Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Manifesto of the United States of JP: Politics Unusual

I don't think we ask our elected officials the right questions. Then again, I see the role of government and social order differently. I do not believe we live in a "free society". I think a more accurate description is a nation with liberties that are protected and regulated by law. When some people say "free society", it becomes an excuse to engage in behavior or activity they know will offend or harm others. If you ask me, people need to regard "free speech" as a privilege.

There are folks who spread misinformation and stir up anger through their words yet feel no responsibility for what they may trigger. If you believe rhetoric that is flavored with hate and aggression does not foster violence, you're out of your mind.

So see this is as a land of liberties where you are not free to run amok as you please. You cannot scribble "$1,000,000" on a scrap of notebook paper and call it legal currency. You cannot randomly walk into other people's houses and eat the chocolate cake sitting in the fridge. Actions have consequences and rightly so. The trouble these days is we look to government to embody highly individualistic ideals. Even in a democracy, government cannot meet every need raised by everyone. But it can create forums for the citizens to find their own answers.

For example, I think matters of faith are best discussed by clergy, theologians, and followers. Religious expression is guaranteed by the Constitution however government should not take sides. I want government to serve as a moderator when opposing religious groups make demands that conflict with each other. Government is about seeing that the citizens have the means and opportunities to practice their respective faiths, or not, and maintain the customs and beliefs that they are devoted to.

Because this country is an intersection of many ethnic, cultural, religious, and intellectual ideologies . . . we are not going to agree on many details. My question is, must we force government to adopt one way of thinking for there to be prosperity here?

Consider what would happen if I ran the United States with all the powers of say---Doctor Doom in his homeland of Latveria.  Please pardon my ensuing sarcasm. Even if you think it would be a lot of fun, you would hate the United States of JP.

For example, I could march into your home tell you how to pray, when to pray, punish you for disagreeing with me even if I am not actually well-versed in my own faith.

Let's look at it a different way.  What if I dictated what food you could eat? Gumbo for everyone, every day with double peanut butter brownies even if you were deathly allergic to peanuts. How about I pass a decree that requires you to love my favorite TV shows? And don't even get me started on the dress code! This all sounds like a crazed island nation run by a madman.

Maybe the problem is that neighbors don't talk to each other enough to sort out their differences so they turn to government to resolve the argument for them. I rather see citizens solve their own issues and not make it the government's concern.

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Flame and Bone

When I was made from fire
Poured into the tender vessel of caution
That keeps my smoke from rising
Quickly did I discover that apart from crisp drizzles or falling snow
The world chilled my touched
Walking the narrow cornered gap between girders and cut stone
One learns to tuck his shoulders in or risk
Jostling a neighbor passing by rapt with want
For a clear path without the distraction
Of another man's boiling eyes
The tip of a finger
That oldest of all weapons
Grown deadlier and pristine in its invention
Gathers a mote of a cinder on its bare flesh
And turns pondering how best to scratch the impious itch
Prying open the tender seam
Where the oil of thought dews
Offering a new wick to ignite
Squirming alive as a salamander of mischief
That yearns for a taste of air it is so ready to devour
The steam of breath betrays me
Before the glint of orange spreads
In popping bright waves
Eroding the fibers feeding it
Leaving naught but ash
As my shell of quietude falls away