Monday, April 9, 2018

That March 25th Rant was my last! But.............................

You might recall that in it:

I promised to enlarge on several of the items that give me hope. And here I begin

    Advice for young people:
  • While I have thrilled to see their vigorous response to the gun issue, I sincerely hope that they not only have the conviction, courage and endurance to follow through, but they must realize that they not be a "single issue constituency".
  • And while I know I run the risk of being turned off and considered an, "Old fuddy-duddy" (or something much worse) for giving advice to young people. I'm still going to suggest a first area for their consideration.  And there may well be more to come.
The environment:

For 20 years or more. I've done my darnedest (that's as close as I can come to swearing on the printed page) to understand and do something about geting more than 10 states have a bottle refund deposit law. From personal experience in several states, from research and from the example of almost every developed country in the world but ours, it has been a boon to improving the environment. It's well-known that we have failed to extended such laws to other states primarily because of the lobbying of the bottle industry.
From my experience with young people I know full well that the environment is (and should be) a major concern of theirs. It also appears to me that they are among the greatest users of disposable plastic, glass, and any other kind of container. Thus I would challenge them to look at the issues that are involved ranging from personal choice to governmental issues and lobbying to determine an appropriate course for our nation as a whole to join in this environmentally sound the practice. There are times and conditions that necessitate dramatic events. The gun protest was one. The ingenuity of youth can find many ways to protect the environment. Perhaps it's time for boycotts of products or study and debate groups looking at the issues that would be involved in individual states or nationwide.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

A marvelous view of a changing society

This made my day!

It was at the end of a grueling trip – and almost any flight today is grueling when you're 92 years old. I wondered if – in order to save money – I had made a mistake by taking a bus instead of Uber to get from BWI to my apartment in DC. And the three block walk from the connecting Metro stop seemed interminable to my aching back.

But it was worth it! Crossing Macomb Street, just one block from home, were two middle aged gentlemen. Walking with them was a beautiful, smiling, child of about four years of age of a totally different racial composition.

And then as I entered my apartment complex, I again saw a male Caucasian speak to a two-year-old African-American child saying, "And daddy is upstairs fixing dinner."

How fortunate I felt that fate enabled me to have these two experiences. Certainly I made assumptions. But I could only feel joy that the bounds of love and caring in my lifetime have been expanded. And that no amount of pseudo-intellectual discussion could dissuade me from knowing the improvement I have seen in this lifetime of mine.


Quite a change from my previous very lengthy rant, but I hope you'll check it out. It's my testament to a hopeful future. 

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Hope for the future

At 92 years of age
I finally see hope for the future of America!
And here's why.

For the first time in my 92 years, I came awfully close to despair regarding my country's future. My lifelong optimism has been in danger of being lost because of the daily onslaught of divisive news and the lack of a cohesive effort politically to solve complex national and worldwide human problems. Having lived through depressions and recessions, hot wars and cold wars as well as innumerable natural catastrophes, I have always seen the citizens of my country unite to meet the various challenges through cooperation and respect for government. I've always been proud of my country even though our treatment of Native Americans and other minorities has been dismal. I am proud that in my lifetime progress has been made in redressing our countries' historically dismal treatment of minorities so that I could find succor in the statement of Dr. King and others that the arc of justice continues to move in a positive direction. But never have I been so dismayed by the disregard of our leaders for simple courtesy in the treatment of others, for the disregard for truth and scientific analysis, for an unwillingness to compromise for the common good and for the rejection of America's fourth estate, the press.

However I am now able to move from this temptation of despair
because of two forces that not only give promise for change,
but also provide leadership for the first time to

Make America Truly Great!

How heartening for me to live to see HOPE as women finally become co-partners in leadership and are now joined by the youth of America with their vision for a future of love, peace and goodwill using modern technology. How dramatic to see that that these young peoplS throughout the country have begun to realize the important contribution they can make in creating a peaceful and loving world: that they can see through the selfishness and hypocrisy that has been permitted to control America and envision a world that values unity and inclusiveness for all in a safe environment.

These two forceful movements provide the vehicle for change and progress for an idealistic future that has only been dreamed of. Yet I believe there are

  • The wisdom of Solons, oracles and prophets
  • The strength and unity of American communities in the past.
But before looking at the last two aspects involved in change, I think it important for me to share some of my personal thoughts relative to the reason for my optimism.

  1. The force of feminine leadership.
    From the privilege of attending the Woman's March in Washington the day after the inauguration of President Trump, I am well aware that the women of America need no advice for me. I increasingly find it inconceivable that human kind has ignored the strengths of one half of the population in seeking to solve complex world problems. Tradition, social mores' and emotional prejudices have dominated the conversation while we have ignored the unique contributions that women could make in charting undiscovered human potential. It's time for men to step back and see how we can best support women in this movement. It's time for we men to consider the past difficulties we have burdened women with in order for us to understand and and support them in the future. History is replete with arduous struggles for justice and equality. WE MEN CAN BEGIN TO HELP MOVE FORWARD by schooling ourselves in past and enduring injustices. We can begin by looking back at the great leaders like Anthony, Stanton, Friedan and Steinhem. We should also individually look at ourselves and see where we have failed to support insightful women in our own lives. Taking this advice personally, I can recognize my failure as a father and husband to stand up for daughters and a wife who endured misunderstanding and mistreatment:
  • When my high school daughter was in the dentist chair and told by her dentist, "Honey, open your mouth wider", She replied, "My mother may call me honey, my father may call me honey, but you can't."
  • My seventh grade daughter, in order to participate on her junior high school track team, had do undergo the ridicule of being on the boy's team since there was no girl's tea coach. She was not treated with respect by her male teammates and even her the adult coach.
  • The trauma of my two daughters being subjected to Me – Too behaviors by men in power positions!
  • It was hard for me to accept the fact that my 21-year-old fiancĂ© broke our engagement in 1950. As she gave me the ring back, she stated that while she still loved me, she felt she was compelled to do so since she had never – and probably would never would if she married me soon – experience the freedom of life on her own without being responsible to a male. Never did I give thought to her difficulties as a pioneering feminist. I thought only of my trauma. But how insightful she was to "endure" this experience that she deemed necessary. I know now the full happiness that ensued because of her wisdom.
  1. The idealism of young people in seeking to chart a new direction for their country.
    Young people throughout the world over the past few years have played a leadership role in seeking justice, equality and freedom from tyranny for all peoples. Certainly this was the tenor of the times in the Near East where it was so vividly displayed in Cairo Egypt. And for years, even our own country, young people have been on the forefront of improvement in civil rights For me the month following the murder of students and adults at the high school in Parkland, Florida, is a continuing part of this demand for change. Young people are tired of the hypocrisy on constant display and the pace of change over the past few years to improve conditions for those without hope our safety, especially for those whose voices have never been heard. I find it remarkable there are similarities around the world. While the similarities are uncanny, consider how dramatically different is the action of American youth. It began with young people from an affluent public school who learned their civics lessons well. Peaceful demonstrations were followed up by discussions and meetings with public officials to bring change through the American system of legislation and justice. Yet consider how dramatically different appears to be the action of American youth. It began with young people from a public school who learned there civics lessons well. Peaceful demonstrations were followed up by discussions and meetings with public officials to bring change through the American system of legislation and justice. Young people were mocked and faced ridicule and censure as they expressed their sadness and grief and deeply felt feelings. Yet they felt compelled to confront a system they perceived as being moribund.
    What an exciting way to begin a revolution.

Thus my hope for the future has been renewed. I would be remiss, however, if I left it at that. While in many ways my 92 years were never unique or exotic, I feel I have been in a position to participate in and observe a rather historical period. And I feel compelled to share insights I have gained in that time that might have value in the future.

  1. The wisdom of Solons, oracles and prophets. Even printing the words seems archaic. There are probably few who know that Solon refers to the wise, elderly lawyers of Athens who were called upon to redefine the law. Do many young people know that the Oracle of Delphi refers to the elderly Greek philosopher of wisdom in 1400 BC. But most Bible oriented Americans know what an elderly prophet is. I fear that one of the weaknesses of our society today is that history – the past – has nothing to offer and there is a reluctance by young people to seek elderly wise solons, oracles or prophets.
    This previous paragraph is my attempt to be erudite in giving some advice to young people: that their much needed enthusiasm and desire for change be tempered by looking to the wisdom, achievements and errors of past generations. For proof of this. I would like to share an example from my educational experiences in the 1950s and 60s.
    James B. Conant's distinguished career ranges from the presidency of Harvard University to that of a scientist developing the atomic bomb to leadership in West Berlin during the height of the Cold War. As an educator, however, I saw him best when he was called by the Carnegie Institute to lead a reform of American education. All America was upset because the launching of Sputnik by the Russians meant that their educational system was for superior to ours. While the study brought forth many helpful suggestions for improving the American high school, we failed to heed Conant's underlying warnings “written in wrath” in the Carnegie study, Slums and Suburbs:
that ghetto schools were woefully inadequate and were the equivalent of social
dynamite and he feared that the dangerous social situation would explode.

In retrospect, one can clearly see that a younger generation at that time did not follow the wisdom of this prophet who clearly pointed to the needs of Fourth of A Nation, the title a book published at that time which clearly denoted how one fourth of our country was being neglected.
While I make no claim to being an Oracle, Solon or Prophet, I shall occasionally use my Ranting blog to share thoughts from the past which may be of help in assisting these young people in their commitment to saving lives and making life better for all
  1. The strength and unity of American communities in the past.
    In his book, Bowling Alone, Robert Putnam mantains that America has lost those forces that have been the glue that unified our people into one country in the past. From Rotary clubs to churches, from a few mainstrem radio and television voices to a cacophony of discordant social media voices, we are no longer drawn together. Separation and isolation are today the norm.
I personally believe that recent political events have magnified this problem,
and it is perhaps the greatest stumbling block that must be overcome for harmony
and wholeness is to be achieved. if our . And while there are many tangents to the
problem. I believe that Robert Putnam's book American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us and Better Together:Restoring the American Community
provide insight into how unity can again be achieved. And yet I know that even though we profess to be a “God-fearing” nation, the mere mention of the word is not only anathema to my four children and nine grandchildren, but is disdain by
most of America's idealistic young people.

Religion: the word alone sounds the alarm of hypocrisy and hostility to young people. Mystical things like virgin birth, miracles, a heavenly father and an afterlife are anathema to them. Yet I am convinced that it is in this area that a better understanding of the role and function of the world's great true religions, all of which are built on the platform of love and peace will provide a world that is desperately sought by women and the youth of America. It is my belief that the hypocrisy expressed by religious leaders in maintaining traditional practices and superstitions has kept young people from finding the strength and purpose that they are desperately seeking. While I respect religious institutions for their good works, I am convinced that their tribal approach and concept of a father God who created and controlled world has shown the need for

A new Reformation is needed to remove divisiveness, political posturing and hypocrisy in order to create unity in America by making churches, mosques and synagogues places of contemplation and commitment to love and peace for all.

And as agnostic, atheistic Christian, I'd enjoy talking about the topic further.

Friday, March 23, 2018

This message for you who were fortunate enough not to hear and see Pres. Trump's press conference today.

 It was more painful than you could imagine. He droned on and on about two things.
  • The need to strengthen our depleted military, and
  • securing the money to build a wall.
How refreshing that tomorrow we will hear the voice of youth.

An equally painful to me was to see our "good Christian" vice president nodding his approval.

Friday, March 16, 2018

More insight for our president from my Uber drivers.

I'm sure our president would have a different outlook on immigration if he had a chance to accompany me on my short rides recently in Washington DC.

  1. I was fascinated when I learned that my driver came from Afghanistan just a year ago. In answer to my queries he stated:
  • He had been of assistance to the American military.
  • His four children are in the public schools of the state of Virginia and his wife is with him in their home.
  • Upon making more than $3000 a month he was no longer getting medical care nor any assistance from our government.
  • They were assisted upon their arrival in America by Catholic charities.

2. How fascinating to have a middle-aged driver who came to the United States from Ethiopia two years ago. In answer to my queries he stated:
  • He was one of 2000 who came from Ethiopia that year.
  • All of Ethiopia would join him in feeling lucky that he won the lottery to be an immigrant to the United States.
  • He calls his wife and four children every morning before coming to work.
  • He regularly sends money for their support. He misses his family very much and is hopeful the five of them will be able to come to our country.

How fortunate I was to have good drivers. I'm glad there was no wall to keep them out and that I could tell them of my grandfather who came from Germany as a tailor so many years ago

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Guns: We're all guilty

The Florida school shootings cause me to say.......

I'm excited with the promise of cultural awakening that has been led by women and the youth of America. Perhaps the "Spirit of '18" will catch fire and sustain a National Recovery that will return our nation to the never realized principles upon which our nation was founded. I'm looking forward to saying more about the contribution of women and youth as well as two other necessities for such progress to be made.

However I first need to say a few things about guns!

The continuing misuse of guns in the American society causes me to internalize my own contribution to the problem. Of course I've always seen myself as a nonviolent, peaceful person, but I had to recall two actions of mine, and my peace-lovin' families behavior that perhaps unconsciously have contributed to the problem. I fear they show the depth to which we have all descended in nurturing a culture of guns and conquest.

1. In the depression years of the 1920's and 30's many of us manufactured our own toys - and mine were guns! All it took was a piece of discarded wood from my father's workshop and a spring type clothes pin from my mother's clothes line. Abundant ammunition was provided by the worn out inner – tube from the Model T– Ford's tires. By using mother's very sharp scissors we were able to create pseudo rubber bands. And thus our "gangs" began their wars. Using our ingenuity we were even able to manufacture rapid-fire rifles.
"Warfare" became a family tradition. These combat soirees were passed on to the next generation even though a broader supply of commercially manufactured toys were available. And how exciting it was for me to finally have a grandson to continue the tradition. Yet a smarter, more sensitive generation informed grandfather that such glorification of guns and killing was harmful – that all precautions must be taken to avoid creating a combative environment. NO RUBBER GUNS are tolerated in this enlightened society
Yet something has gone awry! My peaceful, insightful progeny have not only accepted combat, they have even encouraged toys far beyond my imagination for destructiveness. Killing, mayhem and annihilation of enemies is regularly "played" out on computer games and cell phones and seen on screens in homes and movie houses. These film break box office attendance records and are praised by the critics. Attempts to limit their viewership are seen as attacks on individual liberty.

2. As indicated earlier, I think I'm a peaceful guy not given to outbursts of anger. How is it possible then that when presented with an opportunity as a child to use a firearm on a peaceful day in sunny San Antonio, I shot a playmate!
This is how I committed the crime with a gun! (And real names will be used because all but me are dead and it more vividly brings my behavior home to me!) My older brother and I, Erwin, spent a day with our church friend, Alfred. Alfred's family, living in the country, seemed to have things we did not: like a Packard automobile and a BB gun. How pleased I was to be carrying the gun in the woods next to their home, but I was told that the pressure in the gun was so weak that it wouldn't even hurt a bird. Our hunt was unsuccessful, but I soon grew tired of the constant teasing of Erwin by Alfred. (Erwin was often the target of jokes in our church group , and the Wright family was right Christian.) I told Alfred to stop, but he continued and so I leveled my weapon and let him have it – right in his thigh. Teasing – perhaps bullying today – was not discussed with me by Alfred's parents but they surely let me know what a recalcitrant I was.. Fortunately they didn't tell my parents, and I never fired a weapon again until target practice in the Marines in WWII.

My personal good fortune continued and I was never involved in combat. I personally have no desire to own a gun, and I have no desire to deny gun ownership to hunters and collectors. Yet I have never felt more strongly that the time has come to bring a valid protection to all citizens by the outlawing of certain weapons intended for national defense only and implementing other stringent limitations on ownership of guns.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The four essentials for national recovery - I just have to have my say

This is my epic piece. As I review my 92 years I feel the time has come to put in perspective the lessons I've learned and make one final, unsolicited, statement relative to the country – and perhaps the world. It's necessary because I feel we are facing a situation even more difficult and complex than World War II. Certainly there is now the threat of military annihilation and the challenge of globalization. Yet this is all accentuated by the fact that our country has lost its way because of a failure of leadership and national morality.

Yet this can be the dawning of a new age – just as the "discovery" of the "NEW WORLD" seemed to develop new opportunities for a new start around the 16th century. (How we muffed it by conquering native peoples and enslaving others is another story.) I believe there is a realization today that the world is truly "ONE WORLD" and that we must make it just that, or we are in danger of LOSING OUR WORLD.

I believe the future can be unlimited if we realize the opportunity that is here by giving voice to these four issues and movements.

  1. The ideals and aspirations of young people.
  2. The continued increased contribution of women on the National scene.
  3. The wisdom of the oracles. I find it fascinating that in trying to write the word, "Prophets" my a Dragon dictation machine persisted in spelling "Profits". At last a machine smarter than humans. The scourge of the American society has been to enthrone and equate power with monetary excess.
  4. An understanding of the importance of the tribal phenomenon.

While the first two items encourage me by their present progress, my overriding concern is with the last two. Certainly the "tribal phenomenon" is a present buzzword. Yet it is one aspect of this causes me the greatest concern:

It is this topic that I shall devote myself to after a weeks hiatus with my family in Michigan. As a lifelong church-goer I respect the moral teachings of worldwide religion. Yet I have grown to perceive it as one of the primary causes of our broken world.

In the near future I look forward to clarifying what I feel can be a new way to use religion to provide harmony in the world.