Archive for March, 2015

31
Mar
15

A Pence-ive Lesson in Governance

pence

┬áThis past Thursday Indiana Governor Michael Richard Pence (R) signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and hell broke loose all over the U.S. from critics and political pundits in equal numbers. Many immediately stepped up and voiced concern and outrage over what this bill purports and the debate will continue for some time about the implications, ramifications and general irate feelings this bill has brought about. I waited a few days before posting on this subject because I wanted to see where this thing was going, I was curious as to where the Governor of Sleepytown was going with this bold endeavor. To date of this post, Pence and his team of damage control experts are busy holding press conferences and meeting the opposition who are on the Pence team like a gauntlet of snapping pit bulls. Aside from what is actually going on with this bill I have to look at the facade of controversy and amuse myself with the political dance before my eyes. The core enigma to me is not whether or not this bill is going to destroy the LGBT community or throw us back to the 60’s era of segregation; to me the real query is why the hell would Mike Pence even attempt something like this?

Pence had aspirations (or at least low rumblings from supporters) to take a stab at the Presidency but how well do you think that will go over now? What was his purpose behind introducing legislation like this when there are a good two dozen other issues (and I’m being conservative with that number) he could address and work on? Are the streets and highways throughout Indiana in fair shape? How is the employment/underemployment situation going? Why wouldn’t he want to pick up a project like updating public transit here to at least 20th century standards? Out of all the issues he could have tackled for this state he goes for some little piece of fodder and puts his governing pen and signature on the line.

Regardless of what he and his henchmen will tell us the bill is for they neglect to pay attention to what the bill is actually doing. Gencon, the city’s largest convention in attendance threatened to move their event elsewhere if Pence signed the bill; Gencon brings an economic impact of 50 million dollars annually. The NCAA as well is hinting at wanting to move the Final Four from town because of the implications the bill presents and those two mega-organizations will not be the last. Talk shows throughout the America have focused in on this lesson of shame and deemed it an abomination so Pence and his staff really need to rethink the importance of what they are standing up for. They want to persuade the public that this bill is no different than a federal version of the religious freedom law enacted back in 1993…so again I ask, why the fuck did you bring up an albatross like this at this time? Why re-introduce a bill that already exists, if it does already exist? What purpose is it really serving the public? What purpose is it really serving you, Michael Pence?

I can tell you one thing it’s doing sir. It’s making a mockery of the entire state you govern. Now everyone who lives here, regardless of their stance on this issue, will be branded as homophobes, backwood redneck hillbilly motherfuckers. The state will suffer a plague of stereotyping that will throw them in with the likes of the Ku Kux Klan-whether fair or not, this will become a legacy for the common residents of Indiana to battle now. Thank you, Governor. Thanks for putting that burden on us real people. Elections will come and go and some day you will be nothing but a dot in the book of Indiana history, new leaders will come to office where you once proudly held that pen and signed that bill, new leaders who may very well overturn or rewrite it…I hope it was worth it for you sir. Savor the Shan-gri-la you have created.

26
Mar
15

An Open Message to Christian Zealots

jesus

Most of you who consider yourself a Christian enthusiast or a God Warrior or some other term to denote more than average attachment to the big Christ club, I write this message to you. A brief note just to let you know where a lot of us less than devoted believers (or non-believers or semi-believers) stand with you. Year after year after decade I have listened to your mantras as you ‘praise God’ and ‘Thank You Jesus’ among fellow Christians and atheists alike. You let everyone know how strong your faith is, how much you love the big guy in Heaven and his Son and for that I am happy; I am genuinely happy that you have found a kinship with your Creator and hope that goes great for you the rest of your days but there is a small thing I wanted to bring to your attention, just in case no one has done it recently.

Perhaps I am wrong in assuming that most of the feedback you get from spreading your belief out there in the world is a mixture of glee from fellow Christian types and a big plate of hate and anger from those who oppose your religion-but I get the feeling I am pretty dead on with that analysis for the most part. You certainly get your share of indifference I’m sure and a lot of polite nods and smiles that give no commitment one way or the other in regards to your holy banter and the reason is, these people don’t wish to hurt or offend you or your belief. My intent with this open message to you is not to hurt or offend you either but I want to provide some food for thought.

To say you love Jesus or love God is a wonderful sentiment; to say it repeatedly day after day, hour after hour, is insanity. By continuing to fall back on the same uttered phrase over and over again is reminiscent of a person suffering from dementia. I had an in-law who had lost a lot of her mind from excessive alcohol consumption and she had been reduced to asking you if you knew her son-then she would tell you his name and where he worked. She would repeat this about fifteen or twenty times and hour, non-stop, every day. This is the type behavior you are displaying to everyone so why would you think that we would ever want to join into a cabal of mental frailty where all we did was repeat the same phrase over and over again?

Your insistence on revolving everything around our creator or his purported Son leaves no room for exploring the wonder of life or furthering a friendship with you because you are a religious hiccup that won’t shut the fuck up for two minutes about God or Jesus. What about you and me? What about the people who are standing right in front of you talking to you instead of the ethereal entity you so strongly believe in that has no shape or form beside us as we speak? That’s not only semi-crazy, it’s down right rude. Okay, sure, God is great, God is wondrous but what about you? I came to speak with you about you and here you are throwing it all back into the realm of repetitive gospel speech.

I am trying hard not to come off too critical of your ways but if someone were to approach you and start talking about, lets say guns, or a specific television show, or Allah, with the same zeal and repetition as you spew out for God and Christianity, you would have a hard time keeping still. If all you can muster in your head are words relevant to God then please go out and seek more-there is a whole world of wonder for you to discover so witness and enjoy the individual delight of all the creatures in this universe…don’t reduce everything to a Singularity because to do that takes away the individuality of every thing we know.

Never stop believing but never stop questioning. Praise your Creator but acknowledge your peers, friends and relatives as wondrous things of this world as well. Talk to people but don’t cram your belief down their throat because if they wish to find it, they will seek it out. Your continual harping of an issue will only make folks more resistant and crass. Allow us the courtesy of finding out own paths and yes, we should allow you that same courtesy.

19
Mar
15

Where Has All the Good Acid Gone?

acid A couple days ago while waiting for the bus noisy Valiant came rumbling by and did a turnaround to confront me. I determined the guy must be lost because I’m not of the age to worry about attracting predators anymore so I waited to hear his story. The average looking Joe behind the wheel told me if I had a few bucks to spare he would take me anywhere I needed to go because he was out of cash and needed to get gas to make it back to Anderson. Sounded good enough for me so I slid in the car and handed him a sawbuck.

The man, named Ray, was pleased with the exchange and as went went down the road we shot the shit on various subjects. We were in that familiar age bracket where experiences were easy to relate and before long, one of us brought up the subject of LSD.
“Where the fuck has all the good acid gone anyway?” I asked him. This is a familiar question I confront people with and to date, I have not received a good enough answer. Ray and I never did come up with a definitive-or even a conclusive-answer so he dropped me off where I needed to be and we parted with smiles. I kept that burning question in my head though….where has all the good acid gone?

The following day was Saint Patrick’s; a delight of drinking and emerald colored huge hats for all. Still nursing some ailment in me I didn’t want to overdo the drinking tradition but I felt I could handle a few pops of Jameson so I wandered over to a local pub where a few folks I know would show up. I quickly grabbed a seat at the bar and started in. A lady close to my age introduced herself and so lapse ahead a few minutes and there she was sitting next to me. From that point the Patty’s Day celebration took on more a flavor of how to avoid the clingy woman that wanted to seduce me. Not that I’m opposed to being seduced but I wasn’t firing on all cylinders and she was toting some exclusive baggage: a whiskey drinking numerologist Christian, who was married. Here husband wasn’t up there and she decided to go on the prowl and take someone back to a hotel room (I wouldn’t put it past her to do someone in a car in the parking lot). During the hours it took to get some friends into my escape plan and get me out of there and home free, I popped back and forth to that nagging question in my head; where has all the good acid gone?

Ray had told me how in it’s heyday, his friends would mix batches of windowpane and spread the gelatin over the inside of the back windshield of their car, trek from New York into Indy, and cut that stuff up for distribution. The chaotic frenzy of emotions and visuals that blotter or good windowpane acid brings on is like nothing else. Some can’t handle it, some are good with it. Acid is like a snake; the more you use it the more familiar you become with the warning signs that could get you bit. If you become aware of it and play safe I find it no more harmful that say, the vast amounts of liquor some folks were putting away on St. Patty’s…I don’t recall anyone getting cirrhosis of the liver from LSD. Some argue that it will cause you to lose control and hurt yourself or someone else. Again I refer back to the bar.

I believe any drug you put in your body is a gamble. I personally can be killed from aspirin. I’ve known folks who could coat the inside of their lungs with cocaine and function fine but because those who couldn’t handle it went out and did some bad, the nation pays the penalty. My big hope I suppose would be to see people given the opportunity to do acid, if they so chose, under the stipulation that you will be held accountable for your actions. This is a fair course to take because our (collective) bodies are different so why try to classify some things under the reactions of a few? Exaggerated for effect, if you took that approach, the day the number of those lactose intolerant outweighed those who weren’t the legality of milk consumption could be brought before some board. Such extreme levels of some chemistry is a given, such as I feel it’s safe to say that snorting drain cleaner is not safe for anyone but I just don’t feel LSD was given a valid shake because it was the motherload of insanity for the parents of the 60’s and 70’s to contend with. With marijuana finally having it’s day and being studied more scientifically, maybe it’s time our FDA opened up the floor to serious debate of what are currently classified as dangerous drugs. There have been some remarkable overseas studies on the usage of psilocybin to help terminally ill patients cope with death. Rather than taking a religious or political stance of these drugs, maybe we should start collecting real data?

By the way, anyone out there…if you know, tell me. Where did it go?

07
Mar
15

Waiting for the Thaw: Schism

schisms My current residence is in a dilapidated old house in a historic neighborhood of Indianapolis. The huge house continues to decay, as do I, with the passing of each season. Winter is pretty much on the way out and even if we suffer another blast of snow or sub-zero temperatures, they will only be a brief annoyance as we all wait for spring to claim the day. No matter how hard nature tries it cannot stop the inevitable; spring will come.

I weathered through winter and kept up with my street ventures. Freezing jaunts out onto the streets are different than those when fair weather prevails. Most people get out during the green seasons but come winter and snow time, they will opt to puss out and stay inside. Knowing that fact I witness the folks who do make it out and let time pass. Snow shovelers and fort builders…the tenth street whores continue to do business which I suppose one could say is an admirable work ethic. Baby got to put food on the table come snow or not so the selling of flesh never stops. A handicapped man with a gimp leg who works at the neighborhood fast food joint was robbed last week by a couple low life street punks-whacked him in the head with a brick and took his pay. Drunks keep on drinking and preachers keep on preaching while artists, musicians, poets and thespians strive to keep their craft afloat. More are apt to wander into a gallery or hear a local band play when the weather is balmy but it takes true devoted fans to be there when the snow hits. I tire writing on how more people should support the arts-you’ll either do it or you won’t. What drives me more from my pulpit today is the want to convey to you how divided our country-our world-has become.

Here in the states as the weather keeps so many inside taking refuge behind a screen, glued to social media sites or whisking around fright sites that support your personal political views in a godless, extreme manner. Reading that someone got hurt with a gun is a bit troubling but the media monsters know they can jack that up a level by reporting on someone who actually died from a gun…and they don’t stop there-they go up another degree by making the person killed from gunfire an expectant mother…or a child…or best of all, a child shooting their expectant mother. This sounds like a ridiculous extreme I use to make my point but stories like that are real and continue to get posted. Those type news flashes drive gun ban enthusiasts insane, demanding action but getting very little satisfaction. On the other side of the political spectrum conservative folks are pestered with harsh stories of the looming threat from alien forces wielding weapons, threatening their Christian themed lives. Both liberal and conservative minds end up so jacked up on the hysteria created by news programs and internet slough that they can’t see straight. They lash out at one another because it’s felt that the difference in their political/religious views are the big core of our world problems. They aren’t the core people, they are a button to be pushed in order to aggravate us into a frenzy like sharks in a blood pool.

I think we all should be using this period of cold weather to investigate a bit further into the true dealings of our law makers and political leaders. You have some time-email that Representative or Senator you have no trouble berating to your online friends. The most those friends can do for you is push the ‘like’ button or ignore you. Start looking into what campaign you can devote a bit of time to and stop being so non-committal. Democracy does still work but you have to keep pushing against those who would take your rights away. It’s one thing to say you didn’t get your way on a particular bill that passed and quite another to say you didn’t get your chance to cast your vote on it. Our politicians have proven to us that they are not more intelligent than the masses they precede over so why should we allow them to continue making policy based on what slick motherfucker with a fistful of dollars is paving their opinion? The citizens of each state/city should be allowed to participate and vote on actual agendas more than they are currently allowed. Act now because once this winter thaws away for 2015 you’re more than likely going to want to be outside, enjoying those green days and cool breezes and politics will be the furthest thing from your mind-which it should be, but only if it gets fixed.




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