Monthly Archives: October 2015

Alice In Debate Land

alice

Alice considered the Mad Hatter and the equally mad March Hare and declared: This is the stupidest Tea Party I have ever been to.

Seventeen Presidential candidates are sitting in a sand box, throwing sand into each other’s eyes.
They are talking all at once, calling each other stupid and not listening to one another.

Then Alice encountered the Dormouse who was spinning a long tale leading to nothing, The Knave of Hearts who stole some tarts and the Queen of Hearts who said: Sentence first, verdict afterwards. And then she commanded: Off with their heads!

Here is Donald Trump. He does not feel he has to discuss the environment or the economy. Instead he has fun calling women fat pigs and Mexicans rapists, drug runners and criminals. Next to him is Carly Fiorina. She is furiously attacking Planned Parenthood and adds false embellishment to an already doctored video. She would also break off all communication with President Putin of Russia.

Also at the party there is a Mock turtle who once used to be a real turtle and a Cheshire Cat with very long claws, many teeth and a grin that does not disappear even after he does.

Now meet Jeb Bush. His answer to constant gun violence and mass killing is “stuff happens.” He also claims, “my brother kept us safe. When was this, Jeb? Before, during or after 9/11? Jeb favors a picture of Margaret Thatcher on the $10 bill. Perhaps he thinks that Britain still rules here. As to Ben Carson, he would like us to know that electing a Muslim president would be a big mistake. He also denies evolution. Did he skip biology classes in college?

The White Rabbit ran a race in a circle with no possible winner. Is it any wonder that Alice wished she had fallen into a different burrow? (In that she is not alone.)

All the other Republican candidates sing in unison the praises of creationism. All of them also hate the Supreme Court. Now listen to Marco Rubio. He declares climate is always changing. It is not because of human activity. He also loves the Second Amendment and is totally opposed to abortion.

And the following sentence comes from the mouth of Rand Paul: Socialism could lead to mass genocide.

At this Alice wakes up and drifts in a daze not knowing where she is or who she is. Quite by accident she stumbles on “The Island of Sanity.” She rubs her eyes.

Five people are standing next to each other looking relaxed, confident and happy to be together. In the middle is a woman. They listen to each other attentively. But they have also come prepared to say what they have to say and to do so clearly and even succinctly. No one is negative or on the attack or is distancing themselves from our current President. What a refreshing contrast it is to be watching civilized adults. Bernie Sanders gives his usual speech denouncing billionaires, but he manages to sound as though he is doing it for the first time. And everybody applauds when he says he is sick and tired of Republicans harping on Hillary’s emails. He is a little wobbly on gun control.

Hillary speaks forcefully about women, gun control, immigration and her willingness to take on the Republicans. She is doing a great job of presenting who she is rather than being defined by others. Lincoln Chafee and Jim Webb get a chance to say a few words and Martin O’Malley, the former governor of Maryland, emerges as a possible contender at some point in the future.
We all look forward to seeing more of this substantive discussion and more well conducted and moderated debates.

Alice is wide-eyed and wondering where she has been…and where she is going.

A Very Popular Pope

Pope Francis

Pope Francis

Pope Francis recently swept across the United States in his custom made Popemobile and drew adoring crowds everywhere he appeared. People waited in line all day to catch a glimpse of him and went into ecstasy at every sighting. This fan frenzy reminded me of the Beatlemania phenomenon of the ‘60s and of the hysterical Princess Diana cult of the ‘90s. People must have a need to worship someone. They seem to like to follow a crowd, lose their individuality and become part of something bigger than themselves.

The Pope certainly attracts this kind of popularity. “Authentic” is the favorite adjective used to describe him. He is obviously a “good” person, really cares for the disadvantaged, has a benevolent smile for everyone and radiates good will. People feel that he speaks for them and project their hopes onto him. And yet I cannot help asking myself these questions: What is so wonderful about finally recognizing that we are adversely affecting our environment and are the prime cause of global warming? We are like cancer cells destroying their own habitat. This is now a safe topic to tackle except perhaps if you live in West Virginia and believe that it is still debatable.

Population explosion is a big cause of the environmental problem. The total number of people on the planet is moving us toward Armageddon. The Vatican which is the richest organization in the world could do much to slow this event and to end poverty by endorsing birth control. It refuses to do so and opposes the use of condoms which would also help prevent AIDS.
Pope Francis has often stated that he would save homosexuals who repent. Save them from what? If they have done nothing wrong, why do they need to repent? Says Bill Maher of the papacy: “I think it is the easiest job in the world. You have tenure and you are selling an invisible product you don’t have to prove exists.” And Pope Francis would also allow atheists to go to Heaven. I think this is really funny since atheists don’t care about or believe in Heaven. It is also a pretty safe promise because no one has ever come back from Heaven to describe what it is like.

Further questions. Why can’t priests marry? Wouldn’t it solve the problem of priests abusing children? Why can’t women be priests? Women don’t want to be patronized. They don’t want to be patted on the head and told that they are wonderful creatures. What they want is equality.
The Pope apparently met with Kim Davis, the Kentucky official who refuses to marry gay people. Andy Borowitz of the New Yorker says: “Reporting every day to a job one has no intention of doing can only fill one with anguish. The pope wanted to show compassion.” It turned out that the Pope did not in fact deliver words of encouragement to Davis, but was in fact pranked into this by an American Bishop who had his own agenda.

And now we come to the Pope’s action which perturbs me the most: The beatification of Father Junipero Serra. Serra was a Franciscan priest who founded the California Missions, which were the first settlements in the area. In doing so he eradicated the culture, religion and language of the indigenous people and violently converted them. Entire populations were also wiped out by disease. The whole concept of sainthood is an archaic one. It is based on the belief in miracles and the supernatural which we should have outgrown by now. A miracle is an event which cannot be explained by scientific laws. Belief in the supernatural closes the mind against questioning and the search for a real explanation. So no matter how “liberal” and benevolent Pope Francis appears to be, he represents the Catholic Church which is based on dogma and is therefore incompatible with many of the positions he claims to support.

Editor’s note: Your comments of any character are strongly encouraged and will become part of this conversation.