(WS) I Don’t Need The Annoyance Anymore…

canstockphoto2945108.jpgI have pretty much given up on the hope that those who are part of the Radical Right/Fear tribe will ever really understand my view of the world or that I will understand theirs.  All we seem to be able to do lately is to scream at each other across the red/blue abyss that separates us. Is that a fruitful way to spend the rest my life? Maybe it’s time go down a different path? That is the thought in this post.

We, in the United States, used to have a common bond but that seems to be fracturing now. There are two basic mentalities that currently dominate.

Red Tribe – There are those whose primary emotion is fear of the unknown. Fear of scientific advancements, fear of automation, fear of strangers, and especially fear that their way of life might be changing.  This group wants things to remain static. They welcome new products and services that make their life easier but still fear the technology that made them possible. They fear that their loss of majority status will mean others will lord over them as they have done over others in the past. Finally, they fear that their religion is losing prominence and therefore relevance in the world.

Blue Tribe – There are those who see one of the most basic things in life is “change”.  They are constantly looking for ways to do things better. They recognize that change often brings on apprehension but it also brings on much-needed progress.  They celebrate technological advances that help us live longer more fruitful lives. They believe that diversity is at the core of the success in our country.  They don’t fear the future but instead embrace it and the challenges it brings.

I think these two groups have always been around but the Us vs Them mentality is so dominant now.  Will we ever be able to fill the deep divide between us?

Getting back to my personal story, I am in my eighth decade now so I have decided to drop out of this war of different moralities and let those younger than me fight it from here on out.  I will continue to provide insight that my years of experiences have provided but I will no longer be a soldier in this war.  I will continue as I always have to vote at every opportunity but I will no longer try to convince those who I see as unconvincible.

My new mantra in life is “One day at a time” and each day is simply too valuable to waste on those adamantly opposed to the moralities that have driven my life. I pray that those who have many more years in front of them than behind take up the mantle I am dropping for I fear the consequences if they don’t…

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Orchids & Democracies

2018-04-08_15-31-46.pngThis being a primary election day here in Indiana, democracies are on my mind. Two of the most beautiful and delicate things in the world are orchids and democracies. They both need constant nurturing to thrive. An orchid needs the right light and temperature. It needs constant watering or it will die on the vine. The same thing is true for democracies.

Too many in this country seem to think that our democracy is as rugged as Rambo.  We can mistreat it and ignore it and it will always come fighting back.  If you want to see the fallacy of that belief just look around the world at various country’s attempts to maintain a democracy. The most obvious example right now is Russia.  When the iron curtain finally fell, Russia claimed that it would be a democracy. But that dream has pretty much been squashed.  One inept leader after another tried to make it so but since a former KGB agent took the helm, the idea of a Russian democracy pretty much has vanished.

Thomas Jefferson stated that an informed electorate is absolutely essential for a democracy to exist. Sadly, an informed electorate seems to have at least temporarily vanished from the American landscape. Too many latched on to one con-man or another with promises they can’t and don’t intend to keep. Too many of us are just too lazy to do the work to weed out the cons from the Patriots. We are currently living with the consequences of that most recent failure.

Being that so many still don’t seem to understand the threat is more evidence that we are not as stable as many believe. All of us need to get involved in caring for our delicate democracy.

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Puppy Dog Eyes

2018-03-23_15-52-29.pngThe old Indiana governor, which is my home state is probably the best Vice President in US history.  I know that is kind of a bold statement, especially coming from me! But hear me out. If you are as sharp as a tack you probably already figured it out.

The basic job of the vice president is to sit in his office and wait for the president to die. At least that is the Republican take on it, the Democrats actually put their VPs to work. I got to change subjects slightly here to make my final point so bear with me. The old saying in DC is if a president wants a friend in Washington then he should get a dog.  Well, I think the current Oval Office occupant has the best of both worlds.

Every time I see the VP with him he is looking at him with “puppy dog eyes”.  He just seems to be in awe of everything the guy says or does.  He is definitely a loyal employee who would never dare to question anything his boss said, and he is definitely house trained.  What more could a sitting president, especially the current one, want?

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Artsy Saturday – Shaker Seeds

For this artsy Saturday, I want to give you a “dramatized” photo of one of my favorite shots from Pleasant Hill Shaker Village near Lexington Kentucky.  I have been to Pleasant Hill perhaps a dozen times over the years and I find myself re-taking this picture every time I go.

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Outside The Box…

For this artsy Saturday, I want to show you an “outside the box” art museum. I love things that stretch your imagination, stretch your brain.  I don’t think there is another building quite like this one.  It is the Milwaukee Museum of Art. I usually only give you one photo for Saturday but since I had trouble picking it I  will give you a few more here. The inside shots are both in the lobby.

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Nantucket…

Banner ISOA  I made an “executive” decision a while back to use Flickr as the residence of my future InsearchOfAmerica photo arrays. Just added a new photo album there. If you ever wondered what the island of Nantucket looks like click here. We were there in 1999. We knew that would be our last year living on the east coast so Yvonne insisted we go to Nantucket so she could buy a lightship basket to add to her collection.

The island is not as famous as Martha’s Vineyard but still had its share of multimillionaire’s summer cottages and thousands of small shops. The disappointing thing about the island was the number of cars there. Every street was clogged with them.  Maybe I am spoiled by Mackinac Island where no cars are allowed

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Heinz Museum – Pittsburgh

2018-02-13_10-40-37.pngFor this artsy Saturday, I thought I would give you a pretty unique view of the Heinz Museum in Pittsburgh PA.  The museum is in an old factory building. The picture here is looking down an open staircase. Of course, the museum includes the history of Heinz Catsup and such but there is also much more there for your enjoyment.  I find this picture fascinating for all the detail it involves. If you want to learn more about the museum, click on the image to the right.

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Crossing of the Delaware

2018-02-13_10-07-26.pngOne of the first things that most school children are taught about American history is Washington’s crossing of the Deleware River.  Since it happened in the dark of night the day after Christmas in 1776 it was a rather dramatic event.  It was also an important victory for the fledgling American army who had suffered mostly defeats up till then.

If you are ever near Trenton New Jersey you should stop in at the Washington Crossing Historic Park and hear the full story.  The museum there is full of artifacts. Nearby is also the Old Barracks Museum showing things about military life during that period. Both are well worth your time.

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On The Road – Clifty Falls State Park

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Clifty Falls State Park in southern Indiana is one of my favorites. The campgrounds are well laid out and maintained and the hiking trails are manageable for this senior.  And of course, the park is a mecca for photographers. As is my custom on my micro-RV trips I had breakfast at the inn after a night in the campgrounds.

Being close to Madison Indiana, the campground makes an enjoyable base for a multi-day stay and that is what I did. I enjoyed a day in the park, another in Madison, and third day at St Meinrad Archabbey near Ferdinand. If you are a Catholic, and even if you aren’t, the archabbey is so peaceful it would be worth the trip.

It seems that most people, including me, generally think of Indiana as a “travel through” State and kind of boring.  But if you take the time to stop and see some of these sites you may just change your mind about that.  At least for a little while. 🙂

Below are some pictures of this trip for your enjoyment. As usual, click on any picture to see a larger slideshow view.

Land Of Enchantment

For this Saturday’s artsy post, I want to present to you a picture from one of my favorite States. I am presently writing a detailed post about New Mexico but wanted to give you one of my favorite pictures of Santa Fe. It has been my desktop background for several months now:

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Cleveland Treasures

For this Artsy Saturday, I wanted to give you some pictures that I see as the quintessential Cleveland.  I am not a sports nut by any stretch of the imagination so their well-known teams just aren’t “Cleveland” to me.  The Cleveland Clinic is a crown jewel for the city but I will talk about that in a future post.

When I visited the city a few years ago I discovered that it has a much more diverse population then I imagine. Part of that is ethnic neighborhoods. The restaurant sign below is in the Italian district.

The city center includes the Terminal Tower constructed in 1926. These fantastic windows are located there.

Some cities “modernize” and throw away these types of things. Cleveland rightfully celebrates them.

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Facades

There is just something about small-town facades that fascinates me. It is probably because of the symmetry and patterns.  I am currently working on a photo collection that will soon be available in the “Photo Collections” pages in the header above.  This one was taken recently in Rockville Indiana.

One thing unusual about this photo is that none of the windows above the store are boarded or bricked up. I imagine all of them are occupied as apartments.  Rockville is in the middle of “covered bridge country” and has a huge fall festival around them.

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Future GOP Celebrations of the Trump Presidency??

2018-01-28_10-29-33.pngWill a day come in the future that the GOP will actually celebrate the years of the Trump presidency? That seems to be an extremely unlikely scenario but I can see how it could happen.  The reason I say that is because the Democrats celebrate what they call one of their party’s best presidents when I think he was anything but that.  To me, this person was a racist, egotistical, loudmouth do-nothing who was driven primarily by ego. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

I suspect my more nuanced readers know I am talking about Andy Jackson. In local politics around the country, there are annual events called “Jefferson/Jackson Day Dinners” to celebrate their roots. They proudly get together to celebrate their heroes! Yes, Thomas Jefferson who is one of my primary heroes was a great man and a serious thinker but Jackson was anything but that. Here are some snippets about him from my friends at Wikipedia:

  • His presidency marked the beginning of the ascendancy of the “spoils system” in American politics.
  • Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act, [Trail of Tears] which relocated most members of the Native American tribes in the South to Indian Territory. The relocation process dispossessed the Indians and resulted in widespread death and sickness.
  • Congress, led by Clay, tried to reauthorize the Second Bank of the United States; Jackson regarded the Bank as a corrupt institution and vetoed the renewal of its charter. After a lengthy struggle, Jackson and his allies thoroughly dismantled the Bank [and as a result] reckless speculation in land and railroads eventually caused the Panic of 1837.
  • 2018-01-28_10-22-19.pngJackson’s quick temper was notorious. ..  his opponents were terrified of his temper: “Observers likened him to a volcano, and only the most intrepid or recklessly curious cared to see it erupt. …His close associates all had stories of his blood-curdling oaths, his summoning of the Almighty to loose His wrath upon some miscreant, typically followed by his own vow to hang the villain or blow him to perdition. Given his record—in duels, brawls, mutiny trials, and summary hearings—listeners had to take his vows seriously.
  • His unrepentant ownership of slaves marked him as one to be censured rather than praised.” Further, “By the turn of the present [21st] century, it was scarcely an exaggeration to say that the one thing American schoolchildren learned about Jackson was that he was the author of the Trail of Tears.”

2018-01-28_10-24-59.pngGiven my 500 word limit on posts, I can only give you a short look at the person, but even this is enough to show that Jackson was a man with a huge ego and a short temper who really had zero respect for others different from him.

In my opinion, he did more to damage the country than almost any president.  Kind of sounds familiar doesn’t it? My Native-American roots will be celebrating when he is finally removed from the $20 bill and replaced by anyone else.  But I think it would be serendipitously fitting for a Native-American to take his place.