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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Elections Have Consequences

Thanks to those cowards who call themselves Democrats we are beginning to feel the full effects of a second Bush term – two new Supreme Court justices have shifted the Court rightward on matters that affect every caste of American society. The most recent ruling, Garcetti v. Ceballos, takes liquid nitrogen to the likelihood of public employees speaking out against the unethical actions of their employers. The majority consisted of Roberts (age: 51), Alito (age: 56), Thomas (age: 58), Kennedy (age: 70), and Scalia (age: 70), a five-some that will decide the majority of cases over the next couple decades, unless Kennedy and Scalia prematurely kick the bucket.

If the Democratic Party would have defined its values and courageously run on those values then there would have been no second Bush term, Diebold notwithstanding. If the Democrats would have nominated a candidate that stood for Democratic principles instead of Democratic principals then we wouldn’t be fretting over the pending disintegration of the Bill of Rights.As it stands, we better be ready to check our shit in:
We now live in a Brave New World, and we can thank the pusillanimous progressives who thought that they could play presidential politics with the public by using their "electibility" meme instead of standing firm upon their values and fighting for that in which they believe. If the rank-and-file Democrats could get a Mulligan for 2004 and try it again, I can assure you that Howard Dean would be the nominee and I can also assure you that even Diebold wouldn’t be able to prevent Bush’s privatization.

In 2008 let’s give the Republicans an opportunity to take a Mulligan on their 2000 foul-up – you know they have a serious case of buyers’ remorse over Dubya – and let’s draft the new and improved Al Gore for 2008. Of course, I'm biased...

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 6:30 PM :: (0) minds freed

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

News To Die For

Two CBS correspondents have died while a third lies in critical condition from the most recent attacks in Iraq. The Fourth Estate’s thongs are wadded into a Gordian knot over the death of their own, but it should come as no surprise that when a journalist is, um, bedded with combat soldiers that they would receive the same treatment as combat soldiers from those who are out to kill those soldiers. It’s war, and in war people die – if you don’t want to get caught up in the ravages of war then you don’t enter the war zone, and if you enter the war zone then don't complain when you are treated like an enemy combatant. After all, those reporters were riding with one side in a conflict, reporting from the perspective of one side for the benefit of one side – it should not surprise anyone that the other side took them out, possibly even targeting them as a valid military objective. Command, control, and communication are integral parts of warfare – as is propaganda and misinformation – and nobody should be surprised when the Iraqi nationals target the American information machine.

Mission Accomplished.

Imagine, if you will, that a generation from now the two superpowers on the planet are China and India. Let us say that in that day the Indians decide that America has fallen into despotic fascism and needs to be liberated of it’s fanatical leader, that America’s weapons of mass destruction need to be neutralized, that America’s military bases around the world need to be uprooted and all American military personnel need to return to America’s shores. Let us say, and why not, that the Chinese and the Russians join them in their crusade to eradicate America’s presence from Asia and Europe, such that they bring the war to America’s soil, capturing the east coast and the left coast, advancing on America’s heartland. Is there one American who would not fight against these foreign invaders? Is there one American who would not do everything that they could to repel those who kill our countrymen? Is there one American who would not see to it that every inch that the invaders captured would come at the cost of their blood, and lots of it?

So why would we expect anything less from the Iraqis?

If we saw a Pravda crew operating with a group of Russian soldiers in Baltimore do you think that we would hesitate to take them out? If we saw a crew for the Hindustan Times operating out of Compton do you think we would hesitate to pull the trigger? If we saw correspondents from the Beijing Evening News operating in Oakland would we hesitate to kill them? We may have our differences – and those difference run deep – but when our common survival is at stake Black people and White people and Brown people will work together in order drive out foreign invaders. So it is with the Sunnis and Shiites and Kurds – they may hate each other but many of them will work together to drive out the foreign invaders. Granted, some will use the invaders to further their own ends, to create a competitive advantage for their tribe over other tribes, but it should not surprise the invaders when the hearts and minds of the invaded are solidly against them, that the invaded will continue to loathe the invaders for generations to come.

Is that why our family members are in Iraq, dying?

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 6:00 PM :: (0) minds freed

Monday, May 29, 2006

In Memoriam

Why did Willie Edward Carter have to die?

Willie Edward Carter was the oldest of the six Carter boys from the Eastside Projects in Patterson, New Jersey. After he graduated from Eastside High School – several years before Joe Clark got there – he was drafted into the Army and sent to the front lines of the Korean War. Willie survived the ravages of war for several months, but as the North Koreans pushed south during the Battle of Chipyong-ni in 1951, the eldest brother of my father was reported missing and presumed dead.

Why did Willie Edward Carter have to die?

My uncle Willie was barely out of high school when he was shipped off to fight a people that posed no threat to the United States of America. My uncle Willie was just a youth when he was sent to fight and kill people who couldn’t find Patterson, NJ on a map if their life depended on it. My uncle Willie was just a boy when he died.


There is no Willie Edward Carter Jr. There is no Mrs. Willie Edward Carter. There is nothing left of Uncle Willie except the faint memories carried by his surviving brothers and the tales that they’ve told to us, his nephews and nieces. On this Memorial Day I honor Uncle Willie, Willie Edward Carter, and I ask, "Why did Willie Edward Carter have to die?" How many more generations will be forced to ask why their uncles and fathers and mothers and aunts had to die? Will they reminisce over you?


Emancipated by Athanasius @ 3:00 PM :: (0) minds freed

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Word For The Week

It's been a long time, I shouldn't have left you
Without a strong thought to step to
Think of how many weak posts you slept through
Time's up, I'm sorry I kept you

With a shout-out to Eric B & Rakim we return to our weekly word. One thing that I have discovered in my time offline is the universal need for a savior. So many people are in distress and looking for the hope of their salvation, yet they neglect the very hope that is freely offered them in the person of Jesus Christ. It has been this way since Jesus first offered Himself to the world - 1st century Jews were looking for a conquerer who would break the Roman occupation of Israel and then rule over Israel as David's son. Even His disciples held this mindset until the Day of Pentecost, but we can not superimpose our wants, our wishes, and our desires over the will of God, and God sent His Son into the world to save the world from its sins - not to give us the hook-up like Christine Agulera's genie in a bottle.

Nonetheless, people want what people want, and if they can't get the material hookup from God then they'll take their wants elsewhere - after all, it's all about them from their perspective, they are the measure of all things. It's their world and all things must cater to their needs, their wants, and their desires, so they will find their salvation elsewhere - in self improvement seminars, in transcendental meditation, in sexual relationship after relationship after relationship, always looking for the hope of their salvation, never finding it. Some will give up on finding their salvation, succumbing to depression or alcoholism or drugs (illicit or prescription) while others will unconvincingly deny their need for salvation. There are many ways that people deal with their need, but I have found the need for salvation to be fairly universal.

The Samaritan woman at the well told Jesus about her expectation of the advent of the Savior, the Christ, the Messiah, and Jesus told her plainly, "I who speak to you am He." Not only did the woman accept that Jesus was the Messiah, she went back to her hometown and told everyone she knew - the same people that ostracized her for being a trifling trick - that she had met the savior of the world, the Messiah, the Christ, such that they all confessed, "We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world."

Who do you believe in?

As I've had time to reflect on the past several years I've recognized an interesting phenomenon that I hadn't really examined closely before - many of Howard Dean's supporters treat him the same way that Christians treat Jesus. Nobody (as far as I know) posits deity in Howard Dean, but the language of salvation is there and the messianic expectation is there as well, likely stemming from the credo of taking our party back, taking our country back, and taking back our rightful place of respect in the world. People don't merely like Howard Dean or believe Howard Dean, they believe in Howard Dean, they place their hope in Howard Dean. Howard himself tried to discourage this mentality when he posted on Kimmy's old site, telling her not to get frustrated since all politicians are human beings and all politicians will disappoint you, sooner or later, even Howard Dean.

My own journey may be illustrative. Coming out of college I realized just how screwed-up the real world really is, so the question that I asked myself is what I could do about it. I looked to politics and got involved with John Conyers' 1992 campaign and eventually worked for the Congressman, serving as a field director for his '94 campaign. One thing that I learned is that you cannot legislate morality. This is true with regards to issues like homosexuality and abortion, but it is also true with matters of economics and foreign policy - without a changed heart depraved men (and women) will always find ways around laws that limit their ability to fulfill their hearts' desires, be that having sex with someone of the same gender, aborting their baby, paying slave wages to workers, filtering criminal activity to only certain neighborhoods, raping the environment, cooking corporate books, or invading foreign countries that pose no threat to the United States. All of these are issues of morality, and none of these can be corrected by creating more laws. As the old cliche goes, the heart of the matter is a matter of the heart, so the million-dollar question is this: how do you change someone's heart from a depraved state of mind to a mindset of righteousness?


"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

I wrestled with the implications of this for a number of years, maintaining some involvement with politics while I was in Florida, but in 1998 I submitted to my calling to vocational ministry, to full-time ministry, and I applied and was accepted to the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. As I was trying to get away from politics and focus on Christ I found myself in the middle of the Clinton impeachment madness in large part because the Southern Baptists were more than a little bit involved in politics. I came to seminary to focus on the Bible and these people were babbling on about a blue-stained dress. Like Michael Corleone said, "Just when I though I was out they pull me back in." Then there was the fiasco of the 2000 election, and then there was September 11th, 2001.

The Bush presidency has necessitated my involvement in politics, especially with people accusing Bush of being an example of what Christianity is about, but politics absolutely can not solve the problems that face this world - politics can not change hearts, only policies. We indeed need to change policies - desperately - but that will not solve the problem because the root problem is people - we have to fix people themselves, and the only transforming agent that can redeem the depraved mind and heal the broken heart is Jesus Christ who said, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." Under-shepherds must follow the example of the Good Shepherd - I could be making a lot of money if I simply focused on it, but I am trying to focus on making people all that God would have them to be. The pay is relatively meager in dollars, but the crown jewels are worth it.

I believe that I can make a difference in this world. I believe that from everyone who has been given much, much should be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more should be asked. I believe that the only way to address the human condition is to transform the human heart, and the only hope for our salvation comes from accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Jesus, when asked about the Messiah, told the woman at the well, "I who speak to you am He." Do you believe Him? Will you believe in Him?

May the LORD bless you and keep you;
May the LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
And may the LORD,
Who wants you to believe in Him,
May He turn His face toward you and give you peace.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 11:00 AM :: (0) minds freed

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