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Old 03-15-2006, 04:01 AM   #1
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Normal America's Soul: Just Devils and Dust

Okay, I know this might be a bit long, but I just wrote this for God-knows-why. I hope it stimulates conversation. Oh, by the by, I hope my comments about the British monarchy are not offensive - I love the British!


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America's Soul: Just Devils and Dust
While it may have a, well let’s face it, trite sort of ring to it, the lyrics, “There can be miracles,
When you believe, Though hope is frail, It's hard to kill, Who knows what miracles you can achieve when you believe? Somehow you will; You will when you believe,” - which have been sung in my head again and again today - really have me thinking. I know, how can I actually attain some sort of message from a Mariah Carey/Whitney Houston song written for a sub-par religious cartoon?
Here’s the thing, today the world looks bleak. You don’t need me to tell you that. You already know that we have falsely, unjustly imprisoned kids in our War on Terror; you already know that we have illegally kidnapped suspicious individuals in America and sent them to countries that torture such individuals; you already know that we have been lied to time and time again; you already know that it’s not okay for a president to receive fellitio in the Oval Office and lie about in court, yet it is okay for a president to fuck over an already fucked up country and lie about it whilst addressing Congress and citizens; you already know that a radical movement to persuade government to take away rights of marginalized people is gaining traction and succeeding; you already know we are letting an entire continent burst into the flames of AIDS, extreme poverty, and other crippling diseases; and, you already know that we have lost our belief in America.
Hope certainly is frail. How could it not be? That last, incredibly long and dramatic paragraph certainly crippled my hope. And, though I know not why, we must believe. We must have hope that our belief in progressive ideals will overcome the seemingly insurmountable mountain.
Without hope and belief, Mother Theresa would not have been able to rise up every morning and care for God’s children. Without hope and belief, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. would not have been able to rise up every morning to confront hate. He even claimed to have seen the mountain top when all of God’s children - black, white, Jews, Gentiles, homosexuals, and AIDS victims - will join hands and sing songs of freedom.
The opposite of hope is fear. Anyone who has ever discussed racism, or any other form of prejudice, can speak about how fear is caused by ignorance. And, fear results in hate. We fear terrorist attacks. And, after 9/11, the Madrid and London attacks, it is certainly understandable. However, fear has never produced a single positive result. America has a tumultuous history of fear being the root for some incredibly dark moments. For instance, fear led to the imprisonment of Japanese Americans during World War Two. Today, there are children locked up in Guantanomo Bay because we fear. Fear must not be allowed to cripple the American ideals. If we allow fear of terrorism to deconstruct our freedom, then we might as well declare Osama “winner.”
A radical group has gripped fear into many American lives. Pointing out the many ills of society, this radical group puts the blame on “the queers and their gay agenda.” They insist that if we allow “those queers” to marry, the foundation of marriage will crumble. How? What about the over 50% of married couples in this radical group who give this foundation of marriage the finger by divorcing? We fear what we do not understand. This fear leads to outright hate. Who hasn’t heard the mantra “God hates fags”? Can you think of anything more cruel, more hateful, more outrageously antithetical of a loving God?
I believe this country has a soul. I also believe this country’s soul is one that thrives on progress. We progressed the theory of democracy by rejecting the cold, tired British monarchy. We then continued to progress by rejecting the cold, tired notion that one human can own another sentient being. Further down along the road, we continued to progress by giving equal rights to people regardless of their skin color. Today, we can continue on our exodus by rejecting our government’s stance that the way to defeat terrorism is to terrorize, by treating, caring, and tending of the poor, and by advancing the rights of the homosexual community.
We must reject fear. Fear dirties our soul. Just ask the man who was “Born in the USA.” As the Boss sings, “Fear's a powerful thing, baby. It can turn your heart black you can trust. It'll take your God filled soul, And fill it with devils and dust.”
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Old 03-15-2006, 05:32 AM   #2
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*speechless with admiration*



That was an AMAZING read....thank you so much for that!
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Old 03-15-2006, 05:45 AM   #3
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The opposite of hope is resignation.

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Old 03-15-2006, 06:04 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by AchtungBono
*speechless with admiration*



That was an AMAZING read....thank you so much for that!

Thanks.
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Old 03-15-2006, 04:52 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by foray
The opposite of hope is resignation.

foray
From a linguistic standpoint, I grant you this; however, humans don't live according to linguistic standpoints. Humans without hope live in fear.
It's interesting, statisticians have shown that the number of lynchings in the south - during Jim Crow law days - was directly correlated to how well that year's crop turned out. During years when crops and vegetation thrived the people didn't fear for their future. During years of drought or what have you, people did fear for their future, so the white man hung black people.
I think our society sees that there are many problems within our culture and our government. The world seems hopeless. We fear. So, we torture people - even if they're terrorists, they're still people and they still deserve to be treated as such - and we deny the marginalized civil rights. We - at least, the white man - always seem to find a scape goat.
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Old 03-15-2006, 05:33 PM   #6
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That's great, blueyedboy. I really enjoyed reading that.
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Old 03-15-2006, 11:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by verte76
blueyedboy
*chuckle* oops. I suppose if I were less of a nerd, this would make me think first of "Sweetest Thing"--but what it really reminds me of is e.e. cummings' Buffalo Bill's:

Buffalo Bill's
defunct
who used to
ride a watersmooth-silver
stallion
and break onetwothreefourfive pigeonsjustlikethat
Jesus
he was a handsome man
and what i want to know is
how do you like your blueeyed boy
Mister Death

Quote:
Originally posted by blueyedpoet
It's interesting, statisticians have shown that the number of lynchings in the south - during Jim Crow law days - was directly correlated to how well that year's crop turned out. During years when crops and vegetation thrived the people didn't fear for their future. During years of drought or what have you, people did fear for their future, so the white man hung black people.
It's a great illustration of your point, but I think it also shows that the misdirection of fear can be corrected, even when fear itself remains--crops and vegetation still fail after all, and farmers do still fear that greatly. Similarly, I would suggest that fears of gay marriage destroying "the foundation of marriage" cannot be wholly explained by appealing to homophobia alone--I think there are some misdirected, but very real and meaningful, fears beneath the surface there concerning the painful sense of failure to live up to our own original expectations and obligations that all married folks (particularly parents) go through sometimes. A need to convince ourselves that the good generated by all our sacrifices and compromises ultimately outweighs these failings and disappointments--and an irrational, unworthy, and jealous suspicion (here's where homophobia *does* enter in) that gay marriages won't have to pass through this particular crucible, and are thus undeserving of acceptance and support.
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Old 03-16-2006, 02:35 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by yolland

*chuckle* oops. I suppose if I were less of a nerd, this would make me think first of "Sweetest Thing"--but what it really reminds me of is e.e. cummings' Buffalo Bill's:

Buffalo Bill's
defunct
who used to
ride a watersmooth-silver
stallion
and break onetwothreefourfive pigeonsjustlikethat
Jesus
he was a handsome man
and what i want to know is
how do you like your blueeyed boy
Mister Death


It's a great illustration of your point, but I think it also shows that the misdirection of fear can be corrected, even when fear itself remains--crops and vegetation still fail after all, and farmers do still fear that greatly. Similarly, I would suggest that fears of gay marriage destroying "the foundation of marriage" cannot be wholly explained by appealing to homophobia alone--I think there are some misdirected, but very real and meaningful, fears beneath the surface there concerning the painful sense of failure to live up to our own original expectations and obligations that all married folks (particularly parents) go through sometimes. A need to convince ourselves that the good generated by all our sacrifices and compromises ultimately outweighs these failings and disappointments--and an irrational, unworthy, and jealous suspicion (here's where homophobia *does* enter in) that gay marriages won't have to pass through this particular crucible, and are thus undeserving of acceptance and support.
yeah, I know my name is kind of silly...i'm even claiming to be be a poet - how dare i?
I'm so tragically romantic too as I have always been the blue-eyed boy who falls for the brown-eyed girl. And, this has been happening since I can remember, not just since I heard Brown Eyed Girl or The Sweetest Thing.
Anyways, I think you make some very excellent points here. I agree that the fear of homosexual marriage stems from something even deeper than just homophobia. I think "the queer family" - by which i mean something more than just a homosexual couple and maybe a kid - is essential to our progressing the purpose that family is supposed to serve. I think we're so fearful that our notion of family just isn't quiet cutting it, yet because of all the terrible things going on in the world, we wish to go back to a simpler time. We have this illusion that the 1950s family is the pinnacle of "Family." The "queer family" forces us to do several things: challenge individualism, for it has harmed western society; to understand how limiting our heteronormative society is; and, it encourages us to be all-embracing. Bono really did say it the best, "We're one, but we're not the same. We get to carry each other." I have been harping on about this a lot lately, but all of this is just so damn important. Not to sound like a certain leader, but we must prevail. We simply cannot allow people to suffer.
Oh, and thanks verte, I really appreciate your kind words.
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Old 03-16-2006, 06:24 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by blueyedpoet


From a linguistic standpoint, I grant you this; however, humans don't live according to linguistic standpoints. Humans without hope live in fear.
It's interesting, statisticians have shown that the number of lynchings in the south - during Jim Crow law days - was directly correlated to how well that year's crop turned out. During years when crops and vegetation thrived the people didn't fear for their future. During years of drought or what have you, people did fear for their future, so the white man hung black people.
I think our society sees that there are many problems within our culture and our government. The world seems hopeless. We fear. So, we torture people - even if they're terrorists, they're still people and they still deserve to be treated as such - and we deny the marginalized civil rights. We - at least, the white man - always seem to find a scape goat.
Actually I was thinking of hope and resignation more from a political standpoint. Living in a Third World, Muslim country definitely comes with its burden of political, religious and social struggles on our backs. For those of us who are civic-minded and conscientious - and there are few - the enemy is not the fear of politicians who guard their power, nor is it the fear of religious fundies; rather daily we fight against the resignation of people, their apathetic shrugs and acceptance of the status quo. "We must reject fear" is rhetoric I cannot relate to, in a nutshell.

foray
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Old 03-16-2006, 12:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by foray


Actually I was thinking of hope and resignation more from a political standpoint. Living in a Third World, Muslim country definitely comes with its burden of political, religious and social struggles on our backs. For those of us who are civic-minded and conscientious - and there are few - the enemy is not the fear of politicians who guard their power, nor is it the fear of religious fundies; rather daily we fight against the resignation of people, their apathetic shrugs and acceptance of the status quo. "We must reject fear" is rhetoric I cannot relate to, in a nutshell.

foray
ah, I see where you're coming from. I need some more time to process and synthesize before I can write a better response.
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Old 03-30-2006, 10:59 AM   #11
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Re: America's Soul: Just Devils and Dust

Quote:
Originally posted by blueyedpoet


Without hope and belief, Mother Theresa would not have been able to rise up every morning and care for God’s children. Without hope and belief, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. would not have been able to rise up every morning to confront hate.
” As the Boss sings, “Fear's a powerful thing, baby. It can turn your heart black you can trust. It'll take your God filled soul, And fill it with devils and dust.”
Mother Teresa-

On 10 September 1946, on a train journey from Calcutta to Darjeeling, Mother Teresa received what she termed the "call within a call," which was to give rise to the Missionaries of Charity family of Sisters, Brothers, Fathers, and Co-Workers. The content of this inspiration is revealed in the aim and mission she would give to her new institute: "to quench the infinite thirst of Jesus on the cross for love and souls" by "labouring at the salvation and sanctification of the poorest of the poor."

Like scores of other holy people - she soon found herself living through a decades-long "dark night of the soul," what St. Theresa of Avila called "dryness," and Therese of Lisieux called "a desert," a profound sense of being abandoned by God, or perhaps of hungering so deeply for the divine that one's appetite may never be assuaged.
And yet, even feeling profoundly abandoned, Teresa never shirked from the mission she believed herself charged to carry out.

-from: theclamauro.blogspot.com
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Old 03-30-2006, 04:59 PM   #12
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Nothing much else to add other than a-freaking-MEN. Excellent post, blueyedpoet.

Angela
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Old 03-30-2006, 05:24 PM   #13
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blueyedpoet - Enjoyed reading your post. Hope is more powerful than we realize!
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Old 03-30-2006, 07:17 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by SunBloc
Hope is more powerful than we realize!
yeah for hope!

Most people understand "hope" as "wishful thinking." "I hope something will happen." The Biblical definition of "hope" is "confident expectation." Hope is a firm assurance regarding things that are unclear and unknown (Romans 8:24-25; Hebrews 11:1,7). Hope is a fundamental component of the life of the righteous (Proverbs 23:18). Without hope, life loses its meaning (Lamentations 3:18, Job 7:6) and in death there is no hope (Isaiah 38:18, Job 17:15). Those who have this trustful hope in God have a general confidence in God's protection and help (Jeremiah 29:11), and are free from fear and anxiety (Psalm 46:2-3).
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Old 03-30-2006, 07:43 PM   #15
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Re: America's Soul: Just Devils and Dust

Quote:
Originally posted by blueyedpoet
We must reject fear. Fear dirties our soul. Just ask the man who was “Born in the USA.” As the Boss sings, “Fear's a powerful thing, baby. It can turn your heart black you can trust. It'll take your God filled soul, And fill it with devils and dust.”
Being a preacher MLK also addressed these ideas in his speeches. We will overcome---the idea that true freedom comes from God, etc.

+++
The Bible mentions two specific types of fear. The first type is beneficial and is to be encouraged. The second type is a detriment and is to be not only discouraged, but overcome. The first type of fear is fear of the Lord. This type of fear is not necessarily fear that means to be afraid of something. Rather it is a reverential awe of God; a reverence for His power and glory. However, it is also proper respect for His wrath and anger.

Fear of the Lord brings with it many blessings and benefits. In Psalm 111:10 it says, “The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of wisdom. And in Proverbs 1:7 it says, “The fear of the LORD [is] the beginning of knowledge: [but] fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

The second type of fear mentioned in the Bible is not beneficial and should be not only discouraged but overcome. This is the “spirit of fear” mentioned in 2 Timothy 1:7 where it says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Thus we see that this “spirit of fear” does not come from God.
However, these “fear nots” are dependent upon our ability to put our trust and faith in the Lord.

-I found this stuff on: w w w.gotquestions. org (remove spaces)
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