A Very Good Save-the-World Software Development Idea. Please Help Yourself! :-)

Will some brilliant programmer please step up and design a google-type software program that can linguistically analyze and determine a speaker/writer’s cooperative tone and intent?


Your new program could identify and distinguish among those writers/speakers whose communications promote a sense of division, partisanship, negativity, polarization, blame, attack, incivility, rudeness, destructiveness, unfriendly competition, bickering and hate—and those promoting a sense of positivity, creativity, life-affirmation, support, harmony, acceptance, forgiveness, productivity, civility, courtesy, equality of opportunity, caring, cooperation and unity.


Your software could have endless useful and profitable applications. For immediate profitability, please consider using your product for security purposes, to helpfully ward off unfriendly attacks and attackers (of whatever kind) upon individuals and enterprises (of whatever kind.)


Imagine leaders young and old in every field vying for their communications to be screened and certified via your software. Why not simultaneously award a “Truth-bearer” (or some other such logo) “gold seal of approval” identifying individuals and organizations as positive communicators, healers, light-bearers?


Your prestigious and desirable software “accreditation” could motivate many people to investigate and understand the important distinctions between peaceful and contentious communication purposes, and to recognize and encourage humanity-unifying goals as non-threatening and potentially beneficial to all earthlings, while discouraging communications with adversarial, hostile ends. Your software would also surely stoke national dialogue, while heightening awareness about the many distinct (although often confusingly-disguised) differences between helpful and harmful human communications. Your software would take care not to exclude any gentle, friendly, cooperative practitioner of any ideology, religion, political party, nation, organization, affiliation, etc.


One important goal of your software would be to educate. Hopefully, everyone would eventually become enlightened enough to merit universal inclusivity (by acting as good, positive communicators) according to your accrediting software, which might also be developed Wikipedically, or perhaps Amazon-style—i.e., open-sourced, by inviting motivated reviewers and voters opportunities not only to build your site, but also to offer feedback opportunities and provide needed talent to shape and debug upgrades and develop next-generation software.


Recipients of your approving nods (such as Nobel prize winners and mild-mannered third-graders) could proudly display and announce their cherished new affiliation and certification on their websites, on Facebook, business cards, in TV commercials and advertising, on coffee cups, tee-shirts, shopping bags….


Additionally, your software could assist web surfers to more-judiciously select helpfully-screened websites, products and opinions as the very ones they will most benefit from investigating. Perhaps your software could also eventually include a function which would recognize and refute inappropriate co-opters of your symbol of acceptance and stamp of approval—an iterative process that would call out abusers while encouraging more awareness and discussion.


Your software will stimulate lively dialogue; increase the impact and number of creative, thought-provoking, and controversial-but-civil exchanges; reduce (by virtue of indifference and neglect) the quantity and influence of divisive communications arising anywhere in the world; universally improve facility in verbal and mental processing of complexities, innuendo and nuances; and inspire us all to pull together cooperatively to resolve our common personal, local and global problems.


While you're programming, please give extra points for humor?


And if you're not a programmer, but merely a earthlinged, godlinged promosapient like me, please pass this idea on to any similarly-inclined programming/software folk or foundations, or to whomever might be interested!


Thank you…. 🙂


Nancy Pace





















































































Democratic Advocacy for the Sanctity of Human Life

Americans of faith, whether liberals or conservatives, have always wanted to elect leaders who will put in place caring governmental policies supportive of human life, from beginning to end—policies such as people-friendly health care, education, jobs, housing, transportation, and energy; equitability and opportunity; a small-business and worker-friendly economy; environmental stewardship; generosity toward the most vulnerable; representative, transparent politics, government, and taxation; and a peaceable foreign policy. Unfortunately, Republican partisan hacks continually manipulate our natural emotions and sympathies to galvanize us around single values-issues like abortion, and thus distract and divide us into voting against our own (and everyone else’s) best interests, against the very life-supporting and compassionate values we care so much about, values which the Democratic Party has always stood up for. The Democratic Party party is pledged to make abortion more rare, not more dangerous, and to promote healthy childbearing, family planning, contraceptive research, and comprehensive family life education. Look at Republican Party results and you will see that, once in power, they consistently put in place policies that move the bulk of the nation’s money away from the broad middle class and toward a small group of very wealthy people. The Republican Party isn’t what it used to be. This time, I hope Americans of faith will vote Democratic—for a change

Ironman (the Movie) Offers Good Entertainment and Good Politics

It's hard to find an action movie that both my husband and I think is wonderful, but Ironman has proven once again that it can be done. I loved the characters, humor, romance and politics in Ironman, and my husband especially enjoyed the heroism, computers, robotics, stunts, jets and action. The whole theatre, filled with middle/high-schoolers and adults, cheered and clapped when the movie ended. Amazingly enough, we hadn’t even been exploited or insulted by stupid politics, graphic sex, or gratuitous violence masquerading as entertainment….
You can tell that the whole world is changing when a big-box-office action movie has as its major theme the evils of war profiteering and global weapons proliferation. Ironman simultaneously entertained and enlightened the whole crowd. Multi-faceted Robert Downey Jr. and classy Gwyneth Paltrow were at their most charming.
Ironman is a sweet, funny, exciting, well-made, fast-paced action movie I recommend to all who enjoy high-quality movie-making in this genre….

(Please send your comments to njcpace@gmail.com and I'll post them here. Thanks. 🙂

Come listen to me sing this peace and love duet I wrote for Faith Hill and Tim McGraw….

Not that I can sing, but these two wonderful entertainers sure can. Click on “more” below, and then, below the words to the song, click on the “Dreamin 1.wav” file to hear me sing the words and melody. And please let Tim and Faith know that you've heard a peace and love song that was made just for them (and just made for them, too…. They will know how to pick up some very nice harmonies….) I hope they love it and that you'll love it, too. (Sorry, but I ruined what voice I had cheering at my daughters' games, so now I have to almost whisper or my voice cracks!)

“Dreamin’ of Peace” – a duet written with Faith Hill and Tim McGraw in mind….

by Nancy Pace, June 07, njcpace@gmail.com


FAITH:  Darlin’, after supper

When story-time is done

We’re thinkin’ of you far away

And dreamin’ of peace


We’re holdin’ things together

We’re sendin’ up our prayers

We’re blowin’ you sweet kisses

And we’re dreamin’ of peace


We’re dreamin’ of peace

We’re prayin’ for peace

We’re longin’ for peace

We’re dreamin’ of peace


TIM:   I told you ‘bout my buddy

He’s lookin’ out for me

We’re comin’ home together

And we’re dreamin’ of peace


When this war is over

When all the fightin’s done

You’ll never be alone again

Just dreamin’ of peace


We’re dreamin’ of peace

We’re prayin’ for peace

We’re longin’ for peace

We’re dreamin’ of peace


FAITH:  The days are gettin' harder

The kids are getting tough

The only way I sleep at night

Is dreamin’ of peace


I’ll lay you down and love you

I’ll never let you go

I need you here beside me

Just dreamin’ of peace


We’re dreamin’ of peace

We’re prayin’ for peace

We’re longin’ for peace

We're dreamin’ of peace


TIM:   Here everything is crazy

It’s hard to understand

How everybody’s fightin’

And dreamin’ of peace


Children dream of fathers

Mothers dream of sons

Young men dream of sweethearts

Who are dreamin’ of peace


BOTH:   We’re dreamin’ of peace

We’re prayin’ for peace

We’re longin’ for peace

We’re dreamin’ of peace


Some Sane Policy Strategies, Both Foreign and Domestic, for a Dazed-and-Confused America

The best strategy for insuring a reasonable share of post-war oil is for the U.S. to follow China’s admirable (and successful) approach to foreign relations: make friends with every country; don’t try to control events; don’t take sides with factions by using bribes and threats and offering weapons (all of which strategies make more enemies, while making conflicts harder to resolve); offer apologies as necessary; and spread goodwill by generously supporting, in every country, only open, popular, peaceful initiatives of selected proven-peaceful leaders with broad-based, loyal coalitions.


We should withdraw our troops from Iraq immediately, leaving U.N. peacekeepers to support the transition, and giving thoughtful consideration to all those we leave behind, financially supporting common goals and peaceful compromises, as well as aiding refugees, rebuilding, and easing resettlement (to the U.S.) of all those U.S.-supporters who might be at post-war risk.


We should abandon our war on terror, and support instead an efficient international crime-fighting network, and a peaceful international campaign to resolve future conflicts before they turn deadly. To accomplish these goals, we need to work to end economic injustice/violence, political and state violence (i.e., all forms of war and lawless incarcerations), and the spread of weapons, fully support world disarmament and other cooperative global peace and environmental initiatives, curb violence in entertainment, and aggressively prosecute hate crimes. We should also build a national and global culture of peace through the stated domestic and global initiatives of the proposed cabinet-level Department of Peace (www.dopcampaign.org) .


We clumsily attempted to avenge the loss of three thousand innocents murdered on 9/11 by killing and maiming many thousands more innocents (both ours and theirs) on foreign soil, and are now threatening to waste even more lives (both theirs and ours) by sword-rattling in Iran’s direction. We must find a way to forgive others and ourselves, make no more enemies, and recognize and address the grievances of the many who are presently turning from desperation and despair to violence (i.e., “terrorists”).


We need to attend to the real “illegals” in American life—not the immigrants who daily seek respite and freedom from the world’s violence and injustice on our shores, but the thousands of prisoners rotting forgotten in illegal dungeons throughout Iraq, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Cuba, and elsewhere. We must find a way to bring due process of law to these imprisoned and abandoned “illegals” who have been deprived of their most basic human rights, and also end our inhumane criminalization of the inevitable south-to-north global migrants whose only crime is fleeing poverty and terror–by finding hospitable ways to assimilate them into American life.


We must resist the partisan temptations offered by Monica Goodling’s immunity to attack the very culpable Alberto Gonzales, Condaleeza Rice, Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, and other Bush administrative and military bunglers, leave vengeance and blame to God and his horde of very willing historians, and focus instead on uncovering truth, taking right action, and reconciling a nation.


Lee Iacocca recently urged the need for courageous leadership during this difficult time. We indeed need true leaders who can move us past our collective darkness toward solving the real problems we must now face: the ravages of disease, injustice, hopelessness, hunger, greed, environmental degradation, corporate accountability, natural disasters, ignorance, addiction, prejudice, nuclear proliferation, global warming, crime, migration, poverty, war, immorality, cruelty, indifference, terrorism, and yes, violence itself.


All the strategies described above depend upon our growing awareness that nothing we may fear is more dangerous than fear itself, and no weapon more effective than love in all its forms—kindness, patience, understanding, acceptance….  It is not hate, but fear which builds up armies and stockpiles nuclear weapons; not hate, but fear which looses destruction upon hapless presumed enemies, and thus upon ourselves. The Golden Rule–treat others as you would be treated–works just as well in international relations as it does with individuals. Just as families and businesses must learn to accept, respect, and support others (just as they are) in order to be successful, so must all political leaders, their party members, and their followers—indeed, all citizens everywhere—learn and teach acceptance, respect, and support for all our brothers everywhere, all God’s beloved children, every one—if we are to survive and thrive together on our tiny blue planet.





Please send your comments to njcpace@gmail.com








Good Comic Strips (About War and Sexuality) That I Wrote, But Never Drew

First, the comics about war:


Two of my (unfinished) comic strip characters were kids–one, a smart, mouthy, radical multi-racial activist type, “Krissy,” and the other, her conservative, wealthy, red-blooded-American patriot boyfriend, “Cole,” who loves war toys and dreams of a military career.  These two kids are crazy about each other, but they are also always arguing about politics…. Since I wrote (but never drew) these panels, will you imagine them with me? 



(Cole, thinking aloud)


Krissy’s version of patriotism seems like a lot of trouble.


It takes years of work, money, time, and sacrifice to make a peaceful difference in the world.


In the old days, all you had to do to be patriotic was … die… and kill… and maim…and maybe get maimed….


But at least you could get it over with!





 (Cole, thinking aloud)


Krissy thinks true patriots work for peace and justice all the time.


She says dying for your country is not enough.


She says you have to be willing to live for your country, too.


Dying seems like a lot less trouble.





(Cole thinking aloud)


Krissy says it’s no longer enough to be willing to kill and die for your country.


She says true patriots live for their country by working and sacrificing all their lives.


But realizing global peace and justice is so much work!


When I said I’d be willing to give my life for my country, I never meant this!






(Cole thinking aloud)


Patriotism is a lot more complicated nowadays.


History has shown that even America has fought unjust, immoral wars.


In the olden days, patriots only had to be willing to kill and die for their country.


Nowadays, I guess they’d better understand why, too.





(Cole to Krissy)


I think I prefer the old days….


…when all you had to do to be a patriot was die for your country….


I mean, living for your country in peacetime could turn out to be a real drag….


I mean, what if I have to live a really long time?!





(Cole thinking aloud)


Patriotism used to be only a two-year hitch.


Now Krissy tells me true patriots should work hard their whole lives to prevent the injustices that cause war.


But if we prevent all war, everyone will have to live peacefully ‘til they’re really really old!


What a rotten deal….




(Cole thinking aloud)


Krissy thinks the truest patriotism is living, not dying for your country.


She thinks we all need to learn more about national and global politics….


…and work hard to uphold our country’s ideals for everyone in the world.


It seems like dying would be a lot simpler….




(Cole thinking aloud)


Krissy says ideals can’t end at national borders.


She says we either want liberty and justice for all, or we don’t really hold those ideals at all.


She says “liberty and justice for some” just doesn’t ring true.


I have a feeling this is gonna be a lot of trouble.




(Krissy is carrying a “protest sign” in the first panel (“IF YOU WANT PEACE, WORK FOR JUSTICE”)


(Cole) Hey! I’m not my brother’s keeper, you know!


I’m only interested in looking out for American interests! I can’t worry about everybody else on the planet!


(In this panel he has his hand over his heart, pledging) “I pledge allegiance…to the flag…with liberty and justice for all…uh…er…all … uh… Americans…. Hmmmm.


(Cole, angry, with hands on hips.) RATS….

(Krissy is carrying a protest sign that says, THINK GLOBAL. ACT LOCAL.




OK, since you’ve so patiently waded through my peace comics, here are some good sex comics….


I read a wonderful how-to book (Sex and Sensibility: The Thinking Parent’s Guide to Talking About Sex, by Deborah M. Roffman, about the importance of values-oriented sex education, and then I wrote the following panels using my four comic strip characters (all young children), and introducing a new character, Ms. Z, an elderly Jewish lady who was once a sex education public health nurse. She’s a tiny fiery fireplug of a woman, a very stereotypically loving Jewish-mom-type who nurtures her four neighbor-kids. (Ms. Z is based on my best friend/next-door neighbor, age 80+) I never drew this series either. Four panels each, with usually at least two of the kids talking in each panel, and sometimes all four talking in a panel.



My parents seem to think it’s not nice to talk and think about sex until I’m an adult.


Mine too.

But it’s a difficult thing to do.


I mean, we’re surrounded by talk about sex, all day every day, on TV, in books and magazines, the kids at school, the stuff on the net….


I guess we’re not supposed to notice….





What our parents don’t get is that we’re surrounded by sex, all day every day, whether we like it or not.


Yeah. They don’t know what we know.


And we don’t know what we don’t know.

 It’s sort of a conspiracy of silence.


Hmmm. Do you think we’re the good guys or the bad guys?





My mom says parents will tell kids everything they need to know about sex on their wedding night.


So when do we get to ask our questions?


I guess after that.


When it’s too late.






My mom thinks I know nothing about sex, and she plans to keep it that way.


That’s why I can’t ask her any questions—if I do, she worries about me knowing about sex and thinking about it.


So why don’t you just maturely tell her you know a lot already, but need her help sorting it all out?


I don’t think she’s developmentally ready for that yet….





From what I can tell, sex is all one big disaster.


Yeah, it can make you sick, crazy, poor, and sometimes it even kills you.


I guess we’re supposed to learn about sex from our mistakes?


You’d think they’d invent a better way….





My mom encourages me to talk with her about sex and then freaks out when I ask her questions.


Sometime it seems like sexuality is something I should learn all about in order to be a mature, responsible, caring, healthy adult.


And sometimes I feel like it’s a naughty nasty secret that we’re not supposed to know anything about.


Schizophrenia begins at home….





Everywhere I turn, the subject of sex comes up.


I have so many questions that I really need to have answered.


I mean, I wanna be good, smart, and happy, and I really wish I could understand where sex fits into all of this.


(Looking sad) Everybody’s talking about sex, but nobody’s listening….





If the subject of sex even comes up in my family…


My mom gets embarrassed.

Mine gets mad.

My dad changes the subject.

Mine leaves.


I guess we’ll just have to learn about sex from our friends and the internet.


We’re twenty-first century kids trapped in nineteenth century families.






…and then, if you pray, millions of sperm fly like electricity through the air, and…


Are you sure that’s the way it works?


I think so, but my parents get all freaked out and embarrassed when I ask questions.


I guess sex is something we’re supposed to learn by trial and error….





Sex seems to have something to do with being bad.

And with secret body parts.

And sneaking around.

And unwanted pregnancies.

And infections.

And even dying.


But it also seems to be about love and caring.


(They stare blankly at each other in silence.)


Well, I sure don’t get the connection….

 No, I can’t see any connection either…..





The kids on the playground all say that grownups, are like, you know, like dogs? They rub their thingys together until they make a baby?


Ooog. Disgusting. That’s it? That’s everything?

Yeah, that’s it.


Well, I guess we finally understand all about sex.


(in unison, depressed) What a bummer.








I guess when we’re adults, we’ll understand all about sex.


But for now, I hate it that I have so many questions and no one to ask.


My parents seem to know all about it, but they get all freaked out if I ask questions about it.


I wonder who they asked?





Y’know, between the four of us, we know a lot about sex.


Yeah, we’ve learned so much from books, magazines, our music, parents, the internet, TV, and each other. I mean, how can we help it? It’s everywhere!


Well, it still seems all crazy and confusing to me. I wish we had someone who could answer our questions….


(in unison) Ms. Z!!!





My mom says Ms. Z was a sexuality education nurse before she retired.


Yeah, I’ve known her since I was little.

Me too.

She’s really nice.

My parents say we can ask her anything.


(They stare at each other in silence)


You first.





What did Ms. Z do when you asked her your sex question?


Well, she answered it. She didn’t even act surprised, embarrassed, angry, or bossy. She seemed, actually, fine about it.


 (They stare at each other, looking uncertain, in silence.)


Maybe she’s an alien.





Was Ms. Z shocked that you knew something about sex?


Was she mad that you were interested in it?



Did she make you feel dumb?


Or treat you like a little kid?



Did she embarrass you?


Did she answer your questions?



Boy, we could sure use her on the school playground.





Ms. Z says sex is about who you are as much as about what you do.


She says sex is about caring, communicating, and taking responsibility, as much as it is about genitals.


So what do you think?


Sounds very unlikely.





Ms. Z answered that sex question I was wondering about for so long.


So now you understand all about sex.



Well, actually, to be perfectly honest, there’s a problem with having someone who will answer your sex questions for you.



Now I have more questions.






Please send comments to epharmon@adelphia.net










A Poem About Women In Black by Eppy



Women in black

Witness violence


In vigils of

Silent solidarity

Mourn all victims

All of us


Light candles

For the attacked

Abused abandoned

Tortured murdered


All who hurt



A circle of peace

Illuminating night


No one

Not one

Outside alone

In darkness



Comment: We can’t stop tsunamis, hurricanes, tornados, heartaches, disappointments, and death. We can, however, teach and learn peace, and finally put an end to violence, the most preventable cause of human suffering.

Please send comments to epharmon@adelphia.net .






Transfixed by Lost in Translation

Lost in Translation is my (all-time) favorite movie. With so many sad movies about sexual exploitation floating around, it’s a refresher to see two nice, interesting people exchange such powerful, passionate, platonic gifts during a brief, innocent time, without taking advantage of or hurting one another, and leaving one another happier and stronger.


Sofia Coppola’s complex, beautiful, diverse sensibilities drench each frame with implications… revelations… perturbations…. Like all perfect movies, this one is rich, deep, lavishly-textured, and gorgeously-layered. Coppola adds not a questionable jot nor extraneous tittle, and leaves out nothing necessary to her narrative or contemplation. She attends masterfully to imagery, editing, framing, character, dialogue, tension, narrative, symbol, improvisation, serendipity…a small sampling of her range of talents, may she live long and prosper in the movie-making business.


I lived for a few childhood years in Tokyo during the American post-war occupation, and took away beautiful, evanescent impressions, so perhaps I’m more susceptible to the delights of this movie than your typical movie-goer. Watching Lost in Translation, I'm enchanted both by remembered charms and recent technological innovations, as well as by the awkward Japanese embrace of things western.


Lost in Translation is perfectly titled, because Copolla shines her tragicomic vision on the challenges each of us, no matter how talented or well-intentioned, face in communicating, caring, and empathizing across the mile-high/-wide/-deep chasm of human individual differences. Copolla’s laser gaze scintillates not only cultural barriers such as language and custom, but universal obstacles as well—differences in gender, age, social class, lifestyle, goals, values, interests, backgrounds, personalities—and even the molehills and mountains of distance and time.


Lost in Translation is hilarious, even more-so for Japanophiles. I’ve seen it many times, and still am cajoled into explosive snorts. Like any great lover, Copolla brings knowledge, appreciation, honesty, and a creative, playful intimacy to the peculiar amusements and benefits of relating to the Japanese. Japanese culture has its many endearing and frustrating quirks, as do all cultures; Copolla chooses to laugh equally good-naturedly and respectfully at eastern and western pecadilloes.


I cannot imagine a soundtrack more thoughtfully selected or edited in support of the shifting impressions, emotions, and experiences Coppola develops in each new scene.


Bill Murray’s unique talents are all on glorious display, as are Scarlett Johannsen’s equally bounteous ones, which have an umplumbable feel to them. She defiantly withholds an illusive, precious, sensuous little secret—like Garbo’s, like Monroe’s—whose unveiling the world will breathlessly await forever. Casting Johannsen, like casting Gwyneth Paltrow, will elevate any movie. Only great direction can account for the consistent quality of all the other “smaller” performances.


The fact that anyone could enjoy this movie on the level of a simple, poignant, romantic comedy should not detract from its value as a multifaceted meditation upon the human challenges inherent in connecting with any “other”—whether in “translating” one’s self to another, or in meaningfully “translating” another’s mysterious mumblings and gestures in our own direction. Far too often, we are left feeling all alone in the world throughout most of our lives, feeling quite “lost in translation.”


Please send your comments to epharmon@adelphia.net








Depends On If You’re Our Good Guys Or Their Bad Guys

It’s called “terrorism” when they bomb people for political reasons, and “democracy” when we do.


They’re madmen when they blow themselves up with cheap explosives to achieve strategic goals, and we're patriots when we do the same thing with expensive long-range missiles.


They’re crazy because they kill women and children. We could never do that, ever. Unless it was really necessary, for a just cause, and our patriotic duty. And then, we’d feel really bad about it. They wouldn’t.


They’re dangerous monsters who must be disarmed and sanctioned when they protect their way of life from foreign invaders. We’re freedom fighters when we’re invading and occupying foreign lands, imposing our ways upon people accustomed to completely different traditions, and “controlling distribution” of their valuable resources.


They have crazy religious ideas about jihad and martyrdom, imagining God might approve their sacrifices. We, on the other hand, are pure-and-simple onward-Christian-soldier-crusaders, marching with God on our side and the cross of freedom going on before, whatever that means.


They are violent maniacs who reject foreigners threatening their families and the lands of their ancestors. We would never act so uncivilized if foreigners invaded our country. Would we.


We respect all ethnicities, traditions, and religions. Except the really weird ones with all the strange gods, traditions, practices, foods, languages, doctrines, clothing, rituals, laws, customs, and beliefs. Like theirs.


Their whacked-out culture, with husbands veiling wives and home-schooling daughters, is definitely messed-up. There’s nothing wrong, however, with our own culture’s rates of divorce, sexual and spousal abuse, abortion, teen pregnancy, prostitution, rape, pornography, incarceration, school violence, unwed-motherhood, alcoholism, and drug and nicotine addiction.


They’re nuts, killing their own people. We could never do that. Except for when we kill Rebels…. And Yankees…. And attack civil rights marchers…. And lynch suspicious Negroes…. And murder homosexuals…. And shoot at race and draft rioters and college protesters…. And knife rival gang members…. And terrorize labor union strikers…. And blow away schoolmates…. And abuse prisoners…. And wives…. And children…. And gun down and burn anti-government survivalists and fundamentalists…. And take the lives of convicted murderers…. And then there’s the Unabomber’s victims…. And Timothy McVeigh’s…. And Lizzie Borden’s…. And all the murderers and serial killers….


Nevertheless, our stirring history, beliefs, institutions, rights, freedoms, way of life, political traditions, economic system, and patriotic and religious customs are still well-worth killing and dying for. Theirs aren’t.


They ought to keep their people unarmed and passive, and never acquire nuclear weapons. We, on the other hand, have to have nuclear weapons, so we can be the world’s unelected policeman. As the world’s only superpower, we're obviously the most vulnerable country, so we have to arm ourselves like terminators, unilaterally start up pre-emptive wars, invade, occupy, shoot up foreign countrysides and cities and villages, interfere with sovereign nations’ internal and political affairs, drop nuclear bombs on civilian populations, disrupt livelihoods and lives, kill innocents, and stockpile enough armaments to kill all life on earth many times over.


Although their teensy little country may feel justifiably threatened by our historical aggressions, they certainly don’t need to have “the bomb.” That would be overkill, and dangerous for us, as well. We, on the other hand, need thousands of nuclear weapons, since we are an envied and feared international target. Only an immense arsenal of nuclear weapons can properly back up our huge armies, navies, and air forces, not to mention our defense budget, larger than those of all the nations of the world combined.


The lives of children are infinitely precious and of unlimited sacred value to us. Unless of course they’re someone else’s children. Or they happen to live in a poor country, or in a country at war with our country. We also believe fervently in family values, and supporting families. With, of course, the above exceptions.


Our enviable five-hundred-year-old culture certainly has nothing to learn from their primitive five-thousand-year-old one.


Our ways and traditions and institutions are unquestionably superior to any other country’s. Anyone could tell that, just by looking at our nation’s fabulous prosperity. It’s true we built our success upon genocide of the native Americans who were here first, and then upon the bloody backs of millions of imported African slaves. Not to mention exploitation of the richest swath of virgin land and untapped resources the world has ever known. But none of that really had anything to do with why we’re such a great country—it’s our perfect political and economic systems that are infallible. Everyone should be like us.


So please, try harder to see everything our way. Because, frankly, we’re bigger.


And don’t worry. Trust us. ‘Cause we’re the good guys.


Even though, just for the moment, I can’t quite remember why.


Please send comments to epharmon@adelphia.net






Media (of the People, by the People) for the People

I just watched an old movie popular in the thirties—the William Powell/Myrna Loy version of Dashiel Hammett’s The Thin Man, which later became a television series starring Peter Lawford. My mom and dad often mentioned how entranced they once were by this movie and its follow-ons, how they idealized these suave young couples. They also often talked about Kate Hepburn and Bing Crosby in their respective versions of The Philadelphia Story and High Society.


Watching these old movies today, I am once again astonished at the power of the media to impact culture. Rightly or wrongly, these movies glamourized and legitimized—no, actually promoted—social choices considered quite extreme at the time (divorce, choosing a spouse without regard for family opinion, frequent at-home and social drinking of alcohol, associations with people from different classes and values systems, smoking….) 


They influenced many young moderns (my parents among them) to eagerly embrace their advocated lifestyles, for better or for worse. I know that my parents found the courage to take such counter-cultural steps from the illusory weight and seeming solidity of the airy fantasies presented in these and similar movies, although I also know that both of them had been well-inculcated from very early on with every reasonable argument against such decisions. Their children (me included) were further influenced by their defensive insistence on the reasonableness and superiority of their choices.


How much more are today’s young people influenced by their day-long forced feeding of heavily-marketed television (both programming and commercials,) music, books, games, magazines, movies, consumer goods, etc? The only thing that surprises me at all anymore is that we still recognize our children as “ours,” considering they live in a completely “other” world than ours, a brave new world of tomorrow which, as Kahlil Gibran said, “we cannot visit, not even in our dreams.”


All Americans profit when our children grow up in strong families to be good, responsible adults. And we all suffer—and pay—when our youth make poor choices. Nevertheless, we let our public airwaves run amok in their promotion of unhealthy attitudes and lifestyles, while we barely scratch the surface of their potential to promote wise choices.


On one sad level, Americans today are relegated to living in the land of the free-to-make-a-buck and the home of the brave-but-stupid, which is too bad, because I don’t remember voting for any such peculiarly modern-American mantra.


When we-the-people finally get around to taking our politics and government(s) back out of the hands of big money, I’m confident we’ll find excellent ways to tap into using all the public airwaves for the common good.


The Iranian movie industry, currently severely constrained by their reigning theocracy to produce only non-violent, non-sexual movies, has responded with a lovely array of internationally recognized award-winning values- and family-based films which are  poignant, gripping, and thought-provoking. Someday, a responsive and representative government of, by, and for the American people will surely find ways to preserve our most-cherished freedoms, while supporting visionary media output that promotes the great diversity of healthful and positive values, lifestyles, and choices.


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