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The Goddess Wept January 21, 2017

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by Dean Adams Curtis               01-20-17    10:00 AM PST

14.25_Sophia_(Wisdom)_in_the_Celsus_Library_in_Ephesus.JPGStatue of the goddess Sophia (Wisdom) in the Celsus Library at Ephesus.

For me, the most inspiring words spoken at today’s inauguration were by Cardinal Dolan of the Catholic Archdiocese of New York, who invoked the goddess Wisdom, and asked her for guidance.

Then, as the new President of the United States spoke his first words after taking the oath of office, the goddess wept.

The goddess Wisdom, also known as Sophia, has some history and some prehistory. Before words were written she was already an icon. For the Greeks and Jews she was a happening figure. Historically she’s figured in Catholic and Protestant mysticism. And today she’s shouted out in Eastern Orthodox church services, just before important words of wisdom are shared.

Unfortunately, no words of wisdom were shared by the new President. His speech was flat, replete with horrid protectionist platitudes like “America first,” negative concepts like “American carnage,” lacking any inspiring, unifying and uplifting message.

The words of one of the network commentators before the new President was inaugurated ring in my brain. CBS’s John Dickerson noted that just 77,000 voters were responsible for Donald Trump winning the White House. They were the voters in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin whose voting choices secured the Electoral College victory for the new President, though his opponent Hillary Clinton, who has visited the Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom) Eastern Orthodox church in Istanbul, won almost 3,000,000 more votes.

Just doing some idle musing here during a drought-quenching, wind-whipped California deluge, but perhaps a 100,000 liberal U.S. voters, probably a fraction of those now heading to march in Washington D.C., could take the opportunity over the next few years to move from urban and suburban domiciles that are safely Democratic, into the exurbs, exactly where the 77,000 who put the new President into office reside. We could get into shared farming on existing farms instead of on postage-stamp-sized urban set-asides. For those liberal U.S. voters who are aging, perhaps as our preferred retirement lifestyle, rather than accepting a life of rolling down the halls of sanitized corporate-run retirement communities, we pioneer continued-care community gardening in Republican rural areas. The alt-right has conclusively taken the rural ground of America. The liberal left may be wise to seek means to reclaim that turf, following our predilections for”getting back to the land.” If so, we should make it meaningful. Any such movement should count, literally, the liberal votes it will be able to deliver during upcoming elections.

I’m writing these post-inaugural thoughts at a tire store on Valley Boulevard, midway through the massive urban sprawl that is Los Angeles. I’ve got my writing pad perched on a stack of retreaded tires.

Perhaps that’s why it clicks that the tired campaign slogans spewed in today’s first speech to the World’s people by the new President were retreads from Trump’s stump speeches, nasty applause lines for alt-right-wingers that sounded to my ears as if deflated, fatigued.

I also wonder about a strange line in today’s speech that seemed to be the opposite of poetic, or correct. The new President said, “Whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit…” Sure, Detroit was a city that sub-urbanized early on, but it really doesn’t hold a candle “sprawl-wise” to LA. Being originally from Detroit, I know that the region where I’m now standing, , Southern California, over 3,000 miles from Motown, is the city that has morphed to best describe offer a more fitting example of a sprawling urban existence.

Here in not-sunny SoCal, the guy who is putting a pair of new front tires on my car is waving to me, so my pen must now depart from this pad.

But, thinking back a moment longer to today’s words from “The Donald” in Washington D.C., perhaps the raindrops that fell on the 45th President of the United States as he began to speak were a sprinkling of wisdom.

Yet, in Eastern Orthodoxy Christianity, humility is the highest wisdom, and humility has never yet been evident in the person who refers to himself as Trump.

Maybe the awesome responsibility the new President has won for himself will soon jolt his mind from the perpetual adolescent playground it has reveled in for so long, offering him the result of a measure of humility that will lead him to wisdom.

Meanwhile, thanks to all of you pink-hatted women on buses heading to D.C. right now, preparing to show the people of America and the globe that we will not take this sitting down, unless perhaps while chained to fences, or blocking traffic in peaceful civil disobedient protests.

 

 

Knit for Marching January 18, 2017

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marciknitformarching012117In a recent edition of the Economist (Dec.24, 2016, p.79) an article focused on why Europeans are reading Stefan Zweig again.

Prior to the rise of Nazi fascism, Zweig, whose writing was popularized in the 2014 film, “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” called for European unity, which he hoped would be attained through education and culture.

“In a recent speech,” notes the Economist, “the president of the European Council nodded to Zweig’s warning that those caught up in historical change never notice its beginnings…In Zweig’s time…liberals gave up virtually without a fight, even though they had all the cards.”

That’s not going to happen again, at least if the women who will be boarding buses across the country this week headed for the  Women’s March in Washington D.C. on Saturday, January 21st (the day after President-elect Donald Trump takes the oath of office and becomes President of the United States) have anything to say about it. And they do.

We caught up with the sister in the picture, just as she finished knitting one of the caps she will be taking to wear during the massive Women’s March. After we listened to her talk about the upcoming protest, we noted that it was eight years ago, just after the inauguration of President Barack Obama, that small protests by right wing activists began what became known as the Tea Party, and led the U.S. directly to where we find ourselves today. We’re hoping that the Women’s March will mark the beginning of a new movement, one which will lead us to historic change in the United States, to a time of renewed and sustainable liberal government that is a match for our highest ideals.

Our hopes are with the marchers, and the movement they will inaugurate.