Breaking Silence

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quote-hope-and-fear-cannot-occupy-the-same-space-invite-one-to-stay-maya-angelou-76-81-50Views from the Edge (VFTE) has fallen silent lately. Maybe you have too. The reasons for silence are like the hairs on our heads. Who can count them? The silence on Views from the Edge is both unintentional and intentional.

Unintentional Silence

Finishing a novel requires full concentration to the storyline and every detail. Fiction is like that. It creates the alternative universe that exists only in the writer’s head.

Intentional Silence

The real world has left me speechless. There is nothing that has not been said. Some of it bears repeating, but I feel no motivation to add to the silos into which our public discourse has fallen. Observing a world of madness much stranger than fiction has left my spirit bone-tired.

Why speak now?

I feel a need to stay in touch, to say hello to readers of Views from the Edge. So, “Hi!” You need no reminder of “the edge” from which we view the world. If you’re new here, a quick look through the site will tell you who we are and why we publish.

Today I break the silence to speak again from my experience. My memory is long. A child of World War II, I am aghast at what I see today at the center of American life. I can’t believe my eyes. In Germany in the late 1930s, the Third Reich displaced a democratic republic (the Weimar Republic) by systematically eroding trust in democratic process. Facts became falsehoods. Alternative facts replaced truth. The far right replaced the conservative right, painted the left as evil, and shrunk the middle ground essential to sustaining a democratic republic. Braggadocio and nationalism replaced humility and statesmanship, destroyed the lengthier policy discussions essential to democracy, and frayed the threads of civility that held the German people together. A loud far-right minority who had mastered the craft of theater bullied its way into the seats of power, promising to make Germany great again with boisterous appeals to national exceptionalism and Aryan racial exceptionalism, a fictional creation with no basis in reality. Those who disagreed or whose very existence threatened the national and racial exceptionalism were dismissed, painted as less than human, and sent quietly away the night in freight cars without public attention.

I was raised to belief such a thing could not happen in America. I now wonder whether I was wrong. The parallels seem obvious. But I also see signs of hope that the party that holds power in the White House and both houses of Congress may yet come to its senses. If its own sensibilities fail to lift the nation from the darkness, there are increasing reasons to hope that the Mueller investigation and the stream of White House staff resignations will lead the nation toward our better angels.

Why not speak now?

By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted,
    but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.
Whoever belittles another lacks sense,
    but an intelligent person remains silent. [Proverbs 11:11-12]

Not wishing to add further to the belittling that comes from my own head as well as from the world around me, and hearing Maya Angelou’s wise counsel that hope and fear cannot occupy the same space, Views from the Edge invites hope to stay, and chooses to remain silent. But then … you never know. My grandchild Elijah may yet have something to say. 🤓

Thanks for dropping by.

Grace and Peace,

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, March 7, 2018

 

Women’s March Day – Imagine . . .

John Lennon invited us to imagine the unimaginable, a good thing to do on January 21, 2017.

Imagine . . .  the new President and new First Lady hear the voices from the Women’s March today and take them seriously – as a voting bloc.

Imagine . . . candidate Trump meant what he said about universal health care.

Imagine . . . he surprises everyone by proposing Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for All”, manages to get bi-partisan support and commendation from President Obama.

Imagine . . .  he changes his mind about climate change, decides to become the world leader in reducing carbon emissions, and proposes that a green economy be the theme of the nation’s infrastructure re-building program.

Imagine . . .  Michael Moore is correct that the new President is highly sensitive to criticism and changes his color for the sake of popular approval ratings.

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN 55318

“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” – Maya Angelou.

This day of the Women’s March in Washington, D.C. and all across America, dare to imagine with Maya Angelou and John Lennon.

Imagine! Just for today.

 

Maya Angelou, the Castle, and the Moat

Urgent partisan e-mail messages from “The War Room” arrive regularly, rallying me against the enemy.

Interesting choice of words in a democratic republic.

Playing MahJong on my iPad, ads featuring a seductive woman in a white dress pop up coaxing me to play Medieval “War Games” complete with castles, knights, spears, and armor. Lately the ad has turned to entice me to “Come conquer the world with me“.

Allusions to war, military images that prey on fear with the illusion of conquering whatever we’re afraid of are increasingly prevalent. So are subliminal messages that liken the United States to a walled Medieval castle, like Donald Trump’s southern border wall and maybe, a northern wall, as well, which Scott Walker called “a legitimate issue for us to look at” yesterday on Meet the Press. Just think of it – a country completely secure with an impenetrable wall, just like a medieval castle.

Next comes the moat outside the castle wall.

Meanwhile, inside the castle, our citizens rush to the gun shows while we kill each other at an alarming rate.  A 90 year-old homebound man on oxygen sits all day in his Barco-Lounger allowing nothing else on his television than old Westerns and World War II documentaries. In other homes children play “War Games”on their Wii, iPhones and iPads while the parents play soldier in their partisan War Rooms.

“You dwell in whitened castles with deep and poisoned moats and cannot hear the curses that fill you children’s throats.”Maya Angelou

  • Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, August  31, 2015