Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Better than they deserve

Those who know me, or have followed this blog for a while, know I am not shy of  poking the hornet’s nest of politics on occasion. Of late though, I have gone about my business without paying much attention to political antics. For months, going about my own business has included helping Daughter Eldest and Family on their cruising way, getting Kintala back to cruising after a year on the dock, and working out a way to visit Daughters Middle and Youngest and their families sooner rather than later. Add pushing the weather as hard as one dares, getting needed repairs done, and just the daily effort required to keep a small sailboat moving across the miles, and one comes up with plenty of business to mind.

Of course there are other reasons to pay less attention to "the news".

Two of the walkways on the Buddhist's 8 fold path are "Right mindfulness" and "Right Concentration."

Philippians 4:8 King James Version (KJV) says, (Yes, I am quoting the Bible. No, the world isn’t about to end.) “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

The Stoics taught that one needed to understand the difference between those things that are under one's control, and those things that are not.

In my opinion Donald Trump simply doesn't qualify as anything worth wasting much thought on, so I simply refuse to (as I heard it put once upon a time) give him rent free living space in my head. And he is most certainly outside of my control.

As a result, most of news I hear is that shared by the very few people with Facebook accounts that I follow, a large percentage of that group being friends who live on boats outside of the country. I suspect they are not paying much attention to what goes on inside the borders of the US, so if something is happening here that does get their attention, it is likely something to note. From one of them I heard that it is now Official US Policy to break up families and put the kids in detention centers. That seemed extreme even for Trump and the Republicans. Surely even He/They couldn’t possibly believe such a visual would play well on the public stage. I do understand that Trumpism is a cult, that he could very well,  “…stand in the middle of 5th Avenue, shoot somebody, and (not) lose voters.” But shooting someone is one thing, manhandling crying and terrified toddlers out of the arms of parents who are of no threat to anyone, is another thing entirely. Surely a thing beyond the pale even in Trump’s America. I doubted that any Border Official would do such a thing, even if so commanded.

Clearly I badly underestimated Trump's depravity, and just as badly overestimated the quality of America’s Border Officials. That I underestimated Trump’s willingness to embrace evil was kind of silly. This is the President who made room for Nazis at the table of public opinion, a man apparently devoid of any kind of introspective voice, any hint of conscience, or the smallest bit of care for anyone but himself or anything other than his own grasp of power.

That I just as badly overestimated America’s Border Officials' courage and their willingness to refuse to participate is disturbing. They are, perhaps, even more reprehensible than the current POTUS and his entourage. It is at times like these that I sometimes wish there really was a god about, one who insures that those who pull crying children away from their parents will, eventually, understand the depth of evil into which they have fallen. For I am of the opinion that claiming to be “following orders” or “enforcing the law” is no excuse for cruelty.

And though there is virtually nothing I can do to stay the evil that now prowls our land, on my own little blog and in my own tiny voice, I want to make it clear that these are not my values, this is not my choice, and these are not leaders that I, in any way, shape, or form; follow, endorse, or support. It is my hope that their downfall is imminent, that when it comes it will be totally devastating for them, their political ideology, and their supporters. I hope that they will counted among the despised in human history, that their sons and daughters, grandchildren, and great grandchildren for many generations to come, will be ashamed to carry their name.

 And that will still be better than they deserve.


Kathy Mellembakken said...

Well said Tim

Robert Salnick said...

I'm sorry Tim, but I am taking your blog off my reading list. It was fun watching you grow into the marine world from Lake Carlylke, but I find I can no longer tolerate the smug self-rightous attitude (if only the marine world was as good as the aircraft world I came from). Adding to this is the general whining, complaining tenor that pervades your posts. But the final push over the edge comes from your ill-informed, vitriol-laced political indignation. You must be getting all your "news" from CNN.

I know that I am not the first to bail from your blog for at least some of these reasons, and I also know that you won't publish this comment. S'ok.

May you find peace - it's not on the water (as by now you may have discovered), but rather within yourself.

s/v Eolian

Panama Red said...

As a Loyal Republican and Taxpayer, I pray to a God I don't believe in. I pray that he will help the helpless, those who can not fight or defend themselves. If God won't do it, then I must, it is my sacred duty.

I get my "News" from:
President Trump's Tweets
BBC America
The Economist
The Guardian
Washington Post
NY Times
Wall Street Journal
Associated Press
The Atlantic
The Sierra Club

It is easy to ask God for personal help, but to ask God to help others, who can not help that is another story.

Panama said...

What you said. A million times over. Thanks. No matter what the spin is from either direction, this policy was wrong and it will go down on the wrong side of history.

TJ said...

Panama, that is an impressive list; good on you. I tend to go at "news" the opposite way. New things that we learn about physics, the workings of the universe, interest me. Looking "out" if you will. I am also fascinated by the things we are learning about ourselves, cognitive psychology. Looking "in" if you will. Tied up in that looking "in" is an interest in philosophy and mythology. So I look for essays and books that touch on those subjects. Essays and books are generally written by people that have some level of expertise in the area they are addressing. But it is my impression that "news" is mostly written by people who know little about whatever particular "headline" is being addressed. They have a different agenda, a large part of which is generating advertising dollars. Another large part is pushing an agenda while trying to cling to a claim of being "impartial." They play to their audience, both "left" and "right". For me there is an undercurrent of dishonesty in "the news" which makes it much less appealing.

I will say "Fair winds and following seas" to Robert; even if he doesn't see them. It is good to have people that one disagrees with in one's life. I am fortunate to have had my share.

Robert Sapp said...

Robert Sapp said...

Robert Sapp said...


Now notice something: As Hayes elaborates his horror at the separation of mother from child, he seems to arrive at a conclusion that there is something inherently oppressive about any kind of immigration rule at all. The “men in suits or men in uniform” he speaks of do not just “show up.” The border crosser goes to them. She is not just “living her life … and then all of a sudden, the state can come in and wrench your life apart.” She, of her own volition, traveled hundreds of miles to challenge the authority of a foreign state to police its frontiers. When her challenge failed—when she was apprehended and detained—what happened next must have felt harsh and frightening. But dictatorial? Totalitarian? In democracies, too, the wrong side of the law is an inescapably uncomfortable place to find yourself.

Trump and his brutish methods are radicalizing his opponents. But those opponents still retain the choice not to be radicalized. The spreading view that immigration is a civil right and that immigration enforcement is totalitarian is an attack on democratic legality. It subordinates rules and norms to desires and passions. It is also a corrosion of the ideal of a constitutional state. Social-media outrage is manipulative and dangerous even when it appeals to generous sentiments. The generous sentiment quickly becomes a foundation for yet more of the division and anger ripping apart this American community.

TJ said...

Hi Robert, I hope you guys are settling in just fine. Let me concede your point right from the start. Those on the "left" are clearly trying to radicalize the opposition to Trump - at least as much as those on the "right" did with Obama. Any suggestion that the ripping apart of this American community started when Trump took office would be a pretty biased reading of recent history. As is any idea that only those on the "left" are guilty of such attitudes. Just as an example, how many ways and times has it been proven that Obama was, in fact, born in America and had every right to run for the office of President? Didn't stop Trump or his supporters from taking the most radical position possible; claiming otherwise. (A lie they still proclaim. Just imagine the uproar if Trump were to admit the whole "Birther" thing was bullshit from the start.) Obama was never a Muslim (nor should it have mattered if he was) and he certainly wasn't a "terrorist", though he was openly accused of such by the Rupert organization. For anyone on the "right" to decry radicalization is, how shall I say, "problematic"?

History aside, shouldn't "brutish methods" be radicalizing? For days Trump, everyone in his administration, and the Republican party defended these "brutish methods" to the point of claiming that god was on board. A throughly disgusting declaration that was a bridge too far for even some of his evangelical base. How bad are you when even those guys think you have crossed some line in the sand when it comes to abuse and authoritarianism? Trump was flirting with radicalizing some of his most ardent supporters against him. I suspect that was the one and only thing that drove him to alter the policy. The day the evangelicals abandon him is the day his administration falls, and he knows it. (Though I find that somewhat encouraging, do you have any idea how many rum and cokes it would take for me to get over the idea that I actually agree with something Franklin Graham said about Trump?)

I don't really have an opinion on immigration being a civil right or that enforcement is an attack on democratic legality. Virtually all of us are the children of immigrants. I don't think we can regard ourselves as having any democratic legality if we ignore that fact. But shouldn't the idea of separating families as a "zero tolerance" policy toward immigration be a non-starter for any human being, regardless of the law? Often, being on the "wrong side of the law" is the only place good people can be. The Boston Tea party was against the law, as was signing the Declaration of Independence. Escaping slaves were breaking the law, as were those who helped them. Organizing labor was against the law. "It's the LAW" is always the first line of defense when it comes to tyranny and oppression. Trump and the Republicans are not inventing anything new here. Indeed, they are reverting to a well worn tactic used throughout history in an attempt to rationalize "brutish methods." It was the excuse for Jim Crow, for keeping women away from the voting booth, for interning Japanese Citizens, and for discriminating against members of the LGBT community. And those are just a few American examples.

Anyway, I'm glad you stick around and comment. You are one of the few Trump supporters that I know personally, and are certainly the most articulate and thoughtful of that bunch. The sad thing is I doubt Trump has anyone anywhere near your caliber anywhere near him...and it shows.

Unknown said...

I love your post and admire the strength of your convictions.
I read the comments and I become ... dispirited. I simply do not know what to say.
Some say it is a MANUFACTURED CRISIS, inhumane and grotesque. I can not disagree.

How long Central and South America (or most of the world for that matter) has been under OUR undisputed military sphere of influence?
Remember all those American banana companies, banks, mining companies ... exploiting the locals for all they've got .... and our military might that would ensure the interests of those companies (not the locals) was protected?

Somehow under our protracted and undisputed dominance life in those countries did not get any better. If anything it got so bad that so many do anything to leave! No wonder that so many try to cross over to the gut of the colonial beast.