My new hero is Sixto Rodriguez

My new hero is Sixto Rodriguez, a mythical rock legend from the 70’s. Haven’t heard of him? No one has … until now. Do yourself a favor. Watch the movie “Searching for Sugar Man“. It has one of the highest user AND critic ratings I’ve ever seen for a movie.  … SPOILER ALERT!! DO NOT WATCH THE PREVIEWS. They include a spoiler which will take away some of the fun.

Here’s a quote from the movie … “That sort of thing does not happen in a rational universe. It is against the rules of god and nature” -Rian Malan about “Sugar Man”

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Peace in the Middle East … How do you Negotiate with Insanity?

Not sure what to think about the recurring conflict between Israel and Hamas? Join the club. I have watched this conflict with concern for at least 13 years. I remember waking up in a cold sweat in a hotel bed one morning in 2002, stressed out from a nightmare of suicide bombings in Tel Aviv. Both sides are clearly to blame in their own way. But repeating the cycle of insanity is what upsets me.

The Cycle of Insanity:

  1. Outsiders (Iran?) pay Hamas to fire missiles at Israel knowing full well that the Israeli military will respond with disproportionate force killing innocent Palestinians.
  2. When fired upon, the Israelis receive sympathy and funding from the West (mainly the US).
  3. Israelis fire back at Palestinians killing many, which increases support and funding for Hamas who repeats Step 1.

They say … “Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results”. How do you negotiate with insanity? My opinion? This insanity will continue until it is no longer profitable for Hamas and the Israel military to fight.

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind

I’m watching Gandhi, the movie (again). Very inspiring (again). “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind” which is similar to “Two wrongs don’t make a right” and “Turn the other cheek”. Most people understand the long term benefits of this idea, yet find it so hard to follow. Those who are able to live up to this idea sacrifice their health and sometimes their lives not only for for their conscience, but for their society, which is elevated to a higher form of itself as a result.

In the movie, when the British shoot peaceful protesters, Ghandi encourages more peaceful protests instead of revenge killings. Revenge is satisfying in the moment, but damaging to the cause in the long term. Or as Gandhi puts it: “Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary.”

Not only did he ask his people to exercise incredible restraint, but to stand still and knowingly receive beatings and sometimes even death. Gandhi said that the nonviolent activist, like any soldier, had to be ready to die for their cause. In fact, during India’s struggle for independence, 100’s of Indians were killed by the British. The difference was that the nonviolent activists, while willing to die, were never willing to kill.

Gandhi pointed out three possible responses to oppression and injustice. One he described as the coward’s way: to accept the wrong or run away from it. The second was to stand and fight violence with violence force. Gandhi said this was better than acceptance or running away. But the third way, he said, was best of all and required the most courage: to stand and fight solely by nonviolent means.

Impressive … Gandhi was an incredible visionary and not only an effective leader of his people, but an inspiration to us all.

McBama for President

I’m tired of having a president that represents less than half of the American people. I want our president (and other publically officials) to represent the majoity of American’s first, which in most cases means the central majority, and their own political party second.

In cases where the President’s party is of the same opinion as the central majority, most of us can relex. But too often that is not the case, and we moderates should pay special attention. For example, our current president, George W. Bush, believes we should outlaw stem cell research. He has gone so far as to veto the stem-cell bill twice saying “I will not allow our nation to cross this moral line”.

But who define’s our country’s moral position? Only 31% of American’s supported Bush in this case. Should a president’s will, representing such a small percentage of America, override the oppinion of 61% of Americans? What about those of us who believe we have a moral responsibility to use stem-cell research to help sick and dying Americans!

If it were just one issue, I wouldn’t complain … much. But this president seems to represent the conservatve minority on just about every issue. One reason for this was posited by John Bolton while on the Daily Show when he suggested that Bush need not represent all Americans, just those responsible for electing him. I was shocked that the US representative to the UN would say such a thing. I was in such disbelief, that I had to watch it multiple times. Not only is this alarmingly narrowminded, but since Bush was elected by less than half of the vote and has an approval rating of less than 30%, it seems particularly arrogant.

I can understand why liberal Democrats would be upset. Their oppinions are on the opposite end of the political spectrum. But I’m a moderate and even my sensibilities are offended far too often by this president. There is something seriously wrong with our government when moderates like myself feel disenfranchised.

With the upcoming 2008 election, we have a chance to rectify the situation. Both McCain and Obama represent real change from Bush politics … and most of us are eager for change. But as they say, be careful what you wish for. Under McCain we may end up with more of the same, but under Obama, we might end up with something too different. A president Obama, combined with a Democratic Congress may swing our country so far in the other direction that we produce as much disenchantment from the Right as we’ve had from the Left. Can we afford another 8 years of frustration? Is 8 years of Conservative disenchantment any better than 8 years of Liberal disenchantment?

Being frustrated is disagreeable, but the real disasters in life begin when you get what you want.
Irving Kristol

That’s why I’m voting for “McBama for Presendent”.  Whichever candidate convinces me they represent most of us gets my vote. Right now that canidate seems to be somewhere between McCain and Obama.

Obama is articulate and his speaches inspire, which is a refreshing change for those of us who cringe every time Bush opens his mouth. McCain on the other hand, has troubles with the teleprompter. But at least he says he will represent all of us, even those who don’t vote for him. And that is the kind of change I’m looking for.

Can Obama say the same? Or will he continue to cater to his liberal base to assure their vote? If so, he risks losing my moderate vote and a lot others like me. We want change, but the kind of change that benefits most of us. Change that MOST OF US can believe in.