Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Am I the Only Listener Who Liked Obama’s Speech?

I liked what I heard when President Obama spoke to the world from the Oval Office on June 15.
The next morning I switched on the radio to listen to Americans in the gulf states to voice their thanks for a big-time effort on their behalf by the president. I don't think the news reporters were able to find anybody who appreciated anything. There were complaints because the president pointed out that a more intelligent energy policy is necessary if we are to avoid more calamities like the present one.
Not long before that, the pope apologized for Catholic Church negligence in protecting children from priests who are sexual predators. If anybody thought that was a pretty good thing for the pope to do, I did not come across radio, TV, online or newspaper reports of it. Sure, people said, he apologized, but not in the right way, not soon enough, not in the proper words.
Forgiveness is sometimes seen as a chump's failure to sue.
I graduated from high school a few months before Pearl Harbor. Overnight the U.S. became a nation at war. Almost everybody wanted to help win it. Would that sudden conversion have been possible if the communications media been in 1941 what it is today? Would FDR's Pearl Harbor speech have been analyzed into mush? Would commentators point out that the U.S. had been selling scrap metal to the Japanese for a long time, and therefore the Administration was to blame for the war?
Wars come and go, but the U.S. isn't winning many of them. When I was a little kid, about 80 years ago, my mom and I walked past a group of men with gray beards and missing legs. They were Civil War vets having a morning chat. I heard my mom say, "Don't stare."
But not long afterward my parents took me to the circus, where people bought tickets in order to stare at the bearded lady. Staring is now encouraged by TV reality shows, updated versions of old-time sideshows. When I lurch like Charlie Chaplin in public people sometimes stare, and they don't know they're staring. They are the same people who open doors for me at the mall. Most people mean well.
Some accept the idea of the survival of the fittest, without considering what fitness is.
God is all-powerful and all-knowing, and has no adjustments to make, no gears to shift, when listening to a prayer offered in the name of Jesus, another prayer from the Qur=an, others from Hindu scripture. They=re all addressing the Eternal, and the Eternal hears them.
God models unity, but society celebrates diversity. God=s people clutch a blanket of separation, of pride in qualities they had no part in creating, having inherited them.
Scientists probe the universe, proclaim the possibility of life on a distant planet because, they say, the right conditions appear to be in place. There are signs of water, and water is essential to life, they tell us. Isn't it curious that men and women trained in science accept the notion that the only conceivable life in the universe has to be similar to the one the scientists live and know? They do not grant that life may have evolved differently on a sphere a million miles away, where water may have evolved into something we've never seen and cannot imagine.
Life on Earth is little understood, and has not even been examined in still-anonymous organisms on the floor of the oceans, or perhaps tracing its family tree in rock-bound caverns. Worms are living creatures, and so are cats, and so are humans. So are organisms too small to see without a microscope. They share a planet and all that comes with the planet, such as water and sunlight. Given the wide variety of living plants and animals on Earth, who can assume that life itself might have a different chemistry on another sphere?
Life is good, but humankind doesn't have a patent on it, or a proprietary formula for making it from scratch. Life is bigger than humanity, beyond anything imagined, evolving through its own resources.
When I emerged into life on March 12, 1925, Calvin Coolidge was president of the U.S., which was populated by 115,829,000 individuals. Today's population is estimated at about 308 million. The Army had no air corps, but 9,500 soldiers were assigned to the horse-drawn cavalry. Henry Ford in 1925 began to market his Model T in color. In addition to black it was now available in green or maroon. It was said that 332 foreign ships were engaged in liquor smuggling because of Prohibition.
Sometimes I wonder whether all of the OPCA/MSA symptoms are real, even when I know they are. I am very lucky to have caring family and friends, and to have a cheerful place to live, along with computers, music, books and time for meditation. OPCA/MCA changes are gradual, and that's a blessing. I've become a slow reader, but I can still read. I'm a slow eater, but I can still eat. My reflexes are slow, but they still work well enough to keep my bones intact. Distracting symptoms, meanwhile, are trying harder to get my attention.
God has not changed, but I have. A newborn kid knows its mom to be quite simple. Both mom and dad start out seeming one-dimensional and utilitarian to babes. As God's children grow older, and they spend more time hanging out with God, they know that God is their loving parent and not a magician. Then, as we get really old God enables us to talk too much, write too much and eat too much.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sadly, conflict is what "sells" in the media and is thus is the lifeblood of politicians who exploit the media for free PR.