The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 26: Why Is The Ground Itself Steaming?

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June 26, 2020-

It’s been hot and dry here, this month, as it usually is in Arizona, during the month of June, and often during the first half of July. There are high clouds, that keep the sun from becoming too blazing in intensity, and sometimes, we get the cooler air that’s left over from the storms that are hitting the Rockies and Great Basin. The monsoons, though, come from the south and southeast of us.

The very ground, though, doesn’t usually sizzle. I feel it starting to smoke, this year, though. Earth has a memory, of how her children, whose remains lie in her near crust, have been treated- often in the name of profit; sometimes in the name of convenience; most often in the name of ego gratification-which takes the other two along for the wild ride. She also has a memory of how she herself has been treated.

Reckonings have, historically, been very hard-and are resisted by those who are being asked to face the music. So it is now. There are events that have already happened and those yet to transpire, which have caused, and may cause, me to wince. Many of the great national heroes of our past are being lumped with those who challenged our country’s more enlightened social constructs.

The Confederates, even with the attempted revisionist history of the period 1985-2015, are still relatively easy to relegate to museums and scholarly study. I have visited Stonewall Jackson House, in Lexington, VA and learned that he taught his male slaves to read and write-using the Bible as text. I have learned that he was an organic gardener and herbalist. I recall thinking that, well, Hitler was a vegetarian. There is a difference between Thomas Jackson and der Fuehrer, in terms of degree of supremacism. Nonetheless, Stonewall OWNED people.

George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, and John Tyler each owned people. They did great things for the Nation, but they OWNED people. The Presidents from the northern and midwestern states didn’t own human beings, but they supported the institution of slavery, to one extent or another, right past the Emancipation Proclamation (which only freed the enslaved people of the states which had seceded). New York City even had a plan to secede from the Union, in 1864, to guard Wall Street’s investments in cotton and tobacco.

All Presidents, with the possible exceptions of William Howard Taft and John F. Kennedy, had blindspots when it came to the First Nations-and, except for Lyndon Johnson, none had a true sense that African-Americans were the equals of European-Americans. There were limits to how much the country was willling to do, to set things right.

For purposes of this post, I will stop by saying that “Liberals” and “Progressives” do not have a sterling track record, when it comes to empowering and working WITH those for whom they claim to support. There are many paternalistic efforts being made, which only draw the condemnation of conservatives and their supporters among the African-American and First Nations communities. Doing things FOR people has only resulted in a lack of progress for these communities.

I remind those on the Right, though, of two things: The Democrats who actively engaged in segregationist policies, until 1970, or so, became Republicans, at the invitation of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, in the 1970’s and’80’s. Donald Trump is accelerating that effort, in the current era. Secondly, there is still a climate of fear being stoked, by the leaders of both parties, but the Republicans are in charge-and can fire up the machinery of pushback.

Personally, I see value in some aspects of both sides of the aisle. There remain these, however: African-Americans, for lack of a better collective, are not “Negroes”, “coloured people”, or even “people of colour”. There is no “Negro Problem”. Native Americans, asking for their land titles, are still not intent on destroying long-established communities with diverse populations. I was in Maine, duirng the Penobscot Land Settlement. The once and again owners of 2/3 of the state’s land did not evict anyone from that territory. The settlement was legal and financial, not socially disruptive. It was gratifying, as the Penobscot Nation includes some of my distant relatives.

Both sides would do well to get past hatred of the other and dispense with any air of superiority, especially when approaching the communities about whom they claim to care.

Here is a link to a very important, and challenging, presentation. It is worth a lot of thought, in my humble opinion. God bless America.

Two Candles

4

May 8, 2020-

On a Zoom call, this evening, the moderator put forth a telling message:  “It is not necessary for me to put out your candle, so that mine may burn brighter.”

Cynics may counter-“Too many lights put each other out.”

I beg to differ.  Life is not a zero sum game.  Some conservatives want a world without progressives.  Some progressives can’t wait to rid our planet of conservatives.  I find either prospect an empty one.  There are features, of extremists on both sides, that I find reprehensible-  From the alt-right:  The murder of an African-American jogger, on February 23, by two white men; the drawings of swastikas and nooses; “Rassus” jokes, told by both whites and Native Americans; ANY hint that one race is superior to another. From the extreme left:  The caricatures of conservatives as knuckle-dragging hominids; ANY defense of pedophilia (which occurs among both liberals and conservatives, by the way); advocacy of wholesale slaughter of those in power.

I’ve covered the need for an array of responsible viewpoints, in an earlier post.  So, I will end with this:  I know plenty of respectable, responsible and loving people, on both sides of the chasm.  I know plenty of decent, morally sound people, among all ethnicities, economic levels, creeds and ways of life.  My candle doesn’t need yours to be snuffed out, in order for it to shine brightly.  Come on home.

The Javelins and the Olive Branches

6

May 3, 2020-

I will say a few things, straight out:  I am a regular user of natural medicines, certified therapeutic grade essential oils and organic foods (80 % of my diet is GMO-free. I also will accept only those vaccinations that are “clean”.  I recognize we need to start somewhere, in building herd immunity to COVID19, and whatever other diseases may surface, over the next many years.  We do NOT, however, need to start with 76 different vaccines, nor do we need our serums laden with mercury, arsenic or formaldehyde.  The shots I’ve taken, willingly, throughout my life, and those that were administered to my child, on our watch, were not more than 19 in number.  To the best of my recollection, they did not contain heavy metals.  The only other issue I would have with Corporate Immunization is the notion , so far just speculation, that authorities could ban people from engaging in commerce or travel, should they fail to have current immunization records on file.  Such a law would not end well , for those who enact it.

I am staying neutral in the present election cycle.  This has not endeared me to some on the Left.  So be it.  These are people who know my heart, and know full well that I do not support the politics of fear or hate.  They  cussed, fussed, fumed and walked out the door, anyway.  That door remains open, to anyone who does not threaten me, or my loved ones.  I would also recommend, to both sides, that no harm be done to any of the candidates for office, or their families-but that is a concern for law enforcement.

Fact is, ladies and gentlemen, we need one another.  Left, right, up, down and sideways-and those of us in the center, all have ideas and personal qualities that benefit everyone else.  Without the ideas of the progressive wing, we would not have the inclusion of diverse groups that make our society all the richer.  Only the usual characters would continue to dominate government, commerce and academia.  Without the due consideration of conservative values, we would have no rudder to steer this ship through some rather treacherous straits, and would very well risk being at the mercy of demagogues, for whom ideas are more important than people.

For both sides, though, there is a danger of demagoguery- as the recent histories of several countries have shown us.  There is also the classic mirror:  The French Revolution, which started with the overthrow of an incompetent monarchy, proceeded through a Reign of Terror, in which a free for all resulted in the executions of the very people who led the overthrow of the monarchy-and paved the way for Napoleon Bonaparte, followed by Louis XVIII, then the Citizen King, then Napoleon III.  How that worked out for the benefit of the French people is highly debatable.

I love and cherish friends and family at all points on the political spectrum.  All I ask is that there be a conscious effort to stop demonizing those opposite oneself, as well as those of us in between.

 

On Unity

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December 16, 2019-

The subjects of who is responsible and of how much should we, as a human race, be working together, have resurfaced, in response to TIME’s selection of its 2019 Person of the Year.   I have discussed that particular matter, in an earlier post, and so will not belabour the point.

Conservatives are incensed that seemingly irresponsible progressives are in the ascendancy, with regard to environmental matters.  Those on the Left, likewise, regard ANY involvement by large business interests and nationalist groups, in the environmental movement, as suspect.

The facts, as always, paint a more complex picture.  A politically conservative team, led by Scott Presler, has made its way around the United States, cleaning up mounds of trash and debris in places like Newark,Baltimore, Los Angeles and Chicago.  One of the most reliable environmental disaster response teams on the planet is Team Rubicon,  made up largely of political conservatives, who also happen to have a solid combination of heart and disaster recovery expertise.   I have been part of a local group, here in Prescott, who cleaned up an abandoned homeless people’s camp, in early Fall of this year.  While they didn’t appreciate my political views, they did appreciate the help.

There are no shortage of people on the Left who help clean up the detritus, as well.  Indeed, Team Rubicon and Mr. Presler’s group hardly conduct political litmus tests of their volunteers.  Politics, simply put, should not be a distraction.  In the end, the Creator put us all here and we all have to live with what is.

There are as many ways to face our planet’s changing climate-which is a cycle, and no more a myth than the cycle which eliminated so much life during the Cambrian and Cretaceous Periods.  Mankind will not be eliminated by this cycle.  We do, however, have the responsibility of stewardship for our world, and there as many ways to respond to the challenge, as there are points of view.  All are needed here.

Two responses that will not accomplish what is needed are: 1. Doing nothing and 2. Throwing money, willy-nilly, at the events. Indeed, the controversial Ms. Thunberg has herself cautioned against a Green New Deal, in the sense that rushing into responding may cause more harm than good.  Plans must be made, and they need to consider as many possible outcomes in advance as is humanly possible.  Conservatives, with their command of Outcomes-based Models, can help greatly in this regard.  Progressives, with their commitment to social justice, can provide the psychological and emotional heft, as well as a fair share of intellectual awareness, to the process.

We can, moreover, do without the divisive extremism-that, “if THOSE people are involved, then count me out. ”   I would have strongly advised Greta Thunberg to so sit down with President Trump (or any other critic she may encounter) and explain her views, as clearly as possible, whilst giving him an opportunity to explain his, in a coherent manner. Neither of them are responsible for the other’s reaction, so it does not strike me as a fool’s errand.  For my part, I do not approach my own critics with anything less than dignified respect.

Unity requires no less.

 

Altogether Fitting and Proper

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May 27, 2019-

The morning dawned,

and all were present.

The rain was here,

to bless the events of the day ahead.

The clouds lingered overhead,

to offer the promise

of further blessings.

The Sun peeked,

to let us know

that there is

always hope.

The politicians are here,

to show that they

at least appreciate

our right to be freely represented.

Friends are here,

to remind me

that I’m not alone.

Foes and naysayers are here,

to remind me

that no one

can meet everyone

else’s expectations

and wants.

Conservatives are here,

to maintain the best

of what we have.

Liberals are here,

to ensure that society

does not remain

uniformly static.

Children are here,

because mankind has

a bright future.

Seniors are here,

to share the better part

of our immediate past.

The choirs, male and female,

are here,

because everyone has

a voice that is

worth hearing.

My mind is here,

to keep a lid

on the whimsies

that sometimes

threaten

to carry me off.

Memories and appreciation

will remain.

Thank you, for having been, my grandparents,

my father, little brother,

departed aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.

Thank  you for your service,

Uncles Carl, Ernie, Charlesie, Jimmy,Eddie, Tom, Bob , Sonny, Al and John;

Aunt Toddy; Cousins Gordon Spousta and Mike Madigan;  friends Stan Egan, Dicky

Devine,”Little” Charlie Stack, Mike Kmita, Paul Smith, Lori Ann Piestewa.

On this day, all who served with honour are to be honoured themselves,

for having given the supreme sacrifice-either dying in combat,

or later, from its effects.

Mr. Lincoln had it right:  It is altogether fitting and proper, that we give such remembrance.

 

 

It Has Come To This

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November 11, 2016, Prescott-  I had an exemplary Veteran’s Day.  Marching with a small group of humanitarians, known as Yavapai County Angels, I helped to send the message that, as I wrote yesterday, conservatives are not monsters and reaching out to those in need is a universal calling.

At a lunch afterward, the vocal women in our group excoriated anyone whose politics were not in line with the most ultraconservative viewpoint.   Yet, in the next breath, they extolled the estimable Dr. Ben Carson- hardly a dead ringer for Attila the Hun.  This tells me that Tea Party members are as fearful and confused as their “opposite numbers”, who have spent the past few days protesting and causing moderate mayhem, in several cities, large and small, from Flagstaff, AZ and Portland, to Dublin and Tokyo.

In my humble view, Donald  J.Trump, Sr. has 180 days to establish that he has a keen sense of right and wrong, and the ability to rein in both his own impulses and those of the most vulgar among us.  Barack Obama had to coach his own Vice President to not use profanity in any situation where words could POSSIBLY be overheard, then or later, by impressionable children.  Mr. Trump’s position may be somewhat reversed- it may fall to the devout Michael Pence to coach his boss, in the finer points of the Lord’s English.

Then, there is policy- and law.  My table mates want to see the recently ousted sheriff of Maricopa County, Joe Arpaio, as Secretary of Homeland Security.  I do not, if only for the simple reason that the stress would likely kill the man- he is 84.  There are more cogent reasons why I would not be in favour of such an appointment- but why quibble?  Suffice it to say, wanting to see people in high office, just because those people are loud and agree with one’s fear-based thinking, is exactly what gets nations in dire trouble.  Those on the Left need to remember this, just as much as those on the Right.

I want to see a Million Woman March take place- not to stop the inauguration of Mr. Trump, but to inform it, nonviolently, civilly and clearly.  It has come to this:  We are an organic whole.  The right hand cannot slap, stab, pester, annoy or bullyrag the left hand- or vice versa.