Evangelicals Advocate Irresponsibility

In the wake of POTUS 45’s decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement, I have been seeing some stories about how conservative evangelical Christians agree with this decision, due to some notion that “God will take care of it.”

As a Buddhist, I’ve been told that the goal of realizing the enlightened mind is up to us. There is no savior, just Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to inspire us with their example, and Teachers, who can point the way.

I have never professed Christianity as my religion, but from what I can see,  Christians are also supposed to take some responsibility for their own salvation. Some Christians have a notion of being a steward of the Earth. Most Christians I know, as far as I can tell, do not abdicate their responsibilities toward the earth and its living beings. They don’t assume that just because Jesus died for their sins, now they can just sin as much as they want and they will be forgiven.

The attitude of the evangelical branch strikes me as dangerously lazy. I have heard that many of them believe that what happens on earth doesn’t matter because they will be raptured off to heaven, and even that they should try to hasten the End Times.

I think it is important to note that in the USA, one-third of registered voters are evangelicals. That leaves the rest of us to do the work of ensuring the survival of the human race and the planet we inhabit, since millions of Americans have indicated that they have no interest in bothering with that task.

It’s ironic that the folks who tend to decry the government as a “nanny state” are the ones most likely to expect some one else to take care of cleaning up their messes for them. It’s also ironic that the folks who complain about wanting more jobs in the USA reject the huge job potential of the alternative energy industry. But that’s another post, for sure.

Activism Made Easy

usaflagstamps

Until recently, the majority of my political activism consisted of signing petitions. Since the recent election, I realized it’s going to take a lot more than just signing petitions to protect the people in this country, along with the earth and its flora and fauna. When I first started to increase my civic duties, I was at times overwhelmed. I had this idea that I would do something once every weekday or once a week. I soon realized that would not work for me. It’s far more intuitive to follow my fire. In other words, there are some days when I am eager to make change, sending out dozens of emails, making calls or doing research. Other days I barely even want to log on to my computer. And that’s ok. I just do what I can when I am able and give myself permission to rest.

If you are interested in taking action, I’ve got some suggestions to help you. Then once you are all set up, it will be easy for you to spring in to action when a problematic situation (such as a Congressional bill you adamantly oppose) arises.

Get Organized

  1. Create a text file or spreadsheet with the names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses of all the people you might find yourself contacting. That way you won’t have to go hunting for them every time you want to convey your thoughts. Some people you may want to include on your list: The President of the USA, your two Senators and one Representative in the US Congress, your Senator and Reps in your state legislature, the Governor of your state, Mayor of your town, members of City Council, and members of the School Board.
  2. Add these individuals to your email address book. Put email addresses of groups you contact into a group contact list in your email (Gmail lets you do this)…that way when you want to contact every member of the School Board at once, for example, you can just type in School Board and everyone’s email address pops up.
  3. If you anticipate making a lot of phone calls, add the phone numbers to your phone address book.
  4. Keep a log of every contact you make, so you know what you’ve done. This will help when months or weeks from now you can’t remember if you contacted so and so about such and such, and what you said to them. You can also use this file to put in notes for future actions you want to take but aren’t ready to do so yet.
  5. If you aren’t currently involved in any activism groups, sign up for a group or list that will give you action items to do. Some examples are Dumbledore’s Army and My Civic Workout.
  6. I’ve also found it helpful to create an activism folder on my computer Desktop that contains subfolders for issues I’m interested in working on. That way if I want to save an article or save the link to the bill, I can have everything together. On a Mac you can save a link from your web browser just by grabbing the icon to the left of the URL and dragging it to the Desktop or to another folder.

Writing Letters and Emails

Never written a letter to an elected official, or need a refresher? Here’s a brief video describing the process of writing a letter to an elected official, specifically handwritten ones. You can also check out this more in depth article. If you request a response from the official, please know that you will receive a pretty generic form letter geared toward the general topic you’ve written about.

Making Phone Calls

Since attending meetings, marches and rallies are usually a bit of a hardship for me for various reasons, I decided to push my comfort zone in a new way: making phone calls. I’ve been inspired to conquer my fears about making calls, because I’ve learned it is more effective than letters or emails, which are hardly read, according to this former staffer.

Here’s what you do to make a call:

  1. Prepare what you want to say in advance so you have a script to fall back on when you freeze up.
  2. Whether you get voice mail or an actual live human on the line, be polite, brief and to the point.
  3. If you are a constituent of that elected official, let them know, because they care whether you are a voter who has the power to help vote them in or out of office.
  4. Thank them for their time.

I hope this helps inspire you!

 

Thanks Obama

Tote Bag I got from the DSCC

Tote Bag I got from the DSCC

We’ve been pretty spoiled these past eight years. I mean, Barack Obama hasn’t been perfect; who is? But having his intelligent self in the White House has been a pleasant shift from the Reign of Dumb that appears to have started with Ronald Reagan and Dan Quayle and has only been getting worse. Despite unprecedented obstruction from Congress, Mr. Obama managed to get a lot done these past eight years, undoing some of the mess made by George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Sure I’m biased. Voted for Mr. Obama both times, and I seem to get more liberal with every year I continue educating myself about the way the world works.

So I’m not sure what else I wanted to say, except Thanks, Obama. And no matter what anyone says, you are not a cactus.

 

Why I’m not voting for a third party presidential candidate this election

In 1980 I was in 7th grade. My social studies class took a poll of hands to see who we would choose for President. I believe I was the only one who raised my hand for John Anderson, the Independent candidate. More the half the kids raised their hands for Ronald Reagan, and the rest for Jimmy Carter. I didn’t like Reagan because I believed the rumors that he was a warmonger who would get us in a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. I liked Jimmy Carter, but believed the rumors that he was a weak President. I can’t honestly remember a thing about John Anderson — what he believed or stood for — all I knew is that he wasn’t one of the other guys. And I really didn’t want Reagan or Carter to win.

Hopefully, you are versed enough in history to know what happened. Looking at the popular vote numbers, Carter wouldn’t have won the majority even if all of Anderson’s votes had gone him. It’s like the hostage crisis did him in. But some people, Carter included, believe that he could have won had it not been for Anderson. And in hindsight, I would have much rather had four more years of Jimmy Carter than any years of Ronald Reagan.

So now it’s 2016. I adore Bernie Sanders, admire Hillary Clinton, and dislike Donald Trump with the fire of a thousand suns. I believe if Bernie Sanders had switched and run as a third party candidate, he would have done pretty well in the election. But like me, he’s been around long enough to believe that third party candidates at this stage in US history tend to just split the parties. So now he’s campaigning for Hillary Clinton, which doesn’t surprise me frankly, because you could see even during their first debate that he respected Hillary.

These are the other candidates for President who I cannot take seriously:

Jill Stein, Green Party candidate, is not even on the ballot in all states, has nearly lost every election she’s ever been in, including those at lower levels of government, and she has a history of backpedaling on her views when they prove unpopular.

Gary Johnson, Libertarian candidate, is pro-Citizens United, pro-fracking, and doesn’t support paid medical and family leave, for starters.

There are dozens of other people running as well who have no chance of winning.

I do hope I see the end of the two party system in my lifetime, but I don’t think it’s going to happen until we get campaign finance reform, as well as a groundswell of seriously charismatic, accomplished third party candidates running and winning seats more seats in Congress.

Poem: Cunning Plan of the Selfish, Short-sighted and Greedy

[OK, perhaps not much of a poem, but this is where my mind has been, and it’s NaPoWriMo so here you go]

Goal…
Put politicians in office
who will change the laws to benefit
corporations.
Make our government small and weak
so it cannot enforce the laws
on big business.
Then we make lots of money,
since after all, everyone knows
money equals happiness.

To do this…
Put congresspeople in office
who won’t do their jobs.
Run people for President
who seem dumb, crazy or incompetent.
Convince the people the government sucks,
so they won’t vote
and everyone will nod their heads knowingly
when anyone mentions
how much they hate politics.
So then, when you strip away regulations on big business,
and give corporate tax breaks
few will complain.
After all, business just has to be better than government.
The business owners, who bought out the politicians, are telling us so.
The rich get richer
the poor get poorer
working people will be too busy working
to notice what’s going on,
to notice how they have been tricked.

President Female…does it even matter?

Cartoon of Hillary looking off the notes of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren

Cartoon by Chris Cillizza

There’s a woman running for President, and she has a decent chance of becoming the first female President of the USA.

I am also, technically, female. So there are some people trying to tell me that as a female, I am obligated to support this woman.

However, I do not relate to being female.

You know how in dreams, you float around from place to place and are rarely aware of having a body? That’s how I am in “real life.” Even when I’m doing “female” things like giving birth or breastfeeding, I do not feel female. It’s just irrelevant to me. And so, I really don’t care that Hillary Clinton is female. I vote with my brain, not my vagina.

But let’s compare this to something else: race and ethnicity. I have very little sense of connection to my white, European background. So I get a little confused when people make a big deal out of these things. But in recent years, I’ve learned how much these things matter to some people. For example, thanks to experiences teaching me how black people in America are often unfairly targeted by the police, I understand better how the color of your skin can accord with privilege or a lack thereof.

I’ve also seen how little some of our lawmakers care about legislation that will help female-bodied individuals, and in fact, would be happy to approve legislation that could be downright deadly to women. It reminds me of the old saying that if men could get pregnant, they wouldn’t be so cavalier about trying to prevent abortion.

So, sure, things like sex, race and ethnicity do matter in society. I can understand that intellectually. But in my heart I’m just a soul/mindstream floating around, wondering why we feel the need to label and categorize ourselves. Still, I recognize the privilege I have in being able to see my sex, color and ethnic background as irrelevant. Not everyone can.

What makes females appreciated as lawmakers anyway?  I would argue it because they are more likely to grok the importance of kindness and equality, and they are more likely to understand that we are all in the same boat together. I have seen Bernie Sanders express those things with both words and actions. While Hillary Clinton has a different sort of reputation. So I tend to agree with this author, that the best feminist for president isn’t necessarily a woman.

I’ll leave you with this awesome video: