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Showing posts from March, 2016

The Cuban American Cha-Cha

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Today President Obama gave a historic speech from Havana, Cuba, outlining his vision for a rapprochement between Cuba and the USA. I found it inspiring but a little disingenuous, especially at the end. These types of speeches, meant to demark some historical significance, are writ large, with sonorous phrases and appeals to “our better angels.” But we cannot let it lie there, shining like some fable from the George Washington cherry tree notebook; it needs to be examined for its true nature.
I have left the first half of the speech to history. It was a wonderful display of reconciliation, a reaching out to the Cuban people in a way that might well soften their hearts to American interests.
The last half, however, tended to twist the narrative toward fantasy, in a way that Reagan would have been proud. Here are the more unsettling paragraphs:
So let me tell you what I believe. I can't force you to agree, but you should know what I think. I believe that every person should be equal u…

The Literal Lie of Fundamentalism

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"Give up your good Christian life and follow Jesus." --Garrison Keillor                                                                 "The only container for truth is a lie."--JM Lloyd 
My position is that the Holy Bible is not holy, nor inerrant, nor consistent, nor is it God’s purpose that we view it as if it were an idol, as if it were perfect. It is the greatest work of literature ever written down, but is similar to how the Greeks viewed Homer’s epics, how the Romans viewed the Aeneid, or the Mesopotamian epic Gilgamesh or the Hindu Vedas. It is how a people came to view their history and how they answered certain ontological and epistemological questions. To put it in that company does not degrade the Bible; it elevates it. It is how humans have recorded our search for meaning and truth, for God.

The Bible is not history (except in the sense of a mythic history). There was no Eden, no flood, there may not have been even a captivity in Egypt (there is virtuall…

To Trump or Not to Trump? That is the Question.

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Amanda Taub, in a recent Vox article (The rise of American authoritarianism) details an interesting theory regarding the popularity of Trump. It dovetails very nicely with something I've often said (to myself, as one never quite knows to whom one is speaking nowadays), that is to say that it is not Trump we all should be so concerned about, but rather it is the people who are supporting Trump who should demand our attention.

[An aside: I do love Vox, but why, Oh why must nearly every paragraph be two sentences or less? Is this the norm now in digitized articles? Can we not handle large paragraphs with a development of  a thesis? Perhaps I am merely too Faulknerian...or persnickety.]

I've read an article or two, or three, from the odd reporter who dared to visit a Trump rally. The reports are a bit on the scary side. How can people act this way? What way? Well, picture a convention in 1968 and you'll get a fairly nice portrait. It will be full of sound and fury, signifying…