Archive for May, 2015

THE BEST AND THE BRIGHTEST
May 27, 2015

It was November 8, 1932. FDR was elected President. I campaigned for him in front of the Fire Station-the only Fire Station in town-in new black Mary Janes, with white socks and a pretty new dress my mother made for the occasion. I was 2. “Wote for Wosevelt” I lisped and shook my curls. I’m a born and bred dyed- in- the- wool Democrat. Over the years- and over the radio- my father and I listened to the Fire Side Chats. These were depression years.  I was impressed with “. . . the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” I was little and scared. My father said, I remember, “Everyone’s afraid, it’s how you handle fear that matters.”

My father and I listened to FDR’s eloquence all through the 30’s.  I remember one vividly. On Sunday. Sept. 6, 1936, he spoke  about Drought Conditions. I loved his voice. Afterwards I asked my father, “How can he know so much? He’s just one man,” and my father said, ” He’s advised by the best and brightest. You can be, too. That’s what books are for.”

My father gave me Bertrand Russell’s An Essay on the Foundation of Geometry- of which I understood nothing-but when a course in Geometry was offered I ate it up. I loved Geometry. I also liked, “Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.” Russell was the first non-believer I encountered. He also said, “Beware the man who cannot say it simply.”

It’s 2015. Recently I received a letter from someone I admire very much.  He lives on Kauai. Not a politician. Not a celebrity. A great human being. This person asked me not to reveal his name but he did send me this, AMIDA’S GOLDEN CHAIN OF LOVE… We are all links in Buddha’s chain of love. Keep your link bright and strong. Try to be kind and gentle to every living thing and protect they who are weaker than yourself. Think pure and beautiful thoughts…make every link in Amida’s Chain of Love bright so we may we all attain perfect peace…. I shortened the piece. Five hundred words, remember? My friend and his philosophy are surely the best and brightest. Who’s going to argue with Buddha?

Another incredible human being, Steve Saylor, a visitor on Kauai-with a very different point of view- is  writer and star, educator and entertainer, of  several  brilliant videos. I met Steve’s mother, Joellen at a Quaker Meeting at my house and she remembered me. His work and advice is different from the Buddha’s. Look for Steve Saylor: Eulogy: the death of Monsanto.

These two  found me.  So different. So important to my life and style today. They came along, wired back- to- back, and filled a need. Just as FDR, my father, and Russell did. And do. Read and watch a variety of varieties and be best and brightest, too. Maybe human kind can make it.

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DEBATE
May 19, 2015

It’s a term and a device we  seem to have forgotten. Today we argue. Call each other names.  Throw things.  Indulge in verbal fisticuffs. It’s a knock- down- drag- out with the loser losing his reputation in the community and all the ships at sea.

It’s crazy.

There’s nothing more fun than a discussion. The discussion site here in TGI Forum is a home-grown  free- for- all only a few brave ‘souls’-I use the term loosely, please don’t start a fight, yet-dare to imbibe. I love it. I’m an active participant. Been doing it for years. Still here. Some folks say I have the ‘skin of an alligator’. I respond, “You’ve taken a shot at me with every weapon in your arsenal and missed with every shot.”  There are those who could argue with me. Care to try?

We have so many conflicting issues-I wish only to tap into Kauai and it’s umpteen zillion problems-billionaire land holders vs peasants, like you and me-infrastructure,  traffic jams, tourist problems, dairies, GMOs, over- development, taxes, super ferries, jobless, homeless. EEEKKK.

So, what I’m suggesting: The Forum should declare, a once- a- week debate. For an example, the best voice anti-GMO–Gary Hooser , of course–vs the best voice pro. Topic: Are vast acres of GMO corn good for Kauai? Give each side five hundred words on the Forum, on the same day, and give it their best shot. Be brief. Be truthful. Be knowledgeable. Write and be read. And then a vote. From the people.

Everybody loves the Forum. It’s the favorite page for many of us. I think a newspaper is the heart of the community. I think-once again I use the term loosely-the Forum is the soul.  Care to argue?

I love to argue. Lucky you. Lucky, because if there were no paper and ink you’d all go deaf and I’d wear out a soap box a week. I doubt anyone will disagree with that.

I think of the way we seem to do it:  people gather together, carry signs and protest. Protest is good. As American as Apple pie and mother. As Kauaian as a weekend family picnic on a sunny beach-which beats Apple pie and mother hands down. Care to argue?

You know what I picture-this would be a visual community center debate-someone who’s smoked all his life and is dying from cancer- debating the issue, Is Smoking Good for Your Health, with a healthy robust non smoker. Would that be cheating? Anyone care to argue?

Another awful thing we do is haul in a bunch of high muckity- mucks to sit on a stage in an  auditorium and listen to us voice our opinions. Pro or con. Sometimes they even serve cookies and juice. Do they listen? Do they care? I don’t think so. They sit upstage, these highfaluters, and nod off. Sometimes, as a speaker, you look up and think they’re going to fall off their chairs. Or call a cop.

Care to argue? Five hundred words or less…

 

 

AN ISLAND THAT PRAYS TOGETHER…
May 5, 2015

Headlines. The Garden Island newspaper, Monday May 4. My goodness. “Their National Day of Prayer signifies unity across people in the United States of America and it signifies a special day, no matter what faith group you belong to…” Jeffrey Pears, chairman of the Interfaith Roundtable of Kauai said. “It crosses all barriers, all faith groups, and brings all of us together…”

Sucn a beautiful thought. I love Jeffrey. I’ve laughed with him on many occasions. I love to laugh. We share the idea  there’s little more healing than a really good gaffaw. We met last at a large meeting of the Jewish community. I can’t remember when I’ve felt so happy and at home in a crowded room. The best and the brightest on Kauai, in my estimation, were there. We laughed. We listened. We learned. We also snacked. But nobody prayed.

As I read through the TGI article I note there are two organization. Jeffrey’s IRK and KIM-Kauai Island Ministries- organized by Niles Kageyama, who has invited all Christian churches across the island to join their event with different pastors, John Zimmerman of Lihue Missionary Church and Pastor Larry Matsuwaki from Faith Christian Fellowship. They share the same theme “Hear Our Cry” and meet at the same place, on the same day, Thursday, May 7, at the Civic Center Rotunda in Lihue. IRK goes first from 9 to 11 A.M. KIM  takes second billing, 11:30 to 12:30PM.

“No Buddhists, no Zoroasters, no Islamists, no Hindus…” My friend Monroe Richmasn, reminds us, are invited to join IRK.

Debra Valentina, who leads the Center for Spiritual Living, and will attend the IRK meeting, says, “It doesn’t matter to me that there’s two.”

Seems odd to me, but that’s the way the wafer crumples.

Also, we’re told, the National Day of Prayer began in 1775. My search revealed:

The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance held on the first Thursday of May, inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation. It was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of the United States Congress, and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman.  A privately funded organization, whose purpose is to encourage participation on the National Day of Prayer, exists to communicate with every individual the need for personal repentance and prayer, to create appropriate materials, and to mobilize the Christian community to intercede for America’s leaders and its families. They represents a Judeo Christian expression of the national observance, based on our understanding that this country was birthed in prayer and in reverence for the God of the Bible.

I’m reminded of a story about a  visitor to California who had the misfortune to experience an earthquake. “I’m scared,” she cried. Her friend, who’d taken shelters in a door way, hollered, “I’m from California. We always get under a door way.” “I’m from New jersey,” cried the scared lady,  “where do I go?”

As a devout non believer-more agnostic than atheistic, I mean, I don’t know- who doesn’t go to church, doesn’t pray, ask, “Where do I go?”