Tuesday, January 2, 2018

What's New?

Everything and nothing. It’s a new year, a new day, a new ballgame. 

New, may be our favorite word here in the New World. After all, Reagan declared, it is Morning in America. FDR brought us a New Deal. JFK brought us to the New Frontier. My toothpaste is New and Improved. The advertised cars are brand new, though they all look the same to me. When restaurants have new menus that means they’ve just raised their prices. God wasn’t given to so many temper tantrums in the New Testament as he/she was in the Old.

How do we become new, I ask you? Change is on my mind. It seems to me very few public figures have undergone a makeover in terms of their political stripes. And yet ....

A few years ago I wrote a blog called Black and White. It was about the two Supreme Court justices who, amazingly, did become new in their coloration. Byron (Whizzer) White was an All-American football player and a liberal appointee by John Kennedy. He ended up dissenting along with Republicans on both the Miranda decision and Roe v Wade. Before him was Hugo Black picked by Franklin Roosevelt in 1937. In his early years Black was a member of the Ku Klux Klan. But he turned out to be a major voice in the Civil Rights decisions. 

In fact California Governor Earl Warren, once an advocate of Japanese internment later repented as Supreme Court Chief Justice to lead his associates to a unanimous decision desegregating public schools. Go figure!

Newness can happen. Give me twenty minutes and I’ll think of something I can testify to……… I used to hate walnuts; now I love them, if caramelized.

In today’s polarized spectrum it strains credulity to imagine Sean Hannity and Rachel Maddow switching channels. However in a recent segment on Sixty Minutes a former skin head / American Nazi revealed how he had a sudden moment of enlightenment when making eye contact with a Black man he was beating up. He has since rehabilitated dozens of hate group members while risking his own life.

Eye contact can be a mirror into oneself. Trump is, of course, beyond repair but there must be others with a full functioning brain and consciousness capable of compassion. A few retiring Senators, no longer for sale, have dared utter truth in defiance of their benefactors, at least rhetorically. Faustian pacts have their expiration dates.

If detergents and I-phones can be NEW why not greedy, climate-change deniers or at least the voters who installed them in office? 

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