Monday, January 31, 2005

Learning from Iraq

CNN.Com's article about the Iraqi elections

There have probably been hundreds of blogs that have had musings about what America can learn from Iraq. Most of those have probably been about what we can learn about not going to war too quickly or stuff like that.

That's not what this is about, though.

I think there's a better lesson for us to learn from the events of this past weekend.

By Sunday morning, we were hearing stories about long lines at polling places. Granted, there were some areas in Iraq where people were scared to leave their homes, but it sounds like that even in those areas, people showed up to cast their vote.

Although we don't have any definite numbers yet, it sounds like per capita, more Iraqis showed up to vote than Americans did in November.

We could learn something from Iraq.

Here, we've had 200+ years of democracy, and I think we take it for granted. On the radio yesterday, they played the sounds of Iraqis who were celebrating with cries of joy and who were dancing with the soldiers since they had been able to have a voice in who would govern them.

When was the last time you danced because you voted?

They said that in various towns and cities throughout Iraq, you could hear bombs going off in the backgroun and the sounds of gunfire and running battles as American and Iraqi troops fought the insurgents who vowed to "wash the streets with voters' blood" (see above link). Yes, people died as they went to go vote. Even more were threatened by the insurgents. And yet the Iraqis showed up anyway.

We Americans stay home and don't vote if the weather is a little drizzly. We get all up in arms about voter intimidation (as well we should), but as far as I can tell, American voter intimidation doesn't involve any violence, is usually done by guys in suits and ties with clipboards, and doesn't involve threats of washing the streets with anyone's blood. And yet Americans use it as an excuse to stay home and then whine about it. Iraqis brave the battles and stand in line, knowing that they are targets for honest-to-goodness violence, possibly even death, and they do so with joy to be part of a democratic process.

And no, I don't condone the American version of voter intimidation. Dirty tricks are no way to win an election. The point is, we Americans could learn a thing or two from our brothers and sisters in Iraq. We've got three years to see if we will.

Like I said, America can learn a thing or two from Iraq. Maybe the most important lesson is to take our responsibility

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Cautiously Optimistic about Iraq

Part of my routine on Sunday mornings is to go to the local AM station and do a radio show called "Sounds of Praise." I'm sure I'll write more about this as time goes on. We get our national news from ABC news, and the top story at both 6:00 and 7:00 was the elections in Iraq. Here's a wire story from ABC News about it:

I have to say, I'm cautiously optimistic. It sounds like voter turnout was pretty decent in most areas. Some places had poor turnout due to insurgent violence and fear of the same, but if most people turned out, that's a good thing.

I think initial reports said that about 32 people had died in insurgent violence also. This may sound a little snide, but that's the price for democracy, something that I think most Americans forget. The only reason why we were able to cast votes last November was because people have shed their blood for our freedom and rights. It's sad that Iraqi civilians had to die. It's sad that American troops have had to die. But hopefully, their sacrifice will be remembered as the foundation for a free and democratic Iraq.

But that's just me.

Okay. Gotta run. Church starts in 35 minutes!

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Am I supposed to be linking stuff here?

I seem to remember reading somewhere that bloggers are supposed to have links in their blogs to news articles, other blogs, and stuff like that.

Okay, I've got no links for news articles, I haven't read many other blogs. But I do have a link!

Thank you to my soon-to-be-sister-in-law Keri for this one. Made me laugh:

What's with the astrological garbage?

You know, before I leave, I looked over my profile. You know, I wanted to see what else I could add to it, take away from it. I probably could add a lot more books and such to my favorite books thing. I also wonder why they don't have any favorite TV categories or stuff like that.

But that's not what got my attention. They list my astrological sign as "aries." Which is true, I guess. I'm not disputing that I was born in the month-long period that is supposedly ruled by a collection of random stars in the night sky.

What I'm wondering is this: Why did they include that in my profile? I don't want it there. I don't take any stock in astrological signs or the zodiac mumbo-jumbo or anything like that at all. Why include it automatically? Or is it just me?

Listen, folks, astrology is a joke. I mean, humans have this natural tendency to find patterns where none exist. That's why people see the Virgin Mary in window reflections or Elvis in the mold on the underside of their refridgerator. Some ancient guy a long time ago looked at the night sky, saw this and decided it looked like a ram. Personally, I don't think it looks like a ram at all. More like a ... boomerang. Or a scythe maybe. Not the point, though.

So why does this collection of stars have anything to do with me? Not a blessed thing, as far as I'm concerned. Those stars don't do anything for me. I don't buy into that astrological nonsense, and I'm a little cheesed that it's automatically included in my profile.

But then ... I am a type B personality. Whatever. Just remember, if you look at my profile, that ain't my deal.

First post!

Wow. This is kind of ... well ... intimidating. Here I am, starting a blog, probably following a herd of cattle into this fad. I mean, a year ago, I didn't know what a blog was. Neither did anyone else. Well, maybe the people who had blogs knew what they were. But then, with all the attention that blogs have gotten, I'll bet thousands of people have signed up for blogs to let people know what they think about this or that or the other thing. They probably think that they'll be changing the world or influencing political strategies or standing on a soap box to rail against the injustices of the world.

Me, I'm at least honest. I know nobody is going to read this thing.

I mean, really, who is going to find this blog? Moreover, who is going to care what a 30 year old Lutheran pastor thinks about anything?

But what the heck. It might be good for a laugh or two. At least I'll have some fun doing it.