Saturday, July 9, 2016

Murder, American Style

It resumes - the American way of police officers murdering black men.

And then - the murder of many police officers in Dallas.

And now - the futile and (likely) cynical statements of politicians that "we are all in this together" - we are not - and "we are better than this" - we are not. This is exactly who we are as a culture: violent, intolerant, racist and immature. And an aspect of our immaturity is our refusal to see that we are not all in this together - we are riven by class problems and privilege claims, but many of us are safe from the direct impact of our class and race problems. Another aspect of our immaturity is that many of us believe that we are better than this because we have religious beliefs that tell us we are better than this; but those beliefs do not prove themselves, and facing our ineptitude as fellow citizens and our racist and other privilege claims requires setting aside the beliefs we have in ourselves and in the exalted condition many believe we are in because of our religion.

We will not become the better, more caring, less violent and less race-and-class-based culture than we are currently in until we grow up, value education again (as we once did), recognize dangerous weapons for the danger they create, and live by the values we have long claimed in our founding documents but not yet lived beginning with the belief that all are created equal. We have never lived that, never believed it; but we have complimented and soothed ourselves by saying we believed it. Enough of childishness - our egos - and enough of childish things - weapons made only to kill.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Death of a Friend ... and Great Human Being

My friend Janis K. G. Loo died last night of ovarian cancer. She was a remarkable person, a hero of goodness & caring ... and strength. Janis & I met in 1978 and stayed friends over all those years despite her residence in her native Hawai'i and mine on the mainland. We seldom saw one another but stayed in contact, sharing our lives. I remember when she met her husband and when each of their five children came to them. I remember their two trips to China, a few years apart, to adopt two of those children. I remember when she gave a kidney to a stranger - because it mattered & she could do it; so Janis did it. That's the way she was. I remember all the times when she gave me support as I endured troubled times. She was always there for so many people, and now she is gone; and it hurts.

Janis was extraordinary in so many ways, but perhaps what most stands out for me is her constancy in caring. She did not vary or fluctuate in her caring, her presence, her acceptance and love of people, yet Janis did not lose any of herself - she was not a martyr; rather, she had a very unusual capacity to care, actively, without damaging or diminishing herself, while building up others.