POEM: Another Martyr Bides The Dust

Another martyr bides the dust
And I was a stray
Beside myself
In the fog
Of yet another mourning
The missed over my heart
Feeling only that ephemeral beaten
The wait on my brain
Fueled into thinking of the dread only
And the little I no
Of what remains
As the truth is bared
In ash holes with names
Temping to soil
Won an other’s life work
Un-till arising from hour grounding
Ready ourselves for a human race
Wear blood is thicker then water
Tearing at our soles
And water thicker than heir
The salt of the earth bides
It’s time
Too clear the weigh
Of what thou dust
Ahead razed for awe
As be holding the sons rays
Bringing a bout of sunshine
An enduring lightness
Out shining
Any faux
How ever clan destine
In efface of such shrouding allowed
In countering any illicit clout
Ever looming
Whatever we’ve
Got together
With standing any in thralling strayin’
Rapping up awe that is frayed
For whatever may seam
Know longer

I wrote this poem a while back, but I’m publishing it now to honor the passing of Father Daniel Berrigan who died over the weekend at age 94.  Father Daniel Berrigan was the first priest arrested for peace and anti-war civil disobedience — or holy obedience.  As recounted in the National Catholic Review:

Berrigan undoubtedly stands among the most influential American Jesuits of the past century…

A literary giant in his own right, Berrigan was best known for his dramatic acts of civil disobedience against the Vietnam War and nuclear weapons. He burned draft files with homemade napalm and later hammered on nuclear weapons to enact the Isaiah prophecy to “beat swords into plowshares.” His actions challenged Americans and Catholics to reexamine their relationship with the state and reject militarism. He constantly asked himself and others: What does the Gospel demand of us?

“For me, Father Daniel Berrigan is Jesus as a poet,” Kurt Vonnegut wrote. “If this be heresy, make the most of it.”

“Dorothy Day taught me more than all the theologians,” Berrigan told The Nation in 2008. “She awakened me to connections I had not thought of or been instructed in—the equation of human misery and poverty with warmaking. She had a basic hope that God created the world with enough for everyone, but there was not enough for everyone and warmaking.”

In 1963, Berrigan embarked on a year of travel, spending time in France, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Rome, South Africa and the Soviet Union. He encountered despair among French Jesuits related to the situation of Indochina, as the United States ramped up military involvement in Vietnam.

Berrigan returned home in 1964 convinced that the war in Vietnam “could only grow worse.” So he began, he later wrote, “as loudly as I could, to say ‘no’ to the war…. There would be simply no turning back.”

He co-founded the Catholic Peace Fellowship and the interfaith group Clergy and Laity Concerned about Vietnam…

In Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander (1966), Merton described Berrigan as “an altogether winning and warm intelligence and a man who, I think, has more than anyone I have ever met the true wide-ranging and simple heart of the Jesuit: zeal, compassion, understanding, and uninhibited religious freedom. Just seeing him restores one’s hope in the Church.”

A dramatic year of assassinations and protests that shook the conscience of America, 1968 also proved to be a watershed year for Berrigan. In February, he flew to Hanoi, North Vietnam, with the historian Howard Zinn and assisted in the release of three captured U.S. pilots. On their first night in Hanoi, they awoke to an air-raid siren and U.S. bombs and had to find shelter.

As the United States continued to escalate the war, Berrigan worried that conventional protests had little chance of influencing government policy. His brother, Philip, then a Josephite priest, had already taken a much greater risk: In October 1967, he broke into a draft board office in Baltimore and poured blood on the draft files.

Undeterred at the looming legal consequences, Philip planned another draft board action and invited his younger brother to join him. Daniel agreed.

On May 17, 1968, the Berrigan brothers joined seven other Catholic peace activists in Catonsville, Md., where they took several hundreds of draft files from the local draft board and set them on fire in a nearby parking lot, using homemade napalm. Napalm is a flammable liquid that was used extensively by the United States in Vietnam.

Daniel said in a statement, “Our apologies, good friends, for the fracture of good order, the burning of paper instead of children, the angering of the orderlies in the front parlor of the charnel house. We could not, so help us God, do otherwise.”

Berrigan was tried and convicted for the action. When it came time for sentencing, however, he went underground and evaded the Federal Bureau of Investigation for four months.

“I knew I would be apprehended eventually,” he told America in an interview in 2009, “but I wanted to draw attention for as long as possible to the Vietnam War and to Nixon’s ordering military action in Cambodia.”

The F.B.I. finally apprehended him on Block Island, R.I., at the home of theologian William Stringfellow, in August 1970. He spent 18 months in Danbury federal prison, during which he and Philip appeared on the cover of Time magazine.

The brothers, lifelong recidivists, were far from finished.

Swords Into Plowshares, Isaiah 2:4 PEACE BUTTONOn Sept. 9, 1980, Daniel and Philip joined seven others in busting into the General Electric missile plant in King of Prussia, Pa., where they hammered on an unarmed nuclear weapon—the first Plowshares action. They faced 10 years in prison for the action but were sentenced to time served.

In his courtroom testimony at the Plowshares trial, Berrigan described his daily confrontation with death as he accompanied the dying at St. Rose Cancer Home in New York City. He said the Plowshares action was connected with this ministry of facing death and struggling against it. In 1984, he began working at St. Vincent’s Hospital, New York City, where he ministered to men and women with H.I.V.-AIDS.

“It’s terrible for me to live in a time where I have nothing to say to human beings except, ‘Stop killing,’” he explained at the Plowshares trial. “There are other beautiful things that I would love to be saying to people.”

In 1997 he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Berrigan’s later years were devoted to Scripture study, writing, giving retreats, correspondence with friends and admirers, mentorship of young Jesuits and peace activists, and being an uncle to two generations of Berrigans. He published several biblical commentaries that blended scholarship with pastoral reflection and poetic wit.

“Berrigan is evidently incapable of writing a prosaic sentence,” biblical scholar Walter Brueggemann wrote in a review of Berrigan’s Genesis (2006). “He imitates his creator with his generative word that calls forth linkages and incongruities and opens spaces that bewilder and dazzle and summon the reader.”

Even as an octogenarian, Berrigan continued to protest, turning his attention to the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the prison in Guantánamo Bay and the Occupy Wall Street movement. Friends remember Berrigan as courageous and creative in love, a person of integrity who was willing to pay the price, a beacon of hope and a sensitive and caring friend.

While technically, Fr. Berrigan is not a martyr, he sacrificed much and lived courageously in the belly of the beast called the United States of America of which he called its militarism and imperialism.

While I wrote this poem with a male character, this may not be truly representative of the martyrs in this world.  Soon after penning this poem, Berta Caceres, whose activism reverberated around the world, was assassinated by a Honduran death squad, shot in her own home.  This poem is dedicated to her as well, a well of hope deeper than any dam corporations.  As recounted from Alternet:

On March 3, assassins entered the home of Berta Caceres, leader of Honduras’ environmental and indigenous movement. They shot her friend Gustavo Castro Soto, the director of Friends of the Earth Mexico. He pretended to be dead, and so is the only witness of what came next. The assassins found Berta Caceres in another room and shot her in the chest, the stomach and the arms. When the assassins left the house, Castro went to Berta Caceres, who died in his arms.

Investigation into the death of Berta Caceres is unlikely to be conducted with seriousness. The Honduran government suggested swiftly that it was likely that Castro had killed Berta Caceres and made false statements about assassins. That he had no motive to kill his friend and political ally seemed irrelevant. Castro has taken refuge in the Mexican embassy in Honduras’ capital, Tegucigalpa. He continues to fear for his life.

Berta Caceres led the Popular and Indigenous Organisations of Honduras (COPINH), one of the most important critics of government and corporate power in her country. Most recently, she and COPINH had taken a strong stand against the construction of the Agua Zarca dam on a river sacred to the indigenous Lenca community. This dam had occupied her work. It was not merely a fight against an energy company, it was a fight against the entire Honduran elite.

Desarrollos Energeticos, SA (DESA) is owned by the Atala family, whose most famous member is Camilo Atala, who heads Honduras’ largest bank, Banco Ficohsa. By all indications, the Atala family is very close to the government. When the military moved against the democratically elected government of Manuel Zelaya Rosales in 2009, the Atala family, among others, supported the coup with their means. They can cut all the flowers, but they can never stop the spring -- Pablo Neruda quote POLITICAL BUTTONThe Honduran sociologist Leticia Salomon listed this family among others as the enablers of the coup. They backed the conservative National Party, which now holds the reins of power alongside the military. Berta Caceres’ fight against the Agua Zarca dam, then, was not merely a fight against one dam. It was a battle against the entire Honduran oligarchy. Her assassination had, as her family contends, been long overdue.

May we be inspired and encouraged by the fearless lives of those who have gone before us.

POEM: Morning Has Broke

Mourning is hear
The bell tolls fore thee
Riiiiiiiight
Whatever
Get up
You had
Left
Right
Left right
Left

Simplicity Trumps Affluence [Royal Flush] SPIRITUAL BUTTONHere is another Monday mourning poem for all who may be ambivalent or outright hate their work, particularly the screeching violence of an unwelcome alarm clock.  The division of time into precise compartments is a relatively new phenomenon in human history and human experience.  The rise of the clock as an often stress-inducing taskmaster is perhaps the heart — or ticking bomb — of civilization.  As money measures — quite poorly — the success of most of our tasks in living, the clock all-to-often chops the organic flow of human experience into well dissected but not so alive remains.  The interruption of sleep by loud noises is a particular pet peeve of mine.  Alarm clocks often enforce inadequate sleep and this too little rest is notoriously bookended by a fretful inability to get to sleep at night.  Of course, the nearly inescapable pressures to book it all day arrest most any probability of nabbing any re-creation or sublime sabbath.  When Things Aren't Adding Up in Your Life, Try Subtracting SPIRITUAL BUTTONThe clock serves as a proxy for order but may very well create more disorders than it harmonizes.  This poem uses the familiar cadence of military drills — Left, Right, Left, Right, Left — to allude to the presumptive violence inherent in such a go go, make it happen culture.  This swaggering onomatopoeia resonates more with martial law than the deep harmonies of nature and the human spirit, which transcend left and right.  I find that encouraging folks to break rank in order to reconnect with their deepest harmonies is a recurring theme of mine, energized by an evangelical fervor.  So, if you are Riiiiiiiight…Whatever/Get up/You had/Left, may you uncover reinvigorating re-creation at every turn.

Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don't need to escape from -- Seth Godin quote POLITICAL BUTTONWhat Money Can't Buy - Medicine But Not Health, A House But Not A Home, Finery But Not Beauty, Luxuries But Not Culture, Amusements But Not Happiness POLITICAL BUTTON

POEM: A Brother Lying

Prey fore the dead
In the name of Jesus
In resurrection of those soully asleep
Getting a phallus rise
Out of Christianity
That is, US
More sow then radical Islam
In violate fundamental lists
Dissembling faith, hope, and love
As our trinity project
Our won God triumph a writ
With a Cain due attitude
Over awe that is Abel
To spill the good word
Buy blood crying out
Too me
From the ground
A brother lying
Knot knowing
The hollowed meaning
Of I am
One’s keeper

I often write about stuff triggered when I hear the news.  I listen faithfully to Democracy Now on weekdays.  It’s not unusual to stop in the middle of a show, or even a news story, to write a poem about something that touched me: a phrase worthy of seeding a poem, an issue baffling human kind, or simply a heartfelt emotion.

The literal life and death issues of war and peace, militarism and pacifism, have been close to my heart my whole adult life.  The latest flavor of this is the unending war on terrorism, which easily commiserates with virulent patriotism, nasty nationalism, presumptive racism, and irreconcilable religious bigotries.  Our unconscious privilege, convenient distance, and well-earned ignorance of world affairs is complicit with any easy alliance of violence as a lazy alternative to costly self-sacrifice as the true weigh of incarnating justice for all.  Nominal Christianity and its state-sponsored sheep, hawk a cheap grace bound only by an unequaled military budget and unquestioned reverence for a mercenary class.

I have a more generous perception of a frightened citizenry in deed resorting to violence in an increasingly secular, postmodern worldview.  Violence seems inevitable, certainly unendurable, without a resilient weigh to measure the sacred worth of an other, a brother human, who peers threatening.  I have a less generous view of normalizing violence by those aspiring to be religious, deeply commuted to any of the major faith-based worldviews represented by the world’s religions.  In the case of the U.S., the purported rock of our moral lives is Christianity.  I assert that an honest appraisal of American Christianity regarding its world military domination is that it is ruggedly cross.  War and Peace - What Would Jesus Do? FUNNY PEACE BUTTONAmerican Christians quiet reliably in efface of violence, instead of bearing the rugged cross, demand the blood sacrifice of “others” as their savior.  To this I can only say, “Jesus Christ!”  Whose image due we bear?!  What about state violence has to do with the heart, life and death of Jesus — other than the fact that it was state violence that executed Jesus.

To add insult to injury, the budget-sized war we christen as terrorism, we blame on Muslims, or worse yet, on the sacred tenets of Islam.  The real competition may be about who has the shallowest understanding of their religion: nominal Muslim terrorists or nominal Christian war apologists.  I strongly suspect that the farces of Christianity have killed more people than the farces of Islam.  Regardless, the age-old story of Cain and Abel, shared in the sacred texts of both Christianity and Islam, plays out over and over: brother kills brother and denies the essential nature of their kin relationship and how family should care for one another.  May people of faith lead the way in ending violence between all peoples.  This goes triple for “People of The Book” (Jews, Christians, and Muslims).

Browse anti-terrorism designs.

Is Killing In The Name Of The Prophet Worse Than Killing In The Name Of Profit? ANTI-WAR BUTTONTerrorism War of Poor War Terrorism of Rich--ANTI-WAR QUOTE BUTTONWar Is Terrorism With A Bigger Budget ANTI-WAR BUTTON

 

POEM: The Next Best President

Victory lies
In the wanton
To be a sitting president
Existentially unable to take a stand
As a wizard behind the bully pulpit
Meaning only
Curtains for US
A commandeered
In chief smitten
Buy the status qouteth
Juggling interest
In a-moral bankruptcy
Issuing debt sentences
Wile balderdashing dreams
In compromising positions
Poll dancing
For hard one
Elections
In feckless cockiness
If only
Too covet to term
Any chide or promise
The next won’s problem
And if such a state of the union
Bares an infantile posterity
Too whatever
Extant illegitimate
In the victory lies
The spoils

With this poem, I grudgingly join the charade sometimes referred to as Presidential election season.  Unfortunately, it is rarely too early to say that the next commander-in-chief of the world’s largest military superpower will not bring us peace.  If you want to join the truly delusional, give them a Nobel Peace Prize before they do anything to not earn it!  The good news is that the system is not broken.  The System Was Never Broken It Was BUILT That Way - POLITICAL BUTTONThe bad news is that the system is fixed!  Electoral politics, particularly the farther you go up the ladder, has a limited range of possible options.  This simply means that the leadership we get is tightly constrained to the powers that be, the status quo.   Electoral politics is akin to changing the system from within, using presumptuously representative democracy garnered through elections and direct means (think money and status) of influencing such alleged representatives.  Non-electoral politics is akin to changing the system from outside the standardly sanctioned tools of democracy.  Protest beyond the law is not departure from democracy; it is essential to it Of course, these two ways of being politically active are not mutually exclusive.  In fact, non-electoral politics is simply a more holistic way of changing the body politic.  For example, I would encourage people to vote.  It doesn’t take much time and it makes some difference.  Let your representatives know directly from you what you want from them.  Ask for what you want.  However, if we rely only on electoral politics to meet the needs and demands of the people, the 99%, then we should expect to be sorely disappointed.  My view is that politicians are largely akin to the rigging on a sailboat, and they will ultimately go largely wherever the wind blows.  Speaking into the captain’s ear may be considered proper protocol, but this is largely reserved for a privileged few who can cancel out voices heard from the masses from dinghies or from people who are overboard.  My goal is to change the political winds.  Part of power is the ability to define or frame the questions we ask. The greatest mistake of the movement has been trying to organize a sleeping people around specific goals. You have to wake people up first -- Malcolm X quote POLITICAL BUTTON The answers we get depend profoundly on the questions we ask!  Oftentimes, wee have to take such power, not simply ask for it.  Movements like Black Lives Matter or Occupy Wall Street have been successful at manifesting such power.  “The 1%” and “the 99%” are now part of our lexicon, framing the way we view the world and molding the questions we ask.  The simple and persistent assertion that black lives matter has thrown a wrench into the largely invisible (to white people) machine of white supremacy.  One of the greatest tools of the powers that be is the power of distraction.  The insistence that large movements have a detailed set of demands is central to this playbook.  As if the powers that be simply overlooked these huge injustices (yes) that could be legitimately be attacked on multiple fronts and they are waiting (stalling) to jump into action.  Truth is on the side of the oppressed. Malcolm X quote POLITICAL BUTTONWhat part of “Stop Wall Street from robbing us,” or blacks crying out “Stop killing us,” don’t they understand?!  The powers that be are not stupid, simply shrewd.  They will do everything in their power to distract us, divide us, and if need be, conquer us with violence, exposing their morally bankrupt and anti-democratic foundations.  Of course, the people pushing back on the lies of the powers that be exposes the veneer of civility and democracy that so-called respectable governments need to function.  All Truth Passes Through Three Stages: First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. --Schoepenhauer quote POLITICAL BUTTONThis was central to Gandhi’s political strategy.  As paraphrased in the Movie, Gandhi: “What you cannot do is accept injustice — you must make the injustice visible. The function of a civil resister is to provoke a response, and we will continue to provoke until they respond or they change the laws. It will not be over if they arrest me, or if they arrest a thousand people…it is not only generals who know how to run campaigns! They are not in control — we are. That is the strength of civil resistance.”  May we hold firm to the truth, “satyagraha,” and be patient as the details will follow.

They can cut all the flowers, but they can never stop the spring -- Pablo Neruda quote POLITICAL BUTTON

POEM: Signs of The Tines

At the White House speak easy
Blah blah blah blah blah blah
The media drinks it up
At a mine-blowingly vapid clip
In the mean time
On the plantation
Grounds to a halt
Surrounded by offense
In arose guardin’
At least since 1984
Black sheep a massing
Estate clearly
As to klan destined premises
And as such a tract
An overwhelming farce
Met with all arm
As privates in public places
And wile mill or tarry
As eventuality
Weather picked up for loitering
Or trashing national security
Hour constitutional is put down
And though wee are like
A communal terrain
Pigs offer another forum of public transportation
A signing
This won in the can
Matching our zeal to the maxim
In another banner day
For homeland security
Or whatever it scald
As free speech grows smolder
And another die cast
For the prints of darkness
Wielding a pitchfork for the signs of the tines
A tail never to be told

This is a poem about police and/or military — sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference these days — putting down a protest at the White House.  Typically, the corporate media give little coverage to such democracy taken into the hands of ruly citizens, and what coverage they give is often superficial and dismissive.  The demonstration in this poem has overtones of a Black Lives Matter protest, making it contemporary, but it could very well be most any protest in modern times at the White House.  The title of this poem, Signs of The Tines, has what may be an easily missed pun, referencing the tines of the devil’s pitchfork casting signs into a bonfire, which might very well be the preeminent renewable energy source in America.  Protest politics and direct nonviolent resistance has always forced America to confront a legal and political conundrum of law enforcement routinely violating constitutional rights, often under the pretext of national security.  Most any perceived threat to the state triggers an overreaction, even an existential crisis, from most any nationalist from right to left.  Exposing the naked sovereignty of the state, particularly when in moral bankruptcy, is one of the most useful effects resistance offers.  The veneer of civilization can be quickly peeled back to witness the assertion of brute force in the religion of nationalism and state sovereignty.  And for those of you who may dare to believe that we are a nation under God, think again.  I confronted this directly in my legal challenge to draft registration.  As a motion to dismiss based on draft registration offering no opportunity to indicate conscientious objector status, the federal judge rejected the motion citing a Supreme Court case from the 1930’s which stated that the federal government has the absolute power to conscript anyone in the United States, regardless of conscience or anything else.  Conscientious objector status is merely a historical and political concession which was literally referred to as “legislative grace.”  I must admit, in this decade-long resistance to forced military participation in Team America, this was the only thing that truly surprised me.  I, for one, am unwilling to concede absolute authority to any government.  I actually wasn’t even very excited about this motion for dismissal, but my pro bono lawyers wanted to test this legal argument.  Frankly, I wouldn’t have registered even had there been a way to meaningfully indicate conscientious objection.  I think I registered my objection quite meaningfully without their approval or feigned “grace.”  You might want to pay attention to the wizard behind the gracefully flowing curtain, dutifully colored, red, white, and blue…

POEM: Attorney General Edwin Meese III

I know of a man I never met
A foe of mine, I can only bet
A very close impersonal friend
To my unknown needs he’s supposed to tend
To rehabilitate me from what to what
Maybe he’s a pure-bred and I’m only a mutt
We make quite a pair
‘cept it’s me in the pound
Yet he’s always around
A thousand miles away
Yet I can hear his voice
“If charged you are guilty”
“If hungry it’s your choice”

I wrote this poem in 1987 while imprisoned for my epic failure to register for the military draft.  Below is a copy of the actual handwritten poem.  I had the original taped on my office wall near my desk for years.

Draft registration was reinstated by President Jimmy Carter as a response to the Russians invading Afghanistan.  Seems to me that invading Afghanistan would have been punishment enough.  We had the opportunity to learn such as lesson later — or not.  President Ronald Reagan, after breaking a campaign promise to abolish draft registration, continued it.  I was in the first batch of young men subject to this new law in 1980.  I spent the entire decade sparring with the world’s greatest military superpower, with a couple of years of probation and community service ending in 1989 — like I need the federal government to sentence me to community service!  Out of the millions of young men in violation of this Military Selective Service Act, less than a dozen were convicted of such flagrancy; all were public in their opposition.  Seems pretty pathetic for a so-called superpower.  I didn’t learn my lessen.

I feel no need for vindication, but I do feel like I have now lived through a full cycle of history, and history is on my side, if you believe in sides, that is.  While assuring my incarceration to make sure that I wasn’t around to not defend our homeland, the U.S. was training and equipping their version of freedom fighters, the likes of Osama bin Laden and the lesser known Frank N. Stein.

This poem is about President Ronald Reagan’s Attorney General, Edwin Meese III.  Though there was a lot of competition, Ed Meese was only clearly beat out as the most pathetic administration crony by James Watt, Secretary of the Department of Interior, which Mr. Watt, in his signature suicidal hatred of government, wanted to abolish; though it’s still not entirely clear whether it was the department or the environment he wanted to destroy.  Ed Meese was infamous for the two sayings recounted in the last two lines of my poem.  In an astounding disavowal of the U.S. Constitution, Mr. Meese, claimed that most suspects can be rightly assumed to be guilty.  Well, it’s not like he was the overseer of federal and constitutional law — sheesh!  The other statement, out of the jurisdiction of even his ignorance, was that if people are  hungry in America, it’s their choice.  When I heard this, I could have swore that his little round belly shook when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly.  Well, OK, it wasn’t his belly full of jelly.

I’ve made my choice, and 28 years later I’m still hungry for justice…

Attorney General Ed Meese III POEM

POEM: Liberal Mined Violent

Some liberal mined violent
Call up on pacifists
To condemn a brand of violence
To wit
They object
Ultimately subjected
To accost
Without benefit analysis
Coming efface to efface
With realty
And a sorted loved wons
Unwilling to accede where others have flailed
The brand they hide
Singularly fingered
Buy pacifists
Calling a tension two
A third weigh
Of the largesse possible
An unwelcome piece
When wanting more than have
Of everything fourth with
Ironying details
Ever beyond that which is a greed
How to saddle for less
Than being cowed
And truth be tolled
The violent
As a madder of practice
Get their weigh
A tempting feudal steer
Milking it for all a veil
In udder disbelief
As much as we can
Due better
Keeping nothing bottled up
Unleashing everything even remotely herd
Know longer listening
Too the artless
Like sum stock ticker
An engine only for the vain
Abase symbol for awe to hear
As the lover of awe kinds
Relinquishes the bully pulpit
In respect to those assembling
Not dissembling

Pacifists such as myself are sometimes called upon by those who are selectively violent to roundly and reliably condemn some violence that is repugnant to their preferred modes of violence.  PACIFIST - Someone With The Nutty Idea That Killing People Is Bad PEACE BUTTONThis convenient opportunism by “liberal mined” violent can hopefully serve as an opportunity for pacifist to draw connections and expose biased interests in enterprises that vainly wish to promote some kinds of violence and condemn other forms of violence, yet miraculously divorce means and ends and somehow produce a nonviolent state.  The situation that came to mind for me in this poem harkens back to the early 1980’s as a peacemongering student at Hope College.  I was asked by a conservative political science professor to serve as an expert witness in the campus’ mock United Nations proceedings.  Specifically, he was asking me to address violence by Palestinians against Israelis.  Much to his chagrin, I spoke about violence in the Israeli occupation of Palestine proportional to the violence present, that is, overwhelmingly committed by Israel and backed by the political and financial patronage of the United States.

Probably the largest complaint that apologists for violence have against pacifists is that they are “passivists,” complicit and enabling of injustices, specifically, and perhaps presumptuously, injustices that seem only solvable through violence, or at least the right “kind” of violence.  Complicity to violence and injustice is a profoundly true charge to both pacifists and apologists for violence.  Pacifism sets the bar high and regularly fails at fully fulfilling its high calling.  Feel free to contrast this limit of idealism (and its harms?) with the cynical acceptance (realism?) that killing others is necessary for justice (usually just us). If the notion and practice of necessary evil doesn’t make your head explode, it will quite assuredly shrink your heart, particularly if aspiring to follow a God of love.  I see Gandhi’s simple taxonomy of roles in the necessarily epic struggles for justice as insightful. Gandhi spoke of nonviolent “warriors,” violent warriors, and cowards.  I'm not a pacifist. I'm not that brave. Phil Donahue quote PEACE BUTTONHe saw these ordered in terms of moral achievement; the pacifist activist, then soldiers, and lastly, cowards. Of course, poorly performing pacifists can fall into the pit of fear and cowardice, unsuccessfully bridging the gap between talking the talk and walking the walk.  Soldiers have an inherent advantage in that a significant proportion can be expected to face death in combat situations.  This engenders a palpable sense of courage for facing such situations, whether, in fact, these situations are just or not.  Willingly facing being killed or severely harmed is the definition of courage. We can learn a lot from soldiers (not the least of which is that the most vehement anti-war activists are often veterans of military combat, sometimes simply slaughter). Courage is commendable.  Having skin in the game is the necessary good.  Any pacifist worth their salt will embody courage and skin in the game.  Evil, and its even uglier companion, necessary evil, can only thrive amidst cowardice and not having skin in the game.  Without courage, cowardice will rule the day (and night).  Without skin in the game, the privileged will continue to keep their foot on the neck of the disenfranchised, usually through a complex system of subcontracting not requiring their actual foot to do the dirty work.  A cowardly, distracted and narcotized public will earn an assist in maintaining their somewhat more advantageous state in the hierarchy of privilege and disenfranchisement.

Of course, the difference between a pacifist and a soldier is not the willingness to die for a cause, but the (un)willingness to kill for a cause.  The willingness to kill is the preeminent prerequisite of a soldier.  Object of War Not to Die for Your Country But Make Other Bastard Die for His -- General George Patton ANTI-WAR QUOTE BUTTONIn regard to willingly dying and willingly killing, perhaps the infamous WWII General George Patton said it best, “The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.”  Further, in the calculus of soldiering, we must remember that in modern times (the last 100+ years), military combat has frighteningly consistently killed over ten noncombatants/civilians for every soldier killed.  By what stretch of imagination do “realists” consider this courageous and honorable?  The cowardice inherent in the proposition of necessary evil is the root of much evil in this world.  The fantasy of necessary evil is nothing short of an abnegation of responsibility, an idol worship of something other than the free will and moral agency of which we are endowed.

As a spiritual practice, I find pacifism, ruling out the killing of others, as a profoundly creative practice.  You may be surprised at the depths of creativity accessible by dispatching the human perversion called necessary evil and the barbaric practice of killing others.  Without presupposing limits on human goodness, you can unleash new experiments, pioneer new ground (sometimes observed as common ground), raise the heights to which humans may aspire, and make the world friendlier to love.  Nonviolence is Organized Love -- Joan Baez PEACE QUOTEAs Joan Baez so elegantly and succinctly said, “That’s all nonviolence is — organized love.”  Of course, my paraphrase would be: nonviolence is just, organized love…

 

POEM: A Strange Gift From Smother Earth

I awoke
Too the rumble
Of a river of cars
Getting the goods
Being trucked over and over
As fuming motorists
And fuelish consumers
Whirled wide
Tank up
With great import
As their gauges reach emptily
A diction
Beyond words
Feeding this uneconomic engine
Internally combusting
A humanity greased
Plunged into a vain artery
So so leading
To an err tight garage sail
N’air to see O2 again
Only lust C’ing a singular “O!”
To be
Fallowed buy
Cryptic silence
As nature returns
A strange gift from smother earth

This poem was inspired by awaking to the rumble of cars and trucks from I-75 about a mile from my house.  I am quite familiar with this noise pollution, a steady hum 24/7, though I usually only take notice of it at night or in the morning while lying in bed.  Noise (and light) pollution are on my short list of pet peeves and everyday side effects of so-called civilization.  However, this poem meditates on the constant stream of air pollution and inevitable environmental destruction from a carbon-based energy economy and transportation system.  The congested arteries of our highways and buy ways consternate both motorists and Mother Earth — not to mention pedestrians and bicyclists.  This poem also alludes to the military shenanigans (as we “tank up”) needed to assure a steady supply of a crude lifestyle.  The addiction to petroleum leads us to morally depraved measures of success, such as the accepted norm that destroying the environment is part and parcel to a good economy.  Such insanity brings to mind the wise aphorism: don’t shit where you eat.  The metaphor of drowning in our own waste is incarnated in this poem as the suicide of exhausted and fuming motorists in their garages, the final resting place of going nowhere fast.  This poem requires a certain knowledge of chemistry to be fully comprehended, specifically the chemical structure of carbon monoxide.  If you also know that carbon monoxide preferentially binds, in place of oxygen, on hemoglobin, then you can more fully appreciate the breathtaking nature of this poem.  The feedback of nature is neither random nor mean-spirited.  Nonetheless, if humans insist on living in unsustainable ways, then nature will weed us out or prune us down to size.  Perhaps this is poetic justice for smother earth…

POEM: A Weigh of Death

If you must kill
For your way of life
It is a weigh of death
Knot a way of life

This short poem cuts to the chaste on this anniversary of 9/11, formerly unknown as the anniversary of the U.S.-backed, CIA-directed military coup in 1973 of the democratically elected Chilean government of Salvador Allende.  Now, back in the good ole USA, the only military coo you will hear is accompanied by the drums of war, playing up the only apparent choices as killing or doing nothing, in order to preserve our so-called “way of life.”  The foundation of this band of brothers (and occasional sisters) is built upon well-remembered dead Americans and easily forgotten non-Americans, the vast majority of whom are civilian noncombatants, possessing no name except collateral damage.  Shame on US for being so blinded in this mirror war and a callous just US.

“He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.” — Friedrich Nietzsche

Check out hundreds of more anti-war quotes and peace quotes.

POEM: Never Wanton Too Leave

In the tree of life
I take my leave
Looking not
To politicians, generals, celebrities, or philanthropists
For salvation
Re-lying not
On triangulating hourly opinions
In gluttonous cynicism
That fuels no bodies everywhere
But their own
Leaning not
On skulking intelligence
And hulking legions
Bulwarking the eternal fewed
With the shock and awe of epic fauxs
Not giving my nod
To looking glass likenesses
Endorsing make up
For broken weighs of life
Nor counting on
Oversized purses
Itemizing riddled coffers
Curmudgeoning us to death
Only bequeathing
Close-fisted sermonettes
Instead
I look to
Neighbors
As well as I kin
And friends in deed
Awe ways in courage
So gorge us
Prone to gentleness
To won another
A parent
And a peer
In our wake
We gather intimately
Cultivating our bounty
Where everyone is a head
And strangers honor guessed
Only kneading dough
To break bread
Round the table
At know time
Turing on us a test
Knot on your life
Leaving no one behind
Never wanton too leave

This poem strikes again at my frequent theme of the inane versus the meaningful, pitting the superficial and dehumanizing forces of the powers that be against more intimate and personal ways of relating to one another.  The poem also intimates the bounty of healthy human community that wins hands down (and fists down) against lesser machinations of the political, military, famous, and monied.

I feel obliged to disclose the most obscure pun in this poem, lest it be gravely mistaken as a typo or such.  Turing on us a test is an alliterative pun for turning (e.g., turning the tables), but also a reference to the Turing test which is used to distinguish a human being from a machine (human intelligence versus artificial intelligence).

I find the notion that humans are just complicated dirt as both bizarre and dangerously foolish.  If humanity cannot distinguish between itself and inanimate matter, then we should hold very little expectations for humans and any higher potential.  The rationale that seems compelling to some, that we are merely some type of biological computer, leaves the human heart empty, sterile, out of reach, and puzzlingly irrelevant.  Anyone committed to reducing all human friendship, love, joy, hope, and faith to deterministic factors (mere machinations) is an amputator of humanity and a denier of the mystery of life.  My hope with this poem is to remind folks that living into the mysterious grace of life, particularly human life, when shared, not denied, leads to growth of said life.

The title of this poem, and its final line, Never wanton too leave,beckons the metaphor of the tree of life.  We are each a leaf on the tree of life, we cannot live alone yet we are an important part.  There is both a profound humility and sacred value in being human.  May we never be less than we were created to be, nor overblown, in finding our way in life.

POEM: Owed to Fort Hood Shooting(s)

Owed to Fort Hood Shooting(s)

Welcome to the hood
A fort of freedom
Billed upon violence
Up in arms
With billions in cache
Yet what remains
Unexplained
Bodies of evidence
About faces
Ambushed from deep within
Sow unlike
The enemy without
A projection of force
That no’s know end
United in states
Of con-stir-nation
And the perennial just
Plane crazy
Calling 911
After years
In the making
Veterans in abandonment
The hunters now haunted
By the whores of war
Pawned by kings (and occasional queens)
And all that is rank
Sold on commissions
As common privates beholden
Major embarrassment
Corporal punishment
All under general doody
A mirror lineup of quirks
Cockeyed foibles
And proverbial whoppers
Awe mything the point
Sow full of holes
As we are believed of command
Only hoping
To return
To our census
As children of God
Only to escape
Our brood
In a sense lost forever
Having gone
Owed school
No longer
As easy as ABCD
Coming of age in PTSD
Brain injuring and heart rendering
Equivocating murder and suicide
In such grievous measures
Of military debasement

My heart goes out to all affected by the tragedy at yesterday’s murders and suicide at Fort Hood.  Today, I’ll just let my poem speak for itself.

POEM: I Went AWOL

One day
I went
AWOL
A
Well
Ordered
Life
I’m not sure
If anyone noticed
If they did
Judging me
By my backside
I would be too
Looking forward
Mirrorly suggestive
Of one’s self
In what might
A peer
A site to behold
But not
Aiming for the moon
In lieu of stars

Walking away from the dominant and dominating culture is an informal way of going AWOL, that is, the military acronym for Absent WithOut Leave.  In this poem, the AWOL acronym stands for A Well Ordered Life.  When you find yourself facing away from the dominant culture, you can expect that others will judge you by your backside.  In traversing the road less traveled, the price the dominant culture extracts by any counter-cultural behaviors, is more than made up for by aligning oneself with the stars, rather than the moon, a lower site to set for brown-nosers and mere associates of all types.  Much of modern life in Western civilization is built around group identities rather than passionate pioneering.  We idolize celebrities.  We cozy up to those with status and power.  We our often possessed by our possessions, identifying more with what we own than with our own character.

The opposite of traversing down the road less traveled is living vicariously through the lives of others.  Perhaps one of the greatest illustrations of this is in the cinematic great Cool Hand Luke.  I find this movie one of the most way existential movies ever.  The main character, Luke, played by Paul Newman, quickly develops a reputation as a “cool handed” man hell-bent on finding his own way in his own way.  Here I am referring to the “stop feeding off of me” scene, where Luke, broken down, pleads with his fellow inmates to stop pinning all of their hopes and dreams on him; in essence, saying “get a life of your own!”  In this scene, Luke had escaped from the chain-gang for a second time, having been away for a while, stoking freely the fantasies of his fellow inmates left behind.  Here is the script containing that scene from Cool Hand Luke:

It is Saturday afternoon. Carr is distributing mail and
packages, the men clustered around; others lying on bunks,
making wallets, etc.

CARR
Magazines for you, Dragline!

ANGLE ON DRAGLINE

Dragline sits up from his bunk, astonished.

DRAGLINE
Magazines? Who’s sendin’ me magazines?

He looks at the package. Carr has tossed on his bunk.

DRAGLINE
From mah uncle? Ah never heard from
him in eight years and now he’s
sendin’ me magazines. He musta gone
crazy.

He has torn open the package, looks through the magazines,
which are movie fan books, lies back to flip the pages. In
background. Carr is continuing the mail call. Suddenly Dragline’s
eyes widen, his mouth opens, but he catches himself and closes
it before he has revealed himself.

INSERT THE PICTURE

It is taped to page in the magazine. It shows Luke in a suit
and tie, holding up four aces and a joker in one hand, arms
around two buxom over-made strippers. On the table in front
of them is a giant bottle of champagne and glasses. Scrawled
across it is something in Luke’s writing.

ANGLE DRAGLINE KOKO SOCIETY RED OTHERS

Seeing Dragline’s reaction, they have gathered around.

DRAGLINE
Looka that! Two of them. Oh my…

KOKO
I’m dyin’. I’m dyin’.

Dragline suddenly realizes the danger and closes the book so
Carr and the Wicker Man don’t catch on. The others reluctantly
move away. Dragline casually hands the magazine to Society
Red.

DRAGLINE
(whispering)
What’s the writing say?

SOCIETY RED
(opening to the picture, reading)
Dear Boys. Playing it cool. Wish you
were here. Love, Cool Hand Luke.

DRAGLINE
Oh my. Oh my… Give it back here!

Red surrenders the magazine. Dragline opens it again and a
look of pure bliss settles over his face.

KOKO
Lemme see it!

DRAGLINE
(violently)
Get away!

He looks over at Carr but Carr has moved away, is talking to
the Wicker Man, his back to the men. Koko, Loudmouth Steve,
Gambler and the others hurriedly cluster around Dragline.
Their voices are eager intense whispers.

KOKO
Lookit the brunette…

BLIND DICK
The blonde’s gotta better set.

GAMBLER
Some legs.

LOUDMOUTH STEVE
They must be six feet tall.

TATTOO
…And the champagne.

SOCIETY RED
(from his bunk)
Domestic.

TRAMP
Wonder how he got the dough.

ALIBI
He’s probably a salesman. You can
make pretty good money if you know
what your doing in selling.

GAMBLER
A salesman! Cool Hand Luke a salesman?

BLIND DICK
He’s probably a gigolo.

MECHANIC
Or a con artist.

LOUDMOUTH STEVE
The head of the rackets.

KOKO
(reverently)
Oh lookit that brunette.

DRAGLINE
Mah baby! We’re diggin’ and dyin’
but our boy Luke is lovin’ and flyin’.

They all gaze at the picture with loving, dreamy, painful
rapture.

OMITTED

INT. BARRACKS (NIGHT)

Blackass time, dull, sad, boring. Koko sits idly flicking
cards from the poker deck, men staring into space. The cards
sail by Society Red who is clipping his nails.

SOCIETY RED
Stop that.

KOKO
How about you tryin’ to make me?

SOCIETY RED
Oh for…

They slowly subside.

KOKO
Dragline, lemme look at the picture.

DRAGLINE
(feigned innocence)
What for?

LOUDMOUTH STEVE
Yeah, Drag. Get it out for a look.

DRAGLINE
You’re just a kid. Whatta you know
about it? You don’t wanna see that
dirty picture. Luke and those broads
an’ all that booze.

KOKO
Come on, Drag. Lemme take a look.

DRAGLINE
It’d go to your coconut head. You’d
start getting ideas. Maybe even pass
right out.

BLIND DICK
Dragline! Be a buddy!

DRAGLINE
How much you figure it’s worth, a
peek at this here picture? A quick
look, I’m not talkin’ about no
memorizin’ job.

KOKO
A cold drink.

DRAGLINE
A cold drink? You mean one cold drink?
To feast yore starvin’ fishy l’il
eyes on The Picture? A true vision
of Paradise itself? With two of the
angels right there in plain sight a-
friskin’ round with mah boy?

KOKO
A cold drink? Okay?

DRAGLINE
Well — okay. It’s a deal. One cold
drink, if’n you please. In advance.
One chilly bottle right here in mah
hot l’il hand… That goes for the
rest of you mullet-heads, too.

Activity as the men dig out coins to purchase drinks. Dragline
pulls out the magazine and the men all gather round, gazing
into it as though it were a crystal ball. Suddenly the wicker
door slams open and as the men look up…

THEIR P.O.V.

Luke is dumped to the floor, face down, unconscious, by Boss
Paul, Boss Kean, others. The Captain is standing there over
him. Luke wears a new prison uniform and two sets of chains.

CAPTAIN
(to Luke)
You run one time, you got yourself a
set of chains. You run twice, you
got two sets. You ain’t gonna need
no third set because you’re gonna
get your mind right… And I mean
right.

He looks at the men who are stunned by the juxtaposition of
their hero in The Picture and the reality of the unconscious
figure before them.

CAPTAIN
Take a good look at your Cool Hand
Luke.

With his foot he prods Luke over onto his back.

CLOSE ON LUKE

As he rolls over we can see he has been badly beaten.

OMITTED

NEW ANGLE THE MEN

As the Captain turns and walks out past the guards who follow,
and the wicket chute CLANGS shut, Dragline, Koko and others
move forward and gently lift Luke onto the poker table.

DRAGLINE
Oh mah poor baby. They done you real
good… I don’t know if you gonna
have them gals chasin’ after you for
a while…

CLOSE ON LUKE

lying, eyes closed.

SOCIETY RED’S VOICE
I’ve got some aspirin.

KOKO’S VOICE
They half killed him.

ALIBI’S VOICE
He should have a doctor.

DRAGLINE’S VOICE
Don’t you never learn nuthin’? They
ain’t gonna let no doctor see what
they dont to him…

ANGLE ON DRAGLINE, OTHERS

Dragline looks up at Carr who stands hovering above them.

DRAGLINE
Carr, kin we use your razor to clean
up where they cut his head?

Carr moves off to his canteen area.

CLOSE ON LUKE

as Blind Dick, Gambler, others move in…

GAMBLER
How you feelin’, buddy?

TRAMP
He don’t hear.

TATTOO
Somebody get him something to drink.

SOCIETY RED
Here.

Gently he tucks two aspirin tablets into Luke’s mouth, holds
a cup of water to Luke’s mouth. Luke’s eyes slowly open, he
drinks the water.

DRAGLINE
That’s my baby.

KOKO
He’s gonna be awright.

NEW ANGLE ON MEN

as Carr moves in with a razor, bandage, etc. The men clear
to give him room.

KOKO
Luke?… We got the picture! See?

He holds it up.

CLOSE ON LUKE

His eyes squint open, close.

BLIND DICK’S VOICE
A pair of beauties. Best I ever seen.

TATTOO’S VOICE
You really know how to pick ’em.

LOUDMOUTH STEVE’S VOICE
Tell us about ’em. What were they
like?

CLOSE ON LUKE

as his lips open. He speaks slowly, painfully.

LUKE
Picture’s a phoney… Cost me a week’s
pay.

NEW ANGLE THE MEN

KOKO
A phoney? Whatta you mean, a phoney?

GAMBLER
We saw the broads.

BLIND DICK
Yeah. Did you have them both at once
or —

LUKE
It’s a phoney. Made it up just for
you guys.

LOUDMOUTH STEVE
Aw, come on. We saw it all.

TATTOO
The champagne.

TRAMP
Some life.

FIXER
You really had it made.

LUKE
Nothin. I had nothin, made nothin.
Couple towns, couple bosses. Laughed
out loud one day and got turned in.

KOKO
(about to cry)
But — but —

LUKE
That’s all there was. Listen. Open
your eyes. Stop beatin’ it. And stop
feedin’ off me. Now get out of the
way. Give me some air.

Stunned, the men shrink back.

DRAGLINE
He ain’t himself. He’s all beat up.
Cain’t you see that? He don’t know
what he sayin’.

I would definitely recommend watching Cool Hand Luke — again if you’ve already seen it!  Great movie, and a way more entertaining way to get a lesson in existentialism than reading Sartre!

POEM: Navy Yard Killings

Navy Yard Killings

In these crazy times
Of senseless killings
Nations seek a return
To sensible killings

There are many levels of crazy.  There are perhaps even more levels of crazy when it comes to killing.  I am not surprised at all that mass killings by “crazy” shooters rip the heart out of a nation and its citizenry.  I am more surprised that killings as part of an industry, a solemnly premeditated projection of military power unparalleled in human history, are accepted as routine, “business as usual.”  Even as these crazy shootings rip our hearts out, as a nation we seem stuck in a place where such crazy killings seem to be a new normal.  The most recent mass killings happening at a Navy shipyard juxtapose these two seemingly separate realities with some irony.  Is the convergence of accepting as a new normal, as unavoidable, crazy mass killings within our borders in “civilian” settings somehow related to our longstanding societal acceptance of war and other “extrajudicial” killings.  I suspect that they may be.  Nevertheless, I hope that our experiences as victims of violence helps us develop compassion and empathy for those routinized military situations where we are the perpetrators of violence.  President Obama, in the memorial service for the twelve people murdered at the navy shipyard, quoted the ancient Greek poet, Aeschylus:

“Even in our sleep,
pain which cannot forget
falls drop by drop upon the heart until…
in our despair,
against our will,
comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.”

May we gain a wisdom through our awful losses, a wisdom that transcends violence.  As the dead continue to speak to us, through our grief, let God’s awful grace remind us that every one of us is loved — by family, friends, neighbors, God — regardless of our status as victim and/or perpetrator.  And may this unconditional love, the awful grace of God, reigning on the just and the unjust, transform us into a peaceful people, at home and abroad.

I dream of the day when the violence of war will be as unacceptable as slavery/human trafficking.  Only when nations lay aside their weapons will the peace where one side fits all become a reality.  God’s awful grace demands it.

POEM: As We Press Release

As We Press Release

The defense department denies killing civilians
The state department denies human rights abuses by trade partners
The department of energy denies that nuclear power is anything but safe
The criminal justice system denies institutional racism
The department of departments denies that it exists
There is no news here
An anonymous spokesman representing an undisclosed list of clients
Could neither confirm nor deny their uselessness
Beholden to flights of fancy
Carry on
Pink elephants trampling conspiracy theorists
Straw men unable to eat crow
Permitting no one to fly straight
Barring exceptional pork
The fun is over
A barrel
Of monkeys denying evolution
Where GOP is a measle-y typo
Read “take things literally”
A premeditated shot in the dark
Where there is no higher power
Emanating from the chamber of commerce
Pinko pachyderms never herd from
Any rarer would be bloody
Hell, the stakes are high
Raised by vampires
Unable to reflect on their own
Fratricide from dawn to dust
Sucking out the life
Granting only that
They feel our payin’
Attention
Exacting compensation for every notice
Dispatching captives with unmanned missives
Droning on
In their priest-like duties
Until the masses are free
Like a cancer
An endless growth
Of pulp fiction
And mind-numbing doublespeak
As we press release
From labor camps
Yet another
Birth of a nation
And its following deportments:
REDACTED
Censors monitoring your every move
So your posterity is theirs
And the war on terror
Only coming to an end
When know more
Freedom to deny

SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER: A Christian Perspective on Justice

Here is a portion of a document that I drafted a couple of years ago while I was a board member of Toledo Area Ministries (TAM).  It was never adopted in any form, but I put a lot of work into, so I wanted to make this work available to others. If you are interested in a Christian perspective on justice, try this one on for size:

Speaking Truth to Power

Power, Truth, Accountability, and Politics

What is Power?

All power and glory is God’s.  Power originates in God’s sovereignty.  From God’s sovereignty, comes TAM’s core value of the Church as “the most powerful certainty on the planet.”  God will work God’s will in God’s own way:

“My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord.

‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

 We are called to exercise power responsibly, and not lord over one another:

“You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant.  And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all.  For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life ransom for many.” (Mark 10:42-45)

“But Gideon told them, ‘I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you.  The LORD will rule over you.’” (Judges 8:23)

Whatever power we possess is a gift from God.  However, with power comes the temptation to use it for our own purposes instead of God’s purposes.

Responsibility and accountability are proportional to the amount of power possessed:

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.  For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38)

“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” (Luke 12:48b)

Power and power differentials are an inescapable fact of human life.  Power and power differentials exist within families.  Power and power differentials exist within community and governmental organizations.  Power and power differentials exist within faith communities.  Power and power differentials exist between nations.  Power and power differentials exist between all of these.  In fact, power and power differentials exist within any form of community.

The engagement of political powers transcends individual people:

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12, King James 21st Century Version)

God in Christ, shares power and authority with us through authentic community:

“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.  For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:19-20)

Truth and Accountability

Injustice is rooted in evading accountability to God and one another.  “What is truth?” (John 18:38)  This rhetorical question as posed by Pilate to Jesus is the classical evasion of accountability made by the “powers that be.”  Of course, this evasiveness is not restricted to powerful political leaders.  Cain, while his brother’s blood cries to God from the ground, attempts to evade God’s accountability by saying, “I don’t know…Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9-10).  Nor is evasiveness of accountability restricted to murderers.  An expert in religious law, in testing Jesus, himself confirmed that loving your neighbor as one’s self is necessary to inherit eternal life: “But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’ ” (Luke 10:29). Of course, this leads to the parable of the good Samaritan, where the hated enemy is judged righteous because he took effort and risk to help one in need.

“Distracting and conquering” is the conventional first line of defense in evading accountability.  What these three Biblical accounts have in common, besides a big dose of simple denial, are questions implying doubt that the truth can ascertained.  In attempts to deflect accountability, we have all encountered many versions of, “I don’t know.  Who can really say?  It’s all so complicated.” or “This is so important that we should study it (to no end).”  The key problem this raises when dealing with power differentials, is that this takes the “powers that be” off the hook, so they can maintain their power without being called into accountability, and injustice can reign.

“Distracting and conquering” results from being trapped within a misunderstanding of Truth.  As already noted, the evasive “What is truth?” question by Pilate was used to evade accountability to the Truth incarnate right in front of him.  The assumption implied in this question is rooted in the belief that ultimate truth cannot be determined by objectively studying all the facts in the world — which is a fact, though not the truth.  Believing this state of affairs to be the ultimate truth is relativism.  Unfortunately, relativism is only half of the dualistic confusion called materialism, brought about by worshipping creation rather than the Creator.  In fact, many secularists believe that you can determine ultimate truth from the many facts of the scientific world.  This form of idolatry employs the vain hope that if we only look at all the facts, Truth will be determined.  This is the conundrum of modern science without God.  In fact, secularists inevitably must vacillate between these two facets of materialism simply because each is inadequate to answer life’s deepest and most important questions.  Not surprisingly, when this confused world view can’t bring peace, violence is employed.  Ironically, this conundrum leads to both Pilate’s “tolerance” of Jesus and the brutal Pax Romana he ruled within.

The living God offers a way out of the dualistic confusion of materialism:

“For the word of God is living and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

and Jesus’ words eliciting Pilate’s evasion: “In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth.  Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” (John 18:37)

“Make sure no one captures you. They will try to capture you by using false reasoning that has no meaning. Their ideas depend on human teachings. They also depend on the basic things the people of this world believe. They don’t depend on Christ.”  (Colossians 2:8, NIV Reader’s Version)

“Objectively” studying all the facts from all of the different views of the world cannot reveal the One Subject, the great “I am.”  There is more than Nature, the created world.  There is a Creator.  God reveals truth to us through the Holy Spirit, the person of Jesus Christ, Scripture, the traditions of the Church, and peoples’ experiences.  Reason confirms these means of grace, but cannot access life’s deepest truths alone.  Conventional wisdom is not enough:

“For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.  Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.  For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” (1 Corinthians 1:21-25)

The living God offers a way to out of life taking a beating with a “dead” philosophy where “the powers that be” can “manage” avoiding accountability to their unjust benefit.  The living God offers a way beyond the false neutrality of the secular world which declares God’s Lordship over all as off-limits, or irrelevant at best.

Of course, being made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27), humans have an innate conscience, inescapable sense of morality, and desire to have a relationship with God.  So, distracting and conquering will eventually reach its limits.

“Dividing and conquering” is the next line of defense in politics in evading accountability. 

When the “powers that be” cannot quell or manage the moral demands made upon them, they turn to what they know best: self-interests.  Welcome to the world of “divide and conquer.”  When you can’t “distract and conquer,” pit the self-interests of individuals and groups against one another.  Again, this serves the purpose of reinforcing and maintaining the status quo and the power differentials enjoyed by the “powers that be.”

Pilate’s moral reasoning was reduced to managing self-interests [“…he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him.  But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover.  Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews’?” (John 18:38-39)].  Pacifying constituent interests to meet one’s own interests falls far short of accountability to God and one another.  Beyond Pilate’s ill-equipped moral reasoning, Cain and the expert in religious law sought to evade accountability to “my brother” or “my neighbor” by questioning the great commandments to love God and the second, like unto the first, love your neighbor as yourself, from which all the Law and the Prophets hang (Matthew 22:37-40).  Beyond obvious self-interest which short-circuits right relationships, in the end, we can no more focus on just our neighbor — to the exclusion of God — than we can focus only on God –to the exclusion of our neighbor.  Neighbor without God results in secular interest-based politics, an endless clashing of unfulfilled interests. God without neighbor results in a vain search for piety unsullied by engagement of worldly politics and transforming “the powers that be.”  

Injustice ultimately rests on violence, the end result of worldly politics, relying on simply conquering when other more “civilized” means fail.

Eventually, God’s justice must be confronted, and violence remains the only option left to maintain or force injustice upon others. This can take brazen forms such as the Roman Empire crucifying Jesus or waging war.  Though simply conquering often takes less brutish forms such as power grabs and punishing of political enemies. 

What is Politics?

Speaking truth to power deals with politics.

The Mirriam-Webster dictionary defines “politics” as:

1) the art or science concerned with guiding or influencing governmental policy;

2) competition between competing interest groups or individuals for power and leadership; and

3) the total complex of relations between people living in society.

The first definition is “Politics with a capital P.”  The second and third definitions are “politics with a small p.”

God, as the Lord of all, is also the Lord of politics, of all varieties.  This includes legislative and policy issues.  This includes advocacy with community groups, including churches.  Ultimately, this is about how we work out our common life together as God’s children.

Our primary concern is where power differentials exist and the potential for “Lording over” one another is greatest.

Worldly Politics versus Jesus’ Politics

The “Powers that be” and Domination

The “powers that be” has been the subject of study of Walter Wink, Professor of Biblical Interpretation at Auburn Theological Seminary, and author of a seminal trilogy of books addressing the issues of power.  Dr. Wink defines the “powers” as “the impersonal spiritual realities at the center of institutional life” (Wink, p. 28), “… the ‘corporate personality’ or ethos of an institution or epoch…” (Wink, p. 27), and “… the soul of systems…” (Wink, p. 29).  As such, the powers are not necessarily evil.  This “ethos” or “soul” of an institution, system, nation or epoch can move us positively or negatively.  It can motivate us to extraordinary unselfishness and service for good or it can be manipulated in the service of evil.   The powers are at the same time good, fallen, and redeemable.  In viewing an institution only as good blinds us to injustice and we reinforce an unjust status quo.  In viewing an institution only as fallen sinks us into despair or rage where we see no hope for change.  In viewing only an institution’s redeemability we end up just tinkering around the edges.  In any institution, we need awareness of its goodness, fallenness and redeemability to discern effective steps towards change.

In working for justice, we often confront the powers as one of the many “-isms,” such as racism, sexism, materialism, consumerism, militarism, nationalism, or patriotism.  As Dr. Wink puts it, “This overarching network of Powers is what we are calling the Domination System.  It is characterized by unjust economic relations, oppressive political relations, biased race relations, patriarchal gender relations, hierarchical power relations, and the use of violence to maintain them all…from the ancient Near Eastern states to the Pax Romana to feudal Europe to communist state capitalism to modern market capitalism” (Wink, p. 39).

from When the Powers Fall: Reconciliation in the Healing of Nations by Walter Wink (Fortress Press, 1998):

Wink points out that a world-wide system of domination is the problem, not just occasional expressions of it, like Rome in Jesus’ time:

“Jesus’ message has traditionally been treated as timeless, eternal, contextless teaching proclaimed in a sociopolitical vacuum, but his teaching and deeds are directed at a specific context: the Domination System.  Jesus’ message is a context-specific remedy for the evils of domination.  God is not simply attempting to rescue individuals from their sufferings at the hands of an unjust system, but to transform the system so as to make and keep human life more human.”

Wink contrasts Godly versus worldly values:

“Jesus does not condemn ambition or aspiration; he merely changes the values to which they are attached: ‘Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.’  He does not reject power, but only its use to dominate others. He does not reject greatness, but finds it in identification and solidarity with the needy at the bottom of society (Matt. 5:3-12/Luke 6:20-23).  He does not renounce heroism, but expresses it by repudiating the powers of death and confronting the entrenched might of the authorities, unarmed.”  Jesus’ words and deeds “repudiate the very premises on which domination is based: the right of some to lord it over others by means of power, wealth, shaming, or titles.”

Wink notes Jesus’ pivotal call to end economic exploitation and nonviolently overthrow evil:

“Economic inequalities are the basis of domination.  Domination hierarchies, ranking, and classism are all built on power provided by accumulated wealth.  Thus Jesus’ gospel is founded on economic justice.  Breaking with domination means ending the economic exploitation of the many by the few.  His followers were to begin living now ‘as if’ the new order had already come, seeking first God’s reign and God’s justice.  It is not described as coming from on high down to earth; it rises quietly and imperceptibly out of the land.  It is established, not by aristocrats and military might, but by ineluctable process of growth from below, among the common people…An egalitarian society presupposes nonviolence, for violence is the way some are able to deprive others of what is justly theirs. Inequality can only be maintained by violence. The root of violence, moreover, is domination. Turning the other cheek to a ‘superior’ who has backhanded an ‘inferior’ is an act of defiance, not submission; stripping naked when a creditor demands one’s outer garment brings down shame on the head of the creditor causing the poor debtor’s nakedness; carrying a soldier’s pack a second mile would put him in violation of military law (Matt. 5:39-41). These acts do not at all mean acquiescing passively to evil, but are studied and deliberate ways of seizing the initiative and overthrowing evil by the force of its own momentum.”

DOMINATION AND THE CHURCH. “The failure of churches to continue Jesus’ struggle to overcome domination is one of the most damning apostasies in its history. With some thrilling exceptions, the churches of the world have never yet decided that domination is wrong.  Even in countries where the churches have been deeply identified with revolution, there has been a tendency to focus on only one aspect of domination, such as political freedom, and to ignore economic injustices, authoritarianism, the immorality of war, domestic violence, gender inequality, hierarchicalism, patriarchy, and the physical and sexual abuse of children.  We have tried to take on evil piecemeal.”

SEEING A SINGLE FRONT. “While it is true that we cannot take on everything, we have not always located our struggles within Jesus’ total project: the overcoming of the Domination System itself. Jesus’ vision of a domination-free order enables us to see every struggle against injustice, illness, and greed as part of a single front, and gives us a perspective that links us to everyone engaged in similar struggles.”

A. “Follow the money” versus Biblical economics

Follow God or Money

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matthew 6:24)

“All the believers were one in heart and mind.  No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.  With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.  And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them.” (Acts 4:32-34a)

“Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality.  At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, as it is written: ‘The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.’ ” (2 Corinthians 8:13-15)

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.  Sell your possessions and give to the poor.  Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Luke 18-32-34)

Surely, budgets are moral documents revealing where our treasure, and our hearts, are found.

God decreed the year of Jubilee (Leviticus 25) to prevent large concentrations of wealth and persons from being permanently dispossessed from their land and/or forced into servitude.

B. Servant Leadership versus Status

Not Lord over others

Hierarchy reinforced by “shaming” – false moralism, enslaving us to legalistic categories, using unjust social norms to reinforce an unjust status quo

“Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.” (Colossians 3:11)

C. Authority versus Control

Jesus ran no formal organization, had little money, and no great worldly titles

In the world closely related to status (which is closely related to money),

“Who is this man who speaks with such authority?  Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. (Matthew 28:18)

“The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.” (Mark 1:22)

Prophets commonly criticized kings:

In 1 and 2 Kings alone, prophets proclaimed that no less than two dozen kings “did evil in the eyes of the Lord.” (1 Kings 11:6, Solomon; 15:26, Nadab; 15:34, Baasha and Jeroboam;  16:25, Omri;  22:52, Ahaziah;  2 Kings 8:18, Jehoram; 3:2, Joram; 8:27, Ahaziah and Ahaz; 13:2, Jehoahaz; 13:11, Jehoash; 14:24, Amaziah; 15:9, Zechariah;  15:18, Menahem; 15:24, Pekahiah; 15:28, Pekah; 17:2, Hoshea; 21:2, Manasseh; 21:20, Amon; 23:32, Jehoahaz; 23:37, Jehoiakim; 24:9, Jehoichin; 24:19, Zedekiah).  Also, the Bible records judgment on the entire nations of Israel and Judah (e.g., Judges 2:11, 3:7, 3:12, 4:1, 6:1, 10:6, 13:1, 2 Chronicles 29:6, Isaiah 65:12, 66:4 and 1 Kings 14:22).

D. Obeying God’s Laws versus Human Laws

“Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.  But Peter and John replied, ‘Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges!  As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.’ ” (Acts 4:18-20).  And later in Acts, Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings! (Acts 5:29)  The daughter of the Egyptian Pharaoh and the Hebrew midwives Shiphrah and Puah pointedly violated the Pharaoh’s edict to kill all male Hebrew children (Exodus 1:17). Even after he was ordered to be silent, Jeremiah continued to preach that Jerusalem was doomed unless its leaders repented and submitted to the Babylonians.  Jesus broke Sabbath laws (John 5:16-18) and carried out a public witness by cleansing the Jerusalem temple (Mark 11:15–19, Matthew 21:12, Luke 19:45-46, John 2:13–16) for which the authorities crucified him.

“So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” (Matthew 22:21)

God commanded Israel not to treat widows, orphans, and foreigners the way the Egyptians had treated them (Ex. 22:21–24).

E. Expecting persecution

Persecution is a natural consequence of challenging the “powers that be” — in fact, it is a sign of success, a blessing!

“Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult youand reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.  Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.  But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort.  Woe to you who are well fed now,  for you will go hungry.  Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep.  Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.” (Luke 6:22-26)

“Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death.  You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 10:21-22)

 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.  If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own.  As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.  Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.  If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.” (John 15:18-20)

“Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute?  They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One.  And now you have betrayed and murdered him.” (Acts 7:52)

Prophets are invariably infuriating to their own people, and God often turns to outsiders to do God’s work:

“ ‘Truly I tell you,’ he continued, ‘no prophet is accepted in his hometown.  I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land.  Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon.  And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.’  All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this.” (Luke 4:24-28)

 Jesus was a prophet, killed because he challenged powerful religious and political elites.  The seductive logic of the world is to save our church, our people, our nation — which means giving up Christ:

” ‘If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.’  Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, ‘You know nothing at all!  You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.’ ” (John 11:48-50)

 Our church, our people, our nation already have a Savior who has shown us the way:

 “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.  What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?  Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” (Matthew 16:25-26)

 In prophetic witness, we are in good company, a “great cloud of witnesses”:

 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.  For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:1-3)

Is it any wonder that complicity with the “powers that be,” which offers rewards of money and control, greater status, and ‘security,’ is such a tempting alternative to guaranteed persecution?

The Vision/God’s Dream

The God of all, including the future, holds for us blessings greater than we dare imagine.  Nonetheless, the prophet Isaiah boldly declares this vision:

“ ‘Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; the one who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere child; the one who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed.  They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.  No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat.  For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the work of their hands.  They will not labor in vain, nor will they bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the LORD, they and their descendants with them.  Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.  The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, and dust will be the serpent’s food.  They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,’ says the LORD.” (Isaiah 65:20-25)

God’s vision for his children is real and powerful, calling out to be manifest in the world, to transform the world.

TAM’s Mission

To help the Church meet God’s vision, TAM’s mission encompasses three broad areas: meeting human need, creating community and working for justice.

Meeting Human Need

Primary TAM Core Value: Value the Vulnerable

The greatest commandments are hinged by connecting love of neighbor as self with loving God:

” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40)

“Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar.” (1 John 4:20)

 Meeting basic human needs is part of loving God and neighbor:

“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds?  Can such faith save them?  Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.  If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?  In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” (James 2:14-17)

” ‘The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.’  ‘What should we do then?’ the crowd asked.  John answered, ‘Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.’ ” (Luke 3:9-11)

 ” ‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me…Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:35-36, 40)

God’s mercy to us is the model for our behavior toward others.  Relying upon ‘deserving’ is ultimately a denial of God’s basic character, unconditional love.  “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:45b)  “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), yet God is merciful.  We are on the short end of this fundamental power differential and God shows us mercy:

“I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one.’  I will say to those called ‘Not my people,’ ‘You are my people’; and they will say, ‘You are my God.’” (Hosea 2:23)

God reminds us often of where we have been and what God has already done for us, that which we could not do ourselves:

“I am the LORD, who brought you up out of Egypt” (Leviticus 11:45, 19:36, 22:33, 23:43, 25:38, 25:42, 25:55, 26;13, 26:45; Numbers 15:41; Deuteronomy 4:37, 5:6, 5:15, 6:12, 6:21, 7:8, 8:14, 13:10, 20:1: Judges 2:1, 2:12, 6:9; 1 Samuel 10:18, 12:16;  1 Kings 9:9; 2 Kings 17:36; 2 Chronicles 7:22; Nehemiah 9:18; Psalm 81:10; Jeremiah 16:14; Daniel 9:15)

Humility is the opposite of self-sufficiency.  Expecting God to provide for us and forgive us undeservedly while insisting that only ‘deserving’ neighbors have their human needs met is unjust and denies our complete dependency on God for forgiveness and ‘our daily bread’:

“Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13b)

“If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?  Are not even the tax collectors doing that?  And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others?  Do not even pagans do that?  Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:46-48)

Creating Community

Primary TAM Core Value: Value Reconciliation

Our reconciliation with God makes us new creations, ambassadors of reconciliation to our neighbors:

“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view.  Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!  All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them.  And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.  We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” (2 Corinthians 5:16-20a)

Love leads us to live as a community of equals:

“Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.  Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Colossians 3:11-14)

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35)

We can engage in respectful conversation with those with whom we differ.  We can humbly explore the sources of our differences.  We can honor the sacred worth of all persons.  In prayerfully seeking the mind of Christ, we can work out our life together in love.

The way of Jesus is one of radical hospitality.  Radical hospitality is a sacred process of transforming a stranger into a guest, or even family.  It witnesses to the reality that God entered the “world” to reconcile us to God and neighbor.  Jesus was the incarnation of radical hospitality: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” (Matthew 23:37 and Luke 13:34)

Where radical hospitality is practiced God’s realm flourishes.  Examples of these include:  Abraham receiving the three strangers — angels (Genesis 18), the Midian priest taking in Moses (Exodus 2), Rahab allowing Joshua’s spies to stay with her (Joshua 2), the widow at Zarephath offering Elijah her last bit of food (1 Kings 17:8-24), and the Samaritan woman inviting Jesus the stranger to stay with her community, which he does (John 4).

Where radical hospitality is not practiced, God’s judgment waits:

“If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.  Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.” (Matthew 10:14-15)

Beyond Civility

The golden rule provides guidance in how to live in community with one another: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31)  Nonetheless, God requires even more than human love that returns its own:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:43-44)

“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.  Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.  Live in harmony with one another.  Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.  Do not be conceited.  Do not repay anyone evil for evil.  Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.  If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.  Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.  On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.  In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:14-21)

Jesus did not avoid harsh words for those in positions of authority.  In fact, Jesus saved his harshest words for religious elites who avoided accountability to those they were to serve.  After calling the teachers of the law and Pharisees “hypocrites” (Matthew 23:23, 25, 27, 29) and “whitewashed tombs” (v. 27), Jesus says, “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?” (v. 33) (see also Luke 11:37-54)  Jesus boldly overturned tables in the temple, declaring “but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’ ” (Matthew 21:13b) in response to an affront of the religious establishment to the Lord’s declaration that “my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” (Isaiah 56:7b)

True worship in authentic community produces justice.  God despises religious practices that do not produce justice:

 “I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me.  Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them.  Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them.  Away with the noise of your songs!  I will not listen to the music of your harps.  But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream! (Amos 5:21-24)

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?  Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter – when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?  Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.  Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.  (Isaiah 58:6-9)

Calling one another into account with God and one another, i.e., working for justice, is an essential part of creating authentic community.

Working for Justice

Primary TAM Core Values: Value leadership and creativity.

Love leading us to live as a community of equals starkly highlights the many injustices in the world.

Doing Justice

“And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8

“Follow justice and justice alone, so that you may live and possess the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (Deuteronomy 16:20)

“The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.” (Proverbs 29:7)

“Learn to do right; seek justice.  Defend the oppressed.  Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” (Isaiah 1:17)

“Woe to him who builds his palace by unrighteousness, his upper rooms by injustice, making his own people work for nothing, not paying them for their labor.  He says, ‘I will build myself a great palace with spacious upper rooms.’  So he makes large windows in it, panels it with cedar and decorates it in red.  Does it make you a king to have more and more cedar?  Did not your father have food and drink?  He did what was right and just, so all went well with him.  He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well.  Is that not what it means to know me?  declares the LORD.” (Jeremiah 22:13-16

“Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless.” (Isaiah 10:1-2)

Advocacy, prophetic witness, social witness are all related expressions dealing with working for justice

Persistence and boldness are characteristics of leadership.

Persistence:

“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.  He said: In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought.  And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’  For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’  And the Lord said, ‘Listen to what the unjust judge says.  And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night?  Will he keep putting them off?  I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?’” (Luke 18:1-7)

“Then Jesus said to them, “Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’  And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’  I tell you, even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need.” (Luke 11:5-8)

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)

Boldness:

[In response to rulers conspiring against Jesus…] “Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.” (Acts 4: 29)

“Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.” (2 Corinthians 3:12)

“So, because you are lukewarm — neither hot nor cold — I am about to spit you out of my mouth.  You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’  But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.” (Revelations 3:16-17)

“One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent” (Acts 18:9)

“Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” ( 2 Tim 1:7)

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.  Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.” (Matthew 5:14-15)

Leadership requires a balanced view of the “powers that be” as being at the same time good, fallen, and redeemable.  In viewing an institution only as good blinds us to injustice and we reinforce an unjust status quo.  In viewing an institution only as fallen sinks us into despair or rage where we see no hope for change.  In viewing only an institution’s redeemability we end up just tinkering around the edges.

ESTABLISHING POLICY

What are the issues?

Our Biblical values manifest themselves in the world in many ways; many of these issues are encompassed by these categories:

1.  Being stewards of the natural world that sustains life on earth.

2.  Building up families and our nurturing communities, which underlie the

potential for each to live into the fullness of their humanity.

3.  Support our social communities and human rights that affirm our equal value in God’s eyes.

4.  Upholding an economic community that benefits all people and provides our “daily bread.”

5.  Engaging the political community and government to assure a just ordering of the larger society.

6.  Recognizing the oneness of God’s world and world community and seeking our particular role in it.

Reflections on Power, Leadership, and Decision-making

The status quo is.  The Kingdom of God is at hand.

“But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.” (Luke 12:31)

Where you stand depends on where you sit.

Money.  Status.  Control.  These are the ways of the world.  Falling back into these ways offers many temptations, for the world rewards these ways, and punishes those who challenge these ways.

God judges us as nations according to how we treat “the least of these.”

Areas of privilege:

God has given us all variety of gifts.

In what areas do I have advantage over others?

Servant leadership

Areas of vulnerability:

Intimacy

In what areas do I depend upon the mercy of God and others?

What am I afraid of losing?

compassion

From a spiritual perspective, we are all indigent.  We cannot be made whole by ourselves.  We depend upon God and others for our very life.

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Offering all to God:

God makes us whole.  God works through our areas of giftedness and advantage and our areas of vulnerability

Taking a stand.

Prophetic voice in tension with consensus and majority rule

Cost of Discipleship

One of the costs of discipleship is enduring this persecution.

cost high but the reward much greater than the cost

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)

Recommended reading:

The Powers That Be: Theology for a New Millennium, by Walter Wink, Doubleday, 4/98, ISBN: 0-385-48740-1

POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

Decision-making Around Issues

What factors should be considered in addressing an issue?

How important is the issue?

How significant is the impact on human need, justice, and authentic community? (importance test)

Does the issue impact meeting human need?

Will people be deprived of meeting a human need that will directly and significantly harm individuals or families (human suffering test)

Does the issue impact creating community?

Is a partner organization or local faith community involved and/or affected? (good neighbor test).

Does an issue affect our local community (the local test)

Do many Christian faith traditions have statements supporting such advocacy and/or very few, if any, faith traditions have statements that may contradict such advocacy? (tradition test).

Does dealing positively with a controversial issue offers an opportunity to model a Biblical alternative of authentic community to worldly politics (Biblical alternative test).

Are families and/or our nurturing communities undercut in a way that threatens community members in living into the fullness of their humanity (nurturing communities test).

Is “civility’ violated and/or opponents are demonized and offering a faith-based perspective could be of substantial benefit (civility test)

Is the common good threatened or diminished, where short term gain creates long term loss (seven generations test)

Does the issue impact working for justice?

Does an issue threaten the poor and vulnerable (“least of these” test)

Does an issue weaken an economic community that benefits all people and provides our “daily bread” (shared benefits test)

Does an issue threaten human rights/civil rights that affirm our equal value in God’s eyes (children of God test)

Does an issue threaten the ability of people to engage the political community and government to assure a just ordering of the larger society (fair representation test).

Does an issue threaten public safety, peace and non-violence (non-violence test)

Are power differentials so large that it precludes a fair hearing of the issues (fair hearing test)

Does an issue threaten stewardship of God’s creation (creation stewardship test)

Does an issue deny the oneness of God’s world and world community (one world test).

Is there no other local faith body addressing an issue of Biblical justice (voice in the wilderness test)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Support the Police, Beat Yourself Up

Support the Police Beat Yourself Up – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Support the Police Beat Yourself Up - FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Support the Police Beat Yourself Up – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

This cool design is linked to a button, but other great Top Pun products like T-shirts, bumper stickers, mugs, caps, key chains, magnets, posters, and sticker sheets can be accessed by scrolling down the product page.

View more Political Buttons.

This design goes out to all those Occupy Wall Street protesters everywhere!  I like this cool design because of the obvious incongruity of juxtaposing supporting the police and beating oneself up.  While the police are part of the 99%, they are also tools for the 1% to enforce, typically selectively enforce, laws that will protect the power of the 1%.  Dealing with nonviolent protesters is not something for which the police are typically well-trained. Police routinely rely on militaristic methods for crowd control and social control.  Police brutality and abuse is a natural outgrowth of this approach.  Presumptively having the law on their side, as the enforcers of laws, police can shield themselves from accountability and overreact to peaceful demonstrators.  Fortunately, one of the purposes of nonviolent demonstrators is to expose the inherent violence in the system, and the front lines of this is often law enforcement and the military.  Of course, when police overreact and use violence to quell peaceful demonstrations, denial of doing anything wrong, a refusal to be accountable for one’s actions is typically the first response.  This only highlights the gap between the immense responsibility that police have to behave well and the reality that the socially sanctioned possessors of violence can get away with violence much easier.  Suggesting that a protester beat themselves up preemptively is a way to highlight the farcical notion of the purity of law enforcement and violence to control other people.  Rather than law enforcement officers receiving harsher punishments for “unnecessary” violence, it is rare to see police prosecuted successfully for such misbehavior.  Maybe we should expect that such misbehaving police should regulate themselves, and that they should beat themselves up!

Occupy Wall Street Buttons

I am finally uploaded a new batch of Occupy Wall Street designs.  This batch of 125 political designs is mostly Occupy Wall Street designs, but there are also a large series of “stop socialism” designs, a large series of Fox news parodies, and a new line of designs: vegetarian.  I still have hundreds of other designs made that I still need to upload, so stay tuned.

The designs below are linked to button products, but each of these designs is available in all of Top Pun’s products such as T-shirts, bumper stickers, mugs, magnets, key chains, sticker sheets, posters, and caps.

If you like what you see, you can check out all of my political designs, which also include more Occupy Wall Street related designs.

Gandhi Quote: First Ignore, Then Laugh, Fight, Win - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Gandhi Quote: First Ignore, Then Laugh, Fight, Win – POLITICAL BUTTON

Gandhi Quote: First Ignore, Then Laugh, Fight, Win – POLITICAL BUTTON

I Can EXPLAIN It To You, But I Can't UNDERSTAND It For You - POLITICAL BUTTON

I Can EXPLAIN It To You, But I Can’t UNDERSTAND It For You – POLITICAL BUTTON

I Can EXPLAIN It To You, But I Can’t UNDERSTAND It For You – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - Dismantle Prisons (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – Dismantle Prisons (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – Dismantle Prisons (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

99 to 1 - I Can Live With That - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

99 to 1 – I Can Live With That – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

99 to 1 – I Can Live With That – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

I Don't Mind You Being Rich, I Mind You Buying My Government - POLITICAL BUTTON

I Don’t Mind You Being Rich, I Mind You Buying My Government – POLITICAL BUTTON

I Don’t Mind You Being Rich, I Mind You Buying My Government – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - Dismantle The CIA (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – Dismantle The CIA (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – Dismantle The CIA (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

99 to One - I Stand With The Odds - Stand Together - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

99 to One – I Stand With The Odds – Stand Together – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

99 to One – I Stand With The Odds – Stand Together – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

I Thought There Would Be Cake (Marie Antoinette Protester) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

I Thought There Would Be Cake (Marie Antoinette Protester) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

I Thought There Would Be Cake (Marie Antoinette Protester) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - Dismantle The FBI (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – Dismantle The FBI (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – Dismantle The FBI (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

A Nation of Sheep Soon Beget a Government of Wolves - Edward R. Murrow Quote - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

A Nation of Sheep Soon Beget a Government of Wolves – Edward R. Murrow Quote – POLITICAL BUTTON

A Nation of Sheep Soon Beget a Government of Wolves – Edward R. Murrow Quote – POLITICAL BUTTON

I Want A Future That Can't Be Bought (Heart Cloud) - POLITICAL BUTTON

I Want A Future That Can’t Be Bought (Heart Cloud) – POLITICAL BUTTON

I Want A Future That Can’t Be Bought (Heart Cloud) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - Dismantle The Fire Dept (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – Dismantle The Fire Dept (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – Dismantle The Fire Dept (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Abolish Corporate Personhood - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Abolish Corporate Personhood – POLITICAL BUTTON

Abolish Corporate Personhood – POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support FREE SPEECH - Protect the Constitution (Uncle Sam) - POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support FREE SPEECH – Protect the Constitution (Uncle Sam) – POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support FREE SPEECH – Protect the Constitution (Uncle Sam) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - Dismantle The Police Dept. (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – Dismantle The Police Dept. (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – Dismantle The Police Dept. (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

America is Broke BrokeN - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

America is Broke BrokeN – POLITICAL BUTTON

America is Broke BrokeN – POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support FREEDOM OF RELIGION Protect the Constitution (Uncle Sam) - POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support FREEDOM OF RELIGION Protect the Constitution (Uncle Sam) – POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support FREEDOM OF RELIGION Protect the Constitution (Uncle Sam) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End Border Patrols (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Border Patrols (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Border Patrols (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

American AND Liberal (Flag) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

American AND Liberal (Flag) – POLITICAL BUTTON

American AND Liberal (Flag) – POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support FREEDOM OF THE PRESS - Protect the Constitution (Uncle Sam) - POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support FREEDOM OF THE PRESS – Protect the Constitution (Uncle Sam) – POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support FREEDOM OF THE PRESS – Protect the Constitution (Uncle Sam) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End Child Protective Services (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Child Protective Services (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Child Protective Services (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Anarchy is Not What You See on TV - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Anarchy is Not What You See on TV – POLITICAL BUTTON

Anarchy is Not What You See on TV – POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support PEACEABLE ASSEMBLY - Protect the Constitution (Uncle Sam) - POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support PEACEABLE ASSEMBLY – Protect the Constitution (Uncle Sam) – POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support PEACEABLE ASSEMBLY – Protect the Constitution (Uncle Sam) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End Elections (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Elections (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Elections (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Arrest Greed - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Arrest Greed – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Arrest Greed – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support PETITION FOR REDRESS GRIEVANCES - Protect the Constitution Uncle Sam - POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support PETITION FOR REDRESS GRIEVANCES – Protect the Constitution Uncle Sam – POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support PETITION FOR REDRESS GRIEVANCES – Protect the Constitution Uncle Sam – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism --End Environmental Protection (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism –End Environmental Protection (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism –End Environmental Protection (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

At Least We Are Winning The War on Camping (Tent) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

At Least We Are Winning The War on Camping (Tent) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

At Least We Are Winning The War on Camping (Tent) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support THE RIGHT TO PRIVACY - Protect the Constitution (Uncle Sam) - POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support THE RIGHT TO PRIVACY – Protect the Constitution (Uncle Sam) – POLITICAL BUTTON

I WANT YOU To Support THE RIGHT TO PRIVACY – Protect the Constitution (Uncle Sam) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End Food Safety Inspections (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Food Safety Inspections (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Food Safety Inspections (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Banks Know The Price of Everything But Value Nothing - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Banks Know The Price of Everything But Value Nothing – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Banks Know The Price of Everything But Value Nothing – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

If Money is Speech, Poverty is Silence - POLITICAL BUTTON

If Money is Speech, Poverty is Silence – POLITICAL BUTTON

If Money is Speech, Poverty is Silence – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End Highways and Roads (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Highways and Roads (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Highways and Roads (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Bigger Cages, Longer Chains - FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Bigger Cages, Longer Chains – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Bigger Cages, Longer Chains – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

If You Aren't A Vegetarian, You Probably Don't Know Beans - FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

If You Aren’t A Vegetarian, You Probably Don’t Know Beans – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

If You Aren’t A Vegetarian, You Probably Don’t Know Beans – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End Homeland Security (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Homeland Security (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Homeland Security (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

BLAME AMERICA? It's Called Responsibility - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

BLAME AMERICA? It’s Called Responsibility – POLITICAL BUTTON

BLAME AMERICA? It’s Called Responsibility – POLITICAL BUTTON

If You Can't Beat 'em, Join 'em 99% (Riot Policeman) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

If You Can’t Beat ’em, Join ’em 99% (Riot Policeman) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

If You Can’t Beat ’em, Join ’em 99% (Riot Policeman) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End Medicare (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Medicare (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Medicare (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Bull Shit Meter - FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Bull Shit Meter – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Bull Shit Meter – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

If You Can't Join 'em, Beat 'em 99% (Riot Policeman) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

If You Can’t Join ’em, Beat ’em 99% (Riot Policeman) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

If You Can’t Join ’em, Beat ’em 99% (Riot Policeman) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End Money and Coins (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Money and Coins (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Money and Coins (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Capitalism is Not in Crisis, Capitalism is the Crisis - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Capitalism is Not in Crisis, Capitalism is the Crisis – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Capitalism is Not in Crisis, Capitalism is the Crisis – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

If You Think The System Is Working, Ask Someone Who Isn't - POLITICAL BUTTON

If You Think The System Is Working, Ask Someone Who Isn’t – POLITICAL BUTTON

If You Think The System Is Working, Ask Someone Who Isn’t – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End Postal Service (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Postal Service (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Postal Service (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Class, I Know Nothing of Class - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Class, I Know Nothing of Class – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Class, I Know Nothing of Class – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

If You're Not Part of the Solution, You Must Be a Republican - FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

If You’re Not Part of the Solution, You Must Be a Republican – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

If You’re Not Part of the Solution, You Must Be a Republican – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End Public Education (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Public Education (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Public Education (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Class War - I Thought We Won That When Corporations Were Declared People and That Money Is Free Speech - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Class War – I Thought We Won That When Corporations Were Declared People and That Money Is Free Speech – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Class War – I Thought We Won That When Corporations Were Declared People and That Money Is Free Speech – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

I'm Not Anti-Corporation, I'm Anti-Corruption - POLITICAL BUTTON

I’m Not Anti-Corporation, I’m Anti-Corruption – POLITICAL BUTTON

I’m Not Anti-Corporation, I’m Anti-Corruption – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End Public Libraries (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Public Libraries (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Public Libraries (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

CLASS WARS (Star Wars Parody) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

CLASS WARS (Star Wars Parody) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

CLASS WARS (Star Wars Parody) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

IN PROTEST WE TRUST - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

IN PROTEST WE TRUST – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

IN PROTEST WE TRUST – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End Public Sewer and Water Service (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Public Sewer and Water Service (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Public Sewer and Water Service (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Clean Water is the Solution - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Clean Water is the Solution – POLITICAL BUTTON

Clean Water is the Solution – POLITICAL BUTTON

International NO Nuclear Power - POLITICAL BUTTON

International NO Nuclear Power – POLITICAL BUTTON

International NO Nuclear Power – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism End Public Utilities (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism End Public Utilities (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism End Public Utilities (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Corporate PAC Man Eating DEMOCRACY - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Corporate PAC Man Eating DEMOCRACY – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Corporate PAC Man Eating DEMOCRACY – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

It's Called the American Dream Because You Have to be Asleep to Believe It - George Carlin Quote - POLITICAL BUTTON

It’s Called the American Dream Because You Have to be Asleep to Believe It – George Carlin Quote – POLITICAL BUTTON

It’s Called the American Dream Because You Have to be Asleep to Believe It – George Carlin Quote – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End Social Security (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Social Security (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Social Security (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Corporations Aren't People, We Are - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Corporations Aren’t People, We Are – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Corporations Aren’t People, We Are – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

It's NOT Spelled Demo¢ra$y (Democracy) - POLITICAL BUTTON

It’s NOT Spelled Demo¢ra$y (Democracy) – POLITICAL BUTTON

It’s NOT Spelled Demo¢ra$y (Democracy) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End State Colleges and Universities (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End State Colleges and Universities (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End State Colleges and Universities (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Corporations Lie - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Corporations Lie – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Corporations Lie – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

It's Not WEE The People (Monopoly Man) - FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

It’s Not WEE The People (Monopoly Man) – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

It’s Not WEE The People (Monopoly Man) – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End the Court System (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End the Court System (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End the Court System (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Debt Slavery - No Chains Necessary (Sisyphus) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Debt Slavery – No Chains Necessary (Sisyphus) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Debt Slavery – No Chains Necessary (Sisyphus) – POLITICAL BUTTON

It's WE The People, Not WEE The People Founding Fathers - FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

It’s WE The People, Not WEE The People Founding Fathers – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

It’s WE The People, Not WEE The People Founding Fathers – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End The Federal Aviation Admin (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End The Federal Aviation Admin (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End The Federal Aviation Admin (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Democrat, Republican, AWAKE (Checkbox) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Democrat, Republican, AWAKE (Checkbox) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Democrat, Republican, AWAKE (Checkbox) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Keep Your Coins, I Want Change (Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Keep Your Coins, I Want Change (Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Keep Your Coins, I Want Change (Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End The Military (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End The Military (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End The Military (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Democrat, Republican, OTHER (Checkbox) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Democrat, Republican, OTHER (Checkbox) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Democrat, Republican, OTHER (Checkbox) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Killer Coke - Buying Coke Products May Be Dangerous to Others - POLITICAL BUTTON

Killer Coke – Buying Coke Products May Be Dangerous to Others – POLITICAL BUTTON

Killer Coke – Buying Coke Products May Be Dangerous to Others – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End The National Institutes of Health (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End The National Institutes of Health (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End The National Institutes of Health (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Democrat, Republican, Pissed Off (Checkbox) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Democrat, Republican, Pissed Off (Checkbox) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Democrat, Republican, Pissed Off (Checkbox) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Left, Right, Take Your Pick (Manacles) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Left, Right, Take Your Pick (Manacles) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Left, Right, Take Your Pick (Manacles) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End The National Park System (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End The National Park System (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End The National Park System (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Democrats Think The Glass Is Half Full, Republicans Think The Glass Is Theirs - FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Democrats Think The Glass Is Half Full, Republicans Think The Glass Is Theirs – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Democrats Think The Glass Is Half Full, Republicans Think The Glass Is Theirs – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Let Them Eat Pasteurized Processed Imitation Cheese Food Product (Marie Antoinette) - FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Let Them Eat Pasteurized Processed Imitation Cheese Food Product (Marie Antoinette) – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Let Them Eat Pasteurized Processed Imitation Cheese Food Product (Marie Antoinette) – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End The State (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End The State (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End The State (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Did Someone Say Class War (Monopoly Man Parody) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Did Someone Say Class War (Monopoly Man Parody) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Did Someone Say Class War (Monopoly Man Parody) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Listen And Obey (TV) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Listen And Obey (TV) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Listen And Obey (TV) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - End Trash Pick up (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Trash Pick up (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – End Trash Pick up (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Do You Think They Herd Us (Riot Police) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Do You Think They Herd Us (Riot Police) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Do You Think They Herd Us (Riot Police) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Looks Like You've Had A Bit Too Much To Think Today (Policeman) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Looks Like You’ve Had A Bit Too Much To Think Today (Policeman) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Looks Like You’ve Had A Bit Too Much To Think Today (Policeman) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - Make Crime Legal (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – Make Crime Legal (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – Make Crime Legal (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Dollar Statue Falling  - Occupy Wall Street - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Dollar Statue Falling – Occupy Wall Street – POLITICAL BUTTON

Dollar Statue Falling – Occupy Wall Street – POLITICAL BUTTON

Love Greater Than Money (Heart) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Love Greater Than Money (Heart) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Love Greater Than Money (Heart) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialized Risk Privatized Profit (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialized Risk Privatized Profit (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialized Risk Privatized Profit (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Don't Ask Me Why I'm A Vegetarian, Ask Yourself Why You're Not - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Don’t Ask Me Why I’m A Vegetarian, Ask Yourself Why You’re Not – POLITICAL BUTTON

Don’t Ask Me Why I’m A Vegetarian, Ask Yourself Why You’re Not – POLITICAL BUTTON

Make Every Day Earth Day - POLITICAL BUTTON

Make Every Day Earth Day – POLITICAL BUTTON

Make Every Day Earth Day – POLITICAL BUTTON

SUPERSIZE The Minimum Wage - POLITICAL BUTTON

SUPERSIZE The Minimum Wage – POLITICAL BUTTON

SUPERSIZE The Minimum Wage – POLITICAL BUTTON

Earth First - We'll Rape the Other Planets Later - FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Earth First – We’ll Rape the Other Planets Later – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Earth First – We’ll Rape the Other Planets Later – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

May The Forest Be With You - POLITICAL BUTTON

May The Forest Be With You – POLITICAL BUTTON

May The Forest Be With You – POLITICAL BUTTON

Support Organized Crime - Vote Republican - FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Support Organized Crime – Vote Republican – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Support Organized Crime – Vote Republican – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Eat Beans, Not Beings - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Eat Beans, Not Beings – POLITICAL BUTTON

Eat Beans, Not Beings – POLITICAL BUTTON

Money is Free Speech - SHUT UP! - POLITICAL BUTTON

Money is Free Speech – SHUT UP! – POLITICAL BUTTON

Money is Free Speech – SHUT UP! – POLITICAL BUTTON

That Stuff Trickling Down on You is NOT Money (Wall Street Bull Shit) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

That Stuff Trickling Down on You is NOT Money (Wall Street Bull Shit) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

That Stuff Trickling Down on You is NOT Money (Wall Street Bull Shit) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Elect Satan - Why Pick The Lesser Of Two Evils - FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Elect Satan – Why Pick The Lesser Of Two Evils – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Elect Satan – Why Pick The Lesser Of Two Evils – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Money is the Root of All Politics - POLITICAL BUTTON

Money is the Root of All Politics – POLITICAL BUTTON

Money is the Root of All Politics – POLITICAL BUTTON

The Audacity of Dopes - Wall Street - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

The Audacity of Dopes – Wall Street – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

The Audacity of Dopes – Wall Street – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

End the Casino Economy (Dice) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

End the Casino Economy (Dice) – POLITICAL BUTTON

End the Casino Economy (Dice) – POLITICAL BUTTON

NO Nuclear - POLITICAL BUTTON

NO Nuclear – POLITICAL BUTTON

NO Nuclear – POLITICAL BUTTON

The Death Penalty is Dead Wrong (Skull) - POLITICAL BUTTON

The Death Penalty is Dead Wrong (Skull) – POLITICAL BUTTON

The Death Penalty is Dead Wrong (Skull) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Every Day Is Earth Day - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Every Day Is Earth Day – POLITICAL BUTTON

Every Day Is Earth Day – POLITICAL BUTTON

Nuclear Waste - Pay as You Glow - POLITICAL BUTTON

Nuclear Waste – Pay as You Glow – POLITICAL BUTTON

Nuclear Waste – Pay as You Glow – POLITICAL BUTTON

The First Amendment IS Our Permit (US Constitution) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

The First Amendment IS Our Permit (US Constitution) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

The First Amendment IS Our Permit (US Constitution) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Evolve (LOVE) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Evolve (LOVE) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Evolve (LOVE) – POLITICAL BUTTON

OCCUPY EVERYTHING (Heart) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

OCCUPY EVERYTHING (Heart) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

OCCUPY EVERYTHING (Heart) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

The First Illegal Immigrants Arrived in 1492 - POLITICAL BUTTON

The First Illegal Immigrants Arrived in 1492 – POLITICAL BUTTON

The First Illegal Immigrants Arrived in 1492 – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News - AGREE for FOX SAKE (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Faux News – AGREE for FOX SAKE (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News – AGREE for FOX SAKE (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Occupy Everywhere - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Occupy Everywhere – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Occupy Everywhere – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

The Left is Right - POLITICAL BUTTON

The Left is Right – POLITICAL BUTTON

The Left is Right – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News - BIG BROTHER'S Little Brother (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Faux News – BIG BROTHER’S Little Brother (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News – BIG BROTHER’S Little Brother (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

OCCUPY is Cool - REALLY COOL (Hell Freezing Over Sign) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

OCCUPY is Cool – REALLY COOL (Hell Freezing Over Sign) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

OCCUPY is Cool – REALLY COOL (Hell Freezing Over Sign) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

The Meek Are Getting Ready - POLITICAL BUTTON

The Meek Are Getting Ready – POLITICAL BUTTON

The Meek Are Getting Ready – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News - Chicken Coup Specialists (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Faux News – Chicken Coup Specialists (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News – Chicken Coup Specialists (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

OCCUPY Your HEAD With Your HEART - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

OCCUPY Your HEAD With Your HEART – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

OCCUPY Your HEAD With Your HEART – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

The One Percent Have People And They Are Dressed For Success (Riot Police) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

The One Percent Have People And They Are Dressed For Success (Riot Police) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

The One Percent Have People And They Are Dressed For Success (Riot Police) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News - FAIRLY UNBALANCED (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Faux News – FAIRLY UNBALANCED (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News – FAIRLY UNBALANCED (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

One Party System - Republicrats - POLITICAL BUTTON

One Party System – Republicrats – POLITICAL BUTTON

One Party System – Republicrats – POLITICAL BUTTON

The System Was Never Broken It Was BUILT That Way - POLITICAL BUTTON

The System Was Never Broken It Was BUILT That Way – POLITICAL BUTTON

The System Was Never Broken It Was BUILT That Way – POLITICAL BUTTON

FAUX NEWS - Making The World Safe For Stupidity (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

FAUX NEWS – Making The World Safe For Stupidity (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

FAUX NEWS – Making The World Safe For Stupidity (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

One Percent FED, 99 Percent FED UP - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

One Percent FED, 99 Percent FED UP – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

One Percent FED, 99 Percent FED UP – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

There Is No Planet B - POLITICAL BUTTON

There Is No Planet B – POLITICAL BUTTON

There Is No Planet B – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News - NEO CON NEWS NETWORK (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Faux News – NEO CON NEWS NETWORK (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News – NEO CON NEWS NETWORK (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

One Percent, Ninety Nine Percent, Cash Rich versus Cash Poor - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

One Percent, Ninety Nine Percent, Cash Rich versus Cash Poor – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

One Percent, Ninety Nine Percent, Cash Rich versus Cash Poor – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

These Are NOT The Green Jobs We Were Hoping For (CASH) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

These Are NOT The Green Jobs We Were Hoping For (CASH) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

These Are NOT The Green Jobs We Were Hoping For (CASH) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News - NEWS at the Speed of Lies (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Faux News – NEWS at the Speed of Lies (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News – NEWS at the Speed of Lies (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Please Pardon Our Peaceful Chaos As We Reboot Our Country's Operating System - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Please Pardon Our Peaceful Chaos As We Reboot Our Country’s Operating System – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Please Pardon Our Peaceful Chaos As We Reboot Our Country’s Operating System – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

They Only Call It Class Warfare When We Fight Back - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

They Only Call It Class Warfare When We Fight Back – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

They Only Call It Class Warfare When We Fight Back – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News - Preferred by 5 Out of 4 Rednecks (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Faux News – Preferred by 5 Out of 4 Rednecks (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News – Preferred by 5 Out of 4 Rednecks (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Political Prisoner In Training (Dove in Jail) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Political Prisoner In Training (Dove in Jail) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Political Prisoner In Training (Dove in Jail) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Think Green - POLITICAL BUTTON

Think Green – POLITICAL BUTTON

Think Green – POLITICAL BUTTON

FAUX NEWS - Rich People Paying Rich People To Tell Middle Class People To Blame Poor People (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

FAUX NEWS – Rich People Paying Rich People To Tell Middle Class People To Blame Poor People (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

FAUX NEWS – Rich People Paying Rich People To Tell Middle Class People To Blame Poor People (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Pre-OCCUPIED and STUPIFIED (TV) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Pre-OCCUPIED and STUPIFIED (TV) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Pre-OCCUPIED and STUPIFIED (TV) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Think Outside the Box (TV) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Think Outside the Box (TV) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Think Outside the Box (TV) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News - SO RIGHT WE'RE WRONG (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Faux News – SO RIGHT WE’RE WRONG (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News – SO RIGHT WE’RE WRONG (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Pro Life - Unborn, GOOD - Born,  BAD - Born Again, GOOD - POLITICAL BUTTON

Pro Life – Unborn, GOOD – Born, BAD – Born Again, GOOD – POLITICAL BUTTON

Pro Life – Unborn, GOOD – Born, BAD – Born Again, GOOD – POLITICAL BUTTON

This is the Only Bill Unanimously Passed in Congress (100 Dollar Bill) - POLITICAL BUTTON

This is the Only Bill Unanimously Passed in Congress (100 Dollar Bill) – POLITICAL BUTTON

This is the Only Bill Unanimously Passed in Congress (100 Dollar Bill) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News - Spreading It Everywhere (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Faux News – Spreading It Everywhere (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News – Spreading It Everywhere (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Proud Member of The Reality Based Community - POLITICAL BUTTON

Proud Member of The Reality Based Community – POLITICAL BUTTON

Proud Member of The Reality Based Community – POLITICAL BUTTON

This Is The Way Bankstas Roll (Pig Rolling in Cash Rolls) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

This Is The Way Bankstas Roll (Pig Rolling in Cash Rolls) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

This Is The Way Bankstas Roll (Pig Rolling in Cash Rolls) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News - Take a Peak at Doublespeak (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Faux News – Take a Peak at Doublespeak (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News – Take a Peak at Doublespeak (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Proud To Be Everything The Right Wing Hates - POLITICAL BUTTON

Proud To Be Everything The Right Wing Hates – POLITICAL BUTTON

Proud To Be Everything The Right Wing Hates – POLITICAL BUTTON

This Is The Way Bankstas Roll (Rolling Dice) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

This Is The Way Bankstas Roll (Rolling Dice) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

This Is The Way Bankstas Roll (Rolling Dice) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News - Trust Our Klan of Reporters (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Faux News – Trust Our Klan of Reporters (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News – Trust Our Klan of Reporters (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Question Consumption - POLITICAL BUTTON

Question Consumption – POLITICAL BUTTON

Question Consumption – POLITICAL BUTTON

This Is What Democracy Looks Like To the One Percent (Riot Police) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

This Is What Democracy Looks Like To the One Percent (Riot Police) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

This Is What Democracy Looks Like To the One Percent (Riot Police) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News - Unencumbered by Truth (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Faux News – Unencumbered by Truth (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News – Unencumbered by Truth (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Real Eyes, Realize, Real Lies - POLITICAL BUTTON

Real Eyes, Realize, Real Lies – POLITICAL BUTTON

Real Eyes, Realize, Real Lies – POLITICAL BUTTON

Throw Out The Money Changers (Jesus) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Throw Out The Money Changers (Jesus) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Throw Out The Money Changers (Jesus) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News - We Have Half a Mind to Be Right (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Faux News – We Have Half a Mind to Be Right (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News – We Have Half a Mind to Be Right (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Reality Has A Well Known Liberal Bias - Stephen Colbert - FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Reality Has A Well Known Liberal Bias – Stephen Colbert – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Reality Has A Well Known Liberal Bias – Stephen Colbert – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Titanic - Too Big To Fail - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Titanic – Too Big To Fail – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Titanic – Too Big To Fail – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News - Where News Goes to Die (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Faux News – Where News Goes to Die (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News – Where News Goes to Die (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

REALITY Keep Left - REPUBLICAN PARTY  Exit Right (Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

REALITY Keep Left – REPUBLICAN PARTY Exit Right (Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

REALITY Keep Left – REPUBLICAN PARTY Exit Right (Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

UNFUCK The World, It's Un-Fucking Believable - POLITICAL BUTTON

UNFUCK The World, It’s Un-Fucking Believable – POLITICAL BUTTON

UNFUCK The World, It’s Un-Fucking Believable – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News - Where The Wrong is Made Right (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Faux News – Where The Wrong is Made Right (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News – Where The Wrong is Made Right (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

REALITY Keep Left - TEA PARTY Exit Right (Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

REALITY Keep Left – TEA PARTY Exit Right (Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

REALITY Keep Left – TEA PARTY Exit Right (Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Urban Sprawl - Cut Down All the Trees and Name the Streets After Them - POLITICAL BUTTON

Urban Sprawl – Cut Down All the Trees and Name the Streets After Them – POLITICAL BUTTON

Urban Sprawl – Cut Down All the Trees and Name the Streets After Them – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News - Wise Guys Selling Lies (FOX NEWS Parody) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Faux News – Wise Guys Selling Lies (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Faux News – Wise Guys Selling Lies (FOX NEWS Parody) – POLITICAL BUTTON

REALITY Keep Left - WALL STREET Exit Right (Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

REALITY Keep Left – WALL STREET Exit Right (Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

REALITY Keep Left – WALL STREET Exit Right (Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

USS Economy (Titanic) - POLITICAL BUTTON

USS Economy (Titanic) – POLITICAL BUTTON

USS Economy (Titanic) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Flesh Colored Crayons - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Flesh Colored Crayons – POLITICAL BUTTON

Flesh Colored Crayons – POLITICAL BUTTON

REPRESENT YOURSELF - POLITICAL BUTTON

REPRESENT YOURSELF – POLITICAL BUTTON

REPRESENT YOURSELF – POLITICAL BUTTON

Vegetable Time - POLITICAL BUTTON

Vegetable Time – POLITICAL BUTTON

Vegetable Time – POLITICAL BUTTON

Follow Your Dreams - CANCELLED - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Follow Your Dreams – CANCELLED – POLITICAL BUTTON

Follow Your Dreams – CANCELLED – POLITICAL BUTTON

rEVOLution is the Solution (LOVE) - POLITICAL BUTTON

rEVOLution is the Solution (LOVE) – POLITICAL BUTTON

rEVOLution is the Solution (LOVE) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Vegetarian - Compassion Doesn't Leave A Bad Taste in Your Mouth - POLITICAL BUTTON

Vegetarian – Compassion Doesn’t Leave A Bad Taste in Your Mouth – POLITICAL BUTTON

Vegetarian – Compassion Doesn’t Leave A Bad Taste in Your Mouth – POLITICAL BUTTON

Fossil Fuels, Fossil Fools (Pollution) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Fossil Fuels, Fossil Fools (Pollution) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Fossil Fuels, Fossil Fools (Pollution) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Screw Compassion, We're Full of Xenophobia - POLITICAL BUTTON

Screw Compassion, We’re Full of Xenophobia – POLITICAL BUTTON

Screw Compassion, We’re Full of Xenophobia – POLITICAL BUTTON

VEGETARIAN - Join The Evolution - POLITICAL BUTTON

VEGETARIAN – Join The Evolution – POLITICAL BUTTON

VEGETARIAN – Join The Evolution – POLITICAL BUTTON

Free Range Human Being - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Free Range Human Being – POLITICAL BUTTON

Free Range Human Being – POLITICAL BUTTON

Screw Us And We Multiply - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Screw Us And We Multiply – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Screw Us And We Multiply – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Want Freedom From Government, Go Live in Somalia - POLITICAL BUTTON

Want Freedom From Government, Go Live in Somalia – POLITICAL BUTTON

Want Freedom From Government, Go Live in Somalia – POLITICAL BUTTON

Freedom Isn't Free - So Stop Whining and Pay Your Taxes - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Freedom Isn’t Free – So Stop Whining and Pay Your Taxes – POLITICAL BUTTON

Freedom Isn’t Free – So Stop Whining and Pay Your Taxes – POLITICAL BUTTON

Slower Minds Keep Right (Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Slower Minds Keep Right (Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Slower Minds Keep Right (Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

WARNING: LACK of DEMOCRACY May Make Your Vision BLURRY - FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

WARNING: LACK of DEMOCRACY May Make Your Vision BLURRY – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

WARNING: LACK of DEMOCRACY May Make Your Vision BLURRY – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Friends Don't Let Friends Vote Republican - FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Friends Don’t Let Friends Vote Republican – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

Friends Don’t Let Friends Vote Republican – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

SOCIAL CHANGE IS NOT SOCIALISM (Anarchism Symbol) - POLITICAL BUTTON

SOCIAL CHANGE IS NOT SOCIALISM (Anarchism Symbol) – POLITICAL BUTTON

SOCIAL CHANGE IS NOT SOCIALISM (Anarchism Symbol) – POLITICAL BUTTON

We Are The People We Have Been Waiting For - POLITICAL BUTTON

We Are The People We Have Been Waiting For – POLITICAL BUTTON

We Are The People We Have Been Waiting For – POLITICAL BUTTON

Fukushima, Chernobyl, 3 Mile Island - NO NUCLEAR POWER - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Fukushima, Chernobyl, 3 Mile Island – NO NUCLEAR POWER – POLITICAL BUTTON

Fukushima, Chernobyl, 3 Mile Island – NO NUCLEAR POWER – POLITICAL BUTTON

Sorry, Your OCCUPIED - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Sorry, Your OCCUPIED – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Sorry, Your OCCUPIED – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

What About A MAXIMUM Wage - POLITICAL BUTTON

What About A MAXIMUM Wage – POLITICAL BUTTON

What About A MAXIMUM Wage – POLITICAL BUTTON

Gandhi Quote: Seven Social Sins - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Gandhi Quote: Seven Social Sins – POLITICAL BUTTON

Gandhi Quote: Seven Social Sins – POLITICAL BUTTON

SOS Earth - POLITICAL BUTTON

SOS Earth – POLITICAL BUTTON

SOS Earth – POLITICAL BUTTON

What Do You Call An Unprovoked Sexual Advance With No Intention But To Take Your Money: Advertising - POLITICAL BUTTON

What Do You Call An Unprovoked Sexual Advance With No Intention But To Take Your Money: Advertising – POLITICAL BUTTON

What Do You Call An Unprovoked Sexual Advance With No Intention But To Take Your Money: Advertising – POLITICAL BUTTON

Global Warming is Not Cool (Polar Bear) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Global Warming is Not Cool (Polar Bear) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Global Warming is Not Cool (Polar Bear) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Spare Some Truth 2 (Homeless Man Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Spare Some Truth 2 (Homeless Man Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Spare Some Truth 2 (Homeless Man Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

WHAT YOU DO MATTERS or Don't Do - POLITICAL BUTTON

WHAT YOU DO MATTERS or Don’t Do – POLITICAL BUTTON

WHAT YOU DO MATTERS or Don’t Do – POLITICAL BUTTON

Good Planets Are Hard To Find (Earth) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Good Planets Are Hard To Find (Earth) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Good Planets Are Hard To Find (Earth) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Spare Some Truth (Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Spare Some Truth (Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Spare Some Truth (Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

What Your Flag Stands For Is Up To You - POLITICAL BUTTON

What Your Flag Stands For Is Up To You – POLITICAL BUTTON

What Your Flag Stands For Is Up To You – POLITICAL BUTTON

Good Questions Outrank Easy Answers - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Good Questions Outrank Easy Answers – POLITICAL BUTTON

Good Questions Outrank Easy Answers – POLITICAL BUTTON

Spare Some Truth that leads to change (Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Spare Some Truth that leads to change (Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Spare Some Truth that leads to change (Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

When The RICH Rob The POOR It's Called BUSINESS, When The POOR Fight Back It's Called VIOLENCE - POLITICAL BUTTON

When The RICH Rob The POOR It’s Called BUSINESS, When The POOR Fight Back It’s Called VIOLENCE – POLITICAL BUTTON

When The RICH Rob The POOR It’s Called BUSINESS, When The POOR Fight Back It’s Called VIOLENCE – POLITICAL BUTTON

GOP - Greed Over People - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

GOP – Greed Over People – POLITICAL BUTTON

GOP – Greed Over People – POLITICAL BUTTON

Speak The Truth Even If Your Voice Shakes (Candle Lit) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Speak The Truth Even If Your Voice Shakes (Candle Lit) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Speak The Truth Even If Your Voice Shakes (Candle Lit) – POLITICAL BUTTON

When You're In Riot Gear Everything Looks Like a Riot - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

When You’re In Riot Gear Everything Looks Like a Riot – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

When You’re In Riot Gear Everything Looks Like a Riot – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

GOP - Greedy Old Perverts - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

GOP – Greedy Old Perverts – POLITICAL BUTTON

GOP – Greedy Old Perverts – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Beating Protesters (STOP Sign) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Beating Protesters (STOP Sign) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Beating Protesters (STOP Sign) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Wimpy: I Will Gladly Pay You Never for a Billion Dollars Today - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Wimpy: I Will Gladly Pay You Never for a Billion Dollars Today – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Wimpy: I Will Gladly Pay You Never for a Billion Dollars Today – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Got Bankstas - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Got Bankstas – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Got Bankstas – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

STOP Buying Crap (Planet Earth) - POLITICAL BUTTON

STOP Buying Crap (Planet Earth) – POLITICAL BUTTON

STOP Buying Crap (Planet Earth) – POLITICAL BUTTON

With Democrats Like These, Who Needs Republicans - POLITICAL BUTTON

With Democrats Like These, Who Needs Republicans – POLITICAL BUTTON

With Democrats Like These, Who Needs Republicans – POLITICAL BUTTON

HEY STOP Going Banksta On Our Economy - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

HEY STOP Going Banksta On Our Economy – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

HEY STOP Going Banksta On Our Economy – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

STOP Buying Crap - POLITICAL BUTTON

STOP Buying Crap – POLITICAL BUTTON

STOP Buying Crap – POLITICAL BUTTON

Work Harder, Your Corporate Masters Need A Tax Break (Sisyphus) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Work Harder, Your Corporate Masters Need A Tax Break (Sisyphus) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Work Harder, Your Corporate Masters Need A Tax Break (Sisyphus) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Homeless Maybe, Streetless Never, Hit The Streets - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Homeless Maybe, Streetless Never, Hit The Streets – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Homeless Maybe, Streetless Never, Hit The Streets – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Corporate Greed (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Corporate Greed (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Corporate Greed (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Work is the New Retirement - POLITICAL BUTTON

Work is the New Retirement – POLITICAL BUTTON

Work is the New Retirement – POLITICAL BUTTON

How About Securing This Homeland (Planet Earth) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

How About Securing This Homeland (Planet Earth) – POLITICAL BUTTON

How About Securing This Homeland (Planet Earth) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Corporate Welfare (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Corporate Welfare (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Corporate Welfare (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

YES I Can Eat Meat, I Choose Not To - POLITICAL BUTTON

YES I Can Eat Meat, I Choose Not To – POLITICAL BUTTON

YES I Can Eat Meat, I Choose Not To – POLITICAL BUTTON

Human Race, Asian, White, African American, Hispanic, Native American, HUMAN (Checklist) - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

Human Race, Asian, White, African American, Hispanic, Native American, HUMAN (Checklist) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Human Race, Asian, White, African American, Hispanic, Native American, HUMAN (Checklist) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Cutting Down Trees on My Property, signed God - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Cutting Down Trees on My Property, signed God – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Cutting Down Trees on My Property, signed God – POLITICAL BUTTON

You Are Entitled To Your Own Opinions, But Not Your Own Facts - POLITICAL BUTTON

You Are Entitled To Your Own Opinions, But Not Your Own Facts – POLITICAL BUTTON

You Are Entitled To Your Own Opinions, But Not Your Own Facts – POLITICAL BUTTON

I'm Not Weird. Everyone Else Is Just Too Normal - POLITICAL BUTTONwidth=172

I’m Not Weird. Everyone Else Is Just Too Normal – POLITICAL BUTTON

I’m Not Weird. Everyone Else Is Just Too Normal – POLITICAL BUTTON

STOP Nuclear - POLITICAL BUTTON

STOP Nuclear – POLITICAL BUTTON

STOP Nuclear – POLITICAL BUTTON

You Laugh at Me Because I'm Different, I Laugh at You Because You're All the Same - FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

You Laugh at Me Because I’m Different, I Laugh at You Because You’re All the Same – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

You Laugh at Me Because I’m Different, I Laugh at You Because You’re All the Same – FUNNY POLITICAL BUTTON

I am the 99 percent - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

I am the 99 percent – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

I am the 99 percent – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism - Decriminalize Drugs (STOP Sign) - POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – Decriminalize Drugs (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Stop Socialism – Decriminalize Drugs (STOP Sign) – POLITICAL BUTTON

Your Occupation Will Be a Success, Lucky Number 99 (Fortune Cookie) - OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Your Occupation Will Be a Success, Lucky Number 99 (Fortune Cookie) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

Your Occupation Will Be a Success, Lucky Number 99 (Fortune Cookie) – OCCUPY WALL STREET POLITICAL BUTTON

If you like what you see, you can check out all of my political designs.

May Day Street Theater – Corporate Zombies vs. Village People

This is the script for the street theater production that was performed tonight to kick off Occupy Toledo‘s May Day Fest week’s worth of events:

May Day Eve Celebration

Occupy Toledo

April 30, 2012

“The Corporate Zombies vs. The Village People”

Gather around, friends, and hear a story as old as humankind; or rather, hear a story as old as human unkind.  The story is of the many versus the few.  The players names may change, but the plot is the same.  The few have grabbed power for themselves, while the many suffer.  Sometimes it is the peasants versus the Lords of the land.  Other times it is simply the 99% versus the 1%.

In today’s scene, in this land called the United States of America, once again, the land is divided, and power is not shared equally.  The few, the 1%, have shielded themselves from accountability, by hiding behind non-living corporate entities, a phantom called “corporate personhood.”  The few, the 1%, have become corporate zombies themselves, disconnected from humanity, unable to act justly and with compassion.  In this pathetic state, the corporate zombies have managed to distract, divide, and simply overrun the will of the people.  The corporate zombies have even managed to infect many of the people into believing that rampant injustice, economic slavery, and environmental destruction is the best that we can do.  The corporate zombies have convinced many that corporate rule is too big to fail.  The corporate zombies have convinced many that we the people are too small to make a difference.

The corporate zombies mock economic fairness.

The corporate zombies mock democracy.

The corporate zombies mock equal justice.

The corporate zombies mock environmental stewardship.

The corporate zombies mock human rights of all kinds.

The corporate zombies mock accountability, responsibility for their own actions.

But, alas, there is always a plot twist.  Every time that the few, the 1%, grab power for themselves and bring suffering to the many, people arise to expose the absurdities of rampant injustice, to throw off the chains of economic slavery, and reclaim the earth as the home of all, not a place to be raped for the wealth of a few.  In today’s scene, a group of villagers arise (that would be us).  This group of villagers can see past the propaganda of the few, and boldly declare, “The Emperor has no clothes!”

The corporate zombies may mock economic fairness; they may mock democracy; they may mock equal justice; they may mock environmental stewardship; they may mock human rights of all kinds; they may mock accountability.  BUT, the people of this village, Toledo, Ohio; the people of this village, the United States of America; the people of this village, planet Earth, will arise and declare, at first softly, but then, louder and louder:

 

We will, we will mock you.  Mock you.

We will, we will mock you.

We will, we will mock you!

 

Let the games begin!

But first, a message from our un-corporate sponsors:

Do you, or someone you know, suffer from Corporatitis, an inflammation of corporate power in your life?  Do you, or someone you know, suffer from low wages, poor working conditions, and crappy benefits?  If so, you may have Corporatitis.

Do you, or someone you know, suffer from lack of health insurance, access to needed health care, and an over-exposure to for-profit health care?  If so, you may have Corporatitis.

Do you, or someone you know, suffer from trillion dollar corporate bailouts, costing trillions of dollars, destroying the economy and mortgaging your future?  If so, you may have Corporatitis.

Do you, or someone you know, suffer from greedy money changers, taking kick-backs on every economic transaction you make, and then reducing your life to a credit score?  If so, you may have Corporatitis.

Do you, or someone you know, suffer from greed-induced environmental destruction, having to live with poisoned air, water, land, homes and bodies?  If so, you may have Corporatitis.

Do you, or someone you know, suffer from dependency on energy and utility companies who are the most profitable companies in human history, yet cry poverty when asked to invest in alternative and renewable energy sources?  If so, you may have Corporatitis.

Do you, or someone you know, suffer from greed-induced wars destroying countless lives around the globe?  If so, you may have Corporatitis.

Do you, or someone you know, suffer from an industrial agricultural food system that produces less and less nutritious foods, while destroying local farmers and our environment?  If so, you may have Corporatitis.

Do you, or someone you know, suffer from a political system where so-called democracy is bought and sold to the highest bidder, and you are left with false choices, where true change is not an option.  If so, you may have Corporatitis.

Do you, or someone you know, suffer from a small cabal of media conglomerates who spoon-feed you crap, hoping to convince you, or at least scare you, that you can’t afford justice, economic fairness, or a livable planet, so you had better just get yours while you can?  If so, you may have Corporatitis.

Corporatitis, an inflammation of corporate power, affects tens of millions of people, and it can be debilitating.  However, most people suffer from Corporatitis Minor.  While Corporatitis Minor is a serious condition, and should never be left untreated, Corporatitis Minor is much more treatable than the dreaded Corporatitis Major.   Corporatitis in its worst form, Corporatitis Major, can consume one’s very soul, leaving only a shell of a human being, unable to accept accountability for one’s actions, or to demonstrate compassion to others.  These ghoulish creatures become known by many titles, sometimes “CEO”, “Public Relations Manager”, or “Security Trader.”

These ghoulish creatures are doomed to walk the earth in a non-living state, like zombies, walking the earth, mindlessly and heartlessly feeding on the flesh of the living, in their vain attempts to satisfy their endless need for more and more profits.  Entombed within the phantom of “corporate personhood”, their only hope is to be stripped of the mythical powers that imprison them, which are typically represented by “Logos.”  We the people will strip these corporate “logos,” these “marks of the beast,” from these corporate zombies.  By stripping these corporate logos, we will help free those suffering from Corporatitis Minor, and offer some hope, some possibility, that those suffering from Corporatitis Major can return to the land of the living, and reclaim their place in humanity.

To all those suffering from Corporatitis, there is something we can do about it.  First, we start with a week of daily occupy movements, to purge ourselves of these corporate parasites and phantom persons.  Occupy Toledo’s May Day Fest is just such a remedy.  Though, be warned: treatment for Corporatitis may result in an increase in economic fairness, blossoming democracy, a return to equal justice, a reclamation of environmental health, burgeoning human rights, and a natural inclination to take responsibility for one’s own actions.

Do not be afraid, surround these corporate zombies with the power of the people.  Without their corporate bank accounts; without their league of lawyers and lobbyists; without their private security and control over the security state, they are really quite helpless — even pathetic.

Feel free to run circles around them if you like!

And what do we say in response to the Corporate Zombies mocking justice and democracy for real persons:

We will, we will mock you.  Mock you.

We will, we will mock you.

So, let us begin by stripping these corporate zombies of their corporate logos.

Let us line up and take turns, one by one, take a logo, strip it from the corporate zombie, and place the logo in the dustbin of history.

First up, we have The Banking and Finance Industry, aka, “The Money Changers”

The Money Changers mock economic fairness.

The Money Changers insist on reaping huge profits on financial transactions while producing little of real value.

The Money Changers have created a casino economy where they are the house that doesn’t lose, taking their cut whether their gambles with other people’s money wins or loses.

The Money Changers drain off hundreds of billions of tax dollars as a reward for crashing our economy and creating the largest recession since the Great Depression.

The Money Changers then have the nerve to try to reduce the meaning of human life down to a credit score.

And what do we say in response to the Money Changers mocking economic fairness:

We will, we will mock you, mock you.

We will, we will mock you.

Strip a logo, read the corporate name, place it in the dustbin of history, and declare:

We the people will take back our economy.

Next up, we have the Military-Industrial Complex, aka “The War Profiteers”

The War Profiteers represent one of the most profitable businesses on Earth.

The War Profiteers literally make a killing, and people are dying for their business.

In our most recent wars, tens of thousands of Americans have been killed and maimed; and over one million Iraqis and Afghanis have been killed.

This corporate zombie feeds off the flesh of the dead.

The War Profiteers mock the value of human life.

And what do we say in response to The War Profiteers mocking the value of human life:

We will, we will mock you.

We will, we will mock you.

 

Strip a logo, read the corporate name, place it in the dustbin of history, and declare:

We will inspire human life, not kill it.

 

Next up, we have the Energy Industry Profiteers, a.k.a., The Billionaire Polluters

The Billionaire Polluters are addicted to petroleum, coal, natural gas, and nuclear energy sources which cannot be sustained, and are destroying the planet.

The Billionaire Polluters resist alternative and renewable energy sources, willing to sell their Mother Earth for a buck.

And what do we say in response to The Billionaire Polluters who mock Mother Earth:

We will, we will mock you.

We will, we will mock you.

Strip a logo, read the corporate name, place it in the dustbin of history, and declare:

You may have the energy, but we have the power!

 

Next up, we have the Media and Communications Moguls, aka “The Propaganda Profiteers”

The Propaganda Profiteers dominate the news industry, silencing diverse voices, and silencing dissent.

The Propaganda Profiteers sellout democracy by pandering to unlimited corporate campaign contributions.

The Propaganda Profiteers dominate our entertainment industry, distracting us with inane entertainment, and cramming advertisements down our throats any time and any place they can, gladly taking the hugely profitable role of shill for consumerism.

The Propaganda Profiteers sell a cheap imitation of the truth while justice is denied.

And what do we say in response to The Propaganda Profiteers mocking truth and justice:

We will, we will mock you.

We will, we will mock you.

 

Strip a logo, read the corporate name, place it in the dustbin of history, and declare:

We the people are the medium for change.

Next up, we have the Industrial Food Profiteers

The Industrial Food Profiteers are much more interested in producing food products that can be genetically modified, recombined, packaged, and marketed for maximum profit than they are interested in nourishing humankind.

The Industrial Food Profiteers destroy the livelihoods of small, local, and family-owned farms.

The Industrial Food Profiteers erode topsoil like crack from a crack pipe, and pollute our environment and food with toxins.

And what do we say in response to the Industrial Food Profiteers for making a mockery of one of the most basic human needs — the need for nutritious food:

We will, we will mock you.

We will, we will mock you.

 

Strip a logo, read the corporate name, place it in the dustbin of history, and declare:

We will nourish a food system that nourishes people.

Next up, we have The Health Care Profiteers

The Health Care Profiteers purport to run a health-care system.  However, we know that this so-called health care system is neither healthy, caring, nor a system.

Each year The Health Care Profiteers kill over 20,000 Americans each year because of the lack of health insurance.

This Corporate Zombie literally feeds on the sick and injured, the most vulnerable in society.

The Health Care Profiteers mock health care as a human right, denying sick and injured people help that they need, all in the name of profit.

And what do we say in response to The Health Care Profiteers mocking health care as a human right:

We will, we will mock you.

We will, we will mock you.

 

Strip a logo, read the corporate name, place it in the dustbin of history, and declare:

We the people demand universal health care now.

 

Last but not least, we have a potpourri of purveyors of personhood of corporations over human personhood — enough corporate misrule to piss off real persons of most any variety.  This is a cabal of Sweat Shop Operators, Environment Destroyers, Labor Rights abusers.

These corporate mis-rulers mock labor rights.

These corporate mis-rulers mock making a decent, honest living.

These corporate mis-rulers mock environmental responsibility.

These corporate mis-rulers mock human values, in order to make a buck.

And what do we say in response to these Corporate Mis-Rulers mocking laborers and mocking the planet in which we all must all live:

We will, we will mock you.

We will, we will mock you.

 

Strip a logo, read the corporate name, place it in the dustbin of history, and declare:

We the people will end corporate mis-rule.

 

Now that we have stripped these corporate zombies of their “logos” and placed them in the dustbin of history, we offer these logos up as symbols of the oppression of the people.

[Take DUSTBIN OF HISTORY and place in front of wall (with flame symbols)]

During May Day Fest Week, we will add to this wall symbols representing oppression and barriers to justice and democracy.

[Phoenix egg piñata arises from behind wall.]

We the people, though beaten down, will rise from the ashes, like a phoenix.

We the people will rise above the forces of oppression and the barriers to justice and democracy.

We the people, will end corporate mis-rule!

Let us break open the Phoenix egg piñata to launch Occupy Toledo’s May Day Fest, as we join millions of people around the world in celebrating where true value comes from in our economy, that is, from the honest labors of real people, not from corporate shenanigans, accounting tricks, money changing, or raping Mother Earth.  Let the people rule!  Let May Day Fest begin!

[The Village People take turns hitting piñata until it breaks open, spilling goodies for all]

Force Attracts Men of Low Morality

Force Always Attracts Men of Low Morality–PEACE QUOTE BUTTON

Force Always Attracts Men of Low Morality--PEACE QUOTE BUTTON

Force Always Attracts Men of Low Morality–PEACE QUOTE BUTTON

This cool design is linked to a button, but other great Top Pun products like T-shirts, bumper stickers, mugs, caps, key chains, magnets, posters, and sticker sheets can be accessed by scrolling down the product page.

View more Peace Quote Buttons.

Albert Einstein is recognized as perhaps one of the greatest geniuses that ever lived regarding physics.  However, few people realize that Albert Einstein was also a great genius of metaphysics, or spiritual physics if you will.  This simple rule that force always attracts men of low morality can be a powerful organizing principle in how we relate to the world.  What if we realized, truly realized, that the world of command-and-control, the world of the military and security apparatuses, did not attract the so-called best and the brightest, but attracts those of low morality.  While Einstein certainly devoted the better part of his life to understanding physics, his number one extracurricular activity was to work for peace and the uplifting of all humanity.  Of course, these types of activities typically don’t make the history books, if for none other than the simple reason that history books only deal with great persons in history with a few paragraphs at most.  However, dealing with issues of morality in our culture seems strangely avoided.  This seems to be entwined with the Western civilization worldview that science is objective and all is science, that is reductionistic science.  We simply don’t know what to do with subjectivity, of which morality is one of the more obvious subjects.  Is it any wonder that Western civilization can be strikingly amoral?  So-called Western civilization has nearly perfected the ability to neuter any productive conversations about subjectivity or morality.  Oddly, this is probably viewed as a highly moral position.  You’ve got to love the irony!  Well, back to Einstein.  I like to think that his commitment and fascination to humanity springs forth from the essential truths that he reflected and meditated upon in physics.  I believe that all things are connected, and that this is a profound truth that underlies both physics and metaphysics.  I would hope that very few would object to the premise that all things are connected, as this is profoundly interwoven in the assumptions of any science.  The problem that many people shy away from, of course, are those connections that could be called subjective between humans and the rest of reality.  In the end, I guess my point is that many would view of what Einstein as a prototypical scientist.  If this view is based in any reality, we should pay attention to the fact that Einstein concerned himself with the nature of humanity that cannot directly be put under the proverbial microscope.  While Einstein is perhaps the best example, and he is the most well-known, there are many examples of theoretical physicists who have  immersed themselves in and accepted a mystical reality that cannot be fully explored with traditional hard science.  Yes, Einstein was a softy – a really smart softly.

Blessed are the Peacemakers

Blessed Are the Peacemakers – Jesus Quote–BUTTON

Blessed Are the Peacemakers--BUTTON

Blessed Are the Peacemakers – Matthew 5:9 – Jesus–BUTTON

This cool design is linked to a button, but other great Top Pun products like T-shirts, bumper stickers, mugs, caps, key chains, magnets, posters, and sticker sheets can be accessed by scrolling down the product page.

View more Peace Quote Buttons.

This quote from Jesus from Matthew 5:9 is probably one of the most famous and well-known Jesus quotes from the Bible.  Though, however common the phrase blessed are the peacemakers is, you’d be hard-pressed to figure that Christians took this seriously, given how many Christians are in the military, in many a nation (often opposing nations), and how much counsel and comfort is given to those manning, and occasionally womaning, military enterprises.  Of course, many Christians would argue that war-making is a form of peacemaking.  I think that this was a popular argument in 1984.  Or, well, it’s a real job creator for theologians to figure a way out of loving our enemies, and allowing us to kill those that we hate.  This is one of those areas where I find that Christianity gets seriously in the way of following Jesus.  Many people do not realize that in the early Christian church, pacifism was the prevailing norm.  Refusing military conscription was a common form of martyrdom in the early Christian church.  Of course, later, when Christianity cozied up to the state, particularly in the fourth century when Constantine made Christianity the state religion, Christianity mysteriously came up with new ways to justify warring on its enemies.  This co-option into the ways of the world is as common as it is unjustified.  Just reflect on Jesus’ words for a moment.  Really, what blessings do we see reaped by the peacemakers?  In worldly wisdom, these so-called blessings are secondhand fodder for the weak, the lowly pacifist.  I don’t think that it was a mistake that Jesus’ words recorded here as part of the beatitudes, added for emphasis that peacemakers would be called the children of God!  he was trying to make a point!  This is a title reserved for the blessed peacemakers in Jesus’ list of who is blessed.  Most people stop reading the beatitudes soon after this because they are insane enough to suggest that those who are persecuted for righteousness sake are also blessed.  I also like to Luke version which mentions as one of the woes as all people speaking well of you, for this is what our ancestors did in speaking of the false prophets.  It seems that a common thread of the many rationalizations I believe stray from Jesus true message concerns avoiding a cost for our actions.  Some days I just wish that we had a courageous Messiah that spoke boldly and prophetically to the powers that be in this world, and they wouldn’t back down, even to the point of death by the cruelest means.  I can tell you one thing: they didn’t need to torture Jesus to get the truth from him.  However, the fact that Jesus was willing to put some skin in the game, all of his skin, speaks truth deeply.  Like they say, talk is cheap.  What would you be willing to sacrifice for peace?  And what blessings would you reap from this?