Falling Leaves and Other Fallen Things

Harry Drabik

Last week was mildly difficult, but did begin with a slight silvery hue because Property Taxes due on the 15th were delayed a whole day to Monday. A gain of 1/365 isn’t much, but it is nice to have even the slightest of cheers when parting with 25% more this year than last. It’s exciting to see funds disappear so speedily, whoosh like a toilet flush. There it goes and where it ends up I sure don’t know. Not knowing makes it sort of an adventure, then, in the great speculation on who gets to spend how much on what? It seems public persons grow ever keener in the use of the assets of others. If I’m ever feeling too proud it’s good to have the reminder that someone in office has better uses for what I have than do I. The elected and appointed are wise, knowing, and far sighted beyond my plain 20/20. It takes an undaunted visionary to look at the future and see what’s yet to be. When I looked forward all I saw was be prudent, practical, and be careful. Those with better lights looked toward tomorrow and saw prosperity as a function of spending. Success and prosperity were mainly evidenced by how much was spent and to a lesser amount by arguing how free and or beneficial it was to spend what you didn’t have and wasn’t yours. And if you’re very, very special then you deserve more than the basics or bare minimum don’t you? And aren’t we all special? Of course we are. The proof is all around in the excessively gifted children and grandchildren with Wi-Fi in their veins.

I recall an elderly friend getting a bemused look in his eye when he’d say “If a little is good more is always better.” This sounds fine until you get into particulars. If three squares a day are good does that mean six meals a day are better for you? If having one car is good how much better off are you with a spare as backup? I’ve never been able to rise above the limit of driving one car at a time. That may be because I’m not visionary enough to see an unlimiting possibility, but I don’t think so. I’d be pretty sure the limiting factor is hands, feet, and only one rear to sit in the seat. The same person I quoted would also say “I never saw a trailer behind a hearse.” With two feet (as some might say) stubbornly on the ground you might stand firm on three meals a day as plenty good enough. You might not be as easily swayed by the lure of presumed needs or the falling leave dance of theoretical benefits. Autumn leaves swirling whirling outdoors are fine and beautiful, but their fate is compost not in Perpetua frolic unless you’re willing to pay the price to keep it so and bear the cost burden of an unnecessary pursuit. Desire outstrips reality. We know that. Practicing it is where things drift away into wishfulness.

On another side I was lately (and correctly) taken to task by someone objecting to my comment about statue toppling being a type of lynching. “Don’t you know,” the speaker shot with arrogant confidence, “a statue isn’t a person?” I did know that, had considered it, and did the comparison anyway because the glee I’ve seen in a statue lynching looks identical to the mob happiness of hanging a person. Additionally, both forms of lynching have the same larger purpose of putting down or warning an entire class or category as undesirable in humanity. Whether in the present or past and for whatever reason a view that lumps people and events into handy little label packets to be elevated for respect or cast down to be disposed of represents a diminishment of a larger view. Take use of NAZI as an example. Most use of the term is derogatory and much of the time misapplied because it is easier to slap on a label than take the effort needed to get at a more informed view.

For instance, when I say NAZI how many think of NAZI as vehemently right wing? Most of us do, and that’s because we use the diminishing view that’s easier to apply. The NAZI party or NSDAP was the National Socialist Democratic Labor Party. The party hierarchy often placed being socialist ahead of or at least equal to German nationalism. Socialism in not a right wing movement, but at the time it was probably more Progressive than the right which was stuck with perpetuating the old order stifling the German middle class. Nazism favored the middle class and was popular for doing so. Who or what had Hitler looked to when he stepped into political life? His model was Mussolini, the Italian fascist who’d been the forerunners in this wave. What was Mussolini’s guide? Mussolini was basically a Marxist believing the state was all. Hitler called Mussolini the new Caesar. Socialism and Marxism are both decidedly to the left, and yet we put the fascist/Nazi result on the right.

Placing Nazism and Fascism on the right has two likely causes. We’ll place nationalism and patriotism on the right because we see them as Traditional rather than Progressive. Also, we see Nazism as on the right due to its conflict with Soviet or Marxist Russia. In a sense Nazi Germany was set on carving out its form of Socialism separate from Italian and Soviet Marxism. But in any case Hitler wanted Russian land for Germany; where nationalism enters again. When a person sets aside lionizing and demonizing to look at facts the resulting view is more complex (or human) than we get merely slapping labels without understanding what was or is actually involved and meant. Wide acceptance does not mean validity or accuracy of information. F’r instance, recall Y 2 K.