Sunday, August 04, 2019


Sunday mornings are even more silent until the Baptists next door begin to gather.  Dawn is almost an hour later than it was a month ago.  The small breeze persists.  Bedtime was hot so I slept under a fan until about 3AM when it cooled abruptly and I woke. I made adjustments -- closed doors, turned off all but one fan -- saw that the cats were sleeping together in my reading chair with Lopez' "Horizon" next to it.  I'm on the last piece now. It's everything that was reported about it.

By now the cats and I have gone through our morning routine: cat food, toaster waffles with no syrup or butter, fresh water for all, coffee for me, dry-eye repair, certain amount of petting and visiting.  Now they're out in the grass, the young ones wrestling and the old ones sitting near each other with their front feet tucked under.  They'll come in for long afternoon naps.

Briefly I considered not writing today.  I was thinkiing about Davidson Loehr, my classmate until asked to leave M/L and finished his degree at the U of Chicago. He wrote a single book years ago.  "American Fascism + God: Sermons from a Heretical Preacher.  Below is the Amazon squib.  (Book available for a dollar, used.)

"Religion and politics have always been a potent mix. History is littered with times when that combination caused sweeping death and destruction, when it fueled aggression and oppression--and when it gave fascism a religious and diplomatic face.

"Reverend Davidson Loehr is afraid that we may be living in such a time in America today. On the Sunday following the election on November 2, 2004, Loehr, a liberal minister in Texas, delivered a sermon titled "Living Under Fascism"--a sermon that spread like wildfire through the Internet. "I mean to persuade you that the style of governing into which America has slid is most accurately described as fascism, and that the necessary implications of this fact are rightly regarded as terrifying," the preacher told his congregation. ". . . and even if I don't persuade you, I hope to raise the level of your thinking about who and where we are now."

"In this series of incisive and inspired sermons, Loehr takes aim at the unholy alliance of corporate money, political power, and religious fundamentalism that is threatening both our political and our economic democracy. But Loehr's words provide little comfort to liberals and progressives who have stubbornly clung to a radical individualism and an amoral secularism. America, Fascism, and God is a call--first to understand that religion has been hijacked and debased. And then to take it back."

When 9/11 came, he was deep in conspiracy theories about who did what, mostly blaming the US government.  This cost him his job.  The whole picture is ironic to the point of hilarious, because he is one of those people who makes contact through opposition.  Because he is quite brilliant, he seems a worthy leader until one realizes he is acting out superiority, high income, and status.  But he does not go out with a rifle to shoot people.  He just hates authority figures, but he doesn't assassinate them either.

Umairh and others blame fascism and certainly it is characteristic of the 1% of bribed plutocrats who have taken over our government, using an old playboy madman as cover.  I'm far darker.  I twist Albert Schweitzer's observation, made from a small boat traveling through jungle, "Life in the midst of life, life that wants to live."  I think that life wants to live but takes life from other lives.  Of course that's true, whether one eats and wears plants or animals, but we've usually had a taboo on taking life from other humans.  Sort of. War and crime and passion . . . 

When something goes missing, my first impulse is that someone took it.  My fav pen, my slippers, my keys.  I live alone. I am the culprit.  It's a biological impulse, a natural paranoia, an internal fascism that wants control but can't get it.  When externalized, it becomes "pecking order," and the assumption that a competitor or enemy got my stuff.  Both the extremist, maladjusted, loser white boys who blame others and the smug, connected, oppressive old white men in suits who secretly harbour pasts that are not very different, they feel they can only survive by using whatever power they have, whether force or suffering by denial, both imposed on others to punish them.  Even the cats act it out when one of them gets something another one feels entitled to have. 

I've seen this in every setting all my life.  It's basic, going back to hominins and then to mammals and probably to reptiles.  Even insects.  In my high school senior class play I was the Dowager Empress in "Anastasia" and had a speech that went something like, "You are all ants and you all think you are building an empire.  But someday there will be ants of a different color come along to drive you out.  But you will all still be ants."  I should find it and memorize it.  The fight for control, resources, status, money -- life defined by the fight.

Biological entities and their lives are eruptions from their environment, both the living parts and the nonliving parts, both their cohorts and the vast planetary forces of climate and geology.  The big evolutionary breakthrough was the human ability to understand and fit into or ameliorate what the world presents, even other people.  

Most of the time we arrange things so there is enough to go around, and we are restrained from mass murder.  But we still don't know how to manage a lot of modern life, esp. the virtual fantasy that lives in our media, our legislatures, our faulty connections.  

Loehr called me not long ago.  He has a nice house, he still cooks fine food, he plays the piano and sings and takes photos and even speaks now and then, leads classes and so on.  You could find him on Google.  He wondered whether I were dead or not.  Because his most recent girl friend declared he was too old for her and left him.  So even though I'm his age and don't understand Wittgenstein (He fancies that he does), he was willing to indulge me and entertained the notion that I would be nice to him, as I was in seminary. ('78-82)  NOT NOW.  I laughed.  The end of the phone call.  He IS a fascist, disguised as a heretic.  Relationship by opposition.  

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