How Could This Happen To America?

What’s bothering my friends

That’s the question my mom keeps asking, who is a conservative Protestant. The president will now initiate a liberal agenda, complaints my Evangelical and Catholic friends. Hold it! Chill out! The BBC put it bluntly in perspective, a while back: voters will either vote for values or their pocketbooks. Guess what? The pocketbook issue won out. Will he even have time to promote a liberal agenda, given one of the worst economic crises in US history, along with wars on two fronts? Besides, one of his first actions is to meet with a team of experts (including folks from academic), to discuss the economic crisis.

Give the guy a chance! He’s not on the extreme left, like radio personality Howard Stern. He’s not on the extreme right, like radio personality Rush Limbo. And I wouldn’t want a person like Howard Stern or Rush Limbo for president. Let’s see what he can do. Let’s see if he will listen to advisors, and work with the republicans.

Robin Hood Syndrome

There’s this old fear called the Robin Hood syndrome. It’s called “rob from the rich, and give to the poor” plague. Actually, I traced it back to some historical documents. Sherwood Forest is a Royal Forest in Nottinghamshire, England. There used to a public officer, nicknamed the “Sheriff of Nottingham”. This good sheriff catered to his wealthy supporters. The poor folks got neglected along the way. One day, they had an election, for a sheriff. The Sheriff of Nottingham thought everything was in the bag. But Robin Hood’s merry men organized a campaign – hired Maid Marian and Friar Tuck – to run the marketing. All the poor were recruited, to vote in the election. Before anyone could react, Robin Hood was the new Sheriff of Nottingham.

Actually I couldn’t attest to the validity of my Robin Hood story. People should be listening to the religious founders. Christ preached love of God and fellow man. When the temple was filled with livestock and moneychangers, history informs us that Jewish and Tyrian money was exchanged for the Greek and Roman equivalent. Then he chases the cattle out with a home made whip, scatters coins all over the place, and overturns tables selling doves. We also hear the story of the Buddha – a wealth prince – where he renounced his wealthy life, in order to see enlightenment. One of his core teachings is compassion for all creatures.

The Philosopher King

Plato believed the best ruler is the philosopher king. A graduate physics friend shared this story, and I wonder if it reflects the former administration’s philosophy. Apparently, the professor had a PhD in philosophy, and a group of graduate students from various disciplines, were invited on a cruise. The ship got caught in a storm. The physics student was especially concerned, and kept asking the professor (AKA Captain) panic questions. Did you file a plan? Do you have a compass? Is the radio working? The professor answered all these questions in the negative. Eventually, the ship crashed on some deserted island. They were rescued a few days later. When my friend asked the philosophy professor why he wasn’t prepared, the professor replied, “he doesn’t believe in causality.”

My Life Experiences

Do we listen to the wise people, and remember the unfortunate? Or do we wait until the world falls apart, causing a mass rebellion, like the folks in the French revolution?

Life experience does make a difference, and it can take it in many directions. Now I am a faith-based person, and classify myself a Christian. However, many experiences have influenced my philosophy and direction. For example:

  1. A psychology professor, who was also a practicing psychiatrist in everyday life. He was heavily into Existentialism, Phenomenology, and Zen. This influenced my direction for several years.

  2. I have spent years as friends with spiritual leaders from the Lakota and Ute tribes, and have observed their spiritual ways. This is quite an honor, as they don’t usually allow non-Natives to do so.

  3. Even academics have an influence. If someone studied mathematics, computer science, psychology, and creative writing, each discipline adds a unique perspective to the mix.

  4. There was a time I used to hang around evangelical forums, and take part in debates. Now I wasn’t debating “core truths”, but various “non-essential” aspects. Is the Lutheran perspective on the bread and wine correct, or the one taken by most Protestant Churches? That one gets a bit tricky, even if we throw out tradition (I.E. – Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox), since the same word in Greek for Remembrance, also means Sacrifice.

The Lady of Privelege

Finally, what happened to the “lady of privilege”, who showed up once in a blue moon to meet mutual native friends? She knows all the “right political friends”. Yet she is trapped by her own upbringing. Kind of reminds me of the Bob Dylan song “Like a Rolling Stone”. I know I said I would talk about the Garden of Eden, or education. I think I got political promise syndrome, caused by watching Republican and Democrat commercials.

Randy Kemp



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