[Let me first of all apologize to anyone who is offended by the words to follow.Â Â And the first one I forgive is myself, because I am no different than many other people.Â It just took time and life changes to make me understand that I could no longer sit back and be quiet about certain situations and that I could not live with an â€œUs vs.Themâ€ philosophy.]
As I receive positive feedback to the information posted on this site, the question came to me: â€œIf so many people agree that we have corrupt â€œnon-systemsâ€ that need reforming, why do we then let it continue?â€
One answer came to me.Â Â Mostly, we are all talking to ourselves, that is, â€œpreaching to the choir.â€
I know that some people voted for Bush because of his responses and appearance during the debates.Â (Note 1:Â Overnight polls showed that Kerry and Edwards had â€œwonâ€ the debates by wide margins.Â Note 2: How many people realize that the debates are not â€œrealâ€ but staged, much like the scripted â€œreality showsâ€ on TV that so many people are enamored with.)
I also have heard that many people voted for Bush because he was a â€œborn-again christian.â€ (Some pastors even brought up the issue that he was the only one to vote for if you valued your â€œeternal soul,â€ or something to that effect.)
I know there are people who take the stance that â€œNothing you can say will change my mind.â€Â But I also know there are others who are willing to take in new evidence and base decisions on reason.Â One has to ask, for example,Â whether any â€œchristianâ€ would kill innocent people rather than engage in dialogue and negotiation to achieve a modicum of peace without killing; but the history of christianity is replete with episodes of great harm done in its name, e.g, the Crusades, the Inquisition, etc. Another consideration is that to profess to be a fundamental Christian would mean you would have to follow the bible literally, e.g., kill or torture anyone who didnâ€™t â€œfollow the Word of God,â€ etc. and you would be considered a very bad person by society.Â (Do you remember that the biblical Jesus condoned slavery?)Â Â Does all that sound familiar?Â The Jihadists are simply following the literal principles of their bible, which says that they will be rewarded for killing us and dying as martyrs because we have not followed the rules of their particular religious dogma.
So, correct information has to get to those people who need it in order to make rational decisions.Â Perhaps we can add more names to our email distribution list with this web log site and other pertinent information â€“ names that â€œweâ€™re not sure of where they stand on these issuesâ€ or perhaps those that we are afraid of imposing ourselves on.Â We might be surprised with the result.Â And without it, reform will just not be possible.Â You wonâ€™t â€œlose friendsâ€ if it is presented gently and with genuine concern for their feelings.Â Remember, many people believe that they are â€œrightâ€ and nothing you say or do will change that.Â But simply by changing ourselves, we can have a positive effect.
Those involved in â€œbook clubsâ€ might suggest some books that could bring up interesting conversation and open doors to personal change. (See suggested books on the right side, for example.)Â The authors of those books would also make excellent guests on radio talk shows.
On the health â€œNon-Systemâ€ reform issue, letters of support to legislators are extremely important.Â The first measure to work on is SB 840 (Sen. Kuehl), which will soon have its accompanying bill to address the financing issue.Â Californians can locate their legislators and also get information on the progress of bills at http://www.legislature.ca.gov.Â Of course, thereâ€™s always the need to let the governor know how you feel on an issue, because evenÂ when it does passÂ this year, he can still veto it.Â
Itâ€™s important for non-Californians to support this system, because when itâ€™s successful here, the concept will spread to other states, as well.Â I donâ€™t believe weâ€™ll have a rational plan at the national level until we get the government corruption issue addressed.
I met a doctor recently and casually began discussing both reform issues.Â He gave me another insight.Â Americans enjoy television and television is a mind-numbing drug, and the people watching the programs are probably believing what they see and hear.Â Many are entertained by current information on Paris Hilton or who is divorcing whom or having whose baby, etc.Â This is just a fact and probably wonâ€™t be changed until they have their own personal experience to make them open up and want to change.Â But they are still our brothers and sisters and maybe under different circumstances will hear something that will change their lives, thus changing all of our lives.
There is also the issue I brought up earlier about the many numbers of people who are just busy staying alive and keeping one step ahead of the collection agency. Or they are going to school to improve themselves and just get caught up in the necessities of daily living.Â They couldnâ€™t care less about these reform issues because they believe, incorrectly, that theyÂ â€œarenâ€™t affecting me directly.â€Â Â The correct information should be at least offered to everyone in a way that is understandable and even discussed with those adults who canâ€™t read, so that they can make rational decisions.
Now for the forgiveness and possibility ofÂ personal change partâ€¦
I was raised a roman catholic, but developed a deep skepticism about religion and dogma in general early in life.Â My wife and I were active in the charismatic renewal within the church itself, as well as Genesis II (eventually banned by the catholic church, I believe) and other well-meaningÂ programs. I considered myself a bible scholar, even to the point that I believed there is a â€œGodâ€ who created the world and everything in it. Among other judgments, I had â€œrighteous angerâ€ against the practice of homosexuality as being â€œoffensive to God.â€Â Iâ€™m not making any excuses for these types of beliefs.Â Itâ€™s just the way it was at the time, and it was part of my life lesson.
One of my classes in college was â€œComparative Religions,â€ co-taught by a Georgetown University trained Jesuit priest and the protestant theologian who began the â€œGod is Deadâ€ philosophy.Â This continued to open my mind drastically, as did my classes in ethics, philosophy and psychology.
I was trained in the military service to kill people in many ways for the â€œgood of my countryâ€ (I rather enjoyed thisâ€¦) without questioning the morality of it.Â And I was trained to electronically spy on the â€œenemy.â€ (I REALLY enjoyed this part.)Â Imagine what the technology is today compared to what we had in the late 60â€™s and try to believe that the NSA cannot track your calls and emails.Â The NSA measures its computers in â€œacres.â€Â The first Cray Supercomputer was built for NSA and they received all the upgrades, etc.Â NSA recruits the finest mathematical minds and analysts available from the best universities.Â I simply laugh when told that we are not â€œillegally eavesdropping on Americans,â€ or the spin that even if it is illegal, it is â€œnecessary to protect America from â€œterrorist activities.â€ (See again the comments from John Perkins in his book, â€œConfessions of an Economic Hit Manâ€ and at the web site noted to the right.)Â The humorous part is that al-Qaeda is highly unlikely to communicate entirely through these standard methods.Â They are not a single country or source to spy on.Â This is a religious imperative built on â€œcellsâ€ of individuals all over the world.
If youâ€™re wondering what this all has to do with the reform issues,Â Iâ€™m just saying that people can change, and it just takes ordinary people changing to help end our ignorance and apathy, so that we can transform America, which will eventually have an effect on the rest of the world.