Wednesday’s Child Is White & Privileged

Poor Maxie. I called her Schatzi this morning. I don’t know if she noticed, but I did, and it set me back a little.

Donna’s away again, though not far. She’s at a retreat with fellow members of the local American Sewing Guild. Every year about this time they hole up in a Tucson resort hotel with their machines and materials. They attend seminars and workshops, get things done without the distractions of spouses and children, socialize at night. I am, as usual, fine. Plenty of leftovers, good books to read, a few small labors of love to keep me busy.

One such labor is my motorcycle. I’m riding over to Ed’s this afternoon to install a new control panel for the heated handgrips. We replaced the grips a few months ago, but I didn’t spring for factory parts, and the aftermarket heater control was a little plastic box you stuck on with two-sided tape. No matter where we put it, it looked cheesy. Ed’s a perfectionist, and with his wife Sue (ditto) designed a recessed panel for the control. I’ll take photos later … I think it’s going to look nice.

Another is my mountain bike. I bought a rack to go over the rear wheel and need to bolt it on tomorrow morning before it gets too hot to work in the garage. This is the bike I use to set hare & hounds trails, and now I’ll be able to carry extra flour on the bike, not on my back. Flour and bicycles, you ask? Yes. You mark trail with blobs of flour. You carry it in a bag strapped over your shoulder, dip into it with a free hand every few hundred feet, and drop a blob on the ground. The bag doesn’t hold enough for an entire 10- to 15-mile trail, so you need to pack extra flour. The rack’s going to be ace, and I’ll be the envy of all the hares.

A friend told me she no longer goes to Twitter for news. Well, yeah, who does? A couple of years ago Twitter was great for breaking stories: terrorist attacks as they were happening, first hints of major news before the media had time to react. Stories still break on Twitter, but there’s so much other stuff it’s hard to tweeze them out. Everyone is angry, shouting at one another, retweeting the same put-downs over and over, mobbing up on anyone who says something stupid or incorrect.

I check Google News two or three times a day to stay current. Twitter’s where I go to post comments on what’s happening. Sometimes my short tweets turn into longer Facebook comments or full-fledged blog posts. Expressing yourself in 140 characters or less is good practice.

Here’s a tweet I posted yesterday:

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Here’s the Facebook post that followed:

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And here’s what I’ll say on the blog:

I haven’t forgotten how Comey torpedoed Hillary Clinton a few days before the election. At the time Comey was up to his elbows investigating Donald Trump and his campaign’s collusion with the Russians, but he deliberately said nothing about that. Granted, after the way he was fired Comey has plenty of reason to turn on Trump, but I’ll be very surprised if he reveals anything damning tomorrow.

I also remember Comey looking right into the camera and swearing the Russians didn’t tamper with voting machine results on election day, and yesterday we learned they tried to. Comey must have known at the time. He lied. The fix is in, as they say. It’s going to be a whitewash. Or a nothingburger, take your choice.

Lately my thoughts, like those of the shouters on Twitter, are disturbed. It’s despair over the stupids being in charge. We live in a winner-take-all country. Over the past 20 years I’ve petitioned my representatives and senators several times. Only once did I get an answer, a form letter saying nothing. My representatives in Congress don’t represent me. They represent the people who voted for them, and then only the ones with money and power. Shit, we don’t even get to pick our president. The American people voted for Hillary Clinton but got Donald Trump, and as far as he’s concerned we can go fuck ourselves. Maybe it’s always been this way.

For sure, things have been worse, and that’s a thought to cling to: we’re not in the middle of another civil war, after all.

My previous blog post was about air travel in the days before deregulation. I cross-posted it to Daily Kos, where a couple of commenters took me to task over race and privilege. One maintained that pre-regulation air travel was the province of wealthy whites. Another implied I must be wealthy and white, seeing as how I flew to and from Germany in the 1950s. Who knew flying could be such a sore subject?

Every year during the Cold War. tens of thousands of military personnel and government employees, often with their families, traveled to and from overseas postings. We didn’t go by steamship. We flew, and Uncle Sam picked up the ticket. My father was an Air Force lieutenant when we were sent to Germany in 1955. He was a captain when we flew home in 1958. He made less than $400 a month, and he never would have considered himself privileged. Those old prop airliners were full of people like us.

As for race, the commenters have an undeniable point. Although the military integrated in 1948 and black along with white military families flew to new assignments, racial segregation played a role in aviation as it did in every other aspect of American life. The airlines themselves were not segregated, not in the sense that black passengers had to sit in the back or anything, but as this short article points out, many American airports had separate accommodations for whites and blacks, and when it came to hiring pilots and cabin crew, the industry was all white.

Guilty as charged, Daily Kos readers. I am white, and therefore privileged.

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