2017

That Special Passé Mindset

At a certain stage in life, our responsibilities become a matter of Choice rather than Duty. It is a very liberating position to be in, and it is only one of the advantages of old age. Another benefit is the fact that, because we have negligible Duties, we can Choose to be more aware of what is going on in our sorry world. And, while I hear of, and meet, younger people who are even much more aware than myself despite their many demanding Duties, it is mostly us old and retired Activists (Armchair or Actually Active) who can avail ourselves of that Choice, and Never has it been more vital than it is nowadays as our planet seems to be going totally berserk!

A friend of mine, whom I love dearly, told me recently: “I used to seek Excitement. I now seek only Tranquility.” However, how can there be Tranquility, let alone Excitement, amidst the chaos surrounding us everywhere we look? No wonder then that most people have tuned out and don’t bother anymore to even make any sense of our disarray. They’re behaving like many of us proverbial non-Westerners: Manana! Inshallah! Karma! In other words: Let Tomorrow/God/Fate take care of it! Some mornings, I feel that way too! It’s so much easier to lay it all at the feet of some Unknown Power when we feel so utterly helpless, and when our politicians are afflicted with That Special Passé Mindset that, moreover, seems to compel them to continuously deceive us!

“O, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.”

Such as . . .

For seven years the Republicans have been yelling: Repeal and Replace Obamacare! And nothing! Nada! Zilch! (Trump is right on this one!) And should they finally come up with something, trust me, it will only screw us people even more! Much, much more! Shameful! How does it make any iota of sense that we are wasting trillions and yet not being able to rein in the Insurance Companies, Big Pharma and all those related entities to the medical care of this nation so as to have a sensible, affordable, healthcare system for Everyone, rather than their continuing to mislead us with the deceptive placebo that they have a better deal in store for our welfare? And those same politicians want to deny that they are the epitome of corruption? Unbelievable! Totally!

And such as . . .

Looking at our venerated elected Legislature, those who Occupy – literally! – the Congress and the Senate, I see that most of them are as old as Methuselah and should have been retired long ago. However, it seems that the bribes and kickbacks are phenomenally great, aren’t they? That feeling of Power is awesome, isn’t it?! It appears to me that they, and many of the Generals appointed by Trump, belong to that Special Passé Mindset which is still living the post WWII era, the Evil USSR Empire, the Iron Curtain, Communism! They cannot seem to have adjusted to any other alternative, or the possibility of one. How, with such a Passé Mindset can we ever hope to resolve the world’s problems through dialogue and cooperation and not from the point of a gun, a Mother of All Bombs, a nuclear device? Pretty frightful!

And, such as . . .

I can probably go for a coffee, or a lunch, with any of the MSM (Mainstream Media) persons and come away saying: He/She is so smart, and so nice. Why then do they continue to persevere in this Greed and Corruption that seems to be driving them, and that seems to come before and above their Integrity, Honesty, Responsibility, Professionalism, Reason or Patriotism? And why do they continue to feign indignation at the “non-issues” every day and every hour, while many of us are very well aware that they are only Actors – non of them Oscar material, either! – who are fulfilling a Role in a Media Ratings Competition, or playing a part, maybe inadvertently, in “The Conspiracy” that is trying to do away with President Trump, or, at the very least, to curb his agenda? They have become part of the tangled web of deceit that is our predicament, and I wonder how do they extricate themselves from something like that? And how much egg on their faces will they have if all this Russian brouhaha turns out to be nothing of consequence? We don’t know. I certainly don’t. However, I sincerely hope it is the case, not because I voted for this President, or because I support him, but for the sake of the continuity and self-respect of our government. Moreover, we need to arrive to a sensible resolution of all the hot-spot issues of our world without having to resort to more wars and criminality. This will not happen if all of us aren’t focused on this, rather than on the drivel being disseminated by the “news.” Haven’t we caused enough catastrophic damage around the world already? Are the MSM happy to be playing a major role in exacerbating more of this madness as they continue to trash Trump and to overlook all the dangerous events going on in the world?

And such as . . .

Those reports coming out of Afghanistan saying that the production of opium has flourished, tripled and quadrupled since the US first invaded that country. Remember when we saw on TV the burning of the opium fields and they said that we were teaching the Afghan farmers how to replant all those acres upon acres with sustenance grains? What a joke! We did the same in Colombia, when we oversaw (dictated?) the burning of their cocaine harvests, and how that crop flourished right after that. And, yet, we cry out against the proliferation of drugs, while our Big Pharma, through its Mafia-like agents and gangs, is buying Afghani opium, as they do Colombian cocaine. Might there be a connection, perhaps, with the fact that there are American subcontractors, individuals and doctors (horrors!) profiting from the opium trade and our addiction to opiates in this country? Maybe instead of chasing Russian ghosts, we can start chasing the real-life drug peddlers killing our youth, not the paltry users?

And such as . . .

We deem our US meddling, hacking, arm-twisting and war-mongering to be for lofty causes and values, yet few are those that remain in the world who believe us anymore, even though they might go along with us for their sordid political purposes. Many intelligent people, as well as politicians across the world, know that even if we prove beyond any doubt whatsoever that Russia hacked, meddled, distributed fake news and propaganda in order to influence the outcome of our – or any other – election, that we are just as culpable. And haven’t we been doing exactly that all over the world ad infinitum, and denying it. Deceitful? You bet! Just our usual chicanery! Putin, is looking very good these days, believe me!

And . . . and . . . such as . . .

Syria? Libya? Afghanistan? Iraq? Sudan? Somalia? Palestine? Ukraine? Qatar? North Korea? . . . and . . . war on Venezuela? Seriously now? . . . all that blood on our hands? Shouldn’t we be focusing our energies on our own “sectarian” and “ethnic” violence such as Charlottesville, VA and et al?

It is time for American politicians of the post WWII era, That Special Passé Mindset, to retire themselves from the scene and to open up the space for modern, up-to-date negotiators and facilitators amongst people whom we have been viewing as “the enemy.” It is time to put a halt to war-mongering and demonizing. It is time for Tranquility in a world that is verging on the brink of disaster, it is time for the world to make better Choices, and it is time for us Americans to take our civil Duties seriously – very seriously . .  . and, perhaps, Try a Little Kindness (RIP Glen Campbell)?

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2017

Summertime!

My daughter and son-in-law went on a Kenya/Tanzania safari this year. He was delightedly snapping pictures of all those beautiful exotic animals, she wanted to jump out of the vehicle and hug them all, or bring them back to her home had she been allowed to do so!

My friend Aniseh went on a tour to India, Riham went to Nice, France and Suad took a cruise to Alaska. I am in a lovely rental house at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. (Book Lovers: “The Versions of Us” by Laura Barnett, and “The Hypnotist’s Love Story” by Liane Moriarty are a light, amusing and interesting “Zen” summer read).

During the fifties, sixties and early seventies, all of us “vacationers” would have been disdainfully classified as The Bourgeoisie. Fast forward to our present decade and some of the Millennials, disgusted with their parent’s – our children’s and our – consumerism, uppity-ness and stress levels in pursuit of careers and exorbitant mortgages, are throwing that same classification (using different terminology) at us! Ahh! How the more things change, the more they stay the same!

In fact, though, there is a ring of truth to their disdain. On the one hand, we are all enjoying our Bourgeois lifestyles and, on the other hand, we are very concerned about all the Progressive issues: war, poverty, climate change, equality, compassion, justice etc. etc. It does all seem contradictory – maybe even hypocritical – in the socialist/communist nomenclature of the fifties and sixties, as well as in the progressive lexicon of many of today’s Millennials. Maybe they would prefer us to be toting our knapsacks and protesting somewhere, or joining one of the many demonstrations going on all the time, or, better yet, getting shackled by the police and hauled off to jail in order to display our commitment to the many causes threatening our planet? There are many brave hearts across the generational spectrum doing exactly that, and they deserve all our respect and support.

I can understand where the Millennials are coming from, though. I was like them in the sixties and seventies, sneering at consumerism; disdaining possessions; abhorring my parents’ snobbish airs and espousing grassroots “causes” that made me feel “anything but ordinary!” Many of my generation were, at that time, as conceited about our superior causes as our parents were about their snobbish lifestyles! Whereas during my activist years I was convinced of my “anything but ordinary” status as I protested, demonstrated, and espoused all those outré causes that were anathema to my Bourgeois parents, today’s Millennial activists feel exactly the same “anything but ordinary” about their causes, and I have a feeling that they will do even better than we did. Hopefully!!

So, what in fifty/sixty years has changed? Not much in this regard, eh?

I have this blog wherefrom I generally spout out my fury at all the awful politicians and the terrible political stuff going on in our world, and I am very proud of my work.  I publish my opinions on this public forum that anyone in the vast world can access. So do Millions of other bloggers and writers!  Therefore, to think of myself nowadays as “anything but ordinary” is total smug self-delusion. The same applies to every single author of a blog, an essay, an op-ed piece, a journalistic article, a book, or a writer of anything.  And that’s why it never ceases to surprise, amaze and befuddle me that most of them come across as believing in their uncontested earned right to be arrogant and conceited. I have news for all of them: Your compatriots fifty/sixty years ago were much less arrogant and much closer to ordinary humble citizens and their real concerns.

My generation championed Peace, Love, Civil Rights and Political Struggles, Women’s Liberation, Consumerism and anti-Colonialism amongst other issues. Today’s Millennial activists aren’t that different, are they? Peace is still elusive and still their cause, although it sometimes feels like a pipe-dream; Love seems to be having an Identity Crisis (like many other values) and at a loss of whether it is that selfless, giving, responsible emotion, or that fleeting morally confused state of lust and sexual encounters; Civil Rights, whilst enshrined in the laws of most advanced nations, are still almost non-existent for minorities, the under-privileged, immigrants and refugees; Political Struggles are still ongoing and for much the same reasons; Women’s Liberation, while it has changed quite a lot, is still far from fulfilling its calling as rape continues, prostitution thrives, wage discrepancies persevere, discrimination goes on and sexual objectification has become a sport that some of our young females willingly participate in; Colonialism, in its modern hypocritical form of a call to “Democracy and Freedom,” marches on as the Advanced Nations of the world maintain their usurpation of resources worldwide while the usurped continue to demand freedom, justice and equality; Consumerism is apace as we overfill our closets, pantries, our supermarkets, our pools and golf courses and . . . hug a tree at the end of the day?

Yes, little has changed, it seems. Those specialists who know trends better than myself seem to agree that it will take decades more – if ever? – before we begin to see honest, conscientious politicians and leaders addressing the core issues of humanity. Meanwhile, many of us who were/are activists of the World War II/Baby Boomer/Gen-X/Millennial Generations will continue to protest and to feel that our causes and issues make us “anything but ordinary.” Unfortunately, most people across the generations have chosen to sit it out and be Armchair Activists while leaving the tackling of our myriad problems to others. However, unless there is a groundswell of citizens demanding the drastic and urgent changes that our world needs, we will continue on the path of incremental adjustments, while our planet becomes more perilous by the hour.

Enjoy the rest of your summer and drizzle your tan with a hefty dose of guilt, as well as a prayer of thanks that we can afford to be enjoying a vacation. We are quite privileged . . . and . . . quite . . . Bourgeois . . . though for how long I cannot promise any of us as our planet continues to heat up in every aspect!?