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From Where I Stand

The greatest shows on earth?

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In the interest of full disclosure, as they say, I will admit my collusion with showmanship at the very beginning of this article: The fact is that I watched the opening night of the Democratic Convention from 6:00 p.m. to midnight. But I'm not sure what I saw. Was this a solemn civic event or a political variation of "Entertainment Tonight?"

I'm a news freak, however, so I plan to watch the Republican Convention next week, too.


The problem is that I'm not sure why I'm watching either of them.

Now wait just a little minute there

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It was a touching, powerful and embarrassing piece of media. In fact, it was enough to make the average, newspaper-reading U.S. citizen blush. There stood the president of the United States speaking passionate words into a Rose Garden microphone. He was excoriating Russia's "dramatic and brutal escalation" of violence toward Georgia, "a sovereign neighboring state," in retaliation for Georgia's suppression of Ossetia, its breakaway province. The action, George Bush said with properly restrained indignation, has "substantially damaged Russia's standing in the world."

Why them and not us?

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The church world got a really good piece of advice this week. The pope, we're told, warned the Anglicans not to split over their internal controversies about homosexuality and the ordination of women bishops. He warned, quite wisely, about the dangers and the destructiveness of schism. (See Pope rides to Rowan's rescue) As easy as it sounds to simply go away and play in your own ecclesiastical sandbox, the fact is that divisions are never neat -- if for no other reason than that they not only fail to resolve the present problem but they model how not to resolve the next problem, too. After all, if we can fix one issue by simply leaving it, we can do the same with the next one -- and there will be a next one -- until what was intended to be a nice, clean division becomes one fracture after another, more a splintering and a slivering, than a surgically healing separation of unlike tissues.

The message in the sand is a changing one

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This week, in a very real way, I watched the world both come together and fall apart. The interesting thing is that the insight came from where I least expected it. In the middle of Atlanta, Ga., sits Drepung Loseling Monastery, a quiet little Buddhist community intent on reminding us that we may be ignoring one of the basics of life. Here? Us? How could that be? .

What a fine mess you've gotten us in

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This whole thing is a mess. I’m sure there are more elegant words for it. Like “complex,” for instance. Or, “confusing,” for instance. Or, “destabilizing,” for instance. But in the final analysis, the fact is that the Democratic primary is a mess. What anyone will know with certainty when it’s over, is anybody’s guess. But for right now, at least, the system of choosing a candidate does not feel either clear or decisive.

PassÈ for whom? And so what for us?

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Fortunately, I've been reading newspapers. Otherwise, I may have missed the major story of the 21st century: The woman's movement is over, I hear. And from a reputable source: young women in this country who consider their mother's concerns for the role and status of women to be "so passé" as one young woman on a recent CNN International interview put it in regard to the present election season in the USA.

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