Friday, August 7, 2009

Visualizing Whirled Peas

A rainy morning kept me inside doing housework and writing a couple of letters I’d put off (from the level in the tank, it looks more like an inch than half an inch of rain). Radio tuned to MPR then Democracy Now.

We didn’t lose as many jobs last month as we did the month before (we must be expecting a U-shaped recovery);

48% of homeowners owe more than their homes’ values (is there some rule of thumb relating depth of recession to consolidated wealth?);

Five Marines died in Afghanistan;

We nailed five Afghan farmers with an air strike;

A former Bush official sees a continuity of Bush policy within the Obama Administration (I went for Obama at my precinct caucus because Edwards was gone by then and Obama seemed the less likely Bush-Lite to me);

It looks like Obama wants to delay closing Gitmo.

There’s more, but it never ends.

I’d write somebody, but do I have to write one note for each item, or can I just say, “Be good.” Besides, Ralph Nader says the White House doesn’t reply to him. Fifth District Representative Keith Ellison is usually on the side of the angels. I send him the occasional e-mail.

The truth is, governments aren’t as smart as two-legged geniuses like you and me. Some leaders are genyewinely dumb (no names), some are corrupt (again I’m not mentioning any names), some are beholden to party or funders, some to mistaken worldviews (Ellison is a Muslim, which speaks well of his integrity, but poorly of his horse-pockey detector), and they all are trying to ride the runaway train of a society that changes too quickly, a world approaching its limits as resource, and as pollution sink.

When trying to “visualize world peace,” I don’t see gauzily dressed peoples of all nations dancing through a mountain meadow in a ring. Or bald monks meditating before raked gravel at Ryoan-ji. I see justice, and some of that has to come from a recognition by us wealthy that the Earth is a commons. Mostly, though, it has to come from some threshold number of us cultivating justice through abundance.

I might hope for a little cover from my government, but I don’t see it.

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