Monday, May 29, 2017

"What goes around, comes around"

Life has ways to create parallels ; just compare me and, how at my age, I'll be treated by the number crunchers putting together this year's budget. Promises be damned ; Social Security and Medicaid, Trump promised will not be cut. His proposed budget blatantly cuts what ? You guested right, Social Security and Medicaid. Bingo !

---Those in authority decided me, this old invalid bird is expendable, so if he needlessly dies, so what ? The rich need more bobbles to show off so, give them another tax cut ! The poor super rich need more and more money to have to buy elections.

A parallel is the Borough of Pottstown : post depression, pre-WW 2, Pottstown citizen's roll was long stable. Her industry was small businesses, employment was alright, her economic muscle was flexing, she saw few green lights in sight, but she was ripe for a change.

Then something happened : the great World War 2 spun into action. War is a glutton for the implements of carnage and the infusion of federal dollars for the defense industrial complex which lusted after machines and factories that arrived like a stampede in Pottstown and were like mana from heaven during the Big War.

Then - victory - swept the World : the Greatest Generation came home, fathers, brothers, aunts and uncles, all seeking good jobs ; factories large and small stuffed within their walls employees, especially ex-GI's, since the government subsidized their wages. Pottstown's population swelled to 32,000 people. Building homes and necessary public infrastructure seemed unstoppable. The suburbs ballooned : work, wages, taxes flowed ; we were the unquenchable engine of economic muscle for the county who sought our endorsement.

Watch out, "What goes up, must come down", the terrible '70's lit on Pottstown and her surrounds like a plague. One after another company either downsized or sold out. This pulsating industrial area began flaming out, taxes to the county dried up, and the borough's population kept declining until it now is about 22,000 people. Pottstown beware, the long knives of politicians want to carve a declining town into eatable bites. Resist and persist must become a town's motto.

But, it's the way Pottstown was perceived by citizens of the county and surrounding communities which told a tail, a tail I was familiar with, a tail similar what had happened to me. When a town or a person grows old and run down after a lifetime of work both seem to be expendable. Unlike, a person who is just laid to rest, a town must continue on, must allow itself to be rebuilt, must adopt new
leaders who think revitalization. But, politics play a vital roll. Just as with people who, during their life, created jobs and hired workers, but now, are old and in firmed and now are expendable ; towns can be revitalized and returned to high income producing engines.

On this Memorial Weekend work to make "Pottstown Great Again"!

Ronald C Downie

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Posted Poet Talks

I am without a framework which specifically defines my life to date. I was fairly successful at sports but not great. Played a lot of games of different sports : captained in high school, presented the game ball for play against arch rival, played in championship games, at least twice, noted for some super drives and poorer putts. Neon light games, like darts, came my way when the legs wore out. For a time arm wrestling contested my interest. Feats of brute strength followed me during my working days.

Civic responsibilities cropped up and grabbed me for duty. Owning a business allowed me the time and opportunity to serve the community.
Board member and president of : American Businessmen Club, Building Industry Exchange, Schuylkill River Greenway Association, Carousel At Pottstown.

As well as, elected : Pottstown School Board, one four year term ; Pottstown Borough Council, two four year terms ; Pottstown Borough Authority, two four year terms, chairman four years.

Honors : Elk of the Year ; Pottstown's First Grand Marshall ; Schuylkill River Park Amphitheater, named and dedicated in my honor ;
Pottstown School District, Alumni Association, class 1953 Honoree.

I've been asked to read some of my poetry works in southeastern Pennsylvania over the last forty years. And, since now I'm essentially disabled and unable to walk without support, I've taken up blogging as this epistle demonstrates. I feel I've filled my available time with positive constructive things during my 82 years on this planet. I love to talk but I find few to talk to these days. Thanks for being attentive.

Ronald C. Downie---The Posted Poet---
"Drunkenness without wine", just let that sink in, "Drunkenness without wine". It's a very chilling vision, improbable but self fulfilling.

Looking back to the early 1930's in Germany, this concept swept throughout the rest of Europe as their citizens questioned the attitude of the German electorate who voted in Adolf Hitler and his Third Reich.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Knowledge Loosed Again

Inequity seemingly lasts forever that brings with it harsh biases which, even time, can't easily dispel. The Great Religions of this World sort of fit this description, especially, in the way proponents treat women, or artifacts, or revered sites. From the Middle East, the oil capitol of the World and the caldron of tribal beliefs steeped in antiquity, comes a plethora of religions that have demeaned females as second class citizens even to this day. 

It is inconceivable to me that in this 21st Century over one half of the World's population but 100% of the World's birth mothers do not have equal rights as do their male counterparts. Religion is a construct of males dating deeply back into the past of humans evolving on this planet. I surmise, male supremacy rose from the fact of male physical stature which acknowledged the idea of "might makes right". This maybe held true in the hunter's World but, today, does not hold water. 

Evolving at an accelerating rate humans will quickly in the scale of humanity throw off the shackles that imprisons him. Tribes need to go. Females will assert themselves. Antiquities will move into the museum to be viewed but not worshiped. The information age will mature and knowledge will become "the king of the hill" once more.

Ronald C. Downie

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Arrogance of Ignorance 

Lack of knowledge, learning, information, etc. is a broad definition of ignorance. Ignorance seems to pervade our country- big time- these days. Once, at the beginning of our country, when settlers were on the move, self preservation was the driving thrust of existence. Kill or be killed was the coin of the realm with survival knowledge and good luck, working in unison, to secure a safer future. 

But, as settlers developed communities they sought the strengths brought by immigrants from European heritages to their new homes as they grew more civilized. Knowledge through learning was a key stone of this new structure, as was, the rule of law. 

Arrogance is an offensive display of superiority or self-importance, overbearing pride. Certainly some gun slingers fit this description but, as more and more moved west, slinger's gusto was not equal to the stories told about them. 

Harbored in the ghettoes of this World at this present time, a couple decades into the 21st Century, are pockets of deeply underserved citizens who have been been left behind. They lack the mental tools to lift them away from their plight and, more and more, cause their offspring to have a similar cross to bear. Ignorance, in the 21st Century, is a plague, a self inflicted plague, as well as, a plague orchestrated by the moneyed and powerful who see the effects of poor education but yet seem to ignore its causes. 

This truly is an example of "The Arrogance of Ignorance" bright and clear. Will we ever correct the conditions bringing ignorance to too many ? But, a more insidious result is surfacing in our World. More and more a dumbed down populous is satisfied with being awash in the throws of ignorance. They, by their attitude, allow the oligarchs to pidgin hole them into servitude, and worst of all, their offspring are drug down with them. The Lord of the Castle now has a serfdom to rule over, an intergenerational serfdom. 

 First, we should aggressively ferret out those in control who, though educated, are the perpetrators of this inequity. In them lies the scourge of arrogance, of overbearing pride. Secondly, we must have pre-kindergarten through four years of college as a goal for all citizens on this planet. And, the best and brightest must be chosen by each country to lead this endeavor in their respective countries. Not a want but education is a need to stamp out ignorance. It is a battle and must be fought as it was a war. 

Ronald C. Downie

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

What's In A Name

Forever, in all my 82 years, I've been watching the by-lines, credit lines, for movies and anywhere else names were listed that I could read to find the name Downie listed. Yes, I did find Leonard Downie, executive Editor of The Washington Post, before he retired from the post. He's not a relative.

All of a sudden, while watching channel 507, abc, this evening just after 6pm, a piece on Phillippi Creek Estates was aired and a commentator for The Estates was named Heather Downie the same name Connie, my wife, and I named our oldest daughter. Heather, an elementary grade school teacher at Lincoln, is renovating the old homestead on Evans to live there where she and her siblings grew up and attended Pottstown Schools through graduation. 

I did find Uncle Malcolm's linage up in New England and have corresponded with them. Alexander, my Dad, had three younger brothers : Malcolm, Andrew, and Hugh. I've lost contact with both Andrew's offspring, as well as, Hugh's. My recollection is that his youngest brother, Hugh, moved many score years ago to Florida with his family still intact. Maybe, Heather Downie is an offspring of Hugh's family, far fetched at best, but is a Nobel thought.

Few and far fetched are people named "Downie" that I've come across. Somebody once told me Downie is derived from the term "crooked nose". Could be true in my case since I was, in my hay days, a real rugged character. My farmer's strength came naturally to me and I exhibited it more than once in the early days. 

My favorite professor, my brother Andrew, has passed and our quarter of the family's linage rests in his and mine offspring. I got an idea where Malcolm's are and maybe even Uncle Andrew's whose only child was a son Andrew like my brother. Young Andrew we believed to be living  in Red Bank, NJ. So, if the Downie connection is maybe our family, it would probably be my Uncle Hugh's offspring. 

For an old bastard like me this is a good way to spend an afternoon thinking about family. It was merely a few seconds on the television screen that took me here. At 82, what else do you think I can do ?

Ronald C. Downie