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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

On a Mission From God

Elwood: "They're not gonna catch us. We're on a mission from God."                                                                         (Blues Brothers 1980)

For the Good of Our Nation

The United States is in the midst of one of its most tumultuous periods. It’s ironic that baby boomers like me were awash in turmoil during the wild rebellions of the 1960s and 1970s, and now, nearer our grey life’s end, are witnessing another

evolutionary period.

The Age of Aquarius, where the flower children crushed a war, broadened the meaning of God, and handed the world the “gifts” of cannabis, LSD, mescaline, peyote, and sacred mushrooms,

Beautiful Flower Child of the 60s
influencing philosophy, art, music, and styles of dress, has transformed into religious traditionalism and the fervor of the Tea Party.

Vietnam was the big thing back then, Elvis and the Beatles, shoulder-length hair and bell-bottoms. Now it’s 9/11, Islamic terrorism, Lady Gaga, the worldwide financial crisis, the Haiti earthquake, the ascendancy of the conservative movement, the Japan earthquake, tsunamis, and nuclear disasters, and the Muslim revolutions. Recently, Japan moved 13 feet closer to America’s West Coast. The 9.0-magnitude earthquake tilted the Earth’s axis by 25 cm, shortening our day by 1.8 millionths of a second. So, we’ll stand a bit cockeyed, and get older faster!

The hardcore right in America is on a mission from God. So are ex-hippies like me.

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Religious Tolerance in America

The U. S. Constitution, Amendment 1: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Religious Evolution

I was born in East Chicago, Indiana, and raised a devout Catholic at St. Thomas Moore grade school, and Bishop Noll high school, all the way up to my second year at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, where I was pre-med and the girls wore miniskirts.

In 1967, I was exposed to the student uprisings at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, lost my faith, and became a full-blown, longhaired progressive, godless and marching. After my flower child days, and during my B.A. in English, M.S. in clinical psychology, and completion of Ph.D. coursework in clinical psychology, I was still agnostic.

My first, Catholic, marriage ended in 1972.

One of the Girls of the IDF
In 1978, I met my wonderful Israeli soldier, Molly, in Los Angeles, and moved to Israel, converting to Judaism to marry her. In Bat Yam and Tel Aviv, I honored all the Jewish traditions, like Passover, but I was not really religious. I worked as a clinical and school psychologist, and then later also as an actor, filmmaker, and singer.

After my second divorce, I became a seeker. I turned to New Age religions, and did things like rebirthing.

The California Years

Dating from 1988, my previous jobs were as a prison psychologist in Wilmington, North Carolina, and then in Los Angeles, California, as a social worker for abused youth in group homes.

Later, I used my science and writing background as Senior Technical Editor for two California defense contractors, writing and editing documents for bids to develop the next James Bond gadgets and secret weapons research.

I then got back into writing and filmmaking, which I do fulltime now, and will return to acting also.

Present Beliefs

I am a firm believer in God, but don’t belong to any one religion. I still hold dear my Catholic beliefs. I am also touched by the Judaism I studied and experienced. And, I am especially partial to New Age, believing that God continues to speak to us, no matter what religion we choose, and that it’s up to us to listen and try and be good human beings, treating each other well, living up to His code, and endeavoring to do His will.

I believe God communicates with me, as He does to all my fellow humans, through the world and what I see. Via the unfolding of nature and the order in the universe. Through science, philosophy, and all manner of studies and endeavors. By what happens to me, and my tragedies and triumphs. And, through religion.

I respect all religious beliefs, and have learned from each. I am only troubled by religious cults and Islam. I do believe we can learn even from the cults, and from Islam, but that they have perverted the meaning of goodness and God.


Of course, I will assume that millions of Muslims are good people, who are doing noble things with their lives. I will also judge, and have seen, that there are many wonderful things in the Qur'an. However, much like our Old Testament, there are also primitive commandments in the Qur’an that advocate what we’d define nowadays as evil. Like killing babies and chopping off heads.
The Need for Islamic Reformation
The difference is that God “continued to speak” to the Catholics and Christians, and they listened, with the New Testament, the Reformation, and major changes in fundamental precepts. The problem with Islam is that it has no central authority, so that each sect, and even mosque, interprets the Qur’an as they see fit. Plus, the Qur’an has not given birth to a “New Testament,” Reformation, or major changes in precepts. Hence, a significant portion of Muslim clerics continue to lead their people to hatred, bigotry, and unspeakable violence.

These need to be defeated through the social media, or in war, and to undergo a voluntary transformation to whatever is benevolent in the Qur’an, plus openness to the goodness of Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and other religions.

Gradual Turn to the Right, Whoa, Adjust Back a Bit

From my radical progressive stance in the 1960s and 1970s, I moved to a politically agnostic period from 1978 to 1988, where I experienced first-hand the Begin Sadat peace era in Israel. I was a member of the Israeli peace movement, שלום עכשיו - Shalom Achshav (Peace Now), but only as a bystander, because some of my good friends were passionate about it.

At the same time, I befriended conservative Israelis, like those in Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud Party, and considered their views too. I was pro-settlement.

Bedouin Wedding with Camel Tents
Being halfway famous in Israel, I was also invited to several Arab settlements, and went to such things as a Bedouin marriage, complete with camels and a goat slaughtered on the spot.
Bedouin Bride
These Arabs were wonderfully kind and gracious, without a negative bone in their bodies.

Back in the USA

Jane Fonda, Tom Hayden, and Rush Limbaugh

Back in the United States, 1988, I finally became political. George H.W. Bush was in office, but I felt something wasn’t right politically. I turned on my radio on my daily drive to work in Santa Monica, CA, as the top fundraiser for Jayne Fonda and Tom Hayden, and got educated,
Fonda and Hayden
by Rush Limbaugh. He made sense. I saw that much of what he said was true, and I was able to experience first-hand the liberal mindset while working for Fonda and Hayden.

For example, they would send us out to raise money on behalf of the topic of the week. It could be helping starving children in Darfur, or battling polluting corporations.
Rush Limbaugh
The only catch, though, I eventually learned, was that the Darfur children and the polluting corporations were only stories. Red meat for liberals. The money went mostly into the Heyden Fonda political organization. Only a few token advertisements ever appeared for the Darfur children or to fight the polluting corporations.

It was a sham. Just like global warming is a liberal sham today.

My Renaissance Boogie

I’ve always been a Renaissance man. I was an honors student at Bishop Noll High School in the 1960s, a prodigy on the saxophone, a four-sport athlete, got my advanced degree and studies in psychology in Indiana, learned to program computers in California, was a Shakespeare specialist and English literature buff, devoured math and science, and explored everything under the sun all my life.

Interestingly, my I.Q. was measured at 117 in high school. Venezuelan psychologists have proven that I.Q. can change, contrary to popular opinion. At the time of the writing of this article, my I.Q. is now measured at over 150, and I am a Mensa member.

My E.Q.

What lagged behind for me were my social skills, relationship capabilities, and judgment, my E.Q. Well, at the age of 64, I can finally say that I am moderately effective even with these. Though I still have weaknesses and quirks, I have managed to settle in with the rest of humanity, and even shown signs of leadership capability.

My Gifts and Goals

I sincerely believe that God has given me a perch somewhat detached in order to see things that are true but unseen by most. It is my job to make sense of these so that others can benefit, and so I can learn from others.

After psychology, science, and broad learning, the area that I have come most to study and in which to participate, is politics. For ten years, I have eaten, breathed, and slept politics, including history and our present political situation.

Even with all this study and single-minded focus, I am still not an expert on politics, in the sense of having facts and figures at the tip of my tongue. William F. Buckley and George Will would put me to shame with this. My brain just doesn’t allow me easy access to details. I have to struggle hard for these.

Still, I do have some gifts. Politics is one area where I feel I have a contribution to make. One of the reasons is that my greatest endowment, I believe, is insight. I don’t see many politicos with feet in both camps, and the ability to express and critique both sides. Plus, I plug away tirelessly.

One of my priorities is just to be as good as I can to everyone I come across. And honest. Yes, unfortunately, or fortunately, a deep, engulfing purpose of mine is to be honest.

Rush, FOX, Hannity, O'Reilly

Eventually, all these pundit media stars came into prominence, and I, along with millions of Americans got educated and converted to conservatism. We lived through the Gulf War, two Bush presidencies, the Clinton years, 9/11, the financial collapse, and now the Muslim revolutions, all the time exploring liberalism and conservatism. I branched out, though, beyond FOX, and forced myself to continue listening to all sides, including CNN, MSNBC, the mainstream media, and reading everything political I could grab.

Do Our Opinions Matter

One or two of the “kind” people on Twitter occasionally Tweets, “Nobody wants to listen to what you think about anything.” He might be right, to a certain extent.

Breaking through the noise in the world today is a tough task. There are millions of blogs and posts, Tweets, Facebook updates, you name it. Writers for the Huffington Post don’t even get paid for first-class journalism. Hard copy newspapers are going out of business. We have never been so free to express our opinions, and yet have never received so little attention nor compensation for doing it well.

If you say anything definitive on Twitter, someone is going to oppose you, and sometimes angrily, or even with hatred. Just because they disagree with you. Religious intolerance is rampant. Political intolerance is even worse. Freedom of speech? Yeah, it does exist, but not without consequences, good and bad.

Plus, there is the eternal question, if a Twitterer Tweets and no one reads it, did she really Tweet? Hello out there! Is this thing connected?

One Tweeter said this to me when I first started Tweeting, “Twitter is like the high school playground. You have to go through bullying, resistance, and even hatred before you can establish yourself as worthy of acceptance.”

No-name folks like me have to work very hard to build followers.

Charlie Sheen
Charlie Sheen can break records by Tweeting once, then gaining a million followers in days. I have a decent following, much higher than average. Over 8,000 and climbing fast, ranked 35,000 out of 8,000,000 as of yesterday, with a very respectable 66 Klout score, which puts me at the top 4% on Twitter. Still, nowhere near Charlie.

So, is anybody listening? Do our opinions matter, unless we’re celebrities? I think yes, and yes are the answers.

As evidence of this, Google and Twitter can be said to have brought down two Arab tyrants, and helped start the spreading Islamic revolutions and protests we see now. Twitter does matter. What we believe and say counts.

My Role

How important I personally will be, will depend on longevity, perseverance, my relevance, whether I express truth, a good quality of output, luck, and the will of those who read me and watch my films. Plus, God’s plan for me.

I may amount to nothing, and that’s okay too. I feel I have made some difference. I am ready to accept whatever happens.

In the meantime, I’ll try to work diligently to tell the truth. I will also support other people who I believe make their own vital contributions to the national dialogue, like my good friends on Twitter, @inhuggermugger (Hawkeye) and @NeoWesternCiv (Tom), and readers of this blog, and authors of other blogs, articles, and publications.

Priesthood of Political Truth

So, I consider politics as part of my own particular mission from God. Some people are not meant to worry about affairs of state. Good mothers and fathers are busy, so political concerns take a back seat to the struggle to survive and succeed, love their partners, raise healthy, happy, productive children, and have fun with coworkers, friends, and neighbors.

I have one daughter, dear Wendy, who lives in New Jersey, all grown, and am presently single, after my two marriages and dozens of relationships. I am, at the moment, kind of like in a life-imposed priesthood. I have come to realize that my present purpose is to bring to bear all that I have been and learned to help my country in the arenas of politics and entertainment.

The Annointed One

Obama's Inauguration
In 2008, a country weary of divisiveness spied the young and charismatic Obama. This community organizer from out of nowhere seemed decent and intelligent. He charmed the people, embodied in Independents, and gained their usually hard-won trust pronto. He would be giving the U.S. the chance to wipe away our original sin of slavery. He was our great black hope, and would propel us in a direction of change that surely would mean a brighter America. He promised to “reach across the aisle.” That brought cheer to many hearts.

So, we elected Barrack Hussein Obama as our national saint who would bring us salvation.

Even many conservatives, like me, were ecstatic we had elected an African-American, and crossed our fingers that he would indeed succeed. I didn’t vote for him, but I rooted for him to at least heal our wounded psyche. I knew his politics, but I could hope he’d be no more damaging than Clinton.

We were wrong. We were all wrong. Even Obama was wrong. The man with the golden opportunity of truly being the next Lincoln broke his promises to himself, and to the nation.

He was shackled by his roots as a radical, left-wing, Chicago-style political thug. Perhaps we should forgive him for this. After all, that's the only kind of politics he ever knew. His friends were exclusively progressive, and beyond, on into Marxism, anarchism, and unionist cronyism.

He demonized conservatives, and Republicans. He offended allies, like Israel. He apologized for America across the globe. He played the race card. He dragged in, against the nation's will, a radical, far-left agenda, like Obamacare, and continued the reckless spending of George W. Bush, only this time a thousand times more, exponentially increasing the size of government, and payouts to union bosses, and political pals.

His base, the political left, led by Pelosi, Reid, Media Matters,, and Keith Olbermann, were also disappointed. He wasn’t progressive enough.

In short, he failed miserably to unite the nation.

The Fall and Rise? Of Obama

The American people slowly discovered they didn’t like the drastic changes Obama, and Pelosi and friends, were bringing, and felt that these were harming the nation. They recoiled. The right pushed back, and the nation supported them, to move us in the other direction.

In 2010, in the middle of the public’s horror at Obama’s politics, and the realization of where the nation was headed with liberals, we needed the Tea Party, and a swing to the right. The people were by then reacting to the out of control spending, which they saw as leading to the financial meltdown. Americans recognized that the left had turned into a vicious hate group, echoed by Obama, demonizing everything conservative, like George W. Bush. U.S. citizens, embodied by the Independents, threw the bums out.

Eventually, all this led or would lead to the ouster of Pelosi as Speaker of the House, the near defeat of Senate Majority Leader Reid, a threatened halt to Obamacare, spending cuts, and the firing of MSNBC anchorman Keith Olbermann.

After these dramatic Democratic Party defeats, and the apparent groundwork laid for the future loss of the Senate too, Obama’s political tin ear perked up. He heard America’s displeasure. He shifted to the center. It was not like Bill Clinton, though, who himself had made a genuine move to the center when he was in political danger. Obama’s shift was a pretense. He even let it be known that he was being forced to the center. The center swerve angered the far left, but it did gain Obama Independent support, and his poll numbers rose.

This Feels Better

Now, with Obama more in the center, and the Republicans pushing from the right, our country is in a better circumstance than when both houses were Democratically controlled. Up to a point.

We Need Both Wings

I’ve said this repeatedly. We need both the left and right wings, progressives and conservatives. The balance and struggle between the two is what makes America great. Both contribute to our whole. Truth, in my opinion, is not owned by either side. Both sides have it, and both sides lie.

Truth also swings. Sometimes, the liberals are more relevant. Other times, conservatives are more essential for our nation’s needs.

Presently, the American people have said that conservatives own the high ground.

Abandoning Their Political Roots

The problem for liberals is that they have left their roots. They are far from FDR, Truman, and JFK. Pelosi, in my opinion, is unethical in every word she speaks. JFK was a great man.

Conservatives have left their roots, too. In 2011, they are far from Goldwater and Nixon, and even Reagan. They worship Reagan but have abandoned his loving, good-natured tone. Hardcore right-wingers wouldn’t be caught dead drinking with the likes of Tip O’Neill, as Reagan used to do.

Twitter is full of hate, on both sides. Passion is one thing, but loathing can crowd out rationality.

What Lies Ahead

Sorry, my dear conservative friends, but I have to say something painful for you to hear. It is likely now that Obama will be re-elected, no matter whom the Republicans put up. Barrack has moved sufficiently to the center, regardless of his Maoist inner self, to satisfy the masses. And, the economy should pick up enough by 2012 for him to win. However, it is also likely that the Republicans will take control of the Senate.

Unfortunately, though, for Republicans and conservatives, their congressional reign is likely to be short-lived after that. As most political parties do, they’ve misread their “mandate,” from the 2010 elections, and are trying to push through drastic spending cuts too early, which will harm the nation’s economy. They are also focusing on social issues that divide the nation.

The Tea Party will remain strong for years, or even decades, as their principles are important to our nation. But, the exaggerated and singular focus on their issues is insufficient to maintain excellence in America, so their power too will eventually wane.

We will have divided government for a while, with Barrack as president and both houses Republican, which is just fine with most Americans, and probably a good thing for the country. Americans prefer a divided government, and with good reason. It will protect the nation from the cruelty of the Republican freshmen, and from the socialism of Obama, Reid, Pelosi, and the Rachel Maddow’s of the world.

Our Task as Americans

All this is happening post 9/11, in the midst of financial meltdown, the Japanese earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disasters, and with worldwide political turmoil and Muslim revolution. We need transformative leaders, brave and insightful. Since Obama is not this great leader, at least not yet, we need the American people to rise to their potential. We ourselves must be the transformation.

As Obama said, arrogantly and prematurely, “We are the change we have been waiting for,” we actually need to enact this. We must educate ourselves on the issues, develop sound judgment, and display courage in our decision-making and actions. We are a mature democratic republic. We had a wonderful start, with Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, Lincoln, and the rest. But the world is in peril, and at a crossroads between danger and opportunity. We have work to do.

We are on a mission from God.

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