Saturday, March 15, 2014


Today I stopped myself from sending three emails.

I’d been mulling each missive – all responses to messages I’d previously received – and am pleased I made the right decision not to reply.

The first concerned the Friends Committee on National Legislation newsletter forwarded to me by Cornwall Monthly Meeting.  The main topic was Quakers' response (as discerned by the FCNL) to President Obama’s 2014 budget proposal. 

Unfortunately, it was utterly predictable, i.e., Yes (Yes!!) to overdrive rebuilding of the welfare state and unmodulated, flat-line, quietist No to everything related to national defense.  Tiresome Quaker crocodile-tears handwringing over ferocious war- waging by Democrat presidents, something that added a little context to indefatigable one-party support during the Clinton-Bosnia days, and reflected a minutest expression of Christian concern, is now a thing of the past entirely, replaced by the sound of silence. 

So, unfortunately. is any remnant of Friends' historical emphasis on self-reliance, self-improvement and achieving spiritual and social progress through hard work, not to mention any residual, even murmured acknowledgement of Jesus Christ himself as a component in their reasoning and conclusions.

Quakerism, it is clear, has now devolved into a semi-spiritual subdivision of the Democratic party, an Obama-Biden bumper sticker, one of those contemptuous placards with the fish illustration emended and replaced by the legend "Darwin."

The preceding sentence formed the gravamen of my second discarded message.  The FCNL newsletter also included a form of tribute flattering the disreputable Philadelphia congressman Chaka Fatta, who was pictured smiling among a group of very young Haverford Friends School students engaged presumably in first-stage brainwashing on the subject of climate change.  Fatta and his equally disreputable son are simply local facts of life around these parts.  It isn’t enough merely to keep your arms and legs in the vehicle; it is essential to keep your hands in your pockets firmly around your wallets when the Fattas come to visit.  When they’ve exhausted the public fisc, count on them coming after your personal fortune.  They Will Survive.

I wanted to bring this to the attention of the Peace and Social Action committee of Cornwall Monthly Meeting, but really it’s too parochial a matter.  If they want, they can always worry about the similarly lustrous Al Sharpton, the vile body and Fatta doppelgänger who made his bones just north of Cornwall in scenic Wappinger Falls about 25 years ago in Tawana Brawley's company.

The final discarded email is just too personal to interest you.  But as I’ve told so many other people over the years, Don’t Hit Send. Take A Walk instead.

Moody Blues: Stop (Link)


  1. This makes sound advice. Have a good Sunday!

    1. You too and please feel better. We're down with illness chez nous also. I think not sending emails (and, in past days, letters) is often good advice. It's funny -- there's that famous later Moody Blues song, Nights In White Satin, that contains a lyric on that very subject. This song, if you don't know it, is by the first version of the group containing the marvelous singer Denny Laine, who also sang their first hit Go Now. Stop was a minor hit, but it's a terrific number. An old college friend of mine, who was actually a big internet pioneer (he actually invented "tabbed browsing" and made a mega-fortune when AOL bought his company) explained to me a long time ago that the reason for double-clicking on the mouse was to give you the opportunity to reconsider committing to what you'd just recorded. That makes sense. As for Quakers, I don't believe there are many in Norway (I'll check from my sickbed), but in the US (where there also aren't many) we've experienced a slippage on the East and West coasts at least where the spiritual foundations have been almost entirely replaced by secular political ones. Like our American Civil Liberties Union and the National Organization for Women, Quakers have lost their independent identity and have simply become vassals of their political party of choice. It's a pity and, in Quakers' case, seems to have discarded the whole point of the once glorious enterprise. It has also replaced lucid silence with rackety noise. Best wishes from our frozen part of the world. Curtis