Who did you swear allegiance to?

When I became an American citizen, I swore allegiance to the Constitution of the United States. I abjured fidelity to French mobocracy and promised to support and defend the American Constitution.

But I never swore allegiance to any particular individual. I reject the cult of personality, and I am also extremely allergic to any sort of cult. We should remember that that we are all fallible and temporary actors of a brief time frame: like a flag, we will lose our shine after long exposure to various elements.

We elect somebody expecting great achievements. But as time goes by, we realize that many of the campaign promises are unrealistic and unachievable. Our allegiance to our sworn leader falters and we begin to lose some of our original enthusiasm.

This is partly why I am not fond of any banners or signs proclaiming eternal allegiance to any individual. Loyalty is often something like a fling; a short period of elation and wild behavior, followed by regrets and remorse.

It seems that some people are keen on displaying their colors and preferences upfront. Recently, a brand new flag pole flying 3 different banners popped up in my neighborhood. At the top, the American flag, underneath the 49er’s pennant, and in 3rd position, another banner proclaiming Trumpist sympathies.

This individual is signaling, that he loves America, venerates the San Francisco football team and wants Donald Trump to remain the Commander in chief of our republic. But does this also mean that, in his mind, football ranks above government?

I have always wondered why some people support Donald Trump. Is he such a likable person? I don’t think so. But it looks that sometimes a single issue is enough to embrace a candidate.
If you are pro-life for instance, you might not like the candidate, but if he supports your belief, it is enough to throw in your lot with him. Just because you are so intensely involved with your cause, you will discard all other issues and make a pact with the devil. Damn global warming, the planet, and the environment!
It is that simple and horrifying.

It is said that our president greatly values loyalty; some observers think he might have been greatly influenced by the British monarchy’s oath of allegiance:

I, (Insert full name), do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, her heirs, and successors, according to law. So help me God.

I understand that mister Trump’s minions are considering putting the same oath to good use:

I, (Insert full name), do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Donald Trump, his heirs and successors, according to law. So help me God.

For my part, I prefer to paraphrase William Wallace  of Scotland who said:

“To Edward, I cannot be a traitor, for I owe him no allegiance; he is not my sovereign; he never received my homage; and whilst life is in this persecuted body, he shall never receive it”.

 Alain

Marin Pétanque: alive and well

Yesterday turned out to be a bright sunny day; something we had not seen in Marin for quite a while. The average temperature hovered around 65 degrees Fahrenheit and this managed to attract people who have been hibernating for months in their caves.

They popped up on the field like snails/mushrooms after the rain.

These last few months have been mostly cold and wet, and these conditions did not incite many people to visit our field. But yesterday, miracle of miracles, a little sunshine did more for morale than the Donald’s so-called “tax break”.

So, who was there? I probably could not name them all but I will try.
Sabine came with César (the friendliest and smartest dog on the planet). She brought along her usual partner in crime the divine Monique.
Antoine came with Eva, and a very cute puppy. To me, anybody who brings a pooch should get a free pass anywhere. Alain Marchand brought Evelyne, and a therapeutic pack of cigarettes.

Mark and Sandra were naturally present, and Sandra pointed terrifically as usual. Anybody who gets to play with her next Sunday will be a lucky bastard.
Helga and Mireille also came. Both excellent pointers. Charlie and Liv graced us with their presence. Jean-Philippe and Mike Rago were also present and could be heard from a distance.
The Swiss Menace Francois Moser and I completed this lot.

This gathering was truly a heartening sight for people who have been despairing about the club’s health and soundness. This augurs well for our next official tournament that will take place Sunday, February 9. Be sure to be there.

Between “mènes” I managed to snap a few pictures with my iPhone. Nothing fancy, just a few quick random shots to prove that I was not fibbing. You will find them by clicking the “My photos” link.

Due to the Super Bowl madness, I doubt very much that anybody will show on our field today. If anybody does, it would probably be viewed as anti-American and liable to imprisonment. Be careful.

A bientôt !

Alain

Sudden thought: If con is the opposite of pro, then is Congress the opposite of progress?

Are you part of a cult?

A cult following is a nice way of saying very few people like youMartin Mull

january 1977 photo by NANCY WONG
REVEREND JIM JONES

Jim Jones, Marshall Applewhite, David Koresh, Charles Manson, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh…

Do you remember these people? What did they have in common? They were cult leaders whose devotees remained supportive and defiant until the bitter end…

What goes up, must go down. Isaac Newton said so about 300 years ago and his postulate still stands today. Very few people (besides astronauts) manage to stay aloft after they have reached their apogee. It is a law of physics…

Cult leaders always appreciate loyalty, but is this quality always commendable? When reflecting on this subject, the first question which comes to mind is: what motivates this sentiment?
Admiration? Affection? Very often though, loyalty is closely associated with personal gains. If you hang tightly to your leader’s coattail, you expect to be rewarded.
This does not mean that you “love” your guru… it simply means that you follow the dangling carrot.

Who are the followers? Tentative people incapable of deciding for themselves which way to go. They are remoras. After some search, they attach themselves to a larger fish and feed through it. It is much easier and more rewarding than following a solitary path.

But cult leaders are mercurial. They fancy and discard courtesans like the kings of lore. One day a person is praised, the next he is shown (often by mail or a third party) the door. A courtesan is like a Kleenex; useful one moment, disposable the next.

Loyalty is demanded by cult leaders, but they never feel bound by the same oath. Loyalty is a leadership’s prerogative. Leaders crave approval, adoration, but they are unable to reciprocate. This situation is like a bad marriage; it depends on how much abuse a spouse is willing to take, and how financially damaging a divorce would be.

Sticking with a cult leader is always a gamble. If he falls, you will fall with him but if he perdures, you will undoubtedly reap some benefits. But for some people (called moderates) a backdoor is always ready in case the ship of state starts to flounder

Ultimately, self-interest (not moral fiber) will dictate what one will do in critical decisions like Impeachment. Few Republicans will risk their career to vote their conscience.

True reckoning will take place on November 3, 2020.

Alain