Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The UN and the Coca Leaf

The United Nations is about to make another big mistake, reprising their decision to add the coca leaf to a compendium of illicit drugs including heroin and opium as they did in 1961. Unless, that is, Bolivia's request to amend the requirement to ban the chewing, brewing and other uses of the coca leaf for traditionally religious and medicinal purposes, is granted.

I am neither Bolivian, nor a part of any indigenous society. I am a U.S. citizen appalled by the injustice of the 1961 decision by the UN and the United States' role in condoning the ban as well as continuing the eradication of the coca leaf program as part as the war on drugs. I was raised in Bolivia for five of my childhood years and continue to identify with the natives as part of my own family. Yes, I learned about coca and drank coca tea on recent trips to Peru and Bolivia and I am not alone. You may be surprised to learn that mate' de coca is commonly served to visiting diplomats to counter the effects of "soroche," the high-altitude sickness for which many visitors are unprepared.

The indigenous peoples of Latin America have been using the sacred coca leaf for centuries for the reasons cited above -- it is their right to do so. It is our responsibility to keep some greedy so and so from isolating one of fourteen alkaloids in the coca leaf and mixing it with toxic substances to create cocaine (I am no chemist, but this is what I've read). I'm not sure what the U. S. can do to prevent it, but the abysmal failure of the "war on drugs" for the last forty years speaks volumes that IT is not the right way.

The U.S. should not be involved in abrogating the rights of the indigenous population of Latin America; it is in direct violation of the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples to which President Obama belatedly agreed in December while addressing an august body of over 500 federally recognized Native American nations.

There is an ancient prophecy extant in Latin America today that says that when the eagle flies with the condor there will be peace among nations. The eagle represents western civilization with its emphasis on technology, commerce and modern pill-popping pharmacology while the condor embodies the indigenous peoples of the world, respecting earth and earth's creatures as well as the natural curatives the earth provides (e.g. the coca leaf).

Perhaps it is time for the eagle to join with the condor; perhaps it is time to learn from each other and respect each others' rights to live our lives with respect, maintaining our dignity and traditions. If we learn to respect ancient tradition, perhaps then we can heal the rifts between the U. S. and left-leaning countries such as Bolivia and Venezuela. We can not expect the entire world to follow our principles in governing and tradition, but that should not mean we can't get along; why can't we respect that?

As Evo Morales said during his campaign for president of Bolivia, "Coca si, Cocaina, no."

Friday, January 21, 2011

So Long, Michael Steele

I will miss your smiling face and your incredible ebullience. There's a place for you. Be grateful it's not heading up this bunch of wimpy, over the hill, ungrateful rabbits, scared of their own shadow. They tried to reign you in, but you couldn't be controlled. I admire that. Good luck to you for a new and exciting future.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

"...a new generation of Americans..."

A small tribute to JFK on the 50th anniversary of his inaugural address.

I, friends, remember that day very well, an icy January morning with frost tweaking the noses of attendees and Frost (Robert) having to resort to reciting a poem from memory rather than reading the one he had written especially for the occasion because of being blinded by the sun. I remember the top hat JFK refused to wear and Jackie's elegance in spite of being so close to delivering John-John.

I tend to wax sentimental when I talk of those times. Fact is, it was different back then. Politics was still politics but with an element of civility--ah, yes, a topic much discussed this past week ad nauseum. And only ten days after the tragedy in Tucson, we've got some congressman from Tennessee insisting on the House floor that GOP lies on health reform are reminiscent of Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels. So much for civility. Check out Google's logo for the JFK anniversary -- it was extremely well done -- awesome, in fact.

Monday, January 10, 2011

"A City upon a Hill."

Now that I've had my rant about our gun control laws (please see yesterday's blog) and have viewed Deepak Chopra on the Dylan Rattigan Show (MSNBC), I feel less angry.

Deepak advises us all to send out "peace," peace to the world, actually, using the tools we as humans have devised for peaceful, rather than for evil intent.

I pass that advice along to all of you who read my blog: send "peace" by way of FaceBook, Twitter, Email, MySpace -- anyway at all you can convey the message to like-minded friends and family.

By replacing fear, anger and frustration with peace, we can theoretically change the world and make our beloved country into the vision John Winthrop had in the early 17th century -- "a city upon a hill."

"...we must consider that we shall be as a City upon a Hill, (and that) the eyes of all people are upon us..."

That's what America used to be, looked up to and admired by the rest of the world, strong and resolute yet thoughtful and prayerful.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Guns, violence and nine-year-olds.

Isn't it time that reasonable and sane Americans take a stand against the gut-toting, red-neck mayhem in our country?

After a weekend of violence, including the death of an innocent nine year old killed by a mentally unbalanced 22-year old who apparently had a grudge against his congresswoman, isn't it time for us to do something about the weak enforcement and lack of regulation in our gun laws?

And now, because of this incident, other congress people are going to start "packing" in order to protect themselves. In England, even the law-enforcing constables do not carry fire-arms. Could the reason for that be that these weapons often go off in the hands of maniacs, killing six and wounding twelve or more innocent by-standers? The UK has what is believed to be some of the strictest firearms legislation in the world (and what I understand to be the fewest deaths by guns in the world.) I am not suggesting we follow the UK; however, we might consider modifying our own laws and attitudes.

Not allowing fire-arms at political rallies would be a good place to start. During his campaign effort to unseat Arizona newly re-elected senator Gabrielle Giffords in November (yes, she who was shot through the brain and still hanging on to life at this moment) , Republican challenger Jesse Kelly urged supporters to help remove Giffords from office and suggested they join him in shooting a fully loaded M-16 rifle (presumably, in the air, not in order to harm anyone). Still. . . ( http>//inyourfaceradio.net/?=3158)

Kelly is a former Marine who served in Iraq (bless him) and was apparently eager to have himself photographed in full military gear holding his automatic weapon to promote the event as well as his political virility, the point of which (I guess) was to show that we are still a country of frontiersmen who have the "right" to protect our family from "injuns," or "outlaws" from shooting up and stealing our homesteads out from under us in the wild, wild, west.

Come on folks. We are supposed to be civilized now -- there are no more frontiers, no more wild west.

There have been people who voice inflammatory comments but we are still a country of free speech and I agree with their right to say whatever they wish to say. Palin's cross-hairs on the map is not the cause of this atrocity, but it feeds the zeitgeist which gives ideas to the mentally unstable and when the unbalanced can go out and buy a gun, the combination can be deadly and we have just seen.

Is that what people want? I think not. I think most people simply want their voices to be heard, their opinions to be considered just as Congresswoman Giffords was allowing them to do at the Safeway Market in Tucson. They have their issues with government -- yes, so do I.

We have a corrupt and incompetent congress that has been supported by greed as well as a lazy, ignorant citizenry. Of course we're angry. But it is the fault of every single one of us in this country that this tragic event even took place.

We not only encourage incivility on the cable news shows, we reward networks who air blood-curdling TV dramas and movies of such considerable violence, that even I, a grown woman, have to walk out of the theatre in disgust and nausea. Guns are wielded on every channel -- try flicking across the networks one evening during prime time and you will witness a gun -- being discharged against someone or being used as a threat against someone -- guns on TV are as common as tasteless advertisements.

Is this what we're about now? Our gun laws are ludicrous! Why does the average gun owner need assault rifles anyway? If most states do not allow them for game-hunting, then of what use are they? Why can't we exert some pressure (laws) on the people who sell guns willy-nilly at the gun/sports shows. I'm convinced police unions across the country would welcome having fewer assault weapons and high capacity ammunition clips available on the streets.

Now that our government representatives are threatening to carry firearms into our state and federal institutions, we will have reverted to a state of anarchy, brandishing fire-arms at the slightest accidental injustice: an altercation in a bar, a domestic argument, an unintended insult or a unrequited love affair. Anytime someone has a grudge, no matter how minor, we can always pull out our Glock 9mm and take our shot.

We, the leaders of the free world, have become a society of barbarians, with a tribal and neolithic mentality, ruled not by law but by the fastest draw.

To hell with political correctness. I am ashamed of us.

Sic transit gloria. Sic transit the United States of America.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Fowl Down

No, I don't subscribe to the popular belief that we are facing Armageddon, but I am concerned. Where are the scientists who can solve this mysterious and frightening destruction of sea and sky life? It's happening all over the world, so it can't really be a result of the oil spill in our own Gulf, can it? Where are the great minds out there and why don't they come up with some reasonable theories?