Thursday, October 30, 2008
My mom and I were discussing this after brunch last weekend, (with Alice von Hildebrand! I'll tell you all about it after the elections) wondering what this could mean, and we decided that ultimately, it could be reduced to the concept of wonder.
Human beings, particularly in their early years, are programmed to wonder, hardwired to have searching, questing appetites for the eternal and the immaterial. In a culture such as ours, much of this natural wonder has been suppressed or denied, even at the secular level, evident in the abolition of Santa and the banishment of the Easter Bunny. Modern childhood affords less fodder for the developing imagination, and revokes innocence perhaps an entire decade earlier than in generations past.
Children are being exposed to - and taught, even - concepts and realities that their parents may not have encountered until junior or senior high, and even then as book knowledge rather than the result of direct experience. Suffice it to say, our children are exposed to more of everything at an earlier age, and the latency period for most has been reduced to the single digits.
Coupled with the fact that fewer and fewer kids are taken to church or synagogue services with any sort of regularity, this loss of wonder has left a gaping wound in the childhood psyche, a vacuum which nature abhors, and which no amount of educational programming or entertainment can satisfy.
Enter Barack Obama, and the religious fervor with which his supporters have advanced his message of "Change we can believe in," and suddenly mom and dad are really, really excited about something. Passionate. Convicted, even. And to a young person born and bred in sterile secularism, that's nothing short of miraculous.
To see mom and dad, formerly relatively apathetic spiritually, suddenly come alive with fervor and excitement for their chosen one must be a sight for sore little eyes. Suddenly the natural sense of wonder, the appetite for the extraordinary, is awakened in full force.
This explains the roving band of tweens and preteens who have been casing my neighborhood in weeks past, carrying placards and chanting slogans with all the sincerity one expects to find in a Sunday school class... except they're marching on a public hiking trail, and the praises they sing are directed towards a mere mortal.
This explains the angry 13 year old who told passing motorists to "Shut the F*** up!" when his Obama 08 sign was greeted with thumbs-down signs and calls of "NoBama!" from passing vehicles.
This explains a lot. What it doesn't tell us, however, is where this misguided wonder is bound to end up once the humanity of Obama becomes evident, and once the campaign season ends.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
As Chicago's Grant Park neighborhood readies itself for an influx of a million plus revelers at Obama's victory soiree, millions more Americans are anxiously dividing their concerns between the evening newscast and how they'll make their bill payments on time next month.
Both candidates have promised change. Reform. Hope for the hopeless. But Obama's brand of hope has an eerie ethereal quality to it, and to hear his supporters speak of it almost as an entity unto itself is ontologically jarring, to say the least. What this man has done, either by accident (doubtful) or design, is create a new religion.
And whether or not receiving worship was his intention when he threw in his political hat, so to speak, worship is most assuredly what he has received from the hands of his fanatic constituents. Never in the history of the American political process has a candidacy been so marked by the cult of celebrity, so propelled by popularity with the general public.
It's not that his voting record doesn't matter, it's just that the people don't care. It's not that his scandalous associations and entanglements with terrorists and anti-American social reformers aren't exactly that: scandalous. It's just that people don't care. It's not that his inexperience renders him utterly unfit for the highest office in the land, it's just that people don't care.
Or, rather, they do care, but in an entirely different way.
Obama's message of hope and change appeals to the deep, undeniable need in the human soul for goodness, for a future beyond oneself, worth living for; and at times, worth dying for.
In a post-Christian secularized society such as that which ours is transitioning towards, it is possible to kill religion. It is even possible to subvert the more nebulous "spiritualism," for the most part. It remains, however, impossible to extinguish the innate human desire to worship.
We are ordered towards worship, created to look beyond ourselves for real meaning and ultimate satisfaction. This, it may be safe to say, is one of the primary differences between the human animal and others. (You don't see too many Golden Retrievers longing for an imperceptible future happiness that just isn't found in that next bowl of kibble or Frisbee toss. Most Golden's I've known seem pretty profoundly fulfilled come dinner time...)
Since the desire to worship, to seek beyond the immediate and tangible existence is innate, it's both impossible to ignore and impossible to deny. It can be subverted or re-directed, but never entirely extinguished.
Enter Barack Obama, socialist Europe's wunderkind candidate for bringing the American bitch to heel under the guise of globalism, and you begin to see a hope awakening in men and women who were raised in a vacuum of values and and a culture of pervasive secular humanism.
Americans have, historically, grown more and more apologetic for being what we are: independent-minded rebels lacking the propriety to acquiesce to the demands of the entrenched majority. It has always been, in our brief history, (and so it will continue to be if we are to continue to be) that people haven't liked America all that much. In fact, a couple hundred years ago, other countries disliked us to the point of pointing guns at us... oh wait, that still happens.
So if America has been historically despised by those who resist her common, rabble-rousing roots and her stubborn adherence to natural law, than it follows that when she begins to crumble from within, which will largely manifest itself as self-hatred, classism, and an abashed rejection of "morality" and "organized religion," Europe will stand up and applaud. And from this applause, we will know that we are on the right track towards social acceptability on a global level, and we will feel validated.
And for what? For the honor of being chosen to partake in this new, greater hope promised by Obama's brand of socialism? Yes, because you see, it's very uncomfortable to be swimming against the current without a conviction or a cause worth dying for. Just as human beings are ordered towards worship, so also are we equipped with an innate morality, from which we take our sense of justice, our knowledge of right and wrong. And as worship must be offered somewhere, to someOne (or something), so also our sense of moral outrage demands an outlet, necessitates a cause.
Enter the believe/hope/change campaign, and suddenly we're back in the game. Suddenly there's a cause to support, a mantra to chant, a set of moral and social norms to adhere to... and we feel human again.
Though most assuredly not his intention, Barack Obama has appealed to this nation on a deeply spiritual level, and his campaign managers have brilliantly harnessed that fervor. Whether it will be used for good or evil... that remains to be seen.
Of course, one could always look to voting records and past patterns of behavior to venture an educated guess. But then, who really cares?
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Or has it?
The media would like us to think so. Radical pro-abortion advocacy groups would like us to think so. The powers that be in big-pharm and the higher ups at Planned Parenthood wouldn't mind if we thought so.
I was discussing The Issue over drinks last night with a group of faithful young Catholic voters, and while I was impressed with the sincerity and the earnest soul-searching that seemed to have taken place within each of them, I was disheartened by the relativism that had seemingly seeped below the surface of these vibrant young Catholics, so zealous to do God's will, but so confused as to what that might be, exactly.
And so we began the round and round, the seemingly endless "if-then" circle of questions concerning the different social issues, and where a Catholic really ought to stand.
But what we could not seem to agree upon was The Issue. Or rather, whether The Issue was, in fact, paramount to all others.
There's a lot of talk about social justice in Catholic circles - and rightly so! Jesus was really the original humanitarian, and the Church has historically remained the civilizing and humanizing force for good (and yes, sometimes evil...because we are comprised of both sinners and saints) in the world.
But there is one issue that trumps all others. That issue is The Issue. That issue is abortion.
Because once conceded, the sanctity of human life falls under attack from every angle. Once exempted in one case, it becomes fair game for every future case. Once we admit that yes, in fact, there are issues more pressing than the fundamental right to existence...then we forfeit our unique dignity as creatures created in the image and likeness of our Creator.
We become something less, then, when we concede this point. Because the reality is, we stand united or we fall divided on The Issue. If abortion is circumstantially licit, then human existence is null and void. If one of us can be discarded without consequence, then none of us are worth much at all.
This undermines the entire teachings of JPII on the dignity of the human person. We have no dignity if our existence is not willed by God, but rather, by a finite creature of His design. This is utterly contrary to His plan that we exist not for mutual use, but to freely offer ourselves to the other, unfettered by utilitarian designs to use or be used.
Abortion is the natural fruit of a sexually deviant culture that extols the mutual use (by mutual consent, of course) between the sexes. If we can use each other for sexual gratification, then it follows that we may discard the undesirable consequence of copulation with little - if not less - regard.
And so it goes, as our nation slouches toward Gomorrah, and as Catholics become less and less sure of where and when they must stand and fight... we can look to JPII and his teachings on the dignity of the human person for clear and unquestionable guidance on The Issue.
John Paul the Great, Pray for us.
Monday, October 20, 2008
I'm at a loss for clever or insightful commentary this morning, so how about a game?
The following quotes are taken from a variety of historical sources, individuals of various and sundry backgrounds and of differing political/social/moral persuasions.
So go ahead, test your knowledge, no peeking, and I'll post the sources in the comments section at the end. Enjoy...
2. “[widespread use of contraception] will lead to conjugal infidelity and the general lowering of morality... man would lose respect for woman and no longer [care] for her physical and psychological equilibrium,to the point that he would consider her as a mere instrument of selfish enjoyment, and no longer his respected and beloved companion.”
3. “It is an insult to the fair sex to put up her case in support of birth-control by artificial methods. As it is, man has sufficiently degraded her for his lust, and artificial methods, no matter how well meaning the advocates may be, will still further degrade her. I urge the advocates of artificial methods to consider the consequences. Any large use of the methods is likely to result in the dissolution of the marriage bond and in free love…Birth control to me is a dismal abyss.”
4. “The abandonment of the reproductive function is the common feature of all sexual perversions. We actually describe a sexual activity as perverse if it has given up the aim of reproduction and pursues the attainment of pleasure as an aim independent of it.”
5. “I want to tell you a terrific story about oral contraception: I asked a girl to go to bed with me. And she said “No.””
6. “The commonest objection to birth control is that it is against nature.”
7. “The sinfulness of artificial birth control is rooted in the arrogation of the right to separate the actualized love union in marriage from a possible conception, to sever the wonderful, deeply mysterious connection instituted by God. This mystery is approached in an irreverent attitude. Here we are confronted with the fundamental sin of irreverence toward God, the denial of our creaturehood, the acting as if we were our own lords… It is the same sinfulness that lies in suicide or in euthanasia, in both of which we act as if we were masters of life.”
8. “luckless is the country in which the symbols of procreation are the objects of shame, while the agents of destruction are honored! And yet you call that member your pudendum, or shameful part, as if there were anything more glorious than creating life, or anything more atrocious than taking it away.”
9. “Willful sterility is, from the standpoint of the nation, from the standpoint of the human race, the one sin for which the penalty is national death, race death; a sin for which there is no atonement. No man, no woman, can shirk the primary duties of life, whether for love of ease and pleasure, or for any other cause, and retain his or her self-respect.”
10. “Onan must have been a malicious and incorrigible scoundrel. [Genesis 38:9, 10].This is a most disgraceful sin. It is far more atrocious than incest and adultery. We call it unchastity, Yes a Sodomitic sin. For Onan goes in to her; that is, he lies with her and copulates; and, when it comes to the point of insemination, spills the semen, lest the woman conceive. Surely at such a time the order of nature established by God in procreation should be followed.”
Friday, October 17, 2008
What effect would the socialization of medical care have on the quality/cost/standards of health care across this county and across the globe? (as other countries DO import our medial technology and advances afforded by competitive medical research conducted in a free market economy)
What liberties am I willing to surrender in exchange for promised security and stability, both economically and militarily?
What decisions am I comfortable abdicating to the federal government? What aspects of my life am I prepared to surrender to their supervision "for the greater good?"
What limits am I prepared to accept in the name of national defense and securities?
What input (if any) should be solicited/allowed from foreign governing bodies concerning matters of national and international security? What veto rights are we as Americans prepared to surrender to "an international governing body" in the name of international stability?
Who has the final say, ultimately, in matters of state... the US government, or the American people?
How convicted are you on this whole "American sovereignty" concept?
Are you willing to forfeit democratic democracy in order to follow in the failed footsteps of Western European socialism, or mightn't we as Americans be willing to tighten our belts and weather this storm in defense of the greatest experiment in human freedom known to mankind?
Are you willing to defend our Constitution?
Thursday, October 16, 2008
"Original innocence is that which "radically" that is, at its very roots, excludes the shame of the body in the relation between men and women...speaking above all about the gift of the Creator, about grace, which made it possible for man to live the primary meaning of the gift in the world...seeming to refer first of all to the interior state of the human "heart," of the human will." (Theology of the Body, 16:4)
Bit of a juxtaposition, there, these competing definitions of God's grace and its application to our flawed humanity...
Pondering original innocence necessarily takes us back "to the beginning," where it merits asking whether or not God did, in fact, make us good... or whether we were programmed with inherent inadequacy, rendering our present circumstance so very difficult at times.
If God did, in fact, create us to be "good," then He must necessarily have equipped us with the ability to, well, be good.
This flies in the face of everything I know about myself. I can chime in daily - hourly even - with St. Paul, lamenting "why do I do the things I hate?" I am not good, most days. In fact, I'm lucky if I can squeak by with lukewarm on the best of days. Which is, as my brother Patrick would intone, "a little bit not good." Certainly.
But He made me this way, right? A little bit "not good..." If not, then wherefore come these urges, unbidden and nearly impossible to eschew, to undertake what will satisfy my needs and provide for my immediate gratification?
Not from Him.
This is tricky, though, in light of that other original. The one we're a little more -ahem- familiar with...
So where does sin come from? And which is more original, of the two?
I would argue that innocence precedes the very existence of sin... at least from a human perspective. And that the whole point of this mystery we call the Incarnation was directed toward the restoration and indeed the re-creation of this "original innocence." A bold statement, that, and hopefully one that is free from heresy(fact check, Fr. Bryan?)
This line of thought originated this morning during Mass, spurred by the line in the Eucharistic Prayer where father intones the words "restoring us to our original innocence..."
I took the line further, as a good JPII Catholic must, applying it (of course) to human sexuality.
This must be what Pius XI was speaking of in Casti Connubii, when at the end of paragraph 59 he puts forth a rather startling assertion:
If the Sacrament of the Altar restores the original innocence of humanity through our communion as the body of Christ, then so must the Sacramental love of Marriage restore the original innocence of our sexuality through the communion of spouses.
"...in matrimony as well as in the use of the matrimonial rights there are also secondary ends, such as mutual aid, the cultivating of mutual love, and the quieting of concupiscence which husband and wife are not forbidden to consider so long as they are subordinated to the primary end and so long as the intrinsic nature of the act is preserved."
The ability to achieve a quieting of concupiscence ... built right into the most profoundly pleasureable act known to mankind. It figures, that our good God who desires to fulfill of all our needs, would go so far above and beyond.
This generosity on our Creator's part in the interpersonal realm makes me wonder why we ever, ever doubt His goodness and His best intentions for our lives.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
This morning marked nearly the halfway point for the Archdiocese of Denver's "40 Days for Life" campaign, a concentrated effort to directly apply the most effective weapon in the pro-life arsenal: prayer.
We stood in the gutter across the street, clutching our Rosaries and our lattes, praying for a conversion of hearts and a reversal of fortunes for the multi-million dollar monster before us, and we prayed.
As we prayed, I started thinking about the strange dynamics of the situation, our presence there, and how weird it was that neither side really sees, at times, the individual person.
You know, between the crazy token "bloody baby pictures guy" and the stoic, poker-faced door Nazis and everyone in between...it's like some kind of strictly ideological war being waged. Except it isn't strictly ideological. And there are real casualties.
I watched this guy on the other side of the fence, putting up signs, and we walked right past each other... but with the fence between us. I said good morning, but he didn't even see me.
I don't exist to him, because I disagree with him.
If I approached him outside of the setting of the abortion clinic it might be quite different, but my point is that we were there, at the clinic...really there, as real people.
And real people were going in and out, dying, killing each other, praying, screaming at one another...
I was struck by how easily people (myself included) can fall into the habit of viewing others through their ideological glasses; hardly anyone seemed really "present."
I want to hold onto that realization, I want to reject that ideological worldview ... because it is so utilitarian, even (and indeed, especially) if you're working for good.
It doesn't matter so much today if we overturn Roe vs. Wade, I mean it matters... but I can't do that today.
But I can love these people. The men with the posters. The moms dragging their reluctant teenage daughters into harm's way. The misguided "door guards" fulfilling hours of community service for their Sociology 101 courses... all of them. All real people, worthy of love and respect.
And worthy of being seen.
Friday, October 10, 2008
The stock market has not yet crashed. Completely.
Gas is hovering (in my neck of the woods) around $3.29/gallon. Freaking fantastic.
It's autumn! I adore the fall, hellllllloooooo, pumpkin spice lattes and golden leaves and scarves?! What could be more incredible.
We live in the most prosperous democratic society in the history of humanity (and will continue to do so, God-willing, for another 102 days at least...)
God is good. He came and died for us, and He loves us enough to leave us His bride, the Church, and His very Self in the Blessed Sacrament.
The Office is back on the air, and Jim and Pam are *spoiler alert engaged!
It's still college football season.
Beer tastes good.
It's almost time for the Gap to roll out their holiday line.
Airfares are dropping like it's hot... and it is. Washington DC, here I come.
Chivalry is alive and well in the modern world.
Youtube is free ... does anyone else find this fact incredible? I marvel over it daily...
Some of the best people on the entire planet are having babies right now, and therefore directly contributing to the increase in amazing, exemplary human beings who will continue civilization as we know it.
We can vote. All of us. (Well, save for the 42 million of us who didn't make it out)
We can hope. God will not fail us.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Sexual fulfillment, as society would have it, means having your every need anticipated and met by a sweaty, handsome stranger to whom you have no obligations, ties or commitments of any kind. In other words, good sex is the kind that - historically - you'd have had to pay for.
Cosmo and others of it's ilk have changed (or are at least dutifully reflecting the change our culture has embraced) all that: extra-marital sex is in, committed, lifelong (eww) fidelity is so out.
So where does that leave us? Ostensibly, more sexually satiated than any civilization in history.
With all this sexual satisfaction sating our appetites for action, ought not society be, I don't know, reflecting this zen-like bliss, evident on the goofy, smiling faces of people who are getting what they want whenever they want it?
Yes. Hence the phenomenally low divorce rate, the plummeting stock in mood-boosting pharmaceuticals, and the winks and knowing smiles from perfect strangers on the street...
"Aww yeah buddy, you know who I'm going home with tonight - or rather, who I'm not going home with."
What am I missing here? If everyone has access to everyone (and everything, for that matter) than what's the issue? Why aren't we deliriously, deliciously sated? Why is there so much pain in the eyes of men and women standing in checkout lines and waiting at gas pumps, gazing listlessly at cell phone screens and flipping aimlessly through television channels... why aren't we happy?
Because love - real love, the kind worth living for - is only possible through death. A death to one's own preferences and desires. A death to one's own agendas and expectations. A death... to self.
The irony is not lost on me. That we only find our true fulfillment in total abandonment is shockingly ironic. So very appropriate, though, to this existence which is in itself a study in contradiction.
Not a concept this world takes sitting down. Most of us, in fact, jump immediately and angrily to our feet, shaking our fists and sputtering our indignant outrage at the unfairness, the inconvenience of it all. What do you mean I have to suffer, I have to give of myself to get something truly worthwhile in return?
But hear me out. When you make the conscious decision to die to yourself, and to offer your life willingly to another... there's a chance (and it is only a chance, not an assurance) that they will respond in kind.
Incredible. That someone would love me to the point of death, even death on a cross... And in this life, through a relationship intended to mirror the Divine, Trinitarian communion of love, the love that satisfies might be made manifest through an actual human person. And that we might commune in this love in an act of intimacy so profound that it is metaphorically applied to the relationship between Christ and His bride...Now that's sexy. And satisfying in a way that casual coitus with a common stranger could never, ever be.
Not exactly the stuff of romance novels, but then, how often do those end well?
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
The cover of the current month's issue of Cosmo magazine.
Call me dramatic (I've heard that plenty of times) but there are few things in this troubled world of ours which incite greater rage in my tender feminine heart than this. I mean that in all sincerity. While discussing the matter with my boss this morning, I ticked off my triumvirate of evil on one hand "abortion, socialism ... and Cosmopolitan magazine." (And for the record, I'm pretty sure he agrees... or was highly amused)
The very sight of the thing is enough to put me in high dudgeon, and I can spot it from across the crowded checkout aisle with it's impeccably coiffed cover model leering suggestively from a sea of painted paper faces, panting or pouting in coy suggestion, cleavage bared and lips parted to entice desire and arouse appetites for... "Hot, Kinky Sex With a Stranger... We'll Show You How to Close the Deal!" or perhaps "Break Up to Make Up: Top 10 Ways to Initiate Sex with Your Ex" or even the slightly mundane "99 Ways to Orgasm... With or Without Him."
It's all there, resplendent in bold, garishly colored fonts with exclamation points marking every headline. And it's supposed to entice not only female readers longing to become more, hoping against hope to be enough for someone, desiring that someone might in turn desire them... the twofold purpose of this printed prostitute is to ensnare the eye and heart of the masculine admirer in turn, perpetuating the destructive cycle of lust, acquisition, and mutual use.
I make my way to the counter, juggling purchases and keys, and as I reach over (as has become my custom, hat tip: mom) to flip the offending tome face down, praying that the back cover advertisement is less offensive than the front side, I catch the eye of the gentleman ahead of me in line. He's looking at me as if I am either A.) socially retarded or B.) from another planet. (I smile sweetly and convince him of the first.)
He shakes his head in amusement or discomfort and turns away wordlessly, and I wonder if I'm reading too much into things. I plunge ahead with this train of thought anyhow, speculating on the possibilities that must be (or perhaps aren't at all) running through his mind:
"What an uptight freak show, bet she's never been laid." Or perhaps "man, I was looking at that." Or maybe (please Lord) even "thank God, I am so sick of the objectification of women by the media."
I pray it was the latter. And I pray this particularly because there are men in this world who believe in and cherish the dignity of the female person. I know this, I was raised by one. I'm dating one. I work for one... it's a beautiful thing, a man who truly loves women, and it's pretty much the pinnacle of masculinity.
And the pinnacle of femininity? Our ultimate fulfillment? In being loved. By Him first, and through this tremendous love, allowing ourselves to be loved by another.
And isn't that what every Cosmo girl is searching for? Allow me to translate, applying skills acquired in a past life: "Set His World Ablaze With These Hot Moves" can be translated as the desire to captivate, to become a singularly unique force in the life of another. "10 Signs He's Shagging His Ex" is equivalent to our deep need for secure, lasting commitment. And so on.
We are all looking for love, desperately searching for something to fill us... but junk food will never fill the deeper hunger for substance, and trash will not only leave us hungry, but will tear us apart from the inside out.
What we ingest, whether materially or spiritually, matters. Deeply. And we must search it out, must find it in order to feel satisfied. And the good people at Hearst Magazine (fine purveyors of misogynistic rubbish) know this, and oh how they capitalize on it.
So next time you're checking out, don't check out the filth lining the rack above... if you're feeling bold, flip it over. If you're feeling extra bold, engage the cashier, the store manager, or a fellow customer in an intelligent conversation on the topic of human dignity... and see where it leads.
Because you just never know who's watching.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
My friends and I have been engaging in a great deal of morality talk recently, and a recurrent theme is the apparent death (or at least the deadening) of the individual conscience. Which probably explains why roughly have the nation is even considering voting the way that they are.
Is there a right or wrong way to vote, morally speaking?
Consider the implications of voting your conscience, rather than voting along party lines or on particular issues. This necessarily begs the existence of a conscience; a bleak thought in our this current culture of moral mediocrity.
What does it mean to have a conscience, though? Isn't that merely an antiquated notion of blind filial obedience to an oppressive magisterial hierarchy which subverts the natural inclinations of the human spirit in favor of a deep-seated indoctrinatory regimen begun at birth and maintained by careful weekly admonishments from the pulpit?
I have no doubt that this is the textbook definition you could extract from the average Joe on any given college campus in this amoral and post-modern culture of relativistic tolerance. We don't believe in conscience any more than we believe in moral absolutes; we've been carefully groomed from K-12 to reject objective truth.
Except that truth. The one that firmly states (and we dutifully recite, hand over hear) I solemnly swear that there is no truth.
This is the dogma that I dutifully ingested over years of public schooling, reinforced by frequent celebrations of diversity and sermons on tolerance. The only sin, they told us, was in rejecting the "truth" of another (or conversely, to make the bigoted assertion that your truth was, well, true.)
So here we stand, on the brink of economic ruin, wringing our hands at the prospect of a global economic meltdown, wondering how in the hell we'll ever get back on top, and in 3 weeks we'll elect as our 44th president who will, ostensibly, lead us back to financial solvency. And we're not supposed to use our consciences to make this decision. Which is, I suspect, precisely what got us here to begin with.
Monday, October 6, 2008
For starters, we would surely have discussed the weather, commenting on the shocking annual seasonal transformation which necessarily results in multicolored foliage and crisp evenings of football and micro brews... we then probably would have moved on to movies we watched/sporting events we attended/weddings we crashed... you know, the foundational principles of coffeepot area loitering.
We'd eventually meander back to our respective work spaces, fire up our computers, sip our coffees, sigh deeply and meaningfully, and ... And then the IMing would begin.
Oh, Instant Messenger, how I love thee, despite your apocalyptic heralding of the dawn of the post-interpersonal communication age. Do you all have inter-office Instant Messaging? If not, please do not acquire it, unless you want your productivity to tank quicker than the Dow Jones.
And if you do, if you are a member of one of those brave new workplaces that has such (virtual) people in it? Well than, you know exactly where I'm going with this. We'd spend hours sending each other odd news links, pertinent articles on Wikipedia, and compromising political photos which neatly surmised our personal opinions without overtly declaring anything...
And I would have sent you to this site, a newly-acquired favorite pointed out by my like-minded boyfriend with the slightly inappropriate sense of humor. Then we could have read the same article, laughed to the point of weeping openly, and dragged ourselves back to archiving expense reports and creating masterful Excel spreadsheets.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Despite and against my better judgment, I'm going all-out political in this post, so beware.*
A few things I'd like to say to you, America (or at least the 12-17 people who might eventually read this)
First off, Barack Obama is not the messiah. Whether or not you believe it, He actually already appeared on the scene a few millenia back, and you better believe He spoke with greater clarity and deeper conviction... particularly when making succinct and unpopular statements which flew in the face of public sentiment.
The intensity and fervor which characterizes the Obama campaign and its followers is zealous, rabid even... and it scares the hell out of me. For a people so assiduously aligned with post-modern atheistic nihilism, the Obama camp has sure managed to rally some good 'ol fashioned fervor... (Case in point: while driving through Denver's upwardly-mobile yupster haven Bonnie Brae neighborhood yesterday afternoon, I spied an Obama shrine on solemn display in the second story of a brick bungalow which could only be described as fanatical. Obviously hand-painted and framed in an array of twinkling star lights jacked too-early from the Christmas box in the attic, it was decidedly unsettling- particularly so soon after lunch.
All this from the same folks who eschew religion like the plague, unwilling to sully their projected aura of intellectualism with any hint of dogmatic "belief" or archaic "practices"... but it would appear the prospect of a real, live messianic rallying-point is too much to resist, even for the very cultured.
The flip side, ironically, is that whilst major media outlets join their voices and raise their hands in praise and adulation of the "One," across the political aisle the girl next door is being relentlessly touted as hearkening from the wrong side of the tracks, as it were. So while Obama is lifted up on the dais of diversity to chants of praise and calls for change, Sarah Palin is roundly lambasted on every major network for actually being someone outside the Washingtonian ordinary: an average American.
And how terrible to be "average," to have not attended an Ivy League establishment, to spend one's time buying groceries, punching time clocks and paying bills rather than hob-nobbing with the creme de la creme on Capitol Hill. How very... quaint. And did you hear she was a -gasp- beauty queen contestant at one time? And I heard she shops at -shudder- Walmart. Well she'd have to with that monstrosity of a family she totes around... who can afford to go organic with a household of 7?
What this election season has revealed, most assuredly, is the utter disregard with which so many of the Washingtonian elite view their constituents (you know, those schmucks who put them in office?) Perhaps most troubling, more than the petty issues of race and gender bias and all the other flotsam rising up like so much bile in the esophagus of the American collective, is the deep seated elitism, the smug Darwinian belief that, fundamentally, it's us versus them... and them is quite inferior, if you ask us.
Yes, well, be that as it may, oh elite social classes and political powers that be, it turns out there are a few million more of us who didn't attend post-secondary schools in ivory towers, who have known the heartache and the sheer satisfaction of working for an honest wage, and who have deep, unshakable convictions on all matters moral.
Take, for example, the firm belief that the right to life is not derivative of some subjective criterion best evaluated against a graded scale of pros and cons. There are some things that are wrong - inarguably so - and no amount of clever rhetoric and carefully scripted turn of phrase can alter reality. Evil does exist, my friends, and it does not come wrapped in catch phrases like intolerance and carbon foot printing... these are lesser evils, set high to distract the masses from the greater injustices being waged against the collective body of humanity: the destruction of the individual conscience.
What Mr. Obama and his like seek to do is to, in fact, supplant individual morality with a kind of groupthink collective "conscientiousness" which lends itself to more of an Orwellian spirituality than a Judeo-Christian concept of justice. Which is just fine, when your objective is not empowering the people but rather subduing them with the hopes of maintaining control and crafting some imagined Utopian paradise.
Representative government, in Obama's mind, is a dead, tired thing of the past, an ancient relic from simpler times. What the America of today needs is a big, strong overly-solicitous government who can take care of every need, anticipate every problem, and wipe away every tear.
Or at least that's the pitch. Now hush, I'm getting ready to watch Sarah "trailer trash" Palin get bulldozed by that intellectual and political behemoth, Joseph Biden, who was shot at in the Green Zone in Iraq seven times, you know. Brave man, I hope he goes easy on the little lady from out West, that well-meaning peasant woman with the pack of children and the garish feminine style. (shudder) After all, America deserves the very best.