Happy Holidays, Keeping it Real and Beautiful.

The Advent wreath pulled out of Clara’s boxes and one lit at church, that is the season and Thanksgiving is the recently passed day. But I am aware of people celebrating Hanukkah, I thought of shopping on Black Friday and know that this is Cyber Monday and Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday. At Clara’s house and elsewhere Christmas decorations are out of storage and being examined if not yet put up. the whir of the holidays is upon us and although I feel anxiety as well as joy I feel very blessed to be in love.

Clara and I have had a nice and enjoyable Thanksgiving season but it has been hectic overall with a little rest woven in. Nut much shopping yet for me as I just said. I am focused on getting one particular gift this season to one particular person and if that happens then I will post the news here. Prayers and good wishes are welcome..

I not only hope for my own happiness but I hope all of you are having the best of the seasons. Not much time on Facebook as usual. Happy Hanukkah as well and to those who really do good for themselves and other in the frenzied shopping of these days and manage to keep the Christmas Spirit — best wishes on that as well. Clara made bread pudding and sauces and I did a turkey for my families partial gathering. My turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce joined the sweet potato pone, green bean casserole, pies, other turkey, ham and rice dressing we found at Mom’s nicely decorated home. After a nice visit we came and hosted a good part of her family at her house. There my contribution was mostly the same but she added sweet potato medallions, broccoli and cauliflower casserole, rice dressing, her bread pudding and sauces, salad and other treats. Although I worked Friday and Saturday this is my first day past the Thanksgiving Weekend.

The Next Phase of the Era

The building up of America’s infrastructure is one of the issues on which Donald Trump was elected President. I think that the United States is a wealthy country and a powerful one but its infrastructure is in fact in a good but of a crisis. One may disagree about how severe the crisis is but not deny that the infrastructure need investment. One of Donald Trump’s greatest failures was that he did not have the Congress of the United States pass a major bill funding and planning a great deal of of Federal infrastructure improvement. It appears that Joseph Biden has gotten an infrastructure deal amid the polls showing that 70 percent of Americans feel that the country is headed in the wrong direction. He has found a mix of Republican and Democrat votes in the United States Congress which have created a structure for funding ta better infrastructure during this off year of political defeats of his party that holds office in leadership and the majority of both Houses. I think that is a necessary and useful thing to improve the infrastructure..

I am quite aware that the government of the United States of America has just seen the passage by a majority which is bipartisan of the bill that is largely necessary for the future of the country. I am not sure how much else is not even considered, besides the many real defects that are being remedied by the bill as imagined. But while waterways, coastal erosion, ground water management and a thousand other concerns are barely addressed we still must hope fro the best from this bill and law and plan. I do hope that it will have some long term good effects.

Getting to The Next Stage of Survival

I have been told that I may have some good news forthcoming on a few fronts but I know that even if there are good things coming, I am not the person I once was much less who I once believed that I might be — so I am not only short on resources and opportunities. I am also someone who is deeply aware that my inner resources are less than they once were. I only want to see if I can create a meaningful remainder of my life. I do not want to to pretend it can now be what it could have been if life had turned out differently. This post comes into being in a very tight window of time punctuated over a period of busy and tiring days and weeks. The path of life is more torturous and the rewards are more limited than one would have hoped. I am aware of the lack of resources that I bring to all things, and when (after many years without a solid relationship of love) I look in the eyes of my girlfriend Clara I am aware of how much less I have to offer her than I might like. Nonetheless, I have done some good at work, pursued some long term goals, gotten a paycheck and had some quality time with the woman I love. My life is blessed and although I have little I am surrounded by signs of worse decline and erosion of value than that which affects me personally. My suffering and struggling in vain has been a large portion of my life and I can and do get fixated on the wasted energies some times. But there are fruits and joys I can remember as well, but when compared to the catastrophes that are visited on many who have had to divide their energies between unpopular duties and paying activities in an eroding massive center of the United States.

The Promise of Being Older

The degrees that I have earned are still mine. The publications I have published are often still extant somewhere if faded in significance. The journeys that I have traveled are not only remembered but many are recorded in various ways. I am still in my mother’s two books. I am a still divorced annulled, formerly married and have many relatives who will at least speak to me cordially most of the time. I have not the need to start life from scratch in order to fill out all the form and substance of a human life’s career. The years that remain occur without reference to a sense of not having done much. I feel uncompensated but not as though I have not lived so far.

I am aware of my limitations today. There is nothing much that I can be sure of compared to what one might wish at this point of my life’s journey. I have something to possibly say about the outcome and am hoping for a few things to go my way/ I realize that I have been blessed with the last few months I have shared with a woman I hope will be my companion and partner for the rest of my life. But I admit that we are just finding our way and not even an engagement ring binds us together in the journey so far. There is little security in my life.

News to come.

I hope to post more positive news in weeks to come.

The Ongoing and the Going On

So, this is one of those personal short posts that seeks to connect to the current situation in my life and the world. It has been a while since I did any real blogging or participated in the worldwide debates and discussions in which I was once a small participant. I have been blessed to have found a love in my life with a very special woman who was my classmate when we were in elementary school. We had not spent time together since the last year of middle school until we met again at the small initial planning and mourning funeral of the father of some mutual friends who were siblings. The son invited me and the daughter invited her. We are a few more than a few months into the relationship now. It is the best and most important thing in y life and she is the best and most important person. That is all as it should be.

Beyond that I am trying to make it, trying to do right and finding some satisfaction in some things I do and see. But there are no certainties and without the relationship that I have found the pain, misery and gloom would greatly outweigh any positive elements in my life’s tally. However, while I can be with her life is better than endurable.

I am just as much an unpublished novelist and a many times published writer as I ever was. I am just as interested in the future of space as I ever was. I am just as interested in Cajun history as I ever was. But life drawing to the years where almost everything I have done has been in vain. In the bleak decades remaining with no harvest for the years of clearing, tilling. sowing and weeding I have found someone who is able to give me joy and and share my life and enjoy the tiny rewards I am able to generate from the toxic wasteland in which I live my life. While I can I will focus on the joys and comforts of being with her.

Whether I will be blogging much in the future I am not sure. But I am still acknowledging this blog as part of who I am and have been.

Love in the Pandemic.

I am building a new relationship and trying to make my way in the pandemic world, I am trying to allow myself to change in a changing world but am not renouncing all my life’s journey to this point.

Projects are different now: https://www.change.org/WorkShouldWork

I am focusing much of my discretionary time and energy on my new girlfriend who I think may be the personal happy ending that I have been seeking. Clara and I met in First Grade at Mount Carmel Elementary School and then reconnected at the planning of a funeral for a mutual friend who was the father of closer friends.

The Certain and the Uncertain: How I Plan and Act to Get Through 2020

Patriotism is a theme of my life and so is a devotion to Christianity and Catholicism but it is not certain that I will always be perceived as Christian or a patriotic American. A devotion to horseback riding, French 18th century fiction or Tyrolean folk songs can remain a sort of personal matter. I unlike any number of other devotions both the United States and the Christian and Catholic Churches are very real institutions in which other members and authorities are entitled to determine at least one version of what devotion ought to look like which others in the institution and community are entitled to respect more than the inner convictions of an individual and even I as an individual can sense the and recognize the ways in which I have drifted into the land of discontent. There are enough crises right now for lots of voices of discontent to fill the world but my own discontent is a bit older and and the record is preserved a bit more broadly. Rich and independent men can afford to be labeled malcontents and so can some kinds of poor people but not the kind of man I am but that road may well have been taken too decisively and too long ago to do other than just continue on the path.

I am certain that I wear a mask for many things and gloves on many occasions and that I own and use a lot of hand sanitizer. I am certain that I do not have the resources to meet my obligations without income and that a lot of people are not working just now. I am certain that I am certain that the rice mill that has been operating in Abbeville, Louisiana for over 100 years is not operating now. I am certain that the coastline of Louisiana is growing more porous and degraded year by year. I am certain that the schools were dismissed in mid March and they have not resumed regular operations although the schools would have opened by this date in an ordinary year. I am certain that this period has seen me do my required Board of Ethics training to continue to work as a public servant. I also finished getting and then renewing an insurance license and getting the required training to sell annuities. It has been a challenging thing to make it through this period so far but not a worthless time.

I do not title this piece, How I plan to get ahead in 2020. I am in the throes of a moderate hope for some moderate success in a line of work that I might find somewhat interesting and rewarding. I am also finding a way to persevere in a number of endeavors in which I have been involved for a long time. But life has a number of consistent themes and those themes are all indicative of a great deal of consistent decline in my overall position. I am not a man who has much to gain or lose in the way that a younger version of myself might have had. But I am still alive and active. Therefore there is a lot more to life than merely waiting to die. I am busy trying to figure out what is left in the particular life I have to live in the time that remains. I would like to say that I believe that I will be engaged in life largely devoted to the many goals and ideals that I have cared about in my life. I could find reasons to say such things but it would not be entirely true and I would rather not lie.

I have had ambitions of almost every size and most of them I have let go for one reason or another. But I have not renounced them because all of them are part of who I am. I am not letting them go so much as putting them on back burners or in deep freezes while I prepare other dishes in the kitchen of my life and capacity. We shall see what happens next. But I am not concerned about being overwhelmed with success.

I hope to do some teaching, maybe publish a fw things and maybe sell some insurance. I am trying to tend to all the other things I need to do but I am not filled with a sense of forward progress and I do not feel like I have a good chance of being fairly treated. I will do the work I can and play the position I find myself in a s well as I can. But I am not starting from a blank slate or any sense of endless opportunity. I am largely marking time until I expire. The losses are somehow endless. and the high points are largely in contrast to the long series of low point and long stretches of low plains that make up the geography of my life. At times it is possible think of all the various times that I have appeared in public for one reason or another. I look back at some public moments and the publicity is also to be balanced with the obscurity and disappointment of the times that make up most of the years and determine much of the times and trends of my life.

There are a great number of things that are very uncertain in my view the world has a very strong interest in only a few things, in the kind of very real intensity that characterizes the way a crisis is understood. But coastal erosion, climate change, water management and the development of school curricula are not much in the news, not on social media and not in the few conversations that I get into from time to time. I have pretty well adjusted to letting go of pretty much everything compared to what might have mattered to me at any time in the past when I might have wanted to do some particular thing or other. But I have come to understand my life largely as abandoned projects and enduring disappointments.

I find it impossible to describe my current employment status in the terms of questionnaires provided. and am not always able to answer other basic questions because none of the options provided really seem to describe my situation. This is not the exception so much as it is such a huge series of incidents as to become something at least very close to the rule. One of the attributes of the insurance company who laptop I have been issued, with whom I have an ID number and with whom I have a training account is Patriotism as a practice and a commitment. But I am not yet getting paid nor am I under contract. My identity and designation with the School Board has never quite returned to the one I had in 2000-2004 which is the only one I ever applied for and they are currently not available to provide the only jobs I currently do or ever have done except for a few accidents mostly in 2012. All of this is much too complex to fit into the website that provides some benefits to me. Those benefits are more money that I have ever received in all of my life in Federal benefits but they really are not that much money. But they will be finished soon. I have been working on a relationship with the patriotic insurance company for many months and have recently been putting off likely offers from companies offering to pay from $17 to $32 an hour which is more than I ordinarily make in recent years although in line with other periods when I did earn those rates and they were worth a lot more in real dollars than they are now. Life has been hard and bleak and these federal funds have been a counterweight to bad times and bad policies. But there are plenty of opportunities for all of this to come to ruin while I hear the preachments of those who may claim that I could have dome better and differently.

For me the question of what I could in theory do differently is not the question that interests me. Nor do I wish to take back any of my harsh criticisms of the institutions to which I have devoted much of my life. Nor do I wish to remove comments to the effect that some of my life experience has been hellish. If none of this interests me then what question does interest me?

The question that interests me in the time of COVID-19 and unrest and governmental crises is largely the same question that has always interested me. It is the personal question underlying my view of every larger question. The question is whether I can make the contributions and reap the rewards necessary to make a life work for the time that I have left? It is just not possible to pretend that I have the chance to make life work in all the ways I still think it should as I believe that it should. I simply can choose how to spend the time I have left when there are no really workable options of the type that even enter into the rubrics of the ambitions that form a certain kind of life.

So I await the immediate future not knowing how it will go. But I am looking forward to a simple ad yet splendid vacation for a few days and hoe enough things will go well for me to steal a way a few days with family in Galveston over the next week, Then there is just the unknown that must be charted and the path that must be walked, it is a path of certain troubles and uncertain opportunity.

American Federalism and the Current Crisis and Me

I am writing this on a Sunday morning, There really is little or nothing I can do that will make this a day without some real anxiety. There is a lot trouble in the world, lots of trouble in my own prospects, lots of trouble in the outlook for America. The work of the Congress right now on a relief package is work and it is politics and it is not to be trivialized. However, the central part under contention is the enhanced unemployment benefits program. Under this program, the federal government has been adding $600 a week to state unemployment benefits. This was put forward largely by Democrat political leadership in the CARES Act but was supported by Republicans eager to keep the economy going and keep workers connected to their jobs when the recovery gets underway.

The unemployment enhancement has provided a bridge across the vast economic divides across the country. It is because of programs like this which occasionally occur that the many people in America who could be deeply and dangerously alienated from the Union are not so deeply and dangerously alienated. These six hundred dollars have been a restitution without apology from a society that has long waged both an intentional and a negligent war against its own lands and that means the money really counts more for people who live in poor areas with limited opportunity and in systemic decline that are also beset with cultural problems and a sense of being ignored — these six hundred dollars which are just enough to stay alive in the inflated, successful, powerful economies of a small minority of our country’s land area ARE ACTUALLY SIGNIFICANT FUNDS coming into regions and groups that have only known the constant drain and theft of their patrimony for a long time. Amid all the controversy , Republicans just voted to extend the pandemic unemployment benefits while still talking about other options. But the Democrats who have constantly supported extending these benefits did not vote to extend them, So the program has expired and we face the immediate future with a great deal of uncertainty across the country. Perhaps the increased saving rate around the country which allows more banks to buy US Treasury Bonds and the low interest rates will empower the United States to extend this program on cheap credit. It is a good bet that the issues will be complicated over the long haul — no matter what path is chosen. There is a poison in our political culture which will make the aftermath of the program more contentious than I think it needs to be.

Right now, there is so much unemployment that the program is objectively extensive but is also very much a matter of supporting people who do not have the options of exploring a job market with enough jobs for all workers in need. In addition, there is some calculable value in keeping those who can hope to return to their jobs in a position to do so when those jobs return.

Today is Sunday. I did not go to Mass. However, I watched some of the mass on television and I read the readings from Isaiah, the Epistle to the Romans and St. Matthew’s gospel. The reading in Isaiah urges the reader/listener to come to a free banquet offered by The LORD God. The Epistle tells us to remember that the love of God will overcome all intervening forces and not abandon us. The Gospel tells of the multiplication of fishes and loaves and the feeding of the multitude by Christ. The overall occasion created must lead to many sermons about the extravagant providence of God for his people. I actually could write a lot about these Bible passages and the themes in them. But the sole idea today is that American from churches that share this lectionary are being reminded that amid the advice to be prudent, to be vigilant for coming trouble, to invest money, to live simply, to manage debt, to accept hardship and poverty when necessary, to work hard for a living and do the work well — amid all that other Biblical advice — there is definitely a repository of commentary, commandment and promise related to the theme and covenants of Generosity and Giving. So a covenant of unemployment insurance into which all these workers have paid being amped up to a living wage that might see them through the pandemic might well be a very Christian response to this crisis. But the future clearly depends on other practices than this type of program. Yet the Gospel is not the gospel without the feeding of the multitudes.

The grinding impossibility of Americans making it in many places is a whole set of relevant issues and questions I cannot address here. But I am sure that while some have misused the money by any standard, the truth is that much of it has flowed in to fill up the gaps in financial foundations of hardworking and desperate people who have not been able to address any of their declining fortune’s real issues for years on end. In addition, people can afford to pay attention to the myriad costly demands of the pandemic that go beyond the loss of wages and employment due to being furloughed from businesses and institutions closed for the pandemic and its accompanying government restrictions.

The struggle of farmers with dislocations in the supply chain and the struggle of different industries with long term decline and the struggle of those disaffected with the political process are all coming together with this time’s other issues. But they are all coming together in the pandemic. The pandemic gives a focus to all of these things.

Criminal and civil law are also issues in this time and the focus on reacting to Police brutality by the movements in the streets is not unpredictable. The poor everywhere know that they have few resources for lawyers, for making restitution in a timely manner, for seeking out those they might injure when the disputes could be simply resolved. With the rising costs of interaction, the rising regulations and the decline in real wealth the poor know each year the kind of inevitability that they will will carry with them some degree of civil and criminal liability because modern life means bumping up against some barriers and walls and fences and there is no compensation for when their boundaries are violated and they are unable to mitigate the harms they do. Their wages as calculated are not significant compared to their obligations as calculated. But that is the general theme, for many the $600 a week has been one of the times when being part of American society has been rewarded and one’s job which never paid enough to give peace has actually provided what one can calculate as generosity. Predictably many have resented these funds going to these people who live without hope of ever being alright in any of the ways that America has claimed to be alright. This pandemic has allowed some Americans to feel that maybe sometimes America has not excluded the hardworking, left out and maligned in its calculations of the common good.

So yes, I am one of those who received some of that money. I am one of those who in these days of supporting causes, caring for family property without compensation, moving and keeping house and other preoccupations has factored in dealing with as many of the implications of this program as I could as well as I could. I will see how that continues to play out. From that point of view the rhetoric of some of those decrying the program is horrifying enough. There is simply not enough time to respond to all the fears and perceived injustices that cause one’s neighbors to react badly. It is also difficult to reject the rights of people to feel nervous or unhappy.

I suppose that we have a crisis around the world and the country which causes us all to take to heart any number of crises which may be coming upon us. I live with a number of personal issues that hold me hostage to not dealing perfectly with a number of larger issues that impact me. Basically there is also the issue of being a revolutionary in some sense who is sitting out a crisis in almost every sense. I am one of those few real voices of dissent and I am not choosing to try very hard to be heard in dissent just now. It is perhaps more than anything a matter of reaching an age for simply marking the time till the grave if one has not achieved sufficient position to pursue the ambitions and goals of one’s youth.

Due to the period we have been passing through I have had a chance to reconsider how to approach my varied desires, obligations and plans which existed before the pandemic and its accompanying changes. We have ever so many things going on as a society but even in my own life I have only been able to address a few of my own most urgent needs and remedy only a few of my most urgent ills. But there are many days in this period that are very much days I can account as having offered some chance to regroup and some cutting against the tide of ever diminished opportunity. This began to be a life of limited hope a long time ago but in some ways this has been a reprieve. I doubt very much that I am alone in finding this to be the case. But these underlying issues of how people are affected by the long regional suffering that helped elect Trump is not on the discussion of any party or faction in the polity. We must pass the incident without noting that it is an appeasement for an abandoned country with ties ever eroded and reasons for discontinuity ever increased.

America is going through an identity crisis in which many voices are not much involved and which is very complex. I am not alone in having traveled a certain path where pursuing this education and that project has been successfully pursued after a fashion but not much remains with which to which to face the obligations that come with age. I also know that the truth as seen by the laws of society with its endless regulation and sense of consensus is not likely to jive with the truth as seen by an ambling free-lance writer, former lay minister, yard man and gypsy educator who has far more lean than illustrious times in his course of life. But times like this allow a kind of subsidy for all the works that one has seen thwarted by the general evolution of society. The erosion of the Cajun narratives, the Louisiana narratives and the Gulf Coast narratives which resemble in various ways other regional narratives displaced by the overall flow of things here. But America on occasion in times of disaster helps those areas most affected by its faults in ways that add a little consolation to even the most alienated lives that have felt the many costs of the changes of the times before the disaster. This is one of those times.

I hope that I can take the next steps as best I can and I hope for the best for my country. But I am afraid that I am not in a position to be entirely optimistic for either myself or the country. But I am in a position to recognize that some aspects of the response to the pandemic have been worthwhile.

The Crisis Perspective: This Week and Views of the American Future in Black and White.

The Speaker of the United States House of Representatives was at a funeral as Congress struggled with a stimulus package and COVID-19 relief. That did not offend me but neither did it offend me that the Republicans in Congress and the White House did not attend. Nor did I feel it incongruous that George H. W. Bush chose to speak. These are complex political times. Each American must struggle to find their way through all the crises we face and the racial tensions we endure as rationally and wisely as we can.

I am spending part of my day today watching the CBS and ABC coverage of the John Lewis funeral.  I have not read his final op-ed piece in the New York Times I took the time whether or not I really had it and I do take time for a variety of things that perhaps I really do not have time for because if I can spare the time they form part of the life and function of citizenship. I did not really follow the life of John Lewis all that closely — although I was aware of him always for most of my life. He featured in the book Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954-63 by Taylor Branch which I read in graduate school and still find prominently displayed on my bookshelf. Lewis with his very strong regional and ethnic accents was also articulate. It is said that in his backpack which was worn along with his trench coat on the Edmund Pettus Bridge on what is called Bloody Sunday he had the books Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton and American Political Tradition by Hofstadter and both of those books have been on my shelves most of the time in my life when I had the opportunity to put up book shelves. John Lewis was a Christian and that was evident in the service. It was also a time when while watching them I remembered vaguely what I once knew of his imitation of King’s techniques, his friendship with James Lawson, his involvement with the Albany Nine, his connection with the SNCC and the SCLC his voter registration work and his work to create an African American History and Culture Museum . I do not feel very connected to Lewis but I can see his life’s work laid across time and space and making America different. His view of the Beloved Community were not always in sync with my own views of a more perfect union.

I am not a man likely to remember all of the John Lewis legacy over his lifetime without thinking that he did a great deal of harm as well as a good number of good things. But Lewis and I shared a view that the future of America could somehow be bright and better. We also shared a view that it could be a good country for Black Americans and White Americans. It would take more than a little lying to make it seem that we agreed about a great deal about the paths and results of a more perfect union being created. James Lawson in his eulogy spoke about how John Lewis called what others called the Civil Rights Movement the Nonviolent Movement of America. There are many fragments of stories associated with this man and now his era is ending. But like me, John Lewis never served in the uniformed services of his country. Like me there is that missing element of clear life risking service in combat under a flag of this country, but despite the gaps both of us could claim to stand for an American future. However he has of course had a very much more successful path than I have had.

I chose to take the time to watch the funeral and I can question whether I could afford to take the time. I cut the grass in one of the two yards I take care of this morning, rejoicing that the ground was dry enough. I am scheduled to cut the other yard when the housekeeper comes tomorrow. I try to get out of her way in my small apartment by cutting the grass and doing yardwork when she comes. This is a challenging time and there are things which affect my life which I cannot effectively engage with in these days and in the times that I have. I am glad that I got my money back which was taken from my bank through Facebook this summer or without those $1300, my work and life would be more difficult than they are right now. But it is a burden to have to have shut off that account and I have many other burdens to deal with in a life that is far from a rousing status of success and inspiring life for my nieces and nephews to imitate. I suppose that this allows me a little more liberty to think about other issues that affect the country and the world. But perhaps I still cannot afford all the indulgences of the mind and eye which I choose to allow myself in theses days.

John Lewis made an appearance in the Black Lives Matter movement and has been involved in many liberal movements over many years. But what we face today is an America which is not a place without racial conflict and outrageous conflicts. It is not an America without problems that are not being addressed.

But although it is an America with problems and potential in black and white it is still America. All the tensions are there but there is also hope for an America that can offer a better future for all Americans.

Change and Conservative Values: The How, What and Why

Today, I went to Barnes and Noble Booksellers and used my membership card which I had purchased just before the pandemic. I had been feeling cheated that I did not use it. But I got a free cookie, a discount on my niece’s first birthday gift and picked up the most recent issues of Poets and Writers and Writer’s Digest. The WD issue was put together before the pandemic but the P&W issue was entirely responsive to it. In part it was in response to all the writers discussing how they are responding to the pandemic that I found the energy and purpose to at least put out this blog post. Blogging is work, even if it is not remunerative in my case. But I decided to undertake the task today.

I have been away from this blog for a while. I am back, in part because I am finished moving for the second time in a year. Partly I am finding time to blog because I managed to renew my insurance license in June and get the contract application finished for the country that I would prefer to work for and am waiting to get final approval or start a job search. I am back to the blog partly because the ground was too soaked from recent rains for me to have cut grass all day and become too tired to blog. I am blogging partly because I have something to say.

There is a lot of uncertainty today and the raging pandemic is a big part of that uncertainty. The astronauts on the International Space Station and Elon Musk’s role in privately contracted space transportation hardly makes the news. The Arab and Chinese Mars missions which are not manned have gotten as much attention. America is currently defined not by technical triumphs but by a high Covid-19 death and infection total, social unrest and racial tension. The recent situation in which the United States of America is gripped by the Covid-19 pandemic, economic uncertainty and the unrest that has followed the killing of George Floyd is probably the time when anyone who was not me would look around and say, “Clearly the voice that I have spoken into the world is a voice that is not shaping the events of my time. It is an extremely dangerous time to be out on the edge of things alone and I should seize this opportunity to renounce all of the Far Right American ideas that I have put forward in public and try to run for cover.” But again those people who are not me never put forward my particular ideas in the first place. So I will not be doing that. I will probably not try to make a push for those ideas but not because I do not think that they are a better solution than other ideas out there. I will not make a push because there is no momentum or opportunity. The current crisis is not necessarily good and will not necessarily make things better.

So where are we? what is this crisis really about and what does it tell us about the future? I am going to try to find the time and energy to address those issues. We are burying activist, Congressman and ethnic leader of African- American national politics John Lewis. We have a presidential election coming up soon and all sorts of controversies about the major nominating conventions in a time of pandemic and unrest. We have armed militias holding standoffs (so far), we have racial violence perpetrated on all sides. We have state, local and federal government all making power plays opposing each other and based on some kind of principle. We have massive unemployment. We have an active hurricane season and I live on the Gulf Coast. The Federal government is busy struggling over a pandemic relief package that matters so much to so many. I can hardly list the major topics of today’s news in this blog post.

I am aware that we are all discussing things far beyond the merely immediate. I have my troubles but am, as of yet, not infected and not caught up in a riot. There have been impacts of the larger crisis on my life but not all of those impacts have been bad. So I could just not worry very much and that would make sense. I could just avoid commenting and that would make sense. But I feel the need to deal with what is out there now and what may be coming my way. I believe that there will be a lot of difference in the future depending on whether or not President Trump is reelected. But while he is at the focus of a lot of this outpouring of energy he did not create the wellsprings from which the energy flows. I feel that there is a move to remake America in a way which is not under the control of what passes as the established political Left in this country. There is an effort to define conservatism and the American tradition in a way that is not controlled by what passes for the established Right in this country. But these forces still need to win the Presidential election. Only one side will win and the tensions will get worse.

I think it is obvious to many that there is something deeply awry in the way things are playing out. We feel that the fact that there are both riots and peaceful protests filling the streets in times of a public health emergency indicates that a lot of things are not right. But we are so far beyond that basic conflict of priorities now. The contrast between the liberties taken by those involved in all these demonstrations of political unrest contrast sharply with the restrictions under which the rest of the population has struggled. We would have a sense of this being a crisis if those were the only facts. But they are far from the only facts.

Rioters have destroyed property from fire trucks to monuments to the African American troops who fought in the Civil War to end the slavery of their relatives. But Confederate monuments have been at the center of this wave upon ave of social violence. Now the feds are trying to defend a courthouse in Portland, Oregon. That is the current focus of violence. We have seen the sacking of Rodeo Drive and the beating of men waving American flags. But the Confederate monuments have been easy consign to ruin relatively speaking.

To many people the Civil War has seemed very remote in time for a long time. For me it does not seem so remote. This year the last recipient of a Union pension for civil war service died. Just recently the last real and true sons of Confederate Veterans of the War between the States have died. Now in this Black Live Matter, Antifa, Occupy Democrats and allied forces movement we see the proposed and often accepted end of the public display of a large majority of Confederate memorial sites and monuments. We also have seen a lot of them destroyed and defaced before they could be removed. But in the broader movement their is revealed the energy that makes people remember that there are other sides to the story of the period following the War Between the States than the currently acceptable versions. The history we live with has many aspects and it is useless to pretend that there is no connection that runs through all the many challenges that people are facing across the country in all parts of the country.

I have reposted reliable links across the period of the pandemic. I have engaged with left and right and those of no definite persuasion. I have engaged with Blacks and Whites as well as those who are not in those racial categories. But there is a lot going on in the country that probably needs to be dealt with.

Below is a Facebook conversation between me and a friend I only know on Facebook who is more open than most but not alone. Of course I have also had many comments with very different points of view.

This friend wrote about the death of Gorge Floyd and its aftermath as follows: Had a priest died, I police officer, probably even the pope had died, there would have been little to very little of what this nonsense is. Floyd was a man, one man, just like you or I. He was no more special than we are , but by many means very undeserving… He then went on to describe some of the more offensive aspects of the movement as it was being expressed.

When I said that I thought he had a right to be upset about some of these things he added to his narrative a social context as he perceived it.
Blacks are always throwing the race card to solve all their issues. The favorite line is ” its because I am black”. Well backs hate whites simply because they are white. They hate cops simply because they defy authority. No matter what society gives them or no matter how low the white man stools to below their level, they will never be satisfied. It is never enough. Welfare cash, its not enough money. Food stamps, not enough. Free housing, not fancy enough, free healthcare, it should include abortions. It is never enough. Equal rights is a joke. When you build your argument on the double standard, nothing is equal. Equal rights include everyone capable of being racist, not just whites. What is being demanded is superior rights. Not one white would have gotten away with the destruction these rioters are doing, so where is quality. Equality has become a matter of narrative and agenda.

I responded to the post at a time when there was a lot of effort to silence such voices. I think that there is a lot of truth in what you are saying. Many Blacks do not hate whites. Many work hard and pay their own way. Many have come from disadvantaged backgrounds in which the laws and rules against their progress were part of the reason their families had more limited means.
But there is a lot of justification for anger. Here are the stats for the racial breakdown of the District of Columbia:
According to 2017 Census Bureau data, the population of the District of Columbia, was 47.1% Black or African American, 45.1% White (36.8% non-Hispanic White), 4.3% Asian, 0.6% American Indian or Alaska Native, and 0.1% Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander.
But in DC 90% of the “lookouts” as they are called by police for violent crime are for young Black males.That means descriptions given by eyewitnesses and victims of the perpetrators of violent crimes are of of young Black Males 90% OF THE TIME. That is the reason and not police bias for te higher incarceration rate in that area. For poor whites in the area it is simply a fact that they live in an endless race war they have lost which is not assuaged by the fact that much of the violence is between young black men, much is directed at other blacks and the police sometimes increase, decrease or redirect the violence.
There is simply no way to justify the way the establishment in this country views life in these neighborhoods or attacks the institutions it does not itself care about when the endless violence spills up. Many of the worst looters in this process were young black men with criminal records and no jobs. Antifa, Occupy and foreign radical helped to direct the rampage. But at the same time we really do have less opportunity, more economic disparity, a decaying infrastructure. The protesters throngs contain many people seeking to be heard about how hard their lives are when on top of all their troubles they cannot live without fearing abuse of police power.
All of these forces as different as they are combine to make the life of a community or a neighborhood in society almost impossible. In my view we will come out of this and things will be much worse in many ways. I don’t think simple force to restore law and order is the answer. But I have no reason to believe we will find any of the right answers at all.

I have also posted BLACK LIVES MATTER and stated a number of critiques of the current police establishment. But there is no use pretending that this perception is not real to those who share it. Now we are facing a great deal of pressure which reveals how many people do not have legal status, how many people are not satisfied with the politics offered them, how many do not earn a real living wage, how many business have limited reserves, how many people do not have health insurance. The vulnerabilities go on and on.

But a real conservative response will take more than this recognition of listed problems. The future will have to be one in which our real deeper weaknesses will be addressed. We have to have a way forward that works. I do not believe we are close to that. There is not going to be a consensus in November. I am not sure that the country can win in November. I think that there can be many political outcomes that are worse or better. But we are not getting close to building a foundation for the America that preserves our essential traditions and makes progress possible for all citizens and has a hopeful influence to offer the world.

Broken Hearts and Broken Promises

This is the start of the Era of the Post Pandemic Twenty-First Century. Doubtless a more compelling moniker will arise. I find myself stumbling in senses literal and figurative into the new era. Things could be worse for me than they are presently but they are, while better than I could have seen them being not long ago, still apparently more or less at the limit of my capacities and I am not commanding some vast structure of success under strain. I consistently struggle simply to get through the time and situation I am currently in and to move into the next with a spirit of hope and adventure strong enough to simply get through it given my resources.

I have at this writing 1,465 Facebook friends. That is more than at the start of the Pandemic but not many more and fewer than I had a week ago. On this blog I have few readers anymore but I may try to get into improvements next week or I may let the thing go. It is not likely I will let it go. I suppose that in time I will reach a real point of diminishing returns that requires me to decide if I will allocate resources to this. But for now I push forward a bit. Just keeping going in a time when my old and new heartbreaks seem to take most of my attention and emotional energy that is left after simply getting through things.


Photo by burak kostak on Pexels.com

I realize that on this day of the throngs observing George Floyd’s interment there are many things I would have to day just to say anything. I do not begrudge Floyd his burial. I do not begrudge his family the right to see his killer or killers answer before the bar of justice. But I do feel very strongly that there are many layers of broken hearts and broken promises in the situation that I survey. I imagine that we are very far from getting to the place where I would consider that real conversation even begins.

Nor do I believe that talking and listening or the only actions that matter Nonetheless, I look around at the crowds in this movement in a time of shuttered or barely open shops and churches and I am weary and sad. I look at the public discourse and at so many levels it makes me tired and sad. I look at the man I am as I face this new era and that makes me tired and sad as well. I look at the way we seem stood in a circle of endless easy answers and that makes me tired and sad as well.