Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Little Room

The little room was uncomfortably warm in the heat of the afternoon. The Sun had streamed through the window and made it’s daily march across the bare, unfinished wooden floor from the door to the back wall and for a few short minutes would linger on the chair.

He stared at it mindlessly as a drop of sweat formed beneath his eye and ran down to his jaw, hesitated for a moment, gathering mass, and then continued to his chin and dripped to the table. His mind was weary and he felt like lying down, but the bed was still made up and since there would be no meaningful rest before the cool evening breeze came he decided to leave it. The neat simplicity of it comforted him somehow.

Finishing the glass of wine he’d poured for himself he rose and took the few steps across the room to the window. It was quiet and peaceful looking across the red tile roofs that stretched down the hill toward the sea, the reddish buildings and their blue window frames that may have once been the color of the sky itself. But he couldn’t help himself from thinking the scene was even more peaceful when it was cooler as more sweat dripped from his chin, quickly evaporating from the window sill.

He turned back toward the room, his eyes still narrowed by the bright sun, and for an instant the room looked the same as it had that day so long ago. The table, the chairs, the cupboard, the neatly made bed, the chair and the yellow summer dress lying on it glowing in the sunlight as if it were made of some magical material, thrown there in a moment of haste.

He clenched his eyes in a longing, hopeful moment and more sweat ran down his cheeks. When he looked again, his eyes cleared, and the dress was gone. He had known it would be. It always was, but each time there was the memory, and the hope. But for now there was only the wine, the empty glass, the bookshelf, the heat, and the slow rhythm of the passing days.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Captain America

In an effort to seem less *better than you* Marvel Comics announced that Captain America would no longer be referred to in that manner. His stars and stripes motif will be replaced with an "autumn" colored ensem de-emfasising his nationality as much as possible. His new persona will be more international and not emphasize American exceptionalism or values in any way.

Since Captain America is out, as is any reference to America the first choice for a new name was just "The Captain"..... alas Captain Morgan now has that copyright protected...... "The Guy" was ruled out because Comedy Central now has ownership of the "guy" thing, and obvious gender implications...... so what Marvel was left with is just "The Man From That Country Between Mexico and Canada". His job, although less exciting than thwarting international bad actors is more satisfying. He now travels on UN paid private jets to international capitols counseling would be dictators on the distastefulness of world domination and the disadvantages of luxurious retirement on the Riviera or the horn of Africa. So adios Captain America... and Hola Man From That Country Between Mexico and Canada.

But that's just what an average guy thinks

Sunday, August 20, 2017

President Trump, Charlottesville, and Leadership

Commenting on President Trump's statements on Charlottesville, one of my Facebook friends opined that "a true leader provides healing."

I responded that "true healing requires that truth be accepted." Then I pondered her comment some more and decided to elaborate in this way:

It would be good – and it may be necessary – for President Trump to deliver further remarks using the gift of poetic speech. Of course, Donald Trump is a businessman (that is his strength) and not a poet (that is his weakness).

It would be nice if healing yet honest words could be found. I'm reminded of the words used by President Lincoln in the closing days of the Civil War:

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have born the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan – to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations."

If such words can be found so much the better, but any words used must also recognize the fact that the demonstrators and the counter-protesters and police forces all failed their duties to one another that day. The two combatting sides were in no way seeking to "bind up the nations wounds" – instead they were seeking to open new wounds, and to pour salt in them. One side had the legal permission to assemble but brought clubs and shields with them to the assembly. The other side attacked them with baseball bats, flame torches, and clubs. Neither side respected each other's rights to free speech while the police neglected their duty to enforce rights. Thus there was blame on "many sides."

First we must show "firmness in the right," then and only then can we start to heal the country.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Monuments -- How to be Constructive rather than Destructive

  1. A few weeks ago I posted a facebook comment to Professor Lee Cheek on the subject of Confederate monuments being removed from Richmond, Virginia. I think the comments are appropriate to the current situation in Charlottesville.
  2. Start--
    As a matter of fact and law I suppose that since the former city fathers of Richmond were free to erect Confederate monuments in their day then the current city fathers are free to remove them today. To remove them however would be, in my opinion, a mal...icious and uncharitable act, to paraphrase Lincoln.
  3. Nearly each time I visit a southern county courthouse (I've visited many) I see a Confederate monument standing prominently on the courthouse lawn. Invariably, the monument displays a lone Confederate soldier standing proudly at attention, rifle at his side. Although I'm a northerner with northern roots I understand why current-day residents seek to honor them -- it's entirely "fitting and proper" to honor the valor of one's ancestors.
  4. The Civil War was a bitter fight with a bitter peace. It seems to me that in order to heal our nation's wounds it is utterly necessary to respect those who fought. It is also necessary that a people be allowed to honor their ancestors. I agree with you that it is a travesty – and a ridiculous travesty at that – that some cities wish to erase history by removing monuments so long established and loved. Such actions are but shallow and shameful "virtue signaling."
  5. A much better approach would be to recognize the victims of the slavery of that age by erecting separate monuments, placing them where they can be most seen and revered, instead of removing the existing works so beloved by many.
  6. But I'm not in charge of that.