Disaster of Roe V. Wade

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I just returned from a small weekend excursion and learned of the news of the overturning of Roe V. Wade. Those who follow this blog know that I try not to comment on politics on this site; I attempt to keep it a place for writing and art. There are times, however, when I cannot be silent here.

In a country in which the overwhelming majority of Americans support the right of women to have control over their bodies, the Supreme Court struck a blow for the religious views of the far right, and they seem to have forgotten the concept of the separation of Church and State. This is an extreme action taken by an extreme component of the American society, and it frightens me because it is a movement that could end with the country being controlled by a religious minority. Perhaps, I am seeing the worst possible conclusion, but the history of the world shows movements towards tyranny if not otherwise opposed.

I am also dismayed to think about the people in this country who voted for a fringe left wing candidate instead of Hillary Clinton against Donald Trump. Had they voted practically, Roe V Wade would still be the established law of the land, and the Supreme Court would be a different makeup.

If Americans who support Women’s rights and are also in support of true gun control act in the next election, these mistakes can be rectified. But it will take a focused action, and a decision by Americans to support what the MAJORITY of Americans support.

Again, I am disgusted and dismayed by the Supreme Court. Please remember what happened during the next election, and let’s move the country back to a reasonable place away from the far right and potential fascism.

Favorite Science Fiction Films: 6: Them

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(https://en.wikipedia.org)

One of the main themes that ran through many science fiction films of the 1950s was the combined fear of nuclear war, nuclear explosions, and fallout. This atomic fear is one large terror that haunted the Cold War world and was developed in many ways in science fiction films.

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(https://pixabay.com)

One such expression was in the advent of the giant bug movies, which addressed the question of what might happen to  the world after radiation had somehow been released either through detonation of weapons or by accident. In Japan, the consequences of having been the only nation to have suffered the devastation of nuclear bombs, saw the emergence of giant monsters like Godzilla, often seen destroying Japanese cities–a very direct metaphor for nuclear explosions. In America, a similar motif was seen in the proliferation of Giant Bug movies.  This might be considered an early example of ecological concern in cinema.

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https://en.wikipedia.org

Them, a 1954 production by Warner Bros, starred James Arness and James Whitmore. In the beginning of the movie, a little girl was found alone and traumatized, saying only “them, them.” The girl was rescued, but during the investigation, other people were found who have been killed, and the perpetrators were discovered to be giant ants.  The monsters were created when normal ants came upon sugar that had been irradiated by atomic weapons testing.  They reached the height and size of small military tanks and were ferocious killers and hunters.  This film made Americans think about the potential risks from insects that would normally have been viewed, at the worst, as mere pests at picnics.  Radiation had the capacity to distort they way we  interacted with the world.

Eventually, the creatures were hunted down and destroyed by the use of flame-throwers.  As would be the motif in most of the giant bug movies, the world was saved by using technology against technologically-created creatures.  At the conclusion of the movie, a warning was given in solemn tones that we have entered a new world in the atomic age, and we have to be aware of its dangers. These are themes that would be repeated frequently in other giant bug movies.

If you have not seen this one, it is worth a look.  It may not be the best film of all time, but it does introduce important Cold War themes into science fiction cinema. These are themes which frightened many people.

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(https://pixabay.com)

Russia Invades Ukraine: An Act of War By A Dictatorship

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I try very hard to stay away from politics in my blog. I attempt to deal with writing and creativity, but some events demand that writers speak out.

Russia, led by Putin, has invaded Ukraine, a sovereign nation and is conducting war against that country. Additionally, some in the U.S.A. are actively supporting Putin, and that is horrifying. How can an American support the actions of a Fascist dictator against another country? Have we forgotten the Soviet Union, and have we ceased to remember the actions of Hitler?

I am not calling for America to go to war, but everything that can be done to stop and/or punish Russia for this craven attack on Ukraine must be done. Americans need to cease using this as a political football to attack the other party–that is unconscionable and utterly devoid of morality.

I fear for the lives on innocent people in Ukraine, and I am sure there are already many dead or wounded. Let us always remember that in the words of John Donne, “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.” The people of Ukraine do not deserve what is happening, and we must all speak out, including against Americans who support this abomination.

Favorite Holiday Movies: Part One!

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This season is one of my favorite times of year, and I love doing this series on Christmas movies. Throughout the month of December, I will post on several of my favorite Christmas films.

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White Christmas, the 1954 film about two former soldiers who turn song and dance men and who help their former commander as he attempts to run a floundering ski resort, has special meaning to me. It stars Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, and Rosemary Clooney and was directed by Michael Curtiz. It features the songs of Irving Berlin.  As a major piece of American film history, that would be enough to be of interest to me, but it has a much more profound connection.

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My parents were both of “the greatest generation,” which is a description with which I agree. They were born and raised during the depression and were part of the multitudes of America who fought and supported World War II. My father was a Marine, and my mother worked in the Signal Corps.  This group of Americans had a toughness that was forged in the fire of great tumult, both national and international. They understood that the connection to country meant service and a willingness to sacrifice for the greater good.

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(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Signal_Corps_%28United_States_Army%29)

My mother loved this movie, and it was a tradition in our family to watch it when it aired on television, which was, if I remember correctly, every Christmas Eve. If not that night, then it was always on a nearby night. Of course, as a child who was born a while after World War II, it was all ancient history to me then, but for my mother and father, it spoke directly to their lives and to their hopes and dreams.

Both of my parents have been gone for quite a while now, over 20 years–they were married for 48 years and died within 2 years of each other. As I have become older, I have learned to appreciate what my parents did for us, which, I have to admit, when I was young and stupid, I did not. To paraphrase Mark Twain, –it is amazing how smart my parents got as I got older. And I appreciate and try to continue some of the family traditions, including watching White Christmas, but now with my beloved wife. And now my granddaughter is old enough to begin to appreciate and enjoy these films. I still feel the connection to my Mom and Pop when I watch this movie.  This movie speaks to the connection of people, of hope, of joy, of happiness, and of the power of music.

And I wish we would have a white Christmas, and I hope it will happen this year.

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(https://pixabay.com)

Rest In Peace Rep. John Lewis

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(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Lewis)

The United States of America lost an heroic figure with the passing of Representative John Lewis on Friday from pancreatic cancer.  (1940-2020)

Mr. Lewis was a major figure in the Civil Rights Movement and worked alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He participated, in the March on Washington, and he led the march, as a young man, across the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma, Alabama on March 7, 1965. This would come to be known as Bloody Sunday because of the violence the marchers encountered, including Mr. Lewis.

He would later be elected to the United States House of Representatives in which he served for 30 years; he was frequently considered  to be the Conscience of America. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama in 2011.

Among Mr. Lewis’ quotations are “When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have to speak up. You have to  say something, you have to do something.” and “I’m very hopeful. I am very optimistic about the future.”  and “Get in good trouble, necessary trouble, and help redeem the soul of America.”

Mr. John Lewis was a tireless fighter for justice and against injustice. He will be missed.

Rest In Peace

Trump as Dictator

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I try to avoid political posts in this blog, but I cannot remain silent. Our country and our democracy are under attack from the highest level of government–the President.

Today, Donald Trump used tear gas and military force to dispel peaceful protestors in Washington, DC, so he could have a photo-op holding a Bible. Please remember that the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America guarantees the right of citizens to protest peacefully.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

He then held up the Bible in front of a church to justify his actions, and that is the highest level of hypocrisy.  All Americans who love this country, who admire our democracy, and who want to preserve freedom must oppose this would be dictator. Republicans, Democrats, and Independents must oppose him.

Please make no mistake–I am not condoning violence or rioting, not at all, but Trump is using this time to project strength, but the strength he projects is that which is reminiscent of Mussolini and Hitler, not of Reagan, FDR, JFK or President Bush.

Remember that freedom and democracy are fragile and precious, and they must not be sacrificed to the altar of a projection of power. America needs and deserves better.

 

R. I. P. Elijah E. Cummings

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(https://en.wikipedia.org)

America lost a great man today with the death of Representative Elijah E. Cummings from Maryland at the age of 68.

Mr. Cummings, a brilliant orator, was a tireless advocate for social justice, and he spoke for the causes of the poor and the left-behind in the United States of America. Among his causes were fights for health care and justice for all Americans, regardless of class, race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation.

He spoke of the need for civility in the government but also the absolute necessity for the government to serve the people’s needs. He battled for justice and against injustice. He advocated for the defense of democracy. He was a tireless American patriot.

He will be missed.

He was a great American.

R. I. P. Elijah E. Cummings

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(https://pixabay.com)

More Insanity and Horror–Another School Shooting

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The American insanity with guns continues. Yet, another school shooting has occurred in Denver with at least one dead and seven others wounded.

I expect  that two things will happen: media coverage will decrease as we, as a society, become desensitized to these terrible events; and the other is that spineless politicians who are either afraid of the gun lobby or in their pockets will offer their thoughts and prayers. They will, however, take no action. They will simply hope that American citizens forget this latest tragedy, and they will treat the situation as normal.

This must end. I, for one, will never support any politician who does not support gun control laws. This horrible situation must change.

This is a call to political action: if you agree that serious gun control must be enacted, then do not vote for any politician, on any level, who does not support gun control.

Children, teachers, and parents should not have to face this insanity in our society.

If you agree with this idea, please tweet and reblog this post.

Remember, Always — It Can Happen Here

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(https://en.wikipedia.org)

 

In 1935, Sinclair Lewis, in It Can’t Happen Here, spoke to the idea that many Americans held that fascism could not occur in the United States of America. His book is satirical, frightening, and, unfortunately, still applicable.

1984 by George Orwell details the action of dictatorship set  in a dystopian future. Unfortunately, the lies of politicians as they deny their support for fascists and white power fanatics, illustrates Orwell’s understanding of how dictatorships can work.

Erik Larson’s nonfiction history book In The Garden of Beasts, 2011, detailed the experience of Ambassador Dodd in Berlin in the 1930s, during the rise and solidification of Hitler’s power, and it is a terrifying read.

We must always remember that it can happen here, that bigotry and hatred can lead to terrible results. That white nationalists and neo-nazis brought their horror and bigotry to Charlottesville, VA resulting in violence and death should make all Americans, regardless of political party, Democrat, Republican, or Independent, aware of what can happen. Since then other attacks on innocent people, both in the United States and around the world, continue to occur. The horror of the brutalities in New Zealand affects all of us.

We should all be frightened of the possibilities of such hatred. We should also speak to the singular lack of condemnation by President Trump of the neo-nazis and white power groups. As President, he should not have said that there were good people “on many sides” in Charlottesville, VA, and he has claimed that white nationalists are not a big problem in the world.

This problem is, however, enormous and terrifying. This is an issue of hatred, brought by those who worship hatred and the defeated, in World War II, obscenities of Hitler. The President should have, without equivocation, stated his condemnation of their actions and beliefs. And we must be aware that the fascist beliefs are regrowing in our world.

We must always remember that fascism, bigotry, hatred, and dictatorship can occur here as it can anywhere. As Americans, whose freedom was paid for in blood, by those who fought in World War Two, we must speak out against such injustice and horror. As members of the world community, we must condemn such actions and support the victims of this horror.

There should be no place for neo-nazis, white nationialists, and bigotry in the United States of America nor in the world. If we do not speak out, then we are condoning this horror. We must remember that silence is complicity in evil.

Who Are Some Of Your Favorite American Poets?

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As I continue this series, I realized that with some categories, it is necessary to be more specific than I had been. Poets are one such group; I thought I would begin this discussion with American poets and then move on in later posts to poets from other places.

It is still an enormous task to choose several favorite poets, but since it is my series, I must do so. Here are my choices:

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(https://en.wikipedia.org)

Robert Frost

Without a doubt, Robert Frost is one of the most important American poets. He wrote many poems set in rural America, and his works earned him the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Many who do not read much poetry are familiar with his famous poem: “The Road Not Taken.”

My next choice:

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(https://en.wikipedia.org)

Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes was a poet of the 20th Century, and he was one of the most important of the creative minds who made up the Harlem Renaissance. Hughes wrote about life for African-Americans and about themes that dealt with the entirety of the American experience. One of his best know poems is “Dream Deferred.”

My third choice is a poet whom I have featured in this blog before:

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Robert Fillman

Mr. Fillman has a book of his poems being published this spring– November Weather Spell. I completely expect that, in the future, Robert Fillman will be recognized as one of the most important American poets.

Here is a link to the book page: November Weather Spell

and to his homepage: robertfillman.com

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My question to all of you is–who are some of your favorite American poets?