Archive for the ‘freedom’ Category

What we have Learned

May 11, 2020

(If you prefer to hear spoken word, listen on this mp3:)

What we have Learned

Now we are engaged in a great covid war, testing whether this nation, or any nation so conceived and dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great media platform of that war. We have come to protect our institutions—our medical facilities and places of commerce, our recreational spaces and houses of worship, our business enterprises and residences—to assure our citizens of safety in their public paths through these gathering places. Those whose lives have already fallen under the infection of covid shall not have died in vain. Rather, let their untimely demise serve as a warning to us who remain. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

Nevertheless, as we approach the end of Phase 1 of our long battle against covid, we find ourselves at a crossroads where some among us would persevere in their advocacy of dire measures to lockdown our mobile inclinations, while others of our citizenry would  demand release from them.

Yet . . .it remains for us the living, surely, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work through which these fallen do testify, by their very absence, of our need to persevere in the battle to defeat Covid-19.

The challenge ahead indicates a full-court press to oppose us— in the fateful minutes of the second half of our struggle against a teeming virus that dribbles feverishly against our most fervid defense.

At this critical moment of our offensive thrust, we find victory in the whizzing of our great  object through the last net of infection.

3-pointer

Thus do we celebrate the 3-pointer which, we hope and pray, shall be celebrated as our game-winner:

~ Six feet Apart—or Six feet Under!

~ Grab the Soap—Don’t be a Dope!

~ No need to Ask—Wear the Mask!

And I lay before thee  the great challenge before us in  such a time as this:

Whether by .gov compulsion, or by personal conviction,  shall we—shall we who are scattered like precious seed in the winds of time —shall we shrink from the dear prospect of adopting—whether voluntarily or by compulsion during these perilous days— these simple habits as a matter of common sense and common courtesy?

Nay, I say, nay, we shall not shrink from the task before us!

Send us your tired, your weary, your socially distanced yearning to be healed, so that healing of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth!

Glass half-Full

Liberty or. . . Death by Covid?

April 30, 2020

Some people have to work for a living.

This reality does not just go away. In the next few months, we will see every shade of compliance and non-compliance with pandemic prohibitions and practices.

In a free nation, we should get used to the fact that not everyone is in agreement about strategies to strike a balance between defeating Covid and preventing a new epidemic of poverty.

Remember too, strategies vary, state by state. It just so happens that the New York Covid epicenter is also the media capital of this continent. Stringent restrictions for defeating Covid have been admirably initiated and administered by Gov. Cuomo in New York State. Media mouths and talking heads headquartered in the Northeast reflect the urgency of that region’s life-or-death struggle with coronavirus.

New York — especially the City — is a special case due to the extreme density of population there and the widespread use of mass transit.

In other states, however, especially southern states in which mass transit is not as highly developed, population is more widely spread out. There is far more space already existing between people, towns, suburbs, institutions, retail outlets, public parks, etc. Governors in these states, including many in the west and southwest, will have— regarding their policy responses and timetable — more flexibility in their judgements. Every Governor, every public official is now involuntarily sucked into an unprecedented, massive public problem: how to balance public policies to accomplish the defeat of Covid vs. preserving what is left of economic viability.

The immensity of this epidemic’s destruction is unprecedented in the history of our nation . . . except perhaps the dire destruction and loss of life of the Civil War, and the 1918 wartime war against a flu epidemic.

Official responses in states with low population density will not be as extremely restrictive as in high-density states; nor will such prohibitions extend as far into the months ahead. Balancing Covid-control against this unexpected 1930’s-ish poverty wave will be no walk in the park. Our entire nation–indeed the whole world–has been blindsided by this epidemic.

As Governors and other officials respond according to their states’ respective needs, so will the citizens therein be reacting in a wide variety of strategies,with some citizens acting much more cooperatively in the public space than others.

Many Americans still take quite seriously the words of Patrick Henry in 1775:

“Give me liberty or give me death.”

LiborDeathPH

Liberty does not come cheaply. The cost is dear.  Back in the day. . . 1970ff, Crosby Stills Nash Young Gilmour sang out a dirgeful reflection of just what this life comes down to. . .

     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-Y0SMitMpk

“Find the cost of freedom, buried in the ground.”

Do not expect all the citizens of this free nation to agree on all the strategies for controlling Covid while preserving freedom. Many will die, but many will not. The best you can do is be an example in wearing your PPE and mask while ardently exhorting others to do so, for as long as this damned disease requires.

Let’s not forget, though, that freedom of assembly is a Constitutional right. Public declarations in that realm are not too be taken lightly. Ultimately such restrictions are subject to the 1st Amendment assurance of our shared liberty.

So don’t expect that all Americans will agree with the myriad of public prohibitions and practices that are provoked by the spread of this disease; do expect that you will hear about, read about, and surely encounter in public places . . . unmasked citizens who are not wearing the politically correct mask and/or PPE. Pshaw! on them.

Also, get used to the fact that our showman President is clueless when it comes to speaking publicly about this very large problem. In his public persona, the man is too obsessed with interpreting every development in terms of whether those persons are for him or against him. If you don’t like what he does, vote for Joe.

As for me, I don’t care who is President next year. I care about defending my family and our households against this disease, while upholding the freedoms we are entitled to as Americans.

We sincerely hope that whatever measures our President initiates, implements, advocates  . . . will effectively reinforce the efforts and precautions undertaken by all Americans to slap this dreaded disease back down into the ground.

Lean on your state .gov and local officials for guidance.

As for me and mine (my ICU nurse wife). . . we wear the mask and use hand sanitizer while visiting enclosed places in our Appalachian town.

And remember: not every masked person you meet is a bandit.

Glass Chimera 

COvid Confusion

April 23, 2020

COVID conveys

Confusion, by intrusion,

Contending against our

Contemporary illusions. This damned

Corona thing prevents people from

Congregating, cuz social distancing

Cockamamie

Constricts us to

Collaborating in

Convoluted ways. So we must let ourselves

Commiserate over the loss of

Conventional

Collaboration. But hey!

Coincidentally, we can

Conclude:

Connecting online

Can take the place of the old face-to-face

Conversing like we used to do before this

Cockamamie commotion

Came along, to

Collide with our former

Conductions of

Community-oriented

Cooperation. But this

Collapse of our real

Convening capabilities

Compels us to somehow find new solutions to old

Conundrums. I know this seems a little

Convoluted, but maybe we

Could please try a little harder to

Coordinate our

Collective tactics for the

Continuation of life under these

Confounded

Conflummucks! these

Constrictive

Conditions! Dam! hey we’ll just have to

Conjure up some

Confidence in our public health officials who

Could contrive some strategy and

Concoct some solutions, hopefully better than

Chloroquine, cuz too much of this

Cockamamie

Cwuarantine

Confinement gets them

Contrarian

Confederates all

Conflagrated and

Coiled up like friggin’

Cobras with a

Conniption fit, like, like

Contending, like:

Contrarian

Could we please get this

Cockamamie Covid Contusion

Concluded?! like the

Ckid in the

Car-seat who

Cried out about

COVID Conclusion:

Are we there yet?

but hey I say

Nolo Contendera with

CDC’s strategy of

COvid agendera. Just please

Conclude. You

Copy that? If not,

Elude!

 

Glass half-Full

Those vague Covid-deaths statistics

April 22, 2020

Pertaining to the dreaded COVID-19, what I am wondering about is:

Reports in the last week or two about “protesters” in several states indicate that patience with restrictive measures is wearing thin in more citizens, as the days roll by. This development is, if you think about it, really no surprise, especially here in the land of the free. Associated with this discontent is a new idea that does legitimately merit some investigation and consideration.

CovidQuest

The idea is based on numbers — numbers of people who actually die from Covid after being infected by it. Some are seeing that the death ratio is actually very low among the large number of persons infected. Associated with this report is that the “numbers” of persons infected is actually much, much higher than generally reported.

This discrepancy over mortality percentage is due, to some extent, to the very fact that we have very few numbers about actual Covid cases to begin with. . . which also gets to the fact of having so few “tests.”

My wife is an ICU nurse. She is 62, working in a small town hospital in a North Carolina with very low infection numbers, as reported by our NC Dept. Health and Human Services. She has completed ~~15 or so~ shifts of 12-hour duration since this pandemic took hold of everything.

She has yet to be tested.

The buzz going round among people who are itching to get back to normal is: many, many more people have actually contracted Covid than we think, and it only makes a small percentage actually sick, and only a small percentage of those infected actually die.

So what about this? Is there any verity to this quasi-widespread interpretation of “the numbers” ? which says a) there are many more people than we think, walking around already infected with Covid, but they don’t even know it, and b) the damned disease doesn’t really make you very sick unless you have co-morbidities associated with old age or some other pre-existing health problem.

Somebody who has reliable information on this popular report — please clear this up, or send a test kit to every citizen in these United States.

Glass half-Full 

Turn to your Governor

April 20, 2020

What we need now is: 

50 working Governors. . . each one taking charge of their respective domains.

And those same Governors must agree—while leaving polarized party politics in the dust of social media mass confusion—to solve the problems, small and large, as they arise — in each state. 

NCflag

Each state is unique, with its own factor of population density, and its own percentage of citizens whose jobs depend on travel (potentially spreading the disease), and its own ratio of citizens who can actually “work at home” instead of having to “go to work” in the morning.

Governors taking charge — this is the true “federal” of federalism. The .gov in Washington — the so-called Federal government — must function, in this pandemic emergency, as a resource for the various states, as they are better equipped to solve their own problems.

But they do need — and will need for a long time — help from the national .gov, the chief executive of which is Donald Trump.

We need this strategy because each Governor is closer to the ground . . .

 “the ground” being a metaphor for . . .

 that  unique strategy policy required for the recovery of his/her own state, for which he/she has been elected to govern and protect. . .

To govern and protect, by: 

~ defeating Covid, according to the unique vulnerabilities of that state’s population distribution and demographics.

~ replenishing the economic opportunities and needs as an appropriate response for the unique conditions in that State, coordinating with mayors.

Eventually,

Each Governor will be accountable to the citizens of their own state, as citizens express, in the next election,  their appreciation or disapproval of that governor’s proficiency in responding to the Covid challenge of 2020.

The Governors need to get together and corner Trump into being their resourceful servant, instead of the other way around.

 

Glass half-Full

Ironic: Unity requires Separation

April 15, 2020

This is the great irony of our present pandemic situation: Unity of purpose compels us to stay apart.

How you appreciate that unity of mission is probably related to your social identity.

The old argument about progressive vs. conservative congeals now around our present controversy over individual movement vs. lockdown.

What this writer has noticed is:

Progressive citizens seem to be enthralled by the newfound collective purpose of defeating Covid.

Conservatives generally want to do whatever is necessary, but they emphasize individual responsibility, preferring  to minimize official restrictions on public behavior.

In public space, we find that collective obedience gets confronted with rugged individualism.

The respective advocates of each strategy ought to honor each other’s choice as compliantly as possible. Be a team player!

In the months ahead, we shall see how this all plays out.

The speed of Covid-spread seems to be directly proportional to these two factors:

~ Density of people

~ Travel

The disease spreads rapidly in large cities where millions of people are perpetually coming and going somewhere.

The disease spreads farther afield whenever any infected person travels from one place  to any other place.

Urban populations should be required, appropriately, to minimize their movements as mandated by official restrictions.

SocDistnc

In small town and rural populations, responsible citizens should make themselves informed of guidelines issued by local officials.

As for those citizens who who have reason to travel between areas of high and low population density—your safest–and more responsible behavior– would require you to retain the standards of whichever travel destination has the more restrictive standards.

In other buzz:

Progressives say Trump’s antics are evidence of creeping Authoritarianism.

Conservatives say lockdowns and social distancing are creeping Socialism.

This Moderate recommends, regarding whomever you may encounter:

Be respectful.

Act responsibly.

Keep your distance.

Protect children.

Love your husband.

Love your wife.

Call your mother.

+ a Word of advice for all you unattached citizens:  this is probably a good time to cease random hook-ups.

 

Glass half-Full

The SwanSwoon of our Era

March 21, 2020

In her recent article at Social Europe,  Indian economist Jayeti Ghosh  accurately identifies a major consequence of our worldwide collective anti-COVID restrictions:

  “Supply chains are being disrupted, factories are being closed, entire regions are being locked down and a growing number of workers are struggling to secure their livelihoods. “

  https://www.socialeurope.eu/the-covid-19-debt-deluge

Her statement does indeed identify the crux of our economic problem right now, and the global complexity does unleash trouble on a very large, international scale.

You might say this COVID-crash is the “Crash of ’29” of our era.

Some compare this tsunami to the crash of ’08, or the blah-blah of ’87 (whatever that was.)  But it seems to me this thing is unwinding as an event historically more far-reaching than those two economic downfalls. This Covid thing can be compared to  what happened in 1929.

The Crash of ’29 exposed the vulnerability of a newly-Industrialized USA. This present Covid-crash exposes the vulnerability of a newly-Internetted World.

Ms. Ghosh is correct in her observation when she writes:

  “Today’s financial fragility far predates the Covid-19 ‘black swan’.”

The black swan represents the unlikely possibility that something like this could happen . . . . even though it did.

It seems to me the immensity of our present global Covid co-morbidity is indeed directly related to our newfound world connectivity in trade, travel and talk. The black swan in the background represents this unprecedented development in world history.

Swans

In that same technocratic network to which Ms. Ghosh contributes, Social Europe, Karin Pettersson posts her insightful analysis of our Covid conundrum, which includes this accurate assessment:

   “Already however, we know this: this type of disease cannot be efficiently fought at an individual level, but only as a society. It requires preparation, co-ordination, planning and the ability to make rapid decisions and scale up efforts. A strong state.

But nor is government enough. The situation demands personal responsibility, a sense of duty, concern for one’s neighbour. “

     https://www.socialeurope.eu/the-corona-crisis-will-define-our-era

What she writes there is so true. I agree.

Karin goes on to pose  a question that is surely the crux of the problem for millions of earth-inhabiting workers:

   “Yet what will you do if you simply cannot afford to stay at home?”

And I’m thinking . . . because of this widespread affordability problem, the response of governments and corporations in the days ahead should reflect benevolence, not authoritarian oppression. At least I hope it will.

Karin Pettersson also presents this profound thought:  

   “I wonder if young people might come to think that authoritarian China dealt with the crisis better than the US—the land of the free.”

We shall witness, in the days ahead, how this dilemma is dealt with between China, USA, and all the other nations of this planet.

Karin’s bright insight becomes dimmed, however, when she criticizes, in the same article cited above, Vice President Mike Pence’s public act of leading scientists in prayer.

She is displeased that Pence, a former Indiana governor, had cut funding for HIV-virus research and prevention, back in the day. . .

I can understand Ms. Petterssen’s emphatic let’s fix this humanism. It is quite the de rigeur among technocrat intelligencia who would like to run the world, because they could certainly do a more equitable and better job than all those corporate 1%ers whose rabid profit-taking shenanigans have now made such a mess of things.

 Yes, Virginia, the news is bad. Read ’em and weep. . . but act, benevolently. That also  goes for all you 1%ers out there who think you’re in charge of things.

But I also like to remember, and take seriously, a statement that I heard, many years ago, from a fellow who was then what I now am, an ole geezer.

  “What we need now is some damn prayer!”

So Let’s all work together harmoniously to get these problems solved. And remember that a little help from the OneWhoIs could only render our burdens a little easier to bear.

Glass half-Full

The Senator from Minnesota

February 12, 2020

Just a few days ago,  we were walking around in Haifa, Israel. That port city is really thriving with energy and productivity.

As we strolled near the Mediterranean shore, we came upon a cable-lift, which we rode upwards to a point about halfway up Mt. Carmel, passing in the air over a cave that is traditionally called “Elijah’s cave.”

Whether in that cave, or some other, the prophet Elijah heard a “still, small voice” of divine encouragement, while he happened to be at that moment in an hour of great need of some help from above. . . or whether Elijah’s word from the Lord happened in some other cave, I don’t really know. But I do believe, like Elijah of old, in God who is watching over us daily, and encouraging us if we listen in the Spirit for that still, small voice.

Moving right along . . .

Before we hopped on that cable-lift, I noticed this sign:

HHsignHaifa

Of course I was reminded of the Senator from Minnesota. He was Vice President under Lyndon Johnson, back in the day.

You know, Humphrey got a bad deal. He might have been President. While the Democrats were trying to have a convention in 1968, their public persona was severely damaged because the heavy-handed Mayor Daley of Chicago was sending his police out in great numbers to whack the protesting kids who were trying to end the Vietnam War.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes in the other political party in ’68, the Republican nominee Nixon was tampering inappropriately with the peace talks that our diplomats were trying to conduct with the North Vietnamese in Paris.

In Chicago, Hubert was trying to establish his own peace-cultivating identity at the donkey convention. He was laboring under the duress of heavy-handed Lyndon’s invisible hand manipulating the convention to his own ends.

Long story short, Hubert got a bad deal and Nixon ended up getting the Presidency, only to be run off during his second term for sending some crooks to break into Democratic offices.

Humphrey, had he won, might have been a better President than Nixon. But some things we’ll never know, like who was behind the murder of JFK and so forth  and so on . . .

Well now we have another Senator from Minnesota who rises into the national limelight after New Hampshire, and I’m taking a close look at her candidacy. Maybe Amy will pull a Jimmy Carter on us and somehow take the White House.

Anyway, when Pat and I arrived back in USA a few days ago, having spent two weeks in the amazing country of Israel, lo and behold if we didn’t return to a situation where all hell was breaking loose and some folks are even talking about civil war between the elephants and the donkeys.

This is not good.

Now I am proud to be a political moderate, altough I have for a long time been registered as a Republican.

There are some things I like about Mr. Trump’s take-charge attitude, but generally I don’t think his Presidency is good for our country. He is too divisive, and destructive, like a bull in a china shop. And I don’t give a hoot about his damn wall. I say let ‘em in.

“Send me your tired and weary, your huddled masses yearning to be free.”

So this morning I wake up and Bernie has won the New Hampshire primary.

Well good for him and all those young people—like we were in ’68—who propelled him into this victory. But New Hampshire is his home state and this victory is a flash-in-the-pan because he is too far left, and propagating socialistic programs, to win the electorate across these here entire confederation of states that we call USA.

Therefore, in the interests of our already-great nation, I think I’ll vote for a moderate Democrat rather than take a chance on another divisitory four years with the Donald.

I’ll have to switch my party affiliation to Democrat, of course, to vote for Amy Klobuchar, but it seems to me to be the best thing we can do to keep this still-great nation from falling apart at the seams.

I’ll go with the Senator from Minnesota.

Amy Klobucher

 Think about it, although we still have a long way to go before November, and a lot of bad and good things could happen along the way. Amy’s moderate history indicates, it seems to me, that hers is a better direction than what is now tearing us apart at the seams.

Glass half-Full 

The commons; sacred and secular

January 26, 2020

Here’s a view into a commons area at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv . . . one of the first noteworthy scenes I noticed after stepping off the plane.

CommonsBG

Of all the airport scenes I have ever seen in travels across this world, this view seems to be more accommodating than most. The sight imparted to me a feeling of community, rather than a random passing of jet-travelers.

The late afternoon sun may have lent some bright ambience from above to color my perception in a favorable way.

The next morning, today,  I notice this building on the street where we are staying in Jerusalem.

StPaulChurch

Today I woke up recalling some words from an ancient poet who lived near here.

“Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness
and who seek the Lord:
Look to the rock from which you were cut
and to the quarry from which you were hewn;

look to Abraham, your father,
and to Sarah, who gave you birth.
When I called him he was only one man,
and I blessed him and made him many.

The Lord will surely comfort Zion
and will look with compassion on all her ruins;
he will make her deserts like Eden,
her wastelands like the garden of the Lord.
Joy and gladness will be found in her,
thanksgiving and the sound of singing.

“Listen to me, my people;
hear me, my nation:
Instruction will go out from me;
my justice will become a light to the nations.

My righteousness draws near speedily,
my salvation is on the way,
and my arm will bring justice to the nations.
The islands will look to me
and wait in hope for my arm.

Lift up your eyes to the heavens,
look at the earth beneath;
the heavens will vanish like smoke,
the earth will wear out like a garment
and its inhabitants die like flies.
But my salvation will last forever,
my righteousness will never fail.

“Hear me, you who know what is right,
you people who have taken my instruction to heart:
Do not fear the reproach of mere mortals
or be terrified by their insults.

For the moth will eat them up like a garment;
the worm will devour them like wool.
But my righteousness will last forever,
my salvation through all generations.”

Awake, awake, arm of the Lord,
clothe yourself with strength!
Awake, as in days gone by,
as in generations of old.
Was it not you who cut Rahab to pieces,
who pierced that monster through?

Was it not you who dried up the sea,
the waters of the great deep,
who made a road in the depths of the sea
so that the redeemed might cross over?

Those the Lord has rescued will return.
They will enter Zion with singing;
everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

Down toward the bottom of this text selection, the poet asks:

Was it not you who dried up the sea,
the waters of the great deep,
who made a road in the depths of the sea
so that the redeemed might cross over?

While modern skeptics dismiss the possibility of such divine interventions to make the paths of faith-based emigrants . . . I was reminded, upon reading these words mentioned above, of a certain group of distressed 20th-century people of the book who, when being threatened with massive malicious extinction, took matters into their own hands and . . .

        “made a road in the depths of the sea”

. . . so that they could exodus from Nazi hell and move forward to carve out a place in the wilderness, on the other side of the Mediterranean: A new-old land in which to prosper, instead of being auschwitzed into oblivion.

IsraelEduc

Pretty amazing stuff on this first bright Sunday morning in the old country.

Glass half-Full

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

January 20, 2020

 As a person who grew up in the deep south in the 1950’s-60’s, I wrote a song about

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In 1977, by the grace of God I was able to record the song in a studio in Nashville.

Hear now the message of the song, which is about two great, historical leaders

From careyrowland.com . . . Mountaintop

         MLKing

Glass half-Full