Monday, December 24, 2018

On Christmas Eve

If you are at home tonight, two YouTube programs we have watched this evening have moved us so much that we wish to share them with you who might happen upon this blog:

The recording from Kings College (audio) is the usual sterling Lessons and Carols service that began in 1928.

A Winter`s Night is an hour and thirty-minute Christmas concert produced and performed by Sting with an ensemble of very fine musicians from all over the world.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Trump’s Damn Wall

How, in a civilized country, can the president shut down the government on a whim? This is insane!

The only explanation for this lamentable state of affairs is that the founding fathers, even in their worst nightmares, never anticipated that someone like Trump would become president. Thus they did not incorporate into our Constitution the safeguards that we now need so badly.

Our founding fathers never anticipated the polarization we are now experiencing, either. After the Civil War our leaders, having experienced the lethal results of regional polarization directly before their eyes, never made any attempt to revise our Constitution beyond three amendments. These men were epigons, pale successors of political and intellectual giants.

The men and women that now rule over us in all three branches of our government can only be described as epigons. Most are not bad people, but they are inadequate to the challenges that face the nation. There is blame on both Republicans and Democrats but the blame is not equal; to be fair is not to hold that both sides are equally culpable. That seldom happens. For a long time the Republican leadership and its ultra wealthy paymasters (who have been the ones calling the shots) have been actively planning and working towards remaking the US into an oligarchy, rule by the 1%, bare subsistence for the rest of us. They have been doing this by any method—legal or illegal, ethical or unethical, honest or dishonest—that has advanced their objective.

The Democrats were first blindsided. By the time they realized what had happened, they had forgotten what they stood for and consequently were unable to counter the deluge of right-wing, hate-filled propaganda that flooded the media in the late '80s and '90s. That was the Democrats' first sin.
Their second and even more egregious sin was in becoming neoliberals themselves. During Bill Clinton's presidency the Republicans gained in power and the Democrats lost power as Clinton "triangulated" his policies, depending upon which direction the political winds blew. It was patently obvious at the time that he was triangulating his principles, as well.

All this time, the Republicans continued doing what they had previously been doing, and the Democrats seemed paralyzed. The Democratic establishment, in fact, clings to its neoliberal position today. They haven't learned and they refuse to remember what the  Democratic party once stood for so proudly.

In times of political polarization, the mediocre rule, and persons of talent and character remain in the background. They know that if they attempt to intervene in the state of affairs, they will be unsuccessful.

The Chinese Book of Changes sets out the optimum strategy of a good person in bad times:
In a time of darkness it is essential to be cautious and reserved. One should not needlessly awaken overwhelming enmity by inconsiderate behavior. In such times one ought not to fall in with the practices of others; neither should one drag them censoriously into the light. In social intercourse one should not try to be all-knowing. One should let many things pass, without being duped.