It’s a thriving community

Published 6:26 am Wednesday, March 24, 2010

“I can imagine nothing in the world preferable to a nice, well-heated room, with the books one loves and the leisure one wants.” — Gustave Flaubert

I am not personally acquainted with Gustave, and I have strong suspicion he is not around these days, and I am not one of those who will go to the place on the computer that would fill me in. However, I like what he has or had to say.

For a number of years I have been collecting words of other folks. Another choice I had for this week was one Mr. Einstein’s who said: “I believe in Spinoza’s God, who reveals himself in the lawful harmony of all that exists, but not in a God who concerns himself with fate and doings of mankind.”

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What I didn’t like to read the other day was the amount of money that went to Joe Mauer’s eight-year, $184 million contract; as much as I appreciate him I think it was obscene.

Monday night I did listen and watch the House passing the Health Bill on a computer, something new to me but reminding me too much of television.

I think Mellow prefers the quiet too, except when she sees someone across or crossing the street or hears the mail carrier come up the stairs and the hair on her back rises. She still taunts the two cats for part of the day, and she also spends a bunch of her time chewing those dog chew things. When she tires of this, she attempts to bury them on the couch and uses the couch cover to bury them.

There’s still the CD that fits in the television set I don’t use. I sometimes make an exception of listening to Charlie Rose.

Of course, Michele Bachmann “emerged on a Capitol balcony and waved to hundreds of Tea Party protesters chanting ‘kill the bill.’ ” There was a photo in the Tribune along with the story of her heading to the House floor surrounded by statues.

And as for The March of Folly, I am becoming far more acquainted with what led up to another fiasco—Vietnam.

Eight separate appeals addressed by Ho Chi Minh to President Truman and the Secretary of State over a period of five months asking for support and economic aid went unanswered on the ground that his government was not recognized by the United States.

“The snub was not given in ignorance of conditions in Vietnam. A report in October by Arthur Hale, of the United States Information Service in Hanoi made it apparent that French promises of reform and some vague shape of autonomy, which American policy counted on, were not going to satisfy. The people wanted the French out. Posters crying “Independence or Death!” in all towns and villages of the north “scream at the passerby from every wall and window.”

The French commander assigned to carry out the reconquest himself saw, or felt, the truth. After his first survey of the situation, General Leclerc said to his political adviser, “It would take 500,000 men to do it and even then it would not be done.” In one sentence he laid out the future, and his estimate would still be valid when 500,000 American soldiers were actually in the field two decades later.

It was nice to get a card from Vietnam a couple weeks ago from two Americans visiting Vietnam and knowing that Americans can visit Vietnam. It’s a thriving community, and it’s free of war. Maybe some day that will occur in Iraq, but at a huge cost, a cost profitable to some and of course access to oil that means so much to America and Cheney.

And I hope that before long things will settle in the Middle East, which could mean stepping back from there too. Eventually we will step back from there too and perhaps give some thought to the draft again.

It’s a good learning experience if you live through it.