(Note: This piece was filed Friday morning, just before John McCain announced he could not support this vicious bill. I have had great respect for McCain since I met him years ago. His action Friday may have doomed the legislation -- for now -- but these people keep coming back for their money.)
Lately, I’ve been seeing the image of the Native American with one tear rolling down his cheek.
It was a highly popular commercial, for the ecology, from Earth Day, 1971.
The man had paddled down a pristine river and sighted a modern Apocalypse of debris.
That’s how I feel these days.
It’s not just the natural disasters pounding Texas and Florida and the Caribbean and Mexico, places we know and love.
It’s the vision into the heart of darkness. I have dealt with the election of a cruel, ignorant and disturbed human being, believing he will be out within 18 months. He’s a symptom of something worse.
The teardrop in my mind comes when I see stone-hearted members of Congress preparing to vote to take away health care from millions of people who need it the most -- fellow Americans, whatever that means anymore.
I see politicians – and by that I mean Republicans – lobbying for votes, to stiff the poor and the sick.
They are doing it for their donors, the Koch Brothers and villains like them, who want tax breaks, and do not care how they come, even at the penalty of taking away surgery from the ill and shelter for the aged.
These donors would, essentially, kill for money, and so would their lackeys in Congress.
Lindsey Graham. For a while, I thought he was showing touches of humanity but now he is front and center for the White Citizens Council, some of them doctors, for goodness’ sakes, who shuffle wordlessly behind Head Kleagle McConnell. They want money so they can keep going.
Jimmy Kimmel is wise to this Cassidy guy. I hope Kimmel's rants do some good.
Until McCain made his statement Friday, I could not count on three Republicans in the Senate to vote for the poor. Plus, I can think of a Democrat or two who would shaft people in their own states, for money.
They do not want to care for their fellow humans. And they have the backing of some large and oily religious lobbies.
I can remember when Americans told each other we were the good guys who helped win two World Wars. If you overlooked the Civil War, the war that has never ended, it was a workable image.
This current collective meanness has been coming on for a while. It began when the McConnell-Boehner-Ryan coalition sabotaged Barack Obama for the crime of Presiding While Black.
It’s about race, a lot of it.
I’ve gotten pretty tough in my old age. I ascribe to the Iris Dement song, “No Time to Cry,” about how her father died and she had to keep going.
But now I'm walking and I'm talking,
Doing what I'm supposed to do.
Working overtime to make sure I don't come unglued.
I guess I'm older now and I've got no time to cry.
Then I remember the Native American, so proud, so stoic, seeing what others are doing to his world.
(Footnote: the man in the commercial, who went by the name of Iron Eyes Cody, was actually of Sicilian ancestry, Espera Oscar de Corti, and grew up in rural Louisiana. He portrayed Native Americans in movies, and married one in real life. He looked the part well enough that I remember his tear, 46 years later.)
"Among the things that have long fascinated people about Jesus and explain his enduring appeal is his method of dialogue and teaching. "He asked a lot of questions and told a lot of stories in the form of parables. In fact, parables form about a third of Jesus’ recorded teachings. The Gospels were written decades after he died, so his questions and parables clearly left a deep impression on those who bore testimony to him....
"Some of Jesus’ questions were rhetorical; others were meant to challenge or even provoke. In some cases, Jesus used questions to parry attacks by religious authorities who set traps for him. In others, he used questions to enter more fully into the lives of others and to help people look at the state of their hearts. He asked people about their fears and their faith. Jesus used questions to free a woman caught in adultery from condemnation and to inquire whether people considered him to be the Messiah. He probed deeply into questions not many had asked before him, like “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”
---(Peter Wehner, long-time White House consultant and writer, in the NYT last week about Jesus Christ’s method of teaching by asking questions.)
"Would that I could mention all the illuminating details in this biography, for example, why Wells praised Black Americans so highly, saying, 'I took a mighty liking to these gentle, human, dark-skinned people,' and 'Whatever America has to show in heroic living today, I doubt if she can show anything finer than the quality of the resolve, the steadfast efforts hundreds of black and colored men are making today to live blamelessly, honorably and patiently, getting by themselves what scraps of refinement, beauty and learning they may, keeping their hold on a civilization they are grudged and denied.''
-- "How H.G. Wells Predicted the 20th Century," Charles Johnson, NYT Book Review, Nov. 19, 2021. ***".
...the monsters arrive."
"They come in a deafening, surging swarm, blasting from lawn to lawn and filling the air with the stench of gasoline and death. I would call them mechanical locusts, descending upon every patch of gold in the neighborhood the way the grasshoppers of old would arrive, in numbers so great they darkened the sky, to lay bare a cornfield in minutes. But that comparison is unfair to locusts.
"Grasshoppers belong here. Gasoline-powered leaf blowers are invaders, the most maddening of all the maddening, environment-destroying tools of the American lawn-care industry."
---The great Margaret Renkl, from Nashville, one of my favorite NYT bylines, Oct. 26, 2021.
(She describes our Long Island enclave to every decibel, every stink.)