Democracy – Self-governance of the people, by the people, for the people.
In his farewell address to the nation, President George Washington gives sage advice to the fledgling republic he helped found, as it tries to find its footing in self-governance, in an era of feudalistic societies.
Among other things, he lays down a case for self-governance without political parties. He puts forth a well thought out argument as to how the mere existence of political parties could imperil our democracy, because by their very nature political parties stand to benefit from factionalism and divisiveness. They achieve this by false propaganda, pitting communities one against the other, thereby weakening the Union.
He writes, “One of the expedients in party to acquire influence within particular districts is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts.” He cautions the voter, “You cannot shield yourselves too much against the jealousies and heart burnings which spring from these misrepresentations.”
Given the unmitigated levels of toxicity in election campaigns and the corruption in our government, the truth in these eloquent words, sounds prophetic. What if we lived in a world as advocated by our first President?
Imagine, an election cycle without any political parties – no democrats, no republicans, no green or any other party. An election cycle, where the individual candidate, unbeholden to any political party, does not have to lean either left or right, but stand upright and run for public office only on the strength of their credentials and beliefs.
Permeating wind O, Kannamma1 –
Musing over your love makes me ecstatic
Elixir fount your lips,
Moon soaked brimming eyes,
Smelted to purest gold – your body;
In this world, for as long as I live –
You satiate my mind, precluding distractions
Transforming me into a celestial being, right here (on earth).
You are my jubilant life O, Kannamma –
All of my time, is in your devotion,
By banks of the sacred river, on the southern corner,
In the garden of Champaka1 (flowers),
Should I wait, you promised to come in the moon
Accompanied by a friend(chaperone).
You broke your word O, Kannamma!2
My heart is atremble!
Everywhere I look – your semblance
Emerge in everything;
My Dear Love,
Looking back, it seems like we were little children trying to play house. But I am glad I stuck with you even though there were times when I wanted to run away from it all. I am grateful that you stayed with me for this incredible voyage we embarked upon, many years ago.
Although I describe this as a journey, it hardly comes close to describing a relationship so intimate, so constantly existent that sometimes it felt as though I would just disappear into this gaping maw. But we found our boundaries and learned when not to over-step.
When the people of Macondo1 saw an actor die in a movie and reappear as a completely different character in another movie, they decided they, “…would not tolerate that outlandish fraud and they broke up the seats.”
But, we are not some primitive people from the fictitious Macondo, we are modern people who live on the, ‘Information Highway’. We know intellectually, that movies are commercial ventures made possible by modern technology, built by a large crew of invisible people with the actors being the only visible part of that venture. We know in our minds that actors are people, who portray scripted characters, as navigated by the director.
These actors are nothing like the fantastic characters they play on the screen. They are ordinary people, just like you and me. Yet, somehow seeing them up-close, smiling at us – not straight at the camera, but at me, the movie-goer – inviting us into their homes, into their lives, into marvelous worlds of fantasy and magic, sharing with us their travails and their triumphs, somehow tug at our heart-strings, making us believe in the impossible, just like when we were little children wishing for magic.
Prejudice – blind hatred of a stranger, based on superficial differences
‘I don’t know you from Adam, and even though you have not harmed me in any way, I hate you, I hate you so much.
‘When things go wrong in my life for reasons I cannot fathom, I blame you for that. And there are other times, when a little soul searching and self-introspection can explain the reasons for the bad choices I make, but instead of taking the opportunity to become a better person, I hate you viscerally.
‘And if you think that I will credit you for the things that go right in my life, you are stupider than I thought you were. All that credit belongs solely to me, only me. And if you think that I act like a petulant child, why not? When this hatred of “different” people is sanctioned by my own family and endorsed by the society either explicitly or implicitly.
Subramaniya Bharathi, was a 20th century Indian, Tamil poet. He wrote poems in Tamil language which is rich in literature and like most of its contemporary languages, such as Sanskrit or Greek, only the scholars could savor its richness and beauty, which made it difficult for the ordinary person to read and comprehend.
So he wrote poems in a simplified version of Tamil without compromising the richness of the language. Thus anyone with literacy in Tamil could enjoy these poems, without requiring a degree in Tamil literature.
His poems carried a certain amount of energy because his passion runs through them all vividly, as it spans the spectrum of human experience.
Why build an exquisite veena1,
Only to be heedlessly cast-off into dust?
Tell me O! Sivasakthi2 –
You, (who) created me with a scintillating mind
Grant me fortitude
To devote my life in welfare of this State
Tell me O! Sivasakthi – Would you let me
Become a burden to this land?
Recycle – reusing or repurposing a used product, through a process.
I am proud to say that I live in a county where almost anything reusable gets recycled, that the recycle bin fills up faster than the trash bags. Recycling is a good thing. Very little is wasted, which matters because we are a teeming (almost) eight billion on this planet, even the most frugal consumption compounds the environmental problems we already face.
But there must be a limit to things we recycle, like movies. Have you watched any re-cycled movies lately?
I tried to watch the 2015 release of the movie, “Poltergeist”. I caught it on television. Didn’t even know there was another version of that movie.
I caught it in snatches since I was curious to see which modern gadget would snatch up the little girl in the latest version. My first guess was the laptop.