The new rules of summer living
© by Barbara Anderson

The Salem News
Thursday, June 25, 2015


Summertime, and the livin' is easy; fish are jumpin' and the cotton is high
Oh, your daddy's rich and your ma is good-lookin'; so hush little baby, don't you cry
One of these mornings you're gonna rise up singing; And you'll spread your wings and you'll take to the sky
But 'til that morning, there ain't nothin' can harm you; with Daddy and Mammy standin' by.
George Gershwin, 1934

Rewrite, George, REwrite!

Fish are jumpin’ in sometimes polluted waters or crammed into fish farms, no room to jump, or being depleted by overfishin’ or caught in nets that trap dolphins which reminds me of an awful new joke about polar bears: while dealing with alleged vanishing ice, the bears are enjoying the dolphins that are swimming farther north in warmer water. Yay, Nature.

The cotton is high and, like the confederate flag, reminds some people of slavery, so should be plowed under/taken down in southern state capitals. (Yes, I learned in high school history that the confederacy was about states’ rights, not slavery, but never mind facts, and take off that offensive cotton shirt, unless it’s part of a fair-trade agreement with Indonesia).

“Your daddy’s rich and your ma is good lookin’”? Ah, part of the income inequality problem, as well as the unfair attractiveness inequality problem.

I think we can keep the part about rising up singing, and the spreading your wings, taking to the sky (this is a metaphor, not polluting the sky in your rich daddy’s private jet), but assuming that the baby has two parents, one named Daddy, one named Mammy, is going to offend somebody for sure.

Good luck with the “nothing can harm you” part. According to Democrat presidential candidate for president, Martin O’Malley, support for the Second Amendment is racist. You’ll never hear me deny that: denial sounds altogether too defensive, as if accusers have a right to make such assumptions about white folks who disagree with them on issues or events.

Children can’t be safe in places like O’Malley’s Baltimore, where as mayor he instituted strict gun control and where cops have been vilified. Summertime has come to mean simmering potential violence in many cities.

Never mind. Let’s sing the lullaby to our babies, sing it to ourselves as we rise on a summer morning, pretend life is simple, while reminding ourselves that it wasn’t so great in 1934 either, especially for the handicapped hero of Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess” and with polio threatening our children, Hitler rising in Germany.

Let’s find a hammock next weekend and read Pope Francis encyclical, “Laudato Si be praised”.

I’ve liked Pope Francis since he said the Church should be kind to gays and, that our pets will go to heaven with us. While many conservatives are indignantly attacking his new encyclical, which takes sides on climate change and promotes socialism, I find much of it summer-light reading that we can enjoy like a summer film in the an air-conditioned theatre of which the encyclical disapproves.

So the Catholic Church is convinced that global warming is caused by humanity? The solution is immediately obvious; more birth control, less humanity.

Wait! I left the Church at age 20 when I was told one couldn’t be Catholic and use “artificial” birth control. I’m not sure now that was true, but I believed it at the time. Was also turned off by the small-town parish anti-Semitism. The Church has apologized for that, but it hasn’t changed its opposition to birth control.

I don’t include abortion in this easy-answer to limit humanity; though I’m pro-choice about everything, I understand how pro-life people arrive at their opposition. Besides, the abortion issue gets more interesting when noting the sudden enthrallment of liberals with Pope Francis because of his support for their environmental position; aren’t they reading the part of his encyclical reiterating his opposition to their liberal sacrament, abortion-on-demand. Isn’t anyone consistent but me?

Once you get past the contradictions, including the pope’s criticism of the capitalism and technology that can, if used properly, solve so many of the world’s problems, the encyclical makes some good points, the best being that we should all be paying intention to the Big Problems of the world instead of living just to be consumers of a lot of stuff. Aren’t many of us saying this, in our own way, relative to our own interests?

Maybe it’s just growing older, but some of us are downsizing our possessions in order to find a simpler lifestyle, time to spend on more than maintenance of large homes and perfect lawns.

Like the Pope, I dislike air conditioning, prefer a simple fan, though not so simple that I want to sit on the front porch waving a piece of folded paper in front of my face as people did in 1934.

I’m told my computer and my fish need the air conditioner. Of course I can get rid of the computer, and my column about Big Problems here. By the way, as I predicted last week, the Obama Administration-Republican leadership is getting their Fast-Track Trade Bill through Congress with the support of the multi-national corporations, which both Laudato Si and the 1891 papal encyclical Rerum Novarum deplore, but the pope is too busy urging carpools to address this.

I can drop ice packs, albeit from my electricity-powered refrigerator-freezer, into my aquarium during heat waves. I liked the section about Christians misunderstanding the part of the Bible in which God gives man dominion over the earth and its creatures. Pope Francis says this wasn’t permission to waste or misuse them, and I agree it’s time we all had that conversation.

Barbara Anderson of Marblehead is president of Citizens for Limited Taxation and a Salem News columnist.

The comments made and opinions expressed in her columns are those of Barbara Anderson
and do not necessarily reflect those of Citizens for Limited Taxation.

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