“Volunteers for America”


“He rarely left home without his pet church.”

Last week we were halfway to St. Patrick’s Day.

God save the Queen!

The ground around Ballyoughter, Ireland is about to shimmy and shake with the grandest of grave spinners as this Cavanaugh (Caomhánach) herein states he’s glad Scotland is staying with the Brits in a United Kingdom. There’s been too much separation in this world of late.

In a vote that went virtually unnoticed here in the States until only days before balloting last Thursday, Scots went to their polling places and turned down an opportunity to divorce England after 307 years of union by a respectably definitive margin of 55% to 45%. The election forsaking independence saw an extraordinary turnout of 84.5%, a degree of participation which should make all of us emerald green with envy, particularly here in Madera County where our June Primary with a number of hotly contested races churned up a relatively apathetic 30% of those registered to vote.

Antipathy toward Britain by the Caomhánach clan is easily demonstrated by this bitter notation recorded by my Great-Grandfather and namesake in his own hand from the flyleaf of an old, worn book on Irish history passed down to us through time:

Diocese of Fern
County of Leinster
Town of Ballyoughter
Irish Nobility
Evicted by The English
And Abandoned by God.”

But as Ireland was both England’s first and last colony, having endured over 800 years of often brutal tyrannical rule, the undeniable truth is that we now live in a whole new world, brave or not, where getting along together has become critically imperative for the very survival of our species. That’s not hype.

Since Hiroshima and Nagasaki, only the absolute guarantee of complete mutual destruction through a full nuclear exchange has kept the globe free from a Third World War. Now we have cult-led crazies promising ultimate enshrinement to penniless illiterates and psychotic misfits all too willing to embrace martyrdom in pursuit of eternal glory — complete with a 72 virgin pay off. Ukraine is torn in two and no one really knows where all those silly bombs might be. Genocide is increasing exponentially around the planet. Even backward North Korea, where satellites show the lights go out at night, has atomic weapons. All in all, this is no time for rational folks to get disorganized.

We desperately need world government. I always thought it would be us.

Watching Ken Burns’ superb new film series on “The Roosevelt’s” last week from PBS convincingly brought to mind the unmatched contributions of this one family to our collective progress through the 20th Century, leaving Kennedys, Clintons and Bushes quite behind.

“The Square Deal.” “The New Deal.” Labor legislation promising fair hours, wages and working conditions. The Pure Food & Drug Act. The Nineteenth Amendment giving women the right to vote. The Conservation Corps. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. The Security and Exchange Commission. The Agricultural Adjustment Act. The Tennessee Valley Authority. Social Security – and much else — ever onward.

I remember growing up fascinated by American History, not only due to my own alliance and allegiance, but because our story is such an amazing evolution in the phenomenon of man. An indivisible nation – “E pluribus Unum” – “One out of many.” Those espousing “exceptionalism” need search no further. We are utterly unique.

I’ve written that our national “Pledge” has often been more a prayer than a promise and nothing herein should be construed as excusing undeniable early expansionist horrors committed in our name and the unintended consequences of lofty ambitions gone astray, but our most fundamental political game plan remains war-won, time-tested and rock solid.

September 17th, in addition to marking the halfway point to Patrick, was also Constitution Day, celebrating the 1787 ratification of the Constitution of the United States of America, our supreme law of the land — offering proven institutional mechanics to peacefully expand collective territory theoretically without limitation.

If Hawaii and Alaska are American states, why can’t we contemplate adding more willing and qualified volunteers to — sign up?

There may be millions of reasons why this seems an absurdly ridiculous idea.

But that’s what George the Third thought way back when.

“This is the biggest band you’ll find.
It’s as deep as it is wide.
Come on and join together with the band!”

“Join Together” – The Who (1981)

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