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As a Lighthouse Close To A Dangerous Shore

A story by Jake Cunningham



As a Lighthouse Close To A Dangerous Shore Story Banner

Photo Credit: Photo by Unseen Histories on Unsplash - Opensource

Audio Credit: Open Source - A Korean conductor leading a Japanese Philharmonic playing a song written by an Italian composer, and made famous by an American Television Show. This is how the world should be...

Jean, Please don't submit and turn this into a published story.  Events are happening quickly and I want to update - make a couple changes.  And I also want to at least acknowledge and run the Judy section by you, I want you to be comfortable with it - or not, in which case I'll remove it.  I'll have more to say separately later today. Busy Day coming up.  Cheers!!

We live in an age of distraction, our attention constantly under attack by Marketeers, Loudmouths, Circus Barkers masquerading as Politicians, etc., etc.. "Influencers" are celebrated personalities, paid to do our thinking for us, to put bandaids on our fractured mental lives, to dominate our occasional focus and disrupt peace of mind. In this environment, the individual going about his or her business is at a pronounced disadvantage. One's sense of self, one's personal story is degraded, overwhelmed by the loudly expressed whims of the loudest loudmouths.

Nowhere is this phenomenon more pronounced than in the realm of politics. In the United States, authoritarians, those whose voting records and actions express a demand for rule by a minority, speak through a disproportionately loud megaphone, amplified by an otherwise complacent press, whose obsession with sensationalism and both-sideism has the effect of granting legitimacy to the minority authoritarians. Welcome to the National Enquirer Nation!  

In her essay, "From Super Tuesday to Dictators: The Power of Your Voice",  Jean McGavin, the founder of, urges individuals to stand up against this pressure and Tell Your Story!  Strengthen your opinion, by telling it. Considered with other's opinions, it gains gravitas and veracity. And when considered together, multiple voices express the truth and power of the Vox Populi, in opposition to the shallow, quick fix ravings of the authoritarians. A healthy democracy is a cacophony that coalesces into a symphony. So stand up, make your best interests known. It's our responsibility within our democracy...  

A consequence of continuous distraction is discouragement, which also works to the advantage of the authoritarians. A quiet, docile population, it's collective head down, is easily manipulated. Telling one's story strengthens and clarifies. Strengthens the message, as well as the backbone, so to speak. Remember, the authoritarians are a minority. Our nation's fundamental historical truth lives with us. We don't support regressive laws, instead we act to extend each generation's moral imperative to form a more perfect union. Be active, be loud, we have the numbers! Let's bring our numbers as well as the truth of our cause to bear. Starting this week on Super Tuesday, continuing this evening with the State of the Union, and moving forward to Election Day.   

So we tell our story, we shout it from the mountaintops, and when the time comes, we exercise another great imperative of democracy, we vote! With our strong voices and our equally strong vote, we have it within our power to negate the malign influence of minority, authoritarian institutions such as the Supreme Court, where three justices reflect the will of our majority, and six express the whims of various parochial cults, businesses, and individual donors. This ratio is exactly the opposite of what it should be in a healthy democracy with an knowledgable, aware population.  

I love to tell my story; my family, friends, and readers know exactly where I stand. I don't have cable where I live, I'll occasionally stream something, but mainly, I've returned to reading, to reinforce my command of facts and concepts. I act like I'm right because I consciously pursue the truth. I recently finished my second reading of Judy Silverstein Gray and her collaborator Taylor Baldwin Kiland's book "Unwavering". From where I stand, I'm sure I'm studying the genesis of the women's empowerment movement. Not from the nascent leftist point of view, but from frightened, intimidated women who grew into their role, and found the courage to speak on behalf of Prisoners of War and the Missing. Gaining strength as they spoke. Not to step on any toes, but people from The Hill should understand that Judy's amazing book illustrates with great clarity Jean's powerful Democracy of Ideas. READ BOTH!

By virtue of intellectual strength and their strong stand against authoritarianism, I gravitate toward Barbara Tuchman and Heather Cox Richardson. New Englanders, they seem to collaborate; not within a common geography, but across time, 70 years in fact. Read together, they present a closely detailed analysis of current events within a larger conceptual reading that firmly presents today's chaos as a phenomenon not inevitable, but profoundly dangerous. I'm religious about Professor Richardson, I read her daily. Recently, while squiring my niece around the Upper West Side of Manhattan, I brought her to my favorite Second Hand Bookstore, The Westsider. Here I found Professor Richardson's progenitor, the great Barbara Tuchman. I read everything Ms Tuchman wrote 30 plus years ago; it's a bittersweet pleasure to reread "The March of Folly" and John F. Kennedy's favorite, "The Guns of August", in the light of what has transpired in our recent history. A backward glance at a predicted future that has come to pass. A history that verifies the warnings that Ms Tuchman and Professor Richardson call to our attention, and validates the powerful truth presented by Ms McGavin and independently by Ms Silverstein Gray. Yes, they are right. History proves that. And sure, the God is in the details, but more importantly, The Goddess is in the connections. Women of good will bring that truth to us every day. Let us heed them...                        


Notes and Sources:

Jean McGavin:

Judy Silverstein Gray:   Unwavering: The Wives Who Fought To Ensure That No Man Is Left Behind.

Heather Cox Richardson:  Democracy Awakening,

Barbara Tuchman:  The March Of Folly,  The Guns of August.

Mathew Crawford:  The World Beyond Your Head - On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction.

 Historians, Truth,Distraction ,StoryTelling
  New York City
Spring 2024