This is an Open Thread / Coffee Hour and all topics of conversation are welcome. Today's suggested topic is the Tower of Babel extended metaphor.
Photo from Wikipedia: Tower of Babel (painting by Lucas van Valckenborch)
What is for dinner? How are you doing? What is on your mind. If you are new to Street Prophets please introduce yourself beyond the fold in a comment. This is an Open Thread / Coffee Hour and all topics of conversation are welcome.
I'm using the word metaphor in an expanded sense that includes the the story behind the building of the tower, the fall of the tower, and the visual metaphor of the tower. Stories are considered extended metaphors. And stories are even more powerful when accompanied by great visuals such as the Tower of Babel.
The Tower of Babel (Hebrew: מגדל בבל Migdal Bavel Arabic: برج بابل Borj Baabel) forms the focus of a story told in the Book of Genesis of the Bible. According to the story, a united humanity of the generations following the Great Flood, speaking a single language and migrating from the east, came to the land of Shinar (Hebrew: שנער), where they resolved to build a city with a tower "whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth."I find it a bit ironic that I should be pointing out a Cautionary Tale from the Bible as it applies to my local political struggle in Vallejo. But, as it turns out one of the candidates running for city council this November, Pastor Anthony Summers, is deeply involved with the Vallejo Faith Organization. See my diary: Vallejo Faith Organization - Dominionism Proxy?.
God came down to see what they did and said: "They are one people and have one language, and nothing will be withheld from them which they purpose to do." "Come, let us go down and confound their speech." And so God scattered them upon the face of the Earth, and confused their languages, so that they would not be able to return to each other, and they left off building the city, which was called Babel "because God there confounded the language of all the Earth".
Wikipedia: Tower of Babel
It is rumored that his agenda is to change the form of Vallejo's governance to a "strong mayor" system. A visit to a local moderated blog announcing his candidacy, Pastor Anthony Summers declares his council candidacy, shows in the comments that some of the Vallejo citizens are concerned his being used by the current Mayor to accomplish this agenda.
The strong-mayor form of mayor–council government usually consists of an executive branch, a mayor elected by voters, and a unicameral council as the legislative branch.America has not progressed to the stage of division between secular and theocratic we see in Egypt but unless the Vallejo public recognizes the fundamental difference between the two approaches of governance we may find ourselves in a similar struggle.
In the strong-mayor form the elected mayor is given almost total administrative authority and a clear, wide range of political independence, with the power to appoint and dismiss department heads without council approval and little, or no public input. In this system, the strong-mayor prepares and administers the city budget, although that budget often must be approved by the council. Abuses in this form led to the development of the council–manager form of local government and its adoption widely throughout the United States.
In some strong-mayor governments, the mayor will appoint a chief administrative officer who will supervise department heads, prepare the budget, and coordinate departments. This officer is sometimes called a city manager; while the term used in the equally popular council–manager government, the manager is responsible only to the mayor in this variant.
From Wikipedia: Mayor-Council Government
This candidate and some current members of the Vallejo city council, including the current mayor, tend to isolate themselves from the diverse population we have in Vallejo. Because of this isolation, their use of language tends to take on form of the Tower of Babel. Their words and ideas are forged on Sunday and determined by authority from the top down.
My worry is that these "candidates of faith" have turned their backs on empirical evidence and all the values found in the Age of Enlightenment. For example when I spoke to Pastor Anthony Summers about his position on the Age of Enlightenment he was unfamiliar with it and thought I was referencing Buddhist beliefs.
This lack of common language indices and shared history between the secular and religious is guaranteed to produce grid lock in government.