My leisure time is drying up a bit so it’s getting harder to find time to sit down and blog. I shorten the time by not putting as many pictures up. I know this makes it a bit less interesting to many readers. But it takes about half the time then.
Yesterday after class, I came home and printed out tax withholding papers and other stuff for my new job at Hope (the dance class accompaniment thing). Then dropped them off. I have more leg work to do on this on Monday. Did bills (Eileen’s and mine and my Mom’s). Tried to get my Mom to get out of her apartment to no avail. Her back is hurting her.
Spent the rest of the day trying to choose anthems for the choir to rehearse at our first post-Service rehearsal tomorrow. I do better at that when I have more time to reflect. I did come up with a few more. I want to spend most of today making sure that I am ready for that particular rehearsal. In addition I have to do some serious preparing for the Grace Jam Session next Tuesday. I want to have my Holy holy arranged for various instruments and also the closing hymn the following Sunday: “I’m so glad Jesus lifted me.” This means arranging and then printing out parts.
I am looking forward to tomorrow’s prelude and postlude. They are both by Dimitri Shostakovich.
The prelude will be his D major prelude and fugue from Opus 87 for piano. It’s a lovely little thing and I have been working on it for about two weeks. The postlude is also from this same opus. I took the prelude in Eb major and adapted it for organ. I chose it because I think it sits pretty nicely on organ with a little shifting around of octaves and omission of doublings of some of the notes.
I had a nice chat with a dance student yesterday. She introduced herself to me as someone who goes to my church and recognized me from the dance floor yesterday. It fascinated me to learn that she disagrees with the theology of our little church but manages to overlook it because it’s the “only Episcopal church around.” Our conversation ended abruptly before I could gently inquire what she disagreed with.
I suspect we are not “conservative” enough for her. I use quotes because I am coming to think that what is called “conservative” these days is quite radical and reactionary. I could be wrong about the young college student but I don’t think I am about movements like the Tea Party and the shouting pundits who seem to want to return to a time of lesser government and reduced taxes. I see the denial of the role of government and its funding entirely as a radical notion that contradicts the basic idea of a republic democracy.
Tony Judt points out that all nations and governments can only really do one or two things at all approaching competently. Most of what they do they will fuck up. So democratic societies have to choose what they feel the government should do.
I think public welfare is important and also education. Judt talks about the “culture” of the society and its attitudes toward what it expects from government. He was an expert on contemporary Europe and provides some fascinating examples that contrast with the US.
Also it’s not a “conservative” idea to be libertarian right up to the point where someone else’s behavior offends you (without harming you, of course). Whether that’s burning a flag or a book or having an abortion, I think it’s not only not conservative to build one’s personal values into a political stance for everyone, I think it’s pretty inconsistent if you say you want less government in your life as you put more government in other people’s life you despise.
Of course there are moral values in governing, but in a democracy they have to be bigger than what John Scarzi calls the Leviticans (He uses the term to identify brain dead Christians who get stuck on the rules in the Bible, particularly those in the Old Testament books like Leviticus.)
But so many people don’t seem think very clearly these days when they talk in public. Of course it provides fodder for John Stewart’s and John Scalzi’s wit. But I’m sure both of them would gladly see less stupidity in the public discussion.
I watched Rush Limbaugh’s brother, David, talk on C Span briefly last night.
I find myself listening more and more to the reactionary crazies trying to figure out what it is they are saying these days. David Limbaugh seemed to think that Ronald Reagan was a saint and that all Democrats are sinners. He (and supportive callers) “framed” their ideas in metaphors of being at “war” with the opposition.
I watch this in amazement because it so reduces complexity to nonsense. But nonsense seems to be the soup du jour of this country right now. I believe that Obama is a pretty lousy president. But I think it’s an impossible job and I prefer conservatives like him and Clinton to radicals like Reagan and George W. Bush. Obama and Clinton are actually conservatives. Clinton’s whole notion of “triangulation” is based on co-opting agendas from people who are right of center. Obama appointed some of the same financial advisors who made the mess to fix the mess (e.g. Rubin) He is very conservative in how he tries to govern, that is he changing less than people say he is and conserving or keeping the status quo in areas I would like to see changed (Guantanamo and transparency of government).
But I guess right now I would definitely vote for him as the lesser of two evils unless the Republicans were to nominate someone who had more obvious sense. I think that Obama is acting pretty coherently. I try to think critically of how people lead and speak in public. His rhetoric is an improvement on the past few presidents. But the rest of the rhetoric from both the right and the left right now is full of nutty stuff. What does it mean?
America could really be changing direction from heading toward a democracy to heading for something else. Hard to tell.