Melissafrei’s Weblog

An Evolving Consciousness

Archive for October, 2007

The Democratic Debate in Philadelphia

The media has been acting in the vein of fight promoter, but I am actually observing a rational conversation regarding how to move our country forward.  I am looking at a field of candidates that reflect the population in this country and are offering solutions to the myriad and diverse issues facing this country.  I am most appreciative to Mr. Kucinich, Biden, Richardson and Dodd for holding the media accountable for attempting to pit fights.  Maybe, Tim Russert and Brian Willams think that this is some kind of football game, but it isn’t.  They are asking questions about Hillary.  Hey guys, can you ask a question about an issue.   Mr. Kucinich continues to bring issues that are relevant and would never be discussed if he were not on the stage such as nuclear proliferation, impeachment and the destruction of the constitution by this administration.   Senator Joe Biden, thankfully, brought the press back to serious discourse regarding Pakistan and Russia.   Governor Bill Richards is discussing diplomacy and effective executive management of this country.   Senator Dodd’s highlight was a discussion of how to seriously engineer an effective energy policy.  I must express my supreme disappointment in the moderators of this debate again.  These ideological pundits perform a monumental disservice to the discourse in our democracy.  It is clear that Tim Russert appears to be in attack mode in regards to Senator Clinton, while he sat around and ignored the multitude of atrocities that have occurred under this administration.  I have no desire to hear a discussion about UFO’s, life on another planet or even the legalization of marijuana. It is my hope and prayer that we, the American people, will seriously evaluate candidates and not fall prey to the trivialization of issues and choices that are before us.  Let us be wiser than those in Washington DC and in the media believe that we are. Let us be true patriots and embrace the values that our country was founded on.  Let us take responsibility for our government.  The government is a reflection of the governed.  

Quote of the Day

It is not the function of our Government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the Government from falling into error.
— U.S. Supreme Court, in American Communications Association v. Douds, 339 U.S. 382,442

Ethics of Connectedness

Recently, I was listening to a conversation with Bill Bradley, ex Senator and author of “The New American Story” and he used the phrase, “Ethics of Connectedness”.   I have ruminated over the meaning of these words since I first heard them and find myself in awe of the very idea of an ethic of connectedness.

He seemed to be making the point that, “we are all in this boat together” and “we will either sink or swim together”.  This does sound rather basic, but how simply true.

What if we arose tomorrow morning and we looked out into the world and realized that we were connected to everything in it.  We were not some separate and disconnected unit, but as a grain of sand on a beach, we were apart of a larger landscape.  Would our behavior change?

I find that I must re-educate myself on so many levels as I embrace my connectedness to universe.  How does this apply you ask to politics, since I do write a political blog? 

One, I am being challenged more everyday to respect difference in others and at the same time embrace my own individuality.  There are things that I am firm about for me and me only.  These are my truths.  At the same time, I can respect the right of another individual to hold their own truths and not seek to be influenced or influence the other party. 

For example, spirituality.  I describe myself as a deeply spiritual person but not religious.  I fail to see how my relationship with my higher power depends on your behavior.  Or, why my success must mean that you must be or have less, or if I win, you loose.

I look at our politics and our political choices and they make no sense.  I cannot for the life of me understand:

  • How one could blow up a building to protect the life of an unborn child, but will not provide a dime to feed or educate a child that is already born.

  • How we spend more money to imprison people but will not spend less money to educate them.

  • Why we do not have a voting machine, like a cash register, that allows you to ring up your candidate (vote for your candidate) and then keep a copy of the receipt and place the other copy in a box.  At the end of the night, verify the count by comparing the paper totals to the computer totals.  Now, for someone to tell me that we can’t do this with a candidate but we can do it for a candy bar……

  • Why we are not ensuring that every child in this country can compete for jobs with the children of China or India

  • Why we are not leading the world in green innovation

Just a few of the things I just don’t understand.

http://www.billbradley.com/

here we go again

More than likely, I am going to hear screams after this post, but here goes.  I personally support a draft.  A DRAFT!!!!!!!?????? Yes, a draft.   Why???????  I personally believe that we will all begin to pay a little bit more attention if all of our children were being called to serve and because I don’t know of any other means to kill the APATHY that is so pervasive in our society.   In recent discussions with various people, friends, family, co-workers, ect, I have picked up on the following sentiments:

  • “I’m not that interested in politics”. 

  • “I just don’t feel that I can really impact anything at that level. They’re gonna do what they want to do”.

  • “All of my thoughts and energy are spent on just taking care of me and my family”. 

All of the statements above, while I totally relate to and understand, are excuses.  Believe me; I am also speaking to myself.   I have often wondered how an entire country could fall in line behind a Hitler, a Mussolini, or a Stalin.  What were the citizens of Germany, Italy and Russia doing in the years and months prior to the rise of these individuals?  I realize that history has now revealed these three men to be war criminals ect.  I am sure that the majority of the citizens in those countries did not see them as we see them now.  It took the masses of Germans, Italians, and Russians to carryout the thoughts and will of a single man.   I suspect they too were busy trying to make a living, feed their children, and run their lives.   

I bring this up today because our government is now posturing for a confrontation with another country.  When the people that we have placed in charge speak on the subject, it is done in our name.  WE HAVE SEEN THIS BEFORE.  We are not Germany, Russia or Italy, but we cannot sleep……we must be engaged. 

 The NY Times reports that,  Vice President Dick Cheney used the deck of an American aircraft carrier just 150 miles off Iran’s coast as the backdrop today to warn the country that the United States was prepared to use its naval power to keep Tehran from disrupting off oil routes or “gaining nuclear weapons and dominating this region.” 

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/11/world/middleeast/11cnd-cheney.html?ex=1336622400&en=79f80df6f07657c2&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink

We always talk about our constitution, but have we looked at it lately. Did you know that the US Constitution states the following:

Section 8 – Powers of Congress

  1. To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
  2. To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
  3. To provide and maintain a Navy;
  4. To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
  5. To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
  6. To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
  7. To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; And
  8. To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

 http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data/constitution/article02/08.html

Can we at least write to someone.  I think I will.  If anyone else is interested. 

The links to our congress are under the US government heading.  

Red or Blue

Today let’s discuss the boxes, let’s discuss the things that supposedly separate us.   What am I? Red or Blue?   

Well, these are some of the beliefs and ideas that I hold today.  I say today, because, I happen to live in a dynamic universe.  Things are always changing.  As I am exposed to different information, these beliefs and ideas shift and change.  I think that you may call this growth, learning, evolution……. I also think that this should be occurring unless I happen to be dead.  But, this is my belief today.   

  1. I happen to be Pro Choice and Anti abortion.  This means that before anything, I believe that I have no right to tell another person what to do with or to their body.  This goes for smoking cigarettes, wearing a seat belt, and taking drugs.  At the same time, I also believe that people should have all the information needed to make informed decisions about their choices.  For me, abortion has always been defined as my choice to kill my child before he or she reaches their first trimester in my body for whatever reason I may have.  It could be rape, or incest, or lack of control over my own life to the degree that I would not want to inflict that on my on flesh and blood (my child).  Please note, that I said, that this is how I have defined abortion for me.  With that said, that core belief has led me to be Pro Choice for all of us and Anti abortion for me personally.  I will have much more to say about this topic later. 

  2. I happen to believe in term limits of no more than three terms for Senators and three terms for Representatives. http://www.cato.org/pubs/handbook/hb105-5.html 

  3. I want a balanced budget amendmenthttp://www.cagw.org/site/PageServer?pagename=homePage

  4. I want an educational system that provides the highest level of education whether the child is in the suburbs of California or the poorest county in Mississippi.  I believe that all of our children should be fluent in a minimum of two languages before they leave high school and three by the time they graduate from college.  They should have math classes every semester through out their educational experience along with physical education.  I will have more to say about this topic at a later date also.

  5. I want universal health care.

  6. I believe in capital punishment for mass murderers, serial killers, and pedophiles.  I chose these particular criminals because there is usually a preponderance of evidence against them.  I don’t believe that we can be that certain in other cases.  I also believe that this should be the law in every state.  Whether you commit mass murder in Texas or Rhode Island, the penalty should be the same.

  7. I believe in the “Right to bear arms” as stated in the constitution and I also believe in “Gun Control”.

What am I? Red or Blue? 

Quotes for the day

Politics – I don’t know why, but they seem to have a tendency to separate us, to keep us from one another, while nature is always and ever making efforts to bring us together. 

~Sean O’Casey
 

There are many men of principle in both parties in America, but there is no party of principle. 

 ~Alexis de Tocqueville

The Flag pen

 One of my friends suggested that I clarify exactly what I am attempting to do with my blog and who it is directed at. I agree.  My blogging is simply a catharsis for my own thoughts.  With that said, I am also attempting to reach out to other thoughtful souls who are tortured by what seems like meaningless noise from …….  Yes it is everywhere.  I spoke about democracies in my last post. That’s only because I happen to be in the US and that is how we refer to ourselves.  Comments are welcome from all thoughtful people everywhere, because no matter where you are and your current situation, you are still a citizen of the planet.   Now, let me explore what I was referring to as meaningless noise.  Last week, I had to hold my head in my hands when our news media turned the absence of a flag pen on Senator Obama’s lapel into what they considered a news story.  I think that I was silently screaming……the screams resulted in this blog.  Either someone out there actually believes that you and I are mindless, petty, pawns or that we as citizens o f this country are not intelligent enough to meet the obligations owed to our country and our democracy.  What are these obligations you say?  The first is, “that we are critically able to evaluate noise, marketing, propaganda, whatever you want to call it that comes from these random sources.  I am not going to place this on any one source in particular, because it’s coming from everywhere.  That means that you and I have to be able to critically think about what it is that we are hearing or reading and why it is being said.  I watch as ordinary citizens are being manipulated like pawns on a chessboard…..  Pitted against each other with these ridiculous blurbs and sound bites and the silent screams erupt.    My personal thoughts when I first heard this was that, I truly respect the flag.  I don’t happen to be a flag burner or even a flag wearer, but the flag is a symbol of the ideals.  I cannot get to upset about flag pins before I get upset about

  1. Each of us sitting back and allowing our government to be sold to the highest bidder,

  2. The fact that a majority of what is supposed to be our government (the people, you and I) do not even participate in the most elementary part of our government (we do not vote)

  3. The lack of fiscal responsibility in our government (whether they raise taxes or not, they are still funneling money to their cronies). 

 As you can see, I didn’t have the energy to get upset about the flag pen.

Quote of the day

Keeping the promise of our founding – the promise of America – means keeping faith with our values.  But keeping faith, while often enormously difficult , is not a burden.  It is our greatest source of strength.  It is what knits us together, what motivates us and moves us forward, and what connects us to other nations.    Our values keep America strong by binding us together.  By committing and recommitting ourselves to our ideals, we have forged a common American identity.  It is what makes e pluribus unum – “out of many, one” -possible. 

Anne-Marie Slaughter

THE IDEA THAT IS AMERICA

http://www.ideathatisamerica.com/

WE THE PEOPLE

I have never considered myself to be a patriot.  When I would hear others say that “they were proud to be an American”, I would quietly think to myself that I was thankful to be an American.   Don’t get me wrong; I, my parents, my grandparents, and my great grandparents and their parents were born here.  That was it. I was an American, a citizen of the United States by birth. I did nothing to be proud of but, I had an awful lot to be thankful for: Every four years we elect someone to head our government and there is a peaceful transition of power.  The person that we voted for may not win an election, but we accept the idea that the newly elected will represent each one of us. The diversity of our population, all the races, religions, ethnic groups and beliefs all under one umbrella, the United States of America. Everyday when I get up and turn on the lights in my house, brush my teeth with running water at my sink, go to the grocery store around the corner for almost anything that I can imagine, or get up and drive from the east coast to the west coast…..I am thankful. I have been reading Anne-Marie Slaughter’s book, THE IDEA THAT IS AMERICA.  Her work has redefined for me what it means to be a patriot.  I realized that I was really proud of the ideas and values that are the foundation of this country.  The core values being LIBERTY, DEMOCRACY, EQUALITY AND JUSTICE.  This was to be a republic FOR THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE.  Many people have given their lives for these ideals.  What are yours and my obligation to our democracy, our country, and our values?  Can we put aside our egos, our fears, and our greed for these “OUR IDEALS”?  It is time for each of us to take responsibility for our spiritual, emotional and conscious evolution.  We are citizens of this planet and our own individual countries.  We must step up to the greatest and most powerful leadership role that any of us can have, that of a citizen, men and women that have been  endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights” I am a very ordinary person….someone who ponders as I wander.  I welcome you to use this space as a place where we can begin to engage in a civil discourse, share ideas and inspire each other, because after all “we keep a’comin’. We’re the people that live”.  There are more of us than any single individual or individuals that may attempt to harness some imagined power over the masses.