Friday, September 25, 2015

Because of the pope I will Stop Calling You a Moron....How about Genius?

These are historic times: a nuclear deal with Iran that may bring it "in from the cold" and avoid a war far worse than the lost decade and wasted trillions spent in Iraq. We have seen the  opening of Cuba after a half century of isolation that hurt the Cuban people more than its leadership. 

And now we have witnessed the first-ever speech by a pope to a U.S. Congress.  Pope Francis asked us, and Congress, that we not fear immigrants and refugees. He asked that we treat people as humans with faces who have hopes and lives worth listening to. He spoke of justice, equality, fairness.  These are basic American values.

Did the members of Congress feel the earth shake? Will a pope who believes in science and protecting the earth as much as the unborn have any influence on them?

Will anything the pope said to that body of "far left/far right" representatives soak into that body of ideologues? All of them are elected in a gerrymandered series of districts that have gutted the sensible center, you know, that middle ground that actually works out compromises like the ones that happen in our courts and in business every day instead of shooting each other over disputes.  

That truly would be Francis' first miracle. It's not a good sign that Speaker Boehner resigned right after the pope's homily to his colleagues.  So, don't hold your breath.

These are true American values that Francis spoke of. These are values that have made us unique and trusted in the world as the oldest democracy. We are the standard bearer of  freedom and liberty that has promoted the rule of law over the whims of despots, tyrants, dictators and their wars of aggression. We lost our way when we plunged into the Vietnam and Iraq wars. But we are lucky to have a president who believes in diplomacy, respect, caring for our "common home" and many of the same issues the pope has raised in his humble way.

I heard the pope request that we treat each other as humans deserving respect. He is so right. It is the motto of this Global American Values campaign that I wish all Americans would sign on to. From now on I pledge not to call anyone a "moron." Instead, I will use the word "genius" (which may be intended to mean the same, or not!)

Only when we stray from those great American principles and act unilaterally and unfairly do we stray off our solid foundations. We don't live under a Chinese one-party state (where party insiders get rich and everyone else is left out). Nor do we live in a Russian oligarchy where a presidents opponents are easily murdered in the shadow of the Kremlin and there are no Congressional hearings at all (much less ones that drag on for months for political purposes.)  But that doesn't mean we are home free. Quite the opposite.

Even our democratic system is under threat as we are devolve from democracy into an American oligarchy where votes of the poor are suppressed, media becomes propaganda masquerading as facts, and elections are controlled by a few billionaires spending multiple millions backing presidential and Congressional candidates who have kissed their ring and muttered the magic words they want to hear.   

Since the US Supreme Court ruled in "Citizens United" your vote is not as important as a billionaire who can give millions of dollars in one check to an incompetent candidate, or an indicted one, to be elected. Neither Gov. Perry nor Scott Walker were remotely ready to be president. Nor are many of the other presidential candidates who think fighting unions is like taking on ISIS and wouldn't know Albania from Zimbabwe, or Sunni from Shia.
Let us take up the pope's challenge to be nicer, smarter and do more global outreach in our efforts to promote fairness and justice in the world.  Let's stop the name calling of Muslims, Jews, Hispanics (illegals and otherwise), women, etc. (I was shocked Trump would refer to them as "fat pigs" or comment on any woman's appearance with a face like his!). 

Stop stereotyping. Start speaking respectfully to one another again. In other words, its better to say "You're Fired!" then "You're an 'illegal,' 'rapist,' 'Muslim,' 'ugly woman,' Mr. Trump!" That's a good way to get on the wrong side of God, I suspect.

At one time in America it was Catholics who were the facing the prejudice that Muslims and immigrants face today. I remember them saying President Kennedy would be taking orders from the pope. He certainly wasn't calling Rome during the Cuban missile crisis. Changing the targets doesn't make the practice any less wrong. 

The pope's values are the same values that made our country great in the past. They are the only values that will provide America with a solid foundation in the future. We certainly don't need presidents who stereotype entire groups by calling them "criminals and rapists" just because they seek a better life here in America. We certainly don't need a political party that does the same either.

Americans want us to be great again. We can be only by following the American values that our founding fathers set out for us -- respecting all people regardless of color, religion or sex, with a justice system where all men (and women) are equal before the law. 

That is what made us a great democracy versus a twisted land of kings, nobles in the 1% and serfs in the 99% who obey the rulers without question or vote. The pope said it best: "God Bless America."

Let's earn that blessing. 

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