Thursday, March 30, 2017
This blog will now be part of Joe's Outdoor Store. Besides random thoughts on trying to fit into a strange world, wherever that might be, there will also be posts there on outdoor product reviews, hiking and camping, and safety and survival. You can find Joe's here, http://joesoutdoorstore.com/
Hope to see you there!
Hope to see you there!
Friday, January 20, 2017
Thursday, January 19, 2017
Time flies when you’re having fun. I’ve found as you grow older, it flies when you’re not having fun. It’s a difficult thing to hold onto. It’s my understanding that if you climb into a space capsule and somehow get it going faster than the speed of light you can get a few more minutes of life. Other than that, I haven’t found a way of slowing down Ol' Man Time.
All that is to say, please excuse my extended absence. I began this blog with good intentions; I had planned to remain in Spain permanently and report my experiences to anyone who might pass by and want to spend a few moments with me. But then, as with all those best-laid plans that we and mice might make, all for the humor of God it would seem, things go awry.
I found myself not even a year into my European experience, and only eight months in my adopted homeland of Spain, needing to return yet again to the familiar environs of the U.S.A.
Money is a cruel taskmaster.
Yet, I still feel like an outsider.
In today's United States, I find the man who has just been elected president of this fair land has put his daughter (a female, in the parlance of days gone by) in charge of his world-encompassing businesses. Another daughter married a Jewish gentleman and converted to his religion. The president (as of 1/20/17) was previously a democrat and holds many views on economic policies that were the lifeblood of the Democratic Party. Concerning sexual practices of consenting adults, he has said he has no opinion. He wants to enforce the laws of the land (the constitutional purview of his office, by the way) and ask Congress to consider revising some, especially with respect to immigration and how those laws affect the safety of American citizens. He wants to deal with a nuclear-armed country not as an enemy, but with respect as an equal on the world stage. He understands business—the lifeblood of the economy—from decades of experience as no other president in modern history has. Yet in spite of all this, he is pilloried as a misogynist, a homophobe, a racist, and a buffoon. I myself am not a supporter of Mr. Trump. (Nor am I, heaven forbid, a supporter by any means of his principal challenger in the late presidential race.) He holds many economic and foreign policy opinions with which I strongly disagree. But the discussion of Mr. Trump's personality and personal peccadillos centers around a false narrative that only serves to distract the populace from important issues.
In today's United States, I find the current tide of social and political correctness flows toward a collective manner of thinking that has resulted in the belief that the sex of a person is nothing more than a social construct, that we may compare the concept of the incorrectness of wearing white shoes between Labor and Memorial Days as somehow equivalent to believing one’s chromosomes determine whether one is male or female. We are to believe that a male pedophile who claims he feels himself to be female should be allowed into restrooms and locker rooms with young girls.
In today's United States, I find we are not to desire respect of any semblance of an American culture, that because this country was born of immigration we should, no, we must accept even at this point in our national development any person from any culture with or without skills, wealthy or penniless. Anyone and everyone is welcome here and has no obligation to assimilate into any semblance of what might be called “American Culture.” This, even though some of those people feel bound by their god to force all others to assimilate into their culture, even to the point of a belief in the maxim convert or die.
In today's United States, I find we are in a state of cultural chaos. While some people may enjoy that environment, may be energized by it, I do not and am not. I feel engulfed in a fog. Not only is there no east, west, north, or south, but there is not even an up or down. I'm a VFR pilot in IFR conditions.
I am not ashamed of my European heritage. Quite the opposite, I'd say if I were allowed. I enjoy the feeling of being grounded in a culture whose history is one of progress in human rights and economic advancement. I enjoy knowing my ancestors reach back to England and Germany and that we have carried on traditions for centuries. And I appreciate that it was my ancestors who brought those traditions to this country even before its founding and that those traditions resulted in the building of the greatest economy and culture of liberty and equality that has ever existed at any time in the history of the world.
But it’s politically incorrect to express pride in a European heritage. It’s politically incorrect to note that it was the people of Europe that led the fight against the institution of slavery and the fight for equality of opportunity. It’s politically incorrect to point out that Capitalism has resulted in greater advancement of physical comfort and security for more people than any other economic system in history.
And it's more than politically incorrect—it is forbidden—to believe that a country founded on a Judeo-Christian heritage should be allowed to embrace and continue that tradition not only in private homes but also in public.
So I am still a stranger in a strange land.