Sunday, October 28, 2007

Justice Is Served

I just picked up my email. One. From "ONE", via K. About that petition campaign to get Congress to forgive African debt. Some Reverend -- not the kind who never misses a meal ... a sharpton or jackson -- some Reverend fasted for 40 days and 40 nights while pacing the halls of the Capitol buttonholing politicians on the matter. Reverend Duncombe.

Dear ONE Member,

For the last month, you and I have lived very different lives, but we both have worked for the same noble goal: canceling the debt of some of the world's poorest nations.

As Josh Peck mentioned in earlier emails, I left my home in Washington state and came to Washington, D.C., to fast for 40 days, all the while meeting with members of Congress and asking them to cosponsor the Jubilee Act. My thanks goes out to each and every one of you for joining me for the last four days of my fast to ratchet up the pressure on Congress.

Your efforts were extraordinary. Nearly 48,000 of you sent letters to your members of Congress, far surpassing my original hope for 40,000 letters, 1,000 for each day of my fast. Even more impressive are the 4,200 of you who picked up the phone and made a call to your senators and representatives. You wrapped all of this up by inundating the IMF with tens of thousands of emails demanding they follow through on their promise to cancel Liberia's debt.

And Congress heard you loud and clear.

Through our efforts we added 27 cosponsors in the House of Representatives, with over half of those signing on after ONE started taking action. We were also able to convince some of our champions in the Senate to introduce a companion bill, and so far 10 senators have agreed to cosponsor the bill. As if this were not enough, Congress agreed to hold a hearing on the Jubilee Act in mid November, drawing important attention to the need for debt relief.

Senator Barbara Boxer is taking the lead and has already agreed to co-sponsor the Jubilee Act and she deserves our thanks for her efforts.

Please send her a short note thanking her for hearing us, and acting on behalf of the world's poorest people

Once again, my deepest gratitude to you all, working together we have done a great thing.

In peace,

Rev. David Duncombe, ONE Member

What is "ONE"? I expect it's some lefty group of brainless bleeders who don't understand the most fundamental thing about economics. They most likely think that money is the root of all happiness or evil or whatever circumstances require the cliche to be. All the horrors of the world aren't to be layed at the feet of individuals and their conduct, but result from institutions and corporations and military-industrial complexes. Or whatever. Whatever the villain of the hemi-decade happens to be. As if the poor won't always be with us. Odd how everyone can garble out some pastiche of the Sermon on the Mount -- but that Olivet Discourse is such a downer.

Ah well. I got three hours of sleep Friturday night, and rolled Saturday morning, and was going all day long, so I might be a bit impatient, and not thinking with my usual incisive celerity. I don't know. Economics isn't my thing. I run along pretty standard conservative lines. No subtlety of understanding. Just general principles. Don't spend more than you can pay back. Look for meaningful bargains. Quality product at a reasonable price. Unearned money gets wasted. Don't finance kleptocracies. You know -- really basic common sense stuff. But I could be wrong. It's not my thing.

Here's my thing. ONE sent K the email with the subject heading, "Justice is Served". They didn't mean it in a you bin served, biatch sense. They think it's justice.


Justice is getting what you deserve. It has to do with merit.

What they got was mercy.

As long as this simple and so obvious distinction is missed, there can be no cause for hope or celebration. The good Reverend will find himself fasting again, not for some new cause, but for the same old thing. The problem will arise time and again, like an appetite for slow poison. The enabler-abuser cycle rolling round and round and round. The addict does not deserve his heroin. He deserves the anguish of withdrawal. When speaking of poverty-riven countries, where innocent citizens suffer under incompetent misgovernments, such analogies become murky. Principle doesn't really matter, when you look starvation in the eyes. But when some kleptocrat is hoarding the donated food, it's not a matter of debt-forgiveness.

Huh. I don't mean to ramble. Forgiveness is a good thing. We want it for ourselves, and we'd like to think that it will be followed by the reformation, the regeneration of our souls. Yeah, right. You know how that goes.

Isn't it funny how religionists believe in miracles that come from God, and secularists believe in miracles that come from a change of human nature. God answers prayers. The answer is almost always NO. As for human nature, it never changes. Only individuals can change, and then only a few, and rarely. Am I wrong? You've spent a lot of energy trying to keep up with how different your friends and family always are?

Here is hope: be kind, be generous, but don't be a sucker. Rubes put con men in palaces. Con men belong in prisons.

Barbara Boxer is dense as a box of rocks. Send her a message asking her to stop hating America.


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