SMOKINCHOICES (and other musings)

November 5, 2017

From chaos, change can rise

We’re all feeling this 

One might hope that readers who visit “Smokinchoices” will  understand that I have literally turned myself inside out in order to NOT discuss the current political climate; . . yes, my aversion runs that deep.  The bias and disgust surges out. . and I’ve tried so hard to not do that to myself – – or you.  Even tho it may seem somewhat passe these days,  still do truly enjoy – – yea, even thrive on intelligent discussion as expressed by others whom I very much admire.   so, I’m letting others do the engaging who abide by the rules of ‘good conduct’ without making fools of themselves as I have done (as with my tirades on Hillary last year before, in the end – voting for her [holding my nose]. . .   .  or the endless running on [and on] I did on the vulgar ‘fart’ who now resides on Pennsylvania Avenue.. . not that I could be accused of any such bad behavior. .!  So, you see what I mean? 

We mustn’t glorify who we are. . we’ve had a kinda strange history – – crack open any history book for proof.  We are basically a robust, capable, earthy and diverse complex of all known. . variety of our species,. . . with both fire and  braun. . yet manifesting a delicate. . even poetic gentleness among us.  We can be angelic, creative – builders, and some rowdy and daring and determined or courageous.  We can be raucous or dreamers, fighters or lovers.  We are diverse.  Not alike.   Nothing wrong with any of that. Because of individual backgrounds, ethnicity,  how we think,. . what drives us. . we ARE all different.  No way we can think alike. We aren’t going to agree on too many things.   

But mostly, we kinda like — PREFER our country; how we do things, the freedom to choose or be whatever ‘we decide’ because we know our rights to be and choose is guaranteed.  Comes with being an American.  We honor ethics here (tho our definition may differ), and integrity (tho  some are out to get anything they want any way at all).  Still, these principles run through our society and our educational systems.  It is easy to show and give respect to others, because,  essentially. . .that’s how we live and learn to do it.  It works.  Even tho we are not the same.  And in all this, we know how good this is because America excels in distinctive ways which we take for granted, because that’s how Democracy works. And most of us, wouldn’t have it any other way.  When one suffers – others do too;  because we care about one another,. .s’the way it works.   Much of the world admires/trusts us. . . who we are.

Multitudes become upset when status quos are jimmied, rules broken, systems disparaged – – when lies and deception become the norm. When our national mood of patriotism and cooperation goes up in a cloud of smoke born of trauma, fear and distrust and even pain.  But this is where many of us are now. . and getting scarier every day.  How could any of this be happening? Easy to sink into stress and concern when one’s world goes upside down.  Everything changes. Everyone knows this isn’t right – it shouldn’t be happening.  Our way of life worked – not perfectly, but had a proper routine which served the needs of all of us and was working to make it better. Instead we’re invaded by mad-men and haters and those who are pitting us one against the other, leaving us with chaos in the streets.           And it’s hard to avoid. . on TV nite and day, in the papers, etc.,. etc.,..  enough, already!

Because all the above which can’t be avoided,   I chose to offer something I found from Moyers and Company and automatically was reminded that cool heads can discuss any of this dispassionately without sinking into despair or ugliness. . . instead this insightful discussion reminded me of much about us; some of our strengths and how we have repeatedly come thru bitter times like these.  We can endure, become stronger and wiser and hopefully learn a thing or two.  Just might help renew our faith in ourselves. . we can get through this.   It helps that Bill Moyers is one whom I trust and a favorite source of life’s relevant stuff. And his discussion is with a brilliant historian/writer.   It’s quite a long discussion covering much while showing us that we have gone thru such weird times often in our history in both worse and lesser degrees.  I have attempted to whet your appetie with a couple of isolated paragraphs.  I was helped,  hope you are too.    Jan

Moyers: So Republican Sens. Jeff Flake and Bob Corker gave up, and others, like Sen. Lindsey Graham, gave in. And here are the headlines in The New York Times:


  • Acquiesce or Go Home
  • Party With Less and Less Room for Older Breed Of Conservative

In other words, Donald Trump owns the Republican Party.

Rick Perlstein: That’s right. It’s like Ivory soap, “99 and 1/100 percent pure,” remember? Oh, the apostasy of Jeff Flake. The senator from Arizona gives this very histrionic speech about how Trump has introduced evasion and demagoguery and all these awful things into the Republican Party — and then announces he’s quitting. He’s really saying, “I’m not going to fight it. I’m going to surrender to it.” Remember, he’s voted 90 percent of the time with the Trump/Republican agenda. And then later that day, he and the other brave, bold critic in the Republican establishment, Sen. Bob Corker, both voted to end the rule that would have allowed people to sue banks and credit card companies that rip them off. They get to have their cake and eat it, too. They basically make a material contribution to the very damage to the body politic in the afternoon that they decry in the morning.

.    .    .    .   .

Perlstein: Life’s unfair, no? So I’m saying, I wouldn’t get too hopeless. Some interesting things are happening now. 

Moyers: I don’t recommend any rose-colored glasses, Rick. You have written over and again that our society has never been one of consensus. Americans are always in conflict, polarized, competing and fighting.

Perlstein: Our national community builds in the act of transcending original wounds. If you think back to the late 18th century to the constitutional convention where delegates were trying to figure out a way to hold together a nascent commercial society in the North and a feudal society in the South, and doing it over the bodies of enslaved Africans and yet at the same time were superintended by a new Constitution professing ideals of liberty and individual dignity — man, that’s very heady stuff and not something that lends itself to easy accord. We’d like to believe that we’re united and at peace with ourselves and that we have the will to transcend and even repress those original psychic wounds— 

Moyers: But we’re yoked to reality, including human nature—

Perlstein: Which gets us in a heck of a lot of trouble. So I try to get people to face hard truths in the interest of a difficult healing and a grace that is not cheap. 

Moyers: The most somber realist in the White House, despite passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, was Lyndon Johnson. He kept watching [Alabama Gov.] George Wallace campaigning in primaries rallying white Democratic voters. Wallace would in effect say things like, “I’m all for the New Deal. I’m just not for it for black folks.” Johnson saw the blowback coming.

Well, not successful getting the story over here. [I really should just hang-it-up as  seem to have forgotten how to do simple stuff.]  Of course one is granted freedom to share it anywhere, but I don’t remember how to get it from my email to my blog.. . Still not putting my glasses in the frig, but am the first to admit – just not as sharp, or agile as a year or two ago.  So I’ll type the link and you can copy and paste into your browser.    Hope it works,  you might find it truly worthwhile and informative.   J



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