The Beginning of the End

The definition given to the phrase “Middle Age” in the Catholic Encyclopedia is this:

“A term commonly used to designate that period of European history between the fall of the Roman Empire and about the middle of the fifteenth century.

The precise dates of the beginning, culmination, and end of the Middle Ages are more or less arbitrarily assumed according to the point of view adopted. The period is usually considered to open with those migrations of the German Tribes which led to the destruction of the Roman Empire in the West in 375, when the Huns fell upon the Gothic tribes north of the Black Sea and forced the Visigoths over the boundaries of the Roman Empire on the lower Danube. A later date, however, is sometimes assumed, viz., when Odoacer deposed Romulus Augustulus, the last of the Roman Emperors of the West, in 476. Others, again, begin the

Middle Ages with the opening years of the seventh century and the death (609) of Venantius Fortunatus, the last representative of classic Latin literature.”

I got to thinking about them, the Middle Ages, and the Visigoths in particular, when I read about the Governor of Texas announcing, recently, that he was sending a force of Texas Rangers to the Texas-Mexico border because the situation had gotten out of hand, and the Federal Government has been unable or unwilling to do much of anything about it. No kidding?  Yep, no kidding.  The Texans asked for a thousand National Guard troops and got turned down.  No money!  No men!  No mas!

Oh, yeah, there’s a fence going up down there somewhere, and every once in a while there’s a picture in the paper or a story on the 6 and 11 with some nice young thing dressed up in the latest Cabela outfit standing on a dry and dusty hilltop somewhere in New Texizonia talking about how this is the answer to a maiden’s prayer. The camera pans over the fence showing it and the ground plowed smooth an silk for a hundred or so yards and fingerprint dusted every six hours by the legions of the Border Patrol; who do such a job that not even Mexican protozoa can get through the net.

On alternate weeks there’s the story about the tunnels being dug from Mazatlan to Chicago’s south side, complete with rest stops and shopping malls, wayside chapels for “braceros” and little easy chairs for the dope smugglers to “come aside and rest awhile”.  One hears that things are so wide open we’ll soon see the “Coyotes” advertising their rates on Orbitz, only one-way of course, and the dope smugglers showing up on LinkedIn.

But this story from Texas, about the Rangers deploying on the border, had a little santayanaic ring to it; you know to the tune of “those who ignore…are doomed to repeat…”  There are differences of course.  There’s no million or two Huns down in Ecuador pushing everything in front of them up north, like they were doing to the poor Visigoths back in the day, of course.  However, there certainly are a few million dope heads up here, though, willing, more than willing, to snort or shoot up anything in the universe that’s white and powdery.  Why, any rap-hea worth his music can sing you a song about that.  Plus, there’s more than enough McMansions out in the burbs that can use the tender (and cheap) ministrations of Marisa on the wood work and silver and Manuel on the hedges.  (Now, that’s not nice, Peter.  You denigrate a whole culture of Day Spa users.  It’s downright intolerant, discriminatory and racist; not to mention classist.)

Now, probably not much would have happened to poor old Gaul, the Roman breadbasket, I think, if the Caesars and their assorted hangers on hadn’t gotten themselves tangled up over in the East with whoever in heaven’s name was just looking to set up a few casinos on the beach near Sidon.  But, I can understand their fascination with the place.  We seem to have the same sort of fixation they did, only we’ve got (counting European excursions) only about two hundred years poured into that sand trap, to no good end compared to, counting the Greeks from Alexander on, about a thousand years.

I’m no historian…obviously…and, Lord knows, I amn’t advancing any theory or positing any hypotheses, here.  But I wonder if we might not be kidding ourselves with all this fooling around on the beach and in the mountains over there whilst we ignore the enemy coming across the, well not the Rhine, but you get my point.  Walls and fences, and even Rangers, good as they may be at what they do, don’t make up for the lack of what some folks call an Immigration Policy, and other folks call getting serious about drug trafficking, a kind of terror I know something about.  And, those other guys are several thousand miles away.  Plus, oil ain’t cheap, anymore.  It’s time, and past time, if you catch my drift, here.

Will there be, someday not long from now, a little place in what used to be south Texas called The Kingdom of Sinaloa ruled by His Majesty King Arturo Beltran whose major industry is the cultivation of opium poppies and the manufacture of heroin for export to the kingdoms of Chicago and New York?


And, while we are in Texas, what is up with the story I read just yesterday about some elderly couple being forced into a nursing home by the good folks down at the local Department of We’ll Take Good Care of You, or whatever it’s called.  Seems they were getting on just fine until Mr. busted a hip, wound up in the hospital and a concerned social worker noticed Mrs. spending too much time alone in the waiting room.  Now, they have been moved into one room in some pleasant little wayside for the old and confused, the State has appointed a care taker and is about the business of using up all their money .  Mrs. has lost a bit of weight and a few teeth since being under the tender care of a caseworker.

What the hey!  She probably needed it.

Plus, they got cable, I bet.  Maybe all of their money’s going for On Demand.  You think?

All this is happening before, even, they can get some end of life counseling.  Boy, could they use it.

And we laughed at the “savages”, who had enough sense to let Gramps wander off under some tree in peace when he felt the “final call” coming on.


7 responses to “The Beginning of the End

  1. Kathy McGlaughlin

    Decriminalization? How far do we go with decriminalization? Perhaps we should not prosecute when they break into your home and steal your possession to buy their of “mind-altering substance or choice, or when they sell it your 12-year-old son or daughter, niece or nephew; or your wife, since crystal meth is quickly becoming the woman’s choice.

    As far as coming to this country hoping to have a better life? Fine. Come legally. Come and stay, learn our language, become a citizen, pay your taxes. And, please, don’t come and tell us that we can’t do such and such because we “offend” you.

    Sorry, Peter, my response is more in response to the response. I think you may well have a point. It may be a noble thing to liberate others, but we must be careful not to allow our own to become enslaved.

    • Hello Kathy,

      For quite a long time, now, I have thought that the best thing to do was make money off the drug business by taxing it. There used to be a tax on marihuana. Many years ago, while in DC, I was DEA’s rep on a working subcommittee of the Cabinet Committee on International Narcotics Control. We were supposed to provide the nuts and bolts for the “big Suits” to go up to the Hill and answer all the questions that the “staffers’ told the elected boobs were just the things to screw the Administration with. I got asked to leave the committee when I suggested, in response to “input from DEA” that we ought to agree with the Mexicans that they will take all of our marihuana users and heroin addicts in return for us taking all of their “braceros”…even up exchange.

      Today the FBi is saying that the “drug war” is a loser.

      I was around for the start of the drug war, a political gambit of Nixon’s administration. Like all of those things, it should never have happened.

  2. Carmine Dos Patos

    Like most A mericans you are full of self pity and anger. You think you have been wronged and inconvienced because some impoverished peoples have come here hoping for a better way of life .Get over it you should be grateful that you were fortunate enough to have born here, thats not something you earned through your own hard work ;you don’t know it but you have already won the L ottery stop grumbeling and feeling sorry for yourself ,be thankful for what you have.I hope I ‘m not a Mexican lying in a ditch by the side of the road when you pass by because I don’t think you’d be stopping

    • Sir,

      The points you raise so interest me that I have decided to use your “comment” as an introduction for another blog entry. It shall be called “The Man At The Side of the Road”.

  3. Peter writes: “Plus, there’s more than enough McMansions out in the burbs that can use the tender (and cheap) ministrations of Marisa on the wood work and silver and Manuel on the hedges. (Now, that’s not nice, Peter. You denigrate a whole culture of Day Spa users. It’s downright intolerant, discriminatory and racist; not to mention classist.)”.

    I refer to his citation of Santayana. One has but to substitute Bridget for the woodwork and Patrick for the gardens.

    You think I jest? In one of the earlier editions of Mrs. Post’s book on etiquette, she gives the form of a note for Mrs. Newly Wed to send to Mrs. Old Family after her dog has dug into the rose garden. “I will send Patrick the gardener to repair the damage”.

    As to the drugs, that is a highly complex question question. While Peadar may not have the solution, he has much to add from his experience.

    • Ahh, the Patricks and the Mollys. My own grandmother labored as a laundress until her 70’s, she who could recite poetry from memory and chant the Mass, several masses, in Latin. Once, about fifteen years ago I stood on a height in Leighlin Bridge, Co, Carlow, looking down at the broad and fertile valley with a second cousin, the grandson of my grandmother’s sister. “This once was all ours,” he said. he referred, of course, the the fact that it was stolen from us by the British, God love ’em.

      At least, I figured, she knew how to garden. Her father was a tenant on some landlord’s acreage.

  4. I don’t know If I said it already but …Excellent site, keep up the good work. I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks, 🙂

    A definite great read..Jim Bean

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