The Tulsa rally seems to have been a flop, for which I am profoundly grateful. Very low attendance. At least at this time of writing.
The picture here is of a glimpse of sky that slipped between the dusty trees and the crumbling store front as I waited for my socially distanced take-out food. America may have a vicious and destructive White House but, as I see it, we bustle around and get to work and, one way and another, we the people make things work. We get on with it, even though the ‘leaders’ are morons.
My Canadian friends think the US is going to implode at any second. I tell them they don’t know the deep strength of this country.
We, the people, are that sky we can glimpse beyond the rackety trees.
I realized today that I’d missed Bloomsday (June 16th) - which is a sacred day for all Joyce enthusiasts and almost all Dubliners. I put it down to the general sense of drift that the lockdown has produced in me, and perhaps in you too. Juneteenth discussions upstaged it, rather. Juneteenth is important .
The usual tour of Dublin landmarks and pubs that would have been part of the Bloomsday celebration didn’t take place, of course. At least not officially. But I’m always in favor of celebrations that are about literature, the delights of reading, the insights authors can give us – and about good old-fashioned fun. I wouldn’t mind a few more holidays like that: one for St Agnes’ Eve, perhaps, or a designated Ode to Autumn day, or a day for ee cummings’ In Just Spring…….
I’m sure you could add your own.
Policemen are still shooting unarmed black men, but now we read about it and it’s on the news. Every Day. Every Day.
Today I read about a peaceful BLM gathering of about a hundred people in Ohio that was disrupted by some 700 folks with rifles, baseball bats and other weaponry. That’s just like those folks: choose a small target and overwhelm it – a bit like kicking grandma when she’s in her rocker.
Bolton and the ‘president’ are at each others’ throats.
A Zoom call to my British friends revealed that in Europe there is considerable doubt about this “president’s” physical well being. Trembling hands, stumbles, apparent fear of heights – to say nothing of his general incoherence. We don’t hear about that on this side of the puddle.
I never thought I’d write the words ‘Dairy 90’ here.
So let’s get on with it. In the news Seattle has a ‘police free zone’, and Los Angeles and Tacoma are vowing to overhaul their police departments. Review and change are often good. Europe is cautiously opening up. So are we.
My grandchildren arrived today. They’ve been in quarantine and so have we, so we felt fine about having them run around the garden, dash through the lawn sprinkler, and generally have an hilarious time. They reminded me of the pure joy of innocence, of the ability to laugh delightedly at small absurdities, and the utter silliness of splashing in a wading pool. It was, one might say, magical.
I needed the reminder. It’s too easy to get all serious and solemn. Sure, these are solemn times, but joy will help us through them. And without joy, what’s the point of anything?
For the past three nights or so the otherwise utter tranquility of our covid-19 world has been slightly disturbed by the sounds of fireworks. At least I think that’s what they are, although I could see no soaring cascades of lights. Ever since the Marathon Bomber shootout I’ve been alert to things that sound like gunfire. It just doesn’t feel celebratory to me. And what would people be celebrating? Has any one else noticed these sounds?
In the news – our “president” wants to stop the publication of John Bolton’s book. A covid survivor gets handed a medical bill of $1.1 million. Something about those two items sums up the situation at the moment, at least for me.
We were talking about what it is we’ve learned during the lockdown, and my wife said that it was, in fact, a time of unlearning, a time when we can see that many things we usually did were in fact rather stupid.
This struck a nerve. A few days ago I was walking along the river bank and there before me was a fine old red brick factory, converted to office space. It had a tremendous open space around it, noble old trees and a clear view of the river. Peeping through the windows I saw rows and rows of empty office cubicles, none of which took advantage of the view, the natural light, or the huge windows. Of course not; they had to look at computer screens. I thought that this was a work environment that no one needed – like turning your back on Yellowstone Park.
Today was my beloved wife’s birthday – something she shares with Queen Elizabeth, although I think my wife is infinitely more important, at least to me. Croissants and coffee, scrambled eggs, cake with a side of berries, and a candle – just one to demonstrate that age is simply a random construct – hand-drawn and painted cards from grandchildren, electronic messages of all kinds, and much love and happiness.
A sadder note is that Atlanta police officers shot and killed an African American man. The Police Chief resigned. A restaurant was burned.
At West Point Bonespurs addressed the graduating officers and gave a military type salute. He, who so signally failed to serve.
I think I’m getting a little bit used to some of this, perhaps. I mean, my ears now stick out at odd angles because of my mask elastics, and my nose is flattened by the pressure of the fabric, but, truly, I might even be improved by all these changes. I also am careful to remind myself to wash my hands whenever I’ve been out and about. In a normal flu season these would have been really useful tactics. How many times have I been stricken by some ailment that these actions could so easily have prevented?
And because we can’t do much else we’ve been forced to acknowledge the gross injustices in our world. I hope we’ll never ‘get used to’ those, or to the needless covid deaths.
What I’m getting used to is that the citizens of the US are finally starting to protest, after some years of quietude and even despair. Protest is a sign of optimism and empowerment. Without it things cannot get better. It's not a bad tradition.
The protests seem still to be moving ahead - an astonishingly long-lived public demonstration against an astonishingly deep-rooted injustice.
Statues of confederate generals, British slave-traders and Belgium’s King Leopold III (arguably the worst genocidal oppressor of African lives of the lot, weighing it at 10 million Congolese killed) have been knocked down. And yet…..
The fiasco that was Georgia’s election would seem to be a direct threat to any sense of future equality. If people can’t vote, how can their views be heard?
This will be a long road; just as covid-19 is not yet over by any means.
The official number of confirmed covid-19 cases in the USA today topped 2 million. That’s 2 million people sick enough to turn up and ask for help, who were actually counted, and the total does not include those who died before they could be tested, for example.
Please – continue to take care.
Today was also the second day our local Charity shop was open and accepting donations. We’d had a huge heap of stuff we’d collected before the lockdown (especially the lightly-used grand children clothes), and I’m sure it would have been useful to someone – if only we could have got it to them. Now we can.
I think that during lockdown plenty of people had major sort-outs of stuff. Marie Kondo would have been proud of that. While I was delivering boxes of donations at one end of the store my wife was snapping up bargains inside. I think we returned with marginally fewer items than we arrived with…..
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