Wednesday, July 21, 2021
The Trump GOP from the beginning politicized the pandemic. They made it a test of loyalty to the Beloved Leader. Don't take the vaccine created by those Jew liberal fags that you hate so much. Believe the Leader. You don't need no stinkin' evidence.
And now as we're heading into yet another covid surge, the Leader cult is turning into a death cult and a suicide pact.
Here's testimony from someone on the frontlines in Birmingham Alabama:
I'm admitting young healthy people to the hospital with very serious COVID infections. One of the last things they do before they're intubated is beg me for the vaccine. I hold their hand and tell them that I'm sorry, but it's too late. A few days later when I call time of death, I hug their family members and I tell them the best way to honor their loved one is to go get vaccinated and encourage everyone they know to do the same. They cry. And they tell me they didn't know. They thought it was a hoax. They thought it was political. They thought because they had a certain blood type or a certain skin color they wouldn't get as sick. They thought it was 'just the flu'. But they were wrong. And they wish they could go back. But they can't. So they thank me and they go get the vaccine. And I go back to my office, write their death note, and say a small prayer that this loss will save more lives.
None of this had to happen. Over 600,000 dead was not necessary. That the epidemic surges again in a lot of localities in the USA did not have to happen.
I'm fully vaccinated, but I'm watching on social media people I know online coming down with the virus still over a year and a half into the epidemic. But for the ambitions of some demagogues and their willfully bamboozled followers, my mother might have lived the remainder of her life to its proper finish among family and friends instead of alone and isolated gasping for breath in a covid ward.
If I survive this epidemic, I will never forget nor forgive.
Tuesday, July 20, 2021
Wednesday, July 14, 2021
I'm thinking this Bastille Day of Lafayette. The young Lafayette was an amazing prodigy. A very courageous, charismatic, and capable military commander he won battles before the age of twenty. He summoned all the courage and daring of adolescence to demand that George Washington free his slaves and provide land and means for them to make a living as free people. He said this to Washington's face, and at Mount Vernon, instantly over-shadowing the handful of Founding Fathers who opposed slavery.
The older Lafayette appeals more to me these days, probably because I am older. He began as a star of the French Revolution creating a National Guard to safeguard the new republic and repel foreign invaders. With help from Thomas Jefferson, he wrote the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen. As the revolution radicalized and became more violent, Lafayette found himself on the death lists of both monarchists and Jacobins. He fled to Belgium hoping to catch a ship going to America. Instead Hessian soldiers captured him. Lafayette spent the rest of the French Revolution going from one German prison to another sometimes living in appalling conditions. That was a misfortune that probably saved his life.
Napoleon negotiated Lafayette's freedom and brought him back to France. Lafayette standing on principle and being foolishly naive called out Napoleon for being an autocrat and betraying the original liberal spirit of the Revolution. Napoleon responded by seizing all of Lafayette's assets reducing him to being a pauper. For the rest of his life, he lived off his wife's inheritance and what he could earn speaking and writing.
During the Bourbon Restoration, Lafayette mostly lived quietly always receiving American visitors, but also many others, especially those involved in other liberation struggles. He served briefly in the restored Chamber of Deputies under King Louis XVIII, but changes in election laws preventing liberals like him from being elected to the Chamber caused his defeat.
In 1824, he toured the United States for a little more than a year. The tour was a triumph. Everywhere he went Lafayette was hailed as a hero of the American Revolution and as a living link to the brave days of independence. Politicians competed to share the stage with him. Towns and cities competed to have him visit. Lafayette returned to France under the reactionary autocratic rule of King Charles X.
Lafayette made himself the king's enemy openly calling for a democratic republic on the American model. The king's heavy handed rule created a lot of popular support for Lafayette that probably saved him from being arrested. But the king's spies were everywhere and always kept watch over Lafayette and read his correspondence.
Lafayette was 72 years old when the July Revolution of 1830 broke out after the king tried to disenfranchise everyone except his supporters. Once again Lafayette was summoned to command the National Guard to protect the Chamber of Deputies from the king's troops. Lafayette refused to negotiate with King Charles and forced his abdication. Lafayette very reluctantly accepted the reign of King Louis-Philippe in order to avoid another civil war in France.
Lafayette died in 1834 at the age of 76.
I think about all that the older Lafayette did and endured these days because it appears to me that the USA of today like the France of Lafayette's maturity is about to send liberal democracy into a long eclipse.
I've never thought much of political ideologies -- like religious dogmas they always degenerate into pretexts for dominating people -- but I've always felt loyal to liberal democracy. How to continue once it ends? How to remain true to democracy when it becomes unfashionable, inconvenient, and perhaps illegal? How to believe and act on the concept of freedom and dignity as the birthright of all people, that people can govern themselves for their own sakes without anyone representing God on earth, or some political messiah embodying the forces of destiny? These were all things Lafayette faced through most of his life. The tragedy and the heroism of Lafayette is that he remained true to liberal democracy and to France long after France had betrayed him.
Tuesday, July 13, 2021
For those of you left who follow news about me from here instead of from Facebook, a lot has happened over the past couple of years.
My mother died of covid in January of this year. She was 93. My brother had just moved her out of a nursing home to get her away from a covid outbreak there, only to have her test positive for the disease in the new nursing home. She died about a month later in Dallas Presbyterian Hospital in complete isolation.
A live video feed was the last I saw of her a few days before she died. My brother in Dallas had no more access to her than I did here in New York.
We may move again in the near future. We're both getting very tired of the noise on the BQE just outside our window.
And here he is.
I'm very busy this summer.
I'm working on the last panels of the Second Passion Series. I'm working on a version of the Doubting Thomas story, and the Supper at Emmaus. Those panels are almost finished and illustrated below, photographed with my better but less than perfect phone camera.
After these are finished, then I will begin work on the last two panels of the 20 panel series. They will be a version of the Ascension I'm titling Jesus Returns to God, and the last panel will be The Trinity. Traditionally, the extended Passion sequence ends with The Last Judgement. I'm thinking about incorporating some aspect of the Last Judgment in the Trinity panel.
I've just started making the finished panels. I spent a long time writing the script and it's finished, though it will inevitably get tweaked as I make the panels. Here are some phone photos of what I've finished so far. I've just started.