This will (hopefully?) be one of my shortest blog-posts in a long while. Yeah, yeah, I can hear some of my regular Followers laughing, Pffft-ing, rolling their eyes, and tossing bouquets of flowers to me on stage for my acting/writing performance of not just lying through my teeth, but flowering me about my illusions of grandeur thinking I could actually write a brief, quick blog-post. Touché. You might win. But I’m going to try. Show your kind approval and praise if I pull it off, will ya? 😉
Yesterday evening I put in a pickup order at a nearby taco-texmex restaurant that is literally 130-yards away from my complex. It’s quick and easy. It’s also a fairly popular mid-range, affordable, family restaurant chain. I was about 5-10 minutes early picking up my dinner (6:00pm). While waiting at the counter, grabbing some lime-wedges to go with my delicious Modelo Negra beers at the self-serve drinks, ice, straws, napkins, etc, wall a STUNNING curly-haired blonde, hair up in a twisty, tight black shorts, summer cork heels, and tight black halter-top, no bra because she was quite endowed and full in the bust-size… walked by, out the front door, past the two gentlemen outside with their survey-stand—for the restaurant or the strip-mall, I wasn’t sure—who couldn’t stop gawking at her as she went by and stepped into her parked navy blue or black Jeep Cherokee for something. I thought she was leaving.
Nope, after about 30-40 seconds she got out and walked back into the restaurant, by the two men again, and down the long walkway in the middle of booths/tables, and to the back near and across from the men’s and women’s restrooms. She rejoined her equally stunning dark brunette lady-friend(?) or dinner companion. She stood up, my breathing paused, and was wearing a skin-tight workout, black with blue accents (in “key places”) shorts and spandex top, also accentuating her model-esque voluptuous physique. Yes, needless to say OR to expound upon they were both hubba-hubba. Your powers of deduction are correct reading what I’m explicitly and implicitly saying and can continue on your own! I mean, everyone in the restaurant would watch them as they moved around, especially the men, much longer than the women inside, patrons or staff. I tried to not be obvious. HAH!
Within 1-2 minutes of those Lookers rejoining each other at their back booth, a young man, say late twenties, early thirties in a tight workout tank-top showing off his finely sculpted neck, shoulders, biceps, triceps, tatted-up, and most likely well-defined abs underneath walked across the entire glass window-front of the taco eatery, pulled open the door and entered. I thought to myself as I watched him, “Is there a gym, yoga, boxing club in this strip-mall?“ No, of course not. The entire strip-mall, every single place of business was already leased. Has been for a long time. Then, instead of walking through the ordering or pickup line as I had done, that very buffed man, glued to his cell-phone as he walked by outside and now inside… went straight to the back where the two super hawt women were sitting. They began to chat, quietly, as if they had been friends for years.
Ahhh, then it all clicked. Everything made sense.
I chuckled at myself and did a mental pat-on-my-back for NOT being glaringly obvious I was taken by and intrigued(?) by the blonde I had seen first. Okay, VERY intrigued. When I was in my youth, I would have been a very gullible, horny Neanderthal boy. I readily admit it. But many life-lessons of love and eros—often not simultaneously I should confess—have since paid off for me. Saved me in some instances. Plus, at my heightened age and wisdom now, I have learned and mastered my healthy, jacked-up blood-flow that once emptied my cranium and flooded south, engorging my groins, thus incapacitating my broader, smarter, more patient cerebral cortex while ignoring the opposite, more primal creative fun cortex, which seemed to be way south. Today, these random encounters of thick eros oozing everywhere, no longer have the kryptonite impact on me they once possessed. It all strokes my ego a tiny bit, makes me proud of my maturity and wisdom presently! It’s damn near foolproof—but I’ve also learned “Never say never.“
As I walked out of the restaurant with my food and beers back to my residential complex, one of the earlier gentlemen outside the door there (in his 40’s or so) looked at me, I acknowledged him chuckling and said:
“I’ve rarely witnessed “female solicitation” that was so blatant, let alone when their “business manager” walks in and doesn’t bother to be discreet, glued to his phone, and sits with his two staffers, workers, I’ll say Courtesans, and all three of them pretend they own the restaurant.”
The surveyor gentleman replied “Yeah, blatant for sure, huh? It’s the oldest profession in history.“
I laughed in agreement and returned a similar sentiment:
“Yep, and not that I have ever thought prostitution should be illegal. It shouldn’t at all! One way or another, we all pay for what we want; monetarily and otherwise.”
He laughed and we parted ways. I heard him say from around the corner “Ain’t that true!“
Here’s my rub on life’s most ancient profession—the genders, orientations today don’t matter. Many people are more than willing to throw down loads of cash, credit, assets, emotional investment, whatever it is for that long-term, mid-term, or short-term feeling, dopamine fix all the time. Neurologically human nature will not change for many a millenia. But today, in a conservative, semi-pious or hyper-uptight pious society? There are pros and cons any way you examine it.
Legally, under our county/state marriages and family law, it costs us an insane amount, much more on all levels than you could imagine!!! That might be just fine, but it doesn’t disprove my intimate understanding of human eros and love. Some romantic relationships are great investments with very acceptable ROI’s. Others? Eh, not so much. And some are down right horrific, nasty, and disastrous in divorce court—children aside or not. Am I right or am I very right? Perhaps it is time for human society to evolve more? Be stronger and know we can learn from mistakes of the heart, mind, and the libido, huh? 😉 😛
I welcome any and all feedback, as usual. Just remember, good etiquette and be a little open-minded. A GREAT sense of humor is most definitely encouraged!
Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always
Or perhaps “Rarely Sung Heroes” in these modern times of growing (or struggling?) decency in the United States. I say that with caution and some hesitation. Let me explain.
Back on June 6, 2019, the 75th Anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France honoring all the Allied soldiers who participated, fought, died, and survived in that historic amphibious invasion to liberate Nazi Europe, I published my blog-post Five Hundred Yards. It was my attempt for readers to bring an acute perspective and emotion what the landings on Omaha Beach was like that June morning for the thousands of 17-, 18-, 19- and 20-year old boys had gone through as they hit the water or beach. If you have the opportunity to read or reread Five Hundred Yards, please do. It will set the stage and context for this post.
Some/Many caucasian Euro-American descendants born and living in our 50-states today have a generic, basic knowledge of how indigenous North American peoples/Indians were either exterminated, moved from their homelands, or abusively treated and deceived by the U.S. government, military, and new settlers between 1778 and 1911, during the official existence of the United States. Between 1539 and 1774 thousands upon thousands of Indigenous peoples were massacred by European colonists and their armed forces. By far the biggest killer of North American Indians were all the lethal diseases European colonists/invaders brought within them and spread. Ironically, similar to what former President Trump accused the Chinese of doing with COVID-19. Nevertheless, it is estimated that from the Pre-Columbian Era (1325–1492) to the final massacre in 1911 in Washoe County, Nevada, between 95,000,000 to 114,000,000 Native American people, that’s millions not thousands, were wiped out by Europeans.
Despite this horrific background and constant inhumane atrocities committed upon them by Europeans and Euro-American descendants, during our first and second European World Wars more than 12,000 Native American Indians fought in Europe for the U.S. in World War I. More than 44,000 fought for the U.S. in World War II. Keep in mind, this is only one to three generations after the exterminations and removals from their own ancestral homelands over a 600-year timespan. Think about that. The numbers of your own people gradually and drastically dying, massacred, and disappearing all around you. With that in mind, these Native American men who, like their African-American WW1 and WW2 military counterparts, volunteered to go fight and risk their lives on a far away continent for a nation who at the time and well before did not love them or treat them as equals and far from justly. Nor did this nation welcome their survivors home as heroes the same as their own caucasian Euro-Americans and yet still went and did their patriotic (tribal) duty and did it bravely, honorably as the warriors they had always been.
I want to commemorate in a small way those Normandy, D-Day Native American warriors who did not come home, those who were wounded and maimed, and those who survived the entire war who did come back home, but nonetheless were still scarred and mentally wounded by those 2–3 years in Nazi Europe. Scarred perhaps too by six centuries of war upon their people by Europeans and Euro-Americans. Here is one of many partial accounts of that June morning on Omaha Beach, 1944 by Army Medic and 19-year old Private of Fox Company in the 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Division who were the first frontline units to hit Omaha Beach.
In my June 6, 2019 blog-post Five Hundred Yards, I wrote about how many casualties were sustained by the first wave hitting the beach or head-high water of Omaha in the first 15-minutes and hour of landing. What I didn’t mention in that blog-post was that decades later German Wehrmacht testimonies stated they were firing their MG-42’s, 5cm and 8cm mortars, and rocket-launching Nebelwerfers so much, non-stop that the barrels were all overheating, even when they rotated them with extra barrels they had, 3-4 extras in some units. The German gun-crews were astonished by how many Allied soldiers kept coming and falling, coming and falling, over and over, endlessly as they quickly exhausted their entire stores of ammunition. On the American side with the 1st Division known as “The Big Red One,” they sustained over 2,000 casualties in the first hour of landings.
One particular Army Medic who was one of 14 total Medics in his regiment made it far enough up the 300-400 yards of flat beach and took cover. However, as he looked back from where he had come he realized he was all alone. No one in his company had made it safely as far as he had. He then noticed many of his fellow infantrymen lying on the beach wounded, screaming, and in the rising tide carrying their 60-75 lbs of gear, most were struggling or unable to pull themselves up the sand so as not to drown. Without hesitation he ran back some 300-400 yards again under heavy fire with his two satchels of medical supplies to those wounded and drowning, pulling many of them 10-11 yards up on the beach and began giving first aid. Another Corp man reported to his officers that this one Medic pulled about eighteen wounded out of the water that were twice or three-times his size and their uniforms and gear heavily soaked. Charles Norman Shay is a Penobscot Indian from the state of Maine and was that one remarkable Army Medic. He tells in his own words what happened:
“The seas were red with the blood. At the very beginning, it was difficult for me to witness so much carnage. I had to push what I was experiencing out of my mind, so I could function the way I was trained to function. Then I was able to operate effectively and even saved a few lives. I have always been proud to be a medic. It’s a special privilege.”
Shay remembers cradling those critically wounded to give them some comfort. When he found one he recognized, badly wounded with an open abdomen, he stayed with Private Edward Morozewicz, one of his closest friends, to ease him in his last few breaths. In 2017 Shay visited Morozewicz’s family, making sure they knew of Edward’s courage. Charles participated in a special ceremony honoring his fellow fallen medic. Shay still questions why he lived when Morozewicz and most of his unit were killed. “I knew [Edward] was slowly dying. I bandaged his wounds and gave him morphine. But I knew there was no help for him,” says a somber Shay.
Most of the American 1st and 29th Division’s first waves onto Omaha Beach perished, cut-down and slaughtered by the precise, heavily supplied and experienced 352nd German Infantry Division. The 352nd was assembled with many battle-tested soldiers pulled from worn-out or disbanded Wehrmacht divisions that had served on the Eastern front in Russia. By 12-noon on D-Day over half the men and most of the officers in Shay’s Company were either seriously wounded or dead. Up to 3,000 Allied troops died, and some 9,000 were injured or classified as missing that day, unidentifiable, or lost to the sea. Of Shay’s Regimental Medical Detachment of 42 medics, seven were killed and 24 severely wounded. After so many of his regiment and company fell or were killed, he later struggled many times with Survivors Remorse.
“My heart breaks for those mothers who prayed for their brave sons but never welcomed their sons home again,” says Shay wiping away a tear. “I can never forget the men who never had the chance to experience life as it was meant to be, a wife and a family, but instead were destined to depart this life in some far-off [European] land.”
Shay often says it was random, crazy luck that he survived D-Day, the rest of the war, and later the Korean War that he volunteered for service just five years later. After the war in Europe ended, the U.S. Army awarded Shay a Silver Star for his actions, and the French government appointed him a Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur, the highest honor given to non-citizens of France. But despite those medals this humble Penobscot Indian veteran always refers back to fellow warriors who paid the ultimate price and sacrifice for their country, homeland, Native tribes and family. Shay says there were many just like him.
Recently there has been new memorials and ceremonies finally recognizing the heroic contributions and sacrifices of Native American WW2 veteran warriors. Charles Shay makes annual trips back to Normandy to pay his ceremonial respects and honor his fellow Indians lost there with Eagle feathers, sage, and tobacco. He does so to bring heightened awareness to the younger public, particularly back in the United States. He lets his fellow Indian warriors lost, buried there under row after row of white crosses that they are not forgotten.
In the Normandy American Cemetery at least 29 Native American soldiers are buried. In the Brittany American Cemetery at least nine Native American soldiers are buried. And at the Utah Beach American Cemetery 30 Comanche soldiers, Code Talkers, from the Oklahoma Reservation are memorialized there. According to Dr. Harald E. L. Prins, an anthropologist and researcher at Kansas State University, 175 Native American soldiers landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day. Over 75-years later only around 55 have been identified.
For an extensive telling of Shay’s gallant service on D-Day go here. Many of the past stories of that day in June, a lot of the later accompanying military field narratives describing the Omaha ordeal are sanitized versions of the original field unit notes. And as S.L.A. Marshall writes for The Atlantic magazine in his provocative, transparently graphic article “First Wave at Omaha Beach,“ he says even “Cornelius Ryan’s epic film The Longest Day misses the essence of the unfiltered Omaha story.” I highly recommend his article.
It is my opinion, reflecting back this June 6th, 2021 anniversary of D-Day, given these Native American warriors pre-war histories they had every justifiable reason not to lift a finger for a white-man’s faraway war. They did not have to do any patriotic service for a 1940’s Euro-American country that treats them and had treated them as second- or third-class people without the same identical privileges and human rights afforded White America. Today, I think these Native American warriors are overdue, deserving the utmost respect, honor, and ceremony up to or beyond any other homage given to any Euro-American veterans of any U.S. wars! May they all receive many sacred Eagle feathers, burnt sage, and tobacco so all of their spirits rest in peace and receive (at minimum) equal remembrance and honor by all Americans; every single one of us without exception. Unmeasurable gratitude for all of you Native American warrior veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces, past and present.
Today’s blog-post is going to be slightly out of blogging character for me. Well, in the sense that I don’t often unveil amorous secrets behind the curtains of the Professor’s heart, today I am sharing a portion of my private, romantic, sentimental side. WARNING! For any Alpha-hyped He-Man reading this, if you have aversions to being swept away in passion and raptured in the moment, then look away! Read no further! This will not be your pitcher or keg of beer. Sorry mate. No bowed-up pectorals or brawling here.
It may or may not come as a surprise to some of you who follow my blog that I am a sucker for serendipitous enchantment on matters of the heart. If this beguiling moment includes windows of history, windows I’ve been enamored by since I was a boy, then just count to three and ring the bell because I am out, done, a goner. I will be so lost you’d think I was hypnotized or lobotomized. Add aspects of time-travel in the story and like Richard Collier, I will never return. Yes, with hands in the air I confess; my propensity for moments when time stands still is my kryptonite.
Who is Richard Collier you ask?
Funny you are wondering. Elise asked the same question, sort of, and she could barely take a breath waiting for the answer. But I will come back to this moment in time a bit later, hah, apropos teaser intended. What I want to first spill is how our long-awaited family trip unexpectedly came about.
For over two years Mom has been itching to travel somewhere. For several years she has yearned to see Australia and her Great Barrier Reef. This has been a long-time dream of hers and her closest sister, her now late sister, unfortunately. Recently though if it was with her domestic partner, or a close friend, or with me and my sister, it didn’t matter. She’s wanted to go before it’s too late, at her advancing age, and medical issues make it impractical. The last three years she has been reminding us how thrilled she’d be to go and experience another part of the world, somewhere, anywhere she hadn’t experienced.
Lately we’ve been pummeled, so to speak, with her getaway-gestures every month, if not every week. The getaway bug-n-itch had had a grip on Mom for some time. I’d say it no longer itched, it turned into a damn rash! Her pleading was unrelenting sometimes! Yep, Mom’s former years as an Eastern Airlines flight attendant (above image) had been reenergized with a vengeance! Mom was once an Eastern Airlines Flight-attendant in 1958–1962, based out of LGA, JFK, and EWR, New York and New Jersey respectively. She wanted to fly a lot longer, but a special surprise from her then boyfriend (my father) stopped those plans after their very “romantic weekend” in San Antonio, TX in the former Robert E. Lee Hotel downtown. But I am rambling and digressing; apologies. Back to our story.
For years we had been tossing around destinations, but never made a final decision. Then came the COVID-19 pandemic along with the predictable outcomes and repercussions the last two-plus years. Pfft, no more elaboration needed on that world catastrophe.
Moving on. Fast-forward now to February 2021, but skipping over our two hellacious winter storms that came within a few hours of wiping out Texas’ entire electrical grid for a long, long, very long time.
With mass production of Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, etc, vaccines finally rolling out once competent federal leadership in D.C. took office January 20th, followed by mass distribution scaled much higher and wider than the previous Administration ever cared to do, getting the vaccines into cold-storage, out to sites, and proper staff to stick Americans twice, our family getaway was back on and indeed probable. Hold your horses cowboys and cowgirls! Now comes a number of new stumbling blocks. I had the honor and privilege to temper Mom’s jet-setting excitement, if that was even possible.
I explained to her and sister that if we were going to make this dream-trip happen and safely, our first major hurdle was going to be full vaccinations for all three of us, in a timely immediate manner at that. Easy? No, not really. In fact, I thought I might have to persuade Mom to postpone our excursion for another year—ugh, after having just done that in 2020 due to the pandemic. Moreover, I knew how formidable it was going to be to motivate my sister to get fully vaccinated soon. I would have to hound her even more than I was already doing! Mom and I have received both our shots, my sister received her second shot this past week. Done! First couple of hurdles behind us.
Skipping back a month, when the three of us were able to finally coincide our three different schedules/calendars and meet for a weekend in mid-April 2021, we toss about places such as the Grand Canyon National Park, Glacier National Park, Sequoia National Park, Gatlinburg, Colorado Springs, Nags Head North Carolina, Portland in Oregon, The Finger Lakes in Upstate New York, and Augusta, Maine. Then I threw into the pile of possible destinations, one of my personal wishes: Mackinac Island and the Grand Hotel. To my dismay my sister and Mom became very intrigued. Mom was immediately sold on the Lilac Festival and the Butterfly House & Insect World, and my sister to the fact that it was an island completely unlike a hectic 21st-century tourist bee-hive rat-race with way too many rude people scurrying by you and over you. After all, she did suffer from panic-anxiety attacks easily triggered by too much perceived chaos. My sister is also an artist and art fan. She still paints when time allows. Mackinac Island has a sizable artsy twist as well, with art shops and an art museum. It seemed I had hit a homerun with my longstanding longshot, teenage dream destination! They had all sorts of questions. They wondered too how I even knew about this island lost in a bygone era. Answering their curiosity, I return to the beginning of this blog-post.
I admitted to them that I have always had a weakness for serendipitous romance, history, the Victorian-Edwardian Eras, and a very soft spot for time-travel stories, books, and films. Re-enter Richard Collier and Elise McKenna:
“Is it you?” Woah, I get goose-bumps every time I watch that scene because of what Richard Collier went through to get there with Elise. This 1980 cult-classic “Somewhere In Time” was filmed on Mackinac Island, Michigan because the Grand Hotel and island’s Tourism Bureau vowed to freeze time and banned all modern, polluting, combustible-engine vehicles as well as other “modern” developed fossil-burning machines in order to preserve its uniquely vintage history—its Victorian-Edwardian Age on Lake Huron. There is no other island like it within the United States proper. The island is seemingly and delightfully stuck in time. Needless to say, I was and I am beyond myself, ecstatic to be traveling there with Mom and sister in just a few weeks.
If any of you are unfamiliar with the timelessness of Mackinac Island, MI, then I give you a quick photo-montage (below) followed by a link to the island’s Bureau of Tourism. I hope you too can see why I have always held a special place in my heart for this island… lost Somewhere In A Time not so long ago when finer things in life were patiently appreciated, savored, sought, enamoring, and embraced. I start with images from the movie with Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeve at the Grand Hotel. Following those images are current photos of the small Victorian-Edwardian town, popular sites like the Butterfly House & Insect World—the place where Mom and sister will spend many hours—tea houses out on grand patios, Al fresco dining spots, Fort Mackinac where I plan to visit, and one location Mom and I plan to lounge many times: the Grand Audubon Wine Bar.
Should you be interested in more details and information about this incredible island, visit the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau. There you can also view online their 72-page guidebook which introduces you to the island’s historic splendor.
We will return home after eight nights and nine days there. Travel will take two half-days. I do hope to bring back with me many photos of our getaway on Mackinac Island. This might be my last blog-post until then, after we return to Austin, TX, then I back up to Dallas. In the meantime, the anticipation is mounting, ugh, as if time is slowing down. Imagine what time will be when we are there!
Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always
Before I “publish” my next post about our upcoming, exciting family trip and getaway, I have to first publish this post. Why? Because I have a hunch this sort of story or round-about is something most all of us can empathize with in a wide variety of ways and emotions.
I will not set the stage by going all the way back in time to when computers, electronics, the internet or world-wide-web, WiFi, and artificial intelligence in the early-1990’s began slipping into our human lives and every aspect of our daily and nightly affairs both awake and asleep and whatever affairs are outside of and in between those two states of conscious and unconscious existence. I will spare all of you the gory details of how frequently I’ve had to swap or replace my cell phone and why. That would be a Rated NC-21 by the MPA; not pretty. No, recalling all of my dealings with computerized non-cellular “help” and their stages of actualization, their causes, then one or more effects and sub-effects of those causes and further actualizations these last 26-yeaars would just take-up too much of my brain capacity and waste all of you fine people’s valuable time. “You’re welcome,“ not “Your welcome” (expletives whispered) as my friendly, get-under-your-skin-like-poison-ivy H. Brawny the Editor corrects me down in his compassionate comment below! 🤨
Instead, I am going to share my most recent dealing with our hyper-techy computerized society, our fun business world, and our ever decreasing private personal lives within both those sectors. Sit back, enjoy, relate, and hopefully laugh at my expense.
THE MAD JOURNEY BEGINS WHEN…
…my old Dell laptop simply could no longer keep up or function properly or efficiently with the non-stop monthly tech advances and weekly, sometimes daily software and hardware “updates.” Yes, I had only owned my laptop for a whopping two years, five months. Remarkably this apparently made it prehistoric, if I was lucky. No, I’m kidding. I bought my Dell laptop in 2015 so it had a supposedly long, happy, hardworking life and was ready for AARP, Medicare Supplements, Social Security payments, and a date with the silicon mortician. Six years people! And if I’m honest, barely five! It was getting decrepit with a walker in 4 1/2 years then wheel-chair its last 12-months. The world had simply passed it by. Well, I’m no Chuck Yeager speed demon and Einstein, but the world actually blew past my geriatric laptop going about Mach-10. The subsequent sound-barrier BOOM was heard last month.
As is the custom in the U.S. and the West, it was time to toss it in the proverbial grave-garbage for a nearby landfill. No, kidding again. I can give the laptop to an electronics retail chain for proper carbon-footprint disposal. Last March and April I began my painful shopping and research for a new, nuclear-powered, light-speed CPU, 800-TB (trigabyte/terabyte) internal memory with accompanying 500-TB hard drive with MS Windows 20.2467. This is apparently what is now required for all modern laptops and cell-phones to manage the out-of-control mandates of internet sites and graphic processors with hyper-hungry memory and resource demands. I haven’t even gotten into the vast amounts of bandwidth required to conveniently stream anything online with your phone or laptop; operative word there: convenient.
Now, skipping ahead to my nightmare ordeal with having my brand new Space X powered laptop shipped via UPS 3-day delivery to my residence. Why 3-day? Because it was only an extra $17 USD. I had chosen and purchased my new Space X powered laptop on a Friday afternoon. I wanted it delivered as soon as possible because my old Dell was literally on a breathing-machine and near comatose. Very little movement or twitching from not-well Dell. But paying more for a Saturday delivery was outrageous so I decided to be patient and wait for a Monday delivery by 7pm or before, guaranteed says UPS for a mere $17.
Because delivering to my residence is within a community complex, tricky for visitors or first-time guests, I registered with my retailer and UPS for text and email updates on the status of my In Transit laptop or Out for Delivery in UPS’s verbiage. I’m very excited and anxious to sign for—or the receptionist downstairs in the lobby to sign for—the taking of responsibility for the package/box away from UPS hands and possible liability claim. I wait. I glance at my phone text messages. I glance at my emails. No status changes or updates. At 3pm and then 4pm the same thing. Five o’clock, nothing new. I take a break, relax and start prepping dinner and pour myself some hot sake. This will go well with my Chinese dish and Japanese sushi. The receptionist downstairs is in fact there at her post. I checked.
It is now 5:54pm and I check the status of my package on the UPS website. This is what it reads:
Delivery failed.The UPS driver attempted to deliver your package, but was unable to.Reason:No one available to sign for package. Another delivery attempt will be made the next business day. Please have someone available to sign for the package.
Logged at 5:29 PMby UPS driver
Quite irritated I went downstairs to the lobby and reception desk to inquire why the UPS driver only just minutes ago found no one here at the desk. There was also another gentleman (resident) sitting on the lobby couch. As is sometimes the case, when the receptionist—who also has other required duties by her employer—must leave temporarily her post behind the desk, so they place a very noticeable legible sign on top of the desk, informing visitors to pickup the phone headset, right there next to the sign, and Dial “0” for immediate assistance or help. I’ve had to do it maybe once or twice myself. The receptionist either answers the phone call or quickly appears back at the desk. Simple, right? However, before I had a chance to do this the courteous lady comes out from the back to help me. I asked her “Did the UPS driver come in the lobby, to the desk here about 15-mins ago?“ She replied no, but she had to step away for about 5-6 minutes. In that time no one called her with the desk-phone there as instructed. She went on to say that the drivers of FedEx, UPS, DHL, USPS, etc, all know to pickup the handset and dial zero when they have stepped away.
Overhearing our conversation the gentleman sitting on the couch in the lobby said the UPS driver had indeed come inside, stood at the receptionist desk for a minute or so when he explained to the driver the sign, and to call/dial zero. Apparently the UPS driver said nothing and continued to stand there another minute or less. According to this helpful man on the couch, he then turned around, walked out and back to his UPS truck and drove off. The receptionist returned to the desk never knowing UPS had just been there with packages… for no more than two, maybe less than 3-minutes until I had come down to talk to her. If my blood was already simmering, it was damn well boiling up now.
Ready to give someone at UPS a piece of my tempestuous mind, I returned to my 2nd floor residence straightaway, spending 15-20 minutes searching, reading, rereading, and wallowing through the mass jungle that was the UPS website of Where’s Waldo information for a correct 1-800 Customer Service and/or Package-Tracking Assistance phone number which finally reached the precise UPS department. I had no other choice of departments to voice my complaint. It’s now about 6:20pm. The extra $17 USD is fast becoming a total loss.
After dialing the eleven-digit number, listening through the 6-7 different options to press on my 4G Android phone, I get to the next computer-voice to listen to those four different options leading me to the Promise Land of UPS satisfaction. Only this computer-voice tells me that I must speak my selection into the phone, therefore, sending me on my way to further computerized direction with the hope of distant(?) satisfaction. The AI voice asks me to speak my 10-12 digit tracking number. She accepts it then a second or two later gives me now just TWO options, A) submit a Lost or Damaged Claim form at their website’s said page—she gives me the URL address—or B) go to their Track A Package webpage with your tracking number. At no time am I given the option late in this juncture to request speaking with a living human being at UPS. If I refused to choose A or B, she politely disconnects with me; hangs up. This happened three times as I was interpreting the computer AI instructions making sure I didn’t misunderstand something. To my further advanced tempestuous mind and rising blood-pressure I did not misunderstand anything I was told by their computer AI and according to all available options, I was indeed stuck in UPS limbo in the machine loop of Never-ever Land, not the Promise Land. Back to square one. It is now past 7:00pm.
I took 10-minutes to breath and slow my pulse as I could feel my blood-vessels in both temples throbbing. I grabbed a lime-wedge, a pinch of salt, and poured myself a double shot of Don Francisco Javier’s Sauza Hornitos Reposado tequila and downed my Elixir de tranquilidad. A few minutes later I was ready to go hunting at UPS again.
Long story and rant shorter, with sheer angered persistence I managed to get a hold of an actual live person “Hassem” at UPS to speak about their lazy-ass, don’t want to do my job delivery driver! After about 25-minutes of discussing everything with Hassem I told him, because I knew our phone conversation was probably being recorded for “Quality Assurance” and his management team and hopefully their management team above them, I said to Hassem in a slightly more intense tone “If I could’ve simply spoken with a LIVE human at UPS from the very start, I would not have wasted near 2 1/2-hours wallowing everywhere on the UPS website and inside the never-ending loop called UPS computer AI-voices that never implicitly deduced the most efficient solution to my problemcreated by UPS!”
When all was said and done that Monday evening, late, when I threw away $17 USD for Monday delivery and nothing but UPS computerized torture, I could not convince Hassem or his Supervisors to make that lazy-ass delivery driver come back out to my residence with my new Space X powered laptop. I was told by them I would have to wait until tomorrow evening, Tuesday, a full day later for my package delivery… oh yeah, by 7pm, “Guaranteed” to be late by 24-hours, higher blood-pressure with advance AI computerized annoyance, and heavy drinking caused by humans who don’t seem to want to deal live with other humans. That’s just the way it is, huh—how our 21st-century hyper-techy American society runs: electronic-driven cold-blooded AI silicon devices, droids, and programs? Pffft! What tha hell was I thinking? That’s change my man, for the better, driven by technology! That won’t change, I guess I’ll que the song…
Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always
Words. Are they empty when spoken? Do they have meaning? Will they inspire action? Several words used together, do they have context. Is there background behind them giving precise meaning? Is there a motive behind them and the speaker? Will those words inspire emotional, favorable reactions? What type of reactions does a group of words inspire? Are they eliciting virtuous actions or violent reactions? If the latter, are they justifiable actions and reactions for violence, to maim bodies or to take human lives and destroy families permanently? Is violence ever a justified attacking maneuver when your target was not violent?
During many U.S. interventions inside unstable foreign nations perhaps in civil revolt/war, where our military branches were deployed as peace-keeping and protective armed forces for the struggling regime/government under attack, our soldiers were/are specifically ordered do not fire/engage unless fired upon or attackedfirst. In other words, do not return aggression or initiate aggression unless you are first attacked with potential lethal force. A pretty straight forward, simple tactical posture. It is also a posture that for diplomatic (U.N.?) reasons puts your position and military forces in an advantageous, peaceful, above reproach, negotiating posture as well as avoiding the perception of a heinous invading force in the 21st-century. It’s a very good image to the world. How is this passive, peaceful posture overlooked in the United States today by radical, extremist groups seeking violence?
So again I ask, what are words and what do they really mean when spoken? By chanting or screaming “USA, USA, USA,” does that give an American citizen the legal right, or “God-given right” to demean with the intent to outrage others, to vandalize, physically assault, or worse to kill other unarmed, docile and compliant Americans? Not so long ago Japanese Imperial Kōgun and Nazi SS troopers exhibited the same sort of “patriotism” wielded upon unarmed, non-militant citizens. By simply yelling “I love freedom and my country,“ does that self-entitlement to engage in or vilify and behave aggressively as I’ve listed above, or worse do so condescendingly under a guise of freedom and country, give one or a group the right to assault or murder others indiscriminately? Is not that behavior the full-blown antithesis of American values, Lady Liberty, republic democracy, and our entire Constitution and Bill of Rights?
I would hope I do not need to answer those questions, not for decent, peace-loving human beings reading this. Why not? Because I will presume that many or most of you well-educated Americans who attained a high school diploma from our public state curriculums, received passing marks, preferably high marks, in your American government, civics, and history classes through your middle school and high school grade-levels. Yet moreover, all American students should have been prepped prior to those high school Social Studies courses with lessons in Opinion versus Fact, yes? What are the differences of those two words? Which is which, and how, isn’t that correct? I really want to drive home these basic American concepts (presumably) taught to every American student in all 50-states. Yes?
Let’s ask adult Americans in other ways so there is no confusion.
We were supposed to be taught then conduct deliberations with classmates, placed in different groups, comparing, finding similarities, and contrasting what is and is not “fact” and what is and is not “opinion.” Under our nation’s educational standards and applicable curriculums those are/were the introductory lessons before more advanced courses in government, civics, and history. Almost all of our 50-states had/have sufficient-to-above requirements in these critical subjects needed for life in general as ONE student-grad of 331,420,890 (today) other American grads all of whom are essentially living the same life under the same laws, rights, virtues, and duties as any other! Well, that was the plan and theory at least.
It’s the guiding premise of equality for all Americans laid out in our U.S. Constitution, protected and supported by tri-equal Branches of federal to state governments, then semblances at the county and municipal level governments, and finally out to public education in school districts in every state. We presumably learned these core principles beginning in primary school and completed them in secondary school. At least that is and has been the purpose of our K-12 public education standards for over seven decades or more. Furthermore, each of us were and are urged, charged to be politically active or better, immersed in our civic privileges. If a political enthusiast pursues a career in public service, then they will be pushed into a 24/7 limelight of media and news. With public service comes a sacrifice of privacy, especially occupational privacy. By default a civil servant, even the POTUS, has to have an exemplary foundation in these three social-political subjects; it is highly recommended, if not required. As a matter of reputation or public image, it behooves an elected government employee to be either a paralegal in Constitutional Law (at minimum) or a board-certified attorney in Constitutional Law with a law firm if their office and its duties are paramount to national security and the daily well-being of Americans.
After events of January 6, 2021, where is America with regard to these guiding principles and standards of good-to-excellent civic knowledge? Were those insurrectionists or any other radical-Right groups in America tagged by the FBI, ACLU, SPLU, and other advocacy organizations, manifest correct U.S. citizenship, education, and civic duties while at the Capital building that January day? Eh, not so much I’m afraid. Not even close. I wish that was not the case, but America… FACT: we are woefully lacking and crumbling from within.
In our near 245-year history there has always been a contingent of the American rebel population who DO NOT adequately or correctly understand American history, government, and civics. And another contingent absolutely distorts and maligns these three domains of American life and principles laid out in the Constitution, supported as well as enforced by its three branches, top to bottom and with subsequent agencies and offices. Case and point, this PBS Frontline trailer:
This hour and a half documentary by one of the nation’s most respected, impartial and elite investigative programs and staff in the U.S. the last 38-years—collaborating with ProPublica and the University California-Berkeley’s Investigative Reporting Program—uncovers growing movements of domestic terrorist-insurrectionist groups. Today they are more organized and politically armed with highly polarizing, deceitful propaganda (the words) as well as weaponized to attack any perceived opponents. They frequently do not want to differentiate between Friend or Foe. They are no longer a simple menace or nuisance of insignificant persuasion in the U.S. They are now a major threat to real democracy as the FBI and all our country’s law schools and institutions have warned and keep warning today.
The wide open, unregulated internet today is littered with endless social-media (SM) platforms hooking gullible minds into a petri-dish for planting and growing false information. Tech companies which own the internet SM-platforms so far have regularly avoided and denied responsibility for being Accessoryto illicit and/or starting criminal movements on their sites. Their internet traffic and activities have connected and enabled via their own “private” platforms the further organization (virtually) of an increasing number of extremist groups the last decade or so.
However, this post will not be examining those profit-driven internet companies. This post will not be about the byproduct these SM-companies have generated: the social, civic-political problems so pervasive, divisive, and misunderstood in our heavily tech-driven America, or Techocracy. Though the subject of this post is clearly linked to our Constitution’s First Amendment, I do not wish to spend any time on First Amendment law and its correct legal interpretations. Should you have interest in learning properly the scope of civil-criminal Accessory, then I highly recommend watching this 2018 film on Netflix, “The Accountant of Auschwitz.” Watch it 2-3 times to completely grasp what it means to be a non-participating bystander of a (maiming? lethal? heinous?) crime and do nothing or say nothing to intervene. Not doing or saying anything is also immoral or criminal.
I will, however, mention one pivotal word and its concept and definitions. The definition as well as its embodiment are too often forgotten or unlearned by ordinary Americans and politically-legally incorrect American extremists, like the ones in the above PBS Frontline preview. That word? Defamation.
“Free speech” or the expression of personal law-interpretations does not mean you can say whatever you want in public to someone or to a group and be protected with impunity by the First Amendment. That is an all too common misconception. A verbally slanderous, lying protestor or writer/speaker can actually be sued, tried in court, jailed in 24 different states, and fined in all 50-states in civil court for defamation… in spite of the First Amendment. Regrettably by August 2017 at Charlottesville, VA, to January 6, 2021 those conjured “nuevo individual First Amendment Rights” by these Alt-Right groups moved beyond defamation to physical acts of felony crimes. Those violent far-Righters unknowingly or not, forfeited their Constitutional Rights they were screaming and promoting under false pretenses and ignorance the second they became illegally violent. Granting them that benefit of doubt is probably overly generous and lenient on my part. They are supposed to be arrested, perhaps held in custody for an appropriate time.
For a further elaboration of the correct First Amendment “right to assemble” or protest, click here. For a further elaboration of private vs. public domains (virtual and literal) of free speech within the correct, legal context of the First Amendment, click here. These are two common misconceptions of our Constitution’s First Amendment with regard to 1) the legal right to protest, and 2) the right to free speech, both in relation to media or the internet. That argument and perceived controversy is another blog-post entirely. I want to instead present political words, speeches, campaign rallies, and in this case, forms of black and grey propaganda that has the opposite effect of “freedom and democracy” these radicals scream.
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Four years ago a number of domestic terrorists-insurrectionists groups organized protests culminating in Charlottesville, Virginia, August 11-12, 2017 under the guise of “Unite the Right.” They continued to better organize and grow throughout those four years culminating again January 6, 2021 at the U.S. Capitol under the guise of “Stop the Steal,” of course perpetuated by then departing President Donald Trump. If you have the opportunity, I highly suggest watching this exceptional PBS Frontline program “American Insurrection.” It is very well investigated, reported, but disturbingly enlightening for decent, peaceful Americans who know the laws, Constitution, Amendments, and the historical contexts a lot better than these illegal, deceitful, deluded, and homicidal violent extremists. Contrary to what they discharge from their mouths they are not protected in or inspired by our U.S. Constitution as they fraudulently claim. Not in the least. With that said, what I do want to examine closely is the rhetoric these groups, individuals, or leaders use and the conjuration and fallacies behind their words and language.
COMMON RHETORICAL FALLACIES
There are typically three categories of rhetorical fallacies. All of them are abundantly and repeatedly used by both government officials and leaders—yes even U.S. Presidents with no legal education or experience—and political party members and leaders. They are designed to evoke intensely emotional reactions from any gullible listener/reader, sometimes criminal activity. Rhetorical fallacies do not allow open exchanges of ideas upon which productive conversations and solutions occur. Instead they divert the audience’s critical thinking with a variety of one-way pleading ideology at the expense of sound altruistic reasoning. They often misinform an audience of verifiable/verified facts. This ideological language is therefore consumed by unaware, ignorant, ill-informed, gullible and/or bias-confirmation-seeking followers. Those are usually ordinary American citizens who cannot spend the exorbitant time to double-check what the radicals are spewing. But once swallowed then digested the subtle insidious infection spreads to more susceptible consuming hosts. If you are interested in delving into the specifics of common, distorting, deceiving fallacies then click the links below within each of the three groupings. Note that sometimes the below 21 fallacies overlap.
Emotional Fallacies — these manipulate and unfairly appeal to an audience’s emotional triggers. Clickherefor the seven types with examples.
Ethical Fallacies — the idea that ethical considerations will help solve the problem of free will and that free decisions must be confined to some moral (divine?) standard. Clickherefor the seven types with examples.
Logical Fallacies — are errors in reasoning and argument that are based on poor or faulty logic. Clickherefor the seven types with examples.
All three types of fallacies are found in these hate groups. Listening closely and exhaustively to these modern far-Right extremists, their language is loaded with numerous crooked and common rhetorical fallacies. Most of those falsehoods are easily pinpointed. Others must be closely dissected, probed more deeply for the speaker’s/writer’s veiled language based in their background with an aim to reveal the glaring mistakes or flagrant lies.
GANGSTA STYLE — BEING LOUD, PROUD, & TERRIFYING
From Billy the Kid of America’s Wild West, to Bonnie & Clyde and Lucky Luciano of the 1930’s, to Francesco “Franky Boy” Cali (Gambino family) today, the American general public has always had an adoring romance with powerful, egomaniacal, charismatic, hyper-aggressive homicidal Mob-leaders. The total sales, royalties and spin-off merchandizing (past and ongoing) for TV crime shows, movies, and books speak and pander this American palette without doubt. A segment of the American population takes their vicarious fantasies of those past “legends” to the next level: real life. This psychological progression is not far removed from methods of recruitment by well-known militant Islamic terrorist groups targeting malleable new U.S. members. These Alt-Right extremists rarely have any intention of being civil or peaceful when gathering in public to “oppose” other Americans:
Enter Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, Patriot Front, Boogaloo Bois, Last Sons of Liberty, American Guard, Rise Above Movement, and the list goes on and on. The above six groups are obscurely defined as “Modern Militia” groups referencing the 1791 Bill of Rights First Amendment concept. Yes, gangsta-style is a textbook M.O. guide to dictatorship and authoritarian rule by fear, violence, then submission. There are plenty, gobs, an endless warehouse full of historical examples of male megalomaniac types who seized power over a people and their lands going back as far as Qin Shi Huang (247-210 BCE) to present day Bashar al-Assad of Syria and Vladimir Putin of Russia; there are no differences between any, past or present. And I can name at least ten others right off the bat, but I will spare your stomachs and hearts of decency.
What should disturb most all decent, humanitarian Americans today, whites included, is that these modern day (violent) militias here inside the U.S. should scare the ba-JEBUS out of all of you. No, our southern border is nowhere close to a “threat” to national security as are these domestic terrorist or semi-terrorist groups and movements.
In this PBS Frontline investigative documentary “American Insurrection“ that aired April 13, 2021, radical-Right militia leader in Virginia, Michael Dunn, frequently stated “I love freedom. I love my country“ and more significantly “We’re the ones crazy enough to actually do something.” Crazy enough? Does that sound civil, wise, calling upon democratic respect, tolerance and understanding with bipartisan collaboration? Yet, on January 6, 2021 at the U.S. Capitol they violently kept their proud promise. I have to say, this is eerily familiar to and harkens back to the language of 1942 at the Wannsee Conference in the Wannsee suburb of Berlin, Germany. Watch, from the one and only surviving Nazi dictation-minutes of this conference:
If one has any amount of human decency, of altruism, or an ounce of moral compassion, the language at the Wannsee Conference by all Nazis, Waffen-SS, and Reich Ministry members present… should make you vomit, appalled by such inhumane barbaric insensitivities and arrogance in the modern era.
If radical political groups/movements in the U.S. today are liberally throwing about public language like “I love freedom” and “I love my country,” then it is no real stretch to equate their language to Nazi-SS high-ranking leaders as Heinrich Himmler, Adolf Eichmann, Reinhard Heydrich, Adolf Hitler, and an entire host of other historically recorded barbaric murderers and purveyors of genocide or mass murder. All of those Nazi men essentially said the same sort of rhetoric, “I love our form of freedom” and “I love my country; I will happily lie, steal, and kill for my country” or “we have a serious racial, Jewish, political cancer inside the Fatherland that must be exterminated“… even if doing so is a violation of basic human decency and rights. If you disagree you are a blind fool.
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I think Michael Dunn, Barry Croft, and all other militia minded insurrectionists against our U.S. government members and the Constitution, fail miserably to understand or recognize that under a Republic government with the consent of its people, there is no provision for majority or minority violence… or denial of any legal, peaceful American’s civil rights. None! To borrow from the Koch brothers, strangely ironic here, and their ultra-Conservative, promoted and Koch-funded Bill of Rights Institute, it reads quite clearly on their website:
Majority Rule/Minority Rights: Laws may be made with the consent of the majority, subject to the limitation that those laws do not infringe on the inalienable rights of the minority.
Mr. Dunn, Mr. Croft, and any other such militant American extremists, I believe it is safe to say and interpret that “not to infringe on the inalienable rights of…“ a minority, majority, or any American person or group who disagree with or challenge in a civil manner your personal political, social, or religious beliefs never gives you the right to become violent. It DOES NOT hint of any right to illegally defame, or criminally hurt or kill them with impunity. No, not at all! Your violence further undermines your wrong and distorted movement. Period! More astoundingly, does this have to be routinely said and explained to Americans and the rest of the world?
After the previous five years, shamefully I guess it does. I know this constant Constitutional principle has been explained, though poorly and inconsistently enforced, since at least the early 19th-century and heard in various ways in the U.S. Supreme Court. A disgraceful fact and track-record America.
Another thing. Contrary to mainstream belief and assumption, the “right to assemble” on publicgrounds, to protest and petition our state and federal governments on public property is NOT protected if the said assemblies and protests literally turn violent, maiming and/or killing other Americans. As occurred at the 2017 Charlottesville protests, all too often when violence and killing breaks out county, state, and federal law-enforcement too often fail to intervene, protecting those peaceful victims. Or they are ill-prepared to protect peacefully gathering Americans enacting their civil rights.
Time and time again in several cases of our country’s volatile past this lawlessness was due to the personal political bias of local and/or state authorities and law-enforcement—i.e. the march, protest, or movement in question opposed and was adversarial to his or her personal political persuasions. This was despite their sworn legal vow to protect and uphold all county, state, and federal laws and principles as a PUBLIC servant. It does not state to serve your own specifically favored ideals and other “like-minded” public officials. Public means everybody in your precinct, district, or state you represent and serve as well as part of the Union of 50 States of America that your representation is under. Again, “UNDER” the federal jurisdiction of the U.S. government and its present laws, while also respecting state’s rights, of course. But flagrant violations of our Bill of Rights by domestic extremist, militant groups such as the Proud Boys, Boogaloo Bois, Oath Keepers, etc, are on the rise. From CSIS, Center For Strategic & International Studies, data tables from 2020:
As I watched in sickly horror the Frontline footage of violence/death in Charlottesville, VA 2017, to Minneapolis, MN, Chicago, IL, Philadelphia, PA, and Washington D.C. in 2021, I listened to the vitriol language and words of these domestic extremists. What slapped me in the face was the level of distortion and deception they spoke toward and under “patriotic duty” with erroneous extrapolations of our Bill of Rights and Constitution. They were simply attempting to justify their ambitions for violence, or as they’d promote: revolution, akin to our 18th-century thirteen colonies fighting the war against British Imperialism and tyranny.
They could not be more historically, principally, or legally wrong. Not the same. A common rhetorical fallacy and misguided tactic.
Interviewing Barry Croft while in prison—the vice-leader of the Three Percenters militia who attempted to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer for employing COVID-19 health and safety measures; lock-downs in order to minimize hospital pandemic overruns and save lives—Frontline recorded Croft’s distorted language such as “JUNTA“ and “coming into power by force, being ruled by[Biden]an illegitimate authority“ permissible by Constitutional provisions under militia statutes to act combative as such against fellow Americans. That “unorganized militia,” he extrapolates, “is absolutely necessary to the security of a free state.” Croft goes on to say later that “when you try talking and talking and talking and you don’t get anywhere militant is the obvious, natural progression. That’s it. You leave[me] no choice“ but to be violent, to maim, or kill other non-violent Americans under the banner of patriotic love of country as did the Nazis for the Fatherland. That is what Croft is implying.
What modern militia leader Mike Dunn of the Boogaloo Bois, a far-Right militant group should do is just openly proclaim his unadulterated hate truth and say “I love MY freedom. I love MY OWN perceived country. But I despise any Americans who do not agree with MY version of a United States of America.” That disturbing mantra is what actually manifests from their Constitutionally distorted, political propaganda spewed to the public, to news agencies, and on social-media networks.
Honestly Mr. Dunn? Seriously? Are those the founding principles, virtues, and spirit of a Constitutional democracy and of total equality in our Republic? I am curious to know the levels of education these leaders attained.
Furthermore, I hope I do not have to answer that rhetorical question. Not to any decent, intelligent, civically-educated and peace-loving American. Please, I beg you my visitors and readers, do not fall prey to these hateful people’s deceptions, distortions, and ill-founded extrapolations of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. They must be opposed, but in civic discourse through appropriate legal means. As a domestic enemy, these leaders and extremist groups are categorically wrong in their actions. They willingly spread the antithesis of correct American Constitutional democracy. They have to be confronted, challenged, and closely monitored no matter how they threaten retribution. Consider what people like Martin Niemöller suffered for his silence and lethargy:
The courage to speak up, to stand up bravely, unflinching to those mislead haters, who use bullying and criminal violence against humanity to control, to dominate by fear and tyranny must be done. They employ mere gangster-tactics. Opposing them must be found, summoned, verbally and actively challenged and opposed, even inside this great country’s borders and in opposition to fellow deluded citizens. Besides, I ask you… when has freedom, liberty, and full democracy ever been a given, a presumed cake-walk in our 245-year history?Never. It has always demanded vigilance, sacrifice, possibly death, duty, and protection, 24/7, 365-days a year since July 4, 1776. Period. Stop. I do not see this good fight ending anytime soon.
A quick word of Texas-cowboy advice. To anyone who chooses to blindly follow and support a leader/boss rather than be an independent, learned, yet cooperative philanthropic, humanitarian and critical-thinker as a team, I tell you this: be then beyond reproach with your privileged sociopolitical wisdom and exceptional cunning, BEFORE you “hitch your wagon“ to a group/person. That goes to any political party-member in America.
LAST QUESTIONS – AN UNAVOIDABLE FINAL SOLUTION?
Last October 2020 while waiting outside my local polling station for early voting for the state and federal elections, I chatted briefly with a military veteran of two tours, one in Afghanistan, one in the Arabian Peninsula. I expressed my gratitude as I often do for his service. We struck up some informal chit-chat regarding his service and our homeland’s fluid political landscape. After a few exchanges of generic comments and jokes about American/Texas politics, the soldier and veteran explicitly expressed his viewpoint and displeasure with how liberal, downhill and “progressive” the country was (supposedly) headed. I grinded my teeth immediately. I took 10-20 seconds telling myself don’t take the bait, not here at the polling location. Keep the moment pleasant, civil, and neutral. In 15-minutes he and I will never see each other again.
Being U.S. Army retired/discharged and as I remember vaguely, part of a battalion based in Georgia somewhere (485th?), this caucasian gentleman, maybe late 20’s or early 30’s, fit and muscular, hinted how very proud he was to be part of a highly patriotic, Get-It-Done and Get-Up-n-Go outfit willing to “fight and die” for this country. I assumed he meant during his tours of duty. But then he mentioned our Texas border problem and “illegal immigrants” crossing over to leach off our great country. I had to bite my tongue 2-3 times hoping the next group of waiting voters like us would be ushered in to the voting machines. Then he said it:
“We true Americans need to stand up to the covert takeover of our democracy, fight for its preservation, kill or be killed like my Unit in Afghanistan.”
— Veteran at Voting-Polling station, Oct. 2020, Dallas, TX
I remained silent as he seemed to wait for my reaction. Then he turned to me and asked “Right?“ as if being a white man in the politically Red-state of Texas made me one of his kind. I pursed my brow and calmly asked him “protect what from whom exactly here at home?” I tried to briefly explain that here in Texas and most of the country there are no domestic combat zones of U.S. enemies; only protestors, marchers, voters, etc, exercising their legal rights to participate in free civil democracy. Soon after I shared my own political stance and viewpoints, I thanked him again for protecting me and my rights to be there voting, freely. It appeared he did not take my genuine gratitude so well.
“Would you question“ he asked boldly “my loyalty and love to my country, especially as a former Army soldier and veteran abroad?“ he said as the brave soldier I’m sure he was. I said no, of course not. I don’t know enough about the rest of your life outside of the U.S. Army. Then I was candid with him. “However, with all due respect, if you wrongly perceive other, different American’s basic human ‘inalienable rights’ in light of our Constitution’s Bill of Rights and all liberties given to legal American citizens here especially at home,“ I explained, “then I won’t question your volunteered service with our deployed military inside a combat zone and everything that entails and demands of you and your family—truly a noble, honorable service—but I would question your position as a decent, non-military human being on planet Earth in our presumably peaceful, civil democratic nationwith fair and legally precise election processes.“
I politely grinned at the man. I do remember thinking to myself, “I am truly grateful for all our military service men and women. I’d want him in my squad/platoon I’m sure, if I served in a combat zone.” About that time the volunteer election-worker told us to enter the room of several available voting-machines. The former U.S. soldier and I did not have the opportunity later to speak again. Perhaps that was best, I’m not sure. Was he angrily waiting for me outside?
I have a fantasy. This (fading?) fantasy is that any of our current domestic extremist groups, and all of their passionate members, perfectly recite these words from March 4, 1865, spoken on the same steps the January 6, 2021 insurrectionists-terrorists trampled, vandalized, and murdered a Capital Police Officer:
With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan—to do all which may achieve and cherish, a just and lasting peace, among ourselves and with all nations.
Abraham Lincoln, 2nd Inaugural Address, U.S. Capital Building 1865
I did return home safely, (deep relieved exhale) unharmed that October day last year in my deeply Red, proud Lone Star State. Will the same outcome happen for me and for other law-abiding, reasonable, civically responsible and peaceful Texas-Americans in 2024 and beyond? For a citizen of a once purer Constitutional Republic democracy, I’m unsure the answer for me is certain or guaranteed.