Archive for June, 2011

Respect for the rule of law

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

I watched the president talk to the journalists this morning. He spoke a lot about our ‘respect for the rule of law.’ As an admitted Democrat, I must say I find him a formidable candidate. His thoughtful and articulate mastery of substance contrast irresistibly with Republicans’ shrill appeals to emotion. But the president has a dangerous problem.

Respect for the rule of law has diminished into simply one of many competing challenges our leaders face. They’ve instituted a method of violating the Constitution in their political interest until, years later, a court somewhere forces them back into line. I suppose there have been historical instances where even I might have taken their side in a matter. But now, it’s become clear respect for the rule of law is simply a political slogan and an inconvenience. Our officials themselves don’t have it. We all know they don’t.

This is deeply destructive. I find it hard to explain to my sons why it’s important simply to obey the law. The law, to them, has to be justified by their perceived self interest – or ignored. This is too much of a good thing. Abandonment of the law really will cost us our liberty. Worn out as the old idol may be, we could use a few strong people who still worship it.

Where a man comes from

Friday, June 17th, 2011

I’ve been alone for a few days. I love being alone. The expectation of sound is a noise, too, which goes away when all the people move out. Rooms echo. My footsteps are portentous. The sounds of opening doors, and drawers, are like introductions. Wild things loom possible. My skin is electric. I seem to walk around behind myself, watching both what I see and me, as I see it. I am becoming.

I grew up afraid bad things were going to happen, and they did. Now, everything ahead looks good. I don’t know what to do with that.

When they’ve all gone away, it’s easier for me to see who people are. I fall in love all over, with the ones I want to see again. I can hear my heart beat.

Quality, and affordable

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

My prostate is growing. At least, I think it is. I haven’t had a physical exam in, oh, twenty-five years, so there’s no guessing what my various measurements and levels are. But I’ve been reading up on prostates, and it’s a good bet I’ll be shopping around for medical services before long.

That’s what I’ll do, too: shop. There are a host of options, and the salespeople are going to want to talk about every one. In the end, after all the self-help schedules and procedures have been defeated, I’ll probably buy a “green light” laser surgery, and write a check for about ten thousand bucks. Years later, maybe, I’ll go back and do it again.

Who could imagine a better system than this?

(Editor’s note: In June of 2011, fewer than half of American families could come up with two thousand dollars to meet an emergency. More than half of American voters opposed providing quality, affordable health care to all. This situation could not have existed in a free, democratic society).

Sex, and complications

Friday, June 10th, 2011

I can’t help noticing the raft of political males publicly strutting their sex drives. We’ve clearly crossed a line here, from being scandalized by the sexuality of our leaders, to being a little thrilled by it. It’s an evolving phenomenon. Perhaps soon, an aspiring middle-aged male politico won’t have a chance, unless he has – at least – published photos of his penis, or bullied a few college women into on-line sex.

I used to think, a little transparency in our sex lives could only be a good thing. Wealthy and powerful men have always had their way with the women they chose, and entire countries have rushed to cover it up for them. It’s hard, too, to be a middle-aged man. Many of us want sex more than most people will comfortably believe. If we lose some anxiety about it, I thought, maybe we’ll start treating each other more fairly.

It is not to be. I was, unfortunately, raised and educated at a rare moment, when substantial numbers of women briefly noticed their denigrated social status. More, they saw how easily the tower of domination could be brought low. I was wholeheartedly with it. And then? Silence.

I’m thinking the new spate of political sex acts is likely just part of our trend toward turning women back into children. We all understand, after all, why guys do this kind of thing. Pretty soon we’ll be trying to figure out who it harms, anyway? The women I work around like to be called ‘girls.’ They think it’s cute; flattering, even, as they get older. I understand today’s young women even shave off their pubic hair. It makes them look like little girls. This is where we are today, people, and our adult males aren’t behaving like men, either.

School’s out.

Saturday, June 4th, 2011

I’ve based my life on an idea. I want to excel at things I do well, and do them for the good of those around me. So I’ve worked hard, learning best what seemed to come naturally. I chose my profession because I’m comfortable in it; I like who I am when I go to work. In short, I did what I wanted to do. I tried to do it well, and I was paid enough.

Some people encouraged a different approach. I was a very smart boy, and they said if I chose this, or that, instead, I could grow up to make a whole lot of money some day. I’m glad I followed my own path. I’m glad I was able to follow my own path. Today, it wouldn’t work out. I got a chance to learn what I liked in public schools, which were proud to educate to each child’s strengths, and sent us all out to learn getting along together on the playground. Now, my town’s got a public school, heavy on discipline, rote training, and remediation. It’s got a couple of charter schools, where the upper class kids go to learn. I would have been consigned to the public school, and it would have done for me.

In my own lifetime, as I’ve watched, the hearts of the people have been turned. The echoes of threatening war still rang over my childhood, and we knew service to all was the only guarantee of hope for each. But we grew selfish in our wealth and our power, and we invented a new religion to go with it: if each of us fights hard for ourselves, against our neighbors, things will work out best for everybody.

When a few people are greedy and competitive, the country can stand it. When we all are, we have no country left. I sent my kids to the public school, because I was proud of what my country once was. I hoped to preserve it. It turns out, we really are a government of the people, and the people don’t want public school kids to have a chance. They want to keep them out of the game. Since I love my children, and this is what America is about, I guess I’ll send them to the charter school up the road.