Do We Live in a Dark World?

People who see the world as “dark” aren’t held in high regard. They are called curmudgeons, pessimists, even villains.

By contract, people who see the world in a positive light are considered optimistic. They’re the good guys.

Donald Trump’s speech at the close of the Republican National Convention was castigated by the opposition and the press as being “dark.” President Obama was so bothered by its tone that he felt compelled to reply the next day, “This idea that America is somehow on the verge of collapse—this vision of violence and chaos everywhere—doesn’t really jibe with the experience of most people.”

Taking politics out of this discussion (I know, that’s nearly impossible), this sunny statement by the president against the negative images conjured by Trump begs an important question, one that doesn’t concern only our time, but all of time, the way it’s always been, at least since the fall.

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The State of Race

Last week I watched a peculiar parade. I saw police arranging long, white barricades at the end of my block, so my dog and I decided to take a walk and find out what was happening. From beyond the crest of a hill on Sumter Street, we could feel the roll of bass drums and hear the staccato brass of a marching band.  In a moment, floats appeared over the horizon, candy was tossed, and there were smiles all around.

But that’s not why it was a peculiar parade. Two things were odd: as I looked around, I realized that I was the only white person standing among the crowds on the sidewalk. Hmmm. The second thing: no white people in the parade. It went on, an hour of high school marching bands (8), floats (20), politicians (close to election day), and little girls in leotards (countless) twirling chrome batons with scuffed rubber tips.

Obama said yes! We got a signing ceremony in the Oval Office!

After a five year quest to get the attention of the United States government, we have done it.

President Obama agreed to a signing ceremony in the Oval Office for the signing of the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act! After the unbelievable rallying we all did to see this bill pass unanimously through Congress, and the props they gave us on the House floor (I’ll never forget that for the rest of my life), we have seen impossible dreams come true.

After the bill’s unanimous passage, we asked the White House for a signing ceremony with the President so that we could hold him accountable to this mandate and see Joseph Kony arrested.

On Saturday, President Obama accepted our request and invited us to the Oval Office on Monday.

Today, Monday, May 24th at 5pm est, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Members of Congress, UN Ambassador Susan Rice, Jason, Laren, Ben Keesey and Resolve’s Michael Poffenberger stood in the Oval Office, circled around President Barack Obama as he signed into law the bill we have carried so far.

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President Obama on Easter and his "Risen Savior"

One of the things I HATE...YES HATE...is when we think we know something that we really have no idea about. 

I HATE that conservatives love to HATE Obama and consider him the end of America. 

I HATE that liberals HATED Bush and considered him the end of America.

On those notes, a friend of a friend attended President Obama's Easter Prayer Breakfast on April 6th and sent his speach along for me (and others) to read.  You can read it if you want at the White House Press Page, but I thought I would post some very interesting chunks.

I don't know that I like Obama and I don't know that I don't. But I do know that much of what he said is down right true and frankly not even being said (let alone) preached by many of the people who should know better...

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President Obama Comes Out of the Closet.

In an astonishing announcement from our nation’s capitol, President Obama has confirmed that he was indeed a Kenyan-born plant; the key component of an African conspiracy to bring America back to a purely capitalistic governmental policy. With Glen Beck at his side, a broad grin on his face, and his trademark eloquence, President Obama announced a sweeping series of executive decrees.

Having sold all public schools to the McDonalds corporation’s new “Ronald McDonald Happy School” division, parents of any student enrolled would now be responsible to pay the nearly $25,000 annual tuition that the “communist socialists” administrations of the past had supported. Tuition will include a free Happy Meal as part of a “Freedom Fridays” celebration.

In addition, all “socialist intrusion” in higher education is also ending. Harvard University reported being swamped with new applications, as their $ 50,000 plus annual tuition is suddenly very competitive to the formerly “socialist enclaves” known as public universities. A deal with the Ford Corporation, who has launched a “Forderversities” division, is pending. It is rumored that top graduates will receive free, eight cylinder Explorers, left over from the socialist expansion of President Bush.

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The Big Health Care Speech: Obama Drives to the Basket . . . .

 

Basketball analogies have been really popular lately, like Sarah Palin’s “pass the ball and leave the court” point guard talk. So here’s my analogy for where Obama’s health care plan has ended up after last night’s speech: he drove to the net, lifted off the gleaming hardwood court of ideals, and split the double team of industry interests and Republican fear mongering.  Did the ball go in? It seems to be swirling around the rim, but I’m hopeful.

Health care coverage is a result of the problem, not the problem. The real issue is the structure of the $2 trillion health care industry. This is not a new contention, but has been wrestled with by American Presidents like Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Carter, Clinton, and Bush.  As President Obama noted, “I am not the first President to take up this cause, but I am determined to be the last. It has now been nearly a century since Theodore Roosevelt first called for health care reform. And ever since, nearly every President and Congress, whether Democrat or Republican, has attempted to meet this challenge in some way. A bill for comprehensive health reform was first introduced by John Dingell Sr. in 1943. Sixty-five years later, his son continues to introduce that same bill at the beginning of each session.” Successful smoke and mirrors by the health care lobby has kept the focus on the people not covered, which keeps tax payer dollars flowing toward increasing coverage, not fixing the problem and saving money.

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A Healthy Discussion: A few final thoughts on health care

Conversant Life is at its best when it creates a dialogue. Part of what has weakened the witness of the church has been its inability to have an intelligent conversation without it degenerating into a “Liberal” vs “Conservative” cage match. Thanks to each of you who have engaged a difficult issue in this wonderful cyber-community.

Three things I have come away with:

I might not think highly enough of the church. Several friends have pointed out that the church’s role in this mess is to step in and provide for those in need. Wow, I love that. And, to be honest, I also think, “good luck!” Maybe if churches cleared out the pews and replaced them with aluminum hospital beds, or if we liquidated all the overhead projectors stored in dusty basement Sunday school rooms, we might have a chance. Maybe I’m too cynical. I need to work that out.  

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A Healthy Discussion, Part 2: The Industry Behind It All.

Dr. Tattersall was a fine country doctor lifted from a Norman Rockwell painting, complete with white hair and kind eyes. He worked out of a pine-paneled office attached to his home on the only road in our area busy enough to have a painted yellow line running down the middle. For most of my early years, Dr. Tattersall stitched me, vaccinated me, and kept me in one piece.

I suspect many of us have memories of our first doctor. We tend to equate health care with something familiar, like the geeky gecko personifying insurance giant Geico. But the health care business isn’t really Dr. Tattersall or a cute lizard. It’s a $2 trillion dollar industry, one of the largest in the United States. It has the most to lose in the current discussion and a fitting reputation for playing hard and dirty anytime health care reform is proposed.

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Beyond the Insanity: A healthy discussion on health care

I’m a bit perplexed by the initial Christian response to the health care crisis. Now, you might not know there is a crisis. If you are college educated and employed, you are likely to have Aetna’s golden ticket tucked into your wallet. Go get a check up, laugh at the $15 co-pay, and be grateful for living the American dream.

But what about the others? And what’s driving this crazy health care debate/debacle/disgrace? I look forward to writing a couple of blogs that track through the issue of health care. I know, me and 10,000 other writer-wannabes, trying to scale Mount Everest in slick Adidas sneakers. But I hope we can see Conversant Life do what it does best - create a platform for a healthy discussion. I don’t mind if you disagree with me or others who post, just think first and post second. If you are one of the wing nuts who recently took up screaming at Congressmen in crowded town hall meetings, head back into the attic and unravel the next conspiracy. The rest of us want to have some adult time.

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Obama Effect: The World Likes America Again.

Remember the dark days of international travel, back when Bush/Cheney were kicking tail and taking names? When sneered at by an effeminate French waiter, we would claim “Canadian” and recite Curling statistics. We practiced using northern intonations and ending sentences with “eh?” Looking back, it was pretty ugly.

But today? Not so bad. The Pew Global Attitudes Project just released data on the perception of America by other nations. Since President Obama’s inauguration, things have been looking up. The survey of people in fifty-five nations showed better attitudes toward the United States in places as disparate as Western Europe, Africa and Latin America, even in Muslim nations.

And get this: For the first time since Pew began making the comparison, people in Turkey, Egypt, and Indonesia (each with mostly Muslim populations) expressed greater confidence in the American President than they did in Osama bin Laden. I would have loved to be a locust on the wall of his cave when bin Laden got that news! 

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