Nasty anniversary

It is good to be reminded of this day. And terrible too. Good because, though somehow the tragedy lingers in many of our minds, the date coming around makes the memory more poignant. That added poignancy is going to cause me to think through again for what me, a person affected by the news and not on the ground in real time with the unimaginable loss of sons and daughters and teachers and friends, was near impossible to comprehend and accept. So, what I must do to feel enough to feel close enough to be relevant is engage enough in empathy to make the pain somewhat personal–I have two daughters. And this gives me–I can give myself–license to offer suggestions for the cause of such never again being allowed to happen. Those murdered at Stoneman were murdered by gun. Guns were the weapon but not the cause. The murderer was a troubled young person. But he was not the cause. The cause is the attitude that allowed for this troubled young person to have a gun and to be so disposed as to slaughter those he should have felt love and compassion for because they were his fellow human beings. His trouble and the troubled attitude that allowed him to perpetrate a massacre, to with his hands, before his eyes slaughter other human beings. He was without humanity. He was without empathy and his enablers, the gun sellers and the legislators who refuse to pass laws to stop there slaughter, the people who support these legislators and are so selfish with their rights as to allow for the taking from others of more important, vitally important rights, are without empathy too and are, therefore inhumane. To obliterate the attitudes that allow so many to act and vote and think in ways that are deadly to others, to our children, in fact, we need to get at root causes and act against the sources of those causes. As with most things troubling this society, the core problem is the selfishness caused by a system that makes selfishness a good, that pits the one against the other, that makes success the possession by one of more than others, competitors among whom the most ruthless usually win, those who lose left to fend for themselves with too little or nothing. It is a society that makes it so that what is good for the one is at the expense of another or many others. The gun industry is, in America, a legitimate business and the propaganda it propagates through its front organizations allowed because such is the kind of freedom those who make and enforce the law allow. Within the system, it is perfectly legal, too well accepted, that the right to sell is above the right to live decently and securely, many business enterprises selling harmful things for the profit of a relative few. Such is their right and this is wrong, wrong. wrong. IT IS TIME, FOR A LONG TIME IS HAS BEEN TIME, TO REASSESS WHAT WE ARE ABOUT AND HOW WE WANT TO PROCEED AND THE ONLY KIND OF SENSIBLE FUTURE, WE MUST COME TO BELIEVE, IS ONE IN WHICH BOTH POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC SYSTEMS PROMOTE HUMANITY AND NOT INSANITY. The insanity that currently is THE system cannot be tolerated because it is so deadly and so unfair.Edit or delete this

Bernie and the attack dogs

It would seem that I am over the top Sanders and it would be fair to think of me as such. This is not because I have joined a cult or been made mad by a bigger than life super hero who can do no wrong because he is super. Bernie’s appeal to me is about how real he is, how true to good ideas he has remained throughout his political career and this with a few burps–the gun thing–but not so many as to cause one who looks at his record as a human being and politician to see him as anything else than a good person. He is a good person!!!! And this is what has caused vitriol to be thrown his way by those shaking in their Gucci boots about the possibility of a democratic socialist candidate. He is not the regular kind of political, he is not the politician shaped by alliances with with greedy owners of the nation. He has lived a rather humble life, as far as I can tell. I don’t think he ever partied with Trump or the Bushes or Jeffery Epstein and not just because he wasn’t invited. He understood that that was not where he belonged, as a decent human being with the kind of values that make Sanders the kind of candidate he is, hard to stick dirt on because he really is pretty damned clean.
The alternative for sullying him is to make a monster out of a political philosophy that is actually a humane philosophy, that comes of a genuine concern for the welfare of people and a passionate disdain for those who would do harm others in order to get more for themselves, this a key to success as a capitalist. Those who hate him hate him because the is trying to disrupt a system that does not just invite but necessitates the inhumane treatment of others, one has to make others losers in order to win.
I have been looking for a good, a truly good person to run for the presidency throughout my life. I think I once found one in Jimmy Carter who, because he was a good man was chewed on by the beast all through his presidency. Here is another one of those people again, this one with maybe a bit more grit because of battles so far fought who wants to not just win to have it his way but to change the dynamic of the political system and the rather cruel society in which it operates.

Biden and a better bigotry?

The issue of black voter support for Biden is perplexing as much as it is understandable, at least from a perspective such as mine, a white life-long far left of the center of left thinker for all of my thoughtful adult life. He was Obama’s Vice President, that is true. He did things that helped the movement to beat on this racist nation to force it to make concessions to the fact, not necessarily that Black people and other people of color were people as were white people, people, but, by virtue of that Damned Constitution, beings who, it had to be recognized, equal under the law.
Concessions–yes–concessions were made by the middle of liberal but still hooked on some advantage, maybe a whole lot for white folk, because, well because they were white, obviously, but only concessions and never full bore changes in the system to reflect equality of all in the society and under the law. LOOK AT JOE’S RECORD. LOOK AT WHO HE LIKED AND WAS ABLE TO LIKE! And still be a “friend” of people of color. Why, because then he could be seen as better that most everyone else with some power in American politics because American politics and the society it served were horribly. terribly, inhumanly, and harmfully racist.
Obama was a black president. Obama was the best black president the nation had ever had. He recognized Black people and people of color to be due equal treatment and he went a little further in explaining the nature of racism in the society and its causes and its effects. But, he was still a man committed to the system, to promoting the ridiculous idea that America was really a great country WHEN IT HAD HARDLY ENOUGH BEEN GOOD ENOUGH TO LARGE, MAINLY OF COLOR, GROUPS OF PEOPLE..
Biden is trying to ride coattails he has no right to try and grasp and they are the coat tails of the first Black president who took a middle of the road–hey, we can all be friends–approach to politics, one that allowed HIM to get along (really not so well) with those who were his fellow politicians.
BIDEN, AS THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE, would continue the middle of the road approach and maybe some think that he will be able to do better with the Obama approach because he is white. Part of this is a belief that he will be better able to unify a nation that showed just how viciously divided it is in terms of attitudes toward race (and many other things) because he is white and that is a concession that no sensible halfway equitable, halfway decent person should make, white or black or brown or of whatever color skin they may be. BIDEN WILL NOT TAKE ON THE CAUSES OF RACISM OR THOSE RACISTS WHO DO NOT DO PHYSICAL HARM TO PEOPLE OF COLOR BUT DO HARM BY PROMOTING AND SUPPORTING A RACIST POLITICS THAT IS DEEPLY EMBEDDED IN THE CAPITALIST SYSTEM THAT, OF COURSE, FOR THE BENEFIT OF WHITE PEOPLE, ALLOWED FOR THE EXISTENCE AND PERPETUATION OF SLAVERY.

Facebook quandary resolved, not, but…

For a couple of days after the occurrence of major political and social disasters that were the impeachment trial and the Iowa caucuses, these capping weeks and month, years really, of movement toward the final steps in killing off what was left of democracy, I abandoned FB and tried to turn my attention to happier things. I thought maybe, if I could just stop involving myself in the discussion, I would not be so disappointed in the discussion so as to feel that there was absolutely not hope in moving from this very bad place to something better.

In those two days I worked on a book and turned my attention to “building my own garden,” well, not really my own but the garden that is the youth program at Galena Creek. I got some work done! But why book or Galena Creek, even if successful, if there would be nothing left to which the good work could be attached?  Day three of withdrawal came and I felt even more helpless and hopeless than I did before I attempted to detach.   

Can’t do with and cannot do without.  That is, I hate the current circumstances and do not find the current conversation to be very helpful in changing the conditions that have brought about the current reality.  I am puddle jumping, trying to find the one with fresh clean water and finding none that are not of toxic sludge.  I should, as the saying goes, “get a life.”  But, when I try, I find, over and over again, that to do so, in the spirit of how it is meant, that the real life that is here to be lived now, honestly, in the context of the current reality, is a rather hopeless life, the light at the end of the tunnel non-existent because that light is so weak as to make it seem impossible to see the way clear to anything resembling meaningful change.

Yes, there are the kids at Galena and there is the Galena forest and my kids and friends, most of whom are dogs, and those hawks that are so magnificent and quantum physics—I am trying to understand that world because, perhaps, the answers are there, smaller than molecules, behaving as none could ever have expected them to do, the particles of which all is made, doing strange dances, magnificent minds trying to interpret what they mean…  But all for naught if there is no path to their salvation, if all of that is going to go up in smoke if we do not fix things on this particle level…

So, I have decided to continue blowing my own smoke, commenting on the impossible possible that is our current reality and offering up my own understanding of the situation and my own impossible solutions for no other reason than I find there to be nothing else to do, no other way to cope.

I invite people to ignore me.  This has become another bout of me speaking to myself, the goal some kind of clarity, never to be achieved, that might have the effect of infecting another, maybe a few who might wish to converse honestly about what is and how to find which tunnel really leads to light and maybe propose some ways for making it possible to get there or even find reason to dream of the possibility of getting there.

Lies and more lies because lies actually work to convince

Stephen, are you yelling at your TV right now?Watching another Trump State of the Union can be infuriating, exhausting, so many things – we get it. After three years of attacks against our democracy, we know the state of our union: We’re in the fight of our lives, and with activists like you we’re stronger than ever.
ACLU solicitation

I feel exhausted, too exhausted to yell at the TV screen. Instead, I am coming apart on the inside and getting to the point that I think responding to what is going on in this country cannot matter because there is not real reasoned argument going on, instead, a bunch of people with power who are either rotten to the core but, for a great number are hero’s (Rush), and another bunch that is inept at pointing out what is truly rotten about such people. Pelosi tonight displayed disrespect for the president, in my mind a good baby step toward fighting the fight that must be fought. Yes, in the houses of government, what should have happened long ago is discussion in open of the danger to good government, humane government, the creation of the right wing media was and, impolitely, it should have been called what it was, a force based in lies that was distorting the meaning of truth.

Instead, the opposition to it was rather gentle, recognized as reflecting how some in this country understood the truth of things, as another version of truth that was rarely pointed out to be a lie. Outside of the halls where the decision makers we elect deliberate, there were a good many who recognized the magnitude of the problem. It should not have been left to them to offer up the political truth that was so obvious that to not speak of it showed a fear of honesty. And this may be because the radio and TV right was not really an anomaly but the tradition, the way things actually worked in America, too often by lies and the hiding of truths. For our elected officials to scream lies would have brought too much scrutiny of the lying culture for those with power to allow.

Yes, a lying culture. A culture in which the truth is not so important as the sale and, really, everyone in this culture who is successful, truly understood to be successful is selling something. Come on! Hedge fund managers running for the presidency, successful business person a qualification for office, billionaire-hood not so bad if the billionaire will use a little of his or her billions to support a good cause or, more importantly, offer money to candidates so they can be more effective in getting their sales pitch, often terribly disingenuous out to more people than the plain old teller of the plain old truth could ever afford to do.

So, the state of the union was disturbing, not because it was filled with threats of terrible things to come–there were some of these–but because it probably sold to a whole lot of people a whole lot of lies that were the kind of lies that make people like them happy, this despite the fact that the truth on the other side of those lies causes them considerable suffering. Hell, if one believes that drinking Bud or driving a Ford are proper signs that they are living the good life, then Trump should be able, master manipulator of the easily manipulated that he is–consider what that shitty most popular TV program of his was about, selling rottenness as something good–to succeed with lies covering up ugly truths to win election again, no matter what those speaking the truth about what might be better have to say.

Tonight I want to be apart from not a part of any of it. I have great fear that the alternatives to the lying to success will not only fall on deaf ears, but receive scorn, be made out to be laughable. And, as bad, those who are in opposition to Trump will not have heard in what he said a truth about the quality of many people’s lives, that their lives were not improved much by democratic administration or election of officials of the democratic party.

Anyone else hear him saying that he had or was about to offer up solutions to the problems those who are chronically hurting, that his actions and his proposals for new policies have done and will do more than democratic administrations have done. He may get way with this because those administrations didn’t, by a long shot, do enough. They may come to trust a lier who is doing a better job of addressing what they want than the opposition. A house of cards may look inviting to those with no homes at all?

How the world of work prevents democracy from happening

In a lot of ways, I am both privileged and empowered by the fact that I am retired–with a job of course- because I have more time on my hands to think and write and write about what others who think write. In a sense, I now have the opportunity to engage myself more fully in citizenship so it is more clear to me than before that the way this society forces people to work a horrendous portion of their living hours at jobs that do not necessarily contribute to the civic good and take away from their lives opportunity to meditate on the meaning life, their own lives and the life going on around them, this depriving them of the right to full citizenship.
What would a society that held democracy above capitalism look like in terms of how people spent time? How would the world of work be constructed if it had to insure that people could live decently while possessing enough time to fully participate in the societal decision making process?
I know the argument that most would not use such time to productive ends and there is a good amount of evidence available to support this point. However, such is the way citizens of this nation are conditioned to be, to serve the work world and then do the kind of things that keep capitalism afloat, things that cost money rather than things like educating themselves and participating in the societal debates. That could be changed IF there was made a move to restructure the institutions of the society so that, for instance, the school system was more about civic involvement and less about job preparation, if those in school were encouraged in activities that involve meaningful decision making, of the kind in which most find delight because their thinking leads to achievement of goals meaningful to themselves, interaction with others in decision making a way to develop meaningful relationship with others, provide fulfillment of desire for friendships.
Not really impossible if there was the will to do so and if the adult would fight for better wages for hours spent at work basing their case on arguments concerning infringement of citizenship caused by the work world as it currently exists, one that is allowed to exist as such because the society has allowed capitalism to dominate over democracy.

Opinion part two: justice and education

Thinking about the issues discussed in the post, I cannot help but consider the rottenness of my present attitude. I do not like that I cannot any longer find the way to respect all opinions because I find some to be unworthy of respect. I am writing book about education and it begins with discussion of a dilemma related to this sentiment, the goodness of democratic society a reality that regularly proves democracy, in practice, to not be sane enough or humane enough to serve humanity well.  Democracy too often is destructive and/or cruel and, as issues arise that concern the irreversible, decisions make democratically threaten all that exists.  I took up reading again Ortega y Gasset’s Revolt of the Masses, a book published in 1930 that argues against popular democracy and for recognition of a class of people more able to make decisions in the name of the whole because they dedicate time and energy to thinking about the issues–discovering relevant information, analyzing it rationally, debating conclusions, doing things such as these as a regular part and a substantial part of their existence.

Ortega y Gasset suggests rule by the few who are qualified.  The book argues for an educational system that broadly expands that class of people Ortega y Gasset believes worthy and able of making sane and humane decisions.

Of course, in his world, as things were shaping up (or down), he had reason to be desperate for immediate change.  Hitler was coming.

Maybe these are times as desperate but, despite my fears as to what is happening presently in the world, I argue that in the immediate present we design the school system that will qualify all, at least almost all, for participation in sane and humane decision making so that a real possibility for a sane and humane popular democracy is created.

I don’t know if we have the time or the will or agreement enough to take such a path so, I cannot say that I have faith in popular democracy as a form of governance to make the nation, the world, more democratic, effectively democratic, this meaning that the welfare of all is the first and foremost consideration, the desires of those curtailed if necessary to make the world a more equitable and just place.