Point of the Arrow, Tip of the Spear

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April 13-

My most cherished action figures in the entertainment world have been archers.  Their pursuit of quarry entails perfect accuracy.  The arrow and its manually-propelled cousin, the spear, must land on point, in order to be effective.  So must it be with those seeking justice.

In a matter that has drawn the attention of some who are investigating sex trafficking in  this country and in other parts of the world, an unsettled man has chosen a delicate moment to renew charges of cannibalism in the U.S. food supply, charges which were raised, and swiftly debunked, in 2014.  This is, simply put, a time when many have raw nerves.  Many want to believe the most lurid of charges, perhaps as a salve to their more concrete insecurities.

Baha’u’llah teaches us to investigate truth independently.  This is hard for human beings, especially those who crave approval.  It is hard for others, in a different way.  People who see things through a different lens than most, also need to have at least SOME others take their views seriously.  So, we see those who view life as to be lived independently, without a group determining what goes and what doesn’t, finding high crimes and misdemeanours as being committed exclusively by liberals and progressives.  Those who believe that life needs to be lived collectively, see conservatives and reactionaries as the villains.

What actually seems to be the case is that there are heroes, and villains, on both sides of the aisle.  Rather than ideology tripping up an individual, it is one’s view of self that brings a person down.  There are elitists and miscreants, galore, all along the political spectrum.  No ideology is a guarantor of sainthood.

My own view, such as it has evolved over the years, is that justice needs to not so much be blind, as to be laser-focused.  There are conspiracy tales afloat that have turned out to be true, debunkers who are fraudulent and vice versa.  Much in the mainstream is verifiable; other parts of it are sheep fodder.  Some of what seems insipid balderdash, turns out, upon closer examination, to merit a closer look.

In the past two weeks, I have listened to claims that, six months ago, I’d have dismissed out of hand. The Epstein affair changed a lot of how I view such matters, though there is still a smell test that needs passing.  The most odious behviour in the world is the sexual abuse of children and teenagers.  Close behind is sexual abuse, in general, followed by the practice that engineers both:  Human trafficking.

All three merit the most intense and unrelenting investigation and prosecution.  All three have no one, amongst their perpetrators, who is above the law.  The point of the arrow and the tip of the spear should find their way to any deserving target. ( I mean this figuratively, of course. As tempting as it is to put pedophiles and sex traffickers out of their misery, we must maintain the rule of law.)

Certitude In A Time of Pestilence

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March 16, 2020-

In the Turkish Netflix series, “The Protector”, the complex villain tells the title character how easy he made it for her to both subject the populace of Istanbul to an epidemic of plague and to subsequently present the people with a “cure”, which had consequences he couldn’t foresee.

The current reaction of many people to the menace of Coronavirus 19 is similar to that of the Turkish masses, in the SciFi drama.  Fear has led many to either abandon trust in the ability of government, medical professionals and humanitarian organizations or to cling even more tightly to shopworn ideologies and biases, vis-a-vis ANY intervention by those in authority, while confronting this pandemic.

Magical thinking, and trust in the platitudes of populists and demagogues, both in the TV series and in much of the American scene today, has replaced logic and fortitude.  See someone whose politics they dislike, and the bleats go up-and on.

I have to observe, and evaluate, the efforts being made by ALL responsible parties, and never mind their ideologies.  Any less, and the pandemic will not see its “curve flattened”; rather, it will continue to spike, again and again-like the Plagues of the Fourteenth and Sixteenth Centuries. The experience of Europeans, during the first plague, is instructive for us now.  Relying on the words of the ignorant will only reap horror.

Certitude, in this current time of pestilence, can only be found in placing trust in competent physicians and proactive government officials-regardless of one’s own ideology.

They Also Dream

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January 20, 2020-

In marking the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Prescott-an essentially conservative and largely White community, has permitted and conducted a march for social justice, from Prescott College, on the Near West Side, to and around Yavapai County Courthouse and  thence to Prescott United Methodist Church, about midway between the two sites.

Today was the fifth time I participated in this march, and attended its subsequent non-denominational service, hosted jointly by the Methodists, the Unitarian-Universalist congregation, the Ebony Christian Church and Prescott Peace-builders.  The message is that of building harmony and co-operation, among the people of Prescott and Yavapai County.

There is also grave concern, especially among the young people present, for seeing that justice is served to those who are apprehended, whilst crossing our nation’s southern border.  There is a sense among many of the college-, and high school, age people, as well as the more actively liberal senior citizens, around the county, that there needs to be a greater effort towards humanitarian treatment of the undocumented.

I have a lot of empathy for anyone who is suffering.  Some, I can help; others, I defer to those who are better-suited for doing what is needed.  There is also the need, as I see it, to NOT HATE those whose viewpoints on this, and other subjects, is different.  Some people who were present today did not seem to hear the words  spoken by a reader of Dr. King’s words:  “Darkness cannot drive out darkness.  Only light can  do that.  Hatred cannot drive out hatred.  Only love can do that.”

I have spoken with several people who fear the young, the liberals, and above all, those who hail from Mexico and points further south.  Theirs, whether the plaints of long-term residents, who see their way of life eroding, or those of  first-generation immigrants, who came here for the benefits of an orderly society-or to escape authoritarian regimes, is the cry for moving cautiously.  I know of only a few, among them, whose underpinning is that of White Supremacy.

That last is something I vehemently oppose.  There is no such thing as a superior race, or any race at all, for that matter, save the Human Race.  There is a key place in the world, for a sane and intelligent patriotism-which will acknowledge the legitimate rights of people in other nations to love their countries, without pitching for a jingoistic worldview, or for any nation’s hegemony over others.

With all that, I recognize that the vast majority of the world’s people have dreams-of a meaningful life, of being loved and appreciated and of finding a path to peace.  There are serious breakdowns in communication, in the distribution of resources and, for far too many-from the mentally ill to the chronically destitute- in the attainment of self-esteem. These issues will prove to have a variety of solutions, for which the prerequisite is the taking down of the walls of ideology-both on the Right and on the Left.

Those one fears, also have their legitimate dreams.

Sixty Six for Sixty-Six, Part LXV: It Doesn’t Matter

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October 31, 2017, Prescott-

Happy All-Hallows, to those who celebrate it as an evening of festive family and community enjoyment.

It doesn’t matter to me,

if you are Black, White, Brown, Red, Yellow, or some sort of hybrid.

It is superfluous,

if you are conservative, liberal, libertarian, progressive.

It is inconsequential, in my view,

if you claim adherence to the oldest of Faiths, to the Faith founded

two-thousand years ago, to the newest Faith or to no Faith at all.

It is of passing concern,

if you are heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, asexual or just plain fed up with it all.

Male, female, “hybrid”;

child, adolescent, young adult, midlife, early senior, advanced senior, centenarian-

I have much to learn from you,

and much to offer, in return.

What matters is your spirit.

Who I am,

in this final month

of being sixty-six,

is largely who I have

ever been.

My labels do not define me.

God sees beyond the superficial,

the fleeting,,

the limited.