Friday, October 29, 2010

What's Wrong with "Choice" America?

The other day, President Obama stated: "Homosexuality is not a choice."

How does he know? Certainly, many homosexuals are born with a natural attraction to the same sex. But jut as many may simply be curious, and choose to experience homosexuality out of a sense of adventure, or rebellion; even disdain for the opposite sex.

If there is nothing wrong with homosexuality - as we say - then in a free society - as we profess to have - "choice" must be as viable a reason for doing something as anything else.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Halloween Sunset

There before your golden ember
I could easily remember
Gloulish-faced trick-or-treaters dancing
Behind great bags and hopes a'prancing
On the eve of start November

Pumpkins sodden as they were
Original reasons now a blur
With faces carved in frightful laughter
Down from under the harvest gathered
To strew the way with garish mirth

Yet there in Mama's kitchen stands
A cook who's baking pies by hand
No trick could muscle such a treat
Of golden brown and spicy sweet
She's made it known her pumpkin's plans.

And long October's night in walking
Toward a town were bravely stalking
Three autumn youth forsook the rest
In hopes their bounty would be the best
The fear of silence would stoke the talking.

Afar a howl is suddenly heard
Against the other's limbs they gird
A rustle, scratch, and frantic beat
That trips the other's toes to feet
It's just the owl - October's bird.

A raucous laughter surely followed
The afore-felt stomach swiftly swallowed
By visions of werewolves suddenly loosed
And fresh wolfbane and slashing tooth
Three tales of stardom now drilled hollow.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Old Folks

When I was a boy growing up in rural Newaygo county, I would visit old people. Sometimes, I would perform chores for them, after which I would sit and listen to them talk. When there were no chores, I simply sat and listened to them talk.

People would ask me why I spent so much time with so many different old people. I remember remarking once, "They're nice." Looking back, I repeat: "They were the nicest people I've ever met."

Friday, October 22, 2010

Bullying: Crime, or Rite of Passage?

Have a bullying problem? What we could use is more real father. With more "real fathers" there would be less talk of bullying, and indeed, less bullying. (Real fathers are the answer to many ills.) Real fathers are an immediate and lasting source of confidence in a child. The bullied child is most often the least confident child, and therefore, most bully-able. The bully, too, lacks confidence.

But even more "real fathers" will not end bullying; neither, will made-for-TV productions like the recently got-up "Anti-Bullying" campaign whose motto is, "Love is Louder." Nice, cute - won't work.

Bullying is a fact of life. Animals use it in their struggles to perpetuate their species. We do the same thing. Boys will bully boys whom either stand in their way of mating, or whom, by bullying they will enhance their chances. Girls, too, bully girls whom they instinctively sense is a threat to their reproductive chances. In other words, children who bully often do not know why they do it, except that it feels natural.

Of course, we humans must always strive to elevate ourselves above our baser instincts. (try telling that to a child).

Bullying could simply be a right of passage that serves a purpose. Being bullied teaches a child to devise survival strategies, like avoidance, or negotiating with, and outsmarting bullies; it teaches children the need, and art, of forming alliances.

No one wants their child to be bullied. But, at some point, we all have been there. Sometimes, we were even bullied by our friends, by our spouse, by our own brothers and sisters. Hey, tall plants bully short plants. C'est la vie!

Friday, October 15, 2010

One Encounter at a Time

Emotions are a dangerous thing. The always want to be satisfied. They only care about themselves.

Recently, Larry King hosted a show on CNN entitled, "Can Inmates Be Reformed?" The real question is, "Can they control their emotions?" Once that question is posed, however, then every man and woman on earth falls under similar suspicion.

Prison is about control. When men do not control their emotions, they commit crimes. When men can not exert self-control, the State assumes responsibility.

I am in prison because I did not control my anger. Other are here because they did not control their greeds, their lusts, their envies. Many more will follow...for the same damned reasons.

Now, when a man comes up for parole, they may ask him, "Are you reformed? Reformed? What the hell is that? A better question would be: "Have you achieved self-control?" Of course, the inmate will answer, "Yes." And though the words may sound hollow, they have significance - they convey a consciousness of the need to control their emotions. After that, it is a matter of proof.

In that way, we all become like the alcoholic who must prove his sobriety daily - free men and inmates, alike. We must prove every moment, and every day of our lives - one moment at a time, one day at a time, one encounter at a time - that we have discipline and self-control. We are reformed only when we are finally and absolutely convinced of the dangers inherent in our emotions, and our need to control them.

Don't Cry, Mr. Obama

Emotions can be a wonderful and dangerous thing. They feed our passions and it is our passions that get us into trouble. Witness Clinton with Lewinsky, Bush with Saddam—(he tried to kill my daddy), and Reagan with Iran-Contra.

Fortunately, for Obama, he has no such passions. The fact alone should keep his presidency relatively scandal free. Unfortunately, that fact, too, could doom his presidency to an uncommon sterility.

There was concern about all of those years Obama spent in Jeremiah Wright’s south side Chicago church, being exposed to “liberation theology” as Glenn Beck puts it. Not to worry. Obama is virtually unscathed by his years in Wright’s church. That was much more of a cultural experience—i.e., educational—than emotional and transformative.

Obama is unique in that way: he absorbs information like a sponge, but seems to remain unaffected by the clutter of its emotions. That is rare among African-Americans. For we are emotional lot—those emotions forged in the fires of slavery, and then banged repeatedly against the anvil that is Americas grand mosaic.

The other day, Afghanistan’s president, Hamid Karzai, while addressing his fellow countrymen, began to cry over the state of his war-torn nation. I was touched. And I wondered, in the face of such fierce death and destruction—whether suffered or meted out—that more leaders don’t cry, even our own pragmatic and dispassionate Obama.

Then I thought, no. Obama may be Vulcan. And as we know from watching Star Trek’s unflappable Mr. Spock, a crying jag could kill him.