Monday, July 31, 2006

My faith journey

Recently I’ve encountered several “new” Episcopalians and a couple of “new” Christians. The thing that excites me about this is that people are finding hope and inspiration and fellowship and truth. I would probably be as excited about new worshippers of almost any faith. I do tend toward the more loving religions and reject the extreme positions.

That said, I’d like to share my faith journey with friends who read this. I was born near the Mississippi River in the heart of cotton farmland. When I was less than a year old, I was christened (baptized) into the Presbyterian denomination, the multigenerational faith of my father. That means that I was named as a child of God and would not necessarily go to hell for sins committed before the age of confirmation.

My mother, brother and I attended the Presbyterian church regularly. My father dropped us off and went to the other side of town to continue his drinking. Sometimes – no, frequently, he forgot to come back and get us; so we sat on the church steps in our dress clothes while townspeople passed by and stared at us.

Mother, brought up in the Baptist faith, finally got tired of the unwanted exposure to prying eyes, and we quit attending church. Instead, she played the piano and we sang hymns on Sundays. These hymns and the sense of love and faithfulness are the basis of my faith.

In my teenage years, I joined the Baptist Church in the tiny village where we had moved to get away from my father’s alcoholism. I professed my faith mainly because my mother told me that was the only way I could redeem myself from cussing at the preacher during a fire near our house. But, I attended faithfully until they asked me to quit coming because I had organized a teen club where we danced. Dancing was a sin in that tiny church, and I was an unrepentant sinner.

In my early 30s I was involved in Community Theatre and its cast parties after the final performance. One Sunday morning, as we revived somewhat from the all-night cast party, someone suggested that we go as a group to her church. I recoiled but went along because I didn’t want to be left out.

We went to the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Columbus, Mississippi. Most of the others were regular church goers of one denomination or another. I was the sinner, baptized twice, but apparently still unclean. At least I was unclean until I walked through those doors. The priest welcomed each of us with a hug and a compliment about each person’s part in the play. He had never met me; yet, he hugged me and told me what a wonderful job I had done. He could smell the alcohol on my breath and see my bleary eyes, but he didn’t care. I was a sheep of his pasture.

We all sat together, and, fortunately, we sang some songs that I knew; so all of us added to the harmony and joyfulness of the service. I have found those hugs and that joy in almost every Episcopal church I have ever attended.

I have found the same in other places as well, but Episcopal churches and 12-step programs are tops on my list.

Saturday, July 29, 2006


Limitations are what other people have. I decided long ago that I might keep having birthdays, but I would not grow old. I would not become bent with osteoporosis nor would I have Alzheimer’s Disease. I would not die an alcoholic and probably not on a barge in the Gulf of Mexico. I did not have those limitations, and, therefore, I did not have any limitations.

Yeah, right. I figured out that I was somewhat wrong when I lost my first job because I was a woman and the company did not want a woman editor of the magazine. A few months later the anti-discrimination statue was passed, and I still believed I was invincible. After that, I never gave limitations more than a passing thought. I lost another job because I was gay; so I got married and was married for almost 25 years to two different husbands. Both of them left me – one fell in love with drugs and one fell in love with the teacher across the hall.

Limitations were still the territory of other people; I simply would not go there. I could be anything I wanted to be, go anywhere I wanted to go, and be good at what I was doing. That worked for a few years, too few. Alcohol robbed me of some good decisions and left me struggling to provide food and shelter, never mind the clothes that I love so well.

Depression was a hole in the ground or the 1930s not a life-threatening condition that I could possibly have. So, I ignored it and kept on moving along and changing jobs and setting new goals. I’ve left behind many unfulfilled goals, many jobs at which I could have been a success, and many towns where having birthdays would have been fun.

When I had my first panic attack, I began to consider limitations, specifically, my limitations. And, when a doctor friend said, “You have asthma, don’t you?”, I knew the jig was up. I did have limitations. I could not be anything that I wanted to be, and certain places were likely to be uncomfortable living from physical, mental and emotional viewpoints.

Limitations have a way of letting us know that some directions are no longer available. Somewhere along the line, I noticed that I could no longer qualify for a job as a Playboy bunny, and my overnight bags bulged with medicine bottles and inhalers. My diet was changing, my exercise patterns were supposed to be changing. Bleah.

Now, I use my limitations (and I have many) to guide me to things that I really can do well regardless of my (here’s that word again) limitations. I still like to challenge the world and those conditions that limit my being and doing, but mostly I work around them. I take what is good and try to make it better. I care for myself in ways that ameliorate the disadvantages.

Limitations are what has spurred me to stick it out in some areas and back off from others. I’ve watched babies grow into young adults; I’ve retired from the demanding fund raising jobs of the past. I’m developing my creativity in arts and crafts now, and I’m having some success. Without recognition of my limitations, I might never have found the happiness I know now.

Pavement technology

Yesterday as I was passing some repaving work on the highway, I was stopped beside a young man with a box about the size of a laptop writing desk with an antenna on it. I asked what it was, and he said, “It’s to test the paving and make sure it is up to our quality standards.” Then he added, “It’s an expensive little box.” The traffic began moving and he changed locations to test another spot.

I am amazed at how much our lives are being changed by technology even when we don’t know anything about it. Certainly, if I had not been stopped beside this wondrous box, I wouldn’t have know that testing methods have changed.

When my brother was working for an engineering company on the bridge that spanned the Mississippi River between Lula, Mississippi, and Helena, Arkansas, (site of lots of floating casinos now), he tested soil and pavement by dipping out soup spoons of it and taking it back to his little office shack and running weight and moisture tests and such on it. The tests took a half hour, and the men who were packing dirt or pavement had to make adjustments.

Now, he could use this little box and the pavement wouldn’t have little holes in it, and adjustments could be made almost immediately. Our roads must certainly be in better shape because of such technology. And, that excites me.

I wonder how technology is changing our lives in other areas. Plywood doesn’t seem to be getting any smoother, and I understand that the better grades of lumber are still being shipped overseas. If you want top quality lumber, you must buy it from an independent dealer and, often, plane it down to size yourself. Home and commercial building construction companies can’t afford that; so our buildings are probably not benefiting in that manner from technology.

Our air conditioning, virtually unknown in my childhood, is now marvelously efficient due to better technology. Cars are changing. Look at the hybrids. I saw a hybrid Prius the other day with a license plate that said PDM SHFT, paradigm shift. And, that’s what has happened. The model of an automobile that RE Olds brought into being and Henry Ford make so ubiquitous has changed. Gasoline motors are being replaced in many areas.

Technology has changed food production – some say for the better and some warn about problems. Apples stay firm longer in my refrigerator, and potatoes don’t sprout eyes as quickly as they once did. I hear lots of stories about genetically engineered fruits and vegetables including wheat, corn and even cotton.

I’ll bet technology enhances the fabrics that we wear without our ever even suspecting that our jeans have been close to little boxes with antennas or thread testers for fabric moving at 10 miles per hour. My jeans don’t get holes as quickly as they did when I was younger. Of course, I’m not out climbing trees and playing in the woods either.

I am grateful for the ways that technology makes my life better, and I hope that we will use it responsibily.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Hello in there

Say hello in there...say hello. I predict that the John Prine song “Hello In There” will become popular again as the number of adults over 80 grows. It speaks to the loneliness that afflicts all ages but seems to lie as a burden of silence on the often immobile aged people. It speaks of “hollow ancient eyes”, and haven’t we all seen them?

I find myself in prayer for the elderly people who are my friends and friends of my friends. They are having surgery, getting home health care, being moved from their homes into group residences of some sort and being left increasingly alone as their friends die and the children care for grandchildren and spearhead fund drives for Alzheimers, cancer, and other diseases. They cannot understand what they’re supposed to be doing at this time of their lives. Why sit alone? Why not go ahead and die? What is God keeping me here for?

Recently in our newspaper was a series of letters after a reporter called a 62-year-old woman “elderly”. The writers protested that they were not “elderly” even though their ages exceeded 62. They were active and reactive. “Elderly” was for those with hollow ancient eyes. “Elderly” is for those who don’t talk much anymore; no one cares to hear their experiences, their thoughts, their wisdom.

And, often, the truth is that their children have heard it all multiple times, and their children have developed their own wisdom and their own stories. Their grandchildren are much too busy fighting for careers and rearing youngsters to listen to some old person who doesn’t even understand computers much less cell phones and PDAs. As their great grandchildren grow old enough to visit, they will be involved in sports and arts and text-messaging with their peers.

Fortunately (or unfortunately), for the baby boomers, peer pressure will still be high, and they can vie with one another for the accomplishments of their descendants. They can do this at least until they reach their 80s, and then their peers will begin to become silent and then to die. They will be the ones with hollow ancient eyes.

Each generation needs to value those before it and those who come after. Each grandchild needs to say “Hello in there!” occasionally – to develop a habit of companionship that just might be more important than instant messages and graduate degrees. Someone once told me that a liberal arts degree was preparation for living in one’s own inevitable solitude. A good education and ability to read or to hear are valuable to living in that solitude, but good relations with family and friends of all ages is even better.

So if you're walking down the street sometimeAnd spot some hollow ancient eyes,Please don't just pass 'em by and stareAs if you didn't care, say, "Hello in there, hello."

The habit of companionship with all ages is the feast for a lifetime.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

A new church structure?

The Anglican Communion lately has discovered that it has no structure. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, and others say that the Communion needs structure (An Anglican Covenant) in the church so that we can support the smaller churches struggling in countries far away from the United States or England. He says that we need to be able to say to the teetering foreign governments that “This church is backed by the Anglican Communion, and that one is not.” (See his address to the General Synod at the Anglican News Service site) Not knowing foreign politics, I must assume that he thinks that having the backing of the Anglican Communion would be a good thing.

Theo Hobson, writing in the Guardian from the United Kingdom (England), says that Williams has pressed forward with the main issue in the Anglican Communion – Do we want to be Catholic and go for unity or do we want to be moral and go for justice? The two may be exclusive of one another. Catholicity demands that we support one another in positions that we find may morally wrong. For instance, the African churches would be called upon to support the church in the United States while abhorring its stand on sexuality and women priests. On the other hand, the American churches (USA and Canada) would be called upon to support their African counterparts even though they disagree with the homophobia and subordination (and even mistreatment) of women. Each church finds the other to be morally wrong in those areas but demands acceptance of its own position.

The Biblical literalist challenges the modern interpreter; the church in the more technological nation challenges the church in the more primitive nation. Hot versus cold. The Anglican way has always been lukewarm, accepting of people with a spectrum of beliefs but a particular way of worship and mission. Nothing has changed in worship or mission, only in the details of Biblical interpretation.

This world-wide disagreement within the church seems to have secular backlashes everywhere. Churches in some countries find it difficult to speak wisdom to power when the church, because of its association with the Anglican Communion and thus the USA, is considered to be immoral and unethical. In the USA, the topic of sexuality has become a political agenda as well as a church concern. Worship and mission have taken a backseat in the church; life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness have taken a backseat in the nation. Actions in the United States could be the publicized cause of death and destruction in other countries.

If the Episcopal Church is cast out of or leaves the Anglican Communion, the loss to the world-wide church will be great for we have power and money and willingness to serve. I doubt that we are willing to sacrifice our moral stand on the inclusion of everyone in God’s house – women, gays, poor, dirty, illiterate, educated, male, all races and ethnic groups. On the other hand, the more fundamentalist churches of the Communion might gain some power when they stand for what they believe is right and Godly. Divorce is never easy, but both parties usually do survive.

Thursday, July 06, 2006


Whimsy. A flight of the imagination. When we day dream, we often indulge in whimsical fantasies. One of my favorite whimsies is that I’m attached to these giant wings floating briskly over the treetops from Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I can go there anytime and feel the warm updraft pick me up, and, sometimes, if I’m very deeply into the day dream, I can rise on this updraft in circles like the ospreys and hawks do here on my creek.

A prism sits in the window near my deck where the sun in winter shines through. What fanciful whimsical patterns it makes on the floor and table and across my legs! The reality of the spectrum of color in my life is so much bigger than the prism, a 4 inch piece of cheap glass. I can lose myself between the violet and blue, totally relaxed. Or, I can look deeply into the yellow and feel revived and energized. The red make me feel beautiful.

A journey made on a whimsy is a passage into your dreams, which are not always what you wish them to be. We spirit ourselves away from our current abode into a different world, a world where life is different, a world where we live in perpetual bliss. However, like dreams, which come from our subconscious where both good and evil live, a whimsical journey often turns into a flight back to reality. We cannot hold onto that fantasy for long; it fades and we fall.

Some people live from one whimsy to another, believing that the next one will be permanent, will become reality. Whimsy doesn’t necessarily require money, no matter what the VISA ads may say. Whimsy only requires that you cease to recognize the real world with its boons and consequences. Those who use mind altering drugs often live in whimsy until they become addicts, and the overwhelming need for another fix brings the person back to painful reality.

A whimsy addict, though, is a multiple personality, living one period in the hopes that this flight of fancy will be the career of success, living another period in the realization that no career can bring the happiness so direly sought. Yet, tomorrow’s dreams and hopes will bring another whimsy, and the person will be off to chase that castle into the warm updraft and soar above the mountains. Landings can be cruel and painful.

Whimsy is following dreams which have no basis in reality, hoping for success where you have made no preparation. Some whimsies are good, we do not expect them to become reality. I often use whimsy to relax, drifting slowly on the air with the sun on my back. I also use whimsy to help me create things – painting birdhouses, making jewelry, writing – imagining what I would like to see in my back yard if I owned a Victorian house or a I.M. Pei building. When I make jewelry, I live a different life, becoming the person who would like an onyx and crystal necklace or just a pair of earring to brighten a casual picnic day. When I write, however, I use whimsy to keep me typing because the reality is that the more I write, the better writer I become.

Whimsy, like any other part of our world, can be a creative or destructive force. I’m sure I use it both ways.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Pictures of delight: the bright green chameleon who lives near my fountain as he thrusts his red bib out for the world to see, the group of young people who are joyfully wake-boarding in the creek, the older man on the jet ski who is making splashing circles in the turn basin, the red-winged blackbird that is eating from our bird feeder and his mottled brown mate who likes the seed we put out for the finches, my smaller cat with his head tucked between his front legs asleep on the sunroom sofa, the flag on the back of the boat as it flutters in the breeze, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with milk and then some dark chocolate.

Sounds of delight: the fireworks that the young people shot off from the back of the boat, the purrs of my cat, the snores of my friend who is napping, the clink of glasses in the dishwasher (thank God for dishwashers), the gentle hum of the ceiling fan, the fountain as it pumps water over the rocks and splashing down into the small pool, the happy twitter of finches.

Smells of delight: the bittersweet coffee smell as the chocolate melts in my mouth, the embracing scent of my jasmine bush, the heat smell from the porch in the sun.

All these I have right now. It is enough.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Treasures and Trash, Sorting Them Out

July 4 2006

Not long ago someone asked me if I had transferred my oldest files to CDs yet. Then I read an article about CDs “rotting”, going bad around the edges. I wondered if my tape cassettes were still okay. Some VCRs are more than a decade old. What about all those 5 inch floppies that I used in my computer once? Most computers don’t even come with floppy disc drives any longer. I don’t even know the names of all the data storage units that my computer can use. Most of them are magnetic media, which does degrade after a decade or less.

So, I’m wondering about all the historical information we keep in our national and international files. Is it on magnetic media that will rot? Is it being upgraded as new media are invented? Is it being copied on a regular basis to keep it from being destroyed by mold or mites or whatever? What’s become of the Watergate Tapes? How are they stored? On what media? How many copies?

Beineke Library at Yale has special air conditioning throughout the building to help preserve its older books and a very special block that houses the oldest and best books. Still they decay. You must have special permission to go inside that block, and you must take special precautions with anything on your skin or even wear gloves. I don’t know who is allowed to touch the Guttenberg Bible.

We have created Presidential Libraries to house the memorabilia of modern presidents, and I presume that special precautions are being taken to assure longevity. I remember when a shipment from someone’s estate came to Yale. Boxes and boxes of papers, photographs, tapes, films, and even Oscars were unloaded into the repository library, where they were stored in the temperature and humidity controlled basement. But, what’s ideal for books is not necessarily ideal for tapes or decorative items or photographs.

Even more important than how we store history is how we choose the history to store. Popular acclaim is the usual criteria for saving things. If you were famous 70 years ago, your memorabilia may be shoved aside for those who are more currently famous. If we save 20 film stars’ things, will we discard ten of them in the future because we need space? We placed things in time capsules, and, when they were dug up, we found that the things were meaningless to us today. Sometimes we couldn’t even guess why they were included.

This problem is great for museums and galleries. Unfortunately, we ordinary packrats have the same sort of problem. My sea chest was full of things from my teenage years through my late 40s. When I turned 60, I decided to get rid of the chest and keep only those things with lots of meaning. So I opened the sea chest and began removing my life’s meanings piece by piece. A set of miniature china from the 1950s, still in its box, I kept. The wooden box that held our flatware when we lived on the farm, I sold. The letters from the guy who supposedly died in Vietnam, I sifted and discarded. (When I checked the list of those who died or were MIA in Vietnam, his name was not on the list.) I kept smaller things, especially those that would fit on my “special” shelves (an old moveable type tray hung on the wall). I sold newspaper clippings from the Civil War and photographs of ancestors that no one could identify. I threw away the box where mice had lived for some time inside my baby pillow. I kept a few samples of my graphics design work and my magazine editing, but most went to the recycling station along with my printing paper samples (such beautiful colors and textures).

Still, I kept half of what was there and stored it in plastic containers in my garage. What’s left has meaning only to me. When I die, someone will sell the stuff or throw it away. My grandmother’s Hoosier cabinet is going to my first cousin this month along with my great grandfather’s mantle clock and coffee grinder and some other odds and ends that might have meaning for his children. He’s the only one who might care.

Many of the concerns of our personal life are the concerns of people, organizations and governments everywhere. What do we keep? What do we replace? How do we store it? Who will want it? And, worse, what do we do with our trash?

I suspect that other personal concerns are also international concerns – relationships, violence, education, tolerance, peace (don’t yell at me versus don’t have nuclear weapons) to name a few. More important are food, clothing, shelter, health care, transportation. I can take care of my concerns, and I can help a few others do the same; but for those international needs, all I can do is begin with me.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Happy Birthday USA

The United States of America will be 230 years old tomorrow. That’s about half the age of the unbroken Roman Empire; the Zhou Dynasty ruled China for more than 800 years. On this July 4th, I’ll ponder the future of our democracy and not its past (although I fully recognize that we must learn from the past). Some organizations are better equipped to make predictions and give warnings for the future of the world, and I won’t pretend to have their knowledge or expertise. But, it seems to me that the USA is at a crossroads, not just two roads crossing, but many.

We have traditionally wanted to admit the poor, tired and hungry to be part of our melting pot of cultures. Much of the world wants to eradicate the poor, tired and hungry people as well as those who are different. We couldn’t take them all, even if they all wanted to come to the USA. Undocumented immigrants come from all countries of the world, but in the USA, most come from Mexico and other American countries. We have built a fence to keep them out and assigned thousands of military personnel to kill or arrest those who manage to come across the border anyway. We are at a crossroads in immigration policy.

We have traditionally been a democracy of the people, by the people, and for the people. Candidates for office collectively spend billions of dollars to convince the people, and the candidate with the most money often wins. The gap between the rich and the poor has widened; mid-range homes in our state are about $200,000; the slum lords buy homes for the poor at $50,000. The number of multi-million dollar homes is increasing daily. The number of homes for poor people is decreasing daily. The number of poor people is increasing. Something is wrong with this picture. People who work full time at a minimum wage job cannot support themselves much less families. We are at a crossroads in economic policy.

One room schoolhouses were the standard for education in the early years of our country. Those who could take care of basic needs made education a priority for everyone. We currently have a program called, “No child left behind” to ensure that all children in the USA receive a good education. As with most other education programs in the last 100 years, this one is not producing the desired results. African-American youth, especially males, are still dropping out in large numbers. They are also the ones found in our prisons and drug rehabilitation programs. They cannot find jobs to meet their basic needs unless they sell drugs or other illegal substances. Education is not a priority with them – at least the kind of education that the USA is touting. A high school diploma cannot even guarantee a minimum wage job, which is poverty level. We are at an education crossroads.

Other crossroads involve community involvement, which is declining; ecological conservation; fossil energy depletion with alternatives; human relationships with divorce rates high and denial of basic rights to various kinds of relationships; consumerism fueled by disposable products, which will lead to a crisis in refuse management/disposal; unbridled pride fueled by years of being told we are the best nation in the world and leading to apathy; and fear of many things including terrorism, young black men in groups, loss of status.

Tomorrow as we turn 230 years old, let us turn our thoughts to what kind of country we want to have and bequeath to our descendants.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Mary Magdalene's Saint Day

Mary Magdalene’s saint day is this month, the 22nd. She is one of my favorite saints; I like people who stand out in a crowd. She gets mentioned a lot in the Bible; so I assume she was a stand-out person. She’s a woman who was persistent and loyal – all the way through the preaching and the healing and the dying and the rising from the dead. She didn’t run away from what she knew would be the smell at Jesus’ tomb. She came prepared to do what was needed. I suspect she’d been doing that for some time as she followed Jesus around the area.

Somehow I just can’t see the male apostles out amongst the crowd gathering up the leftovers after a meal. Undoubtedly Martha and Mary and Mary Magdalene were out there doing what women do – cleaning up after the rest of the family. In fact, I suspect that it was Martha who discovered someone had fishes and loaves; she was pretty resourceful.

For me, as for many others, Mary is different. She has been maligned through the years since the Pope declared her to be a prostitute and indicated that this Mary was actually the woman mentioned at the well, the woman who poured out the oil on Jesus’ feet, and several other women, whose stories are related in the Bible. He couldn’t seem to get that women were included in Jesus’ ministry; so he lumped them all together in Mary Magdalene. Pretty short sighted, if you ask me.

The commentary for her saint day says that the Eastern Church regards Mary as the equal of an apostle and the prayer is:

Almighty God, whose blessed son restored Mary Magdalene to health of body and of mind, and called her to be a witness to his resurrection: Mercifully grant that by your grace we may be healed from all our infirmities and know you in the power of his unending life; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Sounds sort of like the twelve step prayer for the Seventh Step, where one asks to be healed of all “character defects.” Apparently, Mary Magdalene was healed.

Lately much has been made of the Gospel of Mary, a short piece in which she imparts special knowledge that Jesus has given her to the other apostles. Nothing in the writing is revolutionary except the idea that the men listened to a woman teaching them. I admire Mary, who may or may not have done the things mentioned in that gospel, but she certainly created enough following that someone immortalized her. Jesus promised her everlasting life, but I’m sure she didn’t expect her legend to be alive and well and debated hotly about two thousand years later.

I want to be more like Mary Magdalene: strong, loyal, doing the things that need to be done, remembered for her love.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Roosevelt versus Bush

This week’s Time magazine has an unusual number of pages devoted to Theodore Roosevelt. I found it engrossing reading, and the illustrations and photographs helped me understand situations and locations. This two-term president is the only “modern” president on Mt. Rushmore, and I agree with Time that he was aptly chosen. This article traced his frail beginnings as an asthmatic through his last adventure along the Amazon. He was a warrior, a statesman, a radical thinker who understood the lower and middle classes of America, even though his family was “old money”.

As I read this mini-biography, I was amazed at the similarities between Teddy Roosevelt and George W. Bush. They both took charge and ignored Congress; they both believed in the superiority of the US military force; they both thought that the US should intervene in world politics; they both used might to protect what they felt was right; they both reckoned the US as the strongest nation on earth; and they were both right and wrong.

These two great leaders have a major difference in my opinion. Roosevelt looked toward the future in many directions, not just the immediate future but the future for generations that he could never know. Bush is short-sighted, looking only to sustain the status quo, to keep the vision of “America the Great” in the world’s sight. He has copied some of Roosevelt’s powerful moves but with the wrong reasons.

Power corrupts. The United States has a system in place that should prevent too much power from accumulating in any one person or group. Roosevelt knew about power and how to use it to his advantage; he considered his advantage to be the same as the people of the United States. If it was good for the masses, then it was good for Roosevelt. His outlook was to spread power around for the most good and most effectiveness. His vision of the future included all people, not the top 20 percent.

Bush’s moves in the Middle East seem motivated less by what is best for the masses of people in our country than by what makes the US seem a dominant power. The bullying of nations and the selective use of resources in solving international problems is not the proper use of power. Bush’s vision doesn’t seem to extend past his buddies and those of his economic class. His world vision includes neither preservation of resources such as national forests and parklands nor the exploration of alternative sources of energy to fossil fuels. He seems to use the media and his public relations staff to convince the world of US power (his power) instead of educating the world about potentials for great good or great harm.

Bush’s assurance that his military actions are designed to keep the United States free and safe are just words. Terrorism and guerilla tactics are almost impossible to control. We have been training foreign militia in these tactics for years at the School of the Americas. We have used them in seeing that US friendly leaders were put into office in countries around the world – Chile, Iran, South Korea.

I wish that Bush had more concern for future generations as he seeks to build a stronger United States, more concern for the earth itself, more concern for being a visionary for a good that extends beyond the bounds of his religious beliefs.