Moral Jesus: Rejecting Violence in All Its Forms

“Though most religions shun warfare and hold nonviolence as the only moral route toward political change, religion and its language have been co-opted by the violent people who govern societies. If someone were to come along who would not compromise, a rebel who insisted on taking the only moral path, rejecting violence in all of its forms, such a person would seem so menacing that he would have to be killed, and after his death he would be canonized or deified, because a saint is less dangerous than a rebel. This has happened numerous times, but the first prominent example was a Jew named Jesus.”

— Mark Kurlansky. 2006. ‘Nonviolence: Twenty-five lessons from the history of a Dangerous idea’

Nonviolence: 25 Lessons from the History of a Dangerous Idea (Modern Library Chronicles)I just finished this book recently, which I would highly recommend, and was struck by this statement. Rob Bell actually mentioned it in a sermon he preached at Mars Hill about being Peacemakers. I think we miss seeing Jesus in this way, and I found Mark’s words extremely profound and challenging.

The point is that, though most religions teach the danger of violence and lay out a moral path, few if any are willing to follow that path in all of its implications. Jesus was a Moral man, thus a rebel. Isn’t that interesting? We live in a society and a world, and many believe in religions, that esteem values and morals that we choose not to live up too. I’m not just talking about Christians, I think every single one of us, if we are honest with ourselves recognize that we are hypocrites. I think every parent has probably come to a point were they acknowledge they are trying to teach their children values they know are right, but they themselves do not even live up to, even more they choose not to live up to those values at times.
And so Jesus is a radical, he is a rebel. In a society that says one thing and does another, a person who would have the audacity to actually follow through and live out his beliefs must be killed and hidden. Jesus has been hidden, his radical life has been hidden in our deification of him. Regardless of whether you believe Jesus Christ is a deity or not, at the least we need to recognize that his life was far more rebellious then we acknowledge.

Four Years in Iraq: Forgive Us Father For We Have Sinned

These words come from a Soldier who has fought in this battle. The news article reads:
Forgive Me Decal

Sgt. Mathew Gonzalez said his decal that reads “Lord please forgive me, I have committed sins for our freedom” is a message he created to show that as a Catholic he believes he did sin by killing someone in Iraq.

Today marks four years since our country declared war with Iraq. Noble men and women, innocent children, killed and being killed on both sides of this war. It’s no secret that I think this war is wrong. I think all war is wrong, I don’t believe it is ever the necessary or best option. However, my goal today isn’t to make a case for or against, I believe this is a moment and a time to lament the lose of the past four years. Lament the lose of soldiers, Iraqi and USA. Lament the deaths of children, elderly, Muslim, Christian, brothers and sisters.

  • US Troop Casualities – 3,205 US troops; 98% male. 90% non-officers; 78% active duty, 13% National Guard; 74% Caucasian, 10% African-American, 11% Latino. 19% killed by non-hostile causes. 54% of US casualties were under 25 years old. 68% were from the US Army
  • US Troops Wounded – 24,042, 20% of which are serious brain or spinal injuries (total excludes psychological injuries)
  • US Troops with Serious Mental Health Problems 30% of US troops develop serious mental health problems within 3 to 4 months of returning home
  • Iraqi Civilians Killed, Estimated – A UN issued report dated Sept 20, 2006 stating that Iraqi civilian casualities have been significantly under-reported. Casualties are reported at 50,000 to over 100,000, but may be much higher. Some informed estimates place Iraqi civilian casualities at over 600,000.

Please take sometime today to read the names of the men, women and children who have been killed in Iraq. These are not numbers, they are names, real people whose lives have been changed, impacted, and ended by this war. (Download the PDF, about 2.5mb)

Fair Trade Footwear: Walk a Mile in Ethical Shoes

Fair Trade FootwearCorporate Responsibility Mondays enters the footwear industry. As always, Josh will be highlighting a company with a negative record, and I’ll be pointing you to some alternatives. Footwear is a topic I lamented over a few months ago searching out ethical options. In an industry whose pinnacle brand is also the poster child (or should I say, it’s child laborers) for the sweatshop industry, you’ll be happy to know you don’t have to walk around barefoot to be fair consumer. Because different people enjoy different types of shoes I’m going to try and hit the different styles by highlighting some great companies doing some ethical shoe sales.

For the Casual Shoe Wearer:

There is a great company doing a world of good as a shoe shop. The mission is simple: When you buy a pair of shoes, and a pair is given to a child on your behalf. TOMS Shoes is a neat company with a neat story and the goal is to provide you and children around the world with comfortable feet. The one thing I couldn’t find detailed information on is about were the shoes are made. It was mentioned that he found shoe manufacturers in Argentina were he is giving away the shoes, so you would assume they are made under ethical conditions. Just to be sure though, I’ve emailed the founder and asked about the details.

A new shoe option that’s just started up is a group called: which sells shoes made by people in Iraq and the profits fund heart surgeries for Iraqi children dying from lack of health care. The shoes are called klashes and the website explains most of the details.

For the Classic Chuckies Wearer:
All those looking for a comeback of their old converse need look no further. Both No Sweat Apparel and Adbusters have their own fair trade version of these classic shoes. No Sweat Apparel has a wide range of choices when it comes to sneakers including the stylish ones pictured here. And No Sweat has a simple Union-Made mission to providing ethical footwear:

No Sweat defines the market for goods that support independent trade unions – the only historically proven solution to sweatshops. We market direct to consumers, relying primarily on internet sales for distribution.

They’ve got a great selection of choices of other products as well, I’m sure I’ll highlight them more at a later date.

Adbusters is a little more in-your-face when it comes to their product tactics with their Blackspot Shoes. Their primary goal is to be the non-consumerist, unbrand shoe: “This is your chance to unswoosh Nike’s tired old swoosh and give birth to a new kind of cool in the sneaker industry.” Their shoes are ethical as well:

* 100% organic hemp upper
* made in a union shop
* hand drawn logo & sweet spot
* designed by John Fluevog
* produced by Vegetarian Shoes

For the Athletic Shoe Wearer:
The options thin out a little when you start looking for a sports ready shoe. I’m not sure of soccer cleats or the like available from a union or fair trade store out there. One option for running shoes though is high quality, custom made, by a guy and his wife up in Maine. If you want a shoe with a story behind it and quality at that, Hersey Shoes is the ones you want. The price initially seems pretty steep, but Bart Hersey points out the truth:

A pair of Hersey Customs built just for you will last far longer than off-the-shelf shoes, even if you never resoled them. Also consider that your Herseys can be resoled at least several times before they finally croak, at a fraction of any new-shoe price. And when you finally do need a new pair, we still have your model.

I think it’s worth mentioning one big name shoe company for those who can’t order shoes online or elsewhere. New Balance, of all the major shoe companies, seems to have kept their ethical slate as clean and neat as possible. There has been some indication that their new factories in China, which are extremely difficult to monitor, have utilized sweatshop practices, but there has been only one account of that. So, if you must by a brand, make it New Balance. And when you do, be pro-active and write them and tell them why you purchased them over the others, and encourage them to clean up their act even more.

So, as you can see their are options when it comes to choosing your footwear. Hopefully you haven’t become so tied to brands and styles that you aren’t willing to branch out and find some footwear that supports your ethics and values. In case the links above weren’t enough, here’s a few more sites to check out:

Consider Subscribing to all the Consumerism posts on this blog (about 1 a week)

Daily Devotional: Do Not Store Up Treasures on Earth

I haven’t been writing many devotionals lately, so I’m going to start. I think there should be some explanation of what I intend to do here. First, I know that there are many folks who read my blog who are not ‘Christian’ and many who do not see the Bible as an authoritative document. There are others who read this who will understand the Bible passages I reference as God’s Word and it will carry that authority. I hope these brief devotional thoughts (which I intend to write weekly on Sundays, not Daily yet) will be beneficial for both types of readers. For some this will be an authoritative and challenging word to pursue their faith even further. For others, I hope this will be an informative lesson into the teachings of Jesus Christ. The title of my blog, Trying to Follow, is a reference to my attempt to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. My life has been changed by Jesus and his words, my hope is they have an impact on you as well, regardless of your faith and beliefs.

Today, I want to talk about a something Jesus said in his famous Sermon on the Mount, one of the most radical speeches, I would say, of all time. We’ve been talking about this at Mosaic a little bit and I had to share my two cents on the topic. Here are my thoughts for your enjoyment.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. -Matthew 6:18-21

First of all you have to notice it’s a dichotomy. “Do Not…But…” If Jesus wanted to put a disclaimer in I think he would have, and if he wanted to say you could do both at the same time (treasures on earth and in heaven) he would have said it differently. Jesus is giving advice on how you should live, and were we should be investing our money and energy. It’s a pretty radical statement, Don’t store up treasure on earth. To some degree it’s a pretty straight forward statement, and yet we might have a hard time figuring out how exactly this is carried out in our current lifestyle and society. I think some more context will help.

Jesus has already said some life-changing, paradigm-shifting, wealth-challenging, irrational (by our logic), sacrifice-requiring types of stuff. And remember this is all in the same sermon…

“Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. -Matt 5:42”

Love your Enemies and pray for those who persecute you. -Matt 5:44

“But when you give to the needy…” -Matt 6:3

Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God…But woe to you who are rich, for your have already received your comfort.
Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry.” -Luke 6:20,24,25

Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. -Luke 6:31

But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back.” -Luke 6:35

So, just to recap, you’ve got Jesus telling folks to give to anyone who asks, he even tells us to lend to our enemies (talk about an unwise investment). He exhorts you and I that are riches will be our comfort, and points us to the poor who have been given the kingdom. This is the Jesus who says do not store up treasure on earth.
My bike has been stolen multiple times and every time I think of this passage, and I have to question whether I was storing up treasure on earth were at thieve DID break in and steal.

Oh, and just in case you think Jesus might not really be saying “Do not store up treasures on earth” read the next passage. In case your thinking, but obviously Jesus doesn’t want us to be irrational and not store up for this or that…

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? -Matt 5:25-27

I’ve used the word “irrational” a few times here, because I think that acknowledges the attitude that we tend to feel when we hear something like this. Jesus is challenging our way of life and it does not seem rational to us. Look at Jesus, he’s wandering around, without a home, preaching and healing people, no treasure on earth, and leading as an example of storing up treasure in heaven. I’m not sure exactly what this should look like in a ‘Christians’ life, but I’m confident it does not look like the majority of Christians and churches in our society. Does it mean we don’t store up in IRA’s and invest in properties or stock or things of that nature? Maybe. Until Christians begin to gather together, stop justifying their lifestyles, and begin to struggle with the words of Jesus, we should question our taking of the term “like Christ.”

Request This Book: The Profane Conspiracy

The Profane ConspiracyIn the Month of November, my friend Zach Swee wrote a fiction book, The Profane Conspiracy. I ordered a copy and read it within 24 hours. I’m biased, because Zach is a wonderful friend, but I think it is a great book. Here’s the brief synopsis:

Explore what happens when God touches people’s lives and brings them together to do His work. Nothing is impossible for those who follow His call. This is the story of two young men, Jon, a high school dropout living on the streets, and Chris, a committed Christian who always has a smile on his face. When God brings them into each other’s lives, anything can happen.

Now, I think you should all read this book and I’ve got a brilliant way for you to do it. Zach self-published this book, which is a really neat opportunity technology has provided us. It also means that it’s going to take a little work on our part to get the book distributed. This won’t cost you a penny, it will just take a few moments of your time. I want to make sure a copy of Zach’s book, The Profane Conspiracy, is available at the Nashville Public Libraries. And here’s what I’m hoping you can do to help…

Click this link to Request a Book at the Nashville Public Library.
Enter this information:

Author: Zach Swee
Title: The Profane Conspiracy
Publisher: LuLu Publishing, 2007
Where you saw this item mentioned:

You don’t have to enter any barcode info, just hit submit. And if your really interested in helping, request the book at your own local library. Let’s spread the word!

Flash Back: Remember Kanye’s Comments?

I’ve been blogging fairly regularly now, trying to do a once a day posting schedule, and it seems to be going pretty well. I hope you feel the same way. This is a new weekly post I’m gonna do. Seeing as most folks seem to take Saturday’s off and aren’t reading as much I figure it’s good chance for me to peek back and pull out some old posts for your enjoyment. Now, the plan is to simply write a new post highlighting the old posts and maybe providing a brief update if necessary. Feel free to go back and comment on the old posts or just post more thoughts on this one. If folks are subscribed to comments by email they might even get back in the conversation if it picks up again. So here goes.

“George Bush Doesn’t Care About Black People.”

Whether you agreed with him or not, Kanye started a conversation that I think might have at least opened some people’s eyes a little to the issue of race in our country. Here were my thoughts back then.

September 3rd, 2005:
I’d like to offer a brief defense. First, I hope you folks have paid attention to some of the good things Kanye has been doing. Speaking out against homophobia and gay-bashing, writing a song and music video about Conflict Diamonds, and many here might appreciate his Grammy award winning song Jesus Walks.

I think maybe we all need to have a long talk about racism. I think Kanye spoke from a place of hurt and frustration during those concerts. I’ve heard some say that he is wrong, that this is not a racist thing, and there is a possiblity you are right. At the same time there is a possiblity he is right, and I think it comes from many other times when he was right, when there where situations he or others he knows faced that were inherently racist.

I’m done. I just want everyone to know there is a Nashvillian out here who understands Kanye a little and does not hate him for speaking what was on his heart.

As for those upset with the possiblity that it cost some donations I couldn’t have said it better than Aunt B on Sharon Cobb’s post:

“I mean, I don’t know if Bush hates all poor people or just black poor people, but I do know that if you’d withhold money from a charity because you don’t think how a black man behaves himself is “proper,” you’d better look long and hard at your own soul.”

Video of the Controversial statement:

And then further thoughts on September 9th, 2005:
My original post on Kanye West was written before I saw the actual video footage of what he said. From the description and summary I had heard from many many other blogs and news articles I thought Kanye had gone off yelling and screaming, insisting Bush “hates” black people. Well, I finally found the clip here. And this is anything but a outspoken rant. Why didn’t anyone mention the fact that Kanye was stumbling over his words? Why didn’t anyone mention that he didn’t sound angry, but distraught and disturbed, nervous about speaking but concerned about sharing what was on his heart? Does anyone else see that in this video?
Just my opinion, but I feel like this supports my original post that Kanye was speaking out of pain.

Now to address a few of the comments:

Anon: Kanye did not say Bush “HATES” black people, he said Bush doesn’t care about black people. And as far as evidence goes I think the evidence he was referring to (at least recently) was the Hurricane and New Orleans. You obviously don’t agree with him though do you. What if (I know another one of those “what if’s” you don’t like me asking) Kanye was a close personal friend of yours. What if in a conversation with your close friend, he got choked up and stumbling over his words expressed his hurt and emotions and said, “Bush doesn’t care about black people.” Would you ask him where his evidence is? Would you try and see things from his perspective a little?

Mr. Strong, I don’t think the fact that 2 of the people on Bush’s cabinet are black is really a case against Kanye’s statement, do you?

Brian and Jon and Stephen, I’d like to suggest that you try a different approach if you are really actually curious where the feelings that Kanye expressed come from. You see the way you post some of your comments, they sound argumentative, not like open and listening ears. If I was Kanye, or someone who shares his feelings, I don’t think I would want to share with you my hurt and emotions and the stories and evidence that make me feel the way I do. I’d be afraid you’d just rip into and discredit everything I just vulnerably shared with you. If your really interested though, and willing to listen, I’m sure you can find a person on Wheaton’s campus, or maybe in your church or neighborhood who would share with you some of their feelings, you just have to look.

Finally I couldn’t leave the topic without posting links to a few other inflammatory celebrities.

Welcome to the Police State of America

What I am about to speak about is not a conspiracy, it is not an exaggeration, and you might say the incidents are isolated anomalies, but there are a growing number of incidents that make me wonder if this isn’t more the reality than we are willing to believe.

Until you push, until you speak out against the current system, the image you see of our government’s use of physical force to carry out the laws seems appropriate. If you come from a middle or upper class neighborhood, your impression of the police is likely a positive one. They help enforce laws and keep people safe, and minus the occasional speeding ticket that you get, your happy to have their protection. Most feel the same way about the military of our country. Whether we agree or disagree with the war, we generally feel that the military feels it is doing it’s best to protect and care for the citizens of this free land. It’s a wonderful outlook and most of what we have experienced supports that reality.

It wasn’t until I began to question some of the decisions of our government and our current system, that I saw the ugly side of the system. My experience was primarily involved with preparation and involvement in protest during the G-8 in Brunswick Georgia in 2001. The G-8 is a gathering of 8 global world leaders who come together to discuss global issues. I could write pages on my experience there, but I’ll highlight some of the main points, and you’ll have to trust my experience.
First, in preparation for the protest we were involved with a number of other people from across the country and many in Brunswick to plan the gathering and the events. I heard first hand of the intimidation and oppression that some of the lead organizers were experiencing. This is not a conspiracy, this is literally things that happened: people’s phones were tapped, a SWAT Team entered the home of the mother of one of the organizers and took it over (this is shocking, but it is a ‘legal’ right under marshal law for the police to basically take over what ever they need to) and then set up a surveillance center to watch the organizers in the house across the street. I’m really not making these things up. Ordinance after ordinance was disallowed, permits for basic gatherings in parks and marches down streets were denied. This might not seem like a big deal, but what was happening was that basic rights as citizens were being denied and our opportunity to express our first amendment rights were taken before we could even express them.
Let me give you an idea of the magnitude of this. As the days led up to the G8 summit we read article after article about the 20,000 police and military were being trained to handle the protesters. That is were your tax dollars were going 20,000 officers specifically trained in riot training, and this was under the ‘Miami Model‘ (I’ll get to it later). These police were trained to use clubs, mace, rubber bullets, handcuffs and intimidation to confront the ‘violent protest’ they were planning on meeting. Let me address this briefly.
In my experience, what I have seen on video and with my own eyes, and every person I have talked to who have attended protests, I have never met a single person who had any intention of being violent (against a person). There are a few that enjoy provoking the police. There are a couple that desire to do harm to ‘the system’ by breaking windows and hindering consumerism, but this is a very small number of any protest. So, cops are trained to violently stop protests and in my experience they make little effort to distinguish between those peacefully protesting and those doing anything that might disturb the peace, break laws or be even close to considering anything a ‘riot.’
The Black BlocFinally, the G8 protest in Brunswick GA was attended by about 200 protesters at most. That’s nearly 100 riot cops and military for each of us protesters (a little absurd I know). Our experience was a positive one, and I’m happy to say I was not struck by a baton, rubber bullet or tear gas and the police were generally respectable. Starring at a line of riot cops standing in front of you with their giant shields, not flinching and not moving, and apparently there for nothing more then to intimidate the snot out of anyone was a disturbing experience. The reason there was only 200 protesters at this event is because of the gross injustice and violence that was experienced less then a year earlier at the Miami FTA Meetings. I found a video that is about 1.5 hours long that I think captures a lot of the violence that scared and intimidated people from coming to another event. Riot cops shot rubber bullets into crowds, sprayed mace at masses of people, and beat people with clubs when it was completely unnecessary.

What does this have to do with the discussion of democracy? You do not have to agree with those who protest, you don’t have to like them, in fact you might even think they are learning a lesson by being shot with rubber bullets. For me though, my experience and what I have seen has made me feel that I live in a police state and not in a democracy.

I would really strongly encourage you to watch this video in full.

It’s an hour and a half long but I really think every citizen needs to see this. But for those who won’t watch the whole thing here is a series of links to clips through out that you might want to see.

After looking I could only find one news article about the injustice of the protest and it was from the AFL-CIO:
Stopping the “Miami Model” in its Tracks: Defending Civil Liberties, Demanding Justice

The ACLU also wrote up a press release on some of the lawsuits that were filed:
Police Trampled Civil Rights During 2003 Free Trade Protests in Florida, ACLU Charges

and Znet writes:
Infamous ‘Miami Model’ of Protest Clampdown, Coming to a Town Near You

What are the Boundaries of our ‘Democracy’?

I peeked at some definitions of democracy just to see if I could get a basic understanding of what it meant. I’ve grown up thinking that we live in a democracy mainly because we get to vote for our president (and other folks as well). I think that’s a good thing, I like the idea of a government put in place by the people it governs.

Yet, recently I’ve been thinking about the fact that our tendency to think of our country as a democracy governed within some arbitrary boundaries that make up 50 different states is maybe not the most accurate. My thought is that it might be more accurate to think of the boundaries of our government and system as outlined not by the areas that our politicians govern, but were our military exerts it’s power. You see, ultimately I’m not ruled by the politicians (they make laws), I’m kept in line by the powers that enforce those rules, namely the military (and on our local level the police). So, it would seem that if we are going to be a true democracy we would allow citizenship and voting privileges for every person under or within our military presence. Otherwise, maybe it would be more accurate to say that we are part of the ruling class (all be it a large one) of an even larger empire that exerts it’s military rule over much of the rest of the world.

US Military Presence in The World
US Troops in the World

Chose Your Weapon (The Global Arms Trade)

One more map of US military bases.

If People Can’t Vote, It’s Not Democratic

Note:The first part of this post is an announcement I gave trying to recruit volunteers from the Republican club meeting at my college in 2004 before the presidential elections.

I have a close friend, who I worked closely with in 2003 in Atlanta. Lester Mae Jackson is a little over 50, a strong Christian woman. She grew up in Chicago. A black woman struggling against racism and discrimination that engulfed her. She stood on the Mall in Washington and listened first hand to Martin Luther King Jr. give his famous I have a Dream speech. She was the first black woman to attend her college in a small Wisconsin town. She was very active in the civil rights movement in Chicago and Wisconsin. She became a nurse and worked for the Red Cross for a number of years. I worked alongside her as tutors in the Atlanta public school, for very little pay considering she was supporting herself, two daughters and a recent granddaughter. Lest you think I’m sharing a story of pity for a struggling citizen let me share with you something else. Lester Mae has her PHD; she by the standards we tend to hold here, has earned her respect. When Dr. Lester Mae Jackson speaks, everyone listens because she speaks from experience and wisdom. When she told me about the discrimination at the polls in the 2000 election that she had seen and experienced first hand, I did not explain it off as I might have if some other person has shared it with me, I listened. She talked about polls opening late, closing far too early, people being turned away who should have been able to vote. She acknowledged that whole communities in our country have a general feeling of helplessness at it relates to voting and our democracy; Communities that had been so frustrated by the injustices being done that ‘democracy’ had lost it’s meaning.

Fast forward a number of months. I saw an advertisement calling for volunteers to protect people’s right to vote and remembering Dr. Jackson’s words, I was compelled to sign-up. Election Protection is a non-partisan initiative to make sure every citizen of this country has a fair and equal opportunity to vote. Injustice exist.
I’m going to assume that you think politics and democracy is important. This election [2004 Presidential] is an opportunity to show the world that democracy works, that it empowers the people. If people are marginalized, discriminated against and kept from voting for wrong reasons, then our democracy has failed. Election Protection is an opportunity to show the world that the far left and the far right can still join together in a democracy to ensure that every voice is heard and every vote is counted.

I shared that and encouraged a room full of 50+ college republicans (and later to 15 college democrats) to spend their election day watching polls to make sure that all people had a chance to vote.  In other words, for our country to actually run as a democracy. Not one Republican came out and only one Democrat.  It made me realize we aren’t so much concerned about democracy as that “our side” wins.

There is a LOT of evidence and statistics that show that poor, working-class people are consistently marginalized during election time and their opportunity to vote is often unjustly taken. At what point do we acknowledge that we can’t really say we have a democracy when a large number of our societies voting members are denied that right. This is not just a series of mistakes, this is unjust, and I would venture to say, this is not a democracy.

The best place for a lot of info on what’s happened in past elections is Election Protection. Also, Voters Unite.
Here are two movie trailers also that are engaging and highlight some of the themes that have occurred:

How Ohio Pulled It Off

American Blackout

And specifically related to the 2004 election, Rolling Stone has a incredible article on the topic, Was the 2004 Election Stolen? by Robert F. Kennedy.

oh and a 2004 Voter Fraud

This Is What Democracy Looks Like?

I’ll start by saying, I’m prepared for this short series to stir up some heated discussions. I’m not really much for political banter, but hopefully we can have some constructive dialogs about the current state of our society.
Every so often something comes up that makes me wonder if we should really be continuing to call ourselves a “democracy” without pointing out some important disclaimers. I’ve realized there are a number of issues I’ve become aware of that I don’t think the majority of people know about and might be worth pointing out, at least to raise some awareness and foster some discussion. I’ll be talking about things like our military presence in the world, rampant violations keeping people from voting during elections, police forces during protest, and maybe other things as the conversation progresses.
I also don’t have a lot of time this week to write so these might be absent of substantial links and pictures if I run out of time (I’ll try). But maybe it will get the conversation going and we can continue discussion from there.

The second side note is that I have no fantasy of this country changing it’s current structures and situations. There are things I know I can do on the local level and ways I can at least make my voice heard as a citizen, but I’m not necessarily suggesting these things as a case to radically change the government (no communist or socialist flags here). I’m writing this more in hopes to raise awareness and discussion and encourage people on a personal level to open their eyes to some of the mis-information we’ve been fed.

Hope you enjoy.

p.s. The category topic is stolen from Harpers mag.