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Hold My Beer

12 Aug

ADiaryofaPandemicMaster

August 13, 2020

Day 162

 

AAAANZ100dayscovidfree

 

AAAAAAAholdmybeer

 

AAAAAABeerheldFMR

 

I’m in a bad movie. Intermission is over. On with the show.

 

 

AAAAHerewegoagain

Miracles Abound

18 Jun

AAAAAAAAAFinalheader

June 18, 2020

Day 1,649

 

There is a cat in town who spends her days in Pinky’s, a bargain store where almost everything is on sale for two dollars, or more, or less, depending. Her name is unknown. Cats don’t tell us their names. They will tell you that you may serve them and that they enjoy your company so long as no demands are placed on them and the food keeps coming.  They do this by returning, purring, rubbing up against whatever is handy in your vicinity and presenting themselves to be scratched. The people who work at Pinky’s call her Alley Cat and she has been a fixture there for eight years, patrolling the aisles or holding court on the counter between the cash registers. When the weekend comes one of the ladies takes her home and on Monday morning back they come together. Alley Cat is set down outside the store and roams at will the local environs until she decides it is time for her to be inside. She will then plant herself at the closed doors and wait patiently for someone to go in or out, at which time she will walk in, jump up on the counter or disappear in the back. She is friendly and likes to be stroked or have her head rubbed. She lives her life receiving love and giving love.

Smart cat. Lucky people.

There is a dog who spends his days at an auto repair shop on the edge of the industrial area just outside of Whitianga. Going into town you round a sweeping turn on the highway and look way up the road on the right. If he’s there, he’ll be standing close to the verge, holding a sturdy black radiator hose in his mouth, watching oncoming traffic for a special vehicle only he knows. When he sees it he lunges or prances and shakes the hose and runs back and forth with obvious and contagious joy. If he’s not by the road and it’s summer he can sometimes be seen in the shade of a two-sided sign arranged like an A-frame under a nearby tree. The grass is un-mown there, long and soft and cool. Sometimes he can be seen supervising an important job taking place inside the garage but most of the time he on duty by the road. Leaving town he’s on the left, a hundred metres past the turn to the refuse centre. Lately when I see him I’ve taken to lightly tapping my horn as we approach and to my delight, Horace (our name for him, not his), tail wagging happily, grabs the hose off the ground at his feet and jumps and shakes it vigorously. I swear you can see him smiling as we pass.

He’s made a friend, said hello, invited us to play and lives in a state of sheer joy that he passes on to all who see him.

Two creatures, both conscious and aware, happy with their place in the world, full of joy, spreading love. Never saying a word.

 

Miracles abound.

Maybe

19 May

ADiaryofaPandemicMaster

May 19,  2020

Day 59

The skies are clearer than I’ve ever seen them in new Zealand and that’s saying a lot. After my appointment in Whitianga with my new optometrist I chased a beautiful sunset up the 309 Road and rolled down our drive with some groceries and a new car battery. I wonder where the battery was made?

There’s some sort of weird bookkeeping arithmetic going on in the count today, but for me the real number is the ongoing climb of the ratio of recovered cases to the number of confirmed and probable cases.

AMAY19NZCov

There are Zero new cases today, however, “the total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 today increased by four. These cases are people who returned to New Zealand from the Greg Mortimer cruise ship in April and who had all tested positive for COVID-19 in Uruguay. They were classified as being under investigation while we were awaiting information from Uruguay to avoid them being double counted by the World Health Organisation. We have now confirmed these cases were not reported by Uruguay. All four have recovered.” (This from an explanation by the Ministry of Health published today to explain the asterisks. Bookkeeping.)

9 Recovered cases. Ratio of recovered cases to the number of confirmed and probable cases is 95.9%.

The powers that be are talking about 28 days being the amount of time we need to go without seeing a rise in number of infections as being the benchmark for success in our fight against the Covid-19 virus. Level 1 may take place sometime around then. Right now there is still a good deal of social distancing being practiced in businesses. Less so with people. Some are aware and conscious when I stop to let them pass. My optometrist wore a mask, as did I. Cashiers are wearing gloves and hand sanitiser is the new normal, but thing are coming back. Life is returning to the town and the nation. I hope it returns to you.

 

AVENICEBYNIGHT

 

There was a time when the world was a quieter, more peaceful place. The dentists were primitive and lifespans were shorter, but there were no cars and far fewer people. No penicillin, but no processed food either. The seas teemed with life, the skies were clear and the moon and stars ruled the night. Trade offs abound and answers are few, but the same span of years that has made me more susceptible to Covid-19 also has given me wisdom to make sense of its place in the tapestry of life. There is serenity in this knowledge.

I know where I’ve been.

I know where I am.

I know where I’m going.

 

Maybe I’ll see you there.

 

Goodnight.

 

 

 

 

The Things Not Meant for Me

11 May

adiaryofapandemicmaster-1

May 11,  2020

Day 51

AMay11NZCov

3 New cases. 15 Recovered cases. Ratio of recovered cases to active cases is 92.5%.

 

And this, since it represents progress toward wherever it is we’re going to be in a few weeks.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/health/coronavirus/300009818/coronavirus-new-zealand-will-start-to-move-to-level-2-on-thursday

New Zealand is moving in three step phases to Alert Level 2. Most businesses will be able to reopen with new guidelines for social distancing in force and certain provisos re maximum capacity of establishments in place. I’ve got some timber to buy and there are some time sensitive documents that I have to get into the bureaucratic pipeline so I hope the government will be open for personal business. Those are the only things I’ll be out doing over the next few weeks other than, as you have no doubt figured out, watching the numbers.

We appear to have dodged the bullet, but as that fellow from Sweden warned, we still have to maintain our quarantine of incoming visitors and figure out how to cure/treat/prevent/mitigate Covid-19 for the long run. So there’s still people out there pulling the trigger and bullets will be flying and all it takes is a few bad breaks and happy people sharing a beer (Bars are the last in line for reopening for just this reason) to reverse the gains we’ve made thus far. But it’s another step in the right direction and that is good.

 

AurMed

 

Eyes on the stars

 

 

I started writing this diary because things were, across the board, on the cusp of going seriously awry. I had done what I could to prepare in a material sense and as lockdown loomed I realised I was like a passenger on a hijacked plane, cell phone in hand and little time between the slowly unravelling present and the implacable unknown future. Only I had more time than those poor souls who can only text a few lines to their loved ones before their plane disintegrates around them. It was a gift I did not want to squander. I had time to gather my thoughts and put pen to paper with that long arm from the grave to say…

That I apologise to all I have hurt in my long life. It was not my intention. I was young and ignorant, untried and unsure. I made decisions that experience has taught me could have turned out better had I gone another way. Much later, when I was older, Clavell’s description of prisoners of war in Changi fit me well. Of them, he wrote, ‘These men too were criminals. Their crime was vast. They had lost a war. And they had lived.’ In the eyes of the woman I loved my crime, too, was vast.  Like all the people who had ever hurt her, I was a man. My mistake was thinking that she would know that I was different. In the end her constant fear became a self fulfilling prophecy. I am sad at how things came to pass, but I was not those other men and to be tarred for so long with the same brush became unbearable.

There is the brother I never knew because I never asked about his life. It is a shame and a sadness that is hard to bear. My brother deserved more and I am sorry I never gave it to him. There was a sister once who wanted to be right more than anything else and got exactly what she wished for. Nothing to apologise for there, but had I known then what I know now, I’d have altered my course a few degrees to help her find a better way.

To my co-authors whose long and heartfelt labors of love saw only the slush pile of various agents offices, I apologise. The stories were good and true and though they float now on Oblivion’s Sea with countless others, there was worth in the writing.  I know this to be true and I offer this knowledge in exchange for the time we spent filling them with life. That they were stillborn, silenced before their time, is unfortunate. I apologise not a second for striving, but wish that you had been spared the long ordeal of being tied to my falling star.

To the keeper of the light across the channel, I would have loved to love you better. I am a slow learner and thank you for the patient way you showed me.

 

Every villain is a hero in their own mind. I never meant to hurt anyone. I’m sorry if I did.

 

Athreethings matter

 

ADAmocleswatch

 

 

 

 

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The End (I Hate to say I Told you So…)

10 May

adiaryofapandemicmaster-1

Screen Shot 2020-05-09 at 7.16.35 PM

May 10,  2020

Day 50

AMay10NZCOv

2 New cases. 3 Recovered cases. Ratio of recovered cases to active cases is still 91%. This number is going to climb slowly from here on out, but climb it shall.

 

ANighttransit

(A picture of the moon out of my window)

 

 

In other news today I found the video report below…

 

…and hope it is not inappropriate to quote Winston Churchill.

“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

 

In the meantime Covid-19 burnout continues worldwide. People are tired of there being such an inconvenient thing as a global pandemic and hearing about it endlessly. Because I am sensitive to everyone’s feelings I am going to stop going on about the contagion. We as humans have seen much worse and survived to invent his one. The worldwide economy is reverberating discordantly, the skies are empty of chem-trails and the seas are getting cleaner by the day. Anyone who was reading has nodded off or found better ways to amuse themselves under whatever version of ‘lockdown’ they’re under, so it’s time to move on. If I don’t make it, I’ll send up a flare. If I do make it, you know where to find me, studying Kiwi and Mandarin and watching closely as one era ends and another begins.

Not having Covid-19 to kick around any longer I have decided to branch out into clairvoyance and share some predictions which will come true very shortly. It is my hope that they may help you to plan your soon to be changing future.

  1. In response to the collective impotence and lack of vision evinced by the rest of the world and as a follow on of its already stated policy towards Taiwan, China is going to take over the renegade island militarily. It will crush all major resistance within three months of the start of hostilities (which will not be called hostilities) and will commence re-educating the survivors with extreme prejudice. There will be ham-handed attempts by America to intervene through a series of useless U.N. resolutions, vague bluster and empty threats, while China, under the policy of We Own Everything except Covid-19, will shut down all maritime traffic through the South China Sea save for its own commercial and military vessels.
  2. A full court diplomatic and economic press will tie the hands of every country on the planet, giving China time to present the takeover as a fait accompli. As the nation of Taiwan will no longer exist (just ask China) the United States will reason, quite logically and conveniently, that it no longer has to adhere to any treaty obligations it had with the former non-nation. They will hoist a Mission Accomplished banner and leave the area before the paint on the new signs at Taipei’s airport has a chance to dry. What once was called Taiwan-sheng or Taiwan province will cease to exist on paper even as it is subsumed by the invaders who will name themselves something innocuous but patriotic. Something snappy like The Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere Forces of Reunification. What? It’s been used before? No matter. Move along please. Nothing to see here.
  3. China’s Renminbi, or Yuan, will become a global currency and will challenge the U.S. Dollar for supremacy. https://www.thebalance.com/u-s-debt-to-china-how-much-does-it-own-3306355
  4.  China will land men and women on the moon, set up a permanently manned base     there and claim ownership of the Earth’s satellite. https://www.space.com/13331-china-space-race-moon-ownership-bigelow-ispcs.html
  5. https://www.china-briefing.com/news/china-proposes-establishing-moon-based-special-economic-zone/
  6. China will take over Australia and New Zealand through aggressive commercial practices and strategic purchases of key industries and land blocks.
  7. Before item number six happens I will have shuffled off this mortal coil.
  8. Before I do that I predict that I will say I told you so.

 

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ATHeend

 

 

They Are All Miracles

4 May

adiaryofapandemicmaster-1

May 4,  2020

Day 44

AMay4NZCov

Zero New cases today! 10 Recovered cases. Ratio of recovered cases to active cases is still 85% (But climbing on the other side of the decimal point.) 211 people still have it.

As the numbers change and morph and fluctuate with time and varying conditions in the nation I see some items of interest (to me at least). I’m going to start watching the ratio of the number of probable cases to the number of confirmed and probable cases. It’s 23% now and we’re looking for this to drop to zero (along with all other possible categories) as we stack up more days on our journey toward a happier, safer now.

Speaking of a safer now…. There is one continent on the earth that is totally free of Covid-19. Never mind that it has no permanent residents and access is difficult to all but the rich or semi-brainy. There is lots of elbow room, free air conditioning in most places, long days for half the year and long nights during the other half. Most unique of all places on earth, there is one point, and only one, where the only direction you can walk is north…..

ASouth

 

AAntarctica1

….which is also the place where the phrase ‘nowhere to go but up’ came from.

But that’s another story.

 

Stay safe.

Enjoy each day.

They are all miracles.

 

 

Abide with Me

25 Apr


April 25, 2020

Day 33

Today is Anzac Day in New Zealand and Australia. Normally there are ceremonies held at dawn at war memorials, cemeteries and Maori maraes all across the country to commemorate all New Zealanders who served and died in all wars and conflicts and the contribution of all who have served. Because it encompasses members of all races and creeds and unites everyone in remembrance of those that gave their all for the nation, there is no more important day in the year. 

This Anzac Day was unlike any other that has ever been celebrated because people everywhere, though in full lockdown, standing in their driveways or gardens or apart but together in public places, still found ways to honour and remember their countrymen, family and friends. In so doing, they showed why this nation is special. When adversity challenges them they rally as one to steadfastly, quietly and resolutely do what must be done.  There is no greater testament to this country and her people than the way they celebrate Anzac Day.

Here is proof. If you take the time to read and watch all of the different articles and features contained in this link, you will begin to see what I have. Truly and sincerely a moving tribute to a people and a country. Enjoy.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/121260057/live-kiwis-commemorate-extraordinary-anzac-day-in-covid19-lockdown

And though it all, the numbers must be counted.

AApr25NZCov
5 New cases. 23 Recovered cases. Ratio of recovered cases to active cases is 76%. (Nothing in the Zero department.) Another day, another death. Bless them and bless us. It could be much worse.



Usually toward the end of April the skies turn gray and cold and Anzac Day often has a somber feel to it. Today was different. A brilliant red dawn and later, a bright and beautiful day greeted those who rose early to stand and remember.

Tradition at services on Anzac Day calls for the singing of Abide with Me. The hymn is a prayer for God to remain present with the speaker throughout life, through trials, and through death. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szjYUaF3nro&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR1RGI21RD_vIZr4PvW-e9vq4FDuqASxUvb1X5xG-DoSGFcvXMbj6zoHmfg

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word,
But as Thou dwell’st with Thy disciples, Lord,
Familiar, condescending, patient, free.
Come not to sojourn, but abide with me.

Come not in terror, as the King of kings,
But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings;
Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea.
Come, Friend of sinners, thus abide with me.

Thou on my head in early youth didst smile,
And though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee.
On to the close, O Lord, abide with me.

I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

Continue reading

History Tailgates

25 Oct

I’ve tried over the years to resist the siren call to blog incessantly, to ‘build followers’, or to waste your time with endless static. You deserve that respect. I post when there’s something worth saying, fueled by an emotion or an idea that I’ve felt strongly about.

What follows is the text of a speech given this week by Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona which I believe will come to be remembered as a pivotal moment in American history.  I believe this speech should be read by as many citizens of this planet as possible because it speaks truth to power and is a perfect example of the jeweled bearings upon which the destiny of nations turn. The ‘media’ will do with it what various editors decide; pro or con, up or down, yes or no, depending on who writes the paychecks. Pay no attention to them. Read for yourself. Decide for yourself. Share if you wish, or do not. Act, speak out, stand up, make your voice heard, or do not, but whatever your choice, remember not to be surprised by the results you don’t get from the work you didn’t do. History is happening all around you. Read this now so that you can say you were there when the tide began to turn.

High flight

Senator Jeff Flake’s speech

Mr. President, I rise today to address a matter that has been much on my mind, at a moment when it seems that our democracy is more defined by our discord and our dysfunction than it is by our values and our principles. Let me begin by noting a somewhat obvious point that these offices that we hold are not ours to hold indefinitely. We are not here simply to mark time. Sustained incumbency is certainly not the point of seeking office. And there are times when we must risk our careers in favor of our principles.

Now is such a time.
It must also be said that I rise today with no small measure of regret. Regret, because of the state of our disunion, regret because of the disrepair and destructiveness of our politics, regret because of the indecency of our discourse, regret because of the coarseness of our leadership, regret for the compromise of our moral authority, and by our — all of our — complicity in this alarming and dangerous state of affairs. It is time for our complicity and our accommodation of the unacceptable to end.
In this century, a new phrase has entered the language to describe the accommodation of a new and undesirable order — that phrase being “the new normal.” But we must never adjust to the present coarseness of our national dialogue — with the tone set at the top.
We must never regard as “normal” the regular and casual undermining of our democratic norms and ideals. We must never meekly accept the daily sundering of our country – the personal attacks, the threats against principles, freedoms, and institutions, the flagrant disregard for truth or decency, the reckless provocations, most often for the pettiest and most personal reasons, reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with the fortunes of the people that we have all been elected to serve.
None of these appalling features of our current politics should ever be regarded as normal. We must never allow ourselves to lapse into thinking that this is just the way things are now. If we simply become inured to this condition, thinking that this is just politics as usual, then heaven help us. Without fear of the consequences, and without consideration of the rules of what is politically safe or palatable, we must stop pretending that the degradation of our politics and the conduct of some in our executive branch are normal. They are not normal.
Reckless, outrageous, and undignified behavior has become excused and countenanced as “telling it like it is,” when it is actually just reckless, outrageous, and undignified.
And when such behavior emanates from the top of our government, it is something else: It is dangerous to a democracy. Such behavior does not project strength — because our strength comes from our values. It instead projects a corruption of the spirit, and weakness.
It is often said that children are watching. Well, they are. And what are we going to do about that? When the next generation asks us, Why didn’t you do something? Why didn’t you speak up? — what are we going to say?
Mr. President, I rise today to say: Enough. We must dedicate ourselves to making sure that the anomalous never becomes normal. With respect and humility, I must say that we have fooled ourselves for long enough that a pivot to governing is right around the corner, a return to civility and stability right behind it. We know better than that. By now, we all know better than that.
Here, today, I stand to say that we would better serve the country and better fulfill our obligations under the constitution by adhering to our Article 1 “old normal” — Mr. Madison’s doctrine of the separation of powers. This genius innovation which affirms Madison’s status as a true visionary and for which Madison argued in Federalist 51 — held that the equal branches of our government would balance and counteract each other when necessary. “Ambition counteracts ambition,” he wrote.
But what happens if ambition fails to counteract ambition? What happens if stability fails to assert itself in the face of chaos and instability? If decency fails to call out indecency? Were the shoe on the other foot, would we Republicans meekly accept such behavior on display from dominant Democrats? Of course not, and we would be wrong if we did.
When we remain silent and fail to act when we know that that silence and inaction is the wrong thing to do — because of political considerations, because we might make enemies, because we might alienate the base, because we might provoke a primary challenge, because ad infinitum, ad nauseum — when we succumb to those considerations in spite of what should be greater considerations and imperatives in defense of the institutions of our liberty, then we dishonor our principles and forsake our obligations. Those things are far more important than politics.
Now, I am aware that more politically savvy people than I caution against such talk. I am aware that a segment of my party believes that anything short of complete and unquestioning loyalty to a president who belongs to my party is unacceptable and suspect.
If I have been critical, it not because I relish criticizing the behavior of the president of the United States. If I have been critical, it is because I believe that it is my obligation to do so, as a matter of duty and conscience. The notion that one should stay silent as the norms and values that keep America strong are undermined and as the alliances and agreements that ensure the stability of the entire world are routinely threatened by the level of thought that goes into 140 characters – the notion that one should say and do nothing in the face of such mercurial behavior is ahistoric and, I believe, profoundly misguided.
A Republican president named Roosevelt had this to say about the president and a citizen’s relationship to the office:
“The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the nation as a whole. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly as necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile.” President Roosevelt continued. “To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”
Acting on conscience and principle is the manner in which we express our moral selves, and as such, loyalty to conscience and principle should supersede loyalty to any man or party. We can all be forgiven for failing in that measure from time to time. I certainly put myself at the top of the list of those who fall short in that regard. I am holier-than-none. But too often, we rush not to salvage principle but to forgive and excuse our failures so that we might accommodate them and go right on failing—until the accommodation itself becomes our principle.
In that way and over time, we can justify almost any behavior and sacrifice almost any principle. I’m afraid that is where we now find ourselves.
When a leader correctly identifies real hurt and insecurity in our country and instead of addressing it goes looking for somebody to blame, there is perhaps nothing more devastating to a pluralistic society. Leadership knows that most often a good place to start in assigning blame is to first look somewhat closer to home. Leadership knows where the buck stops. Humility helps. Character counts. Leadership does not knowingly encourage or feed ugly and debased appetites in us.
Leadership lives by the American creed: E Pluribus Unum. From many, one. American leadership looks to the world, and just as Lincoln did, sees the family of man. Humanity is not a zero-sum game. When we have been at our most prosperous, we have also been at our most principled. And when we do well, the rest of the world also does well.
These articles of civic faith have been central to the American identity for as long as we have all been alive. They are our birthright and our obligation. We must guard them jealously, and pass them on for as long as the calendar has days. To betray them, or to be unserious in their defense is a betrayal of the fundamental obligations of American leadership. And to behave as if they don’t matter is simply not who we are.
Now, the efficacy of American leadership around the globe has come into question. When the United States emerged from World War II we contributed about half of the world’s economic activity. It would have been easy to secure our dominance, keeping the countries that had been defeated or greatly weakened during the war in their place. We didn’t do that. It would have been easy to focus inward. We resisted those impulses. Instead, we financed reconstruction of shattered countries and created international organizations and institutions that have helped provide security and foster prosperity around the world for more than 70 years.
Now, it seems that we, the architects of this visionary rules-based world order that has brought so much freedom and prosperity, are the ones most eager to abandon it.
The implications of this abandonment are profound. And the beneficiaries of this rather radical departure in the American approach to the world are the ideological enemies of our values. Despotism loves a vacuum. And our allies are now looking elsewhere for leadership. Why are they doing this? None of this is normal. And what do we as United States Senators have to say about it?
The principles that underlie our politics, the values of our founding, are too vital to our identity and to our survival to allow them to be compromised by the requirements of politics. Because politics can make us silent when we should speak, and silence can equal complicity.
I have children and grandchildren to answer to, and so, Mr. President, I will not be complicit.
I have decided that I will be better able to represent the people of Arizona and to better serve my country and my conscience by freeing myself from the political considerations that consume far too much bandwidth and would cause me to compromise far too many principles.
To that end, I am announcing today that my service in the Senate will conclude at the end of my term in early January 2019.
It is clear at this moment that a traditional conservative who believes in limited government and free markets, who is devoted to free trade, and who is pro-immigration, has a narrower and narrower path to nomination in the Republican party — the party that for so long has defined itself by belief in those things. It is also clear to me for the moment we have given in or given up on those core principles in favor of the more viscerally satisfying anger and resentment. To be clear, the anger and resentment that the people feel at the royal mess we have created are justified. But anger and resentment are not a governing philosophy.
There is an undeniable potency to a populist appeal — but mischaracterizing or misunderstanding our problems and giving in to the impulse to scapegoat and belittle threatens to turn us into a fearful, backward-looking people. In the case of the Republican party, those things also threaten to turn us into a fearful, backward-looking minority party.
We were not made great as a country by indulging or even exalting our worst impulses, turning against ourselves, glorying in the things which divide us, and calling fake things true and true things fake. And we did not become the beacon of freedom in the darkest corners of the world by flouting our institutions and failing to understand just how hard-won and vulnerable they are.
This spell will eventually break. That is my belief. We will return to ourselves once more, and I say the sooner the better. Because to have a heathy government we must have healthy and functioning parties. We must respect each other again in an atmosphere of shared facts and shared values, comity and good faith. We must argue our positions fervently, and never be afraid to compromise. We must assume the best of our fellow man, and always look for the good. Until that days comes, we must be unafraid to stand up and speak out as if our country depends on it. Because it does.
I plan to spend the remaining fourteen months of my senate term doing just that.
Mr. President, the graveyard is full of indispensable men and women — none of us here is indispensable. Nor were even the great figures from history who toiled at these very desks in this very chamber to shape this country that we have inherited. What is indispensable are the values that they consecrated in Philadelphia and in this place, values which have endured and will endure for so long as men and women wish to remain free. What is indispensable is what we do here in defense of those values. A political career doesn’t mean much if we are complicit in undermining those values.
I thank my colleagues for indulging me here today, and will close by borrowing the words of President Lincoln, who knew more about healing enmity and preserving our founding values than any other American who has ever lived. His words from his first inaugural were a prayer in his time, and are no less so in ours:
“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”
Thank you, Mr. President. I yield the floor.
Change
(Thanks for reading this far. I hope you will be the change. D.)

 

 

The Windlass of Time

4 Jun

A hundred words for those who are still left and for those who have gone before, based on the photo prompt below. We walk in the shadows of giants. D-Day. June 6th, 1944.

 

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(Copyright C. Hase)

 

 

A stooped and wizened man stands behind a bench at the end of a pier, supporting himself with both hands as he watches liberty boats ferry passengers to the beach from a cruise ship anchored offshore. Long years have extinguished everything in his life except the fire in his eyes. Through them he sees soldiers in a maelstrom struggling in crimson surf beneath a dull gray sky.

A car backfires and he flinches, then squares his shoulders and turns to walk resolutely inshore, sure that today will be his last. Another day, another turn of the wheel. Maybe tomorrow.

 

 

 

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Qui Tacet Consentiere

27 May

 

100 words for Friday Fictioneers.

Unlike the many creatures we’ve sent, as W.S. Merwin said in For a Coming Extinction, “…to The End.”, I have returned, if only for this week, because the photograph is mine and speaks to me of teeming seas from a time long past…. No need to comment. I love you all. Aloha, D.

 

Silence implies Consent

(Copyright Douglas MacIlroy)

“And they lived in the oceans?” At three years of age, my daughter was just beginning to get an inkling of the world that had gone before her.

“They filled the seas, Pearl. We were once just a distant rumor to them.”

“If there were so many, where did they all go?”

“To feed us, darling.”

“Every one?”

“Some say a few still live in deep canyons where nets can’t reach, but none have been seen for many years.”

“Will they ever come back, Daddy?”

“In time perhaps.”

“When we’re gone?”

 

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