“MY GRANDPA” – FINDING HOPE BY REMEMBERING

davy brown
John Wayne and Hank Williams, Jr. share their birthday, 28th April, with “Shelly‘s” grandfather, an old style American who hunted his own meat when JFK and Lyndon Johnson were changing his world.

In contemplating who her grandpa was, Shelly, of modern San Diego, finds hope now.

That’s true conservatism – seeing what is and what has been to find what works and hold on to what is good.

“My grandfather was born in 1899. That means he was my age when the Great Depression hit. He became a Hollywood extra because it paid better than a lot of jobs in those days. He also hunted his own meat, a hobby he kept up well into his 70’s. What would he have thought of the shutdown? Given that he was a small business owner himself he probably wouldn’t have liked it. Unions were a lot stronger in his day and he had few enough employees that a strike would completely break him so he made his employees a deal. He would pay them higher wages than what the union was negotiating for on the condition that they sign a contract promising not to unionize. He didn’t like unions but he was smart enough to see that low wages just fed the communists’ propaganda about the working man being exploited.

My grandfather loved Archie Bunker. My mom could remember him yelling at the TV “You tell ’em Archie! Show those commie pinkos what’s what!”. I have no doubt that if my grandfather were alive today he would be labelled a racist, a sexist, a homophobe, a transphobe, a Marxophobe, and God knows what else. Like Archie Bunker my grandpa was painfully politically incorrect by today’s standards. Unlike Archie Bunker he wasn’t trying to be funny. For instance, he went to his grave believing Liberace to be straight. His “logic” was that he liked Liberace’s music and he could never like music written by a “degenerate homosexual” therefore Liberace must be straight, all evidence to the contrary, and the sequins were just one big publicity stunt. He thought the episode where Archie thinks his dance moves will improve after getting a blood transfusion from a black man made perfect sense. He was trolling people before the term “trolling” was invented. He would say stuff like “I remember what this country was like before women got the vote and it was all downhill from there.” But I don’t think he actually supported repealing the 19th Amendment because after my grandma started yelling at him he would just shrug and say, “Throw out the bait and the fish rise every time”. On the occasions when he didn’t want to listen to my grandma he would just switch off his hearing aid, without which he was as deaf as a post. I can’t say theirs was a marriage made in Heaven but divorce was unthinkable back then and my grandma was far from the meek and downtrodden “little woman”, having served as a Women’s Air Service Pilot in WWII. If he were alive today I’m pretty sure my grandpa would have voted for Trump although he would probably have disapproved of Trump’s womanizing.

In fact the only Republican politician my grandfather would NOT have liked would have been former VP Dick Cheney not because of his policies but because of the incident where he shot his friend in the face while quail hunting. There were rumors that he’d been drinking and my grandpa couldn’t stand hunters who drank while carrying a loaded weapon. He felt they gave the rest of the hunting community a bad name. He himself was a heavy drinker yet always abstained during the hunt. My grandpa also bred hunting dogs for a living. He had no college degree yet he knew his pedigrees. Back then dog breeders took pride in producing a healthy animal. My grandpa fed his dogs before he fed himself because a good hunting dog was very valuable. He would have been appalled to see the “puppy mills” of today churn out inbred dogs with hip dysplasia and other deformities. And if 2 polar opposites like my grandpa and modern progressives could find common ground maybe we need to start looking beyond our differences and finding what we do agree on. Maybe there is hope for America after all. ”

27th May, 2020

E Pluribus Unum: Seeger, Brown and Crosby

Three very successful singers, Bing Crosby (BC), Pete Seeger (PS) and James Brown (JB) were all born on the 3rd of May.

I take the fact of this date as permission from God to try to fuse their thought. (E Pluribus Unum.) I hope nobody else objects.

Here goes:

(BC) “……. listen a lot and talk less. You can’t learn anything when you’re talking.”

(JB) “Give kids a chance to learn ……. The real answer to race problems in this country is education. Not burning and killing. Be ready. Be qualified. Own something. Be somebody.”

(PS) “It’s a very important thing to learn to talk to people you disagree with.”

James: “I want to say to you: Help yourself, so you can help someone else.”

Pete: “I want to turn the clock back to when people lived in small villages and took care of each other.”

Bing: “I’m proud to acknowledge my debt to the ‘Reverend Satchelmouth’ … He is the beginning and the end of music in America.”

James: “His acting ability taught him (Reagan) the whole structure of the country … He knows what everybody wants. You see, every American man is still a cowboy.”

Pete: “I think God is everything. Whenever I open my eyes I’m looking at God.”

Bing: “When I’m worried and I can’t sleep, I count my blessings instead of sheep. And I fall asleep … counting my blessings.”

God Bless America

Geoff Fox, 3rd May, Down Under

The Death Of Bin Laden Chainsaw Massacre

Nine years ago today, Osama Bin Laden died.

Millennial commentator “Shelly” of San Diego writes this about what it took to take him down and what she wishes had happened:

“Yes.

America First.

But this means not spending American blood and treasure on foreign (mis)adventures when our roads have potholes and our public schools are failing.

What benefit did the average American get from the Iraq war?

From the Vietnam war?

We didn’t even need the Afghanistan war to take out bin Laden; the CIA and SEALs did that.

That’s how it should have been all along; a specialized operation to take out just bin Laden.

We used a chainsaw where a scalpel would have been better.

We did not need to wage a 19 year war.

When the war is older than some of your soldiers you’re doing something wrong.”

Thank you, Shelly.

God Bless America.

Geoff Fox, May 2nd, 2020, Down Under

 

Remembering Mark Twain and Media Driven Fear Of Death.

Mark Twain died on April 21, 1910.

He could call out crap like few other writers in history.

What would he have said about the Coronavirus lockdowns?

We will never know.

Here is his risk analysis response in 1871 to an attempt by a railroad ticket seller to sell him insurance for a train trip:

“I hunted up statistics, and was amazed to find that after all the glaring newspaper headings concerning railroad disasters, less than three hundred people had really lost their lives by those disasters in the preceding twelve months. The Erie road was set down as the most murderous in the list. It had killed forty-six—or twenty-six, I do not exactly remember which, but I know the number was double that of any other road. But the fact straightway suggested itself that the Erie was an immensely long road, and did more business than any other line in the country; so the double number of killed ceased to be matter for surprise.

By further figuring, it appeared that between New York and Rochester the Erie ran eight passenger trains each way every day—sixteen altogether; and carried a daily average of 6,000 persons. That is about a million in six months—the population of New York city. Well, the Erie kills from thirteen to twenty-three persons out of its million in six months; and in the same time 13,000 of New York’s million die in their beds! My flesh crept, my hair stood on end. “This is appalling!” I said. “The danger isn’t in travelling by rail, but in trusting to those deadly beds. I will never sleep in a bed again.” (1871)

Two years later here is what Mark Twain had to say about the newspapers of his era: “It seems to me that just in the ratio that our newspapers increase, our morals decay. The more newspapers the worse morals. Where we have one newspaper that does good, I think we have fifty that do harm. We ought to look upon the establishment of a newspaper of the average pattern in a virtuous village as a calamity.” (1873)

And: “It has become a sarcastic proverb that a thing must be true if you saw it in a newspaper. That is the opinion intelligent people have of that lying vehicle in a nutshell. But the trouble is that the stupid people — who constitute the grand overwhelming majority of this and all other nations — do believe and are moulded and convinced by what they get out of a newspaper, and there is where the harm lies.”

Perhaps what Mark Twain was doing in these quotes was calling out Fake News.

God Bless America, Freedom from Fear and Truth,

For me these are bastions for The Word in the modern world.

Geoff Fox, 21st April, 2020,for  Terra Nullius

 

“….. America On A Ventilator.” – Pat Buchanan

PJB balance

I am a poet, a Word Artist.

I consider Patrick J Buchanan the world’s greatest living writer.

I offer this brilliant metaphor alone as proof: “To save Americans from contracting a virus that may kill 1-3% of those infected, we have put America on a ventilator.”

What will we lose and what can we save?

Shutdowns are man’s way to fight a disease.

Herd Immunity is God’s way.

God Bless American Freedom.

And save us from us.

 

Geoff Fox, Down Under, 14 April, 2020

The Marshall Plan

“The only thing new on this earth is the history you don’t know.” – Harry Truman

The Marshall Plan is famous as an act of extraordinary generosity from America which restored prosperity to a war ravaged Europe.

It was signed into law by President Truman on the 3rd of April 1948.

The plan was conceived and put in place after the damage was done and the situation had been fully assessed.

It worked.

Now we see people in a health crisis calling it a war and spending enormous sums of money to prevent as yet unknown damage and simultaneously ceasing the economic activities which could generate the income to pay for what is being spent.

Does that order of doing things and that way of speaking of things make any sense?

What makes more sense to me as words for reflection by all of us now are these words of George C Marshall himself:

“The only way human beings can win a war is to prevent it.”

“A political problem thought of in military terms eventually becomes a military problem.”

The more I reflect on The Greatest Generation, the more I believe this modern world still has a lot to learn.

Lest We Forget

Geoff Fox, 3rd April, 2020, Down Under

 

I Like Ike And Donald Trump

Nobody should be fooled by President Trump’s blowhard style of political campaigning.

POTUS is firmly in the tradition of great Republican peace makers in the White House.

Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves and saved the Union.

Dwight D. Eisenhower inherited a mess in Korea from Harry Truman but he acheived what has been a lasting peace.

Richard Nixon, a man of the Quaker faith which is profoundly committed to the pursuit of peace, started talking with his communist adversaries.

Ronald Reagan achieved genuine reductions in weapons of mass destruction and, using peaceful methods, the Gipper won The Cold War.

Donald Trump has chosen dialogue with the leader of the worlds’s newest nuclear power, while others try to score political points about this by practicing the demonisation which is second nature to far too many modern progressives in The West.

I believe this current POTUS has shown a better balance of restraint and strength in The Middle East than any American President since George H. W. Bush.

In the little movie above, I have endeavored artistically to create a seamless transition between the thoughts of Eisenhower in his astonishing farewell address and the thoughts of Candidate Trump in 2016, because:

I like Ike.

And Donald Trump.

Geoff Fox, 4th March, Melbourne, Down Under