Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Chuck and Francis and Courage

How are Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Pope Francis alike?  They both want to change backwards and wasteful cultures into more modern and efficient systems.  Good Luck with that.

Last night I watched a PBS Frontline show about the workings of the Vatican and the toll it took on Pope Benedict.  I actually never liked him much, but now I think I was unfair.  At his core he knew he needed to change the church and its secrecy and corruption.  He just wasn't competent enough to do it.  He could not take on the church's Curia and bureaucracy because he was not an experienced fighter.  Now, Pope Francis, who is not afraid of the entrenched has taken up the gauntlet.  He wants to change things and turn the church into something better than it is and that means combating the careerists in the Vatican.

At the same time we see U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel propose cutting back our military/industrial complex to a modern and cost effective level.  He understands we can not be the police force for the world any longer.  Like the pope he will take on his own version of the Curia.  That would be the U.S. Congress and our defense contractors.  This will be a massive culture shift and it will directly affect profits, which means more PACS and Super-committees funneling even more money to the candidates to fight this long overdue modernization.

What the Pope and Defense Secretary are showing us is that they have courage.  How long has it been since we have seen people with real courage try to change things.  I think of President Johnson, a southerner, pushing through the Civil Rights Act.

But now, we see our own Senator Udall saying he will protect defense spending in New Mexico.  The same for Congressman Steve Pearce.  Instead of pounding swords into plowshares they stick with the old tried and true system of funding a warrior nation that just can't stop fighting wars every few years.  What a shame.  Where is the leadership and courage o these two elected officials, and the hundreds like them?

"On some positions, cowardice asks the question 'Is it safe?

Expediency asks the question 'Is it politic?
Vanity asks the question 'Is it popular?'
But conscience asks the question 'Is it right?'

-- Martin Luther King

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The US came to its current position of global supremacy because of a number of things - its natural wealth, its industry, the luck of how the world wars left things. We only maintain that superior position now because we have our financial system and our military.

Any attempt to reduce the military will run up against Americans' sense of themselves as number one, and will be difficult to achieve. It will require either someone with the combined abilities of Pope Francis, Lyndon Johnson and Martin Luther King, I would think, someone who can get us to change our identity, or some movement from below.

The first time several thousand angry, poor, formerly middle class Americans surround Tom Udall's house we'll see an immediate change in his position.