Remember, several decades ago Robert Fulghum came out with the book: All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten?
What do you remember about kindergarten? I remember Mrs. Lombard who looked like my Grandma Jo. I remember taking naps and finger-painting. I remember building with blocks and sharing with others.
This was sixty-some years ago and I don’t remember the names of the others in my class although I know that some of them also attended the same Catholic elementary school I did.
Playing with others and sharing — I wonder did we really need to learn anything else? I’m sure I must have learned other things during that year, but I can’t remember any of them.
I already knew the alphabet and could print my name and other things. I could dial the phone, tell time and count change at the store. I knew my street address and home phone number.
The only thing I remember from first grade was Sister Joseph Marie yelling at our class when none of us got 100% on the first spelling test of our lives. I learned how you could be treated when part of a group, but I don’t think our teacher realized just exactly what she was teaching. And, all of the other things we must have done and learned — vanished like a fart in the wind. (with apologies to Warden Norton)
Later on, I remember learning that America is (was?) the land of the free and the home of the brave. I remember learning that Lady Liberty lifted her lamp beside the golden door welcoming people to the land where they could realize their dreams of a better life for themselves and their children.
My father’s family was here before our country but Lady Liberty welcomed my mother’s parents.
I learned that each of the world’s major religions has some version of the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Do you want others to treat you nicely? Treat them the same.
Do you want others to share? Share with them.
Do you want others to respect you? Treat them with respect.
Do you want others to help you? Help them.
The Golden Rule is not: Do unto others before they do unto you.
The Golden Rule is not: I’ve got mine; the hell with you.
Later, I learned that the United States is (was?) a Great Power. John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan showed how a Great Power acted. Are we acting like a Great Power today or are we just acting?
I look around today and I wonder what other people learned in kindergarten.
It doesn’t matter whether you are Republican or Democrat, left or right, conservative or liberal. There are people out there, on the same side or opposed to your beliefs who learned different things than I did in kindergarten — and, possibly, different things than you learned.
None of us were taught to call each other bad/nasty names — for, despite the old saw “but words will never hurt me” words do hurt. None of us were taught to be selfish and to hoard all of the paint, blocks or blankets. None of us were taught to lie or “shade the truth.” But we learned those things anyway.
Take a few moments to look at those people in public life that you admire and respect. Why do you admire and respect them? Is it because their beliefs match or are close to yours? Is it because their actions reflect what we learned in kindergarten? Or is it because of something else?
How about we set a new standard for selecting people to admire. How about we look at them and think: If he, or she, was five years old (and has the personality exhibited by the adult version) would I want to play with or share a kindergarten classroom with that person?
If our politicians cannot meet that standard why should we vote for them?
“It doesn’t matter what you say you believe – it only matters what you do.” Robert Fulghum
“I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13 to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes,” Sessions said. “Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves. Consistent, fair application of law is in itself a good and moral thing and that protects the weak; it protects the lawful. Our policies that can result in short-term separation of families are not unusual or unjustified.” As quoted by Jeff Sessions, Attorney General of the United States
The Attorney General of the United States this last week used Paul’s Letter to the Romans to defend current Trump Administration policies dealing with the separation of families under arrest/detention and accused of unlawful entry into the United States.
A short pause
To digress a moment, Mr. Trump says the problem is not his Administration but the Democrats. No, Mr. Trump, the Democrats are not the problem. There is nothing in current American laws which mandates the separation of families in these immigration cases. The problem is policy, not laws.
Also, I will take a short moment to remind us all that the Republican Party controls both Houses of Congress and can quickly pass, if it so desired, a single sentence law something like: In no case shall families with children be separated while being held in detention and undergoing legal proceedings regarding illegal immigration into the United States.
This would only require a simple majority vote of both Houses and a speedy signature by the American (Republican) President. In fact, I believe that such a vote would carry 100% “For” votes by both the House and Senate. Things could then proceed without this moral posturing by both sides of the immigration debate.
Paul and Rome
Political conditions in the 1st Century of the Common or Christian Era.
Paul, or Saul, was a child of his times (as are we all of our own). He was a Roman Citizen. The Roman Empire was the largest and strongest of the social/political entities existing in the Western world two millennia ago.
The Empire covered a geographic area comparable to the contiguous forty-eight United States and had a population of somewhere around a hundred million people.
Of these hundred million people somewhere between forty and sixty million of them were slaves — yes, slaves. They had no political rights and could be bought, sold, abandoned or manumitted at any time.
Those who were big and strong worked their lives away in the fields of the latifundia. Comely children, boys and girls, were sold to brothels or to wealthy men and women for their personal use and as house servants.
I will remind you that the Roman Republic was never in our modern sense a republic. That is, it was not a representative democracy. It was a plutocratic/oligarchic dictatorship — of, by and for the rich. In those instances where the Equestrian or Senatorial classes needed to placate the lower classes, the plebes, they did so through “bread and circuses” and the buying of their votes.
Those of the lower classes who were elevated to protect the “rights” of those lower classes became, for practical purposes, members of the upper order.
The Roman Empire was an Empire. It was built and maintained through the use of military force. Millions of people, soldiers and civilians, men, women and children, were killed in its wars. The defeated were sold into slavery. Many were dispossessed of their lands, according to the political, military or economic needs of their conquerors. Might made right; terror was a weapon.
In defense of order
Paul, a Roman citizen, at one time persecuted/prosecuted those who followed the teachings of the followers of Jesus. He enforced the rule of law as he saw it — the law of the Caesars and Caesar’s appointed governors.
After the “miracle” restoration of his eyesight and “conversion,” Paul also began following the teachings of Jesus’ followers. And, through his writings urged people to follow the “rule of law.”
For practical purposes, at least to my mind, he said that people should obey a corrupt military dictatorship because that was the government given to them by God — WHY?
Why? Because Paul thought that the government of the Caesars was the legitimate government ordained by the gods — or God, depending on your point of view.
Possibly, after all he was a child of his times.
Or, possibly, he was just a realist.
There was no way that a group of poor, unarmed civilians and slaves was going to overthrow the might of the Roman Empire. To attempt to do so would lead to slaughter. While the Roman armies of the times suffered setbacks and defeats, they were sufficient to the policing of the Empire and protecting of its external borders. Augustus/Octavian had reduced the army’s size (and hit on the budget), but during the Pax Romana (Roman Peace — 27 BCE to CE 180) nothing stood against it.
As I see it, child of the times as I am — “Question authority!” — one can look on Romans 13 in one of two ways:
One: Paul truly believed that the government of the Caesars was instituted by the will of God and that people should obey all of its laws and strictures. This despite, to our modern minds, its corruption, immorality, lack of concern for much (most) of its population and dependence on coercion and slavery.
Two: Paul, knowing full well the power of the Caesars and that those to whom he was preaching were powerless, wanted to protect them and he, therefore, told them to be quiet, keep their heads down and obey the law. This in the same tone where Jesus, according to the Bible, told people to render unto Caesar what was Caesar’s and unto God what was God’s.
I wonder — was Jesus a child of His time and truly believe that the military dictatorship of the Caesars was the rightful government decreed by God or was He just being practical?
Which brings me back to AGOTUS Jeff Sessions. Does he believe that Paul in his letter to the Romans 13 really means that people should obey the laws because the government was put there by God (even being a corrupt military dictatorship). And, that that applies to us? Today?
I believe that any American government official who believes, like Jeff Sessions, that we all must obey the government because God put it there should be fired. He, or she, does not belong.
We created the United States because we believed that the current — of that time — government was destructive of our needs, wants and rights. People, not God, created government(s) and it is their right to change them.
We cannot use a quote from a first century Roman citizen to justify the, in my humble opinion, immoral actions of our twenty-first government.
Whether you consider Mr. Trump to be the Savior, Anti-Christ or just The Mule in regards to American government in the highly toxic political climate of 21st century America, it is immoral, or so I believe in this day and age, to separate children and parents by the hundreds and thousands. And, separating a nursing baby from its mother?
Assuming the actual existence of the God Jeff Sessions says he believes in, I would like to be a fly on the wall when God questions him at his last judgement: “A baby, Jeff, a baby? How can you justify taking a nursing baby away from its mother by saying I OK’d it? I, God, am to blame?”
13 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: 4 for he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. 5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. 6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.
Romans 13 has a long history with regard to revolution and oppression.
Both sides, Loyalists and Patriots, used it to defend their positions during the American Revolutionary period.
Martin Luther used it to defend his position in putting down violent peasant uprisings in the 1520s.
Pro-slavery forces used it to defend the fugitive slave acts in 18th and 19th century America.
Adolph Hitler used it to defend his repression of opponents in the 1930s Germany.
Go to your favorite Search Engine and type in: Romans 13 and whoever or whatever you wish to research. Some of the articles and sites are well-researched and written. And others, I have found, are just pure junk. Decide for yourself.
“They came first for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Several years ago I experienced a sharp pain in the upper left portion of my mouth and face. My first thought was a cracked tooth. Went to a dentist recommended by a friend — I had different, less extensive, insurance coverage than my wife had. X-rays were taken and there was no evidence of a cracked tooth or anything else wrong in my mouth.
I saw a neurologist (who also thought it was probably a cracked tooth) and she gave me some medicine for a nerve problem. The meds worked, to a degree, and got me through the summer.
When we got back from vacation, I went back to the dentist (not my current dentist) and this time the X-rays showed a crack in my upper left back molar. We could really see the difference in the pictures. And the tooth was quickly extracted.
Fast forward to about four years ago and another cracked tooth (#19 — lower left) and now there is a problem. There is a gap in my lower teeth; it needs to be filled. Well, for one reason and another it didn’t get done . . . till now.
After all of the necessary preliminaries, last Tuesday was the day.
Before leaving home, an hour prior to the appointment time, I took the four Amoxicillin (which I’ve had before) capsules as directed.
I arrived on time. The receptionist (clerk/office manager/office lady?) asked whether I was being given a local or general anesthetic. I replied, “local” and she said I had just saved myself a lot of money.
Yeah, there was a significant difference between what I was billed that day and the estimate I had been given previously.
The prep work didn’t take long and almost before I knew it my gums were being swabbed and I was then shot full of “local” — with some more a couple of minutes later after the first had taken effect. My mouth was propped open and he went to work.
I felt no pain — literally, no pain. Weird. I know he’s cutting the skin away from the bone in my jaw. He’s using an electric drill to create a hole in the bone. I can feel the vibrations of the drill and the pressure he’s exerting on it. But pain? It does not exist. Well, except for some where his hand is pressing my lower lip into my lower front teeth, but this is of little concern when someone is using drills, torque wrenches and screwdrivers in your mouth.
Twenty minutes later, maybe only fifteen, he’s done. No pain, no bleeding — time for an X-ray. Interesting.
We go back to the surgical room, look at the picture and go over my instructions for the next week.
Take one Amoxicillin that evening and the rest of the bottle as directed.
Don’t brush in the area of the implant.
No regular mouthwash for two weeks.
Don’t use your Waterpick around the implant.
Don’t chew over the implant and no “hard” foods. OK, no problem.
I make my appointment for my follow-up in seven days and I’m gone. Less than one hour from the time I arrived to my departure.
I generally have a rather high pain tolerance and do not bother to fill my narcotic pain med prescription; ibuprofen and acetaminophen will be just fine.
The surgeon calls me a bit before six that evening to see how I’m doing. As far as I’m concerned — everything is hunky-dory.
For dinner I have two burritos — soft and easy to chew on the right side of my mouth. I go to bed later that evening feeling fine.
Implant Day Plus 1 — Wednesday
I feel fine until about 4:00 pm and then all heck breaks out. Massive headache and nausea. What’s wrong? The area around my implant feels normal — no pain, no swelling, nada.
What’s wrong? Food poisoning, bad burritos? Seems that way to me. Wednesday night, Thursday, Thursday night, Friday morning and I am miserable. My guts heave and I can’t even keep saliva down. I can’t sleep; have no energy. I spend time on the bathroom rug because I don’t want to be too far away when the next heave comes.
The cats are worried; they curl up with me on the bathroom floor (at least they can sleep.)
Thursday evening and I can again keep some liquids down. I suck on ice cubes and sip a bit of coke. After all, I haven’t had any caffeine since Wednesday morning.
Friday, saltines. Friday night — sleep, real sleep.
Sunday, except for my energy level and an almost continuous low-grade headache, I’m back to normal; at least as normal as I get.
Implant Day Plus 7
Today’s follow-up appointment went well. No problems surface and in three months I’ll see him again. Soon thereafter, I’ll have my new tooth — yee-hah!
The follow-up exam goes fine — everything looks and sounds, OK.
No Waterpick near the implant as it can force stuph down — which is not something to be desire.
Keep my electric toothbrush away from the implant — the vibrations may loosen the screw.
Implant. What sorts of images does that word conjure up for you?
An electric drill in your mouth?
Novocain or other local anesthetic?
General anesthetic/being put to sleep?
Maybe, YES to all of the above?
We weren’t poor growing up, but we did without a lot because any extra went to tuition to put my brother and I through Catholic schools (EL-HI). Orthodontia? No way! Regular exams? Of, course.
My left – upper – canine came in behind its predecessor and pushed it out of the way. All we could afford at the time was a quick visit to, I believe it was a “Dr. Beauchamp” dentist-in-the-box. A quick local injection, extraction and out of there. Braces? Not an option. And that tooth is still there and occasionally almost putting a hole in my tongue. Could I have it fixed today? Yes. Will I? No, I’m too thrifty/cheap to spend the money on something I’ve dealt with for fifty-plus years with few problems — other than all of those pictures in which you see me smiling but not showing any teeth.
Oooowww . . .
A year or two after I started teaching in Orange I needed my two lower wisdom teeth removed — the uppers had been removed without incident previously.
I went to my appointment about 4:00 pm. The oral surgeon said the operation — under local anesthetic — would take about twenty minutes total. Twenty minutes later he had the first, left, tooth out in pieces. An hour plus later he had the other out in a dozen or more pieces. Also, several additional shots of local — I can still here his voice through the haze of pain and time saying: “Local.” And the nurse replying: “What? Again?”
As some of my friends might tell you, I do not always do the sensible thing, but what I usually do or just want to do. With dry sockets and pain pills I went directly from the dentist to the YMCA and played in my volleyball league. I went home and slept and got up and went to work the next day.
A day off just because I was in pain? Surely, you jest.
Did this experience affect me?
Well, it was thirty years before I again went to the dentist.
It’s almost time to visit the dentist who did last week’s implant surgery and see how things are actually going on in my mouth. I’ll continue my implant story on the morrow, or perhaps later this week.
Oh, yeah — today’s the primary election here in SoCal and polls are open to 8:00 pm. If you want to have your voice counted, VOTE!