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”.

Lunch Pail People

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November 5, 2016, Prescott-  I sat down for breakfast with friends at the local lodge of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), enjoying pancakes, with scrambled eggs, bacon and a sausage link- for less than what Denny’s would charge for same.  It was my first visit to the lodge, which sits a scant 1,000 yards from my house.

A disparate crowd comes to breakfast here- a retired district court judge, a diesel mechanic, the city’s mayor (once in a blue moon), a retired Army major and a former jet pilot, for starters.  The organization draws more female veterans than does the American Legion.  It is also meeting some success in attracting younger men, who have served in our recent wars.

When I checked my social media feeds, after breakfast, I spotted a photo of my second eldest paternal uncle, proudly giving his younger daughter’s hand in marriage, some thirty   years ago.  He passed away, not long afterward, but the  expression of pride on his face is timeless.  He was an electrician and  carpenter, most of his adult life.My parents, as well as  uncles and aunts, on both sides of the family, were , by and large, members of the lunch pail crowd- people who played by the rules, mostly worked the same jobs for decades, and took a lot of heartache in stride, because there seemed little other choice.

The people with whom I took breakfast this morning are, likewise, those who are trying their best, every day, to live life as they always have, and are seeing a multitude of changes, some good and some not so beneficial.  The lives of lunch pail people are turning upside down.  Many of them are buying into the hype, offered by one candidate or accepting, as truth, the white noise and innuendo regarding both main candidates.

I trust that, as the election fades into the background, those who work hard for a living will remember that it is only by standing firm, together, that the people of this nation have ever made any real progress.