An Estranged Father’s Optimistic Refrain

The concept of family is, at best, in transition, at worse, just a memory.  Its permanence is surely, in most cases, passé.  While the plight of mothers is often articulated, that of fathers, especially fathers left behind, is virtually ignored.  But some of us still manage to salvage the essence of what might have been.

My relationship with my three sons is strained at best, perhaps in some instances non-existent, but that is the present and recent past.  The more distant past is beautiful from my perspective, and remains, not only vivid, but healthy and alive:  I visit it frequently and its vibrant joy is not dissipated or diminished thereby.  It is seemingly unquenchable, a cornucopia molded through long days and arduous nights in frequently difficult times but with yields too beautiful to adequately describe. 

Living in the past is often criticized but to me that seems to be criticizing fulfillment of the fruits of one’s past sacrifices.  Streams of images of my three sons as they were growing are always nearby, images preserved when hope that everything would turn out positively was more than a mere possibility, as long as I persevered.  All I could ever want was inchoate and seemingly assured. 

It has not turned out that way, not the way I hoped and expected, at least not for me, but the impetus of those joyous times is the wind in today’s sails, echoing with fragrances and mirages of what was and what might have been.  So, rather than dwelling on what is, I revel in what was, insisting that having been real, the past is also permanent and that the love created there may be more than enough to see me through.

And that is true for so many, many, many fathers, most of whom believe that

No matter what,

It was all worthwhile.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He is currently a strategic analyst employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.

Confused Reflections as another Solstice Passes By

“Poignant with loss”.

The phrase resonates. 

Not in the sense of self-pity but perhaps a bit melodramatic.  Can one just as easily be poignant with joy?

Birth is the beginning of death and every gain is also the beginning of a corresponding loss.  A full life, one worth living, one where one has truly plumbed the depths and heights of feeling, one full of useful errors, is full of both loss and joy.  With vulnerability, dominion and confusion in equal measures.  With un-chainable emotions carefully balanced, control lost and regained and lost again.

For a very long time, most of my life really, the twin solstices have been poignant.  More so since I became estranged from my sons.  They are flying on their own, free to make their own mistakes and learn their own lessons.  To be deceived and perhaps enlightened as well.  To make their own joys and suffer their own sorrows.  To betray and be betrayed.  To accumulate and share experiences with their own, unique families.  The permanence for which I hoped proved transitory but in my life, transition has been the only constant.

Perhaps the poignancy I feel so often but more strongly during the solstices has to do with how often I’ve moved, starting when I was around two.  Back then, the constant change of situs was not yet impactful, at least not consciously so, but as I started school at five and changed schools at least once every year until I was fifteen, the changes become more and more difficult.  Friends were made each year only to be quickly lost.  That taught me how to make friends easily but also not to count on them.  Sadly, separations became easier and easier to bear until the seemed almost inconsequential, regardless of how strong bonds had once seemed.

That changed for a while when at the age of fifteen I became a “cadet”, first at the Eastern Military Academy in Huntington, New York, and then at the Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina.  Seven solid years of building bonds with schoolmates, ties which have persevered for decade after decade.  Then a return to Eastern as a faculty member; nine more years during which the nature of evolving bonds changed.  Bonding was no longer, for the most part, with peers, but rather, with my own pupils, young off-white tabulas almost rasas whom I sought to mentor.  Apparently I’d grown and passed through several rites of passage.  Some of those students have remained in my life, albeit at a distance, for more than half a century.

Fifteen was memorable for other reasons too.  I’d always had a crush on some girl or other but before I attained that lofty age, they rarely knew (I wonder though whether any suspected what I felt).  That changed.  I started developing intimate ties with young ladies, ties I rarely handled well.  Relationships seemed a game then.  I had so much to learn and they had so much to teach, all too frequently bittersweet.  Especially at this time of year.  Julia Iglesias (my favorite singer) singing “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before” has come to have a special meaning for me, but one more often than not tinged with regrets.  Seemingly, perhaps I stayed fifteen for way too long.  I’m still in touch with some lost loves, but not many.  However, looking back, many more of them have stayed in my heart. 

As it is for all of us eventually, as time slipped by, I lost precious family members and then classmates and students and friends and perhaps former lovers as well.  The other side of the veil becomes more and more crowded so much faster now.  Losses of places and people accumulate in profound pools of nostalgia weaving melancholy tapestries in shades of gray and the colors in rainbows fade.  Melancholy becomes a place, one I visit as accumulated memories croon siren songs and I brood on things I’d change.  Things that once seemed so right but now seem as though they might have been mistakes.  Mistakes I’d correct, … if only I could.

So many people have touched my life.  So many have shared sadness and happiness, ecstasy and despair.  Others have merely crossed my path for an instant.  I recall people I should have met, people who I saw in passing without a shared word and who immediately moved on but who I’ve never forgotten and wish I’d gotten to know.  Roads not taken are always more plentiful than the paths we’ve trod and who knows where they might have led.

Hopefully I’ve grown wiser but wisdom is strange.  It’s an imperfect mirror with distorted reflections and more and more unanswered, perhaps unanswerable, questions.  Time alone doesn’t make one wise but perhaps it makes us more sage than we once were.  Mistakes overcome bring wisdom, and mistakes, I’ve had my share.  And not too few to mention.  My way was not always the best.

This season is not only about gift giving and festivities but more importantly, it has always also been a time for reflection and introspection.  A time to ponder how we’ve become who we are.  As we age, some of us become less egocentric and our contemplation expands to the collectives of which we’re a part, to our future as a species.  Those of us who study history professionally but by some miracle at least try to do so objectively, at some point realize that truth is more than just elusive.  We come to realize that our own memories are at best an imperfect motley, an indecipherable collage, and that our collective memory tends to be even worse.  What we call history, what we pass on to our progeny, is not only usually inaccurate but all too often cynically scored, liveried in beautiful music and soaring rhetoric designed to mold us into sated sheep and lyrical lemmings easily misled.  To our collective detriment.  Apparently, as we age, we become cynics, although the wise among us may attain that status sooner.

Things seemed so much easier to understand when I was very young, so many things seemed so clear, so obvious.  Faith made belief easy.  God was in his Heaven with Père Noel at his side taking notes.  Fantasy seemed as likely to be true as what passed for reality.  Truth and justice were tangible rather than imagined.  One once among us, a Prince of Peace, had ascended to sit at the right hand of his father and certainly would never take sides in wars where we slaughtered each other in his Holy name.  But then faith became more and more elusive and harsh “realities” slowly took its place, purported sanity replacing benevolent chaos.

Like so many others, I wonder: “do we lose cognitive capacity as we pass from the magic era of early childhood into the realm of knowledge acquired”?  Is accumulated wisdom the antithesis of infancy’s faith or are we each a unique melding of instinct and pain, knowledge and joy, deception and rejection, unable to really communicate with anyone or anything else, even with the people we were and those we’ll become?

What a depressing thought!

Can’t we be both unreservedly alone and completely connected with everyone and everything that’s ever been?  Quantically linked since before eternity was conceived, when everything was part of the primordial proto quark?  After all, once upon a time, every part of what we are was joined together at the starting gate of a Big Bang, before we became Magellanic Clouds and then stars and rays of light.  And isn’t light both an isolated particle and a collective wave?

Confused reflections as another solstice passes by.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2021; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He is currently a strategic analyst employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.

Uncomfortable Reflections on the Demise of Clan Cuomo

I loved Mario Cuomo, one of my professors during the Watergate Era, as ethical as he was objective and honest and at the time, apparently apolitical although an emerging leader in the New York City Democratic Party.  He pointed out to us that what Richard Nixon was being tarred and feathered for was no different to the conduct of his predecessors throughout the twentieth century, but that notwithstanding that reality, it was past time for meaningful reform.  Every one of his classes was a lesson in ethics, although the topic was much more mundane, “legal research and writing”.

His sons were as different as possible from their father.  The odious and formerly mighty second generation Cuomo Clan appears to have fallen.  That is my translation of an article that appeared on Sunday, December 5, 2021 in Aljazeera entitled “CNN fires Chris Cuomo over role in brother’s harassment scandal: Veteran news anchor fired for helping defend brother”.  I prefer foreign sources with respect to news about the United States since the United States corporate media is, and perhaps always has been, completely unreliable.  But the news has even spread to the corporate media which, for so long did what it could to obfuscate it.

I am obviously not a fan of the Cuomo brothers, in fact, I’ve despised them since many of us believed that their early misconduct and lack of ethics caused their father, one of my heroes, to decide not to run for the presidency in 1992, giving us Bill Clinton instead, a man much more similar to them in every way than was their father Mario.  I am also certainly not in favor of sexual abuse of any kind.  Still, there are aspects to the reactions to the Cuomo scandals that I find troubling.  My own included.

Unlike Bill Clinton and (according to Tara Reade) Joe Biden and others, Andrew Cuomo was not married when he engaged in the pseudo-sexual activities that laid him low and, as a human being, was seemingly free to seek mutually agreeable intimate interactions.  The problem is that when one attains substantial success, potential intimate interactions too often involve imbalances of power that make mutuality difficult to discern, and that is now frowned upon although evolutionary theory, as enforced by nature, suggests that sexual interactions that favor the more powerful are not only healthy but essential for biological progress.  But we have, as a society (or as groups of societies) diverged from the path of survival of the fittest enforced by nature, we have diverged in many, perhaps most ways, believing that we are morally superior to nature and thus know better. 

I cannot deny that I frequently feel the same way.  Nature’s dictates are now anathema in many ways.  For example, when it comes to dealing with those who suffer physical or mental impairments, it is unthinkable to cast them aside hoping for their demise as do other biological entities and even our recent ancestors.  Indeed, the age restrictions we place on sexual activity contradict not only our own history but evolutionary mechanisms: i.e., nature sets the onset of menses in women and ejaculatory capacity in men but we disagree with the logical conclusions such physical changes imply.  That was not always the case.  The allegedly virgin Mary was purportedly impregnated by an agent of the divine before she attained her first dozen years, an event we still incongruously celebrate at this time of year.  We also refuse to recognize nature’s indicia of adulthood by depriving our young of equal rights as to most things before they attain an age that recent society has arbitrarily set, but set in a clearly incoherent manner.  Young men and now young women are old enough to die for their countries but not to either consume alcohol or to vote.  How logical are our social deviations from nature’s suggestions? 

We are an incoherent species! 

Consider the reality that nouveaux-puritanical-sexual-mores are now most espoused among those who believe themselves most environmentally conscious and most attuned to nature.  Odd dichotomies we seem unwilling to study lest the contradictions involved make us uncomfortable.  They certainly make me uncomfortable.  I am completed committed to concepts of equity, equality and justice that we as humans have created and made priorities but which are utterly irrelevant to nature.  But I am also very drawn to nature’s inherent wisdom.  Thus, I have no answers, and I know I have no answers.  But I do not ignore the questions raised.  I have plenty of questions.  Unfortunately, modern society has devolved into competing camps of know-it-alls unwilling to consider competing perspectives, all opponents being vile and evil.

Given that, at least indirectly, Andrew Cuomo´s dilemma is a topic of this article, it is appropriate to consider our current confusion about all matters sexual, a legacy of all three major Abrahamic Religions.  The obvious consequences of our incoherent, contradictory and polarized sexual mores (so confusing that they do not actually qualify any more as social mores) are that, today, interactions between genders have become morally divorced from nature’s dictates but not from nature’s instincts, leaving us confused and polarized.  As the purportedly “woke” tear down social institutions leaving us without replacements (perhaps a necessary evolutionary phase in the social subsystem with which we replace nature’s tendencies), some of us need to carefully and objectively analyze the situation and suggest functioning alternatives in place of platitudes.  But today, anyone making such suggestions is likely to be deemed an abomination.  Science fiction author Robert Heinlein did so in his latter novels but I admit that while I found his libertarian leaning social premises and suggested postulates logical, I concurrently found them emotionally troubling.  They made me feel as though I’d become a biological oxymoron; kind of like the character Vinnie Barbarino in the old “Welcome Back Kotter” sitcom when he would lament: “I’m so confused!!!!”  I feel that way too.

But enough about Andrew and the unnatural evolution of current sexual “mores”, more frequently acknowledged in their violation than in their acquiescence.  Turning to Chris, his unpardonable socio-civic sin was daring to seek to defend his brother.  I despise Chris Cuomo finding him to be a dishonest hypocrite and worthless human being (except perhaps, for his willingness to put himself at some sort of risk to defend his brother).  Defense of a family member, until recently a sacred attribute of brotherhood (and sisterhood, and parenthood, etc.), has now been declared anathema if it clashes with newly imposed elitist mores which at least so far, seem as dysfunctional as those initially discussed above.  Interfamily dysfunctionality is not new, it is always present in civil wars and family strife, but it has not previously been generally accepted as a requirement, at least outside of totalitarian societies where the state trumped everything (no allusion to the former president intended) and tattle-on-your-family was the rule (think, perhaps, of Stalinist Russia or Nazi Germany).  Is that really what we want today for ourselves and for our children?  For our relationships with our friends?

There is a great deal of pleasure in seeing the fall of those who have attained the heights unfairly, in unmerited fashion, who have attained social and civic heights by abusing family ties and then pontificating to us, something that seems a rule of nature among descendants of men and woman who have scaled the heights and attained success on their own, fighting and scratching to climb every wrung of the socio-civic-economic ladder.  That is most glaringly the story of the Kennedy Clan in recent history, but also of the Cuomos.  Still, while their fall may be appropriate, sometimes the reasons for their fall are not justified.  Society rarely cares.  There is satisfaction in finally getting them, of having them suffer their due, of tripping them up on their high wire acts, of ending their manipulating of “the system” to attain de facto impunity, who cares how.  The beloved “Al Capone gambit”,

But perhaps we should care. 

Perhaps we have to care if we really want to replace the transformational “law of the jungle” system that nature has bequeathed us with a just world, one where equity is probable and equality attainable.

Something we ought to at least contemplate.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2021; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He is currently a strategic analyst employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.

Marina and Teddy and Mom and Pop: a Christmas Carol of Our Own

The aroma of melancholy and nostalgia subtly scent the air and echoes faintly sing as memories flow.

I remember Thanksgiving and Christmas when it was Teddy, Marina and me (in inverse chronological order), and, of course, Mom and Pop.  “Pop” was my stepfather with whom I lived from ages six through fifteen (when he and my mother separated).  Nonetheless, he remained in our lives until he passed away suddenly when I was a few months shy of twenty-six.  He was about to turn sixty I think.

I remember Thanksgiving and Christmas especially in New York; especially during the morning watching the Macy’s Christmas Parade on our small black and white television set with Santa bringing up the rear and sometimes, if it had snowed, I remember making angels’ wings on a common lawn in our small apartment in Queens Village (overlooking Hillside Boulevard).  It was on 215th street as I recall.  I was happy there, at least for a bit; good friends quickly made, especially Bobby, the Italian kid from across the street, then all too quickly gone, as usual.  We moved a lot.  But back then there was always my sister Marina and my brother Teddy, and my Mom and Pop and me.

I remember Thanksgiving as the start of a special season, one featuring various festivals of light, a season which was, then, for me, flavored with introspection and speculation on the nature of the Prince of Peace, the one I so loved and admired way back then.  Then, when I was so blissfully innocent (at least some of the time).  And I remember optimism and hope, and a general feeling of delightful wellbeing, not realizing that we were not all that well off but feeling that we were.  We were all together then; but not for long. 

Those days, like so much else, lasted until about 1961 when the world changed.  The Pope, Pius X I think, purportedly read the last Fatima prophecy and I went off to boarding school (I don’t think the two events were connected, although, who knows), a military prep school, a wonderful place in its own light, and many new adventures began, not all happy but rarely sad.  I remember the gloomy thanksgiving in 1963, when for a second, the world was united in shock, but then, a few months later, the 1964 World’s Fair, and the 20th anniversary of D Day, and then, college, but a very different college experience than most.

And of course, the “police action in Vietnam.  Wars are bad so we didn’t have them after World War II, just like we’ve had a Defense Department rather than a Department of War since 1947.  I recall Simon and Garfunkel’s devastating version of Silent Night; actually, devastation was everywhere but so was change and optimism, even in the face of the Democratic Party’s display of fascism, American style in 1968.  Flower power, and love-ins, and miniskirts and long, long legs slowly fading into the same old us.

Months have merged into years and years into decades.  I’ve met so many people and been so many places.  Made so many mistakes but learned from most.  It’s been a very full and very complex life, one with numerous starts after barely realized ends, as though I’ve been at least five or six very different people, each living in different epochs, in different contexts with different settings and different casts.  Social changes accelerated at a dizzying pace in some aspects but not at all in others.  Some changes were essential and positive but too many now seem just illusory, ugly, even malign.  Right became wrong and then right again, and then, … who knows.  I’ve seen a country that adopted me as I did it dissolve into bickering, polarized factions with the wealthiest, even more that usually, astronomically increasing what they have at the expense of the impoverished many.  I’ve seen our bravest and most noble destroyed in useless foreign adventures and then, all too often, cast aside when some managed to return home.  I’ve seen hope replaced by resignation, but with all that and through it all, I’ve seen a beautiful People still prepared to give thanks for whatever they have.  In fact, those with the least are often the ones who most sincerely continue to believe in the magic season at the end of the year.

Today, I think of a marriage once so bright gone bad and miss Billy and Alex and Edward, now living lives of their own without me but at least together.  And I think of all the wonderful women I’ve known intimately but who just didn’t work out, and as always, I wish most of them the best.  I recall a dazzlingly beautiful young woman who once introduced herself to me as “Diana, as in the goddess, not Diane” and I remember the lyrics “all day, all night Marianne, down by the seashore, sifting sand” and I’m grateful and amazed that some of us are, from a distance, somehow still in touch and every once in a while, still speculating about might have beens.

Places as well as people have treasured places in my heart.  I think of Miami and Miami Beach and of Central Beach Elementary and Biscayne Elementary and of Hellen Mansfield and Maryanne Bass.  I think of Charlotte and Wesley Heights Elementary, an awesome place with great friends, albeit, as usual, only for a season or two.  And then I think of New York and Charleston and then, New York again; and of Fort Lauderdale and Hendersonville and Ocala.  All among the too many places I’ve called home.  I miss them all, now back in Manizales where I began, but I sometimes wonder for how long.  This holiday season marks the start of my 15th year here.

I’ve attended almost too many schools to count, usually briefly, until that fateful 1961 when I enrolled in the Eastern Military Academy college preparatory school, a fabulous castle where I’d spend almost twelve years, first as a student but eventually as a faculty member too.  And of course, the Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina, is emblazoned in my soul, I think of it daily and even after more than half a century, interact with beloved former classmates and friends, and fellow alumni.

Even before those halcyon days in New York though, before the good old USA, I remember how once upon a time, in another continent to the South, one I now once again call home, my grandmother and my two aunts, and an all too interesting uncle remained, at least for a while. 

What a ride life’s been and it still has such a long way to go.  A seventh version of me now cohabits with Natalia and sometimes with Dalia and Maia, her teenage daughters, and with Maria Elena her mother, and with Caro her sister and Jose Jesus her father and Edwin and Odair, her brothers, and with all my Mahe cousins and with all the friends and colleagues and students I’ve made during the past fourteen years. 

During this season I nostalgically recall Jimmy Stewart at Christmas reevaluating his values and Ingrid Bergman as a Christmas story nun, and Bing Crosby and Bob Hope on the road, and Abbot and Costello, and the Three Stooges with Officer Joe Bolton (before police officers were perceived of as swine) and I recall meeting Perry Cuomo at Eddie Kowalski’s house where his pretty cousin Bonnie, now gone, enthralled us all. 

But I come back to Marina and Teddy, and Pop and Mom. And a very young and optimistic version of me delighting in white Christmases and decorations and Christmas carols, and even in ghosts of Christmases past and present and future, and of Tiny Tim (the original one, not the one tripping through the tulips with a ukulele) wishing us a Merry Christmas,

One and all.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2021; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He is currently a strategic analyst employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.

Not as much for which to be Thankful as One Might Hope

A Real Progressives Dilemma

It is amazing how, in just eleven months, the Democratic Party has managed to utterly demolish the prospect for attainment of progressive causes such as racial, religious, ethnic and gender tolerance and acceptance, for minimizing discrimination, for more humane and effective criminal justice policies geared towards redemption, for international peace and collaboration, for a more equitable sharing of our economic bounty.  Of course, that Deep State tool could not have accomplished such disasters for real progressives without the idiotic “woke”, without Identity Politics and of course, without the decrepit but hypocritical corporate media. 

No conservatives could have done as much harm to the popular attitudes and perceptions towards progressive causes than what’s been done by ludicrous pseudo-liberals-in-name only demanding ludicrously incongruous and unworkable policies; policies such as supporting looting and arson and mayhem and murder for its own sake, just for the fun of it; trying to make heroes of the worst our minorities have to offer while seeking to erase historical memorials from which we might have learned; and, attacking and prosecuting real political protest from people who honestly believe, whether they’re right or wrong, that the last federal elections were “stolen” (and this after their Russiagate fraud).

During the American Revolution, there was a show tune popular among the British troops fighting in the “colonies” which was played by military bands at their surrender at Yorktown.  It was appropriately entitled “The World Turned Upside Down”.  That is the Bizarro World in which we live and if current trends are any sign, the next elections at all levels will set progressive causes such as publicly financed health care and education for all, a real welfare system (you know, as in “Provide for the Common Welfare” as promised by those rabidly socialist Founding Fathers at the Constitutional Convention), a non-politicized judiciary, reasonable regulation of firearms, etc., back at least a decade. 

It is no wonder Tulsi Gabbard, the only decent major Democratic Party figure, is so often beside herself bemoaning the insanity of her political party.  It is a price we will all pay, but most especially the most vulnerable among us, those most in need of our wisdom and understanding and of a world were equity, justice and equality reign and where corruption and impunity are anathema …. rather than the rule.

Our Deep State masters are obviously beside themselves with joy. 

That’s all they really wanted.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2021; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He is currently a strategic analyst employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.

Oh We of Little Faith

This morning, RT News published an article concerning Protests throughout Europe against Covid 19 Vaccine Mandates and Caitlin Johnstone wrote an article addressing them that reflected my perspectives as well.  I am not personally against taking one of the related injections but realize most are not vaccines but RNA memory modifiers, a variant on the alteration of DNA which the medical profession has criticized as unethical when it comes to genetic modification.  Caitlin noted that if the vaccines were truly effective in preventing either the spread of the vaccine or the disease without a serious threat of side effects, mandates might be justified, but that not being the case, mandates were not defensible in this instance.  She has a point.  She did not touch on the related corruption, i.e., that the vaccines were developed using public financing but have been privatized and that the recipients of such largess, pharmaceuticals, are sharing it massively with the elected political leaders who are curtailing our liberty as a means of generating the illicit profits. 

In a radio interview yesterday on a local Colombian radio station I made those same points and when the interviewer, long time Colombian journalist Dario Sanín, observed that seemingly the public had no choice other than to obey or be sanctioned, and perhaps, pray, I responded that if voters took their political responsibilities (which I asserted were not mere rights) seriously, we would not be in this mess.  That if we voted in favor of who and what we believed rather than against manufactured bogeys, most of our problems would me much less serious and we would not be so polarized.  And I reminded him that as in the United States, Colombian elections were around the corner.

The world is in a sorry state I admitted, but the fault is not that of the putrid villains who lead us but of We the voters who elect them, permitting ourselves to be consistently manipulated, deceived and divided.  We the voters who refuse to accept that educated political participation is a duty rather than a right and that refusing to comply with such duty has serious consequences for us all; perhaps fatal consequences.  Certainly fatal consequences for our liberties and for the Common Welfare which the United States Constitution was purportedly promulgated to provide.

Oh We of little faith, …

In Ourselves. 

Unfortunately, as a collective, We deserve what We get.
_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2021; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He is currently a strategic analyst employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.

Only Beans Count

The 2021 Yankees made clear to me what many others already knew, and which I certainly suspected.  Most winners in sports have soul, it’s more than a mere business, and leadership starts, … well; that’s a good question.  Since the end of the Georgian era in Yankees baseball the Yankees have been led through a lowest common denominator leadership style, one where rather than use subjective factors to make decisions (instincts, hunches, a sense of fairness), only objective criteria matter, objective in the sense that decisions are pretty much automatic.  No extensions, self-imposed spending caps, and analytics, even if those charged with using them don’t really understand them. 

While the Yankees in the post Georgian era have been full of stars on the field, or at least former stars, management has sought to shift the spotlight unto its own, principally onto near-do-well general manager Brian Cashman, a man who apparently seeks to steal the spotlight while micromanaging Yankees coaches, Yankees coaches top to bottom whose primary attribute is obedience; yes men for the most part.  And it renders on the field talent less than potent, it ruins intriguing talent arriving from the minor leagues.  The mania for waiting out opposing pitchers by taking pitches is maddening, disheartening, depressing and de-energizing. 

Cashman’s strategy, supported whole heartedly by a managing general partner too timid to do anything but count beans, seems to be to field a team almost good enough to succeed, one that can be defended in the media so that memorabilia and brand products continue to sell, but not one with real heart.  Not that another World Series pennant wouldn’t be welcome, only that notwithstanding the slogans, it is not really the ultimate goal, at least for the team’s administrators.  And that attitude breaks and demoralizes the players, who, frustrated by the absence of real leadership, underperform. 

Cashman is the antithesis of George Steinbrenner and Derek Jeter and Paul O’Neil and David Cone and Jorge Posada and Andy Pettit and Mariano River, etc., the men Gorge led to championship after championship.  And son Hal, who deprecates his father’s style, is the poster boy for happy mediocrity.  Failure doesn’t really bother him and it certainly doesn’t bother Brian.  Aaron Boone is their ideal manager.  But the Yankees, to many of us, are much more than this team, much more than the mediocre product of the Hal and Brian era.  They are a long chain akin to the long grey lines at the Citadel and VMI and West Point, where pride and tradition and a special ethic keep generating a very special product.

They represent a spirit we love where Ruth and Gehrig and DiMaggio and Mantle and Berra and Ford and so many, many others watch over their successors demanding that once pinstripes are donned, the best the players wearing ever had becomes the norm.  But Hal and Brian and now Aaron Boone have managed to dampen that energy for every year in this millennium but one.  And apparently, given Hal’s indifference, there’s nothing to be done. 

What a shame!!!  But then, shame has no impact on them, only beans count.

_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2021; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He is currently a strategic analyst employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.

Ignominy

Once again the final call is played and American troops withdraw in ignominy from a conflict they should never have been sent to fight.  Wasted lives and wasted treasure, hundreds of thousands of civilians converted into collateral damage and the same villains, the cowardly politicians back home, still in play.  The ones who deceived the stalwart American public into conflicts not their own, and then, symbolized by one man, first a Senator and now a president, assured that an orderly withdrawal would turn into a rout.  As perhaps it should, were there a possibility it would teach us to mistrust them.

Never having been a proper time to enter Afghanistan it was far too late for the predestined departure, and seemingly, as always, no one to be held to account.  The Nuremberg trials will once again be shown to be nothing more meaningful than the revenge of victors in too many ways as evil as the vanquished, indeed, in many ways they have become the residue and reincarnation of those they once sent the bravest and best among us to die in vain.  Vietnam, where I lost so many friends seems to echo, sending regards from the shadows to the tune of Pete Seeger’s 1955 ballad “Where have all the flowers gone”.  Has it already been sixty-six years and a few million lives ago?

There is despair in Washington, D.C. tonight, and angst and anger, and premature jubilation in Kabul as those initially vanquished and exiled have returned as victors.  One wonders what will happen now to those long imprisoned without trials in Guantanamo.  But there are, as of yet, no winners.  Nor will there be.  The putrid purveyors of misused power sit comfortable in their mansions while their tools in the media and academia are busy spinning deceptive narratives which they are sure will be the history our descendants learn.  Seemingly always the case, which is why we rarely if ever learn from our mistakes and thus keep repeating them.  But for some they were not mistakes, not mistakes at all; not for the vultures perpetually circling like Valkyries and enjoying the spoils derived from no-lose situations, more loans to make and armaments to sell now that so many have been used or wasted.  Taxes and printing presses provide apparently never ending resources, at least for now, and as Luis XV purportedly said, “Après moi, le déluge“.  Future generations can pay.  They’ll just have to find a way, in the meantime, “let’s all eat cake”.

“Saving face” is important to most cultures but some, like the Japanese, have the decency to face their errors with honor in a manner that assures that they, at least, will never personally repeat them.  Here, in the United States, tonight, the political and military leadership riding on the shoulders of their stooges just smile and look away, sure that soon everything will be forgotten by feckless voters in a dysfunctional parody of democracy, and that soon, it will once again be their day.  They’ve planned for this contingency circulating fantasies involving recycled villains like Russia and China and new foes like Iran and Venezuela that have to be addressed, regardless of the price to be paid, albeit by others.  The price to be paid by new generations of cannon fodder and by new “unavoidable” instances of collateral damage; new collaborators to be used and then discarded, as perhaps those willing to betray their own deserve to be.  And when needed, there are plenty of scapegoats available in the middle ranks, those bothersome creatures who demand that those responsible be held accountable.

Of course, ultimately, the fault lies in the voters whose lack of courage or dignity, makes it impossible for them to ever vote their consciences in favor of something in which they believe instead of against a purported lesser evil.  With a voting populace such as we have almost everywhere, democracy will work only for those who most efficiently use and delude them; use and delude us.  Us; whose taxes fund the slaughter of friend and foe alike for the profit of the sophic vampires who, from behind the veils of their Deep State, rule us all as though possessed of the One Ring and we, of obedient trinkets.

Such is our world on this late August eve in 2021, as it has been as far back as we can remember, as it will seemingly continue to be, as Cassandra, the princess and seeress of Troy warned so very long ago.

_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2021; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He is currently a strategic analyst employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at www.guillermocalvo.com.

Fathers’ Day Blues

Holidays.  Strange things. 

Generalizing, many are supposed to be festive occasions although all too many deal with profound tragedies.  Like Memorial Day and Veterans Day.  Or celebrate mass murders, like so many Hebrew feast days.  Or, bastardize religious events, like the Easter Bunny and candy and egg hunts.

Fathers’ Day is a strange holiday, like an onion in a sense, with layers of meaning.  For functional families it is a happy occasion with a touch of gratitude for sacrifices joyfully made, but functional families are becoming more and more rare.  Dysfunction, i.e., functioning in pain, and non-function, are becoming more and more the norm, or perhaps it just seems that way.  Perhaps that’s always been the case.  And for many, many, too many fathers and their progeny, Fathers’ Day is not joyous.  The same is of course true of Mothers’ Day under similar circumstances, but I write this on Fathers’ Day’s Eve, so I’ll be a bit more focused on “dads”.

Like the holidays at the end of the year, Fathers’ Day can be a deeply depressing day.  Not a day filled with gratitude but with recriminations and regrets, one where the worst in relationships is highlighted and criticism rather than praise prevails.  That is especially true in those all too frequent cases where families have been torn asunder by parental separation, separation where one parent wins custody and the other is cast aside (except with respect to noncustodial responsibilities like alimony and child support).  In many such cases, the custodial parent creates a false narrative, implanting false memories in order to justify their own serious shortcomings and, in many such cases, the parent scorned disappears and is castigated as uncaring and irresponsible.  And sometimes that’s true.  But at other times, the loss of a family, especially of one’s children, especially when distortion and calumny become prevalent, are just too much to bear, and the only apparent survival mechanism is destructive withdrawal.

That, of course, is a gender neutral tragedy impacting mothers as well as fathers. Still, our purportedly paternalistic society idolizes motherhood and to a large extent disdains the paternal role.  Fatherhood is characterized by responsibility, its sacrifices largely ignored.  In general (albeit certainly not always), mothers deserve the credit society showers on them but perhaps fathers deserve understanding rather than disdain, even when they’ve not fully succeeded in their assigned role.  There is of course a huge difference between fathers who refuse to acknowledge their role, who enjoy their sexual partners and then discard them and absconded.  But what about the millions of fathers who accept their role, try, to varying degrees, to meet their responsibilities, but who, for one reason or another, failed?  Or even sadder perhaps, those who succeeded in their role but were cast out and disenfranchised through our blatantly one sided judicial system?

What does Fathers’ Day mean to them?  What does it mean to their children?

Perhaps the saddest day of the year.

_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2021; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He is currently a strategic analyst employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.

A Writer’s Lament at Journey’s End

Shades of gray and white and bits of blue, forming fascinating patterns, slowly but consistently, perhaps prescient, perhaps not, sometimes vanishing altogether, but always, the blue eventually turning to diamond speckled indigo and then, back to cerulean, cradling a wandering golden orb.

Whispering winds sigh, their moods shifting from amused to angry to melancholy and then, back again in a syncopated cycle.  Myriad avian legions ride warm updrafts and then dive, perhaps pitying the earthbound.

Somewhere a vacuum seems to form, not a physical vacuum, rather, one based on illusions and fantasies, perhaps delusions as well.  Yes, most assuredly delusions, sometimes playful but at other times bitter and mean.  A black hole alternating with a white hole where all seems possible, especially the unlikely, an inescapable event horizon leading eventually, inevitably, to a renaissance several infinities away.

And a painting outlined and colored and shaded in words is miraculously born.  And then, without reason and certainly bereft of rhyme, it all seemingly ends but a story of sorts begins, perhaps an introspective poem:

Wither the writer, the bard, the poet?  Fading as winter approaches a land without winters or summers or falls, only varying degrees of spring, some wet and chilly, some dry and cool, others close to languorously warm, but always verdant as snow clad mountains kissed nearby equatorial skies.

He’s seemingly fled without a farewell, silently, swiftly, with nary a trace.  He’s apparently fled into some other element, some-when without time or somewhere without space, without dimensions, without aspirations or regrets, leaving his body and memories behind, perhaps even a semblance of who he’s been, or at least, of whom others have perceived him to be.

He hasn’t realize that he’s gone nor why nor when, nor where he might be.  Echoes remained, and shadows, and faded colors he may once have known.  Perhaps colors borrowed from errant rainbows and twilight sunsets playing amidst reflective, once argent, clouds or perhaps echoing late blooming flowers, the adjectives and adverbs and metaphors he’s so enjoyed.  His toys.

Perhaps even more sadly, no one knows he’s gone, everyone still sees and hears him, feels his warmth or his disdain; no one except his husk, no one except his embodied memories, no one except the golem he’s somehow become, neither sad nor glad, just existing, from day to day and night to night.  He knows not what … but he knows what not.

Not

The writer or the bard or the poet, the one who’s faded as winter approaches in a land without winters or summers or falls, only varying degrees of spring, some wet and chilly, some dry and cool, others close to languorously warm, but always verdant as snow clad mountains kissed nearby equatorial skies.

A painting outlined and colored and shaded in words lies torn; once a story of sorts, perhaps an introspective poem.  Somewhere a vacuum dies, not a physical vacuum, rather, one once based on illusions and fantasies, perhaps delusions as well.  Yes, most assuredly delusions, sometimes playful but at other times bitter and mean.  Once a black hole alternating with a white hole where all seemed possible, especially the unlikely, an inescapable event horizon leading eventually, inevitably, to a renaissance several infinities away; but now, just gone. Entropy finally having had its way.

Shades of gray and white and bits of blue, once formed fascinating patterns, slowly but consistently, perhaps prescient, perhaps not, sometimes vanishing altogether, but always, at least for a time, the blue eventually turning to diamond speckled indigo and then, back to cerulean, cradling a wandering golden orb.

Whispering winds sigh, their moods shifting from amused to angry to melancholy and then, back again in a syncopated cycle.  Myriad avian legions ride warm updrafts and then dive, perhaps pitying the earthbound.  And then, apparently and suddenly, they drop out of the sky and die.

_______

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2021; all rights reserved.  Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.

Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen).  Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales.  He is currently a strategic analyst employed by Qest Consulting Group, Inc.  He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies).  He can be contacted at guillermo.calvo.mahe@gmail.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.