Friday, June 26, 2015

Progressivism on the march!

Take a look, people. The last few weeks have revealed something.

We, in these United States are in the midst of a huge social transformation.

The Supreme Court decisions on the Affordable Care Act and the constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans, the sudden and surprising demise of the Confederate battle flag as a legitimate symbol of "heritage," and the flustered and flummoxed reactions of conservatives (as typified by Nino Scalia's ranting legal dissents, post-decision) all point to it:

Progressivism, liberalism, is on the march.

In a huge victory for President Obama, his administration and his legacy, the SCOTUS decision in King vs. Burwell cements the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, as an institution. Generations of Americans yet to come will reap the benefits of universal health care. The President's name will now be added to the liberal pantheon of populist heros. FDR had Social Security, LBJ had Medicare, and now Obama has the Affordable Care Act.

Today's SCOTUS decision, declaring bans on same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional, ensures that homophobes and bigots will not have the ability to discriminate, even in their own backyards. Homosexuals will now be able to get married not just in Massachusetts or Oregon or Hawaii, but also in Mississippi, Utah, and Texas.

And in the wake of the horrific mass murder in Charleston, South Carolina, last Wednesday, in which a racist who identified with the segregated South murdered 9 people, a movement materialized to remove the Confederate battle flag from the grounds of the South Carolina capitol. The stars-and-bars that Confederate apologists so proudly waved around as their dog-whistle symbol of hatred is revealed to be pernicious and despised by the greater American public. Retailers (Walmart and Amazon, among others) have discontinued sales of items bearing that hateful image.

There is more evidence out there as well: four states have now legalized the use of marijuana as a recreational drug; public attention is focused on police behavior nationwide, raising the possibility of national reform.

The cultural and political Right is in full retreat. Demographic trends offer them no respite.

President Obama, for all his faults, is presiding over a great social transformation that promises to extend into the foreseeable future.

We're winning, progressives!

Monday, June 01, 2015

Seth Cariaga: Fine young man

Sierra Lutheran High School Graduate
Last weekend, the Cariaga family congregated in Minden, Nevada, to honor and acknowledge the accomplishments of  the youngest of my six siblings, Seth Cariaga.

Eagle Scout
In addition to graduating from Sierra Lutheran High School, Seth is accepted to attend the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs in the fall (field of study to be determined). And for his dedication to community and his sense of duty, Seth has been honored by the Boy Scouts of America as an Eagle Scout, the highest honor awarded by that organization.

It's an impressive list for a lad of such tender years. Seth is definitely further along than was I at a similar point in my own life.

Seth expresses gratitude to his scout masters
Although he is 35 years my junior, Seth is my brother and the last child of my father, Ross Cariaga.

Tami beams with pride
It is a sad fact of his life that Seth had very little opportunity to know his father. When Dad passed, in 2001, Seth was only 4 years old.

I asked him once, "Seth, do you remember Dad?"

"No," he replied. But then, when he saw how his answer saddened me, he emended it. "A little bit," he said.

He was and is such a good-natured and upbeat boy. It has always been a source of heartache for me to watch him growing up without a dad.

Uncle Don honors and loves his brother's youngest son
It had been several years since I'd seen Seth. In that interim, he's grown from a boy to a fine young man. Much of it is due to the ceaseless and loving efforts of Tami, his mother and Dad's widow. But much of it is due, as well, to Seth's innate decency and morality.

I couldn't possibly be more proud of this brother of mine.

Seth and big brother
Eagle Scout, graduate, loving and virtuous young man: Seth Ross Cariaga is off to a great start!

I know Dad is proud.

Dad, Seth, and Tami, a few weeks before Dad's passing