Again, I had a post I originally wanted to write, and was not able to do it. I continued reading and meditating, and this is the result.
I have a number of friends who feel almost as though we are being bombed verbally. Dion Fortune and her group of adepts were being bombed physically. While the bombs coming at us are not the type that rip the roofs off of buildings, the effect on the psyche is similar. In her letter of September 8, 1940, Ms Fortune wrote, “There is only one way to keep quiet and serene under bombardment – to be prepared to lay down your life for your country if necessary. Once that eventuality is accepted , one abrogates one’s civilian mentality, and the passivity and helplessness that go with it. Regard the warning wail of the siren as an ‘alert’ not as a ‘retreat’, unless specifically ordered to get out of the way. Carry on as near normal as you can without running undue risks.” I feel like this works for the kind of bombardment we are experiencing in the US today.
As I write this, we see that the current occupant of the White House has fired his defense secretary and we are awaiting his firing of the FBI director and the CIA director, replacing them with those more willing to do his bidding. We see him and his surrogates challenging the results of the election and insulting those doing the arduous and patriotic work of counting the ballots and ensuring that all votes are counted and counted fairly. We find him arguing against the findings of the independent press. These behaviors are not partisan issues, they are the antithesis of the founding of this country. We also observe him addressing the people with lies and misinformation. Perhaps the worst offense is the assault on truth.
What is it about the assault on truth that is so dangerous? Recall those three values: liberty, equality and the rule of law. None of them exist except in the acceptance and enforcement of the social contract. The foundation of the social contract is trust. The one requirement for trust is the ability to accept what we are hearing from one another is honest. Truth, then, is the fiber from which the social contract is weaved. If we cannot assume that what is being said is true, how can we evaluate testimony under oath? And if we cannot evaluate testimony, how can we be sure that the rule of law is being administered equally and fairly? How can we exercise our freedom if we cannot trust that our actions will not be arbitrarily interfered with by someone else with an agenda? Because it is only the social contract that allows us to go about our lives with the basic assumption that we will not be the victim of some random act of violence by some unknown individual. That assumption is based on the understanding that we have laws in this country that apply to all persons and will be enforced equally regardless of the economic or social standing of both the perpetrator and the victim. That enforcement is predicated on the presupposition that in a courtroom, there will be witnesses who will testify to the best of their ability the truth. This has not always been the practice in this country but it has been the ideal.
With truth under attack from the highest office in the country, it is easy to see how justice is also at risk. If truth no longer matters, what is to prevent those with greatest power to invent accusations against those they see as a threat, present it without proof as evidence of wrongdoing, and lock them up. In such a society, innocence is no defense against prosecution or persecution. In the early days of the Third Reich, Hitler dealt with opposition by simply arresting his opponents and making them disappear.
It is reasonable to ask how such an assault on truth could be occurring in this country? Ms Fortune makes an interesting observation. “It will be noted that Hitler has always undermined a country through its own citizens, not through German-born agents…” The same has happened here. Propaganda has been flowing into this country for three decades, using our own trusted officials to pass it in. It comes in the form of talking points that get repeated over and over until the population begins to believe it. They have used careful messaging to make it believable and shamed those who tried to show its falseness. Through careful messaging, there has been a concerted effort to divide us as a nation, one group against another. This division has now entered our national group soul and group mind. It is this we must undo, heal and repair.
So as I go into my meditations this week, I see our round table in the rotunda. I see the great souls who have gone before us and showed us what we could be. I hear the voice of John Lewis and Elijah Cummings beseeching us to find our better selves and usher in an era of true equality and liberty through the rule of law, underpinned by truth and righteousness. I think about all of us, rural, urban, and suburban. I see us all, wealthy and poor, coming to a common table and enjoying the fruits of the land. I imagine us speaking together of who we are, what we wish to be, and how do we get there. I ponder the words of Ms. Fortune: “The nations that have been subjugated were not beaten in the field, they fell to treachery and internal corruption; to lack of morale and lack of the will to victory. The key to their fall may be found in the words: “he who would save his life shall lose it, and he who will lose his life for My sake shall find it.” Those who prefer security to freedom have lost both.” May we once again turn away from lies and toward truth. May we once again reject corruption and embrace righteousness. May we be prepared to take the risk of reaching out to each other, and relish the freedom that brings.
I would love to share with you what link Jackie Robinson, Satchel Paige, John McLendon, Marlin Driscoll, and my dad share. It is a fun story that I think you, would love and I have not been able to share with anybody.
My Dad was born in a very small hut in a very small town in Adamsville, Tennessee. The hut where he was born was located at what is now home plate in their baseball field. His mother died in childbirth, unattended. Not only did he never have a birth certificate, noone, including himself, ever really knew what year he was born. We guessed. (Coming up may be some words that I know are offensive. I hope you will forgive that, as it was part of the era – he was born in either 1917, 1918 or 1919 so the world saw things differently.) Since his father was the town drunk who never quite forgave my dad for “killing his mother,” he was shuffled from aunt to aunt. He worked in the fields with the black kids, hoeing cotton and tobacco. When the hoeing was done, they would together go slip under the fence to watch the Negro leagues baseball games. He fell in love with baseball. He also fell in love with basketball and would practice shooting and dribbling until the sun went down.
When he graduated from high school – he was young to graduate even with the uncertainty of his birth – he tried to get a baseball scholarship. Eventually he got one at Milligin College in Tennessee. He had athletic scholarships, an orphan’s scholarship and cleaned the gym to pay for his education. He played on the varsity tennis team, baseball team and basketball team. He graduated with a degree in English.
Here is where it gets murky for me – Dad didn’t talk about his past much. At one time, the St. Louis Cardinals drafted him. He played second base in their farm team in Johnson City in Tennessee. Somehow he wound up in Raleigh-Durham playing baseball and basketball and coaching women’s basketball (yes, they had that in the south then). Recall, John McLendon was coaching in Durham at that time. Hold that thought. (It was also in this time that Sam Snead taught him to play golf.)
When the war came, since he had a college degree, when he enlisted in the Navy, he was made an officer. Eventually he wound up a captain in the Navy, but I am not sure what he went in as. They made him morale officer at Pearl Harbor. His ship just missed being there when Pearl Harbor was bombed – Dad said Sam Snead was late for the ship. Not sure if that was true or tongue in cheek. His job was to recruit entertainment for sailors coming to Pearl to heal. It included sports teams, entertainers, etc. At various times, his baseball teams had names like Stan Musial (who he had met in the St. Louis system), Pee Wee Reese, Johnny Majors, Bob Lemmon (who dad converted from shortstop to pitcher because Bob couldn’t throw straight), Dom and Vince DiMaggio (Joe went with Army), Phil Rizzuto, Leo Durocher, Bob Feller, and many more.
This next part I am not sure of. I sat one day as a kid with Satchell Paige. Satchell had come to Denver (during the minor league days) to do some sort of pregame demonstration and since Dad was doing color in the announcer’s booth, Dad left me with Satch. (A lot of the grown ups sitting around us did NOT approve.) As anybody knows, Satchell could spin a yarn, but I don’t know how he could invent this out of thin air …
At some point while at Pearl Harbor, according to Satchell, Dad decided he wanted to recruit some of the players he had watched from the Negro leagues. Dad (this I know is true) had always believed the black players were at least as good as the white players. So anyway, Satchell and Dad agreed that Dad would start getting his players mentally ready to accept playing with “coloreds” while Dad tried to get the ok from his superiors. Finally, Dad’s superiors threatened his commission and he dropped it. But a thought had been planted …
Several years later, Jackie Robinson was selected to break the color barrier. Branch Rickey was the President and GM who hired Robinson. But on the team were Johnny Majors (I think he was General Manager), Pee Wee Reese (Team Captain) and Leo Durocher (I think he was coach?). Satchell wondered if maybe Dad’s preaching in Pearl had something to do with getting Jackie accepted by the team. We will never know.
The rest of this is not from Satchell.
After the war, Dad moved to Denver. He got a masters in business at Colorado College and became an English professor, baseball and basketball coach at Regis Jesuit College (even though he was a Methodist). He became a celebrity in Denver because his basketball teams were very successful. They used a totally different style of play – and if you studied it you would see shades of John McLendon. Over time, he became active in bringing sports to Denver.
First, there were the Denver Broncos. Dad secured the financing so the team could be brought to Denver (Dad was a banker with Central Bank). He led the drive to build Mile High Stadium that would keep the Broncos in Denver. And he pushed Denver to bring in Marlin Briscoe as quarterback. Marlin Briscoe was the first black quarterback in professional football.
Then there were the Denver Rockets (now the Denver Nuggets). Dad was part of the original ownership group. While he was still an owner, he convinced them to hire John McLendon as their coach. John was the first black coach in professional basketball. However, he lost almost all of his investment when the partnership sold.
Many years later, he co-chaired the Colorado Baseball commission. He started working on getting baseball to Denver in the early 70s, and I can remember him talking about some choice meetings he had with Peter Ueberroth as they argued over whether Colorado could support a professional baseball team. Anyway, they finally got baseball in 1993. And, of course, the first home run hit at home for the National Baseball League team was hit by Eric Young, again, a black man. So, Denver had our first black quarterback, our first black professional basketball coach and nominated our first black president. That just tickled the heck out of me and I really wanted to tell KO that. (When my dad died three years ago, only the family was at the funeral. The rest of Denver had forgotten him.)
I don’t know how to verify parts of this story, but I do know the rest. This battle for equality has not been waged by black people alone, but by people who knew that skin color has no more relevance to a person’s character, capability or intelligence than hair color.
Remember Major League? Remember the scene where the woman who bought the team came in and told the team that they had been chosen because they were all losers? Remember how the coach then made a poster of the owner, where she was dressed all in black and had a dialog balloon that said, “You guys suck?” Remember how the coach had calculated how many wins it would take to win the pennant (amazing how he was 100% correct) and how after each win a piece of her suit would come off until she was standing there in her altogether? I decided it was time to expose John Boehner in a similar way, but instead of wins, we remove a part of his attire based on the groups he hates. Follow me after the fold to expose Boehner. Warning: If you are under 18 you need parents permission to continue, and if you are squeamish you have been apprised.
I don’t have the graphics skills to actually do the exposure here, and I am not sure I could stand to actually see it. Therefore you will have to use your imagination.
Behold John Boehner. His orangeness stands before you (fresh off a visit to the spray tan store) in a navy blue pin striped suit with his hand raised in Heil position. A dialogue bubble above his head says, “Not only NO but HELL NO!”
John Boehner hates the Gays. We start by removing his left pant leg, revealing that he is afraid that if the gay couple up the street who have been living together for 17 years suddenly got a license, his marriage would collapse, his wife would leave him and his children would be sucked back up through the womb into the great ethers beyond. They would be able to share the insurance one partner’s workplace offers to families of the employees and there would be none left for John. They might actually be able to make life and death related decisions should one partner become unable to do that for him or her self. They might be able to inherit the house they have both been paying on. Worst, John is afraid he would be forced to marry a man – and it would probably wind up being Mitch McConnell. What a scary thought! So, John, off with the left pant leg. OMG! That looks peculiarly like Big Bird’s leg! No wonder you keep your pants on!
John Boehner hates Messicans. Never mind that many have roots in this country that date back further than Johns. They don’t look like you or me and they speak with an accent (not Mitch’s accent, theirs is from further south). They keep having Democrat babies. This has to stop. Before you know it, they will demand equal representation and give our country back to Messico. They must be stopped. It is not enough to seal the border, they have to be exported en masse. Except for the one who mows his lawn, the one who watches his children and those who repair his roof. They have to go home. Before you know it, they will have more Democrats than his white kids have Republicans and he will lose power. So John, off with the right pant leg. Just as I was afraid – it IS big bird’s legs. Orange and all. Guess you will have to make adjustments to that spray tan machine.
John Boehner hates Moslems. He will vehemently deny that Moslems came up with scientific method as well as their contributions to geometry and astronomy. He will deny that the numbers we use are arabic numerals. He probably doesn’t know that without Moslems we would not have algebra, or perhaps he hates them because of algebra. He knows only that most of them live far away and they all are out to get him. They call their god by a different name. That should not be allowed. They need to be arrested and deported. They cannot build a community center, because community centers always result in votes for Democrats and he will lose power. For the Moslems, we remove his shoes, remembering what being hit with shoes means to Moslems.
John Boehner hates black people. He always has. Doesn’t know why, but he does. He has “heard things” about black people and they make him squeamish. They are all on welfare except the rich ones who aren’t. Actually he would like the rich ones except they don’t give him money. So they all have to go. So, John, off with your right sleeve, the one uplifted in your grand NO gesture. Oh, my! That arm looks strangely like it came from Grover and was painted orange. John, you look strangely like an orange Statue of Liberty.
John Boehner hates children. Some people think we should take perfectly good money away from bankers and financiers and use it to pay for frivolous things like SCHIP and teachers. Children don’t vote, why should we give them money? Besides, if we give them money they will all learn to be lazy. Let them pull themselves up by their bootstraps, and if they have no boots let them find some. So we remove the left sleeve. No comment merited.
John Boehner hates veterans. He sends them to war, and when they come home broken he thinks they should fend for themselves. He especially hates homeless veterans. They should have stayed at war and died like heros. How dare them come home and sleep in streets us taxpayers pay (too little) for! Money to upgrade VA facilities? Waste, waste, waste. That money could be used to balance the Bush-inflated budget. Never mind that his friend Bush sent them out to war in the first place. When they come home they should get rich and give him money. He even hates them in spite of the fact that many vote republican and keep him in power! They embarrass him, so he hates them. In honor of veterans we remove his tie. Oh, my, what a neck there! John, John, John, where did you find an orange turkey to take that off of?
John Boehner hates the poor. They also drain our coffers. He especially hates the new poor because they lost their jobs and expect Congress to do something about it. Why should he do something about it? He didn’t lose his job. As long as his job is secure, he can’t be bothered worrying about people who are losing their cars and their homes because they lost their jobs. Besides … another job will come along soon enough … maybe. When in doubt, flip burgers. But don’t expect money from our treasury. That is reserved for bankers, financiers and insurance executives. They give him money. Lots of money. The poor don’t give him money. They just vote. If you don’t have money you shouldn’t be allowed to vote. Too many don’t vote for him and he will lose power. So we remove the right side of his suitcoat. This is getting ugly folks.
John Boehner hates women. They should keep in their place. They should get pregnant and stay pregnant and if they get pregnant and don’t want to be pregnant they should stay pregnant anyway. That is what god made them for – to be pregnant. And to cook his dinner. Equality for women? Never! Not on his watch! Except the ones in the tea party who make him feel manly. Soccer moms should vote like their husbands tell them to. Except when their husbands are Democrats. Too many of these darned women don’t vote for him and he will lose power. So there goes the left side of his suitcoat! Geez, John! With all that tanning you do at least you could have a six pack. That looks more like a keg. That belly button looks oddly like a bung. No wonder you get so upset when you see a picture of a shirtless Barack.
Well that about covers everybody John hates and uncovers almost all of John. What is left is akin to a loin cloth. Luckily he still loves the teabaggers, so we can leave him with that loincloth. I am thankful … I don’t think I could even stand the mental visual if the loincloth had to go. It looks strangely like an oversized teabag, covering a small and barely effective Boehner.
There you have it, my friends. John Boehner exposed.