(Editor’s note: This is the first of a three part arc on the tenets of happiness)
We will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetimes. There will be times when nations — acting individually or in concert — will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified… For make no mistake: Evil does exist in the world. A non-violent movement could not have halted Hitler’s armies. Negotiations cannot convince al Qaeda’s leaders to lay down their arms. To say that force may sometimes be necessary is not a call to cynicism — it is a recognition of history; the imperfections of man and the limits of reason.? — Barack Obama
Our world is impossibly tragic. If 2009 proved anything, it’s that terrible things happen to good people. I don’t know how many people were laid off or foreclosed upon, but the numbers prop up my theory. In a time of war– tragedy and hopelessness are magnified– unless we allow ourselves to believe in something. We must allow ourselves to subscribe to hope, and make it our choice. The President’s quite apt “audacity of hope” mantra, rings more true now than ever before. How can one be so bold as to believe in hope, when the American dream seems to be slipping beyond our grasp? How can we sustain hope, when our fears and insecurities bubble to the surface in the face of religious extremism and evil fanaticism? This seems like an unachievable notion.
But it’s a notion worth believing in. Hope is the engine necessary to power our beliefs and strength. Andrew Sullivan wrote that “Hope is a choice. As much a choice as faith and love.” I believe that more now than ever. It is a necessity to have hope. It is audacious, but that is the point. Audacity strengthens us to be what we otherwise would not. That is how we will prevail in these tragic times. Rienhold Niebuhr wrote:
Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; there we must be saved by hope.
Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; there we must be saved by faith.
Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we are saved by love.
No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as it is from our own standpoint.
Therefore we must be saved by the final form of love which is forgiveness.
From a reader of The Daily Dish, June 1, 2009:
I remember sitting in my bible study shortly after the Sept 11 attacks. The women were discussing the horrible things Islamic terrorists do in the name of their God and their religion. I was too private to let them know my experiences.
I ran three Plan Parenthood Clinics in the early 90s. I worked for Planned Parenthood when Dr Gunn was murdered in Pensacola.
I had been followed home from work. I had my car vandalized with pictures of aborted fetuses. My nurses had to receive police escorts to their cars in our parking lots. My office had rocks thrown through it. The clinic had to be searched by bomb sniffing dogs one night after being broken into. I received threats in the mail on a regular basis. My parents were always afraid I would be shot at going to work.
All this in the name of a Christian God and a Christian religion. It was religious terrorism. And it was US Citizen on US Citizen happening right here in our suburbs.
Hmmm… Are we allowing a virulent strain of religious fanaticism to engulf us? Don’t we already condemn and repudiate this behavior in Muslim extremists?
This was a poignant, all-to real letter from an American citizen– worried about our disintegrating politics– and our inhumanity to one another. The murder of abortion doctor George Tiller tore a new chasm into the fabric of the abortion debate. And it also created a parallel argument– one that asks the question: are rabid anti-abortionists religious terrorists?
I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoyed this post. It inspired me to cleave deeply through a lot of bullshit, written by anyone who feels the need to write bullshit. Granted I put myself in that category sometimes, but at least I can qualify my actions. People like Michelle Malkin cannot. You see, it’s in her best interest to spread the most egregious lies and distortions, and pass them off as truth. Her reputation is made by fear-mongering, so why not engage in it at a high level? Enough about that, let’s get into the meat of Ms. Malkin’s rant:
Gulp. It’s precisely the Obama administration’s view of sound “science” that should send chills down patients’ spines. Case in point: The president’s prestigious science czar John Holdren refuses to answer questions about his radical, published work on population control over the last 30 years.
Last week, I called the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to press Holdren on his views about forced abortions and mass sterilizations; his purported disavowal of Ecoscience, the 1977 book he co-authored with population control zealots Paul and Anne Ehrlich; and his continued embrace of forced-abortion advocate and eugenics guru Harrison Brown, whom he credits with inspiring him to become a scientist.
After investigative bloggers and this column reprinted extensive excerpts from Ecoscience, which mused openly about putting sterilants in the water supply to make women infertile and engineering society by taking away babies from undesirables and subjecting them to government-mandated abortions, the White House issued a statement from Holdren last week denying he embraced those proposals. The Ehrlichs challenged critics to read their and Holdren’s more recent research and works….
One of the absolute best film montages I’ve ever seen. Enjoy some memorable movie moments of 2009.
Faces of change, faces of hope.
“I’m Only Tolerating You So You’ll Talk About Me,” December 17th 2009
We defined us.
As apt a description as you’ll find anywhere. This decade, the common folks became stars through the use of our exploding social media abilities. I’m not sure if we were the better for it:
These days, most of us spend more time than we’d ever have thought possible worrying about things like how many people are listening to us, and how influential those people are, and what they’re telling their people about us. It’s enough to make anyone long for the days when the problems of the rich and famous were really only the problems of the rich and famous, and the rest of us could just live our lives of quiet, anonymous desperation, punctuated by the mocking of celebrities you knew the guy next to you had actually heard of.
But once you open that Pandora’s box of 15-minute fame, there’s no going back. Suddenly, everyone’s the star of his own movie, and that movie is called “life,” and everyone is watching everyone else’s. (Or so we hope.) But if I’m watching (or listening to) you, it means you’re not watching (or listening) to me. In short, it means you win — and no one likes to be the loser, which means no one likes to be the listener. (Which is ironic, since social media is allegedly all about listening. But I digress.)
Justin examines the fascination with star-making, and its implications inherent in our voyeuristic society. We all become enablers in each others’ success. Welcome to the age of guerrilla social media, where anyone with a computer and a plan can become a star.
wrightandleftreport showcases the faces of the year.
MEEP MEEP– December 23rd, 2009:
I will freely admit that I am in the tank for Barack Obama. I believe his combination of pragmatism, measured cool, intelligence, and willingness to find the common ground–were exactly what this country needed after eight years of the Bush administration’s feckless policies, and unilateral bullishness. I am not in the lot of folks who believe that 2009 has been a terrible first year for the new president. This piece by Andrew Sullivan validates my thinking. If you delve deeply into the muck and mire of combative partisan politics, you can extract some very important victories achieved by this administration. One such example:
The substantive record is clear enough. Torture is ended, if Gitmo remains enormously difficult to close and rendition extremely hard to police. The unitary executive, claiming vast, dictatorial powers over American citizens, has been unwound. The legal inquiries that may well convict former Bush officials for war crimes are underway, and the trial of KSM will reveal the lawless sadism of the Cheney regime that did so much to sabotage our war on Jihadism. Military force against al Qaeda in Pakistan has been ratcheted up considerably, even at a civilian cost that remains morally troubling. The US has given notice that it intends to leave Afghanistan with a bang – a big surge, a shift in tactics, and a heavy batch of new troops. Iraq remains dodgy in the extreme, but at least March elections have been finally nailed down.
Domestically, the new president has rescued the banks in a bail-out that has come in at $200 billion under budget; the economy has shifted from a tailspin to stablilization and some prospect of job growth next year; the Dow is at 10,500 a level no one would have predicted this time last year. A stimulus package has helped undergird infrastructure and probably did more to advance non-carbon energy than anything that might have emerged from Copenhagen. Universal health insurance (with promised deficit reduction!) is imminent – a goal sought by Democrats (and Nixon) for decades, impossible under the centrist Clinton, but won finally by a black liberal president…
Folks, we are on the precipice of MAJOR health care reform This has NEVER been accomplished before. Whether you agree or not with the president’s agenda, you must not discount what he has already achieved in his first year in office.