Monday, August 31, 2020

In response to being stunned / More of one thing leading to another / Growing up white / Death falls in love with Life / Real Change

Upon learning that after 48 years of wisdom, the Democratic Party is endorsing nuclear energy as part of its 2020 platform, I was stunned.  When I looked out my window early this morning, I saw what looked to me like a mushroom cloud rising from Lake Whatcom.  An overreaction to a passing morning mist rising or a reaction I can trust with all my heart and respond to with right action?

Until I read Quicksand: What It Means To Be A Human Being, by Henning Mankell, I thought I was fully aware of the immense dangers of the use of nuclear energy as a source of the kind of power that human beings have come to take for granted to heat and light our homes and run our internets and pretty much everything else we depend on.  Little did I know.  I am suggesting that book to anyone who might be considering nuclear energy as a solution in today's world or any world imaginable. For anyone else, I am suggesting the book as a text filled with reasons not to pursue nuclear energy as a solution.  Nuclear energy is a not a solution to anything.

Ever since reading Joe Biden's biography many years ago, I have had reservations about him.  Reading his book then gave me a chill.  I never dreamed that he would be a presidential candidate.  I am feeling that chill again.  It is not a good sign that he is endorsing nuclear energy.  It is not a good sign that he distanced himself from Linda Sarsour.

I have no choice but to vote for him. and my heart is torn.  Michelle Obama said, "Joe Biden is a profoundly decent man."  Decent men can have blind spots.  Political parties that are decent can have blind spots.  Politics today seems to be a kind of religion with glaring blind spots.

We all have our blind spots, the places where our "hearts are not yet capable of seeing and loving," to borrow words from a poem by Thich Nhat Hanh.

Henning Mankell admitted as much:

And he’s still ashamed of the “disgraceful and insensitive question” he once asked a 14-year-old African girl dying of Aids: “Are you afraid of what’s in store for you?”

In the interview below, when Henning Mankell talks about Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, I was stunned again because I had to admit to myself how oblivious I was, too, when I heard the story of Robinson Crusoe as a child in the 1950s before the Civil Rights Movement was a conscious part of my life.  I knew so little as a middle class white girl from a Protestant family, living in the suburbs of San Francisco.  I still know so little.  I do my best to keep my heart and mind open and take right action.  No matter what happens.

Henning Mankell has a generosity of spirit and, after listening to this interview, I would say that he is a profoundly decent man.

"... death will always come to disturb you ..."
(Henning Mankell)

Or not.  Death falls in love with Life

The mushroom cloud revisited a short time later:

May Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and "the powers that be" in the Democratic Party think twice about endorsing nuclear energy and may they play a part in bringing the real change that Bernie Sanders and his supporters continue to work for whether elected or not:


Sabine said...

It's a bit of being between a rock and a hard place. I have never been in a situation where a national vote was between one or the other, we always have several options. Not sure whether this is any better.

Henning Mankell has been one of my favourite authors for many years. My father, who speaks Swedish and is very attached to Sweden, introduced me to him a long time ago.

Before his death of cancer in 2015, Mankell wrote an irregular column in the Guardian about living and coping with his diagnosis, most of it has become "Quicksand". There is a very stark exercise on fear vs courage in it, if I remember correctly. At the time I could not read any further.

Anonymous said...

This is the scariest election in my lifetime. I am voting Democratic ticket because really there is no other choice. I am heartbroken that anyone would ever consider nuclear energy as an option. In this day and age, after all that we know it's unbelievable to me. We are a broken species in a broken country on a broken planet.

37paddington said...

Oh I hear you. Some things are problematic. I too believe a candidate can be decent and still have blind spots or be too moderate to cure the deep ills. But my god Biden is not Trump. Right now, not to put too fine a point in it, that’s all I care about. Even Linda said she’ll vote for him and then once he’s in office hold his feet to the fire. That’s what we need to do. I’m clear eyed.

ellen abbott said...

there are no unicorns. there are no perfect candidates. there are no perfect people. there will never be a candidate that you will agree with 100%. I love Obama. I'd vote for him again if I could but he did things I don't agree with. I'm voting for Biden because he is the far better choice over Trump. just because the platform supports nuclear energy doesn't mean that they are going to go out and start building nuclear power plants.

Bohemian said...

I agree that I'd much rather have a decent person with some blind spots than someone who lacks decency at all in Power and Leading us into the Abyss. Someone so dangerous to our Nation that it's terrifying what he's already been able to accomplish, virtually uncontested, in an attempt to destroy Democracy and the Rule of Law in favor of an Authoritarian Regime. This is the scariest Election in our Lifetime, regardless of the Outcome of the Election, I fear that there are going to be violent eruptions since the Lunatic Fringe has expanded beyond what I thought existed in our populace.