Aiming Carefully


January 31, 2021-

There will always be those who look to find fault with anyone who doesn’t toe their idea of the Party Line. The problem I have with that mindset is that such a sense of purism, combined with ego, leads to corrupt behaviour, at some point. It starts off as a nickel here, a dime there, a rock in the shoe ignored, a come-on excused, or treated as an offer that just could not be refused. The appeal to power grows, and the ideal of service to the People shrinks.

This is where onlookers start to get the idea that the Dirty Dozen, Horrible Hundred or Tawdry Thousand, are really a cabal. Those who are never called to account for their deeds begin to seem invincible to their critics, so it stands to reason they must have a force of deep-pocketed, well-connected guardians behind them. This is especially so, when years go by and none of a person’s real or perceived wrongdoings are ever verified in a Court of Law.

From where I see things, though, there is an additional roadblock to justice: Too often, the lodging of complaints, against a political opponent or even a benign rival, is delivered in scattershot fashion. The notion of throwing something at the wall, and seeing what sticks, is its own, oblique reward.

There is a definite legal principle at work here: Be concise; be succinct; be on target. I want, as much as anyone, to see justice served. Especially with regard to crimes against humanity, crimes against children: Bring what evidence there is to be brought and be not careless with that evidence. These are the days when all that is hidden in darkness shall be brought to light. It is imperative, however, that there is no artifice involved.

Be not cowed by anyone’s present status or public record of achievement-and do be true to what is real.

One Spirit


January 30, 2021-

I have an independent mind, the expression of which has left several people around here, and elsewhere, who I fairly trusted, responding with “LOL”, or with sullen silence. The thing that I find funny is that several of them pride themselves on being people of faith. The belief that there is One God, Who created all life, is as central to their pronounced faith, as it is to mine.

So, it is incredulous to me that people can even distinguish between human beings, as to who deserves to live. It befuddles me, that there are at least two classes of people, and this distinction is a point of pride, a cornerstone of belief.

There is, by my reckoning, One Creator, One Spirit, One Universe, One Planet Earth and One Human Race. I have differences of opinion with many, AND that does not diminish their humanity-as far as I am concerned. For saying this, however, I have lost several friends, at least one extended family member and a few members of my own Faith, for not adhering to an orthodoxy that claims to be fighting for freedom-but is rooted in fear.

Let’s look at a few matters, more closely:

  1. Human Rights- I hear the First National Youth Poet Laureate say that the mind of a child is paramount. This same person also says that medical professionals should be allowed to put unborn children to death. What happens to the mind of a child who is not even allowed to be born? I hear some of the same people who espouse abortion, as a routine practice, voice opposition to the Death Penalty, even for the most heinous of murders.
  2. Nationalism- I see and hear people of various backgrounds, some with medical degrees and some with law degrees, saying that America should be a White, Christian nation-exclusively. What, exactly, is a White Nation? The continent of Europe, alone, is home to seventy different ethnicities. Jesus loved people of all the known nations of His time-and loves everyone, the world over, now. The first Christians, outside of a smattering of Jews in the Holy Land and a handful of Greeks, were Ethiopians, South Asians and Turkic people in Central Asia. The majority of Christians today are People of Colour.
  3. Wealth- Yesterday, a wealthy investor took to social media to furiously denounce those who have actively engaged in buying inexpensive stocks, offered by companies which produce goods and services in which they have a common interest. His basic point was that there was a move to destroy our economic system. That this participation will actually strengthen the nation’s economy, in the long run, is willfully ignored by those who favour keeping things as they historically have been. There is no club. There is no exclusive society that deserves preference over all other human beings. The very use of the prefix “non-“, with reference to people outside one’s own circle, is odious and needs to be discarded. The selectivity which is promoted by so many leaders of groups may be temporarily necessary, in terms of how each of us structures our time, our attention and our energy-but for it to be a permanent psychological, emotional and legal barrier to seeing the humanity in everyone and the sentience of all beings, is treacherous to those whose rights are debarred- and to one’s own humanity. The concept of any human being superior to the next, even by dint of the preponderance of one’s demonstrated character, is in the long run, an abomination. We are each here to grow, to learn and to become one. There is, in the entire Universe, one Creator and one Spirit animating all life. All distinction is a matter of mental construct. All prejudice and hatred are little more than byproducts of unfaced fear.

Keeping the Fire


January 29, 2021- One of the things about the pandemic is that those of us who are officially retired from work are still needed in our professions. This is the sort of thing which happens, especially to nurses and physicians, but also to teachers, EMTs and a variety of people in supporting roles. So, I have gone in, to cover for those sidelined by COVID-19, those who have pandemic-related medical appointments and a few other situations.

One of the features of working with children, in the present environment particularly, is what I see as the need to encourage young people to stand their ground, to speak their truth clearly and not be cowed by any attempts, by ANYONE, to intimidate them into letting go of what they know is deserved. This does not mean that a child should be taught to act in an unbridled and irresponsible manner.

When a person, of any age, does speak the truth to a situation, it is the mark of authenticity, for anyone who hears that truth, to have the speaker’s back. In this school, particularly, those who have stood up and insisted, properly, that matters be handled a certain way have been my greatest allies and have made all the difference between the good days I have had and days that might have gone off the rails.

Even in the rough-edged years, of the 2000s, I still recall those forthright children whose outspoken and compassionate manners bridged the gap between my shakiness and being able to pull things together , not wasting the class’s time. With all to which this generation of students is being asked to endure, that forthrightness, that fortitude that flame, needs to be enkindled more than ever before.

I remain on call, for this, and other acts of community service.

Great Responsibility


January 28, 2021-

There is a hue and cry going up, all over, about the plethora of Executive Orders coming from the White House, these past eight days. None of them surprise me, many of them are reflective of a long view and some are just plain expedient. Whether one agrees with some of them, or any of them at all, depends on your view of government, view of who ought to have what sort of freedom and whether it is recognized that consequences deserve consideration before action, as in “Be careful of what you want……”.

I don’t have a problem with all that many, PROVIDED that what is being taken from people (i.e. oil and gas jobs) is indeed being replaced by something as good or better (i.e. renewable energy jobs, which deserve full government support-especially if their predecessors are going to be phased out faster.)

As you might imagine, I do have a problem with the force of government being put behind the abortion industry (and when we are talking about organ harvesting, it is an industry, where profits can replace the earnest desire to help women, and the use of force is all too easy). The key, to women exercising their GOD-GIVEN right to decide what happens with their bodies, is education. The full impact of terminating a life, on the mother, on the father, on the extended family and on many of those performing that termination, has to be horrendous and it plays out over many years. Then, too, is the question of the re-emergence of Eugenics. I shudder at the prospect of any government becoming inured to unprincipled elitists deciding which children (which PEOPLE) should live and which should be killed. Bottom line: Scars don’t heal, unless the wounded are enveloped in love.

The same is true with people who have their gender re-assigned. It is not something that anyone of us who hasn’t experienced such a transformation can ever comprehend, totally. This is why a full education-not conversion therapy, but education as to all that might lie ahead-throughout the person’s life- needs to be in place. That education should include the impact on organized athletics, as both the transgender person AND those who are cisgender, whether gay or straight, have the right to compete on a level playing field, no pun intended. How long does it take, for a person to lose the unfair advantage of residue from their former gender? This is not something that an Executive Order is going to resolve. Scars don’t heal, unless the wounded are enveloped in love.

There is much that needs to be corrected, and much that needs to be avoided. I pray the new Administration can make a clear distinction, as to which is which.

Never Doomed


January 27, 2021-

It never fails that, after a day of struggle, there is a burst of communal energy and much is accomplished. So it was today, that my quad mates joined in the shoveling effort, and we got the driveway cleared in less than an hour. I will need to do a bit more, tomorrow, in order to get the car turned around, without backing clear down to the street, but that will be a small project.

It takes a lot of positive energy, and sometimes, extreme patience-but I have never felt the need to reduce myself to a puddle of doom and gloom. Life is never perfect, yet whether it is due to age or to a simple realization that what is meant to work out, will, I have found myself increasingly calm in the midst of whatever storms-literal and figurative- have come this way.

There has been a solution to all that I have encountered, over the past ten years, and whether it is an answer I have devised myself or an insight from those around me, is inconsequential. The problem is resolved, the learning has taken place and life continues much the better.

Old habits are sometimes set aside, in light of novel situations. So, instead of celebrating the passing of the storm and the return of beautiful weather-if only for a short time-by heading downtown to a restaurant, I walked two blocks to the meat market and got the fixings for a meatball and past meal, which worked just fine.

There is always a common sense solution.

So Many Questions


January 26, 2021-

Being the curious sort, I tend to raise matters of “What if?” and “Why?” in my head, while also seeking answers from my heart. The queries I have, regarding this life and its priorities, are largely answered in Baha’i Scripture.

Where I get more querulous, though, is with regard to flashes of images, and feelings that arise, that suggest events that happened long ago and places I’ve never been, both elsewhere on Earth and way beyond this planet. The best explanation I can summon, that is in keeping with my beliefs, is that as an energy being, I am tapping into the energy waves of people long departed, both my ancestors and those of like mind who were not directly related to me, but who had similar personalities to mine. Energy communication, and genetic memory, are like Chinese boxes-writ innumerable. We have no concept of from how far back they have been transmitted-and Quantum Physics devises at least thirteen dimensions, many curled up on themselves, from which energy can conceivably be drawn.

For now, though, I wonder as to the messages that these images and feelings are trying to convey. I am not quite on board with the whole Past Lives theory, but can make sense of the notion that energy, from those who lived in past ages and centuries, and from other parts of the Universe, is transmitted to those of us who are open to it, on a regular basis-and without channeling or summoning, which can be too easily faked.

The Big Snow


January 25, 2021- The heaviest snow we have seen, since 12/24/2018, arrived late last night, and has continued for most of today. It is expected to go on, until about Noon, tomorrow. As I write this, the white stuff is indeed coming down, in robust fashion.

I grew up, in eastern Massachusetts, with snow being a staple of our winter experience, from mid-December to early March. As with many people, I recall snowdrifts being as tall as, or taller than, my ten-and eleven-year-old self.

I recall reading about the Great Blizzard of 1967, when President Johnson sent military food and fodder drops to the Navajo, Ute and Hopi Nations-and the Southwest was blanketed with snow for days. In 1978, I lived in Bangor, Maine and experienced the three-day blizzard, when it was possible, for those so inclined, to cross-country ski in downtown. I also found myself stuck in Skowhegan, Maine, one snowy February night, and blew off the early morning alarm, only to wake to clear blue skies and scrambling to call in “sick” to my workplace, some thirty miles away. In the mid-1980s, setting out in light snow, from the Navajo community of Tuba City, the storm followed three of us, clear to Tucson, with snow even on the streets of downtown Phoenix. In December, 2000, Aram and I were pursued by a snowstorm, from Roanoke, VA to El Paso, as we took a route across the Deep South, with a view towards avoiding winter weather.

Snow can be fickle, but it also can be intense-and so it is, this evening-with accumulation in even lower-elevation areas of Yavapai County. I was to have gone in to two different COVID-relief school assignments, but Mother Nature simply said “Enough!” Instead, I went out, twice, and did some shoveling, as will likely be on the agenda tomorrow. That, too, is something that was a staple of my childhood-and Mom didn’t even need to ask- we just put on our boots and winter garments, and did it.

It is nice, for now, to have a throwback. Prayers, though, go to those who may have lost power, however temporarily, or who had to find shelter, rather quickly.

Master Plans


January 24, 2021-

Quite a bit has been made,

in the Sour Grapes Society,

of the fact that none

of the major issues

confronting our country

have been solved,

when the new President has had

five whole days to get ‘er done.

I’d love to see one of these geniuses

solve even ONE of the issues

facing us as a nation,

in even five YEARS.

I know it is above my pay grade

to ever serve at anywhere

near the level of the Presidency.

So, I wish him the best,

and hold no grudges

that my third party candidate

of choice did not win.

Our country is far bigger

than any one man.

This is something

that his on-fire critics,

a good many of whom are immigrants,

would do well to remember.

Otherwise, submit YOUR Master Plan.

Beyond Heroism


January 23, 2021-

Hank Aaron’s life, which transitioned to spirit yesterday, was a clear road map to both honouring God-given talent and transcending even the worst adversity. If Henry Louis Aaron, of Mobile, Alabama, thought of himself as a hero, it was never shown. He did regard himself as a craftsman, a practitioner, whose arts were hitting, catching and throwing a baseball. To that end, he applied himself, practiced rigourously and excelled. From 1974, until 2007, he was the record holder for most home runs hit by a major league baseball player. When his record was exceeded by Barry Bonds, Hank appeared on the Jumbotron and congratulated his successor, also expressing the hope that Bonds’ achievement would inspire others to do even better.

Hank Aaron’s enduring appeal will be that he lived as a man of faith- and thus, hate, even in reaction to that expressed by others, was foreign to his nature. Many heroic figures have stumbled on that note, with the attitude that fairness should preclude people from disdaining them. Hank recognized the myriad of causes for personal hatred: Jealousy, fear and false sense of superiority being the greatest among them.

I, rather unathletic, nonetheless feel indebted to Hank Aaron for showing the way through the worst of sloughs and through the finest of achievements. In many ways, both circumstances test one’s mettle. Henry Louis Aaron passed both tests.

Sharpening the Double-Edged Sword


January 22, 2021-

I have a long, and strangely satisfying, history of talking back to and ignoring people who a) deem themselves above the masses or b) regard their cause as so sacrosanct that they can do whatever they wish, harm whoever they want and claim it in the interests of the “greater good”.

It does my heart good to see the course of the investigations into the January 6 invasion of the United States Capitol. I am pleased that the investigators are not fabricating any charges, that they are taking their time and not leaving any stone unturned. I am also pleased that the impeachment trial of Donald Trump is following due process, and is most likely waiting until the second week of February, in order to proceed. Justice will be served to those who reject the legitimate rights of people of colour, of women and people of faiths other than that of the dominant culture.

Justice also should be served to those who, by their own admission, are committed to burning the cities of Portland and Seattle. Hiding behind an amorphous and rootless organization, which has no charter and no philosophy, other than wanton mayhem, is a tactic that serves no good. Denying the duly elected and installed President of the United States is reprehensible, whether the terrorism comes from the alt-Right, as on January 6 or from the unhinged Left, as is being done, to scant resistance, in the cities of the Pacific Northwest. Both fringes will try to advance their unprincipled, nihilistic agendas-the Right, by going so far as to attempt to lead Texas, and possibly other states, to secede from the Union and the Left, by just burning everything to the ground, with no real plan for rebuilding.

At my age, 70, I am not concerned with upsetting those who view themselves as being in some sort of driver’s seat. Having been dismissed from positions, for not kowtowing to powerful individuals, when their actions have been questionable, the last thing with which I will ever be concerned is retribution/revenge. Both fringes have forfeited their rights to free speech, by their actions and attempts to intimidate good-hearted, thoughtful citizens and visitors, who are themselves occupying all points along the political spectrum.

Joe Biden was not my choice for President; nor was Donald Trump. I wish the former a successful term in office and the latter a fair trial. I wish all my decent and law-abiding friends, from Right to Left, safety, good health and all the freedom guaranteed by our Constitution. I will never bow to authoritarianism or tyranny, regardless of the point from which it emanates.

I hope that neither will you.