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Sunday, July 30, 2017

Why Call Me Good?

It is clear to me that the greatest contumely Donald Trump could possibly heap on anyone is for him to call them “a good man.”  (This would include the more inclusive phrase “a good person.”)  A similar concept describes people who are called “the salt of the earth.”   These monikers refer to persons willing to take detours to assist in lightening the load of others.  They add seasoning to life because goodwill is fundamental to fostering a nurturing and cohesive environment. 

A contrary view is that all goodwill is at base fraudulent.   By definition, humans (assuming they have the requisite guts) relentlessly pursue selfish interests at whatever cost to others.  There is the belief in fact that if one doesn’t fuck over others, then one lacks integrity and cannot be truly effective or successful.  Thus, the concepts “integrity”, “effectiveness”, and “success” are perverted to entail antisocial thoughts and actions.  This twisting of social norms and meanings reaches its nadir in the concept “law and order.”  Law and order in this inverse realm loses its function as a potent balm derived from a broad social contract and comity and becomes instead the lethal bludgeon of fanatical bullies. 


When the last nerve of a gentle lady is bludgeoned by bullies:

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Monday, July 24, 2017

The Have’s and Have Nots

I detest alcohol and do so principally because of two haunting images in my mind.  One day when I was about twelve years old, I was walking on the sidewalk next to Highway US 301 as it passed through my then hometown, Ellenton, FL.  Directly in front of me a car was parked by the sidewalk.  It was a hot day. The car windows were rolled down and I could hear distressful screams of children coming from within the car.  The car was next a tavern.  It hit me that the children could be excused for wondering in lonely hours whether they or alcohol mattered more to their parents.

Years later I carried a carload of children from Saint Petersburg to Anna Maria Beach.  On the way we stopped in Bradenton to pick up my mother who had prepared a picnic lunch.  On our arrival, the children hit the beach while mother and I found a table in the shade under Australian pines and began to set up the picnic.  Further over was another table around which sat a family with children and adults.  The adults were drinking profusely.  Suddenly…the visual that will not go away…a tipsy woman with beer can in hand attempted waveringly to embrace a child.  The child at once cowered and drew away.  It occurred to me the child may sometime find it troubling and difficult to discern alcohol induced mawkishness from the genuine caress of love.

Another visual now comes to mind—a scene from the play Death of a Salesman written by American playwright Arthur Miller.

First a trailer:

Next a Little Bit of Truth:

We know that life can level on all of us strong measures of unjustified pain.  But there is a sense in which some pain is more enduring and inured from redemption than others.  It is crucial to remember that in the Death of a Salesman even if Willy and his sons had stuck it spectacularly rich, the problem of veneered pain and the desperately driving need to assuage it would not have abated.  Piles of money in such cases mask symptoms rather than treat causes. 

I am aware that many Christians who share with me an old-time religious heritage can express some measure of support and encouragement for Donald Trump. Partly I think this is because we have been taught to sense those in pain and pray for them.  Notoriety as a snake oil elixir for deadening unendurable pain should always be quaffed from a chalice emblazoned with skull and bones crafted by the very hand of Satan himself.

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Democratic Party and the Rise of Personal Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive Dissonance: (Psychology): the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change.  (New Oxford American Dictionary)


I remember with much happiness the days when I was a full-blooded Democrat. The Democrats then were the unabashed champion of the poor, women, and those denied civil rights due to race or physical handicap. There were no discordant notes in my psyche. My deepest religious and political convictions dovetailed seamlessly. Now, not so much.

Suddenly it seemed with no regard for the sensitivities of those like me, the Democratic Party incredibly began to CHAMPION abortion. Likewise, it began to CHAMPION homosexuality. Like many, my sex life is not so sanely wise and pure that I would want it fully portrayed on the silver screen. It is my conviction that no human--bless our hearts--is fully wired to handle all the implications and emotions aroused by this persistent and insistent drive. And the issue is further complicated by the fact that all of us have a driving need for companionship quite apart from any baseline sexual activity. With all this said, I think that it is absurd to counsel a 14-year-old that he is gay and simply must accept that fact. The assumption that we have anything like complete understanding of carnal knowledge must be seen teetering upon the flawed foundation of ignorance and arrogance upon which it is based.


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Saturday, July 8, 2017

Mythology and the Mind Blowing Palaver of President Trump

From our earliest years we are taught to weave together truth and fact. One of my earliest experiences in this regard came early one morning on Christmas Day. Santa Claus purportedly brought our family a present – a carom board. On helping open the present I noticed postage stamps on the box containing the game. This at once shattered my belief in Santa Claus whose existence hitherto I had been taught as a fact. Immediately I wondered if Jesus and God were likewise of human manufacture. It seemed incredible to me that a world of adults would invest hard earned money, time, enterprise, and sometimes their very lives for centuries in something that had no basis in fact. This thought I kept to myself. Like the rest of my culture I soon learned that Santa Claus was, while not factually in residence at the North Pole, represented profound truths relating to innocence, wonder, anticipation, generosity, and parental love.  We experience this undeniable apprehension throughout our lives--that fact often pales in relevance to the power of experiential and emotive truth.  Say a lifelong friend of ours dies; we read a lengthy obituary in the paper that is replete with facts.  Yet to us, this in no way comes close to painting the person who meant so much to us.

The Trump administration uses the phrase “alternative facts.”  This phrase makes many of us blow a mental gasket as something that threatens society itself.  Are we to tell our young children to play with fire since it’s merely an alternate fact that fire can burn you? 

The issue before us has immense import. This issue pertains to the mythology of governance.  Truth is largely determined by what one’s mythology defines as legitimate.  Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol pits the mythology of Scrooge against the mythology of Christmas.  The parsimonious Scrooge defined truth as dramatically different from those celebrating Christmas.  It follows then that Scrooge’s world had alternative INTERPRETATIONS of fact.   A pile of money to him suggested only that the pile rightly and legitimately be even more towering.  The spirit of Christmas from its mythological perspective saw the same pile of money as the slave master of a spiritually immature Ebenezer Scrooge.

Where one stands in the mythology of governance clearly is determinative in the valence one ascribes to facts, their interpretation, and their perceived predictive implications.


The Eye of the Beholder

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