Wednesday, August 26, 2009

'Cos you're making me feel like I've never been born

I see the NAACP is planning on being out in force for tomorrow's Eagles game, in support of Michael Vick.

Am I the only one who sees a heavy irony in this? This organization is sticking up for Michael Vick? An organization with a proud history of fighting institutionalized injustice of others, acting as voice where before there was none, hastening the progression of a people from property to perhaps one day enjoying true and full equal rights not just by law but in hearts and minds (and don't kid yourself, our country isn't nearly there yet). This is that organization?

Let's go back in time about 200 years, 150 even. A white guy who did to African Americans, to human beings, what Vick did to dogs, would likely have gotten a similar punishment, maybe even less, if he "owned" those individuals. If his was a public profession (entertainment or the like), he'd be in a familiar position. And likely there'd be the Klan or similar ilk out there showing support for the guy because "he'd served his time."

Now, before you get your Smuckers in a jar, I'm not suggesting that the canine victims of Vick's crimes compare to the human victims in this trip down that shameful corner of our nation's past. It's a fact that they were thought of this way, even less, is my point. Nor am I comparing the NAACP to the Klan. The NAACP is a tremendous group, have been and are a driving force for incalculable good; the Klan is a despicable organization responsible for equally incalculable evil.

Animals and human being do share one very important aspect: the capacity to suffer and feel pain. We're carnivorous, we kill and eat meat. However, a living creature capable of suffering shouldn't be made to if it isn't absolutely necessary, certainly not for 'entertainment' purposes.

Years of sociopathic behavior tells the tale, whether he tortures animals or people, whether he be black or white, whether he be a she, it doesn't matter if it's 1809 or 2009. I admire the hell out of the NAACP and am sure their intentions are pure. They are likely tired of seeing yet another African American demonized and are trying to be proactive in stemming the tide of public opinion. I sympathize. Frankly, I wish Vick was a blond haired/blue eyed sociopath, but he's a sociopath regardless. I can't stand inside their shoes and certainly do not presume to understand their perspective. Just suggesting maybe they don't really want a dog in this particular fight. So to speak.

Religious intolerance and fear made the news again today. But really this kind of thing plays itself out every minute of every day on this planet in guises we likely don't always recognize. Strident belief in a set of values handed down from some omnipotent deity which hint (or hammer) at the values (and, consequently, the core worth) of others. It's instilled in a lot of us at birth and continuously reinforced since. It's been responsible for the lion's share of humanity's violence and hatred since time immemorial. No news there. But that doesn't make it any less depressing. Usually poverty and powerlessness fan the flames (hell, they ignite the fire in the first place in a lot of instances). But not always. Another case of stating the obvious, and the obviousness of it not helping.

It's pretty easy for me to rattle off an obnoxious, high and mighty, self righteous observation like I just did. I'm not a religious person, though not exactly an atheist. Anyway, not one who insists that there was/is - time being so relative - intelligence responsible in some manner for our existence, the universe, the multiverse, etc. To insist that's true is just arrogance through the looking glass.

My take is we're not nearly evolved or intelligent enough as a species to be able to figure something like that out. I guess that makes me an agnostic, though I don't consider myself indecisive or unwilling to "take a stand." I'm not hedging my bets. The only thing I'm pretty sure of is that while everybody with a belief in a supernatural being might be right about such a being's existence, they're surely wrong about any of the specifics. But I recognize that this is only my opinion and I don't think you're "of the devil" if you disagree. Or "The Great Satan", to give equal voice to the intolerant among those not tolerated by the Floridian devil-t-shirt crowd.

But enough pontificating - let's get to important things ...

We are fortunate enough in America to have some leaders of great principles and honor, in the here-and-now, regardless of what might await us once we leave this mortal coil.

Folks like Mark Sanford, noted Appalachian Anthropologist and amateur Argentinian Gynecologist. And, I might add, a True Believer.

Hang in there and fight for what you believe in, Mark. Don't let the unbelievers tear you down. You have work left to finish, South American fact finding trips yet to take.

You're the anti-Sarah Palin.

Sarah inexplicably resigns to twitter her life away, so as not to be an all-destructive Lame Duck, quacking away at the very fabric of the Yukon's star spangled icebergs. She should have resigned immediately upon being first elected, so as not to risk being a one-term burden on the great white north.

But you, Marky boy, you take a different tact. It'll take a conviction on charges of mass genocide for you to consider leaving office. Mass genocide, mind you - a bit of genocide here and there, especially if done for love, might even be considered a strength (if done out of state).

Now for something completely different ...

Great VH1 retrospective tonight on what was my first favorite rock band, the Beatles. When I caught Beatlemania they were already in reruns, having broken up three years prior to my first album purchase. Still, I couldn't get enough of them (this was the early 70s - who else was I supposed to get excited over?).

Until the Ramones, Clash, Costello and Springsteen made themselves known to me, the Beatles were the shit in my book. If I had to choose, I think I'd still pick them. Well, maybe Dylan would be first, but I didn't come to his work until a bit later in life. Unlike many, I always dug the Beatles early work more than I did the later stuff. A Red Album Guy, as it were. With a decidedly Blue State hue. Just to be sure I had balance in my life, at least where the primary colors are concerned (the Irish in me rounding out the green).

Well, this was certainly a post for the ages, filled with non sequiturs, pointless ramblings, wild mood swings and generally a big mess ('the world's a mess, it's in my kiss' - love ya and miss ya, X; you & the Violent Femmes made the 80s tolerable).

I blame the six pack of diet coke I just drank and the all round lack of sleep since the flu last week. That and the mental letting go of things on the professional front as I look for something different. That's been an ongoing process but decisions were made last week and it's like coming to the surface after a long time at great depth. I have the bends. Gotta flush the iridium out of my system (and that means something only to those it does)

Time for bed, though not for sleep. iTunes Beatles 63-66 playlist, I think. And my umpteenth read of The Great Gatsby. For some reason, they seem to go together just fine. See ya in a bit, Daisy.