History-making music group for UMM - morris mn

History-making music group for UMM - morris mn
The UMM men's chorus opened the Minnesota Day program at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair (Century 21 Exposition).

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Let's transplant Charles Dickens story to today

Wouldn't it be wonderful if certain people got up on Christmas morning as if they had been visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future? Just imagine Wayne LaPierre, Jim DeMint and Allen West. It's especially hard to imagine Allen West. But imagining is what the classic Charles Dickens story is all about.
West's basic countenance is so bitter and in-your-face. He's the guy from Florida who was part of the reactionary political wave of the mid-terms (in 2010). Curious time, those mid-terms.
The nation sent a message in November that the sentiment of 2010 was not going to be long-term. We in effect came to our senses. Some of the regressive voices remain shrill. Those souls have a tin ear about what the American public is saying. If they won't listen to us, "us" being the sensible mainstream, maybe they'll listen to those ghosts of Christmas past, present and future.
Maybe the ghost of Christmas present could show them how so many Americans "in the middle" are struggling. We lament the lot of the middle class but what about the poor? When I was a kid, it was common to hear about the plight of the poor. RFK did his "poverty tour." Politicians have gotten more delicate, not wanting to use language about "the poor." Why? Today they're apt to use language about "the middle class and those aspiring to be middle class." The "aspiring" term might be the closest they get to talking about the poor. The ghost of Christmas present might scold us about that.
But there's so much more he could scold Allen West about. The bitter face of that individual has been like a scourge, signaling just what a regressive force the tea party is. He lost in his re-election bid and hasn't even been a good loser. He tried challenging his loss. Might he weigh, just for a moment, moderating his views? Might he weigh simple humility? Could he laugh just a little? This is a man who said Debbie Wasserman-Schultz "wasn't a lady" just because she was making a policy argument. He used other language that made him a parody of himself.
So wouldn't it be wonderful if by some miracle, he could wake up on Christmas morning and be transformed into a joyful soul? Since he's apparently always close to a Fox News camera, maybe he could find one and project that brimming Christmas cheer that embraces all of humanity. Exercise those smiling muscles. Let your guard down about all those "liberals" out there. Stop looking at the world in such simplistic terms. I realize Fox News rewards you for doing that. I realize you have learned that reading a certain script for Fox News will get you considerable attention. Surprise them. Be like Ebeneezer Scrooge on Christmas morning, going out on the streets of London with a whole new countenance, giving a big donation to the Community Chest etc.
Say you understand people's struggles. Say you understand government's role in giving people a platform from which to build on. Say you understand the need to trim our military from the kind of bulky model that was designed in the Cold War (or to defeat the Wermacht). None other than David Stockman has said we could cut as much as 1/3 of our defense budget.
Republicans like Stockman (Ronald Reagan's old budget hatchet-man), Chuck Hagel and now maybe even John Boehner are being slowly drummed out of the right wing corps. For a while we heard the term "rino," denoting "Republicans in name only." That was a prelude to the kind of splintering we're seeing now in conservative ranks. Charlie Crist has decided to become a Democrat. His undoing, conventional wisdom holds, was when he joined President Obama in a brief embrace when announcing stimulus funds for Florida.
Who knows? Boehner may have been hurt being videotaped just shaking hands with Obama. Hank Williams Jr., a man of the Deep South who's unabashed with his conservatism, called Obama "the enemy." He likened Obama to Hitler. Yes he was almost completely banished from television, although Mike Huckabee has seen fit to pay some attention. Progressives like Bill Maher have tried to be nice about Huckabee, describing him as a basically pleasant person, never mind the Neanderthal stuff.
Progressives have indeed tried to stay restrained up until now. We have bent over backward trying to show respect. MSNBC will try to deny it's a prima facie soap box for progressives when in fact there should be no reservations about this. Fox News has tried to use stealth. Fox News says it's fair and balanced and proclaims it's needed to offset the "liberal mainstream media." Fox News is a virtual soap box for the likes of West, Huckabee, Sarah Palin and others who are resisting the forces of history.
Thomas Ricks says of MSNBC that "they do the same thing (as Fox) but they aren't as good at it." Ricks says it better than I can. The emperor has no clothes.
MSNBC is getting better. Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O'Donnell do investigative and analytical stuff that is absolutely necessary. Whatever defensiveness they might have had about being ideological, has got to get wiped away. Joe Scarborough has said the way you deal with a bully is by punching him in the face.
I'd prefer seeing many of these ideological ruffians (e.g. Rush Limbaugh) get visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future.
Why did Wayne LaPierre have to be so predictable, as predictable as (the bad) Scrooge himself, when going to the podium post-Newtown? Why do these people have to stick to their script so much? To stay in their foxholes? Why couldn't the likes of LaPierre say they've been humbled by what happened? That they have learned to look at the world in a different way? That they have been horrified into backing off on certain views?
Intransigence on the debt ceiling actually hurt the U.S. economy. Intransigence is endangering the House speakership of John Boehner (pronounced "boner" by radio host/humorist Stephanie Miller).
Why does LaPierre have to go to that microphone and insult us all by merely stating the knee-jerk standard NRA rhetoric, when we all know some re-thinking is in order? Maybe the ghost of Christmas past could escort Mr. LaPierre into the lives of some of those cherub/vicitms from when they were infants, revealing the glow and innocence in their lives - the tremendous promise.
LaPierre's answer now is more guns. Specifically we need more "good guys" with guns, LaPierre says, to counter the "bad guys." One envisions an old west main street complete with a saloon, where one man says to another "all right, draw!" But we don't live in the movies, we live in real life. In real life the mad shooters might actually take it as a challenge that schools have armed officers. What's to keep an armed teacher or principal from "flipping out" and doing something horrible, or having their weapon fall into the wrong hands?
"More guns," eh? It's what the NRA stands for, not for humanity. And LaPierre has to continue in lock-step because this is his stock in trade. It's his "brand" as it were, and we're all about "branding" and never deviating from it. If only more people would throw off the shackles of such groupthink.
Ebeneezer Scrooge woke up on Christmas morning completely freed of all the old inhibitions that bothered him. He was unafraid to become that new person, to view the world from the depths of his soul as if he were a child again, a child like those in Newtown.
LaPierre represents a "protection racket" of sorts. He might have to leave completely if he's to become the kind of person like Scrooge on Christmas morning. Why does our Congressman Collin Peterson have to be so deferential to the NRA? Please contact him.
Jim DeMint is from South Carolina which was the state most eager to start the U.S. Civil War. Are we still dealing with vestiges of that? After having gone on record railing about "pressure groups," DeMint has decided to leave his elected position to join a pressure group: the Heritage Foundation. It's a pressure group from the right wing naturally.
Is the Deep South going to muck things up again?
Like so many on his side, DeMint is so utterly predictable. These sullen souls can't show a shade of nuance for the life of them. They are zombie-like in their withdrawal from reality, from the lives of "real folks" who live in places like trailer parks.
Wouldn't it be amazing, like the greatest Christmas gift of all, if DeMint could awaken Christmas morning, find a Fox News camera and express a new viewpoint on life, one showing true empathy about all of humanity? We can pray or dream about Allen West, Wayne LaPierre and Jim DeMint waking up on the 25th with that ebullient and joyful air.
Reality will almost certainly spell a different story.
- Brian Williams - morris mn minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

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