Monday, January 10, 2011

Matches and Tinder

Here's a nice poem by Sid Bolotin. Sid's thoughts, as put into words, often strike a chord common to many people. That's why so many enjoy his poetry and short stories. Here's his latest.

Arianna's Visit
Sid Bolotin

Beating me at cribbage
Strolling the nature center boardwalk
Chatting ‘bout religion, politics, philosophy
Family history, plans for her future
Blossoming out of a teeny-weeny, itsy-bitsy bikini
Twenty-two years ago a four pound, plucked chicken
Nestling in my open palm
Snuggling on my bare chest
Whimpering away her colic
Now, an instant later
A granddaughter is a young lady

Matches and Tinder

I had planned on writing something in this direction in the future but the shooting of Representative Giffords in Tucson the other day prompts me to bring this to the front burner.

When you strike a match to dry tinder, the result is fire. We have a lot of “dry tinder” in this country consisting of a vast multitude of people who don’t read newspapers or news magazines and get whatever real news reaches them, if any, in bits and pieces from TV and the internet. TV news has some credibility, even though it may be presented in a slanted manner, from the conservative right on Fox and from the more liberal left on MSNBC for example. The internet, however, has far, far less credibility. There are items, usually unsigned, circulating out there that are lies, half-truths or without any basis whatsoever in fact.

It has been said that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but everyone is not entitled to their own facts. A lot of what is on the internet has no basis in fact. The web sites where such material appears may look impressive, but the content may be fraudulent. Often, this material is presented in an angry manner. When it is passed on, it is often unsigned and not attributed to anyone.

For example, there is material on the internet which suggests that the President is a Muslim, that he was not born in the United States, that the health care reform legislation is socialist or even communistic and that there is some left-leaning conspiracy afoot in the country. Some talk show hosts and politicians angrily repeat and amplify this kind of talk. All of this is the match. The uninformed people out there are the tinder and in an environment where unemployment is rife, foreclosure of homes is occurring and savings are being lost in an unpredictable investment world, that tinder is even dryer than it normally would be.

Add to this a Supreme Court which by a five to four majority believes that the Second Amendment in stating that “a well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed” allows citizens to bear arms in situations or for reasons other than having them ready if called up to serve in a “militia.”

The Supreme Court is not always right as evidenced by the Dred Scott decision in the 1850s, their decisions in the 1820s which permitted land in Georgia to be stolen from Indians and their upholding of segregation of races in this country in Plessy vs. Ferguson. Their decisions regarding the broadness of the Second Amendment can and will be reversed someday. It is such decisions which permit people, some of whom may have emotional problems, to purchase weapons capable of doing a lot of damage. They are the tinder. The internet is the match.

I will be keeping a careful eye on whatever E-mail reaches me which seems to fit into the above description. I will check out suspicious items on and I urge you all to do this. So long as there is tinder out there, it is important to keep matches (and lighters for that matter) away from it. I will keep you informed.

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