My Love Letter to America

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January 19, 2021-

Dear America,

Tomorrow, a change will take place in our governance, which a bit more than half of the voting public wanted; which nearly half hoped, against hope, would perhaps be thwarted and a few of us, including yours truly, wanted to see blended with the best of what its opposite has advocated.

Changes are a constant. In order to truly realize the cohesion that every politician, regardless of stripe, says is imperative, may we look at what you have meant to so many-and what you might better mean to all who come to your shores.

“There was a time”, Neil Sedaka once sang, “when strangers were welcome here.” Yes, and no. People could come from everywhere, and there was a crucible to be borne. Those who were established, the First Nations, welcomed Europeans, sometimes openly and as time went on, and the mindset of conquest and dominance became more apparent from the first such Europeans, the welcome became far more cautious. People were brought here, mostly from Africa, but from other places as well, against their will-to serve and promulgate the fruits of conquest and dominance. Those who came from other parts of Europe, either in search of freedom from oppression and tyranny or in search of opportunity to succeed materially, had to prove themselves to those who had been here for a century or two-or at least had been here for a few decades.

Let you now be viewed, and experienced, as a place of healing. Of course, your people must begin by healing themselves-and one another. The energy, both spiritual and medicinal, that emanates from you is immense. The ancient wisdom, much of it preserved by the First Nations, and other parts of it rooted in the land itself, can serve to generate enormous healing for those who have lost their way, in the course of nearly five centuries of material quests and forgetting Who the Creator actually is.

I have had the blessed experience of carrying ley lines, from west to east, and back; from southwest to northwest, and back; from north to south, and back-over the past ten years. Far more than merely enjoying travel, as a friend remarked a few days ago, I sense that carrying healing energy-both for myself and for others I encounter- is both your gift to me, and my gift in return, back to you.

Blessed homeland, your nurturance has helped me shed so much emotional and psychological burden, and as I recall my early days of sitting very still, by a gurgling little brook or of visiting a hill, with a view of Boston’s skyline, from a rock behind a turreted house, I feel your healing energy has always been here. Even when buried under the Shrines of Progress, or when ravaged by all that people have deemed essential to build their empires, that energy has sighed, bided its time and waited, sometimes patiently and at other times expressing urgency.

Now, more of us see what the headlong rush into material advancement, regardless of cost, has produced. Now, more of us are making a place in our lives, a place in our hearts, for the healing which, alone, can bring a balance between material stability and spiritual well-being.

I love you, my homeland. May your strength of spirit long make itself known, and endure.

Insurrection Is Not The Way

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January 6, 2021- After getting a welcome adjustment from my chiropractor, this evening, I happened by downtown Prescott, where a small group of Trump supporters were standing on the northeast corner of Courthouse Square, as they have been doing, at least once a week, since 2015. Quite often, there will be a group of progressives standing either across the street or on the northwest corner, at the same time.

I have seen the two groups even mingle, at many public events on the Square, since I moved here, in 2011. The only times there has been tension have been when rumours, of mobs from out of town coming this way, have circulated. There are always a few disquiet individuals, usually driving by in their vehicles and shouting profanities at whoever is in view, or egging on those they sense might be easily drawn into a fight.

That is not the Prescott way. Many have growing up to do, with regard to getting along with people of colour or with those whose politics differ from their own. The larger community, though, has adopted a “Live and Let Live” ethic. That was how I was raised, in a hybrid Conservative/Liberal family, albeit in one of the most conservative communities in Massachusetts.

The main divide, as I see it, has two parts: 1. There is a sense, among those who get up early and turn in a full day’s work, rely on their own efforts and have a strong sense of tradition, that “Socialists” are aiming to take from them and give to others. In fairness, this comes from high rates of taxation and the extent to which the workings of government entail secrecy. If people don’t know the rhyme and reason of matters that affect them, it becomes easy for manipulators and grifters to move in and get them stirred into a frenzy.

On the other hand, are those whose forebears, or selves, have been shoved to the back of the line, repeatedly, by self-styled elites, in terms of full participation in civic and economic life. These elites have not been shy about simultaneously turning to the group that may be one rung higher than those on the lowest level, and cautioning that group against trusting those underneath. The argument has always been, “Look, those _______________ are coming for what’s rightfully yours”, whilst either the taxes go up or rights and privileges, for ALL those under the elite groups, are systematically snipped away.

It is human nature to let others handle certain aspects of life which are viewed as either boring or distasteful. When those chores have to do with rights and freedoms, such “delegation” can, and does, get rather dicey. It has, especially in modern times, become analogous to the shellfish in a pot of cold water, that is slowly heating up and which will turn the shellfish into a meal. There is always a quid pro quo, when someone comes to us and points out discrepancies, “which only they can fix.”

Those who are genuinely worried about losing rights and freedoms can’t afford to let clever or manipulative people of privilege, whether liberal or conservative, sweet-talk them into doing dirty work. This was done before, by the Planter Class of the antebellum South, who had little trouble recruiting lower-class white and First Nations people to do the dirty tasks associated with the system of enslavement and , later, to fight in the insurrection against a Federal government that was moving away from supporting that system. Conversely, a similarly cynical and rapacious Industrialist Class had little trouble engaging that same Federal government to recruit lower-class white and African-American people to try and subjugate First Nations people, both during and after the Civil War.

I saw today’s actions on Capitol Hill as reminiscent of the French Revolution, which, as we know, did not result in wholesale gains for the downtrodden masses. There are those who wanted only to take a deep dive into the electoral process of 2020. But for the lateness of the hour, and the fact that it has already been done, in several modes, that would have hurt nothing.

There were those who have long felt unheard and unloved by society, their only misfortune being that they have not been “in vogue” as a protected class. If each such group were to look carefully at history and look ahead to what is likely to transpire, long term, there would not be a rush to the feet of demogogues. There would be quite a bit of coalition-building, and it would very likely NOT involve the elites, at least for quite some time.

Insurrection, done in the heat of the moment, requires a different sort of power coalition. It involves making deals with those already holding certain levers of power. The original American Revolution succeeded partly because European enemies of Great Britain jumped into the fray. The aforementioned French Revolution is one example-it being whipsawed by the external enemies of the House of Bourbon. Sudan’s recent revolution was eased by manipulative elements in the country’s military, who now, wonder of wonders, are holding the balance of power. The same would happen here, and those fearful of socialism would find a different set of external totalitarians calling the shots, were today’s events escalate into full-blown rebellion.

There is always a quid pro quo, when one turns to power groups with their own agendas to do one’s baleful tasks. The only way forward is to adhere to the basics that were provided us, by the Framers, and later the Amenders, of the United States Constitution, a time-honoured, and much emulated, road map of governance. That, and the common people talking and listening to one another, across lines of ethnicity, class, religion and way of life.

Insurrection is not the way.

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 75: Three Tyrannies

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August 14, 2020-

When I was around thirty-one, I learned to play chess, by watching two chess masters teaching a group of Dineh boys, in the school where I worked and in the neighbouring junior high school.

Chess is a game of high presence and stealth. Many times, a player becomes absorbed in own feelings of cleverness and innovation, until the more present opponent makes the winning gambit, and announces “Checkmate!”. Chess can morph into Covert External Tyranny.

There are, essentially, three forms of tyranny: Overt External, Covert External and Self-Imposed.

Overt External is most often aimed at transforming the person subjected to the trials. It is never intended to permanently disempower its target subject. Basic and advanced military training; team coaching-in fact, any sort of “Boot Camp”, headed by a hard-nosed, but self-effacing, task master, exemplifies Overt External Tyranny. It occurs for a specified period of time, has specific performance goals, and once these are regarded as having been met, the subject is congratulated, the tyranny lifts and all participants come to know one another on a more equal level. A variation on this is SOMETIMES shown by our current President-hardly a self-effacing man, at least on the surface, but one who does, privately, give credit to those who have taken, and met, a challenge he has thrown out. The peace agreement between the State of Israel and the United Arab Emirates is an example of this.

Covert External Tyranny is illustrated by the common method of preparing crustaceans for food. The animal is placed in a pot of cold water, under which a flame is then lit. The water slowly heats, and the animal, being sensitized to the rising temperature, shows no distress. Once the water is heated to a point that no longer sustains life, the animal’s awareness is negated. It loses consciousness, it is boiled to the point where its flesh is safe to eat and the tyranny, in this individual case, comes to an end, only to be replicated, thousands of times over, with different crustaceans.

In the human world, a budding Covert Tyrant will study the target population. The interactions, mindsets and approaches to new ideas, of those intended to be subjugated, will be closely watched and a plan of action will be gradually devised. The Covert Tyrant will appear on the scene as a friend of the people, who will call attention to real and imagined difficulties they have faced. S(he) will then suggest ways to solve these problems, which look great, at first blush. A critical mass of the target group will be elated, extol the virtues of the newly arrived saviour.

The deception has thus started to embed itself, and ere long, as the people give up more and more of their prerogatives and freedoms to the Covert Tyrant, and regime, the rules and the penalties for non-compliance become more stringent. Before long, the tyrant and successors have cowed the populace, and the true intention, usually to enrich themselves, at the expense of the populace, and in perpetuity, is revealed. It is the boiling water, but the semi-conscious victims barely take notice. To those few who do raise a protest, the tyrant responds either with brute force or by disparaging the critics, rendering them as pariahs to the wider community. The current President has followed this pattern, as well. It is my view, though, that he is not the prime mover of the stealthy oppression. He is a bit player. Those who are really working behind the scenes have done their homework, have carefully worked, at state and local levels-and in the judiciary, where lifetime appointments are not easily abrogated by the voting public.

I have mentioned a right-wing claque, led currently by Charles Koch, in previous posts. They are seemingly opposed by an opposite, but more loosely-organized, oligarchy. Both, however, seek the disempowerment of the common man, with a view towards dominance towards their own ends-whether personal power and comfort for an elite, as defined by themselves or for the dispiriting of the masses, who will then grovel and serve without complaint. The enslavement of Africans and certain others, from the 17th-19th Centuries, is a prime example of the latter. Low wage employment and human trafficking, in the 20th Century and presently, are examples of the former.

These are made possible by the third form of tyranny: Self-imposed. Every human being has a modicum of desire to please those close to self: Child to parent and, sometimes, the reverse; spouse to spouse; worker to supervisor, or both, to employer; citizen to public official, and again, sometimes in reverse; friend to friend.

An imbalance in this desire, often sparked by low self-esteem, can lead to tyranny towards self. I have browbeaten myself, on occasion, for not having pleased a person whom I had held up as either a real or imagined authority figure. I wanted to please my parents, close relatives, those bosses for whom I’ve had genuine respect, my driving instructor-back in high school, my late wife. It was only when I learned to love and accept myself, within my own space, that this tyranny became unnecessary, and faded away.

There is much that we could discuss further, along these lines. I am still resistant to uninvited critics, who seek to impose their will-either overtly or covertly. Only by examining their motives from a safe distance does that change my response.