politics

Mothers

mothers

I am reminded, on Mother’s Day, of those mothers that do not have a voice, but love nevertheless.  I am reminded that all of life has a mother; one who loves in their own way, even if it is not ours.  I am, of course, referring to the mothers that we all often forget.  I am reminded of them when I walk out my door.

I hear them in my yard and see them scamper up trees and into the wood pile out back.  In the mornings I see them walking slowly through the forest on our property.  And sometimes I hear them in the back and have seen their black flash run through the woods.  I read about them and see pictures of them lovingly licking their young children or sleeping.

I must admit that I have disturbed a few when I lifted some wood or mixed the compost pile.  They look up at me and I feel a shutter run through me.  I quickly replace the wood, or cover them back up; them and their young.  I hear them chatter angrily when I let the cat out, and I hurriedly pack poor old Fimp back inside.  I know there are mothers that are afraid, that are hunted by the heartless among us and they too have mothers.  I cannot seem to get myself to read or watch about these things.

I would ask all of you to give a thought to all the mothers of the world and consider that they all, in their own way, love their children.  I think, especially in this age of inconsideration, that it is time that we consider those that deserve much more than just a passing thought.  I love my mother, and she loves me.  I also know that there are others do the same.

Want What You Need

need

This time of year is sometimes difficult; it is time for warmth but it is still cold.  The sun is shining, but the wind is blustery and bitter.  Sitting inside by the fire the day looks beautiful but out in the forest nature soon reminds us that it is unforgiving.  And so we sit wanting something that we know we cannot have.  We do this and all the time know that it is a waste of that most precious commodity: time itself.

Days spent pining over the past or looking toward the future are days wasted.  The thought is a bit Buddhistic, but goes beyond the confines of any religion because the act is human.  Perhaps we are hardwired to desire what we do not have.  This desire comes, often enough, in the form of “keeping up with the Jones”.  It rears its ubiquitous head in many ways though.  I would argue that the mess that is our government today is a consequence of wanting what you don’t need rather than needing what you want.

Think of it another way.  We need food, we need shelter…that’s it.  But we want so much more.  These desires will always come at a cost, however.  The more we want, the more we need to understand that nothing is free.  If we want to be moral we must need to be moral. If we want truth, we must need truth.  Of course, we need both, but so many times we do not want either.

Looking out the window and wanting the warmth of Spring will not bring Spring any closer.  Knowing the right thing to do and not actually doing the right thing will not make us moral.  These philosophical ponderings will do no good unless we act upon them.  We must want to act and act in order to know what we need.  This is, perhaps, the secret.  By all means think, but if we want to know what we need we must also act.

Pride, Ignorance & Reality

Donald Trump's Mortgage Payoff Tip Is Genius(Trump Voters Will Not Like What Happens Next)-Washington Post  Garrison Keillor is an author and radio personality.

 

So he won. The nation takes a deep breath. Raw ego and proud illiteracy have won out, and a severely learning-disabled man with a real character problem will be president. We are so exhausted from thinking about this election, millions of people will take up leaf-raking and garage cleaning with intense pleasure. We liberal elitists are wrecks. The Trumpers had a whale of a good time, waving their signs, jeering at the media, beating up protesters, chanting “Lock her up” — we elitists just stood and clapped. Nobody chanted “Stronger Together.” It just doesn’t chant.

The Trumpers never expected their guy to actually win the thing, and that’s their problem now. They wanted only to whoop and yell, boo at the H-word, wear profane T-shirts, maybe grab a crotch or two, jump in the RV with a couple of six-packs and go out and shoot some spotted owls. It was pleasure enough for them just to know that they were driving us wild with dismay — by “us,” I mean librarians, children’s authors, yoga practitioners, Unitarians, bird-watchers, people who make their own pasta, opera-goers, the grammar police, people who keep books on their shelves, that bunch. The Trumpers exulted in knowing we were tearing our hair out. They had our number, like a bratty kid who knows exactly how to make you grit your teeth and froth at the mouth.

Alas for the Trump voters, the disasters he will bring on this country will fall more heavily on them than anyone else. The uneducated white males who elected him are the vulnerable ones, and they will not like what happens next.

To all the patronizing B.S. we’ve read about Trump expressing the white working-class’s displacement and loss of the American Dream, I say, “Feh!” — go put your head under cold water. Resentment is no excuse for bald-faced stupidity. America is still the land where the waitress’s kids can grow up to become physicists and novelists and pediatricians, but it helps a lot if the waitress and her husband encourage good habits and the ambition to use your God-given talents and the kids aren’t plugged into electronics day and night. Whooping it up for the candidate of cruelty and ignorance does less than nothing for your kids.

We liberal elitists are now completely in the clear. The government is in Republican hands. Let them deal with him. Democrats can spend four years raising heirloom tomatoes, meditating, reading Jane Austen, traveling around the country, tasting artisan beers, and let the Republicans build the wall and carry on the trade war with China and deport the undocumented and deal with opioids, and we Democrats can go for a long , brisk walk and smell the roses.

The effect of working women on society goes well beyond added income.

 

I like Republicans. I used to spend Sunday afternoons with a bunch of them, drinking Scotch and soda and trying to care about NFL football. It was fun. I tried to think like them. (Life is what you make it. People are people. When the going gets tough, tough noogies.) But I came back to liberal elitism.

Don’t be cruel. Elvis said it, and it’s true. We all experienced cruelty back in our playground days — boys who beat up on the timid, girls who made fun of the homely and naive — and most of us, to our shame, went along with it, afraid to defend the victims lest we become one of them. But by your 20s, you should be done with cruelty. Mr. Trump was the cruelest candidate since George Wallace. How he won on fear and bile is for political pathologists to study. The country is already tired of his noise, even his own voters. He is likely to become the most intensely disliked president since Herbert Hoover. His children will carry the burden of his name. He will never be happy in his own skin. But the damage he will do to our country — who knows? His supporters voted for change, and boy, are they going to get it.

Back to real life. I went up to my home town the other day and ran into my gym teacher, Stan Nelson, looking good at 96. He commanded a landing craft at Normandy on June 6, 1944, and never said a word about it back then, just made us do chin-ups whether we wanted to or not. I saw my biology teacher Lyle Bradley, a Marine pilot in the Korean War, still going bird-watching in his 90s. I was not a good student then, but I am studying both of them now. They have seen it all and are still optimistic. The past year of politics has taught us absolutely nothing. Zilch. Zero. Nada. The future is scary. Let the uneducated have their day. I am now going to pay more attention to teachers.

Plantitics

plantitics

Its coming up, and it’s coming up soon! Plans are being made as we speak in back rooms and workshops; in dusty places and in living rooms and across America. Are we all ready? Are we all willing? What will happen in the future!?

Tomatoes must be started just at the right time, but can they share the manure with the peppers, and where will the leek and onion be placed (those feisty fellows)? I have to sell the cabbage on sharing the space with the eggplant and at the same time make sure the squash have enough room to spread their greedy tendrils.

The funding must be in place and I have to find it somewhere. I know a rich banker down the street with horses. Perhaps there? I’ve found the gold there before; maybe again.

Of course, I’ve readied the playing field last fall but there are always changes and surprises. The beans let me down every year, but the hops always have my back.   This year the fruit trees will bear fruit and the raspberries look strong. It’ll be rough and some will go down in their prime, but that’s the rough and tumble game of plantitics.

I have to appease the worms, but they are blind and powerless; I, of course, am the master and they the slave. I have the power as the president of my garden!!!   I am the slave to no one!!! The plants will do as I say!!! They will bend before my mobility. But the worms…

I have to appease the women’s vote of course and so I’ve planted some early food in the hives to get them on my side. They’re coming out in droves on the warm days. I can count on them. I am for women’s rights and have promised a new super when the summer comes. They know I’m good for it.

I have to answer to the herb garden’s requests as they can be finicky at first.   But the tomatoes fund my work. You can never trust the ketchup lobby, but I’m strong in the salsa community. I will over the garden this year by promising to keep the “invaders” out. The Japanese beetle will be banded from our garden!

I have a plan for the plantitics of this year by pleading my case to the courts of nature. My garden will succeed and I will live as a king yet again…at least for another year.

Liberal, Commie, Bastard

politics2

It is state election time here and again I am reminded that the language we use often mirrors how we feel rather than what we think. One piece of mail that I received regarding a state candidate was simply emblazoned “LIBERAL”. I have to wonder about the purpose of such claims. When I do, I remember John Stuart Mill’s writings on “Classical Liberalism”. There are ten principles. Here they are in short:

  1. The life of each individual is an absolute and universal moral value.
  2. Every individual owns his body, his mind, and the labor thereof.
  3. Every individual has the right to pursue activities for the betterment of his life.
  4. The rights of an individual to life, liberty…are not granted by other human beings.
  5. The initiation of physical force, the threat of such force, or fraud against any individual is never permissible.
  6. The sole fundamental purpose of government is to protect the rights of individuals…government is not the same as society.
  7. Every individual has the absolute right to think and express any idea.
  8. Commerce, technology and science are desirable.
  9. Accidents of birth, geography, or ancestory do not define an individual and should not result in manmade restrictions of that individual’s rights or opportunities.
  10. It is a moral imperative for humans to expand their mastery of the universe indefinitely.

The above ideas were expressed by Mill in 1869. What I find interesting about these principles of classical liberalism is that most of these principles have been absconded by the present-day “conservatives” which brings me to my point about language: it changes. I would suggest that to use language is to express ideas not create ideals. It also reminds me that in order to own a word, I must have clear understanding of that word.

It is important to remember in these days of political posturing that it is not only the language that we use that is important, but the ideals that we abide by: we must own the word we speak. To call someone a “liberal” is neither good nor bad. However, the reasons that we have for calling a person or group anything are good or bad.

It is much easier to rely upon rhetoric rather than principle to express ourselves, especially when we are not certain of the ideals that we actually hold, nor why we hold them. It is much more difficult to understand what we say before saying it than it is to say something that we really don’t understand.

Politics may be rhetorical by nature, but they are meaningless without the ability of society to understand the underlying ideals that are expressed by politics. As Mill is also quoted as saying, if we don’t educate ourselves, we deserve what we get.

Focus

focus

I’ve read a rather telling aphorism once: the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged on how it treats its animals. I think Gandhi was quoted as saying it. Nevertheless, the aphorism both horrified me and struck me as very true. I wonder, as Wendell Berry and others like him have often done in the pages of their essays, if the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged on how it treats its land? At the very least, I believe that how we treat animals and the land around us is a consequence of what we think of each other and ourselves.

Up to this point, this blog has considered perspectives that do not put human beings as a centered focal point but rather as a part of a greater reality, one which is grounded in objectivism. That being said, I would like to explore the homesteading theme, the environmental and creative themes that have been addressed from a perspective that does consider human beings as a center focal point. First, look outside of your window and consider what is important to human beings. Secondly, consider the cost of putting a value on that human importance.

Homesteading, small-scale farming (whatever it may be called) seems to be one of those human endeavors that shifts importance from the farmer to the farm: its environment and its animals. Of course, there are exceptions. However, those exceptions aside, I believe that this desire of some to be a part of an environment that is greater than themselves rather than to think themselves as greater than their environment comes from a deep-seated understanding that whatever our convictions the reality remains: we are not important.

Some view this as humanistic blasphemy. However, viewed from the point of view that we are part of a greater whole, the admission that we are not important leads us to ask: what is? I believe that those that have discovered the possibility of homesteading on a small-scale sustainable farm have realized what is important. Truth is important and sustainable practices in all their forms are a part of this truth. This is often presented within the framework of environmental arguments, but those arguments assume that the environment is somehow innately important. I would have to disagree: the environment is important because it reminds us that we are completely and absolutely dependent upon it for happiness not to mention our survival. The truth is, we are not important to the environment, but our environment is of utmost importance to us.

However, we do not seem to be interested in the truth of our situation: our total and utter dependence upon the environment for our happiness and survival. It seems that we put importance upon the façade of independence and the fascia of truth. The façade and fascia of independence and truth are much easier for us to achieve than is the achievement of true independence and the realization of Truth (capital T intended).

If we value comfort, then comfort will be prioritized over all else as will ease and wealth and whatever else we deem as valuable. I think that how we treat animals and the environment as a whole does mirror our false assumption that we are the focal point of the world we live in. Although the world cannot and does not care, we can and perhaps we need to start valuing our capacity to do just that.