Capitulation and Treason

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Once again, I find myself forced to speak about politics in this blog. President Trump’s

disgraceful press conference with Russia’s Putin demonstrated a singular abandonment

of American values and policies. Trump has made it clear that the Russian dictator

controls him, and that he values Putin more than he does the United States of America.

He has buckled to Putin and capitulated to the former K.G.B. agent’s agenda.

I wish I were over-reacting, but I do not believe that I am. I quote from CNN Politics (7/16/2018):

“Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican who has consistently criticized the President,

said Trump’s comments were ‘one of the most disgraceful performances by an American

president in memory.'”

“Republican Sen. Ben Sasse, a Republican from Nebraska, issued a blistering statement
just minutes after the press conference wrapped. Sasse rebuked Trump’s statement that
he held ‘both countries responsible’ for the deteriorated relationship between the United
States and Russia. ‘This is bizarre and flat-out wrong. The United States is not to blame.
America wants a good relationship with the Russian people but Vladimir Putin and his
thugs are responsible for Soviet-style aggression,’ Sasse said in the statement.
‘When the President plays these moral equivalence games, he gives Putin a propaganda
win he desperately needs.'”
I quote from nbc.news.com (7/16/2018): Former CIA director John Brennan, a frequent
Trump critic and a national security analyst for NBC News and MSNBC,   called
Trump’s performance ‘nothing short of treasonous.'”
It is now certain that Russia instituted and conducted a cyber attack against the United
States of America and our voting system, the sacred basis of our democracy, an action
that can be considered an act of war. Article Three of the Constitution of the United
States of America defines treason as “Treason against the United States, shall consist only
in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and
Comfort.” Russia clearly is our enemy, and giving aid or comfort to the enemy is, without
a doubt, an act of treason.
Americans need to put aside differences of being liberal or conservative, Democratic or
Republican, and recognize the clear threat to our democracy that is being shown by
President Trump. Congress needs to act, and Americans must keep pressure on Congress
to act.
We must preserve our democracy.
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A Call For Guest Posts for the ULS, The Underground Library Society

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Hello to everyone! I recently had an excellent guest post from Josh Gross, a wonderful blogger.  I am sending out a request to anyone who would like to join the ULS, the Underground Library Society, and who would like to write a guest post about it. This is an organization begun in my First Year Writing class last semester at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA. When asked, my students said that they would like to have this organization continue, and I am very pleased by their sentiment. So, I hope to keep it alive in the blogging world.

If you decide to write a guest post, all that is needed is for you to choose a book you would become if we lived in a world in which books were illegal. Then, you would write a post about that book and why you would pick it to memorize. I am not saying you would actually have to memorize the book, but it is what you would do if we lived in a world of total censorship.

The ULS is a small attempt to battle censorship and book banning.

So, would any of you like to do a guest post? Please let me know.

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Guest Underground Society Post by Josh Gross

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I want to give thanks to Josh Gross for contributing this excellent post to my blog. Please be sure to check out his blog: Jaguar and Allies .

Underground Library Society Post

 

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Introduction

 

In May of this year, Dr. Charles French extended an invitation to join his Underground Library Society (ULS). The ULS began as a project for Dr. French’s English 2 class, in which students were required to create a poster and blog about a book they would memorize. In this way, they might be able to save it from censorship.

 

Dr. French’s invitation asked readers to do the same thing: make a poster and blog about a book they would memorize. I selected the Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T. E. Lawrence – better known as Lawrence of Arabia.

 

While I have not constructed a poster, what follows is an essay about why I would memorize this book.

 

The Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T. E. Lawrence

 

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(A portrait of T. E. Lawrence, as seen in Lowell Thomas’ With Lawrence in Arabia. Public Domain image retrieved from Wikimedia.)

 

In these pages in not the history of the Arab movement, but just of what happened to me in it…It treats of daily life, mean happenings, little people. Here are no lessons for the world, no events to shake peoples. It is filled with trivial things, partly that no one mistake it for history (it is the bones from which some day a man may make history), and partly for the pleasure it gave me to recall the fellowship of the revolt (Lawrence, 2011, p. 9).

 

I first picked up the Seven Pillars of Wisdom on a whim. I had just finished reading The Outsiders by Colin Wilson, which quoted Lawrence repeatedly. Lawrence’s words struck a chord with me, so I ordered a copy of his book. I had no idea what I was getting into.

 

The Seven Pillars is the memoir of the fabled “Lawrence of Arabia,” whom Michael Korda (2010) describes as, “a scholar, an archaeologist, a writer of genius, a gifted translator…a soldier of startling originality and brilliance; an instinctive leader of men; and, above all, a hero” (p. xvi).

 

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​(T. E. Lawrence, second from right in the middle row, accompanying Emir Faisal Hussein of Mecca at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. Public Domain image retrieved from Wikimedia.)

 

Lawrence’s memoir chronicles his experiences in the Arab Revolt of 1916, in which the Arabic peoples rose up against the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire. Little did they know, they had entrusted their fates to a far more devious power than the Turks: the British Empire.

 

The Arab Revolt was both encouraged and supported by the British. At this time, Europe was locked in the bloody stalemate of World War I – with the British and Ottomans fighting on opposite sides. The British therefore helped to instigate a rebellion of the Arabs against the Ottomans, promising to grant their ‘friends’ freedom and a sovereign state.

 

But in a real-life conspiracy, the British and French met behind closed doors; deciding to carve up the Middle East amongst themselves however they saw fit. There would be no freedom for the Arabs.

 

From the beginning, Lawrence was a firm believer in the Arab Revolt. He initially supported it indirectly as a desk-based intelligence officer in Cairo. But when the revolt began to flounder, he entered the field as a liaison between the Arabic and British armies. His time in the field makes up the bulk of the Seven Pillars of Wisdom.

 

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(Much of Lawrence’s sympathy for the Arabs stemmed from his Oxford days, when he worked as an archaeologist at Carchemish. Public Domain image retrieved from Wikimedia.)

 

What first struck me about the Seven Pillars, and the primary reason I would memorize it, is the sheer beauty of its prose. Lawrence wrote with more skill, passion, and care than any author I have yet found. He described the scenery of Arabia so perfectly that the hues of the desert come to life; he writes about the characters so intimately that they seem like old friends; but, most of all, he describes his own thoughts and emotions in such detail that it is impossible not to be affected by them.

 

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(Wadi Rum, shown here, was one of Lawrence’s favorite places in Arabia. Wadi Rum by Dan. CC BY-SA 2.0)

 

It is in these moments of self-disclosure that the Seven Pillars truly shines. To be fair, I disagree with many of Lawrence’s sentiments. However, that does not detract from the quality of his writing. It is also during Lawrence’s ‘deeper’ passages that the central theme of the Seven Pillars becomes apparent: that of a man torn in two.

 

Lawrence was a proud Englishman, and felt that his first duty was to his homeland. Despite this, he also believed in a free Arabia. As the Seven Pillars progresses, the incompatible drives between serving his British masters and helping his Arabic friends gradually rip him apart.

 

This is the primary reason I would choose to memorize the Seven Pillars of Wisdom: it shows what happens when one chooses to obey authority over doing what they know to be right.

 

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(​Lawrence died on the morning of May 19, 1935, following a tragic motorcycle accident. TE Lawrence Effigy Wareham Church by Julian Hutchings. CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0)

 

Lawrence never recovered from the war, and neither did the world. How different would the modern age be if the Arabs had been allowed to govern themselves, instead of being turned into the colonial play-things of the British, French, and later the Americans? We will never know.

 

The Seven Pillars of Wisdom is more than a literary masterpiece. It is the story of broken promises, of failed dreams, and of a world that almost was. As Lawrence (2011) wrote:

 

I meant to make a new nation, to restore to the world a lost influence, to

give twenty millions of Semites an inspired dream-palace of their national

thoughts. So high an aim called out the inherent nobility of their minds, and made

them play a generous part in events: but when we won, it was charged against me

that British petrol royalties in Mesopotamia were become dubious, and French

colonial policy mined in the levant (p. 10).

 

I hope to preserve Lawrence’s words forever, so that the world never forgets the price of deception.

 

References

 

Korda, M. (2010). Hero: The life and legend of Lawrence of Arabia. New York, NY:

HarperCollins Publishers.

 

Lawrence, T. E. (2011). The seven pillars of wisdom: A triumph: The complete 1922 text.

Blacksburg, VA: Wilder Publications, Inc.

 

Once again, thank you to Josh Gross!

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Quotations By J.R.R. Tolkien

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“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.”

                                                 The Fellowship Of The Ring

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

                                                 The Fellowship Of The Ring

“There is some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.”

                                                 The Two Towers

 

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”

                                                 The Hobbit

“Oft hope is born when all is forlorn.”

                                                The Return Of The King

Quotations on Standing Up to Evil

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“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

                                                                          Edmund Burke

 

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“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always.”

                                                                  Mahatma Gandhi

 

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“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

                                                                 Martin Luther King Jr.

Quotations on Treatment of Children

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“There is no trust more sacred than the one the world holds with children. There is no duty more important than ensuring that their rights are respected, that their welfare is protected, that their lives are free from fear and want and that they can grow up in peace.”

                                                                             Kofi Annan

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“If our American way of life fails the child, it fails us all.”

                                                                            Pearl S. Buck

 

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“Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.”

                                                                            John F. Kennedy

 

What Have We Become In The United States?

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I have tried very hard in this blog not to be political. I have extremely strong views, but I have attempted to keep them out of this site. I no longer can.

The United States of America, which has been the beacon of hope to the desperate of the world, now have become the nation that rips children from their parents. What is happening at the southern border is inexcusable. No American, regardless of political leaning, no matter if Democrat, Republic, or Independent, whether liberal, moderate, or conservative,  should accept what our government is doing.

Attorney General Sessions used The Bible to justify these actions. I suggest he actually consider the lesson that Jesus gave in Matthew 19:14 “But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.The action of the government, separating children from asylum-seeking parents, is an abomination. And Jesus would not have approved.

When did the United States of America lose its compassion? My parents were the generation that fought World  War Two, defeating the worst threat to freedom ever faced by the world: fascism, especially under Hitler. Let us remember that Hitler began with attacks on children.

If you have children or grandchildren and needed help to get them to safety, would you not expect aid from The United States of America?

Where is our decency?

It is time to stand up and say no more.

We will not treat families this way.

We will not take children from parents.

We say no more!