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Mon Mar 23, 2020, 11:50 AM

god

“If I could persuade myself that I should find him in a Himalayan cave I would proceed there immediately. But I know I cannot find him apart from humanity. I claim to know my millions. All hours of the day I am with them. They are first and last. Because I recognize no God except that God that is to be found in the hearts of the dumb millions.” – Gandhi


The Trump corona virus crisis has taken attention away from virtually every other issue – as it should. It has resulted in shut-downs in many places. Sports have been indefinitely postponed. Trump babbles about being a “war president,” but few Americans are thinking about how many military people are assigned to hostile foreign lands, other than their families. Even political discussions tend to be in the context to the government's response to the rapidly spreading virus.

My three younger children are all employed in human services. There is a discomfort for them in “working from home.” It's not that they do not have comfortable spaces to inhabit. It is because they are aware of the impact of the current situation on those existing on the margins of society. As my son asks, “Where are homeless people supposed to go during the shut-down ?”

The Hunkpapa Lakota chief Sitting Bull said that if a man loses loses anything and goes back and searches for it, he will find it. Yesterday, I was thinking about where society lost the interest in answering my son's question. I remember hearing far more about such issues in the past, but they seem to have gone out of style. Could I find out when?

I started by watching a film of the 1980 debate between President Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. Surely this illustrated the stark differences between a good man with a social conscience, and an amoral man acting out the role of a leader. It was easy to recall my thoughts while watching it 40 years ago. I knew then that dark clouds were gathering on the horizon.

Then I watched the first 1984 debate between Reagan and former VP Walter Mondale. Again, I could easily remember what I was thinking when I was viewing it live. Mondale was a good man, fully capable of serving our nation as president. As bad a human specimen as Reagan absolutely was, it was sad to see any person's mental abilities so reduced that they had that level of difficulty in communicating. No wonder it would be so easy for VP Bush and Oliver North to convince the faded Gipper to endorse the Iran-Contra operations.

Soon, it was 4:30, and I tuned in to watch the equally feeble-minded Donald Trump give a press conference. It would surely serve as a substitute rally for Donald. I listened to him as he delivered a series of statistics that soon became trapped in a cycle of repetition. To paraphrase Lennon, words were flowing out like acid rain into a burning cup. This mere shell of a human lacks the capacity to be helpful in this time.

My older son came in and asked what I was watching? Before I could answer, he said, “Oh, fuck this asshole!” as he grabbed the remote. He turned to another program, that featured two members of the House of Representatives speaking about the corona virus. We watched Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and then Ilhan Omar speak about what they were trying to do to help not only the middle class, but also the poor. They focused most of their attention on the issues confronting those on the margins of society. They were answering my younger son's question.

I found what I was looking for.

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Arrow 45 replies Author Time Post
Reply god (Original post)
H2O Man Mar 2020 OP
Laelth Mar 2020 #1
H2O Man Mar 2020 #8
malaise Mar 2020 #2
H2O Man Mar 2020 #9
Stuart G Mar 2020 #3
H2O Man Mar 2020 #10
livetohike Mar 2020 #4
H2O Man Mar 2020 #11
coeur_de_lion Mar 2020 #5
H2O Man Mar 2020 #13
coeur_de_lion Mar 2020 #19
BeyondGeography Mar 2020 #6
H2O Man Mar 2020 #14
spanone Mar 2020 #7
H2O Man Mar 2020 #15
lunatica Mar 2020 #12
H2O Man Mar 2020 #16
lunatica Mar 2020 #18
OneGrassRoot Mar 2020 #17
H2O Man Mar 2020 #23
Hekate Mar 2020 #20
H2O Man Mar 2020 #25
PETRUS Mar 2020 #21
H2O Man Mar 2020 #27
PETRUS Mar 2020 #30
mountain grammy Mar 2020 #22
H2O Man Mar 2020 #29
BeckyDem Mar 2020 #24
H2O Man Mar 2020 #35
BeckyDem Mar 2020 #44
underpants Mar 2020 #26
H2O Man Mar 2020 #36
Karadeniz Mar 2020 #28
H2O Man Mar 2020 #37
live love laugh Mar 2020 #31
H2O Man Mar 2020 #38
hamsterjill Mar 2020 #32
H2O Man Mar 2020 #40
burrowowl Mar 2020 #33
H2O Man Mar 2020 #41
BlancheSplanchnik Mar 2020 #34
H2O Man Mar 2020 #42
BlancheSplanchnik Mar 2020 #45
oasis Mar 2020 #39
H2O Man Mar 2020 #43

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Mar 23, 2020, 11:57 AM

1. Your sons are blessings. k&r n/t

-Laelth

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Response to Laelth (Reply #1)

Mon Mar 23, 2020, 01:00 PM

8. Thank you!

They are good men.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Mar 23, 2020, 12:00 PM

2. A magnificent post

I found what I was looking for.

You found two people who know society is not a market

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Response to malaise (Reply #2)

Mon Mar 23, 2020, 01:03 PM

9. Thanks!

I've been communicating with my daughters on the internet. So there are four of them. And the DNA tests they have taken indicate I actually am their male parental unit ! (grin)

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Mar 23, 2020, 12:04 PM

3. Wonderful Post..

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Response to Stuart G (Reply #3)

Mon Mar 23, 2020, 01:03 PM

10. Thanks, Stuart G!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Mar 23, 2020, 12:19 PM

4. I was teaching elementary school in inner city Houston, TX

when Reagan said ketchup was a vegetable. 80% of the kids in the school were part of the free lunch program. That comment and others by Reagan convinced me that we had lost our way.

Thank you for another great post. We have hope.

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Response to livetohike (Reply #4)

Mon Mar 23, 2020, 01:06 PM

11. That was a

true obscenity, one the "christian right" ignored. It took a special type of cruelty to engage in or endorse the Reagan economic policies.

And thank you. We can Keep Hope Alive.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Mar 23, 2020, 12:19 PM

5. God bless your sons

And you. Take good care of yourself because we need your voice and your wisdom right now.

Also I personally would be devastated should anything bad happen to you.

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Response to coeur_de_lion (Reply #5)

Mon Mar 23, 2020, 01:20 PM

13. Thank you!

Besides their doing important things, we have the opportunity to have great discussions. Then we engage in the darkest of Irish humor, with them making me laugh harder and longer than I have in decades.

Lots of my extended family lived (or is living) into their late 90s, and even past 100. So while I do appreciate that you, like all four of my children, are a bit worried about my surviving this crisis, I am confident that I have quite a few good years left.Being a cranky old hermit has distinct advantages, I think. Plus, where do I go -- other than walks out in the fields and woods, along trails that no one has been on for longer than we have been alive? I'm unlikely to catch the virus.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #13)

Mon Mar 23, 2020, 01:58 PM

19. Good glad to hear it

I am sort of unlikely too but I do have cousins stopping by unexpectedly to check on us in our tiny town.

I love them so much! Even though they are trump humpers and occasionally need to be reminded that COVID-19 is not the flu.

I wish I was retired like my husband and my weekdays were my own.

Working from home, it can be hard to concentrate.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Mar 23, 2020, 12:34 PM

6. On a related note, this JFK quote I recently read really resonated with me

And I'm holding onto it:

"For an American, it's got to be awfully easy or awfully tough. When it's in the middle, then there's trouble."

That was after the PT-109 incident in which his previously bellyaching team of malcontents displayed levels of courage and communal spirit previously unimaginable to him.

The 70s were like that middle period, and Reagan was the trouble. "Awfully tough" is certainly here. Hopefully, we're up to the moment.

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Response to BeyondGeography (Reply #6)

Mon Mar 23, 2020, 01:26 PM

14. Nice!

Thank you for that JFK quote!

I re-read Maxwell Kennedy's 1998 book of his father's favorite quotations, "Make Gentle the Life of This World: The Vision of Robert F. Kennedy." I can't help but think the world would be a better place, had the Kennedy brothers not been assassinated.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Mar 23, 2020, 12:51 PM

7. Thanks!!!!

Wisdom on steroids

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Response to spanone (Reply #7)

Mon Mar 23, 2020, 01:27 PM

15. Thank you!

Much appreciated!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Mar 23, 2020, 01:18 PM

12. Or, to be super succinct,

That moment when the torch is passed to the youth.

I like it. We’ll be in good hands.

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Response to lunatica (Reply #12)

Mon Mar 23, 2020, 01:28 PM

16. Right.

I love the way that you expressed it! Thank you!

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #16)

Mon Mar 23, 2020, 01:37 PM

18. Thanks

But in all honestly, while you wax in oratorical wisdom, I pretty much just mumble under my breath.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Mar 23, 2020, 01:36 PM

17. K&R you wonderful human. n/t

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Response to OneGrassRoot (Reply #17)

Mon Mar 23, 2020, 02:42 PM

23. And thank you,

Wonderful-er-est Human! I treasure the opportunity to communicate with you!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Mar 23, 2020, 02:02 PM

20. As always...

Thanks.

May you and yours stay safe.

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Response to Hekate (Reply #20)

Mon Mar 23, 2020, 02:50 PM

25. Thank you!

We are safe in this house. One son is "working from home," the other enjoying a shut-down of his work place. They are going way out of their way to make sure I'm safe, though I do not count myself as being in the higher risk populations. I've barely heard any automobiles when I'm outside walking the dogs. It's snowing now, and I was able to hear a train about 12 miles away. Sounds travel through the valleys, and this seems especially true when it snows.

I worry about my daughters, who both are primarily working from their homes. But I know that one of them has been delivering food to the doorsteps of isolated, elderly poor in Boston.

I hope that you & yours are safe. And I'm glad that the internet allows for our community to communicate here.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Mar 23, 2020, 02:09 PM

21. As always, thanks for your post.

I've been so impressed by AOC and Ilhan Omar, and they've said much that gives me hope. Everyone sees the world differently, but for me they offer a moral clarity that I don't often hear from elected officials. I say that not to disparage our other politicians - there are many who are good, solid, well intentioned people - but the language those two and a few others use is different and resonates in a particular way, and I think it's important and fortunate that we have those voices.

For a few weeks, I've been toying with an idea that I haven't yet figured out how to articulate, but I'm going to try now. It's often said, in one way or another, that (some) young people are unrealistic idealists and that most of them will become more practical-minded as they age and gain wisdom. It's also been noted that people can get used to just about anything. My idea is that maybe young people are seeing the world with clearer eyes, and just aren't (yet) resigned to the set of objectionable circumstances that older people have chosen to accept. (I say this as someone who's been on this earth for a while, grey hair and all.) In an extreme world, what does a "moderate" look like to everyone else? Obviously, I'm generalizing about age and there are numerous individual exceptions. Plus I'm not even sure if my idea is sensible. This came to mind now because the two representatives you mentioned are on the youthful side, as far as congress goes. I hope you don't mind me throwing it out there.

Peace.

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Response to PETRUS (Reply #21)

Mon Mar 23, 2020, 03:07 PM

27. Very interesting!

And very well said!

Your first paragraph described exactly how I view AOC and Ilhan Omar. As an old person who has tried to fight the Good Fight, it does me good to see them exercising a type of power that isn't exactly what is common in the political world. More than regular members of Congress, they remind me of the Clan Mothers I knew/know from the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy. They have a firm grasp of the Power of Ideas.

Paragraph Two reminded me of one of my favorite Muhammad Ali sayings, that those who do not believe in and work for miracles are simply unrealistic.Ali inspired a lot of his generation to take a close look at society, to think for themselves as the evaluate circumstances, and to act for others. I believe that a significant portion of today's young people have figured that out for themselves, and that is so good to see.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #27)

Mon Mar 23, 2020, 03:50 PM

30. Thank you! By the way, I'm a "preacher's kid."

I was raised in a mainline protestant tradition. My father is deceased, but I know he thought the world of Gandhi, and I'm pretty sure he would have appreciated your post. Dad was not at all dogmatic - I can remember him saying from the pulpit that he's not there to provide answers, and indeed he's not really capable of that, but he's there to encourage us all to support one another in our spiritual quests (and life in general). I still consider myself a Christian, and I believe I find god not only in other people but in nonhuman life and even in mountains, streams, the wind, etc.

Be well, and best wishes to you and your children.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Mar 23, 2020, 02:38 PM

22. Thank you

I think this is one of your best posts ever. I remember those debates too and after the elections I thought evil had won.
The last paragraph left me hopeful. Stay well, Mr Waterman.

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Response to mountain grammy (Reply #22)

Mon Mar 23, 2020, 03:17 PM

29. Thanks, Buddy!

I hope that you & yours are safe and doing well.

My youngest daughter has been teasing me today (e-mails) by saying that she thinks I must have known this crisis was coming, since I've been preparing to be a hermit for the last 15 years.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Mar 23, 2020, 02:48 PM

24. These are tough times and I teared up reading this because I lived the Reagan era too.

Our children are the future, AOC speaks for my kids too not just me and my husband. Their grassroots efforts don't always get much attention but they are trying. I wish more adults would listen to them.

Peace to you and yours. Stay safe.

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Response to BeckyDem (Reply #24)

Mon Mar 23, 2020, 10:21 PM

35. Thanks Becky!

My children think highly of AOC, as well. And they work at the grass roots level. I think that is just as important as those working at higher, more visible levels. I was a grass roots level, community organizer myself.

I always thought of my work as similar to when I was in my teens and early twenties. During the summers, I worked on building houses. Not being particularly talented in that field, I was of most use while working on basements and putting in septic systems. These are not positions one sees when driving by the site. Few people appreciate the work involved. But a good foundation is necessary for a solid house, and for keeping a roof in shape. And good septic systems are pleasant when people move in.

Grass roots workers do mighty important work. I always thought it was just as valuable when it got little or no attention, as when it was in the news, or involved larger numbers of people.

Please tell your kids that this old man said thank you, and keep up the good work. And all of you stay safe at this strange time.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #35)

Tue Mar 24, 2020, 07:37 AM

44. I will tell them.

You're right about good foundations, without them it all collapses.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Mar 23, 2020, 02:55 PM

26. Great post

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Response to underpants (Reply #26)

Mon Mar 23, 2020, 10:25 PM

36. Well, thank you!

I hope that you and yours are safe.

I'm listening to (semi-watching) the film of Trump's press conference from earlier today. I wanted to finish the season of "Hunters" first. And I'm finding that Pence looks suspiciously like some of the characters from that show.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Mar 23, 2020, 03:10 PM

28. Gandhi's quote COMPLETELY reflects the Christian theology known by the "mature" level of

Followers and hidden in his parables. Thanks for bringing this quote to us.

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Response to Karadeniz (Reply #28)

Mon Mar 23, 2020, 10:34 PM

37. Yes.

It is in the same spirit as is found in people such as the late Oscar Romero in El Salvador, and is also known as Liberation Theology. It can be found in some Christian traditions, as well as among other faiths, and even among non-believers. It helped my late friend Rubin Carter in his personal transformation, etc. And it is my favorite topic for both consideration and discussing.

Rubin was an atheist who studied many religions in the context of psychological evolution. He said that The Master placed numerous levels of teaching in those parables.

Thank you!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Mar 23, 2020, 04:32 PM

31. "...the stark differences between a good man with a social conscience, and an amoral man..."

I remember Inauguration Day 1981. I was at home sick with strep throat. I always knew Carter was a good man. But the striking contrast between Rosalind and Jimmie across the podium from Reagan and designer-clad, astrology following Nancy was enough to make me cry. I was very young and not even politically engaged but I knew that what I was seeing was a harbinger of doom.

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Response to live love laugh (Reply #31)

Mon Mar 23, 2020, 10:39 PM

38. Thank you!

Reagan won the election, and a short time later, John Lennon was murdered. It was an ugly time. I knew we were up against it with Reagan and Bush.

The Carters are amazing people. They have a dignity that the Trumps can't buy.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Mar 23, 2020, 05:21 PM

32. Beautiful!

Yes, you found it!!! Lovely piece. Thank you.

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Response to hamsterjill (Reply #32)

Mon Mar 23, 2020, 10:41 PM

40. Thanks, hamsterjill!

I really appreciate that! I hope that you and yours are safe.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Mar 23, 2020, 06:45 PM

33. Kick

You always have thought provoking essays.

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Response to burrowowl (Reply #33)

Mon Mar 23, 2020, 10:46 PM

41. Thank you!

When I sat down to write this up, I thought that I'd be putting into words what a lot of people in the DU community have been thinking. People here have that social conscience that allows us to recognize the horrors of a system that has a bumbling fool as president. Those on the margins of society always have it tough, but it is far worse today.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Mar 23, 2020, 08:33 PM

34. ❤️

Thankful for your stories, H2O Man. We need stories.

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Response to BlancheSplanchnik (Reply #34)

Mon Mar 23, 2020, 10:50 PM

42. Thank you!

I come from a long line of Shanachies, the traditional Irish story-tellers. So as long as I'm alive, I suppose you folks will have to put up with me.

I hope that you and yours are safe!

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #42)

Tue Mar 24, 2020, 09:14 AM

45. Thanks H2O Man! I'm ok here with my doggies.

Working from home, using Zoom (a meeting vid app). It’s weird. But I’m a hermit anyway so it doesn’t feel all that different, yet. Lol!

Stay safe and sane, to you and yours!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Mar 23, 2020, 10:41 PM

39. Beautiful.

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Response to oasis (Reply #39)

Mon Mar 23, 2020, 10:51 PM

43. Thank you!

I appreciate that. And I'm glad that you liked it!

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