Archive for the ‘comtemplative’ Category

The First Hike of the Summer

June 22, 2006


It has been a while. Quite awhile, actually, well–since last fall, but before that, it had been awhile. In case you haven’t guessed, hiking. Last fall, my friend Brian and I set out to reach the summit of Greyrock, not sure of the height, but it sits 20 minutes outside Fort Collins, Colorado in Poudre (Poo der) Valley.

This trip we had planned for more than a week, he had to get permission from the wife. Hmph! Unfortunately, when we set out it was late in the day and we did not get a chance to finish it. Simply, it was late fall and we had failed to anticipate the 6.5 mile round trek to and from the summit might suffer the fate of darkness.

Forward June 18th 2006, my friend Brian and I returned to conquer Greyrock, this time we went earlier, and this time we conquered. Yes! We were men! Arrrrgh! On our way and our way down we solved the problems of the planet, including that peace thing that seems to pop up every generation. Heck, we even solved the Middle East quandary.
And, no it was not nuke the place until it glowed. No, we felt that there would be eventual peace, if only we could catch Saddam Hussein. Oh yeah, we did that. There would be eventual peace, if only the Iraqi people would elect a government. Oh yeah, they did that. Yes, we thought that there would be eventual peace, if we dropped a 500 pound on where Al Zagawi lived with his fellow conspirators. Oh yeah, we did that too. Hmmm? Well did solve it though. We figured we let the "the undocumented workers," Mexican Nationals, overrun their borders for awhile–certainly that might bring about peace (tongue inserted firmly in cheek here).

However, the political discourse and rancor that resides within the country was a bit more difficult to resolve. We figured that "civil" discourse was no longer viable, in that, it has been transformed, obscured, and blunted into submission. As we hiked, we debated on the civility of Americans on days gone by; we were convinced that every generation felt that morals of the following generation were in decline. We met several people along the trail, some with their dogs, and some with their kids. They all outpaced us both up and down the mountain. But we traveled at a leisured pace soaking in the ambience of nature.
The trail ahead may have had looked ominous, but not all things appear what they seem. This is a message that has been a theme in my life. I have regretted much, and not always empathized enough. Some of my life's indiscretions and indecisions had brought me much joy or happiness, but they had brought perspectives unexpected. The question had always been what is next?

Forward motion. Each step is placed in front of the other. For me waging that eternal of Eros and Thanatos: the battle of living life and letting life decay by erosion to inevitable death. Yes, my friend and I pondered the mysteries of life.
But the everyday doldrums, the living of life taking the shorter route, the steeper path, the dips and ascension powers our certainty forward. I listened to my friend's angst, resentments, both professional and personal, and I listened to mine. Our frustrations can be painted in pastels, so they can brightened, and fruitful. Yes, the may seem to multiply, but it is the journey, in which, the travails and experience shone us a new perception. Yes, each ripples of wave, each step, each moment become more precious than the last. Nature renews. Nature provides the vehicle of transformation and connection. The mountain air soothes the spirit and energizes the heart. Nature brings love and incarnation. Nature brings life….

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Gay Marriage – A Human Perspective

June 8, 2006

Editor's Note: As some of you may or may not know I am taking my core requirements for my Anthropology degree at a local community college. By doing this is I have reduced my expense in the cost of paying for my degree. However, in order to transfer to a full accredited university, I must meet a certain criteria.

One of those criteria is the requirement of college research English. Why do bring this nostalgic moment up? Once again, the recycled debate of gay marriage has hit the political landscape. Three years ago, when the political savvy elite found fodder in rehashing this a "cultural war" gem as a way to engergize the religious right base, I wrote research for this class. So, I dusted it off and I submit it to you for your appraisal or discussion. One further point, I would like to acknowledge my instructor for all his patience and guidance – Bob O'Connell.

Dateline: June O5, 2006

Warner T. Huston, of the Publius’ Forum, advocates the amending the US Constitution to restrict a personal liberty in order to curtail the “judicial activism.” There is something funny about “judicial activism,” there are only “activist judges” when “they,” the judges, disagrees, most often, with a particular social, cultural, or policy in the opinion of the dissenter, whether they are Left, or Right.

For instance, conservatives (and some right thinking Lefties) railed when the US Supreme Court ruled that in Connecticut that it was okay in the view of public policy to condemn a private citizen’s property in lieu of a corporate entity. On the other hand, the liberals were dismayed when again, the US Supreme Court, ruled that the Ku Klux Klan have a right to free speech even in the form of what could be considered “hate speech.”

The opinion of the judiciary is sometime behind the curve (think Jim Crow laws) and sometimes ahead (think Roe v Wade); nonetheless, “judicial activism” is in the eye of the beholder. Which brings me to another point of consideration of Warner’s discourse, that the restriction of personal liberty, and I must add, “Of consenting adults” as necessity to combat the social mores of a US citizen. To restrict freedom only invites a festering dissension and resentment. At present, although not sanctioned by law, same-sex marriage is not banned. This should remain a state issue, to cede authority to federal government gives more power to the Executive, US Congress, and the US Senate and will be far more difficult to wrest away from the “representative” government when needed.

Furthermore, to have a constitution convention to modify in the current state of patriotic religious fervor would be far more dangerous than the actual amendment. It is fortunate that the Founding Fathers made the modification of the “great experiment” so difficult. The rules state as follows, per the interpretation of the US Senate website.

The Constitution may be amended in two ways. The standard device, used for all amendments so far, is for both houses of Congress to pass by two-thirds vote a proposal, which they send to the states for ratification, either by state legislatures or by conventions within the states. An amendment is ratified when three-fourths of the states approve. The Constitution also authorizes a national convention, when two-thirds of the states petition Congress for such a convention, to propose amendments, which would also have to be ratified by three-quarters of the states.

In these rules we find rationality and temperament, in that, the nation should never rage to the popular movement in order to constraint or advocate without active discourse. In the case of the marriage amendment, cynical political rhetoric was clearly being used to influence, to cajole the far right Christian base of the president in order to energize his base. Overall public clarity saw through this, not because of any public prescience, but the State of the Union is in disarray due in part of missteps of the Executive administration. There may be “a constant statistic” of 70 percent in favor “traditional marriage,” but less than half of those “traditionalist” want an amendment to make it so, and that to has been a “constant statistic.” One final point, there is a reason why Founders separated centralized religion, and that was to save the nation from emotional, irrational, and divisiveness of religion sweeping politics. Fortunately for us, it is just another day in paradise and the devil of emotional chaos and confusion has been left at the doors of Eden…..

Definitions:

Marriage – according to “Webster’s Third New International Dictionary (unabridged)” that marriage is “the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife” (1384). Furthermore, it also is the institution “whereby men and women are joined in a special kind of social and legal dependence for the purpose of founding and maintaining family.”

Gay – is defined by the Webster’s dictionary in respect to this paper –“ homosexuals” – relating to, or being a socially integrated group oriented toward and concerned with the welfare of homosexuals (941).

Homosexual ­– is an adjective describing a person who is or “of relating to or marked by sexual interest in the same sex as oneself; and, or relating to, or involving sexual intercourse with members of the same sex. (1085)"

Gay Marriage – is simply the state of being united with a person same sex in a special kind of social, and legal dependence, and possibly for founding and maintaining a family.

Introduction

So what is the controversy regarding “Gay Marriages?” Could it be that if allowed, Americans might have to accept and acknowledge that gay and lesbians “perceived abnormal behavior” is no more different from a person of color? How can a “normal” uniformed citizenry deny the right of freedom of choice in the 21st century? How can the government? How can religion? The answer is that what is perceived as “normal” by American cultural standards is that one male and one female – heterosexual marriage – are “normal” and nothing outside of the “norm” will be accepted. However, this denial of freedom, of expression, and of choice, even to a “small segment of the people” is a denial to “all the people.” Thus, is the controversy. So, we as a free principled society ask, "Can we as Americans, as a people, look at 'ourselves' in the mirror and truly say that every law abiding American has 'true' freedom of choice?" The simple is, no.

Thesis Statement

Gay marriages should be allowed between two consenting adults, they should be afforded all the privileges that go with it, and the government should lead the way.

Government Opposition

Opposition (1)

 

Question – Why does the government oppose gay marriages? The simple answer – because its citizenry does. For instance, Charles T. Canady R-Fla., said “lawmakers have responsibility to draw a legal distinction between heterosexual marriages and unions between people of the same sex …What is at stake in this controversy? … Nothing less than our collective moral understanding … of the essential nature of family.” (Idelson) This attitude by the Florida representative gives insight as to where the perceptions of collective heads of our government are regarding gay marriage. Thus, if gay marriages are allowed then the foundation of American society, the family, will be pillaged bringing further decay to an already rotting society. However, there are other reasons behind the government’s opposition: the United States Constitution. Article IV of the United States constitution states that every state must recognize and give with “Full Faith and Credit” to the “public acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings” of other states (Human Events). In other words, if one state were to accept the covenant of same sex marriages then the other 49 states would have to honor the contract of the couple. Thus, the issuing state would be imposing its will on a citizenry that has not voted up or down on whether to recognize gay marriages.

Such a case happened in 1996. A lesbian couple, wanting to have their marriage allowed, went to the Hawaiian Supreme Court, only to have it dropped later in 1999 because of a decisive public referendum. Thus, the public’s outcry for banning gay marriages in 1999 cannot be interpreted as reasoned or thought through but is a result of a core emotional reaction to what it perceives as “normal” by the American public. Moreover, back in 1996 when the possibility of gay marriages might have been formally recognized as legitimate, the United States House of Representatives in July passed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Soon after, the United States Senate joined the House on September 10, 1996 in passing DOMA. Moreover, President Clinton signed it into law to help bolster his re-election chances. What is DOMA?

The purpose of DOMA is to amend Article IV, Section 1 of the US Constitution along with Chapter 1 of Title of the US code by adding a new section. The former, Article IV, Section 1 gives the Congress the right to “prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.” Therefore, the US Congress can interpret what is “Full Faith and Credit” for the states. The latter, Chapter 1, Section 7 is an additional segment to the chapter that states, “ … the word ‘marriage’ means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife.” Furthermore, “the word ‘spouse’ refers to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife (Human Events).” Therefore, the United States Congress chose to reflect an anxious American public outcry that gay marriages not be allowed in order to preserve the “American family.”

Family Opposition

Opposition (2)

Some would say that the degradation of the family began soon after the French Revolution. Far fetched? In the West, marriage was the Domain of the Roman Catholic Church until the Reformation, and nothing more than a licensed concubinage. According to Kevin Grace (15-16) in his article, “Why Save the Nuclear Family?” the late sociologist Christopher Lasch stated that by the end of the 19th century marriage and family was viewed by American newspapers and magazines as being in crisis. Their view was that with the “rising rate of divorce, the falling birthrate with ‘better sort of people’, the changing role of women, and the ‘so called revolution in morals’” the traditional family could no longer exist with the ever-changing world of modernization. As an example of this, the divorce rate increased fifteen-fold between 1870 and 1920. Nearly one out of seven marriages ended in divorce and with no sign of reversing itself. How does this data support the opposition? Simple, the “revolution” in morals has deconstructed the family sense of community, of “kinship network” (15). With the loss of the family unit, the closeness of the grandparents and cousins for all practical purposes are non-existent, because of the impracticability of modern life. Thus same sex marriages, if allowed, then would virtually emasculate traditional marriage altogether. Moreover, this is the fear of the “conservative” right as well as of the majority of the American public who views homosexuality as “outside” of normal behavior.

However, for the “conservative right” it goes deeper than the loss of normalcy and affects Americans spiritually. Religious leaders have used the events of September 11 to show America’s lack of morals, and that it has contributed to the destruction of the American family. Thereby, if Americans decide to cave into the “gay rights movement” by allowing same-sex marriages, God would then condemn America forever.

Opposition (3)

The Religious Perspective

In the opinion of Dennis Prager, from the Public Interest, in his article "Homosexuality, The Bible, and US – A Jewish Perspective.” Is that “It is impossible for Judaism to make peace with homosexuality, because homosexuality denies most fundamental values … denies life … it denies God … (and) denies (what) the Bible prescribes for all mankind – the family.” He discusses the spiritual and religious reasoning for denying gay marriages.

In fact, he states the allowance of gay marriages would be immoral and that “even if homosexuals have ‘no choice’ we offer our compassion.” However, this does not extend to giving up the “heterosexual marital ideals.” The roles of men and women have been clearly defined as such; it is one of the primary reasons why same sex marriages should not be allowed. Prager points out, that “men need women” and vice versa – stating that “when God solved man’s aloneness by creating one other person, a woman – not a man, not a few women, not a community of men and women.” Meaning that man’s sole purpose, in regards to loneliness, is not found in the function of a community or the same sex, but his completion of being with one woman.

Thus, when men and women marry they become fully human (Prager). Therefore, when God created man, he created both male and female. He created “them” not “you guys” or “you gals.” Therefore, marriage is not only a tribute to God, but to the community as a whole. In addition, when a man gets married to a female he is “choosing life,” meaning that he has chosen to procreate and establish a legacy. In the view of Judaism, homosexuality is death, because it fails to propel the human species forward without additional assistance (Prager).

Furthermore, the homosexual lifestyle for males breeds infidelity, which is more the rule than the exception. Although in the modern era, infidelity is one of the primary reasons for divorce among heterosexual couples. However, this is due to lack of modern morality more than a perceived abnormality. So, what is at stake for religion if tolerance and the resulting laws for gay marriages are allowed? Simply, the foundation of ideals set forth by Judeo-Christian civilization is at stake. In other words, the “sexual behavior (of a society) plays a role in either building or eroding a civilization (Prager).” That behavior is a key to the survival of a civilization.

Ideal Government

Support (1)

The United States is founded on the ideals of individualism, liberty, and freedom. It is the right of every American to pursue happiness. The idea of not allowing a group of people to pursue their “ultimate happiness” is contrary to the establishment of this country. To deny the rights of marriage, simply because of the antiquated notion of what marriage should look like is discriminatory at the least and invidious at the worse. M.D. A. Freeman states that “Overcoming prejudice – which remains at the root of most opposition – will be difficult… If we believe in autonomy … and believe that the institution of marriage is valuable … it is difficult to justify depriving homosexuals and lesbians of this treasured form of human association.” Moreover, to allow murderers, rapists, and those with communicable disease such as HIV-infection or those who suffer from AIDS as well as transvestites or transsexuals to marry, as long as one was born the opposite sex, is inconsistent. The view of the government should be that marriage is the right of every citizen no matter the politics or sexual behavior (Freeman 1-17).

Furthermore, the government should be encouraging gay marriages because its what is good not only for the person, but also good for a community of people. To limit a people by restricting their happiness is intrinsically wrong. According to Freeman, in 1967 when the “state of Virginia was challenged by Loving, it could have argued that the incidents of marriage were designed with same-race marriages in mind.” However, they did not. Why? Because they knew that they had crossed the line. Discrimination is discrimination no matter what forms it tries to disguise itself.

Therefore, the government should lead the people, and enforce the public laws that are currently on the books so that equal opportunity for all people is rightly represented no matter what their sexual orientation. As a group with equal protection under the law, they should be allowed to explore all the possibilities of institutional marriage including that of having a family.

Support (2)

Families Coming Out

What constitutes a family? According to Webster ‘s Third International Dictionary – it is a group of individuals living under one roof – a household; they may share the same ancestry, and have common religious and political views. Simply, family can be a group that shares a common goal from the parent on down to the child or whomever resides within the home.

The “gay-rights movement” sees the worry that most citizens may have regarding children being raised by adults that society considers abnormal. However, the advocates of gay marriage can argue that heterosexual homes fare no better. Some examples of this are the Jerry Springer Show, Ricki Lake, Jenny Jones reflected in the world of pop culture. For instance one Jenny Jones’ show “Teenagers Gone Wild”, discussing teenagers girls and their promiscuity defying their parents rules about school and household rules.

When it comes to family, Americans seem to want to band together on what they perceive a family and marriage is. Whatever the popular culture is reflecting about America, the gay-rights advocates are asking for a major cultural change. However, some states may concede to adopt a new type of institution referred to as a “civil union”; the state of Vermont is the first state to have civil unions (Sullivan). Although civil unions will have all the legal rights as an institutional marriage, many view this step, in the gay-rights movement, as a half measure. Moreover, although civil unions may recognize the partnerships of same-sex commitments, the perceptual view of it will not be same as marriage. Not quite condoning, nor condemning gay marriages. They concede that civil unions however are a step in the right direction. They question whether the public will afford them “all” the opportunities that marriage brings.

For instance – will a gays or lesbians be able to raise their own children how they want, have the right to adopt, take in foster children, or have the opportunity to be Big Brother/Sisters? The continual social stigma of raising a child that has two parents that are of the same-sex can be hard. However, more and more families are coming out of the shadows into the mainstream of public life. In an article in the Newsweek Lifestyle section, once the child has an opportunity to accept their differences from other families they are essentially no worse off than other “normal” families. Although social acceptance of “gay families” has a long way to go, the continual “outing” of families will most likely allow Americans more tolerance for the differences. This may eventually lead to the religious acceptance of gay marriages and same-sex families.

Religious Tolerance

There is a movement afoot, and the foundation seems to be coming from within the chapel itself – tolerance. In an article written by Chris Glasner, he writes a two-fold story; one is set in subtext regarding his homosexuality in the ministry, and the other is the direct message regarding his marriage to his life partner. He discusses back in 1996 how his “calling” and his “marriage” were under attack because of the legal hoopla in Hawaii. In 1996, three gay couples challenged the state of Hawaii regarding the same-sex marriage license status (Kunen). Glasner recalls how this is a cultural issue among heterosexuals and how they “scapegoated the lesbian and gay communities”. He recalls how is family and his biological families came under attack; and, the battle from within his own church regarding the dynamic of gay-marriage and families. The final resolution that was written showed the tolerance within his church and the church congregation. What this story shows is that religion is adaptable, and that doctrine is not always absolute.

However, the real battle for religious acceptance will most likely come in the form of secularism. In other words, the battle for acceptance must come in a form of a three-prong attack. First, the gay-rights movement must persuade legislators that being gay is not hazardous to the public wellness. Secondly, and this is most important, that the coveted institution of marriage will not be undermined. In fact, the institution itself may be better off with the stability of committed lesbians and gay-partners (Freeman). Thirdly, the underlining church and state laws regarding homosexuality sodomy must be separated if the culture of intolerance is to be broken (Clark). Why must the separation of Church and State be torn apart? Answer – because the continued entanglement of Church and State culture will foster the furtherance of intolerance. In addition, as long as the two are tied together the State cannot be swayed out of its long irrationality of tradition. Therefore, the “real harm being gay consists of being the victim of homophobia and heterosexism;” thus the denial to right of marriage (Freeman).

By the publics inculcating homosexuality, they can demoralize the gay-rights movement as a result of not allowing “them” into the fold of normal society. Why? Because those who would deny this inalienable right realize that gay and lesbian partnerships would have the same stabilizing factors as does the heterosexual partnerships with individuals and community. Moreover, the opposition feels that the civil advantages of marriage belong to strictly to the heterosexuals (Clark).

The enculturation of heterosexual marriage is so engrained that the “gay rights” movement must use the popular culture of America to find its acceptance. Therefore, only by exposing the American public to their message can they change the minds of the next generation.

Summary

The two sides have many reasons for what “they” believe is valid. For instance, the opposing religious view is that gay marriage is immoral, that it invites death to a civilization. On the other hand, the government is reflecting what the American public wants. Moreover, the opposing family view feels that the exclusivity of what makes up a family should be that of heterosexuals and sees nothing wrong denying its accessibility to “marriage.” While the proponents of gay marriages feel that social acceptance is dependent upon how the government leads it people, and will be the only way that Americans will be more tolerant of “their” lifestyle. Moreover, the proponents of gay-families feel that with their “coming out” that the American culture must find a way to adapt to the differences in families. In addition, with movement within some religious circles towards homosexuals there may be eventual change on the idea of gay marriages.

Conclusion

The success of gay marriages and gay families are solely dependent on three factors: the government, the gay-rights educating the public and finally, the tolerance of religious leaders. The last two will take time and energy, but the first will take a concerted effort by the gay-rights movement to remind the government that “they” are also part of the “people.” To put it simply, two consenting adults should be allowed to marry no matter what their sexual orientation. After all, at least from a human perspective, “they” – gays and lesbians – are Americans too; and, “they” have a right to the freedom of choice and expression as well.

Works Cited

Clark, Thomas W. “Secularism and sexuality. The case for gay equality” Humanist 54.3 (May/June 94): EBSCO HOST Research Database. 26 Feb. 2003. http://0-search.epnet.com.skyline.cudenver.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&an=9406031590

Freeman, M. D. A. “Not Such A Queer Idea: Is There a Case for Same-Sex Marriages?” Journal of Applied Philosophy 16.1 (1999): 26 Feb 2003. http://0-search.epnet.com.skyline.cudenver.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&an=4374093

Glaser, Chris “Marriage As We See It” 128.12 (9/96) Newsweek: 26 Feb 2003. http://www.highbeam.com/library/doc1.asp?docid=1G1:18662356&refid=SEO

Grace, Kevin Michael “Why Save the Nuclear Family?” The Report 2 Sept. (2002): 26 Feb 2003. http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb3543/is_200209/ai_n8358586

Kunen, James “Hawaiian Courtship” Time 128.27 (12/96): 26 Feb. 2003. http://www.time.com/time/archive/preview/0,10987,985702,00.html

Idelson, Holly “Panel Okays Bill To Undercut Same-Sex Marriages” Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report 54.24 (06/96): 26 Feb 2003. http://web20.epnet.com

“Same-Sex ‘Marriage’ Imperils the family” Human Events 52.20 (5/96): 26 Feb. http://0-search.epnet.com.skyline.cudenver.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&an=9605260578

Prager, Dennis “Homosexuality, The Bible, and US – A Jewish Perspective” 93.112: 26 Jun 2006 http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0377/is_n112/ai_14466341

Sullivan, Andrew “State of the Union” New Republic 16.1 (1999): 26 Feb 2003. http://0-search.epnet.com.skyline.cudenver.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&an=3059571

 

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A Journey of Nostalgia

June 8, 2006


Editor’s note: This is a reposting of a guest blog I did for Michiganrafter. I have been meaning to write about this experience for the last month. Rafter’s dislocated wing gave me an opportunity to do so.

Hey my name is gksden, and I am helping out while his Michiganrafter wing is being healed. So, I will be attempting to write this posting for him. I am a Colorado native, and I have a dirty little secret. Sssh, I don’t know how to ski. Ssssh, and I dont know how to rock climb, either. Please don’t tell anyone. I am your person who rarely goes camping, but that may be due to my experience as a youth, when I had an opportunity to attend a mountaineering school. I did enough of that for a lifetime. Oh, I loved it. Truly, I did, it was even spiritual. However, it is not my first recreational activity, I am a biker first, a hiker second, and a camper third—actually may be 5th or 6th. Nonetheless, there was a time, when I wanted to scale Mount Everest. Ah, the folly of youth. Observe as I recollect….


Sangre De Cristos Mountains

 

I have wanted to write about an experience about when I was younger; much younger for the last month. Recently, as I walked through my campus at school—Auraria—which is home to three colleges: Community College of Denver, University of Colorado at Denver, and Metropolitan State College of Denver, the spring weather had brought campus vendors on to the common area grounds selling their wares, opportunities, and adventures.

One such company sent me “Reelin’ in the Years” (Steely Dan) for nostalgia. The vendor name was Outward Bound Wilderness—but in my day—it was Colorado Outward Bound School (COBS), a slight distinction admittedly, but I had not seen, or heard of the school in nearly a generation of my lifetime after high school.

Nevertheless, my head was suddenly awashed with memories; the aroma of pine filled my nostrils, and flashes of green field pastures danced hauntingly behind my eyes, and a reverent smile grew on my face as I talked with youthful proprietors that attended the stand.

It was the summer of my seventeenth birthday, and four months earlier I had been enticed (or bewitched depending on one’s perspective) to go on a quest. I was encourage and inspired by my science teacher, whose name escapes me at this very moment (temporary brain damage, at least I think so). Anyhow, it was to be three weeks (or 21 days) of the most intensive packback trek through Sangre De Cristos Mountains in southern Colorado and I remembered it all as I chatted somewhat enthusiastically Jason Stout of my past youthful glory days.

 

I had been a young struggling urban youth, lost in my world of  science fiction television and books. I was an awkward teenager trying to find my way to balance, for my intelligence and arrogance, yet I knew everything and nothing all at once.

I remember that I was running late to class one day as the school bell of my high school Alma matter, George Washington, had just rung, as usual I was running behind. I entered the biology classroom with all the stealth of a water buffalo. I had tripped over my own two feet, and went sprawling with my books and supplies across the floor. Classroom snickers could be heard throughout room.

My teacher look at me, he was not upset, with amusement. I hurriedly picked up after myself, when I noticed the guest inside the classroom. A stranger sat patiently in one of the corners—a young woman. She was in her late twenties, red wavy hair, slender body, and forest green eyes that seem to look through me. She was wearing a red plaid flannel shirt underneath it a white t-shirt, and 501 blue jeans. My teacher encouraged me with his eyes to take my seat – so I did. She was a guest speaker for a company called Outward Bound where they provided wilderness training for students, tourists, and companies that had teamwork issues by leading groups of people on rafting, hiking, and mountaineering trips. This woman glowed like a prophet, her fervor nature was intoxicating.

She was hypnotic and I was mesmerized. Her voice was soothing as she spoke like honey going down one’s throat with a hot cup of tea when sick. Her dark green penetrating eyes glistened like deep pools of water, twinkling with excitement as she showed slides of wonderful mountain vistas, of rivers, and of her scaling steep mountainsides with effortless abandon. I thought to myself, “I could do this!” My heart pounded and began to ascertain the possibilities of adventure, and I was not just thinking of the mountainous terrain.

After all, of course, fantasies of a young man’s fancy ensued. I imagined the conquering the massive 14,000-foot peaks, traveling down the most difficult rapids, and scaling the most difficult cliffs. I would conquer nature, and I would be nature’s king. I would be king of the mountains! It is peculiar how life’s aspirations turn out.


(Green Mountains) Sangre De Cristos Mountains

My biology teacher informed the class that if one went on such a trip they could get extra course credit and then I heard how much. My heart sank. I might as well have bought a new-used car for the amount of money they were charging, but I was determined. I was going to conquer nature not only for me, but I was going accomplish my life’s destiny. So, I gathered up the brochure materials and my books and took it home to my mother.

I spent the better part of a week trying to convince her, a single parent of three, to let me go; certainly a difficult task. I bribed my sisters, and I had to promise to procure a job to pay my mom back. However, when everything was said and done, I was still $350 dollars short. The Monday morning, before the deadline for payment and a week before the deadline, I informed my teacher of my predicament. He suggested that I apply for a scholarship for the rest of it.


(Lake Isabel, Wet Mountains part of the Sangre De Cristos)

 

One of the universal truths’ is that what effort you put out is exactly what you get back. So I applied for the scholarship and got lucky and received exactly the $350 (I have suspicion that my teacher may have sponsored me indirectly, but really will never know. If he did—thank you).

Now, all I needed was to buy clothes, backpack, and boots. It took all summer to acquire the items I needed, and I took this as sign of my first conquest. My journey of discovery began in the early part of August, the rainy season, when thunder- storms rolled in and out of the Colorado Mountains. The buses came and picked us up, we, the grand adventurers, from the designated spot. The pilgrimage to the southern red mountains was long and arduous. At one point, I saw the Sand Dunes of Colorado far in the distance; the camel white dunes were smooth, crystalline; a virtual desert of silk as the Dunes rose like waves gently caressing the sides of the hills. It was late when we arrived at the base camp….

 


Cleveland and Tijeras Peaks, Music and Marble Mountains rising beyond the dunes. That’s Challenger Point, Kit Carson Peak and Columbia Point rising on the left. (Source National Park Service).

 

It was dark, the night enveloped the mountains and the trees, and it was disturbing. The city lights of Denver were a distant memory. However, my confidence did not waiver as the buses pulled into the staging area, but the journey was just beginning. A hike of ten miles to the first campsite was to greet the start of the expedition. We would break up into groups, and begin our sojourn for the night. We walked in silence as the ground grinded underneath our steps. After about an hour it began to rain, and my first lesson came upon me, my boots began soaking the rain that fell upon them.

My waterproofing had failed. My boots were soaked, my socks, my feet, and looked like prunes when I had removed them for the night. The next thirteen of the twenty-one days it would rain. I scaled various mountain-sides some successfully, and some not with my group. The one’s we failed to conquer would rot at my gut; nevertheless, I saw nature in its wonderment. I saw hawks using it wings to ride thermals of air for what seemed like forever, and then suddenly dive to catch its meal for the day. I was envious. It was one more reminder of the enormity of nature and how the beauty of flight seemed graceful.

One day our journey came to a screeching halt. We sat in our tents as we waited for the storm to subside before hiking the next mountain range. It never did, and our patience was wearing thin. We were losing time. We each had a mission to accomplish that of fasting and solo meditation. For me this was the test I would best myself against nature. The instructors would check on us daily to make sure we drank enough water, however before any that happen, the rain and fog kept us socked in at our campsite. So, we waited.


(A winter moment from Europe; image RobT)

Finally, unable to wait any longer, we gathered our saturated belongings and proceeded up the side of the mountain. Each step was a squish, a deliberate plod, and a squirt. The red mud clay of the mountain slipped underneath my boots.

The mud had stacked on like layers on the bottom of my shoes, as the group reached the vista that lay ahead of us changed from a doom and gloom London rain to the rolling hills of green Ireland. I stood there; we all stood there, in amazement of the sudden change of fortune and weather…..


California Peak in San Luis Valley (Sangre De Cristos Mountains)

It had been three days and my group leader had returned for me to tell me my solo was done. The time of my meditation and reflection had changed me. Nature had let me feel the loneliness and the solitude. I learned that they were completely different animals. A person could be alone in crowd of people, while solitude was the individual ability to find peace within oneself and be okay alone. I felt alone, I had all my life, even though I had two sisters and a mother and my father a Rolling Stone type (Sly & family Stone) and no where to be found. Nature had shown me my loneliness……


Images provided and the following text is provided by BLM:

“Zapata Falls is located 4 miles east of Colorado Highway 150, just south of the entrance to Great Sand Dunes National Park. The gravel road going in is excellent for a BLM site. From the parking area it is about a 1/2 mile walk uphill to the falls. As you are well above the San Luis Valley floor and looking over the sand dunes, the views are excellent.

Two million years ago glacial activities were sculpting the Sangre de Cristos. The waterfall flows through a rock dike left by a retreating glacier. As the glacier melted away, a large lake of melt water built up behind the dike. Eventually, the water found a weak spot in the dike and began working and eroding its’ way through.

The photo on the left above was taken at the entrance to the rock gorge carved by the water. The photo on the right was taken inside the gorge. To get there I walked across the frozen and flowing streambed into the gorge. The gorge is open up above but you can’t always see the sky. And it was probably 30 degrees colder in the gorge with a stiff breeze blowing downstream (there was almost no wind outside the gorge).” (Source BLM)

It had been a tough three weeks and the excursion was about over when I decided to walk off by myself. I found a large saucer shaped boulder large enough to house a house a small family. Okay, maybe a small midgets’ family, but a rather large boulder, which I climbed, and laid down upon it in the evening air.

The night sky was filled with stars as the sounds of the woods reached a crescendo when I felt the change within my lungs. I lay there perfectly still not wanting to be disturbed by the atmosphere of the night. My body started to tingle like a thousands of ants had just crawled over my skin. First, I felt the loss of my arms, neck, legs, and then my feet. I could not move them. I tried desperately.

I was suddenly frightened. I did not know what to do, but the more I struggled, the more the sensation grew. Finally, I wrestled myself to my knees, then to my feet. I stood up and began to walk away when I pivoted on my heels to look at the boulder—I saw myself on the great rock with my eyes wide open.

The moon rose, and it was big as life. I stretched out my arm see if I could touch it, and suddenly I was there. The moon was barren, lifeless and I saw far above the horizon the Earth. I pinched myself. It seemed real enough, and suddenly the Earth grew fainter, and fainter, and I was floating towards a light.

 


Image from flick’r public domain

It was calming, benevolent, and soothing to my soul. Faster and faster the light grew more intense and just when I felt my eyes might burn away, I stood in a luscious forest green field. A melodic orchestrations washed over me. It was of nature. The sounds of it encompassed me, reminding me that this was mine, ours, and life was meant to be lived.

As it had quickly as it formed, the journey home reversed. The green field faded, darkness returned, and the Moon and the Earth grew exponentially. I now stood over my body, seeing it really for the first time. I reached out touch my arm and with that the words breathlessly, “What the hell?” spewed out from my lips.

Nature had taught her final lesson to me and that, she was the timekeeper—and the certainty of death was not to be feared.

When my trip had ended, I had returned home to understand that life’s isolation was up to me, and that I could be comfortable within my own skin—no matter what the color…


(So, it ends with a pleasant sunset; not in Colorado, but for the spirit. Image by Jen C.)

Jason Stout and I exchanged pleasantries as I grabbed his business card as I vowed to him and myself that I would help in anyway that I could bring back my passage from childhood. Ah, memory lane, that day was good, I walked to my next class, and my sentimental refrain reminded that after all, it is just another day in paradise. And so…. life goes on, while nature remains wondrous, mysterious, in all its beauty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Thought #1

April 24, 2006

Image by JC from Maldita, Bratinella site.

"Everyone is a victim of circumstance…"

"Duty is heavier than a mountain, Death is lighter than a feather"
– Robert Jordan*

One can see themselves as a victim, or as a person that did the best they could. To see duty as heavy as a mountain is failing to see the opportunities, and choices that are opened to them. To see death as relief to duty is inanity unto self and misses the point Living in the "now" are the triumphs, the failures, and life's lessons that are learned and shared with those who have touched us.

To see duty this way is self-centered at best, but certainly delusional at its worse.

The "living" moment is certainly the duty that we all share. To be with our friends, family, husband, wives, boyfriend, girlfriend, or simply a person we make a connection with 10,000 miles away on the Net are to be cherished. For good or ill life's duty is not the burdensome mountain but an oportunity to heralded.

To seek such solace to be lighter than a feather before the course of life has been fulfilled is another form egocentrism that is short sighted. It may be understandable, but it only signals that, one desire to shortens their role in the Universe and not wanting to touch those they can and to have those who can touch them is failing to fulfill the reciprocity of life's journey.

Today may be good to die, to be as light as a feather, but today is also good day to celebrate and pass on the treasure's of ones duty, honor, and knowledge to the next generation and beyond.
gks

* This quote I found on a weblog at Maldita, Bratinella (link) and the above commentary is my response that I left. After re-reading it, I thought I should post it here, to indicate where my train of thoughts my going in the next few weeks.

Sunday Afternoon Distraction

March 26, 2006

It has been a while since I had done something completely for myself. So, this will be it before I get to the task of my usual political commentary. Sometimes, I forget that there is something more than just grinding one's life into small arbitrary moments of sanity and rationality.

Some of you may have noticed in the side bar, that I have link called One Paradise View. This is a place where everyone is allowed to comment on the everyday mundane. Or, tell a story that is universal to a community. In this place, a virtual world can be created. This link, this page, will be diary, a narrative, a place to blow of steam. So, send me your emails, and add to the story, or whatever quirk of the day.

One final point, the rent-a-blog, also inside the side bar, is another form to be seen by other bloggers, and to givemore exposure on the Internet. I recently joined a site called blogexplosion.com, (BE), it is for everyone who wishes their blog was seen more. I will have a review/commentary on BE later in the week.

So, their you are folks, have great day! Here is the link,

One Paradise View

A Pragmatist View: It’s alRight to be Left

March 4, 2006

Traditionally, the Washington Post columnist are viewed as left leaning liberals that aim to demonstrate “error of our ways” with political correctness (Whew!). From some viewpoints they are ideologues whose motives must be suspected, because, after all, the Washington Post and their ilk are saboteurs to the American way of life. In so being that, the liberal left obfuscates and blinds Americans from the truth. In essence, papers such as the Washington Post, New York Times, and LA Times have agendas to shroud the public from its personal liberties, freedom of speech, and selfish intolerances; or at the least, that is what one is to believe.

So, when I see two diametrically oppose pundits virtually agree on the same topic, George Will and Richard Cohen and diatribe on the issue of free speech and to advocate for, in a fashion, David Irving’s oration and writings on the “faux” holocaust is tantamount to the mountain coming to Moses…Well, maybe not. But their points in their recent columns and their rationality within them are well taken. It is a mistake in a “free society” and I will add even during a time of “war” obscure liberties, such as “free speech.” To do so, is to defeat the example of our greatness and our inclusiveness. Admittedly, this may sound like a big tent moment, but it is not. Our democracy must not give in to our own insecurities, our greatest virtue and principle, the First Amendment, must not be relegated to the extremes of political correctness, from either side, it must be held up as our greatest asset.

By doing so, we must continuously live the example, if we are to maintain to be the “Golden City on the Hill,” we must stand proud and advocate with all fury that we shall overcome the hate, the desperation of fear. Fear makes us small. Fear places us in darkness. Yet, some would still excoriate and vilify those who questions our government’s secrecy, and its many faces of manipulation, or the laws that have been touted in the “people’s best interest.” In this “War on Terror,” I do not demonize, demean, or deny such critics, I applaud them. Why? Simply, because it takes courage to doubt, to challenge, to speak out, and not to succumb to one’s fear. Yes, some of their motives may not be virtuous, but in their suspicions, they have allowed us to examine and find the truth and to be on guard against the many demons of the fearful.

On the other hand, it shows our enemies, real and imagined, our resolve to control our own destiny. It also forewarns our government that, they must continue to earn our trust and that they may “execute,” with our blessing, “our” government, with the “rule of law.” And it is us, the citizen, and the citizen representatives that control, at our sufferance, the government. However, when we tolerate inane platitudes such as the restoration of speech on and off college campuses, high schools, or special corporate interest groups, then we are one step closer to the denial of the dream—of the freedom we have, seek, and desire.

Some of the capriciousness of this great experiment of freedom, which has evolved for more than 200 years, in which the preamble of civil discourse, argumentation was and is the allowance of the debate. It has grown into our symbol for humanity; we were argued into existence. And, such an experiment should not be vanquished into the realm of obscurity—but celebrated and held up as the enlightenment to the individual.

This is what I mean, I agree with George F. Will and Richard Cohen that the odious messages of David Irving, Ku Klux Klan, or a ranting liberal or social conservative must be heard. No to be obscured, to do so give them validation for those who wish to roll in the muck of ignorance and fear; we must as a civilization remain open with all our warts for all the world to see, in order to swallow the disarray and confusion of the majority of the moment. So, that not only the vast ocean of indifferences, of ignorance, can be stemmed—but their relevancies can be extenuated so that we can be there for our moments of pertinences.

These pertinences are for humanity’s aspiration, inspiration, and the continuation of the human condition’s better angels. In so being that, the grand leaders of our time, past and present, can act. These who were and are worthy would have had sacrificed in vane their messages and their lives (think Jesus, George Washington, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Ronald Reagan). Yes, even for persons such as David Irving’s denial of the Holocaust, Jay Bennish’s proselytizing, Ward Churchill’s intolerance, Pat Robertson’s condemnation, James Dobson’s demonizations for individual’s choices are examples of the cost of an open society, even in the minacious moments, such as 9/11. In fact, such moments should mettle our resolve. To sanction speech is to cower and to surrender to the enemy from within and to give into the enemy from the outside. Some of us may not always agree with our polar opposite, but it is alRight to be Left. And, lest we forget that, after everything is said and done, it is just another day in paradise. After all, we live together in the greatest city and we are the beacon for humanity and it is our burden to bear….

Something Different versus Something New

February 19, 2006

Introduction:This particular site will receive an introduction, for the following reasons: it is simply an explanation of moods, feelings, and empathy of the circumstance surrounding the angst that I am feeling within myself, my friends both liberal and conservative, a fin de siecle, a sickness of the heart, which cannot be explained away by rationality. It is a compulsion of time, or lack there of, in which the anxiousness of fear, the smell of conspiracy, and the rancor of the inviolate leadership of one’s country. To never have doubt, or never to express them, brings sickness and schizophrenia to the mind and suffocates history. This leads to blindness and unnecessary suffering of the spirit, the heart, and the mind. This essay, for me, is another form of expression. Simply, it is a release, for all the activity in my life, from school, from work, from relationships, and the anxiety that has been pounding my soul. And, to never forget that this is just another day in paradise, and that for all of us, where else can I be free to explain my ideas, beliefs, or the insanity of the moments….And, so it begins….

Okay, here I am searching for the something different in the world of the Internet and once again I find myself depending on Microsoft. Oh, do not get me wrong, planet Microsoft is comfortable, reassuring, and mostly fits into nice little boxes, or drop down boxes, where everything is compartmentalized. This is special, and unique. Okay, maybe not. To blog or not to blog one's ideas, opinion, or aspirations has been a bit of quagmire for me. If I do, what does this say about me, and if I do not–what does that say about me, as well. Understand, in this Age of Information, accessibility to oneself and others has brought us a new level of intimacy. Some say this has erased the lines of privacy, others say that this the next step in our civil evolution: an era of openness and clarity has been transfixed upon us.

In a sense, this clarity may be considered as fomenting a new level of trust among the planet's citizenry, but it can also be used as an opportunity to create dissension. Or, at least that is the perception: To be restricted by two choices, when we live in the world of variety, of discourse, ideology, and beliefs. We as a species, as humans, have found many ways to exists, but have found many ways not to co-exist together. This is what I mean, in the US; we are presently living in a culture of fear. The world of the "Others" has consumed our waking moments and has haunted our dreams.

Unfortunately, our dreams and passions are currently being blinded by the restriction of fear. A great American once said, "There is nothing to fear, but fear itself." He spoke the truth. To see the truth of it, all one has to do is to examine human history. It is replete with examples, and before anyone suggests that I am implying only the Western-American culture has this failing, I am not. History of violence, and the current definition of it, has shown that all humanity is left with this frailty. But it is our aspiration for some, and for most, that attend to our angels, desires, and ascend to the next step. It is the defining of what's next in which we find ourselves. What must not happen, albeit compelling from the anxious among us; is to be defined by our own fear. Fear is limiting, it shunts growth and openness for new opportunities.

So, what does this have to do with Microsoft? Everything and nothing, I was just noticing as I was going through the limitation of choices as I was doing my profile. I noticed that this was suppose to convey the how, the who, and the what I am. To define me with drop down menus, and give freely the information, so later they, being Microsoft, or whomever, could appeal to my interests. For example, my choice for music is varied, and bit eclectic. Music appeals to me to culturally, orally, and instrumentally. It, music, in many ways, communicates who and what we are through emotion or the lack of it, and yet it has the ability to insinuate the differences among us so that on a intuitive level one can transcend and accept those differences. Music is the human equivalent of the universal translator, the narration in which we define ourselves. In essence, it has the ability to shape, and sometimes manipulate, the us within the community. So to be classified by a drop menu is a bit restrictive, in order to define oneself musically. At the least, its brevity leaves us in circumspect, uniformed and incomplete, and at the flip side, it leaves oneself in isolation and limiting. In time, I will, of course, reveal all. It is as always a matter of time, and in the American experience just another day in paradise. The question remains, however, for me and all of us, am I, or we just afraid of something different versus something new, or vice-a-versa? Are these interesting times a preamble for the next step? And what is the step to be define? And, can we trust we divine when the time comes? Of course, that is truth of it, to trust our own divinity. So, what do you think, is there something more?

It’s Just Another Day in Paradise

February 14, 2006

Okay, I am sitting here working on the computer, doing homework, listening to music, emailing, and reading the textbook from my astronomy class, yes–I am a multi-tasker, when I realize that it was three in the morning and I had not slept for at least for twenty-four hours. So, this is not an earth shattering discovery, or discovery the universe is 14 billion years old, or that Kenny keeps getting killed on South Park, or that the sky is blue, or water is wet, but it has been a trend lately, reflecting my insomnia and that every time put my head to pillow the brain will not shut off. So I have a few questions, is it possible to grow brain cells after your dead? Why did Johnny Cash always wear black? Where did General O'Neill disappear to on SG-1? And, who is the idiot who thought up the concept of work, anyway?

Oh, I don't mind working, its part of my addictive personality. I am here to confess, I am a workaholic. The only time, I fear, I will relax is when I die, but I pray, (Yes, agnostics pray! were just not sure which religious entity will receive the message–so we pray to them all; like sending a universal email, if you will allow). Anyway, I pray that if I go, it is in the arms of fiery dynamo, with long legs wrapped around me, and of starry emerald eyes encompassing my soul and passion at my moment of embarkation….

However, the question remains when that time comes: which voice will I hear, male or female, or will the universe be a cruel mother and reveal no voice at all? My hope is that it will be female. Why? Because, it’s the perfect payback, and the fact that Alanis Morrisett is the actual voice of God (reference Dogma) and it will teach certain fundamentalists a lesson. Also, the hope is that she will grant my wish of a certain number of concubines (I just want 36 not 40) so that I know all the emotions of life, love, lust, empathy, fear, joy, passion, compassion, and much more….

The other thoughts that I have: Why are tatter-tots called tatter-tots? Why is the answer to the universe, to life, and everything 42? Is that when women reach their sexual penultimate peak? Or is it the number of times one is reincarnated to reach nirvana? I also want to know, whose bright idea to decide what black look like, or white for that matter? Additionally, does anyone know why the sky is blue, while water is considered wet?

Furthermore, I want to know are women breasts, the pair of them, are the exactly they same size? And, why do men have nipples, anyway? Did we actually nurse at one time? Or was it mother nature way of giving women a method to torture us and pleasure us, men that is, at the same time?! I let you more restrained folks think about that one. Oh yeah, baby, think about it indeed….

And speaking of babies, are they not amazing?! No, this does not mean, I am ready to settle down, or have one. I recently saw a friend's kid, the child was ooh soo cute, but had the deepest soulful brown eyes I have ever seen, that one’s heart could not help but melt; one could see the observable universe within them. I guess it made me wonder about the wonders of life, universe, and everything. It also made me appreciate with all the turmoil in the world, hate, violence, bigotry, and that we will be okay. And so it goes, it just being another day in paradise that life will go on, no matter how much we get in our own way…

The King Legacy Reviewed

January 16, 2006

Image by MLK, JR Research & Education CtrToday, I am in a reflective mood it has been thirty-eight years since his death, and Dr. King legacy rambles throughout my brain. Of course, such reverie was attributed to the holiday that was created for him but it seems a bit ironic, that we have one of the largest, if not “the” largest “marades” (clever isn’t) in Denver, not bad for a cow town. Nonetheless, the local papers The Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News both had articles and editorials on Dr. King yet the coverage seemed wanting; and, what was interesting was how each approached the legacy.

In the more liberal paper (The Denver Post), the commentary in the lead editorial was 338 words long while the more conservative paper (Rocky Mountain News) had more eloquently stated editorial was 451 words long. This minor importance may seem minute, and I am not advocating a small novella, but it was interesting, of the two papers, the liberal paper had the least to say.

Oh I know, its not their fault, after all, it was a stretch for them to find the eventuated negative tone their editorial took, but as the dissenting opinion paper, I expected better; or at least, a more fervor attack. Admittedly, the legacy of Dr. King had a great impact on the nation; nevertheless, his vision has been mutated and hindered by corruption and political opportunists.

I am specifically thinking of Reverend Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpeton, and here locally, in Denver, Alvertis Simmons, these gentlemen have used distortion, adverse opportunities to line their pockets on the backs of a disadvantaged community. To me, these gentlemen are no better than the military juntas of Africa, who steal the treasury from their people and create the strife of poverty and injustice. In simple terms, when the civil rights leaders changed the focus from enabling to entitlement, they subverted the power of women and minorities.

This is what I mean; it was not long after Dr. King’s death when the welfare, Medicaid, education, and other such entitlement programs shifted in their liberalism and assisted in the downfall of the “disenfranchised” and their family units. They did this by the minutia of bureaucracy and regulations, which invoked the destruction of the black American family, and removed the father figure from the home. Now, after nearly forty years of deconstruction and many ill-advised social engineering programs these bureaucracies and social engineered programs have ended up with the one true core value, the universal value, the American value, that the family was and is the most powerful gift that we can give our children and the legacy of this country; unfortunately, they continue to neglect the children.

So, yes, the vision of Dr. King has had a multiple effect, in which, the tempest of racism had been bridged over, yet the gales of our own insecurities have battered the supports of the structure. In so doing, we as a nation have failed him, not because we have not abolished all forms of bigotry, but have failed to stand up against the predators of injustice and those that have skewered his name and his message, who once promised to bring all of us towards the “Promise Land.” It did not matter, if you were black, white, Hispanic, or, Jewish, what mattered was that together, we were one people, one nation, and one race—the human race. To paraphrase Dr. King, “The character of a man mattered, and not the color of one’s skin,” and as the Rocky Mountain News gracefully quoted from his speech in his 1965 speech in Atlanta, Georgia, they convey one of his most important messages of his legacy, and it follows as thus:

The first thing we notice about the Declaration, King said, is its "amazing universalism. It doesn't say 'some men,' it says 'all men.' It doesn't say 'all white men,' it says 'all men,' which includes black men. It does not say 'all Gentiles,' it says 'all men,' which includes Jews. It doesn't say 'all Protestants,' it says 'all men,' which includes Catholics. It doesn't even say 'all theists and believers,' it says 'all men,' which includes humanists and agnostics. . . .

"It says that each of us has certain basic rights that are neither derived from nor conferred by the state. In order to discover where they came from, it is necessary to move back behind the dim mist of eternity. They are God-given, gifts from His hands. Never before in the history of the world has a sociopolitical document expressed in such profound, eloquent, and unequivocal language the dignity and the worth of human personality."

And so, the words of Dr. King remind me that, we are far better off than we were forty years ago, and even though at times, the ugliness of racism sometime rears its head, that we are Americans and we represent the Golden City on the Hill. We are the hope, the light, and the glimmer for humanity. In the meantime, a liberal and a conservative newspaper joined together 789 words for Dr. King’s legacy and espoused his virtue. One saw the negativity of what is left to be accomplished, the other saw the positive of what we had been accomplished, and I see future of what is yet to come….Anyway, it took me 897 words to write this…

And the villain is Scooter Libby—huh

November 10, 2005

Some Passing Thoughts

Everybody who belief that Karl Rove did not have a hand in the demise Joseph Wilson and Valerie Plame, please raise their hand?

I must admit Mr. Teflon, Rove, may have got off lucky. I guess he learned something from the last time he talked out of turn.

Now the question is how high did the cover-up go?

Why would Cheney tell of Plame status?

Did everybody, in the White House, point their finger at Scooter to protect the "two offices”?

Do we really believe that the vice president, and especially this vice president, and the president did not know?

Was this the strategy set in motion two years ago?

Or when the president redefined the definition of is? A la the Clinton proxy, that he would fire anyone who was involved in the outing of Plame?

The question is, I am sure, that if Fitzgerald had, if given more time, could he proof the connection of the triumvirate? I think he could have, with the last bit being aided by Judith Miller.

Did Scooter take one for the team?

And finally, a matter of concern for White House has been, is that they have not seen Rove's "A" game for the last six or seven months. Going backwards, Harriet Miers, Iraq-election, Wilma, Rita, Katrina, Iraq-convention, Creationism, Iraq, Terri Schiavo, Iraq, and the list goes on…

The stroke of Patriotism has been strung too taut and now the string is beginning to recoil. Unfortunately, I do not see these "brother-in-arms" not continuing to strike the chord. The question is: will they continue strike the cord until it breaks?

The self-implosion of the Republican Party continues, Frist, Delay, and along with the fiscal conservative rebellion are just the beginning. The immigration debate in the Southwest will affect the 2006 mid-terms, and Tom Tancredo, will have an impact, if not as a presidential candidate, certainly as a spoiler for the 2008 elections. The political malaise and unrest that is affecting the ego and attitude of Americans, and the resentment toward illegal immigrants could possibly set another factious split within the Republic Party.

I believe what we are seeing is "similar" to pre-War World II Germany, with Americans continual Faustian angst of the "others from the outside" (see the Fall television season) and their "feeling" of persecution, with uncertainty of their family survival, and the now "the friendly illegal immigrant" who brings along with them the enemy from the outside, and the unsecured gate (borders), are driving Americans fears….

And now the ineptness of our leaders (see the Deficit Spending, Katrina, and Harriet Miers) and the apparent dishonesty (see Scooter Libby) makes the country ripe for the similar tyranny to rise from a small factious group to be "elected…"

Well citizens, those are some of the off the cuff thoughts, perusing my through mind. Remember, "Tyranny is never ripped from the people, but given willingly," and like the boiling frog, where the heat is turned up slowly, America and Americans are slowly coming to a boil as the heat is being turned.