Post # 803      ON HEALING AMERICA

Commencing with our attainment of that level of maturity, requisite to the objective perception of the history of the Nation into which we were born, we, albeit, first-generation offspring of European immigrants, have eternally, felt a derivative sense of guilt, regarding America’s period of inhumane enslavement and mistreatment, of black human beings. As we expanded our experience, we were able to discern the plethora of instances of unequal and immoral, treatment of people of color, as, contrasted with “white” members of society. Due to the happenstance of being born, with more melanin in their skin, their future, in this” land of the free”, societally and otherwise, would be, destined to undergo personal challenges, to which we, and other white citizens, are exempt. This automatic exemption, acquired, solely and reductively, on the involuntary happenstance, of our birth with light skin color, is, generally, and acceptably described,  as “white privilege.”

One, understandably, may cultivate a personal sense of innocence, based upon his, inarguable, absence of participation in such hierarchical and unfair, mode of interaction; and, indeed, may deeply despise it, as an atavistic and purely, evil, social phenomenon. Nevertheless, all American citizens, of moral rectitude, it is submitted, are dutifully and responsibly, taxed, with the moral obligation to oppose the existence of prejudicial and cruel behaviors, and to actively, seek universal equality, as inscribed in our National mantra.

Instances of immoral racial inequality, are, unfortunately, legion and readily, observable in matters, such as housing and home purchase, employment and job promotion, finance (including mortgage financing), educational opportunities, health services, brutal police treatment, the justice system, social and residential exclusion, tactical denial of the Nation’s history of slavery, real estate red-lining, interference with minority voting, and, in its more vapid insensitivity, “flesh-colored,” band-aids.

The epitome of anti-American, racial and religious bias has, too often,  been publically demonstrated, by the right-wing extremist groups, known as  White Christian Militias, whose Nazi-style, false propaganda and violence are bitter, nostalgic, reminders of Messrs. Hitler and Mousseline. Their mindset is a paranoid and psychopathic belief, and desire, to eliminate (kill) all individuals who, with the alleged, tactical assistance of wily Jewish advisors, are intent on replacing white Christians them and the established Christian American Nation. Their delusional belief is that “White Man’s Survival,” depends upon the elimination of People of Color. This conspiracy ideation, in common with other lunatic conspiracies, is clearly, insane, and delusional, but also factually skewed. The Founders clearly, articulated, their express, intention to establish a secular (not a “Christian”) Nation and, one, benefiting from, and affording equity to, a foreseeable, diverse, population of citizens, i.e., “E PLURIBUS UNUM.”  In addition to their paranoiac, delusional ideations, these Nazi, look-alikes, violently, pose an existential threat not only to minority Americans but as well, the ultimate survival of our Democratic Republic.

In addition to the personal, moral aspiration of “color blindness,” Americans, notably, white American citizens, have the moral responsibility to ally themselves with their fellow black Americans, in active and affirmative opposition to bigotry and privilege, and in favor of America’s promise:  universal equality and mutual, inter-racial and ethnic, citizen, brotherhood.

It appears to be no longer sufficient, for the ethical white citizen, to, merely, to be “in favor” of universal equity and civil rights. When appropriate, he, as a mainstream American, is morally obliged to, clearly and emphatically, give voice to his principled rejection of racial and ethnic, prejudice,  and anti-democratic screed.

-p.

Post # 802  TERRA FIRMA: Boundaries

The assertion of exclusive ownership of land or “territory,” ownership, individually or tribally, undoubtedly, was one of Mankind’s earliest conceits. It is our assumption that pragmatic considerations of accessibility, safety, availability of natural resources, such as food and water, were among the criteria for desirable domiciliary selection. It would seem likely, that the choicest sites, generally, were allocated, to the more powerful or influential members of the resident tribal society. It is our further presumption that in stationary society, (as compared with nomadic ones), such respective designations of home sites were recognized by members of that society, and were coterminous with its existence and/or the lives of its occupants and their progeny. Our present thematic consideration relates to the metaphysical context of societal recognition of individual assertions of title to real estate ownership.

Initially, it may be useful, to refer, to an earlier writing, concerning the sad story, of our two pear trees. To summarize, we received, as a present, in the late fall season, two “bare root,” (no soil) pear trees. Planting season was two seasons away, but we “miraculously,” were able to keep the precarious, bare branches alive by keeping them moist and very cold (by an open window). We, optimistically, planted them in the spring and, were delighted that they “took,” and thereafter, survived the winter. However, despite their planting in close proximity for pollination purposes, they did not flower for a full eight years. The ninth year they did present white flowers, but only produced one pear (which, for fun, was ceremonially, shared and eaten.) The next (11th) year they flowered and, happily, bore a small amount of fruit. In Spring, of the twelfth, year, the white flowers being profuse, we arrived at our country house, having purchased a long fruit harvester implement, expecting, at long last, a full, bumper crop of pears, only to find (with the impact of a classic Greek tragedy), that beavers, from the nearby pond, had  chewed down and completely, destroyed both trees.

As we recall, following some pitiful and frustrated, expostulations, we soon were successful in the attainment of a rational evaluation of the experience. The beavers, of course, were properly, doing, that which beavers normally, do, viz., cut down trees, for food and hut building. “Our” trees, indeed, our basic concept of owned property, is, obviously, beyond any cognition or relevance to them. In fact, we soon arrived at the metaphysical conclusion that, from the viewpoint of the natural world, it was not “owned,” by anyone. The ceremonial real estate “closing,” at which papers, were signed and notarized, and funds transferred, was a dance, to which the natural world was not a party. We then came to discern, that, other than to knowledgeable human beings, the utter irrelevance of the established, legal process (of “closing”) of real estate conveyance. Empirically, real estate, with all of its trees, rocks and shrubbery, like all the planet, eternally was, and remains, notwithstanding, the proper domicile and operating franchise of the natural world and its non-human inhabitants and no officially executed documents can make it otherwise.

With the exception of compliant humankind, all of our established and cognizable boundaries, are illusory or perhaps, delusional. Birds, sea life and animals, migrate, heedlessly, as needed, throughout the planet, without fear of trespass or awareness of man’s (time-changing) borders, expressed, assertively, by  the latter, in assertive lines on periodically changing, political or proprietary, maps.

Nevertheless, from what is discernable from Paleolithic times to the present, human land ownership, has been the signature of wealth, power, political and societal legitimacy. In the early days of our constitutional republic, despite its mantra of equality, only (white) men who owned land were afforded the voting franchise. American society, fortunately, has significantly, evolved, and, among other, salient advances, the right to vote is deemed personal, and not dependent upon the ownership of property.

With our embarrassed, and profuse apologies to the Earth’s fauna and flora, Man’s lust for the (recognized illusion) of land ownership as a criterion of prestige and power, has been a recurrent human pathology, and his entire history appears to be smitten with the horrific epidemic of land wars.

The recent barbarous and unjustified land war, launched by Putin’s, Russia on peaceful Ukraine is a striking example of this chronic human pathology; for which we, on behalf of the entire family of Homo sapiens, profusely, and with great shame, apologize to Man’s fellow inhabitants of the planet, including all beavers.

-p. 

Post # 801         PANARMAGEDDON

The Book of “Revelations,” added to the New Testament in Central Asia, (96 CE), reportedly, is the product of “John of Patmos,” a creative, over-zealous, adherent to the Christian dogma. It recites the punitive, “End of Days ” to be imposed by the Deity, featuring, among its horrific conceits, many nightmarish participants, including the Four Horsemen and fear-inspiring, red-horned beasts.

In the selection of this essay’s title, our intent was not to, imminently, predict the “final days,” of our Nation, but to alarmingly, indicate that its basic philosophical, tenets and foundational structure, are observably, in the perilous process of existential erosion. In the familiar context of a “representative democracy,” such as ours, both the people and government are mutually contributory, to its nature and quality; nevertheless, we have elected, for the purposes of clarity and emphasis, to treat them separately. Thematically, it has been our personal estimation that the hyperactive, contemporary, anti-democracy interests are unwittingly, thereby [see: 657, “American Lemmings”] providing, as well, for their own civic suicide; if democracy’s roof were to cave in, the debris will fall on them, as well.

The political architecture of the American government, prudently, designed by our prescient Founders, was so construed that each branch of the tripartite, government, Executive, Legislative and Judicial, was granted the right, and duty, to veto (“check”) any other, for abuse of power. Such constitutionally, protective, and mutual supervisory policy is commonly, referred to, as “Checks and Balances.” 

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT: (Executive, Legislative, and Judicial Branches)

[Executive] The steep decline in stature, of the historically, august, Office of the American Presidency, following, one term in office, of the ignorant, incapable and immoral Donald J. Trump, may be difficult to resurrect. President Joseph Biden is hampered and beset by a large horde of cultish Trump supporters in the Federal and State legislatures, radicalized, sitting State governors and most ominously, a large, population of ignorant, reductionist and bigoted, citizenry. From our viewpoint, Biden appears to be doing a competent job at governance, but is hampered, by this “Trumpish” cult, including, most perniciously, a number of racist, anti-Semitic and anti-democratic, militant organizations, identified as, “White Christian Supremacists”.

It is extremely frustrating, that, inconsistent with the Nation’s avowed standard of universally equal justice, Mr. Trump, has been shown to have committed numerous serious criminal acts, (inclusive of treason and incitement to insurrection, in his autocratic attempts to, overturn the certified results of a democratic election), which are undeniable, having been viewed, publicly, on television. Yet this, celebrated, egotistical, miscreant continues, Teflon-like, free of legal retribution and is, quite shockingly, expected to run again. The Nation’s ignorant, “underbelly,” seems, threateningly, and disgracefully, to possess a measure of decisive influence as to who, and what is appropriate to our Nation’s highest office.

[Legislative] (Senate and House of Representatives) A large number of vociferous, right-wing, Trump- loyalist, legislators, appealing to such numerous “underbelly,” by their loud and, raucous objection to universal equality, lack of respect for democratic norms, ignorant and reductive opposition to mainstream traditions, and preference for convenient, “alternate facts,” including false, conspiracy ideations, have caused many Democratic, legislative representatives to fear for their own re-election. Consequently, rather than dutifully, supporting legislation, pursuant to their solemn oaths to defend democracy, and, responsibly, represent the interest of their constituents, have self-interestedly, and irresponsibly, supported, anti-democratic, bigoted, right-wing, positions. One, shameful, but illustrative, example is their tactical opposition to gun regulation, in contradiction to the will of their constituents, and despite the fact that schools, houses of worship, supermarkets, playgrounds, streets and private living rooms have, tragically, become killing fields, for militarily armed psychopaths.

 Nevertheless, we choose to repeat our (themed) view, that the destruction of the American way of life, would, ultimately have an equally, devastating effect, on the lives of such perpetrators.  

(JUDICIAL)  [SCOTUS] The third, Judicial, branch of the designed government, headed by the highest Court, the Supreme Court of the United States, SCOTUS”) was established, to settle the Nation’s disputed legal issues and thereby, create a uniformly, referential, National precedent. Consistent with the constitutionally, mandated, “Separation of Powers,” the high court was forbidden to adjudicate cases that contain any political nuance, whatsoever. Parties with legal controversies sought to be accepted and adjudicated by SCOTUS, as a mandatory prerequisite, were taxed with successfully, proving the complete absence of legal implications in the matter, by a prescribed, formal proceeding, known as a “Writ of Certiorari.” 

With some notable and unfortunate exceptions, (ex., Dred Scott case), SCOTUS, the designated, avatar of a conceptual fairness and impartiality, was highly revered, for its performance, fulfilling  America’s need for settled, and precedential Law, free of any partisan interest. This was admiringly true, in any event, until the sea change, following the Bush v. Gore case, in the year, 2000. The constitutionally restrictive, non-political discipline of Scotus, by that, inarguably, political, case seemed to usher in a devastating decline, of that previously austere and reverenced institution, to the far lesser status of a perceived, political and partisan entity.

The zenith of such recent decline and historic downgrading, of SCOTUS, was attained in the “Citizens Union” case. The decision in that case, undemocratically, magnified the perverse effect of money, donated by wealthy interest groups, on voter democracy, by removing all restrictions on corporate donations to political candidates. This ruling, inarguably, worsened an already existing, undemocratic trend, whereby large donors might money skew elections in their favor.

 In addition to this impactful injury to representative democracy, the so-called, High Court, “justified” its undemocratic decision by reasoning which would not hold up, even in a local Small Claims Court.

The Court, bizarrely, ruled that corporations, legally, were “people,” so that any restrictions on campaign donations would violate their constitutional rights, including, free speech. This specious and, and inapt reasoning, revealed the irrational and unprecedented, lengths to which the recently, constituted, SCOTUS would now go, to justify a partisan cause. Most business people, and, certainly, every law school freshman, know that the legal reference to corporations, as “persons,” has reference only, to the ability to enter into contracts and, generally do business, in the corporate name. It has historically, and consistently, been restrictively defined, and legally treated as a “legal fiction,” enabling an entrepreneur, operating his business in the corporate name, to protect himself, thereby achieving  permissible, “limited liability.” If every law school freshman knows this concept, does it not, inarguably, follow, that the eminent Justices, sitting at SCOTUS, knew it, at least as well?

It has eternally, been the law that the legislatively, created, “fictional,” commercial entity of the “Corporation,” was a practical, legal “fiction” since its conception by the Victorian, English Parliament,  (which America continued) for the purpose of granting, “ limited liability,” to encourage business investment and, avoid the times’ extant, English debtor’s prison, in the event of insolvency. It was never legally, intended, that the corporate “person” be vested with any of the rights or character of humanity.

The Citizens’ Union case drove a deep, partisan wedge into the American foundational, concept of equal and representative democracy. SCOTUS, at present, additionally, seems to be poised to drive such a deeply injurious spike, into the, publically accepted, half- century old, Supreme Court, legal precedent, insuring the personal rights of women to make decisions regarding their own pregnancy; a  partisan violation of women’s liberty, one, in blatant derogation of the Constitution’s “Establishment Clause.”

(THE PEOPLE) It is our view, that such contemporary, challenging alterations to the Nation’s previous salutary governmental structure, and the general decline in tenor and quality of its supporting institutions, are essentially, founded in empirical changes in the character of the American citizenry; or, more specifically related to our theme, a significant, ignorant and unwittingly, suicidal number of that population.

We had for some time, assumed that the recent challenges to American democracy were directly due to the immoral influence of that orange-horned Armageddon monster, Donald J. Trump. More recently, however, we have rather concluded, that said disreputable and incapable creature, was elected, because he was perceived as reflecting them, in their ignorance, biased mindset, and  lack of moral compass, including, rejection of the existential reverence for society’s existential, concept of “truth.”

We, as other mainstream, traditional, democracy loving citizens, have been troubled in our awareness of such large horde of right-wing citizens, who denigrate education, intellectual and aesthetic advancement and republican democracy itself; and who, atavistically favor race and ethnic prejudice, anti-immigration policies, gun ownership, repression of women’s liberty, censorship of education and books, and autocratic government control.

We find ourselves, regularly informed of shocking acts of racial and ethnic homicide, committed by the legions of White Christian militias, on the paranoid, delusional and psychopathic ideation, that the communities of color, allegedly, managed by ” influential and devious Jews,” are intent on “replacing” “their” “white Christian Nation”, with non-whites and immigrants.

Their mission is as dangerously, pathological and delusional, as it is un-American and criminal. A relevantly, empirical and intriguing fact, additionally, is that the Biblical accounts of Jesus, certify him as Jewish, Middle Eastern, and non-white. Moreover, the Founders expressed their wise, mutual, and secular intention, as they famously, articulated, not to refer to a Deity, in our Constitution. We were never, intended to be a Christian nation, but rather, a unified, national combination of diverse peoples, i.e., “E Pluribus Unum.”

We have arrived at the fundamental realization that the true scope and expanse of the problem, goes far beyond the level of political differences or disputed issues. It has metastasized to an existential, life and death, universal, battle for all American citizens, regardless of party affiliation, for the continued existence of freedom and democracy, as an alternative to repressive, Putin style, autocracy.

-p.

Post # 800   OUR LATTER DAY AXIS ENEMIES

History wasted little time in its, emphatic, demonstration that the popular slogan, assigned to the First World War, “The War to End All Wars,” was, realistically, naïve and Pollyannaish. In a matter of two decades, Germany and Italy, with Japan, (“The Axis”) instituted the devastating, Second World War.

Although the United States and its Allies were successful in defeating said autocratic enemies of freedom and democracy, such consequential events lent further credence to the empirically, derived conclusion, that Mankind’s inclination to conflict was a chronic one and a permanent blemish on his innate persona. Subsequent international conflicts, such as the Korean and Vietnamese Wars, were additionally, probative of that pessimistic, but historically, empirical, conclusion.

Yet, more insidious and devastating, than international conflicts, are internal (intra-national) wars, not the least of which was the Civil War; an American 19th Century colossal tragedy with far-reaching implications, metastasizing its societal suffering to today’s extant, chronic pathology.

In the years following 2000, the citizen, began to experience an American Nation, engaged in a domestic, “Cold War,” between (a) mainstream American citizens, with adequate, to advanced education, ardently, supporting the tenets of the U.S. Constitution, and the American traditional institutions, (making slow, but steady, progress towards the avowed goal of universal equality), and (b)  witless citizens, who, in ignorant, insecure and cultish, lock-step with Donald Trump, would denigrate the existential, importance of factual “truth,” universal citizen liberties and, in suicidal, lemming- type behavior, ostensibly, favor the establishment of autocracy with a racial and ethnic hierarchy.

We have, with great concern, deliberated upon such divisive and alarming National developments, and have set forth, for the consideration of the reader, a summary of our, resultant, personal views as to the attribution of such mindless and parochial inclinations, within the selected context, of three, concluded, causative, categories: (1) The “smartphone,” (2) Covid-19 and (3) the widely, misused internet.

  • [The Smartphone]: Readers of this blogspace are, undoubtedly, familiar with our view that the regular use of the cellular smartphone, is a foolhardy surrender of the natural pleasure of personal, or telephone interaction,( featuring the benefits of interactive conviviality, recognition of personal nuance, spontaneity of response and the comfort of socialization), in an unwise, exchange for the speed and convenience of a hand-held, small appliance. Such device replicates, in computer-like symbols, the message of the caller, but necessarily, lacks conviviality, expressive emotion, timeliness, nuance, comforting personal recognition, as well as spontaneous expression and timeliness of response. Such minimal exchanges are formally denominated, “conversations,” but, in reality, constitute unsatisfying, ersatz interactions.

The ultimate result of such separate, one-party transmissions has been loneliness and introspection, rather than mutually shared, personal experiences.  It is today’s general feelings of loneliness and isolation, that provide the neurotic background for personal insecurity, and often, ultimately, mindless, “groupthink,” characterized by its loyal, unthinking and militant, divisiveness with other such blocs and individuals, of divergent opinion.

  • [Covid-19]: The Covid pandemic had, and still, has, momentous implications, not limited to its pathological implications, the latter, including the potential of mortality. The direct effect of the societally defensive, response, necessarily, was an up-setter and destroyer, of existing societal norms and long-held, societal expectations. Its salient and most impactful, non-medical harm was caused by the necessary prophylactic, but societally, devastating, curtailment of social interaction. We have often declared that social interaction is the epoxy of society. We might, indeed, more accurately, have declared that social exchange between known individuals is society. The mandatory avoidance of contact with others, in combination with the instructed, universal public wearing of dystopic- appearing, and expression- negating masks, makes strangers of neighbors and friends, and unmercifully, stymies social contact and interactive expression, The worst effect, reportedly, is the impact upon young children, who have, observably, suffered from the significant social and psychological impact, of unnatural isolation from playmates and schoolchildren, and the deprivation of healthy developmental growth and social maturity, normally derived from such interactions.

The effects of virus-related interruptions in adult routine, in family and employment, were so fundamentally impactful, that we see a cogent possibility that individuals, long after the exigencies of the pandemic have become irrelevant, will not resume them. These prominently include commutation to, and performance of, employment responsibilities at their former office or other places of employment.  As is the case with smartphones, the pandemic, effectively, demonstrates that social and physical separation of the citizen from his normal associations, results, among other problems, in an unfamiliar sense of singularity, loneliness and divisive vulnerability to influence, by demagogues and tactical inciters of belief in “alternate facts,”  inclusive of delusional, conspiracy ideations.

  • [The internet]: [N.B.: We exclude from this critical essay, the legitimate writings and literary essays, the research facility, factual content and the several usefully, informative, applications for which the internet is beneficially, known. Our critique is, relevantly, limited in application, to the public dynamics of a “Facebook,” or similar function.]

The necessarily created, disturbing and vulnerable sense of personal loneliness, and the consequent, protective, coarsening of the Nation, as observed above, was, and is, in sync with, its impactful effect on the citizen’s personal use of the internet; the rare, remaining facility for inter-personal communication  [supra., (1), (2)]; such nuanced use of the Facebook function of the internet, itself, playing a major role in the Nation’s exacerbated, divisive, character.

The isolated citizen, in his resultant insecurity, is empirically susceptible to misinformation. Having few or no communicants, and little or no personal resources, with which to test its validation, subjects him to the facile and irresponsible, transmission of falsity and gives voice to widespread political extremism and conspiracy ideation. All manner of claims of alleged government conspiracy, the universal spread of tactically, intentional, or imagined, misinformation, regarding any subject, person or class of persons are freely, publishable, without editorial scrutiny. Social media thus, unrestrained and unedited, contributes to the ignorance, reductive prejudices, hatred and divisiveness, and, at times, the anti-social behavior of the Nation’s citizenry; especially vulnerable, are those who are insufficiently, educated and poorly, informed.

The readily discernible, common denominator, applicable to these three, component, axis of existential danger to our democracy, is the impactful factor of isolation, voluntarily chosen, or mandatorily, imposed, on the individual citizen. It is plausible to assume that, after the many eons since the advent of Man’s experiential election to live in society, he confidently, thinks and performs best, when his individuality and self-worth, are regularly, confirmed through the dynamics of his association and communication with others.  

One suggested way to ameliorate such challenging condition of the Nation, might be, to construe “virtual” meeting places, regularly scheduled, social occasions, at which citizens can healthily, interact and thereby, recover their previously established, self-image and mature perspective; suspended during the stubborn persistence of the Covid virus. At such occasions, one, conceivably, might recollect the personal pleasure and self-confirmation of personal human interaction and naturally converse with each other, as contrasted with un-social, mutual transmissions to each other’s hand-held, digital appliance.

-p 

Post # 700 (poesie) THE EMANATION

Down and deep descending, into head-bumping dark
To a putrid, chamber, dingy and cold
He was led, by the somber-civic- townsfolk
No tactual door, nor windows nor walls,
No North, South, East, West, just gloom
His knees badly shook, as if distempered
He sensed boney frailty beneath his trembling robe
Thus abandoned, he resolutely awaited mortality.

His bent elbow then met an unseen switch
The room soon lit, it freshened and warmed,
Windows and high clerestories did appear
He could now discern, a continuous shelf, with
Titles like, Paine, Hume, Darwin, Erasmus
Soon came blue-sky, verdant fields, leafy trees
Nature’s vista, lit by its empirical solar magic–
The holy emanation of Human Enlightenment.

-p.
Leonard N. Shapiro, 5/8/22

Post # 699 ON GUNS AND POCKETKNIVES: Redux

The intended theme of this writing, regarding the current phenomenon of the widespread ownership and use of guns, is the puzzling question as to the nature and emotional motivation of citizens, to possess such tools, as are designed solely, for killing. In aid of the objective examination of the subject, we have, initially, elected to contrast such desire for guns, with the popular practice and utility of the ownership of a pocketknife, which, inarguably, has ubiquitous, but peaceful, utility.

The pocketknife (or “jackknife”), may beneficially, and safely, be used: in order not to damage a car key, in prying open a lid, to slice fruit and cheese, trim meat, diced vegetables, clean fish, whittle wood, cut the cord on packages, scrape surfaces, open envelopes, spear a slice of cold pineapple, and in any other number of ways, none of which, happens to be aggressive or lethal. The item is commonly, used by mainstream Americans and serves as a useful and practical, personal keepsake.

As a subsidiary, albeit, important subject, the vast number of individuals, who maintain that the American citizen has a Constitutionally, given right to own lethal weapons, are either, historically ignorant or, alternatively, have a personal or commercial interest, in intentionally misinterpreting the (archaic) language of its Art 2.

Any cursory, but objective reading of American history would dispel the argument of a purported, grant of gun rights to American citizens in the U.S. Constitution. The misreading of the phrase, “the people.” has been, intentionally, or merely, erroneously read. History reveals that at the time, following the American Revolution, there was a formidable debate between the “Federalists,” who wanted a central government, and the “Separatists,” who stubbornly argued for individual, sovereign, States. Such seemingly, intractable debate was, successfully, settled and compromised by an agreement to have, an overriding and, authoritative central (federal) government with a standing army, and separate and independent States (“the People”) with the right to an independent, armed militia. A non-biased reference to the Constitutional language, read,  in the context of the history of the times, would reveal that the peaceful and philosophical “Founders,” had no intention, whatsoever, to create an armed and dangerous society, as tactically (and commercially), maintained, and misread, by the avid supporters of guns, led by the N.R.A.

We can, easily, and unhappily, comprehend,  the interest of commercially motivated, manufacturers and vendors of guns, but are at a complete loss to understand the mindset of the many ordinary American citizens who desire to own these death-dealing instruments; and who are, accordingly, relegated to adamantly, insist on the erroneous interpretation of the relevant provision of the Constitution.

What bizarre motivation can exist, for the mentally, balanced, American citizen, to possess and regularly, carry an item whose utility is solely, limited to the production of bloodshed and homicide? In a culture, which highly values life, what feature, of the human persona, can account for the popular and imperative need to make of oneself, a dangerous instrument, capable of human destruction?

An extensive, perseverating, exercise of our imagination has only been capable of the attribution of two grounds of causation, viz., generalized and excessive, insecurity or fear, and the neurotic lack of normal and healthy, self-esteem. If our conclusions have validity, our abhorrence of guns and gun ownership is mitigated but only, (in light of the many tragic homicides) somewhat, by pity, and a small measure of empathy. How much comfort and assurance is actually, garnered by people carrying military, automatic, rifles, while shopping at the supermarket (as seen on television), holstered pistols, at local crafts fairs, or concealed handguns at parking lots? On analysis, it would seem truly pathetic, if not for the regular, horrific media reports of on the impact of the free and unregulated ownership of arms.

There exists no automatic rifle, nor, indeed, artillery howitzer, capable of assuaging feelings of worthlessness, or paranoiac fear. Weapons of human destruction can, however, be legally, and beneficially, outlawed, which would certainly, result in a more healthy and peaceful, American community.

-p.

Post # 698    RUSSIA: THE ETERNAL ANACHRONISM

Russia’s historical curse of anachronism, may initially, and demonstrably, be seen at the earliest ages of the “Industrial Revolution,” when Western Europe was weaving cloth on its newly developed mills, while, simultaneously, Russia remained, atavistically, in serfdom. The self-conscious character of Russia was evident in the use of the French language, as they ate oranges in the Russian Court.

A trip to St. Petersburg will reveal the garish display of fine art paintings, edge to edge, plastered over the entire walls of its fine art museum, the “Hermitage;” so crowded together, that the contemplation and appreciation of anyone’s masterpiece are psychedelically, impossible. The French name of the museum and the overcrowded presentation of its paintings, irrefutably, evidences a crude, tasteless and obvious, attempt to outshine the exhibitions of Paris’s French Louvre.

The burial remains of Marx and Lenin, must have by now, been ground to powder, resulting from their frustrated turning in their graves, at the successive devolutions of Russia, from their desired, but never achieved, classless society, part of a worldwide brotherhood, equally, ruled by the proletariat, to its present status of a gangster-like, autocracy. The Russian revolution with all its atrocities, centuries ago, is now a mere blip on the radar screen of history.

Russia, contemporaneously, run by Vladimir Putin a veritable, mafia chief, and supported, by a cohort of privileged, corrupt and enormously wealthy, “oligarchs,” in their symbiotic, recognition of his autocratic rule, of the Russian public. Such rich oligarchs “kick in” to the wealthy leader, Putin and acquire, thereby, uninterrupted facility to own and operate immoral and illegal enterprises. Many corrupt, oligarchs have thus become wealthy enough to own and maintain, large, ocean-going yachts, private airplanes and exorbitantly expensive and luxurious dachas.

Putin, as an orthodox autocrat, acting in accordance with typical, unchecked and unlimited authority, chose to declare a land war against the sovereign nation of Ukraine, seeking, in Russia’s classically anachronistic, [World Wars, 1 and 2] fashion, land aggrandizement. The Ukrainian people, courageously and dedicatedly, countering this illegal, outrageous retro-style incursion, have mounted a remarkably successful defense, driving Putin’s minions back, and earning worldwide admiration and assistance.

We would like to observe that, in the unlikely event, that Russia (Putin) should, by virtue of, Russia’s far greater population and resources, ultimately, be successful, Putin will nevertheless, have met with abysmal failure in his retrograde, long-term strategy and tactical ambitions.

It is apparent that Putin’s long-term, tactical strategy was to create divisiveness between the NATO Nations, weakening resistance to his potential plans for aggressive policies, and, thereby, strengthening Russia’s relative power. The tactical, “bromance” of the wily, Putin and the egocentric, unaware and ignorant Donald Trump, would appear to be in strategic accordance, with Putin’s plot to weaken future, potential joint resistance. Recently held federal hearings, proved, definitively, that Russia had interfered in the Presidential Election, in which the ignorant and hapless, egotist, Donald Trump was successful.

Nonetheless, it was, undoubtedly, Putin’s perseverating, mono-focused, Napoleonic, reveries of unlimited power, that caused him to forgo consideration of the possibility of a consequent solidifying response of the NATO Nations and other countries, to his historically, anachronistic, decision to pirate the territory of another Sovereign State. In fact, certain, previously, non-member States, like Norway and Sweden, have been thereby, motivated to now apply for NATO membership.

If not for the fact that Russia’s retro style of motivation, has, tragically, caused untold misery and death in Ukraine, its eternal lack of contemporary focus would, actually, be historicaly, risible.

-p.     

Post # 697       THE ACTIVE WITNESS

Even those fortunate enough to reside in a representative democracy might well arise each morning to feel part of a hapless, receptive, audience as to the affairs of the day. Similar to the act of reading the history of man’s past, the information garnered appears enlightening, but already determined, and exists, entirely independent of, and far removed from, his personal participation. Considering his one, feckless, vote he, understandably, may assume the state of his personal irrelevance and conclude that the subject of current events, is merely a spectator sport.

In this context, it is his morning newspaper, or, alternatively, the electronic media, that advises him as to whether he should anticipate a personally, satisfactory or stressful day, regarding sundry matters, domestic, international, economic, meteorological or otherwise. While involved in his regular morning ritual, of brushing his teeth, showering, shaving and having breakfast, he, feels, analogous to a just arriving, theater patron, newly apprised of the dramatic presentation du jour. His responsive reaction to the information is a joint function of his traditional point of view and personal expectations.

Consequently, therefore, the importance of diligent and factually accurate sources of information, derived from newspapers and other media, is no less than existential. Tactical attacks or disparagement, of these sources by autocratic leaning individuals, like Donald Trump, are, indisputably, a fundamental attack upon reality, in order to create a false (or alternate) reality, that would favor their undemocratic dogma.

The citizen may thus perceive himself, functionally, as a mere spectator, one of a vast audience of ineffectual witnesses to daily changing events. In bright contrast, to such perception, is the empirical phenomenon that significant numbers of like-minded citizens, voting in a virtual bloc, do possess the requisite potency to edit and improve the extant, presentation of events.

 A cogent and illustrative, albeit, negative example, can be observed, in the recent promulgation of, entirely, unconstitutional and immoral legislation, by several right-wing controlled, State Legislatures, which have promulgated legislation intended to delimit the voting power of America’s black community, (which heavily opposed Donald Trump, and supported Joseph Biden). Such actions constitute not only, unseemly and shameful behavior on the part of any State Legislature, but constitute flagrant acts of malignant unconstitutionality, and infringement of democracy. Yet, for the purposes of the theme of this writing, does (perversely), acknowledge and unmistakably, illustrate the power and functional impact of large, multiple voters of common interest.

It is beyond question, that the salient and definitional function of a democracy is the protected franchise of its citizens to vote. Thus, we, as American citizens, possess the esoteric opportunity of functioning, as desired, as a mere witness or seat holder in a passive audience or, otherwise, as a proportionate and participating director, of the presenting, theatrical action. The opportunity for the exercise of such dual roles constitute the systemic essence, and value, of an authentic representative democracy.  

For this reason, it is existentially necessary in order to sustain a democracy, to have citizens who are sufficiently, literate and informed, as, famously, and presciently, declared by President Thomas Jefferson. Informed and sufficiently educated American citizens, with their considered exercise of the vote, thereby, jointly share in the role of the Director of, as well as the witnesses to a humanistic, and ethically performed drama of their own production.                    

-p.      

Post # 696 STADIUM REVERIES

The salient aspiration of the American-born children of newly arrived, (early 20th Century) Eastern European immigrants, was to adjust, “fit in,” and be identified, as authentic, American citizens. It was an empirically difficult challenge. At home, their parents spoke some rudimentary English, but most often, Yiddish and one of the other Slavic languages, and had, culturally, imported many European folkways into the newly adopted, domicile, across the entire span of the Atlantic Ocean, and sociologically, across, centuries of human enlightenment and technological advancement.

Long before the advent of popularly owned television, radio was the prime link between home and the outside world.  It was a source of news, music and drama; for sports fans, especially those residing in Brooklyn, reports on the wins and losses of the beloved, Brooklyn Dodgers. Brooklyn residents, not only stayed posted on the Dodgers’ wins, losses, and seasonal standing, relative to other teams, in the (their) National League, but as well, the personalities and affairs of the players. We can recall a scene from a wartime movie, set in a dense jungle, in which a soldier, coming through the allied lines, was identified,  as a friend (and not enemy), by his correct answers to questions about the Brooklyn Dodgers; such as, “Who is the Dodgers’ 2nd Baseman? Answers, such as, “Jackie Robinson,” served as the admissible shibboleth. As the movie implied, the ”Brooklyn Dodgers”, morphed into a popular National symbol.

Consistent with, and in furtherance of, their ardent aspiration to quickly, morph into regular Americans, most first-generation Americans, especially those living in the Borough of Brooklyn, became outspoken Dodger fans and, when possible, loyally attended their home games, at Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field. Some, however, chose to become fans of the purportedly, more elegant, New York Yankees, whose home field was, and still is, Yankee Stadium, located in the Borough of Bronx, New York.

 In the poorer neighborhoods, complimentary passes to local, major league, baseball games were charitably, handed out to school children, by an organization named, “Happy Felton’s Knothole Gang.”  Thus, we were, by good fortune, enabled to attend several Dodger games and a few Yankee games, gratis, at their respective home stadia. We were, appropriately, grateful for the opportunity to attend those big-league games, despite the fact that the free stadium seats consistently, were located at the farthest reaches of the stadium, (“the bleachers”) high above the rear portion of center field.   Although thus privileged and excited to see outfielders like Duke Snider, up close, we were often obliged, to rely on a portable radio, to be apprised of game developments. The most relevant benefit, however, consisted in the commonality of mutual support and experience with regular American youngsters, not born of recently immigrated parents. When the Brooklyn Dodgers left Brooklyn for Los Angeles, we mourned the tragic loss, in tandem with other, long established mainstream New Yorkers.

Varying degrees of strain were regularly, experienced, at early stages, by the children of immigrants, upon their daily return home from school, or following engagement in sports at the local public playground. The family context at home, understandably, and exotically, was a combination of old-world nuance, foreign accented English speech, reflexive foreign exclamations, as well as atavistic, behavioral expectations of children, at variance with the new American folkways. There were, in essence, two cultural realities, with which the challenged, first-generation Americans were obliged to assimilate and empirically, comply.  Variations in difficulty, in this respect, might depend upon the parents, erudition, length of time in the United States, interactive experience with non-immigrant members of society and the frequency of interactive communication at their place of employment or business. The most noticeable, obvious challenge was in the confrontation of their foreign accent.

It is obvious that very young children, universally, first learn to speak from their parents.  The offspring of immigrants acquire, thereby, the singular, additional problem, of developing unaccented, speech, when desired, at the age of interaction with their peers at school and at play. Added to this exacting challenge is the unfortunate tendency, of children, to cruelly, react, to any differences perceived in other children, in their appearance, speech impediment or nuanced language pronunciation.  In some cases, this leads to the choice of limitation of the victimized, first-generation American, early circle of friends to others with foreign accents; which defensive response, compounds, and extends the problem. It is ironically bizarre to note, that late in maturity, adults who retain vestiges of their former (foreign) accents are, for such reason acceptably, perceived, as “charming,” “cultured” or “interesting.”

We, like most of our known members of the European first-generation, Americans, with which we were acquainted, went on to pursue higher education and successful professions or careers; “Geenzi” (Archibald) Edelman is now a successful cosmetic surgeon on the West Coast, and Selwin Abramovitz is a full partner in a New York City, “white shoe” law firm.

During our recent visit to Dr. “Geenzi” Edelman, we had the mutually recollected pleasure of attendance, at a baseball game, between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants. Geenzi, who these days, is flush with money, had purchased, in anticipation of our visit, two of the most expensive stadium tickets, alongside first base.

 As we walked to our prime seats, instinctively, and with a hard lump in my throat, I looked out, towards deep center field at the high rows of sunny bleachers.

-p.

Post # 695    ON ADVOCATING FOR DEMOCRACY: Pliny Editorial

It has been our, anecdotal, albeit common, experience that mainstream American citizens, possessing adequate education, and mature social sensitivity, traditionally, exhibit the tendency to remain discretely, silent, or to tactfully, select mild and inoffensive language, in their restrained response, to undemocratic, radical or bigoted declarations. Irrespective of what may be a truly obnoxious declaration, their subtly, restrained, considerations of maturity of perception and learned sophistication, often inclines that, reticent, second party to the conversation, to gracefully, edit, the full extent of his internal emotional response. Would that such reserve were universal, this writing, in such unlikely event, might be of little utility. As illustration, it would be a virtual challenge to discern the true merits of an unbalanced, controversy between the kindly, empathic and soft-spoken, Fred Rogers, and the aggressive, foghorn delivery of an Alex Jones, or the brash and offensive, Marjorie Taylor Green.

We have accumulated sufficient and personally affirming, experience, that our Nation’s inadequately, educated, and unsophisticated, population, generally, seems, as a group, to be, entirely unrestrained, and insensitive in their raucous, expression of radical, right-wing views. These outspoken rants are predictably, inclusive, of their consistent opposition to the fundamental principles of Democratic Republic, viz., equality,  universal right to vote, separation of church and state, the exercise of compassionate capitalism,  (the latter, ignorantly termed, by them, “socialism,”) gender rights, personal liberty, and xenophobic opposition to refugee immigration.

In consideration of the direction of our extant political climate, it appears, existentially, necessary to eschew our customarily, socially refined and considerate deportment, in order to ultimately, avert an analogous, democratic tragedy, as occurred in Hitler’s demagogic destruction of the Weimar Republic. When appropriately, called for, it has become a matter of democratic necessity, to voice, one’s fully expressive opposition, and to demonstrate by unabashed, overt behavior, our views on the evil of autocracy. As has been historically shown, the greatest threat to democracy is silent tolerance or, personal indifference to autocratic or undemocratic, memes and their proponents.

We are much concerned, to about an autocratic, and want-to-be (again), President, are wary of his millions of populist supporters, including the fascistic militia style hate groups, of the recent, violent, insurrection against Washington, D.C., the disgraceful members of the U.S. Congress, who support autocracy and oppose civil liberties, and of the ignorant opposition to literate citizens referring to the latter, as the “enemy” or “coastal elites,” the State Legislatures which have, officially, passed voting laws, aimed at discriminating against communities of color, the denigration of our traditional American voting process, attack on the free media, xenophobic opposition to immigration, the promotion of the “Big Lie,” and subjugation of actual fact to alternative propaganda, the exponential rise of conspiratorial ideation, denigration of science and education, book banning and book burning, unrelenting prejudice against black people, Jews, Hispanics and gays, the prohibition of women’s right to abortion, and their equality of opportunity, the insidious infiltration of hate groups into the municipal police forces, the encouragement of gun ownership and use, plus other populist, anti-democratic selections from the right-wing menu. This context, frighteningly, resembles the pathology of The Weimar Republic and other internally destroyed democracies.
The Nation has been for some time, visibly and ominously, in a veritable Cold War, with many members of its illiterate and self-defeating, (their ill-considered, destruction of democracy, will curtail their liberties, as well) underbelly. Mainstream American citizens, have the immediate, existential responsibility, to our Nation, and our future progeny, to be, energetically, proactive, in publically and confidently, speaking out, loudly and clearly, whenever, and wherever, relevant, to flush out America’s fascistic, Putin or Trumpian, style offal, at its first, tell-tale and obnoxious, whiff.

-p.