Wisdom from Throckmorton and Brynhildr

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Longtime readers will remember Throckmorton and Brynhildr. They came by to congratulate me on the ten-year anniversary edition of this column. I think I hadn’t talked with them since before President Pinocchio took office. I wondered what they made of our political situation. Surprisingly, they had been working on a manifesto concerning that very topic.

They said they came across a Facebook posting by Jeffrey Madison who claimed to have stolen it from someone who had stolen it from an unidentified author. Jeffrey invited others to steal it. They decided to add to, subtract from, and modify it to make it nearer to the heart’s desire. Then, without warning, they recited, taking turns:

“We must all care for all of us; especially the weakest among us. Health care is a right. Education must be affordable and accessible to everyone. Free works elsewhere, why not here?

“Your money must not be taken from you and given to people who can, but don’t want to, work, but neither must there be a handful of people who possess most of the wealth while others are starving to death, freezing to death, or dying because they can’t afford to go to the doctor.

“I’m for paying my share as long as it goes to something besides lining corporate pockets or bombing other countries while Americans die without healthcare. Companies must pay their employees a decent, livable wage.

“I am not anti-religion. But religionists of any stripe should recognize my right to live according to my beliefs. I’m not offended by your religion; I’m offended if you try to force me to live by your religion’s rules.

“LGBTQ people should not have more rights than others, but they must have the same rights as everyone.

“Black lives matter. Not only, but too.

“Greed is so pervasive that we must have laws and regulations to prevent cut corners, environmental destruction, tainted food/water, unsafe materials in consumable goods or medical equipment, etc.

“Our current administration is fascist. Compare it to other authoritarian and fascist regimes.

“Systemic racism and misogyny in our society is worse than many people think, and must be persistently resisted.

“Government is not interested in taking your guns. Still, there must be sensible policies, including background checks, that will save people’s lives.

“Maya Angelou said, when we know better, we do better. When someone tells you that a term or phrase is more accurate/less hurtful than the one you’re using, you now know better. So do better.

“Fund sustainable energy.

“Women should not be treated as a separate class. They should be paid the same as men who do the same work, should have the same rights as men and should be free from abuse.

“To afford some of the above we have to put the brakes on the war machine.

“A corporation is not a person and should not be given the rights of a person. The legalized bribery of our representatives in government must end.

“Deporting people who are here illegally is legal, but there are far more humane ways to handle undocumented immigration than our current practices (e.g., caging children, splitting up families, ending DACA). If you think we need walls on our borders, reread Emma Lazarus’s “The New Colossus”

“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

I was blown away.

Richard S. Bogartz is a professor of psychology at the University of Massachusetts.