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Archive for December, 2015

December is filled with sacred holidays and secular observances for a variety of cultures and religions. It’s also filled with relentless ads, holiday decorations, and constant reminders of how much my husband and I can’t afford to do this year. Add all that to the double-down hatred and stupidity of the US presidential candidates – which is leading to threats, vandalisms, and actual physical attacks on those the candidates have condemned – and I’m just in sensory overload. Mom said that if I didn’t have anything nice to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all, so I’m going to take a break until after the New Year and see if I can recover some nice for my soul. Take care of yourselves, be good to those around you, and let’s all try to head into the next year with a little better attitude.

 

Coexist Holiday

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I’ve been struggling for several days on what to write after the last couple weeks in the world. At first I wanted to rage against the stupidity and hatred and senselessness the actions of a handful of terrorists represent. Then I wanted to just post pictures of kittens and butterflies and try to ignore the whole thing. But now, I can do neither.

When these horrific attacks happen, I grieve like everyone else who isn’t directly involved: so sorry for the victims, so glad it wasn’t me. Having some physical distance from such events allows us to keep an emotional distance. I’ve never been to Paris, or Newtown, or Boston, or Nigeria. I have no connection to those places other than what I read in the news. It’s hard to admit, but most of us are relieved when bad things happen to someone else because it means we’re off the hook for this round. We send our prayers and good thoughts and move on with our lives. But there’s always another round. Spin the wheel, take yer chances…

In a world full of hate and anger, it seems only a matter of time before the wheel gets around to you.

On November 27th, a man – likely fed by the hateful anti-abortion rhetoric of certain politicians and a (quickly debunked) video about selling baby parts – shot up a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs. I’ve been to Colorado Springs several times. It’s one of my favorite places. Good, long-time family friends live there. It also hosts the Air Force Academy and the Olympic Training Center. Despite nearly half a million people, it still feels like a small town. And you certainly can’t beat the views. But now it will be remembered for yet another crazy man with a gun.

In college I used the services of Planned Parenthood. I went there for my Well Woman exams, and, yes, birth control. Not because I was a promiscuous slut, but because I had difficult and erratic periods. If you listen to the Rabid Right, Planned Parenthood clinics are nothing but factories for baby murderers, when in truth they offer a wide range of health care for women AND men. And they provide those services in many areas where there are no other options. I am baffled by the vitriol that is constantly spewed in their direction, but then, I’m a liberated feminist who believes in the right to choose, and that government should keep their fingers the fuck away from my body.

We were still trying to figure out what happened in Colorado, when gunfire blasted through a conference room in San Bernardino. Half an hour from my house. In a county I used to work for. In a building I’ve visited. My husband’s route takes him around that area, and over a dozen customers didn’t get their deliveries that day because he couldn’t get through the police line. We don’t know any of the victims personally, but we have several friends who do. Now it’s not so simple to deal with. Now it’s in our own back yard.

These incidents have given even more fuel to the raging rants about gun control, mental health, and refugees. Everybody has an opinion on how to fix the problem(s). Everybody is sure that their way is the ONLY way. Take away all the guns, lock up all the crazy people, and leave the refugees starving at the border are no better fixes than giving everybody guns, ignoring the crazy people, and opening our borders wide to whoever. Politicians are trying to get elected and look like they’re actually doing something, but their quick-fix, one-size-fits-all solutions are doomed to failure.

There is no one simple answer, because there is no one simple problem. The seething anger in the world blooms from a tangle of ugly roots: fed by poverty, oppression, disenfranchisement, fear, and heaping piles of manure from the media and politicians. If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, blind them with bullshit.

Our job as citizens is to not fall into that trap. We must not surrender to fear and hatred. The problems of our society can be solved, but it will take ALL of us working together. We must come to the table with open hearts and minds, and ignore those that scream “my way or no way!” We can have our guns AND reasonable regulations. We can take care of the mentally ill without drugging them into a stupor and shelving them in the back corner of an institution. We can welcome refugees while ensuring the safety of us all. It just takes time and effort and compromise.

Each day the wheel spins and shatters more lives. It is only through our collective caring that we can survive.

Hands in Peace signs

(c) American Friends Service Committee

https://afsc.org/

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“Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord”

Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Houghton Mifflin, New York: Hutchinson Publ. Ltd., London, 1969.

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/kampf.html

 

More than three million Jews were killed in Germany’s concentration camps.

(The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum)

 

“In the war in which we are now engaged racial affinities are not severed by migration. The Japanese race is an enemy race and while many second and third generation Japanese born on United State soil, possessed of United States citizenship, have become “Americanized,” the racial strains are undiluted. To conclude otherwise is to expect that children born of white parents on Japanese soil sever all racial affinity and become loyal Japanese subjects, ready to fight and, if necessary, to die for Japan in a war against the nation of their parents. That Japan is allied with Germany and Italy in this struggle is not ground for assuming that any Japanese, barred from assimilation by convention as he is, though born and raised in the United States, will not turn against this nation when the final test of loyalty comes. It, therefore, follows that along the vital Pacific Coast over 112,000 potential enemies, of Japanese extraction, are at large today. There are indications that these were organized and ready for concerted action at a favorable opportunity. The very fact that no sabotage has taken place to date is a disturbing and confirming indication that such action will be taken (emphasis added).”

General John L. DeWitt “Final Recommendation of the Commanding General, Western Defense Command and Fourth Army, to the Secretary of War (Feb. 14, 1942)”

https://www.du.edu/behindbarbedwire/decision_to_evacuate.html

 

Over 127,000 American Citizens were forced from their homes and into internment camps, just because they happened to look like the “enemy.”

(Densho: The Japanese American Legacy Project)

 

“If we need to take these people in we should set up [a] refugee camp to keep them segregated from our populous.”

Rhode Island State Sen. Elaine Morgan (R), referring to refugees.

Rhode Island Republican wants Syrian refugees held in ‘centralized’ camps: ‘Our country is under attack’

 

“…insisted that for radicalized Muslims, ‘it’s our right and obligation to segregate them from the normal community for the duration of the conflict.’ “

General Wesley Clark, after the shooting in Chattanooga, TN.

A frightening proposal to intern Muslim citizens

 

“That would be like saying we weren’t at war with Nazis,” Rubio said, “because we were afraid to offend some Germans who may have been members of the Nazi Party but weren’t violent themselves.”

Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R), in response to Hillary Clinton’s belief that the US is not at war with Islam.

(“Rubio sees a ‘clash of civilizations’ “)

 

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Pastor Martin Niemöller

 

If we live in fear of what might be, we will always be afraid. Is this really what we want?

Live as brothers

http://inspirationalquotes.club/we-must-learn-to-live-together-as-brothers-or-perish-together-as-fools/

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