U.S. ups and downs

The U.S. nominations for candidates is nothing if not interesting in as much as it is teasing pollsters to breaking point. Now the Clinton/Obama race turns to favour Obama with four convincing wins. McCain, who we thought was forging ahead out of sight, finds himself challenged by Huckabee. Clearly he has benefited from the withdrawal of Romney
It seems as if it may have dawned on American Republicans that they are bringing in a Bush third term since McCain identifies with Iraq, so clearly loathed by the American people.


I became interested in Obama some time ago, but pretty clear now that he drives the same bus as all the others. The prospect of a new vehicle fit for purpose: bringing in peace, environmental sustainability etc. is a long way off. It will remain so while the logic of capitalism holds sway. Its adherents have other priorities – like sustaining a very lucrative arms industry whose products then have to have a market. Others, including supposed opponents compete in the same terms.
Personally I was brought up as a Christian in a Methodist Church. While I visited Soviet Russia and other then communist countries, notably Hungary, I didn’t find too many of those I met happy with the Russian version of colonial rule. I have many Muslim friends, and spoke to others in Palestine – actually many I met were Christians too. Arafat ruled a secular party and while he himself had a Muslim background, his wife was Christian. He had a great interest in the Church of the Nativity.
For me the Palestinian Jesus (Isa) of Nazareth’s “divinity” is in his humanity. There are other examples of people acting humanely who have become revered and their actions and thoughts turned into religious tradition. There adherents, contrary to their teachers’ wishes, end up defending their beliefs with unspeakable barbarity. We need human values here and now regardless of labels. Isn’t that what Rowan Williams was saying too?
It is chance encounters, mostly unexpected, which give rise to the thought “yes, this is the direction of travel”. Walter Wolfgang came to prominence by pointing up the emptiness of New Labour by erupting spontaneously to the nonsense that comes from their leaders’ mouths. In this case it was Jack Straw. On the anniversary of Aldermaston we are reminded that he and people like him put themselves in the front line of dissent then. We should celebrate!

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