Standing Rock

It has been another very long spell without a post on this site.  One would think I’d be writing about the victory of Donald Trump at the least but no, I haven’t been motivated to do that.

This morning however the incidents at Standing Rock have motivated me.  Donald Trump will be just another footnote in the history of the USA but I feel that the incidents at Standing Rock are more important than even the election of the demagogue Trump.  Republicans and Democrats will continue to fight each other and try to reverse gains the others have made each election cycle but the Native Americans have had to fight their “white man” oppressors ever since America was still a British colony.

Just in the past twenty or years or so mainstream education – mostly in the universities – have started to admit the truth about the history of the USA regarding the Natives.  The ‘White Man’ did steal land, did break treaties, did murder and kill, did commit genocide!  And then they pushed these great, ancient people onto land that they thought no white person would ever want.

And so here we are in 2016 seeing the same injustices, the same greed as that which I had previously thought we’d left behind for a time when man wasn’t as sophisticated, wasn’t as educated as we are now.  That land that the government back in the 1800s thought no white man would ever want?  Guess what, white man now wants it, the militarized police show up and ‘white man’ breaks another treaty!  Seeing these images shows me that nothing has changed and it has torn a huge rip in my heart and made me question if I even want to be an American, if I even want to be associated with this country anymore (regardless of Trump).  And this isn’t some emotional, stupid proclamation that many Americans do when the election doesn’t go their way and they say they are moving to Canada.  Everyone in my immediate family has citizenship in Japan except for me.  So it isn’t unrealistic that should America – especially under Trump – continue down a dark path that I might make a play for citizenship in Japan.

America was founded by immigrants who happily renounced their citizenship to a foreign land for a new identity and loyalty to the United States.  Yet it is very difficult for the American mind to even conceive that someone might want to give up USA citizenship.  It makes absolutely no sense to them.

But regardless of a move as drastic as that, I’m absolutely aghast at how the USA continues to treat the Native Americans and it absolutely warmed my heart to see veterans go and stand with the many Nations that had gathered there.  The ‘Red Man’ had fought and been very much abused but look what happens when white veterans show up.  A victory is soon won and the government gets the balls to do the right thing.

I am very disappointed that it took Obama so long to give these people the victory they deserved.  What happened to ‘Hope and Change?”  When I cast my vote for him I was buying into the luxury retail version of ‘Hope and Change’ but instead those shirts now can be found for 50 cents at Goodwill.  They were worn often for the first four years, must less the second four years and now are cast aside, faded and torn rags, at discount price for the very few who still believe.

In my 39 years of life, it has been instilled in me that America is “exceptional” as Obama formally proclaimed.  Yet, with the events at Standing Rock America is still the same country that abused Natives, it is still the same country that puts Robber Barons in charge of the country, and with the events at Standing Rock and the election of Trump is still a country which combines the two above.

If future historians, a few thousand years from now had to use one or two words to describe America from its birth until the year 2016 then I truly believe those words should be profit and greed.

Love this guy

Standing Rock Facebook Support Page:

Donald Trump and politics

The success of Donald Trump in the Republican primary is the direct result of eight years of the Republican hate machine.  He is the incarnation of Republican ideology in its purest form without any additives or sweeteners.  The Republican Party for the first time in a decade is taking a look in the mirror and realizing what they’ve become.

The Donald is a demagogue who peddles straight Republican heroin and as the country is finding out, Fox news has created incredible demand.  I had thought that as a country we would be smart enough to not fall for demagoguery but I was wrong; well at least I was wrong for the Republican voting half, it remains to be seen for the overall race.

From what I’ve read Donald Trump will alienate us from the rest of the world if not set us at war with many countries at once.  Not only that but he will persecute our own population: Muslim citizens will be registered in a database -who knows how many other groups would follow – and a good part of the Mexican community would be target as well.

Writing these words I am in awe.  It feel as though they should belong to a history report for some European or Baltic country pretty much anytime before 1942.  And right now, before we hit Super Tuesday there is a decent possibility that it could turn true with the only hope being that the citizens of the USA are smart enough to pick the democratic candidate in the general election.  It is all too easy to hold on to this faith, this belief, that the citizens of the USA are smart enough to realize that the path of isolation, war and persecution is the wrong one.  That belief however, has been waining this past month looking at crowd after crowd of real people, real human beings that are alive today, waiving Trump signs with enormous smiles on their faces.

What is really difficult to understand is that the majority of these people are Christians.  Christianity promotes the opposite of building walls, of going to war.  Christianity is about loving and helping each other.  I write these words and feel as though I’m writing for a first grade CCD class but know that should these words be said in front of a Trump crowd the speech would get booed and there might even be some aggression.

The whole affair just doesn’t make sense.  Just to sum up we have Christians that support war and walls and even though we have more access to knowledge and citizens going to universities than ever before, people are still falling for the same tricks that have been used throughout history to gain quick support.  There is a perceived wrong, there is agitation to validate the anger the wrong creates, we all go to war and kill each other until the anger dissipates from complete exhaustion and loss of life; and then we take a break.  The historians teach the error of our ways which allowed such loss of life to happen and all the students are glad that we live in more enlightened times and that something like this certainly wouldn’t happen again.  And then it happens again.

I read a Time magazine piece on Trump yesterday which was very conciliatory and respectful of the man. It confused me because I still don’t understand why there is not complete outrage about building a database to track certain citizens of our population.  That should have disqualified any candidate but instead seems to only have made him more popular!  Then to have a respected publication do a piece on him that just might garner more voters I end up completely baffled.

Another of Trump’s promises is that the USA is going to go over to Iraq’s oil fields and take the oil.  So, I might have a few facts mistaken but from what I know of history the super short version goes like this:  World War One creates various countries in the Middle East out of the remnants of Ottoman Empire.  The victorious powers lump tribes and people together that absolutely hate each other.  Over time victorious countries continue to meddle in each country until dictators take things over.  But the powers that be continue to meddle with the Persian Gulf war, Libya, Iraq war and so on.

Over the past eight years the involvement of the USA becomes more limited which is what the voters voted to do.  Now, Trump is advocating that we go back in a big way and everyone cheers.  It seems to me that these people cheering are about as intellectually complex as my patio furniture.

The powers of the West have been involved in other countries affairs since boats could first carry an army!  I guess my point here is that I’m upset stupid people have the power to elect someone who advocates that we go back to war in a region that has been a mess since the Ottomans went away.  Yes, I understand that there are some compelling geopolitical reasons to stay involved but hasn’t meddling just created more meddling?  I mean the result has been a complete mess and has never gotten better in almost 100 years of meddling!

It seems to me that this constant tug of war is not going to end and could very well lead to world war three.  Nobody would have imagined that the Archduke getting shot would lead to millions and millions of deaths nor would anyone have thought “the world” would again be at war so soon after all that carnage.  Just like my schoolchildren example above, it looks like we’re about to all go to war again which will cause future schoolchildren to wonder in amazement how we could be so dumb.

Privacy, presidential candidates and other things

It has been eons since I last posted in the blog.  With two young boys all free time is at a premium and so that only leaves the very early morning as free time.  In 2016 I’ve decided to change a number of things in my life such as: shedding distractions such as Facebook and unnecessary apps; focusing things most important to me such as family, working out, reading and writing; increased learning as well as meditation.

The time is now 3:58 AM and I awoke thirty minutes ago. After putting away the dry dishes, making coffee and stepping outside to throw away the compostables I noticed how peaceful the world is at this time.  The moon has illuminated much in a pale, cold light and I can hear the waves of the ocean which is a half mile distant.  To be free of all sounds except the waves amplifies ones own thoughts and they seem to become loud.  It feels as though for the first time in a long time you’re alone with yourself and it has been while since you last spoke.  I wonder if spending time in a sensory deprivation room would help a person get to know themselves much more efficiently?  There was only the sound of the waves outside and this made my head spin – I imagine it would be a very surreal experience to be in an environment with no sound or external stimuli at all.

True to form I’ve gotten off topic and have done so before even beginning!  Before I leave the topic of external environments, I’m trying something new as I type this very post.  For the first time in a long time I’m using a Mac laptop, am sitting in a recliner and have my TV fireplace as well as Amish fireplace/heater both going to create a nice ambiance in the hopes it will help me write something interesting.  I wouldn’t count on it.


If the news were to broadcast, anytime before the year 2000, that all American citizens will henceforth be under government surveillance, there would be mass revolt and a change of government.  Over the past decade there have been a number of revelations that we are indeed under surveillance and this has finally come to a head with the government versus Apple over weather or not the government should always have the capability to spy on us.

When I first went to Vietnam one of the thoughts I had was that the Vietnamese government had file folder on each foreigner entering the country.  This idea didn’t sit well with me and I was glad my own country, the USA didn’t do such things.  Little did I know they do that and with superior technology do so much more.  The United States of today is no longer that wonderful place of freedom, righteousness and equality.  As I read and learn more I also wonder if it ever was or if it was all just an illusion the education system instills in children; something no different from what our educators would call propaganda and frown upon should it occur in another country.  I would go through a number of examples to illustrate this but I think the most potent is this issue of privacy.

We citizens are now spied upon by our very own government.  I find this realization incredibly difficult to swallow.  All I had been taught about how our country is the exception, the shining city upon the hill was just a dream and we’re just as corrupt and dysfunctional as anywhere else.  Our government is actually fighting in the court system for the right to look into each one of our lives.  We citizens have in effect become a possible enemy, each one of us, and the government wants to monitor us all.

This is so absolutely chilling that I feel this all must be a dream.  How can the USA, the country whose ideals are encapsulated by Superman, the good guys, now be paranoid of its own citizens?  It is as though the USA has contracted leukemia and through harsh treatment will leave its body looking quite sickly and weak – if it survives as all.

In fact, things can become much, much worse.  Should the government win the right to spy on all citizens I imagine it won’t be but another ten years or so where we’ll all have to report our activities to the government instead of them looking in on us one by one.  For a glimpse of the future check out the company Humanize.  When I read this I was again astounded and felt as though I was living in a dream.  It wasn’t because of what the technology does but that the journals and publications reporting on this company only praised how this would “revolutionize” the workplace and make everyone more efficient!  Everyone will have to wear sensors which will deliver “data insights” and “people analytics!”  There was no mention of the fact that your employer will now know exactly how long you took a piss, but if you shook once or twice and will call you in to his office if you took the liberty of making a third shake which HR has deemed a waste of company time.  This has become expected of companies, we’re all expendable and no matter how much crap about a “company family” is thrown out by HR the only thing that matters is ever higher profits – after all that is the way of the new USA!

What is harder to swallow is that should the government win their case against Apple it is only a matter of time before all citizens will have to wear sensors that beam data back to government databases.  Every second of every life will be tracked and do you know why?  Well, because there are terrorists out there, and every citizen might be a terrorist and we certainly do not want the terrorists to win now do we!?  I can now see every single Republican vigorously shaking their head with an emphatic YES!  After all, if you’re not doing anything wrong then why would you need to worry?  You SIR, must simply not be a good American!

Going back to my leukemia metaphor it would seem that from the current crop of presidential candidates (except for Bernie Sanders) the USA I used to know and believe in has already died even before treatment.  With Hillary and Jeb we are turning into a third world country whose next president is another family member; hello Hillary Peron, great to see you Jeb bin Saud.  It does look like the electorate has tired a bit of the establishment but the other options seem to look even worse.

When I read history books I often find it very hard to understand how entire populations fell under the sway of despots and terrible ideas.  How could a few million people, people who went to university, who go to church all believe that killing Jews, or invading and killing Chinese is a good thing to do?  This should almost be a Seinfeld episode where Jerry goes for coffee, meets Kramer and says, “Hey Kramer, how is your bagel?  Good I hope!  And did you see in the news that we killed 1000 Jews yesterday?  Wow, I sure hope they become a little more efficient as that number seems rather low.  Well, I better get off to my spinning class, see ya Kramer!”

And this example really isn’t far off!  Using Nazi Germany is so cliche, so let’s go with an image that really stuck out in my head that is along these same lines.  It was from a movie – I forget which one – where during WWII Japanese neighborhoods have the patriotic committee or something like that and middle aged housewives wear banners supporting war, go around waiving flags, and knock on their neighbor’s doors to ensure their sons have gone to war and the household is doing everything possible to support the war effort.  Middle aged Japanese wife, decked out in her lovely propaganda and with smile on her face basically saying, hey, we need to kill more Chinese, let’s go neighborhood, let’s all be good citizens and do our part, everywhere Japan desu ne!

This all sounds a bit extreme doesn’t it, like something that could only happen in the past when people were not as sophisticated as they are today!  Well, let us just switch Chinese and Jews to Terrorist and the Japanese patriotic neighborhood committee to Fox News.  There are terrorists all over the place and the USA has to go kill them.  Hell, terrorists are so prevalent that each and every citizen of the USA could possibly be one so you all need to be monitored.

Looking at the crop of Republican presidential candidates, everyone one of them thinks that we should be going to war a bit more, that every citizen should be monitored.  Trump would also like to implement a database of all Muslim citizens.  Yes, first the Muslims, then the undesirables, then we should put them all in camps and so on.  And so I look at a good sized portion of my countrymen and I understand how entire populations were able to support bad ideas and terrible leaders.  I had simply given to much credit to the intelligence of human beings as a whole.  I had thought with the prevalence of colleges and universities that things could only get better!  I was wrong.  Even advanced, first world societies are not that intelligent on the whole.  Sure there are those that did not get a higher education and are easily persuaded but the problem is much more than that.  Even those with very advanced degrees are only advanced in that one subject matter whereas they might be quite ignorant on the subject of geopolitics.  The man who helped program a robot destined for Mars may believe Megynn (sic) Kelly speaks absolute truth in all things regarding world affairs.  It is like when the Jehovah’s Witnesses put a Bio Chemist on the front of the Watchtower which is saying “Hey, she is a smart Biochemist and a Jehovah’s Witness, and so you should be like smart people and become a Jehovah’s Witness!”

I think it might be beneficial to summarize what the Republicans would like:

  1. More War
  2. Ability to spy on all citizens
  3. We should all be Christians
  4. Ideally we should all be white – but will reluctantly take your vote if not white
  5. Restrict voting – they want less American citizens to be able to vote
  6. Build a wall with Mexico – Conflicts with all being Christian but point 4 cancels that out.
  7. Healthcare for less – Ensure the most needy cannot have healthcar

I think that’s enough for now and as I write them out my brain is screaming WTF???  Christians who do not espouse the value of Christianity are now the NEW Christian!

It is as though I’m watching a tragic comedy with the entire cast unaware of the incredible grand finale which is that Christianity is based upon beliefs that simply are not true!  Christianity as demonstrated in the Republican party is akin to a room full of young children debating the facts about Santa Claus.  He wears red, but some argue he must wear blue and so in their minds they have a blue Santa Claus and watch Fox news confirming their believe that Santa Claus must wear blue, and ride an elephant, even though if you truly look at him this really isn’t the case; but that doesn’t matter, they have formed an opinion and Santa Claus wears blue and rides an elephant.  And the kicker is that even though we have all this debate, and that people have believed in him for a very long time, and there are images of him everywhere, and we all get so excited about him, he really doesn’t exist, the whole thing is fantasy.  Well, Saint Nicholas did exist but St. Nick sure does not this resemble the image everyone is now comfortable with and calls Santa Claus today.

And Jesus is white and spoke English you know.

Well, my concentration was interrupted as I’ve had too much coffee and had to go pee for the third time.  I think I’ve made my point so I’ll be ending this post/rant soon.  I think a good way to sum up this post is with the following.

I had always believed that in the USA good would prevail, that we were the exception and our leaders would do the right thing.  I now know how how naive I was.  The USA is just a land, surrounded by imaginary borders/lines where groups will continually fight for power.  Superman is dead –  the Anti-Justice League has prevailed and now fights among themselves and lone good guys like Spiderman and Batman are powerless to stop them.  Even if the good politicians win a battle or two the bad guys will always win – they hold the trump card which is that money will always win.  If the idea of the USA could be summed up in one word it would now be money.  The USA exists to make the rich richer – that is all it is.

I just remembered something else I’d like to say.  The success of Donald Trump is the poison the Republican Party has been brewing for the past 8 years in a cauldron of hate and are now being forced to drink themselves.  Donald Trump is pure, ideological heroin, unadulterated and without chaser.  The mirror has been held up and instead of running in horror there is applause and smiling.  War, databases, reduced freedom, no healthcare.  I’m reminded of a line from Star Wars where Padme says, “This is how liberty dies, with thunderous applause.”

The decisions the USA is working through today, are going to have a profound effect on what this country looks like in the future.  Do we have a demagogue such as Donald Trump for President and start down that path of intolerance or not?  Shall I submit my schedule to homeland security every morning such as we do with flight plans?  This is pivotal point and I chuckle as it for some reason reminds me of a scene in Scrooge’s “A Christmas Carol.”  Daisy has just walked in to Scrooge’s counting house in a brief moment he can either get married to Daisy and live happily ever after or foreclose on her mortgage and doom himself to a life of unhappiness (but will have plenty of money!).  He chooses wrongly and this brings me to a later scene.

A lifetime later, Jiminy Cricket takes Scrooge back in time and shows him how he forwent his chance at happiness.  Scrooge is rather contrite and wishes he would have made the opposite choice after which Jiminy says “Remember Scrooge, you fashioned these memories yourself!”  I wonder if future school children fifty years from now will look back on this time like Scrooge looking in the window.  They might be conditioned to tell Jiminy Cricket that the decision to foreclose on the mortgage was the correct one and that by submitting their entire lives to review from the NSA they are being a patriotic citizen and if you don’t do so then you’re a terrorist.

Yes, this is a silly metaphor and hastily written as I sit here in my recliner, in front of the fireplace and have to pee again for the fourth time!  But it is true that societies throughout history have often not made the correct choice which has lead to dire consequences.  We are at such  moment now and the branch of history will soon split into two very different paths, only one of which we will take.  Do we go the route of intolerance and surveillance or not?  Will the citizens of the USA be able to muster enough support to make the right choices and force their leaders to acquiesce to these decisions?

I don’t know.  All I know is that I love the way the full moon illuminates much in a cold, lonely light before the sun has risen.  I love the silence and solitude of 4:00 AM out on my patio in warmer than usual weather.  I know I have to pee an unprecedented fifth time – what is in this coffee?? I enjoy writing here in this recliner, in front of a TV and Amish fireplace. I feel glad that I’ve finally written my opinions down and I feel sad that XKeyscore will probably flag me for surveillance since I keep a blog like this and have downloaded encryption tools such as Tor and Tails.  I’m depressed that our own government is fighting to take away our privacy.

But, I am not a radical, I just like to speak the truth and put down my thoughts in this blog.  I’ve become so disillusioned with the way our country is going that I may not even vote in the upcoming Presidential election.  All I can do is disconnect from the mainstream, turn off all the noise.  I’m saying goodbye to social, to entertainment aka news.  Like Agent Smith I want out of the Matrix and the way to do it is by withdrawing from the lobby commons and creating my own world which is closed.  I’ll decide who/what comes in.  All the notifications, all the social this and that, all the drama, all the noise are shut out.  I’ll create a place of calm in my own mind and the physical world around me will be a reflection.  After all, does anything really exist until we perceive it?



The Republican Clown Train

The American public is tired of the Republican Clown Train (see Rolling Stone article below.) It’s time to go full on Crazy Train people – the ultimate and final destination of American democracy!!! Let’s exercise our full potential people!

Vermin Supreme

The Vermin Supreme

Rolling Stone Article – Inside the GOP Clown Car

God Bless the USA political system!

Ozzy Crazy Train

ISIS, Paris and Facebook

I haven’t been very active with this blog in quite a while except for the occasional post here and there.  It is not as though I do not have time, I’d say it is due more to apathy, laziness and most recently World of Warcraft.

When I was traveling overseas, single and studying languages the world was an exciting place and I was bursting with thoughts I wanted to write about.  But these past few years the motivation to write is on life support due to two young boys, an overdose of information turned entertainment churned out by the media and I’ve had my fill of inane, uninformed comments about world events on the social media.  Over time it seemed much more preferable to spend my time leveling up my Warlock.

What I’d like to focus on in this post is social media and a serious lack of empathy for refugees fleeing war and strife.  It is amazing to see how quickly people can become self centered, jingoist and generally unpleasant depending on the nonsense vomited out by national media.

Then we see people like Petra Laszlo – a Hungarian whore kicking and tripping refugee kids!  She is the Hungarian version of Anne Coulter  two women who – if this was a just world – should be launched into the sea for shark food.  These two represent the worst of humanity and rightly deserve the scorn they receive.

The refugees are human beings and through no fault of their own are simply trying to survive and provide a much better life for their families.  Should anyone be put in their position we would all do the same.

The way refugees are being treated is something that will be looked back upon with shame by humanity.  This type of behavior shows that we really aren’t really better than the animals we are descended from.

Well, as I said my motivation is on life support and I think I’ll end this post now.

Terrorists, Refugees and Love

It has been a very long time since I’ve written a post.  With two young children free time is non-existent and domestic life takes over.

Recent events such as the terrorist attacks in Paris, and frankly, all over the world have been on my mind and I wanted to write something.

On the social media sites one sees opinions of all stripes.  People talk about the refugees as though they are to be feared, and out of fear they get angry and want to shut borders.  There are many arguments in favor of both sides – well written – and it is at this time some guidance is necessary.

I find it is most effective to go to a source that influences most of humanity which is religion and seeing as I’m most familiar with the Christian faith I have a verse ready.

“‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than this.”

If religion isn’t your thing then I’d like to offer a wonderful verse from the Black Eyed Peas.

“But if you only have love for your own race
Then you only leave space to discriminate
And to discriminate only generates hate
And when you hate then you’re bound to get irate, yeah

Madness is what you demonstrate
And that’s exactly how anger works and operates
Man, you gotta have love just to set it straight
Take control of your mind and meditate
Let your soul gravitate to the love, y’all, y’all

There is only one way out of this and that is to love everyone.  To love everyone is something we as human beings have a very hard time doing.  We are worried that that our way of life will change, we worry that violence will ensue in our own borders, we worry that the values we hold dear will be diluted.

None of this drama will end until we learn to love everyone and to turn the other cheek.  Instead, the media and governments always want to attack.  We must ask ourselves how terrorists came to be that way and honestly address it.  Does anyone really want to blow themselves up if they do not think they have been seriously aggrieved?  Would a terrorist” really prefer to blow themselves up instead of raising a family and sending their children to school?

The media fails to address the causes of terrorism and only focuses on the results.  We focus on the details and not the overall solution which has already been provided to us by great prophets/wise men and women.

Love is the solution: if there were more love in the world instead of a quest for money and power we would find peace.  Fighting is not the answer.  Work for justice and peace will follow.  Or as Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  This would solve all problems.

Bring the love back, because the opposite is too tough to bear for any human being.


Visiting Spanish Missions in California

It has been a long while since my last post.  This is directly due to to my second child and I’ve quickly learned that with only one child there is still free time, but with two all personal time no longer exists.  There is no time to read much about history, study more language, ponder the big questions.

There is no time.

But today, I find myself with an hour of freedom and am determined to get this post written.

Here in California I really enjoy visiting the old Spanish Missions whenever I’m traveling and one happens to be close by.   I enjoy all things Spain related as I spent time studying in both Spain and Mexico and became completely enraptured by the culture, history and language that these experiences completely changed the course of my life.  To walk into an ancient church turned mosque reconfigured back into a church in Toledo Spain it is almost as though you can feel the history, like humidity enveloping your body, is truly a mystical experience; if one sits quietly you can almost hear whispers of long dead worshipers and see an ethereal procession of medieval clergy.  

Toledo, Spain

I remember going to the top of the school tower on a warm Spanish night in Toledo and looking over the dimly lit city.  I imagined the gentle breeze brought with it the clanks of armor, the murmur of shouts and thud of thousands of feet of a Moorish army advancing in the distance to my ears.  I was there waiting for them 1000 years later expecting that just maybe our thoughts and emotions may leave an eternal impression in some unperceived reality where time does not exist and perhaps we might sense each other if only for an instant, like the flicker of a firefly.

2th January conquest of Granada
The Conquest of Granada

Through books I was there, when the Templars conquered Granada and I’ve touched the Alhambra.  I followed their descendants from their poor, dirty villages to Cadiz where they embarked on an adventure of exploration never to return home.  I was there in Vera Cruz when the arrived after a long and arduous journey across the Atlantic only to find themselves at the beginning of another; this time over the land of New Spain filled with indigenous inhabitants whose civilization has been laid to waste by countrymen.  

Mission at Carmel

And here I am at the end of their journey, one of the farthest points from Spain, in a wild, dry wilderness that seems to offer nothing but bare, brown hills, an unforgiving perilous ocean and over one thousand ways to die.  I stand at the very spot where they erected the cross in a quest to bring all souls to their God by whatever means necessary.  I know what they did to the Native Americans and see the brutal scars they created upon innocents with their righteous wrath.  I hear the cries of the Indian children as they were taken from their parents and locked away in this house of hell. 

But these images of the past fade and as I look around and see modern people of every race carrying electronic wizardry to capture an exact replica on tiny screens of whatever catches their eye.  I see them arrive in self propelled carriages and realize from their languages they arrived on this very spot from very remote corners of the globe with minimal effort and I am astounded at how advanced humanity has become since the founding of this mission.

father serra-Landing
Leon Trousset Founding Painting

 I see them touching the statues believing they will receive divine power, sprinkling themselves with water in that they will enter a state of grace and making the same signs that the Spanish explorers would have done in the painting on the wall.  I think that for those explorers none of them would have had the opportunity to go to a university and spend many years in the pursuit of nothing but knowledge and learning.  But looking at my fellow visitors I believe at least half would have gone to a university and more than a few became people of science.  Yet here they are, doing as was done over 200 years ago.  

Mission at Carmel

I see them making the religious signs and kneeling to pray to a statue.  For them this is the sacred act of contrition, a gesture which unites them with the creator.  All of this in a place that was built on the slavery and forced servitude of the Native Americans.  They pray to the image and bones of Junipero Serra asking for healing, asking for forgiveness, asking for favors.  What almost every visitor fails to understand is that they kneel also upon the bones of thousands of the Native Americans that were tortured, enslaved and ultimately wiped out by the Spanish and their religion.  They submit themselves to the porcelain figures which presided over an absolute genocide and did not shed a tear.  

I see the Filipinos and the Mexicans prostrate themselves to a religion that invaded their lands, killed their people, ended their ancient civilizations and wonder why the ghosts of their warrior ancestors do not return in a blinding, ghastly rage to smash the idols of the oppressors and to scream and wail among the pews.

Then I realized I’ve completed my tour and go to lunch.  



Vietnam 40 years on: how a communist victory gave way to capitalist corruption | News | The Guardian

The long read: After the military victory, Vietnam’s socialist model began to collapse. Cut off by US-led trade embargos and denied reconstruction aid, it plunged into poverty. Now its economy is booming – but so is inequality and corruption

Source: Vietnam 40 years on: how a communist victory gave way to capitalist corruption | News | The Guardian