The next daily entry from “Murphy’s Law” pasted on my 1981 letter-size calendar booklet gave me pause. i didn’t like it. i had thought of the “goofy guy’s” comment and planned for the post to look like this:
From my “Murphy’s Law” desk calendar archives thanks to Aunt Evelyn, Uncle Pipey, and cousin Nancy:
Law of the Individual: Nobody really cares or understands what anyone else is doing.
Goofy guy’s caveat of the Law of the Individual: Au Contraire.
Then i read two posts on Facebook. One was from Judy Lewis Gray quoting E.B. White. The test of the letter read:
As long as there is one upright man, as long as there is one compassionate woman, the contagion may spread and the scene is not desolate. Hope is the thing that is left to us, in a bad time. I shall get up Sunday morning and wind the clock, as a contribution to order and steadfastness.
Sailors have an expression about the weather: they say, the weather is a great bluffer. I guess the same is true of our human society—things can look dark, then a break shows in the clouds, and all is changed, sometimes rather suddenly. It is quite obvious that the human race has made a queer mess of life on this planet. But as a people we probably harbor seeds of goodness that have lain for a long time waiting to sprout when the conditions are right. Man’s curiosity, his relentlessness, his inventiveness, his ingenuity have led him into deep trouble. We can only hope that these same traits will enable him to claw his way out.
Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day.
Following that, i heard the “news” about the Navy trying to hide references to the USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) being hidden during President Trump’s visit to the U.S. Yokosuka (Japan) Naval Base. My shipmate from our first ship, Andrew Nemethy posted Eliot A. Cohen’s Atlantic article. It is a long article and i won’t post it here, but the link here: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/05/uss-john-s-mccain-scandal-stains-navy/590575/.
Thank you, Andrew. i agree with your thoughts in your post. If it weren’t for Judy’s post of White’s 1973 letter, i would be very depressed. Thanks, Judy.
My reaction to Cohen’s diatribe against Trump and the Navy…and the news was typical of my being a pocket of resistance.
i immediately bristled at the idea. My concern from my perception of my Navy losing its focus of its mission to a place where folks can position themselves for higher and higher office, and the perceived need to be nice to sailors, politically correct, and forego responsibility and accountability is deep within my blue water soul. i have to double back and check many stories to guard against using a sound bite, a news story, or a talking head tinged with the need to get attention, readers, or viewers, or to bolster one’s political stance.
Then there is Dr. Cohen. The man is over the top on this one. From his bio, he has done a lot of good things. But he has never been an officer or sailor. Serve at least four years on a ship before you start claiming defeat of our country, Dr. Cohen. You began with some thoughts for consideration, but then, WHAM, you went to hyper space.
As usual, there are conflicting reports as to whether there was actually an attempt to hide McCain’s name during the visit. The claims, as usual, have expanded, and gotten over to the preposterous side of news reporting. i wonder if Cohen checked out the validity.
That’s not to say, i don’t believe it happened to some degree, and even if it was just conversations between some white house officials and the Navy, that is not proof.
Two opposite thoughts:
- When i was on an amphibious squadron staff, our five ships were in Subic Bay for maintenance and liberty. George H.W. Bush, as vice-president came to visit. Our leaders (and i am being polite here in not naming names) who eschewed improper topside maintenance, did a flip flop and ordered all of the ships to paint over rust and unprepared exterior surfaces to appear immaculate. This old first lieutenant futilely protested against such hypocrisy. i felt the vice-president and a Navy Hero in WWII, would understand. i was ignored. We “radioed” (crappy paint job without proper preparation) the hell out of five capital ships of the U.S. Navy for the VP to spend about two hours of his visit, mostly inside the ships.
- i spent about two years total in Navy shipyards on ships undergoing maintenance. It was not uncommon to use tarps and staging to perform maintenance and often a ship’s name on the fantail was covered by the tarp or the staging. In today’s environmentally conscious environment, covering a ship with the new-fangled version of a tarp to prevent debris from falling into the water is rampant.
So i don’t know what happened, and i am not about to claim the Navy is going to hell just to express my dislike of Trump.
If you read any of my stuff, you should know i don’t like to take political positions. i started to do that here but restrained myself.
Yet when i read those two posts this morning, i became sad we have reached this place where rocks over the wall, spin out of control, no consideration of humanity (other than what benefits our position), and that accountability and responsibility stuff disappearing from our discourse and our personal behavior. i also fervently hope E.B. White was right then and his words hold true for now. Then i think what got us here. Trump, his supporters, and his opposition have certainly been major factors. Lack of compromise, vilification of those who disagree, unwillingness to compromise have led us to this dark place.
If i were a bit younger, i might step up, grab the guidon, and lead the charge to more understanding, more cooperation, ta da ta da ta da. But it’s the younger generation’s world now. Perhaps i write this to vent. i don’t think so. No, i hope i don’t. When i write things like this, it is with E.B. White’s hope we still can make our country and our world better and maybe, just maybe, someone will read this, think (perhaps not in the way i expected, and that’s okay), and help us move toward better and get a little more light in here.