A Few Always Hold Us Back

It is an unfortunate aspect of today’s political climate that the same few racist whites keep America from living up to the potential our founding fathers saw when they envisioned a country where “all men are created equal.” Yes, you can make the argument that the founding fathers were not living what they preached, but that is, in fact, humanity’s greatest strength: that we, as a society, as a group, can envision something better than what we have now, something better than what we are now, and strive to achieve that ideal, by giving ourselves a form of government, democracy, which allows us to try to achieve our lofty goals. Yet, there has always been a segment of our society who does not believe in the intent of our founding fathers to rise above ourselves. They were present at the beginning of our country, they put us through a fratricidal war, the bloodiest in our history, and they are undermining America to this day. Once they were called slaveholders, next they reinvented themselves as segregationists, then white supremacists, finally settling on what they saw as, and they hate this term, “politically correct,” white nationalists.

No matter what they name themselves, their beliefs and their message have never changed: white people are superior, to a man (because women don’t count), no matter what their intellect, character, or morals, simply because they are white. They ascribe this superiority to the accomplishments of white society as a whole, and all the advances in human technology that it has achieved. If you point out to them that this white culture was achieved by the suppression, enslavement, or elimination of other cultures, they are proud of that, insisting that that proves their point. Of course, their recollection of history is purposely flawed. It ignores, or diminishes, the accomplishments of non-whites, and also ignores, or mythologizes, the failures of white culture, the greatest example of which we are again suffering from the aftereffects of: the American Civil War, and the current battle over the removal of effigies to the greatest failure of white American society: the Confederate States of America.

The Civil War history that you (if you’re in your sixties, like me), and I, learned in school is one of those purposely concocted messes that proves conclusively Napoleon’s old maxim that, “History is a set of lies. Agreed upon.” The story of the Confederacy was intentionally altered after the end of the Civil War by southern historians into the myth of the “Lost Cause,” and the alteration was not challenged by northern historians, because reconciliation, not truth in written history, was the goal. By not challenging this rewrite of history by southern writers, northern historians, who knew from the start that this was a myth, agreed upon the set of lies. Somehow, the war about slavery wasn’t about slavery at all; it was a struggle between states fighting national government oppression of their rights, and states that supported the oppressive national government.

Of course, all this was bunk. All the preserved articles of secession from the various Confederate States prove that as soon as you read them, although some states were smart enough to include a few other inconsequential things, like tariffs, to make it seem like the war wasn’t just about slavery, because, even at the time, the rest of civilized world was having a hard time figuring out why the elimination of human slavery as an economic system was leading to war.

We are, sometimes unfortunately, a nation of firsts, but many times our firsts are not what others would consider intelligent, or correct, and our acceptance of the lost cause myth is one of those times. Believing your own bullshit is humanity’s worst trait. It leads to doing nonsensical things, like building statues to men who were, in fact, traitors fighting against their legal government, because their legal government did not believe in their inhumane economic system, or it’s perpetuation in western territories by altering it to include mining, which southern slaveholders were actively studying in the 1850s.

I do not include the common Confederate soldiers here, although some were probably aware that they were fighting for slavery. Most were probably simply fighting to defend their states, homes, and families; they themselves having bought the myth purveyed by the southern elite that the elimination of slavery would lead to chaos and murder throughout the south, because freed black men would seek their revenge against whites. Others were compelled to fight, because the Confederacy, vastly outnumbered by the north, had to immediately institute a draft. A draft, which, in fact, rich men could avoid by paying a bounty, or hiring a poor substitute, either for themselves, or their children. It was, to use a phrase coined by the common southern soldier, “A rich man’s war, and a poor man’s fight.”

It is an unfortunate lesson from history that many a brave young man has fought for the wrong cause, or the wrong side, and I bring this up to drive home this point: No one is denigrating the sacrifice of the common Confederate soldier by trying to remove statues of General Lee. There is a critical difference between General Lee and the common Confederate soldier: Lee was a leader in a rebellion against the United States and the common soldier was following Lee. Lee knew that what he was doing was an act of treason against the United States, but he didn’t care. He chose treason. The image of Lee as the kindly old man who was about to free his slaves just as the war started is one of the central lies perpetuated by the lost cause mythology. Lee’s own writings, before and after the war, debunk this myth.

The correction going on right now, because of the attempts by modern Americans to remove statues honoring the myth of the lost cause, is both necessary and long overdue. Those who complain that this effort is an attempt to “erase history” conveniently forget that the myth of the lost cause was exactly what they are complaining about: the lost cause myth was a successful attempt to erase actual history and replace it with something more palatable to the south. We need look no further for evidence of this than to look at the history of William “Pete” Longstreet, a Confederate General who has only one known monument to him, placed at the Gettysburg battlefield park, conveniently hidden behind trees.

Longstreet was called by General Lee, “the staff in my right hand.” He was Lee’s most trusted subordinate, and was responsible for quite a few Confederate victories during the Civil War. After the war ended however, Longstreet made a critical mistake. He chose to be loyal to the United States, and supported northern efforts at reconstruction, going so far as to command forces that battled the Ku Klux Klan, forces that contained black soldiers. Of course, this lead to him becoming a villain in the Civil War histories being written by southerners in the 1870s. Like Ulysses S. Grant, Longstreet’s history was subtly changed, defiling the career of one of the south’s best generals during the war. The lost cause historians were willing to do this to one of their best generals, so anything they say about figures from the north should be even more suspect.

Today, white supremacists and neo-nazis cling to this tainted history, the mythos of the lost cause, preaching violence against those who are trying to correct history, not erase it. Unfortunately, the majority of us are being held hostage by less than six percent of our population which is ludicrous. The reason they are able to do this is because our last election was manipulated by a foreign government with possible collusion by the campaign of the man who most identifies with the six percent, because they are his true political base: Donald Trump.

Somehow, we, the American people who believe in democracy, who believe in the ideals that our founding fathers espoused, that “all men are created equal,” must find the political will, and legal strength, to overcome this tyranny of a small minority, a tiny percentage of our population, who have held this country back for too long, attempting always to drag us back to a past, and a history, that was not true then, and never will be true. We are not Donald Trump’s base, and his base is not America, they are a small, vociferous minority, and they have no right in a democracy to compel the majority to bend to their will. “We hold these truths to be self evident.”

 

 

Fixing the river in place

There is an old Taoist saying that the human mind seeks always to fix the river in place.  In our personal lives, it means we often try to keep our lives from changing, but, as the Taoist river allusion indicates, that is impossible, because the river of life is constantly moving and changing. We are born, we age, and then we die, this is the natural movement of the river of our lives that none of us can circumvent.

If we try to keep things the same in our lives despite the changes that occur, then we are living out this old Taoist saying, and sooner, or later, we place ourselves so completely out of step with life that we take on the appearance of the fool. You’ve all seen elderly people trying to pretend that they’re not old. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work, and despite their attempts to be “hip,” or whatever the word is now, they simply appear the fool to those that they’re trying to impress. It truly is sad.

American politics are caught now in a struggle caused by an attempt to fix the river in place. Due to the manipulations of the Russians, manipulations accepted by the Republican party, because it gave them an unexpected victory, the Republican agenda, an agenda warped by hyper-conservatism, is attempting to keep America from moving forward, with all the dangers, and chaos, created by the attempt. If your personal life cannot be fixed in place, then it follows that public life cannot be fixed in place either, so this Republican agenda is the root cause of the chaos in American politics today, because it is antithetical to the real movement of life, both public, and private.

Not that Democrats don’t share part of the blame, because they often attempt to push the river ahead, through too liberal an approach, which, of course, is as impossible as fixing the river in place. Neither hyper-conservatism, nor hyper-liberalism is the answer to America’s, or the world’s, problems. However, the Democratic view of life as moving forward is a fundamentally correct one, so I give them a bit more credit than I do any conservative, because conservatism is the incarnation of the mind attempting to fix the river in place.

What is the political philosophy that most conforms to the movement of life, if both far right and far left are inadequate?

The only political viewpoint that conforms to life is moderate progressive. Life moves continuously, just as the river does; things change, what once worked no longer works in the face of changing conditions. Moderate progressive follows this ever changing pattern of life by allowing our laws to change with life as required, rather than trying to return us to a past that exists only in the murky pond of our memory, or trying to create a future which is even more of an illusion than our past, because it exists only within the limitations of human imagination.

I know that many liberals will take offense to my attack on human imagination, insisting that it is our imagination that allowed progress in the first place, but imagination is limited by the limitations of the human mind, and that is, indeed, tragically limited. I know we humans don’t like to think so, but, to quote a character created by Clint Eastwood, “a man’s got to know his limitations.” Too long the human race has blundered through life, insisting that everything we do is good, when the evidence is mounting to the contrary.

This brings me to my strongest reason to oppose conservatism. We are on the threshold of making radical changes to this planet’s environmental systems, and if we do, future generations will suffer for it. We cannot afford to go back, cannot afford to return to what we think were our glory days, because to do so condemns our own grandchildren to a life we cannot imagine. We have no right to do that.

Today is the day that moderately progressive people need to take the reigns of government away from those who would either push us firmly into our past, or try to create a future based on humanity’s wildest hopes and dreams. Neither will work, and their bickering back and forth is the essence of stagnation. They cannot help us, nor can they help our grandchildren, so it is up to us. Vote, and when you vote, vote for those who look forward, but critically question whether what we are about to do will bring us good, or misfortune, because these are the people we need holding the reigns of government, and the future of life on Earth. Search for intelligence in your candidates, find it, not twitter storms, and vote for that.

 

 

My White Supremacy

Let me preface this by telling you that I’m Caucasian, white, so when it comes to the subject of White Supremacy, or White Nationalism, or whatever you call it today, or will call it tomorrow, I am, naturally, an authority, because I meet the basic qualification: my skin is white. In fact, I don’t tan, so I almost guarantee that I’m more white than you, unless you’re an Albino. Again, this makes me more of an authority than you, especially when you factor in my education, which, unlike many of you, went well beyond the tenth grade, so tremble in fear of my absolute supremacy when it comes to being a white, pretend intellectual.

Now that I’ve established my ultimate supremacy over all other white people, due to my pasty whiteness and commanding intellect, let me fill you in on a few things that I have observed from the lofty tower of my ultimate white supremacy.

First:

Most white people I’ve met are just as dumb as anyone else, irregardless of their color. I base this observation on the evidence of their own words and behavior. I worked for many years in retail management jobs, and I can assure you, with absolute certainly that white people, no matter what their economic status, rich, or poor, are just as lazy, dumb, and entitled, as they claim others are.

Mr. White Entitled Businessman in the $3000 suit, if you’re standing in front of me, trying to chump me, the guy with way too much to do, into doing your shopping for you, because you’re too busy on the phone, you’re just as much of a lazy, dumb ass as you claim the inferior colored person on welfare is, because your welfare comes from tax breaks, rather than an E.B.T. card, but you’re getting the money from the same source of funds: me, the working poor.

Second:

White people are especially stupid, because they’ve bought the same con game since before the Civil War. And that con game is? White Supremacy itself. Want to keep the poor whites of the Anti-bellum south happy? Just convince them that they were superior just by being white, and giving them whites only shitters, even though they were as poor as slaves. Personally, I loved this article on the subject:

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/opinion/article136803208.html

Please, follow the link, and read with an open mind, if you can find where you hid the key you’ve locked it down with. Go ahead, take some time to read it, I’ll be here when you get back.

Back already? My, you’re either a speed reader, or, like most entitled people, you stopped reading after the first few sentences, because what you were reading didn’t tally with your preconceived notions. That’s okay, there’s more.

Third:

The White Supremacist contention that all of today’s advanced culture is due to the accomplishments of white folks, is just as much a bunch of bullshit as anything else they claim. One reason: the gunpowder they used to exert their dominance throughout the world was an idea, and formula, swiped from the Chinese. Another reason: they completely ignore, or minimize the accomplishments of anyone non-white, and conveniently forget that they purposely kept those they felt were inferior in positions of inferiority by limiting the rights and education of the peoples they conquered with their stolen gunpowder.

Which brings me to the real ground of white supremacy; the ability of white society to organize crime on a societal level. Remember, in 1492, when Columbus sailed the ocean blue, he may have been looking for a passage to the far east, but when he crashed into Mesoamerica, he happily reported the place was ready for plunder, conversion to Christianity, and that Mesoamerican women were fun to rape, so he could stock the brothels he constructed for his soldiers with kidnapped Mesoamerican women. Jesus loves me, this I know.

Indeed, if you follow the course of white culture throughout history, no matter what good we’ve brought into the world through our technology, such as advances in medicine, or industrialization, we have done so on a road paved in the blood of others. In fact, Western Culture throughout history has more resembled Mafia families fighting for territory than anything else, and oft times reminds me of the sequence in the Godfather movie where Michael Ricci renounces Satan even as his plan to wipe out the other Mob families is carried out by his henchman.

White Supremacy? I think not, and fortunately, for the world and all its people, the claims of white supremacists to superiority are no more valid than mine. So, it’s sad that a pile of garbage as big as white supremacy has gained national attention through the election of a narcissistic idiot who panders to the base instincts of an under-educated populace who themselves buy the same load of bullshit that they have been since the Civil War.

The Lesson of Ernst Rohm

Most, of course, will not recognize this name, even many of those who purport themselves to be Neo-Nazis. Once the second most powerful man in Nazi Germany, and reputed to be one of the only people in the Third Reich who could call Adolf Hitler by his pet name in public, he is the poster child for why no one should revel in totalitarianism, no matter how appealing its simplistic, “I just follow the leader,” philosophy is.

The reason? Totalitarianism only works for you if you are amongst those that the regime values, or holds as an ally, or the strong man leader trusts. The moment his trust in you fails, usually because of the machinations of other people, or groups, within the party, jealous of your influence, or power, you wind up like Ernst Röhm, sitting in a jail cell waiting for someone to shoot you, because you refused their offer of suicide.

Or, if you’re a member of a group that the regime suddenly finds unacceptable, you find yourself being herded onto trains, to be “relocated” to a place where undesirables are kept, most likely a concentration camp, or slave labor camp.

Appeal to law, if this happens? There is none. Rule of law? There is none. The law is made by the select few, and applies only to the select few. And the select few changes on a whim, based on lies and conspiracy theory, as in the case of Ernst Röhm.

Please do not misapprehend what I’m saying. Ernst Röhm was a street thug and a killer. He was not someone I feel sorry for, I am simply using him as the best example of why you should avoid totalitarianism.

I find I have to bring this up, because today’s American political process is being subverted by people who espouse despotism, and admire despots and admitted killers, telling us that these are people to be admired for their strength. They are not. They are killers, thugs, and mass murderers, just like everyone surrounding Adolf Hitler. They are no more worthy of admiration than any other killer the human race has ever produced.

I find it idiotic that I have to bring up this lesson from history, since my father’s generation fought against this nonsense, but one of the people fawning over despots and admitted killers presently occupies the White House, and spews his trash into the airwaves every day on twitter. It is a shame, a criminal shame, that the United States has to endure a president who espouses everything we oppose, all in the name of making America great again, as if he would have any clue what that actually entailed.

An Apology to Future Children

I’m sorry, kids, that you have to suffer from the delusions and dreams that we had. I’m sorry that you’re suffering the effects of our “enlightened selfishness myth,” God myths, and Superman myths, which prevented us from seeing that what we did here and now was important to your future. I’m sorry our mythical God is not there to fix things for you, because his existence was only in our heads, and he cannot intervene on your behalf now. I apologize that we did not have the strength of my father’s generation, who sacrificed lives to make their children’s lives a better place. We lacked the moral character for that. In fact, we would not sacrifice our ease and comfort for you, because, far from being the “greatest generation,” we were the “entitled generation.”

If you’re reading this, and I cannot assure myself that you will be, then at least know that some of us did care, did try to spread the word, and did try to make the changes necessary to assure your future, but we failed, because most would not listen, and created new myths to assure themselves that they were doing nothing wrong. I wish we had been better at reasoning, because the truth was easy to see, if you just saw Earth in the proper way, but we were not well educated, and reason was not our strong suit, myth was.

Like These Blossoms 2

What then, is death, I asked myself. If all life was already dying when conceived, it’s obvious that death is not an ending, because all new life is born of dying things, so it is more of a return to where everything already was, as opposed to an end of something. This realization should make the relationship between life and death abundantly clear, but we refuse to see it. Life and death are just descriptive terms we give to a process we don’t fully understand, so, like the human race always does, we describe it in terms that make it understandable to us, given the limitations of our human senses.

This, however, is a great mistake, because the eternal intercourse of life and death are so much greater than the limits of our own lives. This dance, if you will, has been going on since the beginning of the universe, and our feeble senses, even enhanced as they are by our tremendous technology, cannot really see what that beginning was, what the end will be, or if there will even be an end. Science, on the cosmic scale, is, at best, just a wild guess. A wild guess based on our interpretations of what we take in through our five technology enhanced senses.

We can perceive things through means other than the empirical however, and this can save us from our cosmic conundrum, and relieve us of our fears, it just requires our capability to abstract. It is immediately apparent what our life is; the birth, growth, and end of our consciousness as we know it, once we accept its pattern from our realization that death was present at its beginning and is there at its end. This pattern is, of course, a wave. My life, your life, all lives, are waves, similar to the waves that appear in any body of water.

Death, present before the beginning of any life, present after the end of any life, is more akin to an ocean, upon the surface of which waves of life appear, than it is to an antithesis of life. Life and death are not two things: they are one, because neither could exist without the other. Without life, you cannot know what death is, and without death, you could not know life, since we know things in this manifested universe only by knowing their opposite. Before you can completely accept death as an ocean however, you must let go of two misconceptions born of your body: 1) that life is tied to matter, and 2) matter is reality.

And that will be the stuff of Like These Blossoms 3…

Like these blossoms…

… we are all dying. This line, from the movie The Last Samurai, stuck in my mind like the tip of a sword that broke off and couldn’t be removed, forcing me to contemplate an issue that all humans, including myself, try to avoid until the last moment: death.

It suddenly struck me that I was already dying before I was even conceived, because everything and everyone involved in the chain of my creation was already dying as well.

The path is simple; it goes like this:

  1. The sperm and the egg which created me were already dying when they combined to create me, bringing forth new life.
  2. My mother and father were already dying when they created the sperm and the egg that created me.
  3. My father’s and my mother’s parents were already dying when they created the sperms and eggs that created my mother and my father.
  4. You can follow this path all the way back to the primordial goop if you want to, but it always remains the same. All living things were already dying when they were brought to life.

So, what is death? Contemplate on it for a while, as I am. More on this later, as it becomes more clear…