Tag: war

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.


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:


 *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.

Violence is Cowardice and Weakness

bicycling for peace

Talk of war is depressing me.  My core belief is that a violent reaction to anything, including violence, is a show of weakness rather than strength.  I keep hearing people talking about our need to show “strength” to the world by bombing Syria’s current despot.  I hear people saying that it’s our responsibility to aid the poor rebels and the best way to do that is to join them in war.  But if the rebels succeed in taking down the current evil leader, will they actually be more humane when they’re in charge?  Will they simply put their own version of evil in power?  Do we really know who has the moral superiority between the two?  I hear people saying it’s our responsibility to lead the world in humanitarian efforts and to squash atrocities.

Here’s my problem with that: war can never be a humanitarian action.  War always results in innocent people being killed.  If your effort to help one innocent person results in killing another innocent person – it’s not a moral victory at all.  It’s a tragedy.

I insist that if Gandhi could lead his nation to push the British out without resorting to violence – the rest of the world’s leaders need to rise to that standard.  He showed us it can be done.  No one can say that non-violence can’t be powerful.  We have seen evidence to the contrary.  It might not be as EASY, but then, the moral road is rarely the easy or fast solution.  It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to violence without a weapon of your own besides your brains and your convictions.

That’s real strength.  To let your humanity lead you.  To face another human who means you harm and to not react to threats, to not give in to them either.  That’s real strength.  And it means you’ll probably get hurt, and maybe killed.  But if everyone stands with you and refuses to use violence with you then it becomes harder and harder for bullies to maintain their sense of righteousness.  That’s what happened to the British.  Their morale went down and their convictions that they were doing right weakened as they continued to shoot and punch and jail people who refused to fight back.

I have personal experience with this tactic working.  I faced a bully without violence or threats.  I told her to go ahead and beat me up like she was threatening because I was tired of her trying to scare me.  I told her I wouldn’t fight back because I don’t believe in fighting.  I told her she should go ahead and get it over with.  It was not the response she was hoping for and she didn’t know what to do about it.  In the end she respected me because I refused to be intimidated by her.

But when I stood up to her I knew there was a good chance I would get the crap beaten out of me.  At the time I didn’t think of myself as doing anything courageous.  I was just so tired of being threatened by this stupid bully and I didn’t see how fighting her would benefit me.  I’d kicked an earlier bully when she was on the ground in a fight with someone else and to this day the feeling of kicking another human being makes me nauseous.  And it sure didn’t make that previous bully stop bullying me.  She stopped bullying me when I refused to be intimidated any more.

Huh.  So I guess I have succeeded in shedding a bully off my back TWICE by facing the bully with calm strength.

Humanitarian actions and aid can never be based on violence.  You give people shelter, political asylum, medical supplies, gas masks, food, clean water, and blankets.  You engage in peace talks, negotiations, disarmament.

Violence is weakness and cowardice.

Wouldn’t it be great if all the world’s problems could be solved with beer and bar food?

I’ve been sewing sets of dinner napkins this week and trying not to strain my back.  I almost started writing this morning (Cricket and Grey) but decided to write here first.  I’m going to have to go heat my back and lie down a little when I’m done here so I may postpone getting back into it until tomorrow morning.

It’s super nice and cool out.  I hope it stays this way!

Max is still on a cheese trying kick.  He tried Babybel, Dubliner sharp cheddar, and elderflower cheese.  He didn’t like any of them.  He did really like the wax covering on the Babybel cheese and commented that it was great because it could be used later for something else, like candles.  I can’t tell if this is a sign that I’ve been raising him to be resourceful during an apocalypse or if this is a sign that he’s a true Williamson and is the new generation of clinical hoarder?  His grandfather saved years worth of lint from the dryer with the vague idea of “doing something with it later”.  The difference is in whether or not he actually does anything with the weird things he collects.

I have finally fallen for Colbert.  My friend Sid has been waiting for this to happen, sure that it had to eventually happen – and she was right!  This week I finally truly GET HIM.

Time to go take care of my back and then decide what to tackle today.  Hope you all have a fabulous Friday!  Hope we don’t start another war over the weekend!

Remembering 114,407 Innocent Iraqi People We Killed

bloody nose

For every innocent American killed by the Al-Qaeda on 9/11 Americans killed 38 innocent Iraqis in revenge.  That’s “an eye for an eye” on steroids.

But worse than that is that the people we took revenge on WEREN’T EVEN RESPONSIBLE FOR THE 9/11 KILLINGS.

So let’s recap how Americans do things:

Al-Qaeda bombs the twin towers and kills 2,996 people on American soil.

Our axis-of-evil president Bush and his cronies tell lies so we can declare war on Iraq to “fight terrorism”.  But Iraq, as anyone with half a brain paying attention knew at the time, wasn’t responsible for the 9/11 attacks because Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for them.  Specifically, Bin Laden claimed it.

So we ignore that super key fact and proceed to kill between 114,407 and 125,381 unarmed non-combatant Iraqi CIVILIANS because we’re so mad and so sad and someone has to pay for what Bin Laden did and frankly, we don’t care who pays as long as they are generally somewhat darker skinned and muslim.

On terms we can all understand, this is like if your next door neighbor kills your cat for pooping in their yard and instead of dealing with your neighbor within the limits of the law you kill everyone in a random family that lives a few streets down because they vaguely remind you of your next door neighbor and are so easy to massacre.

Is that something you would do?  Is that something your moral code approves of?  Mine doesn’t.

Every year I write about this on 9/11 because every year I hear everyone in social media and mainstream media and friends and neighbors “remembering” 9/11 with sad nostalgia.  And it makes me sick because even now almost none of them ever simultaneously remember the innocent people we made pay for Bin Laden’s crime.

Yes, the Americans we lost on 9/11 matter and are worth remembering.

But those Americans aren’t 38 times more worthy of remembrance than the people we murdered in their name.

No American is worth the senseless cruel slaughter of 114,407 innocent people.

I am still ashamed of my country and countrymen after all these years.

We have a major crime against humanity to pay for.

Since the average American refuses to acknowledge the slaughter of innocent lives we’re responsible for – I will continue to remember them.

To those Iraqi families who have lost so many loved ones over the last 12 years I can only say that not every American holds your lives cheap.  Today I am thinking of your heartache, your upheaval, your displacement, and cherished people my country took from you.  I’m deeply sorry for your losses.  Today I am remembering your dead.

Maggot Cookies

This shoe was the work of a 90 pound puppy.  Puts Charlie Chaplin’s shoe eating ways to shame.  They used to be good boots.  I need boots.  I don’t need puppies.

It’s safe to say that my head is all over the place right now.  Not necessarily in a bad way.  I’ve got a lot of parenting stuff I want to say, I have book updates, I have living arrangement updates, there is the question of blood and bacon (still) in cooking, the dog training, the extra walking, the fact that we’re at war, the baddest nastiest bloody nose we’ve seen in months which splattered even my socks, and then today someone told me “You should really do something about your obesity” and everything sort of drained from my head for an hour and a half.

Still, today was a good day.  A little weird, but good.

I wish I hadn’t let that comment about my rotundity get under my skin because, being a terribly (and irrationally) contrary person I immediately bought myself an obscenely big chocolate chip cookie and ate the whole thing.  What’s stupid about it is that I haven’t eaten one of those in over a year because they make me feel sick.  I don’t have much of a sweet tooth.  I suppose if I could have pulled a  beer out of my bag right there in the street I would have chugged that instead.

A moment of silence please, while we all contemplate the destructiveness of the irascible nature.

I was riding my bicycle all across town, I could have just gotten on my damn bike and reveled in the knowledge that I AM DOING SOMETHING ABOUT MY OBESITY.  So what if the pounds are reluctant to budge even when I’m being good and conscientious?  I have been riding my bicycle more and I have been taking the dog for 20 minute brisk walks at least 4 days of the week (Philip takes her out too).

Now that I’ve spat that out I can let it go.

You all know I read food blogs for a living.  This gives me a front row seat to all the food trends barreling through the food world which, if you didn’t know, can be fascinating.  One of my favorite games is spotting foods to truly gross Max out.  You might think, considering his dislike of most foods that this would be boringly easy.  The funny thing is that when he can’t smell the food there are a surprising number of foods he doesn’t think seem all that gross, just as long as he doesn’t have to eat them.

He did explain to Philip that the reason why pasta really offends him is that it looks like tape worms.  I have to admit that I don’t like sprouted things, especially in soups, because the little sprouty curly cues look like tiny maggots.  I can’t eat while the thought of such perfectly benign beasts are floating through my head.  I’m a lot more like Max with food issues than I allow anyone to know.

The bacon craze has yet to abate.  I think it will not die down until someone discovers that all bacon eaten in conjunction with sugar will poison the liver due to chemical reactions between the tritophatic lymph-pins and the non-soluble demigloxins.

Max and I are most amused/disgusted with weird meat trends and his favorite to date might be the maggot cookies.

That is not a lie.  I have seen (and been haunted) by photographic proof of someone’s maggot cookies (with chocolate chips).  From a paleo eater’s kitchen.  Okay, they were actually meal-worms but it’s all the same to me.

A close second is the plate of glazed chicken feet.  We are especially fixated on the toenail clipping that must occur before full enjoyment may be had sucking the feet of juicy goodness.

The most recent two dishes that have nearly unseated our favorite hunt for the most bizarre foods are:  blood pasta and chocolate blood pudding (not to be confused with the savory boudin noir).

Pasta made with blood.  It’s fascinating and horrifying at the same time.

Chocolate blood pudding.  Dessert.

Such a fun game!

Two people have read my book.  TWO.  I wrote a book and two people have finished reading it.  I will write a detailed post about this soon.  My friend Lucy read it and wrote lots of notes and asked questions and I will be transcribing them all to my working third draft for due consideration.  Soon I will have my friend Emma’s notes too and I will add them in.  This is really cool.  But it’s also a little weird.  I have been alone with this story for a year.  No one but these two friends have in their heads the whole story.  A third friend has just asked to read the second draft too.  I begin to shake a little.  I can take the critiques, they are kind and helpful cause I’m not in a brutal writing group or class where people feel it’s their duty to find your work completely wanting.

It’s just weird.  It makes me feel a little skinned.  A little opened up in a way I didn’t expect.  So this is a new part of the book writing process for me to get used to and experience.  I think having readers is really important.  I’m all excited and scared and open and ready to go forward but first I think I need to stop dragging my spleen around on the ground.

Max is at the charter school.  People: this mama’s relief is grandiose.  He’s had a fabulous first three days.  He’s already been allowed to learn a little animation on their video game building software.  He came home excited about algebra.  He gets to eat lunch wherever he wants and he can do what he wants for recess.  When he comes home there’s no stress and fight over the homework that is just too much on top of 7 hours of him having to fight his natural instincts and to conform to uncomfortable rhythms and other people’s needs.  He can come home and just be.  We can be together.  My relationship with him can be less about monitoring his experience in school and slogging through the stress of the homework.

I know I’m waxing poetic and you’re thinking I’m going to end up disappointed.  I’m not naive.  I’m hopeful.  My kid is always going to have challenges around other people and in the societal structures others build, but when he starts struggling I do have a lot of hope that this school will approach the problems with ideas, strategies that might work for him, and without making him feel punished for who he is.

Speaking of- I find I’m really wanting to develop a no-tolerance policy for adults in Max’s life or activities that will crush him.  Anyone who punishes him for being who he is should not be allowed to do so.  I know this is not practicable nor is it healthy.  The kid is going to grow up and there will be six billion people who won’t see the world like he does and he’s going to have to find a way to cope and take it in stride.

I’m going to have to cut this communication short(er) because I’m all distracted by The Daily Show and the power they have to help me manage my extreme anger about us engaging in a third war.

It’s amazing how our country keeps finding the funds to fight new wars.

People keep decrying the horror that is public schools and moaning about the terrible education our children are getting.  There’s a direct correlation  between how much money public schools get and how good the education our children are getting.  We’ve been cutting funding, cutting programs, cutting salaries for years.  Every single time we do that we tighten the noose of the public schools.  But we keep blaming the schools for the deficit.  Like we expect teachers and schools to run on air.

God but my ex-country is stupid.

Enough of that.  You know what there is in this world worth celebrating?  Kittens!

Wait- I said I was going.  I hope you all have lusty dreams.

I don’t really.  I just said that because it’s what popped into my head.

Good night!

American Dissident

We started bombing Libya today.  Excuse me, apparently we’re helping the Allies “protect” the Libyan dissidents of Gadhafi’s dictatorship.

We’re still in Afghanistan.  We’re still in Iraq.  And now we’re going to lend a hand to the civil war in progress in Libya?  Is there no limit to our Democratic benevolence?  Is there no end to our humanitarian efforts?

While people in our own country are stripping every penny they can from everything that has the potential to make our country rise above our brutish gun-toting violent and ignorant reputation (education and support for the arts are a stupid waste of time) we’re spending all those pennies to kill people.  We have all kinds of reasons.  We’re told it’s all so complex.  We can’t pull out of the Middle East because we owe it to them to stay.  Maybe they’ll develop nuclear bombs while we’re too busy teaching our children the fine art of critical thinking, something we’ve never been known for, and then we’ll wish we’d never left.

I am so angry.   I am so heart-sick for the world.  I don’t want to be associated with a country bent on encouraging ignorance in its people and on self destruction.  We’re like Rome before it fell.  We’re like Britain before it lost India.  If we had any wisdom at all (and we don’t) we’d look at history, we’d see our future written clearly and uncompromisingly in the history of the world.

We are not a smart government.  We are not a smart country.  We doggedly hold onto our own propaganda and get drunk off the company line turning our eyes from the stark reality of war.  We sanitize our news so we don’t have to count the bodies we’re stacking in the attic.  We tell ourselves it’s okay to murder people if they might eventually someday pose a threat to us even if it isn’t obvious right now… all we need is possibility.  We tell ourselves that God approves of us throwing down dictators and ignore that Jesus disagrees with his father and tells us that we should turn the other cheek.  We pride ourselves on being a nation of “moral” people who believe in God.*

We’re like the billionaire with the stacks of gold credit cards and an industry built on fragile (now more radio-active than ever) air.  We spend and spend and spend.  Then the bills pour in and we rob the poor to pay the rich (rob the kids to pay the parents) and stave off the creditors for a little while and, satisfied with our diamonds and AKs, we party on as though we’ll always have a bottomless pit of money.  Eventually we discover the bank is on our doorstep and we hawk the furs and the espresso machines and apologize for our gross excesses while applying for more credit cards with foreign banks.

Then one day there’s no more credit.  Everyone figures out the scam.  Bankruptcy is the only outcome.  Vulnerability.  Nothing to back you up.  No savings.  No medical.  No bandaids.  No refinancing.  No mercy.

I’m bankrupt.  I have no credit cards.  When bad shit happens I’ll have only my wits and my skin to get me through crisis.  If I can’t afford a crisis then I’ll have to pay for it with my blood cause there aint no money in the coffers.  This is my country right now.  We are the same.  Except that I have a conscience.  My country has none.

What business do we have pretending to be the fairy godmother of capitalistic democracy?  We can’t afford to give our people decent health care for free, what business do we have fighting wars in three countries?  We value freedom for ourselves but we really don’t give a shit if anyone else has it.  The line is that we’ll help anyone fight for the kind of freedom we have but really we’re fighting so we can tell everyone else what to do which isn’t really freedom.

If we don’t stop starting civil wars in other countries and stop wedging ourselves in the civil wars others have started on their own behalf then we’ll have our own civil war.  The last time we had one of those was devastating.  It was nasty.  It was bloody.   And the South has never forgiven the North for winning.  They’re still flying their own flags for god’s sake.

Just yesterday I got word that Max got a place in the charter school we wanted to get him into because we think it’s just the kind of school where our unconventional son can thrive.  When I heard we were bombing Libya my first thought was “This will erode education in this country even more and the first schools to fold will be charter schools.”

What is great about this country?  That I can say what I want about it without being detained indefinitely without a formal charge?  We have places set up where we can get around that annoying and inconvenient freedom.  All they have to do is suspect you of anti-patriotism.

If you’re not for us you’re against us.

I’m an American Dissident.  If I could move to Canada I’d do it in a heartbeat.  I’m done with my country in my heart.

The worst thing I can say of myself today is that I’m American.

I’d really like to say I’m Canadian.  I’d like to say I’m Norwegian.  I’d like to say I’m French.

The big irony is that my father is a Canadian citizen.  The big irony is that I’m a quarter Norwegian.  My father has Norwegian citizenship.  I’m also part French.  My father doesn’t have French citizenship.  That’s small comfort.  How did I end up having to be stuck with an American citizenship and not enough money to be an expat?

I’m so ashamed of being American and I’ve been ashamed for so many years now that even though I don’t have the freedom to leave my country I abandon it in my conscience.  I am not my country.  I belong to no country.  My passport can say what it will, I belong nowhere.

Until my country starts giving a shit about education and health care and stops being obsessed with the second amendment I belong to no country.

I renounce all government.  I renounce all borders.

Peace is the only way to enlightenment.  Nonviolence is the only way to righteousness.

My freedom is no freedom worth having if the only way I can keep it is to sanction the killing of other people.

The cost is too high.  The American conscience is as bankrupt as the American budget.


*Well, obviously I’m not one of those people.