THE HATE

It’s the hate that I find so staggering,
The deep, blind, and passionate, gripping hate.
How does a person get to that dark place?
Driven to slaughter members of their race.
Yes, their race. For truth is there’s only one.
Not political correctness, but fact.
Not wishful thinking, but plain simple truth.
What mind-numbing fear stops that getting through?
We fight for freedom of speech, at what cost?
Is there something we’re missing? Something lost?
There are few freedoms that are inherent,
Perhaps that’s the thing that we’ve come to see,
They are all linked to responsibility,
That much becomes more and more apparent.
Believe many things, I’ll go along, but,
I’ll not grant the right for you to be wrong,
About this, this irrefutable fact,
We are one, one human tribe, one pact,
Divided by nation and circumstance,
Colour and race thrust upon us by chance,
That truth must bind, ironclad, forged in fire,
Extinguish the hate and raise ourselves higher,
All social tools choose a line to draw,
All institutions and forces of law,
Take persons and groups who just want to hate,
Bring them into the light and educate,
Walk the walk, talk the talk of inclusion,
No tolerance for any exclusion,
No exceptions for religion or faith,
The prime belief is we’re one human race,
Our peace and prosperity both depend,
On learning that we were made to transcend.

The stupid. It hurts.

Ah, Facebook. As much as I enjoy using it there are definitely times when it’s more trouble than it’s worth. ‘Tis the season, it would seem, for passive-aggressive “post this as your status” updates. A case in point:

PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE TO THE FLAG OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND TO THE REPUBLIC FOR WHICH IT STANDS, ONE NATION UNDER GOD, INDIVISIBLE, WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL!

MY GENERATION GREW UP RECITING THIS EVERY MORNING IN SCHOOL WITH MY HAND ON MY HEART. THEY NO LONGER DO THAT FOR FEAR OF OFFENDING SOMEONE!

LET’S SEE HOW MANY AMERICANS WILL RE-POST THIS AND NOT CARE ABOUT OFFENDING SOMEONE!…

Note that it’s not grammatically correct, and it’s written in all caps, for FUCK SAKE. This was posted by one of my more embarrassing red-neck American relatives, and true to form, it sparked off a comment war. I know I should have just left it alone but I just couldn’t keep my mouth shut when someone posted, ” If people don’t like it ,they should move to a different country!!”

*sigh* How boringly predictable.

My step-father, who happens to be the older brother of the person who posted the astonishingly ignorant update, posted the following:

That is a big problem with many here in the US, people forget that we have the right not to conform, to choose, now some people think that if u don’t like something you should leave! Sounds like someone doesn’t understand the Constitution Or the bill of rights. As for the one nation under god, that was added in the 50,s during the McCarthy era, a terrible time for the country. The country was founded on freedom of religion which means also freedom from religion. So of you need to lighten up & learn the law & be a bit more accepting.

Hear hear. I added the following two cents:

Personally, I don’t think it’s right to insist that children recite a symbolic oath of allegiance every single day. Just about everyone I’ve told about this over here has been absolutely horrified. They thought the United States was supposed to be beacon of freedom, and yet its children are made to recite these words over and over like little automatons without understanding what they are saying.

It smells very strongly of totalitarianism. So does insisting that anyone who disagrees with you should leave the country. In the United States we don’t oppress or deport people who don’t share our personal beliefs. Maybe in other countries they do that but America and Americans are better than that, right?

Of course I realise that my eloquently-worded comment will fall on deaf ears, but I meant every word of it. This got me thinking about the Pledge of Allegiance in general and I did a little bit of research. My step-dad is correct in that the “under God” part was added in 1950s as part of Joe McCarthy’s anti-Communist campaign. He wanted to make sure that those godless dirty red scum understood that We the People are God-Fearing Americans.

Anyway, it turns out that the original pledge was written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister and Christian Socialist. That’s right. The Pledge of Allegiance, recited millions of times by millions of American school children was written by a Socialist. Oh bless.

I wonder what those jingoistically patriotic if-you’re-not-with-us-your-against-us Americans would have to say about that…

WOTD: Armageddon

As long as we’re all preoccupied with the Rapture and the Apocalypse, we might as well discuss what to do if Armageddon occurs. And I’m not talking about the astonishingly bad Michael Bay film from 1998.  In religious/biblical terms Armageddon is the final epic battle between Christ/Good and the Anti-Christ/Evil. However, in more general terms it can be pretty much any “great and crucial” conflict.

The 2012 Phenomenon is considered to be part of the Armageddon mythos. If the Mayan Calendar is anything to go by, in 2012 the earth will be subjected to a series of unavoidable disasters and catastrophes which will culminate in the end of the world as we know it. So, your basic Armageddon.

You probably wouldn’t be at all surprised if I told you that there are several websites out there with important safety tips and “How to Survive” information for the coming disasters of 2012. For example this website discusses how to survive the “polar shift” (this is a misnomer for geomagnetic reversal) which will inevitably occur during 2012.

Those of us living in Northern Europe will probably be okay, but pretty much anyone living in the United States is screwed big time. Might as well start charging up those credit cards right now folks since you probably won’t survive Armageddon 2012.

This same website also offers for sale several items of specialized gear for those who wish to maximize their chances of surviving the disasters of 2012. Included among these are Fruit of the Loom heavy cotton undershirts and Calvin Klein cotton boxer shorts.

Because after all, even if the world is coming to an end it’s important to make sure the family jewels have the support one has come to expect from a brand as reliable and well-known as Calvin Klein. And at £18-£30 for a package of three, they’re not only essential survival gear, they’re also a bargain.

Some of the survival items available for women include a 1950’s style floral halterneck dress, and a silver clutch handbag.

Because after all, even if the world is coming to an end it’s important to be as fabulously dressed as possible and with the proper accessories. It would never do to show to up to Armageddon with your everyday black leather handbag.

Bye for now…

Not everyone is a winner, you know…

Author’s Note: This is something I wrote a little under a year ago. It was originally posted as a note on Facebook and then as a post on my personal blog.

One of my former English-teaching jobs involved working with small children. They were very little (most under the age of five) so the job primarily consisted of playing games and singing songs in English. Like any job there were good and bad things about it. The kids were mostly very sweet and cute. However, I had a colleague who drove me nuts. We used to play these little games with the kids and naturally there would be one winner, which is the point of playing any game, right?

Despite this universal truth, she would always smile at them and say, “That’s okay. Everyone’s a winner!” This always bothered me because there was in fact only one winner. He won because he was the best. Saying that everyone’s a winner totally diminishes the achievement of the kid who actually won the game. It’s unrealistic, dishonest and unfair, and it sets kids up for disappointment later on in life.

It used to be when a child did poorly in school her parents would go straight to her and say, “These grades are terrible!” Nowadays, when a child does poorly in school her parents go straight to her teacher and say, “These grades are terrible!”

Not that there aren’t any bad teachers. Of course there are, just as there are bad examples from every profession. However, I wonder if it ever occurred to the parents that maybe their kid is just a bad student. I know a thing or two about being a bad student because I used to be one. Then again, I had very low self-esteem, so when I got bad grades I assumed it was because I (and not my teacher) was useless. No amount of attempted bribery or bolstering of my nonexistent self-esteem was going to improve my performance in school.

Then one day I realized that I’d better get off my ass and get some decent grades, so that’s what I did. At first I did it mainly to keep my parents from yelling at me, but after a while I figured out that I was actually a good student and I did it for me.

While I strongly believe in encouraging young people to do the best they can, I also believe that it’s ultimately up to them. They choose whether to do well or bad in school, and while we can encourage or even intimidate, their performance in school is their responsibility. The young people of today aren’t being taught self-reliance and accountability. Many of them are little narcissists who have been led to believe they are “special” and therefore entitled to “the best.”

However, we seem to have forgotten to tell them about having to work really hard in order to get it, about taking charge of their own lives, about having to get it themselves if they really want it, and about them not being entitled to anything.

Remember that if everyone is a winner that means that everyone is also a loser.

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WOTD: conflicted

Today’s word is a feeling, one that I think a lot of us are experiencing concerning the death of Osama bin Laden. To feel conflicted is to be full of conflicting and often contradictory emotions or impulses.

Upon hearing that Osama bin Laden, FBI’s number one most wanted bad guy, the one responsible for the atrocities of September 11, 2001, the July 7, 2005 bombings in London (among others) had been killed in a surgical military operation, well, one can’t help but jump for joy and shout, “YESSSS!!!!!!”

But wait, is that really an appropriate response? I mean, should one be filled with joy over the death of a fellow human being? Even one with such a defiantly uncompromising and completely distorted view of reality? Evil or not, he was still a man, who unfailingly believed he was doing God/Allah’s work by ridding the world of the oppressive infidels. Just like Adolf Hitler, Osama bin Laden hid himself away, and he held on to his misguided convictions until the very end. And like Hitler, he would rather die than be captured by the enemy. And thus he did.

The fate of Saddam Hussein was undoubtedly a fate he wished to avoid at all costs.

More on this later…

Bittersweet Thoughts on Bin Laden

One more bad guy bites the dust,
Yet the moment’s bittersweet,
When people whoop and cheer for blood,
The victory’s not complete,
When ideologies come to blows,
Push sometimes comes to shove,
We’re drawn onto the path of war,
Though we’d choose the path of love,
Lennon, Ghandi, Martin Luther King,
All had good points of course,
But the truth is sadly sometimes,
Force must be met with force,
That truth is somber, sobering,
And as such should be met,
Not with joy and pleasure,
But some measure of regret,
The hawks and doves will argue,
Neither one completely right,
There are times though that safety,
Must be shielded with might,
We wish for peace, and work for peace,
Still this must be reconciled,
With the fact that none would hesitate,
To give their life for their child.