-François Chifflart (1825-1901)
“A Native American elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner: Inside of me there are two dogs. One dog is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time. When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied, the one I feed the most.”
-George Bernard Shaw
(Native American, unknown)
“The roots of violence: Wealth without work, Pleasure without conscience, Knowledge without character, Commerce without morality, Science without humanity, Worship without sacrifice, Politics without principles.”
(Young India, 22 October 2 1925)
-Monhandas K. Gandhi
“Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it.”
It seems to me that, if there were a “God”, or is a god, that it would either not want us to know of its existence, or would not want us to have a conscience. The are three dominant views of “God.” “God” does exist. “God” may exist. And the third, god does not exist. In my life, I have moved from the first category to the second. I don’t “believe” that the first or the third are possible, even with conceding the definition of “God” as westerners do. If “God” does exist, I suspect the flaw is in understanding “God’s” essence. That is where the issue is tabled for me.
Conversely, while science does not recognize, nor has it been able to measure conscience, I do “believe” that conscience exists. This is not generally disputed. The definitions of, and functions of conscience tend to agree over time, and across cultures. Conscience is not self serving, and therefore avoids suspicion, where various definitions of “God” can be profoundly self serving, and highly suspicious. An omniscient and omnipotent “God” supplants the need for conscience entirely. Therefore “God” supplants the need for self. Therefore, the self is heretical. Therefore, acting “in good conscience” is heretical.
I’ve been to Arizona many times. I know it exists. I never really had a doubt about this, and I have never heard one expressed. Many of “us” have been to Arizona, and I doubt any of “us” doubt its existence. Lots of “them” come to Arizona because they believe it, and America, the “United States”, to exist. To the chagrin of many, “they” keep finding it, Arizona, geographically, so a good case for its existence can be made. In New York we have a goddess of liberty standing out in New York Harbor on Liberty Island. I’ve been to it. I’ve gone up in it. I believe it to exist. Its existence is generally not disputed. Millions have borne personal witness to it, as I have. It was a gift to the United States from the people of France, and most specifically some French dude who spent years creating it. (Frederic Auguste Bartholdi) Thanks, dude.
This particular goddess represents liberty, and welcoming the “huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” The “wretched refuse” of other “teeming shores...” One caveat though. That shore had better not be the banks of the Rio Grande, or none of that sweet smelling shit applies. Just ask Arizona. “We” would really like it if you would self deport. Just ask Mitt Romney. If you wont “self deport, Mr. Obama will toss you over the border like a three pointer from way downtown. Bang! He’s the reigning national champion and record holder of deportation.
Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court struck down three portions of Arizona’s immigration law, but upheld a fourth. The portion that remains is what is commonly referred to as the “show me your papers” provision which allowed police officers to step into a function previously only done by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and for states to join with the federal government, or compete with, in making immigration policy. This is a “B.F.D.” as our V.P. Joe Biden would say. This provision is subject to further review because it has not actually been implemented yet. Thank goodness for small favors.
So like Neil Diamond once said, “they’re coming to America...” We seem to have a starkly different view of that fact these days. “Give us your huddle masses...”? Right. Today’s America says, the masses are asses. “I am the way, the truth, and the light.” I don’t care what that broad in the sheet standing in the harbor says. The U.S. Supreme Court says, whether your masses are migrating, or metastasizing, they are not “our” problem. All of that lamp lifting “beside the golden door” stuff is America’s pre-existing condition, and we are none to fond of those these days.
So, does “God” exist? Could be. I certainly can’t say otherwise. Does Arizona exist. Pretty sure about that. I’ve been there. Does the Statue of Liberty exist? Uh huh. Do “United States” exist? That is a matter for further review.