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

Monday, August 26, 2013


I need a little bit of inspiration in my life.  So, I read up on The Washington Post's coverage of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.  One quote I really liked was by historian Richard Hofstadter in Dan Balz's column on the unfinished business of the March: "America is the only country that believes it was born perfect and strives for improvement."

We certainly aren't perfect, but I love us for trying, bless our hearts.  Let's keep on striving to make our Dreams reality, even really big dreams like racial harmony and peace on earth.

Monday, August 19, 2013


One of my biggest sins is envy.  I envy other people's lives, possessions, looks, careers, ability to successfully apply eye make up, and pretty much anything there is to envy (someday I'll do a post about how Facebook exacerbates this problem, but that day is not today).  Likewise, I think that one of our biggest political sins is envy. 

We envy our political opponent when he/she wins, and thus do everything we can to convince ourselves that they are evil or voters just didn't really understand what that person stood for.  We are convinced that somewhere, someone is gaming the system and getting more than their "fair share," and that thought convinces us that all people accepting any form of assistance from the government are reprobate bums.  We tell ourselves that rich people are tax cheats and exploiters of the middle class, and justify raising their taxes while keeping our own low. 

We envy success or passion or any number of admirable qualities, forgetting that the envy just makes us less likely to achieve things we want.  Envy can be debilitating because it causes us to waste time and energy worrying about other people.  I don't really have a solution to all this (if I did it wouldn't be one of my biggest sins), but just thought it worth discussing.

Do you agree or disagree?  How does envy manifest itself in politics or your life today?

Monday, August 12, 2013


Recently I've been thinking about faith.  What does it mean to have faith?  A lot of it, in both a religious and political context, has to do with hoping for things that we can't see.  It takes faith in the system to cast a ballot and trust it will be counted.  It takes faith to believe in a God you can't see.  Faith is a prerequisite to both democracy and religion, but it seems to be undermined by a lot of forces in our society. 

Faith in the media is undermined when pundits on the left and right shout at each other instead of focusing on the truly important stories.  Trust in our elected leaders is undermined when we can't let them operate in broad daylight because then they won't be able to talk freely.  When people we have judged to be guilty walk free, we lose a little faith in the impartiality of our justice system. 

This isn't to say that bind faith is needed.  I believe God gave us brains and rationality so we could use them, and of course a healthy dose of skepticism is, well, healthy.  Political tyrants and religious cult leaders alike feed off the passive believers.  But the opposite of blind faith is equally as dangerous, it's a stubborn refusal to trust others, to trust God (and His timing), or to hope.  That kind of cynicism is a cancer on the body politic.

Emily Dickinson wrote that "hope is a thing with feathers," and our society needs more of that flight-enabling quality.  I need more of it, too.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Political Science

I can't remember if I've shared this before on the blog, but here's one of my favorite political songs, simply because I can't make the words of the blog post I want to write now.  Hope it brightens your Monday and makes you laugh a bit.

Randy Newman, "Political Science"