Delving into a microcosm for a bigger comprehension

In looking at the categories I’ve used since launching this blog a decade ago, I feel I should explain why I’ve resisted adding to them.

I simply wanted to retain some kind of focus on what I’d envisioned as a merry-go-round. Yes, the categories were the selected horses to ride.

Think of “American Affairs,” largely inspired by an academic department that Indiana University and Yale and a few others launched in the mid-‘60s to encapsulate a multicultural investigation of current affairs. I nearly embraced it as my own major, the way some Blacks turned to Swahili.

Hey, I had a girlfriend who saw that regarding her own eldest brother. Back off, please, and let’s get back to subject.

What I’ve found in practice here at the Red Barn is that my Am Affairs specific pigeonhole has increasingly probed local public states, especially in Dover, New Hampshire, and more recently, Eastport in Way Downeast Maine.

Or, as the adage goes, all politics are local. (Should that be “is”?)

The writer Tom Wolfe was someone I had thought followed this American Affairs college degree path, but I find myself mistaken, at least as far as academia goes. Still, I would list him as an inspiration here, just shorn of the heap of superlative adjectives, expletives, and adverbs.

But our localities do get lost in the national mass-media mindset, to the impoverishment of us all.

Or, as the French said, “Vive la difference!”

Actually, as I’m realizing, that also applies to my latest book, Quaking Dover.

How can anyone ever read all of what’s pouring in?

There’s just so much out there, in print and especially online, and it keeps proliferating daily, even hourly, and I don’t know about you, but I’m in the camp that finds it truly overwhelming.

Everywhere, each minute, make that second, we’re expanding outward, away, from any notion of a renaissance man, and woman, who could possibly be well informed on every facet of a civilized society.

Even in science – or maybe, especially in science – it’s become impossible to keep abreast of the flood.

Interdisciplinary collaboration has become more essential than ever, but also more elusive.

Is this leading toward disintegration?

Is this, in fact, the root of the reactionary backlash around the globe, not just the Trumpian cultists?

Yeah, the folks who rely on Fox TV biased “news” in the USA.

I look at the crises facing our children and grandchildren, and these are critical, but there are so many it’s mindboggling trying to decide where to pitch in taking a stand. Climate change, population explosion, racism, corrupt politics, the one percent and injustice, environmental protection, medical systems, education … Hey, I’m back to hippie era causes on steroids.

How are we supposed to preserve our sanity and still press toward a better future?

We still have to be informed, right? And thinking clearly?

Just in case you’re creating bumper stickers

Pardon me for getting political, but an important national election is coming up. Not that all of them aren’t important, but democracy is being threatened.

So here’s my chance to vent. See if any of these stick.

  1. Liberty is Liberal in Practice.
  2. 99% from the 1% (they’ll still be getting ahead).
  3. If you can’t be civil, just shut up.
  4. Democracy’s for consenting adults.
  5. Wipe and then flush the toilet after you’re done. We’re tired of cleaning up your messes.
  6. Don’t Bully My Free Speech.
  7. Today’s Lincoln Republican votes a straight Democratic ticket.
  8. Real taxpayer waste? Let’s start with Pentagon contracts.
  9. Just drink the Kool-Aid.
  10. Stop calling me slurs unless you want me to return the favor.

Do I sound embittered? Really!

How about a good dose of humility instead?

On one hand, they’re proud of having voted for the candidate and want you to know they did, but on the other hand, they want to distance themselves from any culpability for his actions.

Will somebody tell them, “You can’t have it both ways,” as a citizen?

Grow up and take responsibility for your choice, which includes the possibility of repenting in the light of reflection or otherwise being party to the vulgarity, insults, lies, and the general mess he’s left the nation and world to endure. (Reflection? We’ve never heard him admit he’s ever done anything wrong, which means he’s never even said he’s sorry for anything he’s done. Mistakes are always someone else’s fault. That would put him a bit higher than Jesus.)

There’s no denying the loser’s the king of blame, casting censure on everyone but the one-and-only he faces admiring himself alone in a mirror. I, for one, am exhausted by the gush of blame that’s been poured on what we’ve treasured and join.

So, yes, be prepared to be blamed or praised.

Voting is a serious responsibility, folks. Embracing what your candidate has done, in and out of office, ultimately reflects on your own values and character – and we’ve all had to face the ugly consequences.

Before blaming Biden for things like higher fuel prices, see instead how they stem from the Donald’s encouragement of his Russian pal, Putin. As for inflation, how about those fat checks the fed government handed out with Donald J. Trump as the signature?

Running deeper in this is the denial that the American political system is based on a multi-party dynamic, with the minority serving as a loyal opposition. There’s been nothing loyal about this GOP, not since it turned obstructionist back before Obama. Instead, it’s been trying to wreck the machinery of a just republic. That identity is anything but conservative.

If you’re proud of his true record, stand up. But face it all, not just the cherry-picked Fox version.

And don’t think you’re above blame or shame.

A good dose of humility is a virtue.

Shame on you, if you’re trying to shirk off the consequences of your vote.

Speaking from the left, far from my starting point

Great ideas remain the heart of a revolution. The kind that strike the core of one’s being and inspire action.

They must have a foundation in irrevocable reality if they’re to succeed in the long run.

Not lies, which are shifting sands. Or dreams, which float far from their anchors. Instead, some touchstone that resonates and holds fast, even on the great prairie.

And that’s it, for now.

Carry on.

Respectfully, I hope. Or else.

NIMBY can be a manifestation of racism, no matter how subtle, but true

This time, it’s a Not in My Backyard reaction triggered by opposition to a wind-energy farm 20 miles offshore because it “would spoil the view.”

From what, the yacht?

Get real!

I’m sure they wouldn’t be as vocal if it were a coal-fired plant going up near neighborhoods next to industrial wastelands – the places poor people live.

The people and the places they’re trying to escape, along with the shared responsibilities and real community. And poor people are largely envisioned as Black, no matter that many are white.

Well, the NIMBY crowd might pipe up if they can see the development from the expressway into town. Heavens!

The fact is that if we want electrical power or sewers and water or trash removal, it all has to happen somewhere. Shipping it off to the less fortunate rings sour in more ways than one.

Less fortunate, indeed.

Just don’t try to put them in you-know-whose backyard.