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H2O Man

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Member since: Mon Dec 29, 2003, 08:49 PM
Number of posts: 72,243

Journal Archives

On Character

"They sentenced me to 20 years of boredom
For trying to change the system from within
I'm coming now, I'm coming to reward them
First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin"
-- Leonard Cohen

Two days ago, I watched my grandson while my son got his hair cut. As my universe slept in his car seat, I read from an old Erich Fromm book. From the time my son got back in his vehicle, while the three of us were grocery shopping, right through when he dropped me off at home, we were discussing what Fromm wrote about. And we are still "talking" about it today, by internet.

Fromm noted that during the process that led to Hitler rising to power, most Germans opposed the nazi party. He and some associates conducted a study to determine if Germany would be able to defeat nazism. They found that 15% of the population had a democratic character structure, 10% had an authoritarian character structure, and 75% had a mixture of the two. He noted that, "character, as Heraclitus said and Freud demonstrated, is that fate of man. That character structure decides what kind of idea a man will choose and also decides the force of the idea he has chosen."

This applies to his study in that both the 15% and the 10% of Germans had "convictions," while the other 75% had "opinions." Now, keeping in mind that words may translate different somewhat differently -- not only between languages, but over close to a century -- Fromm noted that those with convictions act upon them, while those with opinions are limited to expressing them.

Unlike Germany, we were able to stop Trump from riding the wave of authoritarianism in 2020. Enough individuals acted upon their convictions and enough people expressed their opinions at the voting booth, that democracy won. In 2022, despite losing control of the House, we won more contests than anticipated. But we still are dealing with the damage that Trump did, and that he and his ilk are intent upon inflicting today.

Democracy, as Rubin used to say, requires constant struggle. It is an on-going, ever-ending process, rather than a final destination. This brings us to today, right now at this moment in time, at this point in the process. So let's think about character, opinons, convictions, and the process in which these unfold. We can start with Donald Trump.

Here is a man of toxic character, with no real opinions or values beyond his own momentary self-interest. He is currently under the extreme pressure that goes with being up against not only a couple of district attornies on the state level, but the Department of Justice in the big arena. While those around him are trying to convince the public that Trump is eager for this fight, they know that is a lie. For a man who has the character to withstand great pressure never threatens "death and destruction" upon the audience if he is forced into a contest, be it in court or, say, the boxing ring.

The day I was with my son and grandson was the anniversary of Muhammad Ali's last fight before exhiled from the ring for his refusal to be drafted. After the fight ended,Ali proposed that he fight the two top contenders in the division -- Oscar Bonavena and Joe Frazier -- on the same night, with a half-hour's rest between fights. Translated into the political arena, that would be equal to Trump saying he wanted to fight charges in Georgia and DC at the same ime.

Ali was under great pressure. Elijah Muhammad said it was okay to enter the army, as he would have a comfortable position, and could still fight and make a big income. But Martin Luther King, Jr. advocated for him to have the courage of his convictions. Ali's fight against Uncle Sam, which ended in a USSC decision in his favor, was bigger than sports. Ali won because of his character. Though it was, of course, a long and difficult process, Ali won.

I can sum up Donald Trump's character is a single word: "sociopath." Older forum members might recall the series of three interviews with Dr. Bandy Lee which I shared here, regarding Trump's sociopathy and the type of people who are in his cult. I will focus here on one specific attribute -- sociopaths enjoy excitement, but tend to experience melt-downs under extreme pressure. One might say that they go Wacco.

We all want to see Trump indicted, tried, and convicted. Many hope this will result in his incarceration. I think it is far more likely to lead to "house arrest." I keep in mind that even then, the struggle isn't over. That isn't the final destination. It's part of the on-going process, and certainly a huge step towards healing the damage the MAGA cult has done to this country.

Ham Sandwich

" (Charles Manson), as far as the cover age was concerned, appeared to be rather a glamorous figure, a glamorous figure to the young people whom he had brought into his operations. (Here is a man who) was guilty, directly or indirectly, of eight murders without reason.
President Richard Nixon; August 3, 1970.

Older community members will remember Nixon's infamous speech in Denver about the need for greater public respect for the legal system. He pointed a finger of blame at the media, for giving attention to those who showed disrespect for the court system.

Within the hour, the White House issued a "clarification." For, as every half-wit knows, there is a separation of powers outlined in a document known as the Constitution. Members of each branch should not speak out publicly about the operations of another branch that do not pertain to them. Even Richard Nixon -- or at least Ron Ziegler -- understood this.

It is wrong for republican members of Congress, or governors of states, to be speaking out about the case of Donald Trump in New York City. Even if one slips in the dickhead about not knowing about paying off a porn star, it's not okay. But this is an on-going legal case.

The republicans of today lack any of the very few redeeming qualities that Nixon had. They remind me more of Manson's followers. A few years back, I posted an essay that compared Trump's personality features to Manson's, despite recognizing that many would think that was going a bit too far. Being patient by nature, I knew that time would prove me correct.

This brings me to what my sister called "Arrestmas" yesterday while we discussed events in New York City. We are all eager to have the indictments unwrapped. But we must be patient. I remember fifty years ago, Rubin Carter telling me that with patience, the smallest creature can climb the highest mountain. I remember him saying, that same year, that what goes round comes round, unless one was talking about Richard Nixon's head. But that's not the Nixon reference that is needed to bring this around.

Nick Akerman is sometimes on MSNBC. I always recommend listening very closely to Mr. Akerman, who helped investigate Watergate. Recently, he noted that while most experts have a pretty good idea of some of the charges the grand jury may bring, there is a possibilty that there could be surprises. He then mentioned information found in the Mueller Report could come into play. I find that fascinating.

Between now and when indictments drop, rather than be anxious -- or, worse yet, filled with doubt -- I suggest doing such mental exercises as considering what Mr. Akerman said. Another option is making rude jokes about Trump. While my children insist that I'm not funny, and should avoid attempting to tell a joke, I'll share a question that has been on my mind since last night:

What do you call a ham sandwich that lies to its lawyers?

A Late Night Conversation

"Robert Costello has some impressive experience," I said. "I'm surprised he wants to testify in front of the grand jury. It wouldn't be good to get caught lying to the."

"He doesn't want to. In a future Oliver Stone movie, his character will be assigned to do this, like Jack Ruby being assigned to end Oswald's legal problems. What can he say that's of any value? That Michael was a creep when he worked for Trump? Cohen has already told everyone that!" my friend said.

"But wasn't Costello's association with Cohen mainly after the FBI arrested him? Didn'y Cohen want a pardon? Will he say that Cohen begged for one, and he approached the White House to advocate for him to get one? And Cohen was pissed when he thought that Trump had betrayed him by not giving one?" I asked.

"Cohen doesn't deny that. Costello did go to the White House. Trump was all for it, until his lawyers told him that if he did, Cohen could be forced to testify honestly to Congress or law enforcement. At first, Trump said Michael could be trusted to lie for him. But even Rudy told him not to grant a pardon. Trump knew that Giuliani was close to Costello, and that convinced him to toss Cohen under the bus," he said.

"Other than character assassination, what can Costello possibly have to offer the grand jury?" I asked.

" His goal is to say that Trump didn't know that he was re-paying Michael for his deal with Daniels. Keep in mind that when reporters asked him about it on Air Force One, he said they needed to talk to Cohen, that he handled such things. Later, Sarah Sanders claimed that Trump didn't know at the time what he was paying Cohen for. But when the FBI raid turned up the tape of Trump and Cohen's conversation about paying off the Playboy model, this changed. Trump then said he was paying Cohen for a 'private contract' between Cohen and Daniels for something 'something that never happened.' Costello has to say that Michael told him he dealt with Daniels on his own, without Trump knowing. The McDougal tape makes that a very hard sell."

St. Patrick's Eve

I want to talk with you about Family Radio and the big beat. It comes out of the primordial swamps .... okay, that Doors' song just ended, but I really do want to start with Family Radio and one of the predictions made by its leader, Harold Egbery Camping. He made more than one, of course, but let's think back the last time he was in the national news.

Harold and his followers' case is, hopefully, one that can help us to understand cult members' thinking and behavior. They were not a violent group, and posed no threat to the public beyond being somewhat annoying. They viewed most Christian churches as apostates, so one might hold that they weren't entirely wrong. But Harold was preoccupied with figuring out "the end of times," and he reckoned it would be on May 21, 2011.

Harold and his true believing followers believed it was their duty to warn everyone. So they did. As the "end of times" came nearer, they invested their energies into trying to warn and save people. They weren't asking for donations, as they believed money would be of no value in the very near future. They were sincere, so much so that things like jobs or school could be overlooked. Makes sense, if one believes as they believed.

The idea of "the end of times" has a long history apocalyptic cult ideology and activity in the United States. It always involves the concept of the group as God's favorite people, given the advantage of special insight. But unlike, say, the Branch Davidians in 1993, the Family Radio cult wasn't collecting weapons to survive the storm. Nor were they like Jim Jones' Peoples Temple, killing themselves to get to heaven.

No, these were decent people. They were like family, friends, and/or co-workers you knew before Trump ran for president. The sad thing was that they believed domething you did not, and in time you'd almost wish they were trying to get you to be an Amway cog. At least you could have known where to get toilet paper as covid approached. But they were far, far less offensive than the Trump cult.

Like myself, you might have questioned what was happening in their brains? What organic malfunction explains the belief that the world was ending on May 21, 2011? Was there an overlap, say, with those who insist that Trump beat Biden in the 2020 election? And there is. It is found in the prefrontal cortex (PFC).

The PFC is associated with many of the things that make modern humans "human." Thoughts, behaviors, and emotions are headquarted there, and connected with the other, older sections of the brain. When a person is exposed to something they believe -- regardless of if it is true -- specific parts of the PFC are stimulated. Likewise, when exposed to something that they do not believe, other parts of the PFC are stimulated. Thus, when exposed to "Trump won in 2020" and "Biden won in 2020," our brains respond in the exact opposite way that a Trump cultist's does.

Now, so long as we can agree that "the end of times" did not happen on May 21, 2011 -- with the possible exception of for relatively few, and definitely not on a global scale -- we can examine what went on in the brains of the true believers. The answer, in short, was cognitive dissonance. This concept has been discussed so frequently on this forum, that I need not provide a definition.

What is important here, as we approach the likely criminal indictment of an ex-president, is how those who still believe Trump won in 2020 will react. A heck of a lot depends upon the actions of those who know the truth, but opt to exploit the cult. Like with the Family Radio, some have already recognize that they were lied to. But the PFCs of many are still stimulated by the lies. And predicting their reactions requires an updated understanding of "social disorganization theory." Since this essay is long enough already -- if not too long, or even far too long -- I will get to that in the near future.

Be awake. Be aware.
H2O Man

Regarding Clowns

"Men without dignity are like clowns without an audience, pathetic and lost."
- Rubin "Hurricane" Carter

Although republicans, ranging from those in DC to Tucker Carlson, have an audience, they do not have dignity. Hence, I apply a quote from my late friend. It applies equally to republican men and women.

When I was young, "campaign seasons" did not seem so long as they do these days. Yet, by studying those Democrats who won tough election contests, we find that they began the ground work early. And as surely as winter turns to spring, we should begin laying the foundation for next year's election.

There will be new events in the time between now and November, 2024. It cannot be otherwise. But we have all the materials we need to begin building a strong foundation. In my opinion, one of the most important things we can, should, and must do is to help to register new voters.

At this point, I fully expect President Biden to run and to be re-elected next year. While in general, I'm not opposed to primary contests, in this instance, I am annoyed that a couple non-politicians appear to be preparing to. On the positive side, I doubt either could get 2% of the vote. In Senate and House races, there may be primaries, and I'm fine with that ..... so long as everyone recognizes the absolute necessity of supporting our candidates in the general election.

H2O Man

Please Help

I would like to ask members of the DU community for a big favor. It has to do with a legal case in Unadilla, NY, where a man has violated an order of protection -- reportedly several times by phone and text, before engaging in a vicious assault on a young lady at her place of employment. He was attempting to stab her neck with a key, before a citizen intervened.

The person who asked me to examine this case is my cousin, who was shot with his son in 2014 by an intexicated, off-duty law enforcement officer. The son died, and my cousin continues to have issues from being shot. DUers contacted court officials when the thug was hoping for bail.


This coming Monday afternoon, my cousin and I will be attending the next court hearing for Jeff Bullis, the thug that attacked the young lady in Unadilla. I am catching up on more details than have been reported by the area media. One of the people I am in communication with is a local Justice of the Peace, who is very familiar with Bullis and this case. She has said it is important for citizens to contact the District Attorney's office, and request that Bullis is fully charged, tried, convicted, and incarcerated.

Bullis had no respect for the court's order of protection. His violations of that court order increased, up to his assaulting the young lady. It is my impression that if the legal system does not hold him fully accountable, he will continue to escalate the intensity of his violence. And there is really only one "next step."

The Otsego County District Attorney's office does not have a public e-mail address. Hence, I am hoping people will call D.A. John Muehl's office at 607-547-6464. Thank you for your consideration.


H2O Man

A Soft Parade

" Can you give me sanctuary
I must find a place to hide
A place for me to hide." -- Jim Morrison; The Soft Parade

In the early morning hours, I heard a newsman from Michigan say, "It can be said tha 'all school shootings are local'." An appropriate Tip of the hat to the late Speaker O'Neill, I suppose. Several students at the university had attended Oxford high school when there was the mass shooting there on November 30, 2021.

Other university students spoke to the media hours later, about running and looking for a place to hide while the gunman was shooting people. The descriptions of events was bizarre, almost impossible to imagine, far beyond Jim's walk along Sunset Boulevard. A soft parade that displays all that went wrong in the country I once knew.

This mass shooting was both like and distinct from the others that take place in centers of education. With some seventy-plus mass shootings thus far in 2023, it is no surprise that there are variations in the explosive, deadly hatred that wounds and kills innocent human beings on a daily basis. Let's look at two differences.

This murderer was about twice the age of the usual school shooter. He was not white. More, the legal system might have prevented him from legally being able to buy a gun, had he been properly prosecuted in 2019 for illegally carrying one. Despite his previous record, which showed he had no regard for the law, he got a plea deal for a reduced charge that did not prevent him from legally buying a gun. It is not enough to say he might still have gotten one illegally -- gun laws need to be firmly enforced.

How is he similar to other mass shooters? I've read where people say he should have been treated for mental illness before, even one comment blaming his father for not getting him "help" before. Thus far, I have heard nothing that suggests he had a major mental illness. I've heard that he had a job up until his mothe died two years ago. From what his father and sister are reported to have said, he had tended to be socially isolated up until his mother's death -- with her being the closest to him -- and became a hostile recluse after she died.

This would appear to put him in the same grouping as most school shooters ..... not mentally ill, but with severe personality disorders. Serious mental illnesses can surface after the loss of a loved one, but that is generally in one's teens or early twenties. They do not tend to appear in a male's 40s. More, personality disorders tend to become entrenched in the teens through early twenties -- by no coincidence, in the very years that the human brain has its final growth -- and become far harder to treat thereafter.

I am all for expanding the current gun laws. I live in rural, upstate New York, where there are far more republicans than Democrats. Most of the men that live near me hunt, and love their guns. In fact, most have been divorced at least once, but have never parted with one of their weapons, which I think illustrates their priorities. Most parrot some NRA lines. Yet, when I aask them if the favor keeping guns out of the hands of, say, school shooters, they all agree this is necessary. Thus, I think we need a focused message to counter the gun lobby.

Also, the current gun laws have to be expanded, and firmly enforced. Mass shootings aren't the only issue; on an average day, one hundred people are killed by someone with a gun. While in rare examples a person with a gun stops an attack by a gunman, the problem does not appear to be one of too few guns. There are currently 120 guns per one hundred Americans, which suggests that gun owners don't need to worry about them being taken away. Close to 90% of Americans support reasonable regulation of guns.

At the same time, we need to recognize that extreme personality pathology does not respond well to treatment after a person is 40 years old. In fact, it can be very difficult by the time one is in their later teens. This is especially true when society places the majority of the responsibility on schools, or expects police alone to deal with it. Add to that the reality of multi-generational families lacking both resources and parenting skills. We have to recognize, for example, the impact that having addiction and violence in a household has. Putting one or more parents behind bars may resolve one problem, no matter how temporary, but it frequently plants the seeds of future problems.

This country is experiencing a crisis that involves guns. It is overwhelmingly a male problem. And mass shootings associated with schools is overwhelmingly a young white male problem. I know that many people, especially republicans, do not want to fund programs for "those people." I've heard them say that for decades. But perhaps they can come to understand that as a society, we owe it to those others in school or college. And it is essential to start early, or we risk more 6 year olds bringing a gun to school, and many more white male teenagers.

A Merman

" Oh say, can you see it's really such a mess
Every inch of Earth is a fighting nest
Giant pencil and lipstick tube shaped things,
Continue to rain and cause screaming pain
And the arctic stains from silver blue to bloody red"
-- Jimi Hendrix; 1983 (A Merman I Should Turn to Be)

A couple of evenings ago, I had a phone call from a lady taking a survey on a wide variety of domestic and international issues. Some questions were easy to answer, such as "do you identify as a Democrat, republican, or independent?" Others were not so simple, such as "do you have a positive or negative opinion of Congress?" I said "both," but that was not an option.

Other questions focused on economic and military threats to the United States. I found the question regarding what country poses the greatest threat to the US the easiest to answer: the United States. What did I consider the biggest problem in our country? Hatred. For not all wars are fought with the weapons that Jimi Hendrix described in his haunting song.

Certainly, with the number of mass shootings here being greater than the number of days in 2023, one could say that there is a real problem with weapons. The levels of individual murders, as well as of domestic violence, are also unsettling. I remember Gandhi saying that poverty is the worst form of violence. And I know that there are forms of poverty beyond economics. Indeed, in just watching the news, I am reminded of what my late friend Rubin called the poverty of spirit that threatened the United States: the poverty of human decency, the poverty of truth, the poverty of kindness. Or, as I said, hatred.

"But you and I know that this war will not have any real victors and that, once it is over, we shall have to go on living together forever on the same soil." -- Albert Camus

An example of those forms of poverty were provided to the public when the republican House members voted to remove Rep. Ilhan Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee. Now, I recognize that, as Rep. Omar is among my favorite politicians, I am unlikely to be 100% objective. Yet I am easily able to recognize that she has said some offensive things, and has been called out for it by Democratic leaders. But if that is the measure for removing someone, how about those who campaign for the support of the people who carry torches and chant, "Jews will not replace us"?

Unlike some House republicans, Rep Omar has not threatened other House members. She hasn't posted a video of her killing another House member, or called for any politician's execution. She doesn't talk about carrying a gun on the House floor. She's never attempted a coup.As for the "hating America" bullshit, listen to their leader, Trump, and tell me who hates America.

My daughter and I were talking about this ..... how she is treated a bit differently. I said that because I am a white man in conservative rural upstate New York, I get to listen to a lot of white guys. In fact, I've listened to them all my life. (As a kid forced to go to church, I recognized that as a form of purgatory.) I know that the conservative guys have a limited concept of women's roles in the family, community, and country. And there isn't anything more confusing and un-nerving for them as an intelligent young woman of color in a position of power.

That's not to say that other women of any age in lanes outside of their narrow minds aren't upsetting for them. Or, some one like President Obama. For that matter, a growing number of non-white families in their communities, including non-white kids on their school's sports teams. One might notice a pattern here. These guys believe they are entitled to a society where white men rule.

Hours after Rep. Omar was removed from the Foreign Affairs Committee, I saw a republican House member commenting on the news. He said that the Democrats "try to make everything about race." I can't remember his name, but his face and words were the same as those I've listened to over the years in rural upstate New York. As a Democrat, I'll say that "race" -- while an issue -- wasn't the only issue, and that it is the Democratic Party that is willing and ready to put all of the other issues on the table for discussion. And the republicans are going to have to learn to live with it.


Title fight: Artur Beterbiev vs. Anthony Yarde, 12 rounds, for Beterbiev's WBC, WBO and IBF light heavyweight titles.

This fight is being held in London, and can be viewed today (Jan 28) on ESPN+ at 3pm/est. The rest of the card includes some good fights, but the boxing community is focused on the main event. On paper, it is the type of fight that appeals to a wider group of sports fans, as it pits two very good boxer-punchers that will almost certainly end in a brutal knockout.

Now, let's take a look at both of these guys. If we again went by "on paper," both win almost all of their fights by knockout. Yet they are not just sluggers with limited boxing skills. Both men know how to set an opponent up to land hard punches. Both are patient, and wear the opponent down over a number of rounds. Both tend to set the pace in their fights.

Yarde, 31, is at 6 foot a half-inch taller. His record is 23 - 1, with 22 knockouts. He was stopped by light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev in 2019 in the tenth roundm and lost a split-decision to undefeated Lyndon Arthur. Two fights later, Yarde avenged that disputed loss by knocking Arthur out, thus winning two minor titles.

I think that Yarde will attempt to out-box Beterbiev, but it is his nature to try to inflict damage with combinations thrown with bursts of speed. It's interesting that Beterbiev fights a lot like Sergey Kovalev did. We see that Yarde learned from his first Arthur fight, raising the obvious question of what he learned in the Kovalev fight?

It's also fair to ask that, no matter how smart any current light heavyweight is, could it change the outcome of a fight against Beterbiev? The 38-year old champion's record is 18 - 0, with 18 knockouts. More, at 38, he appears to be in his prime. A growing number of members of the boxing community are comparing him to the great Rocky Marciano. The two are/were about the same size, and wear opponents down with their great physical strength. Both are the definition of relentless in the ring. Both overcame cuts that would normally end a fight, to score knockouts.

In my opinion, Beterbiev has better defensive skills than Rocky had. Both have shown they know how to set opponents with a variety of styles up for their most powerful punches. But the defensive skills that Beterbiev has shown result in his taking less punishment than Rocky. A huge factor will be how each responds to taking a punch that hurts them this afternoon.

Now, this fight could end in the first round. Or it could be similar to Foreman vs Lyle, one of the sport's greatest toe-to-toe fights. While it is possible that it goes to the decision, I don't think that is likely. If I were to speculate, I'd favor Beterbiev between rounds six to eight

On Green Grass

"This world and yonder world are incessantly giving birth: every cause is a mother, its effect the child.
"When the effect is born, it too becomes a cuse and gives birth to wonderous effects.
"These causes are generation on generation, but it needs a very well lighted eye to see the links in their chain."
-- Jalal-ad-din Rumi, Persian Sufi poet

I'm likely a few days late for getting in on the discussions of the "generation gap" on this forum. For I am old, and try to think about things before expressing myself. You know how old people are -- and how frustrating it can be when they communicate inslow motion. My kids likely get annoyed when I raise what I consider an important point on a debate that took place 72+ hours before.

So I often find myself lstening to the boys debate some point ot another in another room, while I sit in a rocking chair with my grandson fast asleep in my arms. That chair used to belong to my great-great-maternal grandparents. It probably could have been thrown away a couple of generations ago, when padded rocking chairs hit the scene, but instead it ended up in my parents' attic when I was young. When they died, it was given to my older sister, who didn't want it because it was old. Luckily, my youngest daughter saved it from being sold or thrown out.

I'm surrounded by framed pictures hanging on the walls of my ancestors. My great grandfather moved his family to the U.S. in 1879, when my grandfather was four or five. I also have tin-type pictures of extended family members in Ireland from before the move, many of which were in te family bible they brought over. By chance -- if one believes in chance -- my grandfather's last living cousin saw me on television decades ago, was reminded of another of his cousins named Patrick, and contacted me. When I visited him, he gave me the bible that his mother -- my g-g-g grandfather's sister -- had when she served as the family historian. He said if we hadn't met, they would probably have been thrown out when he died.

Listening to my grandfather's cousin and his wife, both in their early 90s, helped fill in the blanks about many of the extended family members that I only knew of by name. It also presented some humor. His wife asked if my brother and I were republicans? The husband said, "Of course not! Look at their hair!" It wasn't only that they held republicans in contempt ..... she wanted to show us a room where they grew enough pot to last them a year.

Anyhow, when my now teething grandson woke up, I carried him around the house, showing him pictures of his ancestors. I tell him that they lived teir lives the way that they did, so that he can live his life the way that he will. He was more interested in gnawing on a teething ring, but I am confident that he will understand when he gets older.

After my grandson and son leave, I get back to thinking about this generation gap. This is not a hard transition, since my son frequently tells me about some "new" concept in raising children, as if I wasn't aware of it. (How did human beings survive in the pre-podcast era?) As an old seanchai, I think back to the words of a preacher -- one who lived long before me, and apparently was talking to a younger generation: "The thing that has been, it is the thing that shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done; and there is no new thing under the sun." (Ecclesiastes 1)

Now, as possibly the oldest person on the planet, I have plenty of experiences ranging from being a young activist listening to and learning from older, more experienced people, to being an old person telling young folks about my insights. Some of the time these days, a few young people appreciate what I have to say, other times not so much. I keep in mind something that Oren Lyons, the Onondaga Faithkeeper, told me more than 40 years ago -- if you talk to a group of 20 people, and one "gets it," you have done well.

If I were to mention one young person who really values my experience, it would be my older daughter. She's a heck of a lot smarter than me, but not as experienced. She calls me at least once a week, to ask my opinion on some social-political issue that she is working on. This, despite her knowing I'll ask what the options are. Then we discuss the potential good and bad with each option. And then I tell her to trust her own judgement.

About a week ago, she sent me pictures from the Massachusetts new Attorney General being sworn in -- the first black woman to hold the office. My daughter used to work for her. She thought it was nice that my daughter frequently spoke of talking with me about issues, so much so that she called my daughter "Scout." Hopefully, not only old DU members will recognize this from Harper Lee's novel.

I'll end by saying this: if my daughter can learn from a decrepit specimen as me -- and I continue to learn from her -- then surely we are all teachers and students. And we are at a point when we do not have the luxury of divisions based on age, etc. Finally, our music was far superior in the 1960s and early '70s.

H2O Man
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