On The Man And The Millennials

There was a time when those who resisted imperialism, exploitation, and collective murder in the name of national identity understood the concept of “the Man”. Casual references to “the Man” in songs such as “Military Madness” by CSN and “Born On The Bayou” by CCR reflected the collective insights of the youth of that generation as to the transparent authoritarian nature of the American way of life. And as Jack Black so passionately proclaimed in “Schoolhouse Rock”, the simple reality is that the Man is everywhere!

In fact, the reason that the counterculture youth movement of the late 60’s and early 70’s was “counter culture” is because in those days those who resisted in general understood that the Man is rooted in the mainstream institutions of society which serve to execute systemic oppression and economic exploitation of the masses in the name of conventional ideology. Indeed “the Man is in the White House and down the hall”. The counter culture youth of that era rebelled against the establishment as such, for they recognized the fundamentals of fascism in the very institutions of convention which propagandize the fairy tale myth of freedom and liberty in a society of domestic wage slavery and interventionist wars abroad.

The counter culture revolutionalists of that time rebelled because they realized that the Man was not just an individual or a specific political party, but rather the entire amoral system which used and abused people while parroting lip service to the concept of liberty and human rights. Frankly, the counter culture youth of the late 60’s and early 70’s were critical thinkers in a culture which coveted conformity as a means of subtle crowd control. That which the Man cannot abide is the individuality of critical analysis and free thought.

Now inasmuch as I have an unapologetic respect for the counter culture movement of the youth of 50 years ago, I am equally amazed at the resiliency of the Man. For in spite of the Woodstock culture and the Watergate scandal, the Man not only survived but in many ways is as influential as ever in an effective beat down of would be social dissidents. Ironically, the effort to foment fear as a means of social control which failed in the case of the counter culture youth of the late 60’s has yielded its intended effect in post 9-11 America. For even though the young counter culture revolutionists of the late 60’s had been trained as grade school children to hide under their school desks in case of a hypothetical nuclear attack, in time they came to recognize the Man as the enemy instead of the imaginary Commie crouching in the shadows. Such fear baiting may have failed the Man by the late 60’s, but that very methodology has proven quite effective since 9-11 for an entire generation which has been raised to willingly march off to war in order to battle alleged enemies harboring imaginary weapons of mass destruction. Perhaps the most perplexing aspect of that reality is that whereas the Man depended on the Draft in order to facilitate the Vietnam War at that time, there is no such systemic coercion in order to maintain the ongoing Bush-Obama-Trump wars of today.

It would seem that the Man has finally achieved authoritarian utopia. A generation of seemingly willing participants who dutifully volunteer to fight and kill in the interventionist wars of the 21st Century. And the Man doesn’t even have to worry about any Catholic priests or rebellious teens burning Draft Cards! The will of the Man for collective conformity would seem to be complete. Those who have not sold out to the Man seem to have bought into the concepts which enable the authoritarian tyranny of the establishment.

And then came the social dissidents from among the Millennials.

For as in the 60’s, the times they are a changin’.

For the millennial generation seems to have awakened to the corruption of the establishment. And the Man is once again beginning to feel the heat of the people in the streets. Even the political puppets are showing albeit tentative signs of concern that they may actually have to consider the will of their constituents instead of merely representing the interests of their corporate doaners.

Critical thinkers of a generation who are informed enough to know the reality of the effects of climate change and world war are actually questioning the wisdom of denying the reality of the one and engaging in the other. The youth of today are becoming aware of other cultures less prosperous than our own who have the will to provide healthcare for everyone and higher education for the qualified, and they are pressing the establishment to account for student debt and healthcare insecurity in a society that writes blank checks for endless wars and is willing to fund silly ventures such as a Space Force.

The times are a changin’, and the Man is feeling’ the heat.

Time will tell whether the generation of my children; the Millennials, and that of my baby grandson will be able to resurrect a counter cultural social resistance which once and for all brings social change which ends imperialism, exploitation, and collective murder in the name of national identity. But at the moment such a movement for the sake of humanity seems to be underway.

As CSN once sang, “it’s been a long time coming, but it’s always darkest before the dawn”.

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In Memory of Muhammad Ali

He floated like a butterfly,
He stung like a bee.
But there was more than boxing,
To Muhammad Ali.

He had the courage of his convictions,
And he thought for himself.
Rather than merely doing what he was told,
Like most everyone else.

According to George Foreman,
Muhammad was the greatest human being he knew.
And coming from a great human being himself,
That gives Ali his just dues.

Though it costs Ali his title,
And midst intense racist slurs.
He refused to fight and murder others,
Such conviction rarely occurs.

Among the bravest words,
Are those of Muhammad Ali.
In the quote immediately following,
This poem in his memory.

I watched Ali box when I was a teen,
And have grown to respect him as an adult.
He was an outspoken social activist,
I believe that goodness was the result.

Thank you Muhammad Ali,
May your cause live on,
Thanks for being truly human,
Farewell, and so long.

Dave Henderson
Denison, Texas

June 4, 2016

In memory of Muhammad Ali (January 17, 1942-June 3, 2016)

“My conscience won’t let me go shoot my brother, or some darker people, or some poor hungry people in the mud for big powerful America. And shoot them for what? They never called me nigger, they never lynched me, they didn’t put no dogs on me, they didn’t rob me of my nationality, rape or kill my mother and father…. How can I shoot them poor people? Just take me to jail.”

Why Do Atheists Debate The Topic of God

Today, I was challenged on a discussion board as to why we Atheists debate the topic of God, since we don’t believe in such. My response:

I can understand your perspective. There is a side of me that would just go on with my life and not ever address the topic. For those who do so, I tip my hat to them. But there are many reasons why I personally pursue the topic (I speak just for myself):

1. The concept of God has historically been a propaganda tool. I grew up learning about “Westward Expansion” and “Manifest Destiny'”; instead of being taught about imperialism, torture, enslavement, and genocide. To me, accurate history is important, hence a realistic perspective as to our national sins of the past 500 years will be helpful to hopefully guide us to a more humane way of life in the fortunately

2. In that regard, unfortunately, the concept of God is a contemporary political tool; both in our country and elsewhere. And when I say a political tool, I mean a tool which results in and which justifies inflicting suffering. So long as monotheism continues, then god might as well be alive to represent the nationalist zealots who support torture and killing in order to “protect their way of life’. If that “way of life” is perceived to be “God blessed”, then the concept of God is detrimental to peace, harmony, and good health.

3. People kill in the name of God. So long as the concept of God is unchecked, unaddressed, and unopposed, then people will go on killing in the name of their gods.

4. The concept of God is the justification for many racisms and bigotries. So long as there is homophobia and misogyny in the name of God, then the concept of God continues to play a role in subjugating minorities and justifying the denial of basic human rights to all.

Concl: The issue from my perspective regarding my personal quest to reason and dialogue regarding “god”; is not that which is not real (God); the issue is that which is all too real: Revisionist history, justified ongoing human atrocities in the way of war, murder, torture, homophobia, sexism, and many other such bigotries; IN THE NAME OF GODS.

So long as such continues, I personally feel morally obligated to to do what I can to reason against ignorance, and to attempt to be the best person I know how in the process.

Everything Is Relative

Christianity and Islam are each Monotheistic religions based upon antiquated Hebrew myths. They each worship one God. They each preach heaven and hell. They each cherish their own holy book. Each of their holy books teach peace and love. Each of their books teach violence and murder. Christianity and Islam are each represented mainly by good and decent people who want to lead good lives and go to heaven. Yet both Christianity and Islam have extremist terrorist groups which maim, torture and murder those who do not believe as they, and who kidnap children and convert them to their cause. In my mind, the Christian terrorists in Africa are no more representative of the good and decent Christian; then the Islamist terrorists in the Middle East are representative of the good and decent Muslim. I believe that when the Muslim and the Christian each take the finer and more refined passages of their holy books as their guide for daily living, then neither are a threat to anyone, and each represents themselves and their respective religions with honor and dignity.

That said: Everything is relative.

On the Uninformed and the Ill Informed

I truly believe that most people are uninformed and ill informed as to the social immorality which is the American way of life.

I look at my own circumstance, and for my part, I honestly did not know of the social immorality of our system; and that it dated to day one when the Euromaniacs landed here in 1492 and subsequently tortured, murdered, exploited and then starved out local Natives; all to feed the greed of the monied interests in Spain. You know, you just don’t get taught that stuff in school.

I think most people are honestly ill informed,and are just so busy trying to survive everyday life to take the time to research and learn the atrocities which are and have been the American way of life. I personally never realized until I did some serious research and labored over several books of the systematic and oftentimes violent exploitation of humanity which has been our history and which is “the American way of life”. I knew that we did the Native Americans wrong, but I certainly did not know to what extent. I never realized that we systematically murdered and displaced people whose sole crime was living on land coveted by filthy greedy plutocrats who bribed the government to murder and displace entire civilizations of people on their behalf. And I certainly would never have connected the dots as to the fact that such was done globally as well, all throughout our history. I never knew until I did some serious research that our country invaded Nicaragua several times between the 1850s and 1890s; nor did I know that during that same span we invaded China, Japan, Africa, and the Philippines; each and every time on behalf of corporate interests. I tell you, when I read of how we tortured and murdered the Philipinos on behalf of the Dole Fruit Company in the 1890’s I could hardly stand to even see a can of Dole fruit on the shelf at the Grocery Store And I never knew that our CIA overthrew the government of Iran in 1953 on behalf of Standard Oil (now BP). And I never knew that our own government burned children alive in their mother’s arms on behalf of the Mining industry in the early 20th Century. I certainly never knew that our troops fired on WWI vets who were marching to DC demanding decent care after returning from war. And I only in the past few years have come to know of ALEC and the Koch Brothers, and their successful efforts to bribe our Nationally elected officials to pass legislation in their interests. I simply did not know. I was uninformed, and worse yet I was ill informed.

I tell you people, the best thing I ever did in my life was to turn off Rush Limbaugh after 20 years as a faithful listener to his propaganda on behalf of those who exploit people’s lives and circumstances, and began studying the system which has created the poverty which allows people to remain in such circumstances. The realization that our entire system has always been and continues to this day to be based upon the exploitation of people’s circumstances and daily services was a tough pill for me to swallow. I am still irritated at myself for being so easily misled, uninformed, and ill informed; and I am beyond irritated at the realization that ours is an immoral way of life, driven by people who only view their fellow human being as a commodity to exploit. We should be ashamed to pass ourselves off as a society founded on goodness; and we should repent of such and start utilizing wealth on behalf of the poor, instead of utilizing the poor on behalf of the wealthy.

It Is Up To Us (With or Without God)

39 years ago today, my sisters and myself were involved in an automobile wreck in which our AMC Gremlin was hit by a train. The AMC Gremlin was a nice economic vehicle in those days. However; our AMC Gremlin did not stand up well against train collisions. Good enough however to allow all four occupants to live to tell the tale, even now so many years later.

Now, there are those who are privy to the circumstances of that incident who say that “someone was watching over us that day”. I say that if “someone was watching over us that day”, then the train never would have hit us in the first place.

You see, I do not believe in the providence of God.
Nor do I believe in the protection of God.
Nor do I believe in the punishment of God.

What I believe in is the existence of a universe of natural principles which is completely indifferent to the well being of anyone and everyone.

I believe in the suffering of an empty stomach.
I believe in the suffering of the person who is homeless.
I believe in the suffering of the maimed and the mutilated who suffer the effects of national wars.

I believe in the effects of suffering.

I also believe that whatever happens in terms of the natural universe simply happens.

If the train hits your car so as to kill you, then that happens.
If the tree falls on the unsuspecting child and kills the tot on the spot, then that happens.
If the baby is born with Cancer, and lives a short and miserable life of suffering and premature decay before experiencing the release of death; then that happens.

Frankly, it seems to me that if there is a god (or gods); then she, he, or they; have left us on our own.

And so we exist; and so we co-exist.

On our own.

Which means that we of humanity are responsible.

We are responsible for anything within our control.

And if we opt to sublet that responsibility to our personal conception of an interactive, all powerful deity, then we fail ourselves, and we fail humanity.

If we simply trust god to feed the hungry, then the hungry will continue to suffer.
If we simply trust god to shelter the homeless, then the homeless will continue to suffer.
If we simply trust god to care for the ill, then the sick will continue to suffer.

Anything that will be accomplished, will be accomplished through us.

Pray to your god if you must, but limit your trust to what she, he, or they may do through us.

For the fact is, that faith without works is useless.

Even the Bible says so: James 2:14-17

So whether you be a spiritual Christian, a diligent Muslim, a peaceable Hindu, or even a cynical Atheist like myself; realize this:

If we of humanity do not trust in and act upon our natural sense of kindness and compassion; then it does not matter whether your god exists or not.

Because any efforts to alleviate suffering; will be done through the efforts of humanity.

With or without “god”.

Dave Henderson
Denison, Texas

Civilization’s Song

Some march off to war;
Others march for peace.
Corporate vermin,
Shear the sheep for their fleece.

Poor boy becomes a thief,
Rich boy spends daddy’s loot.
Paranoia abounds,
Everyone learns to shoot.

Turn your back on the poor,
Teach them to fend for themselves.
Treat ‘em like a commodity,
Like an item on a shelf.

Don’t you dare marry Jonathan,
If your name is Dave.
Biblical homosexuality?
Did they so behave?

Dead man in the streets!
Oh, no need to worry.
Just another black thug,
Off to work we scurry.

Revised history down in Texas,
The facts we must be rinsing.
Young Texans should not be taught,
Of conquest by ethnic cleansing.

Thousands dead in Gaza,
Chomsky calls it “mowing the lawn”.
Faux News calls it justice.
I just call it wrong.

Sonny and Cher had it right,
Truly the beat does go on.
Time to end this rhythmic lyric,
I call it: “Civilization’s Song”.

Dave Henderson
Denison, Texas

Of Morality and Humanity

There is a myth relative to morality.

The myth relative to morality is that without God there is no morality.  The myth assumes the existence of God, then attaches the concept of morality to the concept of God. Thus, the case is asserted that morality not only proves the existence of God, but likewise that if there is no God, then there are no morals. Basically, the theory maintains that people would not know the difference between the concepts of right and wrong if God does not exist.

The first observation of note is that the concepts of right and wrong are relative to the individual. Many are the factors which play a part in the molding of each individual’s value system.  And I cannot overstress that each person’s value system is a making of their individuality and one’s own inner deliberation based upon one’s own experiences in life.  Depending upon the context of a person’s life, and depending upon one’s cultural conditioning, and quite frankly depending upon the values which the given individual adopts as their own, there are simply a variety of interpretations of and personal conclusions regarding that which constitutes right and wrong.

And oftentimes the one person’s right is the other person’s wrong; and vice versa.

Of such is morality and humanity.

One person thinks it’s wrong to shoot a sitting duck.  Another person says all game is fair to hunt.  Another person says it it wrong to kill the duck except for one’s own personal survival.  Yet another person says it is wrong to kill the duck except to put the duck out of an irreversible misery.

One person says it is wrong to refuse to take the pledge of allegiance to the flag of ones’ country.  Another says it is wrong to actually take the pledge of allegiance to the flag. Some say it is wrong to march off to war.  Some say it is wrong to march for peace.

Some say it is wrong for a couple to live together without being married.  Others say it is wrong for certain couples to get married.

On and on I could go.

Suffice it to say that personal perspective and the rules of social convention produce a variety of values and a corpus of conflicting notions as to that which constitutes right and that which constitutes wrong.  And each person tends to assume their values to be preferable to those of another.

Of such is morality and humanity.

For example, I myself believe that the values which are based upon the matter of the undue suffering of another are those which constitute the only natural concept of right and wrong.  I base my values upon what seems to me to be a natural aversion to one’s own personal discomfort of any degree, and an equally natural sensitivity to the suffering of others.  Hence, the moral compass by which I measure right and wrong relates to whether I cause or neglect the suffering of another being.

Now, inasmuch as I believe my values to be sound and certain, the fact is that not everyone interprets the concepts of right and wrong as I do.  Inasmuch as I am the only one who lives my personal experience, and who experiences my personal life, then who am I to judge those who opt for a standard differing from my own?  So all I know to do is to live my life the best I know how, and to leave everyone else to their own inner deliberations and subsequent deeds.

For therein seems to be the common denominator which ultimately unites us all as to the divisive topic of personal values. The fact is that most every person, regardless of background or upbringing, deliberates within themselves and subsequently decides for themselves as to their  values, and then acts accordingly.

Of such is morality and humanity.

Now, some might ask: “What about God?”.
To which I reply:  “What about God?”

God has nothing to do with morality, except in the mind of the one who chooses to incorporate a subjective concept of a deity into an ever transforming personal concept of morality. For everyone’s concept of morality is a work in progress and relative to each given circumstance, hence God is only relative to such when incorporated into the process of the inner deliberation of the individual believer.  To such a person of course their concept of their deity functions as a role in their own personal deliberation as to their specific values, which then in turn affects their given choices in life.

Ultimately then, the concept of right and wrong is relative in general, yet case specific to the given individual.  For when all factors are considered, and all conditions have been figured, each individual decides for themselves what constitutes right and wrong to their own way of thinking.  Then we all act accordingly.

Of such is morality and humanity.

Some might say: “Well then, that means everyone can do whatever they want to do.”
To which I respond:  “Well.  Yeah.”

The fact is that everyone can do whatever they want to do, and actually do so on a daily basis; the concept of God notwithstanding.  When it comes down to what the individual person decides to do, the concept of God will neither hinder nor engage in the exercise thereof.  Every person can do whatever they want; regardless of the web of subsequent consequences relative to any given deed. We as individuals are simply free to do whatever we want to do, and no concept of God affects such one way or the other at the moment of truth.

Of such is morality and humanity.

Some people who believe in the concept of God live peaceably with their fellow beings. Other people who believe in the concept of God kill without mercy.  Some people who believe in the concept of God would not so much as step on a bug on the sidewalk.  Other people who believe in the concept of God torture and authorize the torture of their fellow beings.

Some Atheists live peaceably with their fellow beings.  Some Atheists are disagreeable personalities.  Some Atheist kill.  Some Atheists do not kill.

Some people who believe in the concept of God are good people.  Some Atheists are good people.  Some people who believe in God are rude and greedy.  Some Atheists are rude and greedy.  Some people who believe in God exploit their fellow beings for personal gain. Some Atheists exploit their fellow beings for personal gain.

There are Christians who believe in shooting the other person before he has the chance to shoot you.  There are Atheists who turn the other cheek.

People choose the values by which they live each given moment of their lives.  Some people factor the concept of a deity into their given value system.  Other folk do not.

But every person is experiencing an ever transforming value system of their own individual choice.

Of such is morality and humanity.

Dave Henderson
Denison, Texas

An Ode To The Odious

The women of Gaza weep;
O’er babies mutilated by bombs.
Sent special delivery,
From the chosen children of God.

A Missouri woman weeps,
The bullet riddled body of her son.
Lies uncovered on the street for hours.
While the Police cover up (AKA: “Report”) is done.

A War Criminal smiles in the comforts,
Of his mansion down in Texas.
Knowing damn well he will never be accountable;
Regardless of what the facts is.

Some people on paid vacation,
Other people demonstrate.
The wheels of injustice succeed,
There will be no court date.

Christmas bells are ringing,
Lip service to God one can hear.
The suffering of foreigners and black folk,
Will not hinder our Holiday Cheer.

Self righteous hypocrites on Sunday,
Sing, pray, and listen to a sermon.
Indifferent to the suffering of the afflicted,
Then justify scum and vermin.

The stench of social injustice.
The indifference of hypocrites.
The filth of society’s sins,
Smell of sewage and piles of

America: Won’t You Please Come To Your Senses

They bound and gagged Bobby Seale;
Just to shut his mouth.
‘Cause they did not like the truth,
That the man was putting out.

Nixon shredded the papers,
And erased 18 minutes off the tape.
So that accountability for his ways;
He could then escape.

Our troops shot four unarmed students dead,
At the Kent State Massacre in 1970.
A tragic day for America,
Or so it seems to me.

Illegal US wars in Latin America,
While Reagan simply smiled and waved.
Propaganda his main device,
His image was successfully saved.

O for shame, for shame.
America finally learned to blush.
When President Clinton,
Got a BJ in the White House.

And then the Great Snipe Hunt,
Of the 21st Century!
Off to war Bush sent us,
In search of WMD’s!!

Our troops do torture,
Our drones indiscriminately kill.
But “Onward American Soldiers”
Perpetual War is Conservative America’s will!

Cops get away with murder,
The Grand Jury has the final say.
Troops get away with torture,
Presidents simply get away.

But listen up War Hawks,
Listen up apologists for torture by our side.
Listen up those who gag informative mouths,
And force truth revealers to go overseas and hide.

You can sing “God Bless America”,
At the Ballpark in the 7th Inning.
But you cannot change the facts,
That America has done a lot of sinning.

So pledge allegiance to your flag,
And sing God’s praises on our land still.
But why not a “Come to Jesus” meeting,
And come clean about our social ills.

Once and for all,
Bring America off our high horse.
And admit we are a nation like all others,
With merits and demerits of course.

Admit when we are wrong,
Hold the guilty to account.
Let’s clean up our act,
And actually be what we claim to be about.

Recall our troops,
Regulate our cops.
Time to clean house,
Grab a bucket and a mop.

Let’s embrace open democracy,
Welcome dissent as social input.
Restore the Free Press,
Time to get off on the right foot.

Won’t you please come to your senses,
Let care and compassion prevail?
May hatred, weaponry, and bigotry,
All be sent to hell.

We can change what we want,
But we have to want the changes we need.
Let’s change the shape we are in,
For America is in a shameful state indeed.

Dave Henderson