Ralph Higgins

Ralph Higgins
color pencil sketch by Gayle Higgins

Quotes I Like

"If you do not take an interest in the affairs of your government, then you are doomed to live under the rule of fools."

– Plato


Friday, April 13, 2012

Lessons from the Titanic

There’s been a lot on TV regarding the 100 year anniversary of the Titanic disaster.  I don’t want to wallow in a tragedy, but I can’t help wondering what I would have done had I been on board the Titanic that fateful day. I’m sure I’m not alone with that question.  I would have most likely been playing in the orchestra on deck, but I’m pretty sure the orchestra would have been missing a trumpet player as soon as I felt the ship begin to tilt.

Evidently experts have studied the disaster in detail and concluded that the ship tilted bow down with the stern rising from the water.  This put stress on the midsection and the ship split into two pieces; breaking like a twig. 

They said that the Titanic couldn’t sink, but it did.  When the stern hit a crucial angle where the tension maximized, the two halves of the Titanic broke apart and the great ship sank in two pieces. 

I couldn’t help but see the sinking of the Titanic as a metaphor for what we are witnessing in America right now.

Our country is divided into two parts of relatively even numbers. I’ve never seen a division of this magnitude in America in my lifetime.  Like the Titanic, the stress is on the center of the country – the middle class.  How much tension will it take for the break that could sink the good old U.S.A.

We deviated from our charted course years ago, but the damage has been done and the ship of state has been taking on water for longer than most of us realize. The division has greatly accelerated since the election of the great “unifier.”

I like Herman Cain.  He doesn’t mince words.  I love what he said regarding the people in the United States and the voting public.  To paraphrase, he said there are two separate populations in the country: the stupid and uninformed versus the intelligent and informed.  

The divide between Cain’s two elements is wide and getting wider and, thanks to our educational system and the media, the balance is shifting in the wrong direction. Even more ominous is the fact that the tension is increasing; moving the country toward lawlessness and violence.

 Not to be overlooked is the fact that there are fissures and fractures within this larger schism in our country.  For example, we have racial division, religious division and “micro” divisions within religion, currently being exploited for political purposes. For example, Catholics are divided over contraception. Clever ploy.  The confusion regarding sexual orientation seems to be a useful tool for division – gay rights, dykes on bikes, transgender rights, and a lobby for those who don’t know what the hell they are.  We have women’s “issues,” class warfare, border wars, the poor against the rich, special rights for left-handed pretzel twisters, and on and on. 

You’ll recall that there were classes and divisions aboard the Titanic too. When the ship went down, they all went down. Even the 1% in First Class.  Ice water doesn’t play favorites.

These many fractures in our society have been exacerbated by politicians and activists, including the “captain” of our vessel. Even our chief “law enforcement” officer has chosen sides.  “Divide and conquer” comes to mind and it seems to be working.

We see the ships sinking in European countries, but we learn nothing. Even the ass-end of England is beginning to stick out of the water.  Sharia law is causing another leak in the British ship and the politically correct pretend not to notice.  How can you not notice hoards of bipeds peeking out from under black sheets?

Abraham Lincoln said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”  Is it possible that our great country can split, break apart, and sink in the same way the Titanic split and sank? 

Could the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic be a harbinger of a similar fate for America

If we are, in fact, “One nation under God” it won’t happen. 

But are we really that nation anymore?

Just thought I’d ask…


  1. Bravo, Ralph!! Well put..
    Jan xx

  2. Thanks, Jan.

    There's a lot more that could and probably should be said, but I try to avoid politics on the blog. I just toss a "thought" in now and then.

  3. Hey Ralph, I love winter, even tho this one was not the type like last year that had you and Gayle whining about snow and cold and not getting out. But it was still enuf of a winter that you posted on a record basis. have you checked this? I believe it's been rare that you have not posted at least every two weeks. During the summer, Ed or I usually have to goad you to post once a month.
    Love the frequency and the topics. Given I'm just an old, slow guy, I'll adsorb this post for a few days and probably think of something erudite or at least smarmy to say!

  4. I'm not sure that Herman Cain's gross oversimplification is at all accurate. The problem is that MANY highly intelligent, informed people have vastly varied and different perspectives. Life is more complex than black/white or right/wrong. Leadership is living in that nuance -- an arduously difficult task.

  5. Malcolm-

    I've been trying to do better with the blogs, thanks to the prodding of Ed and you. I'm trying to remember to post weekly. Can't say that I'll maintain, but I'm trying. I forgot again and dashed off this latest piece very quickly. I cut a lot out, but maybe I should have edited more. Oh well...

  6. Rog -

    That statement by Cain was very strong and it was a generalization. I know several intelligent people who voted for Obama and I'm sure Cain didn't mean to be that exclusive.

    People like to quote Martin Luther King. You'll recall that King said that people should not be judged by the color of their skin. I agree 100%.

    One question...Based on Obama's actual experience, his "qualifications" to be the most powerful leader in the world, his associations and philosophical positions, his "real world" experience and expertise, why would someone vote for him? Is a "community organizer" an expert on the economy, international relations, or anything at all? Be honest. What is the elephant in the room?

    I agree with you that life is more than black and white. That's why I'd vote for Allen West, Walter Williams, Thomas Sowell and even Herman Cain in a heartbeat. But it wouldn't be on the basis of skin color.

    Unfortunately, skin color was reason enough for some people to vote for Obama, despite what Martin Luther King said. There's something terribly wrong with that. It's not a rational reason to make a man President.

    I think it's a sad commentary on our society that skin color still plays such a role. What bothers me is that race has become more divisive since Obama came into office.

    Frankly, Rog, I don't like where I see our country going. Along with everything else, the racial divisions in this country are getting worse, which is one of the "fractures" I referred to in the blog.

    Where is the "color blind" society we all hoped for? Why "African-American?" Why not "American?" Why do we have boxes to check for "race?" This and Al Sharpton are supposed to bring us all together?

    How much progress have we really made in race relations? Has Obama helped to bring us all together? I guess I've already answered that.

  7. Wow, good buddy, you open a big can of unknown contents. I'll just preface by re-stating that you and I have already agreed to remain close buds in spite of our increasingly diverse views on life, faith and politics. And from my perspective that bond of friendship will never change.

    Ok, you say that "skin color was reason enough for some people to vote for Obama, despite what Martin Luther King said." Trying to avoid the race issue, I would like to see some facts to verify that (other than from conservative talk show wags). And even if it were found to be true, from a minority perspective, it's been a long time coming. I agree that race is an unacceptable reason to vote for or against anyone, but some voters, unfortunately, even disagree with that.

    Another thing is that I don't see the "deep fissures" in our country that you do. Yes, there are differences, and some may even have agendas (on BOTH sides of the aisle). But are we analagous to the sinking Titanic? Hardly, in my view. There always have been and always will be very divergent political views in our country. They may seem more pronounced now than ever due to enhanced media coverage (and even bias -- again on both sides).

    And thirdly, one's view of life and perspective of reality can't help but influence our attitude toward things. You see our nation as "one nation under God" just because it's in the pledge of allegiance, in historical documents and on coins. But neither our people nor our politicians act accordingly. I'll see our nation as one nation under God when it's actions AS POLICY reflect Godliness. Not even remotely the case now. And there won't be a theocracy until Christ returns to earth to rule and reign. Of course that means that we could be headed for perilous times in our country, but faith has to carry us through that, not political action.

    Ok, 'nuff said. This could go on forever. Shoot, if you'd have gone with us to Arizona, we could have solved everything in those three days :)

  8. Hells bells, Rog, I thought you and I had solved the world's problems 40 years ago.

    But I see that you've strayed far off the path and into the wilderness. Now my mission is to "get your mind right" in order to protect you from a court-ordered lobotomy.

    I'm sorry I missed that trip to Arizona. I can picture you trying to keep up with Joe's analysis of baseball and Dwight's amazing peripheral vision when surrounded by good looking women.

    I have to admit, the smell of spring grass still reminds me of the crack of a bat and the beginning of baseball season. I did play the game once.

  9. Bro, I sure HOPE I've strayed from 40-year-old thinking. I find myself propogating very little of how I thought 40 years ago. And I'm very thankful for that. Btw, if all of what you say has truth, it'll be those on your side of the aisle who will be scheduled for court-ordered lobotomies. I'm considered very "normal" in that scenario :)

    Right now I'm watching M's baseball, the Giants won today, and I can smell the fresh green grass and the oiled glove. Life is good.

  10. Rog -

    Unfortunately, I think you're right about who will be lobotomized when the ship sinks. I don't have a large bucket, but I'm bailing water as fast as I can.

  11. "Nein Nein Nein" Herman Cain

  12. Chuck -

    I think you juggled the letters a bit, but I get your point. But I love pizza.

  13. I was using homophones, Ralph. The spelling of those German words is correct
    Linda & I are having Pizza for lunch. Carb overload !!

  14. I know you spelled the German word right. I thought you were saying something about Herman with the "no, no, no." Anyone who can build a pizza empire can't be all bad, Chuck.

  15. Pizza makers are OK In my book.

  16. Thanks. This should bring even more comments

  17. Evidently it's easier now to make comments. I clicked on some things and Chuck tried it. I hope it works.

  18. It's even easier now and I don't even need to log on to my Google account

  19. If you can't log on using gmail, You DO have to log on as anonymous. Chuck

  20. I'm trying this using AIM option

  21. Having an AOL account works easily

  22. There are some more options that I haven't figured out like WordPress or TypePad. Anyone have any ideas?

  23. Name/URL and openID are 2 more options that I don't get. Still using AOL

    1. What is LiveJournal"?

    2. As I reflect on your Debt Ball, seems you have been out of control for many years. Both parties are responsible, promissing goodies for votes. It is not American to admit a Titanic situation. As for a Christian perspective, how is this possible when most don't read their bibles or pay attention to politics and policies. Another forty years in the desert with plenty there was still the grumbling.
      On another note, borrowing from China and giving Foreign Aid to them and others seems a tad idiotic. As Maggie said "you eventually run out of other peoples money". As I'm in need of sleep, I think I should quit now.

    3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  24. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  25. I try to respond to all, but since I opened up access, I may not be able to keep up.

    Editcops is my friend since kindergarten named Chuck. He's the editor for the TV show COPS.

    I wish the "anonymous" folks would include a name.

    1. Easy to ID yourself
      Chuck AKA editcops

  26. I sudgested anonymous for people who don't have AOL or Gmail. Whenever I use anonymous, I sign it.

  27. Now you'll probably get coments from hackers, phishers and robots. You may want to put the restrictions on again :)

  28. To the "Anonymous" writer who mentioned our country's "debt ball" being out of control, people not reading their bibles or paying attention to politics and policies, giving money to China, etc...

    He's right. I have to say I agree with his perspective. Thatcher had it right. The things he mentions are some of the reasons I see a possible "Titanic" situation. Although the Titanic was a British vessel it does provide a good analogy, even for an American.

    Thanks for a thoughtful comment.

  29. We saw the movie about Thatcher "IRON LADY" this week end. What a leader

  30. Chuck -
    I agree. She was one-of-a-kind and buddies with Reagan, another one-of-a-kind.

    I have a book by John O'Sullivan, editor at large for the National Review, called, "The President, the Pope, and the Prime Minister." This is about Reagan, Pope Paul II and Thatcher." I met O'Sullivan on a cruise. The three he features were true leaders. Wish we had them now.

  31. I know what you mean about no true leaders today.

    A Conservative
    a Moderate and
    a Liberal walk into a bar ...
    The bartender says, "Hi Mitt"

  32. Boy, Chuck, that opens the door to a lot variations.

  33. Infinite variations. Good that you were able to delete some of those anonymous posts.

  34. Not much left for me to say!!

    Bring back "Honest Abe"!

  35. Didn't they name a car after him?