Saturday, December 16, 2006

Holidays/Crazy Horse Reprise/Breaths/BeatleBush

Every year at this time, I go through the same mantra but at an accelerated rate both of recurrence and realization. "Wasn't it only yesterday that I took down the Christmas lights? So why am I putting them up again today?" Then I wonder how I'll handle the holiday stresses. I'm happy to report that this year, each time some lights blew out in the rain, I've taken the darkness in stride and repaired the problem the following day. How unlike me! Am I, at 62 (going on 63) actually maturing? I like to think so. This year I also realized that my focus is no longer on longevity but rather on lucidity. As long as I continue creating something and sharing it with some one(s), I'm still ticking. Well, I believe that I'm ticking louder than ever before! May all of you have the happiest of holidays. Much love and peace, Ed Coletti

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(P1) Philosophical

The response to Bill Edelen's piece on Crazy Horse was overwhelming. Here's a piece from Duncan Lee that was inspired by Edelen and your responses.

Crazy Horse has long been a hero of mine. North American Indian spirituality makes more sense to me than any I've run across. The basic tenets and beliefs are logical and believable. It is a constant source of mystery and amazement that Indian tribes who had no contact with each other have very similar beliefs in spirituality. Crazy Horse was one of the best known shamans probably because he was also a fearless warrior and highly intelligent leader .
According to Peter Mattiessen, In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, the US government has broken every treaty signed with Indian tribes. From the early 17th Century to the end of the 19th, the US government carried out an official policy and practice of ethnic cleansing and genocide against the Indian peoples. What was left of the tribes, living on desolate reservations, were taught to become dependent on government hand outs (many of which were stolen by corrupt politicians and bureaucrats), forced to become "civilized" in special schools and encouraged, if not coerced, to convert to Christianity (or as some Indians call it today, "go the Jesus way").
What the US government did do, however, was grant the Indian tribes some special situations that might help them earn a few extra bucks. One such perquisite is not requiring federal or state sales or excise taxes be collected on the sale of goods on the reservations. Indian tobacco shops have long been a source of cheaper cigarettes. How ironic that it was the American Indian who introduced the white man to smoking tobacco. Now the Indians watch thousands of white people die each year from tobacco related diseases. Sweet, if somewhat black, justice. Unfortunately, the Indians are not immune to the same fate.
Another area in which the US government thought it would try to help the tribes was to allow gambling on the reservations, or tribal land. At first this was limited to bingo and other simple games. But the tribes fought, often in court, to be allowed to offer the same types of gambling that the white man had in their casinos. Now, full-blown casinos are springing up all over the country in states that never dreamed of having legal gambling. Some of these casinos are posing serious threats to the business of white owned casinos. The result of this phenomenon is the creation of very rich tribes who are becoming forces to be reckoned with in business and politics. In many states, governments negotiate deals with the tribes to provide funds for the states' coffers. Recently it was reported that the Seminole tribe of Florida has purchased the Hard Rock Hotel/Casino/Restaurant chain, the wisdom of which I question, but nevertheless it illustrates the financial strength the tribes with casinos are achieving. Only about fifty per cent of the American tribes are involved in gambling and there are still many reservations that are locked in poverty and little hope.
The supreme irony would be their purchasing land and real estate that would begin to reestablish ancient tribal lands. Examples would be land in Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota that made up much of the Lakota tribal land. I'm not sure, however, that the Lakota are involved in casinos. It is still an ironic position the casino owning tribes find for themselves. After three centuries of genocide, theft, corruption and discrimination by the white man, the American Indian tribes are becoming rich and powerful from the vices of the same whites. As the saying goes, "What goes around, comes around".

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(P2) Poetical

First Breath Last Breath

When a baby boy is born
and the midwife
holds him up
as he takes
his first breath,
Place him over
the mother's face
so when the baby exhales
his first breath on Earth
the mother breathes it.

And when the mother dies
her middle-aged son
the baby grew up to be,
by her side
his head next to her head,
Follows her breathing with his breath
as it becomes shorter
and as the dying mother
exhales her last breath
her son inhales it.

Denver Quarterly
Volume 40, Number 1
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(P3) Political


Miguelito M. said...

I liked Duncan's comments on Edelen and particularly that he said that native culture, belief systems are the most believable and make the make the most sense. They require close attention and devotion to the Earth and all its' inhabitants. Understanding that our lives are utterly, completely dependent on the Earth, like native people, provides a sense of wonder, of beauty, of deep gratitude, and of deep humility And isn't that where you are, sitting in the depth of your "maturity"? Oh by the way, one more comment. Duncan mentioned that it is interesting the native tribes come to the same beliefs, despite being located in endless, separate, locations. Jung spoke to this. This idea that consciousness emerges--but is connected--worldwide, he suggested. He concluded that this represented the collective unconscious and then there is our personal "maturity" which he identified as part of the personal unconsiouness. He believed that connection with the collective gave meaning, perspective, and purposefulness to the personal. Think globally, act locally! Happy holidays, su amigo, Miguelito

Willy Chaplin said...

It has been a while since we offered our two cents on the presidential election. As regular readers well know, we are fixated on a draft movement to get Oprah Winfrey to run in 2008, an effort that has been consuming much of our time and effort.

Recently, noted conservative columnist George F. Will offered four reasons why he thinks Barach Obama should run from president in 2008. Summarized, they amount to:

1) He is hot right now. This certainly true, everywhere he goes he is greeted by enormous interest. However, the "novelty effect" popular with voters these days...will soon wear off (says Will). 2008 or never.
2) He should strike while the iron is hot. Many people desperately want him to run. If he doesn't do it now, he will sorely disappoint those people and they will turn to others.
3) Senator Clinton, also riding the novelty tsunami, makes a lot of people nervous. She appears to be Obama's main rival (again, says Will). He would make a tolerable alternative, at least in the Democrat party, since his liberal credentials exceed hers.
4) Finally, Will do most others...that 2008 will be a Democrat year, as was 2006. The anti-Bush sentiment...especially since the Moron in Charge seems to be following the path to disaster so very unlikely to subside. Whoever the Democrats nominate is likely to win.

Does this mean that G.F.W. is going to vote for him if he runs?

Not a chance!

Will points out, as do many others of all political stripes, that while Obama talks a good game, his proffered "solutions" to our nation's problems are warmed over versions of classic liberal nostrums. Besides, he has supported Bush's war in Iraq and sanctioned Bush's use of "extraordinary" methods...i.e. torture, to interrogate suspects. This will keep Will...and certainly us...from pulling the lever for him.

You may have noticed that, except for the last in the list, Oprah fits Will's bill perfectly. She would certainly be novel, given that almost all presidents these days are white men with "strong" political backgrounds. While sentiment for her is at a low point, given that she has strongly said that she will not run, she remains the darling of an enormous slice of the electorate. Despite her denials of interest, our Web site continues to reflect interest among the know, those guys that actually elect our leaders. They not only pledge to vote for her...most of them whether she runs or not!...but the vast majority also offer their services to her theoretical campaign. As of today, 1250 people have already made this pledge and more are coming aboard each day.

Secondly, she too needs to strike while the iron is hot. We have been doing this for over seven years and, while the groundswell for her is still enormous, many previously committed voters are in fact turning away from her to the likes of Hillary or Barach. She told Larry King that she is "not yet satisfied with her life's achievements." What exactly does she have to lose? What does she...and all of us...stand to gain?

Third, she trumps both Barach and Hillary as a novel political force, since she is both non-white and a woman, not mention a person of worldwide recognition, respect and trust. If Hillary makes people nervous, so does Obama. If she is too scary, he is too young. Furthermore, both Gypsy and Willy have worked within the Democrat party and can say, without fear of contradiction, that there is little chance that either of them will get the nod in the end. The party professionals will find any number of reasons why they aren't "qualified" and go for some "safe" candidate...that is, one who will promote guess who? Party professionals.

Lastly and most importantly, she can do something that neither of them can do. She can run as an third party candidate. Third party candidates haven't done all that well lately, but then, Perot, Buchanan, Nader...whoever...none of them have the charisma and backing of Oprah. Besides, Jesse Ventura and Arnold Schwarzenegger have already shown the way, winning elections with under 40% of the total vote in three-way contests. And both of them were novices and quite different from their major party opponents, despite Arnold claiming to be a Republican.

Often overlooked by party people, but duly noted by constituents, is the fact that professional politicians enter office enormously beholden to various interests, usually NOT including the voters, sine the latter don't contribute much money to their campaigns. Corporations, rich people and special interest groups DO contribute a lot of money. Campaigns cost a lot these days. So, it is little wonder that so many politicians are so thoroughly sold out.

Now consider Oprah. To whom is she beholden? Only one group, and it is a big one. Her fans. We, all of us, have made her rich, famous and arguably the single most trusted person in the entire world. Latest estimates put her fan base, in the U.S. alone, at 48 million, almost all adults and thus potential voters. Outside the U.S. her base is even larger. The bottom line is that SHE OWES US...and NOBODY ELSE! We want her. We want her even though she doesn't relish the job. We need her. The United Sates needs her. The world needs her.

The time is right. Does Oprah have the courage to do it?

Talk to you later...

Larry C. said...

Ed - Re your holiday musings, especially about just putting the lights away and Christmas is here again! I choose to hark (hey, it's Xmas so "harking" is allowed) back to a recent "old" chestnut: We are not getting older...just getting better and more sage (er...rosemary?). But seriously, while the lucidity is there, how do I account for the fact that I waste up to an hour a day (as I told a friend the other day) trying to remember where I left the keys ( the ignition), my clean jeans (oops...I wore them the night before), my glasses (oops, in my travel bag, ....well, you get the picture.
But then, Eddie, I'm a tad older than you, only in chronology NOT in spirit! Because we are both Kids at Heart! Thanks be.
P.S. On the Political issues:
Yeah, Oprah! Hmmmm. I suspect she might out trump Hillary. But Obama....Obama. It makes me think of the Young JFK in my first election! A beautiful person and a real choice.

jenny6664 said...

Mr. C.
I always thought of the Indian as the bad guy until I saw a very thoughtful, well-made movie, Devil's Doorway with Robert Taylor. The title was actually the entrance into the beautiful valley that belonged to a particular tribe. The movie concerned the struggle for the Indians to hold on to their ancestral lands in the face of being overrun by sheep herders and cattle people.
I have never felt the same about Native Americans after seeing that picture. I understand about all of the broken treaties we have have had since we arrived on this continent, and the many, and never-ceasing injustices that have been done to these people.
When oil was discovered on their allotted reservations, the government strove to take it away from them.
Today if they can reap money from casinos and buy back their stolen land . . . let them do it.
They should also go into politics and acquire the power to help their people get a share of this land which they have more claim to than we do and also have some say in the government that still rules them.

Jules said...

Didn't know you were so much younger than I. Must be because you've led such a good life.

Read "The Shia Revival" by Vali Nasr for more understanding on the mess our leader has gotten us in.