Another Perspective

I can continue to be tunnel-visioned, or I can take the long view, and the long view is that my friends didn’t seek to harm me with their votes or their perspective, regardless of the actuality.

Yeah, I have to fight harder to keep equilibrium and try to keep our Democratic Republic, but their ignorance is just that – not malice.

They see all things from their religious perspective, and that blinds them to the long view, but the long view is still wrapped in their dogma, whether they choose to see it or not.

The fabled Jesus overturned the tables of the money-changers, saying: “It is written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’” – Matthew 21:12-13 NIV

So the long view shouldn’t be on whether their elected officials will vote to try to stop abortion, but on who they are – on their fruits – and their fruits are rotten.

There is separation of Church and State in our country, and I realize they are working to end that, but it shouldn’t be eroded. We have a unique position in the world that we are not forced to anything, but come to choose freely. If they make our nation a theocracy, we become subjugated, regardless of our beliefs, and often forced to live a lie.

Religious people are free to practice their faiths, but not to demand anyone else do so, and if they could see the beauty of this system of checks and balances, they’d want the corruption out of our nation.

They’d fight to end Citizen’s United – to get money, that root of all evil, out of politics. Then we could have true stewards of our nation again. We could vote in actual public servants rather than the current corruption we’re witness to.

Yeah, there will always be those seeking power, and ways to game the system, but there won’t be so many, and disallowing corporations as ‘people’, and foreign money from campaigns, will help greatly in getting back to sanity.

This didn’t start with how any of us voted this past election. This started when money became king, when banks started writing the rules, when the Supreme Court decided Citizen’s United vs. the FEC.

Meanwhile, love surpasses all things.

My struggle is about acceptance vs. approval. I need to accept the loss of solidarity I thought I had with those friends and focus on our commonalities – on what made us friends, or like each other to begin with. We support each other in every day struggles. We laugh, cry, and enjoy each others’ company. We trust that underneath conflict is kindness and care, and our connection contains more healing than hurt.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Back To School

The way forward has become clearer in the last few months. Becoming an organizer, public policy maker, lawyer, or other community leader has become attractive. I’ve always cared about social & economic justice, but I’ve not had much personal power.

I’ve read four books in the last few months that have been very illuminating & instructive. Thomas Frank’s, Listen Liberal, helped me see how we got where we are, along with George Packer’s: The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America, which details through personal narratives how America lost it’s center, while Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, by J. D. Vance reveals another facet of America’s slow, and not-so-slow, decline.

My favorite book, however, and the one which drives my ambition to organize is: A Force More Powerful: A Century of Non-violent Conflictby Peter Ackerman, & Jack DuVall, which is available on film as a PBS documentary.

As I’m boycotting Amazon, I suggest streaming online using iTunes, or Hulu, or borrowing the books and film through your local library. Amazon has become a predatory company with abysmal working conditions and unfair pay for many, if not most, workers.

The Woman’s March was affirming, and there are more planned marches in the works as the new authoritarian regime takes shape and we stand to lose ever more of our Constitutional rights.

Democracy requires participation, and while subtle stripping of our rights over the last few decades in the name of ‘fighting terrorism’ quieted many, we can no longer complain from the sidelines as we see bolder disassembling of our republic by those elected who follow their own agendas rather than the majority’s consent.

We can’t have everything, and we do need to compromise and find common ground where possible, but we resist attempts by the monied class and other interests to ruin our environment, or remove our Constitutional guarantees to seek redress for wrongs, to peaceably assemble, and for free speech.

https://www.monticello.org/sites/default/files/uploaded-content-images/Declaration_Engrav_Pg1of1_doctored_0.jpg
https://www.monticello.org/sites/default/files/uploaded-content-images/Declaration_Engrav_Pg1of1_doctored_0.jpg

Power is derived from the governed’s consent as our Declaration of Independence reads, in part:

“…We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.- That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, – That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Resisting Hate Culture

The rise of Donald Trump has been budding for some time. As odious as he is, he speaks to bullies and miscreants everywhere, as well as those who were able to overlook his maladaptive behavior, or precisely because of that behavior, to vote for him.

He also had help from Russia, but it was homegrown hate that put him in the White House.

I won’t normalize his Presidency, and he cannot act ‘Presidential’.  He has no couth, and cannot stop using his Twitter account like a sulky five-year old.

Thankfully he has the lowest approval ratings of any incoming United States President, which gives me hope for the work ahead to boot his ass & his republican shysters in Congress out.

Voters were angry – especially old, white men, and single issue women, i.e., those who want abortion rights repealed. I don’t think a clump of cells are a human and I never will. The bullshit emotive argument that fetuses have as much or more rights as the mother is why I will always fight that ignorance.

If you’re religious, don’t have an abortion. I think your ‘god’ is a fable. I think the ‘bible’ is fiction mixed with historical events, attempting to give it legitimacy, but it fails. It succeeds through inculcation and fear-mongering, so yeah, a bunch of lies because anything that has to bully to get its way knows it has no actual power or validity.

Digression aside, Trump is an albatross on our Republic’s neck, and more closely resembles Ferdinand Marcos, or Slobodan Milošević.  I hope America will be rid of him sooner than not as his unconstitutional conflicts of interest, and his treasonous relationship with Russia are impeachable offenses, and his self-aggrandizing makes him best suited for reality television, not reality.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

 

There’s No Common Ground

Nope. I really wanted to find it. I tried to start at the sisterhood, right?! The SISTERHOOD! We know what it’s like being harassed. I have no idea what my black & brown sisters go through because I’m white & privileged to only have been sexually harassed & abused, not subjugated to having race enter into my humiliation & defilement, but trust me, I know what the fuck it’s like to be abused.

I am so angry there is race & culture that enter into it too – like Dante’s circles of hell.

I’m tired of reading intellectuals spout bullshit at each other, especially those who sit back as though they’re so much better than everyone else they deign to engage with. Step. the. fuck. OFF.

America is in dire straits. Not the band, the actuality. We are entering the totalitarian zone with the rise of drumph, the admitted sexual predator, and narcissistic sociopath, whom a sibling, and at least one close friend voted for. WOMEN I know voted for that cretin. I understand men voting for him, but women? I guess I can fathom, in a Stockholm Syndrome sort of way, why women would have thought he’d be – nope, can’t do it. Stepford Wives comes closer to an explanation, or being drugged, or deluded.

Well, I can move abroad, right? I don’t have to stay for the shit show. I have friends & relatives in Canada & Australia. Being a refugee sucks, but it depends on what you’re leaving behind.

Good luck folks – I hope you like your new dictatorship. You all get what you deserve!

Cheers!

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

Here We Are

Oh no, this is not a new ‘reality’.  This is not acquiescing to ‘what is’, or any other platitude.  We are in horrific times, pergatorious times – and yes – I just made up a word because that’s the kind of times we are now experiencing.

A joke is our President-elect.  Make no mistake, an unqualified hack will be the leader of this quickly sinking country – perhaps a harbinger of the fabled ‘end times’.  Yeah, I know I’m giving legitimacy to fiction by naming it as a thing I believe we’re approaching, if not already in, but, hey, ya gotta start somewhere…

The end times described in antiquitious texts is when the current system, way of life – whatev – is abandoned and a ‘new way’ implemented.  Or it’s when all the ‘worthy’ people will be ‘taken’ and the rest of us – most of us – will be left with the stinking cesspool those assholes helped create.

God looks the other way while Rome burns – or America and the European Union – at any rate.

Thankfully there are many, MANY, folks not burdened by fictional works who are left scrambling to hold onto the tattered remains of honorable, inclusive, compassionate society.

It sucks that it takes a horror show to jolt the fighters among us, but enlivened we are.

Peace be on those deserving peace.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

 

Down To The Wire

Nervous. Excited. Freaking out!  I need a positive attitude though – the tallest glass ceiling in America is about to be shattered!

Little girls will know they have a shot at the Presidency of our great country. Women will have more confidence in their importance – demanding equal pay for equal work; adequate, or even superior, health care; reasonable gun laws that protect our citizenry while maintaining our 2nd Amendment rights.

We’ll work on getting the money out of politics and overturning the Citizen’s United Supreme Court decision.  We’ll have reasonable and fair judges in our highest court, and we’ll work for social and economic justice.

Those things are being done, but they’ve been inadequate for a large swath of Americans for far too long.

Race relations, policing, public policy, and a higher standard of living will be legislated and not just thrown around as talking points when elections are at stake.

America’s in crisis.  We have so many hurt and disenfranchised citizens that need to know they matter, they have a role, they can make a difference.

Hate will not be on the agenda though.  Fear gets us nowhere, and anger blocks the love, as my sweet boy of three once told me when I was in the throes of my depression and powerlessness as a single, impoverished mother trying to raise a wholesome child with very little help or hope.

We made it through. I didn’t kill myself, as I was so close to doing for way too many years. I was seeking help too, but I didn’t know, and only one therapist, when I was in my thirties, told me I had PTSD, and it wasn’t until I tried to be in a panic-disorder study that I was turned away for, that I found I also had major depressive disorder, and the researchers felt it was unethical to have me in a trial for a drug that wouldn’t address that. I knew what I had endured throughout my childhood and teen-aged years, but I didn’t know how deeply my abuse had effected me.

All I knew was that I was on welfare, and therefore reviled, living in shame and fear of losing what little I had.  My son’s father, hijacked by alcohol, filled with his own anger & shame, lashed out at me – telling me I didn’t deserve to live, that I was stupid, that I’d never be a success.

I’m still healing from all that shame, and worried that I failed my beautiful child – now a man responsible for his choices – who told me he needs me to see his competence and ability: to stop projecting my fear onto him. He didn’t say those words, but that’s what I was doing. He’s still teaching me how to be a better person, how to have more hope and trust – some of the hardest lessons I’ve ever tried to incorporate into my being.

It’s important that he sees me successful, that he sees me rise up out of the mire of my life into the whole person I’ve always had the potential for.

This election has stirred my spirit.  A woman, a fighter, a mother and grandmother, will lead us now.  She intimately knows what it’s like living in a world that wants women to stay powerless, less than, dependent, and she has risen to the highest office of our nation, and will need the backing of every person who sees that positive power.

How can I ignore that call?

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

 

Hillary, I Apologize

clinton-hI imagined you as out-of-touch with the real needs of impoverished and middle-class Americans, and I was wrong.  I’m sorry.  I believed you untrustworthy, and in league with those who feed your coffers – the Wall Street ilk – and how you’re indebted to them, at the 98%’s expense, and I hope I am wrong about that too.

You don’t struggle over what food you can buy, or how to pay a medical bill, or afford living, but I think you’ve witnessed enough of life’s misery to understand those challenges without experiencing them.

I believe you have compassion, and strength, and wisdom.

Watching you in the first debate with Mr. Trump, I was so impressed with your composure against his bullying, lies, and abusiveness, and I appreciate your ideas to help guide our country.

You won me over with your competence, regardless of your flaws and missteps, and I know you’ll make a stellar President.

I believe you’ll fight for justice, for all of us, as much as you can – and I understand that the Presidency is beholden to the Congress – so we need a Congress that will uphold its Constitutional duty, and work together on our many serious problems, domestic and foreign.

You’re faced with economic and social injustice and unrest, and I don’t envy you in trying to create harmony and peace in our nation, while also attending to good relations in the world, and trying to right the injustices we’ve helped create abroad.

I hope my faith in you and your leadership won’t leave me wanting.

Thank you for your lifetime of public service, and please keep defining why we should vote for your Presidency, and not focus on your opposition as a horror show we know he is.

We’d much rather be uplifted than scared witless.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

 

 

Dear Hillary

You are a savvy politician, and I believe you were sincere for much of your career, but I also believe you became jaded through personal and public betrayals, and I think you lost sight of regular humans once you became a political success, as First Lady, as a Senator, and Secretary of State, and now as our nominee for President of the United States – a position that had meaning before the self-aggrandizing buffoon, Donald Trump, became a nominee as well.

I supported Bernie Sanders because I feel he actually cares about middle and poor America.  I know he’s insulated from the realities of life, realities which you and Bernie, and Donald, and every other politician at your level no longer understands, or never understood, that life is ridiculously tough.  Money is sparse, and real decisions over life impacting choices are not something any of you face.  Feed your child, or pay a health care bill.  Of course you will choose feeding your child, but not paying a bill means bad credit, and bad credit means a hard time having ANYTHING.

Do you actually give a fuck about me?  Do you?  You don’t know me. I’m just an ant in the mounds of ants below you.  You have the nicest clothes, the best food, the best doctors, private jets.  You are so insulated from actual life from the majority of those you presume to represent.  How are you going to lead so that the monied elite – such as yourself – will do anything for the poor, and the mostly vanished middle class?  You think those who make money off of humanity’s misery will do anything to upset their status quo – and now yours – because you accept their money, and don’t insult my intelligence by telling me there is no quid pro quo.  I’m poor, not stupid.

So, I will vote for you because Bernie Sanders, a true fighter for people like me, is out of contention.  What a relief for you.

I do hope you’re our next President.  I do think it’s time for a woman guiding our country.  I’m just not under any illusion that anything will change for me, and those like me.  I will vote for you because you are a better choice, but how sad that I don’t feel like you’re the best choice.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

 

 

Powerless

Will gun control help?  The argument goes that law-abiding citizens don’t commit crimes, criminals do, or the mentally ill do.  A twenty year-old who shot and killed twenty-seven people, twenty of whom were grammar students is also dead, so there’s no further discovery into his motives, his thoughts, his state of mind.  It should be obvious, I know: he was mentally disturbed.  He lacked empathy, he wasn’t rational – because who could shoot and kill anyone without being insane if you’re not on a battlefield or otherwise defending yourself?

But, what happened to him?  What did he live with that made him deliberately kill children?

There are many who disagree with me, but I think we need more restrictive gun laws including the types of guns citizens have access to, the types of ammunition, and yearly mental-health check-ups of registered gun owners.  That won’t stop the criminals, but it might limit some of the guns, or some types of ammunition.  I think citizens need the 2nd Amendment because a well-regulated militia is necessary for the people to defend themselves against enemies foreign and domestic, and we’re at a point in our history where we already live in a de facto police state as we’ve seen the police grow more militarized, and we’ve seen how police in America uphold corporate and government interests above the citizenry’s interest.

I’m brokenhearted for the families who lost a child, or children, today, and in my powerlessness, all I can ask is ‘why’, and ‘what can we do to lessen the chances of repetition’?

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Losing My Place In Line Got Me Closer To The President

I spent a sleepless night Friday because I drove to New Hampshire at 3 a.m. so I could get in line to be among the first getting into the rally for President Obama and the James Taylor concert.  I had no idea how many people would show up, but it was free, and I love James Taylor’s music, and respect our President.  I don’t entirely agree with our President, but as far as policies go, he’s on the right side of history.  The republican agenda against women – and against anyone but the monied elite, quite frankly – is just too repugnant to sit this one out.

It was a bit chilly, but the people who were directly in line behind me hailed from my area, which felt serendipitous.  We banded together and did our best to get up as close as we could near the VIP paddock, but there were still so many people in front of us that seeing the President would be difficult.

Sadly, I had drunk a large coffee earlier, and as the people continued to press in, I couldn’t wait any longer to use the bathroom, and figured I’d never get back to where I was because the porta-potties were far away from where I was standing.  I gave the people I had met my email address and asked them to send a picture of the President, if they were able to get a good one.

After using the bathroom, I tried to get as close as I could to the area I had been before, and started walking toward an open area.  A volunteer standing there asked for my pass, and I told her I had been standing over there and had gone to use the bathroom and was just trying to get back, and I guess I was the straw and she was the camel, and she blew up at me a bit, and said ‘Oh, just go!’.  So I did.  I didn’t realize until then that it would lead me right into the VIP area, and I was a hundred yards closer to the President’s stage than I would have been if I hadn’t had to use the bathroom.

I was still about six rows back from the fenced area in front of the podium stage, and I so would have liked to hug the President, or shake his hand, or get a fist bump even, but I didn’t want to try to push through to the front, and felt grateful to be as close as I was!

After the rally was over, I saw the people I had stood in line with in the same area I was in, and asked them how they got there.  Someone had opened up the gating and several of the people standing there got in the VIP area before security realized the breach and closed the gate off again.  My acquaintances had gotten to shake the President’s hand, even though they didn’t get as close to the President’s stage as I did.  Maybe I’ll get to meet the President at some point in the next four years during his second term. 🙂

I was so tired driving home, but so grateful for the experience.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Political Ruminations

America is such a screwed-up country, and I don’t know who or what is ‘right’, but we’re wildly out of balance.  If you read comments under any political statement on the web, what people say about their fellow citizens is so harsh.  Can’t afford medical insurance? – then you should die.  There are people who utter and write that kind of uncompassionate tripe, whether they believe it or not.  Would they say that about their parents, or their children?  If they would, then they are psychotic and should be medicated and/or institutionalized.

We can’t afford care for all, or food for all, or housing for all – under the current system.  I don’t agree with philosophies that rule from the top down.  Theocracy is totalitarian rule, and is usually more repressive/regressive than other forms of governance.  I’d rather be ruled by an atheist dictator than one who purports to follow the orders of some unverifiable/unknowable ‘god’.   There is no Utopia.  All forms of governance are fraught with missteps and corruption.  I like the idea of a council with elected members – all of whom have a publicly funded budget for their campaigns, and that’s it.  Now that we have a plutocracy where funding comes from undisclosed sources in an organization, political influence can now be, and probably is, from outside the United States as well as from multi-billion dollar corporations.

Mitt Romney and the Republican party want to make the poor poorer by taking away programs that barely help them, as well as making them pay more tax, while greatly reducing, if not eliminating, taxes on the wealthy.

Eventually, the people will revolt as poverty increases in the United States to the level of third world countries, if it’s not there already.  Pockets of the citizenry are doing what they can to keep rights for the labor class – and while unions need reforming and more flexibility – they are also important to keep rapacious business practices at bay.

I remember hearing that while I’m preaching to the choir, even the choir needs practice.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Memorializing

Many members of my nuclear and extended family have fought and died in various wars through American history.  I’m sure my ancestors engaged in wars large and small since the dawn of time.

I honor their service, their courage, their sense of duty and honor.  I appreciate their willingness to fight to maintain control of their portion of the world, or an allies portion, or to remove bad actors who threatened world stability, or committed such atrocities that we intervened.  I am grateful for their commitment even when, or perhaps especially when, it’s shown that our soldiers were ill-used, either purposefully harmed and experimented on (without knowledge), or made to fight in unwarranted circumstances.

I give credit where credit is due, and expect apologies and restitution as far as possible when we’ve gone astray.  I’ve never been a nationalist.  I give no allegiance to the place of my birth without question.  I live with justice and integrity to the best of my ability, and expect the same of my leaders and others who purport to act in my name.

I don’t know if war is necessary, but it’s certainly easy.  It’s so much harder to bridge differences through compromise and consensus – freely chosen.  That’s the world I desire, and that’s the world I’m working toward.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Tug Of War

Four of us sat at the red and white checkerboard-cloth covered picnic table, eating, sipping our drinks, and mulling over the presentation we had attended earlier.  The speaker called us to action on behalf of our nation, to use our bodies and minds to stop and reverse the change in course from Democracy to Plutocracy.

Every age has its challenges, but we’ve been ruled by the monied class before, and it only ever benefits the wealthy, who are, and always will be, the few.  Democracy is about all of us having a stake in our country, all of us having a voice – being represented – even if imperfectly.

I felt a great camaraderie with those in the room cheering the speaker’s words, but I wondered whether we’d heed the warning as the hall emptied out into the night.

As the group of us sat discussing her thesis and what we could do, I remembered that every action has ripples, and constant repetition of similar ideas converts thought to action, initiating change.

I remember playing Tug of War in grade school, and how hard I pulled to avoid being dragged through the mud.  We knew the winning team would be whomever had the strongest players, and not merely the highest numbers.  The game was only played on special days, like Field Day, and our teacher, believing in fairness, wouldn’t allow all the strongest players one on side.  Even when there wasn’t a fair-minded adult overseeing those kinds of games, I would always quit if my team was too unevenly matched.  Who wants that?  I think many of us have given up in our political Tug of War because we see how unevenly matched we are.  But I want to be like my teacher, and do what I can to make it a fairer fight.

We were the soul occupants on the enclosed, well heated, and dimly lit restaurant porch, which seemed to solidify our sense of fellowship as the night wore on, bringing our thoughts to the more personal concerns and cares of our daily lives.  We spoke of our children, the challenges of raising them, and of them leaving home.  We talked of loved ones dying, of aging parents, and dealing with those griefs.  A deeper kinship was borne out of that personal circumstance than the affinity of strangers wedded to a common cause I felt earlier that evening.

Change happens for me when something I need and/or care about is jeopardized, damaged, or lost.  I desire stasis in my life, but that requires forever correcting my course, when I thought it meant finding my true path and the rest of my life would be easy, or somehow self-regulating.  I know now, more than I ever have, that there is no retiring – that I’m always in the game.  If I’m not strong enough to maintain the pull on my side of the mud patch, I need to call others to my side – and maybe even take a break until I’m strong enough to get back in the fight.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Those With Eyes To See

Americans are too soft to revolt en masse.  The People will never take the Declaration of Independence at its word and institute a new form of Government before it’s too late.  The warnings echo through time, and whenever ‘official’ versions of horrifying events get questioned, those daring to point out contradictions are shamed, being reviled as insane or stupid, thereby prejudging and dismissing anyone else with the temerity to speak out after that.

Just label questionable events, whether they be John F. Kennedy’s assassination, or the September 11th terrorist attacks, ‘Conspiracy Theories’ and no one in the public mainstream dares take it seriously.  Thankfully, intelligent people are not put off that easily, and not worried about character aspersions.  What does hem truth-seekers in, are those who can’t see beyond their personal fears.  Just promote the suspicion and anxiety in the general public that those currently leading want to ‘take away their guns’ or create a communist, or socialist government, and like the oft-told cautionary tale of a frog who won’t jump out of a pot of water that slowly comes to boil, they have no wits against their country being, or becoming, de facto fascist!

Citizens United vs Federal Elections Commission was a large step toward legal Corporatism.  Money was already sullying politics prior to that astoundingly horrific Supreme Court decision, but now the money dam is wide open, and just look at the current political arena.  Each candidate has their billionaire corporate sponsor, and those candidates are not invested in doing the People’s business any more, but that of corporate interests – and regardless of the idiocy that Mitt Romney spews, corporations are not actually people, and saying that they are people because people run them is like saying my car is a person because I drive it.

Those raising the most money massively spread their message and disparaged their rivals prior to the Citizens United vs FEC catastrophe, but there had been limits to spending because corporations could not directly influence politics.  Now it’s a free-for-all, with foreign interests able to sway American politics, not just those at home.

Nothing will change until money is out of politics, and while our electoral system needed reform before the Citizen’s United decision, I fear that we’ll be boiled long before any good changes can happen.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Personal Political

I have a number of friends and acquaintances who ‘don’t do politics’.  I know what they mean by that, and I don’t think we should be up in arms about issues all the time, but democracy requires participation and vigilance.  Thankfully, there are plenty of people on the front lines, picketing, discussing (sometimes loudly), and doing what they can to effect change.

We all have different agendas – even if we follow the same basic course.  I have several family members who are on opposite sides of the political spectrum, and as long as discourse stays civil, I can learn at least why someone believes the way they do, even if it doesn’t change my position.

I think consensus is far too difficult to achieve, but approaching consensus is possible.  There will always be people who will not budge one iota, so they represent the absolute.

I typically fall somewhere in the middle, although I, too, have my absolutes on issues like rape, molestation and other forms of violence, as well as several other issues that I would die rather than disavow.

I’m grateful for those who work in the democratic vigilance field, and I do what I can to participate.  Tomorrow, I won’t post, in support of the Internet Strike: http://sopastrike.com/strike/

The current bill before the Senate (SOPA, S. 968), does more harm than good.  You can read more about it here: http://news.cnet.com/8301-31921_3-57329001-281/how-sopa-would-affect-you-faq/ and here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stop_Online_Piracy_Act, or go to Open Congress for the full text: http://www.opencongress.org/bill/112-s968/text

If you like to laugh while being educated, Stephen Colbert obliges you here: http://boingboing.net/2011/12/02/stephen-colbert-explains-sopa.html

This is the end of the service announcement.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.


Pearl Harbor Day

It was seventy years ago that Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese, leading us into World War II.  I visited the U.S.S. Arizona when I was in Hawaii nearly twenty years ago.  I feel the same deep sadness about the attack on Pearl Harbor as I feel about the attacks on September 11, 2001.  No fore-knowledge of either event affects me the most.  I think that if you know something’s going to happen, you can at least mentally prepare, even if you can’t cushion the blow, or stop it from occurring.  I know others would rather deal with after-effects than have to anticipate horror.  I understand that surprise is what gives assailants an advantage, but I have a naive desire for fairness, even in war.

I’ve heard that both Pearl Harbor and the September 11th attacks were known as possibilities, or actually allowed to happen, to push through agendas that would otherwise fail in Congress.  Maybe that’s true, or maybe it’s not, but I’ll never know.

I grieve for those that lost their lives so tragically, and for those that remained, traumatized and having to cope with the aftermath.  Life throws us curve balls all the time: maybe it’s disease, or famine, earthquakes and tsunamis, or hurricanes, tornadoes, or floods.  We are constantly barraged by life’s changes, but stability seems to prevail more often than not.  I suppose we couldn’t exist if there weren’t times of relative calm and ease.

Acts of war and terrorism affect me more deeply because there was a choice involved.  An individual, or a group, decided to cause harm, and the more suffering, the better for their cause.  A few of them (groups or individuals) even think their actions were/are sanctioned by God – a mysterious, amorphous, unknowable being or force, and yet, they act as though they can know or understand what they can actually only guess at – when it is their own selfish desire to make the world, or parts of the world, be as they want it.

Maybe they’re right.  Perhaps ‘God’ wants us all homogenized, rather than creative, evolving beings.  Or maybe, ‘God’, if It exists, wants us to find, or create, our own tribes, and peacefully co-exist.  If that ever happens, I hope memorials will be built to commemorate that.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Current Events

I’ve been reading, Confidence Men, by Ron Suskind, and while it hasn’t made me detest the Financial Industry and the Federal Government more, the book has framed a better context for my ire.  I’m grateful to understand more about what happened and why, and I know that we’re a nation governed by avarice far more than ever before, checked only by revolt of those it harms the most.

Occupy Wall Street was always going to happen because there’s no way the current system could continue and not experience blow-back.  We might be poor, but we’re not stupid, although I’m betting that’s how many of the four-hundred richest people in this country like to frame it to themselves.  Ignorance is one thing, stupidity is quite another.  As soon as the ignorant become educated, they get angry.  You can’t enslave a people forever, not if they have any sense of self.  You can’t rip us off and tell us it’s our own fault for very long without the ruse starting to come apart.

The irony is that so many of us are amenable to getting by with some moderate comfort.  I believe that most Americans are hard workers.  I know many people, in my blue-collar community, who work to live, and will do that until it becomes impossible due to health issues (in themselves, or in their family, or to others they care enough about to try to help out) or from job losses.  The working class isn’t asking for the situation to reverse, they’re asking for human decency.  We live in a rich nation that doesn’t provide affordable health care, when it absolutely could; our nation doesn’t provide decent jobs or living wages, when it absolutely could, and our government has seemed to have forgotten about providing for the common good, about being a voice for the voiceless, and power for the powerless, because of all the money in politics.

I don’t know what the best solution is, but there are many fixes or stop-gap measures proposed but not being implemented.  The ‘let them die’ crowd will always be with us, but that doesn’t mean they should be listened to, because if it were their own children or family, I doubt they’d be euthanizing them.  Even Ayn Rand took the Social Security and Medicare that she hoped to see dismantled.

Congress having a nine percent approval rating shows that whatever side of the aisle you sit on or root for, nothing is being done except yelling back and forth.  We need action that addresses the problems of the ninety-nine percent, because the one-percent will be just fine, no matter what happens.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

As The Pendulum Swings

A friend and I were debating about taxes and about living in a society rather than as outlaws and renegades.

She thinks everyone should pay the same tax, regardless of income and I disagree.  It’s not about merit that I agree or disagree.  Certainly there are those who are content to not work and subsist on what they are given or can steal, and there are those who work ceaselessly and still never make enough to even be called ‘middle class’.

I’m not debating about how we got into the mess we’re in, or the ridiculous tax code, although those are issues to deal with – and in fact, form the crux of the solution through true reform rather than lip service and reneging on deals, or perpetual amendments.

My conclusions are based on my personality, and what I’ve been through or witnessed in this world, so of course I’m biased.  Every last one of us is biased depending on our brain structure and/or our life filters.

Corporations should pay a higher tax rate than solitary citizens when they make higher profits, and especially when they are a type of business that uses resources directly, but also indirectly.  We all use our planet for sustenance, but those who use greater resources need to pay to play.  Industries who are reaping greater profits than at any other time in history, such as the oil and gas industries, should not be government ‘welfare recipients’ in the form of subsidies.

My friend argued that someone working harder than others shouldn’t be penalized by having to pay higher taxes, and while I heard her argument, I disagree.  I don’t think the taxes should be burdensome, and I think that higher rates should apply after a certain threshold, but I question what ‘working harder’ means.  If she works for a company that compensates her well, and she was lucky enough – because I do know that some people are in a better position than others through birth or by chance, as she was and is – then that is good for her, but there are others working just as hard, and actually harder than her at multiple jobs that won’t hire full-time workers so they don’t have to pay insurance, and those people are not making nearly the wages she is.  I know she doesn’t want to have to help lazy users as she envisions her tax dollars going, and those people shouldn’t be helped if that’s an honest assessment, but the majority of people are working hard and still not making ends meet.

Those tax dollars do a lot to ease the burden of those trying to better themselves by making education less expensive or having more dollars available to help pay for an education that will help those people get better jobs.  Those tax dollars help keep our food supply safer by having more food inspectors.  Those tax dollars help keep art and music programs available which enrich our lives and broaden our minds as surely as any core subject does, and perhaps even better as art and music stirs our creative selves helping us to bring more to our life as well as others’ lives.

Tax dollars help pave our roads, build bridges, and keep police, firefighters and other local, state and federal workers.  Those tax dollars also help the poor get health services, along with giving the elderly and infirm an income – however meager.

A majority chose this as our social standard when the economy went to hell over half a century ago, and it helped build a middle class in this country that was strong and relatively stable.  When the more cynical and greedy among us got power they instituted deregulation of polluting industries, of banking and securities, as well as giving corporations and the wealthy even more money and power by declaring money as a part of free speech in the horrid FEC v. Citizen’s United Supreme Court decision.

Now some in the Republican party are hell-bent on breaking up unions and trying to send us back as a nation to the robber-baron era of lawless rapaciousness in business and industry.

Democracy is only as strong as its safeguards, and I’ve been noticing a lot more foxes guarding our collective hen-house lately.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

White Mountains Trip

Two of my best women friends and I headed out to hike in the Franconia Notch State Park, located in Lincoln, New Hampshire.  We hiked the Cannon Mountain, Kinsman Ridge Trail very leisurely.  The temperature was around 80°F, but we were in shade most of the day, and the trail followed along the Pemigewasset River stream.  The water level was low so the falls along the way were not as dramatic as they must have been this spring after such a snowy winter.  The bridge that leads to Lonesome Lake was washed out this winter, and we saw other testaments to the power of the river in trees that had been uprooted or broken off, and even a large metal beam torn from the bridge and deposited nearly a half-mile downstream.

We could have trekked up the river bed for the whole hike, but it would have been more challenging than we wished to tackle yesterday because the entire way is strewn with boulders and rocks of various size.  There were many people swimming and wading in the glacial pothole pools and other places where the river water pooled deep enough to swim in – and even jump off the rocks into – all the way up the trail.  Unfortunately, I have a wound on my wrist that I couldn’t get wet, so I only waded in the water.  Otherwise, I’d have been jumping off the rocks into the wonderfully cool water with everyone else.

We arrived around Noon, ate our lunch out on one of the rock faces (smoothed over by the last ice age’s receding glacier and by water action), and we finished our hike around 5pm.  Then we drove down into the town center and had dinner.  On our drive back through Deliverance country, we rode through a small town with a big sense of humor.  There were more ramshackle houses that looked like something out of The Beverly Hillbillies (before they got rich) than there were houses that increased the property values.  There was “Red-Neck Mini Golf” and a ‘mall’ that was one building with the word ‘Mall’ painted in large block letters across the side of the building – which could have had a few shops inside – but it looked more like a joke painted on someone’s barn, and if it wasn’t a joke, I’m very glad I don’t live there…

The disparity between those with and those without money, or as former President Bush so humorously called the former: “the haves, and the have mores” was alarmingly clear.  I could feel the need for a soap-box coming up, but I quelled my desire and remained silent.  An acquaintance recently remarked how it’s not the fault of the wealthy that they’re smarter, harder workers, and I couldn’t hold back then on such an ignorant remark.

The rest of our drive back home brought us through areas of gorgeous landscape that reminded me how beautiful and varied this part of the country is.  I was glad to get a shot of the lovely pinks, purple, and orange tinges of the clouds as the sun set.

It was a perfect frame to a mostly perfect day.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Big Questions

What is my life worth?  I’ve been a protester most of my adult life, writing and calling legislators, attending rallies for peace and social justice as far as Washington, D.C., and New York City.  It’s easy to feel discouraged when Congress tries to read the constituent tea leaves and make decisions based on whether it will keep them in office rather than being the will of the majority – or even ‘of the people’ at all.  Members of Congress are beholden to corporations and monied interest groups.  They don’t care what the peasants think, and neither do the corporations – unless it hits their bottom line.  The politicians need the money to win elections and maintain their seats, while fewer people cast votes because they don’t believe it makes any difference.

This is a democracy, and corrupt or not, our vote absolutely matters.  How many women fought and died so I could check off that box in the voting booth?  How many minorities have fought and suffered longer still, and died for the right to say they matter, to those who purportedly make decisions on their behalf?

White men need not apply for they’ve always been the ones with the most power and privilege, but women have often been counted as a slight step up from dogs (no offense to dogs – they are good and I love them, but they are not human…), with non-white males slightly above women.

What’s worth dying for though?  What for and when do I deliberately put myself in harm’s way for a cause?  There are so many to choose from, unfortunately.  It’s important to try not to die in vain though.  If I choose to be martyred for a cause, it needs to be known and championed, or it cannot affect change.  My body wants to preserve my life because that’s my body’s job – but my higher senses know I’m going to die – so do I die well and purposefully, or stupidly and/or pointlessly?

I never wanted to join the military because I’m not a nationalist.  I’m a humanist and actually into the whole ‘one people, one planet’ thing.  I know there are already international agencies doing relief work on a consistent basis, but there remains great disparity in wealth and access to services growing wider all the time, and many of those agencies are purposefully non-political.

Maybe we have to ruin our nation before anything changes because we seem to like repeating history or pretend that serious issues like climate change, for instance, is up for debate.  We’re having to fight harder to hang onto basic services that preserve human dignity in which government helps provide for the common good, like Medicare and Social Security.  Corporations and monied interests engineer outrage, fanning the flames of hatred and fear, creating groups like the ‘tea party’, the majority of whose members are often not savvy enough to see that they are shills for the corporate benefactors.

I don’t know if continuing to fight is enough, or if some other drastic action has to happen.  The petitions of the people seem to go unanswered, but maybe this is how it’s always been and I’m more interested in the process at this point in my life?  I’m grateful for people like John Cusack who portrayed the current political climate so well in War, Inc., and I’m thankful for a myriad of others who make documentaries and other films shedding light on food and water resources as well as energy and what corporations are trying to do – like Monsanto getting governments to force impoverished nations to use their terminator seed or not get aid.  How messed up is that?!  Food, Inc. is a documentary film that describes what Monsanto has done and continues to do, very well.

Constant vigilance is democracy’s watchwords, but like the fires my cousin and I started while playing in the woods at our grandfather’s house: the fewer there are, the easier they are to put out.  We were unsuccessful that day, and enormously grateful for a fire department that wasn’t privatized.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

The Opposite Of Hope

I know I have to continue to fight anyway, because what else is there to do?  Giving up means dying, and I’m not there yet.

Political news about permits for deep-water drilling getting pushed through, regardless of the lack of improvements or safe-guards a year after the worst oil-related disaster ever is mind-blowing, but I know it shouldn’t be.

We need the oil; those people need jobs – so screw the ocean and even the lives of those who work on the rigs.  They know what the risks are, but they need the money.  What does it matter if the all the oil that has spilled is still fouling the water and shoreline and delicate coastal waterways that once harbored sea-life nurseries but can no longer provide that refuge?  Out of sight, out of mind.

Oh, BP and TransOcean and Halliburton had record-breaking profit years, but people along the Gulf of Mexico are struggling with sickness from all the exposure to crude oil along with Corexit, and other surfactants, etc.  But per usual our corrupt media outlets proclaim that ‘there’s nothing to see here, folks; go about your business’.

I’m overwhelmed by such callous profit-driven action, and I know I shouldn’t be because this is how it’s always been.  But I’m not desensitized today.  This is the world I live in, and I know I’m not alone in this fight, but those who have the money make the rules and all I can do is yell and write and in the end, the bad guys still win.

Moving to the remotest reaches of the world won’t help.  I can’t pretend this isn’t happening, and I’m astonished at the ability for others to be so blithe about the horrors being perpetrated in our name.  I know I shouldn’t be because the world is so broken that most people have compassion-fatigue.

It’s just today.  I’ll gear up for the fight again, because what’s my alternative?  I can’t pretend that it’s all going to be okay if I don’t think about it.  This is a shared world and anyone’s attempt to decimate it ends where my breathable, eatable, livable world begins.  We need to feed off this Earth – I understand that, but we lose entirely if we don’t act with responsible, sustainable methods.

Maybe some corporate heads and politicians with power and wealth think they’re hastening a dubious ‘rapture’, but even were it true, they’d be among those ‘left behind’ by not being ‘good stewards of the Earth’.  Idiots all – but an idiot with explosives needs to be disarmed more swiftly than a genius should be.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.