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Thursday, November 21, 2019

And There It Is - Editorial, The Week in Review


Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
11.21.2019

And There It Is


Donald Trump’s hand selected Ambassador to the European Union; Hotelier, Gordon Sondland, testified yesterday before the House Intelligence Committee, concerning the impeachment inquiry of the President of the United States.

There was a lot of anticipation regarding his testimony, prior to his appearance yesterday he was forced to amend his previous deposition as other people testified and contradicted his account of the events he had become enmeshed in as Donald Trump’s proxy to the government of Ukraine.

People were openly speculating if he would change his testimony again, perhaps to shield Trump, or simply go neutral, claim to not remember things, defer, and delay and give nothing. Instead he gave Trump’s entire plot away, he gave up everything he knew of it, he gave up Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney who was Trump’s point man on the scheme to bribe and extort Ukraine. He gave up the Vice President Mike Pence, Donald Trump’s chief of staff and budget director, Mick Mulvaney, he gave up Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and he gave up Secretary of Energy, Rick Perry, and National Security Advisor John Bolton.

Gordon Sondland articulated in no uncertain terms that all of these men were either active participants in, or actively knew of this conspiracy to withhold congressionally approved aid for Ukraine in exchange for a political favor to help Donald Trump, and there it is.

The crime cannot stand. If Donald Trump is not removed from office he will continue to abuse the power and authority of the office of the President of the United States for his own benefit, to line his pockets, or attack his enemies.

All people of good conscience are duty bound to support the impeachment of Donald Trump, his removal from office, and to forbid him from ever holding the public trust again.

If you have ever sworn an oath to protect and defend the constitution of the United States, you must stand against Donald Trump.

The republic, our democracy and the rule of law hang in the balance.

…and there it is.



Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Surfing with the Alien


A simple gesture
From the Destroyer of Worlds
A wordless command

The bright herald moves
A brilliant light, fire, doom
His master hungers

The Devourer
To pluck a world like ripe fruit
Press the life from it

Galactus has come
Prayers go forth, their pleas unheard
Swallowed in the void

Drifting and lifeless
Silent on the solar wind
The world sucked lifeless

The end of all hope
Herald of the burning fire
The Silver Surfer

Monday, November 18, 2019

Emergence 4.0 - Part Seven, War; Chapter Forty-four, Loyalties


Week 46, 2019


The Imperial system did everything it could to sew divisions among the people; to sew division between individuals, families, tribes, and worlds, between castes, and between ranks, keeping them all in competition for the most basic things, all the way down to food and water, whatever each class and caste needed most to survive.

The Empire was masterful at it.

Paradoxically, it managed to foment all of that division, by dogmatically focusing the attention of every person on the things that actually united them.

Many things united the people of the Empire, such as; language, cult and custom.

Brothers and sisters, cousins, they might compete tirelessly with one another for position in their family unit, but they would reflexively protect the social status of the family itself, just as families would do within their tribal and national structures, or as tribes and nations would relate to their home world.

Fear, and hope were among the most powerful forces establishing this mutuality, and commonality throughout the worlds. There was perpetual conflict, politicking, and maneuvering for gain.

The children of the Ancients evolved in different ways, on their disparate worlds, developing different genetic endowments to manage with differing gravity, differing atmospheres and sources of nutrition. They looked up at different stars, and each world contemplated a different fate.

Their genetic similarities united them.

Remaining unified was a critical component of survival, but the things that differentiated people from one another remained primary.

Nobody was satisfied with their position in society.

Everyone dreamed of advancing to the next level, it was the constant preoccupation of the masses. They desired advancement, either in this life or the next, every detail of their lives was subordinated to this ambition and nothing else mattered.

The people lived in a perpetual state of fear, or unease. They believed their safety and security depended on it.

Even the highest ranking members of the Imperial family were caught up in the notion of advancement, only they knew the truth concerning the end game and their desire was eternal life in the Continuum.

Complacency was abhorrent. Advancement was incumbent on the individual, to push themselves and their families forward. It required cooperative effort, and it could not be done alone.

They referred to it as the ladder of divine ascent.

People were conditioned to loath their own place, but when threatened they would reach out to those closest to them for safety, their sameness reflexively united them.

There was safety in numbers.

The people were united by tribe, clan, village and world; as well as by class, by rank and station, by fear and loathing. This was the result of the Imperial conditioning.

The Imperial schools and the religion of the Empire were extremely adept at concretizing this divisive mode of ideation.

Nevertheless, in every generation, on every world and in virtually every tribe there were those who were born seemingly immune to the coercive controls of the Imperium.

These precious few were motivated by love and altruism, they cared little for their rank, they saw themselves as a part of the greater whole and it did not require effort for them to think this way

It came to them naturally.

The Continuum saw them as dangerous. When it identified them it used them as the key figures in its dramas.

The Empire was vast, stretching like a net through the center of the galaxy.

It was comprised of a million worlds.

The Empire was a necklace of planets strung like gems among the stars, each of them was the locus of identity for the ordinary citizen who inhabited it.

Outcasts were never sanctioned to leave the surface of their world, unless it was to serve in the off world mines.

The serving class; merchants and bureaucrats, farmers and laborers might leave their own world for another in their solar system, but such travel was rare.

Soldiers and priests ventured into deep space with regularity in the performance of their duties, both for combat and for holy pilgrimages. 

Every person was marked by the world they lived on, they were genetically aligned to its exigencies; to their planet’s gravity, the composition of its atmosphere, the unique threats rising from a planet’s closed biological system and to the light of their star. 

Every person was marked by their world in ways that were both obvious and hidden. In ways that were clearly discernable to the naked eye, and in ways that would only be revealed in an autopsy or under the microscope.

Every person on every world was a descendent of the ancient race of people who first explored the stars, of those who engineered the Collective.

In this way they belonged to one another, and that belonging was constantly reinforced through the Imperial Cult, and the Imperial Schools.

Life had been found on millions of other planets, the Ancient Race had seeded some of it in advance of their colonists arriving there but people, sentient people had never been discovered anywhere else in the galaxy.

Every person was uniquely formed by their own planet, and they shared that common core with their fellow citizens. It superseded everything including language, which itself is amorphous, changing all the time.

The Imperial Schools attempted to normalize linguistics throughout the million worlds of the Empire. They were continuously falling short of their goal.

People speak in codes, in patterns constructed from shared experience, patterns that change rapidly in both space and time; from one village to the next, from planet to planet and generation to generation.

It was a prime example of the chaos inherent in civilization

The mission to normalize languages never ended. The Imperial schools were in a constant state of reaction to the new patterns of linguistics that developed from one era to the next; encountering it, learning from it, reacting to it, influencing it if they could. 

Change was the only constant.

Despite the continuous efforts of the Imperial Schools, variation persisted, colloquial patterns bonded people to one another, those patterns were an unconscious manifestation of shared suffering; of triumph, of joy, of anger and of esteem. 

Language was the architecture of hope and of resentment both, and that is why the Continuum wanted so badly to control it. Citizens projected their desires for themselves and their families with language. They organized their resistance to the powers that ruled them with the same.

Every rebellion was hidden in secret language, and the full weight of the drama was contained therein.

Language patterns were buried in the ganglia of the central nervous system, they were transferred from one generation to the next as a genetic endowment, and it was a language game that allowed the ancient people to develop the science that created the Collective, with the Continuum as its ultimate end.

The bonds between people, even members of the same family were flimsy, they were unreliable, but some were stronger than others.

People found one another through the things they desired most, bonding with each other through their joy and pain, they gravitated toward the same places. They were even shepherded to those places, to encounter one another through the ever-watchful eyes of the Continuum, which knew the secret musings of their hearts.

There were often elements of contrivance behind even seemingly random encounters, the manipulations behind them were so fine and remote that the individuals involved in them had no ability to detect them. They were doing the bidding of the Continuum nonetheless.

They were cultivated for the drama they would deliver to the Collective.

Shared experiences were the strongest ties, and because of this people unconsciously sabotaged themselves, undercut their hopes for advancement, so that they could remain in proximity to those they loved.

Some would sacrifice their health, their freedom, their future for fleeting moments of pleasure, temporalities that were gone and forgotten as quickly as they came, and the satisfaction of their desire.

Through this medium, incredible tragedies would unfold, as ephemeral as the petals of a flower opening in the moonlight, when for a few brief seconds with no one there to witness it, the flower opens and petals drop.

Children would destroy their parents.

Brothers and sisters would plot against each other.

Parents would sell their children, would devour them to satisfy their hunger for the thing they desired.

Desire would lead a person to walk with open eyes through the gates of hell, embracing their own destruction.

The Collective thirsted for this drama and the Continuum delivered.

Fear was the great lever, the most commonly used instrument in the tool chest of the Imperial conditioners for the coercion and manipulation of the masses.

Fear made the lives, the choices and behaviors of the citizenry more predictable than any other factor.

The Continuum relied on the power of fear more than any other device to achieve its ends in the great dramas it created.

The Imperial Cult had conditioned the people into an absolute belief in the laws that governed death and rebirth, so that even the prospect of death could not overcome the power of fear.

The people projected the dilemmas they faced in this life through their present circumstances, carrying them forward into the world they believed was coming.

Even the most ordinary person believed that every choice they made would echo in eternity.

Fear poisoned the body and it shaped consciousness in the electromagnetic field. Its power was a weight that pressed down on everyone and everything at every moment of a person’s life.

No one could escape it.

Fear was the most powerful emotion, it was stronger than hope, stronger than desire, stronger than hate, virtually every thought and feeling would bend before it.

The influence of fear was all pervasive, its force was like gravity.

Fear catalyzed all of the lesser emotions, tainting them. It conditioned every feeling so that every expression of emotion was a reflection of it.

The one-and-only force of emotion that seemed to be stronger than fear, was love.

The power of love was tested time and time again, every possible manifestation of love was scrutinized by the Continuum.

It was proven.

Love is stronger than fear, stronger than any power that the Continuum could set against it, and true love was exceedingly rare, but through the power of love a person came into their true self, and was able to transcend all the limitations which they had theretofore been beset by.

The love of a mother for her child was the greatest and most genuine source of love, but as children grew into adults and left their families it began to wane.

Competition and desire ate away at the bonds of familial love, more often than not, leaving it in shreds and tatters.

Among every one of the million worlds that constituted the great galactic civilization, the Imperial cult worked tirelessly to frustrate the reality of love, while the Continuum documented in the most intimate details the methods by which love could be undone.

These machinations produced the greatest dramas, the most intense experiences for the Continuum to share with the Collective.

Love is a feeling, like fear, and joy, but love is more, it is a choice made freely by an individual.

Love is the exercise of a fundamental option.

The loving person has made a commitment to see the world and their relationships in a certain way, when this choice is true, it becomes interwoven with the identity of that person.

Fear and hate, anger and desire these were powerful motivators of people, motivating them through coercion, whereas love is choice made in freedom.


Emergence 4.0
Part Seven, War

Chapter Forty-four, Loyalties
A Novel – In One Chapter Per Week

#Emergence #ShortFiction #365SciFi #OneChapterPerWeek

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Sunday, November 17, 2019

A Homily - Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)


First Reading – Malachi 3:19-20 ©
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 97(98):5-9 ©
Second Reading - 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12 ©
Gospel Acclamation – Luke 21:36
Alternative Acclamation – Luke 21:28
The Gospel According to Luke 21.5 - 19 ©


Listen!

One thing is not the same as another. There is good and there is evil and the difference between these two things matters.

While it is true that God loves us no matter what we do, and it is true that the creator of the universe has promised to right all wrongs; the fulfillment of those promises takes place in eternity. While that plan is in place, nevertheless, we must still live with the consequences of our actions in the world.

Mind yourself, and your ambitions, your relationships with your family and with your neighbors, with the stranger in your company, even with your adversary.

Do good and avoid evil.

Heal the sick and do not cause suffering. Feed the hungry, clothe the naked. House the homeless.

Love mercy and seek justice all the days of your life.

Contemplate the ways of the loving God, and emulate them.

This is the way that Jesus instructed us in, nothing is more important.

Be mindful!

It is right and good to praise God the creator, because creation is miraculous, and its scope beyond human comprehension.
But know this!

God does not grant victories. God has no enemies; in God, within whom all things exist and have their being, there is no conflict.

It is not God’s justice that is shown in the machinations of human beings, it is human justice, and when human justice approximates the justice of God, justice appears hand in hand with mercy, and that is good.

God is kind and faithful to all people without exception.

God’s power is everywhere, animating the voices that give God praise, as well as those who doubt and cry out against God’s ways.

If you are an instrument of justice, judge fairly, judge kindly, remembering that God is love.

Remember this, and feed the people.

Do not treat food as a wage.

Give to the hungry, this is the way that Jesus taught us.

Consider the words of Saint Paul and know that they can only apply in times of great scarcity, when the whole community is in need, and the food that is available must go to those who are tasked with the survival of the community itself, to those for whom sustenance is necessary, because without their labor the community would perish.

Then and only then can Saint Paul’s rule apply.

In times of abundance do not refuse to feed anyone, even the miscreant and the sloucher.

Be mindful, weigh the text of Scripture carefully. There are many places where error has crept in and the teachings of Jesus have been subverted to the shortsightedness of human beings.

God, the creator of the universe made us, God made our world and the universe free. God does not interfere or intervene in our lives and our choices. The only futures we can predict are those that flow naturally from their antecedents, from the choices we are making in the present.

Pay no attention to those who use fear to shape their faith, or yours.

They are liars.

God wills that you live a life without fear, and the things that flow from fear; hate, anger, greed, and violence.

Consider the Gospel for today:

Jesus did not utter these words. They were penned by the gospel writers, written years after the temple in Jerusalem had been destroyed, years after the war with Rome that led to its destruction, and years after they were expelled from Roman occupied Palestine.

Jesus was not a fortuneteller, he did not predict the future.

God, the creator of the universe, God has not preordained anything.

Do not be deceived; these are the best words, the best advice for living in the way.

Do not be deceived.

Many will come and claim to be Jesus, or to speak for Jesus. Every generation has such pretenders.

Do not be deceived, do not deceive yourself!

The gospel writers were pretending to be Jesus when they put words in his mouth that he never spoke. They thought they were doing good. Most of those who pretend to be Jesus think they are doing something good, or at the least they think they are doing something necessary. The gospel writers were no different in this.

Do not be deceived, and do not be afraid.

The world will continue to be a violent and unsafe place. We live in a hard and dangerous world.

Have hope.

If you dedicate your life to challenging those in power, you must expect that the powerful will act against you.

If you should find yourself in court simply because you are working on behalf of the poor and the marginalized, do not worry about your defense.

Your actions will speak for themselves.

Speak truth at all times, including to the powerful, they need to hear it most of all.

Love mercy, seek justice and walk uprightly all the days of your life.


First Reading – Malachi 3:19-20 ©

For You the Sun of Righteousness Will Shine Out

The day is coming now, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and the evil-doers will be like stubble. The day that is coming is going to burn them up, says the Lord of Hosts, leaving them neither root nor stalk. But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness will shine out with healing in its rays.


Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 97(98):5-9 ©

The Lord comes to rule the peoples with fairness.

Sing psalms to the Lord with the harp
  with the sound of music.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
  acclaim the King, the Lord.

The Lord comes to rule the peoples with fairness.

Let the sea and all within it, thunder;
  the world, and all its peoples.
Let the rivers clap their hands
  and the hills ring out their joy
  at the presence of the Lord.

The Lord comes to rule the peoples with fairness.

For the Lord comes,
  he comes to rule the earth.
He will rule the world with justice
  and the peoples with fairness.

The Lord comes to rule the peoples with fairness.


Second Reading - 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12 ©

Do Not Let Anyone Have Food if He Refuses to Work

You know how you are supposed to imitate us: now we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we ever have our meals at anyone’s table without paying for them; no, we worked night and day, slaving and straining, so as not to be a burden on any of you. This was not because we had no right to be, but in order to make ourselves an example for you to follow.

We gave you a rule when we were with you: do not let anyone have any food if he refuses to do any work. Now we hear that there are some of you who are living in idleness, doing no work themselves but interfering with everyone else’s. In the Lord Jesus Christ, we order and call on people of this kind to go on quietly working and earning the food that they eat.


Gospel Acclamation – Luke 21:36

Alleluia, alleluia!

Stay awake, praying at all times
for the strength to stand with confidence
before the Son of Man.

Alleluia!

Alternative Acclamation – Luke 21:28

Alleluia, alleluia!

Stand erect, hold your heads high,
because your liberation is near at hand.

Alleluia!


The Gospel According to Luke 21.5 - 19 ©

The Destruction of the Temple Foretold…

When some were talking about the Temple, remarking how it was adorned with fine stonework and votive offerings, Jesus said, ‘All these things you are staring at now – the time will come when not a single stone will be left on another: everything will be destroyed.’ And they put to him this question: ‘Master,’ they said ‘when will this happen, then, and what sign will there be that this is about to take place?’

  ‘Take care not to be deceived,’ he said ‘because many will come using my name and saying, “I am he” and, “The time is near at hand.” Refuse to join them. And when you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened, for this is something that must happen but the end is not so soon.’ Then he said to them, ‘Nation will fight against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes and plagues and famines here and there; there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.
  
‘But before all this happens, men will seize you and persecute you; they will hand you over to the synagogues and to imprisonment, and bring you before kings and governors because of my name – and that will be your opportunity to bear witness. Keep this carefully in mind: you are not to prepare your defence, because I myself shall give you an eloquence and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relations and friends; and some of you will be put to death. You will be hated by all men on account of my name, but not a hair of your head will be lost. Your endurance will win you your lives.’


Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Five More Years…Really, Is that what you Really Want - Editorial, The Week in Review


Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
11.16.2019

Five More Years…Really, Is that what you Really Want?


I would love to hear this question get put to republican lawmakers every single day:

Do you really want another five years of Donald Trump?

Do you really want to have to answer to this lunatic, to answer for his corruption, to answer for his crimes every single day for the next five years, five months, five days?

Do you think it is good for America?

Does it make you look like a rational actor, a reasonable person, a good policy maker to have to defend all of Donald Trump’s lies, his self-aggrandizement, his profiteering from his office?

How can this be what you want for yourself, your constituents, your party or the country?

How can it be?

Do you think it will get better or worse if by some miracle he gets reelected, and at the same time the voters do not hold you accountable for your failure to uphold your oath?

Donald Trump, with the help of the Russians cheated and therefore stole the election in 2016, In your heart you know this is true.

He is trying to do the same thing again, this time he is trying to do it in lain sight.

You do not have to let him.

Trust me, if you take the time now to exercise some political courage, you will be rewarded. As much as I disagree with your right-wing agenda, your agenda will be better served. More importantly, the country will be better served…right now we should all e able to come together and agree that this is the most important thing.

Impeach Donald Trump, remove him from office, and bar him from seeking office ever again.

Do it now, find your courage, there is no time to waste.  


Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Promises


Visions of love, spin
The threads of promises, dreams
Woven in the shadows

Moments of regret
Memories like tapestries
Glitter with pyrite

Scattered on the light
A visitation of ghosts
Fools with promises

Monday, November 11, 2019

Nabokov on a Yellow Post-It ©


I found a square of paper, a sticky quadrilateral, I found it
A blank parallelogram, a golden-yellow rhombus, I found
The empty plane of a Post-it note, waiting to be filled  
I found a square of paper, discarded in the trash, I saw
Its tightly woven mesh, a golden-yellow net, and then
I found a thought, it fluttered by, these inky-blue letters
The inspiration of a butterfly, trapped between right angels

I thought of Nobokov, a man in love with butterflies
More so than he was with prose, he spilled more ink to record
The subtle variegations, the micro-changes in coloration
Of a butterfly’s wings, denoting their migrations
Than he ever did composing his tomes of poetry and fictions

I remember as a boy, I was told to be careful with butterflies
I was instructed that the barest touch, would brush the “magic”
Dust from their wings, without which they could not fly

A butterfly is pixie-like; floating, flying, gravity defying
Barrie wrote, that with a sprinkle of pixie dust (and a laugh)
The heroine Wendy took flight, she went to war with a pirate
Whose only fear was time, the thing old Hook panicked by
The tick-tock turn of the hands of a clock, Wendy flew
She fought, for the pipe-playing-boy-god (who she loved)
She laughed and went soaring with a Titan named Pan
Carried wingless into the heavens on clouds of pixie-dust

All butterflies bear his image, the face of the horned God
Dancing in the wind, goat-footed Pan the God of wild places
Timeless Pan, God of loneliness and madness, the God of shock
Of feral desire, traits all boys are taught to temper, or become    
Lost in the haunts of the inner child, untamed and wild

Nabokov loved butterflies, the chrysalis, he loved beauty
To witness it emerging in the metamorphosis of a worm
He loved the tragedian, the anti-hero, and the tragedy itself
The destruction of tyrants…of self, he basked in the subversion
Of old age and corruption, in the morass of a wild youth
And its lament, he caught in his pages, like a poem on a Post-It
The fragile nature of longing, as delicate as the netted butterfly
That once acquired, lives but a few moments until it expires

Veteran’s Day - A Holiday Reflection


Today is Veteran’s Day, November 11th.

Today we commemorate the anniversary of the end of World War I, the war to end all wars, we were told, though regrettably it was not.

I am a veteran, as is my father and some few of my friends (very few).

From the end of World War I, until 1954, we celebrated this day as Armistice Day, as a remembrance of that moment in that first great-global-conflict, when the fighting stopped along the lines, in the trenches at the fronts.

It stopped suddenly, it stopped all at once.

It came to a halt at the eleventh hour, on the eleventh day of the eleventh month; as if the war had a director who yelled “cut!” And all the actors on the stage, all the pawns in the field, all the millions of people in their graves could get up from what they were doing and go home.

That is not what happened.

That never happens.

Nearly twenty million people were killed in World War I, twenty million families broken, with many millions more suffering in the aftermath.

World War I was perceived by those who endured it as so horrible that it would end war itself, end it for all time, but that would not be the case.

The gods of war are busy, always
The conflicts they sew never end, not ever
We hunger and we thirst for war
It is the failure of humanity

Today is the feast of Saint Martin of Tours. He is the patron saint of soldiers, St. Martin of the Sword, he is called.

Saint Martin was the first Christian Soldier.

It was in recognition of him, and his feast that this date was selected to bring World War I to a close.

It might have come sooner for the soldiers in the struggle, but the politicians acting like art directors wanted to wait for a symbolic moment, to bring the curtain down.

11:11:11

The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, it was easy to remember.   

Pope, Saint Gregory the Great, the man who gave us the modern calendar, he was the one who penned Saint Martin’s hagiography. Though it is not likely that Martin ever even lived. Most of Gregory’s writings were works of fiction, either cut from whole cloth, or steeped and dyed from a scintilla of truth.

All the great Popes were great prevaricators, and great recipients of the penchant for falsehood.

Even if the life of Saint Martin was based on the life of a real person, his hagiography is a fiction nevertheless, our celebration of him is a piece of propaganda, it is just another terrible lie.

Saint Martin’s hagiography is a fable, penned with a terrible purpose, through it Pope Saint Gregory gave permission for Christians to takes up arms.

He gave Christian soldiers leave to march to war, a vocation which had been theretofore forbidden to the followers of Jesus, and a matter of deep contention in the Church.

The spirits of conflict have a will of their own…their will is our own human nature.

There is no god of war, there are only human pretenders.

In 1954, President Eisenhower, the man who had been the Supreme Allied Commander in World War II, he changed the nature of the November 11th holiday; from Armistice to Veteran’s Day, in honor of all Veterans who had fought in any conflict, anywhere in the world.

Friend or foe, ally or adversary, we celebrate the courage of the average person, woman or man, who was willing to risk everything for their tribe, their nation or their clan.

That is what we celebrate today on Veteran’s Day.

We do not celebrate the end of war, because it seems that war itself will never end.

We do not celebrate the fictional life of a fictional saint, whose usefulness as a tool of propaganda suggested that it was possible to serve Jesus with a sword, and we do not celebrate the lie that peace could ever be the fruit of war.

The fruit of peace springs from a different seed altogether.

What we celebrate today is the character of those men and women who have had the courage to enlist, to risk their lives for the sake of their sisters and brothers, whether at home or beside them in the field.

We should always celebrate that quality of character, while simultaneously naming the flaws in our own that lead us to war; fear and greed, anger and hatred, all of our calamitous attributes.

The spirits of conflict have a will of their own…the children of Aries; Fear, Panic and Strife, they own a piece of us each of us.

We are possessed.

One hundred years after the end of World War I, we are still waging war all around the world. We the United States of America are waging war in Afghanistan, in Africa, selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, fighting a war by proxy with Iran in Yemen, and feeding other conflicts in every sector of the globe.

I served in the Navy as a Hospital Corpsman, from 1990 – 1994.

I served during the first Gulf War, though I did not serve in the theatre of combat where we killed 300,000 Iraqi people in the space of a few months.

My father served for twenty-two years; the first four as a Marine, the next eighteen in the Air Force. Our nation went to war once during that time, in Southeast Asia where my father served multiple tours of duty, a war in which we killed 3,000,000 people of Vietnam.

We have killed millions more in many other nations in the decades since then, leaving millions of families broken.

We are terrible, profligate killers, we are experts at it, we Americans.

In the last few weeks we have been talking about how the President of the United States sold out the Kurdish people, a people without a country who have been serving, fighting and dying beside us for the last several years in our conflict with the soldiers of the Islamic State,

He sold them out to the Turks, who immediately set out on a campaign of ethnic cleansing against them. Those same Kurdish people in the weeks leading up to Donald Trump’s betrayal of them, turned over intelligence that led to the killing of the ISIS leader, and Donald Trump took credit for that.

We have been talking about how the President of the United States, in an effort to extort the people of Ukraine withheld vital military support from them, support they needed to defend themselves from the constant pressure of Russian incursion, he withheld that aid because he thought it would benefit his own narrow political interests, and because he believed it would benefit a man he is beholden too; Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia.

Today that same man will participate in a ceremony that honors the lives of fallen soldiers, a man who never served, who lied to avoid the draft, a man without a shred of honor.

It remains true that every bullet we fire, every missile we launch, each of them is an admission of our failure as diplomats and as human beings.

Violence does not beget peace. Violence it begets violence, and so it will always be that way.

Only peace and reconciliation can bring about peace reconciliation.

Love one another; pay respect to the inherent dignity of every human being, regardless of your disagreements, regardless of the pain you are carrying from your past.

To be free from the repercussions of our history of violence requires that we forgive one another and seek forgiveness for ourselves.

If you want to honor our Veteran’s then commit yourself to meet conflict with love, respect all people, even your adversary, this is the thanks you can give to a Veteran today.