Inspiration for this relay: I had said, “We were doing just fine with North-South peace and firecracker sales and southern rock” when the meaning of the Confederate flag was revived as a symbol of southern bigotry and secession (and slavery). My conversational partner said, “That works if you’re a privileged WHITE MALE! If you’re a Black Male it’s FUCKED!”
From the Awesome Conversation
That’s only if the Black Male thinks he’s Fucked.
Let me show you something about North and South —
Black and White?
History walks slowly, and while slavery may have been done after Lincoln’s handling of the matter and segregation finished by the Great Society and LBJ, it’s understood that some evil currents and ruthless bigots hold out a long time even while time grinds them down.
With black and white bigots still at play in OUR country and some foreign agent provocateur interested in watching the United States of America come apart — and possibly just some dumb people, political simpletons, really, swallowing intellectual poison, the Confederate Flag laid to rest for war — it was created to clarify who was who in General Lee’s engagements — and made into a generalized American symbol of a rebellious spirit — has been re-contextualized BACKWARD as a living symbol of hate.
What the hell are we doing back with the mentalities of the 1930s and the 1950s?
A little more that might be associated with the now thankfully passed “Trumpian Detour”:
The world is neither hopeless nor helpless in light of its collective issues and future. It may be crime ridden, fractious, and violent, but the measurable qualities of evil may be diminished with time. We have not, thank God, had our World War III but while living perpetually in a state of competition or conflict with China and Russia — those may be considered the Orwellian two other powers — we have developed sustained lower-intensity conflicts and the transnational crime organizations that fuel their fires. Well, if we can develop greater conscience in some, temper greed, and deal with practical pressures, we might be able to draw those down.
If the Devil’s winning, Mark, it’s our own fault (for not understanding how the Damned Thing works).
For corrupt Palestinian leaders, the real primary incentive appears to be relationships with elites yielding money and personal security. Some at the top of that heap should try purchasing a less self-centered and parochial conscience.
From whence comes the broader consideration of others in the world by those who by way of their own wealthy and powerful circumstance have the wherewithal to lead it?
In casual talk, I’ve suggested evolution.
Nature grows our minds.
In more serious psychology, altruism, caring, conscience, love, and the related apprehension of duties, obligations, and responsibilities toward others seem altogether healthier characteristics than fearful and compensating tendencies toward the meanest and smallest minded expressions of the will to survive as a will determined to destroy or dominate others.
For those with seriously Up There — Plutocratic — Clout, which is the better direction and why grind against it?
Why not formulate ideas and programs better fit for both a challenging global and personal future by simply enjoying what has characterized the past in dogma and politics — there’s no need to dishonor the past for anyone — while moving on to “well, we are all here on just this one marble of an island in space and time — and our first priority should be keeping our own conditions — environmental and broadly social — better than survivable”?
There are those with the power to drive forward of their own circumstances and life experiences, the present is always the place in time (and there is no better) where some cultural rivers and their ideas (and associated behaviors) needs must dissolve in their own delta while others — more fit for future time and space — flow from new wellsprings.
Wherever we are in time — this moment! — we’re not going to be in the same place tomorrow. It may look that way on the outside — same writer here, same desktop: differently informed and perpetually gathering, recombining, reformulating ideas, information, plans.
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, 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.”
One theme is change and has to do with outgrowing old ways and adopting new ones . . . but on a civilizational level rather than personal; and the other may involved Moscow’s perfidy, if that, in efforts to encourage and sustain the feudal and tribal political and social arrangements and identities that account for the brutality and corruption of dictatorships attached to cultures left behind in geopolitical time. The 9/11 crews, for example, were still fighting the “crusader west”.
Related Online: Anachronisms, Rivers in Time, and Time Bubbles
If Time were a Surface, one where cultures and religions, among other things, have their wellsprings — and boisterous young years — and their deltas — with years fading into abandonment, one could map multiple lines, start to finish, for the gods, tribes, kingdoms, and states — and the attitudes, beliefs, and prayers and rituals once embraced.
The three pieces cited below may at first seem disconnected, but each has to do with recovering or sustaining something installed — conflicts, ideas, relationships — in the past and no longer quite so necessary to the stewardship of Earth and the survival of our species (with the exception of diminishing our numbers with fire).
Above and in the order presented: a contemporary Constantine despoils the syncretic pablum that would diminish a long-standing rivalry with Muhammad’s troops; an explorer on the East-West Sea (a place in Time) suggests Zawahiri’s strings have been pulled by Moscow; and, yes, there was collusion but to be found in relationships and activities beneath them, not in deals.
So, for the future, how may Christian zealots and Islamist fanatics reach their deltas?
Well, they might wear themselves out while having made careers of their conversation — why stop today or tomorrow or in the next 35 years? The quests of each have become institutions — for as long as each may open wallets — and there’s money to be made defending and passing along dogma irregardless of its relevance to other than itself.
“Anachronisms” would seem things no longer fit to contemporary circumstance and concern.
“Rivers in Time”, as suggested, would be the channels carved by something young at one time — energetic, full, and moving heaven and earth — and later no longer strong but diminished and dispersed.
In such Regions in Time we collectively but separately sustain and replay old battles, stubbornly stick to our guns, and confidently believe we’re getting somewhere while going nowhere until one party or the other — or both — find ruin and leave their children or others to find them in history a page or a footnote or not vanquished but vanished.
With a one-term Trump Presidency, we have dodged a powerful bullet, and we should keep in mind that it took crossover Republicans to do it.
Biden’s now relying on outdated postures and needs to be shaken out of the still near past with Obama.
I’ll go a little further here with the note that our own decadence drives large foreign affairs, financial, and social issues. We’ve overdone it with the coke, dope, and sex (for starters), and the same have launched mass migrations toward us as well as funded our enemies through their control of Transnational Crime Organizations (TCOs). As “Children of the ’60s”, we should own up to some of the less immediately visible consequences of our own appetites.
In the western hemisphere, insecurity related to black market operations — cartels, gangs — literally drives people out of their homes; the same, of course, sends the “entrepreneurs” toward The North for business — or deliveries.
We each of us know what belongs to each by way of our persons and our families, and if we’re a little larger than that, our companies and communities, but we falter some with “my air; my water; my mountains; my rivers; my shores”. Some objects are too large for singular possession. Even subdivided and sold off in lots — so one might own a patch or an estate (and hunting grounds) — such resources and spaces may have lives of their own and greater than appreciated. OUR rain forests, for example, may be critical to OUR planetary oxygen supply.
As our species matures — however else we may think of ourselves (as framed by our nearly 7000 living language cultures and directed, somewhat, by our 4300 active religions), we may consider the fragility of our species foremost — we may do well to look far forward of our positions rather than fix and freeze ourselves as we are. If we are to contemplate, for example, the end of the Eon of Oil and continued Global Warming or merely increasingly severe oscillations in temperature, this may be the best time to think about the energy resources and insulating technologies of the 22nd Century.
Why not — and why not this minute?
It’s never too late?
It’s never too soon.
What if the world hadn’t to deal with what have become essentially political criminals?
What are we — or what is the world — still doing here — in the same frozen situation — with Ukraine?
Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba said on January 11 that Russia “has done everything to fulfill nothing.” His latest attempts with his German counterpart “to hold another round of talks at the level of foreign minister were unsuccessful,” Mr. Kuleba said. He said the continuing deadlock is a situation in which, “on the one hand, there is progress on Donbas, and, on the other, there is no progress.”
While it may be understood that we are not all angels, one might wonder why any state population must be made to weather the bullying criminality of gangs, more or less, of so-called “state elites” and leaders — or invasion by alien forces ordered by the same with precisely that mentality?
I had thought both the feudal and medieval eras known to European and Russian history finished off by the allied powers of World War II.
While at this post-Trumpian moment (start HIS history as an American President with Manafort, his first choice for campaign manager), no American has the right to ask how others could have been blown so far off course from the modern and practical demands for accountability, integrity, and responsibility in governance, the complaint begs a question as applicable to every capital as well as Kiev and Moscow: who would be the good stewards of states and regions and on up the scale to global assets?
These “leaders” that draw out crowds to brave their batons and bullets and mass arrests — who would have time for them were they not so brazen and stuffed full of themselves?
An advertisement for Good Stewards of any geopolitical space: ability to both imagine and think beyond one’s own existence and interests; ethical; good-willed; holistic; honest; magnanimous; possessed of high integrity; responsible; sense of humor a must.
What if through democracy coupled with ambitious public education, the world really could think about and tend to its own collective future well being as expressed through Qualities of Living x Area-Squared (or Cubed) for any geopolitical space?
I know at this point — I am 65 — my references are a bit dated but I feel their spirit still to be realized. If those who wish for themselves and future generations better lives, the answers, means, and methods are certain to be found in the comprehending of global issues and the development of related cooperation across space and time.
The slogans, e.g., “Think Globally — Act Locally”, have been around for a long time. The businessmen and politicians up to the challenge of producing a better world NOW and for setting up into the next century? Apparently, far less than would seem immediately desirable.
Books and circulars, first, radio, television, and films, later, have long presented us to ourselves, and so much so that it has long been common to reference our behavior in terms of characters well known. There has been the Great White Hunter’s perspective too in which the white guy — the Ernest Hemingway of one American generation; the Peter Beard of another — would view the journey into the “back of beyond” as exotic, and one day not too long ago, it was exotic.
The Grand Tour may be that no longer.
We are all here making our appearance known on desktop around the world. “Global Culture” — what we look like in recordings worldwide — has had these other and epic tours since the 1990s, and now we in North America have had in place for at least 14 years an astonishing “World Wide Web” through which all may see the world — including themselves — in states closer and closer to real time — or with live feeds within seconds of “real time”.
How are we now supposed to separate?
It’s too late — and we’re not going to go backward into more parochial decades or centuries.
In fact, we’re going to go through the life process and illness and death in the company of our virtually relayed but quite real familiars — our Facebook buddies, Twitter rosters, Instagram producers, and such — thousands of miles from our own desktops. When these new old friends fall ill . . . we’ll know it depending on our emotional and relational distance, not our geography. We’ll be asking what can be done (hit the FB “Cares” icon!) and what can we do — and about so many things: what can be done and what can we do sitting where each of us sits?
In terms of the larger picture, the significance of the Euromaidan, or generally the Maidan, of 2013-14 can hardly be overstated: it not only caps the period of hybrid post-Soviet existence initiated by independence in 1991, but also provides a kind of closure to the complex and drawn-out process of Ukrainian nation-formation that began in the 19th century.
I don’t know why I should have the spread of friends that I do on Facebook, so many have turned out reactionary conservatives muttering about a communist front that just hasn’t been shaping up as such. Have a look at the Communist Party USA’s membership number. Read Jacobin if you want to — I rather appreciate the alternative views but seem to be missing out on the sound of the earth-shaking thundering herd raging behind it. Inspiration for the following: the boast that former President Trump fought Chinese Communism (China’s elite society and growing class of billionaires left that blue serge lifestyle behind some time ago) and rightly put “America First!” The slogan was old before it came out of his mouth and the go-it-alone of the paranoid narcissistic personality may have only abetted Putin’s 19th Century ideas for destroying the political cohesion of a truly democratic and modern EU/NATO.
November’s election and today’s inauguration brought back to the United States of America the most fundamental of American principles and values riding right beside our glorious Constitution: a government by and for — i.e., responsible and responsive to — The People of the Nation in all our varied colors, cultures, and creeds.
We are Americans — no adjectives required unless appreciated and enjoyed — once again.
Beneath the banner of Communism, Beijing’s financial, ideological, and political realities differ quite from what imagination may supply in minds restricted by tired old presumptions. The state has been fairly minting billionaires and producing an elite within lines of authoritarian control in some ways mirroring what Moscow has going in the way of a deeply autocratic and politically repressive state.
For all intents in the United States, the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) may at best boast a membership around or beneath 10,000.
Excessive autocratic control — totalitarian in China these days — backed by military and paramilitary force have marked Beijing and Moscow’s respective narratives. In EU/NATO, the post-9/11 “New Nationalism” has similarly scarred “The West” in Hungary, Italy, Poland, and Turkey. However, as bad ideas reach their nadir, one may expect the reactionary drift (also in the United States) to reverse and more return to practical democratic approaches to a spread of tough and real — rather than imaginary — issues involving how we live together and how we (Americans) work together as a political society.
The base nods its collective head, raises its fists, and shouts its opinion — always someone else’s ideas and words — on the social network.
From the Awesome Conversation
We appear to use our military superiority — and we have it in many areas — judiciously to alter geopolitical space in well defined ways, to hem in ambitious enemies (such as Russia where it has bogged down in Ukraine), and to dampen the spirit for aggression in places like the South China Sea. We don’t just pack our kits and go off to obliterate cultures, governments, and societies. Life just ain’t that simple. I have primer on the subject: https://conflict-backchannels.com/2020/11/27/a-short-note-on-chinas-contemporary-political-sins/ — anywhere one waltzes in, from Wal-Mart to the Thousand Talents program (our research departments have taken a lot of Chinese grant money, but the same has been also a setup for Chinese espionage) — the realpolitik gets quite tough (for affordable everything — add in the borrowing on the U.S. national debt).
Fair for web search: “China, Wal-Mart”; “Thousand Talents Program”; “U.S., China, Debt”, “Ukraine, American Anti-Tank Weapons”; “China, USA, South China Sea”.
Are Far Right / Far Left Americans just plain lazy when it comes to looking into issues independently?
You tell me.
Too often online, one may come across the “Two Minutes Hate” entirely without legitimacy, sophistication, or substance.
This is not asking 320 million Americans to come up to speed in International Affairs in the way of, say, Belfer Center, but at least take in the best of available, valid, and reliable / clear, accurate, complete reportage. Citizens think; mobs mouth slogans.
In the tags section of this post, I’ve thought of a few dimensions that may need to be approached in some fresh way. I believe I have seen an ugly coarsening of competitive norms between China and the United States in the course of President Trump’s tenure. “Beat the other guy!” Well, we approach deals and games with that competitive zeal, but whether our partner in tennis or in trade, we’re generally not inclined to destroy the same without some related punitive motive. China’s “debt trap diplomacy” and the guile associated with the Thousand Talents Program indicates ambition to dominate more than facilitate healthy development and financial exchange.