Repeating History

—Yesterday, my mother and I had the occasion for visiting the Animal Fair Thrift Shop. Among other things to be found there, an old Bill Moyers book, “A World of Ideas,” in which his PBS interviews back in the 1980s of various political peoples, historians, novelists, etc.; were edited and then compiled into a massive book.  To put it bluntly, reading what can now be called a history book, and you begin to see a repeat of the mistakes that were made around 30 years ago, back when Ronald Reagan was in fact president.  One person that Mr. Moyers had interviewed, a Joseph Heller, referred to history and the French Revolution, what had actually started the spark that ultimately burst into flame.  He discussed a rebellion of weavers.  People who were paid one sou a day for their efforts.  Something that could not begin to support them or their families.  Of the massive gap between what was understood to be profit and (incidentally) self-enrichment and the actual poverty that this attitude was literally creating.  Even though the leader of the weaver rebellion was hanged, the ultimate consequence of greed was to literally end the rule of royalty in France.  Can it be called a lesson for today?

Perhaps the kind of people whom Mr. Moyers interviewed could be called “leftists” for reason of questioning the kind of thinking that underlay the justification of greed and corruption endemic during the years that President Reagan was in office.  People whom Mr. Moyers regarded as “thoughtful” who considered the welfare of those worse off than themselves.  But, if they could be truly regarded as “leftists” because of their compassion for others, then what was “rightist” when it came to greed and corruption, the lack of ethics that existed in government at the time Mr. Moyers did his interviews?  Shall we put it bluntly that if a “rightist” in the era of 19th century France was more concerned with self-enrichment or political power, or even personal power; such a “right wing” view ultimately became a literal hazard to one’s health, wealth and life when the people rose up and turned on those in power.  Lopping off the heads of those in power in pure frustration and rage.  The French Revolution truly was about class warfare. Which begs the question of why those who claim a “rightist” stance today would repeat the history of France by way of self-enrichment at the expense of the workforce, corruption in politics, a government that does not respond to the actual needs of the people but only to the well-heeled and well-connected special interests.  Yes, I know that President Obama is in office.  I also know that the GOP took over majority control of the House of Representatives.  And that they got back into power by scaring people, lying to people and engaging in distortions as to their actual agenda.

On the PBS News Hour last night, a Republican representative who sounded off on the Health Care Reform Act that he wished to repeal.  Let’s put it bluntly that his cries and whimpers and little baby tantrums about “Obamacare” didn’t exactly help his message any.  Of course you just had to love (in wake of the tragedy of Tucson, Arizona) the PC changes the GOP made to the originally labeled “Jobs Killing Bill” repeal of health care reform now being cobbled together in the House and doomed for defeat in the Senate.  Instead, they called it a “Jobs Crushing Bill.”  And if you truly think about it, the jobs to be crushed would be anyone’s job period outside of the health care industry.  The GOP representative was only concerned with the well-heeled and well-connected health care industry precisely insurance companies that would stand to lose some profit by being forced to take care of those insured having pre-existing conditions, nor drop coverage for children having pre-existing conditions.  The sort of jobs crushing situation that factually did exist before “Obamacare.”  Yeah, this GOP rep. wasn’t concerned about you or me, but only those special interests who footed the bill to get him into Congress.  He publicly said as much.

Oh, and I do believe that when it comes to health care, health care reform did not shut down public funding for hospitals.  Nor did it shear the bottom line of for profit hospitals.  Our chronic economic doldrums did all of that.  Something this GOP rep didn’t choose to address either.

It suggests that people were being easily mislead back in the November 2010 elections.  Another individual whom Mr. Moyers interviewed was a college professor of law.  Michael Josephson became a law ethicist who sounded out about why it is far more ethical to follow the laws rather than find all sorts of clever ways to violate them.  Apparently, Capital One isn’t a bank that much cares to follow that businessman’s advice.  (He ran a successful law review business).  Referring to my billing statements from Capital One published back in 2010, the bank looked for a good many ways to violate the changes in credit card rules in order to obtain a “profit” without the necessary ethics.  Currently, I believe that is $761.57 in penalties that the bank can now be dunned for in failing to be ethical in their treatment of their credit card account holders including myself.  Oh yes, even though this interview was back in the 1980s, it is just as relevant now given the perilous state of our economy and those who continue to desire (unethically) to take advantage of others.    That says a lot.

Today, I am working on a hand knitted afghan.  I bought three packages of “1 pound” Caron “Trade Winds” and am in the process of creating a sort of mosaic tiling  beginning with a 12 garter stitch base before starting 6 garter stitch, 12 stockinette stitch… repeated to end with 13 stockinette stitch 6 garter stitch.  12 rows of 18 garter stitch to 6 stockinette, 12 garter stitch to 6  stockinette… ending with 19 garter stitch. Then repeat the original pattern. except for putting the 13 stockinette after the first 6 garter stitch…  etc.  36 rows  each change in pattern until afghan is desired size.  The sort of “mosaic tiling” that might appear on the floor of one’s home, in a rug or wall hanging.  I love the continual play of multi-colors in the yarn and how it begins to look in the finished fabric.

I believe that they can say of artists and crafters that they don’t live in a world of pure black and white.  Nor is their thinking of the monochrome variety.  Making an afghan gives a person plenty of time to reflect on the banalities of man, the worst devils of his nature, and what it would take to bring about the necessary changes.  For that, Tucson, Arizona might be a turning point if for nothing else, to show up our “elected leaders” for the fools that they have become.

At least President Obama’s speech was both heartfelt and uplifting.  He does care after all, unlike the GOP who took up their “repeal” of health care reform even in the light of the Tucson tragedy.  Compassion isn’t a “leftist” point of view, unless the detractors of compassion wish to call Jesus Christ a leftist.

So, think about this, what goes into the construction of anything?  Is your house made of all one material?  No it is not.  How about the landscape that surrounds it?  Many different things (plants, walks, ponds, trees, etc.) go into its creation.  Well then, in this American society we should be mindful that there simply is not a single way of thinking.  Neither of politics, religion or any other agenda out there.  We are all a mosaic, the many parts of which make a whole.


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