Friday, October 12, 2018

The Death Penalty Is an Abomination

The death penalty is an abomination. It fails on every count, other than the blood-lust revenge factor.
And, please, don't quote the Bible at me ... while I love the Bible, every cruelty can be found therein and justified. Bible quoters, at this point, and others, are notorious in their disregard for the large picture, and if they're Xns, more than eager to ignore Jesus as Jesus and reduce him to some kind of hyper-spirit saving-machine to get folks into glory, while more than happily leaving a whole of other folk in hell.
The death penalty degrades those who affirm it, those who manufacture the devices, the drugs; those who pull the switches, and those who witness it.
They are all, one and the same, killers, in spite of "state sanction," a despicable piece of casuistry used to defend the worst kinds of human behavior.
Hats off to Washington State for abolishing this stupidity. Of the people on death row, their sentences were immediately commuted to life.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Keeping the Job

I don't know what it's like to be a politician, always figuring on how to keep the job.

But I was a minister for 50 years, and "keeping the job" was often a part of it.

I learned that "keeping the job" could be a gift, a simple, if not a painful, reminder, of larger responsibilities, like my family, and folks who see things differently.

There were times when "keeping the job" graced my life; other times, it compelled me to compromise my values.

Hard, at the time, to figure it all out.

But given the scars on my back, I believe that a good many times, I took chances ... and paid the price. It can get ugly; real ugly.

A good politician will always try to keep the job, for the long haul, but a great politician will know when to take a chance, and even, if needed, lose the damn job.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 by Adam Hochschild
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When all else is said and done, America's refusal to help the Republic, while Hitler, Mussolini, and Texaco (yes, that's right), poured arms and oil into Franco's Nationalist effort, because the Republic was revolutionary and "red," with tremendous pressure on FDR exerted by the Roman Catholic Church, will remain in history as one of our greatest blunders. Like it or not, we "choose" fascism because we thought the Republic was red, and then, when Hitler moved into Poland, it was too late.

Hochschild has done a remarkable job of putting a human face on the Civil War, and the thousands of young men and women, from America and around the world, a number of whom were Communists, who understood the threat of fascism and decided to cast their lot with the Republic.

Those who made it home were forever tainted and held in suspicion, targets of the anti-red hysteria that gripped this nation, and still does - a most foolish, self-inflicted blindness.

Hochschild's writing is wonderfully clear, taking us to the war through the eyes of those who were there. Some of the best and the brightest put their lives on the line for the cause of freedom and hope - that Spain might well free itself from centuries of brutal feudal rule, and the cruelty of the Roman Catholic Church. But the western democracies, already afraid of revolution, and afraid of the Roman Church, refused to help.

If you want to know more about the Spanish Civil War, no better book than this.

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