|RANT FROM SEPTEMBER 2008
"Change Is in the Air"
I can smell it. Besides the approach of autumn, I sense change in the socio-political air. For one thing more people seem to care about the outcome of pending elections than was true before.|
A man, half of whose genes came from Africa, has been nominated by the Democrats for president. For millions it feels like a giant step toward the freedom they've been singing about for more than fifty years. Others, including people we know personally, state, "I could never vote for a black man." Slavery and all the guilt that goes with it are still with us, left over from a century and a half ago.
A woman, who was unheard of by most Americans until yesterday, will be nominated by the Republicans for vice-president. She is a hard-core fundamentalist. For some of us it seems very risky to put such a one a heartbeat away from almost unlimited power. Try to imagine her nominations to the Supreme Court. But she is so inexperienced, especially in foreign policy, we have to assume that she'll be a figurehead, as the current Acting President has been.
Either way, things will change. Perhaps for a little better, perhaps for a little worse, perhaps for a very great deal worse. What concerns me just now are three topics that aren't being discussed at all amid all this potential change. These are matters in which drastic change is needed and soon. They are water, over-population and war.
 The world is fussed about oil, but water will become a much more urgent "natural resource" very shortly. They are already fighting over it in Palestine, Africa and Bolivia. Yet here in this southwest desert, the vast majority still take water quite for granted and see no need for much change. "Nature bats last," our friend Jay Evans is fond of saying, and water may become the end of the matter, for millions, unless we change our attitude and our behavior.
 Population can be controlled in the following ways famine, disease, war or "other." So far "other" is a tabu topic. Humans and human institutions are governed by myths, whenever this matter is raised. The Roman Catholic doctrine of sex ["Maximize suffering"], Muslim machismo, and animistic superstition all refuse to permit modern scientific methods of population control to be implemented on a global scale. But there are too many humans on this planet. Almost every problem facing humanity has over-population at its root. We saw the young emaciated woman in the African refugee camp. Famine seemed to be the problem. We gasped when the commentator said she was mother of nine. Something must change and on a large scale, or the quantity of human suffering will be enormous.
 War has become an obscene human activity. It is also extremely unwise. The chief offender, world-wide, is the government of the United States. The budget provides the clue. The U.S. spends more on war than the next ten countries taken together. The waste of resources is staggering.
The war mentality leads to complete moral decay. Lying, torturing, false imprisonment, terrorism - dropping bombs on children from 30,000 feet [which is what the war-hero candidate did in the service of his country forty years ago] is terrorism.
The attitude toward weapons of mass destruction is rooted in militarism. We have thousands, but our leaders think that no one else is allowed to have any. We have signed a treaty promising to get rid of ours, but instead we "upgrade" them and prepare the necessary parts for new ones.
Many of the weapons, including the nuclear warheads, have little or no use. The Pentagon doesn't even want many of them. The weapons systems have turned into pork barrel projects, scattered all across the country. What can a military general do with an atomic bomb that won't endanger his own troops, and finally, the very homeland? Such weapons are only good for threatening people with, and you can't frighten or influence crazy people with threats.
So, it is time to renounce war as a means of enhancing national policy. It does no good. It can only function well as defense, and we haven't been on defense since the Battle of Gettysburg. Our very attitude toward war must change. Some of our policies will need changing, too, such as the one which says we can simply take other people's natural resources. Just now that means oil. Soon it will mean water. And to say that war will take care of over-population is the height of cynicism. There are better ways.
Let's be glad for the pending changes for the better, and work hard to bring them about, and keep pressing for more change.