“Positivity” In Life

Dear Drunk,

Thanks for your email in response to yesterday’s post. Yep, the Mrs. was “positive,” so we are still here in England. We will be over in the U.S. hopefully later in April. I’m not “positive” – at least not yet.

She tested “positive” again a little while ago, but feels no sicker than yesterday: she feels like she has a cold. As of this morning, I still feel fine. Yet I fully expect to catch it, but I am not worried if I do: I am fully vaccinated.

As we stay away from other people and stay here at home (on our own choice – the law in England no longer mandates we “isolate”), I have some time to kill. As you have seen, I may blog more. LOL! I’m thinking on the very basics of a future new novel, too.

As for the new release. The initial response I have received to Capture directly from a few readers has been great. Really uplifting. One messaged me this:

[From Instagram.]

I share that especially because that is from a Black American reader. You recall – if you actually read it – that the “Comtesse” is Polish and “Sam” is an escaped slave in France. The hours, months, even years we go through and in the end wonder if it is any good, and to be told it is and they love it. That makes it all worthwhile.

Like that one, several have said they have read it completely already. I could only laugh as well as feel really flattered: How do you read a “650 page” novel in a week or two? They apparently did. I can’t keep up with that sort of reading speed when it takes over two years to write those sorts of books! There is not going to be anything new anytime soon!

More seriously, I know I may eventually get hammered online from some “patriots” over some of it. Like their often hero Putin, they can f-off, too. I wrote of the time and when it comes to the U.S. of 1806-1815 I won’t try to pretend it was all sweetness and light when it definitely wasn’t. They want that the white founders were all perfect, that there was no “white privilege” and that the British were all evil or slavery was not so bad, and that women all wished to be subservient. I will not contribute to historical delusions by writing such juvenile claptrap. If they want historical fiction, that’s what I wrote. If they want “Schoolhouse Rock” (which was aimed at under-11s, NOT adults) they can go take their childish outlook somewhere else.

One of the things that always amazes me is how historically so many take the past so personally. I wasn’t there. Neither were you. Why the hell do I care if people write bad things about Thomas Jefferson? People wrote bad stuff about him when he was ALIVE. The same for all the rest of them. Sometimes they were good and decent and forward-thinking and sometimes they were ugly people who did ugly things to other people. Why are we afraid to admit the latter? We cannot possibly address the problems of the present by simply just declaring, “Well, we are all equal now…”

This is to me “white privilege” in practice. I believe that given the history of the United States, if the “Trumpists” who had gathered on the Mall on January 6, 2021 had been mostly Black, the National Guard would have already been dug in around the Capitol building with machine guns and artillery and clear fields of fire all the way back up the Mall, and possibly even supported by air cover. And if they had marched on the Capitol, there would have been a massacre. But because they were mostly white there was not a heavy-handed preparedness beforehand. Their then march to the Capitol and initial behavior outside was treated as if they were misbehaving kids on a (mostly white) school playground. It was only when they started smashing their way in and beating up vastly outnumbered Capitol police – who mostly to their professional credit HELD their fire – that it became truly clear that some of them were wannabe Confederate “soldiers,” at least one of whom was photographed actually arrogantly waving a pro-slavery, rebel 1861-65 Confederate battle flag as he walked around inside of the building. Oh, how the irony of sometimes Black Capitol police, possibly the descendants of slaves who were forced by the likes of that guy’s ancestors to help build the Capitol, trying to stop white people like him from desecrating it is still obviously lost on too many. It is said we Americans do not do “irony,” and I tend to disagree with that, but in that case that is undoubtedly true.

No one knew what would happen as the rioters broke inside. They could have wrecked centuries-old paintings and other art – cornerstones of our national heritage…

[U.S. Capitol Rotunda, Washington D.C. Photo by me, 2018.]

…and all because they were egged on by the worst U.S. president of the last 100 years: the defeated idiot “Dear Leader” Trump who is so historically ignorant that shortly after he moved into the White House in early 2017 demonstrated he did not even know George Washington never even lived in the White House. He has throughout his multiple bankruptcies con artist career always claimed he was “screwed” and something was “rigged” against him when something did not go his way. He lost by 7 million votes to Biden two months before. That was the second worst defeat since Reagan trounced Mondale in 1984. (Only Obama v. McCain in 2008 was more one-sided.) There is no doubt Joe Biden was elected president, yet Trump has convinced millions it was actually a close election that was somehow “stolen” from him. That’s what con artists do: they con you. Yet his “Trumpists” were easily convinced because his con job took them where they were already: They wanted desperately to believe he wuz robbed. And why? Because Black people… made a huge electoral difference in voting overwhelmingly for Biden. How dare they have an equal vote! Oh, and brown people… especially at the Mexican border. That was it. That was what it was about.

Oh, because there were Black protesters (and whites) in the summer of 2020? Some smashed windows and worse? Uh, news flash: people protesting against police brutality – even criminally doing so – is DIFFERENT than the GOVERNMENT shooting protesters who oppose a GOVERNMENT’S activities. We EXPECT police to BEHAVE themselves and show RESTRAINT – as those brave Capitol police mostly did on January 6 – because they are empowered to KILL us LEGALLY if need be and are therefore SUPPOSED to be law-abiding and not kneeling on the neck of and killing an already in custody and handcuffed and subdued man OF ANY COLOR who is lying helpless on the ground. Come to think of it, why the hell should Black Capitol police we saw have risked their outnumbered lives for that Capitol building and perhaps also to protect often appalling members of Congress who clearly angle for the electoral support of those who made up that entitled mostly white mob full of deluded people who actually think they are “oppressed?” Senators like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul and some of the other Trumpist cronies spoutings at times sound like they could have come straight from defeated rebel “President” Jefferson Davis’s The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, for God’s sakes. I have read some of that pompous martinet’s overwritten dirge, and nearly twenty years after the war ended the old “unreconstructed” bigot was STILL carrying on about the “constitutionality” of Lincoln – who had been assassinated by a southern white, no less – freeing the slaves. That 1861 rebellion Davis presided over was not about slavery but about THE CONSTITUTION? Yeh, sure it was. Just like 2021’s Capitol-invading version was also about “defending THE CONSTITUTION.” Those latter can go sit and cry on Nathan Bedford Forrest’s grave and dream of Tara and happily enslaved “darkies” in April 1861 and sing “Bonnie Blue Flag” and get stuffed. “Southern rights… hurrah!” Bullsh-t. Millions of Blacks then were “Southerners” too and they had NO rights. Secession and “1861” was about “the right” for numerically superior Southern whites to continue to OWN minority Blacks. Period. 2021’s version was also about whites who don’t like Blacks having an equal say in how our shared country is run… if Blacks have the nerve to offer opinions on its running that don’t align with their own, of course.

Despite 250 years of slavery and then post-slavery “Jim Crow” abuse and degradation, Black Americans have STILL given MORE freely to the U.S. and been more PATIENT over the generations and honestly PATRIOTIC than the country could really be said truly to merit. For that optimism and selflessness we should be incredibly thankful. In comparison we are beset still with dimwit whites who think wearing a U.S. flag pin or having American flags painted on the sides of their Ford F150 or having a Trump flag (seriously) on their house makes them somehow a “patriot.” There are no words for that depth of ignorance and stupidity – or, simply, just racism. Such whites want to “take their country back?” From whom, pray tell? Uh, we know. For example, having the nerve to go on about a single Black woman nominated for the U.S. Supreme Court as it somehow being unfair to other possible nominees? Really? The Court was ALL white men for nearly two centuries, but one Black woman nominated AT LAST in 2022 gets up their noses. Again, thus “white privilege.” It is whites like those who make writing about American history and especially pre-1865 so difficult. All American history belongs to ALL Americans, and that history is at times, yes, really unpleasant. Those who are willing to see all Americans as equally Americans and admit that our history is scarred with much we wish had never happened and which scars us still can learn from it in the hopes there can be a better tomorrow; on the other hand the racist, the arrogantly ignorant, and the insecure, imagining a fanciful country that never existed, or, much worse, wishing for a return to that pre-1861 country that once did – although they can’t say that plainly now out loud, which is apparently to be “canceled” – have a much tougher time with it all.

Rant over. LOL! I hate you. You got me going and I have to stop or I may not be able to…

[From Bernardo Bellotto, 1777. “Miodowa Street in Warsaw.” Public Domain.]

As I calm down, I have to say I can’t get over the inadvertent timing of the novel release either. You know most of the novel occurs in France and England and America. Two years in the writing: it was either great or really lousy release timing in some of it also taking place in what is today Poland and eastern Europe.

And you want to know who that Polish countess “is?” She is no one person, but was inspired by quite a few women. Simple as that. It’s fiction again, not autobiography, you moron.

The tale grew though I think in this way from myself. When we are young we think we are invincible and we can do anything. I can remember myself in the 1990s: Nothing could stop me. As we get older, we learn more about our limitations as they become more evident even to ourselves. It is life. Our existences do not stand still. They overlap with both the older around us as well as the younger. We are “old” to younger people, but “young” to older people. It happens to us all. Remember the joke that “old” is about “15 years” older than we are. LOL! It’s true.

Anyway, that’s more than enough. I’m going to have a coffee now…

[Photo by me, April 6, 2022.]

Hope the Vermont weather is improving. We old people don’t like the cold – and you are older than me, so Vermont’s cold definitely must be too much for you. Until next time.

RJ

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