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Dustin LindenSmith

father | musician | writer

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bush hunger strike for nepal

George W. Bush as peace mediator for the Middle East

I'm sure I mustn't be the only one who sees the irony in George W. Bush hosting a Middle East Peace Conference. It's a nice touch how countries like Sudan and Pakistan have been invited, too; they're paragons of peace and humane leadership, to be sure. And Bush, for God's sake. "Hey, why don't I hold a peace conference for the Middle East? I've led such a great example in Iraq. That war of mine in Iraq has set the stage perfectly for true peace in the Middle East. Laura, are there any more donuts left? You know how much I love those honey crullers..."

I tend to take a wholistic, idealistic, nondual, and perhaps naïve view of world events and the current state of affairs. In my humble opinion, there are relatively uncomplicated solutions to the wars, global warming, and other major concerns and conflicts in the world right now. If the world's wealth and concomitant well-being were more equitably distributed such that extreme poverty, ill-health and homelessness were mostly eradicated throughout the world (including in North America), then a lot of these problems would just cease to exist. In time (and perhaps with a certain amount of spiritual and emotional guidance), people would be able to adjust to a normal quality of life and they could cease to feel the need to seek out violent means to achieve their goals.

As far as the environment is concerned, that one is really simple, I think. We just need to climb off the corporate machine that keeps us buying new cars and driving everywhere, and building huge houses that require ridiculous amounts of heating and cooling, and stop buying the millions of tons of useless and harmful gadgetry and plastic bullshit toys and electronics and other distractions that are made with fossil fuels and shipped to us with fossil fuels and made by indentured factory workers in developing nations or in China or what have you.

The tricky part, I know, is what does everyone do with their free time? And how do those factory workers make a living? And so on, and so forth. I agree, that might be more complicated. But it's not an intractable problem. If we depopulated the urban centres and repopulated the rural areas, regenerated agricultural land to raise all of a region's food requirements instead of 10,000-unit hog farms run by multinational agribusinesses, then a lot of positive things would come of that. New employment, improvements to the quality of our food chain, decrease in carbon emissions related to shipping cherry tomatoes from Argentina to Canada, and so on. I can't think of any downsides, other than to the stock prices of these many, many companies.

And of course, that's the biggest rub. These sorts of changes would necessarily result in a pretty big downsizing of the stock market, and there are some very powerful and shockingly rich people who run that little shell game. So I don't know how that one would work. But come on, don't you think that all those other things would fix the world's major ills? It could be so simple -- we could knock it off in just a generation or two, if we put the same kind of effort and sacrifice into it as my grandparents' generation did during WWII.

But to quote Suzie Derkins in Calvin and Hobbes, As long as I'm dreaming, I'd like a pony.

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dizziedumb November 27th, 2007
while i fear that this is just some kind of guerrilla idealism (see my latest post), i see that i am not the only one. i think we should take america back, right down to the land: agriculture. i think we need to destroy the televisions selling us waste-in-waiting. i think we need to eliminate the corporate money system. when the city-dwellers disperse to rural areas, and they build their own houses and raise their own food, i think a dramatic change in the quality of their lives would occur. there would be a new emphasis on local community. there would be a new emphasis on family. there would be a new value to the day's work. what would they do with their spare time? well, i don't know, read books? realize that they have creative visions and act upon them? pursue religious and spiritual endeavors? teach their children? wander the countryside?

as for jobs, if we were to alter the course of money flow (keeping it mostly in small communities rather than yielding to big businesses), would that really be a problem? it would be a huge change. there would not be one aspect of life that wasn't affected by it. but think: if people started leaving the city, perhaps 50 at a time, and pooled their money that otherwise went to gasoline and rent, and let's say they purchased 20 acres of land. let's say they gathered some supplies and chopped some wood and planted seeds and made a space for themselves. in time, most if not all of the needs of this community would be met within its own limits. individuals who otherwise might have shelved milk in a grocery store would realize that they have significant contributions to make in a society like this. a self-sustaining society, one not dis-empowered by notions of climbing the great big hierarchy, driving shiny cars and living the american dream.

the american dream, for me, is to live significantly.

iamom November 27th, 2007
Well sweetheart, you've just elucidated the logistical steps for the very dream I'm talking about. And we are soooo on the same page, here. I totally believe that people would develop a new type of creative and recreative lifestyle if they didn't spend so much damn time and effort working for The Man. Imagine a more traditional lifestyle, one in which a majority of people are working directly towards the livelihood of their families and their local communities; with the time they've have left over for true recreation activities, everyone's quality of life would improve immeasureably. General physical and emotional health and well-being would improve, health care and hospital costs would go down, not to mention the benefits that would be accrued by having everyone eat ordinary and healthy food.

As far as how to get something like this started though, I really have little to no idea. I wouldn't mind doing it myself, though. It'd be a different kind of hard work, but rewarding in its own way.

Incidentally, I loved the news footage I saw of you, too! And the gratuitous calf shot of you walking down the street... :) Keep up the good fight, and all that.

vyus November 27th, 2007
clinton spent a good amount of lame-duck focus on peace in the middle-east, too.

i wonder if it's just a way to appear to be doing something big when in reality you're just looking for a new job.

iamom November 27th, 2007
Oh, I know that, it's just that... this president? I mean, isn't that just a bit disingenuous for this president to be hosting a peace conference about the Middle East? After Iraq? And his probable plans for Iran? I mean, yeesh...

You're probably right though, about appearing to be doing something big. I heard something about Bush not having much luck finding a site for his Presidential Library, too. As his second term draws to a close and there's no definitive victory to show for his efforts in Iraq, I can only surmise that he's hungry for some legacy material, wherever he can find it. Maybe inviting Sudan to guest a peace conference is one way to do it.

baal_kriah November 28th, 2007
If poverty and material misery were the roots of war then why did World War I, for armies the bloodiest war of all time, break out between the richest and most "civilized" nations of the world? It's simply not that simple, though inequities surely exacerbate the problem. Ultimately, I think the roots lie in how humans evolved: to mostly cooperate as individuals, and to mostly compete as groups; the military unit is natural to us, and unless we find satisfying and healthy ways of diverting that nature to other activities they will eventually find their ways into war. That said, my view of Bush's current venture is similar to this cartoonist's:

Edited at 2007-11-28 11:51 pm (UTC)

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