What Now?

2

November 7, 2020-

The increased likelihood of a Democratic President, come January 20, happened on the day which, for Buddhists, commemorates Siddhartha Gautama’s return to Earth, after three months of teaching in the celestial realm. This, to the Buddhist faithful, is a day of great change and seeping portent.

To the rest of us, it has also been a day of great change and portent, whether one approves of the changes that will be taking place, or not. As with four years ago, I say “Give the next president a chance, and be ready to hold him to account, if large segments of the populace are ignored or left in limbo.”

Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Capitalize on the reported friendship you have with Mitch McConnell. Maintain the law enforcement activity that is so close to former Judge McConnell’s heart: Fighting the trafficking of women and children. He was one of the forces behind the foundation of the very effective organization, Shared Hope International, one of the better programs advanced by conservative Republicans over the past several decades.
  2. Also, neither one of you wants to be seen as a deficit dove, so, given your self-comparison to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, dive into the summoning all Americans to help rebuild our infrastructure- get more done, with less Federal expenditure. Help counteract the sentiment that we ought stop asking what we can do for our country. Encourage market-led innovation and climate-enhancing changes. Continue to build on your predecessor’s one HUGE contribution: Looking after our military and veterans.
  3. Get out of Dodge- Washington or Wilmington more, at least for the first year or two. I recommend, starting in February-pick a city in each of the four regions: Northeast, South, Midwest and West, and hold a Town Hall in each one. Do this, monthly, until you have held such a gathering in each of the 50 states.
  4. Like your predecessors, be the Comforter-in-Chief. Aside from the Town Halls, be present for those communities which suffer natural or human-caused disasters.
  5. Be inclusive- Let’s return to the days when the President acknowledged not only Christian Holy Days, but those of other Faiths, as well. This was something at which Barack Obama excelled, but in which Donald Trump was less than interested. Be a cheerleader for the major sporting events, and yes, that includes NASCAR.
  6. Show that you trust Science- especially in facing down COVID-19. Be bold enough to also face down those who don’t see the COVID threat as real. The sooner more of us follow disease-fighting protocols willingly, the sooner the disease will no longer hold us in its vise-like grip.
  7. Finally, let the world know you see all of its parts as worthy of respect. Return us to partnerships which both help American prosperity and advance global co-operation. Attend crucial international gatherings, and encourage a two-way travel street- visiting some other countries each year and hosting their leaders here. There is plenty of anticipation, as there always is, when leadership looks set to change. Use the wealth of talent at your disposal, to build a dynamic, forward-looking, yet grounded, team. Godspeed, Mr.President-elect.

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 67: Leave of Senses

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August 6, 2020-

I saw a blurb, this morning, for a TED talk, of indeterminate date, in which the speaker purports to tell us all that we should get a grip, with regard to society’s ban on pedophilia.

There is a disturbing amount of that sort of insanity going around, right now, so I doubt it was satire-and NPR isn’t exactly world famous for such folderol, anyway.

This evening, someone posted about their experience with their two-year-old being given an innocent-looking Troll Doll. When the parents looked the doll over, as responsible parents tend to do, they found a button between the doll’s legs. Yes, it made disturbing, adult-type noises, when pushed. The toymaker has recalled the device.

I’ve been called paranoid and puritanical, for making a big deal about the alleged sex trafficking of children. So be it. As much as I believe in adults making their own choices, behind closed doors (and getting flack for that, as well), children CANNOT tolerate, physically or emotionally, serving as playthings for adults-or for pubescent teens, for that matter. Children (and teens) should not be part of such activities.

We have reached the point in our society’s decline, when this sort of decadence is again considered chic, as it was among certain elements of society, in Victorian times. It is anything but, and I look forward to those participating in, or fostering, child sex trafficking to be brought to swift justice. It won’t matter to me how prominent, or well-regarded, the person is: Wrong is wrong.

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.)