Archive for the ‘optimism’ 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

. . . to be a Demublican

May 10, 2020

I was raised down in Louisiana, way back in the 1960’s. At that time in the Bayou state it seemed like everybody and their brother was a Democrat.

In 1969, I was Student Council President at our high school, and my buddy Doug Lambert was President of the Key Club.

When I moved across town to LSU, Doug and I were roomies for awhile and there was a lot going on on at LSU at the time.

There were, in fact some deep changes taking place on campuses all across the nation; students were getting more and more involved with politics.

I recently wrote a novel, King of Soul, about all of what was going on during those turbulent times. Take a look at it  my website below, or on Amazon.

In 1972, George McGovern was organizing his campaign to challenge Nixon’s presidency. Doug suggested that he and I stand for election in a precinct caucus to represent McGovern as delegates at a state convention, leading up to the the Democrats’ national convention.

Well there wasn’t much of nothin’ that I can remember about that, except that McGovern did later get the nomination, but I wasn’t there.  He ran against Nixon and lost big-time

. . . which was kinda odd because a couple years later the American people ran Nixon out of the White House because of his shady dealings pertaining to the Watergate break-in and other quasi-illegal activities.

The groundswell of opposition to Nixon that resulted in his exit from office was a little bit like what’s happening to Trump now. However, a lot of the bad feeling about Nixon was probably directly related to his procrastination in getting us out of the war after he promised during the campaign to get us out of it.

Well somewhere in all that hullabaloo I got registered as a Democrat.

I stayed that way for more than a few years, although I was not into politics and voting during the period of my spousal search and subsequent raising of a young family.

Somewhere in the ’80’s, Ronald Reagan went over to Berlin and told Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down that wall. It was a great follow-up to Kennedy’s Ich bin Ein Berliner stroke of genius, so I registered as a Republican, and I stuck with that affiliation for a quite a while.

We used to have a Republican party in this country; it stood for Constitutional law, free enterprise, freedom of religion, low taxes, and a respect for the right of every person and every family to make the best (s)he can out of what (s)he can get without a lot of interference from the government.

But nowadays I get the feeling that the Republican party has disappeared; it has been superceded by a bunch of yessir this and yessir that yes-men who form all their strategies around what the Donald says and what he approves of or does not approve of.

But hey. True leadership requires speaking to all the people all the time, invoking the traditions of this already great nation to inspire citizens to work actively in cross-the-aisle cooperation to solve our problems.

Leadership is not about evaluating policy decisions based upon whether the advisor, inquisitor or reporter is for you or against you based on some vague theory of fake news.

The only good thing that sticks in my mind about this current president is that he ordered our embassy in Israel to be moved to Jerusalem. I have always wanted a President to do that. Good move, there, Mr. President.

Nevertheless . . .

What we need now is a President who will not be distracted by useless judgements re: who is for him or who is against him.

In this present time of covid-crisis, we need a President who can truthfully say, as Gerald Ford did in 1975:

“Our long national nightmare is over.”

Oh! if our current President could only manage to  make such a declaration legitimately, after actually inspiring us and  leading us into paths of healing instead of quibbling over who’s on his side or who’s on Nancy’s side.

We need a President who can say, as Roosevelt did in 1933:

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

So I am declaring my affiliation now as a Demublican.

Maybe I’ll vote for a third-party candidate, as I did last time, or maybe I’’ll find a reason to support the Donald if he’ll straighten up and fly right, or maybe I’ll vote for Joe.

I don’t know.

Donald, see if you can get yourself settled down to actually lead this nation out of the Covid threat, instead of fretting over whether you’ll be re-elected or not, because your paranoid pugnacious politicism is screwing up everybody’s confidence that we can actually defeat this iinvisible monster.

Get your act together.

You too Joe! You might find yourself in the hot seat, come next January.

As Uncle Walter would say, if he were here:

“And that’s the way it is, May 10, 2020.”

Cronkite

King of Soul 

Say it ain’t So.

May 6, 2020

These are perilous times in many ways:

Perilous pandemic

Perilous politics

Perilous protests

Perilous proclamations

Perilous pandemonium

Perilous publications

Perilous panic

Perilous parlance

Perilous pathogens

Perilous politicians

Perilous partisans

Perilous Powers

I heard a perilous report this morning. I found myself wishing some wise person would or could refute the perilous parlance I heard.

I was thinking: Say it ain’t so!

~Say it ain’t so: that the CCP are out to get us.

~Say it ain’t so: that the CCP unleashed the perilous pandemic with intentions of debilitating the US.

~Say it ain’t so: that the CCP place no value in human life.

~Say it ain’t so: that the CCP leaders are willing to sacrifice large swathes of their own people to the Covid just for the sake of having an alibi.

~Say it ain’t so: that the CCP want to dispose of many of their own old people because they’ve got too many of them due to their past one-child policy.

~Say it ain’t so: that Xi’s heroes are Hitler and Stalin.

Say it ain’t so!

~Say it ain’t so: that the CCP are willing to make a deal with Perilous Putin to debilitate North America with Covid and then divvy it up so that Ruskies can have Alaska back and CCP can grab USA to repopulate it with their presently overpopulated people.

Say it ain’t so!

~Say it ain’t so: that we actually have Americans who claim that our nuclear arsenal is obsolete and needs to be upgraded.

Say it ain’t so!

~Say it ain’t so: that any leader would even think about firing one of those damned warheads.

~Say it ain’t so: that we are headed for another world war.

Somebody please say it ain’t so.

Tiananmen talk

Somebody please prove to me that all the above Perilous Reports are not true and they  could never happen.

More likely, however, than someone actually proving that to me is:

that I would do better to put aside this perilous rant and resort instead to a different “P” plea to hang my hopes on:   

Pray!

Pray it ain’t so.

Perhaps you’ll join me. Pause for a word of Prayer for all People everywhere and for the imperiled Planet we inhabit.

P.S. If you are Chinese, and reading this . . . Please don’t take this wrong way.

Have a nice day.

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 

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

I’m Convinced

April 12, 2020

There’s a lot be said, and much to be written, about how we got here, where we are headed, what we will endure, what we will enjoy, and why it all happens.

Of all the sages and great men and great women throughout the ages, I do  not know of one whose claim to truth—whose claim to know what he is talking about, and what our purpose is here— I do not know of one whose accomplishment can be more convincing than the prophet  who rose from the dead. There is not one man nor woman whose wisdom or feats can match  this one miraculous labor of love:

Being tortured to death, rising from death back into life, and then living to tell about it.

There is no treatise on truth, no explanation of existence nor spoken lecture on the meaning (or absence thereof) of life. There is no heroic feat, no dramatic rescue, no profound work of art—that can match or exceed personal victory over death itself.

So I’m going with the one who survived death: Jesus.

I’m not the only one. Take a look at history and you will see how many men, women and children have, over two thousand years, cast their lot in his direction.

Believe it, or not.

If you can’t agree with me now, just recall this testimony when you are, let’s say, one hour or one minute from your death. At that moment, consider carefully whether you will truly want to  reject the rescuing hand that is extended to you just after crossing . . .

Better yet: believe me now, that. . . that hand is gesturing for you now, because the gift of eternal life through faith is even more precious–and more lovingly beneficial to others– when it comes into full use during this present life of trouble, trial, and triumph.

EmptyTomb

King of Soul  

Get Satisfaction

April 6, 2020

In 1964, I turned 13 years old.

Like most kids in those days, I was listening to a lot of popular music on a transistor radio.

My first hearing of the Beatles happened  one night while laying sleepily in the dark, in bed.

I’ll never forget that moment. Perhaps you have had one like it.

Their sound was absolutely unique, new, and fresh. Paul and John’s two-voiced harmony rang so clearly through my juvenile brain:

 

Well, she was just seventeen;

You know what I mean,

and the way she looked

was way beyond compare.

Now I’ll never dance with another

since I saw her standing there. . .

My heart went boom

when I crossed that room

and held her hand in mine!

 

Along about that time, there were some other groups knocking out their raucous vibes over the airwaves. I remember one joker came along ranting:

 

I can’t get no I can’t get no I can’t get no satisfaction!

When I’m traveling ‘round the world

and I’’m trying to make some girl . . .

who tells me baby you better come back next week

cuz cant you see I’m on a losing streak.

I can’t get no I can’t get no I can’t no satisfaction!

 

Yeah, yeah, whatever, man.

Not my cup of tea.

Years later, I began wondering just what kind of trip the music industry was trying to put on me and my g-g-generation. Well, that’s a profound question, and it goes much deeper than just “the music industry.”

As years passed by, I had a lot of great experiences, and  of course a few bad ones.

Now it’s 2020 and I’m sitting around the house wondering where the Covid is going to take us before it plays out its invisible death scenario among us. And I have some time to reflect on the meaning of life and all that . . .

Today, while strolling in the sunshine on a park trail, social distancing,  I realized that—looking back on it all— I have discovered, thank God, what satisfaction truly is. I’m not kidding.

Forty years ago, I met the love of my life, married her; she gave birth to our three children who are now grown and living productive, happy lives.

And we have managed to get through that very long “gotta make a living” phase of life—forty years of it. Well, she’s still working . . . ICU Nurse in this time of Covid, while I have made it to that classic, gold-tinted “retirement” state of mythical bliss.

And it will not be so very long before I pass on . . . into that eternal life with the Lord who created us and guided us through these paths of fulfillment.

So I’m approaching that great, big open door that will be like nothing else this life has shown me so far.

They say . . . as one approaches that final  stage, one may become feeble, losing a few neurons along the way and finding some of those ole dependable body parts unable to do what they used to do.

And . . . and yet . . .

this person who is beside me as we approach this unfamiliar juncture . . . this person who has been with me since . . . forty years . . . this woman who has made my house a home, guided my children through better paths than I could have done alone . . . this woman who is still with me as we draw near to that last sunset, whenever it comes . . .

LifeSunset

I have found it! The Satisfaction! . . . the meaning of life:

To have one person who does this long journey with you all the way through, and is there—so familiar and comfortable and caring— all the way to the end, when the sparks start to fall short.

That’s what it’s all about! Whoever thought up this plan—my hat’s off to Him!

Now I realize this personal revelation that I have described may not be your cup of tea. I get that. It takes all kinds to make a world. But I do want to leave you with this little piece of advice.

If you have one person to love—and who loves you—stay with that person. The sacrifice of loving one mate all the way through the journey is definitely worth all the .  . . whatever it takes.

Chances are,  you don’t fully appreciate the full significance of faithful love until you approach the final stages. That’s when the deepest reward is realized. Today is the day I have understood this most clearly.

Glass half-Full  

I hear America flinging

April 3, 2020

I hear America flinging

challenges of COVID dare;

UncleSam

I see America stringing up a net of Covid care.

I feel America wailing, with going-viral fear:

Pleas from nurses, sending out the call for protective gear,

Journalists following every viral report they hear

Doctors attacking the dreaded virus’ lethal spread

Families mourning for—and remembering— their dead

Health Officials call forth our care-giver legions

Media transmit the message to far/near regions

Friends fling phoning nets of loving, living care

Brave RNs march into the battle as they dare

Administrators send out urgent staffing calls

  flinging open clinic doors in crowded hospital halls

Governors rush out urgent calls for public health protection

Reporters fuel the urgency of that damned fast-spread infection

Every citizen who inhabits regions far and near

   gets affected with this dreadful viral fear.

As pleadings sound forth to maintain some social distance,

you could save a life—maybe your own!—in every social instance.

Hey you! Ask not what the world can do for you, in this anti-covid call;

Ask what, together, we can do for protection of us all.

 

(with appreciation for inspiration from Walt Whitman and John Fitzgerald Kennedy)

Glass half-Full

Tiananmen talk

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