17 May 2021

The Illusion of Permanance (Guest Post by Nick Sutton)

[Guest post by Nick Sutton, 17 May 2021]

Maybe splitting up after 22 years together isn't so much a failed relationship as a relationship that ran its course. Maybe families aren't necessarily always permanent?

Maybe families can also be temporary groups which gather together for a common purpose and go their own way when the group is no longer needed.

Like many of my friends from school, who are still my friends, but that feeling that we were bonded like a family has faded over time. I still love and care for them and wish them the best, but also probably wouldn’t lay my head in their lap and say “pet me” if we hung out again. . . Because we're not THAT close anymore.

Maybe two people can come together to have kids, and raise those kids to the best of their ability, and maybe, like teenagers, they also change and grow and discover they want and need new/different things in their lives, and that change can be natural and healthy, and it’s not so much a “failed marriage” as a “completed marriage.” You came together to accomplish your goal, and ultimately decided to do something else.

Maybe instead of expecting people to become adults, date for a while, marry, have kids, raise kids, retire, and die all connected to the same familial unit, we can begin to approach the idea that this is a new era in our understanding of the family, and that a person will have many families through their life, some platonic and some romantic and none of it is really a failure, as it is just the natural course.

My point is, that as people continuously rethink the concept of relationships, and the many forms they can take, it might also be a good time to rethink the concept of family and its meaning and purpose, because humans are highly complex, and boiling everything down to simple binaries does not mesh well with that complexity? Maybe it is time to increasingly untether ourselves from groupings of beliefs, and ideologies, and accept the fluid and dynamic direction that life, all life, takes.

I’m not saying people shouldn’t be sad when a relationship ends, but maybe we place too much value in the permanence of relationships, when nothing’s really truly permanent, and maybe we’d adjust better to understanding that as a society, and still be sad when someone important choses to leave our lives, or take a different role than the one we want them in, but also understand that these changes aren’t really failings on our own part, but simply the whims and chaos of being human.

07 May 2021

August 1619 (Guest Post by Henry Wilson, 1872)

[Mitch McConnell says that 1619 is not a significant date in American History. Henry Wilson, one of the first historians of the Civil War and Republican Vice-President under President Grant, disagrees.]

God's Holy Word declares that man was doomed to eat his bread in the sweat of his face. History and tradition teach that the indolent, the crafty, and the strong, unmindful of human rights, have ever sought to evade this Divine decree by filching their bread from the constrained and unpaid toil of others. From inborn indolence, conjoined with avarice, pride, and lust of power, has sprung slavery in all its Protean forms, from the mildest type of servitude to the harsh and hopeless condition of absolute and hereditary bondage. Thus have grown and flourished caste and privilege, those deadly foes of the rights and well-being of mankind, which can exist only by despoiling the many for the benefit of the few.

American slavery reduced man, created in the Divine image, to property. It converted a being endowed with conscience, reason, affections, sympathies, and hopes, into a chattel. It sunk a free moral agent, with rational attributes and immortal aspirations, to merchandise. It made him a beast of burden in the field of toil, an outcast in social life, a cipher in the courts of law, and a pariah in the house of God. To claim himself, or to use himself for his own benefit or the benefit of wife or child, was deemed a crime. His master could dispose of his person at will, and of everything acquired by his enforced and unrequited toil.

This complete subversion of the natural rights of millions, by which they were “deemed, held, taken, reputed, and adjudged in law to be chattels personal to all intents, constructions, and purposes whatsoever,” constituted a system antagonistic to the doctrines of reason and the monitions of conscience, and developed and gratified the most intense spirit of personal pride, a love of class distinctions, and the lust of dominion. Hence arose a commanding power, ever sensitive, jealous, proscriptive, dominating, and aggressive, which was recognized and fitly characterized as the Slave Power.

This slavery and this Slave Power, in their economical, social, moral, ecclesiastical, and political relations to the people and to the government, demoralizing the one and distracting the councils of the other, made up the vital issues of that “irrepressible conflict” which finally culminated in a civil war that startled the nations by its suddenness, fierceness, and gigantic proportions.

Half a century before the discovery of America, Portuguese and Spanish navigators had introduced African slaves into Europe. The English and other commercial nations followed their example. When, therefore, the Western Continent was opened to colonization and settlement, these nations were prepared to introduce slaves and to prosecute the African slave-traffic with vigor and on a large scale.

In the month of August, 1619, a Dutch ship entered James River with twenty African slaves. They were purchased by the colonists, and they and their offspring were held in perpetual servitude. Thus, at Jamestown, twelve years from the settlement of the colony of Virginia, and one year before the feet of the Pilgrims had touched the New World, began that system in the British continental colonies which, under the fostering care of England, overspread the land. So near in time, though remote in points of destination, came those two vessels across the sea, with elements at once so potent and yet so unlike,—the “Mayflower,” with its freight of learning and Christian civilization; the other, with its ill-starred burden of wretchedness and woe, bearing the seeds of a system destined, after a struggle of two hundred and forty years for development, expansion, and dominion, to light the fires of civil war, and perish in the flames its own hand had kindled.

Unfinished Post (May 12021)

588,620   people dead in the United States from the pandemic and still the clueless rage that the vaccines are going to turn us all into monsters as if we were living in an old fifties horror flick. Paging Drs. Frankincense, Gold, and Myrrh. There are some things that man is not meant to tamper with—including gender, religion, and place in the social order as decreed from On High. Some of us are born masculine, some achieve masculinity, and some have masculinity thrust upon them, as Malvolio’s supposed friends might have told him. I mean, with the right assistance, none of us need go through an undesired puberty, but apparently a bunch of yahoo Arkansas legislators know better than physicians who have actual experience, or the children whose lives they’re setting out to ruin.

So I hear I’m wrong again—apparently George Floyd’s killer has been found guilty. **shrugs** I’ll believe it when the fat lady pulls the trigger. The judge’s obvious sympathy for the plight of the killer has not escaped me—nor the fact that the legal system is stacked in favor of the wealthy and their minions, including police and prosecutors. I am impressed that the jury somehow found the courage to defy their police-defined duty to acquit the killer, given the power of the thin blue line to exact revenge on the people they see as their foes—but the indiscriminate use of that power may be backfiring. When arrogance knows no bounds, there’s no downside to fighting back.

On the other hand I am not impressed by the current agreement on the part of those who have a right to an opinion—a right now conferred on the lucky few by the heirs of Murdoch—that Ma’Khia Bryant had it coming. It was her own choice, goes the story, that she ended up dead at the age of sixteen. If she’d really wanted to live, she never would have chosen to be a Black girl instead of a 100% American White Boy™.

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