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Saturday, May 12, 2018

It’s been this bad


I read an NPR interview with Jon Mecham, whose book The Soul of America explores a country post 2016, its soul inclusive of Martin Luther King and the Ku Klux Klan. We are in a perilous moment now, but it has been far worse. The interview is brief, the synopsis is easy, and I lift much from the text to present it.

The interview begins with Andrew Johnson, immediate post Civil War President, who said African Americans were genetically incapable of self-government. “He was a bully. He was self-absorbed. He gave self-pitying speeches,” Mecham says, though, the story of American history is that we have, in fact, moved forward.

He walks us through the hills and valleys that trended up. Rutherford B. Hayes became President of the United States as part of a compromise that pulled the federal troops out of the South. Theodore Roosevelt, was engaged with the idea of a melting pot, the idea that immigration was a force for good.

Women’s suffrage happened under Woodrow Wilson. Franklin Roosevelt was told if he solved the Great Depression he would be known as a great president, if he failed, the worst. Roosevelt responded, if he failed, he’d be the last. Then there was the beginning of the Cold War, of four years of McCarthyism, under the senator from Wisconsin.

Lyndon Johnson, a white Southerner from a segregated state, decided he was going to create voting rights in this country and finish the work of Abraham Lincoln.  And now President Trump is an aberration in the journey up hills, down hills. 

“The choices we make now will echo for a long time”. The choices are as important as those after the Civil War, as those of the best presidents of the twentieth century, in deciding the people we will be in future.

So, it remains us, and the force of individual choices. That is, the force of all the ideas you threw out onto my mountain of suggestions. I have to tell you, I still would love to see a national shaming system. 

Bigots, racists, just plain idiots need to be deafened by “What Are You Thinking”. How about Paul Ryon, retiring at 48 with a full pension and trying to take food stamps from millions of children and poor families.

I came to that NPS interview through Jenn Hoffman's inspired blog, which I have often referenced and linked to. One suggestion she often concludes with is thanking elected representatives of either persuasion who have helped us move forward any given week. It's as simple as a thank you note or email.

I listened to Elizabeth Warren the other night, on one of her appearances on Steven Colbert. I do not remember what, but she was thanking the audience and America for an outpouring of thanks. "Don't ever think it doesn't matter that you write to us," she shouted above the tumult. It does count. Do it!

With my sister’s help, the loom room is pushed here, pulled there, looking better. Laura is on a two night Adventure Crew camp out at the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum at University Circle in Cleveland. I have no idea what they are up to, and looking forward to hearing. And, we have tickets for the great RBG film, next weekend. There may be a full report.


 

23 comments:

  1. Yes. Giving thanks is as least as important as expressing disappointment.

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  2. Your loom seems very comfortable in it new home.

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  3. Hari OM
    I cannot give proper response to your political commentary here, although am very interested by it, I don't really have the point of reference. I do know that you know and that your giving voice to it is a fine thing!

    I CAN say that your loom room is looking grand - and having seen a promo for RBG, I do so very much hope that we get a chance to see it over here! YAM xx

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  4. humans...a failed experiment. But, on we go.

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  5. Difficult to shame when the media are owned by the very people who should be shamed...

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  6. Mecham is an excellent orator. I really enjoyed his NPR interview and catch him when he's on Bill Maher's show when I am able.

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  7. Amen to what the "Fly" said!!! That certainly sums up the biggest problem in one sentence!

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  8. Retiring with plenty for himself but wanting to remove food stamps from the poor? Shame Shame Shame.
    The loom room is looking quite spacious now with just the one loom.

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  9. That loom room looks so professional.

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  10. It's a sad thing when the best we can hope for in our politiians is that they don't embarrass us in public. A good idea though, to offer our thanks when we perceive that they have done something good. Only problem, not everyone has the same idea of what is good so they will be getting thanks for some things you don't agree with lol.

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  11. My favorite quote from that Meacham interview is "The constitution was designed for this moment." Indeed, our founding fathers knew well that power corrupts and designed the constitution to protect us from petty tyrants.

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    1. I don't know you, but CCR are all the credentials I'd ever need. No idea what they mean for you, but they're Credence Clearwater Revival to me; an instant association. The last time we sought a solution to madness, CCR's songs filled the background. Welcome, and tell me what your initials stand for.

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    2. Ha, this is actually Colette. I wasn't logged into my blog when I replied. :)

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    3. And I remembered the medallion about the time I published!

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  12. There have been incidents in Canada when racists have lost jobs and been subjected to public ridicule after they were recorded spewing hate. This can reduce the number of such incidents. Does it change hearts? It’s a start.

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  13. I guess there's some consolation here, but it is hard to fathom how this can be happening.

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  14. Thank you for reminding me that the country's had downs along with the ups. I had deluded myself into believing it was all straight ahead, and the current political climate was a lethal aberration. Now I can see that, yes, it's a step (or more) backward, but eventually we can move in the right direction again.

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  15. I've been lax lately, and so read this and a few of your past posts. You woke up my brain from the mundane and gave it something to chew on, things I agree with and others that hadn't occurred to me.

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  16. Saw it yesterday...a film not to be missed. Loom room looks great too.

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  17. Why are there so many selfish people in the world and why are so many of them in politics.
    Merle.........

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  18. Dear Joanne, your posts have, in a real way, become the goad to my conscience. Thank you. I will look for the book and read it. I will also begin to follow the blogger whom you mentioned. Peace.

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  19. Dear Joanne, here I am again. I looked for Jenn Hoffman, but I'm not sure of the blog. Would you please e-mail me or leave a comment on my blog to let me know the URL for her blog????? thank you. peace.

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