Archive for April 2023


Having studied so many sources with our group’s exploration of the history and contemporary avoidance and betrayal of racial justice in the history of our United States, this excellent book has much to add. Unlike some reviewers who didn’t like the author’s often poetic style, I found that to be a major draw. It is one thing to allow oneself to be exposed to the truth and quite another to be inspired to compassion instead of reaching into the myriad forms of denial that protect oneself from responsibility. His style did inspire to compassion as he reported the truth with honesty and feeling without a sign of preaching. I liked especially that the author’s beautifully presented straightforwardness did much to avoid encouraging inappropriate guilt that gets in the way of real understanding.

And the book does reveal space for change. I was especially impressed with the alternative tours of Jefferson’s home. Several years ago when I visited there was only one available tour. We were exposed to the fact of Sally Hemmings and her family as well as the burial area where the Hemmings descendents were seeking permission to be included. We even had a brief look at where the slave cabins would have been. We also learned of Jefferson’s purchasing of goods from Europe at a time when they were being boycotted. Certainly an indication that our founding father was not a beacon of perfection. (A man, after all. Not a god delivering messages from heaven.) But the author was on a tour that focused on Jefferson’s intimate connection with slavery. The very fact that tour was offered is a mark of progress, of opening up to truth, as were many of his stops.

The author took us as well to other sites where the truth was being emphasized. I liked his attitude; I liked his choice of places to visit. I liked his mode of presentation. I suspect that many who chose to read it came away not only with deeper knowledge, but also with more emotional commitment.


By definition, banning abortion is condemning a potential person to a life of being unwanted. The reasons are as varied as the individual situation. Poverty, genetic predispositions, lack of a nurturing growth environment post birth, a poor uterine environment for any number of reasons, or other reasons why the birth mother (and/or the father) isn’t able to raise the infant to adulthood. I’m sorry to say this, but if there were really concern for a good life, there’d be all kinds of movement going on now from the “pro-lifers” to make childhood care available to everyone, to provide sufficient financial guarantees to carry that person through a healthy lifetime of need for nurturance, housing, health care, education, attention through thick and thin. Instead there are efforts to cut back on aid programs. Those who push for government control of birthing seem to be the same ones who argue for removal of aid. What is the real motive?

I had an interesting brief discussion recently with a person claiming a “pro-life” position.  I understood him to say something like, “Yes, I understand it can be hard for the mother, but I’m more concerned for the child.” The funny thing is, that’s my main concern too – care for the child. What kind of life will that unwanted child have? I know, you’re going to tell me there’s always adoption. No, there isn’t always adoption. How many potentially adoptive parents are willing to take on a lifetime of caring for a badly limited infant who will require care for a lifetime?  How many understand that the baby is not a blank slate? The newborn has not been removed from an empty box . There has been a nine-month relationship with a primary caretaker. Do you think it’s just nothing to be removed from that place without lifelong grief? Or maybe even that first uterine “home” wasn’t so great to begin with for reasons of maternal health, or even the stress of the situation. Or maybe the grief is even stronger because the birth mother has provided a loving relationship even more stressful to leave. A baby brings along a whole slew of characteristics that may or may not fit well with a secondary environment – a foster or adoptive home — no matter how loving, even if there were enough available.

I’ve just hit the tip of the iceberg here. Whole libraries have been written to help understand human development. What will be the effect of this “pro-life” movement ten, twenty, thirty, etc. years from now on our national need for health care, control of violence, creativity … ?

It’s a bit ironic, isn’t it, that the Chinese who enforced the one-child edict are now in need of more people. Where will we be as a result of our similarly communist-like control of birthing?

I do believe that most pro-life folks feel theirs is the loving position. I also believe they have all the right they need to preach pro-life as a choice, including the pro-loving moral obligation to back it up with real support, beyond just supplying a layette. The opposite of “pro-llife” is not “abortion.” The opposite of “pro life” is freedom of choice, religion, moral belief, and understanding of the personal situation.


Recently I posted the following review on Goodreads and I can’t believe I’ve been so busy that I didn’t post it here until today, but that’s the fact. Among other things I’m working on my next — I hope — book with the working title On My Way Out. (If you’re up to critiquing the first 30 or so pages, you know where to find me.)


I listened to The Spider Network (sort of) when I was recovering from a corneal transplant operation which required me to spend 45 minutes out of every hour lying in my back (to help the donor cornea adhere) for three days. I’m not sure how Enrich’s book even made it to my Kindle collection but it was probably the ideal choice for the situation since I was well primed to nod off.  And nod off I did. Too much detail, I think. (As I said, I was nodding.) I admit I didn’t understand how the whole scheme worked (and didn’t really care) though I did understand how the central figure could have been suckered into the process itself, given his position on the autism spectrum. But what I did get was another revelation of my own naivete. I was horrified and disgusted by the culture of greed that was revealed. Maybe if I live another bunch of years I’ll become more inured to it. I remember when I thought banks made money by supporting industries and other investment activities. I guess I wasn’t really surprised at the end when a whole bunch of the perpetrators managed to sell themselves to the jury as a bunch of nice businessmen taken in by one bad guy and then went off to celebrate in a drunken orgy while the person at the center of it all served a jail sentence and the people who suffered most were his wife and child. And I was pretty much awake and paying attention at that point. It’s not a book I would choose again, nor do I have any friends or acquaintances to whom I’d recommend it. But the contents themselves are impressive in the depth of coverage as is the author. I guess I’m just not well suited to being a bottom feeder.

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