Monday, August 25, 2008


I was talking the other day with a fellow I know, and described him, jokingly, as a leftist. And he was serious when he said, yes, he was a leftist. What an odd thing. The subject was the relative corruption of our respective sides. I don't usually engage in those sorts of discussions -- they are unprofitable. Human nature is corrupt, and adhering to a party doesn't reform anyone's character. There are noble and ignoble principles, but Republican greed and Democrat emotionality seem of a piece, to me. Republican warmongers kill babies, Democrat abortionists kill babies -- how ever could we discern between these deliberate atrocities?

I was informing the dude of that famous peecee University of Pennsylvania thought police case from 1993. Eden Jacobowitz, freshman, a jew, yelled at a group of loud black coeds whooping it up outside his dorm window: "shut up, you water buffalo!" Gasp. Did you hear what he said?! He called us water buffaloes, a racist epitaph, cuz water buffaloes are black and from Africa. No matter that they are brown and from Asia, the outcome was foreordained. Racial harassment charges were filed and sustained. Never mind that water buffalo is a translation of behemoth, which in contemporary jewish usage is a mild rebuke to a thoughtless person. It remains ambiguous to me whether or not the U of P Judicial Inquiry Office's finding of racism amounts to a conviction. One would assume a reasonable standard of evidence, if such a word were used. In any case, no appeal was allowed.

My friend H had never heard of the matter. But he wouldn't have. He brought up the non-hiring of liberal lawyers by the Justice Dept. Fair enough. An undertrained and unqualified minor functionary was placed in a position where she could make biased choices. Bad show. But H himself pointed out that one example was institutional, and the other was individual. He probably realized which was worse only after he'd said it.



I seem to have forgotten what my point was.

But never mind. I have another. Did you hear what MO had to say tonight? MichelleO LaBamba? I didn't. I was in the car, and there was some Muzak or something on that I had to listen to instead. But I flipped by her speech, that was on all the Radio Public Internationale or whatever leftist stations. And I happened to hear the only point she could have made, or ever would, or ever will. Behold, all of her wisdom: She lists a bunch of abortionist politicians, then says, "All of us, driven by a simple belief, that the world as it is just won't do, that we have an obligation to fight for the world as it should be."

And how mightily we must all agree. We have an obligation to fight for the world ... and all that other verbiage she emoted, I guess. Whatever. I wasn't really listening, or hearing, or whatever the correct word is.

We have an obligation to fight for the world. I think it's so funny though, how words in that order can still have such different meanings. In this context, when she says "fight for" she means "talk about" and "make laws to control." When she says "world", she means "a planet in the solar system that has a biosphere." In this context, when I say "fight", I mean "stand up and commit acts of violence in the cause of justice." You know, like what we've done in Iraq. When I say "world", I mean "every place that human beings live." As for the world just not doing, and making it be "as it should be" -- this says nothing at all. A truism isn't something that's true, it's something that is too obvious to mention.

And as I was driving home, I was listening to something on public radio, some racist "latino" "culture" show. Well, I'm open-minded. Ignoring all the blame, you know, about how it's America's fault that Mexico is a stinking toilet or a festering boil or a corrupt kleptocracy -- the exact phrasing eludes me -- I noticed that the passionate latino essayist made a good point. He quoted some bishop. We are not all guilty, but we are all responsible. Yes. But again it has to do with the meaning of the words. We are all responsible, but we are not all always responsible. After we've done our duty, our responsibility ends. Duty however is a concept that some ideologies cannot apprehend.

Something else I heard on the radio tonight. Someone whose father was in Chili during the Allende revolution. He said that the point of that communist endeavor wasn't to change society. It was to change humanity. To change human nature. Can't be done. That's what Christianity teaches us. Glorification doesn't come until the Judgment. If we are judged before then, we're damned -- we did not fight the good fight ... we did not finish the race. Salvation can't be lost: you can't lose what you never had.

I suppose that brings me to something else I heard tonight. As I was leaving the place I was doing a workout, we sort of joked about all the horrifying noises I was making in my efforts. I feel empowered to make noise while I'm working. Something my father taught me in the early 70s. Maybe it's discourteous, but it's correlated with a measurable increase in power output, so there's that. Anyway, I quipped that maybe it was a prayer, and added, cynically, that God doesn't hear it. The fella said, "God always hears." And I said, with a false social laugh, "Sometimes the answer's just NO."

Does God always hear? Hear, listen -- let's not quibble like ideologues over the meaning of words. God hears, he cares. He understands. He didn't take the cup from Jesus, though. He won't take it from us either.

We have an obligation to fight.

Words words words. Obligation, from the Latin, ob and ligare, "to bind to". Same root that religion comes from.

In the beginning was the Word. You think I don't know that?


No comments: