Alan Grayson, Congressman from central Florida, recently said brilliantly (though he was not the first),
“I placed my hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution; I did not place my hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible.”
I will go him one farther:
I gladly place my hand on the Declaration of Independence and swear to uphold the Constitution. In America, religion has no place in government or law.
It’s January 2, 2015. I promise to publish the first two of my four completed novel manuscripts in the first quarter of this year. (This is a promise, not a resolution, as I regularly break resolutions.) I promise this to myself (very important), to Valerie (even more important), and to Chandler (maximally important). For those who don’t know, Chandler is the one sticking his tongue out at you at the top of my home page. The two novels are titled Max in Repose and Hangtown.
Max in Repose opens at the burial of a man whose will awards his entire estate to his three wives, to be equally divided, on the sole condition that they live together for one year. Any failure, including the death of any of them, violates the will and shifts the estate to the Boston chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Hangtown is the story—linked stories, actually—of the five people who decide who gets hanged in a California Gold Rush town in 1850. A sixth character, a 17-year-old boy traveling to Hangtown, is a likely candidate for the rope at the book’s end. Each character is driven by his and her own fears, desires, and ghosts. It’s historical fiction and written with a structure similar to Maxwell Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio.
Hope I’ve whet your appetite.
I’m sure you’ve heard enough this week+ about JFK. Still, here is a brief video showing a few well-chosen words from him spoken by young, energetic, and active people whose chosen career is to continue his work. I just couldn’t let the day pass without offering something from President Kennedy.
(With thanks to great journalist Tom Cochrun — http://tomcochrunlightbreezes.blogspot.com/2013/11/jfk-everyday_22.html)
- They count on weakness of resolve in the opposition.
- They operate with the siege mentality (keep on bombing, no matter the cost, and the opposition will give in).
- They are contemptuous not only of democratic (progressive; Rooseveltian) policy, but of the opinions of ordinary people.
- They know best; after all, they’re rich and successful and Democrats work for them.
- God (according to John Wesley, etc.) has given them wealth and power, therefore, they are right, no question about it.
- They are America’s royalty, even though America supposedly has no royalty.
- They allow no doubt (though some of them have it). It’s a classic case of circular reasoning, reinforced, of course, by each other (which is known in adolescent circles as a “circle jerk.”)
- Even when they are in the minority, they act as if (1) they are in the majority, or (2) majority/minority doesn’t matter.
- They see themselves as granite, even though they may be sinking in quicksand.
- The very fact that “health reform is Mr. Obama’s signature domestic achievement,” is reason enough to prevent it from happening, even if the majority of Americans want it.
- They will attack their own from further on the right rather than allow their own members to be soft on anything toward the center of right.
(Read this again; it’ll make sense. Sort of stream of ‘un’consciousness; think Snopes thinking in Faulkner. Or, just let it ride and move on.)
AND SOME OTHER RELEVANT THOUGHTS:
- When did American politics become dysfunctional? (I think somewhere around 1800.)
- We’ve been fortunate to survive, possibly by the grace of the Great Spirit.
- Our government, all branches and persuasions of it, has ridden itself into a box canyon. Like watching one of those old Westerns, we’ll certainly see what happens. And please clean up around your seat.
- Ask yourself this question: Are “Democracy” and “Capitalism” incompatible? See where it takes you. (I’m asking you to think, not simply to react as you’re used to.)
Okay, the overwhelming response to this humble blog-site’s question (Do Congress-Idiots keep getting paid during the government shut-down instigated by themselves?) was, Yes, they still receive their paychecks ($174,000/year) during the shutdown. Why? Because they are considered “essential” employees, just like those who work for the National Security Agency.
But, I repeat, why? How “essential” could they be if they contrive to shut down the government they are supposed to be working in, with, and for? That’s like me going to my old boss, Bob, and saying I’m going to shut down your store, Boss Bob, but I insist that you continue paying me my salary.
Does that make sense? I’d sure like to hear from someone what sense it makes. (I’ll probably hear from Boss Bob over coffee at Lily’s on Thursday.)
Question: Do the persons that we elected to the House of Representatives and the US Senate and the White House and their staffs still receive pay during the government shutdown which begins tomorrow? Anybody out there know? If so, pass the answer to me and I’ll pass it down the line.