Saturday, November 29, 2008

Terrorism in India

Now that the dust is clearing from the terrorist attack in Mumbai, it is time to start analyzing the who's and the whys. There will be much speculation and some will insist that it had to be connected to Al Quaida. There may even be something published on Worldnet Daily ascribing it to Obama's election and the story that he once visited Pakistan and had friends from there. Before it is over, he will probably have planned the attack. Heck, he may have even slipped away from the Secret Service long enough to have taken part in some way. Seriously...

This attack has to have caused much concern in both the Bush Regime and the President-elect's prospective national defense team. It is sure to muddy the always shaky relations between Pakistan and India. India is a somewhat stable democracy in an area of increasing instability. Pakistan is just the opposite. It is a struggling democracy that is increasingly being pressured by militant, fundamentalist Islamics. We need Pakistan's support in order to continue the fight against Bin Laden's people as well as the Taliban. The worst part of this entire incident is the fact that both countries are in possession of nuclear weapons.

This fight has been going on since 1947, when Pakistan was partitioned from India. It is incumbent on the Bush Administration to begin, and the Obama Administration continue, a major diplomacy effort to maintain peace between these two countries. This isn't a time for "cowboy talk." The two countries must come together to talk and to work together to stamp out this and other terrorist groups. The Prime Minister of Pakistan has said that he will work with India to stamp out the group responsible and wants India to share its information. India must be encouraged to build upon this gesture and work with, not against Pakistan.

Let's hope the Bush Administration can handle peaceful negotiations, even this late in the game. During the last eight years, Bush and his people have shown little interest in negotiating. This time they can't take one side and condemn the other. The U.S. needs both of these countries as Allies in that volatile part of the world. More importantly the U.S. can't stand by and allow India and Pakistan to fall into open confrontation. A military confrontation might lead to the world's worst fear, the use of nuclear weapons.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?

In today's world, it isn't uncommon for me to encounter someone, who makes a snide remark when I use the word "Christmas." They will say something like, "are you sure you don't mean the holidays?" They are of course referring to what some call the secularization of Christmas. In reality the practice of some commercial businesses using "holidays" instead of Christmas is their concern that they continue to appeal to someone of the Jewish faith or the other faiths, which do not celebrate Christmas. After all, the demographics of this country are changing and there is no state Christian religion in this country.

Some 20 years ago I was the manager of New Echota Historic Site near Calhoun, Ga. One year we began a tradition of holding a Christmas program in the restored home of Samuel A. Worcester, a New England missionary. The Rev. Worcester was a Congregationalist. I began doing some further research into Christmas in the Cherokee Nation, but could find no reference to Christmas in Worcester's diary. Since the Moravian missionaries, who also resided in the Cherokee Nation, kept extensive diaries, I moved to them to see what I could find. They wrote frequently during December of their Christmas preparations and celebrations.

It was then that I recalled a book I had read in graduate school, "Paul Revere and the World He Lived In" by Esther Forbes. On page 31 of that book Forbes writes, "...Paul found a way to make money for himself out of another church. Christ was Episcopal, a denomination that smelt a little to the Congregationalist of idolatry and brimstone, but even more sweetly (as other small Puritans remembered) of Christmas greens. Christmas was carefully not observed in such churches as Cockerel, but the Congregationalist children loved to sneak off to the Episcopal churches at Christmas-time and smell the greens." Cockerel was the Revere family church and, obviously, Congregational. Thus, the reason the Congregationalist, Worcester, made no reference to Christmas.

The staunch Puritan, Presbyterian, and Congregationalists of the time would have a major hissey-fit (southern for temper tantrum, usually by a female) if they could see today's world and what Christmas has become both to the secular and the Christian world. It is interesting that in their past they had seen Christmas celebrated in many ways, much like it is today, with much revelry. They felt that it was far too secular and refused to take part in such a celebration. What is that expression? History repeats itself?

Now, today, when we have much revelry and a major emphasis on gifts and the economy of Christmas, many people, especially those of the more conservative churches, decry the failure to refer to Christmas, when discussing this holiday. Instead of following the lead of the Congregationalists and backing away from a celebration, as they have done with Halloween, these folks seem to embrace the secular, celebratory and economic aspects of the holiday and demand that it be referred to as Christmas. At the same time they express concern for the over-secularization of it.

I have, for many years, wished my friends and co-workers "happy holidays" or to "have a safe holiday season," referring, of course, to both Christmas and New Year's. People raise their eyebrows at me, when I do this. I mean nothing derogatory. It's just easier than saying "merry Christmas and a happy New Year," over and over.

Since people are critical of my "heathen" behavior, it makes me even more likely to continue it. I don't like people reading too much into what I say. One of my blog readers, or maybe former blog readers, (I think she has given up on me, since she couldn't convert me to an Anti-Obama-ite.) is always reading much more into what I have written than she should. I am usually pretty blunt, and there is nothing more between the lines. So, with Christmas. I frequently refer to Christmas, but I might also refer to the "holidays." Please do not read something that isn't there.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

More on the Anti-Obamites and the Birth Certificate

Check out this hilarious column in Worldnet Daily. The writer claims that a computer "expert" has "certified" that the document posted online by the Obama campaign is a forgery. Even funner is the video that masks his face to hide his identity because of threats. Helllooo, you gave his name!

While you are there, be sure to sign the petition calling for Obama to release his "real" birth certificate. You will be joining the groundswell of opposition (76,000). Also, write a letter to the Supreme Court to "lobby" the justices to hear the case before them. The Supreme Court is supposed to rule on the basis of law not a letter writing effort.

These folks get nuttier every minute.