Reclaiming Democracy

In 2003, George W. Bush hornswoggled this nation into an “illegal, immoral, ill-conceived war against Iraq.” A few years into the occupation when public opinion was turning against the war, the Bush administration argued that a bloodbath would ensue if we pulled our troops out before the Iraqi government and its armed forces were prepared to stand on their own. At that time I wrote: “If the warring factions in Iraq are intent on more sectarian violence and ethnic cleansing, keeping our troops there only forestalls the inevitable,” a prediction that has proven chillingly accurate.

Now, once again, some of our so-called leaders in Washington are absurdly calling for intervention in Iraq’s current internecine savagery. One definition of insanity: “Continuing to do the same thing over and over, each time expecting a different result.”

For a review of the lessons learned from our most recent  military misadventures, check out “When will they ever Learn? America on Brink of another Military Engagement.”

In light of current events in Iraq, I’m reposting a piece I wrote in 2007.

George W. Bush’s ill-fated decision to frighten this nation into an illegal, immoral, ill-conceived war against Iraq, a country that posed no real threat to us, will haunt him throughout history. Now most Americans believe the U.S. should never have undertaken this calamitous military misadventure and support bringing our troops home.

Let’s look at the current reality in Iraq. Thus far in April, an average of 25 American soldiers have died each week, a rate that could bring the total to more than 4,000 by year’s end. The unrelenting violence currently claims approximately 50 Iraqi lives daily, with total civilian deaths estimated at more than 60,000. Our allies in this conflict are drawing down their forces. The various factions in the Iraqi government continue to squabble rather than deal with pressing issues. (more…)

There’s challenge going around on Facebook that requires the person tagged to list the ten books that have had the greatest influence on them. Well, given my anarchistic tendencies, my list contains 16 books.

On the Road, Jack Kerouac
Catch-22, Joseph Heller
Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut
The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Malcolm X
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream, Hunter S. Thompson
Another Roadside Attraction, Tom Robbins
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
A People’s History of the United States: 1492 to Present, Howard Zinn
Long Walk to Freedom, Nelson Mandela
The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
Waking Up: Overcoming the Obstacles to Human Potential, Charles Tart
The Way of the Superior Man: A Spiritual Guide to Mastering the Challenges of Women, Work, and Sexual Desire, David Deida
Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life, Gregg Levoy
The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, Don Miguel Ruiz
Radical Parenting: Seven Steps to a Functional Family in a Dysfunctional World, Brad Blanton
Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting, Myla Kabat-Zinn and Jon Kabat-Zinn

So what books are on your list? You’re welcome to include them in the comments section.

What we’ve been witnessing at the General Assembly in Raleigh the past few months is the futile attempt by fearful, old, white men to hang on to the power and control to which they assume they’re entitled. These extremists imagine that if they can push women, gays, blacks and Latinos back to the status these groups held prior to the mid-20th century, they can hang on to their perch at the top of the pecking order.

Now don’t get me wrong; I have nothing against old white men. In fact, I am one. But I do take issue with any group, regardless of skin color, sex or age, that abuses its power in a deceitful and un-American attempt to keep others from experiencing the fruits of liberty—equal rights for all, the unfettered opportunity to vote, a quality education for all our children, clean air and water for every citizen . . . I could go on.

If you look at the data, it’s clear that the demographic shift currently taking place in our nation will be the death knell of this Caucasian paternalism. The Pew Research Center projects that non-Hispanic whites will make up only 47 percent of the U.S. population by 2050, while the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that this change will take place in 2042. Already racial or ethnic minorities make up nearly 30 percent of registered voters in North Carolina, and this trend is expected to continue. (more…)

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