Related post: Jesus, here.
Today we stayed after Mass for a talk by a founder of a national group called “Better Angels“, which bills itself as “a working alliance to depolarize America”. There were about 75 of us in attendance, and it was a very stimulating hour with Bill Doherty. We’ll join. I encourage you to check out this organization.
A couple of hours later, ready to take on the tread mill at the fitness center, I saw the presidential motorcade do a lap at the start of Daytona 500. It was a fast trip from “depolarize” to “win-lose”. I much prefer “depolarize”.
EVERYONE loses in “win-lose”, as even the ‘big guy’ in the lead car at Daytona will discover, sooner or later.
I have a great deal to say, here, but it will probably come over the next few days. Check back once in awhile.
For certain, if you’re in Minnesota, participate in your precinct caucus on February 25, and the Presidential Primary on March 3. Details can be accessed here.
Do check back in a day or two or three….
NOTE about “53-47”, the headline. This was the vote on virtually all of the motions proposed at the U.S. Senate Impeachment hearing of the President some weeks ago. At minimum, it symbolizes that the U.S. is basically, now, two countries, at war within ourselves. Our Civil War was over the notion of two countries in what is now the United States. Division doesn’t work very well….
Presidents Day, Feb. 17, 2020:
Last night we watched part one of the three part mini-series on George Washington (History Channel). Parts two and three are tonight and tomorrow night. Judging from part one, the series is worth your time. Tonight will begin at the time of the Revolutionary War. Here is an interesting commentary on Washington’s presidency in today’s Washington Post. Succinctly, conflict has always been part of politics. But the public, now more than ever, needs to be diligent about the veracity of instant communications.
Right before, Sixty Minutes had a segment on the allegations of the current President about Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election – “CrowdStrike”, “the Server” and such. “Nyet” is the analysis; a ‘gift’ from the Soviets. You can watch the segment on line.
We are in the bombardment season of politics, and I recommend paying close attention and full participation .
A colleague at the Retreat I attended a week ago was making a complaint about politicians at lunch. I responded “we – all of us – are “politics“. That was all that was said on the topic at that table.
All of the defects of “politicians”, whatever office, whatever party, reside at our doorstep – and to our credit, or our blame. We elect them, or not, by our vote, or by not voting at all, or voting uninformed.
Thus far we have managed to keep a semblance of democracy in the U,S, for over 230 years, and if it survives, or not, is totally in our court. Mostly I’m optimistic, but not always. When political discourse is by twitter, or ‘forwards’, or non-engagement on even the most basic ideas, our country is in trouble. We have a right to be ignorant, at our peril.
A week or two ago came the first ‘forwards’ of the season, both from friends, who got them from some unidentified other friend – stories passed computer to computer.
The first ‘forward’ was the basic assertion of facts, that weren’t facts in any reasonable context.
For just one example, the first ‘forward’ pointed out for some reason (among other things) how youthful five key actors in the forming of America were. Indeed, Aaron Burr, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay and Thomas Jefferson were young in 1776 (born between 1743 and 1756). But they weren’t the only founders of America, and the United States didn’t officially come into being until the ratification of the Constitution in 1789, thirteen years later.
If you look at our current leaders at all levels, they are relatively youthful as well. Politics is not an old peoples game. At the same time, the U.S. is immensely more complex than it was at the time of the Declaration of Independence.
(George Washington was born is 1832. Ask Google, “what were the ages of the founding fathers” and it answers back: “As it turns out, many Founding Fathers were younger than 40 years old in 1776, with several qualifying as Founding Teenagers or Twentysomethings. And though the average age of the signers of the Declaration of Independence was 44, more than a dozen of them were 35 or younger.“)
The second ‘forward’, purports to trash Bernie Sanders with an assortment of alleged facts, without any sources to check. And so it goes.
As a matter of course, I don’t refuse ‘forwards’ – they are a source of perspective, rarely guilty of having been fact-checked. Their purpose is usually to incite, rather than inform. They will bloom like noxious weeds in the coming months.
Our friend, Annelee, who grew up in Nazi Germany (born 1926) offers a pertinent comment on today in America: “Would it shake up some people and make them ask “Do we want Trump back?? or are we at the point Germany was at in 1933? for the German people [in 1933] , media was very limited. Most people didn’t buy newspapers nor did they own radios. I think there were five private business phones in [my home town of about 5,000 people] while I grew up. The general public had finished high school or trade school. Few ever went to college.”
Annelee Woodstrom, has given many speeches on her book, War Child: Growing up in Adolf Hitler’s Germany, and her facts have stood the test of many audiences. She lived the life. Her book has recently been translated into German.
Other recent posts on this topic at December 14, 2019, and January 21, 2020.
POSSIBLE ADDITIONS LATER. Comments welcome.
POSTNOTE FEB. 18, 2020: Today’s Minneapolis Star Tribune “Opinion Exchange” page has three excellent Op Eds on the general topic of “socialism”. They are by Eric Dregni and Steven Backus and the third by David Brooks of the NYTimes.