Let Freedom ring



Country ratings from Freedom House’s Freedom in the World 2015 survey, concerning the state of world freedom in 2014.[72]   Free (89)   Partly Free (55)   Not Free (51)

President Bill Clinton: “I ask you to make it a sacred trust, where all people come and claim for this country a future of unity, freedom, democracy, prosperity, and a government that is capable, honest, and works toward the benefit of all people.” Unfortunately he was not speaking about the US, Germany, Japan or the BRICKS but about the splintered Yugo – Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia at its 20th anniversary of genocide and war. Yet he was speaking for all of us, and stating that this is the minimum we deserve, in a modern society. The new age has brought digitization of information instantaneously to the masses. There is no longer an excuse to not have transparency in the government’s dealings, on behalf of its citizenry.
I wonder where the decades went, as we are still faced with new threats like ISIL, and genocide elsewhere, as human nature does not change. We pander to the lowest standards, and allow mass killings, rapes and plunder, where refugees flee to any safe haven; to start a new life. There are pockets of insanity, which a cultured society has long learned to overlook, in the name of civilization. We are too cultured and refined, to even acknowledge that these dastardly deeds are committed by humans, on all living creatures at random. “Sorry, I shot the named lion with my bow.” The rapes are not reported and the starving mothers and babies tucked away, in camps, if they make it, out of the devastation, of their peaceful lives.
We can only demand that our governments be capable, as we are the government. While JFK is the only billionaire President in history, we do not need the rich but just the capable, as some of the most effective presidents like Lincoln were not rich. It is now time for each one of us to recognize that we have some rights on the State, just as the State has rights on us. The State seeks funds to create a better society, but the ones who have accumulated the assets by whatever means, are not inclined to share them. It is basically every man for himself, as if you did not inherit wealth, you are the one holding the short end of the stick. So the State takes from everyman but not the assets but a share of income and spending, perpetuating the great divide.
Every living creature but man, wonders, who can own a field, or a waterway, and those who do; concoct their own laws, to give themselves, deeds. The air is free, and so is the earth, so why do we constitute courts and administrations, to slice and dice our existence? It is a wonderful state of affairs when a man marries into wealth, but more practical to allow the woman to control it. Rarely will a woman launch a war because she wants more, as men are more prone to thinking that the grass is greener on the other side. When did you hear about women raping the other tribe’s men and killing their children in war, so that only their clan can grow?
So I agree that we need to work, towards the benefits of all people, not the Hindus, Christians, and Muslims, and not for the rich and famous, but for people like you and me. Each one of us deserves a leg up, and we are empowered to do so, and shouldn’t let anyone else tell us otherwise. I have my rights, and so do you, and we only have to exercise our inherent rights. We can demand reform, and create an enlightened age, by the sheer use of information. I do not agree what Snowden did was right, but it sure did open up our eyes to things, we did not know. We have to use whatever little power we have, to change positively what is around us. An honest government is essential to society and if it does not work, then let’s throw the bums out. Why suffer needless pain when the power to act is in our hands, and we can walk away from this; or engage and make it better, for everyone around us. We are the people, and may joy be the new order of our future, and the freedom to believe in ourselves; the new hope, for all mankind.

Being Here

Labor Day Parade, Union Square, NYC 1882 – Wikipedia

Tomorrow is Labor Day and I just finished the traditional summer Barbecue, and as I have decided that life is just perfect the way it is, nature is also cooperating. It is all a matter of time and place, which is of course here and now, with the sun going down and the white clouds on the Horizon; slowly picking up orange, and pink hues. The Spruce stands tall by the shore of the lake, down poop alley where the geese feed and drop, and at its end; the weeping willows touch the fresh water, in reverence.   Being here, the turkey burgers came out just right, and the corn is juicy and delicious, followed by strawberries and cantaloupe. The dinner done, I head to the community pool and am pleasantly surprised to find it all to myself, in the fading light, of another sunset; over the adjoining lake.

Decades ago when I was still a High School student at St Xavier’s Delhi, a seed had been born in my mind. Swimming in the school pool I had imagined a life as a grown up, and maybe America entered the picture as a wish, as Woodstock had opened a window, into a strange world. College reinforced the image, as the cultural hegemony of the US, continued to spread; like a wild fire, during a global warming summer. Nobel prizes earned, social change post Johnson’s civil rights, and the success of its worldwide brands, seemed to make the US a promised land. We listened to Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel, Jimmy Hendrix, Doors, Carole King and countless others produced in abundance in America, and wondered at the tapestry, that they were weaving into our generation through their ballads and music.

Having arrived on the shores it was more like rediscovering John Steinbeck, Emerson, Poe and the darker sides of inner city living, that was the grim reality. Meals on wheels programs, welfare families dependent on the state, teenage mothers and fathers with little or no education, and charities fighting to better the needy. The struggle from a minimum paying job in the inner city, servicing these people, to my present circumstances working on Healthcare systems, was aided only by my immediate family. They have stood by me in my foolishness and my wisdom and known when to criticize (often) and when to praise (rarely) as I worked out my demons. My labors have borne fruit and we are empty nesters now in an ideal community, little boxes on a hill side all looking the same.

The four seasons pass by and I and my wife weather it well, as the comforts of home betray us from straying far, except when we visit the kids or the parents. We each have our moods and our emotions, and now with the passing decades, have become creatures of habit. The days pass in a routine of predefined activity, and each one plays his\her role, on this life’s stage. Occasionally there is tenderness or emotional bonding, as one plays with one’s grandchild, and sees the circle of life goes on. At other times it is just the two of us in different moods and emotional states, when nothing except time passes slowly. I wonder at the years gone by, and our meaningless life that drifts and flows, borne on the currents of the universe. At other times our patience bears fruit, as we engage in the companionship, that comes, with familiarity and commitment.

So as I swim backstroke in the pool admiring the clouds in the skies and the landscaped trees, I think of my journey from there to here. Is this all that life is meant to be and could I have opted for better choices? Later I lie in the Hot Tub feeling the relaxing pounding of the jets of hot water, and admiring the landscape, and wonder if I have found that illusive Nirvana? I know all this is great and maybe the school pool when I had nothing but pubescent dreams, has led me to this place. Being here is a revelation, and I am at peace finally, as life was always meant to culminate here, in my dreams, and reality is always just a mindfulness away.

But we are not done here and I have to keep working on my Karma as life happens, as we seek newer meanings. I plan to try and find more of those moments of comforting closeness, with my dear ones. They are my Dharma and to be able to see their smiles, and looks of understanding, that we have enough love to share, would be a blessing indeed. It is up to me to be here for them, and only then can they find me, and envelop me in their love. The realization strikes that it is I who have been missing, from my own life; on this Labor Day. “I love you” I whisper to life, especially my companion and all the others, as the Jacuzzi is turned off for last time, this summer. May we be given the wit and courage to repeat it at the opportune time, in our daily lives, to those around us? In the end, no labor however small, is ever lost and the small things matter, as they make us whole.