The Awful Grace of God

[On this date 50 years ago RFK died of gunshot wounds sustained the previous evening.]

For as a people, we as a people, are strong enough, we are brave enough to be told the truth of where we stand. This country needs honesty and candor in its political life and from the President of the United States. But I don’t want to run for the Presidency  – I don’t want America to make the critical choice of direction and leadership this year without confronting the truth. I don’t want to win support of votes by hiding the American condition in false hopes or illusions. I want us to find out the promise of the future, what we can accomplish here in the United States, what this country does stand for and what is expected of us in the years ahead. And I also want us to know and examine where we’ve gone wrong. And I want all of us, young and old, to have a chance to build a better country and change the direction of the United States of America.

– Robert F. Kennedy, University of Kansas (March 18,1968)

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What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness, but love and wisdom, and compassion towards one another, and a feeling of justice towards those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.

Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.

– Robert F. Kennedy, Indianapolis, Indiana (April 4, 1968)

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Confess, Confess

By SJWNY, a Trail Mix Contributor

I did it. I supported John Edwards for President.

Every time I think of this I shake my head. How badly things turned out. But before we knew how repugnant his personal behavior was his public persona reflected what I wanted in a President.

In 2004 he held a rally at the Polish Cadets Hall in Buffalo. It was rocking – populism 101. The man had a following with the everyday working grub.

Any person you supported who turned out to be a head shaker? How could I have supported this person?

Time to confess, wipe the slate clean, live & learn. After all, 2020 is fast approaching for a new crop of losers to embrace.

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Death Is Forever

By SJWNY, a Trail Mix Contributor

The following was written by Sherman Edwards for the musical 1776. I offer it in honor of all soldiers & for the timelessness of loss & pain for those left behind.

Mama, hey mama
Come lookin’ for me
I’m here in the meadow 
By the red maple tree
Mama, hey mama,
Look  sharp here I be

Hey, Hey
Mama, look sharp.
Them soldiers, they fired
Oh, ma, did we run
But then we turned round
And the battle begun
Then I went under
Oh ma, am I done
Hey, hey
Mama, look sharp.
My eyes are wide open
My face to the sky
Is that you I’m hearing
In the tall grass nearby
Mama, come find me before I do die
Hey, hey
Mama, look sharp.

I’ll close your eyes, my Billy
Those eyes that cannot see
And I’ll bury you, my Billy
Beneath the maple tree
And never again
Will you whisper to me
Hey, hey
Oh mama ….. look sharp.

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Breath of Life: Celebrating Art, Artists & Artistry

By SJWNY, a Trail Mix Contributor

Art is personal. What speaks to one person is silent to another. There are two artists whose vision speaks to me: Mark Rothko (1903-1970) & Hans Holbein the Younger (1497-1543.) Rothko’s paintings speak with color, Holbein’s drawings with black on white.

Rothko is most famous for multiforms, blocks of colors on one canvas. He wrote of their “breath of life” & they do pulsate from within. I was struck quite young at the fact these paintings live. They evoke emotion, thought. Rothko was a troubled man who eventually committed suicide but he poured life into these artworks which project the complexity of life.

Hans Holbein the Younger is best known as the Court Painter to Henry VIII of England. Remember the oversize King, hand on hip, feet apart firmly planted? That’s a Holbein. His paintings are masterful but his “breath of life” exists in his drawings. They are spookily alive; the sitter’s stare directly gazing out through the centuries in unseeing eyes that saw all. Holbein’s drawings captured the person alive.

In recent years art has come to be seen as frivolous to some taxpayers. What they fail to see is the breath of life art inspires in minds & creativity, curiosity, skepticism to the “known” truths; perhaps these very reasons explain their mindset. An expanded mind questions & acts; a closed mind accepts what it is told.

Please support your local artists, galleries & especially teachers who give of themselves to open minds. All are needed, all are important to democracy & progress. Inquire as to whether candidates support art. Their answers will be quite illuminating.

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The New Normal

If ponies rode men & grass ate cows,
And cats were chased into holes by the mouse …
If summer were spring & the other way round
Then all the world would be upside down.

By SJWNY, a Trail Mix Contributor

If you had a pulse during history class, you would recognize that passage from the Revolutionary War era, specifically the Battle of Yorktown. It was a popular drinking song & was played as the Americans defeated the British, which was one of those “who’d a thunk it” moments. Whichever musician thought about playing that song & the time, the place, the situation, I salute him.

The rise of Donald Trump in 2016 & his subsequent election brought that song back to me. Who’d a thunk it, seriously. Wasn’t Hillary Rodham Clinton’s election a DONE DEAL? I also think of it now, with all the talking heads & hyperventilating social media/blogosphere folks climaxing over the Mueller investigations. Uh, excuse me, please … we’re talking about President Donald J. Trump, who lives, thrives, expands, glows on negativity. There is a chance (speaking softly here) he may slither out of this, freedom intact. 

This is a man elected to the highest office after the Access Hollywood tapes. Why this still astounds me is silly, but it does. The Russians can be blamed for a lot but ultimately Mr & Ms American cast his/her ballot on election day. The Republicans are masterful at enabling whatever/whomever propels the means to the ends of their agenda production.

There is no moral compass in the GOP. They are proactive while the Democrats are reactive. Grab the oars of the boat first & you can steer it anywhere you please. If it is leaky, find some sucker to keep bailing.

I do hope President Trump pays the price for what he has done to our government, our country. But will he? He has a habit of not paying any price. Others do, not him. I will not be surprised if this is one more situation where he doesn’t. Nothing surprises me about this man or the Republicans.

Commonsense plays no part in modern day politics. Looking at it from a logical view point is unnatural, does not compute. This is the new normal.

Cue the pipes & drums, please.

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