Order vs. Chaos

This is a repeat from last year.  It’s far too simple and it doesn’t get to the heart of what is changing.  A year has brought some clarity, but I wanted to first present this as a starting point for a discussion this week.

There seems to be some greater conflict in the world, Everyone has a theory as to where the batle lines are drawn – liberal versus conservative, white versus non-white, Muslim versus infidel, young versus old. Not all of these can be right at the same time, which brings to mind two questions:

What is the “real” conflict? And why is it not obvious?

The battle, if there is a real one, is primarily a matter of general anxiety. It’s an internal conflict within many people who have lost a sense of hope for a better tomorrow. But outwardly, it manifests itself into a battle between stability and chaos – a conflict between the preservation of what order exists and a desire to wash it away in order to make way for something, anything else.

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Institutional Racism

For Dr. King’s Day, we have to acknowledge there is a war on between races.  It is a war which can only tear this nation apart, as it has done for centuries.  This,from 2016, is on how we have to engage it.

My thesis is this: there is nothing more important to the future of our nation than ending racism, particularly institutional racism. This has become a desperate matter of survival for far too many people when it comes to the issue of police killings. These tragedies happen disproportionately to minorities largely because of racism.

Yet the problem goes far beyond that. There is not a single issue in this nation which does not ultimately become polarized and frozen by race. Much of the resistance to government intervention and assistance comes down to a belief that “They” are getting the benefits – the mysterious “other” that is easily blamed for everything. It prevents us from having a useful discussion about “Us”, a free and united people ready to tackle the changes of our world bravely and directly.

But let’s stay with police killings for a moment. Let’s talk about how we get from where we are to a world where no cringes in fear when the disco lights and sirens blare, a world where Black Lives Matter. Let’s talk about how complex issues with hardened battle lines are taken on so that we can get past the problem. Let’s talk about tactics, or how a battle is won.

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Conflict and Peace

This is a season for peace.

It’s not about the birth of the vulnerable infant savior or the miracle of light. Climate and darkness commands all boreal people to hunker down and slumber, to close their eyes for a moment and accept their frailty as they seek comfort in family and friends. This is the time of year when all are equal in the search for warmth, for love, for companionship, for peace.

But we do not live in a time made for this season. There is conflict everywhere, as those with the means to close their eyes in security feel a need to secure their safety before they can rest easily. Those in pain lie down in the cold and wonder jealously what it would be like to fell such peace in the few dark moments they have of rest.

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Chaos versus Order

There seems to be some greater conflict in the world, Everyone has a theory as to where the batle lines are drawn – liberal versus conservative, white versus non-white, Muslim versus infidel, young versus old. Not all of these can be right at the same time, which brings to mind two questions:

What is the “real” conflict? And why is it not obvious?

The battle, if there is a real one, is primarily a matter of general anxiety. It’s an internal conflict within many people who have lost a sense of hope for a better tomorrow. But outwardly, it manifests itself into a battle between stability and chaos – a conflict between the preservation of what order exists and a desire to wash it away in order to make way for something, anything else.

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Give Peace a Chance?

Don’t you know there’s a war on?

Just before I was born, a shade over 50 years ago, a War on Poverty was declared. It embodied all that was great about America – a pledge to marshal our forces with military precision to feed and clothe every citizen of this land. Nevermind we were fighting a real war at the same time – called a “police action”.

Since the War on Poverty we’ve had a War on Drugs, a War on Terror, and a number of actual shooting wars – none of which we called a “war”, of course. There’s also been a War on Women, War on Christmas, War on Islam, War on Cancer, a War on the 1% …. the list goes on indefinitely.

As we enter this election an angry and energized electorate might be forgiven for perceiving every small slight as though it was an assault from “the enemy” from “the war” (pick one). It’s the only language we have to describe conflict, after all. And it’s language and behavior completely anathema to any kind of civilized democracy.

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Iranian Ambition, the Great Chessgame

Netanyahu’s tone was measured and direct, fitting the prestige of the chamber he was addressing. “That deal would not prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons — it would all but guarantee that Iran gets those weapons, lots of them,” he told Congress last Tuesday. It was classic Netanyahu in many ways – bold, dire, and ultimately a load of cowpuckey.

Netanyahu can’t claim to know what is happening in the “P5+1” talks to stop Iran’s uranium enrichment program, and if he does know he can’t prove it publicly. These talks have been going on for nine years now and have always hinged on one sticking point – Iran cannot obtain nuclear weapons. Any other result would have made the talks much easier and they would have been over by now. But these are important talks for reasons even larger than weapons of mass destruction.

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Ukrainiana

Ukraine heated up this weekend when Russian troops invaded Crimea and backed the unrecognized Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov, who has declared the province is now independent from Ukraine.  The situation essentially pits all of Europe against Russia, with the Ukrainian people caught in the middle.  It feels like the way something like World War III might start for good reasons.

Russia cannot let Ukraine go over to the West for many reasons and has been playing every card in their deck.  This situation started on 21 November when Ukrainian President Yanukovych backed out of a deal to join a European Union “Eastern Partnership” under Russian pressure.  Russia then sent a $15B emergency loan to Ukraine, more or less paying Ukraine to be their friend.   The people of Ukraine rose in protest, eventually ousting Yanukovych and declaring an interim government with limited legitimacy.

There is a lot of background necessary to understand this from a Ukrainian, Russian, and European Union perspective.  Much of this is unfinished business from the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, but the tortured history goes back much further.

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