took his feet;
He said, “nice talking to you, I can see you’re a good man.”
I nodded to the barman — whiskey, neat.

The good old boy departed, and I lifted up my glass
to toast his shadow as it slipped away.
It was obvious in our debate, I’d simply been outclassed;
or overcome with silence, you might say.

I said to the bartender, who was an old friend of mine:
“I wonder where they come from, these great fools.”
He said, with a big grin, “They wander in here all the time,
from hunting, chasing skirts or buying tools.”

They all say …

Do unto others; stop that terror in its tracks.
That way no one will argue, and we can all just relax.
Apply the golden rule and we can keep the world in line;
and freedom’s light will continue to shine.

Do unto others; pay it forward, so to speak.
If they say something you don’t like, just knock ’em in next week.
Apply the golden rule before they sneak one in on you;
Now that’s what this great country ought to do.

14 FEB 2007

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Isn’t That Something?

Haunted by a hurricane that made it clear
who does and doesn’t matter;
you learn to keep your mouth shut, though the beer you’re drinking
tastes like muddy water;
You’re told just pretend that nothing’s changed
because illusions tend to shatter;
don’t make a clatter.
Suffer in silence.

Listening to a government that makes it plain
it has no truth worth telling;
You learn there’s not much difference whether it’s the left or right
that does the yelling.
You’re told to play along, to keep us strong,
’cause that’s the only dream worth selling;
No shadows need dispelling.
Believe the nonsense.

Reading about hate that doesn’t sleep, but seems to spring
from out of nowhere;
you learn to figure out who makes the rules, but says
they aren’t obliged to play fair;
You’re told your side is right, the side of might, thanks to a blessing
that you won’t share;
Nobody wins, but who cares?
You look good dying.

Watching for the stormclouds once again;
another war, another season.
you learn to test the wind, to judge the spin
and it’s end effect on reason.
You’re told to shut your mouth, that any doubt
is ample evidence of treason.
Silence is more pleasing;
there’s no point trying.

Haunted by a hurricane that made it clear
not many can be trusted;
you learn to seek the holy in the strangest places,
where the world is rusted;
You’re told, keep a low profile, watch your step,
or you might end up getting busted;
People would be disgusted.
Keep it in private.

Listening to a radio that makes it plain
it’s more than sound they’re pumping;
you learn to find your own songs, without caring
if your single isn’t jumping;
you’re told no one will listen, if it’s not the same old thing
the speaker’s thumping;
Now, isn’t that something?
Some kind of bullshit.

21 DEC 2006

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What is a Leader of the Free World?

Watching the joyous celebrations by the people of Iraq, and the continuing news broadcasts hinting that demonstrators on both sides of the war and anti-war campaign might now be more or less inclined to comment, I began thinking about something.
It is obvious to me that the people of Iraq are happy to be free of Saddam Hussein. I think there is little doubt that his regime was not a pleasant one in which to live. This leads me to believe that at this precise instant, at this limited window of opportunity, the armed forces of the United States have done a good thing.

But that does not mean we did it for the right reasons. The right reason would have been for no reason at all. Except that it needed to be done. No suggestions of post-war rebuilding, no potential enhancement of the pro-Israel element in the region, no possibility that the oil-rich elements in the United States were interested in Iraqi oil. If the REAL reason is the Iraqi people, then the operation was for the right reason.

And it seems obvious that the leader of the free world would have done what we have done so far for that reason alone. Not because Saddam Hussein’s activities supported destructive actions against the US. Not because Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, chemical and biological threats and might use them against us, or provide them to others who might use them against us. Not because our national security demanded that American lives must be protected. The leader of the free world would have done it because Iraqi lives needed to be protected. That those weapons were used against ANYONE would be a good enough reason.

Now, obviously there are a lot of places in the world where those who have money are considered to be more important than the poor. Where those who do not practice the “official” religion of a place are prosecuted, persecuted. Where power-brokering behind closed doors determines the course of politics. Where special interests exist. Where any interest is considered more special than others. Where elections are NOT open, fair and non-disputed. Where representatives do not represent all their constituents, but only a select few who can do them favors. Where a political campaign is ABOUT character, rather than CONDUCTED with character. Where bribes are taken. Where there is an old-boy network, a glass ceiling, a double standard, a hidden agenda.

Where the nation’s industry building weapons of mass destruction, armaments, and military strength has a bigger budget than the nation’s education system. Where friends get preferential treatment. Where national boundaries define us and them. Where race, religion, class, creed, sex, orientation, or any difference is seen as an obstacle, an aberration, an abomination. Where freedom of speech does not really mean freedom of speech. Where the accused ARE assumed guilty until proven innocent …

But the leader of the free world is NOT one of those places.

Because the leader of the free world is leading. Teaching compassion, understanding, kindness. Breaking down barriers instead of erecting them. Doing the ethical thing – which is “Thou Before I”. And helping, by whatever means necessary, to promulgate the belief that EVERY person is a human being, an equal, worthy, respectable, interesting, confusing, beautiful, struggling, learning, growing, adapting and EVOLVING being. Because if you teach that, there isn’t any dictatorship that can stand. There is no despot that can wreak havoc upon an unsuspecting populace. There are none with secret grudges that must find their expression only in violence because no one deems them worthy of communication or is willing to accept whatever truth is in their argument.
At some point, if the human race is to survive (at a minimum) or to evolve, all its members must contribute to, and benefit from, that egalitarian ideal. But evolution is not a sudden step. It is not a regime change. It is a slow, painstaking, and ultimately painful process, that must be encouraged because it is the ONLY thing to do, not because it might appear to be the “right” thing to do from within our currently non-fully-evolved frame of reference. At that point, in a completely egalitarian society, individuals will lead when their expertise is required, and follow when it is necessary to defer to the expertise of others. When people recognize their interdependence and honor and value the fact that truth is a pathless land – a land that we each inhabit, each of us standing with a useful pair of feet on a unique, individual piece of truth – but only a piece. Until that occurs, there must be a leader, a master, a guru, so to speak. A leader that does not point the way, but IS the way.

And that leader’s only responsibility is to lead by example. If their example is not good enough, they are not the leader – no matter how much they would like others to think so. The leader of the free world MUST practice what it preaches, or it has no business preaching. And it certainly has NO right to say that its interests are the best interests. But then again, a true leader would never say that to begin with.

So who is the leader of the free world?

Who qualifies on these terms?

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Wake Up America

Wake up America and face the facts
Your roads are built on broken backs
And there’s no way that you can track
The hypocrisy that against you stacks

There are storm clouds in those spacious skies
of which you sing, but do you realize
Your purple mountains and amber grain
Will disappear in the acid rain

Of time, there’s no time, and the time is now
To turn our hawk-like swords into plows
And reap the seed that we have sown
The apathy that has destroyed our home

Wake up America and face the truth
There is no one standing in your voting booths
And the people in this country who run your lives
Are free to find your back with their forks and knives

You stammer, and you whine, complain that there is nothing you can do
But you and I know that this is not true
You’ve focused your attention on the world outside
Now it’s time to take the board out of your own damn eye

Oh sleeping giant it’s time to rise
And wipe the sleep out from in your eyes
You’ve enslaved your brothers to promote your creed
But you don’t know what it is, because you can’t read

And your huddled masses yearning to be free
Are as tired and poor as they used to be
They’re dying of AIDS, selling, or trying to score
Wake up, the future is right next door

Around the world we act so proud
Americans, yes, and we say it loud
We rub our freedoms in everybody’s faces
But we let the media run the presidential races

If we stood for equality, life and truth
Then the flag we fly would be fire-proof
It’s our claim to fame, and our greatest shame
And we’re running out of fingers pointing out the blame
If you’re so proud, proud as you claim
Pick up the pieces … and use your brain.

I pledge allegiance to the flag
of the United States of America
and to the Republic for which it stands
one nation, indivisible
with liberty
and justice
for All.

Wake up America, and read your history
So many have died for this democracy
The facts are clear and can’t be ignored
There are strip mines where once eagles soared

It’s time we started listening to “Yankee go home”
And went through our problems with a fine-tooth comb
Remember, just like Patrick Henry said,
Without liberty, we might as well be dead.

1985

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