Daily Prompt · point of view · riff

Daily Prompt: Relieved

via Daily Prompt: Relieved

6d0cd-1-thunderbolt
A lightening rod of relief.

So the heat breaks, even briefly, and you are relieved.  It may be temporary, but you feel it as if it were a reprieve from troubled times.

The truth is like the old saw about the dog’s tail– if you step on it and then get off, the dog is so delighted, he’ll even wag his tail for his tormenter.

We suffer, and the slightest amnesty feels life-changing. We are similarly relieved when our government sounds normal for even a moment in time, but that is grist for another riff. I have to admit I am relieved that I don’t have to expand on it.

 

America · New York City · point of view · riff

It’s the 4th of July: Who are you?

1.81px-Denmark_Seal_-_Denmark,_Maine
By Denmarkmaine – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20494643

Many of us are, or are descendents of those who have come from far away to be in America. The place we were born and the one in which we landed conspire to make our identity. We say we are Italian-Americans, or Americans of German ancestry. Some brought the homeland with them, for instance, naming a place in Maine after Denmark and another after Poland. Those of us lucky enough to be from my city mostly just say we’re New Yorkers.

As citizens of the United States, however, we are always recognized by our distinctive Americanness. Who are you? I am an American.

1.326px-NYC_subway_map
Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=86319

What does that mean? I am an American. It means I honor the hard-won rights, liberties, and responsibilities of all those singular and distinguished Americans who forged this “more perfect union.” Some of us continue to struggle to keep the ideals of our Constitution (and its amendments) intact. We are united in the laws of our land. We are one under a flag that represents American values. Nothing should divide us, although many things do.

Sometimes it’s our background, or place of origin that keeps us from acknowledging that we are all one people. Sometimes, it’s our ethnic heritage or religious beliefs that we hold above being an American. Sometimes it’s the ethnicity (or choice of worship) of our fellow Americans that we disparage, showing disrespect not only to our compatriots but also to our way of life. We allow differences in political orientation to distract us from who we truly are. We are not Republicans or Democrats. As denizens of a democratic republic, we are in truth both. We need to celebrate and esteem our “nation, indivisible” and recognize the unity that is  these UNITED STATES of America.

Happy 4th of July!

#history · America · history · point of view · politics · riff

The 4th of July

376px-arthur_szyk_1894-1951-_thomas_jeffersons_oath_1951_new_canaan_ct
Arthur Szyk (1894-1951). Thomas_Jefferson’s Oath (1951), New Canaan, CT

Who needs civil liberties? The rights of our citizens were hard-won. Freedom did not just emerge from the blood and sweat of the Revolutionary War in documents of federation and constitutional laws. Some Americans had many more years to struggle to see their rights recognized. Many of our privileges evolved in the amendments to our Bill of Rights over the 3 centuries since that war established a United States.

The simple single answer is we all do. Remembering, as always, that with rights come responsibilities.

Sometimes it is not possible to quell the anger, fear and hatred of a policeman who stops a citizen for a tail-light violation. Situations get out of hand. The driver is arrested.

Many of the folks incarcerated have committed only the crime of “driving while black.” Responsible parents in the Afro-American community teach their children how to mitigate the outcomes of this very serious circumstance. It is one which affects the statistic in which 14% of a county’s population are prosecuted or jailed for more than 50% of the crimes committed there.

When 14% of a county’s population in places like Mississippi, for instance, are prosecuted for more than half the crimes committed in that county, it looks like that 14% are the bad seed. Looks can be deceiving. Statistics like these are clearly skewed. They are also deceiving.

 

#beauty · #Facts · #poetry · admiration · awe · beginnings · clouds · eye-catchng · inspirations · life · light · memory · painting my feelings · point of view · riff · views · weather

Ephemeral

1drawingI wish I could draw,

I would tell you so much more

Of the sky, the clouds, that low-

Flying bi-plane overhead,

I would paint you a vision of

The ephemera of a cloud with a hole

Showing blue and closing slowly

Disappearing into itself, breaking

Apart and floating like an island

But soft and pillow-like. I would tell

You of the silica glistening off

A concrete wall, its solid shape

Holding off the sky, blue and bursting

With puffs of white, soft and pillow-

Like, over our heads, seagulls

And helicopters circling above.

The changing skyscape sketched

In quick broad strokes. Picture

This portrait of air and light

#Facts · #history · America · as apple pie · estrangement · ethics · Famous · history · lies · P.O.V. · point of view · politics · power · Reconstruction · riff · truth · two sides to every story

How was the west won?

1.Camp_Cook's_Troubles_by_Charles_Marion_Russell
By Charles Marion Russell – http://slowtrigger.com/CharlesRussell/A%20Bronc%20to%20Breakfast,%201912,%20Oil%20on%20canvas.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1603824

Reconstruction was the period in American history when the country sought to heal the wounds of a civil war. “Civil” war is such a deceptive phrase, really. Really? It is probably the very definition of an oxymoron.

Our Pledge of Allegiance was one of the products of reconstruction. It was used as a symbol of the nation’s unity.

During that war from 1860 to 1864, the country was divided, fighting under two separate flags, not for liberty or justice, but for the sovereign right of one part of this nation to earn its living by enslaving human beings. Since that project, slavery, slipped away, Americans turned to “taming” the west, which turned out to be a project in which it was necessary to kill off as many Indians as possible. Native American tribes stood in the way of our country’s westward progress. We couldn’t have that, and fighting them off their lands became an all-American enterprise.

The wild west was so called not because of all the nightclubbing and disco parties, but because of the untempered vunityiolence it allowed, even encouraged.

Daily Prompt · politics · riff

Shot from a cannon

via Daily Prompt: Catapult

1.mislabelled
(c) Tamara Beck

Trickle down economics has the people of Kansas suffering major cuts to rudimentary services, and the state in devastation. If the Republican budget makers have their way, similar dissolutions will effect the middle class and working poor as they attempt to cut taxes for the very rich in order to have them, the rich, that is, create wealth for the rest of us.

“Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore.” But we may soon be….

The theory, not unfamiliar to anyone who has listened to conservatives explain it, is that when the wealthy have extra– aka, even more than they now have– money, they will use it to fund businesses. The reality is that most of the 1%ers already have money to finance an economic boom. The money never really travels downward, not even in slow drips, to the benefit of those in need of it. Instead, we are flung, as it shot from a cannon into a dyfunctional and unsustainable reality. The theory, in fact, could be called “alternative economics,” and fits in with the alt-reality and fake news into which we plunged over the past year.

Trickle down? Wha?

In fact, this kind of budget will give our administration what it seems to have wanted all along, the opportunity to shut down government institutions. Health and Human Services and the department of Housing and Urban Development, like the agency overseeing education in the United States will no longer be necessary. Some rich dude will fill in the gaps, and presumably fix the potholes.

It is not surprising that the well-to-do are enamored of this kind of economic necomancy.
It is incredible that the poor would also fall prey to its mysterious appeal.

Under such plans for our nation’s financial future, we will see an America catapulted into the dark ages. Isolated because it is isolationist when we espouse America First, this great country will lose services, safety nets and the security it enjoyed under less regressive leadership.