Tag: politics

This Evil Bitch Commie Is Full Of Ideas

my street at night

This past couple of weeks have been pretty intense. What with High School starting for Max (and he’s begun growing a shadow mustache!) and the events in Ferguson Missouri and us suddenly having higher rent to pay that is not affordable requiring me to concentrate hard on how to revamp my Etsy shop and make extra income and finding out my mom probably needs another surgery and my step mother* commenting on my blog (deleted), and of course the middle east situation continuing, and people everywhere being complete and utter assholes to each other.

I have a lot of thoughts about the situation in Ferguson. I’ve heard some really disgusting racist things being spewed and people showing just how sick inside they really are.

I was called an evil bitch commie because I confronted a man who doesn’t think black people are even human beings. I know, if someone is saying something like that they are already so far down the crazy-shoot there’s no retrieving their reason, I shouldn’t have commented. But it’s really hard to stand by and say nothing when people say such awful things.

The trick is to speak up in situations where it will actually help someone out or be useful in some way and to avoid engaging with people who are already diseased in their body and soul.

I’m going to say right now that I think if you are a police officer you are never in the right shooting an unarmed person of any race. I don’t give a shit if they’re 8 feet tall and charge you. Your job is to deal with dangerous people on a daily basis in the least harmful way possible. It doesn’t matter what a suspect’s character is, what matters is that you, as a police officer, have the tools to diffuse aggression without lethal force. If you are too scared to deal with people bigger than you and more aggressive than you – you without shooting them – you do not belong in a police uniform.

I will also say that police departments are quite possibly failing in their training if officers believe that the merest threat of harm to them warrants firing their gun.

Of those things I am absolutely clear.

I get that if someone open fires on a police officer that the officer may need to fire back to protect themselves and bystanders. But there have been plenty of instances where people fired on cops and the cops did not fire back. Happened in my own city more than once. Instances where an officer with a gun pointed at them apprehended the person pointing the weapon and took them into custody without firing so much as a single shot. That’s good policing.

So this whole Michael Brown killing was bad from the start to finish. If Michael Brown accosted Wilson physically, as is claimed, and then ran away – Wilson did not need to shoot him. He should have run after him and used his skills to take him down and cuff him.  He should have called for back up and run after him. Brown had no weapon. NO WEAPON. And once Brown was running away, Wilson was not in danger anymore. No fatal force needed.

That’s bad training at the very least but what it definitely looks like, confirmed by the entire department’s handling of the situation, is that Wilson didn’t care about the life of Michael Brown and acted in an unconscionable way.  That’s a bad shoot.

I don’t actually believe that Police officers should be allowed to use lethal force when threatened. They are threatened all the time, depending on where they work sometimes they are threatened daily. The nature of their job is dangerous, they go into the force knowing they are taking on a dangerous job and being given weapons and the power to apprehend citizens merely on suspicion means they need to be held to a higher level of integrity than the average person.

I don’t think cops should carry guns. I think they shouldn’t carry any lethal weapons at all. But living in a country in love with lethal weapons I know that that will never happen. It’s too bad.

If I believed in God at all I would have to believe that firearms are the tools of Satan.

Those are just a few random thoughts right now. Not an organized essay on what’s going on in Ferguson. So don’t treat it like one. The situation is unbelievable from beginning to end.

That entire police force needs to go on trial for their suppression of constitutional rights of the citizens protesting and those trying to report on the events. They need to be fired and replaced and trained better to deal with both apprehending unarmed (AND ARMED) suspects and protests.

That police department has behaved shamefully.

No, I don’t think the looting that’s happened is okay. But don’t let the looters  be confused with the peaceful protesters. They are not the same people and if the police force wasn’t 100% concentrating on suppressing the citizen’s right to peaceful protest and shooting them with rubber bullets and gassing them – maybe they could have actually quelled the looting and jailed looters.

It’s been a tense two weeks. Our country is like one big castle of dry rot surrounded  by lit matches. It would take so little to destroy us right now. We spend billions of dollars arming the entire world when we should be de-arming everyone and rebuilding our economy on manufacturing and inventions. We are, in my opinion, the most evil country in the world with the way we have armed both allies and enemies with every way to kill other humans under the sun since the early eighties. We have trained the armies of dictators and then trained their enemies too while they’re not paying attention.

The United States is the single largest firearms pimp of the entire world. We stand for war, killing, aggression, invading, and weaponizing.

I want us to stand for innovation, peace, great education, quality manufactured goods, and civil rights equality for all citizens. That’s a United States I would be proud of. That’s a United States I will stand up for and whose flag I –

Nope. I’ll never be a flag flyer.

The answers to how to fix our economy and country are already there in front of us but few people are brave enough to let go of their old ways of dealing with conflict. Few are brave enough to put down their weapons. Weapons are the most cowardly way to deal with ANY conflict. Cowards shoot. Cowards swing axes. Cowards punch people.

Bravery is confronting adversaries without weapons. Being willing to come together and come up with nonviolent solutions. Bravery is knowing you will be hurt in the fight but refusing to fight back.

The weakest and most cowardly people of all are those that wear masks to hide their identity while harming others. If you belong to the Klu Klux Klan you are the weakest and most cowardly of all human beings. You are even beneath snipers who shoot from hidden vantage points and at some distance. You are the lowest of the low.

Hang on, I might be wrong about that.

Those who hide their hate and poison behind corporate law might not be as low as the KKK but they are more dangerous than little boys wearing silly dunce-cones and calling themselves “knights”.

I’m tired. I’m really tired of all the hate and the shooting and the aggression and the ugly and the wars and the rapes and the trampling of peaceful people.

I am redesigning my Etsy store right now to make it into Cricket’s world. I have my salve listed and soon I’ll be listing lip balms and first aid kits. I’m also working on other things. I hope to create a really fun and cool post apocalyptic themed shop. I need to concentrate on creating to keep my spirits up. To keep my hope going. Redesigning my shop has inspired me to dig back into book 2 of Cricket and Grey. I guess I needed a really long  break and to give myself permission to step away if I need to. To take the pressure off. Making things that Cricket and Julie might make is incredibly enjoyable.

I’m not taking my eye off of what’s happening in Ferguson – my heart is with Michael Brown’s family and community. My heart is with social justice, but my actions need to be rooted in creating and making and writing. Things that generate ideas which are what we need more than weapons in this world. Ideas.

So today I’m working on an apron made from a used men’s shirt and I’m excited. I think I’ll dig into Cricket and Grey for some light editing of the second chapter later on.

Peace. Especially to those people who don’t even know when they’re being assholes. Peace to everyone.

xoxo

a

*The Israeli one, not the Scottish one.

The Thing That Is Most True To Me

colorful grave lichen

I’m going to tell you the thing that is most true to me in the entire world:

It does not matter to me what color your skin is, how much money or opportunity you’ve grown up with, how fancy your language is, what faiths and weird beliefs you cherish because they nourish you and make you strive to be your best, whether you like vaginas or penises or both or neither or all of the above, how many kids you have or don’t have, what genitals you were born with or ended up with, what style of clothes you wear, or what nation you come from or fled to.

What matters to me is who you ARE. What matters to me even more than who you are is how you treat other people. Me, the people around us, the people who are different than you. What matters to me is how you treat animals and the earth that feeds you. What matters to me is action.

I may only get to know you for a few minutes and if in that few minutes you are cruel then that is how I will know you. That is what you will be to me.

None of us are perfect beings. I’m far from perfect. I’m the first to see this, to acknowledge it and embrace the fact that perfection isn’t a human condition. You aren’t perfect. I know this and this is why I believe in forgiveness and embrasure.

The thing that is most true to me is that how you act, how you treat others, the earth, animals – this tells me who you really are more than anything else. More than your badges and family names and affiliations and political tribe. Your actions are all I need to know who you are. What and who you stand up for.

What’s most true is that I believe in peace, in inclusion, in education, in love, in science, in nature, in empathy, in sharing, in exploring, in creativity, in authenticity.

I was called antisemitic last night in an ugly online discourse because I questioned how the Israeli government is treating the Palestinians. Because I do not approve of the oppression of any people by any other people. Don’t care what your global history is, don’t care what your race is, don’t care about your goddamn religion. It is never okay with me for one people to enslave or oppress in any way another people.

Period.

Full Stop.

It was wrong for my country to invade Iraq and then occupy it and kill hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians. Believing it was wrong for us to do that doesn’t mean I hate my countrymen/women or that I hate the individual soldiers who enlisted. I hate the military and political complex that decided to take wrongful and offensive action against another people.

It doesn’t make me anti-American. It makes me anti-violence. It makes me anti-war. It makes me anti-bigoted.

When I was called antisemitic I explained that I’m far from that. That I love many many Jewish people personally ending by saying that I have many Jewish relatives.

The person who was attacking me ridiculed this saying “that’s worse than saying you have ‘one black friend'” This felt like such a deeply personal blow. It felt like this person was suggesting I was making up “relatives” in order to sound like I have a legitimate opinion. I got angry while I was hurt. Because my (step)dad, the man who raised me from the time I was five, is Jewish. I have grown up with a strong appreciation and love for Judaism and a feeling of familial connection giving me ownership of belonging with and among a Jewish community of people.

He ridiculed me and said more hateful things.

As though loving my own dad, a man who has stood by me most of my life, more than my own fucking biological father did, is nothing. I am some white person with no right to an opinion or a point of view even though this shouldn’t even be a racial fucking issue. He wiped me out with his comments.

Then another person joined in. A white (I guess Jewish?) girl. And they ganged up on me assuming I have read nothing, assuming I haven’t been to Israel myself, suggesting that if I question what Israel is doing that I hate all Jews. Assuming, even, that I am not aware that not all Israelis are Jewish.

I kept trying to rally for some reason even as I felt gut punched.

I can’t explain the feeling in precise terms, only approximations.

It felt like I’d been drained of personhood.

How black people must feel when white people wipe them out as though they aren’t quite human and not qualified to have an opinion based on their own experiences and studies. As though they are incapable of making educated decisions because of the color of their skin.

How I felt when that asswipe chauvinist tenant of ours wouldn’t talk to me because I wasn’t the “man of the house”.

How Jewish people must have felt when the Nazis started sweeping them out of the way because they don’t matter and aren’t quite human or worthy of note, but before the mass slaughtering.

How Palestinians felt when the Jews kicked them out of their homes in Palestine and renamed it Israel.

How gay people feel when someone hurls hatred and bile on them because of how they love and play sexually and it hits them in the solar plexis of personal pain because it gets them in their personhood and then dismisses it as trash.

I will not hate black men or white women because of these two hateful people slinging shit on me at 2am on a sleepless night. I will not hate Jews because of this either.

I was up because I was already having trouble sleeping. I choked back a lot of tears, the kind I couldn’t let loose and still haven’t truly – though they keep threatening to- because once that kind start they get ugly and ragged and I hate crying even for grief.

I blocked them both. I tried to delete all trace of the conversation it was in my power to delete. To clean my heart.

I got in bed at 3am. I kept having to choke back that vile horrible feeling of someone having tried to rip away your right to think, to express, to speak, to BE. I wanted to wake Philip up to tell him but he was already having a restless night and I also knew if I woke him up my dam would break and I would hate myself later for giving in to it. I couldn’t get the hateful words out of my head. They kept washing over me reaffirming that I’m a piece of shit human being, if I’m even human.

But mostly I just felt so awful because I care about Palestinians as much as I care about Jews as much as I care about Christians and Buddhists and Atheists and Mormons and YES EVEN FUCKING SCIENTOLOGISTS* – and to be told you can’t care about one person without hating another goes against my absolute truth as a human being.

Then I got palpitations so bad that if I didn’t know what they were I would have thought I was having a heart attack. Even knowing it was just anxiety – it still scared me.

So today I’ve just been heart sick.

Fucking stupid-ass self – even writing this is making me feel it all again.

Friends have held me up today. My family is awesome. I am surrounded by a lot of love from people of different faiths, races, backgrounds, nationalities, genders, sexual orientations, and musical tastes.

Especially people of different musical tastes.

That’s where all my love goes. To people who are interested in honest discourse, acceptance that strives for total human INCLUSION.

I will never pledge my allegiance to a country or tribe of any kind where that allegiance is expected to overlook actions and ethics. I love my country but I will never be blind to the actions of our leaders or our military or our citizens.

Actions speak louder than anything else.

That is the thing that is most true.

It is for all of us to become better than our worst experiences and our worst enemies.

I’m heart sick but stapling and taping my paper-thin hope back together again as I always do every single time it’s ripped apart.

You are your actions and you are the actions you support more than anything else that defines you.

You can’t love peace while clamoring for violent action.

Act accordingly.

I leave you with this short film that sums up the conflict in Israel beautifully and succinctly, please click the link and watch it:

THIS LAND IS MINE

 *I mean, c’mon, it was made up by a science fiction writer – not sure it’s officially left cult status – but I care about the people who follow this weird religion just as much as I do everyone else.

Knuckles, Snowden, and the Summer of Pyjamas

penny talking

I’m a little worried that my knuckle bone in infected or something not good.  It’s twice the size of my other index finger knuckle and still hurts.  If it isn’t better by Monday I think I’m going to consult a doctor.  Everyone keeps saying it probably just needs a lot more time to heal from when I cut myself right near it.  It’s been swollen since then.  Naturally I’m already convinced I have a bone infection.  Cause that’s where my mind goes.

Nasty nightmares again.  Like most of my nightmares lately it included moving.  I’d like to stop having those now, please.

Snowden is a hero and it’s shameful to me the way the United States is calling him a traitor for pointing out that the government has been engaged in unconstitutional activities.  HERO.  It makes me sick.  Philip predicts that Snowden will be dead before the year is out.  He thinks the US government will make it happen.  I hope to god that doesn’t happen.  What’s up with everyone’s hatred of whistle-blowers?  That’s total bully behavior – to crush anyone who exposes your shameful or illegal activity.  You tell on a bully to a teacher and everyone calls you a tattle tale – but if no one ever tells on a bully the bully wins and keeps on winning and everyone is oppressed.  How are we okay with that as a classroom or as a nation?

The days of being loyal to your government like a good soldier – regardless of whether or not the government is doing bad shit?  Those days are over.  I sound like an anarchist or a Libertarian.  I’m not.  I just don’t  believe in following orders without question.  I don’t believe in blind allegiance.  That’s how you end up with a political party exterminating 6 million human beings before being stopped.  I don’t believe that patriotism means never asking questions and never questioning authority.

This world would be a much worse place without those people willing to tell the truth, to uncover bad shit at cost to their own safety and freedom.

Blind loyalty, faith, and subservience are dangerous to freedom and honesty and civil rights.

The government needs to pardon Snowden and start answering for the unconstitutional listening they’ve been doing to the private conversations of citizens.

You know what I won’t be getting?  An award for being a super-mom.  Max has spent most of his summer in his pyjamas playing video games, watching Southpark, and reading Cracked.com.  This is the summer of great neglect.  At least he’s had a good time.  He’s dreading returning to school.  I am dreading that too.

Well, I’ve got things to do, errands to run, and things to avoid.  I hope you all have an awesome Friday!

Victory Tonight Feels Like Fresh Air

It is difficult to describe my feelings right now.

No it’s not.

I’m elated.  I’m not just elated.  I’m SO MOTHERFUCKING HAPPY I WANT TO DITCH MY BODY IN A FIELD OF LONG GRASSES AND LET THE STICKERS STICK AND THE LIGHT SHINE THROUGH MY SKIN AND WALLOW IN THIS WONDERFUL TINY MOMENT – THIS SMALL VICTORY AND THE TASTE OF HOPE IT SHEDS IN THE DARK CORNERS OF MY STATE, ON MY COUNTRY, AND LET THE AIR FRESHEN SICKNESS TO HEALTH…

Tonight Obama won a second term as President of the United States.

I am hopeful for the country my son will become an adult in.

I’m never going to stop crushing on Michelle Obama.

Motherfucker.

 

 

It’s Still A Dylan World

I’m searching for music to listen to that’s right for the beginning of Baby Girl Six and I’ve been listening to Bob Dylan because I feel certain the story is locked somewhere in there.  That voice.  The harmonica.  The woods.  People living on the fringe.  But “With God On Their Side” came on and suddenly I realized that this song is the perfect song to play through this whole 2012 presidential election period with the way God has entered so much into discussion – how the Catholics and the Mormons and the Protestants keep bringing religion forward or other people do it for them.  Everyone thinks they have god on their side and what’s funny is how all these Christian based religions are based on the same god but have a different interpretation of it – so all of them think they’re serving god through his son Jesus and they fight and discredit each other and the only time they can agree on much is when they all agree that the only thing more threatening than Atheism is Islam.

I would like this song to play every time a politician says the word “God” because there’s no place in politics for God when you are representing all kinds of people with all kinds of beliefs.  So we need a genius to step up and make this song automatically play every time politicians bring up the following words during a political debate or discussion:

God, Jesus, scripture, bible, Satan, Christian, Islam, Atheist, Buddhism, Mormon, church, Judaism, Pagan, the Lord, Our Father, the Almighty, heretic,  Talmud, or the Savior.

If you are the genius who can make this happen please email me at:

angelinaisforallpeopleornopeople@separationof.church.state*

It’s still a Dylan world.  I suppose Lady Gaga might be saying important things that will still be true and important twenty years from now but I would like to suggest that Dylan wrote the flavor of our country, our people, and made astute political commentaries better than any other American songwriter.

As for the opening song for Baby Girl Six, I’ve got it narrowed down to either “North Country Blues” or “Boots Of Spanish Leather”.

*Please note that when Angelina says “all people” there are a few exceptions as follows: people whose beliefs cause them to or demand that they eat other people, kill other people, hate other people, rape other people, hurt other people.  “All” is inclusive of any beliefs outside of those exceptions.  Even though she may think your belief is weird or funny or stupid she will fight to protect your right to openly believe whatever you want as long as it is left outside of the government.

A Narcissistic Masterbation of Wishful Thinking: The United States in the Mirror

I can’t believe that a country which prides itself on equal rights for all citizens and the right to pray to whatever god you choose or to not pray to any god at all, and that prides itself on being the best and free-est country in the world is still trying to limit the rights of its gay citizens in ridiculous ways, to project racial prejudices on people who appear to be from the middle east, to assume that all Muslims are bent on bringing down all non-Muslims, and I can’t believe that women are still having to fight tooth and nail to retain the right to NOT FUCKING BEAR CHILDREN and to limit the number they do have if they have them and that they are still having to fight to make their own moral decisions about what they do with their own fucking bodies.

Are we living in the dark ages?  This view of our country that most Americans have is proof that most Americans have country-dismorphic-disorder* in which the truth is not recognized underneath a narcissistic masturbation of wishful thinking.

Perhaps it’s time the United States sought the help of a trained psychologist to help us see ourselves as we really are.  The only problem is that we can’t afford to get therapy as a country because we don’t have any public health care.  Fuck this shit.

Meanwhile, I am considering the merits of learning to drive a car.  I don’t really want to.  I don’t think cars are awesome.  I don’t actually want to contribute even more to the constant drain on the oil resources that encourage our country to massacre people in other countries who just happen to be sitting on what we imagine to be an endless supply of oil.  The thing is, I’m trapped in this little town and it occurs to me that the only way to get out of it without moving is to drive my ass down the road to where I fit in.  If I visited Portland more often, and if it wasn’t such a huge deal every time I did, then I might feel less trapped.  If you’re unhappy with something then it’s up to you to change what you can.  I could conceivably learn to drive.

Judging from my suddenly increased heart rate and the little knot that just appeared in my stomach while thinking about this out loud, this might not be a good idea.  I will hold it up as a possibility to be considered with care – but I can’t forget my long time ambition to die never having driven a car.  (One that Philip completely endorses, in case you worried that he felt burdened by my not driving, he doesn’t.)

This country is so messed up with its tendency to moralize based on race, religion, and background, it even indulges in animal breed discrimination.  I think that shows a very deep level of imbalance.  I wasn’t going to keep talking about that but I looked at that sweet picture of my dog up there and was reminded.  Shouldn’t all dogs be judged on their individual merits and behaviors?  To judge them based on fear is the soul of bigotry.

Now that I’ve aired my disgust and anger at my country I would like to also say that small bright spots of hope still exist – little hints that we may actually move forward, that we just might (in spite of ourselves) become the country we see in the mirror:

This week judges ruled Proposition 8 unconstitutional.  While this can still be appealed – at least this is progress.

Washington State passed a bill to allow same sex marriage.  It’s not official yet but it looks very promising.

J.C. Penny didn’t back down from having Ellen Degeneres in their ads when pressured to do so by the idiotic and bigoted group that calls themselves “One Million Moms”.  Ellen’s response to the whole situation is well worth watching.  Meeting bigotry with class and humor is not an easy thing to do and she sets an awesome example for everyone.

Those are all positive things going on out there.  I hope to see more sparks of hope soon.  We need a huge infusion of it in this country.  Time to get our hands our of our pants and actually do something worthy of all our pride.

*I just made that term up.  If a person can look in the mirror and see fat where there are only bones, so can a country see freedoms and progress where there are crosses festooned with women’s uteruses and the hearts of gay couples and the holy prayers of Muslims.

The Rising Political Bile is Choking Out Reason

(I think this reflects the mood of the country pretty well.  I was goofing off while watching a lame moment on “Covert Affairs”.)

People have been working up anger about the political situation for years now.  I’d say the real anger began building when Bush Jr. was “elected”.  I guess all the people who voted for him (twice) didn’t get upset until he got booted.  But the problems we’re all having right now with the economy began with him.  The escalating debt can be squarely laid at his door.  It takes years of abusing any system to really feel the fallout.  I felt it right away.  I knew where everything was headed the moment I found out he was going to be president in spite of the whole Florida voting scandal.  Max was about to be born and instead of being filled with hope and excitement I remember feeling that I’d done a terrible thing to bring a human being into a world like this one.  Into a country like ours.

By September 11, 2001, I knew what Bush was going to do to our country.  I’m sorry to say I was right.  I knew he was going to erode our “freedoms” and start a war the minute I heard about the Twin Towers.  I knew he was going to start a war no matter what anyone thought about it.  He did.  He started a war that the rest of the world did not want to support.  He invaded a country on false grounds and then spent shitloads of money continuing to invade it.

What fascinates me is how Obama is getting blamed for absolutely everything wrong with this country.  This is so wildly weird to me, that my countrymen are so blind and so incapable of remembering what was going on just a few years ago.  The economy crashed even before Obama was sworn in- so how the fuck could it possibly be his fault that we’re in this mess and how is it possible that no one besides me and The Daily Show get it?*

Obama has certainly pissed me off with quite a few decisions he’s made since being in office.  The broken promises suck.  But you know what?  I knew he was going to piss me off.  I’m pretty sure that I made that prediction somewhere deep in the Dustpan Alley archives.  I knew that he was going to piss a lot of people off but I also knew that the Republican party had stopped being a political entity and has become a fire and brimstone bunch of witch-hunting misogynistic gay-hating “family values” (translates to mean “Christian”) in support of big business and corporate protection all of which they like to think makes them patriotic and anyone who doesn’t support them and their agenda is “un-American”.  There are a lot of Republicans who don’t fit this profile, of course, but the visible and public ones are much louder than the reasonable and moderate Republicans.  I’m sorry for that.  I don’t care anymore how imperfect the Democrats are or how ineffectual Obama has seemed, he is so much better than Bush or Jeb or any of those super frightening group of Republican contenders who are all very scary people who want to make laws to support their spiritual beliefs that would apply to everyone-including all of us people who don’t share their spiritual beliefs.

Get “family values” out of political discussion.  The government not only doesn’t belong in the business of my womb (their interference is based on religious beliefs) nor in my home with my family and our values (“family values” is code for “following the bible”) because we are an atheist/Buddhist household and no laws written to uphold bible scripture is okay with us.  Remember in the 80’s when we had to fight so hard to get prayer out of the schools?  That was a victory worthy of this country because unless you are going to include in those prayers words and beliefs from all the religions being practiced in this country there is no way that’s appropriate.

Something that’s got my bile rising is how the people who don’t support the Occupy Wallstreet movement don’t even get what it’s really about.  Because they’re not even trying to get it.  I read a post the other day in which the writer was spewing vitriolic shite about how all the protesters are just a bunch of spoiled people looking for handouts and “boo hooing” over their student loans and as I read it I realized she doesn’t have a fucking clue.  Not a clue.  She’s angry, like we’re all angry, but she’s laying blame in the wrong camp.  Those protesters aren’t out there to “boo hoo” about having home loans or having student loans they can’t afford, though most of us do have those.  They’re protesting the system that encouraged many people to take on what they couldn’t afford by making it ridiculously easy and then when things crashed down around us those same banking institutions that encouraged us all to spend more than we could really afford got bailed out using OUR money.  So the banks are saved and go on doing business as usual while the people who bailed them are even poorer now.  They’re protesting the gross power that Wall street has over the economic system in this country and about how Wall Street doesn’t give a crap about anything but making money for itself and its wealthiest clients.  They’re protesting that Wall Street traders, banks, and corporations aren’t being held accountable while the rest of us are held to high standards of accountability.  We don’t pay our bills we lose our homes.  The banks don’t pay theirs and we pay it for them?  That’s crooked.  That’s what’s being protested.  Gross misuse of power and money with zero accountability.

I’m totally okay with people not agreeing with my point of view.  I’m totally fine if you hate Obama and aren’t going to support him.  But if you aren’t, at least do me the honor of laying blame more carefully and of making an effort to understand the real issues we’re all facing and at least understand the impossibility of any president  being able to step up and “fix” it all.  That is not going to happen.  Not while the economic systems remain as they are.  Our system is truly broken and until it’s fixed we will make no progress forward regardless of which party is in charge.

Now I’m going to take my anger and stuff it down my shirt and get on with my day because it seems my son is having a migraine, needs to be picked up, and I am way behind on my work day, and my ears are weirdly stopped up and all this anger isn’t productive.

For the record, I’m absolutely voting for Obama again.

*This is actually an enormous exaggeration as most of my friends and many people in the country DO know this.  But I make the exaggeration because there is still such a cacophony of people who are determined to blame and hate Obama for everything that’s wrong with the world.

My Country Has Cancer

I feel very explosive right now.  There are a hundred things itching at me at once.  My mom wants everything in the kitchen to be dealt with immediately, she is on me constantly to use everything up right now, to decide what I’ll do with things the minute they come in the door, and if I don’t deal with things right away she starts making other plans for them.  So I have a bunch of things in the kitchen that are irritating her but I need time to make decisions about them.  I need time to PLAY.  I don’t move fast enough for her.  I never have.  I plod.  I take one thing at a time.  This is why I suck at parenting.  I have to work right now so I can’t be in the kitchen playing with the green tomatoes I picked yesterday and started to experiment with.  Max is home, though, so he needs food, then more food, then clothes, then water, then my attention, then something else.  My dog, at the very same time, has been staring at me for her food an hour before it’s time.  She follows me up and down the stairs every time I get food for Max and whines and looks at me like an animal that hasn’t eaten in days.  But all this is going on while the documents I’m working on for my paid job are going at a snail’s pace.  I have to pay attention to them so I don’t mess them up for everyone else who uses them.  They wouldn’t let me copy and paste what I needed to, Max is asking for food again and I totally snapped.  I’m ready to snap at everyone.

So I decided to take a little break from all of that to purge it into my blog.  I meant to write yesterday.  I have a lot on my mind I want to share.  But today it’s all politics.  I can’t stop thinking about how the rising emotional temperature of our country is becoming flammable.  Why do so few people get that?  And by people, I mean the politicians and the law makers and the rich people and the news organizations who keep patting “the little people” on the back condescendingly for getting riled up enough to march.  I ran into a friend yesterday who commented that it doesn’t seem ridiculous to him to imagine our country having a second civil war.  I think it’s certainly telling that I, who am not quick to predict extremes, can also imagine civil war in this country.  Everything is so divisive.  There’s so little middle ground.  Which is, I think, absolutely reflected by the ever shrinking middle class.  I think Obama was trying to moderate between extremes and he’s failed because our system is broken.  It’s like trying to drive a car with no wheels.  I hear people accusing him of fascism and all manner of evil things.  Really, the man stands in the middle of a country that cannot be pleased.  No president, at this point in time, will have the power to fix what is wrong with our country and bring us all back together.  Why?  Because we are already completely divided.  I imagine many people still see themselves as being moderate, of being in the middle, but I think those people are hanging their coats on ghost hooks.

Can you imagine a civil war where there is no easy boundary to stand behind?  It isn’t state against state.  It isn’t as easy to map as the north and the south.  Ideological enemies live next door to each other all across the country.  There are no state lines to draw.  How bloody, interminable, and devastating would a civil war be if it’s neighbor against neighbor all across the country?

Our country has cancer and the cancer is eating us from the inside out.

The cause of that cancer is greed.  Greed for money.  Greed for power.  Greed for fuel.  Greed for revenge.  Greed for whatever we haven’t got.  Greed for resources.  Greed for babies.  Greed for territory.  Greed for square feet.  Greed for youth.  Greed for trophies.  Greed for luxury.  Greed for convenience.

I used to want to leave this country because it doesn’t represent my ideals and never has.  Then I had an amazing U.S. history teacher who made me rethink my feelings, who gave me hope for my own country and I thought I’d go ahead and see things out.  A few short months after that class ended, George Bush was elected into office.  I have struggled so hard to maintain this sense of hope for my country that my teacher lit in me.  Finally, when Obama was elected, I had a glimpse of what could be.  I thought maybe a great moment had come upon us at last.  But all the corruption already in place, all the machinations of Bush’s terms made progress impossible.  I knew it in my gut that would be so.

I don’t want to take part in a civil war.  I don’t want to take part in corruption and greed.  I don’t want to take part in a “free market”.  I don’t want any part of a country that can’t keep religion out of politics.  I don’t want to be part of a country whose response to evil is to become the biggest evil.  I don’t want to be part of a country whose response to everything is blood and money.  Whose reactions to everything are based on blood and money.

As I’ve said many times, if I could emigrate out of this country, I would.  I can’t even afford to emigrate out of my own county.  So if I can’t leave, what can I do about anything?  How can I be part of change I want to see?  I know that this country will never change into one that I can love because we are so entrenched in capitalism that we’ll just keep trying to patch it up.  Capitalism is the cancer in this country.  Like all political systems, it is flawed.  No amount of change is going to make America less prone to greed and evil.  So in my heart I know that I can either try to leave or simply be the constant dissident.

That sounds so dire.  Maybe it is.  But as I think about this I continue to think about the concept of “as above, so below” , the only thing I really got out of reading the Kabbalah years ago.  If the whole country is cancerous, then so are all its individuals.  The human body is made up of millions of cells and when the cells are sick, the body becomes sick.  If the body is sick then so are many of its cells.  The parts reflect the whole and the whole reflects the parts.

I can’t control anyone but myself.  My sphere of influence is very small.  I have myself to look to.  So I think I must tend to the health of my spirit.  I must work constantly to spot the good in my neighbors and in my adversaries.  In fact, I must work hard not to see adversaries as much as I see people at different stages of personal evolution.  I may be ahead of some people, evolutionarily speaking, but I am always going to be behind others.  I must continue to grow things in my garden because the earth needs more green, more food, more food for the insects and birds and animals outside of humans.  Feeding my family food that isn’t full of poison must be a continuing goal.  Even my son who doesn’t like any produce.  Insisting on the natural choices of crackers instead of the ones with unhealthy additives.  What we feed our bodies also feeds our spirits and what we feed our spirits will feed our growth.  What feeds our growth will feed how we interact with others.  Everything is connected.

As for activism?  I believe in peaceful marches and protests and though there isn’t a lot here in my little town, there may be a march against GMOs here.  If I join I may be marching with people I am politically opposed to.  But isn’t this how we bridge chasms?  By being willing to join up on things we can agree on?  I can do that.

The friend I ran into has been going through a tough time.  As I always do with people I care about who are hurting either physically or emotionally or spiritually – I want to DO something.  I’m often at a loss for what I can do.  So I asked “Is there anything I can do to help?” and he said “Just having someone listen to what’s on my mind is helping.”

That struck a chord in me.  That’s why I write.  That’s why I talk even when what I have to say makes others uncomfortable – because I need people to hear me, to listen.  Sometimes I need people to listen without arguing or debating or getting annoyed or fearful.  I think everyone needs that.  So I came home thinking about being a good listener.  I’m not a bad listener, but I think I have a lot of room for improvement.

There are some other thoughts I have but they are percolating still.

I am desperately hungry as it’s now 1:30pm and I haven’t yet eaten anything today.  I started work and then took this break to get some of these thoughts out of my head.  I feel a little calmer.  I feel more focused.  Now it’s time to eat.

 

How My Kitchen Captured Me

First of all, in case anyone doesn’t know this, objects can’t capture you.  Objects can captivate your interest, but they can’t capture you outside of nightmares and horror films.

Second of all, don’t you dare try to caress my taste buds with your food!

Third of all, women saying “That baby is so cute it makes my uterus hurt” and the whole “I’ll be found alone in my apartment eaten by wild dogs (or cats)” that was originally thought up by Helen Fielding is tired and cliched now.  Give it up ladies and come up with new ways of saying babies are cute and that you, as a single woman, will end up alone and dead.  Cudgel your brains and I’m sure you can come up with something original.

My back went out on Saturday afternoon.  I spent all of Sunday and much of Monday in bed, icing, and hopping up on Ibuprofin.  The most boring pill in the world, though effective enough, I suppose.  I should be working in bed right now but I can’t stand it.

Wow!  That was a freaky time capsule- it’s actually been a whole week since I started writing this post.  I don’t know what happened except for all the house guests from California, more kids that I can possibly handle in any given year all in one day, distracting gifts of lemons from my California friend’s tree (SO EXCITING- thank you Sharon!), not being on vacation while all this was going on (worked right through it all), and nursing that bad back…

Wait- how did that happen?!  It’s tomorrow again.  I gave my presentation at the library and it went very well.  I really enjoyed myself.  There was one man there who had a couple of good questions and I am dissatisfied with how I answered them because they were questions about the global economy versus the local economy and that is too huge a discussion to dive into during a local eating challenge meeting- but it did show me that I want to talk more about these issues on Stitch, or even here, in the future.  Worthy complex questions with multi-layered answers.  Math will be involved.  I can’t begin to tackle it all now.  That man rushed off before I could come and tell him I appreciated his questions and comments.

Bottom line for me is very simple.  I love it when things are simple for me.  The bottom line is:

Our entire global economy is made possible by fossil fuel and, to a lesser degree, nuclear power.  Fossil fuel is not a renewable resource and nuclear power is dangerous and an unacceptably polluting source of energy.  We can’t sustain a global economy forever.  For things to change, lots of businesses will have to change or collapse.  Probably a lot of both.  There’s no way to back down from the economy we’ve created without people being hurt.  I have no feelings for big business.  I don’t see a place in the future for giant corporations or corporate agriculture that depends on Russia buying from us or China.

Bottom line: we better be able to produce everything we need for survival right where we are and in our own community.  We should be preparing now for a changing future.

On the other hand, if large masses of us die off because we can’t make changes, that’s good too.  There’s way too many people on this planet.

Love that topic.  Guess that’s why I wrote a speculative fiction novel on the subject.

Speaking of… a New York literary agent requested my full manuscript and has it.  I can now expect to wait 1-4 months to hear back about it.  So when I return from my vacation I will compile a small list of other agents to query and send those out.  If any of you know of an agent who handles sci-fi OBVIOUSLY LET ME KNOW.  Unless you’re my nemesis and don’t want to share sources that could mean my future success.

So now I’m going to sew.  I think I’m going to post this now before it gets any older and maybe post again later today- something fresh.  Or tomorrow.

One last thing- I felt very appreciated for my presentation and the people I met (some of them people I just haven’t seen in a long time) were so warm and it made me realize that people like me, even though I’m quite fat.  I can’t get it out of my head that I’m somehow a bit of a horror because of my girth but it was good for me to feel appreciated and liked and know that my size has nothing to do with my likability.  That was positive reinforcement in action.  Just have to pound it into my head.

What about Khalid Sheikh Mohammed?

The true poverty of my nation is revealed to me in its rejoicing in the assassination of a suspected terrorist, Osama Bin Laden.  While I don’t doubt for a second that he was a dangerous person and quite possibly really was the “mastermind” behind the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers, we never proved it.  He got no trial.  Giving criminals, and suspected criminals, the benefit of a trial is the hallmark of my nation’s imagined superiority over all other nations.  We have a bloated sense of pride that we are a nation of just and fair laws and that freedom is protected through these laws.  While Osama may have had something to do with the 9/11 attacks, there is a man being held in Guantanamo Bay who actually claims to have masterminded the attacks himself.  I think it’s suspicious that at first Osama claimed not to have been responsible for the attacks but apparently said that if he had, he would not hesitate to claim it.  It wasn’t until at least a year later that those tapes were released in which he took credit for 9/11, sort of.

Here’s what bothers the shit out of me: many people have taken credit for crimes they did not commit.  Many criminals have denied any responsibility for crimes that it was then proven beyond a reasonable doubt that they DID commit.  A confession, or a semi-confession (having just read his “admission” I have to say it was pretty questionable) is not proof.  Burden of proof is on the accusers and the proper place to make a case is in a court of law.

I believe that all human beings, no matter how evil they may be, deserve a fair trial.  Period.  I am hearing people say that we are right to have killed Osama in our secret ambush because ten years ago he resisted arrest.  Resisting arrest is a) not proof of guilt (you really think we were ever going to give Osama a fair trial?  And you think he didn’t know that?) and b) does not give us the right to kill the person resisting unless that person is attempting to kill the arresting officers.  Which, maybe he was.  I am sure this is what is being fed to the masses right now.  I no longer believe much of what our government tells us, especially not what is piped through our outrageously biased media.

The big question I have is: what about Khalid Sheikh Mohammed? This dude actually claims he is the mastermind.  Yet he languishes without a trial in a prison that should have been shut down years ago because we are TORTURING PEOPLE IN IT.  (Something I consider to be un-American).  He’s not dead.  We didn’t kill him without proof. What are we waiting for?  If we’re so eager to hang Osama’s head on the gate of American hell, why are the American people not also clamoring for this other man to be killed?  I do know from the reports I read that he will not go through a trial here in the US.  He will be tried by the military in Guantanamo.  President Obama trusts them to give him a fair trial.  Really?  I find that ridiculous.  If anyone wanted any person possibly connected with the 9/11 attacks to have fair trial they would be tried here in the US.  Where we can all see what’s going on.  They still might not have a fair trial, what with all the Islam hatred here, but at least they would have a better chance at one if it’s conducted in public.

Meanwhile, we are fighting three wars.  Three wars we can’t afford.  We can’t afford to fight wars for any reason.   We are a bankrupt nation.  All us little people are feeling the bite pretty seriously.  Our wars are plunging us deeper and deeper into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

We assassinated a man yesterday to appease the American need for revenge.  People are cheering and hootin’ and hollerin’ and partying their assess off for such a triumph.  I will not rejoice in anyone’s death, least of all a person accused and killed without a fair trial, without any trial at all.  Everyone is happy because they hold Osama responsible for the civilian deaths of 3,000 people.  But we’re responsible, both directly and indirectly for the deaths of 100,000 Iraqi civilians:

Iraq Body Count

100, 598

By entering into war with Iraq under the dubious (false) claim that we had to protect our country against non-existent weapons of mass destruction (remember- that was a scandal- most Americans have long since forgotten) we have become complicit in escalating a war that wasn’t ours to fight.  We’ve killed many of those Iraqi civilians (the Iraq body count only includes the women, children, and non-combatant men who have been killed both by us as well as by the opposition)  If we had never entered that war that shocking number would be much smaller, and we wouldn’t have any responsibility for it.

Here’s how many US soldiers have died in this war:

4, 287

We have lost very little in comparison.  And as far as just the Iraq war is concerned, we have lost no civilians to it.  Unless you include the original 3,000 who died in the twin towers attack, though a friend has pointed out to me that our reason for going to war on Iraq was not related to the attack on 9/11.  Ask how many Americans connect them in their minds?

When will we consider this war “won”?  Do we have an actual concrete achievable directive that doesn’t involve “when we put someone in power that we can use as a puppet”?  How many more Iraqi civilians need to die for us to feel “safe” enough to leave? How many more need to die before we feel our work is done?  Every second we’re there, every second the number of Iraqi civilian deaths goes up we are creating fresh enemies.  Every second we stay there we are making ourselves, our whole country (as well as those of our allies) less and less safe.

I call that a hell of a lot of wasted lives.  Just because most of them are Arabs and Islamic does not make their lives worth less than American lives.  They are paying very heavily and we have that blood on our hands.  What are we going to do to make amends to those hundred thousand non-combatants?  How will we apologize for our part in that slaughter of human lives and the oppression we’ve been imposing on their living people.

I’m tired.  I’m depressed.  I have been fighting with myself for two weeks after a close friend expressed terrible disappointment in my revocation of my allegiance to my country.  I  have thought long and hard about it.  She believes it is dishonorable to take my allegiance away.  I explained that it is obviously nothing more than me expressing my chagrin and disappointment and disgust in my country, but she felt it was still a dire thing to do.  Yet I believe that a country should earn the allegiance of its people through its actions and its merit.  I don’t think allegiance is something that should be automatically granted, yet as a citizen born here I never was asked to give it.  It is assumed that this is what I owe it for being born here, though I didn’t ask to be born here.   Automatic allegiance is what you expect of a Monarchy or a dictatorship.  My country is very proud of its status as a just, fair, and Democratic nation – yet nothing it has done in my lifetime has shown itself to be deserving of that pride.  In my lifetime we have been war mongers, power grabbers, ignoring both national and international law, doing whatever the fuck we want and then being surprised when the rest of the world retaliates.  We have allowed our government to erode our civil liberties, allowed the president to declare war without the agreement of congress (something that is supposed to provide one of those famous “checks and balances” that are in our constitution to prevent rash actions) (thank you G.W. Bush), we have continually robbed the coffers of our already poorly funded public education (and then complained that the public school system is broken) and we have allowed our healthcare industry and other enormous corporate interests to rob this country’s people of basic needs… so what, may I ask, has my country done to deserve my allegiance?

My freedom.  Well, I have enjoyed a degree of freedom in my life that people in other countries have not.  That is something I don’t actually take for granted, believe it or not, but the cost for that ever diminishing freedom is excessively high and I, for one, can’t afford it.  I also can’t stomach the hypocrisy of a nation that claims to be all about human rights and in our own country we make sure people get a fair trial and don’t sit around in prisons without actual charges and supposedly we don’t torture people for confessions… no, when we want to do that we simply keep people offshore where we don’t technically  have to abide by US law.  It taints us all that Guantanamo Bay is still in operation.  If I pledge allegiance to this country then I am complicit in all it does because allegiance is loyalty, it’s a form of solidarity and agreement.  It means that all the lies my government tells to convince itself it has a right to invade three middle-eastern countries are also my lies.  It means that assasinating suspected terrorists is blood on my head because I am behind my country.

I think in all countries are bound to disappoint from time to time, and pledging allegiance means supporting your country even when you don’t agree with it.  No country is perfect.  No country is without its heinous war criminals (NO, not even the US), no country is free from humanitarian scandals or from the oppression of other people.  Just ask Scottish people how much they love having lost to the English.  Scottish people are not English people and England uses them as a testing ground for laws and other fun things.  My point is that I’m not naive, I don’t expect my country to be remotely perfect.  In fact, I was, for many years, a staunch supporter of the ideals of my country and was able to forgive its many problems and contradictions.  The problem is that over time my country has simply continued to rack up its crimes against the world, its crimes of gluttony, power seeking, oppression of other countries, bigotry of non-Christian based countries, its lies are stacked so high we are buried in a tomb of them we can’t crawl out of – and I am simply, finally, not able to sit back and knowingly be complicit in its crimes and its lies.

If my country was a person I would call it a heinous criminal who has perpetrated unforgivable crimes against humanity.  I would insist it be charged and given a trial at which all other nations in the world may submit their own evidence.  If my country could get a fair trial and then be made to pay for its crimes by being disallowed to fight any wars (as we did to Japan and Germany) then perhaps it could come clean and start fresh, build up some good karma, do some soul searching, and take to heart the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. :

“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. … Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

My country must earn my allegiance, but in the meantime I will live here, (because I have to), and I will endeavor to see the better side of it (probably meaning not engaging in any political reading for a long time) and shut myself away here in my little tower of peace and meditate on what my country could become if it took the pole out of its ass, its head out of the sand, and put its weapons down for good.  I doubt very much that my country will even try to become better than it is because it thinks it is doing God’s work and believes itself to be above all other countries- you can’t become better if you already think you’re the best, but I will hold out what scrap of hope I can muster that it still has enough goodness in it to improve and heal.

What I want is peace.  What I want is to see an actual effort at disarmament.  Our own disarmament.  I want to see my country stop spilling other people’s blood and come home, see how we can learn to create power that doesn’t create toxic waste or depend on drilling through, and destroying, other natural resources and landscapes.  I want to see people evolve, learn to not care what names other people give “God” or how many they have.  I want to see people look for commonalities in experience, learn to appreciate each other’s differences.  It isn’t that I believe in a utopia, I most certainly am too much of a pessimist to believe in actual world peace- but I want to see people actually try for it.  Because right now we’re not even trying.  I want to see my country turn inwards and fix it’s incredible tears and burns deep in its collective consciousness.  I want to see people here thrive through our own ingenuity and resources.  I want to see my country educate itself, spend time reading some philosophy, learning some real history, learn to use their critical thinking skills.  I want my country to rise from its massive ignorance and become what I think we’re capable of becoming as a nation.  We won’t do that until we stop spilling blood.

I have some major healing to do of my own now and a really fierce depression to pull myself out of.  I will go out and do something in the garden today, plant some food, which I consider a life affirming activity, and while I go and repair my deep disappointments in both my country and myself, I offer you this last thing to read.  My friend Blaize posted this on Facebook and it says, more eloquently than I could have, what I really feel about the death of Osama Bin Laden, and it was this post that reminded me of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s inspiring and gorgeous words about violence:

Rest In Peace