Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Happy Birthday, John

Had he lived, John Lennon would have just celebrated his 66th birthday. Thankfully, his killer was just denied parole.

I am not a huge Beatles fan and wasn't really into Lennon's music. However, I appreciated the passion in his lyrics and the hope he held that people could make the world a better place. Like many people, I feel an affinity for his Imagine. I may be wrong, but I always felt that Lennon's music was, at some level, a cry for action, a prayer that people would listen, reach out, and do something to improve the world around them.

I was 18 years old when John was shot. He was 40 years old. I am now two years older than he was when he died. It may sound strange, but that sort of gives me the willies.

In the 26 years since his death, the world has changed in some ways and stayed the same in others. While technology has clearly moved forward, I have a hard time believing that humanity has moved forward. In some ways, the political situation is less stable and less uncertain. I think part of the blame for that lies in our own focus on self-interest and our lack of interest in things that do not serve our own immediate needs.

North Korea tests a nuke, in spite of all the warnings of the civilized world, and (so far) the West chiefly struts and postures. Iran thumbs their nose at the demands of the world and continues to develop a nuclear program almost certainly devoted to military purposes...all the while subsidizing Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations. And the West essentially wags its finger and clucks its tongue.

In the U.S, a member of the ruling party checks himself into rehab for alcoholism after getting caught sending naughty messages to boys just at or below the age of consent. Funny, I seem to recall that as recently as a few years ago, another politician was condemned up one side of the aisle and down the other for making a bit of a mess on a certain blue dress. (Perhaps Bill should have admitted he had sex with that woman and simply taken his medicine.) Nevertheless, I find the attempt to blame inappropriate sex on Demon Rum to be a less than convincing argument. It's offensive, frankly.

Who's today's version of Kenneth Star? Woodward's here; where's Bernstein when we need him? Why aren't we hearing more about PageGate? Oh, yeah...that's right. The foxes are guarding the henhouse.

Some months ago, a lobbyist was busted for...and plead guilty to...buying (and selling) influence from members of the government. We shake our heads in disgust, hardly surprised that our leaders are selling their influence to the highest bidder, sometimes double-crossing clients to earn even more money at the expense of the people that were screwed by the first set of clients.

We shake our heads, but we then flip the channel to spend more time following the latest adventures on Wisteria Lane, Seattle Grace, or New Caprica. We're so eager to share the lives of our fictional friends that we ignore the life that goes on around us, the changes being made to the society we live in. We find other things to do other than take the most basic interest in influencing the make-up of our government.

There are four weeks until the U.S. mid-term elections.

If you, like me, are disgusted by the effrontry, arrogance, and (frankly) impotence of our current government, I ask you take an active role in the forthcoming election. First: use your most basic right and vote. Second: Cast an informed vote. Take time to locate and then read your local voter pamphlet. Find out who is running in the races you can influence. Find out what your local paper says about the candidates. Develop an informed opinion about the initiatives on your ballot. And, above all else, take the time to exercise the most basic right of a democracy...vote.

Please, for the love of all that's human...vote for a better tomorrow, whether you agree with my conclusions or not. After all, 300 million people can't be wrong.


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