Thursday, July 28, 2016

Making America Great Again or Unvarnished, Heedless Chauvinism?

The last day of the campaign in Cleveland marks the end
of the highly contentious beginning, and the ramping  up of a
dangerously, carelessly euphoric General Election season.
Today's close of the primaries also marks an odd symmetry
between the Don and the Hill, careering toward chauvinism
as they both are, never mind the chasm of differences between
them otherwise.

Patriotism is one thing, healthy and necessary: love your home,
your native land, your people, your accomplishments,
defend THEM, YES, by all means. Chauvinism is when
patriotism descends into an aggressive "we are the best",
"we are the most important", "we are exceptional", "everyone
should emulate us", "we should decide", etc. Chauvinism over
the centuries has only had a limited efficacy and has proven to
be a major cause of empires' eventual end; witness The U.K.,
France and Russia, merely three recent examples from the West--
are we bucking for fourth??

A thumbnail listing of where they went wrong:

(1) In Great Britain, Rudyard Kipling exhorted, "...Take up
the White Man's burden..." meaning, whites were always superior
to the Indians, the Chinese, etc. whom they conquered. The U.K.
exacted a massive price for conferring the "joys" of  Imperialism
and the West upon these older nations.

(2) France continued to exclaim as we do now how great
they were, how essential to Western culture, how civilized,
they are and were, even while they diligently deployed racism
of every stripe and well after being utterly humiliated by
the Nazis in WWII. The second language of planet Earth
is no longer French, (--or German or Russian) but American
English; if you wish to promote your culture, business acumen
and scientific discoveries world wide, you publish in English
as well as your native tongue, period.

(3) The U.S.S.R. is no more, hasn't really existed with
teeth since 1989. The great socialist/communist "dream"
was/is notoriously nightmarish, one which many Socialists/
Communists were/are quite willing to impose via fiat,
bloody and controlling, codified in at least one version
of their constitution, which began, "The Classes of Society".
Totalitarianism has plagued Russia for many centuries, the
Commies  merely replaced the Czars. In the marketplace
of ideas, this one has failed; even if resurrected down
the road, it will fail again, as it is not emblematic of what
is true about most people.

The foregoing strict critique in no way diminishes my
admiration for the marvelous, world-class writers from
each of these nations, their scientific contributions, their
visual arts, or music. I AM, however, issuing a timely warning:

Chauvinism is the defense from decline, a shout from behind,
not a statement of strength. It is especially stupid in 2016, living
in a global village as we do. Respecting other countries' humanity
and accomplishments is the way forward toward world peace
and the prosperity which well might travel with it...

Heedless, headlong posturing and postulating is only a 60
second feel-good proposition, not leadership, not diplomacy,
not even "exceptionalism", which I hope I have shown here.

Let's stay very wary while avoiding the trap of unwise,
unvarnished folly, please.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Your Nation Needs You: Now Is the Hour--Register to Vote if You Don't Own a Current Voter's Card

After the Antics in Clevland:  Since we heard Donald Trump make
promises he cannot legally or logistically keep, it is more urgent
than ever to have all adult citizens of this fractured land registered
to vote. The polls (some of which, like Quinnipiac, are not accurate
due to missing the young with cell service only) show Trump and
Clinton in a dead heat; some days, one is a bit ahead of the other.

It is a disgusting disgrace and an embarrassment that we are
offered these two as our most successful candidates to lead this
large country; other, less flawed contenders were shouted down
or dismissed. This is a dangerous, chaotic era we find ourselves
in, requiring a truly talented, moral, experienced leader  who is
comfortable and conversant with the levers of power and
process. Mrs. Clinton does have ample requisite experience,
but plainly proves she is deficient in ethics/morality, with her
private server in her home conducting the U.S. State Department's
business, subsequently deleting thousands of her emails--but not
before some of them (well over 100) were released, showing
her disregard for legal process and security. As an attorney she
should clearly know and do better.

Right now there should be serious voter registration drives
all across America, as close to 100% of all eligible to vote
registered before November. Let's be adult about it:

Your nation needs you now, this is the hour--
Register to vote!

Monday, July 18, 2016

November 2016: Will We Get There With Some Semblance of Order?

Judging by the past few months, with mind-numbing acts
of folly, violent vendettas, and race-motivated murders, we
won't/don't/can't possess the required gravitas, intelligence and
knowledge to gracefully, morally and legally segue into a
civilized country, one with differences which can be discussed
rationally rather than with insults, threats, shouts and physical
attacks at times leading to deaths.

Again, for the hundredth time: I am ashamed to be a human
being in this era. The lawlessness, meanness, ignorance,
arrogance, lying and denying are destroying lives here at home
and around the globe. Today's opening salvo at the 2016
Republican Convention in Cleveland had the anti-Trump
forces defeated by a Southerner presiding over floor votes
to authorize a roll call, totals for and against toted up
casually, probably not accurately; many delegates walked out.

Oh, Newt Gingrich will stay the course, his hunger for
lasting fame and his ambitions never die, others of his
stripe too. I wish Gov. Kasich had attended, but he
served 18 years in the U.S. Congress, so he must have
calculated his voice could not be heard or heeded
during this pathetic, embarrassing scenario. I found him
to be the only republican candidate with the necessary
breadth of bipartisanship and experience to serve as
our president, but that ship, regrettably, has sailed.
Still, I'll likely write his name in on the November ballot.

"Remember in November"? Neither Donald nor Hillary
are my candidates, for reasons I have posted previously
on this blog and elsewhere. Being merely rich doesn't do it;
being merely experienced doesn't do it; intelligence,
character, judgement, morality, compassion and strength
could do it, but I do not see these attributes coming down
the presidential pike anytime soon.

Will Summer explode in many-faceted tensions and
disorders? It already has; wonder what Fall and Winter
will bring. If only we can arrive at the General Election
with some semblance of order, I, along with many, will
be able to relax and rejoice.

Friday, July 8, 2016

The USA in 2016: A Shame and a Sham

Everyone now knows what a sad shame our nation
has become, with all the white cop on black male
executions, and just last night in Dallas, sniper rifle
revenge killing five Dallas Police Officers,
wounding others...

But a sham? Yes, a sham. We tout ourselves as
as City on a Hill, orderly, prosperous, advanced,
a beacon of hope to millions around the world.
Yet, the world can plainly see that we are no
City on a Hill, that prosperity, justice and even
life is denied to many, and as to order, well,
WHERE is it??

I see an incipient race war fulminating, one
currently carried out in serial fashion, but war
it is nevertheless. Denial will only exacerbate
the conditions causing our very complex
national human relations dilemma. Doing
what we've always done, leaning heavily
on "tradition", is one of the grave signal
errors of this scenario, a torn tapestry
which should be discarded and woven anew.

A  federal think-tank task force must be
quickly created to erect new, effective
policy guidelines for admitting applicants
to our police departments, with extensive
background checks dating back to high
school, with new psychological screening
tests and better, more intensive role-play
training. Ignoring imperatives along these
lines insures more and escalating tragedies
of every stripe, new ones like the Dallas
sniper incident our future, I fear.

Stop bragging about how great our country
is or was, and 86 the term, "exceptional".
We are merely humans here, heir to every
frailty and flaw ever known to plague
mankind throughout history. Getting down
to brass tacks, rolling up our sleeves and
doing the serious work required to restore
trust and order is the only way out of our
national turmoil and disgrace.

Meanwhile, the USA in 2016 remains
a shame and a sham.