Sunday, December 2, 2012

Thinking about 1939 and an MGM Cartoon

A teacher from the Invitational Summer Institute, Ellyne Plotnick (incredible jazz singer), posted this on her Facebook page yesterday. It's almost nine minutes long and I watched it because she wrote, "This is  a message we all should be thinking about."

I know Christmas is truly about Christianity, but I have always celebrated the holiday as a time for reflecting on goodness, life, giving, and looking for the joy in others. It hasn't had a religious meaning for me other than the spirituality I get from being with my family, our traditions, and the pure love that is has for the next generation: Nikki, Dylan, Sean, and Jacob. They bring meaning to our lives.

As I watched the cartoon, I was most struck by the date - 1939. MGM must have known that the U.S. was about to embark into six years of war with Japan and Germany. After the film was made, Pearl Harbor, Normandy, Hiroshima, and the Holocaust were revealed. The landscape of the earth changed forever. This makes the film more spooky.

Yesterday, I read about Ralph Nader's new book describing how Obama's drone war is killing innocent people around the world. It is 21st century warfare where the leader and his military goes undetected for the violence it creates. When discussing wars with students, I usually resort to the mantra, "Well, the world has never known a time without conflict. It seems almost natural."

The metaphor of squirrels is somewhat "nuts" however, especially when going to an Owl for advice. I kept thinking, "Well, if humans are the problem of the earth then meat-eating birds might be a close second." That owl was licking his lips at all the tasty food that was under his beak after the humans became extinct. Mice, chipmunks, and song sparrows. That's dinner for him.

It was eerie for me, too, that the rodents continued forth with a Western world, religious mantra as if Peace can only be a concept of our own ideologies. Every Buddhist, Jewish, Taoist, Hindu, Druid, Animist, Sikh, and Muslim individual I have ever met bounded their faith in peaceful ideologies. I'm not sure if others have made the connection, but the religion that celebrates our December holiday with the greatest force has played a tremendous role in crimes against humanity.

My thoughts are rather simple. We should focus on Good (minus one O that is God). Believing that we, them, us, they, and everything can be good might help our nations heal. But that is preaching and not my style for this lifetime. Instead, I hope to live a good life and that means being kind, friendly, supportive, optimistic, and cautious of others. That's been my plan for a long, long time now. I am no dumb enough to think I have the power to change what other people do. That is the mission of big government and their weaponry.

73 years ago this cartoon was made and I am thinking about this as I look at my nativity set, my Christmas lights, and the angel upon my cactus. I'm not religious, but love what the season represents. It would be nice if the representation was within us all: all religions, all faiths, and all people. Claiming one as superior is a big part of the problem.

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