Riding Off Into the Sunset

This is a troubling time for the people and institutions who will endure but for many parts of society and many people it is farewell to the world of the living. Farewell to continuing existence in this reality. Musicians like Ellis Marsalis, Bill Withers, John Prine, Joe Diffie and the others we have been losing cannot be replaced. In American popular culture we have the concept  and film trope of heroes and cowboys riding off into the sunset. Many icons here and in other countries will be doing that here and now. There is too much of this kind of loss going on in the USA for me to even attempt to keep track of the same kinds of losses elsewhere.

Photo by Kelly Lacy from Pexels

I am sitting on my couch typing on this Easter Tuesday morning my arm is in a sling from hurting myself in me sleep. That happens about once a year and that is why I own a sling. Despite all the physical work I  do in a typical year it is usually a sleeping injury that puts me in this condition. I hope that you all are doing alright who are reading this. I am starting to show some signs of wear and tear. I am also aware of all of those who are leaving us in this pandemic. The losses of important influences seem to pile up more each day. But we also know that some of our world will stay the same and all of us have some ties to traditions and institutions forged in tough times.

 

This is a time for dealing with the fact that life is not ever likely to be quite the same after the pandemic.  My life has been about moving beyond  various phases for a long time. It has not been a wasted life but it has not been a life that has led to much solid success. But it does seem that familiar virtues lie the heroic dedication of health care workers facing disease and the generosity of people to charities are on view, I personally am grateful for the largess of the government of my country to the millions including me whose lives have been upended. I am grateful to President Donald Trump, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for finding the way to work together. Today, I hurt my shoulder and have all the stress of the pandemic accentuated by my physical injury but I am not facing financial crisis yet because of Unemployment Insurance benefit expansion and the Economic Impact Payment. I am grateful to have this relief. There are many other people getting other benefits as employers, spouses and employers for which I am not eligible. But I am getting old and tired and am grateful to get my piece of the pie. Maybe I can survive this crisis with a semblance of having my life intact.

Earlier in this blog I spent a lot of pages on grandiose plans and proposals for reform and radical change. I am too tired and run down to think much about those failures. I just think mostly about my life as a series of moments, days and experiences that might make up a life’s work and journey that I am not ashamed to have traveled.

The images in mt mind may be a review of life just before it ends…

or a pause before the journey and the work resume,

Tonight I am noting but not yet reacting to the fact that the United States has stopped funding the WHO. I am noting but not yet reacting to the fact there are real breaks in the supply chain. I am noting but not yet reacting to the fact that I am struggling to deal with the prospect of extended isolation. I am noting but not yet reacting to the cost some errors a few people in my set of connections made just before the crisis that are now amplified by these events, I have not gotten around to thinking about what all these disparate thoughts mean when they are called into the same context.

I do have to say goodbye to the resumption of my school schedule, The Governor of Louisiana has indicated that the school year will not open in the normal sense again for this academic year. I am trying to figure out all the ins and outs of the pandemic for myself. Substitute teaching for the Vermilion Parish School Board has been part of my life and income for 8 of the last 20 years.

The journey of a person through the years of life is not ever all that simple. I have been remembering the low lights and  highlights of my life. In my own case, the world today is very interesting but also not much my concern. I am not so much looking to change anything as I a looking to set my house in order on the way off the stage. I am not even at all confident that I can do that effectively.

 

I still find the need to comment on the great events of the day, I still believe what I believe and surmise what I surmise.  I have never  been so incredibly sure that my time for the shaping of larger events has come largely to an end, For me the focus must be on my personal final chapter or two for the remainder of my time on this earth.

This sense of how a crisis could come suddenly was in my lecture at the LHA  annual meeting when I spoke about the Cajun response to 1930. A sense of sudden sweeping crisis  was present in  what I wrote in this blog  just before the election of Donald Trump. I wrote this as part of one of my last posts before I started letting this blog go without  even trying to keep it going.

Back in 1860 few if any Americans expected the cataclysm which was about to engulf the nation. Even once they conceded that war was a formal likely hood on paper and maybe probable on the field most Americans believed that if started it would end quickly with their side victorious. James Chestnut, South Carolina’s senator and the famous Confederate diarist Mary’s husband, offered to personally drink all the blood shed in the struggle. What happened was an all out clash of millions and an ordeal of years. William J. Cooper Jr.’s book, We Have the War Upon Us does a good job of capturing the sense of that precipice on which America stood. Perhaps the most important lesson to learn from the last year or so before the actual shooting started is how unexpected it seemed to so many.

There is no way to reach any really clear assessment of the Obama Presidency just yet. He may have saved us from a Great Depression, maybe not. He may have done much better in the War on Terror than his predecessor who allowed the attacks on 9/11 which changed us so much. Or he may be responsible for disasters which have engulfed Egypt, Syria, Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Iran, Israel, Libya and Tunisia and other countries in a struggle which will endure for generations. He may have solved the fundamental problems of our healthcare crisis or he may have plunged us deeper into a new healthcare crisis. Certainly there will be no answers that satisfy those who are the most demanding observers and analysts right now. But the election is not in fifty or a hundred years. The election of the next President of the United States is Tuesday. There were fewer prominent Democrats on my ballot than I ever remember seeing in so many races and I usually vote for at least a few Democrats but this time I voted almost entirely for Republicans. However, I did vote for Chris Keniston for President of the United States. His Veterans Party will not take the White House however. So who will take it? Either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump will almost certainly take the Presidency. I am not happy with who we leave behind nor either option to which we now proceed. But I do hope that we will have a peaceful transition to a new administration.

Tonight, I am responsive to who I always was but I want arrange record and prepare for my relatively near exit. I do not want to jump much into the fray that matters, I am tired and the sky shows many signs of sunset.

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