A Bit 'o Random Musings on Politics, Religion, and Anything Else That Passes Through My Crazy Head

Friday, January 27, 2012

Really, Republicans?

Now I'm no Republican (shocking, I know, considering the title of my blog).  But, REALLY, Republicans?  Newt Gingrich?  It reminds me of a funny segment on Saturday Night Live's "Weekend Update" where Seth Myers and Amy Poehler where they ask: REALLY?!?!

One of the segments is available on Hulu:

I think what irks me about Gingrich is his personality.  I disagree with all the Republican candidates, so it's not surprising that I would not like Newt.  Gingrich has all the downsides of Republican policy positions, with the added non-bonus of being a real jerk and a terrible leader.  I feel like in both his personal and political life, he treats people with contempt, and I think those are qualities that make him unfit to be President.  His demeanor towards others says "I am better and smarter than you, and you are the dirt underneath my shoes."  I think his treatment of his first and second wives is a symptom of this ego-centrism.

So, Republicans, really?  Newt Gingrich?!?!  You are all insane.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

I Shall Not Pass

There's a book of poetry (very old) that my parents have two copies of.  It's called "The Best Loved Poems of the American People," and I'll admit, some of the poems are corny and sappy and full to the brim with groan-inducing rhymes.  Nonetheless, I love to read it and re-read it.  I was having a terrible, long day yesterday, and towards the end of it, a co-worker showed me great kindness when she didn't have to.  It was just a small and simple act of kindness, but it made a work day of 12 hours seem less terrible.  We have so many opportunities to NOT do kind things, but we should take as many opportunities to do kind things as we can find!

I Shall Not Pass This Way Again
Through this toilsome world, alas!
Once and only once I pass;
If a kindness I may show,
If a good deed I may do
To a suffering fellow man,
Let me do it while I can.
No delay, for it is plain
I shall not pass this way again.
                   - Anonymous

Friday, January 13, 2012

A Political Parable

Two people went up to the National Archive in Washington, D.C. to view the constitution, the one a Democrat, the other a (re)publican.

The Democrat stood and looked at the constitution and she said to herself, I am thankful that I am not as other men, voodoo economists, despisers of undocumented immigrants, haters of the EPA, or even a global warming denier, as this (re)publican is.  I protest twice in the week, and pay taxes of all I possess.

And the (re)publican, standing afar off, would not so much lift up his eyes to the constitution, but said to himself, Oh founding fathers, in your wisdom, be merciful and guide me to your original intent.  I say unto you, this (re)publican went down to his house a truer American than the other, for everyone who is overly certain of themselves should be voted out of office.

The above is a political version of one of my favorite parables in the New Testament, that of the Pharisee and the Publican, told in Luke 18:9-14:
And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:  Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.  I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.  I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

It would be easy to glean from this a lesson I have talked about on this blog before, that we need to respect one another and not look down on those who disagree with us.  I think that is a good message, and a valid way to look at this parable in a political setting.  However, I think there is more political moral to this story.

If you look at the Pharisee (the democrat in the above version), he is actually doing the right things - he is not participating in extortion, being unjust, or committing adultery.  In politics, this is akin the the rare "valid point" - when you are technically correct about something and have the facts on your side.  Note that for each of us, this probably occurs less often than we think it does - we tend to believe we are absolutely "right" about many things for which there is a compelling argument to be made on the opposite side.  But, even in the cases where we are--objectively speaking--right, we still can't be arrogant and mean-spirited.  There is an essential element of humility missing from our ego-charged political punditocracy.

I may have plenty of data to show that the earth is warming, but if I am an arrogant jerk about it, I have gone too far.  I may be able to point to many great things the EPA is doing, but if I am unwilling to admit that it is an organization run by imperfect humans, I may miss ways to make it a better steward of our national resources.  So, my point is this: humility in politics is a good thing.  Even when you're right, be gracious to those who are wrong about something.  So, I guess this does go back to my original moral after all: we need to respect one another and be civil in our political discourse.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


The New York Times stole my headline from my Jan 1st post!  They have an article called "Be It Resolved."  I am going to sue them for intellectual thievery!

Actually their article is very good, also about New Year's resolutions and how to make them more effective.  Read it here.