Taking a deep breath and spending a quiet night with my family before the book tour starts next week, so no letter tonight. My friend Peter Ralston took this image recently, and it feels perfect for this moment in a bunch of different ways. You will note that the building— and by extension, the flag painted on it— is under repair.
The day that I made this image I went home and looked up the lyrics to The Star Spangled Banner. I was thinking of them when I was standing there with my camera. Check it out everybody, the words are haunting, dramatic, stirring and boy, do they ever ring true at this time in the trajectory of our great experiment in democracy. Democracy Awakening indeed....maybe re-awakening, or reviving, or renewing.......”the flag was still there” despite all that has been thrown at it of late. Thank you Heather for all you do to that end. You continue to “ask what you can do for your country,” and you deliver. Thank you......
Old farmer wisdom from the the midwest, don't worry about painting the barn, but make damn sure you fix the roof.
In 2024 we must fix the roof and get rid of the GOP rot. Then we can paint the barn.
That picture is pure perfection ♥️
State of the Union! Thank you, Peter Ralston, for your creativity and wisdom and Professor HCR for today’s image. I will soon be home in USA after a month in Portugal and Spain. To let some Americans know, (not you, dear readers) in case their own local government or schools or families have not educated them, there’s a world beyond the USA where everyday people speak other languages, have families, go to schools, play, shop for groceries, need utilities, roads and medical care. And jobs. Practice a religion, worship or do not. Are governed and have the privilege of voting. Or not. We are humans the world over with more in common than not. I started out in Portugal, part of a volunteer team joining a Fuller Center for Housing group (think Habitat for Humanity, connected with former Democratic President Jimmy Carter.) After days working with professionals, we had added to the efforts of building and rebuilding an old warehouse that will eventually be an apartment housing six families, including refugees from Somalia and Cameroon, some who also participate. I helped repair stone walls. Isn’t that a metaphor? Next was time in Spain and Santiago de Compostela, joining Peregrinos, Pilgrims, from many different countries walk on a historic trail, this one from Portugal to Spain. Mostly I took the high speed train, as I have walked it and others before. Everyone does not speak English. I tried to communicate in Portugués and Español but you will hear languages from all over the world. And many people speak more than one language. America is part of this world. We are not walled off from history, politics, economics. We are Humanity. No matter what it is, we are that flag, that human. A tattered flag, a building in need of repair. That is who we are. We have the tools.
'Taking a deep breath...' sounds appropriate whether it is HCR .'..spending a quiet night...' with her family or any of us preparing for Yom Kippur, Hebrew Yom Ha-Kippurim, The Day of Atonement, the most solemn of the Jewish Holidays, which will begin Sunday evening or consider America as HCR seemed to encourage with the photograph by Peter Ralston of a building under repair with the '... flag painted on it.' Here are a few other interpretations of the American flag.
'The flag of the United States of America is a potent symbol that is used not only to identify a nation but also to express ideas about its state of affairs. Within the red, white, and blue of the emblem is an iconic design that has been variously reimagined to convey pride, anger, solidarity, or exclusion. In times of conflict and in moments of despair, flags offer us ways to take positions—whether expressing allegiances or refusing engagement. Artists and others draw upon flag imagery to call attention to social issues and provoke conversations.'
'Within the collection of the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) there are hundreds of objects and images which prominently feature the United States flag. Our latest special exhibition, “Reckoning: Protest. Defiance. Resilience.” includes artistic depictions of the U.S. flag that reveal the alienation and injustice Black Americans experience. From our diverse holdings at NMAAHC, we have gathered five objects that explore the significance and symbology of the U.S. flag in African American culture and history.'
Food for thought, right there in the photo.
Perfect image. Good luck with your book launch.
Old and worn but still beautiful --- the flag and America.
Seems about right.
The connection between the reparation of the house and our current societal situation is lovely to experience. I hope the roof gets finished before winter rains set in.
Thank you, Peter, not just for your perfect photographic depiction of the state of our union right now but for your compliments to Heather for all she does to inspire us to preserve our precious democracy.
Have a nice peaceful day tomorrow. Sending you love and hugs. Your book will be I believe a meaningful impact for people who don’t follow you. As well as your followers. To give understanding the present moment. Giving us sigh of relief before the whirlwind of the political races of 2024.
“Art imitates life”…or reflects it…
Definitely in need of repair.
Trump, like Jesus at Galilee, believes that he can walk on water. Whenever he waddles out of his posh palace in Mar a Lago or Bedminister, he expects a multitude to genuflect at his presence.
This week he intends to swoop into Michigan to upstage his Republican presidential wannabes, who are gathering for a second Trump-less debate. A last minute ‘complication,’ in auto-strike Michigan, is that President Biden, on Wednesday, will be cheek-and-jowl with the striking auto workers.
In fact, Trump is not akin to Jesus but, rather, he is an antichrist. Jesus was 100% pure, had a message of love and repentance, and, on occasion, performed miracles to comfort his followers. By contrast, Trump is as impure as a clogged sewer and his message is as flawed as a used car salesman’s spiel.
Right now the spotlight is on the clash between the Big Three and the striking auto workers. Scranton Joe has credibility with the workers. In contrast, Trump’s personal and presidential union record is dismal.
In The Trump Organization and through six Atlantic City bankruptcies, Trump screwed his workers. Stories of how he hired immigrants to do his dirty work and then threatened them when they sought their promised wages are legendary. Casino workers were left sucking wind, while he profited from Atlantic City bankruptcies. His modus vivendi was to commission work and, after it was completed, offer to pay 50% or less or a law suit.
As president, Trump was not much better. He had some fancy show-and-tell manufacturing ‘triumphs,’ which turned out to be flops. Lordstown and Foxcon (a promise of over 10,000 jobs, which have oozed down to a few hundred) are representative of his false bloviating.
I shall watch careful the message that this ‘messiah’ brings to Michigan. There is a massive auto strike that can affect hundreds of thousands of Michiganers. President Biden will be there boots-on-the-ground with the strikers. Does Trump have a credible message?
Hope you have a relaxing and peaceful evening.