Friday, March 30, 2012

Instant Information- Is it a Good Thing?

We live in the electronic age.  We are bombarded with information nearly every moment we're awake.  News comes at us in 24 hour cycles.  Twitter gives us news instantly and as its happening.  Facebook tells us what's going on with our friends or anyone we're subscribed to.  Television, radio, websites, email, blogs, all are there to feed our hungry eyes and minds, but when is enough enough?

Most of the news we receive isn't the uplifting kind.  Sure, there's the occasional story about a soldier coming home and surprising his child.  Or the dog who saves his owner's life.  These are uplifting, but they come all too rarely.  More often the stories are like that of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed kid in Florida who is gunned down by neighborhood watch volunteer.  Or there's the story where Evangelist, Pat Robertson said homosexuality is a form of demonic possession.  Then there's the story of a snow plow driver and his wife who kidnapped, beat, strangled and killed a woman basically because they were bored.

After having an argument on Facebook with one of my "friends" about the Pat Robertson article and whether homosexuality is wrong and I need to repent, I decided I'd had enough. I had reached my breaking point and could not process any more bad news.  I had to step away from the computer and smart phone.

Also in the news this week, there was a story of a Jet Blue Captain who began babbling things that scared his fellow crewmen and passengers aboard a flight to Las Vegas.  The co-pilot had to lock him out of the cockpit while several passengers pinned him down until the flight made an emergency landing.  He was apparently having a meltdown.  He kept saying over and over, "things just don't matter."

My question is this:  Do any of us have any idea how close we are to such a melt down?  Its hard to watch all the media feeds us and wonder, what's the point?  Is there any hope for mankind at all? Does anything matter?

Its an election year so each side paints a more dire picture of the other side and we start believing the other guy is going to make it worse for us.  The economy sucks, but it's getting better.  No, it's getting worse.  Gas prices are up, no, they're down.  Unemployment is down, but more layoffs are coming.   By November, we are polarized and paralyzed and just want the negativity to stop, so we walk into the voting booth and lay our token down on the roulette wheel.  Is it going to get better or worse?

November is several months away.  Maybe the only way we get there in one piece is by putting away all the information overload, and spending time each day processing the beauty of the world right at our fingertips.  The blooming flowers.  The taste of the enchiladas a loved one made for dinner. The words on the page of your favorite novel.  The moving images on the thirty foot screen.

The world will still be there blowing itself up when we're finished, but at least for a few hours each day, we can take a break from the insanity.

Now I can honestly say I completely understand those people who give up everything and move to the mountains, desert, beach, etc.... If nuclear war comes, at least there will be a gorgeous sunset before the lights go out.

I apologize if this entry seems too negative or fatalistic, but its because I do think things matter and we do deserve better, that I write it.  If I didn't I'd be too drunk to write anything.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

When Will You Speak Up?

I usually try to avoid political or religious arguments.  Mostly I find them to be unproductive.  We all pretty much know what we believe.  Someone shouting at us from another belief system isn't going to change that. Neither will our shouting do much to convince them.

Every now and then I do have to speak up though, and it usually gets me in trouble, but its usually worth it.

The hot topic these days, although I still don't understand why, is that child star, Kirk Cameron gave an interview where he blames homosexuality on the decline of civilization.   I can think of a lot of reasons for the decline, but homosexuality isn't anywhere on the list.  So, he said it and we should have all shaken our heads and moved on.  After all, what power does he have?  The real people we should be worried about is the GOP candidates running for the office of the Presidency. They, especially Rick Santorum, scare the hell out of me.

When I say they scare me, I don't mean like George Bush scared me.  It was an uncomfortable eight years, but I didn't fear for my life.  People like Rick Santorum take their public pulpit and start spewing their hate speech about homosexuality and I get nervous.  When did we, the homosexuals, become the divider in this country?  You either love the gays or you hate them?  Is that what we're about now?  Is that how we choose leaders?

Forget about the Trevor Project and a few episodes about bullying on Glee.  We are being bullied and told to hate ourselves by the people who want to be the leaders of this country!  How can anyone with a Bible who claims to believe in Jesus think that's right?

I'm reminded of a very powerful statement that surfaced after the rise of  Nazi power in Germany.

"First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me."

~Martin Niemöller

When do we speak up?  When they take away women's health choices?  When being gay is illegal again?  When the Bible becomes the new Constitution?   Where will the Jews be then?  The Catholics? The Muslims?  The religious freedom the country was built on?  What will it take to put an end to the people of this country blindly following the false prophets who tell us they'll lower gas prices and give us all jobs.  They will say anything to get elected.  Will you stone your neighborhood fags and whores if it will help?   

Do I get pissed when political figures spout their hatred towards me and people I love?  Hell yes I do!  Am I going to be polite while you throw your Book of Leviticus at me?  No.  I'm done being polite.  I'm done trying to be the better person.  I'm ready to fight.  I have to be, because I'm fighting for my life.