Archive for the ‘Political Statements’ Category

Abandoned Storefronts, Vidette, Georgia   1 comment

Image scanned from Angela Lee, Images of America:  Burke County, Georgia (1996)

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My mother, father, sister, and I lived in Vidette, Georgia, from June 1980 to June 1982.  He was the minister of the Vidette, Greens Cut, and Friendship United Methodist Churches in rural Burke County, about the size of Rhode Island.

The buildings in the photograph above were still standing as late as February 1999, as Google Earth proves:

Now, however, only two of the five buildings remain.

Photographer Brian Brown posted an image of the two remaining buildings to one of his weblogs, Vanishing South Georgia, in 2014.

I remember the five buildings.  Look, O reader at the top photograph.  I recall that that building second from the right had been a bank.  I remember standing inside that structure as a child.

The decline of small towns such as Vidette is sad.  Although I have no desire to live in such a small, rural town again, I care deeply about disparities in society.  According to demographic predictions I have heard recently, 87% of Americans will live in cities and in eight states in 2040, thereby exasperating the rural-urban divide.  The truth of rural areas belies one of the many recent lies of the current, temporary occupant of the Oval Office; America is not full.  Rather, it has many empty spaces.  Many of them are in rural Georgia.

I want small, rural towns such as Vidette to be lively and economically vibrant.  We, as a society, cannot leave the rural areas behind and be the best we can be.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 5, 2019 COMMON ERA

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Realism in Politics and Policy   2 comments

I am, like most of my fellow Democrats, contemplating which candidate to prefer during the upcoming primary season next year.  The number of fine candidates is numerous.  Even the not-so-fine candidates are better on their worst days than Donald Trump is on his best days.

I have been reading about some of the candidates.  I have been reading at websites for which experts in domestic and foreign policy write.  A recurring theme, especially regarding Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden, has been realism.  Warren, according to a longtime friend quoted in an article, has manifested a

data-driven worldview,

and changed her mind to fit the facts.  Biden, according to foreign policy writer James Traub, has demonstrated a realistic, not ideological, foreign policy.

I do not expect responsible policy-makers to remain consistent if consistency requires them to ignore date.  No, to ignore data would be to decide irresponsibly.  Actually, I seek a mature (in the highest sense of that word) President of the United States.  The more mature (in the highest sense of that word) he or she is, the better.  Particular policy matters may take a back seat to maturity as I ponder for whom to vote.  Besides, certain matters are ones best left to societal changes affected as people change their minds–what the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr., called

a radical revolution of values

–than to court rulings and other acts of government.  Passing laws is necessary sometimes, but one should never imagine that doing so ends the offending actions.  (I wrote about this matter, with its subleties, here.)

I have seen a bumper sticker that reads,

ANY FUNCTIONING ADULT 2020.

I have not arrived at that point of political desperation, but have concluded that I may get there eventually.  Trump has lowered the bar so far that is has fallen to the floor.

The United States of America and the world deserve much better.  May we all have it on January 20, 2021.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 7, 2019 COMMON ERA

Feast of Halford E. Luccock (November 6)   Leave a comment

Above:  Yale Divinity School, New Haven, Connecticut, 1900

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-det-4a19636

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HALFORD EDWARD LUCCOCK (MARCH 11, 1885-NOVEMBER 6, 1960)

U.S. Methodist Minister and Biblical Scholar

The Reverend Halford E. Luccock comes to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Interpreter’s Bible, for which he wrote the exposition on the Gospel of Mark in Volume VII (1951).

Luccock, born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on March 11, 1885, grew up in a pious home.  His mother was Etta Anderson.  Our saint’s father was Naphtali Luccock, a bishop in the Methodist Episcopal Church.  Luccock followed in his father’s footsteps and became a minister in 1910, after receiving his B.A. from Northwestern University (1906), B.Div. from Union Theological Seminary (1909), and M.A. from Columbia University (1909).

Luccock spent most of his career as a professor.  He was a pastor in Windsor, Connecticut (1910-1912), an instructor at Hartford Theological Seminary (1912-1914), and the pastor of St. Andrew’s Church, New Haven, Connecticut (1914-1916), as well as an instructor of the New Testament at Drew Theological Seminary (1916-1918).  Luccock married Mary Whitehead on July 17, 1914.  The couple had two children–Robert Edward Luccock and Mary Etta Luccock.  Our saint, attached to the denominational board of Foreign Missions from 1918 to 1924, was a Contributing Editor of The Christian Century from 1924 to 1928.  He wrote for that publication for the rest of his life.  Starting in 1948, he wrote a column under the pen name “Simeon Stylites.”  Luccock’s purpose in that column, as he explained it, was to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable.  From 1928 to 1953, when he retired, our saint was Professor of Homiletics at The Divinity School, Yale University.

Luccock wrote and spoke in the fields of preaching, history, literature, and social critique, with many books, articles, and columns to his credit.  Our saint was not shy about expressing himself.  In September 1938, about a year before the European Theater of World War II began, he stood in the Riverside Church, Manhattan, and said,

When and if fascism comes to America, it will not be labeled, “made in Germany;” it will not be marked with a swastika; it will not even be called fascism; it will be called, of course, Americanism.

The domestic political context for that statement was the rise of the openly pro-Nazi, anti-Semitic America First movement, of which Charles Lindbergh was a prominent spokesman.  The America First movement hoped to keep the United States out of the inevitable war, in which the country helped to defeat the Third Reich.

The essence of the statement remains relevant in the United States as I type these words, unfortunately.

Luccock, aged 75 years, died on November 6, 1960.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 29, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS LYDIA, DORCAS, AND PHOEBE, COWORKERS OF SAINT PAUL THE APOSTLE

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Almighty God, your Holy Spirit gives to one the word of knowledge,

and to another the insight of wisdom,

and to another the steadfastness of faith.

We praise you for the gifts of grace imparted to your servant Halford E. Luccock,

and we pray that by his teaching we may be led to a fuller knowledge of the truth

we have seen in your Son Jesus, our Savior and Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Proverbs 3:1-7 or Wisdom 7:7-14

Psalm 119:89-104

1 Corinthians 2:6-10, 13-16 or 1 Corinthians 3:5-11

John 17:18-23 or Matthew 13:47-52

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 61

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Watch Your Mouth, Etc.   1 comment

Unlike many people, both famous and obscure, I feel no compulsion to express most of my thoughts.  Perhaps the advice my grandfather, John Dodson Taylor, Jr. (1905-1976), gave to my father, and my father passed down to me has influenced me properly.  My grandfather said,

It is better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

One may also substitute tweet, blog, and other verbs in lieu of “open your mouth” and be true to the statement.

General George Patton said that a man should be able to swear consistently for three minutes without repeating a word.  Patton satisfied his standard, I am sure.

That standard, however, is not for me.

Donald Trump is a megalomaniac, a menace to free society, a threat to the free press, and a peril to the Constitution of the United States, the free world, the global environment, the future of the human race, and much else.  He is also an uncouth lout.  I condemn him and all his menacing ways.  I also condemn Trump’s uncouthness.  He is probably the oldest profane toddler.

My standards require me to be consistent in these matters.

Pelagius said that one’s enemy triumphs when he makes one like himself.  Based on news, which I barely sample these days, so to avoid turning into Patton verbally on the matter of Donald Trump, the Mussolini wannabe with bad hair who has made some of his political opponents like himself, at least verbally.

This is wrong.  Public service requires one to live up to the highest possible standard.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 4, 2019 COMMON ERA

Rest in Peace, President Bush   Leave a comment

Above:  George Herbert Walker Bush, 1989

Photographer = David Valdez

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-USZ62-98302

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This morning I read that former President George Herbert Walker Bush had died at the age of 94 years.  My immediate response was to pray for the repose of his soul, and for all who mourn him.

The first presidential election in which I voted was that of 1992; I rejoiced to see Bush lose his bid for a second term.  I did not, however, ever think he was an agent of Satan, et cetera.  Rather, I always respected him as a patriot and a good man.  That respect increased after he left office.  Whenever I read a news story about Bush 41 skydiving, I stood in awe of the man.

Rest in peace, sir.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 1, 2018 COMMON ERA

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Posted December 1, 2018 by neatnik2009 in Political Statements 2018

Tagged with

Every Vote Should Count   Leave a comment

Above:  “I Voted” Sticker

Image Source = Dwight Burdette

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Every vote should count.  That is a timeless principle.

This is the year of many close elections in the United States.  The new Senator-Elect from Arizona owes her election to a razor-thin margin, as the counting of votes has continued.  Three races in Florida are in recounts, for the margins of victory from election night are less than half of a percentage point, thereby triggering mandatory recounts.  The race for Governor of Georgia is too close to call, with local elections officials finding previously uncounted votes.  Meanwhile, Donald Trump, who puts the bully in “bully pulpit” and specializes in spreading rumors while labeling confirmed facts “fake news,” is making charges of corruption in recounts.  If there is evidence for such corruption, local law enforcement knows nothing about it.

Every vote should count.  That is a timeless principle.  I hold to it, even when I have no guarantee that my preferred candidate will win.  This is a matter of principle, not convenience.  This is a matter of standing up for what my country, the United States of America, says is a major principle.  Suffrage is a right about as close to sacred as a civic activity can be.  It is a right for which many brave men and women have died, and for which many men and women have yearned.

One benefit of counting every vote is to validate the electoral process.  There can be no doubt that Candidate X is the rightful winner if election workers have counted all the votes.  What can be wrong with counting all the votes, especially in close elections?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 13, 2018 COMMON ERA

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Posted November 13, 2018 by neatnik2009 in Political Statements 2018

Tagged with

The Seventh Party System   1 comment

Above:  Alexander Hamilton, First Leader of the Federalist Party

Image in the Public Domain

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I am convinced that the United States of America has been in the Seventh Party System since or shortly before January 20, 1993.  As a teacher of U.S. history on the college level, I think about various matters of the past, especially when students’ questions prompt me to do so.

First a brief review of the first six party systems is in order.

The First Party System was the Federalist-Jeffersonian Republican divide, with parties forming during George Washington’s administration.  The national Federalist Party did not field a presidential candidate after 1816, but not all Federalists became Jeffersonians, some of whom had begun to sound like Federalists by that point.

The Second Party System grew up around Andrew Jackson in the 1820s.  His supporters were Democrats, and his opponents merged into the Whig Party in the 1830s.  Before that, however, they were National Republicans and Anti-Masons, the latter of which gave us the presidential nominating convention in 1831.

The Third Party System emerged in the middle 1850s, in the aftermath of the Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854).  The Whigs came apart, as did the Democrats to a lesser extent, and the Republican Party emerged with a platform which included opposition to the expansion of slavery but not support for immediate abolition of that damnable peculiar institution.

The Fourth Party System began after the 1896 general election, in which Republican William McKinley won a landslide victory.  The Republicans controlled the presidency for all but eight years (the Woodrow Wilson Administration, 1913-1921) through the end of the Herbert Hoover Administration (1929-1933).

Franklin Delano Roosevelt inaugurated the Fifth Party System, during which the Democratic Party controlled the presidency for all but eight years (the Dwight Eisenhower Administration, 1953-1961).  This system ran its course until the 1968 general election and the election of Richard Nixon, who employed the notorious “Southern Strategy.”  Lyndon Baines Johnson was correct; he gave the South to the Republicans when he signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The Sixth Party System began with Nixon and ended with George H. W. Bush.  Republicans controlled the presidency for all but four years.  Jimmy Carter, the sole Democratic president (1977-1981) during this system, was hardly an FDR-LBJ social programs type.

The Seventh Party System, I am convinced, began with the Clinton Administration or during the campaign of 1992.  This fact has become obvious to me only in hindsight.  (Historical analysis does require the passage of time.)  Here is my case:

  1. None of the presidential elections (1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016) has been a landslide, certainly not in the popular vote.
  2. Regardless of the identity of the President, about half of the population seems to hate his guts.
  3. A vocal proportion of that livid portion of the population entertains unfounded conspiracy theories.  For the record, Vince Foster did commit suicide.  Nobody murdered him, so there was no murder for the Clinton Administration to cover up.  Also, the George W. Bush Administration was not complicit in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2011; a hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii, was the birthplace of Barack Obama in 1961; and Osama bin Ladin is dead.  One can, however, find websites arguing against all these propositions.  This means nothing conclusive; once I found the website of the Flat Earth Society.
  4. Vitriol, unvarnished hatred, and unapologetic indifference to objective reality has become increasingly politically acceptable.  The abuses of power (and threats of them) commonplace in third world countries have entered mainstream political discourse in this country.

Also, for the record, Barack Obama is neither a Socialist nor a Communist.  There are Socialist and Communist Parties in the United States, and they do not mistake him for one of their sympathizers.

It is long past time to lower the political temperature and retire over-the-top charges which distract from the serious issues of the day.  We have a nation, one which has lasted for more than 200 years.  Childish antics do not honor the highest ideals upon which our founders created the United States.

How should we, as citizens, respond when the lunatics take over the asylum?  How should we respond when the temporary occupant of the Oval Office spews a combination of venom, rumors, and falsehoods casually, thereby degrading his office and the country, yet labels documented journalistic stories “fake news”?  How should we respond when many of our fellow Americans, members of a cult of personality, affirm  whatever Il Duce with bad hair utters and tweets?  How should we respond to the American Il Duce‘s fondness for authoritarian leaders?

Donald Trump is a domestic threat to the United States.  Trumpism is a domestic threat to the United States.  We should recognize these truths and utilize the constitutional methods available to us to resist both.

I derive some comfort from the realities of demographic changes, which will usher in the Eighth Party System, as soon as more people of certain demographic categories vote in sufficient force consistently.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 4, 2011 COMMON ERA

INDEPENDENCE DAY (U.S.A.)

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Updated on November 7 and 9, 2016

Updated October 9, 2018

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