See the Latest from Joe Zarantanello – Ed O’Rourke

He composes a poem every week and sends them out on Mondays.  Sometimes, he issues his thoughts during the week.  I like what he sent out today.

OP-ED IN THE KENTUCKY STANDARD
Radical Hope, Getting Real& Walking the Talk Never doubt that a group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. —Margaret Mead  Radical Hope Faced with all the serious problems in the world today, human beings will not take action unless they can somehow access what I have come to call — Radical Hope. I am not optimistic, nor am I pessimistic, about our chances to strengthen our democracy at home and around the world. I am not optimistic, nor am I pessimistic, that we can mobilize humanity to make the changes necessary to alleviate the Climate Catastrophe that we are currently experiencing. I am, however, brimming with Radical Hope. Optimism and pessimism are functions of the rational mind. And when the rational mind looks at the political and ecological data — there is every reason to be pessimistic. And that’s the reason that we have to take all the data to a deeper level — to both understand its meaning, and to have the motivation and energy to respond effectively to it. This “deeper level” is what almost all contemplative traditions call the “Heart.”  Our culture teaches us that the heart is either only a pump to move blood through our body, or the source of our emotions. Both are true. But the Heart, in contemplative culture, is all that plus the deepest level of consciousness. The Heart is radical in the literal sense of it being the root, or the deepest level, of consciousness. The Heart is the infinite fountain of Radical Faith, Hope, and Love. The Heart longs for the flourishing of human well-being, and the well-being of all other life-forms on the planet.   Getting Real One of the greatest sentences in all of literature is only 8 words long. In No Man is an Island, Thomas Merton asserted: We make ourselves real by telling the truth. What could this sentence mean to a culture that has been fed a daily diet of “alternative facts” and “Big Lies” for centuries? For me, it means to speak the truth as I see it: Our country, and our culture, is in a true “mid-life crisis.” The United States is far from united right now. Unity is an aspiration, something you grow towards and into — like maturity and adulthood. Right now, to tell the truth, our nation is far from being united, and far from being an adult.  The January 6th Insurrection showed the adolescent nature of one segment of  our citizenry. As Wendell Berry once wrote, “Any jackass can kick down a barn; but it takes a master carpenter to build one.” And though the Insurrection was the product of a kind of adolescent rebellion, it is deadly serious — simply because these “adolescents” have access to a cache of deadly weapons. It’s also doubly dangerous because the vast majority of congressional Republicans voted to not only not investigate the Insurrection — the majority of Republicans in Congress are denying that it happened at all!  Let’s get real: We will never grow into the greatness of our visionary founding documents, if we continue down this rabbit hole of denying the reality of the present and the past. Republicans, in both our national and state governments, are living in denial. They deny that the Insurrection happened; they deny the 2020 Election results; they deny that we are in the midst of a Climate Catastrophe; they deny that the bedrock of our country’s economy has been intertwined with colonial white supremacy, genocide, and racism for the past 400 years. So let’s get real: The Republicans are no longer a political party. A political party in a democracy has an agenda for solving real problems faced by citizens. A majority of our citizens live in poverty or low wealth — no problem, say Republicans, let’s lower taxes on the wealthy and the corporations, and keep paying “starvation wages.” Our nation, and the whole world, is experiencing a Climate Catastrophe that is threatening organized human life — no problem, say the Republicans, let’s deny that it’s even happening, and meanwhile, “Drill baby, drill!”  Let’s get real by telling the hard truth: The Republicans are no longer a political party, but rather, they have become a Death Cult. They are willing to stop all meaningful legislation at the national and state level — even though it threatens the very survival of organized human life on the planet! So here’s a question for President Biden: “Why are you trying to get “bi-partisan support” from a Death Cult that doesn’t even recognize you as the legitimate President of the United States?” Walking the Talk Unlike the composition of the U.S. Senate, which is: predominately old, white, male, rich, and on a suicide mission to maintain the status quo; the majority of the people who are on the frontlines of the effort to save our democracy and organized human life on the planet, are: young, female, racially diverse, poor, and passionate about the need for our nation to wake up, grow up, and change.  I’m over 70 and have bad knees, so I won’t be marching in the streets with the many grassroots popular movements that are putting pressure on our political system to wake up, grow up, and become truly democratic; however, I do support them in spirit through prayer, and if I have any money left at the end of the month, I support them financially. Here are four grassroots organizations that I support: 1.Independent, in-depth news: Democracy Now! (www.democracynow.org); 2.Climate action: The Sunrise Movement (www.sunrisemovement.org); 3. Economic and racial justice: The Poor People’s Campaign (www.poorpeoplescampaign.org); 4. Protecting one-fifth of the world’s fresh water: Honor the Earth (www.honorearth.org). Home, and also Radical Hope, is where the Heart is. Your Heart knows that the problems we face are real. The antidote to denial and fear is, simply, to do something to help. Everyone can do something. Everyone can walk the talk. What can you do?

June 6, 2021 was a personal anniversary. I have been a recovering alcoholic for 30 years.  I owe this to attending AA meetings and support from my family and friends.

Sincerely,

Ed

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