“Books are like seeds. They can lie dormant for centuries and then flower in the most unpromising soil.” (Carl Sagan); “Nothing ever dies on the Internet.” (anon.); “This is not your father’s Oldsmobile.” (Madison Ave. [m]adman). My posts amalgamate these three philosophical elements into one novel experience; they champion critical thinking, human dignity / equality, levelheaded / even-handed / liberty-based governance and solid environmental stewardship. C’mon in!
“On February 25, 2022, President Joe Biden announced that he would nominate Ketanji Brown Jackson to the position of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States to fill the upcoming vacancy by Stephen Breyer, who announced his retirement on January 27, 2022 at the age of 83.”
During last week’s U.S. Senate confirmation hearings, numerous Republican thespians, cast… correction… miscast in the role of legitimate legislators* posed questions to Ketanji Brown Jackson, which had little to no relevance to either verifying her stellar qualifications or evaluating her, essentially, flawless character. These bad actors’ actual intent was to raise the curtain on their political theatre, and in the process…
a. repurpose KBJ as their prop / property b, vent deplorable male white supremacy c. both bore / browbeat a person of color d. all of the above
(btw, If you chose “d” go to the head of the class.)
* btw, I’ve granted them anonymity because they’ve already embarrassed themselves enough already. Beyond that, by and large, they’re all cookie cutter interchangeable; i.e., to know one grotesque Trumper Republican is to know ‘em all.
Of course, seeing how, at the very least, you do need one specific sample re their repulsive rhetoric, check out the following actual “Q” and “A”…
Senator (who identifies as a woman): “Can you provide a definition for the word ‘woman’?” Ketanji Brown Jackson: “I’m not a biologist.”
While her “A” proved to be professionalism at its very finest, were anyone to ever pose such a “Q” to this layperson, check out my “A”…
CommonSenseTom: “Why not directly ask each human who identifies as such a being?”
My point being that each individual, who identifies as being a woman, likely harbors a uniquely personal definition; thereby making it absolutely none of my business (especially since I’m a man). I’d never have the audacity to assign, to anyone, the far too limiting / restrictive parameters; e.g., those typically presented within male sexist authored, plumbing only textbooks.
And, for that matter, seeing how ONLY one’s own primary care physician and other medical specialists should be allowed that privilege, that means that all laypersons, especially politicians and media political pundits, must BUTT OUT and STAY OUT, STAT!
Beyond that, with America now being a scant four years away from its 250th birthday, there’s no time like the present for We the New Millennium’s People to revise the following passage FROM THIS:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Founding Fathers / authors of America’s Declaration of Independence
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are created equal, that they are endowed with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness; regardless of the contents of their private ‘drawers.”
18th Century Founding Fathers + 21st Century CommonSenseTom (Paine)
Granted, there’s probably a far more delicate, decorous way to express an underwear reference, but, hey, it’s the heartfelt, heady spirit of inclusiveness that really matters, right?
In Theory: a civilized enlightened society’s charter grants and guarantees Freedom of Speech Rights to All; blind-eyes demographics; even political stripe. In Practice, The authors of such sublime covenants will presciently, sagaciously, vigilantly and valiantly smooth out their words’ wrinkles; lest the citizenry foolishly misconstrue or malevolently misuse them; lest anyone’s speech ever incite imminent, lawless action(s) that’d overthrow said enlightened society.
Excuse my exasperation and skepticism, but, just what the hell is left for real Americans to hope for when the other side of the pandemic involves:
a looming, climate changed, unfit for humankind, scorched Earth
mass murderer targeted school houses, houses of worship, etc.
police departments seething with bigotry, brutality and militancy
the ever-deepening Have-It-Alls and Have Nothings chasm
our Supreme/Federal benches overloaded with hardliner rightie judges
workers forced to endure non-living wages and union busting
free, fair elections mucked up by anti-American state legislators
a U.S. Senate hamstrung by DINO’s, the filibuster and parliamentarian
the too lenient punishment of the January 6th terrorists / their leader DJT
an electorate comprised of up to 75 million who plot to re-empower DJT
Let’s not mince words. The apparently getting off scot-free (AGAIN) Donald J. Trump has a massive ego, which won’t permit him to pass up another bid for reelection and, come 2024, win or lose, he will wield the power to paint the town; paint America blood red.
In Victory: DJT, obviously, will regain command of the military and will wind up seated atop a nuclear arsenal as considerable as his ass, itself; such deadly power proving more than adequate to enforce his “official” overthrow of Democracy; thereby denying life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness / the entire American Dream to all (save for himself and perhaps his immediate family).
In Defeat: DJT will, once again, dredge up the trope that non-existent, widespread voter fraud had denied him victory and then, promptly rally / deploy his vast private army of domestic terrorists STAT; send these insurrectionists on a bat-crap crazy rampage / assault that’ll likely dwarf what real America witnessed (and barely survived) back on January 6th.
Mr. President, far be it for this man, who voted for you, to tell you how best to live up to your Oath of Office, but, in my (History) book, this is not a Kumbaya Moment; one where your affable, camp counselor / Mister Rogers personae and gentlemanly demeanor will suffice.
That’s about all the strength this true blue, peaceable, private citizen can muster, today.
I sure as hell hope and pray that, when needed, you can summon whatever it takes to keep the peace; to preserve, protect and defend our beloved America.
Wishing you / your loved ones all the best life has to offer,
P.S. ~ Since early 2020, this is how I’ve been ending all my posts…
Today’s posting time is a bit later than I had planned on. I was over at YouTube ISO this day’s blog topper clip and got waylaid… waterlogged by the tsunami of videos… i.e., the sort which prophesy treacherous TRUMP’S FASCIST OVERTHROW OF AMERICA. I wound up viewing so many that choosing just one… well… this could be better summed up, thusly…
One would not be enough and a thousand would be too many.
Consequently, this post will be a text only, composite to sum up the disturbing imagery / commentary I’ve just witnessed.
Good news: Donald possesses not, the requisite IQ to topple America. Bad news: He relies on caveman era “expertise”… you know the drill…
When all that knuckle-draggers have is a big club, everything looks like a head to crack open.
My God, when I scroll up to reread my lead paragraph’s capitalized, italicized words, I’m aghast! One would think they describe a sorry state of affairs that no critical thinking, freedom loving American would ever stand for! Yet, some of them do. So, here I sit typing about it within this “Add New Post” field-of-white… on this odd… very odd… early September, Wednesday morn.
Even were this only a fictionalized concept, which I was pitching to a prospective, seasoned publisher / film producer, (s)he’d dismiss it as utterly preposterous and then ask…
“What mental institution did you just flee from?” Or perhaps, “WTF have you been smoking?”
Such a dystopian narrative, taken at face value, it’d be totally justifiable to question my state of mind. Hell, not even within my worst wake up in a cold sweat, heart pounding, muscles parallelized, screaming freakin’ nightmares could I have ever envisioned the simultaneous breakdown of Constitutionally mandated, Legislative / Judicial Checks and Balances, Free Speech, Free Press, Freedom to protest, Free Elections and the orderly Transition of Power. Hell, even the very existence of the Post Office is now threatened.
Regrettably, America’s Founding Fathers had failed to envision this catastrophic, Constitutional collapse, too.
Consider all the human suffering and blood splattered carnage throughout history… the wars, to wipe Fascism off the face of the Earth… which courageous, selfless American soldiers and our bygone allies had fought and won!
How stunning it is that, in a scant 4 years, TRUMP’S FASCIST OVERTHROW OF AMERICA is just about to cancel out nearly 2 1/2 centuries of freedom. And along with it he’ll cancel out our troops’ heroism, too! Talk about cancel culture, huh?
Far too many of my ill-informed, apathetic compatriots have not been taking, seriously, this existential threat to Liberty… America… Humanity. Equally mindless are the folks over at YouTube, who interrupt clips of TRUMP’S FASCIST OVERTHROW OF AMERICA for a few words from our sponsors!
I suppose we should be sorta grateful for such advertisers… after all… once Donny does us in, we’ll be leaving behind our well rested corpses… minus the belly flab, body odor and toenail fungus.
Stay Safe at Home! Stay Publicly Masked! Stay Healthy!
Today we’ve learned that Dictator Donny wants to dodge / defy the U.S. Constitution to delay / dick up America’s free, presidential elections. Seeing how he spits contempt at every grand idea our Founding Fathers had envisioned for themselves… for posterity… we must conclude that the fake prez just can’t cut it as an American. One would think that, by now, he’d have thumbed his nose, whipped his finger, waved his final good-bye and cut and run.
Let’s face it. He’s the White House guest who has worn out America’s welcome mat.
While we should never get in the habit of booting Americans out of America, since he doesn’t want to be an American, anyway, in his case, we can make one exception… can we not? You know… just to indulge him?
It’s high time that the fake prez packs his bags and gets the hell out! Let him emigrate to Russia, where it’s a certainty that puppeteer Putin will welcome his puppet with open arms.
In the worst possible way, they are, indeed, kindred spirits. After all they both feel intense, perverse rapture for autocracies where the typical, scum of the earth despot stays in power till he drops dead.
The only unanswered question…
Would Big Bad Vlad install his protégé, Donny, as his heir apparent or court jester?
Stay Safe at Home! Stay Publicly Masked! Stay Healthy!
My long ago, public school system’s American History courses were vulnerable to revisionism. Both teachers and textbooks oft employed “noble” sounding phraseology, such as “Manifest Destiny”, in a feeble attempt to pretty up the aggressive expansionists’ land-grabs (oft involving ownership contested territory), which all but guaranteed battlefields strewn with bullet riddled, blood-splattered corpses.
Additionally, instructors / authors rarely, honestly portrayed North America’s early settlers as the ill-mannered invaders they usually were and conveniently failed to mention how, due to hubris and hostility, these frontiersmen could not, more likely, chose not to peaceably coexist with anyone.
The corroborating evidence is damning, e.g., their unconscionable enslavement of African-Americans, savage massacres of Native Americans and unwarranted internment of Asian-Americans.
More recently, settlers’ descendants, who’ve failed to learn one damned thing from America’s shameful past, opted to extend such indefensible, reprehensible conduct to pointlessly attack Iraq, which resulted in the barbaric torture and genocidal slaughter of Mesopotamian Arabs, inclusive of incalculable numbers of indigenous civilians.
The Framers of our Constitution did hint at the above-mentioned human frailties. Right within the Preamble, there’s mention of their desire to “form a more perfect union.”
And I’d certainly add that, although America remains imperfect, our homeland is still worthy of survival… if for no other reason than to ensure the continuance of our Founding Fathers’ Grand Experiment… to, someday, perhaps, even see it to glorious fruition. Who the hell knows, we may eventually, even get everything right, right?
But that won’t be easy. Americans are now at the mercy of the merciless ogre who has wedged his fat Fascist fanny into the chair behind the Oval Office desk. He’s not only the most undemocratic, most Un-American prez to ever be sworn in (and sworn at), he’s a science denier, to boot. As such, he’d never, ever want to participate in any experiment… grand or otherwise.
Of course, that’s not to say he would not delegate autocracy’s heavy lifting to his insidious, more industrious underlings… and then promptly take full credit for whatever subversive plot these mad scientists concoct to blow up the “science lab”, as it were.
Having such reservations, re that bastard, is why I now find myself fondly reconnecting to my day’s of yore classrooms… recollecting the awe I had experienced courtesy of my mentors’ lectures and my textbooks. After all, not all of my lessons had involved revisionists’ fabrications.
That’s why, I now find tears welling up in my eyes whenever I come to the realization that, while I had been born centuries too late to have ever lived through the Birth of America, I now live at a time where I cannot help but sense that something wicked (and previously unimaginable) is imminent… a far from blessed event, which no one would’ve ever believed possible… not even in our very worst nightmare…
The Death of America.
Election Day 2020 and its aftermath will determine whether or not that nightmare comes true.
It makes PERFECT sense. A Not Safe For World, FAR FROM PERFECT, obscene, fake prez inspires PERFECT, genuine, American patriots / balladeers (“stage name” The Founding Fathers), to compose The Day Democracy Died… a NSFW, mildly profane, PERFECT parody of the Don McLean folk/rock classic… American Pie.
The Founding Fathers… in the order of their appearance… are George Washington, John Adams, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay. Their warning to the American electorate…
Failure to take their lyrical sentiments seriously and vote, accordingly, on Tuesday, November 3, 2020, WILL result in Despot Donald J. Trump’s second term and, indeed, make 2020’s Election Day, The Day Democracy Died.
Be wary of the leader who  views his country’s freedom securing charter
with contempt,  deems its time-honored authors / present day caretakers
a disgrace and  miscasts whistle-blowers / 4th estate guardians as villains.
His ignorance is only trumped by the malevolence which consumes his soul.
Back in 1979, astrophysicist / author Carl Sagan and writer / producer Ann Druyan were both working diligently towards successfully launching their Sci-Fi film… Contact… off the Tinseltown storyboards and into our cineplexes.
Within six years, undue, unwanted, unproductive behind the scenes, Hollywood “drama” had begun to undo this dynamic duo’s momentum and, at one point, had even threatened to scrub their mission. As it turned out, it would take the transposition of 1979’s ending 7 and 9 digits before this film could be completed.
Sadly, mere months prior to that, Dr. Sagan, had succumbed to myelodysplasia (a pre-leukemic syndrome) and wound up shuffling off this mortal coil.
Had he survived, he certainly would’ve been on hand to high-five Contact’s screenplay writers James V. Hart and Michael Goldenberg, director Robert Zemeckis and the entire cast and crew. He’d have especially applauded the multifaceted actress, Jodie Foster, for her stellar performance… for her breathing so much life into the film’s protagonist… the multidimensional astronomer Ellie Arroway.
Seeing how Sagan and Druyan’s core principles / personae had become so thoroughly infused into the Contact script’s pages (in a sense, right down to the atomic structure of the ink toner and papyrus) it was inevitable that Foster would tap into their attributes throughout the film… especially during the emotionally charged denouement… i.e., where Dr. Arroway had so passionately addressed the conclave of her wholly skeptical and wildly infuriated adversaries… had spoken of the life changing, journey to the cosmos, which had further heightened her pre-existing, astronomer’s lofty outlook on life.
“I… had an experience… I can’t prove it, I can’t even explain it, but everything that I know as a human being, everything that I am tells me that it was real! I was given something wonderful, something that changed me forever… A vision… of the universe, that tells us, undeniably, how tiny, and insignificant and how… rare, and precious We all are! A vision that tells us that We belong to something that is greater then ourselves, that We are not, that none of us are alone! I wish… I… could share that… I wish, that everyone, if even for one… moment, could feel… that awe, and humility, and that hope. But… That continues to be my wish.”
SIDEBAR: Ironically, in an earlier scene (set within this same venue) many of these same inquisitors had expected agnostic Arroway to take a leap of faith… to no questions asked / no skepticism allowed… believe in the existence of a Supreme Being. YET… by film’s end… they, themselves, flat-out refused to take a similar leap of faith… to no questions asked / no skepticism allowed… believe in the existence of the superior alien civilization she claimed to have made first contact with.
So… why have I opted to review a 21-year-old film?
Contact makes contact with the very hearts and souls of everyone who has ever given a damn about the survival of our civilization. It is the skywatchers of our world who, perhaps, feel this the strongest… be We the professional or the backyard variety… be We telescopically enhanced or relying solely on the naked eye.
We can feel an affinity with all who have ever seen… who still see… beyond the pure science… all who speak of the awe, humility and hope, which our viewing experiences conjur up. Such a state of mind endures whether We are virtually traveling thru our ethereal, vast starlit cosmos or are wandering about our hometowns, homelands and home world.
Although we do remain resolute re the awe and humility aspects, holding onto hope is not always so easy. You see, its just as the celestial images begin to fade into the daylight… just as we’re coming back down to earth… where / when the heavyhearted dismay tends to resurface. Once again, our worldly thoughts zero in on the godforsaken, power-hungry, posturing, avarice driven, dictator zeros who usually wind up calling all the shots… and… in that capacity… are to blame for our global, sociopolitical and ecological disarray.
The run-of-the-mill, disconnected from our universe autocrat could never, truthfully, claim to be the humble servant he is supposed to be… could not even begin to fathom / embrace Saganesque awe, humility and hope. His typical reaction to viewing celestial objects / events would not likely garner much more than his yawned out words…
These are just dots in the sky, what more do you expect Me to say?
Me oriented leadership is precisely the problem. That odious, oafish What’s in it for me, Me, ME? bad ‘tude is the driving force behind virtually all of our societal ills. Their tormented, subjugated victims, while (oft literally) crying out for some much needed liberation, seldom possess the power to empower alternative, We oriented leadership.
Indeed, it’s the We oriented philosophy, which is so harmonious with the stargazers’ awe, humility and hope. This is amply illustrated within that above Arroway quotation where she thrice uttered the word “We”. And let’s not forget to include her inclusive language such as “us”, “ourselves” and “everyone”. Were such sentiments fully taken to heart by our leaders, We would already be well on our way to saving humanity from ruin.
It is no accident that Founding Father / author Gouverneur Morris began the U.S. Constitution’s Preamble with the words “We the People”. He and his constitutional compatriot co-writers deemed those three words so crucial that even the likeminded calligrapher, Jacob Shallus, had so boldly pen stroked those three key words in an enlarged font.
“We the People
of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence [sic], promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
When such a proclamation births such a great nation, one has to wonder how any electorate could ever tap into some lame, Donny-Come-Lately’s slanderous, spurious / fake claim that America is no longer great. Ironically, such an entity is usually the one who… in the end… winds up threatening the very greatness of all great nations.
Why oh why is it that the nations of our world suffer such a deficit of We oriented leaders? One would expect admirable attributes such as awe and humility to be innate. Even if advancing this attitude involves nurture more than nature it should still be easily attainable.
Metaphorically speaking, We are all participants in the human race… a relay race. In the course of running our laps… concurrently upon our planet’s orbital path and the more down to Earth race track… the intergenerational passing off of the baton of human decency should occur without a hitch… a simple matter of the hand-off from each awe-humility-hope-harboring elder trainer to each awe-humility-hope-hungering youngster trainee.
I do have my parents to thank, for they not only deeply encoded / embedded awe-humility-hope into my infinitesimal DNA during my conception but also reinforced these attributes by handing off that “baton” to me during my formative years.
What a pity so many, who fancy themsleves leaders, cannot make a similar proclamation.
I do suppose that Awe-Humility-Hope sentimets… that We trumps Me ‘tude… all being second nature to the stargazers and other kindred spirits of our world, this is what accounts for our expectations that the rest of humanity will be willing to follow suit.
Let us hope that such sentiments… such expectations… are not overly optimistic.
Let’s talk Constitutional Amendments… starting with the 1st, which states:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
To flesh out those above “talking points” a bit…
America’s Founding Fathers had known democracy and theocracy could never coexist… that freedom of religion must also be inclusive of freedom FROM religion. As for civil disobedience / political protest, they not only had viewed citizens calling out errant leadership as the height of patriotism, but they also recognized how such demonstrations do act as a societal safety valve / a preventative of revolutionary wars… especially when responsive, responsible leadership takes constructive criticism to heart and then rectifies the problem(s)¹.
They had also understood how freedom of the spoken / published word (and more recently the blogged word, too) could never be an anything goes proposition. In other words…
The 1st Amendment’s right to free speech was never intended to permit anyone to yell out “FIRE!” in a crowded theater… especially where and when no such conflagration exists. In other words, to get one’s jollies by victimizing innocent people… by maiming and murdering them… was never meant to be a protected, Constitutional right².
Let’s move along now to the 2nd Amendment, which states:
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Once again, to flesh out that above “talking point” a bit…
America’s Founding Fathers would’ve never equated “A well regulated Militia” with the present-day, too few rules and regs, gun sick society which the National Rifle Association has spawned… i.e., the bullets flying, blood splattered, pop-up, anytime / anywhere domestic war-zone.
They would’ve been appalled by the NRA’s hardliner sociopaths, who absolutely refuse to accept even minimal, common sense laws such as bans on military grade automatic weapons, raising the age for gun ownership and… last but not least… background checks to ensure weaponry is not falling into the hands of the criminals and the criminally insane.
The 2nd Amendment’s right to bear arms was never intended to grant carte blanche to gun nuts… i.e., allow them to open fire in a crowded theater… or for that matter… anywhere else. In other words, to get one’s jollies by victimizing innocent people… by maiming and murdering them… was never meant to be a protected, Constitutional right.
Yet, essentially, is not that very scenario exactly what the NRA’s stone hearted, hardliners have been lobbying their political puppets to perpetuate?
Equally deplorable is their MO for routinely targeting and marginalizing all who oppose them… and far worse yet… how they’ve been ridiculing and showing little sympathy to the still in deep mourning survivors of the mass shooting at Parkland, Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Targeting, marginalizing and showing little sympathy to society. Hmmm… when you really thing about it… that not only describes the overall attitude of the NRA but also each and every mass murderer who has ever open fired on innocents… the next mass murderers who will (someday soon) open fire once again.
¹Such concepts are totally foreign to the present-day, unenlightened, Oval Office occupant.
²Hate speech must never be protected, either. It not only kills the human spirit and dignity of its targeted victims, but also incites the oft deadly, accompanying physical violence inflicted by lynch mobs.