My Turn: Things beyond explanation

Posted: Thursday, August 19, 2004

The older I get, the less I seem to know. This being an election year, that small amount seems to be under siege from all sides.

Now, I'm distinguishing what I "know" from those things taken on faith: I believe in the divine, that we're here for a reason, and that this reason is all-inclusive. I don't believe you're going to go to hell if you're a Democrat, or a Muslim, or an atheist. I wouldn't presume to know the exact nature of the divine, so I guess you might call me an agnostic, but I'd like to think it transcends the morass of lies and corruption we know of as politics.

The list of what I don't understand is large, however, and it includes the following:

1. "Environmentalists" who pollute. I guess it's a good thing that the Greenpeace people can ride around in their big diesel boats, like the one that got caught dumping oily bilge water several years ago, and yes, I occasionally get their nice, laminated calendars. They didn't do those seal hunters any favors, though. Don't get me wrong, I think there needs to be an environmentalist movement, because industry has proven itself unwilling to self-regulate. I disagree with the Bush administration's dismantling of a generation of environmental safeguards, but I think if organizations like Greenpeace want to be effective, they need to propose alternatives that work for the people on the ground, as it were, rather than to bash people's livelihoods, exposing them to a moment of unfavorable press, and move on.

2. Pro-life Christians who support President Bush and his wars. What happened to Thou Shalt Not Kill? I believe the Christian church has sullied itself in its association with the right-wing and should be stripped of its tax-exempt status if it's going to be an advocate in party politics. Bush isn't doing you guys any favors, nor is your Old Testament eye-for-an-eye rhetoric; it makes me think more of the Inquisition than of the prince of peace telling you to love your enemies and turn the other cheek.

It's the evil of two lessers: John Kerry is no better than George Bush, though he may seem a little smarter. Both understand one thing very well, however: It's all about the money. Our civilization has reached the point where it has no higher goal to offer than the acquisition of wealth, which is where the above two institutions fail so miserably.

Here's what I know: Most people I've met in my life are a lot smarter than the stereotypes painted with broad brush strokes by a corporate-owned media and political system, and we still have the vote. Why not pack our bags and move to Washington with Ralph Nader?

• Jamison Paul of Douglas is a Juneau Community Charter School parent who has worked in several commercial fisheries throughout Alaska.

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