Miguel David |||

A letter to my dead grandfather

Hello, Mestre”, How is it going up there? I certainly hope that it’s better than down here. Down here populist movements are turning us back years concerning social evolution. You might like some of them. I remember how you scorned the leftist parties with the quote we’re all equal, but some are more equal than others”. And I do understand where Trump, Órban, Erdogan and the likes are coming from. They are filling the vacuum filled by people who advanced the social part of society, but not the economy for everyone. But that’s where my empathy ends with them. Politics was the one thing we were always misaligned on. I defended a social matrix, and you remembered the few good parts of Salazar and an authoritative state. You remembered when things were simpler. When you cared for the company, and it cared for you. A time when the State was overwhelming but had your back; instead of this constant and exhausting back-and-forth of modern short-term often slightly corrupt politics. You would not be the only one who’s upset with the status quo. The majority of the people are upset. The young don’t believe in the system until voting for someone is drilled into them. My generation is trying to create new parties that don’t fit in the left-right parliament traditional seating. People older than me swing in the middle, either slightly to the left, or slightly to the right. But one thing is for sure unless they are getting more money or paying less in taxes, they complain, about everything. Even the impetus I once had of trying to do the right thing and getting involved, quickly faded as the new government put the austerity measures to rest, and they are not so aggressively trying to screw it’s people over. They still are, just with giving money and subsidies to everyone forgetting that the next swing will come and we really need to be paying down our debt and reinvesting aggressively to be prepared. But tourism makes you complacent. What is better than merely showing others what is already there? Good beaches or hills, good wine and food, nicely packaged for the tourist. Instead of doing the hard work of investing in pure research, retraining people for today’s market, technology, social development and maybe even more important, strengthening the social base with new principles that take into account a population that is ageing and a flux of immigrants. Mind you! I’m not complaining about the immigrants, we have been there too since the 70s, and I certainly made that part of my life. I like that they hustle, and they bring new approaches and ideas to our old” people. It’s just that like unbridled tourism is a bad thing, so is uncontrolled immigration, without having programs in place to help these people settle and integrate into this society and language. Speaking of language, I bet that there is no such concept up in heaven, right? It’s such a silly idea. We have found a way to express ourselves by making sounds from our lungs, throat and mouth and we should have stopped there. Instead, every tiny new group decided to do it in a slightly (and sometimes very) different way. Now we have this babel tower in which people can’t understand each other and use language to assert their dominance (like English). I think one day soon the famous Babelfish” (from Hitchhiker in the Galaxy) will appear and one device will allow us to understand the other language instantly. What worries me is the divergence of thought. No, not in the big brother” way. I worry about how every single person thinks so differently about the most basic things. When even the declaration of human rights is massively ignored or disapproved of in private around the world, I don’t know what we can actually agree on anymore. A declaration that states that humans (not even taking into accounts all the other life forms of the planet) deserve a life, to be cared and nurtured. It baffles me. But populist movements are showing that a declaration which should be the base for all laws in all countries is now in jeopardy because there are still people that believe that bullying is the right way to go about things. I don’t think you would have liked Trump though. I think you would not approve of him because he has no spine. And that was sacred to you. You were also a very generous person, even though you kept a tight lip on that, I guess so as not to be abused. But most of all you believed in being straight”, honest, correct, abiding, respectful. Anyhow, how is the weather up there? I hope it’s better than down here. The climate changes that we’ve heard about for most of my life are arriving. Natural disasters are now regularly in the news. Fires here, extreme heat there, cold spells in sunny places in the middle of supposed summer. And I’m sure it will get worse. I don’t know if there is a turning back now. Our brat kids politicians do not dare to make hard changes, and because it’s everybody’s problem, it’s nobody’s problem, right? Oh! You probably know that I am getting up early now. Yes, like you did! It’s hard, but I am enjoying the change, and I’m privileged to be able to do it and write with the sunrise like I am now. I’ll keep trying to follow in your footsteps mestre”. I miss you, your joy and morals. I hope you’re well. See you later.

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