A Great Sadness

Yule and the Moon of the Winter Solstice

Where’s the Webb? 618,000 miles from Earth, 280000 to L2. That’s 68% of the way. .2807 mps. Mission Day 12.

webb secondary mirror deployed

See this from Earth/Sky: “So far, all is well with the unfolding of the Webb Space Telescope. Its giant sunshield has been successfully opened and “tensioned.” And yesterday Webb successfully deployed its secondary mirror. That’s the small round convex mirror (29 inches or 0.74 meters in diameter), located at the end of long booms. It was the step of Webb’s unfolding that gave mission scientist Heidi Hammel the most trepidation. She’d been quoted earlier as saying, “For me, personally, that’s the scariest part of the whole deployment sequence, the secondary mirror … If we don’t have a secondary mirror, we don’t get any light from space into our cameras and spectrographs. There’s nothing.” NASA aired the momentous step live from Mission Control on Wednesday.”

 

@willworthington art

Thursday gratefuls: Microwave back in place. Most cabinets in place. Dishwasher functioning. Excited. May be done this week. If not, certainly next week. Stephanie, the PA at Evergreen Medical Center. What a sweetie. Still buzzing with that small town feeling. A bit more snow. Colder. Subway. Safeway pickup.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: The Webb’s second mirror deployed

Tarot-January spread: Love-Nine of Vessels, generosity

 

“The divine and open cauldron of nature always welcomes those who absorb the waters of knowledge with compassion. They are blessed with regeneration.”   wildwood book

 

Well. January 6th. I’m gonna have to think out loud about democracy, these United (?) States, our future. This is stream of consciousness, not well considered. The heart side of this problem. Later on some analysis. Maybe in 2030?

I do not feel personally threatened by the absurdities in our common life today. Except in one instance. Covid. I have a paralyzed left diaphragm. I live at 8,800 feet. My choice, sure, but still a reality. I have cancer. I’m 74. I don’t have a choice about my high risk status. It just is. Wish we could agree to vaccinate and mask. Push this disease back in the ranks held by the flu. End the pandamndemic. I miss my life. Parts of it anyhow.

The rest of it, horned red and blue shamans trumpeting during a riot, 3%’rs ready for the revolution, Trump’s gaggle of conservative justices, Trump and his corrosive stupidity and cupidity, gerrymandering, voter restrictions in a democracy. All that.

White privilege has me cosseted in a secure financial situation thanks to Kate. Living in a wonderful home on top of Shadow Mountain. How cool is that? With friends that are healthy and have resources, family, too.

As a hermit of sorts and, oxymoronically, a forever Wanderer*, 0 in the Wildwoods major arcana, I feel buffered from the cold, chaotic winds blowing.

Climate change does affect me and mine, the house in particular, but I’ve said how I feel about that danger.

In those senses I feel if not o.k., at least not up against it, as the ghastly right rises. This is on a personal, old man level.

Having said that. I’ve spent my life working on political issues, trying to leverage change and sometimes succeeding. Racism. Poverty. Unemployment. Affordable Housing. Worker owned businesses. Corporate overreach in poor neighborhoods. LGBTA+. Feminism. Community based economic development. Climate change. Immigration. Consolidation of plant patents in the hands of pharmaceutical corporations. Stop the Vietnam War. Unions. I’ve had a hand in with all these issues.

Not gonna bore you with my tally. The point here is that my heart and soul since I became a teenager have focused on building an inclusive America, an America where no one went hungry, had no place to live. An America where all of her citizens had a straight up chance to succeed. An America where worker’s controlled their own destinies. An America where our natural resources are in the commons, used with an eye to their sustainability and a distribution among all sectors of society. An America which welcomes the other in the spirit of the Statue of Liberty.

This America matters to me. It’s my home and I want my home to be a welcoming, safe space for folks to live the lives they want. This is what feels threatened to me. And in that threat lies an existential question about the value of political work. Why do it if it can all be washed away by a brainless bigot and the folks frightened by change?

My answer is, has to be really, that such work must go on no matter the changing political climate. No matter the risk. No matter the possibility or probability of success.

Here are the major problems:

1. Voting rights repression. This is key to any positive change in the electoral realm.

2. White supremacists and their fellow travelers. The fear-based politics of these folks ensures that they remain manipulable by the Trumpists. This cynical manipulation of white fear recalls the yellow peril, Japanese internment camps, Jim Crow, the KKK takeover of state governments in the 20’s, and keeps these voters and reactionaries tied close as voters and January 6th type rabble rousers. Joe McCarthy must be smiling somewhere.

3. Gerrymandering. On this issue Democrats went to sleep and let a single man create voting maps favorable to Republicans. This could take decades to undo if it can be undone at all. It leads to #4.

4. Republican control of state governments. States rights is an enduring American issue, prominent in the founding and in the Civil War era especially. States have the power to challenge the Federal government in some areas. See this map to understand the issue here.

5. The Supreme Court and other Federal Courts stuffed with conservative jurists. The now ancient seeming idea that the courts were non-political has fallen by the wayside. That means there is no non-partisan zone in our Federal government anymore. Probably the most corrosive problem here is a lack of faith in the law engendered by decisions made not so much on legal grounds as on partisan ones. See the Texas abortion law for an example.

6. The Senate. Manchin. McConnell. The spineless center-right Republicans. And, in the fall, a probable Republican take-over of the House. I mean…

7. Opportunity Cost on Climate Change. In future terms the top five are minor league compared to this one. We’ve already had four years of Trump’s pro-oil, pro-business, pro-whatever’s not good for the environment if it’s good for profits, government. Not to say that any Democratic government has been much better. Action on climate change has real drop dead points in the next ten to twenty years. Beyond them the worst estimates of climate change will be, as the climate change folks say, baked in.

This all challenges the country I love, and challenges even more the country about which I dream and for which I have given most of my working life. (non-working, too, for that matter) If I dwell on it, it can make me despondent. So I don’t dwell. But that doesn’t make it go away.

I guess you could say the country has broken my heart.

 

 

 

 

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