WHAT THE HELL DO THESE PEOPLE FEAR? THE ARC OF HISTORY?

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Paper On Fire, Elijah O'Donnell Photo, Unsplash, Medium, 10-19-2019

Obama has frequently paraphrased a statement made by Martin Luther King: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” King, in turn, was paraphrasing the 19th-century abolitionist Theodore Parker. They turned out to be right about this — but not without doing a considerable amount of the bending themselves. Parker was one of the abolitionists who set America on the course of abolishing slavery. King did as much as anyone else to persuade Americans to end racial segregation.Michael Barone, Real Clear Politics, Nov 24, 2016

Politicians have always lied, but it used to be if you caught them lying, they’d be like, ‘Aw, man. But now if you catch them lying, they’ll just keep on lying!”–Barrack Obama, 2018 Mandela Lecture, South Africa, July 17, 2018

Not a great week for profiles in courage, now, was it?

At this stage, the Trump Impeachment primarily causes me melancholy and sadness. Do you recall the climax of “Glory” the award winning story of the Second Black Regiment, the 54th Massachusetts Infantry? The moment when Matthew Broderick knows that he must rise from the sand, and lead his regiment to take the redoubt at Fort Wagner, or total disaster and disgrace await him and his creation? He checks his pistol, his sword, takes a deep breathe and stands and says what should be the world wide Infantry Motto, “Come on, 54th” He’s shot down and dies immediately. The Color Bearer, played by Denzel Washington, in conflict with his colonel for much of the film, then stands up with the colors and says, “Come on.” He’s also shot down but dies a bit more slowly, so he can see the regiment rise and take the hill and almost succeed before overwhelming force destroys them.

I’m sure that history on some archived piece of paper knows who commanded that redoubt at Fort Wagner, and what troops faced them down. We know that they had 1700 soldiers to Shaw’s 600, with cannon and chain shot and all the other horrors of Civil War slaughter, and the 54th had muskets and bayonets and swords and pistols. We know that after the battle, the Confederates dug a shallow mass grave and threw all the Union dead into the mass grave, bragging to the world and in dispatches to the Union that “We buried Shaw with his niggers.” The response of Shaw’s parents and family? That there could be no holier place to be buried than “among his brave and devoted soldiers.”

Within the week, Fort Wagner was abandoned. Evil triumphs in the short term,  temporarily at time. As Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, “The arc of history is long, but bends toward justice.” Of course, unstated in King’s aphorism so long as there are enough citizens of courage, intelligence and integrity to support the strides toward justice.

We know Shaw, we know his regiment, we know what they accomplished and we remember them. Who cares about the traitor and fool leading the traitors and fools at Fort Wagner. The Arc of Justice is not kind to those who impede it, and they drift off into the dust. Those who lead it, from Jesus to Joan of Arc to Jefferson to Barack Hussein Obama are remembered and subject to debate and discussion. But we remember them.

We know about Shaw, we know about the 54th, we know of their slaughter and sacrifice, and we know who won the war, and is continuing to win it as the struggle against injustice, ignorance, hatred and greed continues. We have some bad days, we have some good days, but should take some confidence in King’s arc of justice. If we don’t, why the hell do we bother?

Within the week, Fort Wagner was abandoned. Evil triumphs temporarily at time. As Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, “The arc of history is long, but bends toward justice.” Of course, unstated in King’s aphorism so long as there are enough citizens of courage, intelligence and integrity to support the strides toward justice.

Medium is an online compendium of articles and videos that provides a pretty broad view of what’s going on in the world. It comes out Daily, and I skim it each morning when I sit down at the computer. It’s interesting, because the opinions vary from the batshit crazy to the profound and inspiring; the topics from 10th Century Zen Koans to the latest statements from Ivanka Trump or Miley Cyrus. Broad and deep; dense and illuminating.





Catching up this morning, I discovered that Joe Biden’s campaign had made a demand on America media that was pretty much totalitarian in its tone and aim. He was demanding that the stop giving air time or page space to Rudy Giuliani.  I think that reporters and interviewers and networks should be able to mark false narratives, lies and deranged madness — which is Rudy’s whole schtick these days — with a blaring horn like those South African Vuvuzelas that turn up so often at soccer games. So I was interested.

Well, the Medium article was sourced to Breitbart, so I was initially hesitant to do more than stare at it. However, I traced that article back to its source, which was a Tweet from Michael Grynbaum, a Media Reporter for the New York Times. It was basically the Biden press release, and was pretty straight forward. “Rudy is a vile and insane source of pollution and you should stop covering him. Think about it. Your’s, Uncle Joe and Friends.”

Grynbaum, MM, Tweet, Request to Ignore the Blovations of Rudy Giuliani, Surrogate and Fool,

The Medium article spent a lot of time virtually screaming that this request was unAmerican and unbearably awful and Biden was utterly out of bounds here and how could anyone ever have the gall to demand this unless they were some kind of progressive, commie Democrat type. Well, a great idea encased in a torrent of right-wing bullshit. Biden’s campaign has asked the media to stop covering Rudy Giuliani because he lies continuously. Imagine, if the Republicans had done that in the 2016 election. We night actually not be watching the ravens and jackals preparing to pick over the corpse of the American Experiment.

In fairness, the Medium article had a great cover though…one I’ll see in my dreams I suspect.

Paper On Fire, Elijah O’Donnell Photo, Unsplash, Medium, 10-19-2019

Wouldn’t it be great if all of us, not just the politicians and the League of Women Voters and Nuns on the Bus,  should start demanding that their chosen media publish fact checks along with what these people say.  Biden misspoke, Obama misspoke, but the most charitable thing I can think of to describe Trump and Friends is that they are inherently corrupt and insane and all suffering from Stage III Syphilis. General paralysis of the insane is a 19th Century term for what happens to the victims of that horrible disease, and I’m thinking poetically if not charitably this afternoon.

The majority of Americans have problems with being lied to directly and continuously. However, we all have the mental models built up over the years. In my case, I am an Irish American, recovering Catholic, retired Army First Sergeant, Kennedy-FDR-Abraham Lincoln Democrat, practicing Stoic and royal pain in the ass by birth, training, trade and inclination. And, after the Republican Congress has demonstrated that both houses are devotees of a Cult of Personality that makes Stalinism and National Socialism seem benign, I am terrified about our future as a nation and of the world. So, Messer or Madame TV commentator, who exactly are you?

Trump is worse that Stalin? Worse than Hitler? Their cults depended on nationwide intimidation, fear, and no alternative source of news, information, facts or light. Trumpism is the triumph of the entitled, incompetent and corrupt rich and their asskissers who think that their purpose alters facts. What does 79 year old Lamar Alexander have to fear? What does Lisa Murkowski have to fear? What do Joe Manchin and Doug Jones have to fear?

Protect and defend the nation and the Constitution they have sworn to uphold. on one hand; or, protect and defend and plead and moan for the greatest threat to the Constitution and the nation since the Civil War? Or, perhaps the loss of their integrity, reputation, credibility and their very souls versus a seat in the Senate and the right to claim that they’re fine they represent a state of trolls, of corrupt people, places, things and institutions for the benefit of evil people, and that’s OK with them.

Kind of a stark simple choice, ehh? Good or evil, straight truth or absolute, utter corruption and nonsense? Peaceable Kingdom of Satan’s Pandemonium?

Author Biography
Michael is a Retired Army First Sergeant, retired Corporate HR Executive, Occasional Adjunct Professor of Management, Organizational Effectiveness Free Range Consultant, Stoic Philosopher of sorts, Proud Heritage Irish Catholic Apostate…

He went from turning down fellowships to Graduate School after Holy Cross to Fort Jackson and a guy with few teeth from Georgia screaming at me to move his ass! And he enlisted after the draft ended. Twenty-three years active duty from 1974 to 1997 flipping between duty as REMF-Unit designated Grunt to Grunt Unit designated Smart Guy.

Last ten years either an Operations Sergeant Major (4 years) or First Sergeant (6 years). Made the CSM list a week after retirement papers went in.

He went into Human Resources because people said it was like being a First Sergeant.

Michael is retired these days, with time to think, write and occasionally enjoy life a bit. He reads five papers every day, lots of books on what interests me and pays attention. He has basic Socialist leanings. He is also a musician – fifty years plus with a guitar. Ex-marathon runner now lifting weights and grunting a lot to stay sort of in shape.

Michael is deadly serious about the issues but he likes to present with a lot of dry humor and satire. He discomforts the rich, offends the powerful and laughs at the pompous. So, stay awake and pay attention, or you’ll miss the jokes.

He refers to himself as a Progressive with an anarchist tendency. Think Bobby Kennedy Democrat at home with Sinn Fein; either a saintly advocate of sweet reason and justice or an arrogant self-righteous SOB with a traditional First Sergeant’s vulgar mouth and dislike of anyone’s rules but his own. That’s Michael Farrell


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