Saturday, September 15, 2018

EXPLORING COMMUNITY AND GOVERNMENT

Hi friends and readers!     Ideally, government should build on community and common values, not vice versa.

If you look back over the posts available to you for free on this site, I think you’d classify the site as somebody's kind of exploring. The site isn’t political rant, nor family news and not recipes and cooking. Nope. It’s “one 'old guy'" doing his best to make sense out of the human situation, and he’s writing from an open-minded ethics perspective. That's my thing.

Just now, I (the “one 'old guy'”) will try to make sense out of three events I experienced during the week.

First event: I attended my first-ever presentation on memory care. The speaker, a middle-aged clinician and researcher, had a lot to say. In brief, he said that  mental activity and memory loss begins in one’s forties and continues from there. (The ages of the current American president and some other government leaders help one understand the “Quack Quack” sounds tweeted not only from from Washington D.C. but other capitals too.)

I’m aged about forty x 2, so where does that leave me? 

Well, I’m lucky. Yes, I'll admit I’m having some trouble.:  

“What day of the week is it?” 

“What is your phone number?” 

“Draw the face of a clock?”) 

I’ve been presented with such questions and tasks by my doctor annually for several years and I can answer them! Muy Bueno? Si. Muy Bueno!)

But I do less well on names of places, people and things. Also, I flunk on trying to remember what I said on a particular topic two days or more ago.

But, the presenter said that mental aging isn’t uniform. Older people actually do better on general wisdom about choices and on language and languages. Like the meaning of the word “Hallelujah.” Bet you don’t know what it means. You’re too young. But I do know what it means. If I’m right, that’s the old age dividend at work.

So, I will apply my supposedly mature general wisdom attribute to reflect on a couple of other events from the week past.


Pacific Convergence Plastics Trap

Second Event and one great thing! The “Oregonian” newspaper printed (yes, I’m old and I do read the print edition)  an Associated Press article by O. Rodriguez. She reported on a massive boom designed to corral plastic trash in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch of the Pacific Ocean. A 24-year-old Dutch innovator invented this cleanup device and the Ocean Cleanup group raised U.S. $35 million to fund the project. The goal: 60 free-floating barriers will be floating in the Pacific Ocean by 2020, acting like beaches to capture the plastic.

Is that fantastic, or what? Thank God for youthful innovators like Slat.

Now to the other end of the age spectrum. Third event: I attended a gathering of persons in my retirement community. Two or three people informed us on recycling. Questions like what should we put into the recycling can? What must go into trash? 

They surprised me with the judgment skills that are required of the householder who wants properly to get rid of trash. You might want to discuss this matter with your community, whatever it may be, and try to get commitment. 


Come on twenty-somethings and septuagenarians as well! Let’s resist our aging politicians’ palavers and join hands to hold the world together.  We can do it together! Government grows best out of community.


Thanks so much for reading. Share the post. And come back next week for a unique combination expressed as Growing Green Two Ways: environmental and financial.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

THE TRANSITION TO FALL MEANS. . .



     FALL: WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU?

Fall is here in the Northern Hemisphere. Spring is here in the Southern Hemisphere. It's like two sides of a street in my neighborhood: Fall on the left, "spring" on the right. But I know that the left
side has the trump card where I live. Fall is here!





                                                                           Brutchser Street, Newberg, Oregon Photo by author 2018

What on earth does Fall mean to you? You're in the transition from summer to winter based on the angle of the earth to the sun. That's the scientific reality. But people have attached emotions and meanings to the seasonal shift.

According to the excellent Wikipedia article, people have long attached sadness to fall and/or have called it an unhealthy season. To a fantastically brillliant poet, William Butler Yates, fall represents his own aging process and that he must now face death.

My wife has a cheerier thought. To her, it means an abundance of fruit to preserve--to can.


Peaches at the fruit stand.



Pears from the farm, ripening on the bedroom floor.

Ripen the fruit. Remove the pit, the seeds, the skin. Load it gently in the jar. Fill the jar with light syrup. Boil it, cap it, enjoy it throughout the year and even into next year or beyond. Canning; one meaning of fall for her, her family, my mother. I guess I'm a lucky guy.

For many, Fall means returning to school or entering school for the first time. First day can be scary. Soon you're used to your teacher(s), make new friends, find out where the cafeteria is and how to use it. The scariest first days give way to routine. You study and get good grades, right? School is good, especially when it's raining out of doors. Warm, dry, and new ideas.

During Fall, Hallowe'en comes along. You dress up like an imaginary thing--a ghost, a monster--take your choice. You go out in the evening hoping to scare the heck out of your adult neighbors so that they'll treat you. (Actually, they're playing to be frightened but actually having a better time than you.) 

Hallowe'en in Germany means (or used to mean?) keeping the graves lit with candles to keep the dead in place in their coffins a meter or so down under the soil.

Fall. What does it mean to you? If you want to share, leave a comment. Other readers and I will appreciate your idea.

To me, it means the shortening of daylight and the lengthening of night-time. And, being older now, like the poet Yates, it's a time of reflection on my own aging process. Not necessarily with a sense of sadness, but with mild foreboding. Gosh, I gotta go to the Memory Care meeting sponsored by my Friendsview Community on September 20. I sure hope I remember.

Friday, August 31, 2018

WAGES IN KEEPING WITH HUMAN DIGNITY


Hello there! FYI, I'll be spending Labor Day, May 1, 2018, on Mt. Rainier, U.S.A. Where will you spend yours? Hiking? That's play, I suppose, and not labor. But everyone deserves a day or two of rest. May your Labor Day weekend be for you a time of rest. A real break from your work.

When I hike from Lake Tipsoo out onto the Burroughs Mountain Trail and look east to view the William O. Douglas Wilderness area, I'll remember the quaver in my dad's voice when he told me, as a youngster, about the environmental commitments--the independent thinking--of this
famous Supreme Court Justice.


William O. Douglas. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.


Labor Day's the holiday in the U.S. celebrating workers. (Note: the rest of the world celebrates on May 1 annually.)




 The first American Labor parade held in New York City on September 5, 1882 as it appeared in Frank Leslie's Weekly Illustrated Newspaper's September 16, 1882 issue.
Image in the public domain via Wikimedia.
Back in 1887: Labor Day was made an official holiday in Oregon, the first state officially to recognize the day. I’m proud to be an Oregon immigrant (from my native Washington State) and bask in the glory of my state’s early recognition of Labor Day.

Personally, I'm very honored to have been endorsed by labor groups when I ran for House of Representatives, Washington State, 2002. As I go off to a terrific family weekend at Mt. Rainier I'll recount that campaign and the wonderful support from organized labor.

The moral perspective on labor and laborers is this: people have a right to work, and to be paid a living wage to secure a standard of living to support life in keeping with human dignity and for themselves and their family. That's what the day is all about.
(See Waldo Beach and Richard Niebuhr, Christian Ethics, 2nd ed., p. 516-17.)

In recent times much has happened to transform the laboring person and labor organizations. Inventions in the electronic world have automated much work formerly dependent on trained, skilled laborers (think  of the work done on assembly lines, by robots.) 

So, it's important to reconize that "labor” isn’t restricted to physical labor. For example, I'd say that a mathematician who devises logarithms labors and can be regarded as a laborer, especially if he/she is paid by the hour or the day. Though work has changed from physical to mental in many situations, I  still regarded it as labor. Do you agree?

Concluding: Labor Day in America grew up from the grass roots. Thirty states declared official labor holidays before the United States acted. See Wikipediafor details.

Final word: Labor Day sales events by retailers are not in the original spirit. As I said, I'll be on Mt. Rainier and I won't be shopping! However, I will be telling the grandkids about labor support for my campaign and the highly moral meaning of Labor Day. I want them to be aware of labor. 

Where will you be? What'll you be doing? 

Saturday, August 25, 2018

RELAXING INTO HAPPY, NORMAL MOMENTS:

In Western Oregon, U.S.A., where I live, we've finally emerged  from weeks of heat and very smoky atmosphere. Last evening I watched the moon rise over the mountain to the east. Pure white,  nearly-full harvest moon, not the dull red moon we've seen through the smoky haze recently. 


The weeks of smoke raise a question: Can we earthlings maintain a normal climate? On our one and only dear planet Earth?  It's a political issue. Example: a school friend of the American Secretary of the Interior is reported to be responsible for blocking climate research!, the Guardian reports. How can we relax into happy life with such a government in place? 

But fighters for a noble cause must find ways to relax. Muhammad withdrew to the cave. Jesus spent days in the wilderness.

On Thursday, August 23, 2018, I took a bag of glass containers to a recycling bin here in my community, just a short walk away. A neighbor was at the bin when I arrived. She was separating and arranging glass into types. 

In a friendly way I asked, "Who's responsible for the bin being here?" She told me that a neighborhood volunteer committee formed to arrange for the bin and maintain it. Fantastic! Ordinary folks with hopes, dreams of helping the environment, taking action to make it so. That's a way of relaxing into happy life. 

If we recycle trash, then we relax. The activity is simple, physically easy, and available. Anywhere, everywhere. Worldwide. 

I remember Swiss recycling bins. Attractive, functional and beautiful. 

RECYCLING à la SUISSE--SWITZERLAND

Author: Ludovic Péron
Shared under the Creative Commons Attribution - Share alike 3.0 Unported License. 

Or, relax into a weekend of good works and recreation. The Hood To Coast long distance relay race (200 miles from Mt. Hood to Pacific Ocean in Oregon, U.S.A.) was run this weekend. My daughter participated with 20,000 others. The work for greater good: the raising of funds for cancer research. Fund-raising provided a noble purpose; the race raised millions of dollars. The relaxation of running peaked in a huge beach party at the finish line on August 25, 2018.

Crowds at finish line on Pacific Ocean beach.


 
Lettering on van window: "agony of da feet"












Very big crowd on the beach near the finish line, town of Seaside, Oregon.

Saturday, 8/24/2018, Lucy and I traveled eighty miles round trip to get some special fruit for canning: wonderful pears from the Wonderly family farm. 

We met her brother and sister-in-law in Monmouth, Oregon, forty miles away from our home in Newberg. We visited and swapped great good stories, then transferred the box of treasured pears to our car and drove back home. The pears are so special partly because their're of high quality and just right for canning. Moreover, they're heirloom pears: the fruit of the three (human) generation old pear tree on Lucy's family's farm. Lucy's herself been canning pears from this very tree for decades. Before that, her mother and grandmother led the way. In all: a relaxing, fulfilling afternoon.

This morning I couldn't find the pears! Where are they?, I asked.

Lucy said, "They're sleeping in the guest bedroom." 😄😄😄

Here's the scene from the guest bedroom.  Ripening, relaxing a bit, back into happy normal life! I'm not a pear but I can learn from them. Ripen, relax.




Another off-the-wall idea: two weeks ago my cell phone quit working. I set it aside. A couple of days ago I removed the battery and reinstalled it. The phone started working again! Meantime, I'd relaxed into a phone-abstinence mode. I "fasted" from the phone and it relaxed me. Take an intentional  vacation from the phone. It'll relax you. You'll come back to the phone with greater gusto.

Saving the earth, savoring the fruits of favorite trees, running a race, temporary abstinence from cell phone news--such can help us keep sane and happy in a world weirdly gone haywire. Hope this spurs you to think of your own relaxation workarounds. Relax to get back to the battle for trumping the threat to democracy in your county, wherever you may live.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

CLEANING UP CLERGY SEXUAL TRANSGRESSION

"Roman Catholic Sexual Scandal"

If you use "roman catholic sexual scandal" for an on-line search , what will you find? A long list of news posts and a list of related searches that will uncover more related posts. Recent news posts center mostly on horrendous Grand Jury findings about R.C. clergy sex in Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

Here's a summary paragraph from an Associated Press article.

"In a report released Tuesday, a state grand jury said it found that more than 1,000 children were molested or raped by over 300 "predator priests" in six Pennsylvania dioceses since the 1940s."  Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

It's shocking that many of the very persons who pronounce the forgiveness of sins in Jesus' name engage in the cruelest of sins against their own young people.

Why so amazing? Church members trust their clergy. It's horrendous to have this trust abused by clergy who've led children in their pastoral care into sexual activity. Especially in the Roman Catholic situation, when those clergy are supposed to practice sexual abstinence.

I want to ask: going forward, what can we learn? 

I think we learn that an open, public system of trial and discipline should be in place in every church body. In my own church organization (The United Methodist Church) a system of discipline has long been in place. The system provides for public trial by peers and punishment when charges are brought. It's a tried-and-proven system that Pope Francis and Rome should consider and adapt for the Roman Catholic Church. Sexual activity of priests with congregants would be assessed publicly within the church itself. 

As a persons practicing Christian social ethics, I'm ready with moral assessments of politicians, leaders of neo-Nazi movements, racists and others. The skill of  moral judgment should be directed toward the leadership in the church body itself. That's why I call on Catholics to adapt a a tried-and-true, open-and-honest, trial system for sexual discipline within Catholicism. This doesn't imply that Catholic views on celibacy should be relaxed, but only that they should be enforced.

Finally, a note to the dear Pope Francis: "the greatest challenge of your pontifical career is to strengthen the sexual discipline of the Roman church clergy. Any weakness in control of clergy sexual sin is another wound to the Body of Christ." To his credit, Pope Francis issued a statement along these lines; read it here.

Further reading: excellent commentary by the Very Rev. Nathan LeRud, OregonLive, 8/26/2018.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

HOW TO REBOOT DEMOCRACY




WHAT can families do to educate kids about living successfully in a democracy?

In the U.S. democracy boils down to “liberty and justice for all.” In the French-speaking world, perhaps liberté, égalite, fraternité. Each and every democracy will have its own ideal values. With children and youth, list the key values that pertain to your nation.

More specifically, parents can/should discuss ballot issues and evaluate candidates with the kids. Use your country's ideal values as measuring rods. Take the kids to the poll booth or show them how voting works by mail ballot.


REBOOT DEMOCRACY for their lifetimes


What does it mean to be a citizen in a republic? Children need to learn this from their parents. (And grandparents, too.)

In short, home-school your kids about politics and citizenship. If you don’t have children of your own, consider your nieces, nephews, or extended family children.

In-school learning is important too. You can ask your kids about what they learn in school. I discussed with one of my granddaughters:

“In school, do you learn about American government, democracy, independence, the pledge of allegiance?”

“Yes,” she said, “we study that.”

“Well, do you discuss current events?”

“Not that so much. More like the history.”

Terrific. That's how schools should teach about government. Civics, including citizen rights, citizen duties and national ideals.

Advanced learning. In secondary or high school and at the college level. Kids should read Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” perhaps.

  • Ask students to list what citizens of a republic should do as a citizen and avoid doing. 
  • Discuss key personality traits of ruler-dictators versus those of democratic rulers.
(My wife's grandfather read "Julius Caesar" in Oregon Agricultural College (now Oregon State University) early in the Twentieth Century. Neither my wife nor I, as undergraduates in the mid-Twentieth Century, were ever assigned that book. But now, having read it as an adult, I'd call it a basic for citizen education. Let's get back to it.)

From it  kids learn to identify would-be Caesars, strongmen, dictators? 

Before and beyond schools, parents are the best educators. The foundation of democracy is laid and repaired in the nation’s homes. Schools must do their part but the home is even more basic. 

2018: The Year of the People. It’s up to the people to determine what they want of their national life; up to the people to make it happen. I shout: REBOOT! It's slow, it's painful, it's top priority. 

Ensure that "by the people, for the people" continues by educating the kids about living in a democracy.

REEBOT DEMOCRACY. In the homes, in the schools.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

COMMUNITY AND GOVERNMENT PRIORITIES 2018 SOMMAIRE: L'AN DES PEUPLES


Here at this site we believe that a positive outlook prevails over negativism. Why spend your time grumbling about the mess you’re in? Negatives tire you out. 

You'll win if you focus your energy on green goals to achieve on earth.

We proposed six social goals for global community. These are achievable goals. Creative goals. Loving goals. Wise goals tested and proven over centuries.

These green goals are:


  • 1          Improve education everywhere.   Posted June 11, 2018.
  • 2          Protect our planet.     Posted June 23, 2018.
  • 3          Nurture the children.  Visit post dated June 30, 2018.
  • 4          Focus on positive solutions to migration of people. July 7, 2018.
  • 5          Put the people first. July 14, 2018.
  • 6          Dance for democracy. July 21, 2018.
  • 7          Resonate with people globally. July 28.

Our simple game. Advocate these SEVEN GREAT GOALS in your school, your community, with  public officials and in your own connected audience.

How? Adopt a strategy. Adapt these ideas to your situation:

First, apply and live green goals at home. With your family. With your roommate.

Second, communicate them with your own internet community. (Why spend all of your internet time on internet games?) 

Stay connected and use your connections positively.

Simple, isn’t it? Yes, simple but powerful and effective.

“Crisis” isn’t unusual. It’s commonplace and occurs everywhere. What’s important is to turn crisis into opportunity. Return to “Growing Green” weekly for proven ideas on turning crisis into opportunity for green, sustainable, democratic living.

Return here regularly for stories of people and groups who are “growing green”. Share posts and the site with friends. Join the vision of a great future and ways to create it. Make it your own.

Friend: may your future be greener than you ever imagined possible!