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Pine Nuts: Civic grace, public good and a life of purpose

Hobbes was wrong. Life is not nasty, brutish and short. Life is nasty, and brutish, but long enough to embrace civic grace, public good, and a life of purpose. By coming together in 2021 we can turn a horse chestnut into a chestnut horse, and join Dinah Washington in singing, “This bitter earth may not be so bitter after all.”

In 2021 we shall blow the ram’s horn and declare, “The jay is on the wing, and all is right with the world…”

So you might want to ask, “And how in tarnation do you propose we do that?”

Well, we’ve done it before on a smaller scale. Yes, away back in the 1970’s Russia cooperated with us in the mass production of a vaccine. Then, collaborating on a program to vaccinate the rest of humanity, we were able to eradicate smallpox in 1980.

I do not venture beyond the horizon of possibility when I predict that thoughtful, caring, risk averse leaders will bring us together in the next decade with attention to civic grace, public good, a life of purpose, and a more perfect Union.

We eight billions strong want the best for our children, the birdies in the sky, and the fishes in the sea. And as we start to stretch our human sympathies across seas and borders, we are coming to realize that what the Good Book told us so long ago is truer even today: “Blessed are the peacemakers.”

The pandemic of 2020 has taught us that there is no longer a need to produce weapons of mass destruction. A tiny virus can do the job, and do it with more equanimity. Herd immunity? If herd immunity worked, greed would have burned itself out by now in this world, but greed is not only alive and well, it is thriving.

Just this morning I saw a magnified photograph of a perfectly proportioned and radiantly colored tongue of a snail, yes a freshwater snail, and it was beautiful! Mother Nature dresses with panache and élan, even to the diminutive detail of a snail’s tongue. Her current of natural beauty flows around us, through us, and back around us yet again. Take just a moment to examine the interior of the fox glove flower, and if you are not impressed, well, I will eat my Oregon Ducks hat on national television at halftime of this next Super Bowl, and I will not ask for any mustard to help get it down. But I digress…

While we’re talking about renaming military bases before we eventually dismantle them altogether, let us rename one of our largest military bases after Bob Hope, who entertained our troops overseas where nobody else was willing to go. What could be closer to harbingering the future than, “Camp Hope.”

I do not venture beyond the horizon of possibility when I predict that thoughtful, caring, risk averse leaders will bring us together in the next decade with attention to civic grace, public good, a life of purpose, and a more perfect Union.

But let us leave the last word here to Abraham Lincoln, “If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend.”

Learn more about McAvoy Layne at http://www.ghostoftwain.com.


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