Mother’s Day part 2

My Mother’s Day gift this year was a morning spent playing with high performance cars on a real track. I had a great time, managed not to make a fool of myself, and even got a nice lunch out of it. My husband came along to watch so he got the lunch, too. I think he would have liked participating better, but he didn’t really like the price tag. So we will finally go hot air ballooning when we go on vacation this summer, I think, since it will only be the two of us this year, because he’d much rather do that…

But all of that driving left me tired, and disinclined to write a serious post. This weekend promises to be a busy one – houseguests are coming for the weekend – so my Sunday post, which was to also be my monthly #1000Speak post, may not work out as planned, either. But it’s all good. Que sera sera. C’est la vie.  It is what it is…. and any other appropriate variant.

In the meantime, I hope you all have a peaceful weekend. And I leave you with this thought about time from Martin Heidegger:

“Temporality temporalizes as a future which makes present in the process of having been.” — Martin Heidegger, Being and Time

 

Tuesday’s Quotes – May 16, 2017 – Moderation

“We are now forming a republican government. Real liberty is never found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments.”

Alexander Hamilton, Constitutional Convention,  June 1787

It seemed like a good time to dust this quote off. Our government was created as a Democratic Republic primarily try to minimize the impact of extremist views, which are a risk in a true democracy, and to thereby protect the rights of those in the minority. It seems like out polarization keeps getting worse – what we need, and do not have, is both a president and a congress that are willing to work together – dare I say compromise – to unify the country, in stead of actively promoting the divisions.

Alexander Hamilton image from http://www.biography.com/people/alexander-hamilton-9326481

Tuesday’s Quotes – May 9, 2017 – On opinions & thought

“Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.”

— John F. Kennedy

I’ve been increasingly dismayed at how many people espouse extremely strong positions based on something akin to ether. In conversation, it often becomes obvious that those strongly held opinions are at odds with what the speaker really thinks about the topic. Although this phenomena is certainly not new – the desire to follow a path laid by others is innate to us humans because joining together is how we survive – but our world has become more crowded with information, accurate or not, and everyone’s opinions (even mine – isn’t that the point of this blog?), that we frequently do not take the time to think the things that we are hearing through. Ironic that in the information age, many of us seem reluctant to look into a claim before we allow ourselves to react, or before we help to spread it via social media. I’ve even seen things posted by people who I know would never have shared an article had they read it – because the article itself was opposition to the headline. And these are not isolated incidents, not are they limited to individuals of any one political persuasion (or even nationality), or any particular age group. The spanning of generations reinforces my own, anecdotally based, opinion that this is not an educational issue, or a matter of upbringing. I think it is a by-product of having too much available to take in – it is just easier to let someone else tell us what the truth is than to reason it out for ourselves.

So, I’m taking this opportunity, once again, to share the 10 Commandments of Logic:

IMG_0595

JFK photo from insidegov.com

Originally posted May 19, 2015.

Happy Earth Day

“Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children’s children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance.”

— Theodore Roosevelt

 

Photo courtesy of NASA –  http://www.nasa.gov/content/earth-day-image-gallery-celebrating-earths-beauty

 

Anne Frank – reflections on a sad anniversary

“What is done cannot be undone, but one can prevent it happening again.”

— Anne Frank

April 14th has the unhappy distinction of being the anniversary of Anne Frank’s death in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945.

I’d always been moved by Frank’s insight, and by her overwhelming normal-ness in such an abnormal time.

I’ve always liked this quote, in particular, because the idealist in me wants to believe it.

Growing up in the post-war baby boom, WWII was still too raw a nerve in my youth – it wasn’t yet left to the history books. I read Diary of a Young Girl when I was young, and just wished that there could have been a different ending. Anne Frank and my mother were born only two months, and an entire world, apart, so there always seemed something a bit surreal to me when I was younger. In later years, it became easier to see the diary for what it was – not so different from ramblings that I sporadically made in my own attempts at diaries in my adolescence. Attempts to process the day, a way to vent about things that frustrated me, a place to record my hopes. It is also clear that she was precocious for her age and time – and now I find that I also wonder, as I look at my own daughters, what could have been for her. What might have been had she been born in a different time, a different place, a different religion.

And so, on this day, take nothing for granted – it all might have been very different for any one of us.

Happy Birthday, Henry Clay

“The Constitution of the United States was made not merely for the generation that then existed, but for posterity—unlimited, undefined, endless, perpetual posterity.”

— Henry Clay

Henry Clay, lawyer, career politician, and Secretary of State under John Quincy Adams, was born on this day in 1777. Clay passed away in 1852, and remained politically active until the end of his life. Although he was a committed hawk early in his life – in fact, he was strongly in favor of going to war with Great Britain in 1812 – by 1847 he said this in a speech opposing the Mexican-American War:

“War unhinges society, disturbs its peaceful and regular industry, and scatters poisonous seeds of disease and immorality, which continue to germinate and diffuse their baneful influence long after it has ceased. Dazzling by its glitter, pomp and pageantry, it begets a spirit of wild adventure and romantic enterprise, and often disqualifies those who embark in it, after their return from the bloody fields of battle, from engaging in the industrious and peaceful vocations of life.”

An astute politician – quite capable of, and occasionally reviled for, back room bartering to secure his own position – he was instrumental in pulling together several critical deals (often in partnership with Daniel Webster and John C. Calhoun), including the Compromise Tariff of 1833, the Missouri Compromise of 1820, and other agreements intended to head off confrontations about slavery. He has been nicknamed the “Great Compromiser”.

During the course of his long career in politics, he served Kentucky in its state house, as well as in the US House of Representatives – where he served as Speaker of the House prior to his appointment as Secretary of State – as well as its Senator from 1849 until his death in 1852. In 1957, the US Sentate namely him as one of the 5 greatest senators. That esteemed list included his contemporaries, Webster and Calhoun, as well as Robert LaFollett and Robert Taft.

There is a disturbing sense of dejavu in in this quote of Clay’s from an 1829 speech – it’s disturbing how little people, and politics, ever change through the centuries:

“The arts of power and its minions are the same in all countries and in all ages. It marks its victim; denounces it; and excites the public odium and the public hatred, to conceal its own abuses and encroachments.”

And how clearly true in our current political climate.