Culture


Reflect. Respond. Rejoice.

The inexplicableness of it all. Either the Boston Marathon explosions were the acts of the insane or the “work” of the unheard. Regardless, innocence is the victim. An eight-year-old child waiting for his victorious father to complete the marathon is . . . what? Murdered. To what end? Because the “voices” had become too loud to ignore and the deranged driven to wreak havoc?

When New York City’s Twin Towers were leveled, it was reasonable to ask why would the perpetrators go to such great lengths, sacrifice their lives in order to kill so many? Some Americans don’t like such questions because it somehow suggests culpability on our nation’s part. That American imperialism, militarism and meddlesome foreign policy were somehow a factor. But you have to wonder, why were equivalent buildings, say, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil not targeted?

To what degree do American actions create the feedback loop that has foreigners lined-up to murder us?

Some anti-terrorism experts were suggesting on Tuesday that the bomb was crudely constructed, perhaps the creation of a homegrown terrorist showing solidarity with his foreign brothers. That would be a disappointing development as the predictable response includes the ratcheting-up of suspicion and surveillance of our neighbors (all citizens indirectly). Identify the culprits as American Muslims and that entire community suffers.

I don’t think it the work of crazy homegrown white boys (see Timothy McVeigh), as a U.S. government building was not the target. These spineless goofs/cowards are quite the puzzling phenomena. America is such a large, diverse nation that you can simply disappear to Obscure, Oklahoma or Remote, Oregon and live the independent life. Why slaughter innocence because the “guberment might take my guns?” McVeigh had such concerns.

That leaves the out and out crazy among us who “saw things in the window. . . heard things at the door.” This, to me, is unsettling. We like rhyme and reason to our explanations. Whenever I hear that someone was murdered, I ask, “Did he have it coming?” Of course that is a joke but we prefer a causal relationship to our violence. A jealous boyfriend. The aggrieved wife. The despondent “fired” employee. The deranged Second Amendment “patriot.” We prefer some underlying explanation—crazy at it may sound to us—for the (any) violence.

I don’t know where the investigation will lead or if “justice” will ever be achieved and truth served. What I do know is that life will go on. Not so much for the harmed but for the rest of us for sure. If your daughter is being married this Saturday, that ceremony of life will occur. Toasts will be offered. Exuberant dancing, perhaps even a Chicken Dance or two will get the attendees on their feet. And the exhausted couple will leave on their honeymoon, perhaps without a thought at all of the unfolding developments in Boston. Blessedly so.

That is one of the dichotomies of living. All of us to varying degrees sublimate the tragedies and sorrows associated with our species, with being alive. Very soon in our development we determine our outcomes. By age seven or eight I realized I wasn’t getting “out” alive. While disappointing—it is—what are we to do about it? As mythologist, Joseph Campbell so cogently observed, “Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world. We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy.”

Reflect. Respond. Rejoice.

A Beautiful Life.

“Even in the centuries which appear to us to be the most monstrous and foolish, the immortal appetite for beauty has always found satisfaction.” Charles Baudelaire

President Obama was taken to task and the “liberal” woodshed for his recent comments concerning California’s female Attorney General. An old friend and political supporter, Obama said that Kamala Harris is “brilliant and she is dedicated and she is tough,” as well as “she also happens to be, by far, the best looking attorney general in the country.”

It was that last observation, on her looks, that brought down the wrath of liberal women, that to comment on a woman’s physicality (appearance), in the context of her work, was inappropriate, sexist and demeaning of women. Being a feminist and a consumer of history, I am sensitive to any practice (speech in this case) that in any way demeans, limits or restricts a woman’s freedom, independence or opportunity.

Aside from beauty pageants, the consideration of a woman’s physical appearance is irrelevant to any “job” she pursues. Period. End of story. If laws (regulations) are required to eliminate job preference (promotions, wages, etc.) based on physical appearance, so be it. That said.

You’re beginning to see more “commentary” on how we, in the West, have placed too much coin on the pursuit of individual freedom at the expense of community. A favorite philosopher of mine Richard Rorty thought we need to pursue/balance both virtues. Both individuality (in its infinite expressions) and the commonweal.

One of the things that I love about America is that America’s women can freely walk around looking like goddesses. Not necessarily at 2:00 AM in rough neighborhoods (although I would like my America to facilitate just that, that no woman was ever in harm’s way, anywhere/anytime). But in much of our nation, there are beautiful women everywhere. They are ubiquitous as flowers. That America’s women—the goddesses among us—who publicly appear so, this represents a national value—individual expression’s of personal freedom. That said.

I objectify women. I have all my life. For whatever the reason, when I was in kindergarten I became enchanted by a classmate who broke my heart when she moved away that year. I couldn’t tell you what she looked like (although her joie de vivre comes to mind), but I remember her as beautiful. Where does that come from? As has been observed the heart knows what it knows and each sex objectifies the other. We do. Each sex appreciates beauty, both similarly and differently. That said.

Is there too much emphasis in America on beauty? Perhaps. Arguably. Has its consideration any place when hiring and promoting America’s workforce? We can all agree, absolutely not. To the degree that Obama’s comments undermines the commonweal (by undermining the status of women) he should be called out. All men need to hear from the women in their lives when their actions/comments cross the line. That said.

“Some guys say beauty is only skin deep. But when you walk into a party, you don’t see somebody’s brain. The initial contact has to be the sniffing.” James Caan

Know what? I wouldn’t limit “the sniffing” to just the guys. Slice it/dice it. Gals have preferences, too. Some seek the big brains. Others gravitate to big wallets. But if the brains and/or the bucks come in a handsome package, too, well, isn’t that just the beautiful life? It happens. Sometimes.

He’s Not Dead . . . He’s Married.

Marriage means commitment. Of course, so does insanity. Author Unknown

For some inexplicable reason Hugh Hefner’s name (of Playboy fame) came up in a recent group conversation and someone wondered if he was still living and I laughing suggested, “He’s not dead, he’s married.” Many yucks followed.

Hefner, 86, married 26-year-old Crystal Harris, a former Playmate. This was Hefner’s third marriage and her first. They were married last December. These sorts of “arrangements” are a bit baffling to me. Hefner obviously does not need to “get” married to have sex with Playboy centerfolds. He’s had multiple long-term relationships (relatively speaking) with “Bunnies” he’s featured in Playboy. One can hardly fault him for that. The question arises as to the motivation for the young Ms. Harris. Two reasons come to mind. She’s not particularly bright. Or, it’s that sexy bulge in Hefner’s . . . um. . . back pocket.

I’m inclined to think it’s a combination of both. She may not be the brightest bulb in the pack (although she certainly does light-up the page), but she is brilliant enough to grab the “golden” ring. A marital pre-nup was probably Hefner’s dowry (ah, the price one pays for youth), so regardless of the outcome of this, uh, union, Ms. Harris will be well compensated. As well she should be. This marriage was a transaction. As are all marriages.

One of the funniest things I regularly witness on Park Avenue is the gray-haired lad (in his 50s or early 60s) with a young, snot-nosed child in tow, walking slightly behind his pram-pushing “trophy wife.” She’s maybe 33 and is invariably yacking away on a cell phone. The child in the stroller is crying and our “lad” has the deer-in-the-headlights look of “My gawd, what have I done?” Cruelly, I inwardly laugh.

Marriage is a human construct. It’s not a gift from god, unless, of course, your god has a wicked sense of humor.

My 42-year-old, once married daughter thinks marriage 50 years from now will be a dramatically different institution. That, yes, marriages will occur; folks will legally “hook-up” to have children but expecting two people to be contracted to one another “for life” is untenable and presumptuous. You never really know the person you are marrying and people inevitably change. My daughter speculates that in fifty years, folks will be married (or attached) a number of times, reflecting how we change as we mature, just as our expectations (needs & wants) revise as we grow as individuals.

My sister (Saint Sandra of Socorro) has often remarked that marriage is the most difficult “thing” we humans do. It begs the question, why is that? Mythologist Joseph Campbell talked at length about the Golden marriage and what it takes to achieve its rewards. Campbell advocates the surrender of self to marriage. Talk about a difficult concept. Biblical scholar Jerry McCant observed that, “You can never be happily married to another until you get a divorce from yourself. Successful marriage demands a certain death to self.”

Euphemistically speaking, the death of “ones” offers the possibility of a life for two. Sublimating one’s ego poses the question, to what end? That is a conundrum all of us—at one time or another—confront.

Robert Anderson, author of Solitaire & Double Solitaire said, “In every marriage more than a week old, there are grounds for divorce. The trick is to find, and continue to find, grounds for marriage.”

Many tire of the game.

What Does This Country Need?

What this country needs is a good five-cent cigar. Thomas Marshall, United States Vice President

The cigar quote is attributed to Woodrow Wilson’s two-term Vice President, Thomas Marshall. Presiding over the Senate and after listening to an interminable senatorial speech on what America needs, Marshall allegedly leaned over to a colleague and offered his pithy assessment of what the country required. And, of course, Marshall is remembered today. A footnote.

What do you think America needs today? Seriously, if you could wave a magic wand, what would you implement/initiate that would make America a “better” place?

I think the nation is “half-measuring” itself to the dustbin of history. We seem incapable of achieving two important tasks: 1.) Determining (as a society) important national priorities and, 2.) Agreeing (a consensus) on how to achieve/pursue them. I am sadly disheartened regarding the course of America.

Is there one particular example that best exemplifies where 21st century America finds itself? I am sure that my more reflective readers could provide an illustration, or two. Send me your examples but I insist they be unambiguous as to how they clearly demonstrate the nation’s descent to mediocrity.
I make the distinction between specific acts of self-interest (recall Alaska’s bridge to nowhere), which was merely legislative “PORK” run-amuck. It is a timeless practice, based on greed and power. No, I want clear-cut examples of systemic deterioration of the national fiber.

Among the many examples that immediately come to mind, I’ve one that clearly captures the challenge confronting the United States.

In the summer of 2012 the Texas Republican Party agreed to the following provision in its Party Platform: Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills . . . which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.

To go on record, publicly no less, that as Republicans you oppose teaching our children critical thinking skills is a staggering indictment of the nation as a whole. Why oppose critical thinking? Because it might challenge one’s “fixed beliefs?” What? Critical thinking might actually lead to behavior modification? For shame, that we ever change our thinking or –horrors!– our behavior!

My goodness, Jepson, I’m not sending my kid to school so she learns to think for herself! Sacrebleu!

What does it say, that the governing political party in the second largest state in the United States goes on public record opposing higher order thinking skills, critical thinking, because—bottom-line—authority may be challenged?

This is at the crux of much of human history. Time and time again, authority opposed change because change is threatening. To power. To privilege. To wealth. To what is known. To the status quo. To the “sacred” unchallengeable verities.

Fortunately, for humanity, such rearguard reactionary actions never succeed in the long run. Change is as predictable as each new day. Mercifully so. No nation, no people remain “in” power forever. We like to think we (Americans) are different in that regard. That history is irrelevant, that we will be on-top forever.

To oppose the teaching of critical thinking facilitates America’s decline and is emblematic of us today, as a culture. Someday future Americans will sadly ask, “What were those people thinking?” The answer: we weren’t.

Nay, Republicans are actually on record opposing it.

At The Dance.

Ah, such goodies I have for you.

Many of you will already know from whence I speak. I’ve a book and movie by the same name to recommend. Here’s what Bosley Crowther, movie reviewer for the New York Times, had to say August 13, 1963, “The film that Luchino Visconti and his star, Burt Lancaster, have made from Giuseppe di Lampedusa’s fine novel The Leopard is a stunning visualization of a mood of melancholy and nostalgia at the passing of an age.”

The Leopard was published in 1958 and made into a movie five years later. I highly recommend that you first read the book and then Netflix the movie. The writing, the book is spot-on marvelous. The movie is gorgeous.

It’s Burt Lancaster as the lead who makes the movie so fascinating to watch. Lancaster plays a Sicilian prince in 1860s Italy. Everything is changing. His world is disintegrating. But what’s a prince to do? He hunts. He reads. He conducts scientific experiments. He carouses. He leads his family. He debates with the family priest. He’s sexy. Ironic. He’s a modern man (of sorts) lamenting the loss of his privileged status. He has faults. What man hasn’t? But as one English lady observed of the Prince, after reading the book, “There is a man I could have loved.” And how difficult could it be to have loved the likes and looks of Lancaster?

I cannot specifically remember how I first came to read The Leopard but I was still an impressionable teenager. I missed the movie’s release in 1963, probably not seeing it until Blockbuster Video opened in the late 1980s. What I do vividly recall was my utter fascination with the author’s creation of the primary character, the Prince, a man at the pinnacle of the social order who clearly understood that his day in the sun was inexorably passing. Not only was Italian nobility being replaced by—of all things!—a bourgeoisie middle class but the Prince was now one of the “old ones at the dance.”

I could easily live in Italy today. The land, the food, the history, the art, the climate, the people, Italy is a grand experience. And to have, once-upon-a-time, lived there as a Prince on 700-year-old estates, well, sign me up.

Burt Lancaster was born in 1913 and was 50 years old when The Leopard was released. He looks about as good as a man can look (in life/or movie). He’s trim. He’s fit. He’s handsome. He’s educated. But he’s melancholy. Life, alas, hasn’t stopped, hasn’t paused even briefly for him, a Prince no less. Time unfortunately does not defer to title or social class.

The last 45 minutes of the movie is a gaudy, extravagant ball where the Prince dances with a rapturous Claudia Cardinale, whose character, Angelica, is described in the book as “tall and well made, on an ample scale; her skin looked as if it had the flavor of fresh cream, which it resembled . . . and emanating from her whole person was the invincible calm of a woman sure of her beauty.” So lush a woman that one man upon first seeing her could “feel the veins pulsing in his temples.”

I’d cry, too, as does the Prince in the movie. So much beauty in life—sigh—so quickly gone.

The Leopard captures that dichotomy of human experience, hmmm, shall we say, beautifully.

A Creation Question

Ah, so sweet the irrational mind
That grasps a dogma to humans unkind.
Extolling a truth, creating the line
That somehow their faith is superior to mine.

When I first wrote the above little ditty, I labored a long time over whether it would be the rational or irrational mind that believes what it will (does). We like to pride ourselves that we arrive at decisions/actions from a rational, reasoned perspective. Alas, sigh, but were it so.

So many examples from which to draw. Would a “humane” culture, for instance, create/countenance a healthcare system that doesn’t care for all its citizens? Should we contemplate (assuming carbon-based climate change is real) authorizing the Keystone Pipeline to transport, arguably, the dirtiest petroleum (Canadian oil sands) on the planet?

The above two examples require collective action based on a public debate of the pros & cons, the merits of the argument. Alas, sigh, but were it so. If I were unilaterally making policy I would answer “No” to both. I support universal healthcare for all Americans and would not “permit” the Keystone Pipeline.

But. I am sure you notice that there is a “But” to nearly every human decision. For example, should I logically pay for the “poor” decisions of my fellowman? If you smoke cigarettes today, is it possible that you do not know the accompanying health risks? I think not. If you are obese should your fellow citizens pay for your resulting diabetes and heart disease? Same goes for cigarettes.

The Keystone Pipeline will either take the “product” to Texas for refining or it will be piped across Canada to a Pacific port (refinery) and shipped to China. That’s a fact, Jack. The carbon is going to be released into Earth’s atmosphere regardless of whether or not the United States authorizes the pipeline. Here’s the reality. Deny the pipeline and the environment will still suffer but fewer Americans will be employed.

So what is the rational decision on either of these issues? And what exactly should be the “determining factors” for each? Does the creation of American jobs trump environmental desecration? Are we “morally” complicit—understanding what we do about carbon and climate change—by sanctioning the pipeline?

Are human beings exempt from accountability when it comes to personal healthcare issues? If, I, as an individual make a determination to smoke and/or be obese, should I expect those who do not smoke and/or who maintain a healthy body weight to subsidize my poor decisions?

Even more fundamentally, If I choose to control my fertility by having no more children than I can afford, should I be expected to subsidize the offspring of irresponsible adults who sire/bear children they cannot sustain? Is that fair (also consider: the resulting children)?

As odd as it may seem, we too often arrive at irrational decisions from a rational process—a rational process driven by our preconceived notions as to the truth-of-the-matter. In essence, we start a decision-making process flawed from its inception.

Rather than start from “the” truth, I recommend we begin from the pragmatic. Start from what works (Or, what we theorize might work). Sublimate the urge to argue/legislate/condemn based on your idea of “the” truth.

If you must, consider what works as “the” truth. (Read: Charles Pierce, John Dewey & Richard Rorty)

Ask: what are the realistic consequences of embracing this (any) viewpoint? And . . .

Importantly, what kind of a world are we creating for our grandchildren?

I Can Take No But Not From You.

I’m thinking of “I Can Take No But Not From You,” as a song title and chorus lyrics for a country western song. I think I can write a song. And to have “I Can Take No But Not From You” as a starting point well, visually, I’m already picking-up my award in Nashville. Yea Baby.

So, I could use some help. Add an idea, your “eight words” and our success will be a collaborative effort. Publish here your words.

Give it up for “I Can Take No From Anyone But You.”

c.

What Now?

I did not deny God’s existence, but I doubted His absolute justice.
- Elie Wiesel, “Night.”

I’ve been reading a few pages, each evening, of “Night” by Elie Wiesel. I can only take a few pages before I have to set it down. I inwardly shout, “Get out! Leave! Now! Run!” Night recounts Wiesel’s experience as a Romanian Jew during the Holocaust. It is profoundly sad. I can only internalize so much of his account before I become anxious and unsettled.

When I heard of the Connecticut massacre, of 20 children dying (seven adults, too) I was immediately sickened, physically nauseated by the senselessness of killing babies. You ask yourself, “How can this be? How can slaughtering innocence ever be contemplated, let alone acted upon? Why would this happen?”

That’s really not the question needing asked. But rather, how was this massacre perpetrated? (Answer: see assault weapons.)

The timeless question for our species is why is man so prone to violence, so willing to hurt and humiliate?

I was taken aback by former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee’s observation on the Connecticut massacre that, “We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools. Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?” I found his comments both disgusting and surprising.

Surprising from the perspective that I thought, Huckabee, as an ordained Southern Baptist minister, would have emphasized that God is present everywhere and always. He suggests the contrary. That because prayers are not offered in public schools, what? Death and mayhem shall ensue?

As a non-believer in a personal god, I find such questions intriguing. In the 2011, visually stunning movie, Tree of Life, a character observes, “He sends flies to wounds he should heal.” He, of course, is God. It’s a legitimate observation to me. One, I imagine, discussed from church pulpits all over America last Sunday. It is a question that can only be finessed because that is exactly what the Old Testament God does time and time again.

It begs, however, the question, “Why?” I have questioned the existence of God ever since I was old enough to realize that really bad things happen to good people. Why? Where was God during the Holocaust? Or, during the Trail of Tears? Or, the Moro Massacre? Or, Sandy Hook Elementary School? Was God’s attention diverted, busy creating other universes? Discussing whom to smite with Archangels Gabriel and Michael? Was God on vacation?

I don’t think that is the case because if I were an omnipotent, omniscient, forever-always-present God, I would know that Adam Lanza would on December 14, 2012 systematically execute innocence. These children had no choice of “free will.” If I knew humanity was capable of the Holocaust, would I (God) not reasonably tweak ever so slightly my design of mankind?

Why were children massacred in Newtown? Because a mentally deranged man had ready access to assault weapons. He went off the reservation of “acceptable” human behavior.

No, a far better question is how was the act accomplished? To the degree we can identify and help the mentally ill is one issue, with what ease (how) we slaughter each other is quite another.
Happiness is not a warm gun. John Lennon knew that.

Mankind must remember that peace is not God’s gift to his creatures; peace is our gift to each other. Elie Wiesel

What now?

O’Beauty, Cuff Me Now!

We live only to discover beauty. All else is a form of waiting. – Kahlil Gibran

My sister, Saint Sandra Once of Socorro, recounts a wonderful story of a herd of wild African buffalos that each day traveled from where they rested at night to savannahs of grass they grazed upon during the day. At the close of each day they could go directly back to their place of rest but consciously opted to go out of their way, up a rather long hill that overlooked a valley, where they paused to watch the beauty of the setting sun. The human observing this choice believed that these wild creatures had a sense, an appreciation for the beauty of this world such that they intentionally sought it out.

I particularly like this story because it illustrates the power of beauty, that it is such a prevalent feature of life (our universe) that its recognition (relevance) is observed in lesser mammals. Humans throughout history have endeavored, regardless of circumstances, to have beauty in their lives.

It is the rare human environment that has no personal examples, no individual expressions of what constitutes the sublime (beauty) for that person. I prefer Botticelli’s Primavera over, say, an Edgar Leeteg-like black velvet Elvis but that merely illustrates the personal nature of beauty. My mother, could be a bit judgmental in this regard, that an affinity for “lowbrow” art (a velvet Elvis, for example) indicated that that person’s taste was all in their mouth. Haha! Love that Moms.

While in Ashville, NC this past summer I visited the Grovewood Gallery adjoining the Grove Park Inn. The Gallery offers an exceptional presentation of fine American craftsman. I viewed furniture covered with fabrics created and produced by Mary Lynn O’Shea. Absolutely stunning. I was the equivalent of a lumbering water buffalo dumbstruck by the beauty of an African sunset. Only it was gorgeous fabric.

One thing led to another. I contacted Mary Lynn O’Shea, spent approximately 55 days visiting her website (http://mollyrosedesigns.com/), ordering and reordering fabric samples, talking extensively with the Vermont artist, ultimately selecting four patterns for a chair and ottoman I had reupholstered at Decorative Home Interiors (9205 South US Hwy 17-92, Maitland – 407.339.4432). DHI is owned by Terry & Nadine LaLonde. They offer extensive lines of fine fabrics, do marvelous work and I cannot recommend them highly enough. Tell’um Chris sent-cha!

The aesthetic experience is a simple beholding of the object….you experience a radiance. You are held in aesthetic arrest. - Joseph Campbell

In my newly reupholstered chair I will be . . . sitting during my next experience of aesthetic arrest. O’beauty, cuff me now!

Whammy Burger Nation

The Platonic idealist is the man by nature so wedded to perfection that he sees in everything not the reality but the faultless ideal which the reality misses… George Santayana

Irony, of late, has garnered a bad name. Sincerity is the valued coin of the realm these days. And so it is with the burgeoning Secessionist Movement, where disillusioned Americans petition to withdraw from the Union. My inclination is to ridicule such sentiments particularly since the location of secessionist rhetoric is centered in the Heart of Dixie. I do attach racist and nativist underpinnings to the Secessionist “argument” but I think something else is going on as well.

An appropriate illustration of where a number of our fellow citizens find themselves (me, too, at times) is in our sympathy for the character Michael Douglas plays in the 1993 movie “Falling Down.” Douglas portrays a recently laid off defense contractor employee, William Foster. Foster is divorced, disillusioned, depressed and in despair. All he wants is to attend his daughter’s birthday party but has a restraining order against him by his divorced wife. Caught in LA freeway traffic, he abandons his car and begins the long walk across the city to see his daughter.

Foster has many run-ins on his journey crossing a modern American hell but the classic confrontation (for me) occurs in a fastfood restaurant featuring the Whammy Burger. Foster orders off a visual menu showing the quintessential perfect hamburger—The Whammy Burger—photographed to steaming culinary perfection. Alas, when it arrives, it is anything but. It’s pathetic. Soggy bread, wilted lettuce and a piece of meat the size of a burnt quarter. What happens next is what all of us have all dreamed of—Walter Mitty-like—doing. Worth a look-see.

I liken the Secessionist mindset to Foster’s viewing of the perfect Whammy Burger. In the back of the Secessionist mind is some ideal of an American golden-age, a blessed America, of that “shining city on the hill.” Yet the reality of our pluralistic democracy, with all our diverse constituencies vying for power and preference, well, it is a shockingly rude slap to the face to those who have an idealized (or infantile) conception of American history. As has been observed the making of slaughterhouse sausage and representative democracy have much in common.

Secessionists lament the loss of freedom. I am unsure of what loss they mourn. I recently attended a private Shoot’N’Annie along the St. John’s River with enough guns and ammo to have respectably defended Stalingrad in 1943. I do not see any loss of freedom when it comes to the Second Amendment. No one is requiring anyone to attend a specific church. You definitely can speak your mind in America.

No, Jepson, loss of freedom when it comes to taxes and onerous regulations (like being required to contribute to your healthcare). Ah, taxes and regulations. “Oh, wouldn’t it be loverly” to again have an American population of 3.9 million, as was the United States in 1787, with an entire continent at your feet, virtually vacant, to exploit. Just over the next hill, the long arm of “that” onerous government nonexistent.

America was never the “faultless ideal,” the most perfect of Whammy Burger Nations. And this, Dear Reader, is what is. A diet of illusion and ignorance are always menu options in a democracy. What’s the tagline? Tastes Great! . . . Less filling! Not very sustaining in the long run, however. For the individual or the nation.

Next Page »