Posts Tagged ‘wars’

The War Substitute

January 12, 2015

Legendary Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne told a Congressional investigative committee, in effect, that football is a good substitute for war. According to the 1940 film Knute Rockne, All American, starring Pat O’Brien as Rockne and Ronald Reagan as the Gipper,  this is what he told the committee:

“Games such as football are more than merely helpful to boys. They’re an absolute necessity to the nation’s best interest,” said Rockne. “Every red-blooded young man in any country is filled with what we might call the natural spirit of combat.

“In many parts of Europe and elsewhere in the world, this spirit manifests itself in continuous wars and revolutions. But we have tried to make competitive sport serve as a safer outlet for that spirit of combat. I believe we’ve succeeded.”

No argument about that it’s a safer outlet.  Getting jingoists worldwide to switch to that outlet is the trick. In the U.S.A. football is very popular and attracts millions, but it certainly hasn’t kept us out of wars.

 

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My Top Ten Wish List for the U.S. in 2015

January 5, 2015

I wish that…

!.  The United States does not get into another war. 

2. The United  States Congress concentrates on working for what’s best for the country instead of what’s best for members of Congress.

3. The astronomical cost of healthcare stops rising.

4. The cost of education for physicians is greatly reduced, bringing the cost more in line with other countries, many of which provide free education for physicians.

5,  American universities put more emphasis on lowering the costs of education than adding administrators and new buildings.

6.  That we start valuing excellent educators more than football coaches.

7. American news media return to the days of responsible journalism, concentrating more on stories that affect people’s lives and less on sensationalism and that we produce more journalists like H. L. Mencken, Ida Tarbell,  David Halberstam, Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite,  Ben Bradlee, and Woodward and Bernstein. 

8.  That our economy continues to improve.

9 .  That we continue the trend toward producing more renewable energy.

10.  That more of us follow Martin Luther King, Jr.’s admonition that we judge people “not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

What do you wish most for in 2015?  

 

 

Political Presentation: It’s How That You Do it

January 2, 2012

As I watched Rick Santorum speaking in Iowa on CNN – refreshingly in long form which gave me a good chance to observe his communicating technique – I had to reflect on presentation, how he said what he said.

First of all, he is good. He can communicate in a natural, conversational, reasonably sounding style, with body language to match. He is much more likable than most of the other Republicans campaigning in Iowa. Likeability is an important factor. It’s a major reason that Barrack Obama is President of the United States. I have even heard some Republicans say they like him as a person, just not as a president.

However, as I listen to what former Senator Santorum was actually saying, I realized beneath his veneer of family values warmth, which puts him in good stead with the Christian right, and probably will help him considerably in South Carolina, is an ideologue who wants America to stay on a course to create an empire, and to stay militarily aggressive.

He put Ron Paul in the same boat with President Obama when it comes to staying at war. He accuses the president of pulling back from military involvement. He said all this in a very reasonable talking-over-the-backyard-fence-to-a-neighbor style. But, the message I got is he is a pro-military-industrial-complex, mega-defense-spending candidate.

He accused President Obama of taking America on an anti-empire course, and said we need to observe the dissolution of the world-dominating British Empire when it became more interested in domestic welfare than empire. That told me that he wants an even larger American Empire. To do that a country does have to maintain a huge military machine and use it to control and expand its empire.

What I can’t understand is why he is just emerging as a candidate to be seriously considered. Why do the polls show him now ahead of New Ginghrich? What’s going to happen in South Carolina where he is being touted as a strong contender because of his Christian right credentials? Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says he, not Santorum, is going to win in South Carolina. After seeing what is now happening in Iowa, I’m not so sure Newt is right.

Both of them have a big problem. They don’t have the organization or the money that former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney or Congressman Ron Paul has. They also have another big problem. Are they electable?  Satisfying the Republican right-wing Christian fundamentalist base is one thing. Overcoming a newly energized, well-financed and organized, accomplished debater Barrack Obama, is quite another.

Taking Stock Philosphically: Social Evolution

December 28, 2011

While we have come a long way in scientifically explaining how we have evolved from a fish to a person,  what I want to know is why, if we are so smart, can’t we evolve socially? Why do we continue the insanity of wars? Why can’t we learn to work as the human family for the common good?

The superb PBS NOVA program on Charles Darwin’s explanation of the evolution of living species and how science is now answering questions that Darwin could not made me reflect, not only on natural evolution, but also, on social evolution.

  Darwin figured out that species do adapt to their environments, do mutate. But he could not explain how. But now, as I learned watching “What Darwin Never Knew,” another superb program in the NOVA series on PBS, scientists are now cracking nature’s biggest mysteries at  the genetic level.  They are, as a NOVA explanation says, “linking the enigmas of evolution to another of nature’s great mysteries, the development of the embryo.”

I do not doubt that humans have physically evolved, that our brains have enlarged over the eons, and that we have some incredibly brilliant scientists, but where we seem to have  not evolved is in our ability to work as a human family to make the world a better place for the human race. Why?

I welcome your thoughts on this, and I have more of my own on which I will elaborate in future posts on this subject.