One of the places I’ll never see

Posted in at 11:35 by RjZ

I am not a muslim. I’m not a Christian either, but I’ve been to many churches around the world and see many rituals. Human culture is interesting to me, even if I don’t share the beliefs that motivate the people performing them. I don’t propose, as many religious people do that faith is what built the great religious monuments around the world. If Johann Bach weren’t inspired by his benefactor and God to write his canons and fugues, I am confident his talent might have found its muse elsewhere. That these temples, symphonies, art, and rituals might have come about for more mundane and human reasons, makes them no less amazing.

That is why I am disappointed that I will never be able to witness the Hajj. The yearly pilgrimage that all muslims are obligated to take at least once in their lives brought nearly 3.4 million people to Mecca, Saudi Arabia this year. Non-muslims are forbidden from even entering the city.

I wish I could show you my own photos from this amazing event, but don’t miss these shots from the Atlantic. If you’re muslim, hopefully you’ll experience this event (god willing, as they say) for yourself. If not, this is the closest you’re going to get.

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Too many Mitts, but not too many choices

Posted in , Liberty at 15:22 by RjZ

The Utah Tribune, yes, Utah, has endorsed Obama. It’s not a ringing endorsement so much as an admission that Governor Romney just can’t seem to stay put. If I had to guess, I’d say that most folks aren’t voting for Romney, so much as voting against an Obama administration whom they believe has guided the country in the wrong direction for the past four years. The Utah Tribune offers a more measured view of Obama’s performance, but regardless, they reach the conclusion that I have about Governor Romney: we don’t know who he is or will be as president.

Utah should know him best. He went to college there and successfully brought much credit to the state by running the Winter Olympics (using, it must be noted, government funds….) But the editors of the paper find that his pandering first to the extreme right of his party and now to the middle, makes him predictable, only if you know who’s in the audience. Romney’s plan for the economy, the thing that he claims to really differentiate him from the failed policies of Obama is practically a secret. We’re being asked to vote for a plan which we haven’t seen because, well, he’s a good businessman and he’s run companies before. I believe Romney would be successful at executing his plan and I trust his credentials to do so, it’s just no one seems to be allowed to know what that plan is.

Fortunately, America, Governor Romney is offering you the fallacy of false choice. You don’t have to vote for Mitt, just because you don’t want the other guy. Sure, I know, voting Libertarian is just throwing away your vote; except it’s not. There is little practical difference between the two political parties today. Both will raise your taxes. Both will raise the deficit. Both will claim to create jobs, taking credit when the numbers go up and avoiding blame when they don’t. Any economist will tell you that a single vote does not, actually, change the election, but for these reasons and many more, voting your conscience, not just against a candidate is the only way to make things better. Not expressing your vision for who you really want to run the country is throwing away your vote.

Check out the libertarian party candidates.
Check out the green party candidates.
Check out the constitution party candidates.

Just remember, voting is about having a choice. This is your chance to make yours.

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