Phil isn’t all that interested in money after all and preparing for China

I have a much better idea than I outlined in the previous post. I’ll use the money I raise with trading cards (after covering my modest campaign expenses) for the Duluth Public Schools Endowment Fund for which I once acted as a trustee.

I came to that conclusion later in the day after writing the previous post. It didn’t take me long to remember that President Trump has been the exemplar of using public office for self enrichment. Its been pretty unappetizing.

I have been playing with suitable snow sculpture images and contemplating how to apply them to my reelection campaign. If I can find time between now and my departure for China on July 18th I may even have them in hand for distribution.

And this comes with a confession regarding my moaning about not writing the book to sew America back together again. Its not just school board related stuff that is keeping me from undertaking it. Its books on China. I just finished reading one book to Claudia that I’ve added to my online reading list for 2017. Its a peculiar little book called Mao Tse-Tung and I were Beggars by Siao-Yu. It was published in 1959 when it was still possible to imagine that Mao was a benevolent figure.

Yu and Tse-Tung were students together and Mao invited himself to join Siao-Yu for a month of begging across the countryside in an eccentric experiment by two prosperous college graduates. They set out in 1917 the year my Grandfather was enlisting to fight in France and six years after the Chinese Revolution that ended 2000 years of Dynastic rule.

The book was pokey enough that to keep myself awake I alternated it with the blockbuster expose of Mao’s biography by Jung Chang. After receiving wide acclaim the book has been faulted for blaming everything gone wrong on Mao. Be that as it may it was jarring going back and forth reading about Mao traipsing around the countryside in his youth as a beggar followed by stories of the brutality he inflicted on so many in his years as a Communist revolutionary/Bandit leader.

A week ago I told my brother I was looking forward to visiting a country that worked – a poor attempt at a joke. Its working a little too well. This 3 minute video from the New York Times gave me pause. The Chinese are light years ahead of America and the world in making the Internet a useful tool while keeping track every detail about the personal lives of their 700 million Internet users.

We want to get to know this nation with its justified chip on the shoulder over 150 years of harsh treatment at the hands of the Occident. To that end we purchased a couple new books. I began reading the Introduction to Driven Out by Jean Pfaelzer about the KKK like treatment of Chinese in the Pacific States in the Era of the Chinese Exclusion Act. It was far more harrowing than I realized. I also remembered having started Barbara Tuchman’s Pulitzer winner, Stillwell and the American Experience in China. We ordered a new copy and began reading the first chapter on Kindle. Its a helluva good read. So, it looks like I’ll have two new books on Chinese to alternate between.

While we’ve been at it we’ve been watching Chinese films. I still don’t know quite what to make of “The Mermaid” a comedy and some have been gritty enough that I was surprised the government allowed them to be made. I guess as long as the Communist Party itself is not criticized anything is fair game. Last night I recalled another book from the past “The Soong Dynasty.” Three sisters of the Soong family each married some of the most important men in Twentieth Century China, Sun Yat-Sen, Chiang Kai-Shek and its richest citizen H.H Kung. We started watching a twenty year old melodrama on them last night.

Some experts are predicting that this century will the the “Chinese Century.” Having lived in the best half of the “American Century” I owe it to myself to follow the transition.