Thursday, January 29, 2009

Opening Doors

Quoting a well-known cliché, I heard someone on the radio say “Be careful about opening doors because you might not be able to close them again.” I thought, “Sounds to me like a pretty fearful way to live”. After having completed my thought, the speaker, having finished her pause, went on to personalize the statement she’d just made, “It scares me to open doors”, she said. “I’m always afraid I won’t be able to close them, so I usually won’t open one.”

I don’t worry about opening doors. They’re doors, they have handles, and hinges. They’re made to open. They’re not walls. Walls are made to hold you in, or to keep other people out. If a wall’s got a door, I’ll open it. If it doesn’t, I’ll leave it alone. I don’t make a point of crashing through walls, that’s why they have doors. A door will let you in a room, or a closet, if you want to be in there, but it will also let you out if you’re not afraid of the outdoors. I guess the point here is that a door gives you options. Why be afraid of having options?

One might wonder why I would feel it necessary to open doors that others have shut tight, reasoning, “They might like it in there”. And maybe they do, I don’t know, but I do know that some people like to breathe stale air because it’s the only air they know. However, it’s the fear I hear coming through the walls that most often provokes my involvement. Fear is a difficult thing to admit, not everybody can. Most people do not lock themselves in those little rooms by choice, they get driven inside by circumstances, or by people from their past. Some choose their own prisons, but they, too, ought to at least be given the opportunity for freedom. I don’t drag anybody out against their will, I just crack the door a little, just a little. Anybody that wants to can push it closed again.

For most people, getting into a room is a little easier than getting out. Most doors open inward, and are more than willing to allow you access. As I said, getting out is a little more difficult, but, y’know what, it’s easier for someone stuck in a room to walk through a door that’s been opened for them from the outside than it might be for them to pull it open for themselves from the inside. Some people just cannot bring themselves to reach for the handle, and some cannot even find it in the dark. Like the lady on the radio said, “Too scary”.

I’ll continue to open doors around this crumbling Motel of Life so that anybody wishing to poke their head out, to experience freedom, to know what it’s like to be able to see, and to breathe clear air again, will be able to. I never insist somebody come out into the light, I just let a little light in through the crack in the door so that they can see what’s waiting out here on the other side.

Some people don’t like me for it.
But life, for me, is not a popularity contest,
it is an opportunity for living.

Monday, January 26, 2009


Ever notice how life can mimic the show ‘Survivor’? Especially in a work environment? It has always been somewhat like that, but nothing like it is today. I can tell you that because I’ve been alive for a long time. Not that we’re all hanging around half-naked on a tropical island, but that everybody has learned how personally beneficial it becomes to form alliances, even with people they don’t like, or have anything in common with. Even with those they intensely dislike. Alliances are usually formed for the purpose of self-protection, to get ahead, or to solidify a position of prominence, even at the expense of one’s own authenticity. Everybody is just part of the game, part of the charade, to be used for personal advancement.
People using people. Hey, it’s a beautiful thing.

I wonder sometimes if politicians learned their fraudulent practices from watching Survivor, or if the contestants on Survivor learned their methods of deceit from watching politicians. Doesn’t matter.

I think we’ve all noticed how quickly some people become ‘best friends’ with other people, how some court those they find useful to their own purpose, or ambition, but not necessarily those who aren’t. I don’t mean to be terribly, and obnoxiously, insightful, but it’s not too difficult to tell who among one’s daily acquaintances are faithful consumers of the television show. Just watch the way they play the game of life. You see it at work, at social gatherings, in politics, at volunteer events even. The television show is about strategy, but it is ultimately about getting what one wants, and doing so without announcing one’s intention. After all, that would be honest, that would be transparent. It would not fit the model of underhandedness that Survivor is based on. The show is about appearing to be transparent while actually being opaque. It is about duplicity, and it is about deceit. It is about kissing the ass of those deemed to be useful to you as a player, but it is also about keeping your lips stuck on their ass without them knowing that you’re kissing it, or the ass of everybody else as well. Takes a special skill to pull that off, but I’ve noticed that an increasing number of people have become quite proficient at the practice, particularly those lacking the courage, the self-confidence, or the motivation, to accomplish anything on their own. They will always find someone else’s rear-end to ride.

In the workplace, the best players are ultimately able to define the environment. They make the rules, survive the longest, and are able to dismiss the compromise of their character with a denial of their own participation in the game.
You know what I’m talking about.
Just take a look around.

I’d hate to work in a place like that!

Those who choose not to play that game are, of course destined not to last. They’ll lose their jobs, or leave their jobs. But at least they’ll leave with their dignity, and their integrity, intact.

They are the true survivors.
Alliances be damned.

Friday, January 23, 2009

He's Not God

Speaking about me, a friend recently told another person,
“He doesn’t know everything, he’s not God.”

I thought it interesting that she felt she had to defend God. Or was she just alerting the other person not to confuse me with Him. Nevertheless, from my perspective it didn’t seem necessary. I’ve always been a very poor imitation of God, and never felt anyone would be in danger of mistaking me for Him, although I have been told I was created in His image, and in His likeness, if that counts for anything.

I’ve always been taught that God is Love (I John, 4:8). And, according to I Corinthians 13: 5-7, “Love is patient; Love is kind; Love is not envious, or boastful, or arrogant, or rude; It does not insist on its own way; It is not irritable or resentful; It does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth; It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

If God is Love, and Love is all that, then God is all that too.
And that certainly doesn’t sound like me.

God’s got no worries here.
His identity remains intact.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

American Idol

All right everybody. Do you think we can temper the idolatry a bit with a little dose of reality? Do you think we can reserve the hero worship for someone who has actually accomplished something heroic? Do you think we can adopt a reasonable view of the anointed one, and a reasonable expectation? Do you think we can all agree that a savior is not yet actually moving among us, even though we view him as transcendent, capable of healing, and of levitation? Did I somehow miss the guy’s birth, death, and resurrection? I have certainly witnessed his ascension.

C’mon people, we’re already naming schools after him, streets, community centers, pets, children, songs, towns. . . . . . . . . . .yes towns. Middle School and High School choirs are being named after him. They’re writing anthems and songs of worship to honor him, and they’re being taught in the classroom to revere him. Criticism of him is being forbidden. They’re considering making his birthday a National holiday.
Sounds alarmingly like Kim Jong il of North Korea, don’tcha think?

Hey people, they’re putting his likeness on everything from napkins to lampshades,
t-shirts to tennis shoes to flags. Fine china to coins to crystal goblets to commemorative plates, from Frisbees to kites to guitars to bikes to basketballs. They’re tattooing his mug on their backs and bottoms and belly’s and biceps and breasts. And there’ll be soda and beer and candy and gum and chips and dips and doughnuts sold in homage to his name. Just wait and see. You just wait and see.
Celebrities are tripping over themselves to get on his speed dial. And drooling over the possibility of masturbating in the Lincoln bedroom.

Barack Obama, American Idol. Now don’t let me give you the wrong impression. I like Barack Obama. In fact I wrote in my column “Silence Doesn’t Lie” on 2/1/08 that if he came to my house, and I were a dog, reading body language, and responding to my instincts, I’d trust him. That’s right, I’d trust him, much more so than any of the other front-running presidential primary candidates at the time. In fact, what I actually said was “I’d meet him at the gate, lead him up the walk, through the house to the back yard where my family was gathered. And, based on my comfort level with him, they’d probably invite him to stay for the barbecue.” That’s right, in fact I’d like to have him at the barbecue.

We’ll, it looks like the whole country is having a big barbecue, and everybody wants Barack to light the charcoal. So, lets take a look at how everybody arrived at wanting this guy to grace their own back yard. Now, for the intellectual and cultural snobs, for the intellectually lazy who would wish to label me racist for an objective view, and for the self-loathing apologists who revere race and ethnicity for its own sake, (dare I say, the actual racists, who perpetuate double standards, and who find racism in everything because it makes them feel enlightened and superior, in spite of their own myopia), let me clarify my feelings, and my position on Mr. Obama. Not Mr. Obama, the black man, as you would like to see it, but Mr. Obama, the man, as I see him.

Somebody I would be friends with. Well reasoned and well spoken. The courage to speak his mind, by all accounts a good husband and father. Charming, thoughtful, and passionate. Possesses a salient measure of wisdom. Has a social conscience and a willingness to express it. A man of character. A man of faith. The kind of qualities I look for in a friend, and would hope for in a president.

All right then, that having been said, should I not be dizzy beside myself with glee like everybody else at his ascension to the presidency? Should I not kiss the ground upon which he walks? Should I not buy one of those lampshades with his likeness? Well, I might, except for just one thing, something it seems everybody has conveniently forgotten. Barack Obama is a politician! Oh that!

OK, now we can look at how he actually became the center of the existing universe.
Let’s be honest here.

* He made a moving speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. And I must say, I was moved.

* We like him, he’s inspirational, and seems like a good guy.

* He’s young, handsome, and photogenic. We live in a youth and looks worshiping culture.

* 18 year old kids who consider Brittany Spears and Paris Hilton cultural icons of influence are able to vote. They were sold the image of Barack Obama in the same way they’ve been sold the images of pop stars and starlets. What demographic do you think makes up the preponderance of users of MySpace and YouTube?

* Running themes in movies, and on TV, for the past ten or fifteen years have been promoting ‘blackness’ as special, spiritual, wise etc. Does that sound like a description of Obama? Hispanics have, for about the past five years, been promoted the same way. Whites are being portrayed as ignorant, passé, irrelevant, inconsequential. Choose your own adjective. There is a bourgeoning culture of white self-loathing taking hold around the country. If you haven’t noticed, you haven’t actually been paying attention. In fact the hierarchy now goes something like this. Young is better than old. Black/brown is better than white. Female is better than male. Gay is better than straight. Gay/white may be better than black, but that’s still kind of a toss-up right now. OK, you can say that’s not really happening, or that Hollywood is just trying to level the playing field, but I say Hollywood is intentionally manipulating the perceptions of the young. Hollywood, like the music industry, is always looking to grab the dollar of any rising demographic. Every dollar it can, and why not help the process along to get the bucks a little quicker?

* Hollywood ordained Barack as meeting five of their primary criteria, young/black/photogenic, liberal, and of course, Hollywood friendly. Stay with me now.

* The media not only blatantly ordained Barack (Twelve covers of Time Magazine in the past year), but also actively promoted him, repressed harmful information about him, and gave him a free pass on his own history and voting record. You can argue about that, but you won’t actually even believe your own argument. The press also likes the idea of a president who likes the press.
Like John McCain ever had a chance!

OK, still with me? It gets touchy now. Hang on to your ideology.

* We like the idea of a president with a ‘Muslim’ name. Would help us feel good about ourselves again. Alleviate the guilt of our killing all those Muslims over in Iraq and Afghanistan. And would poke a stick in the eye of all those stupid white guys who insisted that we do it. Ouch.

* We like the idea of a black man as President. Would help us feel good about ourselves again. Alleviate the guilt of our having enslaved and repressed so many of them for so many years. And would poke a stick in the eye of all the stupid white guys who won’t take personal responsibility today for the actions of some other white guys that they never knew.
The problem here is that Obama’s election is going to put the race-baiting bigots like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and Jeremiah Wright out of work. Although they will probably still say that America would never elect a ‘real’ black man.

* Obama was deemed, from early on, as highly marketable, more marketable than any President before him, and, most likely, more marketable than any other person in the world. A lot of money to be made off this guy (possibly the primary reason he was so heavily promoted). Can anybody honestly argue with that motivation?

Well, there you have it folks, the confluence of circumstances that gave us the 44th President of the United States. You may see it differently, although I don’t see how that is possible. Smile.
But, even though Barack was an unremarkable Senator, I am not one to reject his value to the country based on his having been ushered into the Office on a red carpet. With scattered roses, no less. As I’ve already said, I like him. I want him to do well. I think he is, and will be, really good for ths country. He does inspire hope in people, young people especially. That can be a remarkable achievement in, and of, itself. I will support him, and his policies, as best I can. Unlike the example of the Bush haters of the past eight years, who are, I believe, most responsible for dividing our country like dirty laundry, then tearing it apart (The age old 'divide and conquer' strategy), I’m hoping that conservatives will not follow in their reprehensible footsteps. I’m hoping they will give Barack a chance, support his efforts, his vision, and his intentions to heal this nation from its own self-loathing. I know I will.

I will not, however, ever forget that Barack Obama, American Idol, is a politician. I hope you won’t either.
But I am gonna get me one of those cool lamp shades.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Welcome Blunder

I had been corresponding with a young couple from Bowling Green, Kentucky for about six months. We’d had many phone conversations, and exchanged letters. This was a couple that knew my music and was very intimately involved with what I had to say. I became for them a kind of counselor and confidant. It was not a position I chose for myself, it was kind of assumed of me as the relationship developed. They were impressed that my songs, and correspondence, spoke to their personal lives. In many ways I felt trapped by their embrace. I felt obligated to their trust in me. It was not a role I relished, but a role I felt I needed to move, casually and gracefully, away from. I was beginning to feel that their reliance on me was inhibiting their own development, and their dependence on one another as a couple.

My touring eventually landed me in Bowling Green. I was to do a solo concert at the University there. These people had previously arranged with me to have dinner together after the show. I had a successful concert; nice theater, full house, satisfying performance etc. I was feeling pretty good. We connected after I was finished saying my goodbyes, after the social obligations connected with doing a show. At that hour of the night there were few restaurants open. We landed at a family style establishment, a Denny’s kind of place. Y’know, the kind of restaurant that serves your drink with a straw. Anyway, it was kind of a weird dynamic because this couple was relating to me on two different levels. First, they were connecting with me as an artist, having been to my show; and secondly, they were relating to me as an advisor. I was uncomfortable with both. I was just me, and quite comfortable with that. In my mind we were equals, meeting, catching up on things, enjoying a meal after a show. That is the dynamic I wished to be, needed to be, engaged with. They were having none of it. That is not how they saw, or wanted to see, me.

At probably the most opportune moment of our time together, and as I was about to insist that they change the lenses in their glasses in order to see me more in focus, I bent my head down to take a sip of water through the straw in my glass. Because I was looking across the table at my friends, I misjudged the alignment of mouth and straw. The end of the straw hit me in the front tooth and got stuck in the narrow gap between two of my teeth. I wasn’t sure what had happened, but instinctively raised my mouth and head up and away from the straw. As I did, I pulled the straw out of the glass, and it was now sticking straight out of my mouth, still lodged between the teeth, dripping water on my mashed potatoes. Trying to save me the embarrassment, the couple across the table continued with their discussion, looking at me like they hadn’t even noticed. I thought that was kind of weird. OK, so I pulled the straw out of my teeth, put it back in the glass, recovered gracefully, and then, while paying renewed attention to what they were saying, I bent my head down to take another sip of water. Again, not looking, this time I misjudged the alignment of face to straw even worse than before. The end of the straw poked me squarely in the eye. In response, I instinctively closed my eye as a protective measure. My eye had, unbelievably, closed around the end of the straw, and as I raised my head back up I, once again, pulled the straw all the way out of the glass. Now I had a straw sticking out of my EYE, pointing disturbingly across the table, and dripping on my already soggy mashed potatoes.

This time my friends couldn’t help but acknowledge the blunder. We all laughed. It put me in a different light, made it possible to relate to one another more equally, and cast a relaxed shade of commonality across the rest of the evening.

It’s important for all of us to see those we look up to, or admire, as who they really are. People just like ourselves, with strengths and weaknesses, with passion and indifference. In spite of our gifts, talents, abilities and contributions, we are all truly just humans with our pants having sometimes fallen down around our feet.

I was happy to have enabled those two people to know that about me.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

This Old Hotel

Time is running out, as it does for all of us. I’m well past half the age I’m going to be when I finally check out of this old hotel for the final time. Life is something to look forward to, but it’s also something to look back on. Looking back is how you know what adjustments to make going forward. Life ahead is still unknown, but life behind is now visible, no longer a mystery. Where did I get it right? And how’d I do that? It’s all there in the rear view mirror of life. Where did I screw it up? And how the hell did I ever screw it up that bad? That’s all there as well. Same mirror, different view.

Some people say they never look back. Well, I guess those are the guys that never messed anything up. Or maybe they messed up so much they can’t deal with the consequences, or the repercussions, the memories even. Seems to me like a hit-and-run kind of posture. If I ever cause an accident I’d like to think I’d remain on the scene long enough to handle things in a responsible and compassionate manner, taking care of business before moving on with the rest of my life. But I’m sure that, on occasion, I would revisit the scene of the accident in my mind, to explore what went wrong, to figure out how to prevent the same kind of thing from happening again. What I would not do, however, is remain at the scene of the accident, pitch a tent, and live there for the rest of my life, regretting the day that I ever got in my car. What would the point of that be? Gotta move on, as they say, from everything really. No matter what.

On the other side of things, if I ran into good fortune along the way, not only would I get out of the car to shake his hand, I’d give him a ride to where he was going, and then I’d go back and visit him on occasion to make sure we stayed connected.

What do you mean you never look back?

Speaking of looking back. . . . . .
Some things I’d like to look back on; things I’d still like to do
before it gets to the point where life is just doing me:

• Walk the Pacific Crest Trail alone.
• Ride the Pacific Crest Trail on horseback from Yosemite to Kennedy Meadows with my sons.
• Spend two years traveling the back-roads of the U.S. in my truck and trailer with my wife.
• Spend a summer traveling the Southwest and the Northwest with my grandson.
• Finish recording all the songs I’ve ever written. And keep writing new ones.
• Play a game of one-on-one basketball with Condoleezza Rice (I’m serious).
• Play a concert with my sons.
• Have a drink in a dive bar with Bob Dylan.
• Have coffee with John Walker Lindh (the American Taliban) as a free and forgiven man.
* Spend a long weekend in a cabin at Lake Louise with Gina (from the café in my novel ‘Wilderness’). Alright, I admit it, this one's just a shameless plug for the novel.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Yesterday Is Gone

Yesterday is gone. Don’t know where it went,
or how it got away without my noticing.
It never left a note to say “I’m leaving”, just decided it had to go, and was gone. When it had first arrived, in the very early morning, it came with a bag full of promise, and a box of possibility, dropped it all at my feet and said “I brought you some things to sort through today, use anything you care to, anything that might suit your purpose. Some of it may be useful to you, and some of it may be just for fun. But use whatever you’d like. Only has a shelf life of 24 hours, however, and I can’t take any of it back”.

I never even acknowledged the gifts, just left them there on the floor while I went back to ruminating over the price of gas, and whether or not the world will even last long enough for me to finish using that big box of paper towels I just got from Costco. And the 12-pack of toothpaste too. Wouldn’t want to waste any of that. Your teeth can never be too clean. Or too white for that matter.

That bag of promise, and the box of possibility that was with it, never even got opened yesterday. Didn’t have time for that. I kept meaning to get to it, but found myself being constantly interrupted by the television. Those gifts were gone when I got out of bed this morning, having been replaced by another box, and another bag, but maybe half the size of the others.

Maybe I’ll have time today to see what’s in there.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Gifts We Have To Give

We took our little grandson on an outing the other day. Someplace he was exited about going. As we got progressively nearer our destination he became increasingly excited and impatient, not irritatingly so, just little kid kind of stuff. Y’know, ‘grandpa are we there yet? Are we almost there? When are we gonna be there grandpa?’ He was in the back seat of the Jeep in his own little car seat. I turned around and said to him “sounds like you might be running out of patience, would you like a little bit of mine?” He smiled and said “yes please”. I reached back to him with a handful of imaginary patience. He reached his hand out to me. I poured the patience into his open palm, and he closed his hand around the patience while saying “thank you grandpa”. I said “maybe you can put some in your pocket to save for later”. He said “OK” and went through the motion of doing just that. I smiled inside. He was very calm and relaxed for the remainder of the trip.

We spent a couple of hours engaged in our activity and then got back in the truck to head over to the library. After a few minutes of calm and quiet he said to me “grandpa, I still have some of that patience that you gave me”. I laughed and said “that’s great grandson, it’s a good thing to have some extra for whenever you might need it”. We continued the drive to the library and eventually he began getting restless again like earlier in the day. I recognized that he was beginning to get tired and a little anxious. It was getting near his nap time, but he really wanted to stop by the library. With the remarkable self-awareness to realize his own anxiety level was changing he said to me “Grandpa, can I have some more of your patience”? I had to laugh out loud. I gave him another handful, he thanked me and settled back down within himself once again.

Re-living these rare and innocent moments in my memory, I am struck by the simplicity, and the importance, of the act of giving. A gift received becomes a gift given. It is the reception of the gift that enables it. If my grandson had not accepted my patience he would not have experienced it. It would not have become his own. A gift should be given without expectation, but accepted with an acknowledgement of its authenticity. It is the transference of something one person has and another person needs. That is the value of giving. I am reminded that each of us possesses a quality that another lacks, and likewise, each of us has need of a quality that someone else might have in abundance.

On many occasions in my life, and by many different people, I have been given the gift of hope. I’ve also been given courage, strength, the gift of love, and others. Give hope to one another. Give each other strength, and courage. Receive from others the things you may be lacking. Remember that, for my grandson, that imaginary patience proved to be not so imaginary after all.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Osama bin Laden Is My Brother

I know, that’s a very weird thing to say, at least by most standards. But OK, now that I have your attention. . . . . . . .
what I have to say is not about most standards. It’s about a greater standard, a standard beyond what we readily, and commonly, acknowledge to be our responsibility to one another. Bin Laden is merely representative of a dynamic that is fueled by each of us, and that each of us is ultimately affected by. It is the domino theory, that every action is affected by an action preceding it; that every motion sets additional motion in play. It is a law of nature. If I turn on a fan in the room it stirs up the air around me, which unsettles the dust in the room, which aggravates my breathing, which gives me the sniffles, which leads to a cold, which I pass on to someone else from the shake of a hand or the knob of a door, and so on, and so on, and so on. An unremarkable example, and one you could argue the medical/scientific merits of, but I think you get the point. Every action produces a direct effect of that action.

Prior to 9/11 Osama bin Laden (and his friends) failed to take into account the fact that we are his brothers. I will say that again. “Prior to 9/11 Osama bin Laden (and his friends) failed to take into account the fact that we are his brothers.” Long before that we failed, you can be sure, to take into account the same about him. I’m not talking about our government, or our country, I’m talking about us as individuals. 9/11 did not just happen. I believe that disrespect is the most profound shaper of negative ideology in the world today. Disrespect for one another on a minor scale always translates somewhere down the line into disrespect for one another on a major scale. I am certainly not blaming the U.S for the attack on the World Trade Center, it was an horrendous and unconscionable act. I am merely using the event to illuminate a broader personal responsibility that each of us needs to embrace if we are ever going to achieve peace on this planet. We rant and rave about countries provoking one another, waging war with one another, hating one another and why can’t things be different, but on the other hand we continue to use, slight, abuse and disrespect one another, in a myriad of ways and circumstances. “Same as it ever was, same as it ever was.” I’ve used the flow of water before to describe the cycle of wealth and poverty, and I use it here again because disrespect, like water, always flows downhill. It gathers in lakes and oceans, evaporates to form storm clouds overhead, then rains on us when the clouds can hold no more. It is a self-perpetuating cycle. Someone once said ‘the definition of insanity is doing the same thing, the same way, over and over, and expecting a different result.’

I believe that if we want to call Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., or Gandhi, or Jesus our brother, or the guy sitting next to us in church, we are also obligated to consider Osama bin Laden our brother, or the guy preaching hate on Air America, in the mosque, or with a bullhorn on a university campus. For all the perpetual George Bush haters out there who now want to embrace Barack Obama as their brother, they need to consider the Bush’s of the world in like manner. Can they do that? If not, their own disingenuousness will continue to subvert the very principals they supposedly stand for, and perpetuate, you can be sure, the horrendous divisiveness they create by their own behavior. Those on the ideologically opposite side of things need to do the same. I am not saying we need to agree with, or excuse behavior, but I am saying that love is the greatest moderator of behavior. Forgiveness is the greatest liberator from that behavior.
We are only as spiritually authentic as the measure of our love. Our love is measured in reverse proportion to our capacity for hate, and indifference falls squarely on the side of the negative.

We do not have the luxury to pick and choose who is a member of the human family, and who is not; who we would like to sit next to at the banquet, or stand behind in the food line. Unkindness comes dressed in superlatives far more often than it ever comes dressed in rags, but it comes, dressed in every pair of pants imaginable. If our exclusion of some, and inclusion of others, in our love is based on faith, ideology, political party, country, color, or social grouping, then we really amount to little more than a college fraternity rather than the supposedly enlightened and ever-evolving citizens of the world that we have all become so fond of claiming to be. Lets face it, the earth is a big house, but with more rooms than just the few that you and I happen to occupy. It holds an ever-increasing population of related individuals? If it is true that we are all Gods creatures (and I believe we are) then we must account for that reality, and not merely continue to pay lip service to it. For every major offense, or indiscretion, committed by someone, somewhere, in the world, a minor offense, or indiscretion, can be traced directly back to me. I am me, that is very clear; but you are me as well. Think about it.

Hate, disrespect, dishonor, and neglect spread like a virus to our faceless, unknown, and unimagined brothers and sisters right on down to the end of the line.

We have been commissioned to love our neighbor as our self.
If you say, ‘yeah, but my god doesn’t teach that’, then brother,
you just need to get yourself a better God.

Osama bin Laden is my brother.