our view vs. world view

Oct. 23, 2014

Has our political system now reached an impasse?  Mass media is a wonderful thing for disseminating information, but when a somewhat gullible public is given varying degrees of one-sided, misinformation, then one has to realize that the media itself has become little more than a propaganda machine and that the political machines use that to their advantage. Conservatives decry the evils of the Obamacare form of healthcare delivery without coming up with a workable solution to this ongoing crisis. Liberals decry everything about a capitalistic system that keeps everyone from being financially equal. Both of these facts can be distorted and then dissimenated in a way where a civil discussion about the merits of either position stand little chance of being heard. Why does the American public allow itself to be duped ?  For one thing, we have become lazy as a nation and want someone else to come up with answers, want someone else to "foot the bill", or want someone else to take responsibilty.  That way, politics will not interfere with "free time" to go play ! Kinda sounds like what we all did as children.  The worst of these scenarios is how the democratic party has duped certain ethic groups into believing that the party of democracy and equality has their best interests at heart.  One only has to look at how the Ferguson Missouri situation is now being politicized to understand this. With a Democratic govenor, senator, President etc., the "plight" of those who elected these individuals of "hope and change", now complain that their lot in life remains unfair ! Yet they are likely to vote again for those same "do-nothing" politicians based solely on the emotion genearted by a TV ad.  Maybe it is time to stop listening to the one minute sound bites and political ads and listen to voices of reason.  Perhaps the passionate voices of a plolitical minister on Sunday morning is not the best way to understand how to escape the depths of poverty. Maybe participating in community forums would provide more insight than "Keeping up with the Kardashians !"

Mar. 17, 2014

Recently I had an exchange of thoughts with an individual who has apparently lived the experience of rights violations while many others just talk about it. When discussing human rights, however, it is necessary to put aside our Judeo-Christian beliefs and values and consider any discourse with an open mind. An altrusistic approach to the topic is admirable and in no way do I wish to belittle or condemn that philosophy. What I do want to do is shed some light on why others may view "human rights" differently from the way we see it and why it often has no bearing on how countries, or the "leaders" of countries, react the way they do.  One only has to look at human rights from a historical standpoint to understand that rights violations, right or wrong, were an integral part in our world's development into what we now refer to as modern society. In this respect too, we must recognize that "modern society", as a whole, just might not include every society, and that every society just might not want to be a part of modern society. For those that wish to stay outside that realm, are we violating their "rights" by forcing our way of life upon them ? Think no further than rain forest tribes in South America or tribes living on isolated islands in the Pacific. Can we ignore rights violations and atrocities in some countries without being hypocritcal when we cry violation in the country crisis du jour?  Now lets look at the topic from a modern society standpoint. First and foremost, any modern society wants to protect its' sovereignty and in order to do that, it wants to protect it's borders and/or strategic assets. I would imagine that if the Cuban government suddenly decided to take control of Gitmo, our response would not be based on whether or not we were violating the human rights of the Cuban people.  With this in mind, it is important to understand that in places like the Crimean penninsula of Ukarine, the very large warm water naval port of Russia's is key, in their mind, to the sovereignty and security of their nation. In World War II, they lost this vital port to invading Germans and as a result, lost a key supply route into their country for allied support. This almost cost them the war in the east.  Here in the United States, our sovereignty has only been violated once by Japan invading and taking possesion of some of the Aleutian Islands, so a true understanding of the consequences of losing land and security is lost on many Americans. Again, an understanding of the history of a country can often tell us how they might react. It is this concept that seems to be missing in the current way our leaders now deal with foreign affairs. Without understanding this, we will continue to flounder when dealing with many human rights violations worldwide. What we want in the way of dealing with the human condition just might not be what others want. We can shake our fingers and look down our noses at the way some muslim societies subjugate their women or how children in some countries have to work the fields, however this self-righteous approach does little to help us understand why these societies continue this approach to life. Rather than us dictating what they should be doing, maybe we should allow them to choose their own fate.  Maybe insuring that information is available that can help others understand why we think the way we do is something we should focus on. Human rights are, or should be, universal put perhaps a better question is in whose universe.