We Are Not Enemies

Here we are once again … the closer we get to November’s mid-term election, the greater the threats of violence across the nation.  When violence is incited, directly or indirectly, by people who have a larger-than-life voice, it is particularly harmful, as Dan Rather points out in his latest newsletter …


The Threat of Violence

“The rhetoric is the candidate”

By Dan Rather and Elliot Kirschner

4 October 2022

As many of you probably know, Donald Trump recently issued a threat of violence against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, along with a racist attack on his wife, Elaine Chao, who served in Trump’s Cabinet. Of McConnell, Trump said, “He has a DEATH WISH” (emphasis Trump’s), and he referred to Chao as “Coco Chow.” 

If you had expected Republican politicians to rally in disgust around some version of “this finally crosses a line,” you would be disappointed. But I imagine few of you expected anything of the sort. 

The spinelessness of Republican officials should not excuse the fact that Trump is once again wading into very dangerous waters, especially when you consider the fervor (and the arsenals) of many of his supporters. Although “wading” is not the most accurate verb for his behavior. Trump is not a mere passerby, and he is never tentative. He is an expert at roiling, stoking, and destroying the equilibriums of our democracy with his incendiary rhetoric. 

This latest episode had me thinking back a few years to another moment that eerily forbode the present. This was well before the violent insurrection of January 6, before Trump told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by,” even before “very fine people on both sides.”

The date was August 9, 2016, and Trump was leading a campaign rally in Wilmington, North Carolina. He had the crowd in a frenzy with his usual attack lines against Hillary Clinton. And then he went somewhere so outrageous that it sent out shockwaves — which is notable considering that by this point, much of his daily bile had already been normalized. 

“If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks,” he said. The crowd booed. Trump, sensing a moment, then added, “Although the Second Amendment people — maybe there is, I don’t know.”

The insinuation was clear, and it is worth remembering what it exposed at that moment, before Trump ascended to the presidency and everything else that followed. So I thought it might be of interest to reshare what I posted on Facebook in the hours after that statement. Sometimes it is important to look back and remember what was said at the time. 

No journalist trying to be objective and fair, no citizen who cares about the country and its future can ignore what Donald Trump said today. When he suggested that “The Second Amendment people” can stop Hillary Clinton, he crossed a line with dangerous potential. By any objective analysis, this is a new low and unprecedented in the history of American presidential politics. This is no longer about policy, civility, decency, or even temperament. This is a direct threat of violence against a political rival. It is not just against the norms of American politics, but it raises a serious question of whether it is against the law. If any other citizen had said this about a presidential candidate, would the Secret Service be investigating?

Candidate Trump will undoubtedly issue an explanation; some of his surrogates are already engaged in trying to gloss over it, but once the words are out there, they cannot be taken back. That is what inciting violence means.  

To anyone who still pretends this is a normal election of Republican against Democrat, history is watching. And I suspect its verdict will be harsh. Many have tried to do a side-shuffle and issue statements saying they strongly disagree with his rhetoric but still support the candidate. That is becoming woefully insufficient. The rhetoric is the candidate.

This cannot be treated as just another outrageous moment in the campaign. We will see whether major newscasts explain how grave and unprecedented this is and whether the headlines in tomorrow’s newspapers do it justice. We will soon know whether anyone who has publicly supported Trump explains how they can continue to do so.

We are a democratic republic governed by the rule of law. We are an honest, fair, and decent people. In trying to come to terms with today’s discouraging development, the best I can do is to summon our greatest political poet, Abraham Lincoln, for perspective:

“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

Lincoln used these stirring words to end his First Inaugural Address. It was the eve of the Civil War, and sadly his call for sanity, cohesion, and peace was met with horrific violence that almost left our precious Union asunder. We cannot, must not let that happen again.

What the Trump presidency would become was apparent long before the election. All the instances like the one above that should have immediately disqualified him from that office were ultimately folded into permissiveness by far too many people. We should strive to always remember and never become inured to this. 

Before Trump, it was unfathomable that a presidential candidate would speak and act with even a fraction of his recklessness and divisive appeal to anger and violence. But now, sadly, we are long past having the ability to imagine this atrociousness. We can see the corrosive effects he and his enablers have wrought on this country.

Threats of violence must be condemned, in no small part because threats can become real. Just look at January 6.

♫ Abraham, Martin and John ♫

Today, in a comment, dear friend Roger sent me this song, and as I listened, something … clicked.  I felt tears welling, wanted to share this beautiful moment.  I realize this is one I have played here before, this is the same version musically, but a slightly different video and a very moving one, I think.  Thank you, Roger, for reminding me of this song … a tribute to some truly great men who helped people, who cared about the nation and its people.


A tribute to the memory of four assassinated Americans, all icons of social change: Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, and Robert F. Kennedy.  This song was written in response to the assassination of King and that of Robert Kennedy in April and June 1968, respectively.  More than 50 years … can it really have been so long ago?  I remember it … truly as if it were just a few weeks ago.  As I listen to this song, I cannot help but choke … remembering … the hope these men brought us … how I wish they were here today … 😢

The original version was recorded by Dion Francis DiMucci, better known simply as Dion.  Although the song has been recorded by many of my favourites such as Ray Charles, Kenny Rogers, the Brothers Four, Marvin Gaye, Bob Dylan, Whitney Houston, and Smokey Robinson, to name a few, the Dion version remains my favourite.  And so, I bring you, in honour of four truly great men whose lives, because they were great, because they worked tirelessly for equality for all, were cut far too short …

Abraham, Martin And John
Dion DiMucci

Has anybody here seen my old friend Abraham,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed a lotta people, but it seems the good die young
But I just looked around and he’s gone.

Has anybody here seen my old friend John,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed a lotta people, but it seems the good die young
But I just looked around and he’s gone.

Has anybody here seen my old friend Martin,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed a lotta people, but it seems the good die young
But I just looked around and he’s gone.

Didn’t you love the things they stood for?
Didn’t they try to find some good for you and me?
And we’ll be free,
Someday soon it’s gonna be one day.

Has anybody here seen my old friend Bobby,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
I thought I saw him walkin’ up over the hill
With Abraham, Martin and John.

Songwriters: Richard Holler
Abraham, Martin And John lyrics © Regent Music Corporation, Stonehenge Music

 “So the Old World Slipped Away Never to Return Again…”: A Look Back at my Prediction for 2020

The usual Wednesday ‘good people’ post is delayed this week, but worry not … it will be here. Meanwhile, I would like to share with you Padre Steve’s latest post, a look back at his predictions from a year ago and some truths we need to ponder about the lessons of history. Thank you, Padre — excellent analysis, as always. I, too, wish you had been wrong way back in December 2019. Sigh.

The Inglorius Padre Steve's World


Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

I wrote this article on 13 December 2019. It was pretty pessimistic even then without the Coronavirus 19 Pandemic which has killed over a quarter of a million Americans and infected over 11 million more, over a million in the past week. Over course that was not included in this article. The title then was  “So the Old World Slipped Away Never to Return Again…”: the Coming Disorder of 2020. Damn I hate being right, and we still have 49 days left in the year and President Trump seems intent on destroying the country using a scorched earth policy and attempting to provoke violence as the Proud Boys and other White Supremacist and self-proclaimed “militias” which are nothing more than heavily armed right wing vigilante and terrorist groups unrecognized by any law and operating outside of the Constitutional understanding of militias. Now we are…

View original post 1,981 more words

Quotations On Presidential Responsibility

A few short, but very relevant quotes from a variety of presidents over the past century, by Charles French. Thank you, Charles …

charles french words reading and writing

In any time of crisis, the United States looks to its President for true leadership, for someone who can guide and understand the magnitude of the times, for someone who can also accept responsibility.

TRUMAN_58-766-06_(cropped)

(https://en.wikipedia.org)

“The Buck Stops Here!” (from desk sign)

Harry S. Truman

abraham-lincoln-60558_960_720

(www.pixabay.com)

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

Abraham Lincoln

president-john-kennedy-403379__340

(www.pixabay.com)

“Let us not seek the Republican answer, or the Democratic answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.”

                                                                          John F. Kennedy

theodore-roosevelt-393205_960_720

(www.pixabay.com)

“Power always brings with it responsibility.”

                                                                         Teddy Roosevelt

Sometimes, leaders do not rise to the necessary levels during such times of need.

Donald_Trump_August_19,_2015_(cropped)

(https://en.wikipedia.org)

“I don’t take responsibility at all.”

                                                                        Donald Trump

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♫ Abraham, Martin and John ♫

Most nights when I post my music post, I am feeling in the need of something upbeat, or something Motown to calm my frazzled nerves and remind me of a seemingly happier day.  Tonight, however, I am feeling more … introspective.  Looking back at what might have been … and what was.  So, instead of light and happy, or sad and sappy, tonight I give you …

A tribute to the memory of four assassinated Americans, all icons of social change: Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, and Robert F. Kennedy.  This song was written in response to the assassination of King and that of Robert Kennedy in April and June 1968, respectively.  More than 50 years … can it really have been so long ago?  I remember it … truly as if it were just a few weeks ago.  As I listen to this song, I cannot help but choke … remembering … the hope these men brought us … how I wish they were here today … 😢

The original version was recorded by Dion Francis DiMucci, better known simply as Dion.  Although the song has been recorded by many of my favourites such as Ray Charles, Kenny Rogers, the Brothers Four, Marvin Gaye, Bob Dylan, Whitney Houston, and Smokey Robinson, to name a few, the Dion version remains my favourite.  And so, I bring you, in honour of four truly great men whose lives, because they were great, because they worked tirelessly for equality for all, were cut far too short …

Abraham, Martin And John
Dion DiMucci

Has anybody here seen my old friend Abraham,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed a lotta people, but it seems the good die young
But I just looked around and he’s gone.

Has anybody here seen my old friend John,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed a lotta people, but it seems the good die young
But I just looked around and he’s gone.

Has anybody here seen my old friend Martin,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
He freed a lotta people, but it seems the good die young
But I just looked around and he’s gone.

Didn’t you love the things they stood for?
Didn’t they try to find some good for you and me?
And we’ll be free,
Someday soon it’s gonna be one day.

Has anybody here seen my old friend Bobby,
Can you tell me where he’s gone?
I thought I saw him walkin’ up over the hill
With Abraham, Martin and John.

Songwriters: Richard Holler
Abraham, Martin And John lyrics © Regent Music Corporation, Stonehenge Music

Post-Christmas Snarky Snippets

Well, Christmas is over, and it’s back to the drawing board … back to Trumpmania … back to the chaos and vitriol that defines the United States in this, the 21st century.  I hope you all are ready for a new dose of snark, for I have an overflow of it today.


Lock her UP!

This, my friends, is the face of evil …Nicole-FranklinHer name is Nicole Marie Poole Franklin of Des Moines, Iowa, and on December 9th, she struck not one, but two children with her car, in separate incidents.  No, they weren’t accidents, neither was a case where a child ran out in front of her car.  She intentionally aimed at and hit a 12-year-old African-American boy and a 14-year-old Hispanic girl who she “thought was Mexican”.  To top it off, in between hitting the two children, Franklin entered a convenience store, went on a tirade, yelling racial epithets at the clerk, throwing items, then walked out without paying for her purchases.  In both hit-and-runs, tire tracks in the snow show that she veered onto the sidewalk to intentionally hit the children, and video from nearby homes show that she did not slow down, nor did she so much as tap her brakes.

Both children are physically alright, having suffered relatively minor injuries, though the girl was hospitalized for two days and missed a week of school.  Ms. Franklin is in jail charged with assault, committing a hate crime, and attempted murder, the latter a charge that could carry a 25-year prison sentence.  Frankly, I hope she serves every single day of those 25 years, but prosecutors fear that the jury may opt to convict her on the lesser charge of committing a hate crime.

CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper and Joe Henry, president of the League of United Latin American Citizens Council No.307 in Des Moines, told the Des Moines Register that hate crimes and racist attacks have been on the rise in Iowa since President Donald Trump was elected in 2016.  What a surprise, eh?  He opened a door and the bigots walked through it.

A California State University study released this fall by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism shows person-directed hate crimes rose to a 16-year high of 4,571 last year, accounting for 61% of all 2018 hate crimes. For Latinos, those crimes have risen 13% over one year and 48% over five years, according to the analysis of FBI crime statistics.


Home Alone without Trump …

Home-AloneI’m sure that somewhere along the line, I have seen the movie Home Alone 2, though I don’t remember.  Apparently, though, Donald Trump has a cameo in that movie, and earlier this week when he did a video conference call with overseas service members, he took saw an opportunity to brag on himself a bit (what a surprise, eh?) …

“A lot of people mention it every year, especially around Christmas. They say … especially young kids … they say, ‘I just saw you on the movie.’ They don’t see me on television as they do in the movie. But it’s been a good movie, and I was a little bit younger, to put it mildly. And it was an honor to do it.  And it turned out to be a very big hit, obviously. It’s a big Christmas hit — one of the biggest. So, it’s an honor to be involved in something like that, you always like to see success.”

So, given my antipathy for all things Trump, you can imagine my glee when I heard that the Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC) cut out Trump’s cameo when they aired the movie earlier this week!  CBC says it cut it in the interest of time, and that it was not integral to the plot … I fully agree, and would add that Trump is not integral to … well, never mind.  Anyway, it gave me a chuckle.  Trump, on the other hand, blamed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau …Trump-Home-Alone


At least there’s one …

One good republican, that is.  Nebraska State Senator John S. McCollister came onto my radar a while back, though I can’t quite remember how.  He is a republican, but one who seems to have a fair sense of play, a conscience in other words.  On Christmas Eve, I noticed a post by him on Facebook that I thought worthy of noting …John-McCollister

Two thumbs up 👍👍 to Senator McCollister.  It’s only too bad that he isn’t in the U.S. Senate!


Well, folks, that’s enough snark for one day.  I know that Christmas is over, but I came across this yesterday and thought it just begged to be shared.Santa-Claus.jpg

We The People …

“… government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

The above words were spoken by President Abraham Lincoln on Thursday, November 19, 1863, at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  The speech was to become one of the best-known speeches in the history of this nation.  Read the words again, please. lincolnToday, I truthfully and without rhetoric or bombast, state that the government of the people, by the people, and for the people has, in fact, perished from at least the United States.  The word ‘democracy’ is a fantasy that is bandied about by some, but the majority of us can plainly see what is before our very eyes … we have been had.

Earlier this year, four of the world’s largest auto makers — Ford Motor Company, Volkswagen of America, Honda and BMW – struck a deal with the State of California to ignore Trump’s rollback of emissions standards and continue their efforts to reduce CO2 emissions in an effort to stem the tide of climate change.  Our health depends on it.  The air we breathe and the water we drink depends on it.  The lives of 7+ billion people, including you and me, depend on it.  I applaud this cooperative effort between one of the most polluting industries and the State of California.

The federal government does not applaud this effort, and in fact is challenging it.  Today, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it will open an investigation as to whether the four automakers violated federal antitrust laws by reaching a side deal to follow California’s stricter rules.  Additionally, Trump is considering a plan to revoke California’s legal authority to enforce stricter greenhouse gas emissions rules within its state borders.

To put this into the simplest possible terms … California is saying that they want to try to rescue our environment, save lives, and Trump is saying, “No … you must make the air as unhealthy as possible!”.

And, if you aren’t concerned enough about the environment, think of your own wallets!  Trump is actively promoting cars that use more fuel, which means you will be buying more fuel just to get to work and back home each day.

According to the New York Times

Top lawyers from the Environmental Protection Agency and Transportation Department on Friday sent a letter to Mary Nichols, California’s top clean air official, saying, “The purpose of this letter is to put California on notice” that its deal with automakers “appears to be inconsistent with federal law.”

Government for the people?  I think not.  More like … government for the rich fossil fuel barons.  Government by the people?  With a billionaire in the White House and 358 of the 535 members of Congress being millionaires, I don’t think we can say it is a government by the people.  Government of the people?  Our elections are increasingly unfair and dishonest:  think voter disenfranchisement, lack of voter security against outside influences, gerrymandering.  Additionally, once elected, our senators and representatives seem to forget the best interest of those of us who put them in office.  So no, I don’t think our government is of the people, either.  Mr. Lincoln was fortunate not to have lived to see this day.lincoln

 

 

Saturday Surprise — Sandfest!

Welcome to the weekend, my friends!  I suppose you all have big plans this weekend, for on this side of the pond, Sunday is Mother’s Day, though our friends in the UK already had Mother’s Day back in March.  I will be taking Miss Goose out later today to find something for her mom … and I am going to get Chris a Kohl’s gift card so she will buy herself some new work shirts, for I’m tired of seeing the same ones in the wash every week!

I’ve found a treat for you today!  Actually, Miss Goose found it and emailed it to me earlier this week, and I think you’re going to be amazed by some of these.  In late April, on the Gulf Coast of Texas, in Port Aransas, there is a celebration called Sandfest.  It is a three-day celebration with food, music, contests, and all sorts of fun.

The contest first began back in 1997 as a single-day event, but is now spread over three days and has expanded to include live music and much food.  But the highlight of Sandfest is the sculpting contest, and today I want to share with you some of the best sand sculptures you have ever likely seen!

First, the Solo Competitors …

Sand sculpture of Abraham Lincoln, covering his face with his hand

1st Place – Liberty Crumbling, Damon Langlois

Joris Kivits in front of his sculpture.

2nd Place – Keep it Together, Joris Kivits

Remy in front of a sculpture of a woman holding an owl

3rd Place & People’s Choice – Sofia, Remy Hoggard

Woman's face surrounded by tall buildings.

She’s a Little Bit City and a Little Bit Country, Delayne Corbett

Sculpture of a mother and baby elephant

Save the Elephants, Paul Hoggard

Then the Duo Competitors …

Opposites Attract, Laura and John Gowdy

1st Place – Opposites Attract, Laura Cimador-Gowdy & John Gowdy

Man looking into his plants with a magnifying glass, and seeing creatures partying in the plant.

2nd Place – Party in Your Plants, Morgan Rudluff & Abe Waterman

Man in Motion, Ted Siebert & Fred Dobbs.

3rd Place – Man in Motion, Ted Siebert & Fred Dobbs

Then there are the Semi-Pro Competitors …

Sculpture of an elephant holding a gun in one hand and a rose in the other.

1st Place – Guns and Roses, Andrew Daily

Achilles holding a sword and shield

2nd Place – Achilles, Amanda Bolduc

Sculpture of a WWII veteran holding a photo of himself as a young soldier.

3rd Place, Greatest Generation, Bruce Peck

Items from the 80s, including a dial phone, Atari, Rubick's Cube, and more.

People’s Choice – 80s Callin’, Dale Andrews

Sculpture of a lion

Braveheart, Albert Lucio, Sr.

I think these are awesome and I tried to find out how long, on average, it takes to build one, but could find nothing.  I’m guessing days, but … what if it were to rain during the building process?  Instant destruction!  I can’t imagine there was much sand left on the beach after this!

My own favourite was Save the Elephants by Paul Hoggard, and I learned that Mr. Hoggard is British and has created literally thousands of sculptures since his first in 1991.  In 2000, he was commissioned by the Royal Cornwall show to create a sand sculpture for Her Majesty, the Queen of England. He created a farm yard scene of pigs and piglets, which he presented in person to Her. It is said that she enjoyed it very much.  I hope you enjoyed the sand sculptures and that you have an awesome weekend!  And Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there!

kids in sandbox

Great Quotes From Great Men

 

“My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” – John F. Kennedy

“Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.” – John F. Kennedy

“If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.” – John F. Kennedy

“The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.” – John F. Kennedy

“Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” – John F. Kennedy

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“”Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought.” – Abraham Lincoln

“Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves.” – Abraham Lincoln

“Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.” – Abraham Lincoln

“When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. And that’s my religion.” – Abraham Lincoln

“A house divided against itself cannot stand — I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free.” – Abraham Lincoln

Great quotes from the great men who truly did make America great. No further explanation is needed.