The Open Dimension

Commentary on social issues; politics; religion and spirituality

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Location: Laguna Hills, California, United States

I am a semi-retired psychotherapist/psychiatric social worker and certified hypnotherapist. Originally a practicing attorney, I changed careers during the 1980's. My interests include history, constitutional law, Hindustani classical music, yoga, meditation and spirituality.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Great Decider

There is a video of President George W. Bush which appears on television from time to time: He is asked by a journalist about his feelings concerning the number of American troops being killed and wounded in Iraq. Bush, in response, delivers a perceptible smirk and proceeds to demonstrate a golf swing, This is the same man who has slandered genuine war heroes . This is a man who saw no battlefield thanks to the good offices of his father. This is a man who has adamantly refused to allow the coffins of slain American soldiers to be seen upon their return to the United States.
I will not attempt to apply any adjectives to this individual. All I can do is to try to express how deeply ashamed I am as an American to have such a man be the symbol of our great country throughout the world.
I was born during the early stages of World War II and saw Americans who have been called The Greatest Generation bravely meet the challenges of world tyranny and literally save civilization from destruction. Leaders like Roosevelt and Churchill took the reins and secured the destiny of the world.
And I have seen Mr. Bush in his empty speeches written by his empty speech-writers compare himself to men like that. I should laugh, but I can’t. The hidden coffins are still returning. And all I feel is sad.
I know he can’t be impeached while his cohorts fill the halls of Congress. But I sign the petitions anyway.
And all I can pray with all my heart is that we Americans never make such a mistake again.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

French Fries for the Soul

When I was in college during the early 60's, a book on the required reading list was Alexis de Toqueville’s Democracy in America. De Toqueville was a Frenchman who traveled in this country during the 1830’s and recorded his observations of American society. One of his most noted remarks was that Americans seemed to be so in love with equality that they would put up with slavery as long as they were made equal slaves. I haven’t read the book in about 45 years; but that was the gist of his commentary.
At the time I was too young to make very much of his observations; but, curiously, today, just after I had submitted a blog entitled Terrorism: The New Excuse, the book came into my mind.
Think about it. Today Mr. Bush and his corporate cohorts have so stacked the game against the general population that thousands of young Americans are being slaughtered and maimed in a war that’s really about oil and power bases; energy costs are prohibitive; corporations pull working people’s pensions with impunity; millions are without health-care coverage; the environment is being re-polluted with God knows what consequences to life and health. I could go on at length. And what are most Americans doing? “Adjusting”-- as if to say “ Well, we’re all in the same boat and will just have to work harder.” A staggeringly high percentage don’t even vote. And where are the protests, the marches?
There was another book on the required list: A Nation of Sheep.

Terrorism: The New Excuse

You know, the sad fact is that we Americans did it to ourselves. We allowed a paternalistic system of government to develop, a system which for some time has over-regulated us as though we were a nation of five-year-olds. It started with “little things” that we thought were inconsequential and gave in to: the police hauling us in for not having a seat-belt or a crash- helmet on; fining us or threatening jail time for smoking in a public park; allowing government-backed employers to keep us under camera surveillance in our workplaces; and so forth. We kept on giving in. Now we’re used to being compliant school-children; and the piper is going to be paid.
Now the corporate politicians know how easily we can be “trained;” and we’re no longer just children. We’re orphans. We can ask a few questions- but not too many- when they use the “war on terror” to justify the wrenching away of whatever rights we had left. And we just watch while they distribute the bulk of the nation’s wealth to themselves and to their fraternity brothers while we feel guilty because we don’t know how we’re going to pay for our family’s health care or our kids’ education. And retirement-- forget about it. We’ll have to work ’til we drop. We didn’t make it into the fraternity. Big Brother knows best.