Open Letter to Congress — Heavy is the Head that Wears the Crown – Katy Ferry Writes

We, the people of the District of Columbia, would like a few words. While the world watched in horror, residents of the capital city were shuttering businesses, running for cover, and watching as rioters, foaming at the mouth like rabid dogs, overran our backyard.
— Read on katyferrywrites.com/2021/01/11/open-letter-to-congress-heavy-is-the-head-that-wears-the-crown/

FOR GRANTED

It’s almost 7:30 a.m. and I am sitting on the porch listening to the post-Sally hum of the few generators in my neighborhood.

Yes, we still have no power. Don’t let anyone tell you that underground utilities are a guarantee for quick return of electricity, because there are factors in storms, apparently, that even underground utilities can’t solve. Other than the whole power thing, we are fine. Will throw away the refrigerator contents today, since cooling left us a while back.

Despite the relative cool of the post-Sally days, sleeping remains problematic mostly because the air isn’t moving. We will survive this inconvenience reminding ourselves that compared to Frederick—16 days without power in sweltering heat and Katrina—4 days of sweltering heat, and loss of power to various other storms, this is a walk in the park.

It got me to thinking, however, about how comfortable we have become. Can you imagine the conditions that the personnel of, say, Doctors Without Borders experience?

These teams of medical people and those who support them work in drought torn, war torn, famine ridden places where running water is a fantasy and sewer systems don’t exist. They see starvation, disease and death at a level that we, in our comfortable life have no ability to comprehend and, quite honestly, we don’t want to think about.

Even in places in this country like Appalachia where poverty, despair and unemployment are at a level that is talked about only in hushed tones, because this can’t be in the “richest country in the world”.

Well, the truth is, we take our comfort for granted.

Maybe we shouldn’t.

PRESSURE RAMPED UP

I wrote the other day about how people were preparing for Hurricane Sally and how, even in the stressful run up to the storm, people were polite and courteous.

We are now a couple of days post the storm and I have had occasion to get out for a bit, in part to rubberneck and in part to search for coffee, since the power is out at my house and I don’t deal well with coffee deprivation. Note: Carpe Diem Coffee Company, a locally owned coffee shop, is open and serving.

More to the point, Mobile, which ended up on the “good” side of the hurricane (I love it when the weather people talk in those terms) is somewhat of a mess. Trees are down across major roads, trees have fallen into houses, traffic lights on major thoroughfares are out and random debris is all about us.

With many neighborhoods remaining without power and people seeking ice, gasoline and new food—refrigerators now have to be emptied—people, for now anyway, seem to be keeping their sense of southern hospitality.

Intersections, even the major ones, that have no traffic signals are being treated at four-way, sometimes five-way stops, and traffic flows relatively smoothly. Lines at the few places that are open are politely handled and the conversation is almost always an expression of concern—did you have much damage, do you have power, is your family okay.

As we move further away from Sally’s landfall and the debris piles grow and power remains out, I am sure that humors will be tested, especially as people return to work and have to deal with the fallout from being disrupted in both their professional and personal lives.

The people here continue to remind me that living in the south, particularly Alabama, and, more particularly Mobile, is a privilege and, as I have heard on occasion—the occasional hurricane is the price we pay for living in paradise.

I end with this reminder to the people who report the weather—there is no good side of a hurricane, there may be worse sides, but there is no “good” side.

WHEN THE PRESSURE’S ON

 It’s Tuesday, September 15, 2020, and as I sit at my desk here in Mobile, Alabama, we are awaiting Hurricane Sally to make up her mind as to the direction she will choose—the Alabama/Mississippi line, straight up through Mobile, through Mobile Bay or over into Baldwin County on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay.

No matter the path Sally chooses, we can count on a few things: television weather people dramatizing the potential (I know they have a hard job, somewhere between calm and the sky is falling, but most of us just want the details), rain, in this case lots of it; wind—in this case not as much as initially feared; power outages—duh, it’s a hurricane and crowded grocery stores.

It’s about the latter that I write.

I went to the grocery store yesterday—the Publix in midtown (Florida Street and Old Shell Road). It was crowded. I got the last cart that was inside and people, masked people, were everywhere.

It had all the makings of people with short tempers and belligerent attitudes fighting over bread, toilet paper, paper towels, hot dogs, snack foods and on and on. The aisles were crowded, and certain areas, would have been well-served to have an officer directing traffic.

But, low and behold, I saw no ill-will. None, zip, zero. To a person, stressed though they may have been, there were smiles, nods and hand gestures to indicate that one should go ahead. People with baskets full of items smiled and waved those people with one or two items ahead, (well the eyes were smiling, anyway) and, as those who live in Mobile know, the mix of people in midtown is white, black, Hispanic, Asian, rich, poor, white collar, blue collar, retired, Democrat and Republican. Yet, during this time that is stressful for any number of reasons unrelated to “Sally”, with those stresses sometimes causing friends to become former friends, if not enemies, “Sally” reminded us that this City by the bay had survived for over 300 years through multiple hurricanes, wars and disease, because when the pressure is on, we become a community that cares about each other.

I don’t know what damage may be suffered at the hands of Hurricane Sally, but I know this: with the pressure on, civility seems to step up, at least here in Mobile.

TURN LANES

Turn Lanes–those, apparently novel, mid to late 20th century ideas that were supposed to make driving a safer more efficient method of getting around cities seem to have turned into something altogether different.

I live in Mobile, Alabama, a reasonably large city of about 200,000, in the city itself, but with a greater population in the metropolitan area, probably nearing half a million, so as you can imagine, we have turn lanes on most of our major roadways, including a few on one of our major east/west roads that largely remains 2, that’s right 2 lanes, but that’s another story for another time.

My present frustration with turn lanes is on the section of Airport Boulevard from its intersection with Old Government Street to about Florida Street. This stretch of road is about 2.5, maybe 3, miles in length with two lanes each direction running east and west and, yes, a turn lane in the middle. Much of this area comprises what is known as the “Loop” which is a designation from the days of street cars and is a description of the area in which the street cars made their loop from what was then the western reaches of the city to head back downtown to service the business district.

The Loop is, now, said to be in midtown, but quite honestly midtown is probably 3 or 4 miles further west by now.

Nonetheless, there is a great deal of traffic in this area and apparently, based on driving skills, a great number of people have trouble with the concept of the turn lane.

Turn lanes are marked, usually with yellow lines, and most have signage of some sort ranging from overhead signs, to delayed green traffic lights and arrows drawn on the lanes themselves. These lanes are wide enough for a motor vechile to fit and thereby allow the traffic that does not seek to turn, at the particular place in question, to continue its journey.

Designers, however, did not account for the drivers of 2020. So, in order to bring things up-to-date for would-be drivers of 2020 and those who appear to be driving without knowledge of the design intent, let me provide this primer.

Turn lanes are not for: parallel parking, diagonal parking, passing, driving long distances, playing chicken, texting, arguing, typing addresses into your GPS, map reading, or any of a large number of various social interactions. Turn lanes are for—turning.

When using a turn lane, you should: have some idea as to where you are going–see parking above, as in deciding where you intended to go; plan your turn far enough ahead to be completely in the turn lane thus not having the front end of your vehicle blocking an oncoming lane, or the rear end of your vehicle doing the same, or, on occasion, blocking non-turning traffic in both directions. What this means is that your mental operation of “Oh damn, I meant to go there”, does not give you the right to dart into the turn lane at such an angle so as to render your vehicle a roadblock for three two or three lanes of traffic.

Using the turn lane, and I can’t emphasize this enough, does not mean that you do not need to use your turn signal.

Use of the turn lane does not mean that you can turn across oncoming traffic on a whim; the rules of the road and common sense dictate otherwise. Also, please note that if you are in the turn lane with your left turn signal on, you may not, at your leisure, turn right across two lanes of traffic just “because” and then be upset that someone blows their horn, or gives you the finger–you earned it.

To summarize: Turn lanes are good, they are for turning and they will help you make your trip safely and quickly so long as you, and others, don’t drive like idiots.

MOVING FORWARD

MOVING FORWARD

I have contemplated, for a while, what “Great Again” means in Trump’s world. My conclusion, based on what he says and what he does, is that he promises a return to a time that, if you were white and, more or less, middle class and up, existed only in our minds and the protected comfort of our homes, families and friends.

The promise of Trump’s “Great Again” suggests that he is going to return us to a time of “Father Knows Best”, “Make Room for Daddy” and “Leave It to Beaver” where the worst thing in our life is the occasional Eddie Haskell to get us into “mischief” or if “Kitten” were to stomp her foot. Anyone of us who watched those shows knew that they were not realistic, then, much less now. We did not live in a time where every problem resolved itself in half an hour. Not everyone lived in the perfect family with its 2 or 3 perfect children who only showed respect.

What most of us remember is the relative safety of our lives and my friends and I remember being able to ride our bicycles all over town to the pool, once it re-opened after the polio vaccine made it safe again, to play baseball, football or other sports, to visit our friends. The most dangerous thing was crossing Highway 280 and the most difficult was riding up the hills on Columbus Street without having to walk your bicycle.

The Great Again being promised did not exist if you were poor, or, especially, black.

During my childhood—I am in my 70’s now—there were posted signs pointing out white only water fountains, restrooms, waiting rooms and the like, with the attendant “colored” signs designed to make sure that everyone knew there were separate rules. We went to segregated schools. Remember this was a time of “segregation forever”, where the politicians refused to comply with the law and blamed minorities for their failures—sound familiar.

If black people lost track of their “place”, there was the KKK to burn a cross and remind them of their place, there were church bombings to make sure these same black people knew there were consequences to their uppity actions, when black people marched peacefully asking only to be given the rights guaranteed by the Constitution, they were met with fire hoses, police dogs, tear gas and police batons.

While there were schools that were supposed to be “separate but equal”, the schools while separate were certainly not equal. The schools made available to black children were, more often than not, rundown, poorly heated and ill-equipped. When school books were provided, the schools for black children were often given too few books, not to mention out of date books.

When the U.S. Supreme Court declare “separate but equal” unconstitutional and ordered the desegregation of schools, it took decades and, often, the National Guard, to enforce the law. Quite honestly, desegregation continues to be an issue for a wholly different set of reasons.

These same black people were called dogs, rats and all manner of subhuman in order to send the message that they weren’t like “real Americans”, namely, white people. Those descriptions are now used by the man promising “Great Again” to describe immigrants and, while he talks in terms of people who come to this country illegally, he has thought nothing of using those terms to describe anyone with a foreign, especially Hispanic, sounding name—remember the Federal Judge, who was an American citizen, by birth, but came from Hispanic roots.

The Great Again being sold is a promise that cannot be kept, but serves only to play to fears. We have politicians who call Hispanics the same names that their predecessors called black people and who refer to African countries as “shit holes”, because they do not have the benefits we enjoy and, oh yeah, they look different than the one’s doing the talking. What “Great Again” is really saying is, “When will these people learn their place.”

My concern with the “Great Again” concept is that the rhetoric that drives it has nothing to do with great, it has to do with calling upon the fears and prejudices of a time that exists only in our childhood memories. Memories driven by our very protected upbringing, memories that allow us to conveniently forget how others, who looked different, lived during that time. Great Again plays that tune now and directs it against a new group that the powerful seek to marginalize.

The time of “Great Again” also included the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr. And Robert F. Kennedy and, of course, five little girls in a Birmingham church. That doesn’t even count the people killed in the voting rights campaigns.

Lest we forget, the War in Vietnam happened in the “Great Again” time longed for by so many. It, as we now know, was based on a lie, but nonetheless over 58,000 men and women died there. It, also, led to protests and the sometime violent conflict between protesters and police. Those protestors were called names and met with violence—remember Kent State.

If your “Great Again” means people who look, speak, or think differently; whose politics disagree with yours, or who you want to “know their place”—and that place is most certainly not living in your neighborhood, going to your church or aspiring to something better than they have now, then your definition of great is seriously distorted.

The “Great Again” mentality would have us believe that the world had no oppression, no violence, no disagreement during the time of segregation and “white” & “colored” rules, when “people of color” were systematically denied the right to vote, serve on juries and boundaries were gerrymandered for the purpose of denying certain people representation. The “Great Again” being sold today is a promise devoid of truth.

If denigrating people with stereotypes and prejudice is what it takes to be “Great Again”, count me out and if you, as someone who holds yourself out to be a decent human being, thinks it’s okay, then I suggest you take a look in the history books and then in the mirror.

NOTE: I first started this essay when most attacks were directed at the people coming across the southern border, but in the last several weeks, it is clear that the unresolved issues, particularly, of the integration into our communities of the same people who faced dogs and firehoses during my childhood, dog us even now.

“Great Again” would have us believe that it is the answer, but “Great Again” has this week sought to stoke the fears of those who were “safe” with the idea that “those people” are coming. “Great Again” suggests that it has the answer, but in real time “Great Again” has shown us only confrontation and oppression, using mercenaries to kidnap peaceful protestors off the streets, using troops and tear gas for a photo op at a church that “Great Again” does not attend.

Great cannot be achieved by going back, or doing something again. Great can only be achieved by going forward, by acknowledging that problems continue to exist, by admitting that no one person has all of the answers and by realizing that the “Great Again” being sold is nothing more than a repackaging of old failed ideas.

John F. Kennedy, when talking of going to the moon, said we would do it, not because it was easy, but because it was difficult and we did the difficult. Going forward to be actually great and achieve the promise of this country will be difficult. It will require vision and fortitude and the “Great Again” being sold now, has neither. It is a dangerous look backward.

CANCEL CULTURE

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” Ralph Waldo Emmerson in Self-Reliance

While it is widely discussed what Mr. Emmerson meant, the general consensus seems to be that one who takes what is perceived as a popular position because it will make them feel a part of the crowd, or more importantly out of fear of being perceived as callous, unfeeling or even bigoted, is being foolish or unthinking.

We seem to have a great deal of that going on right now. Before you get your knickers in a twist, please note that I have long thought the reverence for the Confederacy was ill-conceived. You can read my previous piece on the Confederacy and my family’s relationship to it.

All that being said, are we now being foolishly consistent? Yes. While the statues of Confederate Generals and officials that were placed as some sort of reverence to a lost cause should be moved to a place where the purpose is to make them a part of history to be remembered and studied, the repeat of which should be avoided, the monument removal process seems to have born us down the road of knee jerk actions.

The removal of the statutes of the founders of the United States create a different matter. Yes, they, in many cases, held slaves, they did some bad things, but lost in the discussion is that they were flesh and blood men, making decisions based on what they knew, what they had been taught and consistent with their times.

They were, in many ways forward thinking. All you have to do is read the Constitution to see that. It gave us the framework for the government and, in many ways, today’s way of life. However, in that same document, they made mistakes, most obviously that slaves were counted as 3/5 of a person and women and slaves were not given the right to vote. (Keep in mind here, also, that black males were given the right to vote long before women of any race and even Frederick Douglass thought this was fair.)

It is the Constitution that these flawed men cobbled together that put in place the mechanisms that allowed our country’s evolution and allowed for amendments to be added that uplifted and changed the lives of people and made possible the discussion we are having today. Thomas Jefferson noted, in a letter to Samuel Kercheval, in 1816, the evolving nature of the Constitution and that he, along with others, were not the final arbiters of all things, when he said: “But I know also, that laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, a keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy, as civilize society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.” Clearly, Jefferson, flawed as he was, saw that the evolution of the United States in thought, deed and action was inevitable and, in fact, desirable. However, if we listen to much of the rhetoric today, this seems lost.

The logical, or I suggest illogical, next step would be to stop referring to the Bible as holy and Jesus as perfect, because the Bible, both old and new testaments, specifically refers to the obligation to be a good or dutiful slave. Exodus 21:2; Exodus 21:7; Exodus 21:20; Exodus 21:32; Leviticus 25:44; Deuteronomy 15:16; Luke 7:2; Ephesians 6:5; Colossians 6:5 and on and on. There are well over a dozen references to being slaves and the obligations as a slave in the Bible. It is worth noting that the Bible was used as a justification for slavery by many, yet, the present day appreciation of the teachings of Jesus have evolved to the point that we understand that the subjugation of our fellow man is fundamentally wrong.

This demanding that people be perfect is not new, but it is unrealistic. We have free will and, as a result, will make mistakes. While we are discussing the Bible, maybe the reference to “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” should come in to play.

It is this same mindset that wants to re-write Twain because his books were often written in dialect, reflecting the language used by the people of the time in which the books were set, solely because some might be offended. I can only imagine Twain looking down from his place in the after-life laughing aloud at the people who would want to make his works less offensive.

I read where the late Ray Bradbury was approached by people to allow the re-writing of Fahrenheit 451 to make is less violent in that the scenes of burning books and the houses where the books were found might offend some. He, of course, would not give permission to soften his book, instead that the violent nature of restricting thought was the whole point of the book. (It is worth noting that it was not the government that wanted the books burned in Bradbury’s book, it was the people).

The present-day, popular position is that we should remove all monuments to men, or women, of the past who, while doing great things, did bad things as well, because the bad always cancels the good. In the present discussion, will the evil always out-weigh the good. Should we disregard Jefferson’s accomplishments and contributions because he owned slaves, or Frederick Douglass because he was willing to have women wait to get the vote or Jesus because he noted the obligations of a slave.

Does anyone of us want to be judged in, say 2320, for our actions in 2020 using the standards that have evolved over 300 years? I suggest not.

Should we have reverence for the accomplishments of the men and women who made possible the United States? Yes.

Should we, in discussing these people, acknowledge and discuss their shortcomings in light of what we now know? Yes.

Should we acknowledge the progress of the human mind, the more enlightened nature of our being and how it has developed over the last 250 years? Yes.

Should we try to make decisions, today, that, when evaluated by history, will seem enlightened and progressive by whatever future standards have evolved? Yes.

Will we fail in our efforts to make only good, enlightened decisions? Absolutely.

As individuals and as a nation, can we shun the tendency to be “foolishly consistent” and avoid the “hobgoblin of little minds”? That remains to be seen.

CONFEDERACY-Some Other Truths

I am a southerner. Born in Alabama, Birmingham, raised in Dadeville, a great small town in Tallapoosa County, college at the University of Alabama and adult life in Mobile-founded in 1702 and the birthplace of Mardi Gras. And, oh yeah, I am a 71 year old, white male.

I can trace my family history back to the pre-American Revolution days, mostly in South Carolina and my Alabama roots to the early 1800’s.

Now you know the preliminaries and I am sure you think, “Okay, let’s hear his heritage argument.” Well, you are right, but . . .

When the secession movement was beginning, my Pennington family was living in Lamar County, Sulligent mostly, in northwest Alabama. They were farmers and were not slave owners. They were, also, opposed to secession—openly opposed.

My great, great grandfather, Pinckney Pennington, had a family and my great grandfather, Abraham Lincoln (Linc) was born about the time Fort Sumpter was attacked. Yes, he was named for President Lincoln.

After the war began, Pinckney refused to join the Confederate Army, nor did he join the Union Army. He just wanted to be left alone, apparently thinking the Confederate cause had nothing do do with his life.

Well, in 1863, Confederate conscription agents came looking for adult males who had not joined the cause and had his name. Pinckney was not home when they came looking and his wife could not, or would not (the particulars are unclear) tell them where Pinckney was, so the conscription agents kidnapped two year old Linc to use as leverage. They later released him-did not return him, just released him on the side of the road some distance from home.

Eventually, the conscription agents found and “conscripted” Pinckney and another man from the area, and took them the to the Chickamauga area to do battle for a cause and an army in which they did not believe.

Pinckney, and the other man, escaped by leaving camp and making their way north to where their path was blocked by the Tennessee River. Rather than be deterred, they swam the Tennessee River and Pinckney joined the Union Navy.

He was in the navy during the siege of Charleston and was later aboard the Montauk when the Montauk was used as the holding place for those arrested in the conspiracy to kill President Lincoln.

After the war, Pinckney returned home to raise his family.

So, you see folks, the Confederacy was not all nobility and good—they were not above kidnapping two year olds—and the whole friend against friend saying is true.

Many in the south had no vested interest in preserving slavery or forming another country. In fact, many wanted to stay in the Union and supported President Lincoln.

Where are those monuments in the old Confederate States?

Those who hold the Confederate States and its legacy as sacrosanct are supporting the group when given the choice of “Loving or Leaving America” chose to leave.

Maybe it’s time for a statue of those like my great, great grandfather.

GREAT AGAIN?

Great Again?

President Trump ran a campaign on Making America Great Again. Well, my question is, “So what now?”
I am of the same generation as Trump and quite honestly, I think he, along with his supporters, either forgot a great deal of the time in which we grew up or just wanted to sell us a bill of goods on the off chance it would give them the opportunity to loot the country.
But, let us revisit the “great” years in light of today’s situation.
In my lifetime, I have lived through the civil rights era when through the leadership of Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph Abernathy, John Lewis and too many others to name, the African American Community fought to have the rights first guaranteed in the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution. These amendments had become law in the years immediately following the Civil War. (13th—1865, 14th—1868, 15th—1870), yet the struggle was still raging into the 1950’s and 60’s and quite honestly is still ongoing even today, some 150 years later.
I have, also, seen the anti-war protests of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. This movement was almost completely the product of people of my generation and, as we learned, that war, the War in Vietnam, was premised in large part of misinformation, if not outright lies.
The “Make Love, Not War” generation, of which I am a member, also experienced the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the man who challenged us to “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country”. The assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who promoted non-violence and Robert Kennedy, who supported the civil rights movement and came to oppose the War in Vietnam and, in my opinion, would have been elected President in 1968 and changed the course of this country’s history.
The mantra, only slightly tongue-in-cheek was trust no one over 30. Our generation also became the example for the later named “Me Generation”.
My question is “what have we done since our generation took control”?
The answer, when it comes to interpersonal relations, race relations and economic opportunity is “we have squandered the opportunity to do better.”
Our generation had laid at our feet the opportunity to provide the “hand up” as Dr. King called it, the opportunity to complete the “Great Society” and the opportunity to “do for our country and not expect the country to do for us.”
We find ourselves using the buzz word of “making America great again” as an excuse to restrict rights, abandon social justice, normalize excessive greed and foment racial strife.
We chose to restrict opportunity, make voting more difficult, vilify people because of the color of their skin, especially if Spanish is their first language, accuse foreigners of stealing jobs while full-well knowing that the jobs are those that most U.S. citizens believe are beneath them and refuse to acknowledge that many jobs are lost because of technology, not because people who look different took the jobs.
Until Trump pulled the band-aid off and opened the wound showing all our secrets, we were more subtle in restricting voting rights—we gerrymandered in the name of electing more Republicans and/or Democrats and not so obviously on the basis of race, we came up with restrictive voter identification laws rather than literacy tests or poll taxes, we use social media to create conspiracy theories.
We have sold out to the idea that xenophobia is fine as long as we couch it in terms of “they” are stealing jobs. The big businesses won’t admit and their protectors, disguised as elected officials, won’t admit that it is technology and cheap, off-shore, labor that are stealing jobs. This allows the politicians to get away with refusing to fund, in any meaningful way re-education and training.
These same elected officials stand idly by and let the environment get raped by the business that would poison our air and rivers.
These same elected officials refuse to properly fund education or pass meaningful tax reform for they are dancing to the tune of the corporate world and enhancing the coffers of the corporations while expecting the working man to shoulder the burden.
We now attack science if it conflicts with our opinion or the opinion we want to be correct. We have no respect for the truth unless it is our truth and we damn sure don’t want to search for the truth.
We have elected government officials, most of whom are come from us Baby Boomers, who enrich themselves while allegedly serving our needs. We complain that elected officials don’t listen while enabling, by our inaction, corporations to control the conversation. We have created, by our inaction, a class of corporate and political oligarchs that rival those of Russia and Trump is the oligarch in chief.
There was a piece in the televisions show called, “The Newsroom” where Jeff Daniels’ character opined that America was no longer the greatest country in the world and recited where we stood in this like literacy, math, infant mortality to explain his opinion, but went on to say that we used to be and I agree that maybe we are in a “used to be stage”.
The question is “Do we really want to be Great Again” or do we merely want to remember when we thought we were great?
Greatness requires that we acknowledge our flaws and greatness requires appreciating and embracing our differences.
The Baby Boomer generation has one last opportunity to do better and it must start by acknowledging that “Black Lives Matter”, that looking different and speaking a different first language is not evil, that being LGBTQ plus is not a personality or genetic defect to be vilified and by voting out of office all those who are willing to sell us down the road.
Our oligarch-in-chief, Donald Trump, has played one race against the other in a manner that would make George Wallace, Lester Maddox and Ross Barnett look like pikers, he has enriched himself and his family in ways that would shame the Sheriff of Nottingham of Robin Hood lore (don’t bother to tell me about giving up his salary, that’s chump change to him), he has made his stock in trade fear of “those” people and he has taken more steps to rape the environment than any president since 1968 when the Environmental Protection Act passed.
Trump has proven you can fool some of the people all of the time. My question is: Will my generation step up, stop the madness and give our children the opportunity to make this country great again. We damn sure haven’t.

Humor In Tough Times

We are going through some tough times right now, whether from political differences, financial losses or Coronavirus, it’s hard on everybody.

My Mother, who was a special person, not just to me and my sister, Rosalie, and our families, but to many of the people in Dadeville, Alabama. While she could, on occasion, be forthright, she did have a good sense of humor. This is one of those stories.

My Dad, V.R., died in January, 1987, and after his death, Mother would write deceased on the third class business mail (junk mail) and return it to the sender intending that his name be removed from the mailing list.

One such effort went a little sideways. Several weeks after sending some mail back marked deceased, she found in her post office box a letter addressed to “Mr. Deceased Pennington” which pre-approved him for life and disability insurance. Thank goodness it was on one of her good humor days.

Rather than get upset, she returned the mailing along with a letter with her tongue placed firmly in her cheek. Her letter advised the company that she had not intended to notify them of a name change, rather V.R. had died and was, in fact, deceased. She went on to say that she would be glad to forward the letter, but lacked Saint Peter’s address and that she would not countenance the idea that V.R. had gone the other way.

Less than two weeks later, she got a handwritten letter of apology from the CEO of the company that went on to say that his embarrassment was lessened by her obvious good humor.

Maybe we can take a good humor lesson from Mother one more time. I know all her former students are sure the lesson is well-taken.