Monday, November 27, 2006

Pope's Turkey Visit is This Week!

Pope Benedict XVI's trip to Turkey is this week! Apparently, the article I read from last week made it sound like it was to happen last week, which, of course, it didn't. I was just one week ahead of the times.

Or maybe the Vatican has decided to postpone the trip to this week, as many of the media spinners and satirical news shows like The Daily Show and The Colbert Report had the week of Thanksgiving off to truly enjoy some turkey. Good thing, because all the talk this week will be about what to do with that leftover turkey.

Speaking of leftover turkey, the pope's visit to Turkey will likely not be a leftover affair. And hopefully, Pope Benedict XVI will not use leftover remarks during his speeches in Turkey, as he did several months ago during his German lecture that sparked the Muslim controversy with the pontiff. (Just because the pope quoted from an old byzantine saint that claimed Islam was a violent religion, doesn't mean that Muslim need to prove it, does it??)

After reading stories about this historic visit, I realize that this visit has more to do with the future of Turkey, than the remarks the pope will make. Sure, each word that the pope speaks in this Muslim country is going to be scrutinized to pieces, but this visit is bigger than that. It is going to deal with differences between what the pope represents and the Muslim people. Look at it this way, Turkey has more to lose than the pope if this visit goes down horribly.

So, it's going to be all about differences in ideals and religion, right? It's more than just those basic issues. It's about civilization. Western civilization vs. Eastern civilization, specifically. Right now, Turkey is vying to become a part of the European Union (EU). Turkey officials apparently feel that it would be advantageous for them to be a part of this economic union.

However, to connect with the EU, Turkey would be connecting with predominantly Christian countries. Not only are they Christian, but they are a part of Western civilization, a culture that most Muslims would consider repulsive. It is a clash of cultures.

Beyond the clash, it is about Turkey's past, present and future. Turkey is a historically pivotal country between Western and Eastern civilizations. Turkey is where Christianity saw its rise into prominence with mandated state and country religion, thanks to Emperor Constantine, and it is this role that changed Rome's stance from burning Christians to embracing them. It was at this point in history that Turkey (Byzantine Empire) affected both Eastern and Western civilizations.

Then, Turkey's Byzantine traditions were taken over by the Ottoman empire and changed from Christianity to Islam. Another pivotal moment for Turkey, as Constantinople changed to Istanbul and the Haghia Sophia, Church of Holy Wisdom, was converted to a mosque with minarets and all (and within the last century has been restored and is now a public museum).

Turkey is now facing another pivotal moment. On one side, there's the East with primarily Muslim belief, culture and government states. They offer Turkey their traditions and views of proper Muslim societies, along with isolated cells of muslim extremists. On the other side, is the West, with their free-thinkers, Christian fundamentalists, and (perspectively corrupt) capitalist (and some socialist) countries with their advanced technologies and crazy middle classes.

My personal hope is that the pope sees this visit like a good samaritan. I also hope that Muslims in Turkey will show and prove to the pope that their beliefs are not about violence. Non-violent, peaceful acts can go a long way to prove a point of non-violence. I also hope that Turkey's decision is what truly is best for its country considering their prospects with the EU and working with both Western and Eastern neighbors.

Last thoughts:
I do hope that the pope can enjoy Turkey this week. And I do hope that Turkey will enjoy the pope's visit.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Poetry is not dead, yet...

Sometimes it is an engaging glance
happened just perchance;
Or an alluring smile
elevating spiritual ectasy for a while.
More than magic that transcends
it is love that our spirit's tether rends.
Weightless adulation releases the soul
and we are aloft, soaring above it all.

For just a moment, until the moment is gone
I will enjoy the love of my beloved's song.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Pope to Enjoy Turkey This Week?

Pope Benedict XVI hopefully has packed his courage, along with the extra baggage of almost two centuries of crusades and his recent remarks regarding Islam's apparent tradition with wars and violence.

I'd like to back the Pope on this, really I would, but I'd be running scared with my tail between my legs. The Catholic Church does not have a pristine record on peace. We are just as guilty of instigating war and violence in our Maker's name. Sigh.

Pope Benedict certainly is showing that he has more balls than I would have imagined. The question does linger in my mind regarding his trip to Turkey: Will he take Istanbul by the horns and command them like a true matador? Indeed, this meeting will be a clash of religions. It will also possibly be the moment of truth when each side will show the world the true tenets of their religion.

It seems ironic that this meeting falls during the week Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, a time to reflect on the story when the newly settled pilgrims "shared" a feast of the harvest with their new neighbors, the "Indians". Maybe this Thanksgiving will be a sharing of peace between Christians and Muslims around the world to embrace the peaceful love of our Maker.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

President Pelosi??

If the democrats have enough balls, we may be saying "President Pelosi" before 2008. As the democrats have taken charge of the US House and now the Senate, as well, there's nothing stopping them from making some yummy impeachment pie for Bush and Cheney. I'm sure they will enjoy it. Yum. Yum.

Okay, okay. It really is time for every elected official to hold fast to their oath of office and to preserve (and restore), protect and defend the Constitution of the United States... from enemies both foreign and domestic.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Living Dead: Time to Vote Zombie! Or--Daylight Saving Republicans??

Newsflash: Halloween has been extended through Tuesday, November 7th.

"We have lived as if in a trance. We have lived as people in fear," commented Keith Olbermann on October19th.

Keith, Halloween was just around the corner. TV campaign ads are just following custom--vote zombie! With the midterm elections right after the scaring ritual, it just seems fitting to continue scaring the living daylights out of people. Daylight saving was not immune to the scaring as it abandoned us at 2 a.m. on Sunday, October 29th this year, leaving us to wake in total darkness.

Although we walk in darkness... to work and back home again in pitch black... there is a light at the end of our scary darkness. The midterm elections? No. Still darkness.

The light, or rather daylight, which our great and fearless president has recently modified, will return early in 2007 on Sunday, March 11th. Is this a ploy to ruin St. Patrick's Day celebrations, as festive partiers will have to adjust to an earlier time to get to mass the next day?? Or is there a more sinister and diabolical plot?

I can't deny that the daylight saving-standard time changes in the spring and fall changes the way we act and live our day lives--it does. Standard time sucks. How do I hate standard time so? Let me count the ways...

So, how do these seasonal changes affect our perceptions on things like politics and other scary things? I'm sure it does alter our perceptions to wake in darkness and come home in darkness. Everything seems dark. It is a bleak time. Obviously.

And, although we must rise earlier for daylight saving, we wake in the spring of sunshine. It is a glow of hope, and a glimmer of summer that we rise to celebrate daylight saving in the spring. And in the spring there is no taunt of political mudslinging, no robo-calls of candidates barking their message before the elections.

Get this: The changes on daylight saving and standard time extends the length we get to "enjoy" daylight time. That's right. Yea! I love daylight time.

As far as I can remember, we have always changed the clocks the first Sunday in April and the last Sunday in October. Now, according to King George, beginning in 2007 we will change clocks the second Sunday in March and the first Sunday in NOVEMBER! That's three more weeks of daylight! WoooHoo!

Wait... The first Sunday in November? (...sounds of gears clicking and whizzing in my head...) Now, don't we have general elections in November? That means I get one less week to adjust to the time change before the elections. So, I get to enjoy waking to the sun one more week before the elections... Hmmmm... Does this mean I get one more week of optomism before the dreaded darkness sets in?

In 2008, the general election is scheduled for Tuesday, November 4. Do you know what this means? In 2008, we will endure only two days waking into complete darkness before the next presidential election. I think we need to change it from "daylight saving" to "republican saving" time.

Sa__ __ a__ H__sse__n: Hangman

There's nothing like playing an exciting game of hangman in Iraq, is there?! Exciting, indeed. And depending on which side of the fence you claim, it could excite (or incite) joy or anger. Shiites were indeed happy. Sunnis were upset. Both sides continue to disagree.

This isn't just a little cat fight between Muslim factions, this is about a clash of ideologies. Not just within Iraq, but with "us" "occupiers", as well.

Iraq will not become an instantly peaceful, tyrant-free country once Saddam Hussein is hanged. The Iraqi people have too many reasons to be excited. Ideology is a difficult thing to modify, especially in a people of tradition.

Peace and tranquility cannot be achieved with a verdict. It cannot be achieved by war and occupation.

It is acheived when all sides can value all human life, and humanely live together with their differences. It is about consideration for our neighbors. It is observing, protecting and defending those inalienable rights that all humans on this great planet have been endowed with by our creator. Sounds a lot like the documents that started a country several centuries ago, founded on those same principles.

Whatever happened to those principles?

Oh, right. Hanging chads... (Florida 2000 game of hangman: __ __ __ __ w__n!)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Political Camouflage?

What do you do when you are a red republican in a very true blue state, like Maryland? If you're Michael Steele, you wear political camouflage.

In a recorded appearance today on CNN's Situation Room, it was clear that Michael Steele's favorite color is rrrrrrr-royal blue! What? Not red?? That's right, red republican Michael Steele's bid for Maryland senator was all blue. From the blue signs that supporters shook behind him, to the blue jacket he wore, and even to the blue striped button-down shirt and blue tie that peeked through his jacket.

Apparently, this is not a case of the blues for Steele. Even his website is predominately blue. The color red is completely absent on his website, with the possible exception of a photo with a supporter wearing red.

So, is this just another sign that Steele is one of many campaigning republicans that are supposedly turning their backs to the president? According to Steele's interview with Wolff Blitzer, the answer is no.

So, what's wrong with red, Mr. Steele?