Keeping current in wellness, in and out of the water
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Our political process in America has never been such a shocking reality show. The whole world is tuning in while we use the presidential election of 2016 to display our worst national attributes in public. Sexism has reared its ugly head and is parading around as if it were the only important issue we have to consider. It is paramount to perceive how much of our own thought processes are controlled by outside forces. Both men and women are subject to our inherited stereotypes. We may also carry deep prejudice about foreign cultures, races, or religions about which we have no direct knowledge. These oversimplifications of society’s condition harm everyone. The fact that a woman is running against a man has engendered some kind of cartoon version of public consternation, indignation, and unacceptable conduct by almost everyone.
I propose that we take a step back and see our personal situation as an integral part of a much larger scheme. People everywhere vote because of their feelings about their own economic future. This is not strange. It is survival instinct. In times of dramatic change and disruption dysfunctional systems must give way to new ideas for the survival of the entire environment. Civil rights were first won by serfs who existed as chattel to nobility. The hard fought war against tyranny will not be won in physical battle, but in hearts and minds. Terrorism begins at home, in the angry hearts and minds of indignant citizens. By imagining evil enemies everywhere we maintain a militant mindset that does not foster peace.
In ancient Greece Aristophanes wrote a comedy about women and war. The heroine, Lysistrata proposed that women take over the treasury, since the old men had squandered all the funds:
“What matters that I was born a woman, if I can cure your misfortunes? I pay my share of tolls and taxes, by giving men to the State. But you, you miserable greybeards, you contribute nothing to the public charges; on the contrary, you have wasted the treasure of our forefathers, as it was called, the treasure amassed in the days of the Persian Wars. You pay nothing at all in return; and into the bargain you endanger our lives and liberties by your mistakes. Have you one word to say for yourselves?… Ah! don’t irritate me, you there, or I’ll lay my slipper across your jaws; and it’s pretty heavy.”
The men were duly concerned:
“Chorus of old men: If we give them the least hold over us, ’tis all up! their audacity will know no bounds! We shall see them building ships, and fighting sea-fights like Artemisia; nay if they want to mount and ride as cavalry, we had best cashier the knights, for indeed women excel in riding, and have a fine, firm seat for the gallop. Just think of all those squadrons of Amazons Micon has painted for us engaged in hand-to-hand combat with men.”
― Aristophanes, Lysistrata
I think we are once again at a pivotal point in history. Equality will serve as the only kind of chivalry we can afford to accept. What do you think, gentle reader?
The daily reports of violence make life in America scary and real. I see the trend that has been targeting young black males, but I am a little old lady, as WASP as WASP can be. I do not trust the police as far as I can throw them. They make my neighborhood very unsafe by refusing to respond when crime is reported. I don’t fear brutality, but everyone where I live has suffered years of police mendacity that has destroyed any trust there might have been in our local law enforcement agencies. The new sliding scale introduced for the unprecedented Hillary e mail case is all about intent. Now it is more important to decide if the entity meant do violate laws rather than to know if laws were broken. That is how there can be a homicide with no person who committed it. The crazy trend to reach a verdict without any trial or jury, by letting the FBI decide, or by letting cops murder people without even arresting them has gone way too far. We are not safe in our homes or on the streets of our cities. The system is not rigged, per se, it is just entirely corrupt. It is not a matter of good cop/bad cop. It is a dysfunctional system that is not attached to justice, but to a separate reality in which there is no law but their opinion. My Puritan ancestors would plotz to know what has become of their nation.
What would the ancestors do?
We can never go back to colonial America to find out how we lost our ethical boundaries and our civil rights. Murders by cop are live streamed to the world today. I have not watched this last one because I saw the one from Baton Rouge yesterday, and I can’t take in another one. The victim’s mother has decided not to watch it for her own mental health. We need to find a way to stop the bloodbath. I am calling on all my relations to give me insight into this crisis.
This weekend the transporter cloaks are outfitted with time travel capabilities. We are able to zoom through both space and time at will now. I figured once we had warmed up,why not go on an excellent adventure with these cloaks? I spend a lot of time studying my family tree. It is a fascination of mine that teaches me history as well as how my own family members were acting at various times. I have started to think beyond what I know, beyond the facts that have been recorded, in each of the personal dramas of my ancestors. I have been thinking about the role that Selma, Alabama played in my mother’s ancestry. Her ancestors lived there and some fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War. They were a religious group who founded a Baptist church in Texas after the war. I keep contemplating how religious people could believe in slavery. I can come up with no logic for that situation. If we were having coffee this weekend I am afraid we would have to take up some heavy subjects like racism and liberation.
I grew up in Pittsburgh and was living in Venezuela when the first march on Selma took place 50 years ago. My own exposure to racism and class divisions was played out in the petroleum camp where I lived in South America. I lived a privileged life of an imperialistic overlord, and was enthusiastically in favor of it because I was 13 years old. I now believe that immature societies take advantage of weakness and corruption rather than building up the core strength of the population. Dictators and now terrorists make it a goal to dominate, control, and torture others. I am not sure if this is relatively new, or if people have always used power to harm others.
I invite you for coffee in 1865 in Selma, Alabama at Elizabeth Langley, my 3rd great-grandmother’s house. Maybe she can answer some of the questions many of us must have about slavery and emancipation. I hope she will help us make sense of the seeming contradiction between Christian faith and the Confederacy. I want to ask her about the day 100 years before the 1965 march with Dr. Martin Luther King, when General James Wilson was followed by the liberated slaves on the exact same route followed in 1965. I want her to tell us what it was like to hear about black men marching behind the army that freed them. I am sure Elizabeth will whip up a mean batch of biscuits for all who are hungry. Her southern hospitality will not fail to make us feel at home, I am sure. There will be rocking chairs out on the porch for rest and conversation before we cloak back to this century. I look forward to hearing about your week and your take on life in 1865. Thanks, as always, for your company.
I have the Confederate army records of my 2nd great-grandfather, William Ellison Taylor. Both he and his father in law applied and received Confederate pensions in Texas late in life. They came from the vicinity of what is now Selma, Alabama. The new movie about Selma has intrigued me although I have not seen it. I was alive to witness those events, and my mother’s family had a long history in Selma about which I recently learned. In fact, my 3rd great-grandmother owned a large tract of land in Old Town, Dallas, also known as Cahawba. She moved there from Georgia with her husband when it was the county seat, and maybe when it was still the capital of Alabama. It was a happening river port with a large warehouse. The area is now an archeological park with ongoing restoration projects. Elizabeth lived through the Civil War in Alabama, then moved to Texas with her son and extended family.
Elizabeth Langley (1790 – 1885)
is my 3rd great grandmother
Thomas Armer (1825 – 1900)
son of Elizabeth Langley
Lucinda Jane Armer (1847 – 1939)
daughter of Thomas Armer
George Harvey Taylor (1884 – 1941)
son of Lucinda Jane Armer
Ruby Lee Taylor (1922 – 2008)
daughter of George Harvey Taylor
I am the daughter of Ruby Lee Taylor
Elizabeth was born in South Carolina and died in Texas. Her husband died before the Civil War. She obtained a land patent from the BLM. She sheltered her family there during the war.
When the Armer family arrived in Waller, Texas they bought land with gold, then donated some of it to found the Shiloh Baptist Church, where Elizabeth is buried. I always wonder why they had gold since the men in the family were working in the service of the Confederacy, for Confederate money. When it became worthless the family must have had some tricks up the sleeves, or been able to sell the Alabama land for gold. They executed the move in oxcarts. They went to an area known for cotton farming, but I don’t think they grew cotton. In fact, the records do not reflect that the Armers owned slaves before the war. They were part of Confederate society, but either too poor or too religious to own slaves. In Texas they were preachers and subsistence farmers.
The parallel between what happened during Elizabeth’s life and the Civil Rights march in 1965 is striking. This story comes from the informative Facebook page of Cahawba:
In Gen’l James Wilson’s autobiography, he wrote that after meeting with Gen’l Forrest at Cahawba (after the Battle of Selma), they parted ways, and he returned to Selma then crossed the Alabama River and headed his Federal troops toward Montgomery. Here’s what he had to say about the enslaved African Americans that started to follow him: ” a great number of fugitives from the surrounding country flocked into the town and our march to the eastward had hardly begun when it became apparent that new crowds were following us, which made vigorous measures necessary for getting rid of them. The rear guard could keep them behind, but could not prevent them from taking the “ROAD TO FREEDOM.” Wow! The goosebumps started forming when I realized that this ROAD TO FREEDOM was exactly the same route that marchers for voting rights took exactly 100 years later! I can’t think of a better example of Selma’s tourism tag line, “Civil War to Civil Rights.”
FYI. Gen’l Wilson eventually organized, armed and equipped the able-bodied men and found them valuable additions to his force.
This is an amazing story and not a coincidence. I had not planned to go to Alabama again in my life, but now that they have put so much effort into uncovering the history of my 3rd great-grandmother’s lifetime in this place, I might need to visit. They specialize in birding, which is pretty cool. Visitors can participate in guided bird outings. Civil War to Civil Rights is a very interesting subject, still in progress.