Tuesday, August 22, 2017


Here’s a bit of history provided in video for those who don’t read.  The clip was on twitter, but also is “pinned” at the top of the “mic” website.

What they didn’t say is that these fallen statues were probably not bronze, but just cheap “pot metal,” that is, some mixture of recycled metal, maybe left from war manufacturing, an illusion of bronze, an assumption of quality, taking advantage of the moment that people want statues but don't really know much about how they are made.  The equivalent now might be fiberglas.  Quality bronze (copper, lead and zinc + silicon today) does not crumple.

What these statues stand for is not in the statue, but in the minds of the onlooker.  In fact, the personal character of the people portrayed in the statues is ignored, which is being noted by some writers.  The motives for glorifying them on horseback is achronic — not attached to the Confederacy as much as Jim Crow — and another throwback to Euro conventions (horseback means you’re better) in the first place.

The trouble with the human ability to symbolize parts of “reality” so as to abstract from them as a way of forming thoughts and language is that human beings become game pieces, like chessmen, and “reality” becomes a gameboard, whether checkered or as a parcheesi pathway or as Monopoly properties around the edge of the board.  Right/wrong, black/white, advance with the dice or go to jail.  Hope for a "get out of jail free" card.

So we’re making a great fuss about statues of actual people who were part of the Confederate Army because to some they have become symbols of human domination in the form of slavery and to others they have become proud leaders of white superiority (defined as wealth entitlement).  Which causes them to entirely ignore the human beings in the equivalent of slavery right here, right now.  And to blame white failure to succeed on oppression by . . . somebody or other.  Probably someone from those rarified places in megacity New York.  If we just threw out the immigrants and Latinos, all the jobs would come back so that WHITE people could clean toilets for $10 an hour.  (We'd still need some Asians to run the computer programs.  And shelters for all the workers who can't afford homes.)

Liberals are just as skippy in their thinking as all those clueless masses out there with glowsticks for torches.  I follow “The Weekly Sift” a blog written by Doug Muder, "a 50-something ex-mathematician who lives in Nashua, NH.”   (His description.)    He’s a UU.  I enjoy and respect his thinking.  But he refers to Thomas Jefferson as “abusing” Sally Hemmings by treating her as his wife, when she was the half-sister of his white wife (so it was THEIR mothers who were abused, right?  One by owning and one by bigamy?).  Is slavery that different from the more restrictive forms of marriage, some of them practiced today by immigrants and nutcases?  It appears that part of the reason Jefferson liked lingering in France was not just the wine supply (which he DID like!) but also the way the French treated his family, regardless of race.

Why is it that liberals find it abhorrent to take Native Americans into foster families for their own good, and then glorify the adoption of Asian children?  The same practice is morally good or bad depending on the context.  I think of the wealthy and generous UU church who provided a house owned by the church as a shelter for a refugee Asian family.  Pretty soon their domestic arrangements became problematic and they, for their part, began to complain while making preparations to stay permanently.  Do-goodery is a pain in the butt.  But high principles, oh, that’s different.  That’s like chess, clean and orderly, associated with intelligence.

“. . . the police, for the most part, pulled back. The next day, for example, those 20 of us who were standing, many of them clergy, we would have been crushed like cockroaches if it were not for the anarchists and the anti-fascists who approached, over 300, 350 anti-fascists. We just had 20. And we’re singing "This Little light of Mine," you know what I mean? So that the—

“AMY GOODMAN: "Antifa" meaning anti-fascist.

“CORNEL WEST: The anti-fascists, and then, crucial, the anarchists, because they saved our lives, actually. We would have been completely crushed, and I’ll never forget that. Meaning what? Meaning that you had the police holding back, on the one hand, so we couldn’t even get arrested. We were there to get arrested. We couldn’t get arrested, because the police had pulled back, and just allowing fellow citizens to go at each other, you see, and with all of the consequences that would follow therefrom.

“So, in that sense, you know, I think what we’re really seeing, though, Sister Amy, is the American empire in decay, with the rule of big money, with massive militarism, facilitated by the scapegoating of the most vulnerable, of immigrants, Muslims, Jews, Arabs, gay, lesbians, trans and bisexuals, and black folk.” 

Whoa.  The obvious question is why the liberals et al didn't put as much energy into getting out the vote and opposing voter suppression as they put into meeting up to oppose other people's demonstrations.

It’s hard-core August.  The light grows a bit dim.  I go out to see what an eclipse looks like in my own yard and the sunsplotches under the cottonwood tree are scalloped.  I take a quick glance at the sun and then there is a pink splash that I see everywhere.  This dimming will not look much like our sunsets because our ends of days are above the mountains, smoke-tinted red.  I hear the jake brakes of the semis on the highway through town and the buzzing of the hornets who are preparing for winter.  The Southern Baptist cyber-carillon next door goes on bonging.  Same tunes as UU's but they sing different words.

A change in light doesn’t affect us as much as our abrupt temperature shifts and impacting wind.  I wonder if the custom cutters in the wheat fields will pause to rehydrate and watch the eclipse.  They’re about through in Montana.  I wonder if the border restrictions keep them out of Alberta now.  I guess an eclipse is a pretty powerful symbol — but of what?  Our times?  Does this mean our political darkness will pass?

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