A Spokesman Review report on 9/3/04, p. A8, tells us that many people are fighting back in court when their credit reports are used by others to make decisions about them when they apply for rental properties, auto insurance and jobs. Look, we all know that sometimes, people fall on hard times when sudden adversity hits them in the pocket book. Put those unfortunates out of the equation, but. . . .
From now on people must be forewarned to manage their finances better. Anyone the least bit literate must have read by know about the increasing use of credit reports in making all sorts of decisions about them. Have they not read a book or paper lately? The illiterate are becoming the uninformed, and the uninformed are being squeezed out of our fast paced, information based economy. Another report I came across recently estimated that 2 in 3 citizens of the globe may soon be living in grinding poverty without potable water, adequate food or sufficient housing. I don’t know what we’re going to do, but compassion won’t be enough to meet the needs of so many people squeezed out of our modern world. Read, damnit, read!
WHEN NOTHING ELSE HAS BEEN TRIED, PRAY
A report from the school hostage situation in which hundreds died amazes me, specially since it came from Russia where praying ought to be suspect. One woman survivor reported that some of the hostages prayed and if some “did not know how to pray, we taught them.” How interesting. And while these captives prayed away the hours, what were they doing to help the more rational among them try to figure a way out, a way to defeat their captors? And the praying may have been effective in some cases but why not in all cases? Were the unfortunates who died actually praying to the Moslem god? Why is prayer such a hit and miss proposition? Atheists have that answer down pat. Why don’t you?
STICKING WITH THE POLITICIAN WHO’S BEHIND
Sometimes the act of rooting for a candidate is pretty painful, specially if, like me, America’s destiny really matters to you. The other day, when I came across the information that Bush’s lavishly staged convention drama had swung five percent of the voters in his direction (a ten point swing), I was in a lot of pain. It’s hard to be in a minority for some of us, very hard for a small percentage of us. I’m one of the latter. Then, I was thinking about what I’ve learned about the human psyche, how some of us love to be with a winner, and I realized that some Americans (5%?) are unable to stick to their guns when the going gets tough. They’ll swing like a tower bell in the slightest breeze. My own pain convinced me that some human animals might easily give in only not to feel like an outsider or a minority. There’s a tremendous pressure to give in when pain knots its bony fingers around your heart and squeezes. I have a wonderful admiration for those who are in a minority by other than choice. We must all hope that America will always be a place which treasures its minorities and makes them welcome and protects them with the Bill of Rights.
DOGMA GETS IN EVERYWHERE
Came across the program called MAMA—Mothers Against Meth Addiction. The woman who started it says that the more traditional “twelve step” programs have “watered god down” until god means little in the program. She claims her Christian program has 80% success while traditional twelve step programs have only 20% to 30% success. I challenge her to back up her statistics. I think they’re bogus and unfounded. People in twelve step recovery programs know that many a man and woman with 20 and 30 years in recovery will go out and use again. I want to see what the statistics are when each of her graduates comes to the end of their trail.
Historically, many religion-based programs have tried to wean the sick from their addictions. In AA, the saying goes that real alcoholics can’t recover with mere religious instruction. If religion were a real cure-all, why are there so many religious pedophiles! Some people do recover with only religious instruction, but the success rate is minimal for religious programs, and even those who do recover through religious instruction, often end up with the still grandiose ideas and distorted psychologies of their alcoholism. Many recovered alcoholics recognize Bush’s fantasy that his god speaks through him as a classic case of what they call a dry drunk.
Humility is a key trait that fully recovered alcoholics demonstrate. You’d not find one of them claiming that god speaks through them. When they do, they are usually in an asylum after a slip. Only a dry drunk can believe such an idea without slipping.
And I also see in MAMA’s program an old evil which undermines every program the religious try to offer to people, the evil purpose which does not put first the recovery of the sufferer but attempts to make converts of them. Eventually, the intelligent sufferer sees through the bogus aim and goes elsewhere, many to antidepressants which have a much greater success rate in removing depression than does religion.
Since religion itself is the chief cause of unhappy adjustments to the real world, people made crazy by religion may be quite susceptible to religious conversion and recovery.
I don’t know. . .
Just like many murderers admit to their Christianity on death row, maybe it’s the same case with drunks and addicts. Killers were always Christians who just became drunks for awhile in an attempt to escape the oppression and distortion of reality which are so much a part of religions everywhere. Then when the course of their drinking has petered out, they return to the fold they never really left. In the final analysis, AA is always happy to see a recovered addict and so tips it hat to anybody who manages to get real drunks sober and addicts clean. We’re all in the same business and shouldn’t fight among ourselves and ought to compliment the other’s successes rather than belittle them as our momma of the meths does.
"Only the mediocre are always at their best." —Jean Giraudoux (1882-1944)