Category Archives: Politics

Gun Control is an Act of Love

Remorse.  Sadness.  Grief.  Disbelief.

And anger.  I can’t forget about the anger regardless of how much I want to.

Those are just some of the very human emotions that overwhelmed me as listened to the news about the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut.  Just some of them.  To list them all would create something unreadable.

As I sat on I-95 near Philadelphia heading home from a long day at the office, I wept openly.  Visions of my own children danced in my head.  Visions of children everywhere flooded my mind.  Those smiling faces, those wondering minds, those innocent souls.  I could hear the banter flowing through those classrooms on what should have been just another Friday as children transformed into students eagerly anticipating a holiday season.  I could imagine parents not unlike myself rushing around that morning, trying to get their children ready for a school day while trying to get themselves ready for a busy day at work.  I could imagine parents who, had they known this would be the last time they would see their babies, may have forsaken all worldly endeavors for those final few moments of complete  presence in lives they had a large part in creating.

Yes, our worldly endeavors seem a bit silly in those moments when we are faced with the loss of innocence and the finality of death.  The Eagles losing yet another game is forgotten.  The need to make end-of-year sales numbers seems meaningless when the idea of a tiny casket flashes across your mind.  The arguments between lovers becomes very unimportant when the knowledge that one day you will not be with her and that one day physical and intellectual separation will be permanent.  In truth, very little seems important when faced with mortality, particularly when it is the mortality of our children, our innocence, our posterity.

We fear permanence even more than we fear impermanence.  The only thing that is permanent in our human experience is death, and we seem to fear that more than we fear anything else.  It rattles us, not only because we don’t know what is coming afterward, but because it is so final.  We not only fear our own deaths, we fear the death of our loved ones.  Yet, it wasn’t death that found me weeping on a busy highway during rush hour, it was the death of innocence and of promise.  It was knowing that each and every one of those children senselessly killed likely had no idea of what death was.  It was knowing that each and every one of those sweet angels was left relatively unprotected despite deserving our fiercest shelter.  It was knowing the fear they must have felt, and it was in feeling the ultimate betrayal as the shooter did the Devil’s work.  How utterly devoid of compassion he must have been; how much hatred he must have held on to.  It is quite unimaginable to, fortunately, the vast majority of us.

Now, I’d rather not focus on the man who destroyed so much in such a small period of time.  Instead, I want to focus on the reaction many of us had to his horrifying actions.  Many of us found love overflowing from our eyes.  We found compassion pouring out of us.  We found empathy, sympathy, and new-found purpose in each tiny droplet of salty water that made its way into air.  We found that piece of ourselves that sometimes gets lost in the hustle and bustle of the illusion in which we “live”.  We discovered a piece of truth in the lie, and will hold on to that truth at least for a little while.  We will hug our lovers tighter tonight.  We will be more present with our children.  We will be more present with ourselves.

So, when I am asked “why?” I know what to say.  I have no idea why a 20-year old man would lose his grip on his own humanity and divinity.  Yet, those children did not die in vain if we, even for one second, pause to be more present in our lives and in our loves.  Those children did not die in vain if the final words I say to my own loves is “I love you”.  This understanding gives the very thing I can’t understand some understanding.  It gives the senseless some meaning.  It gives those of us who are doubting some sense of hope.  That’s “why” my friends.  So, get to it and don’t let those beautiful souls leave our consciousness while we have a chance to make good on the very thing that makes us who we are.

Make love like you have never made love before.  Embrace each other like it is the last time you will feel those arms around you.  Absorb the “daddy” and “mommy” moments fully as if they will be the last.  Don’t live in fear of the end, embrace it and make it meaningful in your daily experience.  Don’t go to bed angry with those you love.  Don’t do anything that will sour your epithet.  Don’t hug anger, hug love and don’t let go.  Fight for it.  Feel it.  And cherish every moment you get to share it.

Love, laugh and live fully.  Help others love, laugh and live fully.  Let’s get rid of the need for instruments of death in our lives.  Let’s cherish life and the living more than we cherish material things.  Start saying “no” to your boss and “yes” to your family.  Get high if you want.  Whatever.  Just start fucking living.

This is not an admonition to you.  This is an admonition to me that I simply want to share with you.  You are free to do as you please.  Me, I want to have no regrets at the end of the last day I share with someone.  I want to know I lived it all fully, even the bitter moments, and that in the end I’ve loved more fully than I’ve feared.

I am sure that soon enough we will see the smiling faces of those beautiful babies flashing across our televisions and computer screens.  We will hear wonderful stories of victims, their families, and their own unique promise.  We will cry again at the sight of young, smiling faces and we will make resolutions to end lunacy and seek love as our shelter.  We will live, even for an instant, in the warm and loving embrace of knowing ourselves as more than money, more than ideology, and more than nationality.  We will find our own promise and potential before settling back into our very human roles of forgetful man as the memory of those smiling faces fades.

I will also remember that the killer himself was once one of those smiling faces, and I will wonder what drove him to such darkness.  I will wonder because I don’t want any other child to lose that part of himself that makes him both human and loving divinity.  We all deserve our own sense of innocence, and it is time we start treating our children like they remind us of our own innocence and freedom.  Children are not afterthoughts, they are not nuisances that keep us from work or our favorite reality shows.  They are not weapons, and they are not punching bags.  They are wonderful creations that we had some part in, and as such deserve not just the best of who we are as individuals, but also the best of who we are as a society.  We owe it to them to pass laws that ensure that it is far less likely that they will be staring down the barrel of a firearm as they cry for a mommy and daddy who aren’t there to protect them.

Yes, I am done being on the fence about gun control.  I’m done seeing the “right to bear arms” as equally important to the right of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  Those children lost their rights to life.  They lost their rights to liberty.  They lost their rights to happiness as a madman pulled the trigger over and over again of a weapon he had the right to own.  Gun control is not about the erosion of American rights, it is about the guarantee of them.  So, fuck you, fuck your need to own a semi-automatic rifle and multiple handguns.  You only have two hands, and I doubt Nancy Lanza could have shot both handguns while handling a semi-automatic rifle in the process.

Face it, 27 people, including 20 innocent school children, could have been alive today if our government and We the People had the balls to get rid of guns as a “right” and, instead, made it impossible to get them.  End the War on Drugs, that failed social experiment that only ensures more of us spend time in jail than ever before, and begin the War on Guns.  Empty our prisons of drug users and fill them with gun owners who fail to see that they have absolutely no reason to own firearms if no one else does.

See, Nancy Lanza was not going to go hunting.  She obviously did not find protection in the guns she owned as her son gunned her down.  In fact, the guns she owned ended up killing her, so I’m sure if given a Mulligan she’d probably take them back even without a refund.  I’m sure she loved the children in her class, so I doubt she felt the Second Amendment worth the lives of 20 of them as well as 6 of her colleagues.  I doubt as she faced her end she thought of Charlton Heston and his famous “out of my cold, dead fingers” pronouncement.

I will not use the term “rest in peace” for those children and brave adults who died on December 14th in Connecticut.  That’s offensive to the very nature of the crime committed against them.  Rather, we should have been blessing them with a “live in peace” on December 13th.  We should have ensured their safety then, not given it lips service now.  Prayers and love and compassion are meaningless to them now, but how much could it have meant to them Thursday?  Yeah, that’s what I mean.  Tomorrow is too late.  Now is what matters.

And for Pete’s sake let’s stop being married to an ideal written 250 years ago in a document that was meant to be changed when necessary.  It is necessary now, more than ever, to rid ourselves of the scourge of firearms in this nation.  Our children deserve it, and we, as loving, caring, and intelligent adults need to ensure we protect them within a society that demands change.  Yes, our society is demanding change.  That is evident in the gun violence that is destroying us from within.

It is so evident that all we need to is review the gun violence over the last 10 years and ask, “how is that Second Amendment working out for you?”  I’d say not at all.  It’s time to move beyond the ideas that violence is the answer (that isn’t really working out for us either) and toward something a little harder to do but much more rewarding (as Gandhi and the independent India he helped give birth to without firing ONE SINGLE SHOT proved).  I love Gandhi and his example because he was a tiny, diminutive man who successfully rebelled against a world superpower without ever owning a gun.  It’s time we follow that example and bury Charlton Heston’s somewhere far away where we never need look at it again.

For now, I will follow other people who are crying, praying and empathizing with those victims of gun violence who decided to follow the pursuit of happiness rather than the right to bear arms and were shot in the process.  Yet I will not let this fire within me be buried with those victims.  Instead, I will use it to work toward ensuring that we create no other victims for the stupidity of a few who love the power of shooting something so dearly.  It’s time to end the lunacy, and never forget those who died for nothing more than an ideal.

photo by: LINUZ90

The Marriage Issue is About More Than A Chicken Sandwich

 

This “issue” involving Chick-fil-A has certainly stirred up a debate (I love understating the obvious). It has even stirred up a debate on whether or not we should be having a debate about the debate about the issue.  Amazingly, we are not only fractured about the issue itself, but also on the importance of the very debate!

After getting caught up in the emotion of the issue (I favor equality for all people), I decided perhaps a few moments of contemplation and introspection were in order.  The reaction I was having was about me, and my feelings, and not about the issue at all. In the mix of anger and hostility I was feeling towards those I have deemed as “oppressors”, it didn’t feel right that I continue with such a reaction.  I can’t be so attached to any principal or opinion in a way that sacrifices the very mindfulness I have so worked so hard to develop.

So, contemplation ongoing and mindfulness somewhat returning, here is what I have come to understand.

Denying marriage to any two consenting adults is discrimination

There, I said it. In this society marriage isn’t just a religious ceremony but also a civil contract. Civil contracts fall under the auspices of the judicial branch of our government. Therefore, government has to be involved in the issue of marriage from a strictly legal standpoint. Anything from purchasing real estate, to investments, to decisions that affect the children of the marriage all fall under the civil contract that marriage provides.

Therefore, in my opinion, denying any two consenting adults the rights that marriage provides for under law is an act of discrimination.  Doing so by law is oppression.  Doing so by law under religious pretense is religious persecution.

Government must take the lead

Why?  Because that is why we have one.  Part of the role of government is to protect the minority from the majority.  Mob rule is not tolerated in this nation, and should not be tolerated under any circumstances even if you are a member of the mob.  Remember folks, one day you may find yourself on the other side of this mob rule mentality, and you will hope and pray that the insane majority does not get to oppress you.  You will look for your knight in shining armor, and in this nation that knight comes to us in the form of legislation and judicial oversight.

One reason I love the ACLU (yes, that seems to make me a bleeding liberal, yet I see no evidence of blood anywhere) is because they take on the most unpopular causes in support of liberty.  I don’t even agree with them often, but I see the value in what they do and love the fact that someone out there is willing to take on the mob in the arena our founders have designed for just such a purpose: the court system.  Even when I am part of the mob I love that there is someone out there who is willing to challenge me because, frankly, I am not right all of the time (in fact I am wrong most of the time) and need to be challenged.

I see denying anyone, homosexuals included, the ability to marry one another is like denying a person a seat at the counter I am at simply based on who they are.  In our rather short but dark history, we Americans protest we are about being the “shining light of freedom” but rarely let this line shine first in our interactions with one another.  We have invaded a land and uprooted an entire civilization often killing, raping, and creating great suffering in the process (yes, we invaded North America and got a lot of the continent for our efforts).  We have bought and sold other human beings, enslaving them under deplorable human conditions.  We kept people from voting based on race and gender.  We have killed one another for profit, and imprisoned record numbers of people in the name of an idea that suggests intoxicants are horrible. We have instituted death as a punishment without ever being able to prove with certainty that all those we kill are guilty.  We’ve kept an entire race of people separate from the rights, power, and dignity afforded to those in the majority.  Yes, those people we sought to segregate from our society were ancestors of the people we once kidnapped, bought, sold and enslaved as nothing more than property.

But the good news is…

We learned from our mistakes.  The picture I paint above is factual even if it paints a very dark picture of the American experience.  However, part of that American experience is in realizing the mistake and correcting it.  We now honor (albeit not enough in my opinion) Native Americans in their remarkable way of life and in recognition of their place in this continent’s history.  We passed laws giving women the right to vote.  We ended Prohibition even if we haven’t learned the lesson fully yet.  We emancipated the enslaved and fought to save a Union in the process.

We even passed laws making discrimination illegal.  Despite sitting at a counter not being any right provided for Constitutionally, we protect human beings from the onslaught of stupidity that deems them less than another.  Despite wage equality not being a right Constitutionally, we protect human beings from the stupidity that suggests that who they were born makes them less valuable than who they are.  Rosa Parks could end her life sitting anywhere she damned well pleased on a bus because we heard her loud and clear, and we debated, discussed, fought, died, and did what was necessary to right a wrong.

It’s not about sexuality…

It’s about humanity, compassion, liberty, freedom, and ensuring all of those things for not only ourselves or our gay brothers and sisters, but also our posterity.  Any one of my children could be gay.  Or my grandchildren to come way, way, WAY in the future.  Would I want my children or grandchildren (or any one of my posterity to come) to face segregation, humiliation and religious persecution because of who they were born to be?  My Creator created each and every one of them, and I simply refuse to allow what I see as idiotic ideas of man to interfere with the beauty my Creator as endowed to this Universe.

It’s time we end the idiocy.

So, to me, it’s not about the sexuality of the couple who wants to enjoy the full legal benefits of marriage without being separated from the rest of society( civil unions suck for that reason in my opinion).  A church does not have to marry anyone the religion itself discriminates against, but the governments of this nation should have no choice but to marry anyone who wants to marry.  Period.

It becomes about fairness, equality, and the fact I never want to be an oppressor.  Yes, I see anyone who gets in the way of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as an oppressor.  I see anyone who supports those who gets in the way of someone enjoying life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as an oppressor even if all they do is make horrible food for people to eat (it may taste good, but so does rat poison to a rat).  Eat it if you want, it’s a free nation and you should be free to do whatever you want to yourself (even smoke a joint if it helps you with the ailments eating MSG-laden chicken sandwiches gives you).

The debate is not only important, but necessary

Yes, we need to debate this.  It’s how we have evolved as a nation.  We take a wrong, discuss it until everyone is in a good fervor, and

I Love this woman

then fight it out somewhere. Or we wait until Snooky has her baby and forget the entire thing.  Whichever.  We need this debate though.  We need a Rosa Parks to stand up and say “enough”.  We need to a Susan B. Anthony to suggest that a woman owning her own property as only fair.  We need an Abraham Lincoln to have the balls enough to not only address an idiotic idea, but defeat it wherever it may

choose to fight.  Dare I say that we even need an John F. Kennedy to stand up to the George Wallace’s of the world and say “not on my watch.”

Yes, we do.  It’s the American responsibility that comes with having the American dream.  Discuss it, debate it, realize the error and then fix it.  One day, and I hope I am alive to see it, we will look back on this discussion just as we look back at our segregationist history. Our grandchildren will review this era in our history and say “what on Earth were they thinking”.  I also hope that they will look back favorably and honor those who stood up and changed the idea.  The idea that somehow this society should discriminate, and that it was not the role of our government to end the insanity.

One can only hope.  And pray.  And, yes, work to get it done.

~Peace.

photo by: ep_jhu

Freedom is Not Free (Gun Control is Still Control)

“We fight not to enslave, but to set a country free, and to make room upon the earth for honest men to live in.”
Thomas Paine (1737-1809)

 

The tragedy in Colorado has surely renewed the debate over gun control and Second Amendment rights.  It is also surely going to further divide a nation already fractured to its core.  As typical on social issues such as this, I am lost in a sea of what I feel/want versus what I know to be true.  Things like this are never easy, and such things often exercise our minds versus our values and should, if we exercise these things carefully and with awareness, leave us with a resolution to adhere to our values.  Character demands nothing less.

As true with my attitude on abortion rights (I am pro-life but believe everyone has the right and should have the freedom to decide for themselves) my views on gun control often inspire a reactionary event in those I know, love and/or discuss with.  I would shrink from the discussion if it were not so important in our national discourse.  My personality and my character simply does not allow me to hide in the shadows.  That being said, I am nothing more than some anonymous blogger who loves people and values life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as inalienable rights bestowed upon us all by our Creator.

I feel a distinct and immutable sadness over the death, suffering and destruction created in Aurora.  Tears well up inside me as I empathize with those who have lost a loved on to such a heinous act.  My heart bleeds for those who were injured.  My soul prays for healing and yes, it even prays for forgiveness for the person who created caused it all.  Yes, I wish him healing and love as surely as I wish it on the victims.  If that offends you, I am sorry.

I am no longer a man prone to violence, and I see it as the lowest frequency of human vibration.  I see violence as fear’s lowest low, the moment when our human minds become their weakest, and our hearts lose their hold on the smaller part of us.  In that light, I cannot react to violence with violence and expect the world to become a better place for my existence.  I must find the strength, resolve and love in my heart not to beat you down but to find a way to lift you up when I feel you have done me wrong.

That is my way.  It may not be yours, and I have found it take great resolve and strength to act in accordance with that vision even in the most benign of circumstance let alone in an event like the tragedy in Aurora.  I struggle with adhering to this vision daily and certainly know the strength it takes to not react in fear’s grip when it is so easy to do so given our societal instruction from birth.  I understand that we are taught “an eye for an eye” from birth, and that “domestication” creates in us a reactionary personality that feels the need to do something when we feel a wrong has been done.  Sometimes stillness should be the answer, but we weren’t raised that way as a collective and certainly were never taught how to exercise that restraint.  That “domestication” often makes hypocrites out of even the most peaceful and well-meaning among us.

Control is Control and Control is Oppression

To me, it is this simple.  The mechanism by which a deranged human being carries out his fantasies is not the issue.  A man bent on killing others will find a way to carry out is will regardless of what weapon we put in his hand.  One such example was at the Happy Land Social Club, where an angry boyfriend used gasoline to kill 87 people.  A difference here is that there is no “right” to gasoline, a gas can, or matches.  The Oklahoma City bombing was caused by fertilizer and fuel oil.  You simply do not need a gun to carry out acts of terror, vengeance or anger on other people.

So, while I personally see no need for anyone to have an assault rifle, I can’t inflict my attitude on those who do.  As a vegetarian, I see no reason for people to kill Bambi at all, let alone with an AK-47.  I read somewhere that about 13,000-14,000 a year, far greater than those who are killed by assault weapons every year.  While speeding is against the law in the United States, I have heard no one propose that we take cars away from those who speed.  They may lose their driver’s license after about umpteen tickets, but they still have their car.  Guess what, there is no “right to own a car” written in the Constitution anywhere either.

While this argument may sound silly to you, the idea of punishing law-abiding citizens whose pursuit of happiness involves owning a Uzi because of the handful of deaths committed every year at the hands of assault weapon owners is just as silly to me.  If they want to own a Uzi, fine, they should be free to own one.  As long as they don’t shoot up innocent people as a result.  People should be free to make choices for themselves.

Attitude is a dangerous thing, especially when some try to force others to adhere to their own.  Gun control is not about controlling guns, it is about controlling others.  It’s about keeping them from doing as they wish and distorting the Constitution to fit that attitude.  The Second Amendment is not about bearing arms as part of a “well-regulated” militia, it is about ensuring that the People can both keep a well-regulated militia as well as ensuring the right to bears arms is not infringed upon by the Federal Government (study Tench Cox and the opinions of the delegates on the Second Amendment).  Both things, the militias and the right to bear arms, were a direct result of real fears of our founding fathers pertaining to tyranny.  They wanted to ensure that the government could not keep the citizenry from both militarizing and protecting itself from a government.

“Another source of power in government is a military force.  But this, to be efficient, must be superior to any force that exists among the people, or which they can command; for otherwise this force would be annihilated, on the first exercise of acts of oppression.  Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe.  The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States.  A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive.”
Noah Webster  (1758-1843) 

This was a predominant fear, particularly of those who fought against the European monarchies and tyrannies.  Understand that many Americans did not want a strong central government just for this reason.  There was a real fear that everything they fought for against England would be lost by creating a government that could usurp the power from the People.  The Second Amendment was considered, debated, and approved under that auspice; the People can fight back whenever the government becomes too tyrannical.

So this isn’t about Bambi, or Aurora, or Columbine.  It is about the real fact that we have a right, liked or not by all, to keep and bear arms in this nation.  That right exists more clearly than the right to abortion, the Separation between Church and state as well as many other “principals” many of us hold dear.

Freedom is Not Free

The price of freedom isn’t always about currency.  It is not always about fighting foreign dictators or evil empires.  It’s not always about liberating the oppressed.  Sometimes the supreme sacrifice made in the honor of freedom is found in movie theaters, in schools, in dark alleys, or on college campuses.  Sometimes those who die for freedom are not part of a well-trained military unit, but our neighbors, friends, husbands, wives, and children.  It sucks to say this, in fact it pains me greatly to say this, but we can’t honor those who have died for freedom by eroding that freedom out of fear just because we don’t happen to like something.

Yes, my attitude may be dramatically different had I lost someone close in Aurora.  Anger does that to a reasoning mind.  Sometimes we have to allow cooler heads to make decisions for us when in the throes of an angry reaction.  I sincerely want the person who did this to be punished for his crimes, but I don’t want to punish everyone for them too.  I don’t want to allow this government to take any freedom away from you, from me, or from anyone else.  I simply don’t trust it enough.

I realize this may create some angry reactions.  Understand that it is very hard for me to not only take this position, but stick to it.  Stick to it I will if only because I am sick of being told what I can and can’t do because of the attitudes of others.  I have to wear my seatbelt (I always wear it anyway, it is the have to I dislike) for instance.  Hey, if I want to drive down the road without my seatbelt and suddenly wear my windshield as a necklace that’s on me.  And for the love of all that’s holy don’t tell me about the monetary costs created by those who don’t wear their seatbelts.  Freedom is not free, and sometimes we pay a monetary price to allow others to exercise their own.

I pray we can have intelligent, wise and controlled public debate on this issue.  To me, freedom is the issue here, and what we are willing to sacrifice in the quest for a false sense of security that will never exist.

Peace.

photo by: mandiberg

What ever happened to REAL communication?

We text.  We email.  And then we wonder why we communicate so poorly.  Of course  I am broadly generalizing here, but overall it seems like an affliction dominating our society’s poor track record on relationships.

Amazing, huh?  We have lost the ability to listen to each other unless we are READING.  We have lost the ability to properly use our voices to express ourselves.  We can’t seem to talk to each other unless we are TYPING.  Worse, if we aren’t having 4 conversations at once we lose our ability to focus on the communication we are having.  We feel “empty” if we are not typing away to 5 different people at a time…so much so that we can’t seem to simply look into someone’s eyes and feel what they are saying to us.

I must say that I haven’t texted, FB messaged, or emailed in my personal life as much as I have in the past two months.  I’m used to emailing for business related communication as it is the preferred method of busy professionals everywhere.  Personally, however, I must say that I am getting sick of this method of communication with those I like, love, or want to talk to.  My thumbs are telling me to STOP.  My eyes are telling me to STOP.  Most of all, my mouth is telling me to start using it and to to begin ignoring the incessant beeps and vibrations of my phone and to start using it to TALK to people.  I miss voices.  I miss hearing a laugh instead of seeing an “LOL”.  I miss feeling the emotion of someone instead of reading a bland response.

I don’t really believe I can end the electronic communication.  I just don’t want it to be my primary method anymore.

So, FRIENDS…call me.  People I am getting to know, call me.  Please, just help a brother out and give my sore thumbs and my restless ears some work.  Let me know if I can call YOU…since I’m not sure many know how to even answer their phones anymore (this is an attempt at HUMOR!!).

Anyway…

Troy Davis.

Troy Davis

This post comes completely from my soul.  It will be short, sweet, and to the point the Love within me wants to make.

I shed tears tonight at the death of Troy Davis.  While it seems his guilt was a far cry from certain, a State in our Union decided it was just to kill him.  Regardless of my very human emotions, any death of another human being at the hands of my brothers and sisters saddens me.  I don’t seek to be a murderer or condone killing of any kind let alone for some feeling of “justice” the weak among us have decided makes things “right”.  Even if Mr. Davis was guilty as charged, the act of killing him is not done by innocent hands but rather by a heart lustful for anger’s retribution.  This lust pushes all compassion and sense of justice to the side.

Yes, I do feel the same sadness for the man who Davis was convicted of killing.  Yet capital punishment is not, to me, about the victim.  It is more about acting like the perpetrator.  I cannot in good conscious condemn a man for doing something and then, in turn, do it to him.  This contradiction goes against the sense of direction given to me at birth.

An executioner is nothing more than a murderer in fancy clothes with a piece of paper that makes his crime “just”.  Those who condone the deaths of others are complicit in that death.  There is violence in condoning violence, and there is violence in doing nothing to stop it.  Those who live by the sword will die by the sword regardless of whether that sword takes the form of a hangman’s noose, an electric chair, or some mixture of chemicals designed to make the murderer feel better about his actions.

Finally, I leave this thought with a simple premise.  We have an individual decision to make.  We can be more like Jesus or more like Romans.  We can be the man who forgives others as they drive spikes through his flesh or we can be the man who wields the hammer.  We can feed the hungry or watch them starve from our feast.  We can be our brother’s keeper or hide our selves in shame knowing what we have done.  The choice is ours, but just as any stone that hits the calm seas the ripples will surely be known.  Tonight, we have again lost a little bit of our Selves as our society kills one of its own in some fancy flight of “justice”.

I have made my choice and as I stretch my arms wide to accept my fate I look out to see yours.

My friend and fellow elephant journal writer  wrote a tremendous follow up to the enormous power of forgiveness Troy Davis showed at the end of his human existence.  It’s an inspiring piece written about a perspective few of us could exhibit in any resembling a similar circumstance, and I hope you read it.

Peace!

The Question of Abortion ~ It Brings Out the Hypocrite in All of Us

Today I find myself basking in the afterglow of a huge explosion.  Recently, I found myself discussing the issue of abortion with a group of conservatives.  Needless to say I felt a bit banged up over the discussion, but such figurative bruising is necessary for me to understand how someone else feels and then, hopefully, why they feel the way they do.  I put up a good front when arguing specific points, but invariably I am simply trying to better understand the viewpoints of others as well as the source of their opinions.

In this specific case, however, the answers I received only led me to more questions that others simply were not prepared to, or could not, answer.  As is usually the case when you are discussing such volatile topics with ideologues, name calling and rhetorical threats ended the discussion when nothing else seemed to work.  Fortunately, this discussion was held on an internet forum where physical violence seemed impossible.

That is how explosive the subject is.  Yet, because I could not get the fundamental question answered I figured I would write about it here in the hopes that someone, somewhere could answer it.  I have my answer, which I will share later, but I am curious to see if sans ideas and conditioning we can all arrive at the same answer or if we are just too attached to both to let go.  First, however, some clarifications are in order.

I do believe that most people on both sides of the issue are very sincere people with good hearts.  I believe that they care deeply about their perspective and that the passion shown is a testament to that caring.  For those on the left side they care about women and their freedoms as well as children who are left without in our nation.  They see abortion as stemming the tide of suffering while exercising the rights of women to choose whether or not a fetus can feed off her body.  On the right, they see it as not only an issue of personal responsibility, but also an issue that defines how our society values life.  Both sides care, both sides are exhibiting some kind of compassion, and neither side is truly “wrong” except to the other.

While I may have greatly simplified the views and the opinions presented, I believe this description accurately depicts the majorities on both sides of the issue.

For me?  Well I am a self-described “pro-choice/pro-life” kind of guy.  While I have been called “wishy-washy” by people on both sides, I see a woman’s choice as hers to make while seeing life as valuable and something to be honored.  Personally, I could never have an abortion, not only because I am male, but because I simply could not make that choice.  Yet, I know some who have and they are people whom I value as both human beings and as good, loving people.  I could not simply condemn them for their choice because I can’t see it as defining them outside of it.

That said, I have found that the question of abortion brings out the ultimate hypocrite in each of us.  For most who are “pro choice”, it seems they have no issue condemning the loss of life in other death-creating actions like war, capital punishment, and crime while appearing to embrace the loss of life abortion creates.  Life has been relegated to a matter of convenience to some and a matter of wealth (or poverty) to others while seeming to be a matter of choice to all on this side of the isle.

On the right, I find the hypocrisy seems to run a bit more deeply.  While most on the right define their opinions as “pro-life”, the majority of them seem to be nothing of the sort.  They have no issue with innocent men, women (some of whom are pregnant) and children being slaughtered in some fear-based fantasy called “the war on terror” (not-so accidentally called “collateral damage”).  They also seem to have no issue with the State killing men and women it deems guilty of something worthy of the ultimate punishment.  Conservatives conveniently add conditions to life itself, which in my mind suggests that it isn’t truly life they value, but rather some idea of the value of life that they assign based on conditions.

Regardless of my opinion of those with opinions, I do have one fundamental question of people on either side.  It is one that I would like answered, but not with the typical immediate reaction I get with questions on this subject (like the one you may me having right now!).  Rather, the answer to this question should be contemplative and rather slow in coming.  When I first asked it of myself years ago it actually took me months to come up with an answer that truly changed my perspective.  It took time to have the reactions, understand them and their source, and then see if they truly represented my answer.

Warning: an image I am using below is a bit graphic, but necessary in order to properly ask the question.  Please do not look if injury offends you as it does me.

So here goes with the question I find gets to the heart of this issue once and for all.

What makes this life:

More or less valuable than this life:

or more or less valuable than this life?

I can only assume, and I hope you will all clarify this, that the value we truly have on life belongs to the ideas we have created around it.  I came to that understanding while pondering this very question for months until I arrived at an answer that made TOTAL sense to me.  It didn’t just have to make sense to my mind, or my soul, or my conditioning.  No, to me it had to make complete sense to my wholeness.  It could not sit wrongly with one while making sense to the others.  It had to be an unanimous decision, not a majority one.

The one I arrived at many years ago was such a unanimous answer.  There was no difference.  Each life held exactly the same value regardless of my ideas about it.  If I removed the ideas I had about the person I was looking at, their life held the exact same meaning as my own.

Now I won’t lie to you.  Getting my mind to agree was the hardest part of the meditation.  I had backed it into a corner where it could not truly justify its answers when presented with the power of Love, Compassion, and Being.  Each time it came up with an idea as to why a guilty man should be executed along came Love to say, “turn the other cheek”.  Each time it suggested that the “war on terror” was necessary to protect my own family, Being suggested, “blessed are the meek and the peacemakers”.  Once my mind silenced the ego that called out in fear the answer came to it quite easily.

So, is the “pro-life” movement truly “pro-LIFE”?  Or is it simply in pro-“ideas about life”?  When we make a choice to end a life unnaturally, whether in utero, in war or in an execution chamber, aren’t we making a statement that suggests we value the IDEAS we have about life more than the life itself?

Is that right?

I leave the answers up to the individual in the full knowledge that, without the ego’s reaction it is a very simple one to answer.  I also leave the answers up to the individual to choose what is the right answer for them in the full knowledge that the answer they arrive at now may not be the one they find later.  It’s an expression of liberty, it’s an expression of freedom, and it’s an assumption of responsibility.  A responsibility not just for you to use, but also for me to allow you the chance to use it.

It appears that in this society we have lost the process to obtain wisdom while become slaves to the conditioning and ideas of others.  We don’t exercise the inherent values that are a gift to each of us.  It’s why we suffer under the weight of ideologues and why we inspire fear in those who believe we are mad with insanity.  We look to political and religious leaders to fill the void left by our inability to sit still long enough to contemplate and formulate, giving them complete power over us.  We rely on the conditioning of our parents for ideas that we ourselves have the power to create.  We abdicate our responsibility to not only wake up to the experience, but allow it to set in long enough to understand its value and then act accordingly.  In doing so, we often try mightily to keep others from having the experience that they wish to have in order to not threaten our own sense of “self” and attachment to the ideas we did not formulate on our own.

I truly trust that we will find our way.  After all, a great man once said (as the story goes) that “the meek shall inherit the Earth.”  I believe him, and although I know it will take time I know that after the entirety of the human “contemplation” we will arrive at not only the right answer, but the unanimous one.

Peace.

The Debt Ceiling Crisis – A Lesson In Spirituality

While others are digging in to the ideological positions I have been simply watching.  While some are calling each other names and suggesting that the “sky is falling” I have been stuck in observation mode simply taking it all in.

Now that ends.  I have seen enough.

I am left rather exasperated by the shear infantile behavior of our political leaders and pundits stuck in their ideological camps.  The are rolling around in their ideas of what is “right” like swine rolling around the mud in their pigsties.  It’s like watching elementary school bullies pick on each other until one goes home crying.  It simply is insanity at its worst.

For instance, allow me to paraphrase a conversation recently overheard on Capitol Hill:

The Hobbit (Source http://www.shockya.com)

Sen. McCain: “Tea Party members are like hobbits.”

Congressman Rand Paul: “Oh yeah, but you’re a troll.”

Sen. McCain: “This is the kind of crack political thinking that turned Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell into GOP Senate nominees.”

Um, excuse me kids, but don’t you have a job to do?  While I may agree with McCain, wasn’t he the one who gave us all Sarah Palin?  I mean isn’t there something I heard once about those in glass houses throwing stones?  You betcha!

Now I don’t want to belabor the points that ideologues have presented countless times already on the issue.  Between the endless news stories, tweets, Facebook updates, and forum posts I have read it is very clear to me.  The points everyone is raising aren’t the cure, they are part of the problem here.  Things like the debt crisis are not problems, they are a symptom of a much larger disease.

The Diagnosis

“Calling Dr. Moe, Dr. Larry, Dr. Shemp” (Source Amazon.com)

We are infected hopelessly in a condition I term “human stupidioitis”.  When I first used that term, I realized that I was saying “human stupid-eee-oh-itis”, but now realize that I was missing a consonant there.  It should be “human stupid-idiot-itis” since that’s exactly what it is.  We have become a species so addicted to our own ideas that we have redefined the entirety of the universe according to the ideas we have created of what it is.  We have created God into an image of man, we have created pollution as “good”, we have created social responsibility as “redistribution of wealth” and we have created greed as a “gauge of success” (just to name a few).

I will leave it “human stupid-eee-oh-itis” for now.  It just sounds so much more “medical” since it is nearly impossible to spell and to say correctly.

What is This Condition?

Modern man became what he thinks he is (notice the italics) today largely because of his frontal lobe (sorry opposable thumbs, but you aren’t the main reason we dominate the Earth).  Our frontal lobes have allowed us to do all kinds of things, from pondering “what am I?” to finding cures for medical conditions to finally realizing that there is no money in a cure while riches await in the treatment.  Our frontal lobes have created not only our abilities to save each other, but to kill each other.  Yes, our frontal lobes have helped us truly understand what we think we are, and have given us ideas not only on who we are

Now, where did I leave my wallet?

but also on who everyone else should be.

Therein lies the root of the disease.  The frontal lobe, to me, is an “idea creator”.  I bet we didn’t have one when residing in Eden.  In fact, we were so “idea-less” that it took a snake to have one for us and once Adam and Eve ate of the apple “wham-oh!!” there it was.  It seems our first idea, if you believe the story of Genesis, was that our genitals were horrible and needed to be covered.  So we covered them.  It’s been all downhill from there.

In fact, I believe that if we all took off our clothes right now we would all be back in Eden.  Just kidding…

I was recently asked what I believed the crux of the Bible was.  I stated that when I shed all ideas that were given to me by my family, friends, acquaintances, clergy, teachers, and books I was left with only one idea that made sense to me.

“The entire Bible has only one moral, and that is that human ideas are harmful while acceptance to what is brings to you to God.”

I was thoroughly ridiculed on that one.  I had made the statement to a group of Christians on an internet forum I frequent.  It was probably the wrong group to suggest that the Bible was not anything other than pure, unadulterated fact.  It turned out to be yet another idea that just smacked me in the face.

When you look at each and every event composing the debt crisis, it seems to mirror every other human crisis in history.  When you look at it simply and without your own ideas you are left with one incontestable truth.  We suffer from a disease of the mind and ideas are its tumors.  Tumors that the mind has become reliant on not only for a sense of identity but also for the creation of what is commonly called “truth”.  This truth, however, lacks any sense of the present moment.  It only knows the present through the past.  In this state of the disease, the present simply cannot exist without the past and therefore cannot stand on its own.  Oddly enough, this condition is not dependent on the individual’s past for life, it also uses the past of everyone else.  We call this condition, ironically enough, “conditioning”.

The Cure

I’d love to tell the world what the cure is.  However, I have learned from my friends in the pharmaceutical world that there is no money in the cure, only in the treatment.  In addition, I obviously have no idea how to cure the pain of ideas.  So allow me to render you a treatment and hope that you will pay me for it. (Yes, I am laughing, and hope you are too.  If not, email me and I will send you a Paypal link.)

Allow me to admit that I realize how idiotic I must sound here.  First, I am presenting an idea (or several) about how harmful ideas are.  Second, I am suggesting that I have no cure, but can provide a treatment.  I have not evolved spiritually enough to follow the wise words of the Tao: “Those who know do not speak.  Those who speak do not know.”  Understandably I am torn on the prognosis as well as my inability to shut up about the disease.

Treatment #1 – Suffering

Most of us avoid suffering like the plague.  Well, we think we do anyway.  In fact, most of us are the creators of the conditions that create suffering even as we do our best to avoid the suffering itself.  We simply ask for it and then feign ignorance when it falls on us like a brick.

In the case of our debt crisis, we have overspent our revenues for at least the last 10 years.  We have ASKED for the debt crisis, and then act not only surprised that we have one but amazed at the consequences.  Now, while most of us want to blame our political leaders, I don’t.  I blame ME.  Why?  Well, I am part of the citizenry that has elected those bozos.  They are in place with their ideas and tactics because I have put them there (“I” is collective here).

We have overspent our revenue.  We have asked for debt under the incorrect assumption that governments MUST operate in the red.  Both political parties (ideas) have done had their hand in this cookie jar, and neither seems to willing to end the insanity.  They are, however, all too willing to end the other guy’s insanity.  The easier of the two, healing thyself, is avoided in favor of the more difficult healing of thy neighbor.  It’s a worldwide problem, and not one I can see as easily cured without the complete and utter collapse of governments, economies and cultures.

This will create suffering because of our unobstructed attachment to all human ideas.  The suffering will lead to an understanding that allows Treatment #2 to be successful.

Treatment #2 – Removal of the Tumors

Meditation – The Surgery

If the mind is the patient, and ideas are the tumors, then meditation is the surgery necessary to separate the tumors from the patient.  Ideas themselves will always be a part of the human mind much like pathogens are always part of the human body, but when we become unattached to those ideas we become free from the disease.  It’s not that the tumors themselves won’t be floating around in our minds, it’s just that we won’t let them take hold and we won’t allow our minds to feed off them.  They will vanish and have little effect on our present moments.

The treatments themselves are quite successful, at least they have been for me.  Even the ideas I present here are not firmly fixed in my thoughts, they are experiences.  Sharing experiences will always have much more truth for me than the sharing of ideas will.  The more present the experience is the more truth I find in it.  Because I can let go of this idea at any time experience provides me with a different one, I am not rooted in that idea and therefore am not “sick” with it.  I can let it go at any time, or not depending on the experience of the present moment.

Prognosis

The doctor states that the patient is critical but that there are glimmers of hope.  The world’s consciousness is shifting, and the collective enlightenment is near.  When I was a young boy, I would often see the Urban Jesus (my name for him) with a sign that said “Repent, the End is Near”.  An idea evolved within me that suggested that “repentance is the end”.  Then I learned that “repentance” involves guilt, shame, remorse” and all kinds of things that made (and make) little sense to me spiritually, so I dove into the idea of repentance as it relates to my human experience.  Now, through my experience, I realize that repentance is the Treatment #1 raised above, with forgiveness being Treatment #2.  It has been my experience that you will not heal without first being injured and then forgiving the injury.  Repentance is the suffering necessary to recognize the tumor, and forgiveness is the surgery that removes it.  You cannot truly heal without going through both treatments.

So, we will eventually suffer for our “human stupidioitis” so that we can recognize the tumors.  We will then have to forgive ourselves and heal.  Perhaps the suffering will create an immunity to the disease, but so far that hasn’t been the case.  I keep hoping that this will be the fever that gets us to the cure, but realize that we are so busy treating the symptom that the cause just keeps festering within us.

The good news here is that you can self-medicate and be cured.

Peace. ☮ ©2011 Thomas P. Grasso All Rights Reserved ☮ ℓﻉﻻ٥ ツ

Is Feeding Kids Fast “Food” Child Abuse?

I was recently blessed by a friend who shared with me an article on the ingredients found in the very popular McDonald’s chicken nugget.  Now I am not one who desires to

Nope, no foam here!! (Source: NaturalNews.com)

stop anyone from doing anything to themselves, that is not my intention at all.  I love freedom, and believe in my heart that we should all have the right to do to ourselves as we wish.  It’s the “do unto others” thing that has me drawing the line.

You can read the article titled Anti-foaming agent found in Chicken McNuggets here.  It’s informative and sheds some light on the hidden chemicals that we are calling “food” nowadays.  As an Indian guru just told us at a seminar, “your body is not a trash can, so stop putting garbage in it!”

An Important Disclaimer

The intention I had for writing this was not for us to label each other as “abusers” or to pass judgment of any kind.  Rather, I want the reader to understand this as distinctly personal and to have an “inner dialog” that leads to an outer dialog.  If we can agree with the premise that what we feed our kids is an outward show of the love we have for them, then perhaps we can have the discussion on how we feed them.

This is not a cause to enact laws that label, but hopefully make the need for such laws unnecessary.  By shining light on what may be some darkness, perhaps we can find an awareness that changes the effects of our behavior to date.

There is evidence that our dietary behaviors are harmful.  There is evidence that our children are suffering under our current dietary behaviors and that we, as parents, are not identifying that evidence and changing those behaviors.  As you read this, resist the urge to label yourself or others, and just take a look at the evidence and what it may mean in your life and in the lives of those you love.

America, the Land of Dichotomy

If you look at our society it is one of fat.  This is odd because we seem to also have a fear of fat.  We also have a fear of dying, which is odd because we also live in the unhealthy extreme that seems to suggest we can’t wait to die.  We are a chemically dependent culture that also has a war being waged on chemical dependence; we support a drug culture while waging war on drug use.  We complain loudly about the soaring costs of health care while doing very little to prevent needing it.  So, as I read this article the dilemma I had was not of shutting down fast food made like these Chicken Nuggets, but on shutting down the effects this food has on our children.  Individual adults have the freedom (in my mind) to eat, smoke, drink or do whatever they want as long as it does not directly effect anyone else including their children.  It is a moral imperative of mine to ensure you can do what you want when you want it as long as it meets those parameters.  So, stock up on fast food if you want.  Eat three meals a day of sodium aluminum phosphate if you want.  You will not only hear silence from me while doing it, you will get my support if someone else tries to stop you.

Yet when I look at the children of this nation suffering under the weight of fast food and its effects I wonder when to draw the line.  If parents aren’t willing to stop feeding their

A Parent's Responsibility: "When I grow up, I want to be just like Mom!"

children this poison, is it society’s responsibility to stop them?  Or have we, the society that fears fat while contemplating which Value Meal to order, simply unwilling to be hypocrites here?  Are we unwilling to show our particular weakness to our children; the one that says “do as I say, not as I do because I am too weak to stop myself?”  Or are we a society that is just incapable of giving the love to our children that we are unwilling to show to ourselves?

Remember, fast food is just not found at a local fast food restaurant.  Look in the pantry…you may find a ton of fast food that escapes your awareness because YOU put it in the microwave and not some cook in a back room somewhere.  Look at the ingredients on the package…is this something YOU would add to your child’s meal if YOU were making it from scratch?  That answer will tell you plenty, and it will help you begin the dialog necessary to discover what our true values are.

Time to Talk

I am not bright enough to answer these questions, but I am bright enough to ask them.  These are individual values at work here people, with the strength and morality of the individual shining through either on line at your local fast food joint on in the act of driving right past it.  Yet it does seem the time is upon us to at least start to talk about these things.  It’s time to discover what actually gets us to walk through the door knowing what we know.  Is it arrogance?  Is it ignorance?  Is it a collective “addictive personality”?  Is it laziness?  Or is it just that we don’t really understand what we truly value?

Could we be just stating what we think others want to hear?  That we want health?  That we dislike being fat?  Perhaps we are just saying those things because it sounds good and we think our neighbor, spouse, parent or child wants to hear them?  Has a society that has a long held belief that peace is achievable through war simply just that good at fooling itself?

Regardless of your individual answer, the real question that we must pose to the collective is “what do we do about it?”  It is time we all sit down in whatever configuration that works and have a respectful and dynamic dialog.  Yes, I know, I may be dreaming that we could even begin on those simple terms, but we have to at least try to get things rolling, don’t we?  We seem to have much more at stake here than just some quick meal that gives us the runs for a few days.

It’s OK to the FDA!

I, for one, can tell you that I do care about not only my children, but our children.  I also can tell you that FDA approval of the junk in this “food” is meaningless to me.  I trust the Taliban as much as I trust the FDA or USDA at this point.  Their stamp of approval simply means “buyer beware” in my mind.  Now, I don’t want to get all down on the FDA and USDA, but let’s just say that, in my opinion, if we had Kim Jung-Il administering our food protection programs I would feel equally at ease.  Yet, I am not sure we should need these acronomized (my word) affronts to common sense in order to make the right choices.  Do we really need processed meat to satisfy us?  Do we really need deep fried vegetables to fill us up?  Or are FDA and USDA approvals nothing more than the “rubber stamp” we need to make bad decisions?  What motivates us, as individuals, to purchase and eat something we know is not good for us?

I suggest to you that our actions speak much louder about our intentions than do our words.  I would also suggest to you that the arguments of “freedom” are invalid here.  Again, I believe you should be able to put rat poison on a sandwich if you want ONLY if you are the only one going to eat it.  The issue is not of choice for me, it is of protection.  Our children honor us often by following our example, but if the Pied Piper would lead them into the sea, who should be there to stop them?  If it is society’s responsibility to save children from harm when does that responsibility end?  What defines abuse?  Let’s leave that to part of the discussion, shall we?

Is Obesity Abusive?

Statistics from the Center for Disease Control seem to tell a horror story in the making.  The most recent statistics available suggest that nearly 1 in 5 children and adolescents who live in the United States are obese.  Even more startling, that is triple the rate only a generation ago!  Today, for every 20 kids in a classroom, 4 of them are considered obese under federal guidelines.  This doesn’t even address those that would be considered overweight by those guidelines.  That’s a tremendous figure considering that human beings are rarely more active than they are when they are children, and these developmental years are vitally important for the adult they will become.  If they are overweight and obese at this young age, what does that suggest for the majority of these children and their health as they head into adulthood?

Also, a recent report released by the Institute of Medicine on June 21 provides some horrifying statistics.  The report states that rates of excess weight and obesity among U.S. children ages 2 to 5 have doubled since the 1980s, and that about 10 percent of children from infancy up to age 2 years and a little more than 20 percent of children ages 2 to 5 are overweight or obese!  If those number don’t jump out at you, I don’t know what will.

The CDC also lists a variety of health risks for obese children.  The website gives an overview that is pretty intense when you look at our limited understanding of what is to come.

Health risks now

  • Childhood obesity can have a harmful effect on the body in a variety of ways. Obese children are more likely to have–
    • High blood pressure and high cholesterol, which are risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD). In one study, 70% of obese children had at least one CVD risk factor, and 39% had two or more.2
    • Increased risk of impaired glucose tolerance, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.3
    • Breathing problems, such as sleep apnea, and asthma.4,5
    • Joint problems and musculoskeletal discomfort.4,6
    • Fatty liver disease, gallstones, and gastro-esophageal reflux (i.e., heartburn).3,4
    • Obese children and adolescents have a greater risk of social and psychological problems, such as discrimination and poor self-esteem, which can continue into adulthood.3,7,8

Health risks later

  • Obese children are more likely to become obese adults.9, 10, 11   Adult obesity is associated with a number of serious health conditions including heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.12
  • If children are overweight, obesity in adulthood is likely to be more severe.13


References

  1. Barlow SE and the Expert Committee. Expert committee recommendations regarding the prevention, assessment, and treatment of child and adolescent overweight and obesity: summary report. Pediatrics 2007;120 Supplement December 2007:S164—S192.
  2. Freedman DS, Mei Z, Srinivasan SR, Berenson GS, Dietz WH. Cardiovascular risk factors and excess adiposity among overweight children and adolescents: the Bogalusa Heart Study. J Pediatr. 2007;150(1):12—17.e2.
  3. Whitlock EP, Williams SB, Gold R, Smith PR, Shipman SA. Screening and interventions for childhood overweight: a summary of evidence for the US Preventive Services Task Force.Pediatrics. 2005;116(1):e125—144.
  4. Han JC, Lawlor DA, Kimm SY. Childhood obesity. Lancet. May 15 2010;375(9727):1737—1748.
  5. Sutherland ER. Obesity and asthma. Immunol Allergy Clin North Am. 2008;28(3):589—602, ix.
  6. Taylor ED, Theim KR, Mirch MC, et al. Orthopedic complications of overweight in children and adolescents. Pediatrics. Jun 2006;117(6):2167—2174.
  7. Dietz W. Health consequences of obesity in youth: Childhood predictors of adult disease.Pediatrics 1998;101:518—525.
  8. Swartz MB and Puhl R. Childhood obesity: a societal problem to solve. Obesity Reviews 2003; 4(1):57—71.
  9. Biro FM, Wien M. Childhood obesity and adult morbidities. Am J Clin Nutr. May 2010;91(5):1499S—1505S.
  10. Whitaker RC, Wright JA, Pepe MS, Seidel KD, Dietz WH. Predicting obesity in young adulthood from childhood and parental obesity. N Engl J Med 1997;37(13):869—873.
  11. Serdula MK, Ivery D, Coates RJ, Freedman DS. Williamson DF. Byers T. Do obese children become obese adults? A review of the literature. Prev Med 1993;22:167—177.
  12. National Institutes of Health. Clinical Guidelines on the Identification, Evaluation, and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults: the Evidence Report. Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 1998.
  13. Freedman DS, Khan LK, Dietz WH, Srinivasan SR, Berenson GS. Relationship of childhood overweight to coronary heart disease risk factors in adulthood: The Bogalusa Heart Study.Pediatrics 2001;108:712—718.

Seeing this, I am left to wonder what we as a society find permissible when it comes to the health of our children.  Are behaviors that cause high blood pressure in children that are not only permitted by parents but are also encouraged a form of child abuse?  Is a dietary regimen created by parents that fosters cardiovascular disease in children and major health complications later in life tantamount to a destructive parent/child relationship?  Essentially, the question that keeps coming to my mind is whether or not we, as a society, have a responsibility to those children who are apparently unprotected in regards to their health.  How do we, as a collective, look at ourselves in our twilight years as children begin to die before their parents because we neglected the importance of a healthy diet today?

Frankly, I simply am not sure what the answer is.  I just know the answer we have now, which seems to be silence, is not working.  Is it coincidence that our health and fitness are declining as our dependence on fast food seems to increase?  I can’t say for sure at this point, but I can say for sure that we owe it to our children as a collective society to do much better by them.

A Time to Change?

The Tao te Ching says “First realize that you are sick; then you can move toward health.”  It seems as if we are beginning to realize that we are sick, but I am often left to wonder if we are understanding why we are sick.  If we set a table devoid of store-bought scientists and big-business nutritional “experts”, could we as a people develop an

It's time to change, the signs all say so!

understanding as to why we are the sickest and most drug-dependent society on the planet?  Could we look at data that suggests that nations that are beginning to adopt our dietary habits are becoming sicker as well and see a correlation?

I hope so.  I hope we can look at evidence ourselves without the bias of pre-paid science and big business propaganda and come to a conclusion that best suits us in relation to our discovered values.  In the meantime, let’s see what we can do to protect our children from our fast food addiction, and stem the tide of poor health moving into younger generations.  It is our responsibility, isn’t it?  I sure hope so.

One final thing.  The opinions here, unless stated otherwise, are mine and mine alone based on a certain amount of knowledge and a vast amount of experience.  They are opinions only unless otherwise stated, and certainly are not meant to do anything but stimulate the common sense of those who find the time, energy and desire to read them.  PEACE! 🙂

A quick thought inspired by a simple picture

I realize that part of man’s slide into the abyss began the moment he made food a “commodity”.  When that which is so freely given to us by the universe is made into something only those with money can enjoy we have lost something.  When the difference between life and death hang in the balance and some have the power to decide we have lost our way.

Not sure if we will ever get it right before the dawning of the New Earth but perhaps it is one but one sign of that sunrise.  When food is no longer bought or sold but given and taken freely we enjoy the first glimpses of light.  When we don’t eat beyond being full, take only what we need and give all that we have perhaps the day has begun.
 To us all that find peace in wanting may we soon find suffering in the desire.  

©2010 Thomas P. Grasso All Rights Reserved ☮ ℓﻉﻻ٥ ツ

9/11/2001

Today I honor those who acted unselfishly in the service of others on 9/11/2001 (and all days) by acting unselfishly in the service of others.  I will follow their example by not becoming a slave to fear but by demonstrating bravery, by not seeking protection but by providing it, and by not discriminating in who can grab my outstretched hand.  Each act of terror allows for moments of bravery.  Each act of chaos allows for moments of order.  Each act of selfishness allows for moments of unspeakable selflessness.  Each act of fear and anger allows for those moments when the eternal flame of love can warm the soul.

The question will always be in our human existence, “To which end to I seek to serve?”

©2010 Thomas P. Grasso All Rights Reserved ☮ ℓﻉﻻ٥ ツ