All posts by John Of Late

Health Hazard

I am annoyed with Donald Trump.  Not merely annoyed, I have come to the conclusion that the man is hazardous to my health.  It’s getting so I am apprehensive about waking up in the morning to hear NPR bring me news of the latest atrocity committed by Mr. Trump’s administration.

The “national emergency” that he has just discovered at our southern border is today’s latest example.  If there is such a crisis (which I do not believe actually exists), why did it take him two years to find it?  The “crisis” of course is phony.  It serves only as a ploy to circumvent the normal channels of legislation.  He was unable to get a border wall funding bill through Congress.  The sloppy art of his deal was to wait until a quarter of the government ran out of money and then use that as leverage to get what he wants.

This is not negotiating.  This is taking hostages and making a non-negotiable demand.

Of course, this ploy would not work so well were it not for the collusion of Mitch McConnell (and the majority of Republicans).  Mitch says there is no point in having the Senate consider funding the government unless the president will sign the bill.  I must admit that there is a certain appeal to that argument.  I mean, why bother to legislate?  Never mind the Senate’s Constitutional duty.  But in reality, the only thing Mr. Trump wants to sign is the back of a check from the taxpayers for his Great-Great Wall. 

What Mitch is really saying by refusing to consider anything else is that the Republicans are ready to agree to the ransom demand.

If Mitch had any backbone, he would tell Mr. Trump that the only legislation the Senate will pass is a bill that would immediately re-open the government, provide funding for more immigration judges, provide humanitarian assistance to asylum-seeking families who are stuck at the border, and sure, providing some better electronic and technological surveillance on the border.  Next, Congress should take up comprehensive immigration reform.  (Okay, I can already hear the laughter from the invertebrate Republicans.)

A “physical barrier “at the border is nonsense.  Considering the time it would take to complete a massive federal construction project, it can hardly be called an urgent response to a “national emergency.”  As far as I can see, the only ones to benefit are the contracting outfits who would do the construction at inflated “government work” prices.

And that’s just today’s atrocity!  These are supposed to be my golden years, but how can I enjoy them with Mr. Trump in charge of my country?  It’s like having perpetual acid reflux.  My greatest existential fear is dying while he is still in office.  It will take years to undo the damage that he has already caused.  I can only hope that I should live so long.


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Casting the Elements

Somewhere in one of the bottomless crevasses of my mind, I have been working on a puzzle of thought. It seems to start with the notion that there are elemental structures of thought. These elements of thought affect what we think about, how we think, and how we respond to our thoughts.

It is through the prism of these elements that we interact or connect with others and understand ourselves. The elements mysteriously combine with one another to produce various compounds and ideas.

What am I going on about? What is an elemental structure of thought? Spirituality, I think, is one elemental thought structure. Imagination is another. To those I would add Purpose and The Mundane (or if you prefer, “mundanity”). This last element is, I admit, a bit of a catch-all for the remainder of our thinking—the relatively boring bits that do not easily fit into another (less-boring) element of thought. This is not to suggest that mundanity is unimportant; in fact, our survival depends on it.

There is an element of spirituality contained within the expansive moments of our lives, in moments of transcendence, but spirituality is not exclusively transcendent. Is there not an element of spirituality in a simple conscious awareness of a good time? Gratitude and gratification, satisfaction and affection—these not necessarily transcendent thoughts are derived from the spirituality element of thought.

The element of Imagination is distinct from the element of Spirituality although these elements lie close to each other in the spectrum of thought structures. The element of imagination can be found in art and creativity, and it forms the foundation of invention. Our sense of wonder has something to do with our ability to imagine. Imagination is the mode of thought through which we experience excitement and bliss. Imagination beyond the comfortable and ordinary can be awe-inspiring.

If the element of Mundanity is about day-to-day survival, it is the element of Purpose that drives us forward. Purpose is about passion. Purpose takes us beyond the status quo and leads us to exploration. There is a sense of motion or movement in ideas about purpose. The element of purpose is behind intention and learning.  Compassion and justice are rooted in purpose, and Purpose defines our sense of self. It is a mirror for self-reflection, a lens for looking inward. The element of purpose makes us aware of our own foolishness and regret and feeds the impulse to do better.

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