In this rookie bloggers attempt to acknowledge and understand the reasons behind so many of the divisive subjects that are plaguing this country and this world, it seems that there are some major issues regarding the delivery of the messages that drive the heated debates behind these subjects.  So often me and others that I have spoken to get wrapped up in this sort of matter-of-fact way of talking about subject in which we really don’t have near as much of a clue about as we’d like to think.  It is these subject that I will tackle in order for us to gain a better understanding, but also to realize how little we actually know about…well…anything really. So, let’s get started with some of the concerns that I have with some key issues:

The economy: We can’t even turn on the news or read the paper anymore without hearing something about the economy, usually implying some terrifying outcome to something that the President, or Wall Street, or corporations, or the Republicans, or whoever are doing.  From everything I understand about modern economics (which is not a lot), all we really have to work with are a whole lot of theories about the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services.

Granted, the economic survival of our country is extremely important  to the lives of nearly every human on this planet, but it seams as though there should be a better, more effective way to handle this subject in our mainstream discussions.  For example, the healthcare debates that went on for almost a year were enough to drive a person away from American politics all together.  Sarah Palin’s laughable speeches at the Tea Party rallies, Glen Beck’s psycho-skeptic engineering of “facts”, Ed Schultz calling all Republicans idots, Chris Matthews inviting people on to his show only to cut them off mid-sentence and yell over them, and all of the other ridiculous punditry that attempts to be taken seriously.  These are not leaders, they are entertainers.  The are not educators, they are spokesman for corporate entities.  Even if any of them do really care about you, which I doubt, they are being extremely irresponsible with their handling of issues that effect our lives.

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Bob Reynolds, CEO of Putnam Investing.  He referred to Oregon as a communist state due to our passing of bills that tax the rich.  My argument to him was that we can’t all expect to have the same economic system work for everybody.  There’s a culture in Portland that is more liberal and concerns itself with the well being of all of its citizens no matter their financial disposition.  Granted, not everyone in Portland is happy with this, but fortunately we live in a pseudo-democracy with semi-sovereign citizens where we can decide by a vote what is best for our communities.

Religion: I’m not sure that I even have to acknowledge the deep rooted hypocrisies that are clearly embedded in mainstream religious cultures.  Preach one way, but act another.   Preach against abortion, but support war efforts.  Preach against violence, but scream at those who adhere to differing values.  Insist that you love people as Christ did, but judge the lifestyles of those who don’t act in accordance to your understanding of the world.  Because really, that’s all it really is…an understanding.

One of my favorite saying:  “Certainty about the next life is strictly incompatible with tolerance in this one.” – Sam Harris.  I believe this to be the truest statement regarding man’s understanding of God, and afterlife, and any of the folklore and values that construct man’s understanding of  these highly controversial topics.  I believe that if most men knew how much they “know” about God and Heaven, we would have a better world.  And what do we know…NOTHING.  Some people have faith, some people have hope, some people are afraid not to act in accordance to their religious leader’s interpretation of scripture due to the graphically terrifying consequences of not “believing”, and some are just told so often from birth that God acts and looks a certain way, so they don’t learn to doubt and question the alternative options.

Imagine what would happen if all religious people could look at the world and all of the people in it as a mysterious landscape of ideas and wonders to learn and grow from, rather than having some set idea that the way they understand the non-understandable is the only correct way.  Imagine if they could look at a person of a different faith and know that the truth is that others have just as good of chance of being right as they do.  Imagine if they could know that the truth of the matter is, they don’t know what God thinks about homosexuality, so until they know for sure, every person is treated exactly the same and is supported in their relationships every bit as much as a person who prefers the physical and emotional company of someone of the opposite sex.  But so long as so people continue acting as if they know what the almighty creator thinks, or even that he/she/they/it even exists, violent divisions will continue to destroy this world as they have been for thousands of years.  The problem now is…we have nuclear weapons instead of catapults and swords.

Politics: I will make this one fairly short.  I honestly believe that there is a war going on inside of our country that is driven and controlled by the violent rhetoric that has ripped through our media system.  This war, I believe, is going to seriously upset the progression of our country if a serious cultural paradigm shift doesn’t occur soon.  John Stewart, on the O’Reilly Factor, said it perfectly:  “Here’s what Fox has done, through their cyclonic perpetual emotional machine that is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: They have taken reasonable concerns about this president and this economy and turned it into full-fledged panic attack.”  And though Fox is not he only bad guy, they are certainly the loudest and most aggressive. I want to continue with politics later, but I will say that there are some serious discussions that we could be having about some incredibly important subjects, but instead we’re too busy insisting that we’re right and that we know enough to be staking a solid claim in these issues to the point where we can call our positions fact, without taking the time to truly understand.  And if we look at the situation and see that we don’t understand it, then its ok for our position on that subject to be “I don’t understand”

A glance at some things to come.