A summary of the posts on More to Come in the month of November. If you receive my monthly email update, you can skip this post.
I hope you and yours had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. Ours was full of friends, food, love, and music (can it get any better?) and was part of a November that had more than its share of surprises.
- On the national level, the midterm elections have come and (mostly) gone, and our democracy remains intact.
- Personally, Mr. Covid came for a visit earlier this month.
Yes, after a return to my morning walk after a gap of ten days Carter and Barry, my street-dependent friends, expressed concern about my health. I told them I’d come down with a moderate case of Covid and they asked if I’d picked it up on our recent trip to Southeast Asia. I told them that, in fact, I’d caught the virus at a dinner party with some of Candice’s friends from grade school. As I told the story, Barry quipped that I should turn it into a t-shirt: “Covid: I survived the wet markets of Phnom Penh only to be ambushed by the crab shacks of Annapolis!”
Ah, the wisdom of the streets.
NO SURPRISES among the top posts of the month
It was not a surprise, however, that one of the top two posts of November on More to Come was the perennial favorite of family photographs: Our year in photos – 2022 . Fair warning, this is full of family pride and doesn’t attempt to be objective!
The other favorite among readers this month was my wrap-up from our Southeast Asia trip Observations from the Mekong River. Here you will find thoughts and pictures from the tour, along with links to the six (!) other posts from the trip which I shared with you last month.
THE BOOKS I’m reading
I’ve continued my quest to read five books each month and write about them on More to Come. Per usual, the summation of the books I read last month ― in this case The books I read in October 2022 ― was another reader favorite.
After returning from my trip to Southeast Asia where I was taking in the work of authors focused on that region, my reading habits returned to the more eclectic pattern that is my norm. If you check out the blog, you’ll find books ranging from China’s first foray into global leadership in the 14th century (The making of the modern world ) to a theological meditation on soul food and food justice (Race, faith, and food justice). There’s one about my childhood hero, Willie Mays (Giving thanks for childhood heroes) and a work by Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò on how the powerful took over identity politics (and everything else) in The billionaire has no clothes.
On Thanksgiving Day, in thinking about how difficult it can be to give thanks in challenging times, I posted some thoughts on gratefulness and thankfulness in An attitude of gratitude.
Of course, I’m always thankful for good music. During the month I posted two new entries to the Saturday Soundtrack series. The first ―Mountain soul ― featured a duet by Chris Stapleton and the country music legend Patty Loveless singing a live version of the poignant You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive. The second ― Songs and solidarity ― introduced readers to a fantastic folk acapella group, Windborne. The group will be performing in the Washington region on December 2nd and we’ll be there!
THE KITCHEN SINK
I had some thoughts in response to the rise in antisemitism that builds off a meditation by a well-known peace advocate in Recognizing our inherent oneness. And in a post unrelated to anything except my weird sense of humor, you may wish to consider my take on pro wrestling holds in Thanksgiving and sports.
Finally, you may have noticed that we had a midterm election in the U.S. I have felt that the threat to democracy from a political party that tried to overturn a free-and-fair national election was too great a challenge to simply sit out. I’m not a political scientist or an expert (NOTE: you may want to read my disclaimer below), but I do like to look at current events through the lens of history. When some point of view or trend interests me, I read what I can and pull together thoughts from writers with experience in these topics. Over the first half of November, I aggregated material from a variety of sources into several different posts in order to consider the midterm elections and their impact on our democracy.
- This series began with When you may be too paranoid for your own good, as I looked at “safety coffins” from the 18th and 19th centuries (who knew such a thing even existed?!) and thought about those who peddle paranoia today in order to hold onto power over others and to enrich their personal fortunes.
- As I said in the post For those still living in the reality-based world, we have a party that will lie and then laugh about an attack on an 82-year-old grandfather that almost killed him just to maintain the pretense that they are relentlessly persecuted by progressives. When one looks at all the accomplishments of the Democrats and the Biden administration in the face of this unrelenting disinformation campaign, it is truly remarkable.
- On the day following the midterms, I wrote History says we should not give up on democracy, suggesting how every generation has their challenges in maintaining our democracy, with examples from 1884 and 1918.
- I dove deeper into the will of the electorate in The people speak, as I surveyed a number of ballot initiatives that passed in support of progressive priorities, even in deep-red states.
- That was followed by Consider the source, a look at how a number of respected media critics and historians see the failure of our political press as being part of the problem in the threats to democracy.
- The last (I promise) in this election-year series was Laughter is the best medicine, which also wrapped up my series of political cartoons from 2022.
In these especially difficult and unsettling times, remember to treat others with kindness, undertake some mindful walking every day, and recognize the incredible privilege that most of us have and think about how to put that to use for good. Women, people of color, LGBTQ individuals, immigrants, and others can feel especially vulnerable…because they are. It was the Roman philosopher Cicero who said, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of the virtues, but the parent of all others.” That’s a pithy proverb worth remembering for November. Finally, work hard for justice and democracy because the fight never ends.
More to come…
*DISCLAIMER FOR THE POLITICS-RELATED POSTS: While I have voted for Republicans in the past (e.g., Howard Baker was one of the first votes I cast for a U.S. Senator), I’m a lifelong registered Democrat who, following in the footsteps of my late father, has become increasingly progressive as I get older. I agree with President Biden that “the government isn’t some foreign force in a distant capital. No, it’s us, all of us, we the people.” As such, government should work to better the lives of all the people, not just those with access to wealth and power. I believe we need to stop the war ON government and begin to fight FOR government. I won’t apologize for the fact that I have called out the authoritarianism of one of our political parties, the Republicans, in these pieces. Their leaders have made their goals abundantly clear. If any of that makes you uncomfortable, then I encourage you to skip these posts.
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For the October 2022 summary, click here.