This fiery gem deserves to stand by itself for a space. More photos below.
I consider myself a political moderate to liberal, but politics are always relative. One of my personal philosophies is "everything in moderation, including moderation." I know others who seem to go by this same theory, but they forget the "including moderation" part. Sometimes things should make you mad, or get you really excited, or fire your passion for political battle, and you should take action. Otherwise you are being immoderately moderate.
My father and some of his very intelligent friends exchange email propaganda from time to time, and sometimes Dad cc's me with them. After some discussion with others my age, I find that this is not an uncommon phenomenon. Some of what is distributed amongst them fires my ire.
A lot of people in my generation and older are progressive enough to have engaged in the world of computer technology, but seem to take longer to learn that you have to read internet postings with more than a grain of salt. Political propaganda, satire, personal diatribes, and ludicrous re-configuration of facts are all mixed in with serious news and analysis.
It is all too easy to latch on to some internet posting that lays out in very professional format exactly the information that you may wish to be true -- but it is not. The line between fact and opinion gets blurred, and the tricks of "spin" can turn facts into one conclusion or its opposite. Perpetuating these falsehoods, distributing them around, is like passing on an insidious computer virus or worse.
I get incensed at people, at both ends of the political spectrum, who try to elicit passionate responses from others through misleading, fear-inducing rhetoric and hyperbole. There is a great deal of negativity out there, and THAT is one of our worst afflictions. The cultivation of gloom, fear, hopelessness, despair and even panic is the worst possible weapon of mass destruction.
No one has all the answers, and I have fewer than many. But I choose to believe that our country is headed in a positive direction, in the big picture. Obama's election was like the sun rising to many millions of people all over the world. We knew then that the fairy tale atmosphere could not last through the long work of recovery from our suffering economy, suffering globe, suffering reputation around the world, jaded citizens.
And here we are - yes, things are not as rosy as quickly as people had hoped. But if we could cultivate, as a nation, more of an optimistic outlook, a shared commitment to the ultimate improvements that we hope for, I know that our country could be a better place. We have to remove our blinders of political standoff and recognize the goals that we share.
Perhaps Obama will only succeed in completing one term in office. I remain confident that during his tenure in office he will do much more good than harm - but some of that is up to US citizens.
There is fear of socialism, fear of big government, fear, still, of a black man in office, fear of change, fear of the loss of supremacy and wealth among the elite. I wish so fervently that people would not allow fear to lead them, allow fear to become the fog that obscures the dawn of recovery. Too many people seem to want Obama to fail so desperately that they are willing to contribute to the failure in order to prove a point.
It is a foggy dawn. The bright glow is obscured by gloom, but I feel assurance that the sun will continue to rise, and the fog will burn away.