Sunday, February 27, 2005

My Links

I’ve posted some links to the right, carefully chosen, because I feel that America is currently a nation under siege by a ruthless array of ideologues who will stoop to the lowest form of propaganda to maintain their own power and enrich their own bank accounts at the expense of the working middle class of this country. With that said, some will assail me as a “liberal” as if that were some sort of dirty world or radical position. Not true, not even close. In fact, I have the same (if not better) family values as my more conservative brethren, having been successfully married to one woman (whom I still love dearly) for 35 years (Rush Limbaugh, for example, has been divorced three times and Newt Gingrich has admitted to adultery while one of his wives was on her deathbed), raised three self-sustaining children who also have family values, served honorably in the military (US Army Europe) during the Vietnam War (unlike many of our present leaders and political hack commentators), taught Sunday School for years, and traveled extensively around the world my entire lifetime (unlike you know who).

The definition of the word “liberal” from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary reveals that the word come from Greek roots meaning “free” and Old English roots meaning “to grow.” Last time I looked, there was still nothing wrong with being “free” in this country, and my understanding of the whole point of our historical tradition of public and higher education was “to grow” intellectually and otherwise.

I understand fully that many parents feel that by sending their children to college they will encounter two-horned “liberal” professors. But, the point of going to college is to grow in terms of knowledge, intellectual capacity, experience and wisdom, so that those who stick it out four or more years will be more successful citizens, workers, parents, whatever. What happens in the process is that students, if properly encouraged (and I stress “proper,” because there are clearly improper situations too, unfortunately, but these are in the vast minority, despite what the right wing pundits would have you believe), learn to look at situations from multiple points of views and are able to apply their own newly developed critical thinking skills to a variety of sources to make their own determinations. Those students who can successfully tolerate this stretch of their imagination, this leap from childhood, are those who will have better jobs than the clerks at Wal-Mart (and bless Wal-Mart’s heart – there’s a place for them too: I love shopping at Wal-Mart.)

One of my favorite examples of this scenario is what I get every semester from at least one 18-year-old in most of my classes: a student who loudly asserts that evolution is false, that carbon dating is wildly inaccurate, and that the earth was created in six days 7,000 years ago. Bless this student’s heart too – I admire his or hers conviction and courage to state out loud that conviction. And I never say that student is wrong. I simply point out that there are thousands of credible sources developed over more than a century that feel otherwise, and then I ask if that student has ever been to the Grand Canyon or to Dinosaur National Monument in Utah. Invariably the answer is “no,” (in fact invariably this student will have been no further from his or her home county than the high school senior class trip to Six Flags Over Whatever). I then suggest that a trip to the Grand Canyon would fill the student with a sense of awe and respect for the Earth. Then we get into a lively class discussion of the history of conflicts between science and religion (Galileo, etc.), other Creation stories, and why this conflict has to exist (it doesn’t) and why all religions and cultures have Creation stories.

By the way, just because I believe in the separation of church and state, one of the founding principles of this country, does not mean I hate God. And just because I believe a so-called conservative president has no business sending yours or my children and grandchildren around the globe to fight and die for “democracy” does not mean I hate George Bush. What I do hate though is ignorance, deliberate misrepresentation of the truth, an almost immoral disregard for the lessons of history that this administration seems to promote on a national and even international scale. We here within the cocoon of our lapdog media may believe (about 51 percent apparently believe, if the election results can be trusted) their self-serving propaganda, but the rest of the world is not deceived, as anyone who travels abroad or who has family abroad (including our brave troops in Afghanistan and Iraq) knows. This willful ignorance has already caught up with us once, and who can predict what the future holds now that both Iran and North Korea have announced their nuclear weapon intentions.

So, let me end this entry with a quiz question: Remember why we went into Iraq – to make the world safer? Two years later, is it safer? Answer truthfully now please.


At 7:08 PM, Blogger Andrew said...

Hi, It's Andrew. I'm surprised to see that no one has commented yet in this post. Well, maybe they'll follow. I was raised in a very conservative home all of my life, yet have proven to only retain a small fraction of my parents values outside of those taught in the scripture. I have too grown weary of hearing the word liberal used with a negative connotation. I have come to think of the word liberal (as a noun) synonymous with insight. I applaud the fact that you have been married for 35 years (not to call you old or anything but that's a long time seeing that near 50% of marriages end in divorce in America). I would love to hear sometime about you invovlement in Vietnam. That time period amazes me. I always like to hear the opinion about Iraqi war from a veteran. I liked what you said about the hypothetical student that doesn't believe in evolution. I'm still not really sure that creationism and evolution occur together. I did a big 6 month study on the mechanics of it all, yet I still haven't been swayed one way or the other. I look at it this way. An omniscient, omnipotnent being has methods and processes of making things work the way they do that a human mind can never hope to understand. I'd love to discuss this topic with you sometime through e-mail. Oh yeah, to answer the question at the end of your post, everyone kinda agrees that the world is a better place without Saddam Hussein, but was he really the big problem (9/11)? I think not.

At 11:44 PM, Blogger thePotandKettle said...

Let me ask you a question,
Do you believe that God created man in his own image or did man create God in his own imagination?


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