Just Words, No Vision

Vision is the process by which we construct the future. It is the substance of creation and the positive image of what we can be, but at the debate last night I did not hear the words that engender the enthusiasm to collectively co-create the structure of common hope on the foundation of realistic wonder.

I wanted more. I wanted something to hold on to besides the “aming” of their own “I”. I wanted each to be a statesman not a politician. I wanted to hear the reinforcement of American ideals. I wanted both to paint me a picture of the future and color it with ideas and then give it the fragrance of action. I wanted the genesis of solutions on Medicare, health care, education, the housing crisis, the economy and the litany of other issues entrained in our future.

From each, on occasion, I got a peek, a pinhole of light into their vision of a coming America, but mostly it was clouded with canned political speak. Every American knows we will all have to sacrifice and I want our leadership to acknowledge the coming tough times. Mostly what I gleaned from the debate was the darkness of past thought, the detritus of false words and the pain of personal hurt.

When Alexander the Great became ruler of the world, he came upon a philosopher who was lying upon his back in a meadow and mediating. Having become powerful and rich, Alexander became a patron of the arts and intellectuals. He stood before the philosopher and said, “Name your wish” it will be granted. “I am a patron of culture and will gladly underwrite any project you may select”.

The Philosopher thought for a moment and said: “You may do one thing for me, your Highness. Please step aside, you are standing between me and the sun”.

Our next President must step aside of partisan politics, step aside from the light of rhetoric and bickering and lead us to our grandest vision of ourselves.

A Filthy Habit

I was always taught that spitting was unsanitary, unhealthy and a filthy habit. The only time it was acceptable was when a bug flew in my mouth or I got hit in the mouth while playing a game or just fooling around and you had spit blood. Spitting was never done in polite society.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been watching the baseball playoffs and in just one game I stopped counting at over two hundred spits by the players and that was only in the early innings. At first I thought the only one who doesn’t spit is the catcher because he has a mask on, but then I saw one lift the mask, spit and go back to signaling his pitcher.

I know this is gross, but can you imagine the collective accumulation of saliva in the dirt around home plate and the other bases and especially in the dugout. I’d hate to be the guy who has to swab the dugout floor after a game. And I’d hate to be the catcher who has to look at that stuff in the dirt and then catch a ball that’s bounced in a glob of body fluid. Yea, I know it’s gross, but look at what it teaches our Little Leagues.

Major League Baseball is big, big business. They bill themselves as wholesome family entertainment; they promote high moral and ethical standards among the players, yet baseball is one of the few sports where spitting is constant and the camera always seems to have a close-up of the player in the act.

It seems to me Major League Baseball could suggest and encourage its players to be a little more courteous to the fans who watch on television.

Spitting is a habit and habits can be eliminated with conscience effort.

Santa Ana Winds

Back in October of 1993, I was working in California and experienced my first Santa Ana winds. They are fierce and if there is a smoldering or worse yet, a burning fire in the canyons of southern California the winds bring destruction, tragedy and death.

I wrote a commentary then that seems appropriate to me this morning as I read about the fires and Santa Ana winds of sixty to seventy miles per hour now threatening areas around Los Angeles.

“Today began for me listening to the wind and saying its name.
Santa Ana!

It has the sound of a saint, but a sinister feel. A harbinger, an ill-wind known well to Californians. Santa Ana!

There is nothing we can do to change it, to stop it. It flows quickly from the mountain tops and reminds us of our vulnerability. The tears of loss and smiles of safety on the same face, parallel our conflict and appreciation of nature. The stories of neighbor helping neighbor, confirm our desire for community.

This is a story not only of chewing flames and charred places, it is a story of hopes and wishes, shattered dreams and shock. It times of such destruction, values change rapidly. The acquired stuff of daily living no match for the loss of a treasured family picture or the ache of not knowing if a pet survived.

There is never a quick end to tragedy. No easy answers to the wailed questions of why and no relief when cries have no tears. It is not possible to hold each hand of so many so hurting today.

All we can do, in this human family, is to be aware and to care. There is something powerful in that and it heals.

I’m still listening to the wind, knowing it brings a better day.”

Grandfather Gap

As a grandfather, I am having the pleasure of spending Columbus holiday time with my soon to be thirteen year old twin granddaughters.

Oh my, am I out of touch. So far I’ve learned that Pink is not a color, but a popular singer, so is Rihanna as are the Jonas Brothers and they’ve all been number one on the charts. Hey, I’d never heard of any of them until a day or so ago.

I didn’t know that Victoria Secret has a kids division also called Pink. I did know about the adult Victoria Secret! I’m not that old.

I also learned that dressing up is not what it used to be. I learned that shirts hanging outside of shirts are fashionable and clothing makers have a number. Jeans can cost a hundred bucks or more; Hollister is the preferred brand and when I asked about Levi’s I got a blank look and a “huh”.

Boys are still persona non grata, but I figure that will change this year

I learned that seventh graders know a lot more than I remember learning in the seventh grade with the possible exception of sentence structure and word usage. I learned that language is simplified and texting is the way to communicate with friends. I learned the word “like” is inserted into conversation repeatedly when explaining something. “You know like Pop, like I really like that”.

I also learned that synchronized wiggling in unison, coordinated feet movement, flailing of arms, pointing of fingers, jumping side to side and moving one’s palms up and down and back and fourth to a loud noise called music is dancing. I learned that cool is out and sick is in even though it means cool and backpacks are the thing and those white strings hanging out of the ears can be removed and are not a genetic mutation.

I love this younger generation. I am, like, impressed with their enthusiasm, stamina, innocence and naïveté. Like, wow, they’ve got a lot more going for them than vocabulary, like you know what I’m saying. It’s totally awesome!