Post # 622 CURA TE IPSM: PHYSICIAN, HEAL THYSELF

This is the second of our tripartite series of recommendations for countering the bias and perversive influence promoted by the ignorant “underbelly” of our Nation. The previous essay, (“ROSES AND SPADES”) espoused the tactical mandate of refraining from the grant to such organized groups of miscreants, the designation of any popularly familiar name (like “conservative” or ‘extreme right wing”). The latter tactical and prudent recommendation is made in the interest of denying to such reprehensible and dangerous cohorts, an undeserved and misleading appearance of attributed and  legitimate status. We have suggested that a more suitable designation be “societally nihilistic.”

In this second writing, we would recommend the prerequisite process of candid self-examination as to the extent of one’s [own] genuine belief in the ideal of truly universal equality. The exercise might be personally enlightening, based upon the remote possibility of the repressed existence of any vestigial impact, of the dark side of American racial history, in the form of some conceivably, subtle, unconscious bias. As an illustration in aid of clarification of this concept, we would reprise an anecdote, created by us for inclusion in an earlier essay on the subject of our despised noun, “race,” [“THE DIRTIEST WORD”]:

“A young white mother is routinely walking Linda, her six-year-old daughter, to school. The mother is a moral, literate, well-intentioned and properly socialized citizen. As an avid supporter of the principle of universal racial equality, she has been a regular donor to the local office f the NAACP and frequently attends meetings on the subject. Her Master’s Degree in Sociology from Barnard was earned by her intensive studies and thesis on the subject of underprivileged youth.

As she continues walking her young daughter to school, she soon sees a familiar black friend, similarly walking her own young daughter to school, and, immediately upon seeing the black friend, her daughter, Linda, suddenly, feels a subtle, slightly alarmed, but discernable hand squeeze.”

Lessons in racial difference are often unwittingly taught to young children by early, well-meaning lessons dealing in the subject of “we” and “they,” then, perhaps later, by occasionally overheard careless societal comments, and,  generally, by occasionally thoughtless and insensitive social interaction. Additionally, it is impossible to view the daily media and not be cognizant of the subject of racial differences, in the virtual plethora of contextual presentations.

To seek to eliminate racial bias, emanating from those disreputably described individuals, who think and behave in an intentionally biased and unamerican fashion, is an inarguably commendable aspiration and, in fact, defines our purpose in the presentation of these three essays.  Logically, one can do so, with greater effect, if he can assure himself of the absence of any unwitting, subliminal inclinations  [as in the anecdote] on his part, to perceive racially qualitative differences, early taught or, experienced, in the context of our less than ideally complete, egalitarian society. This matter requires personal, candid,  contemplation of past experience, present conceptions of value and excellence, and of nuanced personal criteria for the choice and maintenance of friendships. Do we socialize or participate in activities with others who are  racially disparate from us? Do we read their books, value their art and music, accept their folkways [if different from ours] have equal expectations of achievement and behavior?  Is our doctor or dentist, by chance, a member of a racial group other than ours? Is there complete and absolute equity in our standards of general evaluation of individual achievement?

In the existentially vital process of minimizing the impact and influence of the various [underbelly] insurgent groups and their un-American behavior we, usefully, and with analogous zeal, might objectively examine our inner selves to see if, or where, improvement in healthy and moral egalitarian  perception is needed. At such point we can justifiably armed with confirmed good conscience and civic purpose, take responsible action to counter the Nation’s chronically existing cancer of prejudice.

-p.  

Post # 622 CURA TE IPSM [PHYSICIAN, CURE THYSELF]

This is the second of our tripartite series of recommendations for countering the bias and perversive influence promoted by the ignorant “underbelly” of our Nation. The previous essay, (“ROSES AND SPADES”) espoused the tactical mandate of refraining from the grant to such organized groups of miscreants, the designation of any popularly familiar name (like “conservative” or ‘extreme right-wing”). The latter tactical and prudent recommendation was made, in the interest of denying to such reprehensible and dangerous cohorts, the undeserved and misleading appearance of an attributed and  legitimate status. We have suggested that the accurate designation be “societally nihilistic.”

In this second writing, we would recommend the prerequisite process of candid self-examination as to the extent of one’s [own] genuine belief in the ideal of truly universal equality. The exercise might be personally enlightening based upon the remote possibility of the repressed existence of any vestigial impact, of the dark side of American racial history, in the form of some conceivably, subtle, unconscious bias. As an illustration, in aid of clarification of this concept, we would reprise an anecdote, created by us for inclusion in an earlier essay on the subject of our despised noun, “race,” [“THE DIRTIEST WORD”]:

“A young white mother is routinely walking Linda, her six-year-old daughter, to school. The mother is a moral, literate, well-intentioned and properly socialized citizen. As an avid supporter of the principle of moral rectitude of universal racial equality, she has been a regular donor to the NAACP and frequently attends local meetings on the subject. Her Master’s Degree, in Sociology from Barnard, was themed on her intensive studies of underprivileged youth.

As she continues walking her young daughter to school, she soon sees a familiar black friend, similarly walking her own young daughter to school, and, immediately upon seeing the black friend, her daughter, Linda, suddenly, feels a subtle, slightly alarmed, but discernable hand squeeze.”

Lessons in racial difference are often unwittingly taught to young children by early, well-meaning lessons dealing in the subject of “we” and “they,” then, perhaps, later by occasionally overheard careless societal comments, and, by occasionally thoughtless and insensitive social interaction. Additionally, It is impossible to view the daily media and not be cognizant of the subject of perceived racial differences, in the virtual plethora of contextual presentations.

To seek to eliminate racial bias emanating from those disreputably described individuals, who think and behave in an intentionally biased and unamerican fashion, is an inarguably commendable aspiration and, in fact, defines our avowed purpose in the presentation of these three essays.  Logically, one can do so, with greater effect, if he can assure himself of the absence of any unwitting, subliminal inclinations  [as in the anecdote] on his part, to perceive racially qualitative differences, early taught or, experienced in the context of our less than ideally complete, egalitarian society. This matter requires personal, candid,  contemplation of past experience, present conceptions of value and excellence, and empirical personal criteria for the choice and maintenance of friendships. Do we socialize or participate in activities with others who are racial disparate from us? Do we read their books, value their art and music, accept their folkways [if different from ours] have equal expectations of predictable achievement and behavior?  Is our doctor or dentist, by chance, a member of a racial group other than ours? Is there complete and absolute equity in our standards of general evaluation of individual achievement?

In the existentially vital process of minimizing the impact and influence of the various [underbelly] insurgent groups and their un-American behavior, we, usefully, and with analogous zeal, might objectively examine our inner selves to see if, or where, improvement in mature and moral egalitarian perception is needed. At such point we can justifiably armed with good conscience and purpose, take responsive action against the Nation’s chronically existing, atavistic, cancer of prejudice.

-p.  

Post # 621 THE SPADE AND THE ROSE* [The first step, “reference”]

We, like most traditionally mainstream American citizens, are profoundly disturbed and appalled by the public emergence of a presenting, organized, underbelly of the Nation. As we see things, the large conglomerate of members of the “underbelly” (inadequately educated, poorly informed, semi-illiterate, reductionist malcontents) previously remaining amorphous, and relatively dormant, was recently catalyzed and conglomerated by the influence and actions of the miscreant-in chief, Donald Trump.

We refer as illustration to the shameful persistence of racial and other chronic pathologies of prejudice, the violent acts of bigotry by quasi-military hate groups such as the “Oath Keepers,” “The Proud Boys,” and other White Christian National hate groups, the regular homicides, criminally practiced by Municipal police against unarmed black Americans, the expression and acts of Anti-Semitism, the prevalence of dedicated ownership and murderous use of guns, including military-style weapons, the xenophobic hatred of immigrants, homophobia, the maintenance of insane conspiracy theories against “the left,” not to omit the huge, unprecedented and truly shocking, Bastille-like, mob insurrection that took place against the Capitol Building in Washington, January 6.

Citizens of our Democratic Republic, of late, have come to feel existentially threatened, and concerned, engendered by the Capitol Building Insurrection, and have prioritized the need for the elimination, or at least the limitation in the action and nefarious influence, of such pestilent and dangerous groups.

It is our view that the appropriate elimination or, at the very least, the minimization of influence of such un-American cohorts, begins with their agreed, accurate and tactical designation as unabashed and un-American outliers; as enemies of decency and of decent aspirations for a benign and advancing society. Affording to such antagonists to the development of an enlightened and truly equitable democracy, some historically familiar and acceptable name, such as “right-wing” or “conservative,” is to unwisely bestow upon them an undeserved and misleadingly familiar and acceptable name. An organizational or definitive name supports a publicly communicated image of an intrinsically proper purpose or philosophy. 

Our salient point is most important and perhaps deserving of a brief but illustrating,  diversion. The well-known, deceivingly enigmatic, statement by the poetess, Gertrude Stein, encapsulates the essence of our theme. “A rose is a rose,” aesthetically and pointedly asserts that the rose is so uniquely beautiful that it is only comparable to itself. To merely refer to the word “rose” says Stern, cryptically, is to describe it sufficiently. By extreme contrast, the title, viz., “Right to Life,” for an organization that denies needed assistance to the fetus after birth and promulgates the ownership of guns, is misleadingly fraudulent.

To accurately categorize the essential character of any phenomenon is to summon up its accurate and intrinsic image or function. In the political context, the traditional designations of “Left” or “Right,” carry with them understood political ideologies concerning social equality and governmental participation in life or, alternatively, social hierarchy and small government. Such categorization is familiar shorthand in the designation of political belief. As these political differences endure, so do the recognized categories.

The salient point is that to rationally or empirically, categorize a group is to recognize its status and assure it of enduring qualities of deserved accreditation and, perhaps, permanency, or contrariwise, of discredit and abhorred existence. We have constantly observed that the un-American underbelly of our Nation, hundreds of which miscreants vandalized the Capitol Building, inflicting death, and destruction, have been referred to as ”right-wing extremists.” They are indeed extremists, but neither “right” nor “left” wing, on any rational and politically acceptable scale of divergent opinion. They are instead, far outside the pale of [any] civilized society. Their frame of reference is neither egalitarian nor hierarchal, but, perversely nihilistic. The mindset is assumedly based upon dissatisfaction with their life, for reasons which they defensively and in a self-serving manner, project on to third parties; these include, the government, ethnic groups, or racial minorities; self-concocted perceptions of causative conspiracies, on foreigners, on conceivably any cause, except, truthfully and painfully, upon their own personal failure. Each miscreant presumably, is the sole and exclusive owner of his own nuanced reasons and concocted rationalizations, for his discontent.

As our first recommended tactically rational step,* in the formulation of an effective response to these hateful miscreants, we must refrain, when referring to their democratically subversive groups, from the use of any historically familiar or accepted categories and construe our references to the grim reality of an unacceptable, malcontented, vicious mob. A rose is a rose, and a spade is, enduringly, called a spade.

-p.

*We will take the liberty to offer some further proposed steps regarding the management of the pathology of America’s underbelly, in succeeding posts.

Post # 620 LETTER ELVIRA SWINE TO PAM DEMIC (Spring, 2021)

Wistful Vista, Ohio

Dear Pam,

It was good to receive your last letter and to know that you and Fred and the chickens, Miss Henrietta and Mr. Purvis are well and happy (ha! ha !,  just fooling about the chickens). Two things. First a correction-the Preacher that replaced Rev. Snarl, because of his worsened hemorrhoids, (the new one with the bad hiccoughs and the bad lisp)  is named Rev. Abendigo Chuzzlewit – not, what you wrote, Mishak Abendego. You must have been in mind of the Bible story or the song.  Second, if you feel that you’re across the road neighbors, Reggie (I’ll bet $5 its “Reginald”) and Serena Salpeter are so strange, then, why not invite them and their two sons, Jason and Mason also, over some evening soon for supper. You can, finally, make your famous rhubarb-apple pie and she could bring some of her butter cookies and ask questions during coffee. Tell them not to bring along their “smelly” pet goat, because, besides the lose- your- appetite smell, he will surely rile up and raise feathery hell with the two pet chickens.

Even though we live so far apart, the two girls want to know about the Salpeter boys’ ages. I don’t know but that young girls are so different these days.

Talking about our new (replacement) Preacher, he lives right here in the neighborhood and they say that he and his wife are always fussing real loud so that the local parishioners can hear them. It must be a real howl to hear that same hiccoughing, lisping voice who delivers the regular Sunday morning sermons, raise holy hell (just fooling again!) with the Missus.

Spring has finally arrived in Wistful Vista- the yellow daffodils and the forsythia are having a ball. I am going to divide my red potted geraniums this afternoon just as soon as I buy another bag of potting soil.

Best wishes to you and Fred and write back soon.

Elviry.

Post # 619 AMERICAN MAKEOVER

In the immediately preceding writing, [“618”] we empathically observed that enlightened Americans’ natural and proper inclination to present the merits of the day’s controversial issues, to that portion of the Nation termed, “ the underbelly,” who are motivated by other than considered principle, is naively ineffective. In this writing, we will state our affirmative views as to the contemporary promotion of more inclusive enlightenment and will additionally, take the liberty to briefly indicate our nuanced thoughts concerning the conceivable possibility of a still ongoing process of human [societal] evolution.

Mankind, as depicted in great literature and reported in written histories, appears not to be appreciably different from its contemporaries; apparently, the persona is identical but played out in a different circumstantial ambience. Classic literature, and other forms of aesthetic expression, seem to recycle similar passions and aspirations, strengths, as well as flaws and weaknesses in the eternal human character. Proceeding to our theme, there has always been the segment of society that is, in various degrees, enlightened, and governed by reason, and also existing, by contrast, the figurative, “mob.”

Recent signature events have evinced, a populist elevation of a prior, ignorant, incapable, and bigoted person to the Office of the Presidency, his effective use of the fascist style “Big Lie,” an unprecedented violent insurrection against the Nation’s Capital Building, the  existence of military style groups, dedicated to Christian White Supremacy, the frustrating and tragic continuance of racial bias and prejudice (most tragically by police), race-based voter suppression by municipal and State Legislatures, the prevalence of gun ownership despite its tragic results, religious bias respecting woman’s personal right of abortion, the populist  hatred of immigration (in a Nation  populated 100% by immigrants and their progeny), archaic xenophobia, a disrespect for science and learning responsible for thousands of unnecessary Covid deaths, the ignorant dismissal of planetary (global warming) studies and vital matters of environmental concern, and a wide-spread disrespect for societal educational advancement.

Unless America can construe an effective way to ameliorate this pernicious condition, the shameful waste of human potential represented by our currently large conglomerate of ignorant and reductionist individuals will endure, and continue to impair the intended functioning of our Republic. In the interest of our ailing Nation and its well-intentioned, educated, and informed citizenry, we would propose a possible[ albeit, by practical necessity], long-term, solution to this existential democratic problem.

The problem, to repeat, is fundamental, and multi-faceted; change will predictably require much long-term, ameliorative and instructive effort on the part of a willing and sufficiently dedicated citizenry. For clarity, and deliberative convenience, we have separately set forth each proposed facet of change. Predictably, not all proposals will be applicable or relevant to the reader but may be of utility in instructively raising the consciousness of others.

Early childhood. Even the most well-intentioned teachings on the matter of a young child’s identity may constitute an insidious primer on the inculcation of racial or ethnic prejudice. The concept of “we” and “they” can be transmogrified by childhood imagination to the conclusion of the unacceptability of others who look, speak, or differ in folkways, eventuating in an unacceptable lifetime of bigoted perception. Young children must be made aware that, their own, singular identity, is but a part of an equally acceptable, multi-racial, and ethnically diverse, world population. Lessons not in “we” and “they” but, preferably and inclusively, “us.”

Family teachings of values and morality. Parents should eschew the morally flawed practice of rewards for good action and punishment for unacceptable behavior. Children, in their early years, should be instructed in the understanding of valued self-image and the inner distinction of moral and equitable action from wrongful or prejudicial behavior. To be intrinsically effective, such teachings should be modeled after the parents’ own consistent moral behavior.

Morality’s ultimate reward is in one’s recognition of a lifelong presence of self-respect and the inner, comforting, sense of personal rectitude. “Heaven or hell” morality may, empirically, be a significant error in many religious teachings.

School. To prevent cynicism in later years, the practice of candor in the young student, a revisit is recommended to propaganda-like National myths such as teaching of the Nation’s, “ Manifest Destiny” to expand its boundaries to the Pacific Ocean. Trust would be encouraged if accuracy, however shameful, is historically adhered to. The Nation’s unvarnished history relates the unjust uprooting of Native Americans from their traditionally desirably arable lands, by the Federal government to the windy, dry western territory[“ lands more suitable to injun’s”]. If still in use, such National myths should immediately be scrapped, as, indeed, should the untruthful teachings of benign black slavery.

In the development of an honest and sincere citizenry, the young student should be candidly instructed concerning the presently regrettable “dark days” of American history, and the Nation’s subsequent continuing efforts to rectify them; and of the admirable, longstanding efforts of good citizens, white and black, toward a true and lasting universal American equality.

Private life. In our writings, we have always maintained that elective time spent in personally rewarding pursuits, materially assists in the pursuit of wisdom and a mature self-image. Activities such as reading good literature, the enjoyment of music and the pursuit of skills and hobbies are, of inestimable of value in the building of self-confidence and individuality. Introduction into the regular practice of spare time reading and the acquisition of knowledge thereby lends understanding of self and others to the student’s array of knowledge. The rewards of personal advancement results to a life of meaningful value and self -satisfaction.

The earnest desire for knowledge is an invitation to an enjoyable life of wonder and inquiry. In this instance, parents and relatives who enjoy reading on a regular basis can empirically serve as models. In addition, the useful routine perusal of a daily newspaper is vital to the development of an informed, useful member of a representative democracy.

Family interaction with society. Our favorite, and often referenced, 19th Century empirical philosopher, John Locke held that man is born with a clean slate (“tabula rasa”) and that all of man’s knowledge is acquired by life experience. In addition to the four previous proposals, this one is, in the same fashion, effected and affected by the individual’s life experience. The regular observation of parental and other related adults in inter-societal interaction with diverse others, has an impactful influence on the child’s, developing social behavior. Proper, respectful treatment and communication with all members of society, of every physical description, from neighbor to postman to the door-to-door salesman, is specifically noted in the observant child’s mental notebook, as is the parent’s choices of friends and associates.

We would respectfully submit the above recommendations for the reader’s consideration, as the cumulative, thoughtful product of more than eight decades of objective societal observation, and never flagging hope for a better National society. We believe that the above considerations would be of material aid to further progress, in man’s imperceptible ongoing process of spiritual and moral evolution.

-p.

Post #618 SOCIETAL PASSPORTS

t is our observation and considered view, that the lack of requisite success by right thinking Americans regarding controversial issues of the day, such as gun control, woman’s right to abortion, even prophylactic face masks, is attributable to a fundamental error in their assumptions and strategic policy.  For example, the obdurate inflexibility of the proponents of the purported right to own guns, and the staunch opponents of a woman’s right to choose abortion, appear to be fundamentally unrelated to the actual merits of the issues, concerning gun ownership nor the maternal right to terminate a  pregnancy. The principal theme of this essay is based upon the writers’ empirical observation that a great many views on contemporary issues in dispute, have far less to do with relevant facts or coveted rights than they do as an overt assertion of loyalty and demonstrated identification with a chosen tribal dogma.

In a well-known Biblical account, the alternate uses of an ethnic sibilant in the pronunciation of the  Hebrew word ”shibboleth,” was adjudged solely determinative as to the identification of a speaker, as friend or foe and bore lethal ramifications. The actual translation of this crucially determinative word,(var. “sheath of wheat”) was entirely beside the point and irrelevant; what was lethally determinative was the derivative, tribal identification demonstrated by of the manner of its utterance.

Contemplative, morally principled citizens, by appropriate inclination, tend to rationally argue the perceived merits or drawbacks of presenting controversial issues. A creditable and rational approach to gun control, for example, might cite as evidentiary support, the vast number of homicides due to the nonregulation of deadly unregulated firearms, the injustice and personal misery caused by State criminalization of needed abortion, and as well, the accurate meaning and context of the word  “Socialism;” the latter, often ignorantly, and tactically, employed as an epithet. Rational citizens, seldom seem to be aware of the bizarre and unjust phenomenon that by choosing to argue the actual merits of a controversial issue, they may be missing the decisive point, and thus, are less than desirably effective.

We confidently assert our observation that the acknowledged unhealthy divisiveness extant in our Nation, is fundamentally and essentially, socio-cultural, rather than politically or economically based. The contemporaneous divisive marker does not delineate the fundamental diversity of philosophy of governance, nor the competing self-interest of economic class. It has evolved fundamentally and unhappily, founded upon the element of neurotically needed demonstrated loyalty to a “tribe” and its (“group think”) point of view. This unhealthy phenomenon recently diagnosed, exacerbated, and metastasized by a seemingly endless travesty of four years of Donald Trump has sought to make thoughtless tribal loyalty a priority, and rational and responsible citizenship, repugnant. Such metastasized pathology appears to chronically persist within a considerable swath of American society;  notwithstanding the electoral recent defeat of its provocateur and high Priest, Donald Trump. As an historic fact, the participation of a vast, inadequately educated and poorly informed underbelly of the  Nation, was a significant factor in Trump’s successful run.

In a many of our writings we have expressed, in one context or another, the eternal moral obligation of mankind to demonstrate appropriate gratitude to Natural Evolution, for the generous gift of an advanced brain; affording to man the capability of reason. We have consistently extolled the practice of  activities and the pursuit of interests which advance the individual’s growth and capability of reason in the direction of the ultimate goal of wisdom, man’s highest and most admirable calling.

It is singularly appropriate and useful for individuals to use their acquired knowledge and available wisdom, in the understanding of their life and world and to personally develop the valuable rational tool of mature perception enabling the wise solution of problems. For clarity, we restate and eternally endorse these principles without exception.  It is the advanced capability of rational thought that places homo sapiens at the top of the anthropological tree.

Yet, it would appear to be fruitless, even naïve, to assume that the intransigent members of the group-think members of America’s underbelly, will respond, positively to meritorious argument based on reason, or factual reality. They would predictably perceive such eternally appropriate phenomena as relatively irrelevant when compared to their subjectively vital personal considerations of loyalty to an autocratic leader such as Donald Trump, and/or the views of a chosen group or mindset, to which they have sacrificed their persona and free will; the latter, in neurotic exchange for the perceived comfort of assurance of needed acceptance. Other non-affiliated members of America’s underbelly internally possess their own personal dynamics of reductive ignorance.

Our position is certainly not to the effect that thoughtful Americans should, to any degree, abandon their appropriate practice of the rational consideration and articulation of the intrinsic merits, or lack thereof, of the presenting issues of the day. To the contrary, as previously expressed, we continue to recommend the thoughtful continuance of articulation of persuasive arguments on the merits or defects of presenting issues. We, in this writing, merely seek to an empathic precaution against disappointment, resulting from well-intentioned but, in this instance, functionally naive and persuasively intended expectations.

-p.       

Post # 617 THE BREAKING DAWN

It is eminently predictable, that memories of the fearful and disheartening advent and widespread progression of the potentially lethal, Covid-19 Pandemic will be enduring if not, indeed, lifelong. The dark, unsettling days of governmental proscribed social interaction and prophylactic quarantine effected impactful, and at times, traumatic reaction across the entire landscape of the American human persona.

Kudos and unlimited gratitude are universally due to the capable scientists at our Nation’s pharmaceutical companies for the unprecedentedly rapid development of safe and effective vaccines, presently in wide administration; pointing to a bright light at the end of this dark viral tunnel and promising a bright breaking dawn, following a long dark night of existential terror and tragic loss.

We would at this juncture, pose the presenting [sociological-psychological] question as to how much, or to what extent, if at all, we have changed after so many consecutive months of unnatural prophylactic avoidance of others and major upheaval of our individual lifestyle. Included in this novel phenomenon are curtailment of regular employment and overall changes in long-established routines. The salient issue at hand is whether the adult that emerges from this experience will be the same as he was prior to its advent. If our self-image and defining persona are, in large part, developed from, and reactive to, our empirical association with other members of society, has our nuanced individuality altered at all, or perhaps confusingly blurred from this relatively isolated experience?  For one thing, has the requirement of isolation from non-familial members of society, resulted, for better or worse, in increased introspection and self-examination?

As appears to our [unprofessional] view, one’s empirical reaction to altered or new experience would appear to vary with his previously established personality. Our expectation would be that individuals whose sensitivities are not ordinarily directed to introspection or ruminative, self -examination, may, conceivably, react with less anxiety than others, more inclined to situational and personal analysis.

If our speculation is generally sound, such a persona may more easily, perhaps, even happily, adjust to the alteration of responsibility, viz. the freedom of obligatory employment, and perhaps other societal responsibilities. In accordance with such contemplation,  others, by contrast, possessing an ever-present, natural inclination to self-analysis and aspiration for an acceptably nuanced self-image and societal identification, have, conceivably, found the life changes more disorienting and alteration less acceptable and more productive of anxiety, or even, to a degree, disorientation. So many people seem, naturally, to define themselves, in large part, by their profession or area of employment, that it may be acceptable to presume various degrees of, at least, partial disorientation in the suspension of one’s personally perceived societal role as well as his identification.

With the nightmare of the pandemic happily dawning on the nature and quality of the individual’s resumption of the former normality, societal and personal will be fascinating and instructive.

-p.

Post # 616 (2nd ) Reply, PAM EDEMIC TO ELVIRA SWINE [“Neighbors”]

El Paso, Texas

Dear Elvira:

It was so good to hear from you again and to know that you and all of the Swines are well and doing good. Abel and I were sorry to hear about Rev. Snarl’s worsened hemorrhoids that caused his retirement and replacement by Rev. Mishak Abendigo with the bad hiccup and lisp. But I am sure that the congregation will get used to his style and Fred will still be able to sleep just as well during sermons.

Our cross-the-road neighbors, Reggie and Serena Salpeter are very nice but different. I forgot to tell you last time that when we first arrived at our new house, we found a white-flowered dish with two dozen butter cookies on the kitchen table from Serena Salpeter to welcome us. Her Reggie works for a large well-digging company and Serena, in addition to taking care of their two children plus Barnaby, their smelly pet goat, also works at the plant for the El Paso Water Company, as part time official taster. Yesterday, their naughty pet goat Barnaby took it into his head to eat up all her yellow primroses and some of their next-door neighbor’s Shasta daisies. She will just have to keep that Barnaby on a stronger leash. The two sons are Jason T. and Mason J. Salpeter. Reggie does the family cooking, due to the fact that the only things Serena says she does passably well, are American cheese omelets, fruited dry cereal and butter cookies (like the three dozen we found in the kitchen when we first arrived).

 Strange, I am puzzled about what church they attend because I always see them every weekend, in jeans, outside on their lawn, mowing the grass, watering, or chasing after Barnaby and when it is nice weather, snoozing on their camp chairs or, when rainy, their large screened-in porch. The two Salpeter sons both belong to the City of El Paso chapter of the Boy Scouts and the local Little League, so we almost never see them. But they seem very friendly and respectful when you do see them.

I would like to write some more but it smells out here on the porch like my new batch of butter cookies are burning.

Best wishes and stay safe,

Pam.

Post # 615 SIN AND REDEMPTION

As we avidly follow the televised proceedings of the ongoing Chauvin trial, our thoughts are routed back to our earlier essay, “What Do We Tell the Children?” The earlier writing candidly focuses on American history’s dark periods, the most shameful of which, inarguably, was the period of the enslavement of black human beings, and the ensuing persistence of the injustice and immorality of Jim Crow prejudice.

Governmental legislation has been enacted relative to the elimination of the immoral, atavistic, and prejudicial treatment of black Americans, legally decreeing the equality of all citizens, regardless of race, color, or creed. Nevertheless, neither Statutes providing for universal equality, such as the Voting Rights Act and other major Civil Rights Legislation, nor confirming, precedential Court Rulings have, empirically, had sufficient ameliorative impact on our population of intractably bigoted citizens. An archaic and irrational perception and generally contextual prejudice, against people of color, appears stubbornly to persist, in the generational psyche of (too)  many members of the American society.

The fact-pattern  in the Chauvin prosecution is an illustrative example of the numerous instances of unconscionable treatment, including homicide, of unarmed black men, by white police officers. The Chauvin case is painfully demonstrative of the irrationally skewed context in which police, and too many others, maintain toward American people of color. It was an especial relief for all right-thinking citizens to take note that the white police chief, and the other white witnesses [as well as black] testified uniformly,  to the practice of brutally excessive and arbitrary force, practiced by the white police officer, Chauvin, against the handcuffed, supine and completely immobilized, black arrestee, George Floyd.

To be fair, the general context and maintenance of white prejudicial attitudes toward blacks has, of late, been somewhat ameliorated, but far too slowly and incompletely. Despite the appropriate enactment of civil rights Statutes, it has been our observation that legislation in this area is relatively ineffectual, without a concomitant change in the bigoted mindset of those whose inclinations are thus intended to be legislatively proscribed. In our view, effective personal persuasion, by morally inclined citizens, is a mandatorily requirement, in addition to legal strictures, to achieve meaningful results regarding this generationally, chronic inheritance.

The much-admired philosopher and Holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel, wisely and memorably  said, “The opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference.”

Those Americans who sincerely aspire to the Nation’s attainment of its publicly avowed and emblematic promises of universal equality and moral justice have an historical mandate to become pro-active in the accomplishment of that aspiration. We are of the view that the American white citizens in equal measure to those of color have a vested interest in an America finally and redemptively, living up to its avowal of equality and justice for all. It empirically appears to be insufficient, merely to be in favor of civil rights; white Americans, perforce, have a symbolically historical, redemptive, and moral obligation to be outspoken and affirmatively, pro-active in the cause of existing racial and ethnic equality.

We are thus of the view, that when the occasion prompts, it is the derivative moral mandate of all white, upstanding American citizens, actively and resolutely, to join their fellow citizens of color in the effort to eradicate this evil and irrational prejudice, bequeathed to us all, as an unwanted legacy from an earlier National period. It would be tantamount to the engagement in a  symbolic historic redemption, for white American citizens, to actively and energetically, agitate for black racial equality.

Regarding the question concerning an acceptable response to the sensitive question, what do we tell our children, posed earlier, we might candidly advise them of the dark periods in American history, and of our dedicated and personal efforts to redemptively ameliorate them.

-p.