I don’t plan to put forth one original thought today. The title Purloined Wisdom is exactly what I intend to pass along. Much of it comes from the reading I was able to complete during my late December break from writing; other pearls were acquired via the simple but important act of listening to what wise people had to say. Wherever possible I will credit whomever I gleaned from. Let’s explore.
I have often thought prejudice was born of ignorance and learned via “folklore”. Former British Labour MP and Minister David Miliband reinforced my thinking with the following which I am paraphrasing: The places with the most immigrants/refugees are the happiest with them while the places with the fewest are where you will find the most fear/hatred of them. Miliband was not taking a 30,000 foot view but rather was speaking of cities, towns and villages.
Here are two from Gloria Steinem. A fetus is at best a dependent life; a person is an independent life. Perhaps that is why fetus became a prohibited word under the pandering to ignorance President Donald Trump.
The right wing sees religion as a form of politics that you can’t criticize. Wow, that says a lot! I am an American who firmly believes in the First Amendment which includes freedom of religion. That entails freedom from religion but it doesn’t protect hypocritically hiding behind religion which is something I find abhorrent. I’m not the biggest Al Sharpton fan but I agree with a statement he made during a 2004 Presidential debate “The Christian right hasn’t met the right Christians yet.” Talk about saying a lot!
Ideas can come in as little as a phrase. Here is one from veteran Republican strategist Rick Wilson describing Trump’s and his administrations’ communications, “Word vomit”.
In describing slave labor Ta-Nehisi Coates said the following: “…fit for maximum exploitation, capable of only minimal resistance.” Keep that in mind when you see anti-labor and anti-immigrant laws enacted. This week one of the big debates is supposed to be DACA. I don’t know when or if there will be a resolution but this much I will predict with confidence; the Republicans will not allow a path to citizenship that allows voting rights. They like second class residents that provide an exploitable and inexpensive labor supply but they will never allow them to vote.
I will conclude with several quotes from John Adams. “Government is nothing more than the combined forces of society.” A good friend from my Florida days, Jay Rowden, put it this way, “To be against socialism you have to be against society.” I’ll take that a step further and say if you oppose society you are advocating anarchy.
Speaking to Congress Adams said our national defense should be, “…commensurate with our resources and the situation of our country.” Remember one of the events that hastened the inevitable collapse of the Soviet Union is that they spent too much on their military.
Adams also wrote, “My fundamental maxim of government is never trust the lamb to the wolf.” Did he foresee the 2016 Trump campaign and all the people who would be fooled by a con man?
Finally, late in his life he wrote, “The longer I live, the more I read, the more patiently I think, and the more anxiously I inquire, the less I seem to know.”
Reflecting on that last thought, how many of those qualities does the current occupant of the White House have? I share a similar frustration with Adams’ and many other great minds of the past several centuries. That is not going to stop me in my quest to learn. I just wish our current President felt the same way.
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