A conservative on systemic racism

Michael Gerson in the WaPo: “By the time I was growing up in the 1970s, St. Louis no longer had legal segregation. But my suburb, my neighborhood and my private high school were all outcomes of White flight. The systems of policing, zoning and education I grew up with had been created to ensure one result: to keep certain communities safe, orderly and pale. …

“Systems had been carefully created to ensure I went to an all-White church, in an all-White neighborhood, while attending an all-White Christian school and shopping in all-White stores. I now realize I grew up in one of the most segregated cities in the United States.

“Was this my fault? Not in the strictest sense. I didn’t create these systems. But I wish I had realized earlier that these systems had created me. …

“Though our nation is beset with systemic racism, we also have the advantage of what a friend calls “systemic anti-racism.” We have documents — the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the 14th Amendment — that call us to our better selves.”

Not all White people created structural racism, but all of us should oppose it.

Poem of the day

Ode to the Evening Star
by Mark Akenside (1721-1770)

To-night retir’d the queen of heaven
      With young Endymion stays:
And now to Hesper is it given
Awhile to rule the vacant sky,
Till she shall to her lamp supply
      A stream of brighter rays.

O Hesper, while the starry throng
      With awe thy path surrounds,
Oh listen to my suppliant song,
If haply now the vocal sphere
Can suffer thy delighted ear
      To stoop to mortal sounds.

So may the bridegroom’s genial strain
      Thee still invoke to shine:
So may the bride’s unmarried train
To Hymen chaunt their flattering vow,
Still that his lucky torch may glow
      With lustre pure as thine.

Far other vows must I prefer
      To thy indulgent power.
Alass, but now I paid my tear
On fair Olympia’s virgin tomb:
And lo, from thence, in quest I roam
      Of Philomela’s bower.

Propitious send thy golden ray,
      Thou purest light above:
Let no false flame seduce to stray
Where gulph or steep lie hid for harm:
But lead where music’s healing charm
      May sooth afflicted love.

To them, by many a grateful song
      In happier seasons vow’d,
These lawns, Olympia’s haunt, belong:
Oft by yon silver stream we walk’d,
Or fix’d, while Philomela talk’d,
Beneath yon copses stood.

Nor seldom, where the beachen boughs
      That roofless tower invade,
We came while her inchanting Muse
The radiant moon above us held:
Till by a clamorous owl compell’d
      She fled the solemn shade.

But hark; I hear her liquid tone.
      Now, Hesper, guide my feet
Down the red marle with moss o’ergrown,
Through yon wild thicket next the plain,
Whose hawthorns choke the winding lane
      Which leads to her retreat.

See the green space: on either hand
      Inlarg’d it spreads around:
See, in the midst she takes her stand,
Where one old oak his awful shade
Extends o’er half the level mead
      Inclos’d in woods profound.

Hark, how through many a melting note
      She now prolongs her lays:
How sweetly down the void they float!
The breeze their magic path attends:
The stars shine out: the forest bends:
      The wakeful heifers gaze.

Whoe’er thou art whom chance may bring
      To this sequester’d spot,
If then the plaintive Syren sing,
Oh softly tread beneath her bower,
And think of heaven’s disposing power,
      Of man’s uncertain lot.

Oh think, o’er all this mortal stage,
      What mournful scenes arise:
What ruin waits on kingly rage:
How often virtue dwells with woe:
How many griefs from knowledge flow:
      How swiftly pleasure flies.

O sacred bird, let me at eve,
      Thus wandering all alone,
Thy tender counsel oft receive,
Bear witness to thy pensive airs,
And pity nature’s common cares
      Till I forget my own.

Poem of the day

Goodbye
by Walter de la Mare (1873-1956)

The last of last words spoken is, Goodbye—
The last dismantled flower in the weed-grown hedge,
The last thin rumour of a feeble bell far ringing,
The last blind rat to spurn the mildewed rye.

A hardening darkness glasses the haunted eye,
Shines into nothing the watcher’s burnt-out candle,
Wreathes into scentless nothing the wasting incense,
Faints in the outer silence the hunting-cry.

Love of its muted music breathes no sigh,
Thought in her ivory tower gropes in her spinning,
Toss on in vain the whispering trees of Eden,
Last of all last words spoken is Goodbye.

Who cares what it is? Liberals support it.

Therefore it must be pernicious. No need to define it or know what it is.

“Critical race theory is an academic framework that explores how racism is embedded in U.S. policies and systems.

“Recently, though, conservative pundits and politicians have attempted to conflate it with a slew of other concepts, such as diversity and inclusion efforts, anti-racism training, social justice activism or multicultural curricula.”

Advocates say the new Texas law, which goes into effect on Sept. 1, will have a chilling effect on schools.

Poem of the day

Tropical Town
by Salomón de la Selva (1893-1959)

Blue pink and yellow houses, and, afar,
 The cemetery, where the green trees are.

Sometimes you see a hungry dog pass bay,
And there are always buzzards in the sky.
Sometimes you hear the big cathedral bell,
A blind man rings it; and sometimes you hear
A rumbling ox-cart that brings wood to sell.
Else nothing ever breaks the ancient spell
That holds the town asleep, save, once a year,
The Easter Festival. . . .
                                                I come from there,
And when I tire of hoping,
and despair Is heavy over me,
my thoughts go far,
Beyond that length of lazy street,
to where the lonely green trees and the white graves are.

Republicans taking over state elections

NYT: “Republicans have introduced at least 216 bills in 41 states to give legislatures more power over elections officials, according to the States United Democracy Center, a new bipartisan organization that aims to protect democratic norms. Of those, 24 have been enacted into law across 14 states. …

“The maneuvers risk eroding some of the core checks that stood as a bulwark against former President Donald J. Trump as he sought to subvert the 2020 election results. Had these bills been in place during the aftermath of the election, Democrats say, they would have significantly added to the turmoil Mr. Trump and his allies wrought by trying to overturn the outcome. They worry that proponents of Mr. Trump’s conspiracy theories will soon have much greater control over the levers of the American elections system.”

Game of the week

Poem of the day

Souvenir
by Merceline Desbordes-Valmore (1786-1859)

Quand il pâlit un soir, et que sa voix tremblante
S’éteignit tout à coup dans un mot commencé;
Quand ses yeux, soulevant leur paupière brûlante,
Me blessèrent d’un mal dont je le crus blessé;
Quand ses traits plus touchants, éclairés d’une flamme
            Qui ne s’éteint jamais,
S’imprimèrent vivants dans le fond de mon âme,
            Il n’aimait pas: j’aimais!