S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

On Encountering Evil

VERY week has 7 days.
Currently there are seven different calendars in use.
My week begins on Monday and ends on Sunday. Sunday is a "day of the spirit" for Christians.But that is not the case for everyone around the world.For Jews, the Sabbath begins at sunset Friday. There is very good news for Germany this week. Berlin's largest Synagogue, built in 1904, has reopened after a three-year renovation. The Financial Times (8/31/07) reports,
Germany’s largest synagogue, with space to seat 1,200 people, was reopened on Friday in Berlin, in a further sign of the renaissance of the country’s Jewish community.
. . . Germany’s Jewish community has swollen from about 30,000 in 1988 to more than 100,000 today because of immigration from the former Soviet bloc since the fall of the Berlin Wall. More than 500,000 Jews lived in Germany before the second world war.

NCOUNTERING EVILwas a Bill Moyers special broadcast on PBS many years ago. Moyers' guests discussed their personal encounters with what they knew to be evil. A World War II veteran - an Air Force turret gunner - talked about how he became acquainted with a part of himself that "just loved the killing" in war. When he came back to the United States in peace time, he did not know how to confront that part of himself, but knew he must. He did not know how to do it until he had an experience in a hurricane. The man told this story, which I paraphrase,

"We lived in Florida and a hurricane came ashore. It blew and blew, whipping the trees, unloosing debris, tearing up the landscape.
Then came the eye of the hurricane, where it was calm and the sky was blue. The birds cautiously came out of their hiding places. One flew above me, joyous to be alive. The bird fluttered and dove, up and down and side-wise. This bird was happy to just be there in that moment.
Then the bird, and all of us, had to go back into hiding as the rest of the hurricane passed over.
What that experience taught me is this. Evil is a hurricane destroying all in its path. To fight it we must live in the eye of it. We must make the eye bigger so that the birds can fly. We must be there to "push out the blue" with the force of good.
One's beliefs about religion are very personal, part of every individual's psychological makeup. And that our current president uses his personal religious beliefs to make public policy is very upsetting to many of us.
Thanks to C-SPAN -
In recent days C-SPAN broadcast programs* that exposed some of the current governing realities about the erosion of our civil liberties. I was particularly riveted upon seeing Glenn Greenwald in person for the first time. Internet follow-up research produced sufficient material to make my point about his major contributions to the discussion. I begin with his recent book.
"A Tragic Legacy: How a Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency," by Glenn Greenwald. Quoting from

Book Description
What will be the legacy of President George Walker Bush? In this fascinating, timely book, Glenn Greenwald examines the Bush presidency and its long-term effect on the nation. What began on shaky, uncertain ground and was bolstered and propelled by tragedy, has ultimately faltered and failed on the back of the dichotomous worldview—good versus evil—that once served it so well. In A Tragic Legacy, Greenwald charts the rise and steep fall of the current administration, dissecting the rhetoric and revealing the faulty ideals upon which George W. Bush built his policies.

On September 12, 2001, President Bush addressed the nation and presented a very clear view of what was to come—a view that can be said to define his entire presidency: “This will be a monumental struggle of good versus evil.” Based on his own Christian faith and backed by biblical allusions, Bush’s worldview was basic and binary—and everyone was forced to choose a side. Riding high on public support, Bush sailed through the early “War on Terror,” easily defining our enemies and clearly setting an agenda for defeating them.
Greenwald on "A Tragic Legacy" - The author writes at length about this book at, the host of his very popular blog, "Unclaimed Territory." He begins with this:

One of the principal dangers of vesting power in a leader who is convinced of his own righteousness -- who believes that, by virtue of his ascension to political power, he has been called to a crusade against Evil -- is that the moral imperative driving the mission will justify any and all means used to achieve it. Those who have become convinced that they are waging an epic and all-consuming existential war against Evil cannot, by the very premises of their belief system, accept any limitations -- moral, pragmatic, or otherwise -- on the methods adopted to triumph in this battle.
References: Look on C-SPAN:


The Future Was Yesterday said...

My "week" has two days. "What I didn't do yesterday", and "What I might do tomorrow if I feel like it!" I'm retired and loving it!:)

I have been screaming my head off on my blog that this war is NOT about terrorism, it is a religious war between two terrorists of the same cloth. Thank You for the help! It is deeply appreciated, and the word needs to get out all over.

Carol Gee said...

Future, art thou insomniac, as am I? Ain't retirement great? My insomnia doesn't have huge consequences during a paid work day.
Today with the "stealth visit" to western Iraq (notice not Baghdad) OCP had better say his prayers that he'll be able to corral the Iraqi P.M. for the photo-op.
Oh for Fall, when this whole report-to-Congress and then-they-vote charade will be over.
Thanks for your kind words. The post was very difficult to write.