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State of Humanity 2013
Reflections February 10, 2013jsc 

   I report with great alarm that the course of humanity continues pretty much along the path I described in my State of Humanity report in 2010. I observed, “An unimaginable stink akin to London in the 16th century before elementary sewage system rules began to be enforced arises before us on a global scale.” I think of Tennyson’s Locksley Hall, “and there rain’d a ghastly dew.”, when I behold the future. 

   The re-election of Barack Obama is good news for those who believe that dialogue with your enemy --- for surely this is something of which Jesus would approve --- is the best policy to avoid war and ensure peace. However, that lifetime security for him and his family, and for George W. Bush as well, was quickly passed in a divided Congress tells you what the future looks like from on high. That he approves of the killing of Americans without court overview is greatly disturbing. Where are the real patriots standing up, taking to the streets over this injustice? There is only silence. The (Occupy Wall Street) Democrats should hang their heads in shame. 

   Yet, as presidential politics is a blood sport, President Obama pushes a constitutionally based agenda aimed at making a “more perfect union”. His health care reform is a flawed step in the right direction, and his sexual orientation equality goal is another major initiative. If he pushes for an Equal Rights Amendment, he will achieve greatness. It’s all good, as they say, for by living more inclusively we show how democracy founded in justice works. This action will give hope for all humanity as we make justice (first line constitution) the hallmark of civilized behavior. Be the thing you want to become. But this inclusive agenda has fierce resistance, most notably and perplexingly from many Christians whose foundational belief in love is not as inclusive as their Master taught, and by those who have much wealth, and therefore stand against any change in course that threatens their stance and power. 

   The Arab Spring (11-2011 11-2015) is slogging along as each side struggles to fill the void that is always part of change. We must remember that it took us in the West hundreds of years to throw off the pope and kings and overlords, so we must be patient and thoughtful in support. We do not want to make a bad situation worse and end on the wrong side of the people. Sometimes it is hard to tell who is who in the fog of war. We must not forget that. That Obama put himself, and us, on the side of the people in the streets in the Middle East was a major shift in U.S. foreign policy, properly aimed at avoiding war. This change of course was long overdue. The United States has, using the overthrow of the democratically elected government in Iran in 1953 as a marker, been in the very bad habit of supporting the bad guys and not the people. These sins are coming home to roost. Our best course is dialogue and working with others, thinking things through … this is the best philosophy of foreign policy, and the basis for a doctrine of peace. The choices of Hagel and Kerry as secretaries of Defense and State are proof of his intentions to become worthy of the Nobel Prize for Peace given him in 2009. Not getting that done may go down in history as one of his greatest failures. Not getting that done may be one more gate left open on the path that leads to World War III

   Those who believe war is the answer are strong. The United States continues to pursue a very aggressive foreign policy, even as it winds down from the tragic blunders of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is building military sites in Asia and refuses to talk with the rest of humanity about making space a war-free zone. And, all the while, our military believes law may be the answer to war, hence the Center for the Rule of Law at the United States Military Academy. Law is the answer to war. But, given the political policies of their government, military men and women must prepare for the strong likelihood of more war, politics by other means. And, others do likewise. Iran just announced it is nuclear. 

   In the background of all this turmoil countries are improving standards of living, and in fact fewer die in war now than in ages past. International courts of law are being formed. The Pope Francis echoing Pope Benedict calls for “a world political authority” to resolve conflicts. Lawful authority is the answer to war. So we remember, “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all”. Emily Dickinson

   And then, there is the background story of rapid climate change, the wild card in the witch’s brew of tensions that beset humanity. That mean average temperatures of planet earth are rapidly on the rise … and this raises the inevitable question of what it will mean for the future; this may be part of why those who study these things moved the doomsday clock one minute closer to midnight in 2012.

   While there is always hope and while there are signs of progress, none of these has the strength to offset our course to World War Three. At least that is how it seems to this observer in the late winter of 2013.
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