Liquid Ink

The official website of Gint Aras, Finalist 2016 CWA Book Award


To hear a Republican politician’s prayer

With so many of our leaders once again offering thoughts and prayers following another mass shooting, I find myself wondering what those thoughts and prayers sound like.

What are you praying for, and what does the shape of your prayer reveal about God? When people lie slaughtered, today in Texas, yesterday in Vegas, the day before in Orlando, what words do your hearts send to God? When school children are sliced and diced by weapons designed for no other purpose, how do you shape a prayer?

You cannot possibly have been praying for these shootings to cease. If you’ve been begging Please, Lord, stop the killing—so many times now to have lost count—you should naturally be doubting your faith. That prayer isn’t being answered. If you believe all things happen through God, the slaughters are obviously part of His Great Plan. Your prayer, then, is a hopeless breath, slain silent in the chaos of so many rifle reports and final cries before death.

Do you pray for the souls to find heaven as the bereaved find solace in the wake of our sins? How does God hear that prayer, and only hours after you’ve prayed for further donations from those who profit from America’s addiction to weapons and fear? How does God allow comfort to the grieving when tomorrow yet another parent will lose her child, yet another son his dad, all part of His Great Plan?

Do you pray for the killers to burn forever in hell? Oh, but you couldn’t. That wouldn’t be Christian.

Your prayers aside, honestly, what are these thoughts you keep sending? What are you thinking? Do you imagine the children strewn across the floor of a classroom splattered with blood? Do you keep in mind the portraits of those shot and trampled during a concert? Do you note their names, think of their humanity, wonder what they might have done the next day, had the gunman’s plan run aground? Do you imagine your own loved ones—or, perhaps, you yourself—shredded by the weapons your political allies peddle?

Or do you think the bereaved can now be counted on for votes? Because, let’s face it, in this dangerous country, where every Fate and Fury can buy a gun, they’ll need guns to keep them safe. And who’ll protect their access to guns, the very guns that kept their loved ones safe in school, at the concert, in church and on the dance floor, if not you, messenger of God, disciple of the word? Where would America be without you?

Where would God?

Prayer

Photo of Praying Hands by Albrecht Dürer from Wikipedia.


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Concert to fight white supremacy

New Yorkers: in a response to the insane Republican white supremacy movement, with its hateful hashtag #gasthesynagogue,  Abraham, Inc. are throwing a party,  and everyone is invited to join them at Symphony Space THIS SUN, SEPT 24th at 7pm. This concert benefits the NYCLU/American Civil Liberties Union, and features some absolutely  brilliant, legendary musicians, including Marc Ribot (of those Tom Waits tracks) and Fred Wesley (of those James Brown and George Clinton tracks).

The New York press has largely ignored this concert, doing little to share the news. I hope that followers of Liquid Ink, especially that loyal constituency in NYC, can help spread the word.

Sunday, September 24th, Sympthony Space, New York City, 7:00 PM

Here’s from David Krakauer’s Facebook Event page:

In this benefit concert for the NYCLU/American Civil Liberties Union, some of today’s most beloved genre-bending artists join forces in a wild concert. Don’t miss the chance to see them all in one place! This concert is CO-SPONSORE by JFREJ.

– 10-piece supergroup ABRAHAM INCORPORATED 
– Guitar legend MARC RIBOT with “Songs of Resistance”
– Members of the renowned Grammy-winning SILK ROAD ENSEMBLE
– KATHLEEN TAGG & ANDRE PETERSEN: “Where Worlds Collide”

ABOUT THE CONCERT:
ABRAHAM INC. (led by DAVID KRAKAUER, FRED WESLEY, SOCALLED) 
with SHERYL BAILEY, JEROME HARRIS, MICHAEL SARIN, TARON BENSON, EDDIE ALLEN, BRANDON WRIGHT, ALLEN WATSKY, ALICIA KRAKAUER 
Special Guest: FRANK LONDON of The Klezmatics


Own it, America

We’ve left the Paris Accords.

Let’s face it, Americans. This is who we are. This is our face. This is what we’ve done to ourselves and everyone else. It’s malignant, profane, destructive, and we’re beyond the point that we should be embarrassed. Our current course should be terrifying.

Left-wing talk on social media and over airwaves today begs the world to understand a variety of platitudes, all meant to separate us from the act.

Not all of us are this way! 

A minority elected him!

It’s just a fringe that think like this!

I recycle!

None of that matters. We have a half-literate madman at the helm, driven by greed and narcissism. He’s not supported by some mythological horde of angry and bitter maniacs who deny reality or know no alternative to their passive aggression. Currently, the vast majority of Republican politicians support him. There is no rational, civil or sensible case to be made for the support of a man who puts short-term profit and thumb-nosing above the destruction of our planet. Yet there he stands, complete with his covfefe (which my autocorrect kept trying to change), his party toeing the line as he stomps about the garden.

Our process elected him. He is the result of our apathy and adoration of ignorance. This is from Business Insider:

Nearly 139 million Americans [turned out in 2016]…but that total suggests that only 60% of the country’s 232 million eligible voters actually voted…

For some Americans, the two names at the top of the 2016 ticket were so unpalatable that they opted not to vote for president at all, instead focusing on down-ballot races.

In 14 states, more people voted in the Senate races than voted for president. The overall results show that nearly 2.4 million people nationwide cast ballots but left the presidential line blank.

Inexcusable. We need to be done with the excuses and platitudes and realize that a critical mass of Americans support a party that sees no problem with our current course of mayhem. Not even the potential for mass extinction humbles them before their desire for profit and power. They see a malignant narcissist and wonder what they personally might gain from his madness. Opportunists are everywhere. Presidential candidate Lindsey Graham, who once said our president “doesn’t know anything” about foreign policy, just yesterday tweeted this utter non-sense: “I support President Trump’s desire to re-enter the Paris Accord after the agreement becomes a better deal for America and business.”

Our system is flexible enough that we can change this course, but the first step has to take place in our consciousness. Right now we are a nation led by a party whose only compass is profit and personal gain, whose God is Ayn Rand, not Jesus Christ. Its leader is a man so toxic that he poisons any system he enters. We are, all of us, members of that system, and we can’t change it by putting forth an effort to separate ourselves.

We left the Paris Accord because we elected a man and party who see no course as wrong so long as their wealth is growing and protected, even at the expense of their grandchildren. If we want to change that, we have to take responsibility and action ourselves, and the first step is to look at the mess. It’s in our house.

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Advice for Republicans

I wish I had beaten Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal to the ideas he expresses in this article. To those too lazy to read it, I’ll summarize: He’s asking conservatives to stop fretting over other people’s sex lives and their (bourgeois, ha!) demands for marriage rights. He suggests that the fuss over abortion has become extreme. He presents a good question: “What’s so awful about learning Spanish?” and points out that immigrants—specifically Spanish-speaking ones—show values most of us identify as American. That ringing you hear right now is the echo from my applause: he’d like future conservative presidential and congressional candidates to pass an exam of basic knowledge and take an IQ test. He defends himself, claiming it’s not flippant. I agree with him.

Here’s the question: Why can’t the intelligent, rational, pragmatic wing of the Republican Party become the party’s undisputed central voice? Why don’t those pragmatics take serious issue with the hysterics, the ones barely able to accept the president’s humanity? We are far away from the political environment necessary for a presidential candidate of either party to dismiss American Exceptionalism (although that day is inevitable, and should be welcome). But a Democrat does not need to pitch himself to quite the same group of fringe thinkers, to people who need reality distorted in order to feel “right”. If you’re among those claiming, “But the president is an extremist, a communist, an alien, a Muhammad, a Trotsky, a Stalin, a Hitler! He believes in holes in the sky!” realize that you’re part of the wing that’s causing the problem. Your voice has been exhausting from the start.

At the end of his piece, Stephens suggests Republicans had spent four years listening to echoes of themselves. He suggests they “change the channel for a while.” I have a more advanced suggestion. Isn’t it time to change the talking heads? Is it really a threat to the party to find some secular professor, a student of Smith, and put him on TV to host a show? Would Republicans refuse to coalese around a host who claimed, unabashedly, to be an intellectual or presented himself, at minimum, as a pragmatic thinker. Aren’t we past the point where we find loud-mouthed bullies either entertaining or quintessentially American?

If Republicans took Stephens’ advice and changed the channel (for a long time), they’d go away. But we must demand they be replaced by someone who isn’t going to distort reality, demonize anyone or blather on about rape. I hope this election has shown that each side of the political aisle and every layer in each coalition is sick of that stuff.