- Books, Literature, and Writing
Looking Back From Outer Space
The USA From the Future
Inauguration Day is set for Friday, January 20th. I figure I have only a few weeks to somehow work out a literary riff on the fear and loathing produced by the last election. Afterward, it might turn out to be the most underwhelming event in American history. At the moment, however, there is a kind of build-up, if only on television, as well as the "inner television", those unheard sounds and unseen sights that cause worry, indigestion, and sleeplessness. There are things going on in politics now about which I would wager any amount none of us would want to know. If the dear reader was not turned off by the election of 2016, then let us part friends. For me, it was akin to Lebanon, or, at present, Syria, only American-style. That is to say, it is a question now as to whether or not the system works, not did Donald Trump really win, or did Hillary Clinton really lose. Over yonder, a government army is crushed and people depart. Here, it is our Constitution as well as electoral process that is at stake. If these amount to no more than the rules and regulations for a sporting contest, then all is lost. In point of fact, the system is the very thing that matters most. Is it, then, still intact?
I will let the spacemen and spacewomen from another planet decide. I am familiar with the evangelical tendency to envision a world without end. That is the best case scenario. It is also a Christian concept, turning, as it were, this world into that world, the one that is into the one to come. Strangely enough, it is within the realm of possibilities. The world to come is exactly the world that was, only better, according to the commandments. It requires drastic changes, none of which are impossible. It begins, quite naturally, with the holy land. Already HubPages is on it. A brief and crisp review is featured of what might evolve from the U.N. vote, the U.S. abstention, and Secretary of State Kerry's unconvincing explanation. It is hard for me to take issue with John of Patmos, especially since I have no visions to report, but Jerusalem is not, to me, the main focus of attention. It is, instead, the U.S.A the whole world is watching, willingly or not. It is not for nothing that the U.N. is here, too. But if it is transplanted to Germany or France, then we shall probably see it produce even more contentiousness.
The Real Space Program
I wish I could laugh when I recall President Kennedy announcing his ambition for NASA to go to the moon. It was as if he were talking to an enclosed unit, namely, the American people. President Nixon spoke of them in the same, unified, homogeneous fashion. Today, we have more and more divisions. It is old-fashioned to think of a Left and Right, Republican and Democrat, and I would even go further, since we are getting so much more androgynous. But I prefer to let go of the new and old divisions so as to point out a development that is only beginning to grab my attention. The elite are catching on faster than others to me-first escape tactics. Naturally, probing, exploring, and, in fact, just getting anywhere in outer space has not proved encouraging. Five years for a thing that neither eats or breathes to land on Jupiter might cause astronomers to gasp with delight. But the rest of us seriously wonder if the planet we live on, in the midst of an hysterical international re-arrangement, owed mostly to multiple wars, acts of terrorism, and total disregard for human rights, will not in the long run make the place uninhabitable. Hence, the motivation to put the space program into higher gear, though odds are, it is too late.
Well, I envy the accidental traveler. I stay at home most of the time, although I have probably moved more than the average citizen. I do not really expect much to change in January. It will probably seem like December, only later. Like Mark Anthony before me, I would bury the current administration rather than praise it. Yet, to my astonishment, I still find an assortment of ways to cope with its thinking, contrary to my own. Most likely, it will not take me long to make yet another adjustment. No, I do not think the American system has been permanently compromised. Still, it has been severely tested. It has also turned more stomachs than my own. Yet, surprising things happen even in Washington, where, let's be honest, we are not always impressed by those who govern. As to the use of rocket ships to deliver the elite to safety elsewhere, it would take a tremendous breakthrough. In my opinion, there is not enough will or time. Go figure. Nuclear bombs do not respect persons. How do you kill lots of people and not get hurt? I dunno.
John Glenn (1921-2016)
Politics and Poker
The moribund administration, still stirring up the mighty throng of voters and non-voters alike, has sought to enter into a dialogue with God on a blasphemously level playing field. I wonder about the space persons. Which administration will they find most obscene? Which reverential? For a while, marriage soared to the top. Generally speaking, it solved a long-festering issue, gender, except that in the case at hand, it went all the way from right to left. I think this is what I mean by how I came to an understanding with political legislation and policies that go against the grain, not just for myself -- which, would hardly matter. It requires only a few steps back to bring into view the separation of church and state to establish a true agreement. Kerry spoke about the legalities of international law; marriage, too, is more a legality than a sacrament, unless the latter is clearly intended. This is about as far as I can go. The creatures from outer space can deal with the bathrooms.
As far as solutions to the Middle East are concerned, whether one-state or two, I would rather not take a stand or get involved. My first concern would be to avoid war at any cost. Second, I would deny terrorism permission to plant the seeds of a more expansive war. Trump's advice to stay strong makes sense. No terror organization will directly attack Israel, settlements or no settlements. It is basically the same with the USA, which has greater enemies. It would be suicidal to attack either country. Strength, then, is the key to peace. Contrariwise, weakness often enough ignites violent actions. Many terrorist groups begin as underdogs, thus garnering sympathies they do not deserve. With every successful action, they win favor, also unmerited. This is not to say that the weak should be ignored or eliminated. Quite the opposite, they need substantial help to achieve basic goals. These must be legitimate. Palestinians, for example, are a genuinely displaced people with an indisputable cause. Further, they want autonomy. They should have it. That would require a second state. So, Kerry is to an extent right, except that, again, it is the employment of "tough love" for the sake of a mutual solution that is counter-productive.
New Years in the Big Apple
Happy New Year
I am positive space detectives will be stumped by our celebrations. What will they think of an advanced civilization fixated on a ball moving slowly downward in a crowded arena? How about party hats, costumes, and noise-makers? Then again, perhaps relics left behind will explain why it all came to so sudden an end. Somebody got mad and spoiled the party. Looking back on WWII, it can be argued, to a point, that German grievances for a flawed 1917 treaty were justifiable. Only later did its actions bring about a universal condemnation beyond challenge. Luckily for the human race, there was still respect for law and order, so that the Nuremberg trials could be conducted. I cannot see into a crystal ball and determine how 2017 will fare. I doubt it will be our last year, but just think, it could be, if things happen just so. Only this past hour I learned that several Russian operatives are being sent home, and, according to yet another timely HubPages article, East Jerusalem and the West Bank rightfully belong to the Palestinians. Shows ya what I know. . . .
Anyway, who can predict what the abnormally intelligent creatures disembarking from flying saucers will piece together a million years from today. Could it be that, all in all, we were a sportive lot? The Super Bowl, I trust, will go ahead as planned in early February. Crazy stuff is happening in the news, but none of it will derail our year-round games. Lately, there have been a few alarming deaths of well-known celebrities. I find myself glancing back at the world that was, "auld lang syne" style, at the same time I look ahead, squinting. I cannot see anything in particular. I am neither a prophet nor a Nostradamus. I am only a scribbler, looking for topics to read up on or write about. All this -- the grand exit of an historic presidential administration, as well as rumblings from the Middle East -- has somehow, in the final frame, welled up.
The Passing of the Torch
Will Trump Make America Great Again?
If Only They Could, Would They?
Getting back to those spacecrafts, it bothers me personally that regardless of everything -- religion, political persuasion, and philosophical inclination -- those who can, would. Talk about being "left behind". Guess who? Practically all of us. Maybe, in retrospect, it is a good thing space travel never became the reality we originally had in mind. If so, the Brahmins would never hesitate to go rather than die alongside the "hard paying taxpayer". It never occurred to me, but the 1% has something to do with the hope for everlasting life on Planet Earth. At least we were smart enough to elect a multi-billionaire. Let's try to make other billionaires happy, too. To stay alive, I mean. It seems to me that we have never been so close to extinction than ever before in history. "Out, out brief candle!" Mercy.