My doctor was very pleased with my weight loss. My blood pressure was okay as well being a tad lower than it had been in my daily morning home check.
I managed to get some organ practice in before my appointment. After I came home, I walked over to Evergreen Commons and treadmilled. Eileen met me there for lunch at their cafeteria. Of course, it wasn’t set up for vegetarians particularly. There is a daily entree and a salad bar. it put me in mind of a school cafeteria with one main meal selection. Eileen said the entree (some sort of chicken with mashed potatoes) was good.
The place was packed. Mostly white people. Old white people. I always wonder who these people are. I have to wonder if they attended Holland Christian High School when it was housed in this building. People are friendly. There was a pianist playing the little baby grand when we came in the room. Mercifully he stopped by the time we had our food and sat down.
After we came home and then drove over to say hi to my Mom, I spent the rest of the day trying to relax for a change. It seemed to work.
Today I don’t have too much planned again. I need these days of goofing off. I’m so compulsive that it’s easy to fill them up with tasks. I will practice organ but that’s the only task for today.
More Reading Notes
Here’s some more of the passages in Van Jones’s that struck me.
Speaking of Republicans of the last thirty years or so, he observes they have become “a party that is anti-liberal rather than pro-conservative.”
He thinks liberals need conservatives to hone their own ideas on. “[T]he promise of America is liberty and justice for all. My fellow liberals are so focused on justice we too easily forget about liberty. Conservatives can be so committed to liberty that you become blind to cases where injustice curtails freedom.”
Chapter four is called “Whitelash: Myths and Facts.” In it, he begins telling his own story and the story of his recent controversial pronouncement that the 2016 election was “whitelash” (more on this a later time)
“My parents were born under segregation. My twin sister, Angela, and I are ninth-generation Americans, but we were the very first people in our family to be born with all of our rights recognized by America’s government.”
It’s hard for me to realize how recent the calumny of slavery and it’s residual presence is in the history of America.
When I was reading this week’s New Yorker, this picture leaped out at me. It’s from a 1964 collaboration between Richard Avedon and James Baldwin, Nothing Personal, described in the accompanying caption as a “collaborative exploration of American identity.” The man in the center of the picture, the old guy, is William Casby of Algiers, Louisiana, “one of the last living Americans born into slavery.”
The caption quotes Baldwin and it’s worth repeating his ideas here: “It is necessary, while in darkness, to know that there is a light somewhere, to know that in oneself waiting to be found, there is a light. What the light reveals is danger, and what it demands is faith.”
Later in Van Jone’s book, he describes being on the scene of the horrific racist murders in the North Carolina church in June 2015. You recall. The white man wanted to start a “race war” and sat and prayed with people he then killed.
Van Jone’s describes his own fury and despair.
“The next morning, I was still seething. I could barely make eye contact with anyone. I was sitting with CNN anchor Jake Tapper, preparing to go on the air. We were both mic’d up, sweating and sad. The funeral was just beginning.”
“Suddenly we started to hear something—music, coming from across the street, from the church, Mother Emanuel. A big, beautiful, upbeat sound with drums and organ and piano. A chorus of voices, a soaring harmony. Totally discordant with how we were feeling. The camera people began saying, ‘What is that?’ The music swelled around us. It seemed to lift us all from below.”
“It’s amazing,’ Jake said to me, off air. ‘How is possible? They actually sound happy.’
“I smiled a little and sat up.”
” ‘That’s not happiness,’ I told him. I explained that there is a distinction in the black church between happiness and joy. Happiness is dependent on external circumstances, but joy comes from within. Despite the circumstances, we say, “Hallelujah, anyhow.” It’s our way of saying that you’re not going to take away my dignity or my inner knowledge that I have worth, if only in the eyes of my creator. You’re not going to take my humanity. You’re not going to turn me into something other than a beautiful child of God.”