Friday, July 29, 2011

Christianity on Top

A controversy predictable in a religious hierarchy has surfaced concerning the cross that was placed at the 9/11 Memorial Site in New York City. A group has filed suit arguing that a Christian symbol should not be included if no other religions or philosophies will be honored.

We wrote about this issue a year ago (see the blog, August 23, 2010). Many people use the cross as a universal symbol for everyone in the country, even though our diverse country contains many religious or spiritual beliefs. For example, in military cemeteries, crosses are used to represent the fallen, even if their religion is unknown. A person may request another symbol, but if none is requested, it is assumed that a cross is appropriate.

In a hierarchy, what represents the top is considered to be appropriate for everyone. Religion is no exception. The use of beams from the former World Trade Center is wonderful. However, putting the beams only in the shape of a cross illustrates the dominance of the Christianity on top of the hierarchy of religions in our country.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Our Shared Lives

On July 24, 2010, people in 192 countries sent in 80,000 videos to YouTube that shared their lives, including private and special moments. A new movie, "Life in a Day," was created from those videos, demonstrating that there is more that unites us than separates us.

The condition of the world can be discouraging. But when we look at the trends - the big picture - we see that we are witnessing major changes locally, nationally, and worldwide. We are witnessing unprecedented unity among people. Telecommunications and mobility are providing global opportunities for people to communicate with each other, as "Day in Our Lives" shows us.

For additional encouraging trends, see Chapter 5 of Clueless at the Top, or go to the home page of this website - The 4 C's, Common Issue.

No wonder some hierarchy conservators are acting so crazy. The internet is giving the rest of us so much access to one another without having to go through those at the top and the media they control.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Women's Soccer on Top

We are thrilled when we see articles that break down hierarchies - and here's one we saw that matches one of our suggestions in Clueless at the Top.

Roger Bennett's ESPN article "Seven Realizations from the World Cup," states, "It was a tournament that far surpassed the 2010 South African World Cup in quality of competition, inspiring some to suggest that, henceforth, the Women's World Cup should simply be referred to as the "World Cup" and the one with the gents that will be played in Brazil in 2014 should now be called "the Men's World Cup."

In Clueless at the Top, we discuss how role reversals are effective tools for uncovering elusive hierarchies that go undetected behind our assumptions about what are normal and natural behaviors. In role reversals, the higher group takes on the role of the lower, while the lower group plays the part usually played by the higher. We imagine the same scene played over again, however this time with roles switched.

On page 31 of Clueless at the Top, in a role reversal we state, "The World Cup is an international soccer tournament for women. The international soccer tournament for men is called 'The Men's World Cup.'" We explain that it may appear normal to many people in our hierarchies that the World Cup means the Men's tournament (similar to the NCAA Final Four for basketball), and when we talk about women we must say Women's World Cup.

But obviously some people haven't heard that there is a women's team and still think the US Soccer refers to the men, obviously, because they don't call the team the Men's World Cup team.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Oh Say Can You See - Your Land the Beautiful

"Is It Time for A New National Anthem?" is the title of a July 3 edition of Parade magazine. The article states that "The Star Spangled Banner" has not actually been the anthem very long, as it did not become the national anthem until 1931. It's difficult for even the best singers to sing, and that it would be better to sing about the beauty of our country instead of a long-forgotten battle in the War of 1812.

In Clueless at the Top, we also propose that our country needs a new national anthem. On pages 90, 97 and 303 we suggest we "change the country's national anthem to a song that does not glorify bombs and rockets, ramparts and fights." Other countries praise native flowers in their national anthem, and maybe it's time we stop acting proud of our national agenda of military build-up and military response to conflict, with the United States on top of an expensive and draining world hierarchy we can no longer afford to build.

In their 2011 Fourth of July celebration edition, the Parade article suggested "America the Beautiful" as out new national anthem. Not a bad song at all, but we like "This Land is Your Land."

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Nine 1 One to the Rescue

We have a refreshing story from our home state of Oregon about a Portland company, Nine 1 One Gear, that makes outerwear for firefighters and emergency responders. They have announced that they are leaving China and moving their manufacturing back home to Oregon.

Inflation in China and quality-control problems had Nine 1 One looking for alternatives. Moreover, manufacturing capacity at Chinese apparel plants is tight, and lead times for filling orders are getting longer. "If you're not a big-name brand, you're going to get pushed to the bottom of the list," said Peter Ettro, the president of Nine 1 One.

Maybe small companies will be the businesses that will bring health to our country's economic illnesses. After all, we can't look to those who got us into our problems to get us out. The big corporations, who are aided by the hierarchy-conservators of the Supreme Court and Congress, are unwilling to pay their fair share, put profits before people and the environment, and care about their well-being more than that of the country, show us the results when building hierarchies is a high priority.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Real American History

This week California lawmakers sent the governor a bill that would require public schools to include the contributions of gays and lesbians in social studies curriculum, the first state to do so. People with disabilities are also included in the list of groups that schools must discuss. The bill would also prohibit material that reflects adversely on gays and lesbians. The Assembly passed the bill with a 49-25 party line vote.

We're glad to see this bill as a strong step forward in presenting the history and culture of the United States in a more equitable manner. Anyone who has learned the traditional "American History" knows that the curriculum centers around the stories of wealthy able-bodied white males, the military, and wars. Therefore, it often takes legislation to create a more inclusive history.

Another solution is to have "special" separate classes – "African American History," "History of American Indians," or "Women’s History." If we take “Hispanic American History,” we don’t expect to learn "Asian American History." That's because when we speak of a lower group, we assume we’re talking about only that particular group. But when we talk about the upper group, in this case wealthy white males, many people assume we are talking about everyone, and a class about their history is representative and adequate for everyone.

So cheers to California for coming closer to making the history taught in our classrooms the real history of our country.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Archbishop Dolan Imitates Phyllis

When we read that New York Roman Catholic Archbishop Timothy Dolan is worried that the next step in the marriage debate will be another redefinition to allow multiple partners and infidelity, our minds wandered back to Phyllis Schlafly, the front person for the right-wing's opposition to Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970's. Those of you old enough will remember that Schlafly and her supporters were predicting that if women secured equal legal rights, we could no longer have separate bathrooms for males and females.

It's predictable that when we listen to people who want to conserve hierarchies, we will hear amazing misconceptions, lies, and/or deceptions. It often takes far-out predictions to keep outdated, dying hierarchies alive.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Karissa Whitsell - A Champion for All

Karissa Whitsell won one gold and three total medals in cycling in the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games, and four metals in 2004 in the Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece. She was named the 2004 Athlete of the Year by the U.S. Association of Blind Athletes.

We daily read the sports pages of our local newspaper. Even though Karissa grew up in adjacent Springfield and still lives here in our cycling-crazy city of Eugene, we had never heard of her until last week when we found out that Harriet's co-worker Lisa Turnbull had moved to the Olympic Village in Boulder, Colorado. Lisa will be training with Karissa after they won the Time Trial event of the USA Cycling Paralympics Road National Championships in Augusta, GA.

We are wondering how much coverage she would be receiving if she were in the Olympics and not the Paralympics. Better late than never, we're glad to know of Ms. Whitsell, and will be following her cycling career from now on.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Hierarchies Masquerading as Religion

Segregation and discrimination against women? What's considered abusive in general society gets overlooked when the practices are part of a religion that's been created by and for the benefit of men.

Ritualistic slaughter that brings animals pain and suffering? Soon, what's considered abusive in general society may no longer be overlooked when the practices are part of a religion that's been created by and for humans.

The Dutch Parliament will vote this week on a bill that, if enacted, will effectively require even Jewish and Muslim butchers to stun animals — mechanically, electrically or with gas — before they are slaughtered. Currently, the regulations on slaughter, including stunning the animals before killing, are set aside when it comes to ritual slaughter by humans of certain religions, who are objecting.

When hierarchy conservators hide behind religion, they expect people who would normally object to their behavior to look the other way, to stand by in silence, and not challenge them.

Religions used to proclaim that women exist to obey men, and blacks exist to wait on whites, because the leaders of the religions considered men and whites to be naturally superior. What's the difference in proclaiming that animals are placed on this earth to serve humans? Why would any deity place millions of species on this planet to serve only one of them? Typical of a hierarchy, humans set up this species hierarchy with themselves on top. Religions with animals as deities treat animals better.

For centuries, humans who establish hierarchies have hidden behind hierarchical religions headed by deities who resemble those people on top who set up and benefit from the hierarchy.

Cheers to the Dutch Parliament - keep up the good work standing up for those on the bottom!