Fragment of Culture, Thought and Dialogue

Haven’t heard from him in a long time.

Maybe he’s on a trip. He does that sometimes.

But it’s been a long time and he always sends a card from somewhere on a trip.

Well, then, maybe he’s sick. Or maybe his wife’s sick.

That could be. But it’s been a long time. Much longer than ever before.

Maybe he’s really sick this time. Sick can be really sick. Especially after age piles on you.

Maybe he’s really sick. Maybe. But it’s been a really long time.

Well, then, maybe…maybe…he’s old enough…

Maybe. He’s old enough.

It happens. Eventually.


Get honest, America. Brutal honesty is the only antidote to the anguish. Start with political leaders, a category that conspicuously omits Donald Trump who is no leader at all but who wiggled into position as the frontman of authoritarian conservatives. Democrats must be brutally honest, too, and admit that their de facto leader, Joe Biden, is almost dead on his feet and represents, however laudably or lamentably, American traditions that are in sore need of an update.

The brutal truth includes this simple fact: Joe Biden is too old and lacks both physical stamina and mental acuity for the job…

We cannot force sight into the blind or make the deaf to hear. We cannot require inhabitants of tunnels to abandon their tubes or the dwellers of swamps to rise out and dry. Neither need we share their plight. We can only watch and wait and conduct ourselves aright. The rest can join us when they will.

“Them old cotton fields?” They’re still here in Alabama along with their rich black soil and poor black hands tending them. There are poor white hands, too, and some rich ones, involved in everything from shrimping on the Gulf coast to coal mining in the north. But Alabama’s most famous product is not agricultural or industrial: it’s conceptual; it’s conservatism — but not the theoretical kind, not the preoccupation of eggheads. Conservatism in Alabama is visceral, palpable to the point of bloodshed, manifestation of ideas manipulated for specific outcomes designed to reflect presumed values that are really nothing more than…

“What’s a Jew?”

The question was loaded with more explosive force than the eight-year-old then — or later — could imagine. The fact that it was posed to his preacher-father in 1958 is telling in itself and the answer was more revealing than anyone could have foreseen at the time.

How it came to be that a Christian child forced to church thrice weekly was unfamiliar with the term “Jew” speaks loudly, if we listen, to what was being said and not said in church where “Hebrew” was the preferred designation for the ethnic background of God’s once favored people…

Assassination attempt on Henry Clay Frick who was stabbed repeatedly and shot multiple times.

The problem with pitchforks is all that blood. And how it gets there. You have to stab. Stab repeatedly. You have to see the anguish and the fear in their faces. Face-to-face. You have to watch their terror as you rip the life from their bodies. You have to experience their horror. Horror you impose on them. Horror you transfer to yourself.

Then there is all that blood. It’s on you but it’s in you, too. It won’t wash off because it has become part of you. It does not bleed out in a pool that can ever be drained…

Ripped verbatim (except for a single repeated word) from Stephen Foster:


Gone are the days when my heart was young and gay,

Gone are the friends from the cotton fields away,

Gone from the earth to a better land, I know,

I hear their gentle voices calling, “Old White Joe.”


I’m coming, I’m coming,

For my head is bending low;

I hear those gentle voices calling, “Old White Joe.”


Why do I weep when my heart should feel no pain?

Why do I sigh that my friends come not again?

Grieving for forms now departed long ago,

The Tower of Babel by Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Out of seemingly nowhere a book appears (sent from heaven?) that helps (heals?)religious believers and nonbelievers alike. How, exactly, depends on who you ask.

Liberals are not necessarily a godless bunch of freaks, although many are and 56% of atheists are liberals, according to Pew Research, while only 10% are conservative. Liberals would answer one way. Political conservatives are overwhelmingly coziest with evangelicals and would answer differently. Unclear to either group is the equal opportunity fact that a book (in addition to the Bible?) is available that everyone can find useful. …

Rosa Parks being fingerprinted after 1955 arrest

Uncovering buried truth is only the beginning. Information surrounding Rosa Parks, percolating unseen in the background for decades, has contemporary relevance that can boost understanding.

Recently, while researching the Ben Moore Hotel, a civil rights landmark in Montgomery, Alabama, I read a Washington Post article written by Paul Hendrickson after a visit to Montgomery in 1989. The lively and informative article, available here, proved to be important for reasons directly associated with Rosa Parks and for unexpected exposure of racism decades later. Parks was not the first or only protester or even the first major figure; there have been numerous…

Downtown Atlanta circa 1950 (note electric wires above street). Source: Georgia DOT

Overhead electric wires powered a creaky trolley system in Atlanta at the time of my birth in 1950. Sparks would sometimes fly and pivoting connections would occasionally disengage, stalling coaches in the midst of traffic. A modern observer might wonder about the cost of infrastructure required for such a complex system, as others surely did at the time, but it represented progress and history has no other excuse than progress. It came soon with the introduction of gasoline fueled buses, long dark orange rectangular boxes with rounded edges trimmed in washed out yellow surrounding a narrow ribbon of windows.


Michael Driver

Writer • Playwright • Progressive • 40 Years of Management • 50 Years of Simultaneous Resistance @mdMichaelDriver

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