Tag Archives: China

China, The Good Shepherd and America

This is a Sunday in Easter Season. while Christianity is part of the patrimony of the United States and of the West and a fading and failing patrimony of the Middle East. While it expands in Africa but is challenged  there it is also a force  and institution that is undeniably about all people and is oriented that way at every level since its founding. That at least makes it one of the great religions and also a challenge that cannot be merely overlooked by other forces without a largely Christian influence which have their own agenda  in the world.  American Christianity struggles both with its relationship with larger American society and with the relationship of Christianity and Christians in America to the non-Christian world.  One of the big questions in all of this process of dealing with the pandemic and its accompanying phenomena is understanding what China’s role and responsibility might be. I am a long way from answering any of those questions meaningfully. Today I am just posting about my time in China and what it makes me think of most at this time. In this post I want to discuss what I as an American Christian saw of China and in a minimal way begin to address the larger issues of relations between America and China. I will do that through a somewhat Christian lens.

Today’s readings at Mass were all from the New Testament except the psalm. The psalm was Psalm 23. The Lord is my Shepherd, is the first line and title of the Psalm in English. The Gospel was from St. John’s Gospel the tenth chapter where Jesus Christ describes himself as the Good Shepherd. The first reading was from Acts that Where the Apostles proclaim the crucified and risen Christ s Lord of  Glory. There was a reading from the letters of St. Peter to all Christians describing the sacrifice and Judicial element of the death of  Son of God.  As I mentioned all the major readings were from the New Testament.     I think that happens more often during the Sundays of the Easter Season than at any other time.

The truth is that the essence of the Gospel as proclaimed at Easter is not always easy to hear. Not every Christian is int he place where he or she is spiritually focused and  able to pay attention to the Good News in the Gospel. For many of us more than once in a while there is a sense of the stumbling block in a crucified  Christ. He who was to reign should not have suffered so as to be made to bear our sins it seems if we truly relate to him, if he is truly the Firstborn of all Creation..

China has a variety of burdens in the society which are not related to evaluating that scandal of the cross but are related to a path which has never fallen much under the influence of Christ. I have spent a lot of time studying China and Chines culture and would have spent more if I had it to spend, Although at this time in my life I study less of most things than I would ever have believed that I would.But my vision of China comes mostly from the time I lived and taught there. Some of it seems rather like here and some of it did not.

But the differences were real enough. finding something in common across those differences was the wonder and the struggle of being there. Being there meant being open to China and being a Christian, an American,  and an Anglo-Acadian from Louisiana.  I was serious about trying to be authentic there and trying to be authentically present to the place I was living and the people I was with Some times the two kinds of authenticity worked well together and sometimes they blended less easily.

This Sunday I did not got to mass. I was too busy and otherwise disadvantaged to watch a full mass on TV.  I did stream part of EWTN’s mass on my laptop.  But in an effort to conserve data ( a desire made more intense by the lack of tech support in recent weeks) I did not watch the whole mass. I just skipped around hitting the entrance,the three reading the sermon and part of the Eucharistic prayer. When I taught in China I got up early every Sunday and climbed over the wall f the locked compound at the University and either alone or with a few others I made my way to the Catholic Concession Church across town and went to Mass. Like giving Christmas gifts to every student I had and displaying the American flag on my wall, this was a small way of staying true to who I was.  China was a challenging place in many ways.      I lived in China as it was preparing to host the Olympics and the openness to foreign influence like mine was a at one of the highest points   it has ever been in the country’s history.  I liked China and felt a special connection to the little congregation in the church I attended. Although, I gave some rosaries and a few other things to the underground church I tried to be a strong member of the legal congregation. I felt that within the context of the largely discouraging history of Christianity in China my involvement was both fairly blessed and fairly effective. But there was evangelism and much more there was the kind of dialog that I once viewed with some suspicion when it came to religious matters.

So what I have not done yet is discuss anything about the current crisis and what my background tells me about those people and that country, China was a place where I felt I was giving my best effort to make a difference. It was not the difference of trying to erase all that they are in favor of something else. I tried to serve American interests and I tried to serve the Gospel in a more direct way than I usually do now but as I have tried to most of my life. In some ways my time in China was one of the great crises that has marked my life. I tried to follow up on my life there with years of correspondence sending and receiving gifts and other activities. I also tried to report to my Congressman, law enforcement and other American institutions about some of my concerns that arose there. BUT I NEVER EMBRACED THE LINE THAT TRUMP AND HIS PEOPLE HAVE EMBRACED THAT THEY WERE MAKING TOO MUCH MONEY IN WORLD TRADE. I have not objected strenuously to that policy or to the building of a wall across the Southern border which is very different in every way from the buffer zone I proposed. I have not objected strenuously to Trump’s rhetoric about immigration because I think controlling immigration is vital to national survival although our views diverge on countless points. President Trump just wants “more for me and to hell with you” to be a respectable policy. Well if it is then one can yell but not make a reasonable argument if in fact the persons or countries one is consigning to hell are able to visit hell upon you. The limit to how dark that view is comes from the fact that the profit system is a system of mutual benefit. But we all know it does not always work out that way and in international trade it can get even more dangerous and toxic. Their has to be a constant reference to the rubrics of the trade system or it can be devastating to everyone.

The truth is China takes very little for what it does and is underfunded and that is what is somehow unfair. The Chinese people and interests make mistakes and do bad things and the two together have consequences but they sacrifice more for the national good and the collective good and what remains of their family goo in so many cases. When I was there I took some comfort in the advancement of women compared to the historic Chinese norm, in good quality housing and transport for many and in the planting of trees and the preservation of parks. Working with American companies to make products for the world was a very powerful engine of good cultural exchange in many ways. I have long advocated for supports for American industry but China was not the enemy in my analysis. China was a complicated player in an extremely complicated game and sometimes American and Chinese interests would blend well and sometimes not so much. There were also many protesters sacrificing in a search for the elements of liberty. But there was a tapestry woven through the land of hunger, legal executions, surveillance of the people, cannibalism, the persecution of Christianity, forcible efforts to control by contract behavior not allowed in most civilizations under law, dueling, protests with ritualized martyrdom, and a different kind of struggle between foreign and domestic organized crime and the police. This would fill a book or two that I will never write. But there was a lot I could see while working hard as an English teacher. But this was a world that was not directly involved in the world of work whether creating products or educating students. It was a dark world that for all its darkness and terror was clearly visible lurking at the edges of the open society and sometimes boldly bursting in upon it. Even after all these years it is hard to know what to do in terms of naming specifics.

I had mixed feelings about Trump’s hard line with China because there were dark forces there that I know will never forget me and Trump’s lack of caution kind of made me feel a little safer even though I am not sure that is rational. I felt less good because of the good people of China who would suffer, because American farmers were losing markets and because various people were left out of the planning process. But Trump lives in a world where if one wants something he does not need to examine what would be fair most of the time. It is simply a matter of negotiation. The two players acting on each other without a referee, The art of the deal is not about making a context that works for both, but rather simply both parties seeking their own interest. The people in power in China today are also less responsive to some sense of larger ideal than those in power when I was there. The suffering caused in China by the trade war was massive, the disruption horrific. China is not a monolith, Could the government,organized crime, an agent of North Korea or a technician whose family starved to death because of the trade struggle have released a lab bug on the world to shake things up? Maybe that happened.

My situation at the moment is personally that I am grateful for the relief aid the United States government has provided to me. I am not sending any of the that money to friends in China because I have let all those relationships lapse. But the world goes on, I am grateful to Trump for the part he played in the relief effort. I am suspicious of China as a basis for forces which are dangerous and not always Chinese. I stay busy with matters of my own life and family and even where these are concerned I feel that I only have a limited amount to offer.

But I do not relate to the vision of America as mostly the target of a vicious selfish and corrupt China. Chinese business is mostly pretty ethical, honest and even humble. There may be half a million Chinese businessmen who are willing to murder, steal and lie to cheat Americans out of an honest dollar. But a vastly larger majority of Chinese in commerce or very ethical whether they are committed to the same moral view as I hold or not. I may return to this subject or not. I am not going to like how this works out but life is not usually kind in my experience.

I did tell my friends in China that I cared about them and liked China and loved some of them even but that it was possible that America and China could end up in conflict and even war and we might be on opposite sides of that conflict. That was just part of the overall reality. However, I hoped for positive paths forward. We will see what comes out of the current crisis. I am no longer in touch with what happens here but I know it is not the country the China-haters describe and neither is the America they describe the one I know.

Whatever the future holds, I will be an American all my life. But I will have a part of me which is always in the memories and hopes of my time in China.

Presidential Politics and Foreign Affairs

I want to take a personal approach to this topic as I do tend to take to every topic in this blog.  Foreign affairs of the world I live in as I see it is the foreign affairs environment being discussed just here. I am an American, a Roman Catholic and an Anglo-Acadian and each of those identities are in themselves sets and networks of connections that arrange my interactions with and connections to the other people in the world. They are not the only identities I hold nor or all the connections I make filtered through these realities. But they are enormously important connections to understand if one wishes to understand me or  how I see the world. Family and friendship for example are almost always touched by my national citizenship, faith and ethnicity even when a friend has none of these things in common with me. Family gatherings often center around a faith event. So I am the real dyed in the wool kind of Catholic who as an American looks forward to the Pope’s approaching visit.

My niece Anika at her confirmation with her baptismal godparents who are my sister Mary and myself. Anika's mother, my sister Sarah took the picture.

My niece at her confirmation with her baptismal godparents who are my sister Mary and myself. My niece’s mother, my sister Sarah took the picture.


I’m writing this post at a complicated place in my life to be thinking about foreign affairs. One fact is that the Pope is coming. I have been looking forward to that event with some interest. It’s an event that has affected my reading and viewing choices lately. In the recent ABC teleconferences with the Holy Father there was an emphasis on his connection with Catholic immigrants into the United states as well as with the Catholic Hispanic Population. You can link to that event here. The White House  has begun to put forth its own vision of the Pope’s visit since just after the President’s visit to the Vatican in March and you can see something of that view of the September 23 visit of His Holiness just here.  The Pope will likely address climate change, life ethics, immigration and social justice during his visit to the United States. Together on a number of occasions a President of the United States and a Pope have set an agenda for at least some of the prominent geopolitical discussion around the world. It may well be that this visit of the Pope to America will involve that kind of cooperation and interaction with the Obama White House. Some people are discussing Pope Francis and Donald Trump as being antithetical beings. There is some truth to that sense that they may likely clash on immigration and the mere fact that His Holiness is a Latin American. But the idea of antithesis can be overdone. I here Donald Trump has looked into buying the Pope’s favorite soccer team in Argentina. If that is true then surely they would have some mutual interests to discuss.  I am not sure what any of the Presidential candidates really think about the Pope’s visit nor how that visit will play into image of  the Obama Administration that they all need to address in their campaigns.

The St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church Where I was baptized, made my First Communion and was wed.

The St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church Where I was baptized, made my First Communion and was wed.


I’m not sure if my sense that the U.S. is in a place where I would be foolish to feel intensely connected to any of the current political candidates is mostly because of my own sense of having reached a place in my life where any hoped for outcomes seem unlikely. I am far past the point of making choices or experiencing successes which would enable me to feel the joys and vulnerabilities now which resemble those I felt when I was young. For the facts that I have made evident over years of this blog are facts that I am  more than alittle alienated from any kind of American dream. But I look to each of them and hear the stories of faith as diverse as Rubio’s experience with Catholicism and having been a Mormon, Jindal’s conversion to Catholic Christianity from the Hinduism of his background with or without Muslim influences. I study with interest the bold Protestant Christianity of Huckabee and Carson.This is a post on foreign affairs and so why mention the faith of several candidates and take so much time to discuss faith given how brief these posts are? It is not merely because of the Papal visit. It is because dealing with the world is a very diverse set of issues that can include almost any situation and demand people to analyze almost any set of circumstances. Therefore the questions of religious, spiritual and philosophical frameworks do seem to matter a lot in these connections. I have discussed Hillary Clinton’s religion before and you can revisit that here.   I have also discussed how our country as a whole relates or might relate to the Pope and you can revisit that discussion here. Cuba is releasing thousands of prisoners in anticipation of the Pope’s visit and it is understood that Pope Francis brokered the new relations between the United States and Cuba. He already comes bringing an influence that the next President of the United States cannot ignore.

We all have images of what leadership should look like which are not simple portrayals of reality.

We all have images of what leadership should look like which are not simple portrayals of reality.

The question of how America fits in to the world not only demands our attention as voters in this cycle of Presidential party primary elections but also is a question that many people have to deal with daily. China is one of the principal sources of development investment in Louisiana and is also one of the primary markets for Louisiana’s agricultural products. Although I have been to China and have other connections there I do not have to leave this place here in rural south Louisiana for the relationships between the United States and China to affect me and concern me. The fairly rapid loss of 39% of the value of the Shanghai Stock Exchange index value is a real concern for those living life in Acadiana. That did happen and so we here should want to know what Presidential candidates think about all of this. But thinking is not enough. We can see that Hillary has had some dealings with China. Beyond that it takes more effort to see what each person running for office may have had in terms of experience with China. I join with Thomas Sowell and others who have said that the GOP would be well advised to remember all that governors learn about governing but let us also remember what happens in the world is largely about understanding the parties with which one is dealing. What do the candidates know about governing. China is a real place made up of real people and institutions.


The Iran Nuclear  Deal as it is currently called  also demands some experience and understanding.  We all live in a world which is full of complex connections from Russians moving troops into Syria to Hezbollah, Hamas and Al Qaeda sometimes fighting against each other and sometimes on the same side. The chance to elect a President of the United States is a chance to elect someone who understands and can negotiate in the Muslim world and with all the other powers who are into Muslim and have complex relationships with people in that world.

I am as far out of power as it is easily possible to be. I am also very far from effectively engaging in political struggle. But I have a voice like all of you and intend to use it. Now is the time for questions. Those questions may save us a lot of trouble later.
Continue reading

Asian-American Relations Now and Later

Various organizations and disciplines define “East Asia” in different ways. The region is incredibly diverse from the point of view of the many people who live there. The United Nations Organization officially classifies South-east Asia (the 10 ASEAN members plus East Timor) as a distinct region, but other sources add North-east and South-east Asia together to form East Asia which is the practice in many scholarly and popular articles. I tend to see the Region as North East Asia, Greater Malaya composed mostly of great archipelagos, Southeast Asia and then its great neighbor which is Greater Hindustan. The reader may struggle along but eventually get plenty enough feel for my subject to derive some benefit. It is always important to remember that China is vast, diverse and encompasses many climates, racial types and cultural groups. But almost all of it is north of almost all of Greater Malaya where President Obama and I spent some of our younger years. He was in Muslim Indonesia and I was in the Christian Philippines. Nepal and Bhutan have nothing to do with Southeast Asia in any strict sense but are continental land-locked and are more like other countries sandwiched between Northeast Asia and Greater Malaya  than they are like Greater Hindustan. They are a border of two regions North East Asia and Greater Hindustan made to resemble Southeast Asia ( a third region) in recent centuries. But this whole part of the world is the subject of this post and you do not have to know it all very well to understand my post..

The economic and national entities of East Asia are thus Japan; the Democratic People’s Republic of (North) Korea; the Republic of (South) Korea; the People’s Republic of China (and its special administrative regions Hong Kong and Macau) Republic of China (Taiwan); and the 10 ASEAN members: the Philippines, Vietnam, The Kingdom of Cambodia, Laos, The Kingdom of Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, and Indonesia. The lack of useful statistical data makes including East Timor problematic and Bhutan and Nepal are simply remembered without much to actually say about them and so unless otherwise indicated, it will be omitted. Bhutan is a beautiful kingdom that holds its own in changing times and seeks a community path for its traditions in the modern world and the educated in the region largely know of its existence.

As I look around at China coverage in the United States  I am reminded of something  I brought up when I was recently remarking in a comment made on a post by Baroness Valentine on the Lords of the Blog.There I wrote that  I hoped the House of Lords has paid sufficient attention to the visit of Premiere Li Keqiang and his wife Cheng Hong to Britain despite the lack of discussion of this and Spanish succession in the Lords of the Blog. While China is not in the World Cup and China is not involved in a state visit here it seems clear  to me that most Americans know too little of China.

China is the country doing too much for job creation, too much for overall growth, too much for long-term growth. I mean it when I say “the country” at least among major players. Their problems are largely from too much emphasis on economic growth. Almost all other major players have made this a priority which is very low and even though economic abuses are causing problems everywhere they pale compared to problems related to other causes. Because of this national attitude relations with China will determine a significant part of the employment picture for the EU, the USA and others for some years ahead.  It is a bit strange for me to write about anything related to employment as I have never been all that secure and right now I run errands and do lawn work and keep house in a situation where I am continuously exposed to risks of being blamed for some kind of  financial malfeasance because unlike China where cash payments hand-delivered and my very secure debit and ATM card at the Agricultural Bank of China  were usable for all things and sufficient for them here I have never been able to negotiate the vast ocean of requirements which inflate our personal debt and exposure in so many ways and are so tied to a pervasive ideology not subject to much criticism. here my finances are always subject not to one but to many factors over which I have no control despite which I only have a few big financial problems and penury I do not have lots of bad checks, huge credit card balances or anything else. of that type. My view of America is not that of a financial columnist and it is from the point of view of such insecurity that writing something like this  becomes somewhat absurd but also offers unique opportunities for insight. On the one hand as I write about American policy in Asia I write knowing  I have spent a huge amount of time in Asia and know a lot about the region but on the other hand my situation in life is so bad that it seems pointless to discuss any of it when I am so weak and vulnerable here. But that is the nature of the things I really cannot change. Whatever happens for the rest of my life I certainly feel that I have learned something about Asia and its surrounds which continues to form my view of the world.

I recognize that the big opportunities in Asia will not be to mimic me exactly. But in my life so far politics, military exchanges and business have gone on around me in Asia and I have tried to stay abreast of those things while focusing on my other more immediate concerns.I do not believe that these facts of potential which exist in Asia demonstrate a set of facts that has to be good or bad for the EU, the United States or other players.  But a realistic American economist should realize that  Mandarin speaking tour guides, agents and brokers with several Asian languages, English teachers in China, experts on trilateral trade with China in the developing world and those selling products at competitive prices to deal with growth related problems in China ought to be part of a picture of long term growth and accessible growth today. In Asia itself those who have ancestors and ties in the region and resemble the dominant racial group of any given market will often find it much easier to succeed.  The Philippines is an exception where White Americans of all types and Mestizo Hispanic Americans can hope to find advantages which offset racial minority status disadvantages. Black people can usually expect that their race will be a significant disadvantage in most business contacts with pockets and current where it may be an advantage.  Racial consciousness is in general very high in the region. China no longer uses terms like foreign devil in general but most countries do have some similar practice that is common enough. Arabs can hope for some ethnic and possible racial prejudice in their favor if they are Muslims in a Muslim area but like the Philippines for Americans it should not be thought to be more than it is.

Further those who can find a fascination with the Chinese mindset ought to have a special role in munitions sales, peace studies and international development planning. China is not the only story but it cannot be ignored. That is where a great deal of the potential in the world will remain regardless of what really happens in the next few years.

I am trying here to lay out my first real Asia policy post on this blog since Premiere Li Keqiang came to power in China and he and his sophisticated wife Cheng Hong began touring the world.  There is a lot going on that needs to be addressed in a post like this if it is to have any significance as regards the state of things out there. I graduated from the University of Southwestern Louisiana in May of 1989 with a degree in English and the honor of a Latin phrase after the designation of a bachelors degree. There have been many days since mid May of 1989. Each of them was a bit different than the others. Suddenly I am coming up on 20 years. Sooner or later it had to happen. Actually it had to happen exactly 20 years after I graduated unless I died. It was always likely to make me feel that my life was not exactly where I had hoped it would be. Twenty years ago was a rather high mark in my life. But not a perfect time at all. However, the  Republic of the Philippine Islands was very much part of my  context for life in those days. I left the Philippines with my whole family when we came to the United States and my brother Simon Peter Emmanuel Summers sought medical treatment for Prader-Willi Syndrome. It was at that time that I enrolled at what was then USL and is now the University of Louisiana. Then after earning a year’s worth of credits in one semester I returned to the Philippines and stayed there till my brother Joseph was born and then returned to the United States, lived the summer in Abbeville and went to school at the Franciscan University of Steubenville the next fall. The following summer I visited my parents in the Philippines and then went back to Steubenville and after some complications finished up at USL — marrying in 1987 and graduating in 1989.

Leading my sisters on a carabao in the Philippines.

Leading my sisters on a carabao in the Philippines.

The journey since those days has been a complex one at least. I do not suppose there is much to say about it which is not laced with anecdotes of trial and There have been other good things and times.  I have done a wide variety of work with lots of writing, teaching and organizing in the mix. I would not have done most of those things if my life had been more successful as it seemed to promise to be. What I know is that my life has been a journey in a very literal sense. When I graduated I went to work that summer for the law Firm of Mangham, Hardy, Rolfs and Abadie in the offices near the top of the First National Bank Tower in downtown Lafayette. It was as close as I have ever come to feeling like my life was on a smooth and established track and not a trek through dangerous places. I was headed off to Tulane Law School in the fall. A lot of people in my life who have always behaved badly toward me when they were around chose not to that summer. I had been on television and in the newspapers a great deal when I won the Outstanding Graduate award and it seemed like I would be given some space to do things one step at a time in a way that I have never really known at any other time. My time at Tulane Law School that first run was one of the worst times of my life. That is from my point of view saying a great deal. We lived next to a family who were in charge of our floor in student housing and screamed and roared many hours every day. These were among the many experiences in my life which really have provided no benefit to me here. Although I did not stay in China for many reasons I did feel that my advice to students and other work there could draw more on these experiences. Almost all work here in the USA in recent decades has bordered on pure hell for many reasons. I am not sure how typical that contrast is among people who have been in both regions. China had plenty of problems but I felt less malicious interference built into the work structure itself.

My trip to China ranks near the top of these events. I have posted the link to the university level institution called the Shandong Institute of Business and Technology where I taught that was the China Coal  Economic College a few years before I was there. Set on the Shandong Peninsula where Confucius and Mencius began Classical Chinese scholarship the Campus overlooked the glorious Yellow Sea. These are some of my students and advisees graduating two years after I left.Frank

These young women in the photo are some of my students and advisees graduating two years after I left. It was a time with many opportunities to learn a lot more about China than I had in all of my reading prior to that point in  time and it had a deep influence on my life and thinking. When I returned to America  I wrote an article for a newspaper I had written for before many times about my experiences. When I wrote the article I intended to go back to China but that did not happen.


Front page of an article Iwrote about my journey to China and time there. The top photograph is of English Corner which was largely organized and facilitated by Lu Ting ting who is on my Friends List although her name appears in characters I cannot reproduce.This is the front page of an article I wrote about my journey to China and time there. The top photograph is of English Corner which was largely organized and facilitated by Lu Ting ting who is on my Friends List on Facebook when she can be and my contact on Linked In. Although her name appears in characters I cannot always reproduce online or by hand. 

One of the most influential political figures of my life has been Bill Clinton. When I lived in China during the 2004-2005 academic year his book My Life was widely sold there in English and Mandarin.  When Clinton ran for President the first time he had a sign in his campaign headquarters viewable by most in the movement which said: “It’s the economy  — stupid!” My own personal economic failure has been enormous at many levels. But I had a pretty good economic existence in China. I brought some money with me but I was furnished with a home apartment, cable, high speed internet, steam radiator heat, electricity, travel credits, bonuses for extra and exceptional work through my job and it was an extraordinary opportunity to see and do many things.The economy of East Asia is one of the most successful regional economies of this time around world. There is history is a long history of dealing with many of the same issues that challenge the global economy today. In broader East Asia we find a group of some of the world’s largest and most prosperous economies : China, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore,Taiwan and South Korea. This post brief as it is will at least link to some details about these major economic powers.

Major powers come and go from the center stage of geopolitics and alliances are even more perishable than powerful global status but one of the more durable facts about this planet is the economic importance of East Asia. In this post I will refine the idea of regions a bit more, rambling  as I often do rather than sticking with a single definition from the start.  I will start by asserting that there is no real American foreign policy that will work unless it is also a pretty solid policy as regards a region with these powers and the overlapping group of our treaty partners which includes Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines.


Major positive factors have ranged from favorable political-legal environments for industry and commerce, through abundant natural resources of various kinds, to plentiful supplies of relatively low-cost, skilled and adaptable labor. I taught a talented group of undergraduates whose contribution I valued in China. I will however say that they were in general not the most privileged or secure in their society just as most of my friends from the university years were not among that group of the most privileged in my society. It caused me to think back on my own years in college. However, China is not the only place that I have been. There were journeys to Micronesia, Mexico (on numerous occasions) as well as to Nova Scotia/ Acadie. Each of these journeys has added to the long route across and just above the surface of this planet which I have drawn out in my life.  Nor have I really increased my rate of travel as an adult  — in fact the contrary is true. Prior to graduation  from USL I could list the Philippines, Europe, Colombia, Mexico, Tonga, Samoa and New Zealand were among the places that I had visited long enough to feel that I had lived there. Travel has been a very large part of my education and personal development.  One fact is that I claim to propose a movement from the right and yet many of my values are universal to all human beings and much of my life experience is international which contrasts starkly with the rightist Nationalism that many will be more familiar with. This is in part because I believe in creating games that are not zero-sum in international affairs and developing such structures where they already exist. It is in part because I really believe in space colonization as the means to reshape our very long-term future. Lastly, it is in part because I am a Christian and take the charge of the gospel seriously in all aspects — although I do not always conform to it very well.

Although I had one failed business attempt of substance in the Philippines and a few other smaller failures  I was successful in some endeavors in church related ministry and through that lens got to known some significant business and government figures. Likewise in China I was not in business but I assisted students majoring in business, taught some business writing and taught a large number of students who were International Finance majors. Wikipedia states in an article on East Asia  that:

East Asian populations have demonstrated rapid learning capabilities – skills in utilizing new technologies and scientific discoveries – and putting them to good use in production. Work ethics in general tend to be highly positive.

I reached the conclusion  shared by many that in modern societies, a high level of structural differentiation, functional specialization, and autonomy of the economic system from government is a major contributor to industrial-commercial growth and prosperity. I brought to China some experience in business, although no great successes a few successes that won some significant recognition. Among these was a bit of international trade: Then I was working in seafood sales and brokering as I had done many times before including even during my time at Tulane Law. I went down with the owner and chief sales manager of the privately held company that was my employer on a buying trip to Merida. This was typical of a lot of things about my seafood crowd. The owner paid for four tickets, four registration packages, four hotel and food packages and in me provided one of the two or three best interpreters on the trip. However, the trip was supposed to be a sales trip sponsored by the US Department of Commerce and we were there buying. While that exact event was unique it somehow encapsulates all of my considerable experiences in the fishmongering world. While there Lieutenant Governor Paul Hardy presented me with the honor of Honorary Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana. He gave me a very large and beautiful certificate that I was proud to display as I was to mention the honor on my resume. When I got back I set up those purchases and set up a series of chain and institutional sales for off-main-demand-curve size catfish. I would leave that industry to teach but would return to it and other business ventures from time to time.

The US dollar is freely traded currency in the entirety of the Far East as far as I know and few contend that any currency from outside the region challenges its level of acceptance. However, that is changing as the British Pound has just become exchangeable with the Chinese Yuan or Renminbi   on the markets in Shanghai. But the USA has an historic advantage over the Pound not found elsewhere in a trading systems that covers much of the human population and a region where trading systems are relatively open. Exports are desired as imports throughout the region and the risks are quantifiable. Military and security imports are the most desired in China and other product bought in China and elsewhere with zero or low duties  attached on imports of consumer and capital goods do considerably helped stimulate cost-efficiency and change in their own often harsh economic system. However legal mimicry on the edge of the law and piratical patent and copyright infringement are more common in this region as sophisticated threats to US companies than perhaps in almost any other region except the surround of true East Asia which I am including to some degree in this post.  While soaring poverty rates in the Philippines and Vietnam and extreme consequences of displacement in China are factors tha t must be addressed by American corporations and governments the truth remains that compared to many places free contract for employment and the flexible mindset and work that comes with the genetic and cultural heritage of the labor force in the region makes a desirable labor market for Americans to be involved in over the long term. There are many assets difficult to reproduce elsewhere which are very significant  factors making for promising and sustained business-economic performance across these economies.

Finally, globalization is likely to continue to benefit the Asian economies for some time in general terms.  These benefits will increase the buying power of many kinds of potential clients and consumers and it is these relatively large and fast-growing markets for consumer goods and services of all kinds which can play a vital role in America’s future as well. The path  of my life has not included my personal return to the Philippines since I was there in  my college years nor a return to China since those days described here. Liu Ting ting responded to one of my posts on Facebook with correspondence that may not belong here . But I reproduce it anyway as being illuminating:

  • 刘婷婷 Those old pictures brings me back to my campus life —- happy and free from any restraints . It seems that those beautiful days all forsook me a hundred years ago,I couldn’t even find a trace of them…….
  • 刘婷婷 There are too much strange sensation and unique thoughts I wanna share with you, but when it comes to writing or conversation, I just don’t know how to express them. I wish you well and be happy……
  • Frank Wynerth Summers III Ting ting, It makes me happy to hear from you. I am glad you are made nostalgic by the pictures.

However, that  personal connection to these people is not the sole basis of my thoughts about China and Asia. I read a great deal and communicate with a lot of people as I did when I was there — and I have maintained ties since I left. I did take the time when I was in China to watch television and buy a periodical now and then and I have done such things since arriving back in the United States. All of that has led to a bit of an understanding acquired over time. But not the deepest one.

My family and I have shared connections we have preserved with the Philippines and through the Philippines to the rest of Asia. One of those connections comes from having been connected with the East Asian Pastoral Institute where I studied for a while with my father in Manila. When we did the  Scripture Ventures program there we met with people from many Asian countries and got to know some of them. Some we stayed in touch with for a while but that has all faded away over time for me at least.

Meeting at Big Woods with Filipino friends who are US citizens now.

Meeting at Big Woods with Filipino friends who are US citizens now.


But this is not simply a post to rehash a series of older posts and pages in this blog. I am trying to discuss primarily how the United States of America should relate  to the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Republic of Korea, Japan (and its Emperor), Mongolia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Brunei. Secondarily, I am discussing how the USA should relate to Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Viet Nam, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar,  and the rest of Southeast Asia. Thirdly, I am discussing how the USA should relate to India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka. Four regions then fall into this discussion: North East Asia and Malaya (or Maphilindo) are two regions at the center of my focus. Southeast Asia is the Secondary focus and Greater Hindustan is the Tertiary Focus. In other words, East Russia, The Great Northern Corridor, Persia, the Levant and the Arabian Peninsula would all be regions in Asia which would not be part of this discussion directly. Most people in the world live in the regions that I am discussing here. Is there a policy that works for all of these places? Is it meaningful to write and speak in such terms. I live in a region of Louisiana with a significant Vietnamese population. The valedictorian of my niece’s recent graduating class is a young Vietnamese American surnamed  Nguyen. But it is fascinating how despite many successes in the story of these migrants so little has been done to use the ties, skills and appearance of these people to increase US and Louisiana ties to South East Asia. The top three students in academic achievement were all of Asian descent.

I  do have deep ties not only to the United States but also to Europe and the Americas as a whole.  In the years since I graduated from there have been opportunities to do things that I had not done including but not limited to teaching in China. I have had many experiences that are meaningful to me here in America and ties me to the region of North America just as Asians are tied to their region. I do not think we should forget that trade and ties and knowledge do not mean ceasing to be distinctive. But we will have better chances to understand one another in the future.

The journey has had its surprising joys.Mary graduates from UL L as I did. A young mom who does not make time for Facebook yet.Mary graduates from UL L as I did. A young mom who does not make time for Facebook yet. Watching one brother Joseph and one sister Mary graduate with higher Latin honors than I earned from my college alma mater has been a joy and a blessing. It has been a joy to see another sister Sarah graduate with a perfect GPA from Louisiana State University where I got my masters degree. It has been a joy to have my middle sister Susanna graduate with honors from the Franciscan University of Steubenville where I won one of two Sophomore Class Awards (one for men and one for women) in 1985. I look forward to having my youngest brother graduate from UL-L which is my renamed alma mater  in his time. My handicapped brother Simon received his certificate of Academic completion of merit from Abbeville High School when I was working for the school board in which they are located and which administers them. All of those were joyous milestones.

I have mentioned my trade mission experience in Mexico and I have traveled a great deal in the US, Mexico, Canada and Colombia.  It is important that America chart its course and know its own surroundings.  It is also important to see that booming trade between China and Brazil is an important factor in the world economy. China is part of this hemisphere in many ways. I like China although there are plenty of things I found to criticize and oppose. I also had problems there and in the Philippines which I have written about and discussed but which do not make an appearance in this post. My view of things calls mostly for awareness. In some ways I find the Chinese and I to be a bit alike in that regard.    They are in general less eager for open confrontation than Westerners. The Chinese military is into diplomacy, espionage, training, digging tunnels, fortifying basements, buying hardware, maintaining discipline and  planning for all outcomes. This is in stark contrast to many other groups, nations and powers that need much more direct confrontation to preserve their institutions and the support their forces need to survive.

I speak Spanish and I have also taught that language in the USA. I have enjoyed and do enjoy my Acadian heritage and ties to Canada.  I am not an excessive Sinophile. This post is one part of my overall view of things.

Libby Maturin, Ashley Mire, Anika, Alyse, Sarah and Maria. Mine in Zacatecas is locale.Lower : Soren, Alyse and Anika in Zacatecas.Libby Maturin, Ashley Mire, Anika, Alyse, Sarah and Maria. Mine in Zacatecas is locale.Lower : Soren, Alyse and Anika in Zacatecas. Zacatecas is a great cultural and historic center in Mexico. Mexico is a huge part of any real economic plan for the United States of America. Family Missions Company run by my family members operate in China and Mexico among other places. I have also been a bit below the surface of the planet a few times. Mammoth Caves is one of my favorite US National parks and I have enjoyed visiting mines like those in the beautiful Mexican city of Zacatecas.

 My advice is that we should know Asia and ourselves and understand each new set of circumstances that emerges. The future will be full of surprises.

New Horizons and Some Signs

This post comes at a time when a lot is going on in the world including the mourning in South Korea over the hundreds of youths drowned on a ferry that went down in the Yellow Sea. I used to look out at the Yellow Sea daily where I lived and worked and my sympathy and empathy are with those people. There is some insight into the depth of this tragedy here. However, I have not mentioned that tragedy before this post in this blog. President Obama will be heading to Asia soon to shore up relations with our treaty partners Japan and South Korea.  those are in North East Asia as is Taiwan. I lived in China and in our other treaty partner in the region — the Philippines. But I have not spent much time in Japan and have never been to Taiwan or South Korea. All of us  who are well informed of my generation see a connection between World War II in the Pacific and the Korean War and then the Vietnam War. As tensions occur in the entire Asian region we must remember the tragedy  of huge and sustained wars in Asia. we must grieve for our world neighbors in South Korea and still remember what it  has been like to losemany ships of young people.

Where the Bohai Sea meets the Yellow Sea and  China looks out to Korea.

Where the Bohai Sea meets the Yellow Sea and China looks out to Korea.

I do pray for those involved in that tragedy in a world of so much tragedy. The Malaysian Airlines disaster is yet another tragedy, But the crises brewing in Ukraine and nearby lands may be far greater still. As I look at these events I am also remembering the  events of 150 years ago known as the American Civil War. Several of my posts have mentioned anniversaries of that war. But it is certainly not the only war whose anniversaries are remembered.

The seal of the Confederacy ties the Lost Cause to the Revolution and the past long before that war.

The seal of the Confederacy ties the Lost Cause to the Revolution and the past long before that war.

So many leaders on both sides of the war had been formed in some way by the American – Mexican War and the Confederacy had George Washington on its seal who had been formed in his life and skills in what Americans call the French and Indian War before leading the Continental regulars and colonial militias in the American Revolution and War of Independence.  Struggle does not seem to end and so one struggle prepares its survivors for the next.  That is not all their is to human history and experience but the theme of constant and evolving struggle certainly is a major theme of human experience.

From each crisis and tragedy of the human past we can learn a few things. I think we are obliged to try.  I certainly am formed of all the experiences of my personal history. I am not sure what life may have in store for me but I am sure it will be connected to the rest of my life so far.

Not a very flattering image. A selfie taken a few nights ago.

Not a very flattering image. A selfie taken a few nights ago.

The centennial commemoration of the First World War is starting up around the world. It will continue for the next few years. Some called that war “The War to end all wars”. It certainly did not end all wars and Adolph Hitler was one of the people most affected by the  trials of that war but millions of other would join him in quickly imagining that another war must follow in many of the same lands to resolve issues  that had emerged before, during and after World War One — The Great War. Some call the war that followed The Big One. Most call it the Second World War. I have been writing about the struggle with Islamist terror almost continuously since 2001. I have been caught up in that struggle in a number of ways.

The world is a complicated place and so are the lives of many of us who live in this strange world. This post is going to be largely about what may be on the horizon or just over the horizon of the future. But it is also about how I come to see it in a particular way. I have a picture below of myself with my ex-wife more than  twenty years ago and think of all the seasons that have passed since then for me. I wonder what if any future crises my life has prepared me to face.



It is still the start of the long Catholic Easter Season which goes until Pentecost Sunday. Easter Tuesday, the day after the day that follows what much of the world calls Easter  was a special day for the family.  Easter Monday I bought my Louisiana resident basic fishing license and Louisiana resident saltwater license to go crabbing on the Rockefeller Refuge tomorrow. Crabbing with a string or a small drop net requires no license unless one is on a refuge or wildlife management area. I posted on Facebook that night that I would be going with the family tomorrow and be back online by Tuesday evening. It was later Tuesday evening when I posted on the subject. But my post which is largely subsumed into this one reported good outcomes not mixed with any tragedy.

We had a good time at Rockefeller Refuge. I caught four small crabs. We brought back enough all together from those who also caught (some much more than I ) for me to purge and boil them and everyone had one eating size crab and then I made a stew of the small crabs. I snapped a few pics about nothing in particular although there were particularly nice birds and fish and the crabs and people. (4 photos)

Frank Wynerth Summers III's photo.
Frank Wynerth Summers III's photo.
Frank Wynerth Summers III's photo.
Frank Wynerth Summers III's photo.
 Clearly my life is not caught up in long hours spent in the halls of power. One of the themes of Easter is baptism and evangelism and I have a political view of how things play out on those themes. I do rejoice that Obama talks about Jesus as a Christian would and seems to be a Christian although his father was Muslim. I value his affinity for Islam as a Christian if that is in fact real, Such connections are important to reaching out to evangelize in Muslim countries  and to protecting Christians there. In addition I have real reticence to denying what God may be doing in Barack Hussein Obama’s heart. Had he remained a Senator those themes might have remained my dominant themes. However, in the case of Obama I feel we must consider the possibility of him being a Muslim and a liar as some have accused him of being  even as we have him as our Head of State and US executive.
Russia is squaring off with us in quite few places. You can read about the situation developing in Russia here. Obama is more or less holding his lines in the Russian Crisis. America is meanwhile under strain. The US Supreme Court has recently dealt a blow to the affirmative action which helped to create the environment in which President Obama matured as a human being. You can find one account of the new Supreme Court opinion and analysis of its impact  here.
Nationalism rises in many places in the world, Financial problems abound. Men like Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin, Henry VIII and Washington may all seem very different from one another but all were empowered by crises.  There are many emerging crises just now and those crisis will call forth those who can exploit them.
Hitler rose to power in the Weimar Republic and Mao rose to power in the Chinese  Republic founded by Sun Yat Sen. Those men like Napoleon had the luxury of hitting a new regime still finding its way. Nonetheless each of these men came to power by remaining involved and exercising force in the milieu in which they existed. Putin remembers fondly the Soviet Union and the Communist revolution that replaced the Tsarist Empire directly and slaughtered the Imperial family. Soviet founders paid more for power than many have paid. Russia is often willing to pay a great deal to protect vital interests and that may be important to remember.
In my own life I have written some model constitutions  and done some politicking too. I look out on a future which will be problematic. I see challenges and roots of conflict.  I see lots of reasons to be concerned but I do not believe that we are without hope. One institution for peace is one among many which exist around the world and is a big party I have attended many times.  You can learn about that  institution of soft peace policy here.
Right now I ave little specific to write about or do about many of the challenges facing America and the world. I am almost fifty years old and obscure. My vision for my country is pretty peaceable and moderate for one which still constitutes a a radical proposal. I am tired as I often am and so bring this to post with a few corrections to be made later and a few aspects to be polished. But as I look out at the world I do not feel less inclined to propose that America needs some serious reforms. I will continue to work towards some of those reforms.
In some ways the great hurdle is inside oneself. At some point I have decided that i will work for relatively radical change. That closes many doors as well as opening a few. I have never sought more trouble for my country. Hitler for example labored to bring down the Weimar Republic for decades. Napoleon is famous for firing canons on the crowds running the reign of terror which preceded him in France’s revolutionary journey. But mild as I am I remain alarmed and radical. A bit old and quiet these days, I am more than ever aware of the future which will demand some radical change or other. I still seek more peace and harmony than many other emerging radicals will. The changes I propose remain more respectful of the present institutional climate.

Malaysia Flight MH 370

Three American citizens, 150 Chinese citizens and others are legally presumed dead as they were aboard Flight MH370 which has disappeared without a trace for about two weeks so far.  The official account does not fully satisfy for  many reasons. The grief, street protests and sorrows evident in Beijing are ongoing. The people involved cannot help but feel cheated of any resolution and the Chinese government is at least demanding access to the satellite telemetry used to reach Malaysia’s official conclusions.

I have posted about this before. I may do so  again.  I can only empathize with all those suffering. However, I also empathize with their paranoia. This is one of those stories that may be true and almost certainly will not be proven untrue — and yet is absurd. One is asked to believe that this plane escaped all detection and went without notice to the place where the wreck would be hardest to detect. It is on its face one of the most self-serving stories ever told. But a lot of people are buying into this story and that really does make it more credible.

No matter what happened the odds are very high that passengers are dead. If it is a supremely complex conspiracy they are probably dead, if they crashed or landed gently in the ocean they are also likely to be dead.  But this cannot be a story which brings a lot of closure to anyone.

I have posted about the struggle of other parents to rescue their daughter and find closure. This case is different in many ways but no less miserably confusing.  Today or last night a family friend Suzanne Bercier died of a long enduring disease and it was long anticipated. Yet there will be plenty of shock for the loss of a young woman. There will be second guessing and regrets.

Today is, for Catholics, the Feast of the Annunciation.  We remember the mysteries of the Incarnation and the origin of the words so familiar to us as “Hail Mary, Full of Grace! The Lord is with you.” This is from the first chapter of Luke’s Gospel and a bit later on at the Visitation  Mary’s cousin Elizabeth adds the next words of the familiar prayer “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb . . .”  I will say a Hail Mary for all the parents of the victims of Flight 370 and other family members. I will say one for the family of Suzanne and for the family of Danielle and others disappearing on the boat in the South Pacific. Mary is the parent the Gospels mention standing at the foot of the crucified Christ.  May her intercession ease the pain of all those suffering loss and terrible separation from loved ones.

Chinese land Jade Rabbit, 玉兔 (yu tu) rover on the Moon

Congratulations to the Chinese people and society for landing the Jade Rabbit, 玉兔 (yu tu) rover on the Moon. This is a wonderful achievement of human and social potential. I hope China will continue to play an important role in bringing all of humanity into dynamic involvement with lunar resources in the full sense of those words.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-25382049 The reports of their successful landing are certainly among the most important recent events in science and human development news on the large international scale. We can only hope this will be another step to ward the future of lunar colonization. http://www.channel4.com/news/china-the-first-moon-landing-in-38-years-and-the-mystery-ma  Of course everyone is far from discussing such things now but this is at least activity.

Diplomacy in the Modern Era:Reflections from My life

How much anger and fear creep into life and argument is always an issue of concern in any field of endeavor. I have reached a new point in my journey toward whatever may function as a grave in the case of my particular life.  I will, sooner or later, be able to ignore the issues of geopolitics. For now however, I still have an opinion.

In my own life I have gotten to a place of careful recognition of how entirely wearied and bleak the rest of my life will likely be and how ill that sits with me in many ways. However, I am perhaps in some ways made more courageous and reckless by this selfsame sense of misery and futility. Today, I heard two people speaking with Fox News (which I do watch but which is not my primary television news) on different subjects but in a way which their rhetoric made related. One was Donald Trump discussing the possibility of running for President and  his desire to see America respected in the world again. The other was Richard Dreyfuss discussing educational reform through his Dreyfuss Initiative. Both of these men seemed to be aware that while things are oddly comfortable to speak of a nation in crisis we are nonetheless in crisis. Later on today, I watched the whole of a show I had seen in part earlier. This was the Diane Sawyer episode of  the new  series Master Class on the new OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network). Sawyer was also speaking about things as they are and can be and appear in American foreign policy, in Appalachia’s foothills and in other stories which suggest that we may be in crisis. She however, was less in the mode of proclaiming crisis than the two men on Fox News. 

That crisis is entirely apparent to most of the rest of the world. It is becoming more imperative than can be easily suggested or explained that we have the right kind of social and constitutional transformation in this country. My proposal is spread across this not very widely read blog. It is a proposal which will seem odd to the vast majority of potential readers. Here are some of the highlights in a single blog post without really checking them for inconsistent details as regards previous posts. These are by no means exhaustive:

1. I recommend we evolve into the Federal  American Empire of the United States. While doing this we  retain our heritage by keeping two legal names the one just given and the United States of America.

2. That we establish a royal monarch as Emperor and Supreme President to reign as Head of State and also to rule with very specific powers  while most of the current role of the President of the United States would be carried out by an analogous First Executive Vice President.

3.I propose that we establish the USA based Maison de le Roi of the Basileus Arkadios as the American Imperial House. 

4. That we redraw the map , creating a whole new class of lands known as Territories and a whole new class of Lands known as Possessions and that we also create lands in the Direct Imperial Government jurisdiction which would consist of a few border zones, special fiefdoms, Compact Districts, the District of Columbia, offshore artificial islands and other cessions making up a tiny portion of all this Union’s lands. Explaining all this at all requires looking at posts elsewhere.

5. That we admit part of Puerto Rico as the last State to be admitted without a constitutional amendment and constitute besides this State of Puerto Rico (which would possibly be exactly the size of Rhode Island or a few square miles bigger) we would also create  two other constitutional jurisdictions a Puerto Rico Creole of Color Territory, and a Puerto Rico Negro and African-American Possession. These non-states would  form part of a large new section of the regime.

6.Possessions and Territories would have government of their domestic regimes and municipal affairs and some share in sovereignty. They would have seats in the House of Representatives but not in the Senate. They would have some constitutional set aside of perpetual development funds. Territories would  have more rank and privilege than Posessions. There would be a federal Territory for all the Aboriginal American peoples of Alaska, four federal Territories for all the Aboriginal American Peoples  of the contiguous states, two Territories for Mestizos in the Eastern and Western Spanish Borderlands, three Creole of Color Territories separately established in Louisiana, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands as well as Territories for Guam, Samoa, the Restored Kingdom of Hawaii., and a single real enough but largely symbolic Territory for citizens descended from Old Holdings (Philippines, Cuba, Micronesia). who are not white or North East Asian  All fifty States would continue to exist and would hold most of their current lands.   Possession will be made one in every former Confederate State , in Puerto Rico and in the Virgin Islands. There will then be one federalized Possession for Maryland, Oklahoma, Kentucky  and West Virginia. Then two single large possessions will be made up of small districts across all other states.  

7.That we reform the Congress in large and small ways. All fifty-one states would elect two Senators as the currently do as well as one elected by the Legislature of each state. That legislative electee would serve for twelve years at a time and if not enrolled as an ordinary Noble or Aristocrat under the rules of one of the Compacts to which the Sate belongs could only serve one term and regardless that Senator must be from the rolls of some part of the Fivefold nobility before the election. These 153 Senators would be the only regular Senators capable of voting for most things but there would be others who had limited functions. The Second Executive Vice President would be President of the Senate. There would be no Tribunes with absolute veto like Rome but their would be Two Senior and Four Junior Tribunes elected by the Territories and One Senior and Two Junior   Tribunes elected by the possessions. Then there would be a class of seats in the Greater Senatorial Council of those with just a bit less power than the Tribunes. These would include the wives of the First and Second Executive Vice Presidents and the Empress’s Minister for the Bureau of Women’s Affairs as well as others and so the though there would be only 154 regular Senatorial votes (with the Senate President voting last when it will create or break a tie under fair procedure) the Grand Senatorial Council will number 200 and will have some key but very limited roles.  Congressional reforms would also   include increasing the House 800 members and creating seats for somewhere two at large seats from each Territory and one at large seat from Possession.  Beyond that the general rule would be that all seats would be apportioned with X people per seat in each State.The amount for districts charted afterwards  might be negotiated but roughly come to 1.25X people per district in the Territories once they have passed almost that amount in fixed two seats and 1.5X people in the districts in the Possessions once they have passed fully that allotment for one fixed seat. Each State with a significant North East Asian heritage population shall have one or two but no more fully or majority Northeast Asian Constituted seats that will probably be  more than twenty but less than forty districts. All military bases in the Empire and abroad will be allotted seats but military  voters will also belong to another home district. These federalized or single districts will be given seats at the rate of 2x people per district.  Their will be four sets reserved to represent the Colored Districts in the States.Each state will have these districts with some municipal governance and seats in the State Legislature for those who are not White or North East Asian and are not related closely to the peoples of bordering Territories or legislatures. These four seats in the House will be represented by those elected by a convention of the colored State Legislators every four years.   There would also be between three and five seats fro those living in Direct Imperial Government jurisdiction. These DIG reps alone would be of limited powers because of some restrictions in the areas of law that have no application in the DIG areas. In basic terms, the House of Representatives will be between 791 and 793 seats apportioned by population.  800 = S+T+P+M+4+(3to5), is the structure but the representation is of the total population plus the eligible military population on bases.  There are more sophisticated ways to do the math but the actual decsions of alottment and districting would be a complex cooperative effort by the Censors and the Jurisdictions. The Censors would be a board of retired very senior officials of several kinds who would run the Census Bureau and actually work with the dsitrictingand would form a magistracy for ethics and public morals.    

8. All Americans would belong to between one and three family associations. These associations would have primary responsibility for defining race. These would also be gathered into Kindreds which would form one of the main bases of DIG representation and government. In addition, the businesses and individuals of America would be encouraged to participate in a guild system, forming another base of DIG representation.

America could grow back into a healthy society if it undertook changes such as this. However, it is not likely to do so and the crisis will become more pronounced.

One of those rambling posts…

This is a rambling sort of blog post about a bunch of different things that have little in common except that I am interested in them right now.  This is a sort round-up post in the broadest sense. So here comes a numbered list folks….

1.  Despite disavowals  of doing so I have recently posted comments again on the Lords of the Blog and The Norton View in response to some of Lord Philip Norton’s posts on those sites.

2. I missed the New Orleans Saints preseason opener against the Minnesota Vikings without a really good excuse. Although this is only a glorified scrimmage (for the benefit of people who do not know our professional sports culture) it is still a bit shocking.

3. China is officially reported as the world’s second largest economy now. My own time in and involvement with China has a somehow slightly different light cast upon it because of these facts.

4. I bought birthday gifts all recent months but I have bought a birthday gift for my niece whose birthday is August 3rd, my sister whose birthday is August 5th, my sister-in-law whose birthday is August 8th and for each of three nephews who celebrated their birthdays together on the 14th of August. These sorts of calendrical anomalies really remind me of how limited my income is these days — but I did my best and hope it was OK…

5.The BP driller for the crucial relief well is a man named Wright with an impressive record and he feels that this is one of the toughest jobs he has ever done. He is also confident that he will succeed.

6. The name of the giant skimming ship that was sent here and did not work well in choppy seas was A Whale. This name has many associations for anyone here like anyone anywhere else. Acadians and the many other cultural groups have many people who use naturalistic names and appreciate them.  However, it is also eery for Acadians who see them selves as children of the Jonas in some ways as New Englanders relate to the Mayflower.  Jonas is the same personage as Jonah swallowed by (but also arguably saved ) by a whale. Nonetheless, this is not new because almost all sailors who read the Bible use Jonah as an unlucky term and Acadians are fairly unique among Judaeo-Christian seafarers in using or seeing the term distinctly. Neither Jonah nor his shipmates nor his ship were destroyed in the story after all.

7.  I had a very nice niece with one of my nieces today. While at lunch we ran into my ex-wife’s paternal aunt’s husband and his son and two of his grandsons. We  chatted and I introduced everybody. All of this makes me revisit my past which I am always doing anyway.

8. Both of my brothers who are fairly recently married have wives that are expecting and one nears delivery while another is to find out tomorrow if she is expecting twins.  All of this makes me daydream about my future which I am always doing anyway.

9. In the last few days I have bought eggs, bacon, varied canned goods, sodas, some condiments, sliced ham, milk, breakfast cereal, jalapeno and cheese pull bread, frozen fish and varied paper and soap products. In some houses and in this house at other times that would amount to really shopping and stocking up but here and now it amounts to getting oddments necessary to mostly sustain people in using up what we have before it goes bad and postponing the real shopping until such a fairly regular massive undertaking is ready to be undertaken.

10. In life there are different kinds of highs and different kinds of lows. Right now I think I am in the weary not entirely discontent blues.

The Mental Ferment for Men (and Women) who Might Foment an American Revolution: Part Two

The question that supersedes and eclipses all other questions in this kind of discussion is whether or not it is really possible that the United States of America will enter a period of constitutional transformation. That sort of change which falls into the largest definition of the word “revolution”. Then (and I admit that there may be revolution at all any time soon) one can come to the question of whether or not such a change will be occasioned by the relatively sane, patriotic and productive citizens of which the Tea party is one major grouping or whether change will come from forces which are more destructive, opportunistic and perhaps more largely foreign as well. Hunger and the threat of  large-scale killing of citizens by the government are the most common reasons history shows us for people to seek to change their government. It may be that we need change but is there much chance of making real change. I think there is a less than fifty percent chance. However, Americans have a sense of creeping tyranny and a desire to react to it that is real. This is also rooted in their history.  “Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.” Thomas Jefferson — even republican democracies in form can be tyrannical. That is both true and a truth which the Founders believed. Jefferson was the most democratic in philosophy of the first rank of Founding Fathers and he certainly had a distrust for democracy and did not ever use it as a synonym for good government as we often see being done today. 

In this four part posting I am exploring what an American Revolution might mean.  I am looking at what it could come out of and where it might bring us.  Here, in this post I focus more on our Revolutionary Heritage. By the fourth part I should be more focused on the Revolutionary future. 

Other founders such as Adams were much more openly critical of the whole espousing of Democracy as an ideal and they did not believe that they had intended to create a democracy nor that such had been the result of there efforts. Adams was on the committee which assisted Jefferson in writing the Declaration of Independence  and approved it before submitting it to Congress. Yet he did  not hesitate to declare. “Democracy… while it lasts is more bloody than either aristocracy or monarchy. Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There is never a democracy that did not commit suicide.” John Adams There are many elements besides democracy which are supposed to be operating in our country’s governance and conventual. We are a country founded on getting these mechanics right under an accepted and specific constitution which provides the ground rules and lines of operation for the “game” which is government and indirectly culture and society.  There is no way that people can all be persuaded to understand the same questions as being priorities nor to come up with an understanding that the same answers are always right and especially not right for all.  Naive optimism is how our enemies have described our nation’s political philosophy but it is not fair even to our most idealistic founder: “An association of men who will not quarrel with one another is a thing which has never yet existed, from the greatest confederacy of nations down to a town meeting or a vestry.” Thomas Jefferson. There is more than conflict resolution here that is intended. Federalism itself allows some conflicts not to be resolved and states to live under different laws while all still are participating in the great American society with its greater resources and grand purposes.  Far from Term Limits for everyone I believe that in a new constitutional order we should have three US Senators for each State. Let popular elections choose two as has become habitual but let a third one be elected by the state legislatures (as in the original constitution) but let this one officer be subject to certain qualifications tests (not too onerous) and be elected for a longer term. Let former Presidents, retired General Officers and the US and retired  Justices of the US Supreme Court serve on a small per diem and their pensions as Censors. Let them control the Census now taken by the Commerce Department and also create districts and apportion seats for Congress. Let them serve independently and for life. Let them also hold some power over the organs for ethics in the federal government.  Radical as this may seem there is evidence the founders thought we should get to this eventually. This Council of Censors would restore the nondemocratic elements which have wasted away and left us in chaos as we see all power in the hands of popular majorities.  That is very un-American. We have a more complex society now and it should be under a more complex government not a less complex one. 

 Nor was this constitution designed to consider all  starting positions as equal. It was not crafted so that all ideas and  ways of life could start on exactly the same footing.  Few were more in touch with the founding of the country that is the USA than John Adams and he did not hesitate to write about what was to be favored. “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” John Adams.  Nor was Adams merely concerned with any kind of piety. He could not have been more certain in his own mind of the pre-eminence of Judaeo- Christian values and cultural traditions in forming the national fabric. “The Hebrews have done more to civilize men than any other nation. If I were an atheist, and believed blind eternal fate, I should still believe that fate had ordained the Jews to be the most essential instrument for civilizing the nations. ” John Adams. Remember that the racial and ethnic implications are coming out clearly from one of the Declarers select committee. Some lands from the State and the federal government should be surrendered both to compact and a central government with small needs and specialized missions but a larger part (totalling as much as two or more percent of all lands) should be put into a “pot” together with Guam, American Samoa, part of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands as well as all Indian Reservations to create a series of really viable Territories and Possessions which are represented in the House of Representatives and not in the US Senate.   Part of Puerto Rico should be admitted as our final state and part as one of these new Territories, these two jurisdictions will have a compact. The relationship will be repeated in Hawaii and Alaska where close relations between distinct jurisdictions will be the norm. This will new order need to include a substantial Kingdom of Hawaii, Negro Possessions in the Southern States (as well as Creole of Color territories in some places) and two Mestizo territories in old settlements of the Spanish Borderlands Compact. These ethnic groups would have lands and governments to use and elect,  they would have seats in the House and could have simple tribunes with limited vetoes and subpoenas in the Senate. Some funds and contracts would be reserved for their development in the new constitution. Poverty and prison programs would be replaced with innovation in many states. Schools would improve and the State universities would reserve a small percentage of their seats for the best qualified of their neighbors. However, most  jurisdictions would service their own peoples needs and employ their own police and teachers. This would not be for all colored people as under Jim Crow but jurisdictions favoring specific raci0-ethnic groups with districts and rights for their own minorities. Real racial purity laws per se would be forbidden federally everywhere. The family associations would define the reace of there members for most purposes and the acts to deny racial identitry would be limited in effect and require due process.  But America would not pretend to racial indifference any more. In the States there would be  both colored districts where those not  related to nearby districts would elect parties to the state legislature and have some kind of municipal governance but also be less than equal in many rights of the state citizen while protected as US Citizen. Northeast Asian Communities such as Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Sino-Filipino peoples would be  assured equal representation for drawn minority majority districts in all states where they have a traditional population.  In addition they would participate as full state citizens. Likewise Filipinos and Micronesians would be given special federal assistance in settling here because of the ties of their countries to ours.  Family associations would work with these new laws and jurisdictions. But there would be an end to varied forms of racial madness in this country. All future immigrants would have to be admitted by both the United States and a lesser Jurisdiction State or otherwise.  Each jurisdiction should elect one elector for life who will sit with the popular election electors for the President and also have other legislative roles. Such a person would be able to hold multiple offices.

Likewise, America has never been founded on any principle that allowed for weakness as a national ideal.  “If we desire to avoid insult, we must be able to repel it; if we desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of our rising prosperity, it must be known, that we are at all times ready for War. ” George Washington.  War, I would argue is not merely murder. Modern societies do not always fight wars quite frequently they just murder people. War involves, discipline, declarations, chains of command and a known return address  ( to at least some degree) for the violence. I have often been critical of the US military but it is still the military founded by that tall Virginian quoted above. It is still one of the institutions that works in our society.   The people have a right and a need for militias, hunting clubs and I think in a society like ours they need more differentiated groups along the lines of orders of chivalry where the most privileged speak a more refined language of violence. America is in danger of losing all that it is in this simple regard.  “Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples’ liberty’s teeth.” George Washington.  On this and some other issues I will focus my third and last portion of this posting. 

We must also have a society where the federal and state governments are openly concerned with the moral development of these constituent armed groups and their members. No value neutral governance is possible part of our culture of defense and security. “Happiness and moral duty are inseparably connected.” George Washington. My last portion will also relate to this moral aspect of governance.

So, next time expect to see me discuss morals, arms and how to effect real change as well as other issues relevant to this subject not yet addressed. So far you can see that for me revolution is a word I take seriously.

My Thoughts about Homecoming Twenty Years after Graduation


I am planning to buy a ticket to my alma mater’s homecoming football game more or less as soon as I get finished with my blog post.  I will be buyuing it with my mother’s credit card. I sometimes do this and pay her back with cash but in this case she is giving it to me as a gift. I feel a sense of obligation to be there and I have often been to Homecoming games over the years. But I have not gotten an invitation to anything except those sent out to all University students and have not had the resources to  initiate much organization although I did start a Facebook group for my classmates nobody joined it. Nonetheless, it discharged another sense of obligation. I do love my school and watching football. However, I certainly am not proud or happy to be going alone and in many other ways in the situation I am currently in at this time.

The bulk of this post is a Facebook note I wrote a while back. I had a really miserable time copying it in here (a process which is often very easy). That means I had more of a chance to correct spelling, mechanical and minor factual errors than usual because I spent longer reworking it. However, I know from experience that there may be a gross error of continuity from pasting parts together and have lots of irritating glitches. I hope not. If you read it and wish to comment I will try to address errors and questions.



Approaching 20 years since my Bachelor’s Degree
Sunday, March 22, 2009 at 10:58pm
I graduated from the University of Southwestern Louisiana in May of 1989 with a degree in English and the honor of a latin phrase after the designation of a bachelors degree. There have been many days since mid May of 1989. Each of them was a bit different from the others. Suddenly I am coming up on 20 years. Sooner or later it had to happen. Actually it had to happen exactly 20 years after I graduated unless I died. It was always likely to make me feel that my life was not exactly where I had hoped it would be. Twenty years ago was a rather high mark in my life. But not a perfect time at all.

In the years since then there have been opportunities to do things that I had not done. Perhaps I resemble some huge portion of the human species in that I would define the last twenty years as having been much better and much worse than I would have predicted. However as a generalization I would describe my last twenty years as being profoundly different from any plan I could have made or discussed in those days. First of all the most important person in my life in those days was Michelle Denise Broussard Summers and I have not seen or spoken with her since about 1995. We had gotten married in December of 1987 while still in college. I graduated in May of 1989 and she graduated in December of 1989.

I think both that we always had our problems and that when I graduated our best years were still ahead of us. But the time of my graduation was a more difficult time than most of our time together up to that point. In those days I still had high hopes for many things that no longer draw forth that response from me. What Michelle’s hopes were becomes less clear to me with each passing day and month and year. I do know that we were very much together at that time. Her support meant a great deal to me. On the day of the Blue Key reception for the Outstanding Graduate award for their colleges and were nominated for the overall award only one person had no guests for company — I was that nominee. I did win the award however. That of course makes the approach of the 20th year anniversary even more ominous somehow. It is harder to measure up to expectations announced in those days. Of course, no matter what I had that happy summer when I had been so honored and before a life I would often categorize as horrible reverted more to the norm and became fairly horrible again. In the years since there have been lots of good and bad times. I have ended up with more self-respect than I would have ever imagined possible and very little else in many ways. Yet also blessed to have lots of people in my life and memory who have meant something to me. The journey has had its surprising joys. Instead of only following a chronology  only I wanted  to kind of set this up as journey story — because it is.

Mary graduates from UL L as I did. A young mom who does not make time for Facebook yet.

Watching one brother Joseph and one sister Mary graduate with higher Latin honors than I earned from my college alma mater has been a joy and a blessing. It has been a joy to see another sister Sarah graduate with a perfect GPA from Louisiana State University where I got my masters degree. It has been a joy to have my middle sister Susanna graduate with honors from the Franciscan University of Steubenville where I won one of two Sophomore Class Awards (one for men and one for women) in 1985. I look forward to having my youngest brother graduate from UL-L which is my renamed alma mater this May. My handicapped brother Simon received his certificate of Academic completion of merit from Abbeville High School when I was working for the school board in which they are located and which administers them. All of those were joyous milestones. But Michelle was not around for any of those events. After my Bachelor’s ceremonies, hers and my Master of Arts Degree graduation we were not to be together much longer.

Michelle and I lived in Abbeville, Lafayette, Kenner, New Orleans and Baton Rouge  all in Louisiana when we were married. We traveled to Mexico but otherwise never left the country together. We did make trips to Arizona, Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee,  and Illinois. But all though we were not absolute cave-dwellers we traveled less together than has been typical of my life. In this post I have included pictures of places I have been since. I had many pictures of Michelle and I together and would put some up but they have been among the many casualties of my trips and dislocations. I do not have access to a single image of her and I together or of her as I type this.

The picture below is of the Shandong Institute of Business and Technology in Yantai. The SDIBT  was the China Coal College a few years before I was there.Set on the Shandong Peninsula where Confucius and Mencius began Classical Chinese scholarship the Campus overlooked the glorious Yellow Sea.
These are some of my students and advisees graduating two years after I left.
Front page of an article I wrote about my journey to China and time there. The top photograph is of English Corner which was largely organized and facilitated by Lu Ting ting who is on my Friends List although her name appears in characters I cannot reproduce.

However, China is not the only place that I have been. There were journeys to Micronesia, Mexico (on numerous occasions) as well as to Nova Scotia/ Acadie. All these trips were since my divorce . Each of these journeys has added to the long route across and just above the surface of this planet which I have had other distinct good things and times. My trip to China ranks near the top of these life enhancing events one recalls at a time like this. I have posted the link to the university level institution where I taught.

The theme of of travel in my story is rather huge and important. It can be minimized and still seem drawn out in my life. Prior to graduation the Philippines, Europe, Colombia, Mexico, Tonga, Samoa and New Zealand were among the places that I had visited long enough to feel that I had lived there.  It bears repeating yet again that extensivetravel has been a very large part of my education and personal development both before and after my undergraduate studies.

 Soren, Alyse and Anika in Zacatecas, Mexico in the center of town.
Alyse in the mines which were the source of wealth for Zacatecas as a Spanish Colonial City and in the precolumbian days as well.
I have also been a bit below the surface of the planet a few times. Mammoth Caves is one of my favorite US National parks and I have enjoyed visiting mines like those in the beautiful Mexican city of Zacatecas. Michelle was not a great outdoors woman and now I seldom participate in the outdoors in Louisiana which were such a huge part of my life before because I have had a lot of bad experiences and am not very happy here in any way but Michelle and I once camped at Mammoth Caves in a very happy exception to the rule of our time together. 

What I know is that my life has been a journey in a very literal sense. When I graduated from UL I went to work that summer for the law Firm of Mangham, Hardy, Rolfs and Abadie in the offices near the top of the First National Bank Tower in downtown Lafayette. It was as close as I have ever come to feeling like my life was on a smooth and established track and not a trek through dangerous places. I was headed off to Tulane Law School in the fall. A lot of people in my life who have always behaved badly toward me when they were around chose not to that summer. I had been on television and in the newspapers a great deal when I won the Outstanding Graduate award and it seemed like I would be given some space to do things one step at a time in a way that I have never really known at any other time.

My time at Tulane Law School that first run was one of the worst times of my life. That is from my point of view saying a great deal. We lived next to a family who were in charge of our floor in student housing and screamed and roared many hours every day. Michelle never found any job of significance which wrecked our financial plan, I got hit in a horrible traffic situation and got the ticket, I was chronically sick, we had several family crises. Someone who owed me a substantial amount of money skipped out on payment and it was an informal exchange without legal recourse. Those patterns were established early on and then there were a lot of other bad things. Michelle told me she was pregnant fifteen minutes before my first moot court competition and that she was not (either never was or had lost the pregnancy) just in the middle of my real examination preparation. Then my relationships already included a lot of people who were the opposite of supportive. Despite being a harsh, grim and critical man my grandfather Frank W. Summers I came across as a major source of counsel, social and financial support. He and I had been close of years and this put a strain on our rebuilding relationship but it was a time when he really shone in several ways. When Michelle and I left Tulane after a semester and a bit then in almost every way the life I had sought to graduate into was  dead. The journey since then has been an entirely different journey.

When I left Tulane we engaged in that activity my associates in life often refer to as “licking one’s wounds”. That took a few weeks. Then I was working in seafood sales and brokering as I had done many times before including even during my time at Tulane Law. I went down with the owner and chief sales manager of the privately held company that was my employer on a buying trip to Merida. This was typical of a lot of things about my seafood crowd. The owner paid for four tickets, four registration packages, four hotel and food packages and in me provided one of the two or three best interpreters on the trip. However, the trip was supposed to be a sales trip sponsored by the US Department of Commerce and we were there buying. While that exact event was unique it somehow encapsulates all of my considerable experiences in the fishmongering world. While there Lieutenant Governor Paul Hardy presented me with the honor of Honorary Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana. He gave me a very large and beautiful certificate that I was proud to display as I was to mention the honor on my resume.

When I got back I set up those purchases and set up a series of chain and institutional sales for catfish and catfish products of sizes which were not in the main stream of demand and commerce. That was about all I did before quitting my job and going to work for St. Thomas More High School. I knew it would annoy him but I left my employer with a proposal for changes needed in the company. From a distance over the years I watched many of them take place. (Since I wrote this note however the company has closed because it imported much Mexican labor after the ties established on this trip and has had trouble gettibg the paperwork in order in recent years according to one of the former owners).

My story must return to the subject of St. Thomas More High School.  My Mom had helped me hear about and get an interview for the job at STM and I took Sarah to school there as I commuted to work. Michelle soon found a job in Lafayette in a career field she would follow in for a good while. I added a part-time job as youth minister at St. Mary’s Parish and then we moved from Mom and Dad’s neighborhood in a rental house to an apartment in Lafayette. Mom and Dad soon moved to house only a few miles away. My sister Susanna was registered to go with Sarah to STM the next year. However, by that time I would be a Board of Regents Fellow at Louisiana State University. Michelle had a good job in Baton Rouge with the same company she had worked for in Lafayette and I had the fellowship money and some other sporadic income. We were pretty happy and pretty successful as far as living in a rental townhouse can be considered successful in America. We had two new vehicles we had bought new and although I was getting really fat for the first time since early adolescence we were more in love and happy than at any time since just after our wedding. So if Law school was really brutally bad then graduate school was pretty good. I was tired and stressed but not as alienated as I have often been. It was a time for maintenance and restorations. Then two things did happen when I was in Grad school at LSU that had a big impact on my life between the two of them. One was that my half-brother Paul Nicolas Jordan came into my life. The other was that my grandfather Frank W. Summers I died. These things and earning my Masters really defined those years.

Paul came into my life as a huge surprise since I had been assured of his impossibility. I had devoted a huge portion of whatever positive focus of energy there had been in my life to being the oldest sibling of seven and an older brother. I had become involved in a whole web of transgenerational things on all sides of the family to pass them on to another generation. When Paul came many of relatives who have always perhaps been happy to make me uncomfortable liked to point out that he was both older and my sibling. All the ways this was done I will not get into here. It so happened that my grandfather Summers was not related to Paul by blood, marriage or memory and was busy dying. I had worked for him, lived with him when in from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, bore his name, had discussed genealogies, family traditions and acts and orders of chivalry. He had brought me into some secret and other semi-secret groups and other groups with tasks that were not entirely clear to me and I had tried to humor him even when it was tough. So at this time we drew closer together. His mind, body and poise were all failing but they all were a noble ruin. Old men I had never met came and began to ask me questions about him and some of our activities and talks together. Many of those men I never saw again.

I undertook a research task or two in Acadiana at the time to deal with these odd meetings and with my dying grandfather. I had often been angry with and resentful of “PauPau” as I called him.When he did die I had seen him dying only a day before and the pain was raw and shocked me in its intensity. There were reasons for that which I will not go into here but the biggest reason was personal loss. I was the only primary pall-bearer with streaming tears and shaking sobs as we gave that last shove of his coffin into the elevated stone mini mausoleum where his remains rest. Typical of he and my grandmother there was a space beside him with her name on it and four other spaces for some (but not any dead) who might need a resting place in our extended family. My grandmother was there and many others and my wife. But I felt a loneliness I had not known before, it may not have been my loneliest moment but it was a very lonely one. I pulled through that semester, took my general examinations and went through commencement. I thought I might go to LSU Law school but I would work in large scale food sales again before returning to Tulane Law School. My marriage was almost suddenly falling apart in real earnest.

During the year I worked we still had some good times but by the summer before Law school we were seldom together as I worked in a law office in Lafayette and she lived in Baton Rouge. Then we moved into a town house in Kenner where we last lived together. This time at Tulane things were smoother in some ways but smoothly bad. My first time at Tulane I had organized a petition and a protest along with other woes and distractions and I am quite certain some faculty there still had it in for me. My relationship with my nuclear family was strained, I missed my grandfather, he had promised me several keepsakes when he died all unsolicited by me and I got none of them just as had happened before when his mother died. My marriage was for the first time cold. It is unacceptable to talk about sex between married couples but our sex life had always been very good by all standards that can be quantified or verified. Now it was not. We were sentimental about splitting. We seldom discussed it and when we did it was usually over a nice dinner calmly. We knew it was coming and I began to seek treatment for depression. We both sort of moved from not quite newlyweds to forty years of marriage in our frank awareness of the opposite sex. It was clear that we would not be happy together and we had tried Marriage Encounter, made Engaged Encounter before exchanging vows and read books as well as making a couples retreat. We had no kids or prospects of having kids soon. I had some concerns my grandfather had entrusted me with that we could never really discuss. My relationship with her parents got pretty bad and hers with mine was not good. None of this was all that obvious or even serious in a certain sense.

I am adding this paragraph for no particular reason to the original note in my Facebook page.  I was never sexually involved with anyone while married to Michelle. That is an absolute fact and in addition I did not pursue things that came up as that marriage ended. However, it is dishonest ( by my high standards of candor) to leave out the fact that I did meet a woman at Tulane the second time who made a big impression on me and she seemed to feel something too. We have never seen eachother since then and I really did stay with a miserable and hopeless marriage instead of a new and compelling relationship. I am not even the tiniest bit ashamed of her, my behavior, or of Michelle and I being old fuddy-duddies who tried to play things by the book.  

Suddenly I was out of law school, legally separated and living with my parents in a two storey thatched building overlooking Micronesia’s Truk Lagoon as the GIs knew it on the Island of Weno in the country of Chuuk. Another point of no return had been crossed. Another re-invention of a life and a future. Among the markers of that transition I had a truly horrific sunburn that almost defied description. I have been hospitalized twice for sunburn and none of those burns were in the same category as this. I think I could easily have died except that a clinic there sold my mother a few hundred dollars of Silvadene cream for a few dollars. The agonizing physical pain and baseball size blisters were oddly soothing to my shredded soul. I healed and snorkeled again as I had that first burning day. I ate Eggs Benedict overlooking the gorgeous lagoon, spent time with my brothers and sisters and found a job teaching at the local community college which I never undertook because I left before school started. I heard rumours that made me think a reconciliation might be possible and decided to come home and try. However, I have never seen Michelle since the day we were separated. I have never spoken to her on the phone or seen a convincing video of her. Except for third person testimony I have no reason to believe that she is not dead. I now reached a place in life where I was not to cut my hair or shave for about three and a half years.

When I was in graduate school at LSU I published one book review in the Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television as well as two note length letters to the editor — on in Time and one in Newsweek. I did a lot of writing during my marriage but what was most notable was how little publishing I did. I wrote novels, plays, short stories, book length rough drafts on international law, rocketry, ethnicity and theology. This was in addition to countless papers, exam essays, lesson plans at Saint Thomas More, tutoring materials and half of the  catechetical materials Michelle and I used together to teach our faith in two dioceses and sales materials as well. But now, in the wandering in the desert phase of my life (involving very few deserts) I began to fill composition books titled as journals. With hair down to my waist almost and long journals to write Mom got me a chance to work out every day almost at Olympus health club in Nunez which is a small community with a  gymnasium (in the old sense), a steak house, a gas station and a lot of houses and fields. I got into pretty good shape while not losing weight. In my journals I was able to deal with the absolute and enormous wrongness of nearly everything in the world of humanity from my point of view. It was amazingly soothing to say what was wrong and what might be done about it even though it would not change anything. In many ways life was more hellish than it had been in my worst nightmares but I could at least express that thought in an environment not entirely toxic. I might fell that I was living a nightmare but at least I could say so in peace. I do find the world to be a kind of nightmare made real as much as I find it to be anything else.

I acquired some land from my father after a few years and began a very small business. I did a wide variety of odd jobs and my parents donated mortgage payments on the land to me this was our symbiosis. When they were paid off it was about the year 2000. I also had started a small business subsidized by payment made for driving a few people back and forth from jails and hospitals and other government agencies. My little business was distributing books, cards, prints, jewelry and prints produced in Acadiana or by artists connected with Acadian in a surprisingly large number of the United States, countries and cities. But my income was not nearly (not even approaching nearly) enough to live on.In the year 2000 I returned to the Catholic sacraments after having been a regular mass goer who never received communion, I cut my hair and shaved my beard, I took out a $10,000 signature loan on the land and I applied for and got a substitute teaching job starting in the fall in the Vermilion Parish School board system. Most of this happened in May of 2000. Then I went up to New Haven Connecticut for my sister’s birthday and my brother in laws graduation from Yale Divinity School. I had a wonderful visit with Sarah, Jason, Alyse and Anika as well as others gathering there. However, I did sense before I left that there were serious problems still in their marriage which had been evident last time I had seen them. Some of these and other tensions spilled over into the latter part of a great visit. However, for me this would be a blessed renewal of a closeness with Sarah and her children which would be a large comfort of the following years and had always been there largely. I stopped in at EWTN headquarters in Birmingham, Alabama and at the home of the relative who owned the adjoining piece of land and lived in Virginia. Both these stops and a stop in New Orleans were on the route of my round trip Amtrak ticket and were a mix of business and pleasure.

For three following years I devoted myself to family affairs, kept my little intellectual properties distribution business going, built fences and acquired tenants for all the land while maintaining the mortgage. I also did a great deal of substitute teaching sometimes a week and a half for each week or even more after storms like Hurricane Lilli closed down facilities and caused schedules to be consolidated.

I also began to write again publishing sports pieces at the Daily Advertiser, sports and feature stories in the Abbeville Meridional and features and a column in the Bonnes Nouvelles (Vermilion). Meanwhile, I continued researching, filling composition books and writing a great deal on topics related to my first big efforts in doing my own thing when I left Tulane. About the end of that time a lady I liked ( and might still like) a whole lot and I really pronounced the death of a long term on again and off again relationship.

Towards the end of that period I considered and sort of attempted to return to graduate school in a different discipline. Then I traveled around to see my sister now living in Mexico and to look for a job. I also had applied for a teaching job in China. As it turned out I did teach there in 2004 and into 2005. It was a very powerful experience that deserves more space than I have here so I will skim over it. Having graded dozens of term papers, directed numerous student workshop dramas and advised hundreds of students I returned here because of paperwork problems. I saw many terrible problems in China and faced many but they did not oppress my spirit in the way that the woes of my homeland and of my life in this land have oppressed it.

I got back in time to settle in and then took a job caring for my brother Simon Peter in a home health agency. This went on as I also volunteered during hurricane Katrina but ended with hurricane Rita. I left badly injured to in California and to look for a job. When that failed I spent a very nice few months with Sarah, her children and the missionary team in Mexico. It was on that trip that we took the pictures in Zacatecas which I have included here. My last paycheck, an anonymous gift and some FEMA money went far in Mexico. They would have gone farther if I had not spent so much in California.

I got back healthy for Christmas and have not really been gainfully employed since then but have lived here at Big Woods. Nor is that the extreme underemployment the only lack in my life. But I have gone on with my life each day doing a variety of things. When I think back on the last twenty years since my graduation there are many events not mentioned in this note. Many blessings and joys as well as many horrors and woes. While I have used the skills and knowledge I gained in the university studies I completed twenty years ago many times this is not a career that sounds like a career.

Now I am coming up on twenty years since graduation. I feel very much the absence of many things. I have no legal marriage certainly, no net worth, no significant US credit or income profile or ownership of a car. My views of many institutions is very dark and my interpersonal relationships are perhaps possessed of some of the worst qualities of the modern and some of the worst qualities of the ancient. Yet there is some good in them as well. I have been to pretty many of my alma mater’s homecoming games but not to any organized class reunions. Despite advanced credits and generally good grades I had distractions and preoccupations which prevented me from graduating in four year and that lessened my ties to the people I actually graduated with although not my ties to the school. Now I wonder what the twenty year mark will bring.I doubt I could some these years up to my satisfaction in a single line or a one paragraph program entry. Yet I do note the occasion and find that it commands my attention. I am aware that twenty years as an alumnus only comes once and there is no guarantee that the multiples will come at all. So I look towards May’s anniversary and October’s homecoming week with a varied mix of emotions. Life does not delay so we can explain it well.


Now, those who really know this blog will know that I correspond with some influential and privileged people and believe in leadership. However, there is a tone of resentment and profound unhappiness with the status quo that is hard to miss in much of what I write and say. First, I would remind people that although the Baron of Louth and I (for example) may correspond it does not mean we are really living in the same circle. Second, this tension (which some see as a contradiction)  has been a part of me almost all my life. In an age where people who are unhappy with Bishops join a church with no bishops I choose to complain (when I have reason to) about the episcopacy. While I could have found a way to leave many ties of my youth behind I tend to stay and raise a little hell about the things I dislike.  Those who know me best no that my self-concept is very distinct. I am far from perfect but not at all inclined to give up all that I am for some lie about equality and sameness which is not even understood by its advocates. So this is my thinking about this twenty year milestone.