Random Ruminations

Last week as I was driving across Kansas, I came upon a scene that triggered several hours of thought to try and unravel the almost surreal reaction I had. I have been along this route on I-70 many times; in recent years I have been dismayed at the intrusion of literally thousands of those giant white wind turbines, interfering with my enjoyment of the landscape. I need to point out that not all of Kansas is  flat; in fact, the eastern three-fourths transitions from wooded hills enclosing river valleys and farmland to a more gentle, often treeless undulation providing a palette for cloud shadows to roam across the carefully nurtured  cattle-grazing countryside. In other words, there actually is a lot of natural beauty available for viewing, particularly when not interrupted by human endeavors.

Anyway, beginning just east of Russell, Kansas, and going for about 20 miles, the dominant feature was thousands of wind machines visible almost to the horizon on both sides of the highway. In previous trips, I had briefly watched the whirling blades as I drove, then passed them off as a mere distraction. But this time was different; there was absolutely no wind, an unusual occurrence in this area of the state. The blades were motionless. Unable to avoid a cliché’, “They stood as silent sentinels looming over their realm”, and it was difficult not to acknowledge the rarity of the occasion. But this was not all; as I looked more closely I noticed, scattered at ground level throughout the same area, hundreds of oil well walking beams, bobbing their heads up and down as if paying obeisance to their towering, silent, and motionless neighbors. And that’s when thoughts deeper than mere recognition of their presence began to intrude; I was perhaps witnessing Symbols of a passage between eras. The dying fossil fuel world bowing and paying homage to the aggressive newcomer of renewable energy seemed an appropriate summary of what I had just seen.

As I continued to think about it, I wondered if other folks went beyond just taking notice of that panorama and then went back to whatever they had been doing as they drove ; or was there some higher meaning that they considered? And why, especially, was my own mind drawn to probe more deeply? I recalled my last visit to Cairo when, on the morning of my evening departure I hired a driver to take me once more to Giza, so I could just sit and stare at these other motionless objects. What is it about that “frozen state” that pulls me into a strange reverie??

The recent revelations about sexual harassment among celebrity-level personages, and the wide range of consequences addressing levels of “punishment”, raises lots of questions. In my mind, one of the first among them is the hollowness of the “apology” approach almost universally used as “rectification” by all the identified perpetrators. To me, an apology is only potentially sincere if it’s linked to an unavoidable or inadvertent event, and even then must be evaluated by the recipient (s). None of these cases qualify; all were examples of poor choices made by the assailant; unwanted invasions of another person’s individual space and privacy

At the same time, each situation should be judged on whether the accusations actually ring true, otherwise there could be extensive personal damage wrought on the alleged attacker, intentionally using this category of moral and ethical wrongs as a false weapon of retribution for other perceived differences. As it appears that this no longer “hidden” concern is going to be a major focus demanding a satisfactory conclusion, it will be interesting to see how far society will go in whether to create a variety of levels of transgression versus a zero-tolerance solution regardless of the kind of harassment or predation.

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And speaking of sincerity, I’m often bothered when, in times of crises, our leaders call out to someone in the backroom “Hey, trot out that thoughts and prayers statement, it should be sufficient to let folks know we’re with them “all the way”. “ It’s really helped in Texas, Florida, Louisiana, California, and Puerto Rico, to name a few places.

In light of everything currently happening under the “leadership” of our present administration along with Congressional support, I’m feeling surrounded by an atmosphere of helplessness. It’s difficult to understand how many of these folks can look at their reflections in the mirror and be pleased with what their alleged tax plan’s consequences will have for a large majority of the country, and at the same time remain silent in the face of overwhelming opposition to its implementation. It appears that in spite of all the factual data provided by economic experts, they choose to ignore it in favor of establishing an artificial deadline for completing their task just to be able to say that one of their campaign promises has been met.

Always Be Happy           To Our Youth

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