Sunday, March 28, 2010

Palm Sunday Reflections on Armageddon and Jerusalem

No, this long procrastinated posting to the Great Roll Call is not about so-called Bible Prophecy, although it does come on Palm Sunday. No this is not going to be about the impending tribulations, rapture and armed showdown as prelude to the second coming, although if you listen to the minority leader of the House of Representatives, Republican John Boehner and his minions in the Tea Party aka the 21st Century's version of the Know Nothing Party, you would know, of course, that Armageddon was the natural consequence to something so Christian as universal health care. No, I leave that to Jack Van Impe and his lovely wife Rexella. Besides, I can never understand what will be left for Jesus to reign over after thermonuclear war. This is one big reason, though, why the pro-Zionist, born-again Chistians for Israel, AIPAC lobby and Bush administration policy of unconditional support for Israel was and is so misguided. For me at least, doing things to hasten the beginning of End Times should be avoided at all costs. One of the more beautiful and wise tenets of the Jewish religion, as I understand it, and I paraphrase, is that you make your own heaven and/or hell here on Earth, while your alive. To me then, the only rational and logical course of action should be to say to ourselves, to quote the wise but severally beaten Rodney King: "Can we all just get along?"

The title actually comes from a night of interrupted sleep and the fact that my clock radio is left on all night tuned to the best public radio station in America which broadcasts BBC News all night from 11 P.M. to 4:30 A.M. weekdays and until 6 or 7 A.M. on weekends. Now that I am of the age where my body wakes me up at least once a night to well, as Elvis would say, TCB (i.e. Takin' Care of Business), I enjoy catching up on how we Americans are perceived by others, even if it is from our cousins with bad teeth across the pond. Being self-absorbed by nature, it is helpful to be reminded from time to time that reality, that is the real world, does not consist merely of your own or your own group's mentality or perceived reality, it also consists of how you are perceived by others.

Which brings me to, why would the Israelis insist on doing something as unproductive to the Peace process as announcing the construction of an additional 1600 residences in occupied territory, during a visit by the U.S. Vice President, unless, by virtue of sheer arrogance, they thought they could get away with it. Where the Israelis miscalculated was that the Obama Administration is not the lap dog Bush Administration and unlike the Bush Administration approaches problems with intellectual curiosity and intelligence not merely what is best for your wealthy or powerful political contributors. Therefore it does not take a Bible prophet to predict that something as potentially dangerous to U.S. military personnel, engaged in two wars in Muslim countries, as this news would not be well received by Washington. Why the Israelis would, in essence, flip the bird to the world, including the U.S. and continue with their construction on occupied Palestinian land, belonging once to both Muslim and Christian Palestinians, is beyond my comprehension.

Along a similar vein, why are thousands, if not millions of middle and working class Americans so vehemently opposed to something that eventually will be in their and everyone else's best interest as universal health care? I suppose for the same reasons that would compel otherwise rational middle and working class Americans to belong to an organization like the Republican party that works against their own economic interests for the benefit of a few percent of the population who by virtue of serendipity, birth or illegal and/or quasi-legal means, become grotesquely rich: fear of change and others not like themselves, ignorance and conscious or unconscious bigotry.

Which brings me to Boehner and the Tea Baggers. Any group or person that spits and hurls racial and hate-filled epithets at members of Congress as they attempted to make their way into the House Chambers or make speeches from the floor of Congress equating the reform of medical insurance abuses (like rescission and pre-existing condition exclusions) with "Armageddon" like the minority leader did, or announcing, a lot belatedly I'll note, that the Republicans are done working with the Obama Administration in times as difficult and troubled as the present, like the formerly straight talk express John McCain, recently did, in the company of the Queen of Ignorance Sara, no less, is utterly reprehensible and leaves little doubt in the minds of thoughtful Americans as to who are causing the oxygen sucking divisiveness and gridlock that is Washington.

Listening to the Brits last night, it is amazing how clarifying a little perspective can be. In summarizing the weeks news, the BBC newscaster noted that the health care bill that recently passed was very similar in concept to the plan advocated by the Republicans in 1993 in opposition to what they then dubbed Hillary care, and the mandate the tea baggers are falling over each other about railing "Unconstitutional!" is taken right from the pages of Republican and then Governor of Massachusetts Mint Romney's health care reform law. So if it is not really about the message, but the messenger, it leaves little doubt as to what the real motivations of the Republicans and Tea Baggers are. Just a hint, it's not patriotism.

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