Beyond Cacophony and Mud

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October 9, 2020-

In brief, I see a lot of mud being thrown at walls-some sticking, some falling to the ground. I hear a lot of noise, with the vibrations passing one another, on the way to deaf ears. Two very different visions of how this country should move forward, and how it should look ten or twenty years hence, have beeb part of the national fabric since at least 1800.

Back then, the First Nations people, who both dominant groups viewed as inconvenient obstacles, and the enslaved Africans, whose social position was seen, by both sides, as a collective means to a national economic end, watched the proceedings from the sidelines, with far more prescience and comprehension than either dominant group could imagine.

So it still is, with many of us, in various demographics, watching from the sidelines- seeing truth in aspects of both sides’ positions. Society needs to find a way to safeguard the health of the unborn-check. Society also needs to give women the prime responsibility for their own decision-making-also check. The nation does well to protect children, teenagers and vulnerable adults from human trafficking. The nation needs to value the lives of those who have historically been marginalized. It is an imperative to feed masses of people. It is also crucial to safeguard the cleanliness of our four elements-Air, water, soil and energy. We must protect our nation from mob rule by anarchists, from the neo-Maoists now ruling China-and from illiberal authoritarians, inspired by Russia-and by the Fascists of the past.

We have a tall order ahead, and both men garnering the lion’s share of public suppport have a far graver responsiblity than either of them seem to realize. One will, in fairly short order, be given a public mandate to govern, from January, 2021-January, 2025. The other will need to decide whether he can step aside and act as a loyal opponent, or continue to seed mayhem from behind the scenes.

There is no longer any room for shouting, name-calling, discounting, gaslighting and making false promises about prosecuting “those people”. The mud will stop sticking and the noise-makers will find Charley Brown and his classmates, hearing “Wa-wa-wa-wa”.

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 81: No Dichotomy

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August 20, 2020-

I have written, on another medium, about both regarding the right of a human being to care for own body to be sacred and the right of a child to life as also being sacred. I see no contradiction between the two, but our society has allowed itself to view the two as somehow at variance, in certain cases.

I see this as one result of our movement away from the concept of the sacred. This does not specifically have to do with “unchurching” or movement away from long-established organized religions. It has more to do with the rising of uncertainty, of insecurity in people’s lives, in this time of massive, and sometimes instantaneous, transition. It opens the door for a relatively small number of people, with untoward views of how to attain population control, to seize control of a debate which did not even need to happen.

There will always be adults who are uncomfortable, even hostile, in the company of children. There will always be those who don’t understand the nurturance of infants and toddlers. They were either mistreated, or not treated at all, in their own infancy and childhood, or are of a temperament that doesn’t mesh well with the organic nature of child behaviour. They prize strict order and predictability in their world. These are the vanguard of the Abortion Lobby, and of the nascent Neo-Eugenics movement, which seeks to bring about social acceptance for the killing of newborns with certain disabilities.

That this segment of society should link arms with the political Left, that element who have, for so long been associated with inclusion, and who have been in the vanguard of genuine progress in the advancement of women, people of colour, sexual minorities and immigrants, is both cognitively dissonant and profoundly concerning. The linchpin here seems to be the right of a woman to decide what happens to her own body, a right that has always existed in the sight of God, but has, for so long a time, been slighted by patriarchal thinking.

A person who has been relegated to the back of the line, in self-determination, who has not been loved and nurtured by those around her, who feels totally alone and friendless, is easy prey for those who hold a skewed understanding of population control. Abortion of a pregnancy, which in cases of an unviable fetus may well be medically necessary, is now being promoted as a mere option, an elective procedure, one of many ways by which a person may exercise birth control. A subgroup of the Abortion Lobby has even hit upon the aborted fetus as a resource- a source of organs to be harvested, a source of Deoxyribonucleic Acid, a source of stem cells for research and for vaccines.

Women who are pregnant, regardless of circumstances, need and deserve to be completely enveloped in a culture of love. They neither need nor deserve judgement, from a standpoint of shallow morality, nor do they need or deserve to be the foils of those who, either consciously or unconsciously, detest infants and children, seeing the innocent and vulnerable as simply a means to an end. A loving culture feels the pain, sorrow and confusion of a woman or girl who is at wit’s end. A loving culture presents, and discusses with her, all the options available in this most personal and delicate of circumstances. It honours her informed and well-considered decision. It helps her heal.

Indeed, it is a shorter step than many in the Abortion Lobby realize, from the practice of their craft to the organized trafficking of children, a phenomenon from which the majority of abortionists would, no doubt, recoil in horror, but which nonetheless is a clear and present danger.

We, as a society, have one long-term choice-to return to a place in our hearts where all life is sacred.

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.

I Care Not; I Care

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October 25, 2019-

The year,  of which I thought as a pinnacle,

when it was approaching,

now seems a plateau of focus,

as it begins to recede,

into the alpine mists of history.

Here and now have become

more urgent.

Past is  a glimmer,

whose lessons impact

the present stage.

Future is “that time”

of promises,

which only I

can bring to fruition.

Twenty-twenty

appears in my

mind’s eye,

like yin and yang.

In the heat of the now,

I care not for the culture

which glorifies drug use.

The mantra,

“This is better than crack!”,

is the cackling of the ignorant.

I care not for the powers

that pretend to be,

sending their tanks,

flame throwers and

armor-piercing bullets,

against unwitting defenders

of freedom.

I care not for the puppet masters,

who order the innocent

to stand down,

to step aside,

that the purveyors

of death,

may present their wares,

to the foolish and

the deluded.

I care not,

for those who

cry foul,

at being told

that an infant

has the right

to life,

the right

to be adopted,

instead of killed.

I care not,

for those who

start wildfires,

in the hopes

of returning later,

and building

cookie-cutter,

gentrified living resorts,

affordable only to

the favoured few.

I care,

for the struggling,

for the lost children,

kept in a prison box,

with no resources,

save the cement floor,

which they share,

with hundreds,

and with their reluctant

guards,

who are themselves

pariahs.

I care for those

who are beaten,

chased down,

hunted like animals

and then,

treated like filth,

by the jurists,

who look first

at the well-being

of those

who beat, menace

and hunt the innocent,

like so much prey.

I care for those

who have given

their all,

and end up

as footnotes,

in the journals

of narcissists.

Give us your tired,

poor, innocent,

that we may find room

in our hearts and

in our diminishing spaces.

 

 

Victim

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April 27, 2018-

I have not, in real terms, ever been a victim. Yes, I have had an old laptop stolen from me. As I was the only one who could get it to work, chances are it is in the pile of useless electronics. Yes, someone pilfered a U.S. Passport, only to be himself caught, sometime later.

I have not ever been a victim.  Difficulties, stemming from misdirected choices, slow reactions to swiftly changing circumstances and excess trust of incompetent people are not grounds for crying “Poor me”.  I have been a slow learner.  I have placed trust in those who didn’t deserve it.  That is not victim-hood.

I am, instead, far more concerned with those who ARE victims: Children and teens who are put into one form, or another, of servitude-sometimes, even by their own parents;  adults, usually-but not always, women who are promised gainful employment, but instead are turned into slaves, living in brutal conditions; seniors, living in filthy conditions, and mentally unable to call attention to their plight; members of religious or ethnic minority groups, demonized by powerful interests in their own countries.

There will be a time, in the not-too-distant future, when my time, whether traveling, or in a Home Base, somewhere, will be spent primarily in voluntary service.  Then will my focus not be on keeping a roof over my head, but on keeping the vulnerable, wherever, I find them, out of harm’s way.

I am keeping my eyes open, in this relatively peaceful community, until the day that I move on,  and it’s true that there will be plenty of  opportunities to help others-not those with signs or outstretched hands, begging for cash, but people who are being genuinely mistreated, beyond their ability to fight back.

I will remain, not a victim.

 

 

The Road to 65, Mile 8: Leaves In The Wind

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December 6, 2014, Scottsdale-  This day was the 34th anniversary of Penny and I having met, in Zuni, NM.  Since her passing, 3 1/2 years ago, I have found myself spending this day doing something or another that celebrates our Faith.  This year, December 6 was the day chosen by the Baha’is of Scottsdale, and the United Nations Association of Arizona, to observe Human Rights Day, which actually falls on December 10.  Several speakers addressed key issues pertaining to human rights:  Immigration, Native American affairs, the persecution of Baha’is in Iran, and the ongoing state of affairs between Blacks and Whites in our country.  A longtime educator, who is Baha’i, made the case for Universal Compulsory Education as the overall impetus for solutions to these, and other issues, being generated.  A member of the audience made a passionate plea for communities to address human trafficking.

As this last is a huge concern of mine, especially as it pertains to children and teens,  I spent several minutes during the social portion of the gathering, hearing this lady out on the matter.  Like her, I see both official sanctioning of human trafficking (albeit in a surreptitious manner) and the tendency we have towards viewing strangers, or those from outside the immediate circle of friends, as those better left in anonymity, as contributing factors to how easy it is for trafficking and slavery to persist in today’s world.

I will be glad to have a kindred spirit in my corner, in taking on these evils.  For too long, our society, and the human race as a whole, have regarded those outside one’s social circle as leaves in the wind.  I saw some of that in evidence among those in attendance at last night’s gathering, which underscored my earnest and hard-working colleague’s point:  Without us, who will bring in the light?