Category Archives: political reform

Making God Come Alive

The old Judeo-Christian books told us of a jealous god, an angry god. This was a god who saw everything you do…and punished you for it, if you broke his law. These old books told us about a powerful, omnipotent god who simply didn’t take any crap, a god who didn’t mess around. They described a god who commanded ‘his people’ to invade sovereign states and kill everyone in them (which supposedly occurred many times, according to the Old Testament).

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Joshua performing genocide on the Amonites

People waited for his promised coming, for his promised appearance.They prayed for a sign, a burning bush, a hint, anything.

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Generations passed, hoping for a god or the angels to come out of the sky and help people.

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Deus Ex Machina, the God in the Machine

 

Oddly enough, in time the visions soon became not of god coming down to help people or bring rain to all, but devolved into pleas to exact revenge on our enemies, to demand retribution, to enforce justice -as we see it.

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Some prayed even more fervently for these distorted goals; god help us win in war, teach them durn other guys (Catholics or Protestants, Christians, or Muslims, whoever is opposite their side) a thing or two, get that bully on the playground for us.

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When Times magazine declared god was dead in the new age of technology, many people believed them. Okay, if god was dead, but people still needed a God. Was it going to be TV or drugs, booze or mindless entertainment? That new ‘whacky tobacky’ the hippies were smoking? No. People needed something more tangible than that. Lacking the appearance of a real god, we decided to create our own.

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Perhaps our government in its desire to provide more and better law, security, control, etc. (the things we had previously asked of god) simply reflected our ‘inner’ wishes and outer prayers and it tried to give us well, if not god, then the things we prayed to god for.

So we made a god based on our societal model of God.

This new god hears everything you say…

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It sees everything you do…

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It is (almost) omnipotent…

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It is a jealous god, punishing those who won’t follow his commands.

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This god promises hell to those who oppose him….

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This god ain’t down with homosexuals or rebels…’deviants’ of any sort.

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He don’t dig blacks so much either, or any of those ‘colored’ people …

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…and certainly not those Muslims and their ‘other god’.

This new god can see through walls…

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It can see you at night…

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It hears your softest whisper…

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What this god might not see we freely confess to him…

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He sees you when you’re sleeping…he knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness’ sake!

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Stern and implacable, this god allows no dissent and ‘free speech’ against him of his rules is considered treason

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‘They’ do it to ‘us’…and ‘we’ do it to ‘them.’ We don’t even bat an eyelid, because, well…our new god does it to us.

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Free speech against the fundamental principles is considered treason…a reason…for death, imprisonment, and who knows what else? Maybe something worse awaits…hell.

Hell Gitmo

 

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At first, we resisted the intrusions of this fundamentalist god, but after 9/11 everyone prayed harder…and got what they wanted – and a bit more. They wanted security in our homeland and instead got Homeland Security, a money-gobbling bureaucracy (as if we needed another bureaucracy). The country needed patriots, and instead got the Patriot Act, which took away our basic civil rights.

We wanted change, and we got it; with new laws being passed (typically unannounced or covered by the media, and signed at the eleventh hour) that take away our right to fair trial, control over our food and water supplies, classify dissenters or people who sympathize with the oppressed or the victims of our empire-building paradigm as terrorists, and even threaten to take away our citizenship.

Yes, this god is a stern god. It is undeniably a powerful god.

Yet like all gods and images of gods, they can only be made manifest by our individual and collective work, with not only our compliance, but with our intentions manifest as actions and results.

So while we have made a harsh god in the past that looks suspiciously like the angry, jealous patriarchal Judeo-Christian god (like the sum of all bad fathers through history), perhaps as our understanding and compassion develop, as our world-views mature and release the tribe mentality, encompassing all people as brothers, with the shipmate mentality, we will create (or refine) our new god to be kinder, gentler, more compassionate.

Maybe instead of a father figure (and the patriarchal god that results) we will begin to conceive a more nurturing goddess figure, more of a supporting figure than a criticizing one. Maybe then the analogs and forms our gods take on earth will support us instead of punish us; maybe they will guide us into new, willingly-chosen better behaviors rather than make laws and prisons to enforce behaviors on us.

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This really all starts with us. We take the first step, towards liberation, towards compassion. As more and more of us begin, our society moves in step with us, and these analogs of the god we envision change.

The change really all begins with us. It’s not the government’s fault…they are just doing the job as they know how, in the ‘old’ way. They are implementing our collective will. As we change, so do ‘they’, so does ‘it.’

The first step begins with us. How we live our lives, and how we act in society. Do we support parties and candidates that support war, the old regimes and bureaucracies, the old outmoded paradigms, or do we support candidates and parties which reflect our new values, our new and evolving vision of the world?

It all begins with us. With that first step towards release…from ignorance, suffering, old ways of thinking and being that hold us back. One step…

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(c) 2016 Mark Francis Mullen. All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or published for profit. All images are copyright by original owners. Publication on Facebook or any other media or social media does not imply or allow or modify this copyright, and permits no rights to those media.

Division and World Citizenship

Israelis and Palestinians…Iraqis and Kurds…Democrats and Republicans…black and white. The divisions among us increase on a daily basis. As we identify with a particular group, we create division between ourselves and other groups. Now, I’m not knocking group identities or cultural heritages, but I am saying this…

How about we first identify as Fellow Humans? Maybe next as citizens of the world…or as shipmates on Spaceship Earth. How would that be?

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If that were our primary identity, how would that change things? Would our current differences matter as much? Could we create space for healing and growth?

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Who benefits from our division? Certainly not us, no one on either ‘side.’ 

In a world where the smallest percentage of the population holds the most wealth and power, what do surface divisions matter? Would an equity among citizens of Earth result if we stood together and demanded equity of resources and wealth? What would we have to give up? Old attitudes? Selfish desires? Angry leaders who keep us divided?

If we see the world in a ‘zero sum mentality’ (to use Stephen Covey’s phrase), we see wealth and resources as finite, like slices from a single pie. More for you means less for me, in this paradigm. If instead we perceived things from an abundance mentality, we perceive that we could make more pies together, and all of us could have bigger slices. More for you means more for me. Would that be a better paradigm for cooperation? What stops us from achieving this?

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The unarguable fact is that we are all together on this common planet. Any divisions (political, social, etc.) we make are contrived by us and us alone. These borders are imaginary, developed and promulgated by politicians and bureaucrats. 

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What would we have to give up to achieve an equitable world? Would we have to give up any survival essentials? What if all we had to give up was outmoded attitudes? What if all we had to give up was identification with a group that considers itself separate from other groups of humans? What if all we had to give up was our apathy and our sense of dis-empowerment, to demand from our leaders such equity? What if all we had to do was lay down our weapons, pound our swords into plowshares?

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What if instead of another F-35 fighter jet, we were to put that money into solving social inequities? What if instead of a second (or third) car or TV, we were to put that money into funds to help people obtain the things they need for survival? What if you kept your old     i-phone and gave the money you’d spend on a new 5-S to the poor?

I was watching a show on how to ‘fix’ or ‘solve’ the Israel-Palestine troubles. One apparently intelligent man argued that the cost would be billions of dollars and would take ten years or more. He said it as if that were a deterrent, an impossibility, as if asking where we could possibly get that kind of money.

The answer seems obvious: if the US had skipped the Iraq and Afghan wars, there would have been enough money and time to accomplish this…we spent more money and time making war (with no apparent gains) than that ‘expert’ projected it would take to create peace. That’s just one single country…what if all countries united in this, spent even a fraction of their ‘defense’ (war) budgets on their citizens?

What would we do if we created a different world, one where we didn’t starve our teachers and recruit more Marines? How would that world look? What would the world look like if the small percentage of the rich were to pay the same taxes as the poor, and that money were used to address world hunger, health, and survival issues?

I’m not suggesting solutions here, merely asking questions…

What if it was more important to be an American than a Democrat or republican? Would that have prevented our recent government breakdown? What if it was more important to be a citizen of the world than to be an American? Would that change things? Would our country act more responsibly, would it be a better world citizen, more a part of the world community, rather than a self-appointed world police?

Am I just a dreamer?

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I think not. I am a lover, but I am also a pragmatist, a realist. All it takes is for us all to unite…not as Americans or citizens of countries, not as members of opposing groups, but as world citizens.

If we start from a place of unity and commonality, we have a hope. If we start from a place of division, we have scant little hope.

It’s not up to the government, or the UN, or someone else. It’s up to US…all of us.

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Who’s in Charge Here?

Government has changed in a fundamental way, or at least our conception of it. Many seem to think of the common person as powerless against the government. Instead of serving the people, government has become a bureaucracy, legislating for its own good (its perpetuation and growth) instead of for the good of its citizens.

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People are now governed by government (told what to do as if they were sheep or children) rather than served by it. The fact remains that public servants (our elected representatives) are our servants, not our overlords. These servants have forgotten that fact, as evidenced by the recent government ‘shutdown’ instituted by the minority Republican party in response to a law they oppose. If we do not remind these people who they are, we will have sealed the fate of our country for generations.

Those politicians are holding hostage the pay of soldiers, and possibly the Social Security of millions (whose funds are not even part of the budget being argued over), to mention a few. They tell Americans they cannot go on their public lands, national parks, or war memorials because the goverment refuses to pay people to charge or police the public. They tell Americans that they are the boss, not the public they were intended too serve.

We have a chance. We can show them who is boss – by uniting and supporting the upcoming truckers’ strike on November 11-13. If we refuse to spend a penny or go to work, we will shut them down, instead of them shutting the governent down. We are the government, and we can prove it to them.

If we will look beyond our selfish desires for three days, we can show them who really has the power. A general but peaceful citizens strike will show this. The Man has a gun to our collective heads. He is counting on our ignorance, apathy, and division to pull this stunt off. He is counting on our greed to keep us apart.

This is beyond Democrats versus Republicans. It is not an issue about Obamacare, or left wing versus right wing. This is not government versus the people, even. This is about a specific group of politicians who have acted against the basic tenets of their job. This is about a group of individuals who need to be held individually and collectively responsible for this misuse of their offices against their constituents.

If everyone would spend those three days of the United Citizens Strike calling for recall and impeachment of these people, we could take back our power, replace them with representatives who will do our bidding. The fundamental characteristic of their job is the ability to work within the legal constraints of goverment, with members of the ‘opposing’ parties. By their actions they have proven themselves as incapable of this, and should be fired for their unwillingness and inability to work with others.

Now more than ever it is true- united we stand and divided we fall.

Now more than ever, we need to show solidarity, go beyond our outward differences and take back our government from the lobbyists and special interest groups. We can form a common interest group, stop such lies as corporate citizenship, and manifest our  citizenship. We truly do get the government we deserve, and we deserve more!

Now is the time we can birth either a benevolent new age, or sit by and allow a New World Order to take over. We can choose unity, or allow tyrrany. We can vote with our pocketbooks, and with our involvement in running this country. We can repeal laws that allow citizens to be tried without trial, and for corporations to have more rights than US citizens.

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We can find ways to do this that meet the needs of both parties, and of all citizens. We must step up though, and look beyond our own greed and outward divisions. We must stand together first as Americans, strong in our unity. Then we can display who is really in charge.

The time is now…the future is at hand. We can either sit idly by in our boxes and watch the mass media coverage of this travesty, of this debacle, or we can stand up together and show who we are, how we want to go down in history. We can choose to either make history, or sit by and watch it made by others. We can show our choice on November 11th, 2013, by uniting and showing who is really in charge.

Citizenship ceremony, 1960
Citizenship ceremony, 1960 (Photo credit: Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center)