04.17.08

I won’t be having dinner with the president

Posted in Society at 7:20 by RjZ

So, um, Clinton and McCain are calling Obama elitist “Will ‘elitist’ label stick to Obama?” – CNN.com. It brings up two points I thought I could write about here. First, I should mention I still haven’t decided whom I’m likely to vote for. After all, the Libertarian party convention hasn’t happened yet, so I don’t know who that candidate is, but I can tell you one person I am not likely to vote for: Hilary Clinton.

Alright, so the primary reason I have is ridiculous and unfounded, and I am a little embarrassed about it, but somehow this seems so reasonable. Let’s face it, we’ve had a Bush or Clinton in office for over twenty years and that’s just wrong. One of the greatest American presidents, George Washington, can be recognized not for something he did, but something he didn’t do. When asked to stay in office for a third term he didn’t accept the almost assured coronation; he said no and returned to his farm. The peaceful transfer of power from one ruler to another was a rare event indeed in those days, and it set the stage for modern democracy in the U.S. and elsewhere. Having a steady stream of Washington insiders is certainly the way things have been done in the last several decades, but a ruling family (or two) strikes me as just un-American. Competent or not, we wouldn’t even be talking about Hilary if her last name weren’t Clinton.

Now that’s out of the way, it’s ridiculous that Clinton and McCain are calling Obama elitist given their loooooong standing positions of power. Are we supposed to believe that they’ve somehow remained just plain folk after their years in the senate or after all those presidential dinners which Hilary claims gives her experience to run a country. (If I sleep with a surgeon for long enough, does that mean I can perform brain surgery? Because that seems like more fun than medical school!)

According to Oxford Dictionary, an elitist “believes that a system or society should be ruled or dominated by an elite.” That sounds unpleasant, of course, but why wouldn’t we want an elitist president? For some strange reason Americans seem to want a leader who is just like them. Don’t we really want the best our society has to offer? This is the de facto leader of the free world! I want the smartest person we can find! I want charisma, composure, guts, strength, endurance, and intelligence. I want an over-achiever who doesn’t have time to wash the car let alone watch ‘American Idol’. I don’t have to like our next leader, because, even if invited, I don’t think that I have enough room for all the secret service over, when my dinner invitation is accepted.

Haven’t we had enough of a down-home good ol’ boy? Haven’t we seen that emotional, uninformed, decisions brought us to a war we did not sufficiently prepare for? Haven’t we seen decay of our position in the world due to unprincipled decisions such as presuming torture is OK if the stakes are high enough?

Obama, McCain, Hilary, are all elitists. Hopefully the libertarian, green and all the rest of the candidates will be too. Why would we want to vote for anything less?

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04.11.08

Can people have soylent green and a planet, too?

Posted in at 15:06 by RjZ

I got asked again the other day why I don’t eat meat. I am really tired of answering the question, but it’s hard to link to your blog in real-life. It’s a completely reasonably question, but I really don’t want to get into the discussion. As time goes by, I no longer real off my story about the three reasons people typical stop eating meat (animal welfare, health, or environment.) I assume that, thanks to PETA, animal welfare gets the most attention and is what motivates people to ask me with such curiosity.

They can’t, after all, imagine why I wouldn’t eat an animal since humans clearly have fangs. (This somewhat silly argument was part of that recent inquiry. Humans are hardly evolved to eat meat, what with those side-to-side grinding teeth, and long intestines etc., but you can learn more about that elsewhere). Thing is, the environment has always been the biggest reason for me and with all the recent attention on it, it’s much easier to justify.

This weirdness from the New York Times blog says we might have to eat fake meat, and I don’t mean saiten, in the not so distant future. That ought to scare a few more people my way.

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04.01.08

National Atheist’s Day?

Posted in Society at 15:55 by RjZ

Sometimes church signs puzzle me. “Death is the door to Heaven, Come inside to get the key.” It’s not that I don’t understand the point of the sign, I just think it’s terrible marketing. Those who pass by the sign on the their way to church smile to themselves, comfortable in the knowledge that they’re securing their personal key to a pleasant afterlife by passing through those doors. Everyone else just wonders if the church is full of murderers who’ll offer you, not so surreptitiously, some poisonous Kool-Aid upon your first visit. The message is lost on those for whom it was really intended.

A friend told me about seeing “April 1st, National Atheist’s Day” on a license plate frame. You can buy one for yourself. It’s a joke, I told her. April Fools Day; atheists are fools…get it? Actually, it turns out, the joke is a bit more sophisticated. As the bumper sticker website tells us, Psalm 14:1 says “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” Well, actually, that’s not all of what Psalm 14:1 has to say. The complete quote is “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good” These atheists are worse than fools, they’re corrupt and have done no good. (Don’t tell these folks.)

That’s fair enough for God to pass such a judgment, but what about Christians? The Bible also tells us in Matthew 5:22

“But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,[contempt]‘ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.”

Apparently, those snickering bumper sticker owners are going to burn in the fires of hell. Not sure how they may have missed that part.

Matthew may be on to something though. We might not want to be so quick to start name calling. Aren’t we all fools after all? Richard Dawkins explains that we’re all atheists of one religion or another. We all deny the God/s of Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Pastafarianism, or Christianity. Every religious person favors his views over the views of some equally committed person and is thus a fool denying there is a God.

Still, that’s not what seems to scare the religious so much about atheists. All religious people may be atheists in the religion of others, but at least they all share faith. Atheists, meanwhile, have the impudence to live outside faith itself. Perhaps indignation is what drives Christians to risk their eternal soul by confidently mocking those who, worse than daring not to believe the same as they, don’t believe at all.

Possibly, it was an atheist, who was driving that car around in the first place, telling everyone that April 1st is the day that he and all atheists pull the biggest prank of all. I couldn’t find any bumper stickers like that, though, which seems like a good; I’m with Matthew on this one, it all sounds a bit hateful to me.

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