Monday, July 1, 2013

We are all refugees, indigents, lepers, hungry, lonely... and still we hope

Jingoism is extreme patriotism in the form of aggressive foreign policy. In practice, it is a country's advocation of the use of threats or actual force against other countries in order to safeguard what it perceives as its national interests. Colloquially, it refers to excessive bias in judging one's own country as superior to others—an extreme type of nationalism. (from Wikipedia website)
Listening  to George Carlin on PBS this weekend appearing in Madison Square Gardens, we heard Carlin refer to the U.S. as a country addicted to war, and then also heard Carlin declare that war is in essence the waving of a male body part, as an expression of inadequacy, a lack of self-confidence and a competitive method of over-compensation. He did not fail to mention that whenever the U.S. faced any 'problem' they always declared "war" on that problem: the war on drugs, the war on illegal immigrants, the war on some unarmed dictator who is currently not hurting anyone...but never, according to Carlin does the U.S. declare war on "poverty" "because there is no money to be made in such a war"!
Today, the streets around Tahrir Square in Cairo are filled with thousands of people, both demanding the expulsion of President Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood, and in response, pushing back in support of Morsi. Reports of deaths and injuries are, of course, seeping out of Egypt into our television screens as the violence continues.
Today, reports of more deaths, injuries and refugees continue to pour out of Syria, as the civil war in that country continues to take its toll. Some, like David Ignatius, in the Washington Post, are suggesting that President Obama's failure to "act" in the current Middle East cauldron that includes Syria, evokes images of Hamlet who failed to act in Shakespeare's famous tragedy. Perhaps, following the jingoism of George W. Bush, Obama's reluctance to rush in with arms and boots on the ground is a welcome sign to the rest of the world that the U.S. is not going to permit herself to be characterized by a former jingoism that has proven so devastating both to the invaded countries as well as to the U.S. itself.
Today also we read that President Putin has signed an "anti-gay" law in Moscow, declaring Russia one of the most vocal opponents of a life-style that is gaining support and recognition in North America and in Europe, in another form of social conflict that seems to divide the world into two camps, Africa being another region where gays and lesbians can be punished, even killed, for their sexual orientation.
In Canada, on our 'national birthday' and holiday July 1, we are again treated to the Harper version of patriotism with an increased political emphasis on our military history, along with the name change from the Canadian Navy and Air Force, to the "Royal" Canadian Navy and Air Force... a symbolic gesture that, along with the millions allocated to the celebration of the Canadian experience of the War of 1812, seems little more than a narrow and politically motivated gesture to rally votes and voters around the flag for the benefit of the Conservative party's re-election prospects....As Thomas Walkom laments, is this not merely a sign of jingoism and not authentic patriotism?
Jingoism, an excessive bias in judging one's country as superior to others, is something fostered not only by political leaders; it is a dangerous cancerous tumor in the practice of too many religious organizations....even if not known by the same "word". Excessive bias in the superiority of any faith, it says here, is merely a form of overcompensation for the purpose of attracting new converts to the cause, similar to the Carlin depiction of the overcompensation that he sees from leaders in all wars.
It probably sounds, and well may be, excessive over-simplification to suggest that military conflict, and even competition between countries, corporations, religions, ethnicities is, at root, the expression of more fear than hope, more insecurity than confidence, more scarcity than abundance, more neurosis that psychic health, and more desperation than equanimity.
And Jingoism, is merely another form of that scarcity....the scarcity that we are not recognized by others adequately, and therefore have to pump our own image of ourselves up with puffery.
And, in order to level the playing field, where such over-compensation is neither necessary nor accepted by any national or sectarian public, we have to envision a world in which differences are not used to demonstrate superiority, and thereby inferiority, to demonstrate power over, and thereby power-under.
Gays and lesbians struggle, in the minds of the Russian state, as individuals who are not welcome in their society.
Blacks for centuries struggled as individuals who were regarded, by Christians not so incidentally, as slaves.
Women were for centuries, regarded as "less than human" by other Christians (men only).
The dispossessed, in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and in many countries where the social class warfare has emerged as one of the most dramatic themes of the 21st century, are essentially voiceless and impoverished, not only on their tables, and in their beds, but over their airwaves....and are now taking to their wireless devices to tell their stories, both personal and collective....
And the elites, not surprisingly, are beginning to show signs of apprehension, even modest signs of fear....as well they should...in what signs are moving through the skies that as Bob Dylan wrote and sang, in a very different time in the late 1960's "The Times they are changing"
And, as the times change, we lend our voices to those struggling for a decent meal, a decent education, access to decent health care, access to legitimate and dignified work and to clean air, water and land....in all countries...and we must not fail in our chorus of the dispossessed....
We are all refugees,
We are all indigents,
We are all gays and lesbians
We are all lepers and victims of the
AIDS- virus
And we all are hungry
beyond words
And we are all lonely
beyond hope...
                       depending only on those sisters and brothers who are "ONE-with us"!

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