Monday, July 8, 2019

George Washington, Visionary

George Washington, our first American president, understood the duties of the office and the pitfalls inherent in such power. He grasped the danger of self-serving, egotistical individuals who might gain power, and named them the greatest threat to democracy. `

Just as Eisenhower in his parting speech as the president told us to "beware of the military-industrial complex," Washington preceded him with a prescient parting speech.

George Washington's Farewell Address: 

"The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty. …

"It serves a
lways to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another."

It is pointless to correct Trump or hope that reason will prevail. 45 has clearly demonstrated that he is the very person (or prototype) that George Washington foresaw...and the Republicans are "the prevailing faction" of handmaidens to usher in a dictatorship.

The next election is a watershed moment.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Happy July 4th Not

A few hundred years ago today, our forefathers signed the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain. Then an arch enemy, today a staunch ally, the trajectory of history clearly points to impermanence-in-action. 

Over the decades this date has become a time to celebrate freedom from the oppression of a foreign power - theorectically. Manufacturers of flags and fireworks depend on this time of year for a bonanza of revenue, and barbeques replete with hot dogs, hamburgers, corn and beer are de rigeur.

That my countrymen see this date as party time could be considered a good thing - a day off from the workaday world, a time to get together with family and friends (if one is lucky enough to have those connections). A national holiday. 

At the risk of sounding like The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, this year's celebratory events feel like nails on a chalkboard. We have concentration camps at the southern border and a madman at the helm. We have wars of attrition, some public, some clandestine, happening of every continent. And yes, we still have more freedoms than many places on the globe. For this I am grateful...and confused.

So when people are chirping, "Happy July 4th" to me, a cynical little voice in my heart goes WTF?

Between the Frying Pan and the Fire

When the first inklings of a pandemic started brewing in late January, I was in Bodgaya, India, the place where the historical Buddha attai...