Posted by: bkivey | 10 June 2015

Living in the Past

Anyone whose played organized sports, or watched professional sports, knows the script after a loss: “We’ve got to learn from our mistakes and move on. We’ve got to have a short memory and get ready for the next game. We need to focus on the future.” Political speeches after an electoral loss run along the same lines. So it goes in any field of endeavor in which the participant wants to achieve success: learn from mistakes, don’t dwell on the past, look forward to what can be improved in future, execute the plan. It’s the strategic blueprint for success.

And it’s historically been the American vision. We’ve always looked forward to new frontiers, new ways of doing things, new social experiments. It has made for a very dynamic society. People have come here to escape ossified societies and philosophies, to live in a place where they could try new things.

So why in the name of all that is holy do leaders and politicians on the Liberal side of the spectrum want to keep people living in the past?

Listen to the Progressive rhetoric: ‘the historical struggles’, ‘the injustices of the past’, ‘decades of oppression’, ‘traditional minorities’. Even when Progressive leadership claims to be ‘want to move forward’, the actions belie the words. John F. Kennedy is the last Liberal president I’m aware of who actually spoke about building a better future without dragging along the baggage of the past. Even Barack Obama’s campaign of ‘hope and change’ featured a goodly amount of lamenting the past. The primary reason people were so responsive to Ronald Reagan was because he articulated a genuine belief that the American people could accomplish great things, and that they had it within themselves to achieve those goals. No President since, and certainly no Democratic President, has been able to communicate a positive vision so effectively.

Now when Liberal leadership responds to crisis, it’s almost entirely in terms of the past. There’s no mention of building a future; now we’re supposed to ‘correct’ the injustices of the past. The past, the past, the past. People have been conditioned for decades that they have no future, only an irredeemably unjust past. But here’s the thing about the past:

The past never changes.

It’s done, it’s set, and no matter how hard one may wish for a different past, it’s impossible to achieve. If a person lives in the past, they’re always going to be unhappy. A person, or a people, living in the past is never going to have a future. And people without a future are going to be angry, dissatisfied, and eventually turn to violence. People with nowhere to go don’t care where they end up.

So why would the people who claim to lead the historically marginalized want to keep shoving that history in those folks faces without offering a way to build a better future? There is a way out of the past. The path forward started on 19 April 1775 with the battle of Lexington, and was codified on 29 May 1790 when Rhode Island became the final state to ratify the Constitution. But to the Progressive mind, the US is illegitimate because when the Founders ‘brought forth a new nation’, the US was a slavery nation. The tremendous social progress made in the intervening 225 years is for naught, because like Banquo’s ghost, our past must always shadow our present.

Again with the past.

It seems improbable that Progressives would operate in the same manner for decades without knowing what they’re doing. To keep people focused on the past, without recourse to a future, is an evil worse than slavery. At least the slave owners were honest about their intentions. Progressive leadership seeks to give people the illusion of freedom, while imposing ever more restrictive bonds, and denying them the freedom of determining their future for themselves. Now we’ve reached a point where people gladly sell their birthright as Americans for a little bit of security to people whose only interest is consolidating power.

It would be irrational to deny the past, but it’s equally irrational to live in it. It is the height of delusion to think that those who only talk about the past are going to lead people to a better future. The next time you hear someone talking about the past as a justification for actions in the present, ask yourself why they’re not talking about the future.

Rose Festival and Fleet Week

The Rose Festival took place in Portland last week, and it’s a Big Deal. There are parades, concerts, activities around town, and Fleet Week, when the Canadian and US navies send ships and sailors to the city, The ships tie up along the Willamette River waterfront, and are open for tours. The arrival Friday and departures Monday of the ships play merry hob with traffic, as bridges across the river must be opened to allow passage. But Portlanders are fairly tolerant of the inconvenience, more so than with Presidential motorcades shutting down entire stretches of freeway.

I had Sunday off, so I wandered around the waterfront looking at the ships and generally enjoying a Summer day downtown. Yes, it’s still Spring, but Sunday’s weather was typical of late Summer here.

Worlds Greatest Fairgrounds MAX

I took the MAX light rail into town, because parking’s expensive, and an all-day ticket is $5. At the Fairgrounds station in Hillsboro, there’s this sculpture. Judge for yourself. The ride into town takes about 40 minutes.

I got off MAX and walked up the Steel Bridge to view the ships.  That’s Benfold  nearest, with Rossalongside, and Canadian destroyer Calgary at the seawall.  Curiously, the names painted on the sterns of the USN ships don’t match their official listing. I noticed that the Canadian Navy doesn’t put the ship’s name on the stern; there’s just the ship’s number. I’m a little suspicious of services that don’t display the ship’s name. There’s a deep connection between any vessel that plies the void (water or space) and their crew. The relationship is symbiotic, and a ship deserves to have her name proudly displayed.

Destrpyers Fleet Week 2015

Another view of the ships. The Canadian vessel was noticeably shabbier than her American counterparts. Sailors tend to be proud of their ships, and I wondered why the Canadian Navy couldn’t scrape up some paint to put on a good appearance when they would be representing their service and country in a foreign land.

Destroyers bow view 1506.07

The Navy institutes an escort zone alongside the vessels, and pleasure boaters have to wait to be escorted through that zone.

Escorting boats

The Coast Guard watchdog.

Coast Guard watchdog

There’s a sailor manning a pair of prominently mounted .50 cal machine guns in the bow.

A 180 degree panorama from the Steel Bridge:

Panorama from Steel Bridge 1506.07

The US Bancorp tower (known as ‘Big Pink’) is on the right, and the Convention Center is on the left. The Steel Bridge carries road and light rail traffic on the upper deck, and heavy rail traffic on the lower deck.

A little further south along the waterfront was the USN minesweeper Champion

Minesweeper and destroyers 1506.07

USN minesweeper 1506.07

Compared to the destroyers, there hardly appears space for people to move around on deck.  Next up were two Canadian minesweepers. Portland was well protected from mines that weekend.

Canadian minesweepers bow 1506.07

Next up was the Canadian training ship OrioleShe is the oldest commissioned vessel in the Canadian Navy, but lacks some 150 years on USS ConstitutionThat’s the Burnside bridge in the background.

Canadain training ship 1506.07

Lastly, a couple of USN security boats:

USN police boats 1506.07


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