GET LOUD – Because right now, we are NOT a great nation

I didn’t need Jimmy Kimmel’s monologue to write this; I did need to hear it to give myself permission to publish it, to get loud about what I feel. I felt I needed to rein myself in, knowing that when I get emotionally distraught my words can feel destructive, even to me; they’re angry rants, instead of finding the passages in the darkness where a little light might shine at just the right angle where even the blindest person perceives it and turns towards it and listens to the truth that I believe in my heart must exist in every person out there, no matter their political persuasion.  It is difficult to find hope for our society when children continue to be murdered.  So the least I can do is get loud.

I’ll start with the common sense things I KNOW.

If I don’t wear a seatbelt I will be fined, even though the only person it hurts is me if I don’t wear it.

If I even  touch my cell phone when driving, I can be fined and even imprisoned.

Every driver in this country must have a license to drive a car and will be fined and possibly jailed if they fail to abide that law. And they must renew it regularly.

Every driver must take a test and prove they understand the laws and rules governing their legal right to operate a vehicle on public roads.

Drivers can be fined and lose their licenses and/or be jailed for violations that endanger other members of society.

Every car must have insurance to protect people and property from a car’s inherent ability to kill and maim (yes, it’s not the car that kills; it’s the driver, right?)

Every car must be licensed. And, in most states cars are required to pass safety checks to insure the car is not handicapped (i.e., insanely unsafe) to drive safely on the road.

Those things I know.

At the very least, these same things should apply to gun ownership. 

Background checks for the mentally ill?  It seems to me that in America, we are in a situation where the fox is guarding the hen house.  Why have we come to accept that someone who is obsessed with a sense of fear that others might attack and/or kill them (paranoid delusions), and hence feel the need to arm themselves with weapons of war and other semi-automatic weapons are sane? Why have we accepted the idea that a person with a Personality Disorder of Excessive Power Strivings  is also sane?  I propose that these people, constituting a growing number of people in our society, are in fact mentally ill, and they themselves should not be allowed to own guns.  In other words, the simple “background checks” is not going to weed out 95% of the mentally ill people allowed to purchase and carry weapons of killing.

Negligent homicide.  It seems to me that people in government positions that support fewer gun laws are in fact complicit in murders occurring within their jurisdictions. Knowing our laws, and the irony that they control those guns and gun laws, it’s unlikely they will be charged with such crimes.  But voters do have the power to remove them from office and replace them with those who will not prostitute themselves to the NRA (or other corporate institutions that cause harm in our society).

Education not prison.  I propose that “freedom” is not turning our schools into prisons with armed guards and only one door. But education might avoid such prisons. Anyone who owns a gun should  undergo an intensive educational program not just on safe gun handling but an extensive, hours-long education on the evolution of our society’s gun culture, anger-management screening, intensive victims’ panel discussions, and testing on those subjects as well as gun safety.  Yearly. The problem is a cultural one which needs to be addressed with education, not more guns or prison walls for our children.

Registry and insurance. Like a vehicle, every gun needs to be registered.  Further, no ammunition can be sold to any individual without proof of a registered weapon, and the amount of ammunition and types of ammunition will go into a monitored data base, just like a driver’s record is kept in a data base. Each year, a gun owner must present his gun in person to a designated office, to prove they are still in possession of it. Like automobile insurance, which varies with the make, model, year, and value of a car as well as where that car is primarily driven, a gun owner needs to pay an insurance premium commensurate with the type of gun. For example, their premium would be $1,000 a year for each AR-15; $500 a year for a semi-automatic pistol; $50 a year for a .22 rifle. For the right to own a gun and prove they are being responsible gun owners, their home must be open for inspection to prove that their weapons of murder are locked in safe boxes, and that they have a license and insurance to own it. If they do not prove yearly ownership, and cannot show proof of sale, they will be fined and/or put in prison. Just like uninsured, unlicensed reckless drivers.

But our societal problems are deeper than just gun control.

We need to have  a Constitutional Convention to bring the Constitution into the 21st Century and correct its obsolescence, because all these representatives who swear to uphold the Constitution are in fact continuing a status quo that is not in line with modern times.

The 2nd Amendment was written because at that time, there was no government militia. There was no army. If attacked, they wanted the ability of citizens to form a military to protect the country.  Further, the southern states wanted a militia so they could protect themselves against a slave rebellion and/or track down slaves that ran away.

There is no longer a need for individuals to form a militia to “secure a free state”; we have a monstrous military complex in place protecting us against foreign attackers for which our tax dollars contribute a disproportionately huge amount.  The 2nd Amendment is obsolete in that regard. Though racism is not dead, slavery is, and there is no need to hunt down and re-imprison those human beings who made the slave owner rich and and powerful.

A new look at speech. News took days if not weeks to be disseminated.  Now, with our instant social media, in seconds, lies and hate speech are disseminated that incite crimes of hate and insurrection, all of which seem to be leading to anarchy and fascism and a breakdown of the very social mores our Constitution was meant to protect against. We are in dangerous times when there are more weapons than citizens — weapons that can shoot not one bullet every two minutes but hundreds in seconds —  while being fueled with lies, disinformation, and hate.

I propose the Electoral College needs to be excised from the Constitution because it perpetuates a multitude of continuing injustices in our society. It was installed for purely racist reasons: Before the South would join the union, slave owners insisted that 3/5th of their slaves constitute one vote in elections. A slave owner with 100 slaves would be allowed 60 votes, and the Electoral College was established to favor those white male slave owners.

We no longer have slaves. There is absolutely no bias to anybody to have one person, one vote. The number of electoral votes is equal to the number of members of Congress: senators and congressmen.  But there is incredible bias when a slight majority of delegates in a state can vote against the will of the majority of the people, hence instilling a president who did not win the popular vote, and who does not represent the will of the people.  Instead, the archaic and discriminatory Electoral College continues to represent the interests of a smaller group of the wealthiest people with their own personal interests, biases and prejudices, their own ignorance, and influenced by the controlling corporations and monied individuals, who do not have the interest of the average American citizen in mind.

The Constitution is obsolete because, to this day, women do not have constitutional equal rights.

We need a constitutional convention to correct these deep societal and cultural wrongs that exist in the Constitution. It was a document created by wealthy male landowners in a time so different than ours is today.  We need a governing document that aligns with the wiser and more just society that the majority of the people of the United States aspire to have.  We are wiser than our “founding fathers,” and the world is a different place.  Until then…

We are not a great nation when there are more guns than citizens and our government allows their free use to murder children, women, people of color (something perpetrated by continuing to have the Electoral College in place).

We are not a great nation when we have institutionalized racism and sexism and gender discrimination and the white male conservative majority prevents correcting these wrongs so they can maintain the status quo (something perpetrated by continuing to have the Electoral College in place).

We are not a great nation when women, who have brought forth every one of us from their wombs — through a process called labor, a labor no man could endure — do not have the equal rights of their male counterparts in our society, and whose right to make decisions about their bodies is taken from them by those same men who hold power over them (something perpetrated by continuing to have the Electoral College in place).

We are not a great nation when our government officials are nothing more than prostitutes to corporate lobbyists, an ill-disguised form of deep-pocketed corruption in our system of governance (something perpetrated by continuing to have the Electoral College in place).

We are not a great nation when one body of Congress prevents the legitimate selection of a Supreme Court Justice in order to pack a court that is no longer an independent overseer of the laws and no longer that third arm of our democracy, but are mere puppets of corporate interests and prostituted legislators.

We are not a great nation when our representatives in Congress “can’t figure out why people are gunning down children” and shoppers and movie goers daily in our country (think a little harder, Lindsey) (perpetuated by ignorance and their chosen career as prostitutes).

We are not a great nation when we our freedom of speech and our right to read and educate ourselves is being curtailed by a few power-hungry, corrupt individuals who feel threatened by those who might hear the truth and learn of a different point of view than their biased, bigoted, discriminatory proselytizing.

We are not a great nation when we put billionaires’ interests ahead of the poorest and most needy.

We are not a great nation when we do not provide paid maternity leave but instead put capitalistic interests ahead of the ability to nurture our children for their formative years so that — just maybe? — they won’t feel abandoned and unloved and decide they will deal with their hurt by killing others. We are not a great nation when we refuse to substitute or subsidize free day care for our children in a nurturing environment but instead have X-Box shoot-em-up videos babysit latchkey children after school (something perpetrated by continuing to have the Electoral College in place).

We are not a great nation that puts the GDP over the existential environmental degradation from which we are less than three years away from passing the point of no return, and we are not a great nation when the almighty dollar is greater than our trust in God (something perpetrated by continuing to have the Electoral College in place).

We are not a great nation if we are hypocrites.

But we are fucked ….. if we can’t immediately address the gun laws and the inequality, and the lies, and the corporate corruption, and all the other problems that this not-great country suffers from.

BUT, we can be a great nation if we put our trust in God, in whatever way one believes in that invisible force that breathes us into life, that hums us with love when we’re quiet enough to shut out all the bullshit of the gun-totin’, woman-hatin’, racist, corrupt politicians and those who support them.

We can be a great nation when we put the love of our children ahead of the almighty dollar.

We can be a great nation when we stand up to the corporate interests of the NRA (and other greedy corporations) and renounce the culture of male supremacy, bias, fear and other power-hungry people.

We will be a great society when we choose to melt the fucking guns down with which we will build a monstrous monument to peace and love with equality and social justice for all.

So get LOUD.

Get LOUD and get out and VOTE.

Vote the hypocritical murderers, political prostitutes, conspiracy nutcases, wimps and liars out of office.

Embrace the human values we all aspire to:  equality, peace, love, inclusiveness because otherwise, it will be Ted Cruz’s world of Texas bacon: One door with a couple paranoid power-crazed jailers who make the decisions as to who gets in or out.

GET LOUD

 

Rainy Day Poetry

Tap the water table beneath your feet
Roll down the mountains in relief
Feed the ground and clutch the air
Smell the wind that blows so fair.

Ride the oceans, touch its depth
Climb up mountains, feel its breadth
Search deeply through tangled roots
Reach even higher for tree’s fruits

Feel the rain or hear it tap
Or warm by the fire against the coldsnap
Hear the talk of branch on bough
Release all tension in your brow

Yes, it’s cold and gray and dreary
Suffer not for you can be cheery
When wrapped in the songs that nature sings
Bringing all things beautiful on its wings

 

 

EARTH DAY 2022

Today, Earth Day 2022, I sit in quiet calm. The sun is finding its footing through the spreading branches of the alder outside my window. Soon, in weeks, if not days, its footing will fail, almost, as the leaves finish filling out Alder’s headdress and leaving only the tree’s shadow. The cool shade will come soon enough, as the days start to warm, and it will be there that I’ll seek to sit. Quite amazing how the Earth Mother times these things just right. Today, though, the days are still chilly here in the Northwest, and only not yet warm enough to satisfy my thinned frame.

I’m inside right now. There’s a couple small ants coursing across my table in search of a morsel to take back to their nest, always working for the whole, working for their community. I watch them. I’ve always loved ants. As children, when my brothers glued model airplanes together, I glued model ants and bees and other insects.

I just sit in my calm quiet, reflecting on the beauty of this spinning globe, seeing what I see, hearing what I hear, floating on memories of previous times when I slowed enough to absorb this miraculous, mysterious, spellbinding creation spinning through a universe so vast. I too forget to appreciate it.

From where I sit, I can hear the lyrics of a bird’s song, something so enchanting, fascinating, that they can make such trills and whistles and clicks with barely opening their mouths, some sort of unseen process delivering such extraordinary music.

New leaves are budding. Most noticeably to me are the droops of maple flowers that burst open, shooting outwards their new opposing leaves and to its sides draping corymbs of pentamerous flowers. It’s true, I cheated to find these wonderful words. “Pentamerous” sounds very amorous.

Almost mirroring the color of the salmon berry blossoms, there’s a young quince tree on the property with magenta blossoms, sharing too-close of space with a young lilac that will flower by the time the quince ends its blossoming. All the while, the grass is growing after a long winter and will continue to grow tall enough to wave to the world in the wind – to reveal the invisibility of a wind we feel but is only revealed in its waving, symbiotic relationship with the trees and fields to say, “Now do you see me?”

A vision I only hold in my mind’s eye, at this moment: I revisit the sun’s rays as it glistens and dances on a smooth glassy warm southern ocean. From there, I’m immediately transported to a deep pool I came across wandering in the countryside outside of Oslo, Norway. It too was glassy, but dark, almost black in the shade of trees but more so from years of autumn leaves dropping into its waters, rotting. The newest contributions, oranges and reds and burnt peach colored leaves, lay on the water’s edge of that gladed pond. If I were to step into its darkness, my toes would squish and sink into the silkiest of mucky mud, though I know I’d also feel the sticks and twigs that had not yet rotted. I’m touching the circle and exchange of life. The changes that never cease.

Water skeeters shoot across the still surface, taking me to my childhood, where I was forever wondering how do they walk on water? Magic water walkers. And turtles — that I visit again only in my imagination in this moment because I never seem to see them living in the Northwest, but there in my mind they sit on logs, sometimes in a row, and yet I’ve never seen how they manage to climb up out of the water onto those round logs with their cumbersome shells. The frogs speak, more so as evening nears, but occasionally allowing me to catch them almost hidden, sitting on lily pads or the edge of a reed. They have magic feet too. The pond frogs then rush me to Hawai’i where I hear the coming evening burst into the loud coquies choir.

Back in the gladed forest floor, I’m drawn to the beauty of a rotting log and all the activity going on. Home to grubs and ants and beetles and fungi, left alone, they devour the log, allowing it to fall back to its children’s roots, nourishing its offspring, like a breast given to a child. Those logs are often called nurse logs for a reason.

Bees buzz by, working away, harvesting nectar and loading pollen onto their legs until they’re almost too heavy to take off and fly back to their hive, where in some magical transformation, they turn the nectar into honey for the workers and royal jelly to feed their queen, to feed their brood. I’m witness to a community working together.

I’ll avoid exploring the science behind their magic, for that would take me away from the moment. Instead, I’ll return to the meadow that is out my window, and I’ll just sit. In peace. I’ll still the cacophony of my endless parade of thoughts, and I’ll just be in this moment, removed from man’s world that’s happening out there somewhere, a world that has forgotten to stop and observe and receive this beauty. Instead, I will bring it all into my core and hold it, seeing it as the world I wish to live in, created in my mind’s eye, the place I can return to and visit in those moments most needed.

And I’ll invite the world to join me and walk out into this beauty!
Happy Earth Day, Mother Earth.

Mother Ocean

The ocean is a deep womb, holding and nurturing all life in her depths. I know this, for she held me close for years as I sailed upon her waters towards a horizon that I have yet to reach. Dancing with her on several small boats, I moved across her face, pushed by the winds that coursed across her surface, forever aware that beneath her surface, there is this great calm. She could be as still as a breathless day, her great fluid mass not moving at all but for the pull of the moon or winds that passed over her, stirring her, changing her moods, changing her texture.

Those winds, like life, pushed her waters to rise up into mountains, up which we rode in our little boats, after which we’d plunge down into her valleys, not unlike a surfer on the mammoth waves of Nazare or Jaws. There were many days, too, where the winds were but a tickle on her cheek, a feather brushing across its mirror-smooth waters, leaving her to lay still, quiet, truly pacified. There were days that seemed to never end as we sat in her doldrums, looking deeply into her depths. (Doldrums, by the way, are not sad; they are deep and still.) We followed the Bible rays of the sun down, down as far as they reached until they no longer reflected the blue sky above. She gave us night waltzes too where the dancers were like feetless ballerinas, lighting her up in a mesmerizing phosphorescent dance on the darkest of nights with the only music being the lap and lisp of water against our hull.

She is the giver of life, from which we all on land once came. Flying fish often emerged from her watery womb, landing on our decks. Playful dolphins swam with us for hours or gave us a front-row seat to the circle of life of which we all participate in one way or another. This particular show of life taking life was witnessed in a squall line that churned the water, attracting a school of small fish which attracted a school of tuna, which attracted a mile-long line of porpoises that had come to feast and have their fill. Life giving life.

If one is lazy or tired or not observant, great moments of friendship pass by in the night. A whale of unknown species joined us one chilly night. Outlined by a phosphorescent glow the length of our 45-foot boat, she traveled only feet from our hull, exhaling her fishy breath in a calm rhythm. She moved silently, but for those breathy exhales, until the sun began to lighten the sky. I’m sure she knew we were not one of her kind — but kind she knew we were; definitely not a dangerous fishing trawler. She blew a final farewell and disappeared into the depths.

The ocean gave us her bays and shorelines, too, in which she allowed us to drop anchors into her lesser depths, to stay awhile, where we watched a wedding of sorts as she kissed the shore and caressed the sands. And, yes, crashed against rocks and headlands. In anger? No. It was just the wind that appeared to be moving her, stirring her. She never resisted as the storms and currents played across her. In her calm depth, she let them pass, as we, in meditation, let our thoughts pass, remaining calm deep down, just simply allowing the wind to speak its voice. It is both her deep calm and her changing moods or moving currents that have given me life’s lessons and nurtured my soul. Blessed Mother Ocean, thank you.

These days I no longer sail on her surface but when I stand on the shores, on the cliffs, and see her endless reach beyond the horizon, the places where the albatross fly, I return to her embrace, the love she shared with me, the peace she revealed, a gift deeply held, even in what I perceive as her most tumultuous moments. Or mine.

I leave you with this, a beautiful song that is also a gift from the sea. I know because I hear it in the words and in the tune. Several years ago, staying a few days at Cabinas Sol y Mar in Playa Zancudo, Costa Rica, a man named Bob Tobin, a musician, was in the cabin next to us. He came there each year for three or four weeks. He asked if he could serenade us. Like the whale that traveled with us all night, why would anyone turn away from a beautiful gift. This song speaks to me just as the ocean does. Enjoy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exbx6OCZOlw                               (The song itself starts at 1:35)

May you all remember the sky you were born under, and the sea that gave you life.