Social Distancing

To the Editor:
The last time the air was so clear and silent and the sun so intense was in the days America shut down in shock over the attack on the World Trade Center. What distinguishes today’s shut down is that we have awakened simultaneously to a health crisis, an economic crisis, and the climate crisis of global warming. The common thread running through these is that capitalism went globally viral after the fall of the Soviet Union. Rather than promoting a communal sharing of the resources of the earth, both natural and human, the economic modus operandi has been “grab as much as you can”. Social distancing may hold the key to reining in the COVID-19 pandemic, but throughout history mankind has been relentlessly practicing social distance and economic isolation from poverty, hunger, homelessness, mental illness, and the casualties of war, and the wealthy of the world are its most adept. Perhaps this is just “human nature”. One hopes not. Whether we call this a social crisis, an existential crisis, or a crisis of the soul, this is the reality staring us in the face today. – RP  

Senate Race

To the Editor:
For those Democrats wary of John Hickenlooper’s ties to fracking and the Party establishment and uncertain of Andrew Romanoff’s electability as a Bernie Sanders, “socialist” acolyte, there is an interesting alternative, Trisha Zornio. Colorado was the first state to grant suffrage to women. It seems overdue to finally send a woman from here to the U.S. Senate, and not just any woman. Trisha is a climate scientist, and what America direly needs now is knowledgable minds, not political ideologues, to address the nation’s coming climate challenges. Trisha Zornio is a worthy consideration. 

RP

Data mining

The algorithm horse is out of the barn and galloping around the globe.

Rather than building firewalls monitoring data mining from their massive trove of public information, tech companies like Facebook and Google have made billions selling it to advertising and political campaigns and other, more nefarious, enterprises, including Russian operatives skilled at targeted propaganda messaging designed to incite political and ethnic divisions with the aim of opening a back door to power for authoritarian voices around the world and here in yet another Presidential election.

Nationalists are rising in Europe, Buddhists and Hindus are attacking and killing Muslims in Asia and India, and Donald Trump has aroused the abiding white supremacy of America’s “Manifest Destiny”. Anger, uncertainty, fear, and stress have been shown to physically alter how our brains function and how we perceive the world around us. A shared acceptance of truth and reality is being so deeply undermined and eroded that putting the world’s ills back into this newly opened Pandora’s Box is beginning to feel impossible, as may well be finding a balance between Western free enterprise, exploitive corporate capitalism and Xi Ping’s increasingly totalitarian control of thought and information in his projected new Han Dynasty.

And, as always, chaos combined with fear is ever the breeding ground of tyrants.  

Community Service

To the Editor;


The current spate of mass protests across the world have a common denominator: the global economy is not attending to the well-being of the general populace, with wealth increasing concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. The same can be said of the new populism and rise of autocratic leaders pushing for national self-interest. Global trade has spawned an economic order favoring the corporate/financial sector. The power of capital today spares only crumbs for the average worker whose employment resembles more and more an enforced community service. Modern China, with a government operating essentially as a mega-corporate entity, thus far has been exemplary in raising it citizenry out of poverty, and, other than in Hong Kong, Chinese people thus far have been willing to accept an Orwellian iron hand over thought and the flow of information in exchange for economic security. (1984 should be required reading for all Chinese students in America.)  It remains questionable how far Western democracies will follow this example. 

RP

The face of America

To the Editor:
Donald Trump, his Cabinet coterie of thugs and robber barons, his White Nationalist cult following, and Congressional Republican go-alongs regard themselves the true face of America. It is not a pretty picture, and, sadly, to a degree it is true. Up until the Civil War, the wealth of the nation was largely built on slavery in the South and immigrant sweatshop labor in the North. Exploitation of human and natural resources has long held sway in the American economy and the resulting class hierarchy based on the power of money has created the increasingly disparate distribution of wealth we see today. This is capitalism run amok and it is destroying the American dream. One can call those trying to rein in the excesses of wealth socialists, but they are the people in reality trying to make America a nation of ideals benefitting more than an elite few.

– RP

Divine Revelation

To the Editor:

In trying to come to terms with the Trump Presidency, I find myself having to maintain that this is a Divine Revelation of just how virally insane mankind can (and has) become. Man, mankind, humankind, homo sapiens, how ever you want to call us, we are the apex predator/polluter/destroyer species on the planet, this “our” Earth. That the trajectory of the evolution of life–LIFE! for God’s sake!–has arrived at us would seem to be the penultimate act of Absurdist Theater, equally so those scriptures claiming man was made “in the image of God. Man! I hope not. That is not to say we do not have virtues. There are many, but clinging to the twisted sense of power that comes with deliberately double thinking and casting doubt on the existence of Truth and Reality in all things borders on personal and group dementia.  “Truth is Beauty, Beauty Truth”, that is something you can have both ways.

RP

Democracy

To the Editor:
In a self-professed democracy, it would be presumed that voter suppression is a punishable, criminal act, yet the manipulation of voting rolls, rights, and access has become a vital campaign strategy for the Republican Party.  That it has racist elements is additionally shameful, particularly in light of the contrast of the eight years of dignity, grace, and family values of the Obamas in the White House and the rise of an angry white mob in just two years of Donald Trump’s stewardship there.  Swings in the political spectrum are to be expected but this feels like the pendulum has fallen off its pivot.  What is America’s true vision of itself?

RP