The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: August 22, 2020
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MLB play of the week…
It’s been too long since I’ve heard such eloquence spoken in a political context…
So what do we do now? What’s our strategy? Over the past four years, a lot of people have asked me, “When others are going so low, does going high still really work?” My answer: going high is the only thing that works, because when we go low, when we use those same tactics of degrading and dehumanizing others, we just become part of the ugly noise that’s drowning out everything else. We degrade ourselves. We degrade the very causes for which we fight.
But let’s be clear: going high does not mean putting on a smile and saying nice things when confronted by viciousness and cruelty. Going high means taking the harder path. It means scraping and clawing our way to that mountain top. Going high means standing fierce against hatred while remembering that we are one nation under God, and if we want to survive, we’ve got to find a way to live together and work together across our differences.
And going high means unlocking the shackles of lies and mistrust with the only thing that can truly set us free: the cold hard truth.
• Michelle Obama, Aug. 17, 2020
The latest in micturation technology…
100 years ago…a historic vote for suffrage…
This week marked the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing women the right to vote. On August 18, 1920, Tennessee legislators voted in favor 50-46 to put the amendment over the line.
Winning the vote was a long and complex process. The New York Times has an excellent piece called Suffrage at 100: A Visual History at 100 that gives a photographic overview of the battle.
One of the interesting photos reminds us that winning the vote involved a hard-fought culture war then too:
“Counterintuitive though it may seem, there were women who actively opposed the suffrage movement. Some argued that having the vote would make women masculine, disrupt their traditional roles as wives and mothers and destroy American society. Their fears were illustrated in this cartoon by Laura Foster, published by an anti-suffrage group in 1915.”
A different kind of faith message at the DNC…
“People of faith have long led change, from abolition and women’s suffrage to the labor movement and the struggle for civil rights,” said U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, Thursday night (Aug. 20) during his address to the Democratic National Convention. “Joe Biden will continue that progressive march towards justice, inspired by respect for the dignity of all people, people Joe believes were made in the image of God.”
Coons, a Yale Divinity School graduate and an ordained Presbyterian elder, delivered the most faith-focused message of the convention.
…The past four days have emphasized the Democratic Party’s commitment to religious outreach and that has the potential to transform all of American politics.
…Jill Biden said her husband’s “faith is unshakable — because it’s not in politicians or political parties — or even himself. It’s in the providence of God.”
In addition to highlighting Joe Biden’s personal faith, the convention emphasized the role of religion in the Democratic Party. A diverse group of faith leaders — including Jewish, Muslim, Protestant, Catholic and Eastern Orthodox clergy — were invited to pray at the convention, including Bishop Mariann Budde of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington.
…The convention held an interfaith service and Catholic Mass. And earlier Thursday, I spoke at a “Believers for Biden” virtual convention watch party with actress Jennifer Garner. My message was simple: The religious diversity of the Democratic Party is a cause of celebration.
Seventy-one percent of Democrats and Democratic leaners identify with a religious tradition, according to Pew Research Center. Yet we rarely hear about the religious diversity of the party or our leaders. The embrace of religion spans the ideological spectrum of the party, from U.S. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and former President Barack Obama. Obama has been speaking eloquently about his Christian faith as far back as 2004, when he delivered his history-making address at that year’s Democratic National Convention.
For too long, an imbalance of public discourse about the role of religion in each party has led to a warped perception that the GOP is the party of God. The idea Republicans have a lock on God heightens political polarization and erases a key motivation of progressive politics.
Goodbye and good luck…
50 years ago…remembering a historic break-up…
Paul has to chuckle, thinking about how future generations will look back at this — the Beatles, the greatest of all rock & roll bands, the world’s most legendary creative team, falling apart over such a trivial spat. Even on a winter morning as gloomy as this one, Paul breaks into a laugh.
“It’s gonna be such an incredible sort of comical thing, like in 50 years’ time, you know. ‘They broke up because Yoko sat on an amp!’ ”
Rolling Stone has a fascinating article on the Beatles’ break-up, called And In the End, with the byline: “Fifty years ago, the Beatles went through rock’s most famous breakup. Inside the heartbreak, the brotherhood, and why the music still matters.”
But as with most Beatles stories, the truth is a lot more complicated when you look closely. In the end, it’s really a story about four friends trying to hold on to one another in dark and confusing times — searching for a way to shine on till tomorrow. Like everybody else, John, Paul, George, and Ringo witnessed the end of the Beatles with shock and disbelief, no idea how to apply the brakes. None of them really imagined this was the end.
Now here’s a feel-good story…
Henry H. Bellamann
Failing petals and dusty leaves
And drooping flower-heads,
Beneath unpitying skies
Unpromising of cloud or change—
Yet some faint life still moves
In your pale veins;
Some dumb, unknowing courage
Meets each day’s mocking sun.
How you keep faith with wind and rain!
I watch you in your silence,
Touch your curled tendrils;
While my tired eyes
Search heaven for promise
Or for change.
Can you know in your dim nerves
The touch of one who waits, like you,
And still keeps faith with God,
As you keep faith with wind and rain?
43 years ago…Long live the King! The King is dead.
On August 16, 1977, at the age of 42 Elvis Presley was found by his girlfriend, Ginger Alden, lying unconscious on the floor of the master suite bathroom in his mansion in Memphis, Graceland. He was taken by ambulance to the Baptist Memorial Hospital and, after attempts to revive him failed, was pronounced dead at 3:30 pm. Like many other stars of his era, Elvis’s death was the result of drug abuse, confirmed by the toxicology report after his death. However, this was hidden from the public at first, the original report saying that he died of cardiac arrest.
According to charges filed against his physician, Dr. George Nichopoulos, in 1980, in the last 20 months of Elvis’s life, the star was prescribed over 12,000 pills and other pharmaceuticals and carried three suitcases of the drugs with him when he traveled.