Thanks for asking Rob.
Today, as the election results are discussed all over the country, seems like a good time to talk about something I’ve been thinking about for quite a while. There is a concept that ‘my group is better than your group’.
This is very evident in the US elections process. You can’t hear any type of discussion without the mention of ‘Republican’ or ‘Democrat’ being appended. The Republicans, including our illustrious president, keep saying that our country will be less safe and fall into deep depression of the Democrats were to gain any type of control. The Democrats say the Republicans are driving our country down. The Christian Right says that anyone that doesn’t believe the way they do will lead us to death and destruction along the devil’s path. This group says that one doesn’t care for America, another group says they are the only ones that can lead us. Here in Nevada one individual was elected despite stories of scandals, bribery, ignorance of laws and other problems because the ‘other guy’ was of the wrong political party. In essence, let’s ignore all of the wrongs that ‘our guy’ has done because the other person is in the other group, and you know how bad they are.
Same principle applies in lots of other situations. In Iraq it’s the Sunnis against the Shiites. In Israel it’s the Jews against the Arabs (OK, against almost everybody else). The Moslems are offended because the rest of the world does not believe the way they do. One tribe in Africa just has to wipe out the other one. Hitler tried to exterminate groups because they were inferior. India vs Pakistan – North Korea vs everyone – Protestants vs Catholics – Blacks vs Whites - . . .
It also causes problems on the more local level. We’ve got gangs across the US with the attitude that their group owns the area they are in – walk down the street in their section of town and you could get shot, wear blue in a red area and you could get shot, look at somebody and you could get shot or beaten up. There are fights at high school football games, because one school feels it’s better than the other school. There are fights at professional football games, because one city thinks they are better than another city. There were riots in the streets last year when a basketball team won some big tournament. I read about the ‘soccer hooligans’ in Europe that cause the same kind of problems.
When John Lennon came out with his song ‘Imagine’ I thought it was just a mindless desire that he was describing, but now I go along with parts of it –
Imagine there's no Heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today
Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace
I’ve always felt that religions were a major source of hatred and death in the world. From the crucifixion of JC to the crusades to Iraq and Iran. I know, some of you feel that your religion is a comfort and a guide, which is the good part. But when everyone else is condemned to hell because they believe differently, and thus can be ignored or repressed, that’s when it’s bad. And when the infidels can be tortured or killed in the name of god then I think it is going much too far. I used to work with people from a particular born-again group in southern California. They had the attitude that it was OK to lie or cheat anyone that wasn’t in their group because God did not care about those kind of people (yes, it was told to me directly by several people in the group – and I wasn’t one of them). Somehow to me that goes against what I have heard as God’s word – I can’t understand how it is OK to hurt others because they don’t believe the same as you.
No, it is not OK for you to impose your rules upon me. Whether it’s the cartoons I can draw or the books I can read or the stuff I can smoke, if I go in my house and close the door then don’t reach inside and tell me what I am doing is wrong. If I want to burn candles or pray to some sticks glued into a shape or talk to the ceiling or ask the moon for advice, if I want to have a beer or smoke a cigarette or just play computer games, leave me alone – what I am doing has no affect on you. And I will not tell you what to do either.
Yes, there are rules that are good for the interaction of people. I know the stop sign on the corner will prevent accidents, I know that driving 15mph past a school might permit me to stop and not hit that kid that’s running home, that blowing smoke in your face in a restaurant is not very pleasant for you. But don’t make rules about who I can talk to or where I can go or what I can do that affects me alone. Just pay attention to what you are doing, and if I swing my arms and hit you in the face then you can get mad.
So if I elect a freekin’ congressman and he feels that he must vote exactly the same as everyone else in his party, because the boss said to, then something is wrong. Why don’t you look at what is good for the country as a whole? Think for yourself. If I vote for a city councilman I expect him to do what is good for the city, not what is good for that guy that gave him a briefcase full of cash and a few hours with the strippers. If my city hires a police officer I expect them to enforce the laws and not let his buddies get away with things while others are Tasered and knocked to the ground. Is that too much to ask? Do your job and do it the best you can; think for yourself.
So overall, yes, I am extremely pleased with the results of the national elections. As of now the Democrats have a good control of the House, and have half the Senate, with one seat still counting. Perhaps it is time for President Bush to wake up and realize that ‘stay the course’ is not what the rest of the world, and the country, expect of him. I understand that Donald Rumsfeld was sacrificed today as well. I don’t think that is quite enough. Bring those boys home and let Iraq start working on security. What the heck did they do to police the population before we invaded? I wonder if Tony Blair will start changing as well.
As for Nevada, I knew it was a Republican state when we moved here, and this election just shows that my local votes are in the minority. But at least I was able to vote, and not worry about some poll watcher hitting me on the head because my ballot was marked incorrectly. I am free to write this stuff and complain without expecting a knock on my door from the thought police who will carry me off and cut off my head.