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Showing posts from December, 2016

Further thoughts on Trump's election - Part 3

This post is the third in a series of musings about Trump's election in which I identify five concerns and then suggest a response to each (follow these links to read the first and second posts). Concerns that Trump's win points toward a fracturing of the Union, e.g., as liberal, more youthful populations, who live along the coasts find themselves increasingly alienated from older, less affluent, less educated, more conservative populations who live in the nation's broad middle (For more on the demographic disparities between Trump supporters and foes, read this article from the Washington Post.) Generational divides are not new. What troubles me about this divide is its geographic component, i.e., the US is increasingly segregated as people choose to live in homogenous neighborhoods defined primarily by shared values. In many respects, this is the most intractable of my list of concerns about a Trump presidency and best addressed through acting on the …

The meaning of Christmas

As a progressive, post-theist Christian, I find that two ideas capture the meaning of Christmas. First, Christmas acknowledges that every person, every aspect of the cosmos, is embraced by the light. That light is also called God, Buddha, or ultimate reality. By any name, the light that embraces us nudges or lures one in the direction of more abundant, loving life. The story of Jesus' birth dramatizes that embrace and invites its hearers to live more deeply into the mystery of being embraced by the light. Second, Christmas by inviting us to live more deeply into the mystery of being embraced by the light invites one to recognize and nurture the capacity for being loved and loving that is an integral element of every human. Jesus, embraced by the light, experienced such a powerful awakening of his capacity to love and be loved that people described him as both fully human and divine.
So, during these twelve days of Christmas, welcome the light's embrace and then respond by dee…

Keeping Christ in Christmas

Few people today know that the Nazis tried to remove Christ from Christmas: For the perfect Nazi Christmas, you had to hang glittering swastikas and toy grenades from the pine tree in the living room and, in your freshly pressed uniform, belt out carols urging German women to make babies for the F├╝hrer rather than worship the Jewish Baby Jesus. Then came the moment to light the pagan candleholders — hand-made by laborers at Dachau. (Roger Boyes, "How the Nazis tried to take Christ out of Christmas," The Times, accessed November 17, 2009.)
More surprisingly, significant manifestations of the Nazi efforts to remove Christ from Christmas remained embedded in German culture throughout much of the latter half of the twentieth century. Germans continued to sing carols and hymns, revised by the Nazis to excise references to Jesus and the Christian story, often unaware of how the Nazis had altered the lyrics. For example, Unto Us a Time Has Come became a hymn of praise about snowy f…

Further thoughts on Trump's election - Part 2

This post is the second in a series of musings about Trump's election in which I identify five concerns and then suggest a response to each (follow this link to read the first post). 2.Fears that the Trump appointees and policies will trample the rights of women to choose their own healthcare options, discriminate against the LGBT community, implement initiatives that worsen climate change and tear down important environmental safeguards, misunderstand the threats the US faces, favor the rich at the expense of the poor, etc.
Donald Trump is a narcissist with an oversize personality who likes to dominate whatever stage he occupies. As President of the US, he may experience a rude awakening. The US political system is not a dictatorship and although the powers of the presidency expanded during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, those powers still face significant limitations. Congress consists of 535 politicians, each of whom has his/her own political base and agenda. The Pr…

Further thoughts on Trump's election - Part 1

Recently, my blog has focused primarily on my cancer. However, I've written one post about Trump's victory (http://blog.ethicalmusings.com/2016/11/thoughts-on-trumps-electoral-victory.html). Consternation over Trump's win seems unabated if not growing. That consternation has several, not mutually exclusive, causes including: Objections that the Electoral College ignores the popular vote, which Hillary Clinton won by almost 3 million votesFears that the Trump appointees and policies will trample the rights of women to choose their own healthcare options, discriminate against the LGBT community, implement initiatives that worsen climate change and tear down important environmental safeguards, misunderstand the threats the US faces, favor the rich at the expense of the poor, etc.Anxiety that Trump's win will directly or even indirectly align itself with a freshly energized white supremacist movement, further exacerbating racial…

Rethinking one's use of time

I belong to a generation that sends Christmas cards. While in the Navy, my wife and I seldom wrote more than a few brief lines in the card, if even that much. Instead, we included a form letter describing to family and friends what we had done in the preceding twelve months. Several years into retirement, we stopped writing an annual missive. We wrote a personal note in each card, although we continued to use our printer to address the envelopes. This year, our printer could not accommodate the size of the envelopes that came with our Christmas cards. Moreover, I wanted to practice my penmanship. Never very good, my neuropathy (a side effect of the chemo) has significantly degraded my penmanship. Unable to pursue the activities with which I had planned to fill my life in Hawaii (see the prior Ethical Musings' post for details), I had time over several days to address the envelopes. What initially felt very tedious became an opportunity for fondly remembering shared experiences an…