Good thoughts on affirmation.
Although in the basic record Eleanor is down as Wife of Henry II and just a queen of England, she created such an impression during her tenure and after he died that she simply deserves an entire recording all of her own. Also as she was clever, bold, capable, and forward looking woman this upset all the old fools of commentators who expected woman to do nothing except have children, so we shall put the record right on that matter too.
The Early Years
Eleanor was born in probably 1122 or thereabouts. We don’t have exact details because the old idiots doing the recording of births didn’t think it important to know much about Just A Woman. Her father was Duke of Aquitaine, William X, which doesn’t mean he was mysterious or had special powers, simply that he was the tenth of a long-line of Williams who duked about in Aquitaine. He must have been a forward looking fellow because he insisted that Eleanor be educated up to male standard (apart from the hacking, stabbing, slashing warfare bit, which was probably a heresy in those days).
As you will have noted in previous chapters Aquitaine along with other parts of France was quite independent from The King of. That fact that Aquitaine took up a large portion of the South and was about one-third the size of France meant it could be as independent as it liked. Thus when William died of pilgrimages and without recognisable sons Eleanor inherited Aquitaine, which meant she was married off to Louis Who Was To Be King of France, whether she wanted to or not. She probably didn’t.
The Queen of France Years
On the 25th July 1137 Louis and Eleanor were married and styled Duke & Duchess of Aquitaine; it was then that Louis found out he couldn’t actually get his regal hands on Aquitaine, it would only go to his son, when said son and born and lived to become king of France. He was miffed. Meanwhile, bright, alert, vivacious, easy going Eleanor, typical of Aquitaine was grandly not fitting in with the stodgy old northern French court. And then she started having daughters not sons. Louis was not happy. And worse Eleanor was proving to be intelligent, articulate and talented, which was not part of the deal. Louis was by now in such a temper that he not only argued with popes but massacred more people than was normally acceptable in a war with a local duke. So he went off on a crusade, hoping the change of air would do him good. As he was not a very good military leader he nearly got massacred himself; his supporters tried to blame it on Elanor who had been dragged along; the charge didn’t stick. They then visited Eleanor’s uncle Raymond, who Louis didn’t like (you know what visits to in-laws are like) and since other crusaders were being massacred they went home without Louis letting Eleanor visit some of the places she wanted to see. Shortly afterwards they divorced, on the grounds of suddenly discovering they were related, had this been the true case then nearly all royal marriages would have been annulled.
The Queen of England Years (Part One- The Sort of Happy Time)
Once the news got out that Aquitaine was up for grabs there was an undignified scramble for to marry Whoever She Was of Aquitaine; as was the custom of the time it was quite in order for a noble to kidnap the lady and claim her as his wife (after he’d found a compliant bishop). Eleanor having been a queen had got a taste for it, so having a fair idea of the state of things in Europe got in touch with Henry Duke of Normandy who was signed up to be king of England once the then King Stephen had succumbed to a serve case of Matlidas. A True History of the Isles Part 21- 1135-1154 Who Is Who and Who is in Charge of England Anyhow? ivorced in 1152, married again in 1152 and Queen of England in 1154 illustrates Eleanor was ahead of the game. And this time started having sons at an early rate.
As both Henry and Eleanor were passionate (eight children), intelligent, strong-willed folk there were lots of arguments, who won the moral high ground it is not recorded but as Henry was II and king, it must be assumed he got the last word (though maybe not the last laugh). This was Henry’s fault, Eleanor did not see why he could not ‘keep it at home’ instead of having affairs and mistresses, who presumably in the majority were not independently minded. Many commentator and nobles thought her a poor sport. Many commentators and nobles never felt inclined to discuss it with Eleanor face to face.
The Era of Henry’s Bright Idea
In 1168 Henry packed Eleanor off to Poitiers, her home town as she’d probably been starting to give her opinions on how to run England, Anjou, Maine, Brittany, Normandy etc. Henry hoped a spell in her Aquitaine would calm her down since it was easy-going and full of drippy folk who went around pretending they loved each other and writing poetry or ballads of varying qualities on the subject. Many sour old commentators and inventive authors of historical fiction claimed for differing reasons Eleanor invented all the goings on and their styles. This jars with the fact that in 1173 she was in the thick of the revolt against her husband. It is more likely the lady was spending the years out of Henry’s sight and hatching plots.
Eleanor The You Can’t Keep A Tough Woman Down Era
Although Eleanor was not riding about leading armies Henry had little doubt about who was doing the major plotting and after he’d showing his sons that The Old Man still ‘had it’ he chivalrously locked up Eleanor in various castles in England from 1174; though he did allow her out at Christmas. At this time Henry developed a great passion for one Rosamund Clifford and made much of her, hoping it might provoke Eleanor into asking for a divorce. It didn’t. In 1176 Rosamund died; suddenly. After this episode at Christmas time on hearing Eleanor was out again many nobles excused themselves back to their own castles, or brought in extra retinue, or walked about in armour.
Eleanor- The Glory Years Era
In 1183 Henry The Younger due to be king died. He begged his father to let Mum out, and under the rules of chivalry you had to be memorable when dying or to someone dying Henry (Dad) did so, but kept Eleanor very close, which was a mixed blessing as she kept getting involved in government and making clever decisions.
In 1189 after Richard and John (Henry’s favourite) rebelled against him Henry promptly died. As it was well-known Richard was her favourite son, Eleanor was really released. When he left England in 1190 to fight..Anyone…anywhere, for a few months Eleanor ruled in his name, and sometimes signed things in her own name; nobody argued. When a proper body of Nobles was set up to run the country, she gave them lots of advice and mostly kept John under control, again nobody argued. John thought his luck was in upon hearing Richard was captured by Austrians, but Eleanor foiled that by going about raising the ransom, again nobody argued.
Eleanor Tidies Up Europe Era
In 1199 John finally got to be king, and maybe thinking that England deserved him, Eleanor stepped up her campaign of marrying members of her immediate family to other folk to ensure that least in the western bit of Europe everyone who could rule was related to someone else who could rule. She did not let little things like being captured by gauche young nobles slow her down, she gave them a footling bit of land or some minor niece in marriage. Except for her besieging grandson Arthur who was already married and had land, she let his Uncle John sort him out, just to remind people No One argues!!. So quitting while she was ahead she became a nun and took vows…of what has not been recorded. She died in 1204, and everyone wondered just what would happen next. Well in England they had John.
Eleanor The Legacy
After she died all the alliances fell apart, because presumably people felt safe to argue. She was buried next to Henry II, just to remind his supporters who had been queen. Although as noted lots of sour old contemporary commentators made ill remarks about her (out of ear shot or after she was dead), within a couple of centuries playwrights, composers and novelist were falling over themselves to at least give her a walk-on part.
This tradition still continues to this day.
And nobody got their hands on The Aquitaine!!
England- A Problem with Legends
As it will have been recalled in Part 7 True History of The Isles – Part 7 – Legends and Heroes England has had this trouble with a dearth of truly memorable folk heroes. Whereas Irelands had annals full of them, Wales had everything carefully complied in the Mabinoigion and the Scots were creating an impressive catalogue of laments, the English were still getting sorted out from being Anglo-Saxons, Normans and Anglo-Normans and because as such a culture of heroes had just not gelled. And you can only rely on saints for just so long, anyhow they are rather saintly and thus not much material for good old ale-house questionable ballads.
Some had suggested Beowulf only to be told rather forcefully that he was at least Swedish or Norwegian, if not a Viking and that was that, even if some kings liked to have the poetry read out at court, they’d not been on the business end of a Viking raid had they? Hereward The Wake showed promise but as shown in Part 18 A True History of The Isles Part 18- The Rule of William The Conqueror (and also The I) William (the Norman who Conquered) on finding out the lad was possibly legendary had made it known Hereward had fled to Europe and gone into hiding, which made Hereward look like a bit of slacker. And having to rely on Tales of Arthur was pretty humiliating, since everyone knew he was either a Briton or Arthr-Briton which made him Welsh. Thus the search was on.
A Number of Robins
Somewhere around the 12th and 13th centuries because there were more records being kept (as there were more monks and more courts,) some potentially interesting men called Robin arose. They lived hard lives, some up trees others in hedges; they seemed to go in for robbing which possibly gave rise to the name and also killing. A few had a tendency to castrate naughty members of the clergy, naturally this put them at odds with the Church, though maybe some priests wouldn’t have minded if they had restricted this part of their activities to Bishops. Eventually good taste and sensibilities weeded out those Robins who killed the not-so-Merry Men, murdered page boys, and never even heard of Maid Marian, then placed him with a loyalty to Good King Richard and a religious streak. This also saved the problem of trying to make acceptable either Fulk fitzWarin or Eustace The Monk who although contemporaneous who Robin led such rebellious and questionable lives, after all how can you tell respectable tales of a member of the clergy who was a pirate or a man called Fulk?
Robin The Socially Acceptable Hood
In order that the lower orders of nobility could also enjoy the tales it was asserted that Robin was actually a lord who was very loyal to GOOD King Richard and so had his lands stolen away by evil followers of BAD King John. Being a good sort rather than raise a retinue of rough and unseemly soldiers and ravage (the usual response). He fled, from wherever he was dispossessed and hid in an area so thick with trees it was known as Sheerwood located in the Nottingham area. He soon encountered a very tall man who was obviously called Little John, as was the social norm of the times they fought each other over the right to balance on a log across a stream and hurled each other in the water so many times they became great friends. With his entry into Nottingham society assured Robin made good company with Alan-a-Tale an itinerant folk singer who would produce several album’s worth of ballads about Robin; a lad who was so proud of his father that he was only known as Much-The-Miller’s-Son and Will Scarlet who obviously being an early socialist convinced Robin of the need of stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. He also encountered one Tuck a member of the clergy with a mysterious past, it was likely he was a hedge-priest as friars hadn’t been invented. These were very unpopular with the nobility and the church as they tended to leap out from behind foliage and organise impromptu Masses and preach about the rights of the poor. Thus with theological backing, a socialist doctrine and men who knew their way about the forest Robin set about re-distribution of the wealth winning archery contests by splitting marrows and telling everyone how GOOD King Richard was.
Although the work of apprehending, imprisoning, trying and executing Robin (and as many Merry Men as possible) was down to the local authorities, in this case the Sheriff of Nottingham; this seemed beyond their capacity; probably due to Spending Cuts imposed by the Chancellor. Thus typically this job was put out to private tender and as one Guy of Gisborne put forward the cheapest bid he was hired. Accounts are sketchy, in some cases he is colourfully killed by Robin, in others he gives up on the task and tries to woo-
Maid Marian; who despite being titled A Maid and a lady of gentle birth was wont to go wandering into Sherwood Forest all by herself. Eventually she met Robin who was naturally noble to her and they naturally fell in love, in some versions Robin finds out her name is actually Matilda and he has her change it to Marian straight away as that would simply not do See Part 21.A True History of the Isles Part 21- 1135-1154 Who Is Who and Who is in Charge of England Anyhow?
Robin became so famous that Richard The GOOD King stopped off slaughtering folk and made his way back to England (being captured on the way) just so that he could meet Robin in disguise and have Robin kneel before him in Homage (or Sherwood). What Richard wouldn’t do for publicity.
The latter was Robin’s downfall, for on finding out Richard was sneaking about the country, John (then Just A Prince) decided to take a hand himself, knowing that Robin was registered with local prioress for medical treatment, who had a (ahem) romantic attachment to Sir Roger of Doncaster. John made himself known to Sir Roger who took the hint. The naughty prioresses poisoned Robin, Roger stabbed Robin and Robin died, shooting one last arrow, missing Sir Roger and Little John who turned up too late. Marian became a nun, the Merry men stopped being Merry and John eventually became king. Thus Robin’s heroic status was made certain having correctly died of betrayal, treachery and leaving a tragically unhappy ending.
As there were so many ballads, gestes (dunno, your geste is as good as mine) folk-tales and mid-summer plays about Robin, Shakespeare didn’t bother. That was left to writers of the 19th and subsequent centuries. He also made it impossible for any other English folk- heroes to get a look-in. But that’s Show-Biz.
In the next and last chapter of this volume we shall end off the era with the most formidable, the most astute, the most (for misogynistic male writers) unavoidable Eleanor of Aquitaine!!
As it will be recalled from the previous chapter most of England approved of King Richard (The I, Good, Lionheart etc) because he fought in Crusades, as well in Anjou, Maine, Normandy, Aquitaine etc, but mostly because he stayed out of England. His younger brother John spent a great deal of his life in England and thus was not as popular as he tried to govern the place, which made the barons grumpy and as they took it out on the lower orders that made those folk grumpy too. Thus John’s reputation has suffered being in the shadow of Richard’s (The First, The Loud, The Large and The Warful). In this chapter we shall exam the record in more detail.
John was born on 24th December 1166, which as many people know truly halves the number proper celebrations you can have with Christmas and Birthday all crammed together. This may be cause for wishing to cram in excesses in later years. When his older brothers went in for the Great Revolt of 1173 (with an option for 1174) he was only seven and not really in a position to do much. Thus, he became his father’s favourite. His father had him travel with him through the Great Revolt…just in case.
John being the youngest was to have career in the Church, but since he knew his brothers were having more fun rebelling and squabbling in Anjou, Brittany, Normandy, Maine, Aquitaine etc he managed to wrangle some time at the court of his oldest brother Henry (The Young- snot) where there was intrigue, plots of wars and probably roistering which appealed to the young lad. Since his father, Henry II spent a lot of time arguing with the Church (see Beckett, Thomas (a)) the Old Man gave upon on the religious track and in 1185 sent John to be in charge of Ireland. The Chiefs of The Clans etc came to complain that the place was filling up with Anglo-Normans, Cambro-Normans and Norman-Normans while the Hibro-Normans were becoming so Irish they were inventing their own phrases such as ‘Ah Sure B’Dad!’ ‘Would ye be after looking at that then?’ and ‘Musha musha’ which no one understood and what was he going to do about it? Being the sort of teenager which doesn’t brood, John tried to make light of the whole thing by making jests about the Chiefs’ beards and giving them a friendly tug- this was quite the wrong thing to do and the Chiefs told him so.. So, he went into a sulk and didn’t rule anything there.
The Time of Richard
Richard more intent on looking for wars told John he could be king if necessary, then forgot and instead named some kid called Arthur who was four and came from Brittany (or possibly Anjou, Normandy, Maine, Aquitaine etc). Ricahrd then went off to war and left a bishop and a lord to run England; the lord promptly died and another bishop took his place. As the two bishops naturally disliked each other things went badly. Thus John said he was King anyway since Richard had said so. He fought one of the bishops and locked him up in The Tower of London probably in 1191. When John found out that Richard had run out of Crusades and was being held captive by some Austrians John announced that nothing could be done apart from accepting him as King John, he then horrified the Barons (wealthy) by trying to invent Income Tax. Richard was eventually freed, thanks to Mum, Eleanor (Of Aquitaine- not Anjou, Brittany, Normandy, Maine etc), and John was obliged to say sorry but he meant well. Richard although disappointed that he’d not been able to go to war with his brother forgave him and sent him off to Anjou, Brittany, Normandy, Maine
John The King, For Real
In 1199 Richard memorably died. As there were several sorts of law in operation John chose the one which proved that he and not Arthur should be king, as Arthur was nowhere near England at the time this worked. John was still left with the problem of
Arthur son of Geoffrey (brother of John, that is) born 29th March 1187 was very French and Richard didn’t really think he was old enough to be king. The French king and many in Anjou, Brittany, Normandy etc thought he should be. But Anjou changed its mind, so did the King of France, so Arthur in 1200 fled to his kindly uncle John. In 1203 he fled back to his kindly old King of France Philip who arranged a marriage with one of his daughters. Arthur was so pleased he took part in an invasion of Aquitaine and besieged his grandmother Eleanor. This was a bad move as John was in the vicinity at the time, and defeated the kid’s army taking Arthur prisoner. He died. At this stage Literary and Legend take over sheering a few years off the boy’s age, giving him sweet blonde curly hair, a sweet little page boy suit and pleading so sweetly for his life that only BAD Uncle John will do the deed. In actually fact the kid was playing Grown-Ups Games and lost. Thence having set up Arthur’s Arth-Sister Eleanor The Fair Maid of Brittany as a full-time and paid hostage John got back to England to do some serious ruling.
The Rain of King John.
War with France (Philip the II cheats)
Although 1199 etc started off pretty well (for John that is) by 1204 etc, the King of France Philip The II had decided that to be a really proper king of France he was going to have to seize Anjou, Maine, Normandy, Aquitaine, Brittany etc,. Philip didn’t play fair because he had all The French and some Flemings on his side and John couldn’t convince those in Anjou, Maine, Normandy, Aquitaine etc to be English so despite John’s best efforts Philip won most of Anjou, Maine, Normandy, Brittany etc.. BUT NOT Aquitaine. Now as the English Barons had lands in Anjou, Maine, Normandy, Brittany etc they were not impressed.
Law and Economy
What also irritated the Barons was that John took an interest in the administration of the country and insisted the Civil Service follow him about the land, thus interfering with the Barons’ schemes. He also enforced two very (for The Barons that is) annoying laws known as The Novel Dissenter and The Dead Ancestor which allowed even the common people to take back lands the Barons had seized. He also instituted an Economy which involved Income Tax and Exercising Duty (Also known as Scuttlage) which meant the Barons had to pay even more. John was also quite talented in arts and crafts as it is recorded he sold charters of his own making and made up laws which no one really understood, in this he was very popular with Lawyers.
Private Life (Favourites)
Whereas just annoying Barons by legal means might have let John rule quite cheerfully for many years, his personal habits left him open to political attacks. The Barons pretended they were horrified that he kept mistresses, and scandalised that he carried on with married women. John tried to be grim and vindictive back at them, which might have worked had he not had ‘favourites’. In the latter middle-bit of the Middle Ages Favourites had returned. These had to be male, have the king besotted with them, strut around court, and be the source of rumours of ‘unnatural’ behaviour with the king. What Favourites never seemed to work out that there was only One of them, One of The King but Lots of Barons, who had retinues (ie lots of heavily armoured and armed men); such odds were never favourable to The Favourites. John also married twice, but that didn’t seem to help at all.
Scotland Ireland and Wales
As usual no one in Scotland or England could make up their minds who ruled the border country and whether Scotland was independent or not. John and William started off as friends even though John wanted the lands back that William had paid for. John tried legal means but William said Scot’s law applied and as no one knew what that was they settled on being chums. Then William allied himself with Philip of France had had cunningly told William he could keep the lands under French law. John then invaded Scotland, made William pay AGAIN for the lands he held, but then had to invade Scotland again to help William against rebellious subjects and rivals. At this point John gave up and left Scotland to itself.
John had still not forgiven The Irish for not laughing at his beard joke, and was content for the Irish, The Anglo-Normans, Cambro-Normands and Hibrid-Normans squabble amongst themselves.
John took a great interest in Wales which was bad news for the Welsh nobility who had been about their own internal squabbles and raiding across borders when English kings weren’t looking. John married off a spare daughter the Llewllyn the Great who couldn’t have been that happy with the match as he rebelled in 1211. As Llewellyn was his son-in-law and not a claimant to the English throne John only moderately invaded.
Church and Disputes
Hoping to win back some support from the Barons John embarked on a traditional policy of arguing with The Church over who should be a bishop or not. However being used to ruling in detail John seized Church lands to prove his point. The Bishops complained to the Pope, the mis-leadingly named Innocent III who in his intention to show the secular rulers of Europe who was who excommunicated John and all of England. This greatly upset people who took their religion seriously particularly as they hadn’t had a say in the business of the bishops anyway. The Barons of course pretended to be very horrified and some suggested they could rebel against John pretending it was a crusade. John cleverly got out of the issue by going to war with France which suited Innocent (yeh, right) The III and so the excommunication was lifted.
John, Barons and Declines
John might have got away with persecuting Barons, arresting some and making others flee, if he had done it in the right order and parcelled out some of the spoils to other Barons rather than to his favourites and investing the rest in his jewellery collection. Thus in 1214 when he was losing to Philip again, those Barons who owed back tax decided to get out of it by claiming owing tax was unjust and against their baronial rights and proved it by gathering large armies. John was thus obliged to concede everything to Philip and go back home. Hoping that as his English army had been beaten by French armies his new army of French mercenaries might tip the balance. When he got back he found that the Barons armies were so large and numerous that his mercenary army could only protect him from being arrested for the crime and probably heresies of Taxing Rich people.
Playing for time he thus signed a very long piece of paper which the Baron brought to a very damp place called Runny Mead. As a document called The Long Piece of Paper Reducing Taxation on the Rich and Re-instating Their Privileges didn’t sound very impressive to either side it was decided Magna Carta sounded much better and the Barons went about convincing everyone liberties had been won.
John and the Barons celebrated organising a rebellion by going to war; the celebrations last between 1215-1217. During this time William of Scotland had died of rebels and Alexander II (the subsequent) opened his reign by a traditional invasion of England. Several barons deciding John was bad enough but a Scots king was insufferable changed sides and John invaded Edinburgh as he thought the change of Ayre might do him good. The remining rebel Barons hoping for a much better tax regime invited a young prince Louis of France to be the English King, as a result the rebellion collapsed but took between 1216 and 1217 to wind down.
John by now having read the small print of the Magna Carta realised he might become liable to tax so gathered up all his jewels, crowns etc took them to East Anglia and pretended to lose them in the unforgettable Wash. He then intended to come back and dig them up once he’d sorted out this Magna Carta problem. However suffering dysentery and not washing his hands John tried a bizarre cure of peaches, plumbs and ale, which naturally didn’t work, and he died of complications and tax worries, but just to keep his opponent guessing did so on both he 18th and 19th of October 1216.
As John died but not that many of the Barons had died, as a group they were able to say that everything was his fault and he was a Bad King. As no one felt inclined to argued with baron with a large heavily armed retinue and The Church wanted its lands back the reputation stuck. Meanwhile Louis Prince of France went back to France since he’d seen quite enough of England to put him off for life.
John’s Legacy was also spoiled by someone of the lower nobility who nevertheless displayed socialist tendencies and tried to carry out a policy of fayre distribution of wealth in the Nottingham area. This will be looked at in the next chapter.
Any sliver of good news is to be celebrated and spread
Good day to you all. There are 200 + followers to this blog (thank you one and all). Now many of you recently arrived will be familiar with the quirky, idiosyncratic, affable posts.
That author’s not at home today. You’ve got me instead. At this stage I would advise you there will be (A) Unsettling political ideals stated (B) Harsh and unforgiving opinions (C) Stern and iron clad condemnatory statements (D) One of two profanities used with surgical care. (E) This post may upset everyone that reads it. (F) It’s very long 2000+ words- I may have overdone it- don’t care.
The Hate and The Intolerance. A Waste
The rage and the outrage, turned into screaming obscenity and masked as justifiable by The Left. The swift urge to hide behind Freedom of Speech, wilful mis-reading of a Constitution, Bible or political creed by The Right. What a complete and utter waste of time by one and all!
Sad and infuriating to observe the willingness to fall into step with the terminally stupid, the twisted hate-mongers and the snake-oil merchants all peddling their brands of Intolerance, because oh yes indeed, nothing sells so good a Venom and Fear. US Elections, Brexit and now Frexit (France goes to elections shortly). Another period of history where the histrionic and the hysterics have their say revelling in the attention while their followers puff out their chests and make proud with ‘Not In My Name’ banners or fatuously proclaim ‘Liberty’ (for themselves of course). Lots of shouting but very little talking. What fools. What blind, useless, destructive, criminal waste of energy and endeavour. In a world thank is screaming out for communal effort and far-sighted strategy here we have the unedifying spectacle of whole populations dithering, spitting and scrapping over meaningless picky bits of irrelevance.
One Solution: Then Another
Small wonder then that when I view Orwell’s ‘1984’ I think to myself: ‘Not a bad way to run a country. Need to drop the ‘Hate’ interludes and replace it with ‘Community’. Lighten up a bit on the party members (bread and circuses thing). Oh yeh Room 101, just talk at them, on and on and on; that’ll work’ . Oh yes, dear reader my views are very austere Left-Wing, none of your fluffy ‘Freedom and Rights’. For me: Civil Rights come with Civil Responsibilities. You abuse the latter, you seriously lose the former. There is a simple equation to this, we live in complex societies with many layers of beliefs, outlooks, social styles, advantage (or lack of) and financial inequality; these cause many pressures which must be kept in check and then the energy syphoned off- (social programmes folks, we all put in- no exceptions, everyone to the best of their ability.). Hate- can’t change Humanity, but The State can certainly weed out and supress the corrosion and its sources, and the State can ensure that the best doctrine for social stability can be indoctrinated.
I daresay this is all very disturbing for many, and no doubt if many of the more strident folk on social media were to read this they would be in Abuse Mode in seconds. To the latter my answer is a shrug and the response. ‘Well you had better do something to prove that people of different views, outlooks, races and beliefs can get along together. Prove your maturity. Talk. Discuss. Listen. Learn. All of you.’ . Because historically, in terms of centuries the wheels will turn, the engines re-calibrated and is response to this rowdy negativity will come authoritarianism, and many will welcome it, for the seeming stability it brings, and as for the rest, you will be consumed by the system, fresh and supported.
I’m Calling Out The Culprits
Now I’ll only deal with the US & The UK because those are the nations I am most familiar with. The US comes first because you are the younger:
Firstly I will not really bother with President Trump. He is where he is because a large section of the population both for and against him are not thinking straight. Putting an amateur in charge? If he hadn’t been around those who voted for him would have invented him. He has to learn pretty fast, novelty can soon wear off, and the might which is the state has many tricks up its sleeve to immobilise him.
Anyway, to the population. It’s difficult to know where to start really. Apparently, there is an Alternative Right, well in the UK we had an Alternative Left; they seem to be very similar. Loud, aggressive (but only to those they can bully or out-number), narrow minded and much given to wrapping up prejudices in some nebulous excuse of ‘The Right To Free Speech’. Looking at the US these seem to be the very folk which The Founding Fathers did not wish to give the vote to ‘The Mob’. There’s some little person scrabbling about the place claiming the ‘Right To Be Offensive’ ; I’m guessing someone who wouldn’t have been allowed to sign the Declaration of Independence. Then we have those who have bought into the notion that every Muslim is a threat and it would only take a few in their town to ruin it. This is of course just what IS and the rest love, white folk picking on Muslims, ideal recruiting fodder. Naturally I could go on about the misogynists, the old fashioned racists (all nicely packaged these days) and my brother and sisters in Christ who somewhere along the way decided that Jesus didn’t really mean you should love everyone and not call everyone a fool, he was obviously referring to Fine, Upstanding Folk. Somewhere mixed up and dragged along with these tawdry groups are folk who really just want everything to be Peaceful, Quiet and Prosperous. These I say, talk to the other side, you don’t really belong amongst the haters. Use you God-given Hearts and Minds.
Now my good friends on The Left or the Liberal Wing. It is very difficult in these times to make your voices heard, seeing as how most of Talk Radio seems inhabited by those paid for their capacity to shock and upset , and of course the Net has rank and festering pools of Hate. The problem you have is similar to those on the Right, you are listening to the wrong folk, the Strident who love to preach to the converted, because they love the feedback. Your tactical problem is you will keep denigrating the entire opposition as if they all lacking in intelligence all are bigoted and quite frankly you seem to think they are all weird. Not so, they are simply you on the other side of the mirror. Why are you not embracing the Dignity of the Silent Protest or the Reasoned Argument. Yes, it is difficult, but shouting is the easy and quite wrong answer. Yes I know the moment you appear above the parapet you get labelled Social Justice Warrior or worse. I did my time both in the UK Civil Service and on a Religious Discussion Site hijacked by the more venomous type of atheist who adhere to the Book of Dawkins and take it from me the only way you get through is by quiet and reasoned argument; some of course will not get it because they don’t want to. But don’t follow the offensive ones, like the guy allegedly an academic who stole the Sacred Host from a Catholic Church and messed with it and burnt a copy of the Quran to demonstrated his bigotry against religion. And there are those in crowd who physically attack the single member of the opposition (usually a woman I notice).
Talk together everyone, lest you watch your country separate into minor nations because that is just what History has in store for you if you don’t learn.
I am less forgiving here. The Isles have been through many trials and tribulations over a two thousand years and damn’d well should have learnt by now.. The native folk of many regions have often vented their ignorant anger on minorities. Less us not hear about the The Irish, or The Scots or The Welsh or The English and their trials, none of us are innocent and the total victim. We are all guilty, mostly of selective history and doing whatever suited us at the time.
So now, these Isles with no merchant fleet to speak of, a navy that is very small, an industrial base which is mostly overseas owned, relies on an overseas supply on energy and communally insist that we can’t possibly use any homegrown energy sources lest they impinge on our back gardens; whose income comes from the unformulated world of finance has now decided that if we set the clock back the The Glorious Revolution of 1688-89 then all will be well because we can magic up the conditions to make us a great trading powerhouse. Some of course blame all the foreign people that have come here for everything that has gone wrong which is an excuse so old but regrettably not worn out.
But we are also quite inventive in our spite here. In fact we are far more enterprising that our fellows in ignorance in the US, we don’t have a written constitution to play with. However, us Brits are much more inventive. Particularly my comrades on the Left; The Fashionable Left that is.
Of course prejudice is a nasty thing and we wouldn’t want to be associated with those horrible people on The Right, but fear not we can hide behind the masks of Social Conscience. We can indulge in an old tradition in these Isles of Anti-Semitism, but these days we can say it’s because we object to the Israeli Government. It’s so much more easy than trying to make common cause with the Israeli opposition groups, and there are Jews here to pick on. Naturally it’s nothing personal because we all know they support the Israeli Govt. We would be horrified to be associated with attacks on Muslim folk as individuals, but of course we can rail against Islam because look how ‘they’ treat their women. They all do it y’know. None of those women wish to dress like that, they have been brain-washed by their men. And of course we are on safe ground by being offensive to religion overall because it has been the cause of more wars and abuse than anything else in the whole wide-world. We know, we read it on a web-site.
And finally, the Left can indulge in some real open racism by picking on Americans. We can call them stupid, lazy, ignorant, superstitious (religion) obsessed with guns and every single adult for being responsible for Donald Trump, because we are witty, astute, informed having spent many minutes reading inanities on web-sites. And no obviously we didn’t mean those of the minorities, no we have been mis-understood.
Coming back to reality there is nothing so sad in the UK as someone on the Left displaying a crass ignorance by generalising; unless you count those who enthusiastically agree with them.
So what do I know then? Apart from my history. Well I know about Intolerance and Prejudice I’ve suffered them but more importantly I’ve indulged and am still prey to them. Oh yes, Racial Prejudice, small -time irritation but some standards, but it’s there no the less. I don’t even have excuse of being born into it, I acquired it as an adult. NO I don’t make a virtue of that. It’s a weakness to be fought against, to be erased. It is an offense unto God. I written all these words under a cloud of hypocrisy. The details are secret, because I do not wish to cause offense to anyone by detailing this moral crime of which I am guilty. The internal battle goes on; it will not win.
I could go on a lot longer, but it would be a bit self-indulgent.
In conclusion I would thank you all who’ve read this. And if anyone wants to rant at me in justifiable outrage, please do, as Mr Bennett said in Pride and Prejudice “I am at my leisure”
Whatever your beliefs; these words are universal
To hear children laughing together as they play and to hear birds singing in the trees are two of the most loveliest sounds I have ever heard.
Today I thank God that my daughter has a friend round to play whom she gets on well with. I am overjoyed at the sound of their laughter.
At present, there is not yet any chirping up above, but I know it will come soon as we move into Spring.
Thank you God for the simple things in life that bless our hearts and remind us of your unfailing love!