MOTHERS & FATHERS
Yard bird don’t come out the yard, it comes from the store. Ham & bacon don’t come from a pen, but from a frozen foods bin. Given our unnatural inaptitude about foods, dare I ask “Where do we humans come from?” Our mother! With a bit of happy help from fathers!
HAPPY MOTHERS DAY TO EVERYONE!
Waking to see another day is enough for me to say, “Thank you, Jesus! Thank you, Lord! Thank you, Heavenly Father!”
If I am old, gray, crippled, and idiopathic, idiomatic asymptotic, empathetic, I am still here! Yet here to work, study, teach, laugh, to eat, drink, love, share, fellowship! Praise Glory! Praise God! Hallelujah! Amen!
Amen amen hallelujah amen!
MOTHER AFRICA’S MULTIPLE DILEMMAS
Modern Africa, “Mother Africa”, yet lives perilously on the horns of development dilemmas: historically, politically, militarily, educationally, economically, socially, given her wasteful centuries of self-destructive, inane, disabling slave trade. Later centuries found her captured by mercantilism, capitalism, colonialism, socialism, communism; vis a vis hordes of rich Western-Eastern European and Western-Eastern Asian religious, now-post-industrial, nuclear-powered, world leaders in which she gained mingled, discrete national “independence” with continued neo-colonial exploitation of each nation’s vital resources, amid regime change geopolitics, amplifying a mounting magnitude of woes, including outward migrations away! This leaves Africa and Africans without an operative overarching philosophical worldview to unite her: one cosmologically, ontologically, seamlessly @ to a mystical now-ancient past, since its peaceful surrender of Egypt to Alexander of Macedonia in 330 B.C., the Roman defeat of Carthage 212 B.C., and others.
THOMAS PAINE, R.I. P.
The funeral of Thomas Paine—an American “founding father”, who was English by birth, American by adoption, French by decree, who was the true author of the “Declaration of Independence,” “Common Sense,” “Crisis,” “Rights of Man,” “Age of Reason,” “Agrarian Reformer”, and more—Thomas Paine’s funeral was attended by just six (6) people in New York in June 1809, two of whom were black freemen. Thomas Paine’s good name had fallen to such a low estate by the time of his death 1809 demise that his was almost like a pauper’s.
Paine was scandalized , imprisoned, adjudicated in England, in America, in France, where he barely escaped executions in all three; this even though he had helped to inspire to engender political Revolutions in all three of countries , including in Haiti née St. Dominique. But now his name is hallowed again in all three nations who had earlier spurned him!
So, I am moved on May 8, 2021, to pay public homage to the godsend, Thomas Paine, and to wonder as to the identities of the two, out of six bereavers, black freedmen, who were present to honor him, at his funeral , when the many whites who knew him, did not so honor, nor acknowledge him upon his death, by appearing. These two blacks had to have been men of great knowledge and bearing!
Thomas Paine writes in AGE OF REASON (1794, 2014):
“Whether the fourteen epistles ascribed to Paul were written by him or not, is a matter of indifference; they are either argumentative or dogmatical; and as the argument is defective, and the dogmatical part is merely presumptive, it signifies not who wrote them. And the same may be said for the remaining parts of the Testament. It is not upon the epistles, but upon what is called the Gospel, contained in the four books ascribed to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and upon the pretended prophesies, that the theory of the church calling itself the Christian Church is founded. The epistles are dependent upon those , and must follow their fate, for if the story of Jesus Christ be fabulous , all reasoning founded upon it as a supposed truth must fall with it.
“We know from history that one of the principal leaders of the church, Athanasius, lived at the time the New Testament was formed [Athanasius died, according to church chronology, in the year 371]; and we know also from the absurd jargon he left us under the name of a creed, the character of the men who formed the New Testament; and we know also from the same history that the authenticity of the books of which it is composed was denied at the time. It was upon the vote of such as Athanasius that the New Testament was decreed to be the word of God; and nothing can present to us a more strange idea than that of decreeing the word of God by vote. Those who rest their faith upon such authority put man in the place of God, and have no foundation for future happiness; credulity, however, is not a crime, but it becomes criminal by resisting conviction . It is strangling in the womb of the conscience the efforts it makes to ascertain the truth. We should never force belief upon ourselves in anything.
“I close the subject of the Old Testament and the New. The evidence I have produced to prove them forgeries is extracted from the books themselves, and acts, like a two edged-sword, either way. If the evidence be denied, the authenticity of the scriptures is denied with it; if the evidence be admitted, authenticity of the books is disproved. The contradictory impossibilities contained in the Old Testament and the New, put them in the case of a man who swears for and against. Either evidence equally convicts him of perjury , and equally destroys reputation.
“Should the Bible and the New Testament hereafter fall, it is not I that have been the occasion. I have done no more than extracted the evidence from the confused mass of matter with which it is mixed, and arranged the evidence in a point of light to be clearly seen and easily comprehended; and, having done this, I leave the reader to judge for himself, as I have judged for myself.”
P. 151-152, AGE OF REASON, PART TWO, by Thomas Paine (1794, 2014)
WE ARE ENOUGH
Richard Wright has already been Wright. Charley Houston has already been Houston. Martin Luther King, jr, has already been king.
In short, all prior greats have already been great; each being occupying cosmological, historical niches, be it recently , medievally or anciently.
Thus, there is no reason for me to be any thing other than who I am, nor any than whatever I am.
For my being me is more than enough. Same for you. For each discrete leaf, droplet, flower is divinely fashioned and flavored for its space in time, life, energy, matter, dimension, magnitudes. Amen.
Our 50th high school reunion of the Webster Groves, Missouri, High School class of 1969, held in St. Louis in 2019, retrospectively, affords a basis of hope, of optimism, for the yet unfolding American experience, an experiment in which we all share, to which we all contribute. For, we are a microcosmic bit of America racially, politically, economically, intellectually , socially; we were such in high school also.
I am certain that many of our classmates are and were then President Donald Trump supporters, and just as many of our classmates were not. The subject did not come up at all, was immaterial. No subject came up , to my knowledge, except, the genuine joys of recognition, of still being alive, and remembrances of former days .
Based upon the successful 50th, I have reasonable hopes for our 60th reunion, as I have hopes for our country, with all of its worts, lesions, efflorescences, and power.
After all we are America, as America is us.
“On November 24  [Capt. John E. ] Bryant led another expedition , sixty men of the 1st South Carolina, toward Pocotaligo on the Charleston and Savannah Railroad. The object was to free several families of slaves in the neighborhood and to capture a few Confederate pickets . Sgt. Harry Williams led a small party beyond the rail line to the plantation where the slaves lived and returned with twenty-seven of them. Meanwhile, a dense fog had gathered on the river and the boats that were to embark the successful raiders could not find the landing place. Some of the troops waiting on the shore for the fog to lift were discovered by a Confederate cavalry patrol accompanied by five bloodhounds of the kind used to catch escaped slaves. A rifle volley and bayonet charge killed three of the dogs and scattered the cavalry. As soon as the Confederates dispersed, another small party of Union soldiers fired on them, killing the last two bloodhounds. General [Rufus] Saxton thought that the expedition was a ‘complete success’ and that it would prove ‘startling’ to persons who still, in the fall of 1863, ‘doubt whether the negro soldiers will fight .’ The 1st South Carolina kept the body of one of the hounds, skinned it, and sent it to a New York City taxidermist to preserve as a trophy.”
P. 61, “The South Atlantic Coast ,” FREEDOM BY THE SWORD (2013) by William A. Dobak
Reading the engaging autobiography of turn of the century Oklahoma attorney, Buck Colbert Franklin, MY LIFE AND ERA, (1997) edited by his son, John Hope Franklin and John Whittington Franklin, I was struck by this passage:
“I learned in those experiences what I think is true today and will continue to be true to the end of time: that most great issues are moral, not political; are human, not racial; that the statesman can never be replaced by the politician without harmful dislocations of natural evolutionary processes; and that the entire world is both mentally and spiritually ill today because of this derangement.”
HIDDEN IN PLAIN VIEW
Sometimes, things are hidden in plain view.
A recent example of this fact occurred today with my Wahl electric shaver.
I have only purchased it recently; so, I had but a limited familiarity with its features. Anyhow, after trying out a few features , while getting assistance from my wife, (who is more technically competent than me), we were able to snap on a replacement feature into the tricky mechanism.
But, when I tried to shave again, the shaver barely did anything, nothing.
I then thought silently that maybe we had misplaced the shaver feature. So, rather than grumble, I went back to the barber for a shave!
But, alas! This morning , I just happened to look down at my new electric shaver, when something inside clicked intuitively.
The black plastic guard was still on the shaver preventing it from doing what it was supposed to do, had done previously well once before: give that close clean shave.
Old men’s hair is coarse: and can be crusty rather like this old man’s mind!
Things show up when they’re supposed to show up seemingly. Things disappear when they’re supposed to disappear as well! So it goes. Selah