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>>>First up in this issue is a special report from our Chief Washington Correspondent and Director of our Vast Network of Inside-the-Beltway Researchers, Rachel Axelrod, who offers us an update on what is happening in the campaign for the seat in the House of Representatives vacated by the adulterous and resigned Bob Livingston.

>>>Second, as promised in J.M.E #11, this issue’s feature essay is the quotation from the base of the Statue of Confucius in New York’s Chinatown and some comments on that quotation.

>>>Finally, we offer two responses, one from magazine editor, Steven Sass, the other from a poet, Hayden Carruth, to our question: “Now that it is over what does it all mean?” which we posited in J.M.E #11. For those who are new, “it” is the impeachment and acquittal of The President.

AMONG THE OTHERS,

A VIRGIN’S VIRGIN RUN FOR OFFICE

by Rachel Axelrod

[with contributions from THE WASHINGTON POST and David Budbill]

Nine candidates vie for the House seat of adulterous representative Bob Livingston (R-La.), the first speaker-designate of The House of Representatives in history to resign for infidelity before becoming Speaker. The special election is scheduled for May 1st.

Among the nine candidates–eight Republicans and one Democrat–are Ex-Governor David Treen, New Orleans Zephyrs owner Rob Couhig, Klu Klux Klansman David Duke, Orthopedic Surgeon Santos LoCoco, Electrician Patrick Landry and an eye doctor whose name is–no, really, it’s true–Monica Monica.

A few weeks ago Monica Monica, having spent $226,000.00 on her campaign, was at the head of the spending surge.

As you can see, former Klansman David Duke is not the only unusual character in this crowded field. Duke, by the way, who is forever showing up and claiming fraternity with The Grand Old Party, is lagging way behind in the polls, meaning perhaps finally the Republicans will be rid of their constant need to publicly disassociate themselves from Duke and his past.

But perhaps most unusual is the candidacy of electrician Patrick Landry, a first-time candidate, who’s provided a unique reason for voters to send him to Washington. Landry promised that he would stand out when he arrived in scandal-ridden Washington.

“I’m a virgin at age 33,” he said, “and that should say something about my integrity.”

It says somethin’ about somethin’!

WHAT CONFUCIUS SAID

by David Budbill

Most people who know anything about Confucius (551-479 B.C.E.) or the ideas for the governance of human society he devised think of him as the perpetrator of a set of rigid, hidebound, legalistic, restricting rules and regulations for every imaginable human encounter, relationship or event. And certainly that is what “Confucianism” became over the centuries in ancient China. But just as there is no necessary relationship between the teachings of Buddha and Buddhism or the teachings of Christ and Christianity so it is also with Confucius. Confucius’ initial vision of a good society, “The Great Harmony,” as he put it, is a vision of societal peace, cooperation and understanding unsurpassed in the history of human contemplation.

Which is why I urge you to go to New York City. Get yourself to the intersection of Canal and Bowery down on the Lower East Side in Chinatown. Brace yourself if you are from the country or the suburbs because this is going to be a scene from Beijing, Hong Kong or Singapore.

Great waves of humanity, mostly Chinese–But not all. I was there.–surge back and forth packing the sidewalks and spilling out onto the streets. The streets likewise also overflow with cars and trucks of every description all of them blowing their horns all at once or so it seems and the traffic so congested the cars and trucks spill up and onto the sidewalk. Yet–in a wonderment that never ceases to amaze me every time I’m there–of all these cars and trucks and people mixed together in this chaos of noise–this halting, stalled, horn-blaring, weltering confusion–none is injured and all somehow progress, albeit slowly, toward wherever it is each is intended.

Go south now on Bowery about a block, for this is your intention. Already now you can see him just ahead, over there on your left, rising above the cars and trucks, out there in the middle of the traffic where Division Street splits into a Y and joins Bowery. In that triangle of asphalt and concrete created by the forking Division Street, on a pedestal about seven feet high stands a ten foot bronze and therefore green statue of Confucius.

He’s looking southeast and stands there in his robes, still as a statue, deep in his meditative calm amidst the noise and chaos of commerce.

On the base of the statue chiseled in the stone is the following quotation from his writing called The Great Harmony, the TA TUNG.

“When the great principle prevails the world is a Commonwealth in which rulers are selected according to their wisdom and ability. Mutual confidence is promoted and good neighborliness cultivated. Hence men do not regard as parents only their own parents nor do they treat as children only their own children. Provision is secured for the aged till death, employment for the able bodied and the means of growing up for the young. Helpless widows and widowers, orphans and the lonely as well as the sick and disabled are well cared for. Men have their respective occupations and women their homes. They do not like to see wealth lying idle, yet they do not keep it for their own gratification. They despise indolence, yet they do not use their energies for their own benefit. In this way, selfish schemings are repressed, and robbers, thieves and other lawless men no longer exist, and there is no need for people to shut their outer doors. This is the great harmony. ”

Imagine such a society. Imagine leaders in a society even having this as the ideal toward which they strive.

A few months ago I saw a program on one of the TV networks about and called GREED. It was an open and unabashed defense and promotion of pure and simple greed. Ted Turner–not exactly Mother Teresa himself–was on the show as a kind of straw man, a fall guy, to be ridiculed for giving away a few million of his dollars, by other corporate CEO’s who argued that the best thing for everyone in American is for people like themselves to make as much money as possible and keep it all for themselves or use it to generate greater profits for their businesses.

I’m sure you think I’m exaggerating. I am not. The program posited the idea that any notion of anything even remotely approaching something like the idea of “the public good” is not only laughable but, in fact, bad for the economy and therefore evil.

These words from Confucius about the nature of the social contract and the public good, about how to be just and caring with your neighbors–even THE LONELY are cared for!–and how unchecked greed and the profit motive will destroy anything and everything, seem surreal in the middle of modern American life.

How far have we as a people strayed from the kind of Confucian humanism presented by this quotation from the TA TUNG?

When self-aggrandizing greed and personal gratification are all that matter, when Money and Me stand at the center of a society’s profoundest philosophy of life what can we expect from the future?

TWO RESPONSES TO

“NOW THAT IT IS ALL OVER, WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?”

From magazine editor, Steven Sass:

“Clinton’s great political success–aside from restoring economic health and attempting to include the bulk of the American people in this prosperity–was to halt the right-wing surge of the 1992 elections. He castrated their revolution. They grew enraged, and they crucified Clinton.”

From poet, Hayden Carruth:

“Your emphasis on the prototypical emergence of a police state [referring a piece in J.M.E. #11] in Starr’s persecution of the President is clear, trenchant, and absolutely right on. . . . As in the past, I do have a small further contention in my own mind, however, which is actually not small but very large, viz., that although Starr is the particular villain in this case, along with his backers in and out of Congress, he is not the originator of this impetus in American public life during recent decades; on the contrary, he is the virtually inevitable outcome of a course of thought and feeling in this country that has been evident since the post-World War Two period.

“Myself, I blame corporate capitalism, fundamentally and primarily. Eisenhower was not a great President and of course I didn’t vote for him, but his warning against the “military-industrial complex” years ago was perspicacious and sound. What he did not say and perhaps was not smart enough to say is that actually, naturally, it is bigger than that, it is a military-industrial-political-cultural complex and it is driven by material greed and lust for power, motives so compelling and so effectively and forcefully implemented by the corporate apparatus that no merely constitutional restraint can stop it. This would require the will of the people, but the people has become only more and more demoralized.

“Corporate quantification, manipulation, and brainwashing have destroyed the sense of individuality that is prerequisite to common strength of mind. The public will is flabby and inactive. In the present instance, what this leads me to think is that if the roles had been reversed in the Clinton-Lewinsky fiasco, i.e. if Clinton were a Republican and Starr were a liberal Democrat, exactly the same thing would have happened. The historically fundamental political and constitutional processes would have been subverted. And corporate money would have fueled it. The whole evolution of political life since the end of World War Two would have ensured it.

“Well, I agree that if a coup d’├ętat occurs it is more likely to come form the right than from the left. Almost always the right is better organized. And even if it came from the left I am cynical enough to believe that it would turn into a basically rightist dictatorship in a short time anyway, as it did in Russian and Cuba.

“John Locke and Thomas Jefferson had a beautiful idea, and it was embodied quite well, everything considered, in the American constitution. The question is: can any constitution as such stand up against corporate greed and public ignorance. De Tocqueville foresaw what ignorance would do, Marx foresaw what capitalism would do. They are joined now, and we are observing, all too clearly, the correctness of their predictions.”

Finally, we are thinking a lot these days about the Kosovo War and about violence in American life, most recently in Littleton, Colorado.

At the moment we plan for THE JUDEVINE MOUNTAIN EMAILITE #13 to address these topics. Any of you out there with thoughts to offer to the rest of us please feel free to write.

We have in the works here an essay about Gandhi and NATO and another about Chief Left Hand, a native American who suffered great violence near Devner, Colorado, more than 100 years ago.

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