Sean’s Blog: The Facebook Crusades…A Perspective

It was 1095 A.D. Christians and Muslims had issues. Hmmm. A veritable holy Hatfields and McCoys furiously played out in Europe and what is now the Middle East. Good old Pope Urban II leveraged his papal celeb to drive a campaign to retake the Holy Land. He made a convincing argument and even offered speech that inspired folks to action. Here is an excerpt:

“The West must march to the defense of the East. All should go, rich and poor alike. The Franks must stop their internal wars and squabbles. Let them go instead against the infidel and fight a righteous war.” Familiar sounding words? Yep, these were words from a Christian icon of God’s will.

I saw a couple of posts the other night on facebook…one with a photo, apparently of a group of Muslim radicals hoisting a banner downing democracy and cheering Islam. The facebook author wrote: “For any Obama supporters, this is what we are facing here in America. This is NOT the middle east, it is right here on our soil. Please vote for Mitt.” The caption to the photo read: “It won’t happen here, you say? Welcome to Dearbornistan, Michigan.”

The second was a post with two questions. The poster (or poser) was asking if readers were (1) going to church on Sunday, and (2) planning to vote for Mitt Romney. It went on to read: “The fact is if you answered YES to my 1st question & NO to my 2nd then you need to either CHANGE your Church or just stay home & do some hard praying before you vote.”

Now, I love our democracy and our freedoms. That doesn’t change the fact that I wanted to puke after reading this disgusting plea for racism and nationalism through the lens of misguided piety. I’m not sure if this amateur pundit is just a pissed off extremist in his own right or a 21st century Pharisee.

What I do know is that what threatens this great country the most is not a band of radicals in a great city that embraces diversity. The threat to our democracy and our values is by the facebook Crusaders and them like ‘em who use whatever medium they can to generate hate and cloak it in their own made up value set and Constitutional bending. Return to our “core values” you say?. Reality is, our core values are now, more than ever, in play. That is Constitutional Irony if there ever was.

I finally had enough and wrote an Op-Ed to the newspaper in northwest Florida asking that they consider what appears to be a seeming high share of racism and religious intolerance in the local community. I asked how local Muslims might feel about citizens in their midst who are calling for their demise…or, their “conversion.” I have to call these bigots out and ask for a public declaration of their plan. What is it? An all out ethnic cleansing? I am so surprised…I haven’t heard from them (sarcasm thick as sorghum).

You speak of a sinking value system and couch the current President as a champion of everything you perceive to run counter to your quasi-Arian ideals. I love my country. I will stack my love of capitalism AND my social conscience up against any conservative talking head or proverbial tree-hugger. Asking questions, having a conscience, considering greater good or a planet in peril does not make one a good or bad person. But, when you spit hate, mostly out of ignorance (as this facebook crusader often does in the form of “facts”), then you are, in fact, a tragic human being. And please, don’t confuse this rant as a hypocritical perspective and counter-hate. I don’t hate this brother and his cronies. I am frustrated, yes, angry at the kind of crap and cultural intolerance that flow from this fiction writer.

My hope is that our democracy be protected from the likes of them; those that feel being an American is somehow defined by their own twisted Constitutional Apartheid. Your suggestion that God is somehow on the side of a candidate and that my faith is somehow in question based on my Presidential choice (either way) is so revealing of just how uninformed you are as a citizen and as a person of faith in your own right.

This country is great because of its diversity. My blog post, today, is less of a call for dialogue and more an admonition. Uncharacteristically, I care nothing about a conversation about this. I am saddened and disgusted by the facebook crusaders…those few who post hate and and bullshit and add a graphic in the hopes that “like” buttons will be followed by a sheep herd path to the polls.

This applies to both Red and Blue! Careful what you “Like,” unless you share in the hate and the probable B.S. behind it. The barbarism of the crusades is just as likely today by the select few who chose to exercise their extremism through harm to others. Weapons of mass destruction are not limited to those of nuclear or biological variety; they also come in the form of rhetoric. I doubt God was on the side of the crusaders of 1095 and He surely detests the contemporary crusaders who use these pages to wage their own selfish wars.

Just sayin’

…and the Happiness of Pursuit

“Are you going to watch the game today?” my friend asked. It hit me. I haven’t watched a game completely through in the last two years. I don’t follow any teams in any sport anymore. It used to be a big damned deal to me.

My television is hardly ever on. I cancelled everything but the most crude of cable service when I moved. Something has changed in these  last years. I spend more time in pursuit of change than entertainment. My free time is spent with a small and dear band of friends from here and across the pond who need little more than some space, a glass of something red, music (ideally live), and a laugh. Books, my dog, my guitar, my bike in the woods, my kayak in the river, and conversation with such significant people have become the stuff of time away from the executive payroll.

In this mid-afternoon of my life, I find there is much to say and less to be consumed. I have sold or given away most of what I acquired over my baby boomer evolution. What’s next? Lyle Lovett in singing Guy Clark’s lyrical masterpiece said it so well:

Step Inside This House

That picture hangin’ on the wall
Was painted by a friend
He gave it to me all down and out
When he owed me ten
Now it doesn’t look like much I guess
But it’s all that’s left of him
And it sure is nice from right over here
When the light’s a little dim

Step inside my house Babe
I’ll sing for you a song
I’ll tell you ’bout where I’ve been
It shouldn’t take too long
I’ll show you all the things I own
My treasures you might say
Couldn’t be more’n ten dollars worth
But they brighten up my day

Here’s a book of poems I got
From a girl I used to know
I guess I read it front to back
Fifty times or so
It’s all about the good life
And stayin’ at ease with the world
It’s funny how I love that book
And I never loved that girl

Hold this piece of glass
Up to the light comin’ through the door
It’s a prism glass I found on the road
Can you see that little rainbow
Well it’s not really a prism I guess
It just broke in a funny way
I found it on my way from Texas
Headed for L.A.

This guitar was given me
By old man Thomas Gray
It’s not too much to look at
But I pick it every day
It’s been across the country
Four or five times I guess
Between me and old man Tom
It never got much rest

Well that’s about all I own
And all I care to I guess
Except this pair of boots
And that funny yellow vest
And that leather jacket and leather bag
And hat hangin’ on the wall
Just so it’s not too much to carry
Could I see you again next Fall

Guy Clark (sung best by Lyle Lovett)

Yes, I have much to say, sometimes if not only for myself. My pursuits are my happiness at this point. Considering ways to reduce poverty, improve delivery of health, expand my mind and my heart, maybe some travel. I may ride solo, but I find myself less interested in acquisition or the win. The journey is good for now. I’m not thinking it’s right; just right for where I am in this turn. It is these nights of quiet, on a deck, digging the energy of a little suburban village that turns me on. Then, mid-week there will be toasts and music and the company of these incredible humans – now family – that dance and laugh and share each others’ burdens and joys for a few hours. I will walk from that place in the late hour and be so reminded of why I am here.

Step inside this house. I did. They Brighten Up My Day.

“Paper or Moron…Oops, I Meant Plastic?”

In the timeless words of Ricky Bobby, “That just happened!”

I went to my neighborhood grocery store this afternoon for some fish, vegetables, fruit, wine, and beer (not in that order). I opened my trunk to fetch grocery bags. This guy and his wife walked nearby. He looked my way and said, “You’ve got a lotta stuff in that trunk, huh?” I laughed and said, “Yep, I’ve been moving over a few weeks and just used this for small storage.”

My groceries on my porch. Can we recycle politics?

As I gathered my Harris Teeter grocery bags  he turned and said, “You must be a Democrat.”

A reply raced from my brain, out of my mouth and through the space between us, “Actually I just give a shit.”

He looked a little offended and said, “I just don’t see how you save a planet with a bag.”

I walked alongside and continued, “I actually use plastic all of the time; I use it to clean up after my dog during our morning walks. See, they are good for something.”

It is a mystery to me that as a conservationist and bit of an environmentalist I am stereotyped as liberal. If that is the tag given me for those values, then I gladly wear it. Why should my desire to “conserve” resources of a planet be less a virtue than conservation of wealth (the primary conservative value of this era). Oh, I forgot, Global Warming is a myth. I’m beginning to understand the paradox.

Wind Chimes At Dawn

photo by arimapsy

I am re-posting one of my poems after the short, but powerful storm that swept through this Carolina morning. Dad taught me to love storms. As the early morning clouds gathered and blackened, and thunder roared in their mass, I was reminded of the morning after Christmas, 2010. I sat in Mom’s Florida Room and listened to the wind chimes as they played through a storm like this morning’s.

Wind Chimes at Dawn

by Sean Logan Keyser

The quiet of the dawn interrupted
Early morning wind stripped leaves from limbs
Voices from the night now memories
Outside the door were hymns

Angry clouds corralled and whipped their rage about
An acquiescing sun tucked its flare
Windows bend and panels creak
Still a song is in the air

Tempest paused and took a breath
As if to ready for a blow
A quiet took its place for now
The song more quiet and slow

The air was loud at the stormy return
Things moved and tipped and fell
But still a melody unmistakable; now a chorus
Rose to meet the swell

When dark or sad or storm will come
Our windblown lives scatter here and scatter there
Through it all, if I listen well
A song is in the air

December 26, 2010 Lynn Haven , Florida

New Skin

It was one of the last remnants of a previous life. It just didn’t “fit” anymore. I’ve found that I am more contemporary than rustic; aesthetics beyond comfort. This old couch and chair and ottoman were physical reminders of a good, but misplaced life.

I took pics and dropped them on Craig’s List. Within an hour people from all over were calling saying the set was “perfect,” or “just what we are looking for.” Two hours after posting and agreeing to price sight unseen, this unassuming, friendly guy drove up with trailer in tow.

He asked if I minded hearing his story about the furniture. “Of course not,” I said. Jim went on to tell me that he is a man of faith. Recently separated and moved into a place near a pond where he could fish and enjoy the woods.

“I decided I wanted to find a brown leather sofa and chair…it matches my personality.” He went on to tell me that he had had no luck in his search and was getting a little frustrated since he had a new place and hardly any furniture.  He had narrowed his search to a dozen or so possibilities and wasn’t thrilled about any of them.

“I shut down my computer and prayed about getting furniture. Really, I prayed for furniture. I booted up and there was your post, FIVE MINUTES LATER,” he exclaimed. We exchanged stories of our lives. He offered some cash and we loaded the set onto his trailer. We shook hands and said something about maybe fishing one day. I felt like a weight (literally and figuratively) was lifted. Some element of psychological capacity opening even more. A little sad as a vestige of many good days was moving to a new home. Glad to have more of “me” filling the spaces left.

The next day Jim texted: “It is exactly what I wanted. It’s me!”

Funny how our things come and go. Some things end up in the trash or in a garage sale or with Goodwill or on a list. Some things are moved as a part of letting go. Here, those same things became a part of starting over for another. A proverbial Circle of Life, or leather, if you will.