We are all taught to apologize when we offend someone else. We are all taught to honor our father and mother. What we aren’t taught is that either condition is a totally selfish act necessary to turn us into better persons. You are not responsible for the actions or ethics of others. You are only responsible for your own.
If the ethics aren’t internal, they aren’t real. Outside “should” and obedience to what you have been taught by others doesn’t count. That is the lockstep of polite convention, not the reality of your soul.
Robert Heinlein said it best with his description of “Duty”
“Do not confuse “duty” with what other people expect of you; they are utterly different. Duty is a debt you owe to yourself to fulfill obligations you have assumed voluntarily. Paying that debt can entail anything from years of patient work to instant willingness to die. Difficult it may be, but the reward is self-respect.
So what is this thing about the parents? Let’s face it, most of them made mistakes. Well the one mistake they didn’t make was YOU. So you damn well better honor them or you wouldn’t be here. So how do you honor them? Find the you in you that they gave you either by genetics or actions. In my case, mama was a singer and daddy was a dancer and both of them had darn good brains. Whatever else they might have done wrong (you really don’t want to know), they gave me a love of music, dance, and theater and the ability to become a researcher, writer, and editor. How much more reason to honor do you need.
How does this reflect on today’s political climate? We have one candidate in Donald Trump who doesn’t seem to have an ethical center. He reacts totally on the surface to whatever the latest event might happen and only responds to whatever petting of his ego that might make him feel better about himself. He is sad and because he is sad he is dangerous.
On the other side we have the good Methodist girl. in decades of action, she hasn’t changed. Her core is solid and decent. She is inner directed. She can be trusted to do what she says she will do. Even if you disagree with her beliefs and/or actions she can be trusted.
Jessie Ann Benton Fremont
John C. Fremont
During the present campaign, it has become aggravating that Republicans keep wanting to lay claim to Abraham Lincoln as a Republican. What they always fail to mention is that at the time, the Republicans were the LIBERAL party in the two-party system having split off from the Whig party. While Lincoln was their first successful Presidential candidate, the very first man nominated by the party was almost equally as interesting since so much of his life created the coast to coast expanse of the United States. Long before Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, the first Republican to run for the Presidency and his wife freed their slaves.
While most people know of John C. Fremont as an explorer and instigator of California statehood, he probably never would have risen to political heights without his wife. If you like historical novels, pick up a copy of “Immortal Wife” by Irving Stone, but Jessie Benton Fremont was bigger than fiction. For that you need to get a copy of “The Letters of Jessie Benton Fremont”. Despite being raised in an era when most women were not well-educated she was an anomaly.
Daughter of a U.S. Senator
Fluent in Spanish and French acting as translator for official Washington
Pioneer traveling extensively between Virginia and California
Political Force within the new Republican Party
Campaigned for the Presidency with her husband
Following husband’s death supporter of her children through her writing.
Without the Fremont’s pioneer work, the establishment of the Bear Republic and later the State, the Gold Rush if it happened at all would have been a part of the history of Spain not the United States. Gold Discovery at Sutter’s Mill.
These are the children of war and W. H. Auden has already told us where it leads:
A ragged urchin, aimless and alone,
Loitered about that vacancy, a bird
Flew up to safety from his well-aimed stone’
That girls are raped, that
two boys knife a third,
Were axioms to him who’d never heard
Of any world where promises were kept
Or one could weep because another wept.
In 1969 when she was 22, Hillary Rodham made a Commencement Speech for her graduation class at Wellesley College. Making allowances for grammatical construction, here are the major points she made:
- Empathy doesn’t do anything. We’ve had lots of empathy
- The challenge now is to practice politics as the art of making what appears to be impossible possible.
- Many of the issues that I’ve mentioned—those of sharing power and responsibility have been general concerns on campuses throughout the world. Underlying those concerns there is a theme it talks about integrity and trust and respect.
- Our prevailing, acquisitive, and competitive corporate life is not the way of life for us.
- I would like to talk about reality and what we have to accept of what we see – it is that it hovers often between the possibility of disaster and the potentiality for imaginatively responding to men’s needs.
- To be educated, the goal must be human liberation that enables each of us to fulfill our capacity so as to be free to create within and around ourselves. To be educated to freedom must be evidenced in action,
- Mutuality of respect between people is when you don’t see people as percentage points. Where you don’t manipulate people.
- Fear is always with us but we just don’t have time for it. Not now.
Then she closed with this poem by Nancy Scheibner
My entrance into the world of so-called “social problems”
Must be with quiet laughter, or not at all.
The hollow men of anger and bitterness
The bountiful ladies of righteous degradation
All must be left to a bygone age.
And the purpose of history is to provide a receptacle
For all those myths and oddments
Which oddly we have acquired
And from which we would become unburdened
To create a newer world
To translate the future into the past.
We have no need of false revolutions
In a world where categories tend to tyrannize our minds
And hang our wills up on narrow pegs.
It is well at every given moment to seek the limits in our lives.
And once those limits are understood
To understand that limitations no longer exist.
Earth could be fair. And you and I must be free
Not to save the world in a glorious crusade
Not to kill ourselves with a nameless gnawing pain
But to practice with all the skill of our being
The art of making possible.
It is now 47 years later. In that time, she became an attorney, a champion for Civil Rights, a crusader for widespread healthcare, First Lady of Arkansas, First Lady of the US, Senator for the State of New York, Candidate for the Presidency in 2008, Secretary of State, and now Candidate for the Presidency in 2016.
The message is still the same. We cannot live in fear and as long as we live we have to strive to make the good things possible.
NOW THAT IS VISION
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