What a Piece of Work is Man

What a Piece of Work is Man


What a piece of work is man
How noble in reason
How infinite in faculties
In form and moving
How express and admirable

I first heard these words, not from the soliloquy from Hamlet, but from the song from the musical “Hair”. My high school choir sang it and I can still remember my tenor part. I thought the song to be one stressing positivity. Extolling human virtues, intelligence, and excellence. I later learned that these words were an inquiry to Hamlet as to why he was depressed? In spite of all man’s potential, and all that has been realized. Today, in arguably the greatest country in the world in many respects. There is great reason to be depressed.

Please bear with me because I will get to something positive but not just yet. I was asked by a friend, a poet, a writer, to respond so something that expressed her feelings. She wanted to understand? And I was no help.

I don’t know what allows a man to kill another man (or woman), seemingly just because they can. I don’t know how our politicians can refuse to enact background checks for all gun purchases in spite of the fact that over 90% of the public wants it. I don’t know how the answer after every mass shooting is to ultimately do nothing. I don’t know how we don’t offer health care to the remaining percentage without it. I don’t know how we refuse to address immigration in a humane manner. I don’t know how we spend our resources mandating morality and sexuality and what bathroom one can enter. I don’t know how we have a system that allows gerrymandering and voter suppression and the equivalent of poll taxes. I’m not saying I don’t know why; I just don’t know how.

And now we have two more dead black men, killed by police. Posing no threat to the officers. Dead just the same. The Governor of Minnesota said what we all know, “Would this have happened if the driver and the passengers had been white? I don’t think so.”

I used to be able to say their names. I used to know the circumstances of their deaths. I used to know the specifics. Now, the number is so many, my memory is insufficient to keep track. I remember the outcomes for the officers. Not charged, not charged, not charged, not charged, not charged, not guilty, not charged. Then a case in South Carolina that was so egregious when a lawman shot an unarmed black man in the back; he was thrown under the bus as if that represented justice for all the rest. Not charged, not charged, not charged, not guilty, not guilty.

My friend said, “I have tried, as long as I know, to understand the mind of God.” Presumably in an attempt to understand God’s will in these situations. For the first time, I knew what I could say. I referred to a sermon I heard many years ago in Jacksonville, FL titled, “Mysterium Tremendum”, Latin for tremendous mystery. The sermon went on to say that God is to man, as man is to the ant. That He is so far beyond our ken, that we cannot comprehend His ways, much like the ant knows not our ways. If we can accept that we will not achieve understanding and instead rely on faith, we may not have satisfaction. But we may have peace.

I am not suggesting at all a passive acceptance of the wrongs in our society. Especially when many of the wrongs target those who have less, to preserve the status and privilege of those who have more. I believe it is also God’s will for us to resist, to challenge, to protest and to vote. Use your strength whatever it is to make positive change happen. If you are not a leader, be a follower, adding strength in numbers but follow wisely.

My peace comes not from man but from God. My strengths as well. To my friend, I suggest she channel her feelings into action. Using her gift of words to shine a light on the issues she chooses. She has motivational power, she can affect change, she can be a beacon in the darkness.

While this was directed to one, I submit that it takes many to affect change. It takes a collective power, focused on the changes that need to be made. Select your causes, bring your passion, make things better. It’s certainly justifiable to be angry, but anger alone accomplishes nothing. This is a time for action.

What We Learn From The FBI Announcement About Hillary’s E-Mails

Director Comey of the FBI made a riveting live announcement regarding Hillary Clinton’s use of her private server to send and receive E-mails. The announcement was a mixed bag and whatever your perspective on the case there is something to latch onto.

The good news for Hillary:

  1. There will be no recommendation for criminal prosecution and the Justice Department has already said they will accept the opinion of the career prosecutors.
  2. There was no intentional misuse of classified material
  3. There was no evidence of “bad actors” hacking her system
  4. There was no evidence of any coverup by her, her staff, her lawyers or the State Dept.
  5. The FBI’s explanation of the investigation and the results make the claim of a “rigged system” hard to give weight to. It was certainly thorough and comprehensive.

Hillary image

The bad news for Hillary:

  1. She did despite previous claims send information that was classified at the time
  2. While there will be no criminal prosecution, the issue will not die and those who believe everything she does is criminal will come away feeling no different.
  3. Haters still gonna hate

The bottom line is that people will still believe what they want to believe. For example, there are people that recite the Trump label of “Dishonest Hillary”. Have they ever listened to Donald Trump speak? Any and every speech is full of proven lies and misstatements. I confess to having no idea which way Director Comey was going with his announcement and was pondering what exactly would happen if she were to be indicted? So now back to politics as usual. We will see!

Florida is Dying, And Rick Scott Doesn’t Care

Florida is dying! Worse yet it is being murdered by corporations who put profits ahead of lives and by politicians who sold the citizens out in order to advance their political prospects.

florida five

I would love to blame Rick Scott. In fact, I will blame Rick Scott but he didn’t happen to start this process. He only maintains it. For decades, big sugar producers have allowed their runoff water containing fertilizer and pesticides to drain untreated into Lake Okeechobee. Keep in mind Lake Okeechobee is no minor lake but covers 730 square miles or not much smaller than the state of Rhode Island.

Florida Dying five

Lake Okeechobee floods. What keeps if from overflowing is the decrepit Herbert Hoover Dike rated as “most likely to fail in the US”. There is an upgrade scheduled to take decades to implement to upgrade the dike. I suspect the timetable is related to political priorities and finances but it comes down to what is the government willing to do.

Florida one

The state of Florida under Governors Scott, Crist, Bush et al, have allowed Big Sugar to dump untreated water into the lake. All have received hundreds of thousands in campaign contributions from Big Sugar and all have looked the other way. They blame the Federal Government and the Army Corp of Engineers for releasing lake water into the ocean. If they did not, the dike would break and South Florida would be flooded with contaminated water. By South Florida I mean Ft. Lauderdale and Miami drinking water sources.

There have been conversations for decades about buying farmland south of Lake Okeechobee to drain water there instead of the ocean. While it appears obvious to me that this would only delay the inevitable as the contamination would continue to spread unchecked, the effort goes unfunded so it hardly matters.

Florida dying

So Florida is dying, tourism and boating along its coasts, drinking water, beaches. Everything that makes Florida worth visiting is being affected while Rick Scott blames the Feds, while continuing to pocket hundreds of thousands from Big Sugar. As did those who came before.

Florida Dying two