Don’t Despair: Good People with Grit Find a Way to Win

www.nytimes.com/2021/11/22/opinion/american-democracy.html

This is an article by Michelle Goldberg from the Nov. 22 New York Times. In it she discusses the various techniques the present day Republican Party has put in place to prevent Democrats from ever again influencing public policy in any meaningful way. I hope you will be able to open the article and read it if you have not already done so.

As she ticks off the things they have done over the last forty years, it becomes clear that what they have in mind is a one-party America run for the benefit of a white, male, evangelical Christian minority that won’t hesitate to use its Second Amendment rights to intimidate and suppress.

If you are a Democrat, things seem hopeless. And things look particularly grim if you are a Democrat who is non-white, or maybe someone who identifies as LGBTQ (will five letters do?), or maybe even if you are a woman, things begin to look pretty hopeless.

I grew up in a one party state. Yes, it was right here in Texas. It was the Democrats then. We went through the whole process of picking candidates to run against a Republican nominee in the General Election. The democratic primaries usually offered the voters real choices. But the Republican never won. And many of the Democrats who won could easily match conservative cred with today’s Republicans, including the racist part.

The Republicans never won, that is, until some rich Texans decided they had had enough when the Democratic Party started doing the unthinkable — electing liberals. And some of the conservatives the Democrats had elected to state offices moved into national office and began to act like liberals. Rich Texans decided it was time to build a Republican Party that could take care of business — literally. Continue reading “Don’t Despair: Good People with Grit Find a Way to Win”

A Thanksgiving Wish: a Poem from Sheenagh Pugh

 


Sometimes
by Sheenagh Pugh

Sometimes things don’t go, after all,
from bad to worse. Some years, muscadel
faces down frost, green thrives, the crops don’t fail,
sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well.

A people sometimes will step back from war;
elect an honest man; decide they care
enough, that they can’t leave some stranger poor.
Some men become what they were born for.

Sometimes our best efforts do not go
amiss; sometimes we do as we meant to.
The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow
that seemed hard frozen: may it happen for you.

Veterans Day and a Thought about Vaccinations and Masks

I read today that only one in ten adult Americans alive today have spent any time in military service. The other ninety percent are quick to “thank you for your service.” Yet a good many of them insist on the right to remain unmasked and unvaccinated during a deadly pandemic.

I wasn’t told about any such rights in 1968 when they lined us up and marched us between two rows of medical technicians who administered multiple inoculations through pressure pumps that pierced the skin without needles. One med tech leaned on us from each side to administer two shots quickly so we could move on the the next two shots. I don’t even remember how many shots we got that day to prepare us for possible service in southeast Asia.

Mine turned out to be unnecessary since I never went to Vietnam. Still, I have been protected against some unknown list of exotic diseases all these years. I haven’t had the plague yet. Thank you, Uncle Sam.

I try to imagine anyone that day claiming a religious exemption. He probably would have been sent over to talk with the chaplain. It would have been a brief consultation. Mine would have gone about like this: “Methodist? Hmmm. No, private, Jesus didn’t have anything to say about vaccinations. In fact, he talked a lot about sacrificing for others. Go get back in line.”

Maybe Veterans Day would be a good time for Americans to take their minds off their rights for a brief while and spend a few minutes thinking about duty and responsibility. No uniform is required to be a responsible citizen.

So, get vaccinated. Do it for a veteran you love. Do it for your protection and theirs. He or she may thank you for your service.

Sehon Warneke, the Legend of Lake Hardware

When I was growing up in Houston’s industrial suburbs, “town” meant Houston and more specifically, the downtown district. You know – tall buildings. After relocating to Lake Jackson in 1982, I never lost that almost automatic reference to “town” as my way to refer to Houston. And it was easy to tell old friends that we had moved south of town to a place called Lake Jackson, hence this journal goes under the heading of South of Town, Lake Jackson.

Lake Jackson was a bit of a culture shock. After all, I was nearing forty and had never experienced life in a small-town on an extended basis. People were polite. They smiled as they took turns, even at the uncontrolled intersections in its curvy, crazy little downtown.

But the single most shocking thing I saw happened in a little store three short blocks from my house, the Lake Hardware store on Oyster Creek. (It’s no longer there. Fire took it a week ahead of 9/11, but they quickly re-located and re-built.) You need a lot of little things when you move into a new residence. There were all the little things that broke, new things that needed to be installed, and the tools and supplies to handle all the jobs of homeownership. I had quickly learned that Lake Hardware was the place to go.

Continue reading “Sehon Warneke, the Legend of Lake Hardware”

Open Mic Night at the School Board: I Play the Gray Card

Inspired by Michael Morris’s September 8 column in The Facts, I called the school district office and got on the list to offer public comment at the start of the September board meeting. I am not an open mic kind of person, but Mr. Morris reminded me of the importance, in a democracy, of speaking up when you have a reasonable opinion about how things should go in your community’s life.

As the day approached I thought about the possibility that the Justice for J-6 crowd may well be preparing to flood the board room with bikers recruited from Sturgis, South Dakota to chain whip anyone daring to appear at the meeting masked against “the Chinese virus“. At a minimum I thought I ought to choose my words carefully and write them down to keep myself on script.

So I wrote about two and a half minutes of my thoughts in which I appealed to my status as an elder in the community. Maybe they would’t beat up an old man wearing glasses, leaning on a cane, and talking about the olden days.

Speaking Up and Speaking Out – For Children and Teachers

Michael Morris of The Facts gave excellent and important advice in his column this morning. I took the challenge and got on the public agenda for the September meeting of my local school board trustees’ meeting. I hope other of his readers will do the same.

As someone who came of age in another century, I can remember when public health was treated as a legitimate and very important medical specialty. Polio, smallpox, chicken pox, measles and many more have been controlled through the advancement of science and medical practice. We learned to trust the advice of the professionals. And maybe even more important, we had teachers in public schools who taught us how to recognize the difference between the advice offered by public health professionals and that of snake oil salesmen.

Just remember that the same people who are telling you that masks and vaccines are the work of the devil are the same ones telling you that ivermectin works and will keep you safe from Covid-19. Not all of the people who listened to them are still with us. May they rest in peace in the arms of their understanding, if not greatly disappointed, God.

Instead, believe the people who went to medical school and completed the really hard science courses and medical practice internships and residencies. They know what they are talking about and they don’t do satanic rituals when you aren’t looking.