First thoughts…

… morning did not start well… very depressing post from Heather Cox Richardson, stopping just short of saying Democracy is dead in the United States… the urgency to protect Democracy that should be there, just isn’t… she quotes someone or writes that we need to imagine what actions are needed in a break the glass emergency… Democrats are faltering in a crucial moment… will they kill the filibuster and pass voting rights legislation?…

… and then there is this image from Representative Thomas Massie, ®KY:

… in what world, on what planet, is this an acceptable way to celebrate this Christmas Holiday?… i am not Christian, but i always thought this holiday was about peace and good will towards humankind?… no more…

… the best i have been able to do on break the glass planning is to consider how i might leave the country… immigrate just over the border to Canada, or something…

… i calmly think, ok, there is one voter in my life that i might have a chance to turn… how many of us turning one voter away from the authoritarian march would it take to halt the march?… not that many… so… i must try… but how to do it?… it largely consists in turning that person away from Fox News… i wonder if i can have a conversation with them that asks the question, what are you afraid of?…

What i read today…

  • Heather Cox Richardson, Letters from an American, December 5, 2021… HCR sounding the alarm about failing democracy in this country in the most strident way to date…
    • The problem is this: “Democrats…need to win every single election from here to prevent the destruction of democracy, while Republicans only need to win one. And the American system is set up so that Republicans will win sooner or later, whether fairly or by cheating.” Atkins urges the American people to “start thinking about and planning for what ‘Break glass in case of emergency’ measures look like—because it’s more likely a matter of when, not if. It not only can happen here; it probably will happen here. Conservatives are guaranteed to make every attempt to turn America into the next Russia or Hungary. It will take coordinated, overlapping solidarity among both regular people and elites across various institutions to stop it.”1
  • The Plague Legends… Emily Urquhart writes about plague legends and the early days of the pandemic… she captures well the feelings so many of us had and the struggle to preserve sanity and well being…
  • Ron DeSantis and His State Guard Aren’t Happening in a Vacuum
    • Again: Political grandstanding is the most innocent possible explanation. But not the only possible explanation. DeSantis’s private force cannot reasonably be viewed in isolation from the other challenges Republican governors and legislatures have been raising—not only with their National Guards, but by probing every possible weak point in the Constitution when it comes to vaccines, voting, vote counting, and more.2
  • Winter Trees as a Portal to Aliveness, Maria Popova, The Marginalian
    • In winter, we are prone to regard our trees as cold, bare, and dreary; and we bid them wait until they are again clothed in verdure before we may accord to them comradeship. However, it is during this winter resting time that the tree stands revealed to the uttermost, ready to give its most intimate confidences to those who love it. It is indeed a superficial acquaintance that depends upon the garb worn for half the year; and to those who know them, the trees display even more individuality in the winter than in the summer. The summer is the tree’s period of reticence, when, behind its mysterious veil of green, it is so busy with its own life processes that it has no time for confidences, and may only now and then fling us a friendly greeting.3
  • Ursula K. Le Guin on Being a Man
    • That’s who I am. I am the generic he, as in, “If anybody needs an abortion he will have to go to another state,” or “A writer knows which side his bread is buttered on.” That’s me, the writer, him. I am a man. Not maybe a first-rate man. I’m perfectly willing to admit that I may be in fact a kind of second-rate or imitation man, a Pretend-a-Him. As a him, I am to a genuine male him as a microwaved fish stick is to a whole grilled Chinook salmon.4

First Thoughts

Recently, Salon columnist Chauncey DeVega conducted an interview with Miles Taylor, the chief of staff to Trump’s Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen who published a New York Times op-ed in 2018 as “Anonymous” claiming that he was part of a resistance movement in the Trump White House. Taylor told DeVega that Republican congresspeople are worried they will be attacked if they cross Trump. “I’m talking about former Cabinet secretaries, sitting members of Congress and others who personally confessed to me, ‘I don’t think I can join you in rising up against this guy because I’ve got to worry about my family’s safety.’” Taylor said. “I didn’t anticipate how much I was going to hear that as a response. They would say to me, “Look, I’ve got kids and this is too crazy right now.”1

HCR meter turned decidedly downward… the only thing that matters right now is passing voting rights legislation which, as far as she and i can tell, is on the back burner… the day is rapidly approaching beyond which it will be too late… that the Democrats can’t get their shit together to do the one thing that will preserve democracy and make anything else they want to do possible is utterly tragic… Rome is burning and even they are fiddling…

… i keep thinking about M’s belief that the insurrection wasn’t an insurrection… it makes me so angry because i know how uninformed they are about what is going down in the country because i know they principally watch Fox news… i am in despair about it because i love them and because they are representative of the damage Fox news has done in this country…

… i also marvel at this country’s inability to hold anyone significant accountable for misdeeds… it is beyond comprehension that our system should be so weak as to be incapable in this regard… was it ever strong enough?… or did it depend on the good will of it’s citizens to keep the rails up… and now they are divided and unable to do so…

… signs of the growing threat of authoritarian/fascist rule… a patriotic and militaristic mural painted on the side of a county building to honor veterans on veterans day… this year’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony opened with the National Anthem and closed with God Bless America… neither of these things have happened before during the 15 years we have lived here… my perception is they are happening now because of the growing threat from the right…

… i really dislike starting the day with these thoughts and feelings churning around in my mind… i would prefer something more optimistic…


  1. Richardson, Heather Cox, Letters from an American, November 29, 2021 [return]

First Thoughts

HCR meter, democracy is on the ropes… pointing to the spreading and increasingly blatant disinformation campaign in progress by the far Right… this morning’s stars are Marco Rubio and Tucker Carlson… Rubio apparently gave a speech that would have been unimaginable just a year or two ago… a speech that indicates he is banking on victory for authoritarianism and wants to be on the right side of it when we get there… another essay in Mother Jones names Fox News and Tucker Carlson in particular, as fascist propagandists… this has got to be beaten back… my belief is that Democrats in congress could make it easier by eliminating the filibuster, at least on two issues… voting rights and the debt ceiling… i too believe that democracy is on the ropes and that we have precious little time to save it…

… a disrupted day yesterday… plumbing problems escalated significantly when sewage began backing into the toilet in the basement and then overflowing… the stench… the mess… the frantic calls to the plumber… the $200 check handed to the plumber for fifteen minutes spent clearing the house trap which had become clogged… the flow of the entire day disrupted… it is remarkable how much i depend on my expected ordered flow of things happening…

… the backing up of the house trap seems an interesting metaphor for what is happening to the plumbing of Democracy…

… i did manage to make some quick revisions on J’s website and their LinkedIn page… their LinkedIn page is a bit of a mess… will have to help them with that…

… at the top of David Corn’s article, this image of Tucker Carlson…

Tucker Carlson at Politicon in Los Angeles on October 20, 2018 Christian Monterrosa/AP

… TC turns my stomach… i remember him on CNN’s Crossfire back in the day… he was an obnoxious twit back then… he’s morphed into something monstrous-to-me now… doesn’t he look monstrous in the photograph?… the point of the choice of image…

… i am toying with getting active in supporting democrats in next year’s election run up… i don’t have much money to give, but i have some time, which i’d really rather not expend that way, but i believe we are reaching a tipping point and need to be on deck in defense of Democracy…

… i was surveying the organization of my journal in Ulysses yesterday… i have this wonderful warm feeling of it being almost there as a cohesive product that could solidly support… something… but what something?… well organized thoughts and notes are the foundation of something bigger, if you want them to be… what is the bigger thing i am moving towards?… the coupling of journaling, thinking, and posting on a blog… something that develops the broad story of a particular human being at a particular stretch of moments in time grappling with the cosmos as it impinges on them… as i write this i am aware that when one has a project like this, puts large amounts of time and energy into it, one starts to desire an audience… one is supposed to desire an audience… the question sits in the shadows, what is my target audience?… my answer has been… i don’t care about my target audience… i want to craft something that is profoundly satisfying to me… this is what i seem to be on the path of now… it feels good… it needs tightening up and refining… it seems to be firing on nearly all cylinders, to use a gas engine phrase that is becoming quaint… can i push it to peak performance soon?…

First Thoughts

the HCR meeter points downward today… she talks about the fascist tendencies that are being expressed across the country, especially, at present, around local officials’ attempts to meet the COVID resurgence with mask and vaccine mandates… she points out that something similar happened in the 1930’s during FDR’s time in office with an actual coup attempt in 1934 (which was strangely absent from the history i learned)… whether we head in that direction seems hinged on what Democrats in congress do about voting rights… many would argue that the need is urgent, and yet, there are Senators unwilling to part with the Filibuster rule…

… news also, in the form of a text exchange between my brother and sister, that Dad gets worse… i feel a tinge of sadness about it, even if i am estranged from him… even though i long ago gave up any expectations that we might one day come to an understanding… i don’t know if this tinge of sadness is about loosing a father or about the sadness anyone might feel on hearing of the descent towards death of another human being… And therefore, never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.1

… a comment on one of my posts!, they do get read after all…

… i have been watching the films of Kelly Reichardt… while H is on Block Island tending to her mother… i am watching art house films she may or may not have been in to… the Reichardt films are what i like to call slice of life films… that is, films which pick up in the lives of rather ordinary characters, observe them for a while, then set them down without full resolution of their present situation…

… last night i watched River of Grass and Meeks Cutoff… the first set in contemporary times, the second set in the 1800’s… Meeks Cutoff was the more enigmatic and thought provoking… basically, a group of religious pioneers making their way across desert landscapes, short on water, not really knowing where they are going or when they will find water… they have a guide, Meeks, who they wonder about the intentions and capabilities of, consider whether to hang him, but don’t (it is a religious group)… along the way, they capture a Native American whom they can’t communicate with but whom they decide to have faith in to lead them to water… it’s questionable whether he understands that is what they want or even if he does, will lead them into the hands of hostile Native Americans… at one point Meeks decides to kill the NA (which he had recommended from the beginning) but one of the pioneers, a woman played by Michelle Williams (one of my favorite actresses), steps in to stop him… shortly thereafter we leave the intrepid band of settlers following the NA into the distance… not very much happens during the film in action terms… it’s almost laughable that it got a 16 or older rating for violence, of which there is practically none…

… i had already seen one of Reichardt’s films, Wendy and Lucy, featuring Michelle Williams as Wendy and her dog Lucy, making their way across country on a tight budget, when Wendy gets arrested for shoplifting, she is separated from Lucy whom she spends the rest of the film trying to find and reunite with…

… there are three more to watch, Old Joy, which appears to be unavailable on any streaming service, Night Moves and Certain Women… i will try to watch the last two tonight and tomorrow night…


  1. John Donne, No Man is an Island [return]