Favorite Holiday Movies: Part One!

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This season is one of my favorite times of year, and I love doing this series on Christmas movies. Throughout the month of December, I will post on several of my favorite Christmas films.

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White Christmas, the 1954 film about two former soldiers who turn song and dance men and who help their former commander as he attempts to run a floundering ski resort, has special meaning to me. It stars Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, and Rosemary Clooney and was directed by Michael Curtiz. It features the songs of Irving Berlin.  As a major piece of American film history, that would be enough to be of interest to me, but it has a much more profound connection.

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My parents were both of “the greatest generation,” which is a description with which I agree. They were born and raised during the depression and were part of the multitudes of America who fought and supported World War II. My father was a Marine, and my mother worked in the Signal Corps.  This group of Americans had a toughness that was forged in the fire of great tumult, both national and international. They understood that the connection to country meant service and a willingness to sacrifice for the greater good.

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(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Signal_Corps_%28United_States_Army%29)

My mother loved this movie, and it was a tradition in our family to watch it when it aired on television, which was, if I remember correctly, every Christmas Eve. If not that night, then it was always on a nearby night. Of course, as a child who was born a while after World War II, it was all ancient history to me then, but for my mother and father, it spoke directly to their lives and to their hopes and dreams.

Both of my parents have been gone for quite a while now, over 20 years–they were married for 48 years and died within 2 years of each other. As I have become older, I have learned to appreciate what my parents did for us, which, I have to admit, when I was young and stupid, I did not. To paraphrase Mark Twain, –it is amazing how smart my parents got as I got older. And I appreciate and try to continue some of the family traditions, including watching White Christmas, but now with my beloved wife. And now my granddaughter is old enough to begin to appreciate and enjoy these films. I still feel the connection to my Mom and Pop when I watch this movie.  This movie speaks to the connection of people, of hope, of joy, of happiness, and of the power of music.

And I wish we would have a white Christmas, and I hope it will happen this year.

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(https://pixabay.com)

Quotations on Intellectualism

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“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

                                                  Isaac Asimov

 

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“In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality was tacitly denied by their philosophy.”

                                                   George Orwell

 

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“I’m tired of ignorance held up as inspiration, where vicious anti-intellectualism is considered a positive trait, and where uninformed opinion is displayed as fact.”

                                                      Phil Plait

 

“For democracy to survive, Americans must learn to embrace intellectualism, reject cult-like behavior, employ analysis, understand and use science, and think for themselves.”

                                                      Charles F. French

                                                                                            

 

 

 

 

Quotations For Veterans Day

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“The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Abraham Lincoln

 

 

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“It’s about how we treat our veterans every single day of the year. It’s about making sure they have the care they need and the benefits that they’ve earned when they come home. It’s about serving all of you as well as you’ve served the United States of America.”

                                                         Barack Obama

 

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“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

                                                          John F. Kennedy

Honor Veterans Day

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Today is Veterans Day, and I simply wanted to offer my thank you to all the men and women who have served or are serving our country in the Armed Forces.

This day began with Armistice Day, November 11, 1918, which ended the First World War. Congress formalized Armistice Day as a national holiday in 1938. After World War II and The Korean War, the day was renamed Veterans Day, and it serves as a time to honor all of those who have served or are serving.

Please let it be a day of honor and thanks, not one of special sales deals. It is a day to recognize the commitment, duty, sacrifice, and service of the men and women who have served or are serving in the Armed Forces.

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How Dare They?

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I am now feeling angry, frustrated, and frightened, all at once. My wife and I went out for what was supposed to be a short afternoon trip. The day was going to busy, with just a short afternoon diversion.

There was a Trump rally at the intersection near our place, and that is not an issue. Everyone has the right to protest in the U.S.A, but some were carrying automatic rifles (perhaps semi-automatic, but that really doesn’t change anything) and standing right at the edge of the road and screaming at cars. This should not be allowed–when I saw this, I immediately thought–they would have been at home in Nazi Germany. They are bullies, and they are not supporting democracy. How dare they try to intimidate people that way.

The election is over, and Trump lost. That is what happens with elections; sometimes your candidate wins, and sometimes your candidate loses. I learned that a long time ago. Trying to influence an election through intimidation is the tactic of a would-be totalitarian government.

We are supposed to be The United States Of America.

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Quotations By Isaac Asimov

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(https://en.wikipedia.org)

 

“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

 

“The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.”

“The easiest way to solve a problem is to deny it exists.”

Trump’s Attack On Democracy

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(Photo by Sharefaith on Pexels.com)

What happened the other night in Portland, Oregon should have all Americans who believe in the Constitution, Freedom, and Democracy outraged and frightened. Please do not divert the subject by speaking about “riots”. That is an issue that is addressed by local and state authorities, not the Federal Government.  The President does not seem to care about the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.

The Fourth Amendment says, “The right of the people to  be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Having Federal agents, wearing police insignia without identification of person or office arresting people without warrants and taking them away in unmarked vehicles is a clear violation of both the Fourth Amendment and their oath to uphold the Constitution; it is, by its very nature, an assault on American freedom and democracy. Without a warrant and an authorized jurisdiction of policing, these actions are kidnapping.

Let me be very clear. What happened is what occurs in totalitarian dictatorships, such as Putin’s tactics in the Crimea. Putin is very likely extremely proud of his friend, Donald Trump.

Further, for those who are true conservatives and care about the separation of states and city rights from the Federal government, they should be horrified. This was a clear violation of state and city sovereignty and jurisdiction.

It is also ironic that with the turmoil in our country about the abuse of police power, that these actions, themselves, are abuse of police power.

Let me be clear. I am not speaking as a member of a political party. I am speaking as a proud American who holds our Constitution to be a sacred document. Regardless of political affiliation, no matter if you are Republican, Democratic, or Independent, you should decry these actions. Our land must never become one that is ruled by autocrats and dictators who use force as they wish and ignore the rule of law.

Let us also remember that many fought and died to preserve out democracy. Let us honor their memory by insisting on the government abiding by the Constitution of the United States of America.

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(https://en.wikipedia.org)

Rest In Peace Rep. John Lewis

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(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Lewis)

The United States of America lost an heroic figure with the passing of Representative John Lewis on Friday from pancreatic cancer.  (1940-2020)

Mr. Lewis was a major figure in the Civil Rights Movement and worked alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He participated, in the March on Washington, and he led the march, as a young man, across the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma, Alabama on March 7, 1965. This would come to be known as Bloody Sunday because of the violence the marchers encountered, including Mr. Lewis.

He would later be elected to the United States House of Representatives in which he served for 30 years; he was frequently considered  to be the Conscience of America. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama in 2011.

Among Mr. Lewis’ quotations are “When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have to speak up. You have to  say something, you have to do something.” and “I’m very hopeful. I am very optimistic about the future.”  and “Get in good trouble, necessary trouble, and help redeem the soul of America.”

Mr. John Lewis was a tireless fighter for justice and against injustice. He will be missed.

Rest In Peace

Trump as Dictator

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I try to avoid political posts in this blog, but I cannot remain silent. Our country and our democracy are under attack from the highest level of government–the President.

Today, Donald Trump used tear gas and military force to dispel peaceful protestors in Washington, DC, so he could have a photo-op holding a Bible. Please remember that the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America guarantees the right of citizens to protest peacefully.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

He then held up the Bible in front of a church to justify his actions, and that is the highest level of hypocrisy.  All Americans who love this country, who admire our democracy, and who want to preserve freedom must oppose this would be dictator. Republicans, Democrats, and Independents must oppose him.

Please make no mistake–I am not condoning violence or rioting, not at all, but Trump is using this time to project strength, but the strength he projects is that which is reminiscent of Mussolini and Hitler, not of Reagan, FDR, JFK or President Bush.

Remember that freedom and democracy are fragile and precious, and they must not be sacrificed to the altar of a projection of power. America needs and deserves better.

 

What Would The Greatest Generation Do?

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(https://commons.wikimedia.org)

My parents were in the generation that faced the twin horrors of The Great Depression and World War Two. They experienced economic hardships past anything that we are suffering today. They fought a war against two tyrannies in Japan and Germany. They fought in a war, that at the most conservative, estimate killed 56 million people. The Greatest Generation did not worry about being inconvenienced; they did not let fear stop them. They did what they had to do, and they sacrificed in ways that are almost incomprehensible to people today.

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(https://www.goodfreephotos.com)

I shake my head when I see people protesting the lockdowns that are aimed at saving lives. They speak of inconvenience. Could these people have fought World War Two or lived through the hardships of the Great Depression? I think not. I know people are frustrated, but people gathering in crowds in protests, with no masks, are begging not only to be infected with Covid-19, but also they will spread it to others, including their loved ones, workers, and health care people. What can justify such selfishness?

We, as a society, need to learn from the sacrifices, the strength, and the courage of the Greatest Generation.