Sunday, February 13, 2011

Egypt, Freedom, Facebook And Letters To The Editor

It has been almost two weeks since my last post, and what a time period to be alive in! The people of Egypt managed to throw out a dictator who had ruled them with uncompromising cruelty for 30 years. Not only that, but they did it despite being set on by his thugs, by peacefully occupying Tahrir Square 24/7. Their courage and passion was a sight to behold. Their freedom was so important to them, that even though more than 300 of their fellow citizens were martyred for the cause, they never budged from their demands. Joyful in their victory, it was inspiring to see that when it was all over, they got together, and with brooms and cleaning products brought from home, cleaned Tahrir Square with an abundance of civic pride. Absolutely amazing! I have been glued to Al Jazeera following them with such pride in their accomplishments. Maybe there is hope for the people of our United States after all...if only they would follow the Egyptian people's example! I was touched to be asked to be friended by a 16 year old young man from Cairo on Facebook after I had posted my congratulations to the Egyptian people on the Tahrir Square site. Even more surprised to receive a request for friendship from a young person from Nepal...I think the whole world was rooting for all the people of the world to come together as a family. Sure made me feel connected!

I have been busily preparing a letter to the editor of the Rocket-Miner, in response to a woman who wrote a letter about illegal immigrants and people wanting handouts abusing Social Security. I finally got it written out by hand, double spaced and signed and will submit it tomorrow when I go to the paper to pay for my subscription. Hopefully, the young woman will read it and find out that she was badly misinformed...if not, I tried! Unfortunately, in America today, people's contempt for government prior to investigation of the actual facts has become the rule in our political discourse.

After I finished the letter, I happened upon a quote from A. A. Milne which I would like to share with you. I read it in The Week magazine and here it is: "The third-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the majority. The second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority. A first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking." I aspire to be a first-rate mind...only time will tell! Anyway, the quote seemed to fit the situation perfectly!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tunisia, Egypt, United States: Will The People Win?

I have been paying a lot of attention to the popular uprisings in the Middle East. The courage and bravery of the people have won my undying admiration for them as citizens of the world. As usual, I have relied on outlets like Al-Jazeera and Reuters and The Independent for my information, because our news outlets in the United States are very biased against anyone who are not 100 percent believers in Americans always being right! Americans are supposed to be exceptional in all things, and that is not to be questioned by a mere citizen of the world! Several blogs, like Firedoglake and Crooks and Liars, and even Facebook have given more accurate information than the national news outlets. Every report I have watched on CNN or NBC, CBS, ABC or other news media have been showered with words meant to fool the viewer into accepting their version of the events taking place in foreign countries. I prefer the raw news, I don't require a news reporter to do my thinking for me!

However, it seems that a lot of Americans do! They quote Wolf Blitzer or other media representatives as if it was the gospel straight from above. We have become a nation of people who let other people form our opinions, because we're too damn lazy to think for ourselves. But, by god, we Americans are exceptional! And, we speak English.

While watching interviews interviews of Egyptian citizens in Tahrir Square, I was impressed by their knowledge of their country and its political system, as well as their determination to stand up to the powers that be. Many of them spoke better English than many of our American politicians do...you pick your favorite, there are many of them who sound like they never had a grammar lesson in their lives! Each Egyptian citizen interviewed had such passion for their beliefs and such courage to speak about them. I saw a t-shirt on one of them, a young woman, which said, "I love my country, it's my government that I'm afraid off!" Another young man said that it was better to die for what you believe in, than to live for nothing. Powerful sentiments!

This month, our Wyoming state government began its legislative session. So far, they have offered legislation to overturn the healthcare law, voted to deny same sex marriage recognition for couples from other states, denied protection for people who have gender issues in employment, and here's a really important one, offered legislation to permit all Wyoming citizens to carry concealed weapons without a permit. Is it just me, or are we reverting to the dark ages? Suddenly, it looks like America is losing its principles and other countries are choosing to make both their lives and their countries a better place to be human. Wyoming is known as the Equality State, but only for Republican, white men. It's ironic that here we want to take away citizen's rights if they are different, but across the world people are taking huge chances to take their destiny back from their governments.

We could learn quite a few lessons from the citizens of Tunisia and Egypt, if only we would listen and educate ourselves, instead of letting others make our minds up for us. Do we still have any courage left, or are we just too fearful to find out the truth? Only time will tell!