“THESE RUGGED TIMES”
(Oh, my; has it been a week? A very dismaying week; fruitful for my mind, but not for my writing. )
This photo doesn’t match “the Times.”
So many dire and dismaying news stories this week, all wrapped in a packet of lies within lies within lies. “News” stories are made up; fabricated as an author would think up an interesting or controversial story-line, and then presented as though true; and then argued about, debated about, and tsk,tsk,tsk – until the controversy itself “proves” the lie.
It produces a Turmoil in the mind. These days are difficult for us; “rugged times,” as John Jay wrote a couple hundred years ago. He wrote about all the “sensations” that intrude into our minds.
He was born two hundred years before I was, but yet he describes the process as we can perfectly witness it today:
“In such Rugged Times as these, other sensations are to be cherished. Rural scenes, domestic bliss, and the charming group of pleasures found in the Train of Peace — all fly (away) at the approach of war; and are seldom to be found in fields stained with Blood, or in habitations polluted by outrage and desolation.” (John Jay to Robert Livingston, as war and revolution approached.)
What is he telling us? That there are two opposing sets of “sensations”: Rugged Times versus the Train of Peace. “Train of Peace” may be an old-fashioned and poetic way of stating it, but we’re not so stupid that we can’t understand – and deeply feel – what he means by that phrase.
Rural scenes, with all their charm and tranquility. The photo above is looking out from my back window.
Such scenes provide a “charming group of pleasures . . .”
A morning sun ascends onto (the possibility of) domestic bliss, promising a “Train of Peace.”
John Jay and others eventually wrote that this country is to provide for the Pursuit of Happiness. This is a state of affairs that allows men to pursue their dreams, to see the fruit of their labor, and to rest in a state of confidence and peace, that if they work hard at a goal, it may be attainable.
Opposing this is a tyrannical government that decides things for us. Big Brother. A powerful State. Laws, rules, regulations that put us into submission to the State. We live by permits and licenses – and by “staying under the radar.” We must believe their publications. We agree to be entertained by their “entertainment-news media” which is the source of the “pollution” that John Jay made reference to. Facts polluted with deception and lies.
And if we see behind the outright lies, when we admit the many “outrages,” and we witness the “desolation” of our country, our peace “flies” away at the “approach of war” and our “pleasures” are fleeting indeed.
This “war” that approaches must be fought. Don’t think of war as physical altercation with physical weapons.
War is the deliberate opposition of one side to the other. It means paying attention; choosing a side; standing up; confronting the enemy (if it insists upon being an enemy); choosing a method of opposition best suited to your abilities; and getting busy to do the actual fighting.
I fear huffing and puffing and tsk-tsk-tsk-ing will get us nowhere.
Lies being told to conceal the identity of an enemy who has declared war against us and to lead us to believe that we somehow deserve the attacks are a kind of mental pollution, not worthy to be taken seriously.
Lies that are being told to protect the one political candidate and to attack the other political candidate are not really worthy subjects for our entertainment while we experience the “approach of war.” (John Jay) . Lies waste our time.
And the one thing that Time does is . . . pass.
And we may still have time for these Rugged Times to produce great minds, great men of truth and of valor. These Rugged Times may be our awakening that America is a real concept and that the United States is worth saving . We may yet learn and understand the wisdom of our Founding Fathers. We may yet find the strength to do our part with determination.
“These Rugged Times” are our times too.