Saturday, October 03, 2009

The Politics of Race

It was a day of events in the City -- Love Fest, and a bluegrass festival, for starters. It was also the rarest of days for our Weir clan -- all six of my children and all three of my grandchildren in the same place at the same time.

It was the third day of the tenth month of this year and the very first time that has happened in 2009.

Two of the kids did not feel well at various times in the day, creating concern, since this is flu season. They both got better as the day went on.

It also was clean-up day at the high school, soccer for the little girls, and a chance for me to BBQ chicken and pork ribs.

Tonight a gathering involving all of us plus various friends of all ages came together, despite the minor illnesses, the fierce winds, and my shopping malfunctions.

I've been thinking a lot about racism lately. And by racism I mean discriminatory behavior and attitudes toward black people by white people. There are plenty of other racist syndromes in this society but this one is the base for all of the rest. As a friend put it tonight: "How can we point to a founding document that defines black people as property and that assigned them 3/5ths the value of a white person?"

Strict constructionists and conservatives of many stripes do not necessarily have a problem with that part of the Constitution, I have concluded. What we as Americans in the 21st Century ought to do is denounce all of the crap that our "Founding Fathers" believed, keep only what is useful and hold up the rest to public ridicule.

Those elitists were hardly the know-all, be-all wise men so celebrated by the political rhetoric employed by all government leaders to this day. They had some extraordinary men among them, it is true, and they established some revolutionary progress in the structure of government.

But they also institutionalized racism and set this society on a collision course with decency, equality, and fairness. We've been at war with ourselves ever since, and racism of the kind discussed here will be with us far into the future.

It is residual racism that fuels the "birthers," "truthers," and other extremists of the Christian right. These people are the most dangerous people in the world -- far more than al-Qaeda, to cite another despicable movement.

The American right wing is more dangerous because it has resources and it numbers and it thrives on hate. It is determined to disrupt the Obama Presidency, not based on ideas or ideals but simply because he is black.

They will never admit this, but I am making the accusation. I've watched and listened closely enough to comprehend that what they are seeking is the overthrow of an elected President by any means possible, including violence.

Fortunately, the great majority of them are soft, fat wimps without the courage to do anything of significance, let alone undertake the heinous actions implied by their words.

They are cowards.

So in all likelihood, their flatulent spouting of hate will die away as it becomes ever more clear they have no place in leadership in this society going forward. They and their bitterness will go to their graves, but racism, even then, will still be with us.

When the evils of the past are so great, and so deeply ingrained, there is no possible way to transcend them until many more generations have come and gone. I had wished I would see a better day in my lifetime, and in some way I have, with the election of the brightest President in history.

But so much more remains to be done, and it is a long, long way from here to where we need to get to.


Friday, October 02, 2009

Capacity Exceeded

I've posted so many photos to my blogs that Google won't allow me any more free storage space. I'm going to have to purchase more space to keep showing photos in the future.

This has been a luxury I didn't fully appreciate until it went away. There were photos I would have put up last night & tonight, but they'll have to wait until I fork over some money to the richest company in the world.

Don't get me wrong; I don't resent the limitation. Server space is expensive, and nothing of value is free. It's just that so much of the blogging experience is free (Blogger hasn't charged for having too many words -- yet) that one forgets that unless this can be built into a business, it will eventually become a cost center.

I've been struggling with AdSense trying to make this an ad-supported space, but I currently make around twenty cents off of each one of these posts. If you wonder why print journalists have struggled to survive in online media, it's because if this were published in print, I'd make more like $3-500 per post.

It's a new world, one that confuses us as much as it inspires us. Of course, this blog, as more of a journal, or personal exploration, is not really intended to be a money-maker.

It just would be nice, that's all.

As we approach our 1,500th post here at Hotweir, I'm reminded that I almost hung up my cleats when I reached 1,000. I'm surprised to be approaching another milestone so soon; it doesn't seem very long ago.

I'm uncertain about the future of this blog, frankly. I love posting here, but the audience is fairly small (though much larger than in the old days) and I never settle into a pattern with the content.

It's personal but not very revealing. It's political but not doctrinaire. It's about family but only at a high level. The writing is not very emotional because I am not in a mood to go there these days.

It is not about business or my profession because I write about that stuff elsewhere. It just is what it is, and I have no idea whether it is serving a useful purpose for anyone other than me.

I'll commit to getting to 1,500 and then reconsider. That should be in about a week...


Monday, September 28, 2009

Writing in the (Tropical) Night

One of the enduring images I have in my mind's eye of a writer is that of the great Rudyard Kipling, banging away on a manual typewriter, the tap-tap-tap of the keys audible through an open window somewhere in Lahore as he wrote the great Kim over a century ago now.

Of course, I have no idea whether he wrote Kim in Lahore, which was then part of India, but it really doesn't matter. The point is that the idea of him at work captured my imagination, sometime at a much younger age, and it motivates me still.

I've never published a novel, or even a short story, under my real name, but I have written articles and books (some on manual typewriters) in the tropics. I've written in India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Tahiti, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Tahiti, among other places.

But my best writing (fiction and non-fiction) came at Sanibel Island, off the Gulf Coast of Florida.

Lately, I have been revisiting some of that material, trying to craft a novel, or at least a series of stories, out of the stuff I produced (on an old manual typewriter I still possess) in our family cottages on the island.

I've posted some of that work earlier here ("Tidelines") but the writing continues, often at night, here in a place no one would call tropical, though given the strange weather patterns we are enduring plus global warming, who knows?

The tap-tap-tap now is on a keyboard, and represents an interactive opportunity for me to share it with you, dear visitor, which I will try to do as soon as the next few chapters reveal themselves to me, their measly vessel.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Future Hall of Famer

Some little kids think they can do anything.

My theory is it's good parenting to encourage them to believe that, at young ages, so they keep trying to do everything that comes along.

Here's one such little boy. He loves sports. Late this afternoon, it was time for baseball.

He can hit, he can run, he can pitch.

There's nothing to it.


Kids Training Kids

When I was in Afghanistan, as a Peace Corps Volunteer 40 years ago, it was a common sight to see older children carrying younger children on their hip, minding the younger siblings all day long.

That's not common here, but today my 15-year-old worked with his ten-year-old sister, as he has been for a while now, teaching her how to play soccer.

Today, five of her teammates showed up for "soccer camp," as well, and he showed them basic moves.

A big chunk of our extended Weir Clan is gathering this fall, based at my house. Two of my grandchildren and their parents arrived last night. One's talking in full sentences at age two and a half, and the other is just getting acclimated -- he's at the beginning of it all.

One shoots baskets and hits baseballs, and one watches quietly. Everybody loves the outdoors and sports in this family.

The little boys are so beautiful, perfect, and lovely to hold.

A nice distraction from other realities, in my business realm, which frankly suck at the moment. A bad year this week turned much, much worse.

Now, family is the antidote.