Category Archives: Commentary

The Written Invitation to Bite Back a Thousand Times

Sooner or later evil stops just snarling and baring its fangs –and bites.

That’s what has happened in Arizona: the Oath Keepers have taken the first step of violent overthrow of US constitutional governance. And 12 million Americans think this and more is just superfine.

Arizona is just the first step towards things like the Einsatzgruppen in the lower picture, above. Just consider what these traitors are willing to do. Do we want to wait to find out yet again what cults do to people?

If this had happened in another country we would call it what it is without a moment’s hesitation: political terrorism. Threatening elected officials and their families with harm to force access to votes and then to refuse public auditing of the counting? For a Presidential Election that has long since been verified and closed as valid? Who on earth gives these bullies and thugs the right to question that? Gaining permission by threatening bodily harm? Hiding their process to change the outcome? Thinking that they know better than the people what the people decided? Acting to prove their lie rather than to improve our processes? What else could any reasonably prudent person label this attack?

For those who might somehow doubt that assertion, this: it does not require any special law to take down this attack and the Oath Keepers behind it! All anyone should need to grasp is that this is not an audit, that it violates all the requirements of an audit, that is aimed at the heart of our federal governance, trust in election monitoring, and has used the intimidation of bodily harm to responsible officials and their families to get at the ballots and “audit” them in secret.

And because a President of the United States has twice been released from paying the penalty for prima facie high crimes and treason, his BIg Lie that Mr Biden is a usurper of the election process has taken root in a substantial minority of our electorate. They are doing what Goebbels and Hitler knew they would do if the Big Lie were repeated often enough and given any form of support at all: become indignant, angry and want to tear down the edifice that they now believe is undermining their rights, even if that is evidentially and de facto untrue.

We have as part of our governance a wild fire just waiting to be lit.


And this act of terror in Arizona is the spark to light it. If the people of Arizona who do not want this (and the private conversations show that they are the majority) continue to stick their heads into the sand and betray the country that gave them the freedom to disagree, then it will ignite and grow like wildfire.

Of course making the mind up to act now and act decisively, finally takes understanding that these self-righteous, but deluded and fatally manipulated terrorists are betting that those who could crush them in DC wil drag their feet, obfuscate, deny approvals, argue it away.

Why not? That’s effectively what they have done so far. Just how much of a threat to the Oath Keepers and their ilk do they think that more federal investigations and state trials will be? Do the rest of us not read history? Do we not recall that Hitler led a putsch attempt in Bavaria, was arrested, tried and sent to prison.

And he used the time in his well appointed prison apartment rooms to write Mein Kampf, prepare to use his trial as a platform for campaigning for his Nazi cause, and get out early to go right back and this time eventually succeed in destroying Germany’s Weimar democracy without ever having fired another shot or gotten a majority in the Reichstag?

Yes the Weimar Republic was fatally flawed by weaknesses in its constitution. But: Did Donald Trump do his almost fatal damage to the country and constitution he was sworn to protect and uphold, only twice to be let off by the cowardly, traitorous Senate Republicans — because our constitution was working so well? Is he still at large because he has been rendered harmless by a political system that automatically knows how to shut down wannabe dictators like him? Are the oath keeper thugs and bullies perpetrating their treason in Arizona because our system is built to handle this? If so, why has it not done so already?

All it takes is the realization that this sort of terrorism from the Top can happen because our system has no way of stopping a President who is a criminal. We relied with pride in the mold of the transfer of power peacably set by George Washington and assumed nobody would ever usurp that, because, after all, we were exceptional. Note that the last verb in the previous sentence no longer can be read simply as narrative past. It must also be read as a statement of factual past-ness: our exceptional status, mostly of the level of legend in our own mind, is dead and gone. We cannot deal with Trumpcult and still believe that we are somehow exceptions to human frailty, duplicity, naïveté and culpability.

We used to be the people about whom Goethe wrote, Amerika du hast es besser: America, you have it better.

No more.

What we now have is reflected in another insightful poem by that same great man:

Who never ate his bread in tears,

Who never throughout sorrowful nights,

Sat weeping on his bed,

He knows not you, Heavenly Powers.

You bring us into life,

The poor man you let fall into guilt,

Then leave him to his pain:

For all guilt is suffered for on earth.

Translations by Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

https://www.oxfordlieder.co.uk/song/1497

We must act now, when our cock-sure arrogance has been knocked into a cocked hat and then run over by the Trump Truck. It is the only time we will have the credibility and compelling force of morality free of self seeking. It will be more persuasive because we will have been bleeding from the wound to pride and presumption. And that’s an advantage the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys and the other self-righteous, presumptuous exceptionists cannot claim.

All it takes is an understanding that Trumps cadres are not his supporters, they are armed, angry, trigger-ready Trumpcult drones.

There is an ancient way of describing what they have done: sold their souls to the devil. Goethe, the great German writer and commentator on human nature, in the worlds most thorough work on evil, Faust, has the devil tell Faust who he is: I am the spirit who constantly negates. But this is the modern Prince of Darkness: no horns, no tail, no cloven hooves, but a good natured, urbane, sophisticated looking, infinitely manipulating bon vivant. He could easily look just like Donald Trump.

Evil going beyond snarling baring of fangs.....
Mephistopheles (ancient Germanic name for Devil) beguiles and cajoles Faust to sell him his soul. Delacrois painting, early 19th Century, source Wikimedia.

So all it takes is understanding that we need no other answers about why this is happening. We need no more theories about his cult members being just dissatisfied Americans. Arizona should have nailed that debate shut for good.

This requires that the rest of us get going together and root this out with whatever that will take. Luther told us: when faced with this degree of betrayal and loss of good faith for the community. no one individual can handle this. We all have to agree to quell this now and with categorical decisiveness.

Do we, who need our democratic union to survive, believe in those values articulated by Lincoln at such tremendous cost, less strongly than these terrorists believe in their nihilism?

The Rubicon has been crossed.

Henning von Treschkow was the organizer of the Walküre Assassination attempt on Hitler. When he learned of the faillure of the coup, in order to prevent the Gestapo torturing the identities of other conspirators out of him, he went into the wood and shot himself dead.

What in the name of all that is good and desirable are our leaders waiting for–a written invitation?

Here it is then: for every bite into Government of, by and for The People, The People must bite back a thousand times more and a hundred times harder.

Clear and Present: Trump is—Are you, Congress?

Let’s finally be clear: it is now the COngress against the President to save the Union.

The President is a traitor. The Senators who support him are traitors. The representatives who support him are traitors.

Supporting insurrection and sedition are treason: Donald committed it, the others support it.

When do the two Democrat Senators from Georgia take their seats? That will change everything. Then the patriots left, the LARGE MAJORITY of the Congress, can do what is needed:

In one day, act to impeach, try and convict DOnald J Trump of HIgh Crimes and Misedmeanors. And when he threatens whatever he can conjure up from his devils mind, — he will and everone knows it even Rich Mitch—use all force necessary to take him, his little right wing thug army and all the traitors who after the insurretion continued with their false challenges without blinking an eyelash of remorse or regret.

This is war, Congressmen and Senators who want the republic to live on and Trump in any role of public view not to. Just shut the hell up about whether this creep in the White House will ever concede. HE is too far into denial and that is not a river in Egypt.

You’d better start thinking of it that way and super fast, because, first, things are going to go from worse to horrible in the next two weeks and second, you are losing.

Still not convinced? Look again at the face. Fat body and animal like bellowiing of ALL of those wannabe SA troopers. This is mass hysteria, these folks are OUTSIDE rational talk, redemption, quiet. And you just let them win: they shut you down for 5 hours.

While you are doing business as usual; in your comfy fog of cowardice and denial, they aer emboldened and planing the next, larger, more destructive attack.

It is clear and present danger. Your response has to be even more clear and present. You are the only defense we have left.

a two step national recovery program from samuel adams

https://www.inspiringquotes.us/author/5228-samuel-adams

A two step national recovery program based on Samuel Adams.

1  Heed the Wisdom for our Republic from Samuel Adams:

  • “The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil constitution, are worth defending against all hazards: And it is our duty to defend them against all attacks.” 
  • “If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.”
  • “No people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffused and virtue is preserved. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant, and debauched in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders.” 
  • “It does not take a majority to prevail… but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.”
  • “Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote…that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.”

2.  Accept An Invitation from Samuel Adams to his Tories but befitting our Trumpers

  • If you love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.” 

Gotcha O. P.

Drive thru voting in Texas

For centuries our common law has rejected ex post facto laws: we do not invent punishments or restrictions to apply to acts already committed. If we decide that lawn mowing is unacceptable on Sundays and make a law against it, the law is enforceable from that point forward but not retro-actively, against my neighbor whose mower interrupted my nap a week a go.

Two clauses in the United States Constitution prohibit ex post facto laws:

  1. Art 1, § 9
    1. This prohibits Congress from passing any laws which apply ex post facto.
  2. Art. 1 § 10.
    1. This prohibits the states from passing any laws which apply ex post facto.

But the actions contemplated by the Republicans in Texas would require a retroactive judicial decision in their favor. The principle of ex post facto prohibits legislatures from passing laws which retroactively criminalize behavior. That is however just a minimum standard. Wlhile this prohibition does not attach as stvia legislated language to judicial decisions, appellate courts sometimes announce a new rule of law, but will not apply it to the case in front of it, in order to attempt to comply with ex post facto prohibitions.

The norm in the US is and always has been no ex post facto laws or judgments. Period. It is so well known that in cases involving ex post facto, the ruling judges do not even need to cite the paragraphs of the Consitituion and the existing practice of upholding the norm.

That is an inviolable sine aus non of Anglo American common (judgment practice inherited from the past) law.We do not use legal gotchas.

So then how do Republicans reconcile trying to exclude write in votes retrospectively and the rule of law? They have known that write in ballots were in the offing and had been approved by Srares. They should have challenged before voting began not ex post facto, retroactively.

Has our judiciary finally become intrumpKate’s with the key foundation of all authoritarian governments: that the most powerful is always right, that might makes right? Are we as a nation finally throwing in the towel on the difficult debate and dialogue of democracy in favor of the oppressive but simpler toe-the-line deep freeze of autocracy?

Judicial prohibition of those Texas drive in votes means that we no longer have a judiciary of rights, It woujld mean that ours has collapsed into a Judge Freisler (Nazi showtrial judge) system of mock courts. It will mean that anything the autocrat or a loyal Trumpionette does not like about you and me can be made criminal and punished, with no defense, and without due process.

And it will not be just cutting your grasss that will be shut down: it will be anything that Trump and his Trumpionettes do not like about our involvement in this election I. Or about whatever Donnie loudmouths about, changing often from sentence to sentence. You could not even run a garbage pickup service that way, let alone a nation under emergency Pandemic threat.

Has the GOP finally completed the petrification process from Lincoln to Loudmouth, from Grand Old Party to Gotcha Oppression Party? Is the judiciary now a Trumpionette show too? Have we deteriorated into a nation under Trump instead of one under law?We had better hope not.

scroogecare Healthscare USA

Germany, the nation-state, has existed only since 1870.

Healthcare for all was introduced there in 1883 by Kanzler Otto von Bismarck in an effort to take the wind out of the sails of the Social Democrats. It was the first single payer comprehensive healthcare insurance system on this planet. It was  built on the defining principles of solidarity and self-governance, and these principles have remained at the core of its continuous development for 135 years.

Even during the inflation after WW1 and the utter destruction of the nation after WW2. Since 1913 Germans have had the right for insured individuals to freely choose their health-care providers.

After World War two, benefits were actually increased.

Since 1993 competition and a strengthened market orientation have gradually gained importance.

In 2004, self-governance was strengthened through the establishment of the Federal Joint Committee, a major payer–provider structure given the task of defining uniform rules for access to and distribution of health care, benefits coverage, coordination of care across sectors, quality, and efficiency. Under the oversight of the Federal Joint Committee, payer and provider associations have ensured good access to high-quality health care without substantial shortages or waiting times. (The Lancet, https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(17)31280-1/fulltext)

It has turned out to be a lot more valuable than just winning elections against the Social Democrats in the 1880s.

Some years ago I found myself at an exclusive meeting with German managers and a representative of their embassy. I speak their language but when the embassy official asked that his talk be just “unter uns” — restricted to “us” the Germans, I realized I was not supposed to have been there. (I agreed with his analysis, and told him so when I met him in the reception line after his presentation. He welcomed me to his talk.)

He pointed out that Germans and Americans spend about the same amounts and percentages of income on healthcare. So much for the argument that single payer systems cost more.

He pointed out that the difference was first that they have better outcomes and second that their coverage was more evenly distributed and readily available to all citizens .

No need to convince me. I had already had the experience of paying 1 mark for a doctor to come to the apartment in which I was living in the Rheinland, and give me an exam and medications when I fell ill and could not take the bus (I had no car.) So much for the US special interests’ horse-manure about losing the doctor+patient relationship, about better treatment, about “the best care in the word” and so forth and so on.

He pointed out that they have fewer days lost to illness on a comparable %age basis than we do. So much for the delusion that our broken puzzle system creates better competitors.

But it was not just his analysis that made all the points, It was experience,

I have friends, German citizens but long time residents in and ardent fans of this country, who for years had needed extensive reconstructive surgeries for each. The US insurance for which they, as self employed, shelled out an arm and a leg , did not cover it.

So they abandoned their business here, left their daughter here in the US and returned to Germany. They did not want to but they had to.

Without any waiting period or limits for pre-existing conditions, it was all covered in Germany’s 135 year old system. No challenges, no appeals for mercy to employees who don’t give a hoot, none of systemic stinginess. which favors the insurance companies. No limits imposed when they had to get specialists for hidden conditions. No problem when they needed help, financial help, with recoveries, with finding decent housing, etc, and so forth and on and on.

Back at that Germans-only presentation, a the presenter systematically showed, in well documented numerical detail, how our system just could not compete with theirs. The Germans there, all resident aliens in the US for work, were laughing sorrowfully at us, their host country. I was the only American there who spoke German; the person with me could not. No other Americans were there. I was ashamed and embarrassed.

Why should they not have had a sad laugh at our folly? We apparently think Scrooge would do a really bang-up job of medicine. Are there no ERs? Are there no charities? Are there no Pharma cost of medicines assistance programs so that the middle class can afford upper class prices? Does anyone here really give a hoot about anyone else? Let them just get sick and die if they won’t work for their health–decrease the excess population and create herd immunity! Bah, humbug! Healthcare by Scrooge.

Why shouldn’t I or any of us with a conscience be ashamed and embarrassed–in addition to outraged.

Trump has proven the Germans’ scornful assessment of us to be right. Think about who supports Donald.

What sort of a stingy, withered human would not want all to have equal access to world class health care? Maybe a Rich Mitch?

What sort of dried out, tattered soul thinks that healthcare is a commodity and that being unemployed ipso facto means you are not worthy of health? Name us a Repugnikan, almost any Repugnikan in power today..

What sort of a 19th century mentality thinks that our failing/failed system works better than those of the Germans, the English, the French, the Cubans, the Czechs, the Canadians — of just about any other healthcare system on earth? How about the ones like the foggy Fox fools, who think that socialism is still being practiced all over the world?

We have been here since 1883 also, and what the devil have we been doing? What loads of claptrap have we been fed and gleefully swallowed? No more Scroogecare Healthscare! Vote the skinflints out.

Time to learn some german

The United States now has 1/3 of all the corona virus infections on this earth. The United States now has 1/4 of all the deaths from The Virus on earth.

The number of infections and the number of deaths is INCREASING≥. Some perspective: a few days ago,. Germany: 855 new cases ,0 deaths.

And yet Angela Merkel stopped and postponed going to their second phase of relaxing socializing restrictions until mid June due to concern over increases.

While in the USA despite well communicated, increasing infection rates and death rates much higher than any other nation on earth, some states are relaxing restrictions. Ahhh yes: the South’s R-naught will rise again! And some unbelievably carried weapons, Nazi and Confederacy flags into the Michigan state house to protest for restoration of such basic rights as…. getting a hair-do. What an example of ….. self seeking gone lethal.

According to information which came my way some years ago from a source at the German Embassy in D. C., we spend the same amount per person for health care as Germany. We do it out of pocket, they by taxes. They have even coverage, we have hole-y pre-existing exclusions. They had systems and supplies ready to deal with such a contingency. We did also, until Trump and bad boy Jared Kushner actually threw away all the notebooks compiled to help them govern. Then Trump plus Moscow Mitch and his gang of paid off puppets gave the body pandemic the Genickschuss (coup de grace) when they took away funding. We pay as we go if we can, and if the help we need happens to be there. They just go. By and large, whatever they need, is already there.

Who, given reasonably prudent discernment, would not want the German ones: one of the the worlds best death rates, guaranteed top notch and immediate healtlh care, payments to replace Corona-lost income, a Chancellor who works in planful collaboration with her own staff; and with the Minister Presidents of ALL the German states?

Here: Missing Picture of any Federal Trump-er Meeting with Governors to Coordinate Federal and State Efforts

Die Zeit today published an article about why the Germans have been so effective in dealing with the Corona virus.

Der Föderalismus wirkt Federalism Works

Deutschland meistert die Corona-Krise besser als viele Nachbarstaaten. Das zeigt sich nicht nur im Gesundheitswesen. Vor allem der deutsche Föderalismus hat sich bewährt.

Germany is mastering the Corona Crises better than many neighboring states. That is apparent not only in the healtlcare system. Above all German Federalism has stood the test.

A concluding statement his the nail on the head: Der Föderalismus, richtig verstanden und betrieben, wirkt. Er sorgt auch für ein besseres Verständnis von Maßnahmen, die sich an der regionalen Situation orientieren und deshalb nicht als unverhältnismäßig empfunden werden.

Federalism, correctly understood and practiced, works. It ensures a better understanding of measures, which are oriented to regional situations and therefore are not felt to be disproportionate.

that is 100% correct and that is also exactly what is happenig here that is sandbagging any countrry wide effort to get ahead of the epidemic. Each region feels that is has to protect its own regional situation since whatever Trump does or most likelly does not do, is a one size fits all, excelpt of course that it does not. Just ask the people in South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi and the armed protestors in the Michigan State House.

but Zeit again explains it all better:

In Staaten wo Föderalismus weniger kooperativ interpretiert wird und man stattdessen mehr auf den Wettbewerb setzt, ist das anders. Im amerikanischen Föderalismus werden Informationen getrennt voneinander gesammelt – also Bundes- und einzelstaatliche Behörden erheben eigene Daten und handeln unabhängig voneinander. Die USA gleichen damit mehr der Europäischen Union, die kaum geeint auf die Corona-Krise reagiert und wo vielmehr die Mitgliedstaaten autonom entscheiden. Beide, die EU und die USA, tun sich schwer damit, eine Antwort auf das Virus zu finden.

In states where federalism is interpreted less cooperatively and instead is based on competition, the situation is different [re the good results the Germans have gotten]. In American federalism information is gathered in a divided manner–thus federal and state agencies gather their own datra and act independently of each other. The USA in that regard is like the EU which has reacted to the Corona Crisis scarcely in a united way and where the member states make decisions autonomously. Both, the EU and the USA, are struggling to find an answer to the virus.

The key here is that federalism works by cooperation. 244 years down the road we have yet to learn that. How else explain that 1/3 of the voters laud Trumps vile, and dangerously evil but not too skilled attempt to destroy it? How else explain that these same voters apparently think that more competition, win-lose competing, will carry the day and save the moribund, ragged health care patchwork quilt and the staggering, top heavy economy?

Whether German or other, there are systems in this pandemic which work better than ours. Indeed any of the others is working better sincew ours is working worst, by any measure. Our Federalism not only is not working, it is being used to make the crisis far, far worse than we may even be able to imagine. Trump and his supporters could easily do themselves and then us in.

What to do, how to build a working federalism?

First, isolate the disease spreaders. Let Trumps lethally undiscerning, self seeking supporters all get together, hug, shake hands, work shoulder to shoulder —for a couple of months, then send the survivors to Alabama, Mississippi and South Carolina — and any other states who are dropping social distancing and lockdown while the Rnaught continues to rise. Turn back, with all force needed, any one of them trying then to leave those assiduously stupid states, when their R naught erupts volcanically while ours continues to fall at the same slow rate with which it rose. Those people misusing our federal system are endangering our lives every bit as much as if they were pointing loaded guns at us. that is a crime, so why not this?

It is high time that we exacted a penalty upon those who would endanger their own and us just to go to a restaurant or get a haircut. And the penalty should be as onerous as the illness which they pass on to others.

Let them all stew together in their own juice..

In the meantime, the rest of us will need to do a moral inventory. The key to cooperation is our thinking. We need to examine: why do we think that our competitive ways work when in one of the worst surprises Mother Nature could foist upon us it has failed so utterly miserably and dangerously for all of us? And then we will need to rethink how we understand and practice federalism–one might say that our current methods have not exactly been stellar..

Maybe it is time to cast off the erroneous German cultural stereotypes of Hogans Heroes and the WW2 War Department and learn something from our allies, the Germans. Who looks more like Colonel Klink: Angela Merkel or any Trump-er? How about Trump’s Arch Fool, Jared Kushner? Todays Germans would say to us: Wenn dein Pferd stirbt, steig’ ab: when your horse dies, dismount. Looks more than a little like we have been beating a dead horse. Time to dismount and try out some German ways. Nicht wahr? (Wouldn’t you say that’s true?)

Amerika/America, du hast/you had….

We are nowhere near the end of the Trump-thumping we are taking.. We are not at the beginnig of the end, nor the end of the beginning.  We may be at the start of the beginning.  And that makes it all even more sad and urgent.  We have already lost so much; it is such a great shame.

Towards the end of his life, the great German poet, scientist, lawyer, statesman etc;, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) became very enchanted with the energy, robust freedom and lack of a haunting past in the young American Republic.  During those later years he wrote the following poem (here in English translation praising and expressing an important hope about us and  our republic:

(If you want to know more about who Goethe was, read my post “Who is this guy Go-ee’-thee (Goethe)?

Amerika du hast es besser

America, you have it better

Than our old continent.

You have no tumbledown castles

And no basalt deposits.

Your present is not disturbed deep down by

Useless remembrance and vain strife.

Use the present with good fortune!

And if your children write poetry,

May a kindly fate guard them from writing

Stories of knights, rascals, and specters.

http://www.bachlund.org/Amerika.htm

 translation by Marilyn Barnett

One of DT’s first targets for negation remains our fragile, wilting ecosystem.  We must get it back under control —and fast—.  Before DT touched nature with his cold, dead hands, an annual reduction of atmospheric hydrocarbons by 2% would have saved us-but we were barely making that. Now after he has negated our environmental protection, the yearly target for a timespan 4 years shorter than in 2016 is 5%.  And we had been barely eking out a scrawny 2%…. If we fail now, there will not be a second chance, the resulting inhospitable, lethal climate will make this planet uninhabitable.

Let us remember the hopes and faith that so many had for us so many years ago.

But we can only get to the end of the beginning by accepting without filtering where we are today. That’s the first step.

To that end, today Goethe’s hopeful poem could only be written something like this:

Amerika, du hattest es besser…

America, you had it better

Than our old continent.

But you failed to save your forests and oceans, 

You permanently poisoned pristine waters.

Shame! your present is blighted by leaders of

Useless remembrance and vain strife.

You misused the present in bad faith!

And your children will never write verse,

Condemned by drudge lackeys and their bumbling boss, to

end with a whimper: 

as nature winds down in reverse..

Where indeed have all the flowers gone, long time passing? How much pain must good men endure, before they throw off this yoke?

  

Good or bad, thinking makes it so.

A graduate of the southern Michigan high school I attended recently found a copy of the school’s 1926 yearbook in aThrift Shop in South Carolina. When he told the owner of the shop that he wanted to send it to his and my home town’s Historical Society up there, the owner of the Thrift Shop gave it to him for free.

It contains many hand written thoughts from 1926. The Historical Society published a few of them in the newsletter I get every month. Ofthe ones in the newsletter, three spoke to me — (the Society preserved punctuation, spelling and sentence construction):

“Love is great, love is mighty, I only wish your night shirt

Was next to my nighty. Now don’t get excited or be misled,

I mean on the clothes line and not in the bed.”

“A good thing to remember a better thing to do -is to belong

To the construction gang and not to the wrecking crew.”

“Remember the word “American” ends in I can!”

Those are the sorts of thoughts and they innocently clever style that I heard and learned as describing being an American in my formative years, 1941-1951. They re-awaken and refresh me like a cool wind on a hot, muggy, air-polluted day. They are like pretty flowers growing in an opening you had not seen before in a dark forest.

Nothing in the world is good or bad, but thinking makes it so. (Shakespeare). How might we indeed bring good light into our current,national-cultural bad, narcissistic darkness if we had retained the abilities, values and simple clean morality of that long gone era! Where indeed have all the beautiful flowers of American thinking gone?

Carpe Diem and Memento Mori

I walk with Roxy each day in the local municipal Cemetery.

It started out because anywhere else, our self absorbed fellow citizens walk with their dogs off leash.. And the do it wherever they please. I suspect that many of them really get a kick out of scoffing at the leash laws right in front of all the signs that say, All dogs on leash all the time.

It is tempting to skewer that behavior with the long thorns of acidic sarcasm and wicked wit. Let me just dismiss that path by saying that we are merely seeing another manifestation of the heads in the sand, I’m entitled Unites States of Narcissism. It is our culture now.

i was struck by the quiet in the cemetery. Expecting to be put off by being around dead people, I was surprised. No smell of rot. No hands reaching up out of the grave to grab Roxy and pull her, screaming, back down undergroud. No apparitions being exhaled like thin smoke by the grave. Not a thing from Hollywood at all. Just quiet and grey stones in varying stages of wear stuck at tottering angles, like uneven teeth in an old man’s mouth, On brown grass. Gothic trees reaching with concentration camp limbs silently to something we cannot see, lording their powerful shadowed presences over us lesser mortals.

IMG_3066

Nancy had found this place after having been frightened by dogs off lead while walking Roxy also. She had urged me to go, but I was reluctant. Why?

We had made a memorial to our three beloved German Shepherds Zora, Bruno and Kaiser. All three died in our house on the mountain with us right by their sides. I took to heart what Butch, our deceased Schutzhund trainer had said was his moral commitment to his GSDs: he would make certain that the last thing any one of them saw on this earth was his loving face. Amen. Me too.

We had found a cross shaped piece of wood, the day after Bruno died, on a spot in the woods where he loved to lie. More than coincidence, random chance?  I stained it, found rocks and spray painted them gold, and made a little memorial mound on that spot. I loved to go there, sit on the bench I’d made of cinderblocks and boards, remember them while loving the beauty of the woods and feeling, still achingly sorrowful for their absence, grateful for their lives.

On the last night we were in that house, a really perfect cool clear night on last March 29-30, we took the urns with their ashes, and spread them in our woods memorial chapel.  I read a farewell passage and prayer we had written for the occasion. We did the same at all their favorite outdoor spots.

That was supposed to have tied off the loose ends of grief. It did not. It did not because it was aimed,ever so subtly, at relieving me, at least, of my grieving for them — which I still am doing and most likely will do until the day when I die too. I had not gotten the message.

The cemetery is not colorful, and the plastic flowers or wilted real ones just emphasize by contrast the grey, colorless ness of a whole bunch of old and new graves. It is clear to me that there will always be loose ends, that I could well be one of those headstones one day, and at 76, not too far off.   My memorial spot back up on the mountain– well, it was not an acceptance of life on life’s terms.  And that was a well meant mistake, an act of American pretend.  It was a way to hang on.  You cannot hang onto anything gone from this world, it’s like trying to grab and hold a chunk of The Present.

What’s left? For me what’s left is the realization that this life, which seems so hard and sturdy with its atoms and molecules and thumbs that hurt when hit with my hammer, is just an illusion.  When you cannot stop the show and cannot hold onto the present, how can it be otherwise?  A glorious, beautiful, super ultra high definition movie which we crate as we act out our roles.    A moving feast.  What a theater, what a chance to grow!

So: Memento mori–remember that I too must die.  And I’ve discovered that in doing that, I find much much more of rich joy in that ephemeral elusive thing we call the present.  Heavens, today is a great day to die on!  I now know that native American wisdom to be a statement of gratitude for reality, not a morbid preoccupation with Holllywood’s contorted view of death and dying.

Thank heavens for my cemetery walks.  I have my beloved Roxy with me, sometimes my dear, patient, loving and long suffering Nancy —  and being there above ground provesI’ve got one more day on which to enjoy the abundance of God’s earth. Carpe diem and memento mori.