Editorials: Panama the beautiful; and Blasphemy for American vidiots

folding the flag
Folding the new flag that flies atop Ancon Hill. SPI photo.

This beloved country

Yes, Panama has its problems, but mostly it’s this unique mix of people, most of whom mention the problems, when we do, in order to make things better.

We are seven indigenous nations, an overlay from the Spanish Conquest and colonial era and generation after generation of immigrants from all over. We are one country whose people embrace many beliefs, but generally get past those differences to make this nation work as a society. We are a sovereign whole, nobody else’s back yard, not the property of any family, ethnicity, party, caste, clique or company.

Panama is worth saving, and worthy of celebration. This rainy November, let us take stock and move together toward a brighter future.


Now THERE is some bizarre syncretism — a guy who now
wears jailhouse fashions. Photo by Af TheUnseen011101.

Does it come down to this?

A classmate from decades ago, in the Canal Zone schools, posted a YouTube video just a little while ago. In it, an actor who once played Jesus Christ gets into this routine about how Jesus Christ was not The Prince of Peace but rather was and is a war leader. He plays off of the foolishness of those who can’t tell Hollywood fiction from reality to misrepresent his words as those of Jesus Christ.

Where does this actor’s inspiration come from? It was at a QAnon gathering. Under the sponsorship of Q, the malevolant fiction writer of the weird QAnon conspiracy tales, right-wing political characters get conflated with the Biblical prophets. If we are told that notwithstanding the New Testament, Jesus is teaching us to to take up arms and drive Satan and his minions – the actor says “well-meaning Christian liberals” but means the Democrats — back to Hell, then what should Americans, or people of whatever nationality or religion, say about that? If we hear the preacher’s part in Mark Twain’s The War Prayer but don’t listen to the madman, what kind of people are we?

We should say, and public policy should be, that people who believe that stuff are suspect and people who preach that stuff are talking dangerous madness. They should not be anywhere near having responsibility for public safety. People who blow QAnon dog whistles should not be wearing law enforcement badges, judicial robes, the insignia of military officers nor be at the controls of civilian passenger jets. No more than people who approve of Osama bin Laden and in keeping with that preach that the infidels must die. No more than people who would massacre the Jews to make living space for their would-be master race. No more than the radio broadcasters who were thrown into prison for inciting genocide in Rwanda.


Writer, psychologist and educator Jean Toomer. A Quaker descended from slaves and southern politicians, with roots in Africa and Europe, once the principal of a segregated black school, he shied away from identity labels and described himself simply as an “American.” Winold Rice graphic from the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.

Stir the root-life of a withered people. Call them from their houses and teach them to dream.

Jean Toomer

Bear in mind…

All the ill that is in us comes from fear, and all the good from love.

Eleanor Farjeon

In a gentle way, you can shake the world.

Mohandas K. Gandhi

Above all, witches try to “connect” with the world around them. Witchcraft, they say, is about the tactile, intuitive understanding of the turn of the seasons, the song of the birds.

Tanya Luhrmann


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night oil