My last real hike was on a barely discernable path in the Ozarks. I walked through bushes that reached out twitchy branches, catching at my clothes as I tried to push past. Every curve in the path brought a new experience–a deer standing in a meadow, staring at me in startled surprise before bounding away; a bear ripped log; a dark and fearsome cave; a quiet pond. The dive bombing bumblebee from hell and the bright red cardinal. The biting tick and the sweet smell of something new and different. All around me was noise and life and movement and endless variety.
I compare this with the hikes I used to take in Northern California, among tall redwood trees that steal the sunlight from the forest floors, leaving little life but these grand giants; the only sounds the soft whisper of wind, the only movement my own feet. No branches reaching out to slow me down; much beauty and grandeur, but few surprises.
Ryan writes about a lawsuit filed against UNC-Chappel Hill because the school requires incoming students read a book that discusses the Quran or provide an essay about why they don’t want to read it. Sound bite from a local politician:
I see this as insensitive, arrogant and poor timing to allow students to read about our attackers,” said Rep. Gene Arnold, a Republican from Nash County.
Alan Cook provides an eye opening perspective about Perl Harbor. He writes:
I don’t know what official U.S. military policy is on these matters, but in popular consciousness our policy is “hit them so hard they’ll never try anything like that again.” A great many Americans are proud of this, which IMHO is a national disgrace; it means we tend towards massively disproportionate military responses that have given us, in the eyes of many people in the world, the reputation of international bullies who are willing to lay waste to large parts of the globe to protect the safety and comfort of any of our citizens. The War in the Pacific was a case in point, and the disproportionateness of our response extends not merely to any particular tactics that we used, but to our basic war aim: the demand for unconditional surrender.
Politics in the Zeros writes in protest of an Iraqi invasion:
The assumption here is that we invade, maybe it gets a bit messy, but we eventually install a puppet government, and all ends well (for us). That’s a whole lot of assumptions. What if it doesn’t go as planned? What if the whole region, badly destabilized, collapses into anarchy and war?
Discordant voices among the choir singing the Star Spangled Banner. As Ryan said in a comment attached to his posting I am quickly learning the meaning of ‘alienation’.
Alienation. I didn’t see this until Ryan pointed it out, and this simple statement gave me serious pause. It caught at me. It surprised me.