Hey y’all. Just watching some baseball (Go Braves!) and having a lovely Greek salad with grilled chicken, and reflecting on Pops, which is appropriate and proper on this Father’s Day. Pops said he was celebrating today by tucking in and watching the US Open, because golf is one of his things. I hear from my brothers he’s pretty damn good at it, too. It’s a game I mean to pick up when I can. In fact, a friend of mine has suggested an outing to this place as a fun way to test out if you have a swing. She says it’s a good Sunday afternoon group event and I hope we make it happen. And, if it turns out I can swing a club (I already know I can putt), then I may start with some lessons. Anyway, back to the Pops…
It’s easy enough to talk about the virtues of the man, for they are many, rare in the world, and significant. The ones I like the best include his intellectual curiosity — voracious — driven by intense and unrelenting mental acuity but tempered by an absolute devotion to the grace of humility. My sisters and I have a running joke about how difficult it is to be the female children of a man such as my father, because boyfriends never quite seem to measure up to our first real understanding of what manhood looks like. I’m serious about that, by the way. It has made relationships difficult because my father’s sharpness is blurred and softened by his kindness, and those two things do not generally play well together in the same person. So it hasn’t been uncommon to find one in a man but not the other. But, because we have seen it, we know it exists. I have felt much dissatisfaction over the years at men who could not find this marriage of qualities within themselves and have been most unforgiving in my judgement of them. But Pops, as is his way, has lectured me many times on empathy and forgiveness, even as regards people — like many I have met in the last few years — that I believe neither worthy nor deserving of either. But my father says the ability to do those things for those who will never ask, and who may never behave in a way that warrants the consideration, is what separates us from other animals, makes us human, and failure to use these gifts is a failure of our potential in this life. And, by the way, these are things I was hearing well before I entered grade school. It’s not unusual now for people to say I’m too “deep” and constantly searching for the meaning in things. That’s all true. I come by it honestly. And i wouldn’t have it any other way (and, just so you know, when you say those things, it feels like an insult to the man who taught me to be a thinker. So I would prefer you not say those things again…).
Anyway, I love my Pops. He’s just a solid dude who scratched his way out of poverty and made a damn fine life for his children. I think of him every time I face the snobbery of men here in DC, who popped out of the womb with chances and safety nets my father never had. And something in me knows that these men — some of who have been quite cruel to me of late — would never have made it without their safety nets and ready-made paths to success. And because I know that, they are less impressive than the old man who is respected by pretty much everyone who ever meets him, and loved deeply by his family. It does make it hard sometimes to show that same kind of respect for lesser men when the example I have is the one I’ve described above. But that, as my Pops would say, is where the empathy comes in. He’s better at it than I am. But I’m learning.
Happy Father’s Day Walt. Your youngest daughter thinks the world of you.
I had a bunch of newsy links I’ve been hoarding for a few days but I just don’t feel like going into how stupid we’re being about Syria; how that kid Snowden is way more confusing than Bradley Manning ever was; how I agree that Rubio is hanging on to immigration, at least in part, for the political optics and how I think this is a very, very good thing; how I think Ann Coulter is wrong to assume that those who come here from socialist countries will naturally gravitate toward that same system (why would they come here if they had such attachment to that style of governing?); and how the IRS training with AR-15s is possibly the most disturbing thing I’ve read in some time; but I’m going to save all that and see what the week brings. I will give you this one however, because it’s downright funny. And sharp, and true. Here’s a bit but read it all.
In the old Soviet Union, Mao’s China, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, and today’s North Korea, they tried to move toward the ideal Communist system. Combined, they killed about 100 million of their own people. That’s a hefty moral distinction right there: When freedom-lovers move society toward their ideal, mistakes may be made, but people tend to flourish. When the hard Left is given free rein, millions are murdered and enslaved. Which ideal would you like to move toward?
Lind sees it differently. “If socialism is discredited by the failure of communist regimes in the real world, why isn’t libertarianism discredited by the absence of any libertarian regimes in the real world? Communism was tried and failed. Libertarianism has never even been tried.”
What an odd standard. You know what else is a complete failure? Time travel. After all, it’s never succeeded anywhere!
And this one because it’s all about faith. Both of the religious and atheist kind. I always get a kick out of atheists who say they reject faith. Honey, if you knew anything about anything you’d know that your rejection of religious thought requires as much — if not more — faith than those who casually assert that the Old Testament is true to a letter.
It is self-evident that if the universe was not created by God, and since it did not create its self, and since it cannot be destroyed, it must be eternal in time, both in the past and in the future – possibly an infinite series of Big Bangs – or a universe in rotation around an eternally old ultra-massive black hole at its center. The most basic law of science tells us that outside power is a requirement for the creation of nature’s mass and energy, so we are left with either an eternal un-created God with no beginning and no end who created our finite universe with a Big Bang (religion), or we have an eternal un-created universe with no beginning and no end (atheism).
And a question: if you had something to say, something you felt you needed to explain or just get off our chest, but you knew the effort would be met with resistance, even rage, would you try to say it anyway? I mean, if you don’t require dialogue — which I don’t — but have had the chance to process something and have a need to go “on record” about it, would you? What if it was just festering and causing feelings of anger and resentment. You’d want that gone, right? Man, I wish I was more like my father…
On that note, here’s a song my Pops has always liked. Enjoy.