The Eve of Destruction

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There is an adage that says “those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it”.  The popular music of the 1960’s and 70’s often protested the dissatisfaction of the youth with the world.  The problems weren’t new, but nonetheless true.  Historically, music has always been a used as a vehicle to profess societal wrongs, imbalances, and frustrations.  Consider the lyrics written by Barry McGuire and recorded by The Grass Roots and others.

The eastern world, it is exploding
Violence flarin’, bullets loadin’
You’re old enough to kill, but not for votin’
You don’t believe in war, but what’s that gun you’re totin’
And even the Jordan River has bodies floatin’

But you tell me
Over and over and over again, my friend
Ah, you don’t believe
We’re on the eve
Of destruction.

Don’t you understand what I’m tryin’ to say
Can’t you feel the fears I’m feelin’ today?
If the button is pushed, there’s no runnin’ away
There’ll be no one to save, with the world in a grave
[Take a look around ya boy, it’s bound to scare ya boy]

And you tell me
Over and over and over again, my friend
Ah, you don’t believe
We’re on the eve
Of destruction.

Yeah, my blood’s so mad feels like coagulatin’
I’m sitting here just contemplatin’
I can’t twist the truth, it knows no regulation.
Handful of senators don’t pass legislation
And marches alone can’t bring integration
When human respect is disintegratin’
This whole crazy world is just too frustratin’

And you tell me
Over and over and over again, my friend
Ah, you don’t believe
We’re on the eve
Of destruction.

Think of all the hate there is in Red China
Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama
You may leave here for 4 days in space
But when you return, it’s the same old place

The poundin’ of the drums, the pride and disgrace
You can bury your dead, but don’t leave a trace
Hate your next-door neighbor, but don’t forget to say grace
And… tell me over and over and over and over again, my friend
You don’t believe
We’re on the eve
Of destruction
Mm, no no, you don’t believe
We’re on the eve
Of destruction.

The words speak of the social battles of the sixties, but think how easy it is to insert today’s trouble spots into the lyrics.  Five decades have passed, but racial tensions remain, China remains a military threat, and Israel is still struggling to survive amidst a sea of Islam.  Perhaps Bob Dylan was right when he wrote:

The answer my friend, is blowin’ in the wind

 

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A Parallax View

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Donald Trump has been office 24 days and in that brief time has generated more confusion, protest, speculation, threats, and accusations than any President in recent memory.  After eight years of the press ignoring anything negative about Obama or simply spinning it to a sunny aspect, they are suddenly confronted with a man who aggressively attacks what he views as their absence of journalistic honesty.  The question, as I see it, is whether what he is doing is the manic ravings of an ego-maniacal narcissist, or is it the clever manipulation of the press by a brilliant business man who doesn’t care about politics.

Donald Trump did not rise to office through the halls of political bargaining and back room deals made in exchange for pork barrel projects and voter support.  He made his way to the forefront of our nation’s leadership by succeeding as a hard nosed, cut throat, visionary businessman.  Yes, he has a big ego, just like every other elected official, but look beyond it and try to see the end game in his antics.

Politicians tell people what they think they want to hear so that they can get into office and ignore the desires of their constituents.  Trump has achieved office and set out immediately to do what he promised he would do, and no one in the press is looking for his end game.  If you study the history of the man, you will discover that he always has a target and will do whatever is necessary to befuddle, distract, confuse, and upset the opposition in his negotiations and actions.  After only a few weeks he has managed to create more chaos in the status quo than any President in the last century.  Exactly as he promised he would do.

Step back and take a different look at the man in the Oval Office.  Is he actually the persona he is showing to the press, or is he playing a longer game, one aimed at rebuilding our manufacturing base, taking control of immigration, reducing our taxes, changing our foreign policies to favor the US, and standing face to face with foreign leaders as the leader of a great nation, unapologetic for our prosperity. Look beyond the struggles to find the right people for his team and see if you can determine why he is doing what he is and where he is determined to take our nation. If he can shake things up this much in three weeks, think about what he will accomplish in four years.

New Home, New Hope, Old Behavior

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I am now a resident of Reno, Nevada, truly the Biggest Little City in the World.  Reno is so much more than what is often imagined by people who have never been here, or only visited to enjoy the casinos.  The high desert at the foot of the Sierra Nevada is a surprisingly wet, with small streams, rivers, lakes, and ponds found throughout the valley known as Truckee Meadows.  Reno is an old city, having been the jumping off point for wagon trains in the 1800’s for people migrating to California, and Sparks, its next door neighbor the railroad nexus for the continental railroad as well as the feeder lines to the continental railroad.  Today Reno is an industrial hub at the crossroads of two interstate highways as well as the railroad and an international airport, while still maintaining an aura of the old west.

I moved here with the hope of finding my way home from the emotional devastation of my personal life after losing two wonderful ladies to cancer.  As I have settled in I find myself looking forward with eager anticipation to what awaits me, instead of longing for the joy of the past to re-emerge from the darkness of my grief.  The new hope is becoming a reality.

While I try not to make political statements, recognizing the sort of minefield such things become, I would like to offer an observation.  The outcome of the recent election has made elated some, disappointed and angered others.  In my lifetime I have participated as a voter in many elections, but while I have read about and studied elections before my time, I have not seen the sort of behavior the Democratic Party supporters have demonstrated since November 8th.  This is not the first time the winner of electoral votes failed to win the popular vote.  This is not the first time vitriol and insults have been part of the campaigns.  This is not the first time people have been unhappy with the outcome.  This the first time that the losing side has violently taken to the streets and attacked the supporters of the winners.  This is shameful.  This is petty.  This is adults having a temper tantrum.

No one knows what will be the manner in which the new President conducts business.  We do know that voters were unhappy with the status quo, with business as usual, with professional politicians stealing their money and their freedoms.  The Electors  have been advised by their voters how to cast their ballots.  While they may not have a legal obligation to follow that advice, they certainly have a moral obligation to do so.