The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 34: Independence

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July 4, 2020-

This morning, as I stirred my brain, I noticed that someone had stomped away from this page in anger, over what apparently was my disagreeing with those who see things strictly in black and white terms. (No pun intended).

I’ve always marched to my own drummer, and have seen no contradiction between the fierce independence and love for tradition of the conservative and the unconditional love and inclusivity of the progressive. It’s always the extremists, the disquiet ones-often, but not always, self-centered and self-absorbed, who wheedle their way in and among those on both sides of the aisle-and sow doubt.

I don’t buy their wares. I personally share all four of the traits mentioned above. As I’ve mentioned many times, my upbringing made this second nature. There is a hole in my heart, right now, in feeling that each side, more than ever, feels shut out by the other AND is more than willing to “simplify” matters, by reacting in kind.

Regarding historical figures, I remind one and all that every person who has ever lived is a complex, imperfect and not universally-loved figure. Public figures are all the more subject to this. Abrahma Lincoln, for example, was as enlightened on the subject of race, as a Midwesterner of the mid-Nineteenth Century could be expected to be. He opposed the expansion of slavery into Kansas, saw that slavery was an organically dying institution in the North, and thus focused his Emancipation Proclamation on the Confederacy-both to crash its economy and to release people from bondage. We have no idea how Reconstruction would have played out, had he lived through his second term. Yet, those who rush to judgment point out his having said that Blacks would never be equal to Whites (Lincoln-Douglas Debate, 1858) was proof of his undying disdain for the Black race. The eminent historian Henry Louis Gates, Jr., however, leaves the door open, seeing the 16th President as being on “an upward arc”, with regard to his views on the subject. (“Lincoln On Race and Slavery”).

Here, for good measure, is also an assessment of his 1862 condemnation to death, of 38 (out of the 300 who were convicted) Santee Sioux warriors, in the aftermath of the Mankato Massacre. While not exactly sympathetic to their particular case, he was beginning to pay attention to the degradation being suffered by the Plains tribes. Again, it may be argued that he was on an “upward arc”. Then came Booth.

https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/300-santee-sioux-sentenced-to-hang-in-minnesota

I maintain my own independence of both left and right, and seek only to grow further in the light. If I disagree with anyone’s baser points of view, it is for that reason alone. I love you all, regardless.

New Beginnings

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December 21, 2019-

I am a late viewer of “Game of Thrones, Season 8”.  Although not knowing quite what  the author of  the series, “A Song of Ice and Fire”, will have to say in the last two books in that series, the television adaptation covered some basic themes, albeit in a modest way.

One of the themes mirrored the plight of the United Kingdom, which has chosen to leave the European Union.  In the program, the leaders of the northern sector, on the fictional continent of Westeros, chose to leave a continental political union, even though one of their own was chosen king, when the union faced a political vacuum.

Another was the matter of loyalty, and how easily it can shift, in uncertain times.  I’ve seen much of what passes for loyalty depend on how closely the views of the loyalist dovetail with those of the one being supported.   In the program, loyalty was a fleeting thing, at best.

The greatest theme, though, was that of new beginnings. The capital city, in the story, was nearly obliterated, by days of brutal warfare.  In the early days of the new regime, following continued carnage, there was squabbling about which projects would begin the reconstruction.  This is, of course, universal to our day and age, as well.

I have a simple idea about such reconstruction, though.  That is, whatever area is given priority should have the support of the community, state or nation, as long as the project will be of demonstrable benefit to those who have been left behind, in the prior progress of the political unit or community.  It is not a matter of mutual backscratching, per se, but a case of a new start being consistent and incremental, in the progress of the realm.

While each of us is headed forward, in one way or another, it’s a good thing if there is a network of support.