Jul 24, 2018

DEMOCRACY : BE CAUTIOUS












My brother, Roger sent me this quote from Isocrates long ago, I can't even remember the specific reason why. It was something related to politics I don't remember the specifics.  


I've had this image on my desktop for months and from time to time I open the JPG and read the words, over and over. The words are simple, the idea of democracy destroying itself certainly provocative and a bit overwhelming. 


Could this happen in our time ? 


I dont think about big broad topics like the destruction of democracy very often, at the same time sometimes when I check the daily world news feeds on my iPhone or iPad, I wonder.  


Late yesterday I read the late breaking news on the Trump tweet directed towards the President of Iran, and the response from Iran's Foreign Minister.  I also read all the analysis that suggests that Trump manages the chaos of his administration with deflection tactics, and that these are simply words and nothing will come from this. 

My reaction to these tweets is exactly what is echoed below: 
BE CAUTIOUS.  

















TRUMP TWEET 

"To Iranian President Rouhani: NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!"

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IRAN FOREING MINISTER ZARIF REPLY TWEET 

COLOR US UNIMPRESSED: The world heard even harsher bluster a few months ago. And Iranians have heard them —albeit more civilized ones—for 40 yrs. We’ve been around for millennia & seen fall of empires, incl our own, which lasted more than the life of some countries. BE CAUTIOUS!


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I will never forget my immediate reaction, what I did immediately after I comprehended that 2 commercial passenger aircraft had intentionally crashed into the Twin Towers in New York City on that fateful, crisp, bright morning of September 11th, 2001.  And another in aircraft DC and another aircraft in a field in Pennsylvania. 


I sat at my desk on the East 4th floor at the Cox Lake Hearn building in Atlanta and I called my DAD in Panama.  The calls kept ringing busy, the fast busy that you get when the lines are jammed, I kept dialing and dialing until I was finally able to get through and speak with him. 


I called my DAD to tell him we were OK in Atlanta and I wanted to know if the Panama Canal had been attacked ? Had there been any news in Panama about attacks on the Canal ? 


In those horrific moments, minutes and hours of that morning, I was scared. It was as if something had shifted in the foundations of civility, humanity, honor, respect, hope and yes democracy.  


The language in the 2 tweets quoted above make me nervous.  I know some people don't worry.  Certainly there is possibility that crazy builds on crazy. I never imagined that the course of world affairs would be postured, challenged, and retaliated on social media platforms; I prefer old fashioned: phone calls, face to face meetings, news conferences, summits. 


In times like these I also think of the Embera Indians we visited a few years back on the banks of the beautiful Chagres River in Panama. They live among nature, huts built high above the ground, most everyone sleeps in hammocks. They dont wear shoes and they don't understand garments with buttons. A one room classroom is the school for all the children in the village. Their modern world comforts: single light bulbs in their respective huts. 


Most of these Embera Indians will never have a television, or a phone or a tablet. Most will never know about Trump or Macron or Assad or Putin.  Yet everyday they have a life with front row seats in nature, the Chagres river sings to them ongoing, their stars at night are millions, the fresh air is fresh, the warmth of the sun is honest. 


Sometimes I want to run away and be with the Emberas.