The Gingerbread Man

One old man's musings. Can't say how many or how often. Nothing better to do? Check it out now and then.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

The Gingerbread Man

Oh Well

A decade after Las Vegas nuptials, our daughter and son-in-law renewed their vows in a backyard ceremony. Granddaughters Alisha, age 6, and Katie, age 4, were flower girls. After champagne toasts, buffet lunch, and wedding cake the bride and groom left on a second honeymoon. Buckled in our back seat, the girls were off for a weekend with Grandma and Grandpa.

Motoring down I-205 our discussion revolved around the wedding: ceremony, flowers, food, people. Kate noted that Grandpa Herb could not be there, because Grandpa Herb died. Apart from the hum or tires on asphalt, the vehicle fell silent. A mile down the highway our four-year-old spoke again. "Grandma, when I get married you can come to my wedding. . . . But if you're dead?" pregnant hesitation, "Oh well!"

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Gas Price Gouging

W. and his rubber-stamp congress assuring Americans they'll investigate gasoline "price gouging" is a replay of the Bush One bunch's health care agenda where word from the top was "act busy but don't really do anything." It's the Fox assuring the farmer, "I'll check on who's eating those hens and get back with you. Trust me."

With Exxon/Mobile, BP/Shell, Chevron/Texaco and the rest posting tens, even hundreds of billions in profits--returns on investment unheard of in human history--could these corporate icons conceivably be putting personal profit above the general welfare?

Then there's Shrub, coming down like Moses from Mount Sinai, to proclaim that America is addicted to oil. Daaaaaaaaa! What's your next mind-numbing pronouncement Pres.? We're addicted to water? How about air?

The W. gang's energy policy was set in concrete the day Big Dick called in his Big Oil cronies to implement their mega-maniacal hammer-lock on every citizen of the planet who depends on petroleum products for survival.

Question: Could the Bush/Cheney's Big Oil Gang get bit on the butt by Big Oil itself? With the Oil Monopoly's greed impacting the world's economy from the price of a barrel of oil to a can of corn, from Jumbo Jet tickets to roller skates, with Big Oil gobbling up every last dollar, pound, shekel, yen, and euro on the planet, and the rest of us afoot and penniless, who's going to buy their gasoline and the myriad products and services dependent on petroleum?

When Bush/Cheney and cohorts finally corral it all, what then?

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Confession

I wish you would praise me. I wish you'd say I'm wise and wonderful, even when I don't act that way. Even when I'm not. Deep inside a tiny voice whispers that I'm loved, but I'm unsure, afraid. I need to hear it from you.

It's puzzling. Secretly I believe that little voice, but the overwhelming force, the energy that drives me throughout this life, this world, is an irrational, irresistible passion to earn you love.

Have you noticed how hard I work, the indecency I endure, how I prostitute myself? I am an entertainer, promiscuous, a whore. I accept jeers, abuse , syphilis, even AIDS if that's what it takes.

I don't protest or whimper, not at all. What I do I do freely, willfully, wantonly. I love my work! I am bisexual, a nymphomaniac. I yearn to make love with almost everyone. There are exceptions, Hitler, Stalin, a couple of others. Mostly I'm indiscriminate.

How bewildering, how absurd, how maddening I must seem. When I play the vamp like a four-year-old in her mother's clothes; when I do and say dumb things like a fifth-grade boy; when I trip over my feet like a Keystone Kop; when I beat up on myself like the Three Stooges, you have reason to be perplexed, amused, even furious with me. But you don't know my lust--or do you?

After almost seven decades I confess what I knew as a child, what I always knew: Love is all that matters. Before I "grew up," before I confused myself, it was there by magic. Now I'm fearful. Behind the acts, behind the disguises, I'm exquisitely cautious. If you ignore or scorn me I will be crushed, so I play the clown, the thief, the whore. I humor you, make you laugh. I trick, beg, buy, bribe, blackmail, and seduce love out of you.

I apologize. Please understand. Unfair, dishonest, irrational, whorish as I am, I plead for your praise in the only way I knw. Please try to remember--while I rarely do--that despite my incorrigible antics, crazy as I seem, I strive with all my meager means, with all my fragile strength, with all my heart, to earn your love. Because it is absolutely essential to my survival. And I know it.

I wonder: Is it time to be bold, to be honest, shamelessly to ask for your love? Is this the wisdom of a sage or the babble of a fool?

Friday, May 05, 2006

As A Boy

As a boy I yearned
to sing
and dance
and make love.
--
Grownups said,
"Be silent,
be still,
be chaste."
--
So I
squelched my song,
fought my body,
hid my passion.
--
Now a man I yearn
to sing
and dance
and make love.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Strength

It's not my weakness
I fear.
It's my strength!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Reply

I received this anonymous comment regarding "If I Were President":

"Who would defend our country against all enemies foreign and domestic?"

Without an email to address this questioner personally, here's my response:

Good question.

Issues relating to foreign enemies would be dealt with by the Pentagon under the Secretary of Defense--somebody's mother--CIA, NSA, FBI and other appropriate agencies. Domestic threats would be handled by the Department of Homeland Security in consort with intelligence and law enforcement resources.

Incidentally, despite their degrees Cindy or Hillary would make a great Secretary of Defense! My Secretary of Homeland Security would be age thirty-something with knowledge and background--not necessarily formal education--in disciplines such as history, philosophy, criminal justice, and social psychology.

Thanx for your input. Suggestions and comments are welcome. Do you have any more?

Dean






Tuesday, April 18, 2006

If I Were President

If I were president I'd have two clowns in my cabinet, one sad, one happy, genuine Ringling-Brothers-Barnum-and-Bailey, painted-faced, baggy-pantsed clowns. I'd have a philosopher too, a Native American, and somebody's mother.

I'm serous.

I'd find people who shun wealth and fame and pay the mean blue-collar wage, on the condition that my Secretaries sing, dance, or recite a poem--better if they write the song or poem--at a cabinet meeting once a month.

My Secretary of Defense would be somebody's mother. Not just anybody's mother, somebody's mother who had raised four or five kids and never went ot college or ran a business, maybe somebody-who-died-in-Viet Nam's or in-Iraq's mother. Yes! I'd have somebody's mother for Secretary of Defense.

I suppose I'd have to have an attorney on my team. I'd make him--and it would be a "him," a white-skinned male--Secretary of Peace. His sole job would be devising ways to help us love and appreciate each other better. If the Secretary of Peace did anything else I'd banish him to some place like Fiji for six weeks.

Choosing people to lead is like drawing water from a well. The water might be pure or poisoned, but as long as it comes from the same well it's the same water. When water is tainted or does not have the right minerals you know it. You don't feel right; you get sick.

In America--in the world--there's a gut-level sense something is tragically, terribly wrong. We feel sick, but we keep drinking from the same well. We choose leaders from the same elite pool of powerful, privelaged citizens and wonder why nothing changes, why we don't get well.

When I watch American presidents, their advisers, and politicians on TV, over ninety perecent are middle-aged or old white men in business suits, (my cabinet would only wear business suits when protocol insisted) economists, captains of Industry and Jowl Street, military officers, and lawyers ad nauseam, except for the necktie colors it could be done with mirrors! Are these men omniscient? Do they represent me? Do they really represent you, your family, your neighbors? Do the understand us? Think about it.

As Viet Nam came crashing down on Lyndon Johnson, the President called in a "council of wise men," old establishment males, to tell him what to do. Their word, "Hang tough and work on your PR." Lyndon could have had this saged advise from a mirror.

The President and his Wise Men failed to appreciate two crucial facts: folks like Ho Chi Minh, whose culture is under threat of survival, never give up, never! And in contrast to our leaders, through television rank-and-file Americans at last recognized the truth, the horror, waste, and stupidity of war.

What might a "council of citizens," some under age thirty, half non-white, half women, common everyday folks have told President Johnson?

Older white men are not the reposigtory of all wisdom! While many mean will, most are trapped in bankrupt thinking. Politically they talk of human suffering and environmental detruction, but their solutions are (to play on Wal*Mart's slogan) always economic, always! Establishment white males believe money will cure all of humankind's head- and heartaches, despite the fact that for centuries humankind's great thinkers have insist that beyond food, clothing, and shelter--vastly less than the billions rich men covet--money is never the remedy.

Presumably American leaders really care about American people, but every solution men like Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush espouse revolves around economics, around money. President Reagan said, "What I want to see above all is that this remains a country where someone can always get rich." (my emphasis)

By contrast, Jesus Christ taught it is easier for a camel to pass throught he eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. The Buddha called greed a "thief," a distraction which prevents us from realizing our oneness with each other and the universe.

Humankind has devised many systems of social organzation. There is no reason to assume one based on frenzied pursuit of money is the best or even a better model. Some cultures view material wealth as the antithesis to peace and social harmony. Very old, enlightened societies believe mystical and spiritual matters are infintely superior to transient physical distraction.

For over seven decades the world's predominant political systems were diametrically opposed economic models. The fact communism and capitalism reflect mirror images of the same fundamental fallacy reveals our leaders' failure to grasp the inadequacy of a stringently economic social philosophy. Communism assumes I will do the right thing if economic incentives are banned. Capitalism assumes I will do the right thing if economic incentives are sacred. Truth is, beyond providing for basic survival and safety we do the right thing for reasons wholly independent of money. We do the right thing from feeling of appreciaton and respect for each other. Dare I day it--that four letter word banned from the economist's lexican? We do the right thing out of Love!

Because they share the fatal misconceptions that a select group of men have all the answers and money is the only solution to humankind's problems, the collapse of European communism holds a warning for World capitalism. The Soviet Union did not crumble becaues of superior American economic or military strength. Communism failed because it refused to acknowledge, much less value, diversity! The Soviet Union imploded because a tiny, homogeneous clique of old men held all power, made all decisions. Sound familiar?

European communism disintegrated because of blindness to the critical impact of non-economic factors in human lfie. It is deeply troubling, frightening, that capitalist leaders do not exhibit the wisdom, courage, or honesty to recognize, to address this tragic flaw. We haggle like turkeys over corn scattered across the barnyard and tinker with the distribution of capital as the planet disintegrates around us, as the less favored suffer and die from neglect.

Over the past century the science of physics experinced a surprisingly unheralded paradigm shift, a fundament change in its view of reality. In the words of physicist and philosopher Sir James Jeans, "The Universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine," as if hard-core science finally discovered God!

Like ninetheenth-century physicists, today's world leaders view humans and our environment as machines. Worse yet, their only tool is economics--like maintaining a diesel locomotive with one screwdriver! They persist in believing if they replace a bolt here, tighten a nut there, the thing will finally be fixed and purr on smoothly forever. Never happen!

American politicians and citizens need to experience a paradigm shift as fundamental as the relativity/quantum revolution recongized by geniuses like Bohr, Heisenberg, and Einstein. While few leaders seem able or willing to do so, hope is not lost.

The change in physics was no quantum leap. It evolved over decades. The good news is, for human government this "new" model is not new. It is recounted in our earliest traditions. It is the heart of religion, art, and ethics. It is articulated most clearly by the Buddha, Lao Tzu, Mohamed, Jesus Christ and uncounted less renowned enlightened souls. Curously, while this model is the only true power, traditional power-brokers fail to recognize it.

Happily, people today do understand and articulate this old/new paradigm, people who understand that obsession with economics--with money and the power money brings--as the only remedy, is a symptom of, not the solution to, humankind's problems; people who propose non-economic answers, people for whom power is not the sole reason to govern, people like the Dahli Llama, Depak Choprea, Howard Zinn to name just a few.

Defining characteristics of a non-economic political model are emphasis on universal sister- and brotherhood and understand that at the most fundamental level--feelings--we are all identical! We yearn to be treated gently, with respect, compassion, and dignity. Dare I reapeat? We yearn to be loved!

A metaphysical or spiritual tone is intergral to this old/new paradigm. In America we are officialy fastidious about "separtion of church and state." And given the temptation of individuals and the power of leaders to impose their beliefs on others, divorcing government from any sect seems essential. Secretly we know, however, the cleavage of spiritualiaty from life, political or otherwise, is artificial, a delusion, in a word, impossible.

Symptoms of our ambivalence regarding the linkage of government and religion range from merely confused to profane. We acknowledge God in our Pledge of Allegiance. Christmas is a national holday. Prayers are said in Congress. And--the ultimate blasphemy--we inscribe "In God We Trust" on coins and currency, the supreme tool of ungodliness.

Our world is to fragile, life to precious, and people too diverse to entrust any select group, sectarian or otherwise, with every crucial decision. While we may disagree over what constitutes "divinity," the fact is, no political system in America or anywhere, can or should be cut off from divine truth.

As I understand it, cultures such a Moslems and Buddhists view divorcing spiritual from political affairs as absured. Most American leaders are some brand of Christian. I'd have Christians in my cabinet, a thin-lipped Baptist and a Catholic nun. I'd have a Jew, a Moslem, a Buddhist, an Hindu, an agnostic and an atheist. I'd be sure to have a Taoist on my team.

We all have the same needs, the same feeling, but experience is unque. I'm convinced an Eskimo, Jew, woman, or Mexican feels love and fear as I do, but I can never presume to know their experience, their world, as they do, and therefore have the same wisdom they do.

If I were President half my cabinet would have non-white skin. I'd have Asians, Arabs, Blacks, Hispanics, East Indians and Native Americans. I'd have a musician, a sociologist, a gay, a lesbian, an historian, a mystic a poet, a blind lady, and a psychiatrist. Half my team would be women. At least ten percent would be under age thirty.

If my patchwork of people did not obsess over money, what on earth would the cabinet and I talk about? Talk is secondary; what matters is what we'd do. If we do the right things, money will take care of itself. We'd go the theater and study great books. We'd discuss Hamelt, King Lear, War and Peace, Paradise Lost, the Bhagavad-Gita, the Bible, Koran, Talmud, and Tao Te Ching--If world leaders lived by just one book, the Tao Te Ching, peace and serenity would replace war and agony.

My cabinet and I would play Scrabble, have birthday parties, and go on picnics.

Once a year we'd back-pack in the mountains or desert for a week, no aides, just me and the Secretaries. If we were lucky there would be thunder and lightning, we'd get stung by bees and sunburned and have to bandge each others' blistered feet. Maybe I'd sprain my ankle--or pretend to--and the cabinet would have to build a stretcher and carry me five miles to a road.

We'd have long retrets, plan the agenda, cook our meals, make our beds, sweep and carry out the trash. My Secretaries and I would take saunas and sun-bathe together, naked.

Yes. If I were President I'd have two clowns in my cabinet, one sad, one happy, genuine Ringling-Brothers-Barnum-and-Bailey, painted-faced, baggy-pantsed clowns, a philosopher, a Native American, and somebody's mother.

Of course I'd never get elected, and that's sad. Becaue I'm serious.