Post # 816 MISSING GUARDRAILS

It was some decades ago, that we read the chilling, 1973, Sinclair Lewis novel, “It Can’t Happen Here.” The author’s prescient admonition was as explicit as it was disturbingly, conceivable. In its essence, the novel describes the rise of dictatorship in America, led by a stereotypical, Adolph Hitler.

Our recollection of Lewis’ implicit warning, was evoked, by the plethora of recent telling events, in our American society, the likes of which, have historically, posed existential threats to democracy and led to neo-fascistic autocracy. These disturbing events are exemplified, by Trump’s” Big Lie,” in undermining of the credibility of democratic elections, the recent, widespread, denigration of truthful facts, when deemed convenient or dogmatically necessary, legislative attacks on voters’ rights, particularly, those of our black and brown communities, official deprecation of homosexuality, in all of its facets, the reprise of populist antisemitism, the growth of populist discontent, the paranoiac need to carry deadly weapons, perverse censorship, banning and burning of books, denigration of learning and enlightenment, the xenophobic opposition to refugee immigration, perpetuation of the death penalty, control over personal liberties, notably, encompassing, the women’s natural right of abortion, the downplaying of modern science, when in contradiction to dogma, and, terrifyingly, the active encouragement of violence and insurrection.

We had previously, been reliably assured, that the Justices, comprising SCOTUS, the highest Court in the Nation, constituted a needed guardrail against tyranny. Such vitally, important protective status had been based upon their professional dedication, and practiced juridical wisdom, as guides to pass upon, and interpret, issues, consistent with the language and spirit of our Constitution and Statutory law, thereby, affirmatively, protecting our democratic form of government against tyranny as a reliable, firm and protective guardrail.

Tragically, it appears, that such traditionally, foundational principles, or “guardrail”, underpinning our political and sociological confidence, may, sadly, no longer exist. For the past quarter-century, the High Court seems to have been infected with the chronically, debilitating virus of political partisanship, in bright contrast to its former, (Statutorily mandated) immunity from that pathology.        

 Recently, the highest Court in the Nation (SCOTUS), now vested, with three conservative, Justices, appointed by the popularly conceded, worst President, in U.S. history, has, inappropriately, chosen to revisit its previously settled determination, recognizing and assuring women of the legality of the natural liberty of American women, to elect abortion. Said natural right, expressly, confirmed, by upwards of one-half century of consistent legal precedent, was cruelly erased, to the delight, and in accordance with, the pernicious and atavistic, un- American agenda of the bigoted, “White Christian America.” It would now appear that the right to exercise said liberty has, judicially, been determined, to be reserved to the States; which, presumably, have the requisite capability to determine recondite issues of birth control, but, apparently, not those concerning guns.

Such unusual admission and reconsidered determination, of the matter, testing the long-established, right of abortion, no doubt, occurred, as responsive to the continuous demands of right-wing- religiously partisan, interests, which, motivational basis, transformed the subject issue, originally, founded upon the substantive issues of civil liberty and privacy, to a contemporary, political issue.

In recent years, it appears that SCOTUS has, contrary, to its, established and well-founded history of procedural constraint, regarding political or partisan matters has apparently deemed such matters, selectively, acceptable. This, “off the rails” policy of arbitrary, acceptance, of partisan issues, in our view, is a most dramatic, harmful and irresponsible, change of direction. We are obliged to presume that the bizarre, choice to accept and rule (again) on the established, precedential, abortion issue, was in tacit compliance with the Nation’s partisan, religious interests. This unfortunate decline in legal and juridical principle in addition, and most significantly, an unauthorized transgression of the Constitutional “Establishment Clause,” prohibiting governmental involvement in religious matters.

 [N.B. As an irresistible, additional comment, admittedly, somewhat unrelated to the present theme, the tactical mantra of such, professed, religious believers, in “Life,” is empirically, refuted, by their opposition to needed assistance to the protected fetus, after the moment of its birth, by their unwavering opposition to gun regulation, their support of  capital punishment, and strident opposition to lifesaving, fugitive immigration. In fact, the only Biblical admonitions, (remaining unchanged) for the period of 2000 years, since the apocryphal birth of Jesus, relate to religious observance and power. In this respect, the, often high-jacked and ubiquitously, quoted, Bible  is referenced, as the authoritative source, despite the fact that, to our knowledge, the Bible does not contain any admonition against abortion but, does contain many  recommendations concerning empathy and peaceful relations.] 

Additionally, SCOTUS has demonstrated its current infirmity, by its erroneous, unsympathetic and irresponsible, treatment of the gun control issue. It “politically” acceded to the conservative right-wing, in its ruling that the Second Amendment grants all American citizens the right to own weapons. It takes but ten minutes of cursory reading of American Constitutional History, to correctly understand, that the “People’s right to bear arms,” (muskets) referred solely to the State Militias, and was part of a compromise, between the “Federalists” and The States Rights People; the latter, finally, agreeing to a Central government, provided that the separate States, (“The People”) had the right, within the Federal System, to be created, to raise a Militia.

Such errant analysis regarding, gun ownership, in face of the countless acts of mass homicide, often committed by distraught or mentally unfit citizens employing advanced, rapid-fire military armaments, is an additional, demonstration that SCOTUS has, irrefutably, gone off the rails, with this seal of approval,  now, apparently, awarded to the errant, populist- influenced and irresponsible, mob.

Even further, and as well, outside the responsible and compassionate guardrails, SCOTUS has just ruled, to the delight of the profiteering- sociopathic, inclinations of the industrial lobby, that that the EPA is significantly, limited in its authority to delimit, unhealthy and planet endangering, greenhouse gases, by enforcing prudent and safe, natural, (“alternate”) sources of power (i.e., wind, solar, hydroelectrical).

Weighing the many precipitous degrees of empirical vulnerability, existentially, inherent in the vital matter, of the survival of our democratic republic, the recent removal of the Nation’s, designated, and relied upon, guardrail, may prove to be the most worrisome and ultimately, the most devastating.

-p.

Post # 815    MALEVOLENT POTUS, APPALLING SCOTUS

The Supreme Court of the United States, (“SCOTUS”) created, and functionally exists, as the Nation’s highest legal authority, and is taxed with the awesome responsibility, to settle and establish, the Nation’s contested legal issues, by its authoritative and binding decisions (“Judicial Review”). Accordingly, it is of functional and existential importance, that it be entirely free of partisan or ideological influence.

Notwithstanding, such consequential responsibility, it sadly appears, that after fifty years of settled and precedential law, (as enunciated in Roe v. Wade) the legal issue of the personal right of women to obtain an abortion, has been unnecessarily, revisited and callously, overturned.  We have selectively employed the adverb, “callously,” since, despite one- a half-century of determined and assured legality, the right had become universally, accepted, and empirically, relied upon.

We had previously, revered, and greatly respected, this august and impartial arbitrator of the Nation’s contested laws, for the consistent justice and wisdom of its decisions; that is, until the inarguably, political case  (in 2000), of Bush v. Gore. As will be shown, said case was unprecedently and unconstitutionally, accepted and determined by the High Court. Our consequent disappointment was reinforced by its later acceptance, and determination of the inarguably, political matter, the Citizens’ Union case; and now, further, muddied, by the Court’s political acceptance and determination of an abhorrent, and unusual, revisit to the settled abortion rights controversy. We will elucidate, further, in the following paragraph, but not before, observing, that the formerly revered, history of SCOTUS, had been one in which civil rights were protected, not taken away

SCOTUS is, as understood, one of three independent parts of our constitutionally, created, tripartite government, i.e., the “Judicial,” the other two, being the “Executive” (Office of the President) and the “Legislative” (Congress). The Constitutional provision mandating the “Separation of Powers,”  since the inception of SCOTUS, constitutionally, mandates a special proceeding, termed the “Writ of Mandamus,” as prerequisite to the admission of a case, to successfully, demonstrate, that no “political issue,” was conceivably, impacted, directly, or indirectly, by the relevant case.

It is, distressingly disappointing, that the Gore v. Bush, election dispute and the Citizen’s Taxpayer cases, were, indisputably, “political cases and, accordingly, their acceptance and determination were inconsistent with the SCOTUS precedent. Any sophomoric observation of the 1995 Citizen’s Taxpayer case, would inarguably, lead to the (obvious) conclusion that its admission and subsequent determination, were inadmissibly, political and partisan, favoring wealthy donors to political campaigns.

The High Court’s partiality was evident, by its sophomoric and erroneous rationalization, doubtlessly deemed necessary for its partisan determination. In essence, SCOTUS held that corporations were “persons,” and therefore had the protected, Constitutional right (freedom of speech) to contribute any (unlimited) amount of money to political campaigns. It is shocking and regrettable, to observe that such reasoning appears to be abjectly, cynical; every law school freshman knows, that the corporate “person,” is merely a legally created and recognized, contractual fiction (to limit liability) and has no rights of personhood or humanity, whatsoever. Surely, SCOTUS must be apprised of this concept as well, as law school freshmen and most businesspersons; they should be ashamed of themselves for the inarguably, improper and partisan, granting of copious financial benefit for big business and its attendant damaging inequity to American, voting democracy.

If any doubt, conceivably, were possible, as to the marked decline in principle, and the improper, partisan nature, of the (majority) of SCOTUS, (three of whose justices, were appointed by Donald J. Trump, the undisputed, Olympic gold medal winner, of the title, “Worst President in American History”), every scintilla of such doubt should be dispelled, by the recent action of  SCOTUS; in its, all too apparent, religiously, partisan, and improper, erasure of the compassionate, fifty-year-old precedent, assuring the personal liberty of American women, to the exercise of their natural right, to terminate their own pregnancy.

-p.          

Blogpost #814     PARTY TIME

 The conventional understanding of the designation,” Political Party,” is that of an organization of members, generally sharing similar ideologies, that exists primarily to support candidates in elections. In democratic countries, competition has historically existed between liberal and conservative parties.

American electoral politics has essentially, been dominated by two major parties; the Democrats,    philosophically, constituting the center-left, and the Republicans, the center-right. Since the middle of the 20th Century, more specifically, the Presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson, the Democratic members of Congress, took up the progressive cudgels of the cause of civil rights and remained dominant, in the Northern States. Congressional Democrats who had traditionally, been proponents of segregation (the “Dixiecrats”) withdrew, to become members of the Republican Party, which party has had its traditional home base in the Southern states.

Historically, the philosophical differences between the two political parties have been on such major issues as, taxes, the proper role of government, entitlements, gun control, abortion, immigration, health care, and environmental policy. In general, the Democratic Party has consistently, emphasized equality and social responsibility, while the Republican Party, has championed business, economic liberalism and opposition to governmental regulation.

There had always been a measure of polarization between citizens, on issues encompassing religious versus secular matters, national versus globalist policies, traditionalism versus modernism, and rural versus metropolitan. It would appear, however, that of late, political and social cleavages have become so deep as to override commonalities and have become divisibly, entrenched and self-perpetuating. In most cases, it appears, divisiveness and rancor have become the byproducts of divergent views on issues, themselves rather than party identification.

Such implacable differences are not necessarily ideological, but, fundamentally, appear to be based upon social and national differences. It is frightening and intellectually disturbing, to observe that such perpetually, deep cleavages in belief, appear to afford less importance to truth, and decisive weight given to the message (“group think”) of their “tribe.” The predictable and necessary result is the development of societal rancor and divisiveness, making difficult or impossible, tolerance, compromise and even social interaction. This unhealthy pathology, has tragically, metastasized, to a great number of our society and, as well, to our legislative and judicial branches of government.

Notably more discernable, since the disastrous one-term as President, of Donald J. Trump, is the pathological phenomenon that factual truth has lost relevance, comparable, to the immutable ideology of one’s committed group. What has, empirically, developed is a veritable holy war between the truth and personal, or party, interests. This societal and political competition was the essential catalyst for the January 6, revolutionary violence. 

It is existentially, necessary that mainstream America be cognizant of this ongoing, perilous, decline and atavistic, metamorphosis, by voting and acting, in accordance with the well-founded expectations of its founders and thereby, causing the reinstatement of our traditional, systemic values and, thereby, reprise our former standing, as the global avatar of fairness and enlightenment.                                          

p.

Post # 813 THE BIG CITY: AUDITORY HOLOGRAPHY (poesie)

Do you attend upon that familiar din
Of loudly resonant radio talk
The vexatious telephone buzz
The impetuous elevator ding

Often times, you will also hear
An ear- piercing siren scream,
The flock clamor of sparrow chirps
The deep- throated pigeon gurgles

Also notably, to be heard,
The sibilant hiss of bus air brakes
The children’s’ excited shouts at play
The distant, deep bark of dogs.

It’s akin to sighting thru glass panes
And viewing the sites, just like,
Peering from the smooth, inside edge
Of a white curtained window’s wooden sill.

-p. [Leonard N. Shapiro 6/20/22]

Post # 812     ONE WHITE AMERICAN’S TAKE ON JUNETEENTH

The nature and status of an enslaved black human being,  was clearly and perversely, illustrated by the 1875  decision  of the Supreme Court of the United States, [Judge Taney] to the effect that a black slave was a “chattel” (agricultural property) and therefore, could legally be forced to be returned to his “owner.” Slavery (permitted by the “Good Book,”) continued from the founding of our Nation, in 1776 to Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of January 1865. The great State of Texas, fraudulently, withheld news of such Proclamation until the date of June 19 of that year; hence, the thankful observance of the present federal holiday, “Juneteenth.” Our readings inform us that, even through the subsequent period, known as the “Reconstruction,” the economic and social dynamics of black slavery continued, through the practice of sharecropping and segregation.

We can conceive of no heinous crime, more unspeakably evil and abhorrent, than the piracy of a man’s entire franchise of life, by another, for the purpose of lifetime chattel slavery, encompassing in addition, the cruel and heartrending separation of families, for the facilitation of commercial sale.

It may be the view of some Americans that, in view of their personal non-participation in such inhuman cruelty, (viz., we, ourselves are first generation Americans of religiously, prosecuted European Immigrants), that we have little moral obligation or rational responsibility, for America’s dark period of approximately, three hundred years of historical slavery. However, such exculpatory views are, at best, naïve and self-servingly and neurotically, defensive, and at worst, racially motivated.

 Our Nation committed the historical offense, and we have knowledge, even today, of the immoral continuance of Jim Crow policies.  White Americans, fortunately, are exempt from the racially biased, exclusionary policies, imposed upon black Americans, police abuse, limits on choice of residence, and society; imposed by bigoted citizens. We are not subject to unjust, racial (negative) stereotyping, socially and professionally.  The foregoing exemptions have been designated, “white privilege,” for which all right-thinking white citizens, albeit personally, blameless, should entertain, and civically accept a measure of moral responsibility. Specifically, it is our view that white citizens should undertake a more active role in the mutual achievement of the American promise of universal equality.

Lastly, and perhaps of paramount importance, is the reduction (ideally, the elimination) of bigotry, itself. It has been our painful and frustrated observation, that, although Statutory and Judicial proscriptions against bigotry, are existentially necessary in the articulation of societally, recognized and authoritative positions, they have been somewhat less than desirably, effective. A reading of many of our earlier essays will reveal our view that the ultimate solution resides, effectively, within the family. Early childhood teachings and intra- family communication, must eliminate characterizations of “we” and “they,” and emphasize the “us” in appropriate, recognition and acceptance of the normality of natural differences in man’s appearance and culture.

As American citizens, we congratulate our fellow citizens of color, on this significant holiday, and sincerely pledge our full support to the mutual goal of universal equality, and sincere friendship.

-p.        

Post # 811  TEMPUS FUGIT: Spasmodically

As a preface to this writing, we would declare two consequential principles.  First, we are sincerely in favor of progressive change, in every conceivable area; scientific, intellectual, societal and technical with the sole proviso, however, that, the change, ultimately, redounds to the benefit of humankind. Second, this writing is a hybrid, containing, a critical, serious and illustrative review of so-called societal “advances,” and changes, which, intrinsically have, or portend, retrograde results. The presented changes and “advances,” have been selected, in an attempt to dispute a commonly held, reductionist conceit, that any new change, is progressive..

                                                       RECENT CHANGES and “ADVANCEMENTS”

[The Smartphone]: The catastrophic advent of the “Smartphone, resulted from society’s willing surrender and thoughtless exchange of invaluable, personal interactive conversation, for cold, inexpressive, and mistimed, digital symbols, transmitted onto a small, handheld, lighted, screen by one party (only) to the desired interaction. The relatively insignificant benefits, of facility and convenience, has been foolishly elevated above the devastating loss of vital intimacy and humanism, so needed, in these troubling times of societal divisiveness and dysfunction.

[Alexa, remote television controls]:  The public is eternally, chided, in the public media, for its unhealthy lifestyle, relative to its lack of physical exercise and the issuance of dire warnings of the  dire pathological consequences, attendant upon being a “couch potato.” In this context, a plethora of commercials, are daily broadcasted, hawking various and sundry exercise machines, gym programs, all persuasively accentuating, the medical proscription of inactivity.

Yet, television remote appliances and sound-generated activities permit the individual to satisfactorily, accomplish desired tasks without the necessity of motion, the latter developments, being a boon to couch potatoes and anathema to the promotion of exercise. The reader may wish to read our earlier essay, entitled, ”Who Invited Alexa?”

[Fitbit pedometers]  Normally, the length of an intended walk or jog is calculated and considered, in advance. The extent of the intended distance is, easily, and normally, measurable, by reference to the established and fixed, objective measures of distance.  The number of steps, (which would vary with the individual), to be assessed by the Fitbit, understandably, can only be of interest to the obsessive personality; since the objective measurements of distance are miles, yards and feet. In any color or style, the Fitbit pedometer, seems properly, attributable, to personal insecurity or hypochondria.

[Hands-free driving, braking, parking] It is empirically rational, to assume that every ownership of an automobile, portends the eventual need for repair. The automobile repair business, consequently, accordingly, has been a consistently needed and thriving area of enterprise, since the advent of Ford’s Model T. It is empirically, foreseeable, that the robotic automotive device, which governs these newly advanced functions, particularly, the “benefit” of the “hands-free” robotic function, like all automotive parts will, predictably, degrade, causing disastrous results. Like many “advancements,” the desirability of this ridiculous indulgence, is far outweighed,   by its potential for disaster.

Additionally, please be on notice, that the operation of robot vacuum cleaner can be hazardous to nervous household cats.

[Changed sense of Nationhood]: The recent, uniquely, disastrous term of Donald J. Trump, presaged a significant worsening of a subtle, latent, National divisiveness, formerly, plaguing the Nation. Trump, tactically, exacerbated the dangerous condition, to the degree that neighbor shunned neighbor, in the event of his maintenance of disparate views. In accordance with the stereotypically,  autocratic playbook, Trump disparaged truthful facts, in favor of “alternate reality,” attacked the media, expressed approval of right-wing bigotry, appealed to selfish, xenophobic Americans, by his obdurate opposition to immigration, disrespected the Constitution and the Rule of Law, as well as societally prescribed morality. Such anti-establishment behavior, apparently, appealed to the discontented, insufficiently educated and poorly informed, citizens, who voted him in, tactically, supported by financing from industrialists who value profits over (regulations protecting) health.

The ensuring alteration, or material change, from our traditional feelings of democracy, amounts to another example of unfortunate, recent change. The historically, reverenced, identification with, and pride of Nation, on the part of many of the citizenry, has declined and morphed from the faith in government to conspiracy, ideation and disrespect; obviously, a current alteration for the worse.

[The infernal Karaoke]  The Karaoke, as known, is a relatively recent development, in which people, aided by a microphone, sing along to an instrumental rendition of a well-known song, with the deletion of its singer.  This mechanical advance is, apparently, of great pleasure to the user, who has never ( for good reason)  sung in public before. The usual result is a flat, off-tune travesty, unnoticed by the musically engrossed performer. It may reasonably, be understood, as a rare opportunity or franchise, for formerly muted, would-be singers, but in its impact, amounts to auditory trauma for listeners. There are those who opine that the Karaoke was Japan’s revenge regarding its loss in the World War

.

                                                          SUGGESTIONS FOR MODERN USEFUL INNOVATIONS

For those readers who stubbornly, persist in adamantly, maintaining the view that “changes,” by definition,  are improvements, we would offer the following innovative, subjects for suggested, future development and business entrepreneurship:

Organically raised plant-based, neckties and T-shirts

Recyclable (paper) facial tissues, for the chronically allergic

Alexa- driven, rapid to moderate speed, knitting needles

Permanent non-slip banana peels (two yr. warranty)

Foghorn doorbells for the residential hearing challenged

Eatable (vegan) pencil erasers, for accountants, auditors and teens

Reusable chewing gum with personalized carrier

After-shave lotion- marinated, safety razors

Light gray or black colored chalk

Italian style, pepperoni pizza-flavored, bubble gum

Eatable nail polish and savory gardening gloves (vegan, gluten-free)

Environmental process, converting sawdust to eatable ingredients for hamburger, baking mixtures, etc.

Confectionary, pink-colored, foot and body powder

Musical (classic or rock) push brooms

There are too many potential new changes and creatively, inspired advancements to fully set forth. The defining quality and considered value of innovation is their beneficially, sole value.

-p.

Post # 810  EARLY DECEMBER RUMINATIONS: The Nation

The present title reflects our utilization of an analogy, often encountered in classic literature, between age and the seasons of the year, a useful and aesthetic conceit, as empirically descriptive as it is poetic. In classic literature and poetics, for example, a marriage between a young, attractive woman and a wizened old man has often been termed, a “May-December” marriage. The title also contains the word, “early,” the latter adjective, selected, upon our optimistic assumption that our lifetime GPS, is still, actively engaged, in directing it forward.

We are acutely aware, that any negative observation, made in our perception of the Nation’s present state of affairs, may accrue the risk of inviting reductive comment, to the effect that, underlying the merits of our criticism, is the classic, fundamental discontent with growing old. We would adamantly, reject this possible assessment, with the sole caveat, that it may possess some degree of verisimilitude, limited, solely, to our current state of physical capability or prowess. It is far from accurate relative to our experientially, developed, perceptive or cognitive, capabilities. The latter declaration has been discussed in our earlier essay, “Old Age is Not a Disease,” in which we commented upon the satisfaction, inherent in the attainment of mature perception, relative to the understanding of the self, and the circumstances of one’s life; a discernment, which, empirically, appears to be available, only to the thoughtful individual of sufficient age and experience.  Accordingly, we have declared, that for us, these elder years have been the happiest and most fulfilling of our extant life experience. Thus, we would again emphasize, that our following observations on the National scene are empirically, derived, and not the end-product of subjective nuance or personal circumstance.

To venture an adequate and useful audit of the salient characteristics of our Nation, since the era of FDR and the Second World War, would be to create a virtually, unlimited retrospective of technological and resultant, social changes. However, what we find most significant, is the extreme and readily, discernable, “sea change” in the American citizen’s perception of his “Nationhood.” It is in this context, which we have selected the theme of this writing.

To attempt to recollect the Nation, during the anxious years of the Second World War, is to reprise an American population, not only unified by the threat of the aggressive Axis Powers but, as well, affirmatively, prideful, of its mutual identification as American citizens. Able-bodied young men,  left home to engage in perilous, foreign military service, War Bonds were purchased by American citizens, in aid of the war effort, volunteer night marshals, uniformly, bearing flashlights, badges and wearing white helmets, scanned the skies for enemy aircraft, citizens participated in rationing programs for fuel, rubber, nylon, metals, coffee, butter and other sundry items, schoolchildren collected scrap metals, rubber and other, discarded materials, needed for the war effort. American families routinely tuned their radios to President Franklin Roosevelt’s weekly “fireside chats” as well as anxiously followed daily radio reports, on the current progress of the war. There was a uniformly, strong sense of Nationhood and an unmistakable pride in citizenship. Americans, jointly and joyfully, celebrated the end of the war and the great victory of America and its allies, over the Axis Powers. However, in the interest of candor, it needs, disappointingly, to be said, that notwithstanding, the equally dedicated and sacrificial part, performed by black American citizens, during wartime, the moral cause of universal racial equality, continued, as it contemporaneously, continues, to progress, too slowly.

If we choose to fast-forward approximately, seventy-five years, we are obliged to discern, that the earlier sense of American patriotic kinship, and sense of “Nation,” has significantly, metamorphosed and declined. For many Americans, it continues to be a regular source of pride, for others, no more than their designated citizenship. Regrettably, for certain (radical) others, it is no more meaningful, than a tenuously, or even a reluctantly, acknowledged admission.

Our optimistic founders anticipated the regular practice of responsible citizens of goodwill, engaging in neighborly debate concerning the controversial issues of the day, the results of which would be useful in the proper guidance of our representative democracy. Instead, hotly contested and divisive issues, like gun regulation and abortion rights, reared their bellicose heads and led to a highly divisive Nation; one in which peaceful discussion between disagreeing citizens became socially impossible, where, citizen’s love of Nation and insular groups of common opinion (“group think”) were formed which maintained acrimonious relations with like groups of divergent opinion. Citizen loyalties, affiliations and declared preferences, seemed now to be unceremoniously, redirected from the Nation to petty and arbitrary, loyalties and upon partisan opinion. Such highly divisive political setting afforded arable land for planting the seeds of a skilled demagogue, bearing universal, but unspecific, promises of solution.   

The surprising election of Donald J. Trump provided a good measure of noticeable status, to such divisive, discontented and radical Americans, who identified with his unschooled, populist views and personalized loyalties. Notwithstanding, the fact that Trump’s one term in office, earned him the utter disrespect of mainstream America, (resulting in Congressional Impeachment) it, perversely secured for him, a significant, cult-like, loyalty of a large, populist, inadequately educated and unformed, citizens. Such loyalties to that, incapable and unprincipled, but demagogic, leader, appears to have survived his   frequent, publicly witnessed wrongdoing and his election loss to Joseph Biden

This huge “underbelly” of our Nation, loyally sympathetic to Trump’s, autocratic policies, notably, his “Big Lie,” (stolen election) undeniably, demonstrated that their loyalties were not to the democratic Nation, but to the corrupt and autocratic Trump. Their most flagrant, anti-democratic action, amounted to an attempted and failed, coup d’état, violently staged at the Washington Capital Building, bizarrely and autocratically, invited by the defeated, candidate, Donald J. Trump. The violent and bloody insurrection failed, but not before the causation of several deaths, grievous injuries, and destruction of valuable property. However, the worst damage, in essence, was to the previous universal confidence in the fundamental system of voting, underlying and defining our democracy.

We expect that the near future will reveal whether, a creatively, idealized, 300 year old democratic Nation, populated by a mainstream of people, appropriately proud of their association with its enlightened polity, viz., a republican democracy, together with its many associated liberties, will survive the recently, developing cold winds of autocracy, generated, by a large, worrisome, cohort of hapless, ignorant citizens, thoughtlessly, unaware of its historically predictable, tragic circumstances.

-p.

Post # 809                              A REVISIT TO AMERICA’S PRIORITIES: Editorial

It was during the four terms of Presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt, (following the “Great Depression” of 1929), that our Nation beneficially, noted and experienced, the existential importance of governmental “Compassionate Capitalism;” contrasted with the approach to the National economy of the prior President, Herbert Hoover’s, “trickle down,” theory. Americans, were thereafter, spared the cruel, unlimited misery and privation, accompanying orthodox, laissez-faire (Natural Law) economics, by Roosevelt’s, novel and empathic programs of governmental assistance.  From that era to the present, Americans have been beneficially, afforded such governmental programs of “Compassionate Capitalism” as, social security, death, disability and sick benefits, minimum wage, unemployment benefits, welfare relief, labor protections regarding work conditions and reduced hours, public health and safety regulations, unemployment and health benefits as parts of a veritable, cornucopia, of needed and salutary, citizen entitlements.

Such governmental programs of assistance became regular features of our modernized dynamic of free enterprise economy. Yet it remains frustrating and unsettling, that certain reductionist citizens, (who, thoughtlessly, are themselves, dependent upon, and in happy acceptance of, such Federal and State, generosity) persist in vociferously, indicting all governmental assistance as “socialism,” and, ipso facto, evil. We are truly exhausted with the necessity of constant reminder to such people, that “Socialism,” is a form of government, in which all industry and business, is owned by the Government, (I.e., the “people”); and, relevantly, that there never has existed a National desire for socialism. In fact, programs of compassionate capitalism, considered, from a tactical viewpoint, are the most efficacious way of eliminating any appeal or degree of acceptability, of that theoretical and unworkable, form of government. Nevertheless, it is in frustrated, anticipation, of the persistence of such, reductionist and chronic, misunderstanding of the term, by some uninformed citizens, that prompted us, once more, to attempt to contradistinguish any such uninformed, irrelevant and, totally, inapplicable, perception.  

A signature feature of any self-sustaining, secure and strong Nation, undisputedly, is its possession of adequate natural and human resources. We have, noted, the American government’s appropriate appreciation and valuation of its “Natural Resources,” including, oil, coal, natural gas, clean water, lumber, steel and arable soil. It is our present position, however, that, aside from the beneficial, citizen policies, alluded to above, it has, in many respects, not, realistically and tactically, perceived the citizenry, itself, as America’s most significant, and ultimately, determinative resource.

An instructive illustration of such declaration, i.e., that the population of a country, is its salient resource, was, empirically demonstrated by the Germany of the 1930s and 1940s. This, relatively, small European nation, by virtue of the quality and nature of its society, i.e. easily mobilized, literate and informed, came close, to conquering the entire World. This historical example (and others, viz., Ukraine) makes clear, that, even more, consequent than the ready accessibility of natural resources, an efficiently, mobile, and educated, population constitutes the salient resource of a strong and enduring, Nation.

In this context, America needs to cultivate and dedicatedly, curate, the potentially high quality of its citizens, as well as, (perhaps, more crucially, than) its inventory of available, natural resources. An educated, informed, and healthy citizenry is the recipe for a stable and militarily, secure nation.

In keeping with such perception, we are disappointed and concerned with a discernably, insufficient, governmental concern and participation, in the contemporary, inordinately, expensive, areas of higher education and citizen health care; the latter, most notable, in the cost of hospital visits and treatment.

In the context of the existential need for well-educated, and informed, citizens, America is, visibly, hampered by a large and worrisome, cohort of inadequately educated and poorly, informed, (“underbelly”) of useless, Trump sycophants. As a practical matter, there may be little prospect of their renaissance to enlightenment, which sad reality, exponentially, increases the urgent need for sufficient governmental educational assistance, for the remaining, mainstream citizenry of the Nation.

The Federal and State governments, in the existential interest of security, peace and prosperity of our Nation, (and the success of its aspiring students) should legislate policies of meaningful financial assistance to the institutions and the students in the area of higher education. It appears that a great many potentially valuable citizens, find the present cost of higher education prohibitively exorbitant, and consequently, refrain from developing their personal potential, as well as their concomitant development into a valuable, National asset. Adequate financial assistance to students, of higher education and to their institutions of learning, is consequential, in the secure maintenance of a democratic republic, as well as the personal development and advance of its constituent population. We would suggest dramatic reductions in required tuition, the difference made up by governmental subsidy.

A fit condition, as well, is an inarguably, fundamental keystone, of a Nation’s human resources.  Thus, it is in the affirmative interest of the continued maintenance of our democratic republic, to promulgate and sustain policies whose effects are protective and promotional, of the good health of this existentially, important resource.

The public has experienced the painful challenge, of the prohibitive and consequential, cost of health care, the most glaring, being the charges to individuals requiring hospital stay. In analogous fashion to our recommendations concerning college tuition assistance, we would suggest the salutary practice of significantly, reducing hospital charges to the financially challenged patient with the deficiency in cost to the hospital, reimbursed, by governmental expenditure. This entitlement, would additionally, eliminate as applicable, the citizen need for expensive premiums for health insurance.

The unique and vital place, in society, enjoyed by institutions of higher learning and hospitals, would seem to differentiate or remove, such societally necessary entities, from the normal context of independent commercial enterprise. Their existential effect on the continued existence of our, often challenged, democratic republic, in our view, makes obligatory the two suggested areas of assistance to the citizen; the latter, inarguably, constituting, America’s most essential resource.

-p.    

Post # 808   ASCRIBING GUILT: “ORIGINAL SIN”

`               It has been equally terrifying and satisfying, to take note of the many media accounts of individuals, incarcerated for decades, who are, ultimately, found to be innocent of the relevant crime by the utilization of new, scientific techniques, developed over the years in the crime lab. The earlier techniques, fingerprints, footprints and later, blood analysis, have advanced to include such factors as DNA analysis and other chemical and biological techniques. Contemporary, Statutory criminality, unlike earlier, criminality, can thus, be validly, attributed with science. History, by contrast, reveals an uncountable number of horrendous, human atrocities, by man against others of his species, only revealed, by educative reason and objective reading of factually validated, historical sources.

Errors in the just attribution of guilt, empirically, are, unfortunately, numerous and eternal. In an earlier essay, we take issue with the “Original Sin” conceit of many western religions. In our view, as has been observed, the choice of Biblical language, in this instance, is the “DNA” indicating the error in the very concept of Man’s universal sin, for which he is, responsibly, tasked, religiously, with lifetime repentance.

Adam (primitive) man, accompanied by his mate, early woman (Eve), come to the “Garden of Eden,” where they encounter the forbidden, “Tree of Knowledge,” on the bough of which, a snake lies coiled. The snake (“serpent”) induces Eve to give Adam an apple, which he sinfully, eats. Thereafter, the couple, as “punishment,” for the “eating fruit from the forbidden tree of knowledge, (“Original Sin”) are banished, forever from the Garden of Eden.

Any student of classical mythology is doubtlessly, aware that a snake (“serpent”) was the eternal symbol of fertility (possibly, a “Freudian” reference). It does not require much of a stretch of the imagination to, accordingly, see the snake (fertility) coiled on a bough of the “Tree of Knowledge,” as representing, mental fertility, or the capacity for self-awareness. Adam, thereafter, discovers his nakedness (awareness of self) and the first couple was, as punishment, banished, from the Garden of Eden (ignorance), forever. Is the acquisition of self-awareness, or the ability to reason, sinful?

 Moreover, the myth’s relation that Eve offered the apple (knowledge) to Adam has been perceived by us as an extremely laudatory assertion (to women) that Homo sapiens’ capability for intelligence, or awareness, was, originally, given by women to man. It is, nothing short of uncanny to note, in this respect, that women, like the Greek, (Prometheus), were thereafter, punished, as the bringer of knowledge to Mankind, in the latter case, by the general award of secondary status.

However, empirically, objective, instances, suitably labeled, “Original Sin,” historically, do exist, which, are in bright contrast to those that are mythical or Biblical. Empirical depictions of truly, venal, “Original Sin,” are shown for example, by the many revelations of mistreatment and cruelty, historically, and eternally, practiced, against indigenous peoples, in our nation, as well as elsewhere. It is an ineradicable blemish on the human persona, that such unspeakably, immoral and devastating acts, are perpetrated against vulnerable, or minority people, with the confirmation or disinterest of the dominant population.

Our Nation, the land of liberty and freedom is, forever charged, with the instances of kidnapping of uncountable hundreds of indigenous American children from their parents and families, to live in military barracks and be converted to “civilized,” Christianity.  We read and hear heard about, critical, r drug and alcohol use by such people, but eschew any understanding, of the acts of destruction of their supportive, venerable and stable culture by religiously, biased, Evangelical Christians.

Our Nation can also atone for the cruel, tragic and prejudiced, acts of displacement of peaceful Native Americans, from their ancient, arable lands of Southeastern United States, to territories thought, ”more suitable for redskins,” viz.,  the windswept non-arable plains of Oklahoma. Such wrongful displacement, referred to in the literature, as “The Trail of Tears,” resulted in great suffering, many deaths, and the uprooting of the culture and societal foundations of an admirable and self-sustaining people. This historical wrong may be also includable, in the misused phrase, “Original Sin.”   

During the halcyon days of the British Empire’s, Rudyard Kipling and Queen Victoria, the “civilizing” program, ethnocentrically, and evangelically, called, “The White Man’s Burden,” represented the reductive misunderstanding of the culture of many productively, peaceful, indigenous peoples and led to the decimation of their historic cultures. Belgium, Spain, France, Portugal, as well as America, have historically been, among such, sinful offenders. If there, conceivably, were any utility to the bizarre and empirically, irrational phrase, “Original Sin,” these arrogant, ethnocentric, nations, would justly, and deservedly, be entitled to its, censorious application.

We are responsibly required, to include in the list of wrongdoers who qualify for the subject phrase, those Americans, who kidnapped innocent, black human beings from their traditional homes in Africa and elsewhere, commercially separated their families, and, unforgivably, robbed them of their lives and humanity, for many generations of cruel chattel slavery. The full and just expiation, of this, American. “Original Sin,” unhappily, still seems to be a work in progress.

-p.

Post # 807 GALLERY CITY

It was just a same old, same old, pre-dawn, weekday morning in Gallery City. Marshal Artz,  so as not to awaken” Prudie” (Prudence), his wife of thirteen years, slid, stealthily, out of bed to perform his quotidian, morning duties which, importantly, included, switching off the two large, revolving searchlights on the roof, de-fusing the four landmines, strategically, located in the lawn, checking the ammo on the spring gun in the backyard, turning off two, of the four, home alarm systems and warming up his camouflaged, Humvee, for his later commutation to work.  

After breakfast, he, dutifully, reminded Prudie of the City Council Meeting, late that afternoon and the possibility, that he would be a little late coming home. As customary, Prudence woke the son and daughter, Audie (named in honor of military hero, Audie Murphy) and Annie (named in memory of Annie Oakley), for morning family muster and chow (breakfast).

At breakfast, Prudie, found it necessary to admonish the children for goldbricking in the performance of their morning assignments, lest they miss the daily, armed, military personnel carrier that takes them to school. After breakfast, Marshal kissed Audie and the children, holstered his loaded, Glock, and mounted his Humvee for commutation for work. The two children, dutifully  wearing their school-issued steel helmets and Kevlar jackets, from their, “Remember the Alamo,” High School,  waited for the armed personnel carrier while Prudie, quickly and securely, locked and bolted all of the doors and windows of the house, in time to be picked- up, for food shopping, by one of supermarket’s fleet of armored jeeps,

At the conclusion of his busy workday, Marshal, employed as an assistant chemist, at Ivermectin Laboratories, LLC, and an elected City Councilman, lost no time in proceeding to the meeting room of the Special Session of the Gallery City Council; the irregular meeting called to discuss the issue of the proposed purchase of a large, military howitzer, from the U.S. Defense Department, to, defensively, stand guard at the City entrance. A hotly contested issue had been raised, by certain, loudly objecting, Council Members, who preferred, as protection, the acquisition of two military-grade rocket launchers, to be defensively placed, at each of two entrances to Gallery City. The kernel of the contested issue was not financial, but rather the argumentative objection, that the howitzer’s single-shot canon, however devastating in impact, would not be as effective a defensive a deterrent, as the rapid multi-firing, rocket launcher. Marshal, a responsible husband, telephoned home, to indicate that he would not be returning for the family’s usual dinnertime. After a grueling and heated, four-hour debate, the parties reached a consensus agreement, to a military howitzer, one rocket launcher and four daisy chain land mines (viz., two, surface mines, undetectably, buried at each City entrance).

As extensively, reported in the Wistful Times, exactly, two months following the expensive purchase and installation of the defensive equipment, (as approved, officially, by the City Council),  the Wistful community, on a certain, Wednesday midnight, experienced a sudden and shocking, Hiroshima- size explosion, at both of its guarded entrances. The shock waves from the huge and unexpected, fiery explosion, as well as its thick black and gray fumes, were felt and seen, respectively, throughout Wistful City, itself, and, as well,  the surprised and traumatized, neighbor, the historic, and peaceable, indigenous Village, of “Sesame Y. Knot.” It was concluded, after investigation, by the City Council that it was the movement of squirrels or opossums, of which the area has a plentitude, must have set off both sets of mines, which were installed just beneath the surface, causing all of the ordinance, including the pile of howitzer shells, to ignite and explode.

It may be interesting and instructive, to note that the neighboring Indian Village, is known to have, eternally, lived in peace and safety, employing, as (rarely) necessary for its protection, simply, bows and arrows and the occasional long spear, throughout the history of its many centuries of residence.

Two weeks following the occurrence of the awesome fiery explosion, the City Council, appropriately, sent a delegation to the neighbor, the nearby, indigenous American Villagers, bearing gifts and expressing profuse apology for the effects, of the dangerous and horrific experience. The Chief and, leader, Wise Old Owl, was gracious and forgiving and had generously arranged for a sumptuous meal, for the delegation of City Councilmen, together with his own, extended family. During the deliciously prepared main course, consisting of sweet wild duck and fire-roasted vegetables, Marshal, could not resist, asking the wise, old and empathic Chief, a question, which had perseverated in his consciousness. “How can it be possible, that you and your tribe, with only bows and arrows for protection, have resided, for so many generations, in safety and peace; while we, with all of our protective ordinance and advanced military weapons, are not safe?”

The elderly, wise Chief, smiled and replied, somewhat condescendingly, “The threat of danger, all too often exists, as you painfully have learned, by the existence of, “protective” weapons, and their asinine and reductive, possessors.”  

-p.