Fulminations

Here's the thinking that underlies the poem posted two days ago:

With visceral pain I watch the daily erosion of our government, the willful decimation of leadership and expertise in the Energy and State Departments, the curtailing of National monuments, violation of our natural preserves.  Governed by a blustering liar who came to power thanks to fake news and the machinations of the Russians, our country has slipped from its pinnacle of world leadership and become an actively disruptive force in the world.  The American Century is long past.  We can only hope that our institutions are sufficiently flexible to allow us to regain our democracy in the future.

We have, of course, been slipping for decades:  faith in market economy and the removal of campaign finance restrictions has resulted in increasingly unequal distribution of wealth, erosion of the Middle Class, a large disaffected sector victimized by mechanization and the moving of industries abroad.  The failure of education to retrain those displaced by job loss and improve their lives lead to disaffection and created the climate for an iconoclast like Trump.  

I was born when FDR was President.  Under his leadership government assumed responsibility for getting us out of the Great Depression.   Free marketers and anti-statists, will you please tell me what was wrong with that approach? 

There are times when the public interest requires government intervention.  The rich are not worthier than the rest of us and not smarter either.  They simply focus on the accumulation of wealth and on making the system work for them, while others focus on other interests.   And that has been at the expense of fundamental ideals of democracy.

What happened to the notion of “the Good Society” in which a “Liberal Education” --meaning an education that gave one a broad overview of science, math, history, culture, political systems-- equipped each person for responsible citizenship?   When it seemed too onerous to include knowledge of Africa and Asia in addition to Western traditions, a smorgasboard approach replaced it.   As a result we have have lost the common denominator essential to understanding the world and specialize only in what piques our interest-- the "silo-ization " of knowledge.  We no longer communicate effectively across these divides.

So what will save us these days?

Poem: Winter Day 2018

What little I have to say today is best captured, perhaps, in this poem:

Winter Day 2018

Cold sun veiled
behind bare trees
clouds—
soft gray and dark—

and Trump tweets
Rocket Man

His my-penis-
is-bigger-than-yours exchange
unsettles nations
as he coasts gleefully down
from the pinnacle
of world leadership

Since trumpeting opinion
fuels fires of hate
and prejudice
and facts are disregarded
those not protesting
simply watch the scenario proceed

Last night’s full moon
resplendent as it shone
through forest trees
move me to contemplate
the forest floor—
our past years’ illumined leaves

KBT

My Blog:

How amazing that we can now share ideas and work of all sorts with whomever chooses to tune in!  It feels a bit like reverse skydiving—putting thoughts onto this page then sending them out into the universe.  What a luxury to have a space to share in different media!  I couldn’t have imagined it before actually starting to blog.  I don't know where this will take me, but I do know where I want to start. Today’s, my first blog, will be mostly visual.

Our Trip to England, June & July 2017About the Trip

Chris and I just returned from England. where every step we took had cultural references.  London is full of landmarks going back past the Roman occupation and The British Museum, the first public museum in the world, was started in 1752, based on wonderful British collections of antiquities, fossils, plants — whatever fascinated the intellectually curious of the time.  Given the destruction of the Iraqi Archaeological Museum when were bombed Saddam Hussein, it was thrilling to see the Rosetta Stone, Assurbanipal’s gates, the Elgin Marbles and many other treasures, all safe, protected, and accessible to view.  Countryside and towns were home to favorite authors, and London's pubs name them.  Our historical roots abound everywhere.

I took hundreds of photos and, following a new resolve, deleted a close to half before editing seriously.  My I Phone camera cozies in to each subject before settling on the best take, allowing me to take photos when moving.  Here are a few of my best pictures in slideshow form:

Reflections on travel by bus, by train, on foot:

 
 

Some of my favorites from the trip:

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