The Snails Keep On

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April 26, 2021- India, I hear, is bleeding. Brazil is getting restless, with its government’s perceived inaction. Canada is still locking many visitors out. Europe and east Asia seem to be making progress-and there is not much word from Africa-with regard to the pandemic. Many are more concerned with trying to get work and pay their way.

Here, we are making a fair amount of progress, and across the U.S., there is rising hope of getting back to some semblance of a post-pandemic life. COVID is a whipsnake, though, and its opponents, whether allopathic or naturopathic, are snails. Sooner or later, the snails will triumph-but they remain snails, and can’t help but be slow and meticulous. Even a whipsnake will get tripped up, sooner or later.

It seems that is the way with most issues of social import. Progressives act like one can just snap the fingers, and voila, the barriers to social justice will disappear. Reactionaries wish the progressives would just disappear. The rest of us will keep doing what we have always done-move forward, but in measured, sensible ways. Police will always be needed-just not in tyrannical form. Thugs will try to force their will upon the vulnerable, and will need to be opposed-thus, a firm, but fair, police force. (I read Mitch Albom’s account of life in lawless areas of Port au Prince, Haiti. That sort of thing could happen anywhere, if people adopt an attitude of self-centered insouciance.) An attitude, and practice, of listening to, and learning from, people with differing points of view will be needed-if our steps forward are not to be followed by a pell mell retreat backwards-as almost happened on January 6. A respect for people and, by extension, their property, will need to be re-instated. The stance that “They’re only THINGS” cannot be maintained in perpetuity. This is a material life, and even the monk needs assurance that his rice bowl will remain intact. What is wrecking a Boys and Girls Club, or a historical museum, going to do to advance social justice, anyway?

The snails move on, and will not be deterred.

The Road to 65, Mile 170: Power

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May 17, 2015, Prescott- I admit it, I get cheap thrills from watching tv shows where people who abuse their power get a good, hard comeuppance- usually after they try every trick known to man and beast to hold on to that ironclad control.  Two shows now current, “A.D.” and “American Odyssey”, focus on criminal geniuses who have amassed great wealth, through nefarious means and the grassroots, loosely tied groups who are working to bring them down.

My guilty pleasure aside, we know what happened with the dastardly Roman elite and its backers in the Jewish Sanhedrin; so, “A.D.”, dramatized as it is, only reinforces the conceptions people have on the persecution of early Christians.

The problem with merely fighting the powerful, without having a clear-cut, well-conceived plan about what comes next, is that we become the powerful, and fall back on the very systems and methods against which we were previously trying to upend.   Pete Townshend, in “Won’t Get Fooled Again”, offers a cautionary tale:  “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss”.

So it goes, and we have the spiritual descendants of the early Christians, trying their level best to persecute critics of their school policies, in places like Waco, TX- where people trying to implement anti-bullying codes in Christian schools are being even more humiliated by the church establishment, which is working to cover up the incidents.  To be fair, there is plenty of blame to go around, among all faiths, in the misuse of power.  The depredations of Muslim and Buddhist reactionaries are too many to recount, and atheists, led by Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot, wrote several volumes on how not to meet the needs of common people.

Power corrupts, and absolute power….. Truth be told, power can only be absolute for a brief period of time.  The common folk always find ways to get around it, to erode its base, and, eventually, to show just how illusory the concept actually is.    The only true, lasting power is that of love.  “Love gives life to the lifeless; hope to the hopeless.  In the world of existence, there is no greater power than the power of love.”- ‘Abdu’l-Baha, speaking in London, 1911.

I don’t know how “American Odyssey” will end, but I do know that the end result of a lust for power is, sooner or later, a total loss of power.