Saturday, July 28, 2012

July 28, 2012


     The Washington Post reported that all sorts of creatures were in London for the opening of the Olympic Games:  cows, a flock of sheep, goats, ducks, and--oh yes--Mitt Romney.

     Romney was an early critic:  "disconcerting," he called the spectacle and its logistics, adding "It's hard to know just how well it will turn out."  He said no Olympics (he ran the 2002 Winter Games) could be mistake free.  But he also called the London Games "fabulous" though they hadn't started yet.


    Critics fired back.  London Mayor Boris Johnson:  "I hear there's a guy named Mitt Romney who wants to know whether we're ready. Are we ready? Yes, we are!"  And then came the headlines:  "Mitt the Twit" (The Sun);  "Party-pooper Romney" (The Daily Mail);  "Nowhere Man" (Times of London).  No doubt, this wasn't the foreign affairs debut Romney wanted.

     Well, it all makes wo
rk for the working candidate to do.  It is not true that President Obama took the week off and went fishing, but I think maybe he could have, don't you?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

July 24, 2012

Twelve dead.  Fifty-eight, I think it was, wounded.  What's going on?
The answer, I'm afraid, is nothing much.  Weapons are better than they used to be.  Guns kill more quickly than swords.  But human nature?  Pretty constant, over the years.

The Colorado killer is a nut case, obviously crazy.  But we've always had them;  their tools are just better now.

The poet W.H. Auden wrote, "Evil is unspectacular and always human, and shares our bed and eats at our own table...." it was, so it is, so it will be...evil, everyday and always human.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

JULY 10. 2012

The Washington Post has a poll today which says President Obama and his presumed Republican rival for the presidency this fall, Governor Mitt Romney, are about even. This puzzles me;  I'm having a hard time believing that we're having an election at all.

     To be sure, the president makes speeches, mostly about how well things are going, and the ex-governor makes them, mostly about how badly. The economy is so-so, I can remember when it was better and when it was worse.  If you're old enough to vote, so can you. We're at war;  that's the bad news. The good news is that we used to be at two. One war is better than two.  Neither man, that I've noticed, has really offered a persuasive path to peace--no wars at all,

     I got a new copy of the Constitution this past week; the old one vanished somewhere.  In the front are some wise words from Alexander Hamilton, spoken back in 1775, "The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for among old parchments or musty records. They are written, as with a sun beam in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of the divinity itself, and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power."

    Okay, Mr. President, Governor.  It's election time.  Start writing, please. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

JULY 4, 2012

"What have you given us?" an American is supposed to have asked Benjamin Franklin as the Constitutional Convention was ending.  "A republic," Franklln is supposed to have answered, "if you can keep it."

All nonsense, of course. The United States of that day wasn't a republic at all.  "All men," the Declaration of Independence said, "are created equal."  Never mentions women. They didn't become equals until the 20th century, when they got the vote.  Black men?  Certainly not equal.  Many were slaves.  The Civil War freed them, sort of, but in the South they couldn't vote until the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960s.  We make progress. The good news is that we make it. The bad news is that we make it so slowly.

We must keep working, I think, until the old Langston Hughes poem comes true:  "America/ The land that never was and yet must be./ The land where every man is free."



JUNE 30, 2012

      I'm not sure just how the new health care law will work, except that states have some choice on when to phase in its various parts.  Others, however, are more certain.

     Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts had been excpected by many conservatives to vote "No" on the bill's constituionality.  He didn't;  he voted "Aye."  The right was angry.  Radio host Glen Beck, the Washington Post reported, was offering  T-shirts with Roberts' face and the word "COWARD" printed in yellow.  They're thirty bucks. Tacky?  Sure. Politics? Also sure. Votes the shirt will change? Few, I would guess.   I can't imagine being converted to a cause by a peek at someone's chest. I suppose one could wear one in a Fourth of July parade, but even then....

     The Constitution is sometimes specific about the rights it guarantees us--the right to speak freely, to assemble for redress of grievences,  to keep and bear arms, for instance.  It never mentions health care, which barely existed as an industry back then.  But if today's giant had existed then, I hope the Founders would have at least considered giving Americans the right to affordable health care.

     I'd say the Supremes had a good week. How about you?