Friday, April 28, 2017

Magical Thinking



When I was a young lad in the environmentally conscious 1970s, I was at my cousins' house one day with my younger brother. Looking for something to do, the older cousin (probably a teenager) suggested we have a design contest. Each younger cousin would draw out a plan for helping reduce pollution problems (yeah, a weird game, I know), and then the older cousin would be the judge and announce a winner.

I jumped right on this and started laying out a complex underground fan system that would draw pollution out of the air through a series of fans and vents, blowing the pollution underground through the sewer lines to a completely sealed container of some sort. As a ~eight year old, I was pretty impressed with my engineering problem-solving prowess.

My younger brother, on the other hand, had only managed to do this: He drew a big red button and when you pushed the button, pollution disappeared, he said. Poof! Of course, I scoffed at such a childish answer.

The time came and we presented our plans to the older cousin and... she said that my younger brother won!

"W-what?!" I sputtered. "That isn't a plan! It's a wish! There's nothing to say why it works, it's not a real solution!" There was no convincing the judge of the righteousness of my reasoning.

I have been reminded of this story this year, pretty much every time that Trump or one of his supporters says things like, "No one knew how hard it would be to come up with a great healthcare system" or, "This being president is more difficult than you'd think!" or, "Here's what we're going to do: We're going to SOLVE the problem with a GREAT answer. No one will believe how great the answer is. We'll just cut taxes in half! We'll just make Mexico pay for a wall! The wall will just fix things! We'll just..."

These are like my younger brother's answers. They're examples of magical thinking. "No one knew how hard it would be to find good health care solutions..."?? Of course people did! Anyone who looks at the complex problems associated with paying for health care, who has read up on the research behind the topic, who is familiar with the process of creating big policies, who has READ... anyone who has thought about it and given it some research knows things just don't magically happen.

We don't just magically "fix" the economy by cutting taxes for the wealthiest in half. Someone has to be an adult and pay for our bills. We don't just magically fix environmental issues by creating a big red button that "solves things" and then cutting all the actual regulations that do affect change.
In my brother's defense, he was probably six or seven years old. In Trump's defense... well, there is no defense.

Come on, people, wishful thinking is not a plan. A half page of bullet points is not a tax system. Dreams without plans are just wishful thinking and that is fine for children, but when it comes to national policy, we need adults in charge with adult thinking and adult solutions.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter as Murder Ballad...


A song from my church today. "If It Hadn't Been for Love," which is originally a fantastic murder ballad from Chris Stapleton (check it out). With a little adaptation, we played it as an Easter song, which strikes us as quite appropriate.

Peace.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Jesus Was a Madman



Jesus was a madman
wild-eyed and dangerous
hanging just at the margins
associating with the undesirables
and untouchables 
and unwanteds
'til one day
he just plain snapped

And the clearing of the temple?
That was a horror story,
animals screaming
people running and gunning
money rolling 'round the floor
and flying out the windows
and out the doors
dark and terrifying
hideous and horrible.


Here, there was a mild-mannered preacherman,
teaching,  preaching love and peace
siding with the least of these
til one day, geez Louise!
he just goes
jack-rabbit
insane
in the temple of God
yelling, whipping,
calling down curses
upon the people
which is to say, 
upon the businessmen

They say he was possessed by demons
A secret servant of satan
Beelzebub's bud
Foaming-at-the-mouth mad

Right there in the Big City
Right under their noses
Right in their faces.

They gonna kill that man, for sure.

They gonna kill that man.