Saintly. As far as I know, it means your death is going to be particularly horrible. No mere dying in bed of old age. More like getting fried on a hot platter or nailed upside down to a tree or slowly hanged or drowned. But you can be sure that sainthood is going to hurt.
We are on our way to Connecticut to visit Tom and Ellin, except that I’m not feeling so great. I really want to feel better. To this end, I have taken any medication that I believe might possibly make me feel better. So far, the idea hasn’t quite worked, but I’m still hoping. I’ve had this “coming down with something” feeling for a few days, so this isn’t as much of a surprise as it should be.
I’m so determined to feel better — and very soon, please. Well, that’s MY story.
That and looking at my house and wondering what happened. Between last night and this morning, it looks as if no one has ever cleaned it. What were those dogs DOING all night?
It’s going to be a quite few days and please forgive us if we are spotty in our responses. We need the time off and this time, and for once, we’re going to really take it. Off, I mean. Not saintly. Just vacating.
I wrote a post a while back called Unhinged, Unfit and Unbelievable. Actually, I wrote it about 10 minutes ago. But who knows when this will actually air. In it, I was pointing out that in our current surreal reality, we are all looking at the trees and not seeing the forest. The trees are becoming crazier and crazier and the forest is aflame with the fires of pure insanity.
But then I realized that there was a bigger forest. The universe. That’s where the crazy comes from. But why? Why is the universe so … weird?
Some physicists think our universe is a 3-dimensional hologram being produced by the 2-dimensional surface of a really big black hole.
But I think the real answer is even weirder. The universe is just a big, really, really big reality show. And this is how it came about.
Consider God. Or whatever you perceive as God. Buddha, Allah, Universal Consciousness, a guy named Phil. Whatever. This being/entity is all-knowing, all-seeing. Omniscient, omnipresent. He/she/it is the entire universe. So — what is it like being that … Supreme Being?
Well, for the first few billion years it’s fun. Creating things like stars and planets and nebulae. Then blowing them up and making new stars and planets and nebulae. Cool stuff. But at some point, you wake up one day and go “So, what do I do today.” You realize that you haven’t invented days, so you do so. That takes a week. And then you wake up and realize … you’re bored. “What do I do today?”
Oh yeah, I already know. I’ve done it all, I know it all. Damn. This is really getting old.”
So, he/she/it has an idea. “I know, I’ll create all sorts of sentient, or sort of sentient life forms. I’ll put them on billions of planets and give them free will. They can do anything they want. Good, bad or just stupid. (Note to self. Invent Good and Bad.) I have no idea what any of them will do.
I could interfere, but I won’t. That would spoil the fun.
And then he/she/it just started sitting back and watching. The unfit, unhinged and unbelievable reality show called the universe. Lately he/she/it is watching us a lot. I imagine God and Jesus sitting in front of a really big TV screen with billions of feeds from billions of worlds. Right now, they are focused on our feed.
JESUS: Damn Dad. You put me through all that shit just to end up with these jack asses?
GOD: Sorry, my bad. Guess I didn’t really think that one through.
It was pointed out to me that there’s a lot we don’t know about the people who came before us.
How — why — they dressed and spoke and related to each other as people in their society. We are fuzzy about a lot of cultural material and mostly, we take our best guess as to what they were thinking as they lived from one day to the next in whatever capacity they lived it.
We have no clue about how our great-grandfather confessed his love to great-grandmother. We don’t know the words they used, or their tone of voice. We don’t know if their moment of passion happened at all. We don’t know because they left no evidence for us. They spoke differently, yet surely they held the same emotions we do — and we base all our fiction on that assumption. But of course, we could be entirely wrong. It’s just guesswork.
On the other hand, we know precisely — anyone could know this because it’s easy material to find — that the people who drew up our Constitution precisely understood how deeply wrong slavery was. They knew — fully and completely — that failing to remove this horror would cause a war. A big war.
Many expressed gratitude they would not live to see it.
They knew right from wrong.
They spent agonizing hours, weeks, months and years writing about it. Discussing it. Keeping notes about what they said and what others said. They didn’t for a minute think building a nation on slavery was “okay.” Abigail Adams, for one, didn’t want to live in the White House — not merely because it wasn’t finished, but because slaves built it. Yet without the compromise of making slaves three-fifths of a person — a person who would never vote or have anything to say about his own life — there would not have been a Constitution or a country. Getting the country to be a country was, ultimately, what mattered. Under this devil’s decision lay the future in which we are now living.
We didn’t get here by accident. It wasn’t one bad election or a few unfortunate choices. The path on which we are walking was being laid out for us before there was a United State. The issues we now face have always been there.
For all the northern objections to slavery, it wasn’t as if there weren’t any slaves in New England or New York. Southern plantations bought slaves, but New England sea captains brought them here. The first port of call for southern slave owners were the slave markets of New York and New England. Until the Constitution when northern slavery was formally abolished, there were plenty of slaves up north, too.
About those Native Americans from whom we grabbed this land and who we slaughtered so we could keep it? Of course we knew it was wrong. Maybe not every unread slob understood it, but anyone with a modicum of education got it. We still know it, even if we have tried our best to tuck the information as far from “common knowledge” as we can. We don’t want to think about what we did to get this place — and what we are still doing.
Did our ancestors understand this?
But you see — they wanted this country. They wanted it and they wanted it beyond any moral compunctions. If that meant slaughtering entire tribes — see Andrew Jackson for more on that — so be it. Why should “those savages” get this rich and beautiful country? They didn’t deserve it. It should be ours. To make this righteous, we made up a bunch of crap about white being better than not white, but we didn’t get that from anyone’s religion. We quite simply made it up because we needed to believe it.
So, as has happened throughout history, we did what we wanted. We took everything, killed anyone who got in our way and have more less continued to do that ever since. Was it the first or last time an invading group of foreigners stole a nation from its native inhabitants? Obviously not.
I do not buy any concept which says “we didn’t understand what we were doing.” We knew just fine. Our ancestors — your ancestors — might not have talked the way we do, but they were much better at acknowledging good and evil.
Again: How do we know this? Let me reiterate.
They wrote about it. At great length. In documents, diaries, letters, newspapers, and books. We don’t have to guess: they told us. Whether or not great granddad Josiah proposed in flowery English to great grandma Elizabeth may be a guess, but that Josiah thought our behavior toward slaves and Natives was wrong — we do know that.
The reason the Trump White House can do what it is doing is because there is so much hatred in this country. All he needed to do was play to the haters and leave the windows open. We don’t know what our so-called “leaders” believe, but we know who and what they hate. I don’t care in how many other countries this same ugly scene is happening. That doesn’t justify it happening here. If the whole world needs to clean up its act? So be it.
The majority is not necessarily right.
For my entire life, I believed this country — my country — was getting better. Was becoming more of what it said it wanted to be. That we were struggling, but trying to become a moral light in the world. I’m not seeing that anymore. Not on a national level. Are there many individuals who are still fighting the good fight? Sure. But nationally, as a nation, that isn’t what I see. I cannot begin to tell you how deeply disturbing I find this.
How is your conscience doing these days? Having a bit of a rough patch?
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