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Friday, October 12, 2018

Mr. Republican—Is This Really Who You Are?

I like to honor the Eisenhower years.  Though I was very young, a neighbor of ours at the time was an Eisenhower loyalist.  I don’t know much about Eisenhower, but primarily that he was one who helped achieve defeat of the Nazi’s and was instrumental in development of the interstate highway system.  He also backed up Civil Rights actions when necessary with government troops.  So then, this memory of Mr. Republican is strongly positive, and I cherish it.  But now I suppose Mr. Republican is Donald Trump—a deceptive man whose primary aim is to cloak dishonesty and greed in a wrapper of plain speaking—a made-to-order threat for American culture since a key component of that culture is the strong attractiveness of the archetypal individual who speaks out without fear or favor—who stands on bedrock fact caring nothing for puffs and spin.

I think the Republican party began to decay when it placed power ambitions above the bedrock of American values most essentially epitomized in the Bill of Rights and the concept of institutional/individual limitations.  The single most dangerous threat that power poses is the human vulnerability to the resolute drive to achieve absolute invulnerability.  I must repeat an old, old personal story to show you what I mean.  The story is true, but an imaginary character I will then introduce I will leave to your thoughtful discernment and judgment as to the nature of its reality.

In the early 60’s my Dad and I settled down after supper to watch the evening news on TV.  The top story showed images of police dogs and water hoses directed at Alabama blacks.  I said something about “niggers.”  Dad looked at me for a moment in silence, then he slowly almost painfully said:  “Son, I never want to hear you say that again.”  Of course, now on looking back, the one thing that epitomizes the courage, integrity, and love of my father is this scene forever burned into memory.

Now I would like to re-run that scene but with a Republican-Southern Strategy father—a father who feared losing me so much that he would shamelessly pander to my worst prejudices.  So back to the scene on that un-air-conditioned night in a small southern town….. I said something about “niggers.”  Dad looked at me for a moment and said:  "Son, never say that in front of mama.” and he gave me a wink.

So, my Republican-Father became the party of many, many winks over the years whether regarding the sacredness of Constitutional government, equal opportunity for all, effective regulation of business and finance, respect for facts and objectivity, committing demagogic certainty in the face of limited human knowledge, and I must say at last, even perverting the Golden Rule itself…quietly chortling within that he who makes the rules gets the gold.  It seems to me that Trump is the start of the final decay of the Republican party.  The next step must lead to reform and the frank acknowledgement of its horrific transgression in winking at racial prejudice rather than working to transcend it--which would have been the highest compliment the Republican Party could have bestowed upon us.

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Wednesday, October 3, 2018

To Malik and Friends

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla -- Police are investigating a shooting that occurred on Sunday. Officers responded to 13th Avenue South near M.L.K. Jr. Street South in St. Petersburg at around 2:45 p.m. Sunday.

Police say a 19-year-old was found in an alley shot. The man was transported to the hospital and died at the hospital.

Investigators say it is too early to know if the shooting was random, but they do believe it was an isolated incident.

The victim has been identified as Malik Oliver.


My Godson DeAngelo and I were having sandwiches at Subways late Sunday afternoon.  He became quiet and sad; his eyes began to water.  He told me why.  Malik had been shot and killed that afternoon. It was a tipping point for an idea perhaps old but new to me.

Why not a memorial for victims of gun violence in our nation's capitol similar to the Vietnam Memorial?  Of course it would require constant updating since guns in America remain a constant pollutant of the mind.  

Vietnam Memorial

How bad is US gun violence? ....

More Americans have died from guns since 1968 than in all the wars in US history.
Gun violence in the US isn’t just bad, it’s uniquely bad in terms of the number of lives that are affected by it and how rare such violence is in a wealthy country…

Other wealthy countries don’t have as many guns as the US. They don’t have as many gun deaths as the US. The cumulative number Comparisons can help us to understand scale. Since 1968, when these figures were first collected, there have been 1,516,863 gun-related deaths on US territory. Since the founding of the United States, there have been 1,396,733 war deaths. That figure includes American lives lost in the revolutionary war, the Mexican war, the civil war (Union and Confederate, estimate), the Spanish-American war, the first world war, the second world war, the Korean war, the Vietnam war, the Gulf war, the Afghanistan war, the Iraq war, as well as other conflicts, including in Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Somalia and Haiti.
(Source: The Guardian)



A blog I penned that defines despot justice as usurpation of a basic state function.  I've needed to refer to it much too often.