Baseball91's Weblog

October 11, 2008

Survival of the Fittest

I once heard a story of a super salesman who tried to get an older relative to buy a pair of gently used shoes at the Salvation Army. 


This week the world of the media has woken to the human condition.  Real life suffering did not seem so far away.  The next administration was going to be about, even if the candidates would not publicly admit it, survival in a pair of gently used shoes. 


I sense an undertone of gasoline rationing, in a world with limited supply of foreign oil, as one candidate’s solution.  No one was asking specifics.  Talk was cheap anyway, except when you were paying for those commercials.  Where I live, you saw little sponsorship on televsion except by the candidates.  And this more than anything reflected a sick society. 


The real price of freedom:  “Human nature doesn’t change, with the changing of latitude or longitude, with parliamentary majorities, and not even with the passing of time,” said Tarcisio Bertone this week.  In a collapsing economy everything was at risk.  Health, education, defense.  In a collapsing economic system called capitalism, where there has been a true revolution going on, basic human rights involving speech, religion, and the press were at risk.  The War on Terror had not ended.  It also never began on September 11, 2001.  The struggle of the human condition has been ongoing before 1776.  America never held the patent to human rights.  Freedom was not defined by Americans in the 20th Century.  It was an ongoing struggle.  America was just the place where you could find a pair of gently used shoes. 


It is said that political films, like political books, are most eagerly welcomed in societies that repress free speech.  It is said that religion flourishes in a society when religious freedom is supressed.  The human spirit is spurred on in its quest.   



This morning it seems to me that an end of an era is at hand.  Dew points were falling, the leaves were changing, and fear was in the air.  Things that had always been cheap and available, gas, credit, would be regulated like drugs and alcohol.  Banks would be nationalized.  The vibrations of it all.  On democracy and freedom.  I suspect even gasoline, if you listen to what Obama is never asked.  The way of life that I have known is changing.  There will be political consequences to governments around the world.  In some places there will be revolutions.  Intimacy between neighbors has long been lost in this society.  Commuting long distances had isolated us all. 


Evil men will jump in at some point.  I had not figured out the appropriate defensive measures if there were any.  Dwight Eisenhower had once said when it came to the War Department, Department of Defense, it all was dependent on a thriving econmy of hard working citizens.    


This week in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, Lawrence Brandt, the bishop of the Roman Catholic diocese of Greensburg which has about 180,000 parishioners in four counties east of Pittsburgh, announced the consolidation of 28 parishes or sharing of clergy and the clsosing of 14 of its 100 parishes that will take effect Oct. 30th, in an effort to deal with a priest shortage.  Brandt said 20 percent of the diocese’s priests were being used to serve just 2.5 percent of its population, in his decsion that grew out of a three-year study.  “I know that people are mentally and emotionally attached to their parishes and churches in a way they identify with no other building or entity,” Brandt said in a statement. “It is understandable that they feel a part of themselves has been lost forever.”


When Catholics quit praying, they argued and quit becoming priests. 


In Minneapolis–St. Paul, we had two papers that were both on the verge of collapse, running out of money and opportunity.   When you ran out of money, the choices were limited.  No one was discussing the affect on the community with the loss of real freedom when it was gone.  When American quit praying in this suburban world, they argued, really quit caring, and went about individual lives.  In a sense, the community was broken.  No one cared about a newspaper owner far away.     

But I was going to be harder to find a gently used pair of shoes.  And the distances between us were a long way to walk.  Whether it was newspaper closings, church closings, or the loss of jobs, it was all about the survival of the fittest.    –


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