Fortnight of Transition, Day 14: Equinox, 2020

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September 22, 2020-

The day of equal amounts of light and darkness has come just a tad later, this year. It’s just as well-too many things have been dumped on us, without warning, the first three seasons of this earthshaking year.

For me, autumn has ever been my favourite season, being the time of my birth. Gradual cooling and the vividness of colours have energized my being, after the increasingly extreme heat of summer, as much fun as the season just past brings with it. Bracing for the season of earth’s rest, that is winter, and the eventual promise of spring, makes “Fall” a most purposeful time, as well.

A few sprinkles fell, in our area, yesterday afternoon, as I was returning from a dental appointment, in Phoenix. My time in the Salt River Valley is limited, by choice, especially when temperatures remain in triple digits. Here in Prescott, we may expect temps in the 80s, until about mid-October. It may or may not rain, on any given day, though the National Weather Service rather lazily just pushes the button that says Sunny, as a default, most days. I imagine budget cuts and executive fiat may have something to do with that-as with the Post Office and FDA.

We all make choices, and as Penny would say-“You get all that comes with those choices.” She always made her own decisions, though asked what I thought, matter-of-factly, before doing so. Conversely, she expected me to do the same, and, after a previous life of bullheadedness and unilateral decisions, many not very well-made, I learned the wisdom of consultation.

I think of the above, as the inevitable debate about the life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and HER choices, ensues, this still being America. I disagreed, vehemently, with her take on abortion-though the role of men in that matter is largely one that ought to be performed LONG BEFORE any plug is pulled. Those men who raise their daughters, support their sisters and value their mothers, in the girls and women making their own INFORMED choices, are doing their jobs well. Those who downplay the intelligence and capabilities of the females among them, and pretend this is merely a man’s world, should not be surprised by anything at all that happens, as a result. Many, if not most, of the fetuses that have ended up aborted, (and whose souls no doubt greet those who aborted them, in the hereafter), would likely have either not been conceived in the first place, or would have been given an alternate path to life, had their mothers been raised in a place of love, empowerment and security.

The other real sticking point I had with RBG was her, take on “In God we trust”, which she saw as antiquated. I respectfully decline that observation. The Eternal cannot be so lightly dismissed, even in the name of free expression. In the end, though, “God hath no need of His creatures”; it’s very much the other way around.

Autumn plans? Well, I am spending today working with a Special Needs child. My Red Cross on-call status renews, tomorrow. During Fall Break, 10/12-16, I may go off on a sojourn, somewhere else in the West-and ditto for Veterans’ Day and Thanksgiving/ 70th birthday weekend. In any case, days and nights will remain productive and largely other-centered. (More on that topic, tomorrow).

Fortnight of Transition, Day 9: Glow of a Super New Moon

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September 17, 2020

If anyone had mentioned the above term to me, when I was a kid, I’d have rolled my eyes. Everyone knew that a New Moon was invisible to the naked eye, so how could it be “super”. The explanation turns out to be: If the new moon is at its closest approach to Earth, in a month, it is a Super New Moon. So it is with this New Moon, and will be with the next two.

Under this New Moon, lots of things are happening. The “pop-up” hurricane, Sally, dumped a lot of rain-several feet, on Mobile and Pensacola, and brought with it a storm surge that, among other things, washed away a replica of the Columbian ship, Pinta.

I have seen a disturbing video, purporting to show Mr. Biden inappropriately touching a little girl, while her family members were distracted. There is a voiceover, “narrating” the scene, and sounding remarkably like some of the Bots who “narrated” the stuff about Pizzagate. Uncle Joe may, or may not have, pinched the little girl, in a sensitive area. It’s hard to tell from the video, but she was uncomfortable and moved away, right after the contact. As with all such videos, while I take the comments with several grains of salt, (Any video can be doctored or altered.), I know that, with people of a certain age, patting, or slapping, a girl on the buttocks is seen as an act of endearment. I am disgusted by such behaviour, though. The whole culture of NOT seeing children, teenagers or even grown women, as full human beings is something that can’t fade away fast enough. This video was taken five years ago, but still- Mr. Biden needs to acknowledge the issue and make some serious changes to how he is perceived. At the same time, his misbehaviour can’t become a Right-Wing trope. His opponent, after all, is hardly a paragon of virtue.

The whole concept of good forest management is being raised-especially with regard to the Oregon fires. It is not enough to simply blame Climate Change-especially when arsonists are to blame, for at least three of the fires. If the First Nations could maintain good forest management practices, well before Europeans arrived on this continent, modern man can certainly do the same.

Around here, a house burned down in nearby Prescott Valley-the huge cloud of black smoke suggests that a vehicle was parked in the garage that burned.

COVID numbers are up, just a bit, in Arizona-attributable, it is suggested, to Labor Day weekend. I worked in two schools this week, and saw a good deal less than high attendance. Reportedly, a second wave of the virus has hit parts of Europe and, as expected, it’s worse than the first outbreak. August is vacation month on the Continent, so maybe that has a lot to do with this.

In the meantime, I am getting my rest while I can, and fully expect to be deployed, somewhere, with the Red Cross, either Tuesday or shortly thereafter.

Fortnight of Transition, Day 7: Evolution

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September 15, 2020-

Today marks the midpoint of September and the midpoint of this fortnight. My mood has been, variously, one of gratitude, at having been given another day’s work, which was not strenuous-just being present for three classes of college-level students and a forty-minute lunch monitoring; then, a bit of befuddlement, at reading an e-mail from someone who is of the opinion that the Baha’i Faith does not allow for human evolution.

In fact, human evolution is one of the cornerstones of our Faith. Without knowing what the individual’s definition of evolution is, I can’t rightly respond, but ‘Abdu’l-Baha points out: “Man is endowed with an outer or physical reality. It belongs to the material realm, the animal kingdom, because it has sprung from the material world. This animalistic reality of man he shares in common with the animals. The human body is like animals subject to nature’s laws. But man is endowed with a second reality, the rational or intellectual reality; and the intellectual reality of man predominates over nature. . . . Yet there is a third reality in man, the spiritual reality.” (`Abdu’l-Bahá, Foundations of World Unity, 51)

So, feeling better after a pleasant dinner and a bit of exercise, I leave the questioning soul to self and ask God to be their guide. I do feel that our third, spiritual, reality is coming that much more to the fore. Some call it the Fifth Dimension and I can sense a much stronger connection with people, in a purely “thought-wave” manner, these days.

May the second half of September, and this fortnight of transition, bring more of a modicum of peace to more people.

Fortnight of Transition, Day 6: Teaching in a Hybrid Manner

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September 14, 2020-

I returned to substitute teaching today, for the first time since COVID burst through the door and took over. Being with eighth grade students has been fairly easy for me, over theyears,and today was no exception. One difference is, though, that Hybrid Scheduling has been adopted. This means, essentially, that students whose family names begin with A-K attend in person classes, on Monday and Wednesday; those whose family names begin with L-Z attend on Tuesday and Thursday. Thus, on any given day, the classroom is, essentially, half full.

Masks were no problem for any of us. I had plenty of training in wearing a mask for twelve hours at a stretch, during my Red Cross deployment for Hurricane Laura. The kids have, in most cases, chosen their own masks, and I wore my Planets and Stars pattern, which got a few compliments. One boy broke a strap on his, and I sent him to the School nurse, to get a replacement. He came back, wearing a rodeo pattern mask, which made his day.

It was also nice to be among a group of educators again. The bantering and discussion of a wide variety of topics, in the Teachers’ Lounge, is something I’ve missed, more than I thought.

Needless to say, this sort of day is likely to be rare, this coming Autumn, if the call to service comes as early as next Tuesday-and I go back out on deployment. That has its own rewards, though, as we’ve seen recently. In any case, even with all that is creating mayhem this year, I am glad to be in a position to help, in more than one way.

Fortnight of Transition, Day 5: Whose Children Matter?

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September 13, 2020-

In some of my response to reports of abused and neglected children, it has come back at me that these particular campaigns are cherry-picked, Right-Wing trope activities. Maybe so, but I personally don’t cherry-pick, as to which children get attention and which go without.

Early in my counseling career, a severe sexual assault case was brought to me and the Response Team was in the midst of getting the victim to safety, when a call came about another child threatening suicide. I asked my senior partner to take that case and get back to me, once the child had been evaluated. This was unusual, for the particular community to have two victims at the same time, but there was no daylight, no distinction, between one child and the other.

One red flag, which discomfits many, is a child who gets too close, who hugs too tightly or even wants to sit on a non-related adult’s lap. I’ve dealt, gently, but firmly, with several such children, almost always girls-and who were either being totally ignored, shunned by their father or were being grommed by an adult either in, or known to, their immediate family. Getting the father to acknowledge, and spend quality time with, his daughter was relatively easy. The girls being taught sexual behaviours had, however, to be removed from the home and placed in group homes, where experienced professionals were able to give them the advanced therapy they needed.

I think of these children, a few of whom have kept in touch, as adults and are doing quite well, considering the ordeals that came their way. I think of them all the more, in light of the current Netflix film, “Cuties”, which uses exhibitionism as a vehicle to “combat sexual exploitation of children”. Counterintuitive, at best, and exploitative in itself, at worst, I see the showing of the film as a serious error in judgement. There was a period, from the mid-1990s to the late 2000s, when young European and South American girls were featured in some rather lurid websites-with the sites’ owners and photographers claiming their work was “art”. Fortunately, Interpol, the FBI, the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel, of Germany, and, wondrously, the Russian FSB, at the direction of Vladimir Putin, took these sites down and the long process of finding and rehabilitating the child victims was initiated. I would not want to see anything close to that horrific state of affairs be repeated.

That said, the vast majority of sexual and physical abuse of children takes place in situations familiar to them, at the hands of people whom they ought to be able to trust. This makes it both simple and complex, for the helping professional- Simple, in that the child is easy to locate and remove from the home; complex, in that there is often a culture of denial in place, largely based on fear of disruption and dislocation of the family unit.

Getting co-operation from the other family members is completely dependent on their degree of self-assurance and cohesiveness, independent of the perpetrator(s). In a close-knit community, even law enforcement officers. medical staff and social services workers, if they are related to the perpetrator, can be a hindrance to justice for the victim.

All these factors come into play with regard to obtaining justice, and if the matter involves a child, or multiple children, being groomed in sexual behaviour, there needs to be both a swift separation of perpetrator(s) and victim(s) and active therapeutic measures initiated as quickly as possible.

No child, anywhere, is less important than any other.

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 99: Looking Back at Baton Rouge, Part 2

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September 7, 2020-

Another summer nearing its end (Summer, for me, ends on the day after Labor Day, the equinox notwithstanding); another languid Labor Day with extreme heat dissipating-at least for a week.

My “free day”, last Friday, allowed time to check out a few areas of Baton Rouge. These included two restaurants, offering two distinct styles of Louisiana cooking. Pastime Restaurant, under the Interstate 10 overpass, south of downtown, offers Po’ Boy sandwiches, usually made with a seafood filling and served on New Orleans-style French bread. In honour of BR’s riparian richness, mine had catfish.

Pastime Restaurant

From there, the road led to Magnolia Mound Plantation, which I described in the last post. Having had time to look at and learn about the artifacts of Creole plantation agriculture and enslavement, I headed to Louisiana’s ornate, well-decorated State Capitol and its beautiful surrounding garden park.

A lake has been formed, north of the building, by diverting some water from the Mississippi River.

Capitol Lake, Baton Rouge
Indian Mound, Capitol Park, Baton Rouge. This mound was built by people of the Coles Creek culture, around 1000 A.D. It was used by the chiefs of that period as a speaking platform and to conduct sacred ceremonies.
Louisiana State Capitol Building, from the southeast
Tiger Lily, Capitol Park
Newly-planted palmetto trees, Capitol Park
Artillery Mount, Indian Mound. As this was the highest point overlooking the Mississippi River, in the Capitol District, it was used by the U.S. Army, during the War of 1812 and by both sides during the Civil War, as the Union Army ousted the Confederates from Baton Rouge, early in the conflict.
George Rogers Clark would have taken exception to this claim, as the forces he led defeated the British at Vincennes and at Kaskaskia, both outside the original Thirteen Colonies. Nonetheless, it is true that a battle was fought here, in 1779-but by the Spanish against the British. American privateers helped in the effort, resulting in Spanish control of the Mississippi River Delta and of all Florida, of which Baton Rouge was then a part.
Exterior View of Baton Rouge Arsenal
Horizontal view of Baton Rouge Arsenal. This facility was established in 1826, to help guard the mouth o fthe Mississippi River. It fell briefly into Confederate hands in 1861, but was recaptured by Union forces, the following year.
Lawgivers, both ancient and more contemporary, have adorned the present Louisiana State Capitol’s exterior, since it was built in 1931.
Depictoion of ancient Greek lawgivers
Builders and judges are depicted in the bas relief. The three watchwords: Union, Justice and Confidence are enscribed here as guiding goals for the State.
Louisiana is nicknamed “The Pelican State”. Three fat pelicans are perched atop the three facia columns above.
There has never been a Louisiana politician, before or since, quite like Huey Pierce Long. A fiery and effective populist, “The Kingfish” served as Governor from 1928-32 and as U.S. Senator from 1932-35, when he was assassinated. Senator Long was a driving force behind many of the social welfare programs which became part of the New Deal, in its second stage. He was an authoritarian and clever leader, yet saw the public weal as his bounden duty.

Elegant Clarkia mix with True Lavender, in this flower bed, on the south side of Capitol Park.

Full view of State Capitol, from the south.
“The Ole War Skule” refers to a corps of cadets at Louisiana State Seminary of Learning and Military Academy, established in 1853, at Pineville, in central Louisiana. In 1869, it was moved to Baton Rouge and in 1877, the school merged with Louisiana State University. in 1955, a group of retired military men, who had studied on a prior campus of LSU, formed this curiously-named organization, to continue the rich military traditions of the University.
The Pentagon Barracks were used to house American forces in Baton Rouge, with their completion in 1825. The barracks occupy the site of an old British fort, named New Richmond, which had also been used by the Spanish, prior to 1816.
Archway, connecting the east and west sides of Pentagon Barracks.
The pleasant Courtyard of Pentagon Barracks was a mini-parade ground and resting spot for the troops.
This is the story of Pentagon Barracks, in a nutshell.
Here is a view of the columns and beamed outside ceiling of Pentagon Barracks.
Peilcan inlays are common, throughout the Capitol’s exterior and its grounds.
Walking back to my borrowed vehicle, I enjoyed this view of the Governor’s Mansion.

So, there is a lengthy, but concise introduction to the three segments of the Louisiana Capitol District: The east, with Indian Mound and the Old Arsenal; the center, with the Capitol itself and the statue of Huey P. Long; the west, with Pentagon Barracks and the Capitol Museum (not shown here).

My day ended with a cold brew coffee, at this engaging establishment, on the east side of Baton Rouge:

City Roots is part of a dining and shopping area, called Electric Depot.

Finally, it was dinner time, and Cajun was on the menu. There is no finer place for jambalaya, gumbo and crawfish pie than this south side spot:

As I enjoyed a goodly part of my meal, the engaging strains of zydeco filled the room. Another bonus-There was enough left for Saturdays’ lunch!

This mural, at Electric Depot, captures the energy of an emergent new Louisiana.

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 80: As Decades Have Passed

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August 19, 2020-

I have been pondering, since early this morning, as to the nature of my decades, lived thus far.

Young mother, anticipation, rough birth.

World still aflame, born under the element of Fire

Walking alone at age of three; hairbrush to the backside

Loved pictures and songs; pile of 45s in a memorized order

Family in a ramshackle house, which soon became a decent home

Three became four, then five.

First grade, morning bell rung by teacher

Second grade, more families in the neighbourhood

Third grade, began reading like a pro; teacher was like an angel

Fourth grade- Sometime tyranny, worn-out, angry Reading Instructor, Long Division

1950-59 was the decade of inception.

Fifth grade- Hypersensitive, wary of the Principal, death of Grandma

Sixth grade-Attention Deficit Disorder, hospitalized for colon issues

Junior High School- Mischief, girls mattered, one fire followed another,

High School- Best years ever, I-the Individual, clueless about attire, scattered work habits

Post-Graduate- Flubbed first semester, Demon Alcohol, lack of coordination, Army Basic Training, Postal Clerk at Fort Myer, Saw Moon Landing, Missed Woodstock

1960-1969 was the decade of formation.

Army Years- Lost buddies in VietNam, protest marches and intel duty, personal investigation of combat theater, clueless in Sydney

Community College- Series of dates, series of flubs, community involvement, living away from home, living back at home, Quebec-Ville and Montreal, hitchhiking across the continent

University- Dorm year, rooming house, apartment life, incompetent as editor, successful as student, so/so as teaching intern, summer hotel work, Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

Maine years- Staying distant when asked, substitute teaching, tutoring, Teacher Aide, more Demon Alcohol, visits with extended family, two siblings married, all over the state and the Maritimes

Villa School- Saved by the West, attempted Math instruction, dormitory watch, all over the West and the country, San Diego and Disneyland

1970-1979 was the decade of instruction.

Graduate School years- Town House in a quiet neighbourhood, Zuni, Baha’i Faith, first real adult love, Master of Arts in Education (Counseling)

Tuba City Years- School Counselor, Newlywed, Pilgrimage to the Holy Land, London and Canterbury, death of Nana, death of a dentist friend, deaths of children, Guyana, wedding of Glenn & Barbie, Pine Ridge, Omaha Nation, Columbus Youth Conference, death of my father

Jeju Island- House husband for a semester, Work Visa wait time, grappling with cultural baggage, Baha’is of Korea, troubled expatriates, Visiting Professor of English, training teachers, birth of a son, back and forth across the Pacific, Baha’i International Pioneer

1980-89 was the decade of maturation.

Jeju 2.0- Facing the culture of sexual harassment, empowering women students, enjoying life with a toddler, standing at the Demarcation Line, honouring our elders

Navajo-Hopi 2.0- More School Counseling, active child protection, rescuing two girls, saving our son, losing youngest brother, addressing ambition, Lady the Dachshund, Baha’i homefront pioneer, Principal in two schools, Keams Canyon, Jeddito, Chilchinbeto, Salome

1990-99 was the decade of professional success.

The Active Urban years- Y2K, Mingus Mountain Academy, Kingswood Estates, Mesa Community College, substitute teaching, El Mirage Elementary, Fuhr chiropractic, Phoenix Baha’i newsletter, Sierra Pines Apartments, the house on Solar Drive

The Caretaker Years- Penny’s two falls, my fall into despair, more substitute teaching, WIS International, Southwest Network, Ironwood Elementary, Palo Verde Middle School, poor career choices, ASU West, President Obama at Penny’s graduation, two wrecked cars, Dr. Yau, hyperbaric oxygen, Stem Cell Therapy, six family weddings, Aram graduates High School

2000-09 was the decade of reckoning

Caretaking and Losing- Trillium Specialty Hospital, renovating and painting the house, MRSA, Dr. Desvignes, Chapter 7, John C. Lincoln Hospital, facing my demons, Odyssey Hospice, turning sixty, Durant’s Steak House, Penny’s transition

Feeling My Way- Aram in the Navy, Kim & Stu, short-selling house, Louhelen Baha’i School, meandering across the country, helping in-laws, moving to Prescott, Willow Creek Gardens, Pacific Coast and interior Northwest, Texas Circle, wayward Vision Quest, emotional overkill, death of father-in-law, D-Day Anniversary, Berga, World Cup celebrations, Rouen landmarks, Paris by day and night, Luxembourg National Day, Iolani Palace, Waikiki, Tiger Cruise

Settling in My Space- Arizona Avenue, Prescott Circle Trail, Black Canyon National Recreation Trail, southeast Alaska, BRIDGES Program, RISE Program, Prescott High School, southern California beach towns, Aram to Korea, Carson City-Reno family, Gulf Coast journey, cross-continental journeys, loss of two cars, break-in to a third, Red Cross, death of mother-in-law, semi-retirement, Do Terra Essential Oils, Aram & Yunhee, return to Korea

2010-19 was the decade of resilience

2020- 29 is the decade of endurance

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 62: What I Want in August, Part II

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August 1, 2020-

Half of any soulful person’s wish list, at any given time, is what is wanted for the community. My list, in this regard, is both simple and complex.

The simple things: Our neighbourhood children may continue to come and go as they please, safely, through the alleys, yards and creekbeds that outline their world. Instruction, whether online or in-person, starts soon and engages minds. People gather downtown, or in public parks, and enjoy their time, without having to justify their beliefs. Nursing homes are able to permit visitors, even with screening for temperatures, before too many more weeks have passed.

The complex things: Our election goes off, without a hitch, on the day scheduled. Those erstwhile friends of mine, now acting more like acquaintances, come to see past their sectarian and political blinders and look at the hearts of those, including me, who hold no ill will towards them or anyone else. Freedom of travel returns, and is not made subject to the partisan views or “one-size-fits-all” health prescriptions of either government officials or private citizens of means. Recognition that the lives of preborn children, infants, toddlers, school-age children and adolescents are universally sacred.

August is said to be a month of masculine energy. I know I will be plenty busy.

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 51: Bad Moon Rising

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July 21, 2020-

I am re-reading Joy DeGruy’s “Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome”, an enlightening account of the effects of both two hundred forty six years of slavery, and nearly one hundred fifty-five years of its aftermath, on the psyches of African-Americans. There are a variety of ways that people who are descended from the enslaved have adapted to modern American society, just as there are a variety of ways that people who are descended from historically “free” people, or who are descended from First Nations people-they who were not technically enslaved, but who were most definitely not free, following the Trail of Tears and Black Hawk War, have adapted.

One of those ways, common to many, regardless of ethnicity, legal status or the historical background, is what Dr. De Gruy calls vacant esteem. The listless, the self-limiting, the soporific, the “crabs in a barrel”-all work overtime to keep both themselves and those around them in a state of suspended animation, or at least on a very basic level of achievement.

Society has largely answered this phenomenon with outwardly loving, but ultimately debilitating, practices like “the Self-Esteem movement”, participation awards, and worst of all-the simplified curriculum. We are seeing what these have brought- Along with the spread of a mindset that anything not perfect merits destruction, (the ULTIMATE crabs in a barrel mentality), the sense that “my ignorance is as good as your intellect” has brought us to the Age of Confusion.

It is in this clime, that opposites may be switched: Up is now down; black is white; good is evil; hatred is love. Into this setting come the notions- that anyone who thinks differently than oneself is demonic and deserves death; that one must dither and accommodate every single idea that is proposed, in the name of “fairness”; that rapid change must be opposed at all costs, or, conversely, that anyone opposing change needs to be pushed aside. It is not long in coming, when such attitudes, collectively, result in chaos, that authoritarian thinking, on BOTH sides of the divide, gains primacy.

We are seeing the seed sof this, here and now. Generations of authoritarian policing, (hardly everywhere, but in a critical mass of public experience), combined with long-standing authoritarian executive thinking-at the county and state levels in both “Liberal” and “Conservative” jurisdictions and at the municipal level in cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York, have resulted in a certain public sclerosis in thought, as to how change should be brought about. This has been countered by academic authoritarianism, so that ANY adherence to conventional ways of thinking about the nature of this country and its past, or about HUMAN nature, is subject to being uprooted-violently if necessary. The academics who push this agenda are failing their acolytes.

The violent pushback that has shown its face in Portland, OR will spread, not the least because conservative people are still as sensitive, still as subject to fear, as are Liberals and will support THEIR authoritarians, in suppressing the authoritarian forces on the Left. It will spread because of overkill, overreach- the cries for toppling statues of ALL of the Founding Fathers, of ALL religious figures, of ANYONE who ever uttered an unkind sentiment about someone of a different skin tone, sexual orientation, gender status, creed or social class; the calls for putting someone like J.K. Rowling TO DEATH!

Such authoritarianism will be, deservedly, opposed by those who don’t want its equal and opposite reaction. The demonstrations in Portland, prior to the deployment of plainclothed Federal agents, were for the most part mellowing, according to people who LIVE there. The hornets were settling in their nest, but once the nest was whacked-well, “torch the Courthouse” was not long in following. Thus, the self-fulfilling prophecy, that only FEDERAL FORCE will crush the spirits of those on the Left, gains currency among those in the socioemotional Heartland.

I love too many, especially of the younger generations, to sit on my hands with this one. It is time, with a very narrow window, for the neofascists in academia to let up and stop agitating those who know and feel the need for social change. It is also time, with an equally narrow window, for the Old Guard Fascists, who seem so set on flooding the streets with their forces of occupation, to pull back and to ENGAGE with those currently tasked with leading our cities and states.

Engage, and be specific with your expectations, the way parents, teachers and community leaders at the grassroots level have to be.

The clock is ticking, and it’s not made in China-yet.

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 33: Staying Un-Ugly

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July 3, 2020-

In the end, the Fourth of July observance at Mt. Rushmore did not result in death, explosions or wildfire. I don’t share, in wholesale fashon, either the conservative or liberal vision of America’s future-but I see good points in both.

I believe in hard work, and I believe in equal pay for that hard work. I believe in preserving, and learning from, history; I also believe in not sugar-coating the hard aspects of that history. If a story is brutal, tell it anyway. If a story is uplifting, so much the better.

I believe in freedom to innovate, and I believe in following a fair and just set of laws-which do not fall victim to either the urge for vengeance or the urge for unbridled anarchy.

I see many good things that have come out of our hybrid culture. I also see much room for improvement. I see goodness in a pioneering spirit. I also see that it is only a good thing for this country to acknowledge and celebrate the foundation that was already here, with my First Nations ancestors, when that pioneering spirit took root on the periphery of this continent, and our neighbour to the south.

European-Americans have given much to our society, but they are far from the whole ball of yarn. We would be, and could still be, a lesser nation, were it not for the African-Americans who are yet rising from the ashes of enslavement; were it not for the First Nations, who already had a civilization when Europeans arrived; were it not for the Asians who built the transcontinental railroads, only to be kicked and beaten, literally and figuratively, by those who saw menace in what they did not understand; were it not for the Hispanics, who also predated English-speaking people, in much of the country.

Some, on both ideological ends of the spectrum, have given in to a subculture of fear-with its propensity for violence, for lies about the other side and for hubris about the “superiority” of their arguments. In both cases, there is much anger, rooted in pain. That is why, while cutting off and deleting messages and comments that I know are completely false, I will listen to those of any philosophical position, who come from a place of truth.

No group of people is lacking in value, in strength, in beauty, in worthiness.