Archive for the 'environment' Category


Time to Unpack

I’ve called it History’s Quandary. The Middle East, where enemies and allies change by the day and the best we can ever hope for is choosing the least unfortunate. Right now, our president is standing in fallout that is too deep to sort through, and for that he deserves our sympathy. Presidents before him have acted on the best knowledge to make the best decisions only to be judged by generations of history.

Right now, though, the President is not only drowning in the fallout from the troubled Middle East, but also at home. His Israeli peace plan has brought nothing but controversy over a steadfast ally. I have a knee-jerk opinion on what he said, but I like to do a little research before I speak out on the Middle East, so I’ve spent two days reading the blog circuit regarding this speech, Hamas, Abbas, Netanyahu, the Muslim Brotherhood…Finally I came to a conclusion.

It’s time to unpack, America, or our baggage is going to drown us.

Every comment stream I read turned into a circular argument of name-calling, blaming, excuses, and hate. Is this what our great nation has become? Golda Maier said that there will be war until Palestinians can learn to love their children as much as they hate the Jews. What about us? After reading all I have, it occurs to me that Americans are so caught up in rhetoric, we cannot reach a viable solution on any issue. In the name of being right, we have forgotten that love fosters growth, but hate destroys everything in its path. The Israeli conflict is an appropriate backdrop for such a realization. Israel, though a small and young nation, has grown more than many of its peers in the area. The nation is democratic, based on a general concept of freedom. It’s peers are bent on destruction. Nothing can destroy and intimidate its way to prosperity – not governments, ideas, egos, or armies.

We Americans inherited a legacy of peace and prosperity that we have squandered. Now that it is threatened, we are up to our ears in blame and hate that jeopardizes our future. We cannot even agree on good an evil. When we reached out to the Katrina victims, there were criticisms. The Gulf oil spill? Not an environmental tragedy, but a political blame-fest. We fight about gunmen in our schools and killings on the border. Obama compared children being blown up on school buses with the humiliation of occupation and NOBODY SAID A THING. Children are being killed, people, and we have turned it into a political debate without spending a moment to grieve for humanity.

America has always stood for what is right and good. She has been a bastion of freedom and solace. Right now, though, America doesn’t know what is right and therefore cannot stand. Instead, we have replaced good vs. evil with red vs. blue and are battering both to the ground. I promise that our skirmishes over things like abortion and clean water will look luxurious when we are fighting for existence. If we cannot come together and remember that a dead child is a tragedy no matter who her parents were and that injustice is a scourge, we will fall from within.

Right now, we are carrying our own versions of history in heavy backpacks that weigh us down, hindering our movement and keeping us out of the fight. We have got to unpack those so that we can step up and remember that good is worth fighting for. The enemy is powerful, but he should be easy for us to recognize – he’s the one threatening our future and that of the world. Usually, he has less problem saying he is bent on murder than we have believing him.


All Barbie’s Wisdom

I got reusable shopping bags that have Barbie on them and are complimented by a zebra pattern and hot pink trim. They are SO cute. AND they have pushed me into green territory, a side of the map I have carefully avoided along with all the blue states. Surprisingly, the Barbie bags (that bravely sport the message “When you look this good, who cares if you’re plastic”) have changed my life. I feel really great about walking out of the ultra capitalist and exploitive mega-mart knowing that my bags are not impacting the world around me, aside from the zebra print which seems to stop people in their tracks. These bags save the store money so they can use it more efficiently. They will never end up embedded in my back fence, and they aren’t going to choke any bunnies or trap any fish. This is change I can feel good about.

So I wondered why I resisted for so long. Why did it take Barbie to make me do the right thing? Because we’re stuck. The entire nation has picked sides and pledged such allegiance to our teams that common sense has ceased being a priority. I realize that some people are enlightened enough to avoid this trap and I applaud them. However, I would be willing to bet that it is a smaller group than we want to admit. In my efforts to avoid government-mandated green living, I have missed out. The Prius, reusable shopping bags, organic foods, and comfortable footwear have become symbolic of a movement that solicits our government for very intrusive policy. I want nothing to do with that so I have opted for a gas-guzzler, plastic bags, pesticide-ridden produce, and, most sadly, VERY uncomfortable shoes. All to ensure that nobody mistakes me for one of THEM.

But one of my core values is responsibility. I firmly believe that if we cannot be responsible for ourselves, rules have to be made and enforced. Then the government grows. Being good stewards of the earth is a God-given mandate. It is a shame that it has been politicized to the extent that “will you recycle this?” has become a loaded question. It is part of the battle we are in. It has become increasingly easy to lose sight of what is good and right to feed our agendas. As it gets easier, it gets harder to detect, too. That’s what makes it dangerous.

Do we have to fight? I think we do. I think the stakes are high. But the fight shouldn’t be over what is common sense. If we could get past the bags, we could dialog about the issues that matter, the ones that we can’t fix on our own. We just may find that if we stop fighting over bags, the big issues are not so big.Barbie

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