Friday, July 29, 2022

About Quakers and the Democratic Party

 I want to point out also that while many Friends, myself included, tend to identify with Democrats, due to social issues, we must not ignore that hawks dominate this party.  Both Hillary and Biden are hawks.

During the 2020 DNC debates, the DNC changed the rules, preventing Tulsi Gabbard from participating further in the debates. She was the only candidate whose primary concern was peace.  By excluding her, they allowed the discussion to be focused on domestic issues rather than our disastrous foreign policy.  Democratic sources also circulated spurious rumors about her somehow being a Russian asset. This allowed a hawk, Biden, to be nominated, leaving Trump as the peace candidate, which is very unfortunate.  Biden was able to hide his voting record, e.g. voting for cluster bombs in the Viet Nam War, because of the action of the DNC.

Biden's historical hawkishness had to be hidden, because the popularity of Bernie Sanders and Trump together -- both speaking for reduced American military involvement abroad -- clearly illustrate that the majority of the American people want to scale back on militarism.  Trump's anti-war position -- now don't get me wrong I dislike him as much or more than the next person -- is routinely characterized in the main stream media as "isolationism," as if the only way of dealing with foreigners is to make war.  

War is big business for the media.  They are a business that sells negative drama.  War is great negative drama. The media all allowed themselves to be embedded -- and coopted -- in the first invasion of Iraq.  If the military/industrial complex wants to suppress anti-war candidates, they can manipulate the media to do what they did to Tulsi -- implying that she was a Russian asset/agent and other disinformation, like saying she was a Hindu nationalist.

There were also very spurious reactions on mainstream media to the fact that she was a peace candidate.  I am not a huge fan of the Jimmy Dore Show on Youtube, but he has some insightful reviews of how she was treated.

The way she has been treated by Democrats and by main stream media has pushed her towards  the Republican media, which is more anti-war than the Democratic media.  She also tends to speak in rather provocative language, which makes her painful to listen to, but she is firmly committed to reducing USA military adventurism.  Her commitment to peace is something that we have to pay attention to.

War is a huge violation of civil rights.

Not being aligned with a party is not only important for Quakers from a tax perspective, but also because we cannot delude ourselves into thinking that the Democratic party is our party.

It is also my view that the hawk, Biden, destabilized the world situation by reflexively running off and re-energizing NATO.  The Russians regard NATO as threatening.  While we might see France and Germany as friendly, we have to remember that both of those countries (Napoleon & Hitler) have viciously invaded Russia -- and that Hitler publicly stated a desire to murder ALL slavs, despite many of them being blond and blue-eyed white people.  His soldiers did engage in incidents of mass murder against civilians in Slavic countries.  Biden's retro, Western Europe oriented, worldview gave Putin the justification, in the eyes of his colleagues, that he needed to invade the Ukraine.   We shouldn't be hiding our heads in the sand about this.

This is not to say that I support what Putin did -- absolutely not -- but we are not entirely innocent here.  We allowed a traditional hawk with a retro worldview to be elected without comment.  

#Quakers #Peace #PeaceTestimony #Hawks #DemocraticParty #TulsiGabbard #DNC #Russia #Ukraine #War #NATO

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Responses to Meeting for Discernment; NYYM 220726 @NYYMTweets

I am mindful that I spoke twice yesterday, so I am trying to allow others to speak today.  There were several messages that I wanted to say something about, so I am putting what I would have said in this blog.    

One question was what we could not unsee.  People mentioned things they had seen on the news.

The news is a business that sells negative drama. The more riveting the drama is, the more money they make. If we allow ourselves to be whiplashed by the emotional content that we see on the screen, we become their followers.

The history of Quakers has been leadership. If our concerns are based on what we see on our screens, we become part of the faceless masses that are also watching the same screens. We cannot be leaders. 

Quakers have been leaders, because they were moved by the Holy Spirit. They were leaders, because they were not moved by the concerns of everyone around them. 

This is not to say that we should not be moved at all by what is on the news.  However, when we focus on that, our few voices become inaudible in the general din.


One question had to do with things we were called to do .  One thing that was mentioned was attracting young people:

If we want young people to participate in meeting, we have to be mindful of the sleep research about people between the ages of 18 and 35. Their natural melatonin cycles make them fall asleep after 11 PM. The world expects them to be up and about by six in the morning. They still need nine hours sleep. They are constantly sleep deprived. They have to sleep in the morning on weekends. We cannot schedule youth activities in the morning on weekends.  


I had a reaction to the queries themselves:

The queries themselves are worded, or so it sounds to me, to invoke a sense of guilt. What am I not doing that I should be doing? That kind of self flagellation, it seems to me, pervades Friends’ ministry. That feeling that we are always somehow not enough, not doing enough, not being enough provokes depression and despair. It’s not a welcoming message. It’s not something that will encourage people to join us. We have to also look at what we might have to celebrate. What did we do right?


Another thing that was mentioned was polarization:

It seems to me that politics of late has been reducing issues to sound bytes -- which necessarily oversimplify everything -- and then polarizing people around sound bytes.  Reducing issues to sound bytes is a form of dumbing down.  I don't like it.  I would like to see us have confidence that we haven't all been reduced to sound bytes.


I mentioned this blog to a friend outside of NYYM.  He mentioned that something he finds fatiguing is many Friends' attachment to a sense of outrage.  Yes!  Centering in the spirit should be, imho, peaceful, not high drama.  I am reminded of my exposure to a group called Emotions Anonymous.  These are people who believe that they are addicted to their own cortisol and adrenaline.  I hope Friends will be cognizant of the potential of self-intoxication from emotional drama.  This also relates to my first point above -- allowing oneself to be emotionally manipulated by the news.

[NB I do sometimes continue to edit my blogs]

#NYYM #NewYorkYearlyMeeting #ReligiousSocietyOfFriends #Quakers #Meeting #NYYMSessions #SilverBay2022