We Need To Remember There Is Only One Sun

Ed Raymond

These are perilous times around the world. Most of the countries involved in the Arab Spring seem to be going through nation-birthing with umbilical cords wrapped around necks with feet coming first. Countries such as Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Turkey, and Syria, still dominated by warring tribes and divisive religions, are involved or close to being in the most uncivil of “civil” wars. The Sunni and Shiite tribes of Iraq killed about 500 of each other last month while enduring our democracy. The Syrians have killed an estimated 93,000 of themselves and are dead set to continue the carnage until all the buildings have been leveled and the entire poor land is refreshed with their blood and tortured bodies. We are crazy to get involved in another Middle East civil war. We need to “benign-neglect” them until they are so tired of killing each other they will not be ready to raise a sword for another century. We have many tribes and religions around the world that seem to have great difficulty transforming to the 21st Century.

“All Of Us As Vital As The One Light We Move Through”

At President Barack Obama’s second inauguration a young gay Cuban immigrant to this country by the name of Richard Blanco read his poem “One Today.”  He captures what this country and the world should be. Here is just a small part of it:

“One sun rose on us today, kindled over our shores, peeking over the Smokies,
greeting the faces of the Great Lakes, spreading a simple truth across the Great Plains,
then charging across the Rockies. One light, waking up the rooftops, under each one, a story told by our silent gestures moving behind windows.
My face, your face, millions of faces in morning’s mirrors, each one yawning to life, crescendoing into our day: pencil-yellow school buses, the rhythm of traffic lights,
fruit stands: apples, limes, and oranges arrayed like rainbows begging our praise.
Silver trucks heavy with oil or paper—bricks or milk, teeming over highways alongside us,
on our way to clean tables, read ledgers, or save lives—to teach geometry, or ring-up groceries as my mother did for twenty years, so I could write this poem.

All of us as vital as the one light we move through, the same light on blackboards with lessons for the day: equations to solve, history to question, or atoms imagined, the “I have a dream” we keep dreaming.
One sky, toward which we sometimes lift our eyes tired from work:some days guessing at the weather of our lives, some days giving thanks for a love that loves you back, sometimes praising a mother who knew how to give, or forgiving a father who couldn’t give what you wanted.”

The World Is Sacrificing Many Sons Under Many Suns

Blanco reminds us in his poem what our country, and indeed the world, should act like under our one sun. A sense of community in town, county, state, nation, and world is absolutely essential for the well-being of all persons. Many places in the world have never had a sense of community–all for one and one for all—but we have had it several times in our history, earning it in the revolutionary period, losing it the Civil War, gaining it back during the perilous times of World War II and in the period after it. Since then we have been divided by uncompromising political and economic failures and getting involved in many stupid civil wars such as Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. To top it all, we have led the rest of the world to believe we are the world’s cop on the international beat.  

I wrote over a year ago that with the world recession we started in 2007 and the subsequent riots of the poor and the middle class in many countries such as Greece, Spain, France, China, Portugal, that World War III between the rich and the poor had begun.

The War of Inequality has now spread to South America.  The leftist government of Brazil has misread the vast difference between the rich and the poor. Just before the 2007 world recession Brazil landed the 2014 World Cup of soccer. This is bigger in the world scene than the Super Bowl, the World Series, and the NBA and NHL championships combined. Brazil, to accommodate the Cup, is building new billion-dollar stadiums. The Cup  bill alone will be about $12 billion. But besides a papal visit and other expensive events,  the 2016 Olympics, the playground for the rich and famous, will be held in Rio De Janeiro. The billions necessary for that extravagant show have not even be counted yet.

More than a million Brazilians have taken to the streets of eighty cities on just one day protesting the billions being spent for the entertainment of the world’s rich. One female protester summed up the protests: “We’re massacred by the government’s taxes, yet when we leave home in the morning to go to work, we don’t know if we’ll make it home alive because of the violence. We don’t have good schools for our kids. Our hospitals are in awful shape. Corruption is rife. These protests will make history and wake our politicians up to the fact that we’re not taking it anymore!” And millions more are sharpening pitchfork tines and  machete blades around the world, particularly in Africa and Asia. The protests in Turkey over a park are growing to be a national problem.

The Symbol Of 222,222,222,.22

A lot of things in the world seem to happen as a result of accidents. The following event could be very funny or tragic. A lowly German bank employee fell asleep with his finger on a number 2 computer key and transferred 222,222,222,.22 Euros ($295 million) out of the country before he woke up. This story demands a followup.

New York Times columnist Charles Blow contends in an op-ed that the U.S. is divided into two separate nations and that we have no sense of community. If we use poet Blanco’s metaphor of the one sun we are all under, Blow is saying we have at least two suns we are following. Actually we seem to be following many suns crossing the sky.

In just the last couple of decades Americans have lost faith in their institutions. The Gallup Poll indicates that Congress has the lowest approval record in recorded history at ten percent. My pig farmer Dad would sum that up this way: “Congress is as worthless as teats on a boar.” Just 30 years ago newspapers had the confidence of about half of the public. That “confidence” is now down to 23 percent. About 20 years ago half the people had confidence in TV news. That is now down to 23 percent. Now 80 percent believe that the media is controlled by the rich and powerful—and feed us crap. Ten years ago the Supreme Court had an approval rating of 77 percent, but since Citizens United and other nutty decisions the Court has dropped to 52 percent. The poor and what is left of the middle class feel that all the umpires, referees, and judges in society and their community are “homers” for the rich and powerful.

The Gods And Goddesses Of Our Suns

Most of the societies in the ancient world had gods and goddesses of the sun. No wonder Egypt has had problems recovering from the Arab Spring. It used to have numerous sun gods: Khepri led the rising sun, Atum the setting sun, Re the noon sun god rode in a solar ship. The sun god of the Greeks and Romans led the sun around the world in a four-horse chariot. Hepa was the sun goddess of the Hittites. The Aztecs were overloaded with sun gods. These gods insisted on priests tearing the living hearts out of human sacrifices. Sol was the sun goddess of the Norse and was a glorious sight in a horse-drawn solar chariot.

We have a whole slew of sun gods in the U.S. leading their followers down rocky, sticky, barb-covered paths, splitting communities into ungovernable factions. Sun God Rush Limbaugh leads his dittohead-lemmings over the Ignorance Cliff for three hours each weekday. Sun God Sean Hannity takes the night-shift dittoheads over the same cliff at night.  Sun Goddess Michele Bachmann ain’t no Joan of Arc because her nose keeps growing each time she gets close to the sun. She has crashed like Icarus. Sun God Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, bereft of sunny ideas, continues his pledge to make Barack Obama a one-term president even when the president won a second term. Evidently Mitch is embarrassed that Barack and Michele’s ancestors were slaves under his constituent’s relatives and now the two are listening to “Hail to the Chief” every day. Liberal Sun God Ed Schultz, who transformed himself from a Conservative Sun God, tripped over his tongue about kids being slaves of the rich and fell face-first into a large Midwest cowpie . It was “nice” knowing you, Ed.

Henry Ford’s Famous Five Dollars

Even the famous Jew hater Henry Ford realized the importance of community, of having everyone under one community sun. Any man working in his auto plants who was at least 22 years old was paid a minimum of $5.00 a day, equal in purchasing power to twice the minimum wage in 2012. Do I have to repeat it? Why did Ford do it? He turned everyone of his wage slaves to the level of a potential customer for thousands of Model Ts. He paid the same wage to blacks, immigrant workers from Poland, Russia, Middle East, Asia, and other parts. At one time half the cars in the U.S. were Fords. Ford believed in women, teetotaling,  reincarnation, and his own mechanical genius. He was often challenged with a dozen Ford carburetors–with one that didn’t work right. He always picked out the bad one.

Our Middle Class Is Now 27th In The World In Median Wealth  
  Global Wealth Data Book research reveals that our median wealth is now at $38,786, 27th among the world’s industrialized nations. We are in that position because Wall Street banksters gave big mortgages to people who could not pay for them—and then sold those mortgages to uninformed and unsuspecting suckers around the world. Canada, our neighbors to the North, does not allow its bankers and mortgage lenders to sell mortgages to third parties. Icelanders and Canadians know that lenders must also accept risks.  They have to keep mortgages in their portfolio. Consequently they are very careful lending money. Canadians now have over twice the median wealth of the U.S. middle class–at $81,610.  Greed does not conquer all—with the right regulations. We haven’t put a single bankster in jail yet for committing international fraud.

I think the odds of our economic recovery are against us—unless we pour a lot of money into our communities under one sun. We were all right until the end of the 1990’s. Then came the Bush Debacle. A research group Child Trends has released a portrait of the high school class of 2013. We are way behind many developed countries with our young.

Out of a class of 100:

** 71 have experienced physical assault, 10 have been raped, 10 have been victims of dating violence, 32 have experienced child maltreatment, and 16 have carried a weapon in the last year.

** 64 have has sexual intercourse, 48 are sexually active, 21 had a sexually transmitted disease in the past year, 3.5 have been or are pregnant, and one has had an abortion.
** 34 are overweight, 22 are living in poverty, with 10 in deep poverty.

Years ago Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis had it right: “We can have concentrated wealth in the hands of a few or we can have a democracy. But we can’t have both.” We have had a good 230 years, but the sun is now probably setting permanently on our grandchildren and us.