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Family and Friends is my everyday journal. Captain's Log is where I pontificate on religion and politics.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Enjoy the Season

Everyone have a very merry Christmas, even if you celebrate something else or don't believe in it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas is Progressive

Robert Creamer at the Huffpo has an article on the real attack on Christmas coming from the Right, not the Left. He discusses the importance of Ayn Rand's Objectivism to their philosophy. He compares that to Christ's parable of the Good Samaratan as the true spirit of Christmas and Christianity in general. He finishes with this statement:
A few years ago I read a book by a planetary scientist named David Grinspoon called Lonely Planets. It explores the question of extraterrestrial life.

     Toward the end of his book, Grinspoon speculates on the chances of survival for intelligent life in the universe. He argues that every civilization of intelligent creatures must pass through a gauntlet that tests whether the values and political structures of the society are capable of keeping pace with the exponentially increasing power of the society's technology. If its values and political structures can keep pace with technological change, the society may pass into a phase of enormous freedom and possibility. If it does not, the power of its own technology will destroy it. Perhaps, he postulates, civilizations are like seahorses. Many are born, but only a few survive.
     For the first time, a little more than half a century ago, human society entered that gauntlet. Our technological growth reached a point of takeoff that for the first time gave us the power to destroy ourselves and all life on our tiny, fragile planet. From that moment on, the race began.
The next several generations of humans will decide how that race turns out. We won't simply observe it, or describe it; we will decide it. Whatever the future holds will be a result of human decision for which we are all responsible.
     I believe that progressive values -- love your neighbor and empathy -- are our greatest evolutionary treasure.
     Progressive values: that we're all in this together, not all in this alone; unity not division; hope not fear; equality not subjugation; the premise that if each of us is better educated all of us will be wiser; that it is not true that for me to be richer you have to be poorer -- but rather that if each of us is more prosperous, all of us will have more opportunity; that our success comes from cooperation and mutual respect. These progressive values are the most precious assets that will give human beings the ability to make it through that gauntlet -- and to create a truly democratic society.
     That is just one more reason why at this time of year, we should celebrate these values -- the true spirit of Christmas -- and defend them from those who want to take society back to a time of social Darwinism, to the law of the jungle, to "survival of the fittest." Because the fact of the matter is that in the future, if we govern our society by the precepts of selfishness and the survival of only the fittest, we may find that human society is not fit enough to survive at all.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Life Comparison

My mother-in-law's funeral will be on Wednesday. She lived 92 years. A long life. When the funeral home and those at our church said, "Tell us about her." Our first thought was that there wasn't much to say. Something should be said.
The best way to explain some things is by comparison.
Rose didn't tell stories of her life, she was a very humble person, but she did tell me one thing about her growing up in Leadville, Colorado. As a little girl she remembered an old woman walking out of a wooden shack at the mouth of the abandoned silver mine and going into town to buy groceries. Everyone in town knew the old woman who always dressed in the same long black dress. Baby Doe Tabor.
Baby Doe Tabor had songs written about her, movies about her life and museums filled with her memorabilia. She married a Senator. Teddy Roosevelt attended her wedding in Washington D.C. Horace Tabor her husband owned a silver mine in Leadville, but when the Gold Bugs defeated all measures at Free Silver they went bankrupt. For the last twenty years of her life she lived alone in the shack widowed and abandoned by her children waiting for the price of silver to rise enough to reopen the mine and be rich again. She froze to death March, 7 1935 when she ran out of wood.
Rose was the daughter of an Austrian immigrant brought over to work in the mines of Leadville. Growing up her family never had much money, but got by. He older sister married and started a family in Belen, NM. Rose moved in with them to help with the children while her brother-in-law and sister ran a bakery. She met Ed during the war. He was stationed at Kirtland Army base and when he got leave would spend it with her. They married in 1947 when he started working as a parts manager in a car dealership in Belen. They lost their first child. Ed found employment with the Lincoln-Mercury dealership in Albuquerque and worked as its parts manager for 35 years through various owners and locations. Rose stayed home and raised two children, losing a fourth child. Ed and Rose lived a very quiet and simple life around friends, family and church. Ed was a deacon at their church and Rose was an active member in the Woman's Missionary Union. They bought their house in 1948 and made a few additions to it over the years. My brother-in-law married and moved to Nebraska. When I asked Ed for his daughter's hand out in the front yard at their house while he was watering flowers I thought he'd twist his neck with the double take he gave me. It didn't come as a surprise to Rose. When our children were born Rose was our day care giver. She helped raise them as much as we did.
Over the years we ate many meals at their house. Rose was a good cook. Her enchiladas were better than the ones in the most expensive Mexican restaraunt in town. We planned on having her move in with us after Ed passed away, but nothing could get her out of that house. Finally her health forced her to sell the house and move to Nebraska with her son and family. She had a nice cottage at an assisted living village managed by her daughter-in-law and spent the last year of her life in a nursing home surrounded by family and new found friends passing away peacefully. She lived a full life filled with love and loss beloved by all who knew her.
Our culture is obsessed with beauty, wealth, possessions, accomplishments, what good did all that do for Baby Doe Tabor? Yet when you mention that Rose was a housewife content to live her life taking care of husband and family you're looked at as if she was a Stepford wife or she lived a meaningless life. To those of us in her family and friends she had great meaning and accomplished much.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Time Passing

Mother-In-Law passed away today at age 92. A say week ahead.