May 2007


Vacuum Policies

In a vacuum.  I get the biggest kick out of folks who suggest that the attacks on 9-11 happened in a vacuum.  Is it the same mentality that once subscribed to alchemy?  I’m not talking about the horror, pain or the tragedy of 9-11 from America’s perspective; those feelings and experiences are real enough. I am asking what drove relatively educated young Muslim men to commandeer planes and suicidally crash them into buildings?

During the recent Republican debate, presidential candidate Ron Paul suggested there were, there are reasons much of the Muslim world hates America.  He then posed the question and I paraphrase, “What if China had occupied much of Mexico?   What would America’s reaction be to that?”

Oh, the self-righteous indignation of all those Republican candidates.  How dare Mr. Paul suggest that America is not Snow White?  9-11 happened in a vacuum.  Muslim evil metastasized for no reason.

Mr. Paul was immediately challenged by former New York City Mayor Rudolf Giuliani to retract his words, that there were no explanations for 9-11 other than Islamic cowardice and perfidy.

Under no circumstances am I suggesting there were any justifications for the deaths of 9-11.  I believe that as an American.

But because you or I believe there were no justifications for 9-11 doesn’t mean other nations or segments of humanity don’t see it otherwise.

If you are not a student of American history or chose not to follow current events or do not bother to read about what is happening in the rest of the world, then the events around 9-11 just might seem to have occurred out of no where.  Poof!  America is attacked by Islam.  Spontaneous combustion!  Why?  Why?  We’re the good guys!  How can this possibly happen to us?  To America?

Here we are, America, a Disney-like Johnny Appleseed spreading democracy and capitalism around the world, for everyone’s benefit.  America likes cartoons yet that is definitely an erroneous caricature of what we’ve actually been doing worldwide since the 1890s.

In some corners of the world, America has acted shamefully.  We’ve exploited native populations for economic gain, we’ve disposed of democratically elected leaders because their policies conflicted with ours and we’ve supported despotic, repressive regimes because they’ve kept the fuel spigot turned on.

And, I am not so naïve as to not understand the machinations, let alone the justifications, of these policies and actions.  But please do not believe that what occurred on 9-11 happened in a vacuum.  It did not.

Whether or not you agree with me on this is incidental to, as they say, the reality on the ground.  The Islamic reality is that we (America) have inserted ourselves into the Muslim world, not for their sake but for our benefit.  That is the bottomline.   We were attacked for who we are because of what we have done.

Justified?  Not to me, I’m an American.  Justified to many Muslims? You bet, we had it coming.

Where does that leave us?  Before I address that, I’d like to suggest we have a short window of opportunity to change course.  The longer we pursue war against Islam as the only alternative, the longer we will be at war.  It becomes an industry, violence does.  Think of Ireland and Palestine.  The sides split up, became vested and peace became ephemeral.  Perversely, it’s jobs.  “What would we do,” leadership asks, “if peace actually did break out?”

Do you really believe the builders of America’s armaments and weapons systems want a sustained period of no conflict?  President Eisenhower had a few prescient words on that subject.

What should America do?  Forthrightly answer Congressman Paul’s question about how would we like it if China occupied the southern half of Mexico?  We, as citizens, have a responsibility to understand that what our government does in our name abroad has ramifications for us at home.

I would peacefully engage the Islamic world on as many diplomatic fronts as our State Department could handle.  I’d remove all American forces from Islamic territories (with the temporary exception of Afghanistan).  I would not have America acting as an imperialistic nation, an occupier of foreign lands.  I’d wean us off oil.  As fast as possible.   I’d start there.

The world is not a vacuum.  What America does, does have an impact.  And, not always for the betterment of all mankind. There is blowback (9-11).  As shocking (and unjustified) as that might seem.

Reach Jepson at:Jepson@MEDIAmerica.us

05.24.07 

From Monkey To Man.

And, the envelope please.  And, the unchallenged winner as the single most important factor in the development of the human species, the irrefutable reason we’ve moved from monkey to man, from the trees to textbooks, from abasement to art is the human mother!  (Earthly trumpets, please, now herald this anointment!)

Whatever the reasons, motherhood is “the” pivotal key in our development as a species.  Sure, other factors are, no doubt, important, too.  I do not minimize, at all, the many essential contributions of the male gender but can anyone counter the inestimable (arguably more critical) gifts of the good mother.

I started along this train of thought years ago.  As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.  I like that aphorism.  I wish I had coined it.  It sums up so well how we become who we are.  Not in all cases.  But in enough cases, in my opinion, to make it a truism.

And who first forms that twig that is bent into each of us? Who whispers in our ear from the moment of our birth (earlier actually), who informs our dreams inutero, who first weaves our tale, tells our story and spins the world such that the universe actually does revolve around us?  The good mother.

What do you need to believe in life?  To get by?  To survive?  To thrive?  You need an attitude.  It’s de rigueur.

Nourishment is what we need.  Physical and spiritual.  The good mother provides both.  By spiritual nourishment, I refer to that ineffable voice inhabiting our minds, whispering the truths only you hear.

The good mother first whispered those truths. Over and over and over again.   The first truth is, “You’re okay.”  Some will immediately counter, “No, my mother told me I was great and going to achieve great things.” Of course, she did.  She cooed that you were special, too.  Over and over and over again.  But bottom line, her message was, “You’re okay.” No matter what happens. No matter the comparison. No matter the circumstances.

The good mother also ingrained one other critical spiritual belief, “It’s going to be alright.”

Humans are hardwired to survive.  We have an innate will to live.  But it is the good mother who first articulates what each of us are born with.  It is the good mother who first articulates our potential. Life’s potential.   If only you . . .

You stumble.  Get up.  You fail.  Try again.  You’re disappointed.  Get over it.  You fall before you run.  Lucky you.  Life is joyous.  Life is disappointing.  Life is sorrowful.  Get up.  Get on with it.  It is going to be alright.   No matter what life dishes, it is going to be alright.  Make a soufflé.  We are that way because our DNA tells us, because mom says it is so.

You’re okay.  It is going to be alright.

I cannot imagine a mother not providing (ingraining) her children with such core beliefs.  Woe be to those who do not hear (learn) it.   Woe be to the society whose mothers do not feel it, who do not instill it.

To that end, let us first imagine a society where every child born is wanted.  That every birth is a joy and all tears are tears of joy.

To that end, let us create an environment where motherhood is a desired state, not the untimely misfortune.

To that end, let both conservatives and liberals unite and agree that birth control (I am removing the issue of abortion from this discussion) be free, safe and available to every American (male & female) so that as many babies as possible are planned and wanted, to be born, nourished and sustained by the good mother.

Life is challenging enough already without ill-prepared (for all the obvious reasons) women undertaking the enormous task of preparing the next generation.

It is hard for women gasping for air themselves to repeatedly whisper the joyful, necessary, sweet words of life into their babies.

A planned parenthood is the ideal.  Ideal for the mother.  Ideal for the child.  Ideal for society.  It is achievable, too.

A belated Happy Mothers Day!  Thanks mothers, for all the kind words.  You’re the best.

Reach Jepson at:Jepson@MEDIAmerica.US

05.17.06
 

 "The Missing Republican"

 

There is something about the “culture of life” I do not completely understand.  How on one hand, “they” get all teary Cry, militant Gunsand moral Furious(legislative)  about something the size of period (.), yet, on the other hand, “they” fall all over themselves in support of America’s abominable, immoral war.  Where is the consistency?  Where is the reverence for life?

 
It’s not okay for an American woman to actually control her own body, nay, it’s immoral.   But it is okay, it is moral to send fully grown young men and women to wage war in America’s name, to die or be horribly maimed for outright lies and misrepresentations.  That is just?  That’s being a patriot?  So, too, asserted certain Germans of our father’s generation.
 
The “culture of life” was on full display last week during the first Republican debate.  30% of the Republican presidential candidates do not believe in evolution.  Let me repeat that.  30% of the Republican candidates for president do not believe in reputable, verifiable science.  Sure, you bet, let’s elect a 14th century man to be president of 21st century America.   I’d love to see their appointed science advisors. A resurrected Torquemada, perhaps.  He could be vetted by Attorney General Gonzales.
 
All the Republicans on stage, let me say it again, all the Republican presidential candidates would overturn Roe v Wade.  All the candidates of the “culture of life” would have the state manage a woman’s body, would have a woman’s womb become state property, subject to oversight and control.  How repugnant.  How Republican.
 

Why is it Republicans are so adamant about deregulation yet think little of regulating a woman’s body.  Why is that?  Is that intellectually consistent?

You bet, too many regulations impede the freedom of business to act.  Yesssss?  I buy that argument in some instances.  So why would you turn around and regulate a woman’s womb?  Freedom for business.  Tyranny for women.  Is that it?  As my father often said, “Who died and made you Pope?”

Deregulate business.  Regulate women.   Is that the “culture of life?”

Current Republicans have a history of growing-up as Goldwater libertarians, only to become “culture of life” hypocrites.  Mitt Romney was pro-choice up to a few years ago.  But then his brain contracted (sorry, he saw the light) and now he wants government to manage a woman’s womb.  How does an adult male have such a radical transformation of belief?  In such a short period of time.

Yes, Mr. Romney saw the light, rather he was blinded by the light of personal ambition and what it takes to win Republican primaries.  He’s America’s quintessential unconscionable public man of conscience.  He’s an empty suit, worse, he’s an expedient appeaser.   He’d willingly throw women overboard to get himself elected.  Oh, and did’ja hear he’s a hunter, too.  He da’man!  He be da’Rifleman!

I was physically nauseated by what I heard from these candidates.  With all that America confronts in the world, these men, many who publicly declare their disbelief in science (Are they then superstitious?) would devote precious public energy to hobbling America’s women.  All of them feel that women are incapable for themselves of determining their own fate, their own sexuality, their own futures.

Why stop there?  The “culture of life” surely has an agenda beyond mere management of a woman’s sexuality. One that encompasses more than just her womb.  Why not her appearance, too? All those womb issues start with “the look.”  Know what I mean?  The look!  Can’t have that now!

Why not adopt that enlightened, ancient (and, oh, so modern, too) Muslim practice of hajibs and chadors?  Of covering women because women are just too sexy and, well, men just can’t help themselves.  Don’t-cha see?

Yes, America’s “culture of life” has a culture in mind.  It’s called 14th century Arabia.

Sometimes I feel that the Renaissance and the Enlightenment never occurred, that humanism is a notion yet to be articulated.    Let alone, embraced.

It was certainly absent from the Republican debate.  From my conservative heritage, he was the (sorely missed) missing man from the Republican stage.

As is the Republican vision for my daughter’s (our) future.

How about your daughter’s future?  Do you want the government in her womb?  In her mind?

Reach Jepson at:Jepson@MEDIAmerica.US

05.10.07