Audio clip features Hailey’s Tree Committee (HTC) proclamation given by city council president Martha Burke and HTC chair Linda Ries. For additional photos from Hailey’s ArborFest Saturday, May 18th, visit Dayle’s Community Cafe on Facebook:
Idaho Matters/Fri. May 17th: deep & necessary dialogue dive on civil discourse with Keith Allred, ED for the Institute, advisory board members Walt Minnick & former Gov. Butch Otter. If you missed it, listen tonight at 8, or follow audio links.
Today, the Institute is creating 50 advisory boards to be positioned in each state. Idaho is the first state to establish such a board.
Forner Idaho Gov. Butch Otter, right, joins with Keith Allred, center, and Walt Minnick in a campaign to bring civil discourse back to politics in Idaho. Photo:
“Joining forces to tackle the incivility and partisanship plaguing national politics.”
Tired of political incivility? So are Butch Otter & Walt Minnick, and they hope you can help
Keith Allred , who challenged Butch Otter for governor in the 2010 election, is the new director of The National Institute for Civil Discourse, which was formed following the 2011 shooting of then-U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords. The organization’s mission addressing the incivility and dysfunction in American life, and repairing American democracy.
“Part of what has gone wrong, as the parties become more polarized, is they are not picking issues in D.C. right now for the sake of solving them, they are trying to find the best club to beat up on each other with,” Allred said.
“If we are holding our breath waiting for the two parties to solve this current civility crisis, we are going to be disappointed,” he added.
Allred sees the solution: The American people to step up.
“An unprecedented partisan rift between the major political parties makes our efforts to move past partisanship more important than ever.”
For general interest and to get involved individually, or as community, follow the link: https://www.commonsenseamerican.org
Developers: BYLA Landscape Architects, Ketchum & Lyon Landscape Architects, Sun Valley
Developers and the city combined comments from previous workshops focused on vision, amenities and activities. Discussion continues at the next P&Z meeting, Mon., May 6th, at 5:30. For landscape designs, four at each location.
Notre Dame Cathedral, April 16th, 2019
Many films depict the crucifixion of Jesus and the torture he endured by the Romans before his execution at a well-traveled crossroads in Jerusalem. I have read various accounts about the Stations of his walk to the place of his crucifixion, yet I had not participated in the Stations personally either prayerfully or mindfully until this Holly Week, 2019. During the recent meditation at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Hailey, Idaho, with Mother Lea Colvill, the Stations were revealed personally to me, mindfully, as metaphors for life. The traditional Stations are:
- Jesus is condemned to death
- Jesus carries his cross
- Jesus falls the first time
- Jesus meets his mother
- Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry his cross
- Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
- Jesus falls the second time
- Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
- Jesus falls a third time
- Jesus is stripped
- Jesus is nailed to the cross
- Jesus dies on the cross
- The body of Jesus is taken down from the cross
- Jesus is laid in the tomb
- Road of life’s suffering
- In life we stumble
- Embracing our Earthly beginning
- Assistance from friendships and relationships
- Empathy ♡
- Will we stand again?
- ‘7 times down, 8 times up’ (Buddha) 📿
- Matriarchy and suffering yet to come
- Can I endure this?
- Non-attachment…release from Earthly materialism
- Intense suffering and pain
- R E L E A S E
- Transition begins…”Resurrection is the moment of enlightenment.” [Elaine Pagels, 1979]
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin [a missing of the mark] that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us. -Hebrews 12:1
“I am grateful to be surrounded with a great cloud of witnesses, past and present. I love that I am welcomed and encouraged to sit with those who will both comfort and challenge me. I want to hear sermons that cause discomfort and move me out of my comfort zone in faith. I want to see God’s power at work, where the gifts of the Spirit are ignited and shine brightly. I want to finish the race well, inspired by trailblazers with whom I have shared space during this life. I want to continuously pray for those behind me and for those in front of me, so that my life and witness might cheer others on to the finish line.” [Forward Day by Day]
Once you choose hope, anything’s possible. -Christopher Reeve
The Divine could only intend good and abundance for Its creation, and we need to know that Its nature is forever flowing into everything we do. -Ernest Holmes
“I choose peace. Then I make a conscious decision to lean into hope. In the dark times, hope gives me a reason to believe in the light. There’s a blessing somewhere in this problem. Hanging on to hope fosters optimism for a positive outcome, which feels lots better than fear and despair. So I look for what’s right instead of what’s wrong, gratitude instead of angst. As I think about the situation, the vibration of my new perspective is noticed and acted upon by a universe that is alive and attuned to my every choice. Hope is creative. My hope becomes a bridge to peace. I can walk in nature…watch the sunset…talk with a friend. Hope creates a space where solutions can appear and peace can return.” -Rev. Jane Beach
“…if ye shall say unto this mountain, be though removed, and be cast into the sea; it shall be done. -Matthew 21:21
Power, greed, patriarchy, decisiveness, ugliness, violence…these are are the mountain that will be cast to the sea.
“Our lives and experiences may well be likened to a river. If we stay on the bank of a river and watch it flow by, we become aware that the river never changes but that its content is always new. By analogy, we might say the purposeful dynamic quality of life within us never changes, but the content of our experience of living never remains the same.” -Ernest Holmes
“The need to step into what we fear and, in so doing, disperse its hold on us is powerfully brought to life by a moment in the film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. After searching everywhere within reason and memory for the Holy Grail, Jones stands on an enormous precipice, a deep chasm before him, the Grail waiting on the other side. His father, wounded and depending on the Grail to heal, cries out possible interpretations of the clues Jones has been given to reach the Grail.
After what seems all lifetime of inner debate and escalating fear, she dares, against everything she knows, to step into the void above the chasm, and as she does, an enormous stone foundation appears beneath her feet, a bridge that was there all along. This is a moment of risk and trust, a wisdom moment that repeats itself in our lives in both small and large ways.
Over and over, the cup we need to drink from, the ancient every healing cup of wholeness waits beyond some deep chasm we are afraid to cross. Often we are driven to the edge by the cries and clues of elders and loved ones, only to find that nothing makes sense, that there seems nowhere to go. And the the atom of the risk begins to replay itself in those brought to the edge. Beginning with risk and landing in trust reveals a foundation that was there all along, but which is only made visible by our risk to think and see in ways and our trust to step into what we fear.” -Mark Nepo
Then the Migdalah stood up, greeted them all and, raising her right hand, said to her brethren, ‘Only from the truth I tell you, do not weep and do not grieve or be irresolute, for his grace and that of the one who sent him will be entirely with you and will protect you. But rather, let us praise his greatness, for he has prepared us and made us truly human.’
-The Gospel of the Beloved Companion, p. 113
“Yet in reality, she was only an abandoned child, a little girl surviving on her own in a swamp, hungry and cold, but we didn’t help her. Except for one of her only friends, Jumpin’, not one of our churches or community groups offered her food or clothes. Instead, we labeled and rejected her because we thought was was different. But, ladies and gentlemen, did we exclude Miss Clark because she was different, or was she different because we excluded her? If we had taken her in as one of our own, I think that is what she would be today, If we had fed, clothed, and loved her, invited her into our churches and homes, we wouldn’t be prejudiced against her.”
Fr. Richard Rohr: ‘My colleague and Episcopal priest Cynthia Bourgeault writes about this in her book The Meaning of Mary Magdalene:’
Today, within the mainstream of Christian sacramental practice we have indeed forgotten much of what our wisdom forebears once knew. Most Christians are still familiar with anointing only in its most stark and literal form, as the sacrament of “extreme unction,” administered shortly before physical death. While the ceremonial use of anointing for healing is on the increase (and this is a positive trend), even within these healing circles most people are unaware of the tightly interwoven threads that connect this action, through Mary Magdalene, to redemptive love and rebirth into fullness of being. They would be astonished to discover that anointing has not only something but everything to do with bridal mysticism and that it is not physical death but “dying before you die” that is its primary field of reference. To reclaim anointing in its original context would make it the sacramental centerpiece of a whole new vision of Christianity based on spiritual transformation and the alchemy of love.
Center for Action and Contemplation
‘The quantum, the subatomic, the elemental, and the very minerals of the earth.
The very waters that fall upon the earth, run through our rivers, our bodies, and fill our oceans.
The plants, the trees, all living and growing networks that root into this earth.
The animals in our skies, in our oceans, on the land, all creatures great and small.
Human beings: every race, nationality, status, equality, or gender–ALL human bodies.
The angels and the spirits, those that move in the unseen realms and in other dimensions.
The great planetary bodies, the galaxies, and the whole cosmic mystery.’
God loves things by becoming them. -Richard Rohr
No despair of our can alter the reality of things, nor stain the joy of the cosmic dance, which is always there.
-Thomas Merton, 1915-1968
Your religion is not the church you belong to, but the cosmos you live inside of.
“Once we know that the entire physical world around us, all of creation, is both eh hiding place and revelation place for God, this world becomes home, safe, enchanted, offering grace to any who look deeply. I call that kind of deep and cals seeing ‘contemplation.'”
-Richard Rohr, The Universal Christ
“Have I not told you that I am in the spirit as the spirit is in me? It is man who sees only poverty, for he sees with the eyes of the master of the world. But where man sees poverty, the spirit sees only abundance. What the spirit sees, I see, and what I see the spirit sees, and what the spirit sees, is.” -The Gospel of Thomas
For Richard Rohr, there are six simple claims that order the fullness of his finest book “The Universal Christ: How A Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope For, and Believe.”
- Christ is not Jesus’ last name. It’s a word used by the ancients to talk about the anointed one, and the Reality and flow of love in the universe found from the very beginning of time.
- We might then “accept being accepted”– that we are fully loved and embraced as we are, not because of who we are or what we do.
- See Christ in every thing. And not just fun, ecstatic parts of life — but in the depths of grief and pain as well.
- Start with original goodness. Why do Christians so often talk about “original sin?” It’s not even in the Bible. And in fact, the Bible starts with a story about how every thing and every one is good, good, good, and very good.
- Love is the meaning — it’s the underlying energy that powers the universe and available to each and every one of us as a divine flow.
- And, a sacred wholeness, which includes even the negative aspects of life’s way — typified in the Christian story as the cross.
“Jesus of the People”, artist Janet McKenzie
The Christ Mystery is indeed “the way, the truth, and the life,” but this is not about a religion or group one can join (which is how we have heard it), but rather a mystery of Incarnation that can be experienced by all, and in a million different ways.
-Richard Rohr, Oneing
“I think New Mexico was the greatest experience from the outside world that I have every had.” -D.H. Lawrence
One Stone/Boise, Idaho
‘Rise: Voice of a New Generation captures the story of One Stone, a one-of-a-kind, student-led high school in Boise, Idaho, that is reinventing education and changing the balance of power to put students in charge of their own learning. Follow the story of one of the only schools in the country run by students who are exploring a new way forward where their voices shape the future of education and the world.’
It’s exciting to see how this documentary authentically captures our voices as well as this moment in One Stone’s history.
— Lili Serio, One Stone Learner
[Memorial sign in Christchurch.]
[Photo: Camino De Santiago 2014]
For Our Country:
God of the southern sea
and of these islands,
of Maori, Pakeha,
and of all who dwell in our land;
we give you thanks and praise fo our country,
and for what we have achieved together.
Increase our trust in one another;
strengthen our quest for justice,
and bring us to unity and a common purpose.
You have made us of one blood;
make us also of one mind.
A New Zealand Prayer Book 
“As a nation, we have begun to float off into a moral void, and all the sermons of all the priests in the country (if they preach at all) are not going to help much. We have got to the point where the promulgation of any kind of moral standard automatically releases an anti-moral response in a whole lot of people. It is not with them, above all, that I am concerned, but with the ‘good’ people, the right-thinking people, who stick to principle, all right, except where it conflicts with the chance to make money. It seems to me that there are very dangerous ambiguities about our democracy it its actual present condition. I wonder to what extent our ideals are now a front for organized selfishness and systematic irresponsibility. If our affluence society every breaks down and the facade is taken away, what are we going to have left?”
Thomas Merton, Seeds of Destruction
“State and local government total expenditures amount to $2.9 trillion in the United States. While this is less than the federal government’s $4.3 trillion of expenditures, nearly two-thirds of federal total expenditures are transfers (either to individuals or state and local governments). This means that state and local governments have in some respects a more prominent role in decision-making than the federal government. Indeed, state and local governments make key investment decisions—about infrastructure, education, and many other areas—that help determine the long-run capacity of the entire economy.
Mobility across states has declined sharply in the United States, and one reason appears to be that land-use restrictions in economically successful regions make it difficult for many workers to move to these locations. Similarly, transportation resources are not always efficiently allocated, making it more difficult for workers to access high-quality jobs.
This document provides context for policy proposals in the form of nine economic facts about how state and local policies matter for growth. These facts highlight how rigorous cost-benefit analysis, optimal transportation policy, and land-use rules can affect access to opportunity.”
Instead of covering up a previous admission for his despicable college behavior to save his governor seat, the governor of Virginia could have apologized again, after his first direct apologetic response, and then in public forum ask that he be forgiven; then, in turn, allow him to use this time, his platform, for redemption and cultural change for his community, state, and country. Invite people of color to establish ongoing state committees to address race and racial behaviors/profiling.
How many of us have looked at our yearbooks from 35 years prior, or remember the pictures we took part? It is not an excuse. It is reality. The Governor’s fundamental mistake is he did not own his behavior, instead tried to cover up an act he admitted to committing. He wasted and confused a powerful moment of redemption for change.
Now other photos similar in racist behavior are surfacing as well as self-admissions about racial hate/profiling [actor Liam Neeson].
Instead of resigning or terminating positions, can we instead use this time to dialogue on national and community platforms about misguided behaviors, complicit biases, needed changes in language and behavior? Those knowingly guilty of past racial behaviors and rhetoric could add to a culture of redemption and change. This is not a political issue. This is a humanitarian issue. It is invasive and prolific and dangerous. And it continues. We can’t resign this away. Retribution falls to all of us who are complicit in our ignorance and our response.
Blackface is still practiced. One personal anecdote. On a small mid-western liberal arts college campus in 2018 a young student at my daughter’s university dressed in blackface and attended a public event. She later was deactivated from her sorority and forbidden to participate in her graduation ceremony. This is only one event. And it was just last year.
Honesty, dialogue, and redemption. This won’t change until we do.
Father Richard Rohr:
We need to draw close to the pain of the world and allow it to radically change perspective (not push it away).
Embrace imperfection and injustices to allow these situations to change from the inside out.
Reality has a cruciform pattern.
Reality is filled with contradictions.
We have an injury on the body politic in this country, an injury that white Americans inflicted on people of color for generations through oppression and murder. And it continues.
We can not walk away from this…’resign’ it. We must embrace it to end it.
embrace imperfection and injustices to allow these situations to change from the inside out.
“Racist history of blackface began in the 1830’s.”
A racist photo from a 1984 yearbook threatens to end Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s political career. The photo shows two people: one in blackface and one wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood and robe. The image generated intense pressure for Northam to resign and offered the latest example of a prominent white person facing harsh criticism for wearing blackface. Here’s a look at the practice and its history.
If you place two living heart cells from different people in a Petrie dish, they will in time find and maintain a third and common beat.
Yet we often tire ourselves by fighting how our hearts want to join seldom realizing that both strength and peace come from our hears beating in unison with all that is alive. It feels incredibly uplifting that without even knowing each other, there exists a common beat between all hearts, just waiting to be felt.
It brings to mind the time that the great poet Pablo Neruda, near the end of his life, stopped while traveling at the Lota coal mine in rural Chile. He stood there stunned as a miner, rough and blackened by his work inside the earth, strode straight for Neruda, embraced him, and said, “I have known you a long time, my brother.”
“We must be wary of ourselves when the worst that is in man becomes objectified in society, approved, acclaimed and deified, when hatred becomes patriotism and murder a holy duty, when spying and delation are called love of truth and the stool pigeon is a public benefactor, when the gnawing and prurient resentments of frustrated bureaucrats become the conscience of the people and the gangster is enthroned in power, then we must fear the voice of our own heart even when it denounces them. For are we not all trained with the same poison?
As term ends, a commissioner considers legacy,
Larry Schoen looks back at a career in public life
by Mark Dee
Idaho Mountain Express
“I think elected office is immensely challenging. And I felt that, on a personal level, I needed that sort of challenge. I needed to try to live up to my ideals of public service.” Larry Schoen, former Blaine County commissioner
Schoen, who is 63, has had time to consider how a self-described private man transitioned to so public a life in Blaine County. And, he’s had time to consider his motto, which he attached to that career like a goal more than a decade ago: “To leave office with my integrity intact.”
He sat through plans for rampant growth, and saw them hollowed by the global belt-tightening of the Great Recession. He presided during natural disasters, fires and floods that wolfed up swaths of the Wood River Valley in quick and angry bites. He worked on wolves themselves, and other environmental fights that pitted interest against interest. There was Bowe Bergdahl, and the frenzy that swept through Hailey afterward. There were debates with Idaho Power, and Deer Creek and Camp Rainbow Gold—and thousands of other rulings, small to most everyone but the world to those involved, the discrete decisions that make up a career in politics that, at times, surprised Schoen himself.
“I’m a very private person,” he said. “You won’t find a Facebook page for me. You won’t find a lot of personal information out there. I hate having my picture taken, and I’m not very good at remembering people’s names. I’m not the sort of person you’d think of as primed for political life. But I think government service is important. I think elected office is immensely challenging. And I felt that, on a personal level, I needed that sort of challenge. I needed to try to live up to my ideals of public service. ‘To leave office with my integrity intact’—it all goes back to that.”
He turned 18 in 1973, a draft year at the ragged end of America’s involvement in Vietnam. It was a lottery—just luck that his number wasn’t called. Today, with the safety of decades between then and now, he wishes it was.
“I never did military service—I always regretted that,” he said. “I felt that at some point in my life, I needed to do some sort of serious public service. In a way, on a personal level, running for public office was my way of compensating.”
If his work as a reporter helped him explain policy, his life as a farmer helped shape it. He’s tried the three main modes of American living—urban, rural and suburban—and his view for the future of Blaine County is steeped in that experience.
“Hardly anybody has put as much effort into reading things, and parsing language,” said Len Harlig, a former county commissioner who remains a close observer of Blaine County politics. “He’s absolutely meticulous, going through materials to make sure they are correct, and accurate. He brought an efficiency to ordinances. His viewpoint was thorough, exhaustive and unaccepting of any comment not based in vigorous research. Even when you reached different conclusions, you never doubted the effort.”
His environmental record can match anyone’s in the county, according to Harlig, whether that meant advocating for conservation, or securing easements for open space and recreational access, or updating recycling and solid waste.
But Schoen describes himself as a progressive, and a pragmatist. Those combine to form a view of government that is closely tied to customer service, and much of his legacy—from internal communications, to organizational structure, to budgeting procedure—is, like the engine of any operation, hidden under the hood.
“As a county commissioner, Larry was a consummate professional,” said current board Chairman Jacob Greenberg. “His journalism background meant he was our go-to person to articulate policy.”
“Some of the most desirable and valuable communities in America have some of the strictest zoning—thought-out zoning codes that try to project the present and future values of those communities,” he said. “That’s especially true of small ski towns in Europe. And that’s why they still have their charm. We don’t want to lose our charm.”
Maintaining it was part of the Blaine County 2025 planning effort that Schoen participated in during the mid-2000s, as a member of P&Z. Back then, elected officials prepared for an unending boom. There was talk of two new towns—one by Gannett, another at Timmerman Junction. Projections envisioned the population swelling to 80,000 people in 20 years. Soon, Schoen thought, development pressure would burst out into the unincorporated county like champagne past a cork.
“I don’t know that they are all on the same page,” he said. “People acknowledge certain common values, like the need for affordable housing, the need to preserve our public lands and recreational access. The conversations really haven’t been had in a long time. Ketchum is doing its thing. Sun Valley does its thing. Hailey’s doing its thing. We need to work on a regional equation. If people are opposed to increased density in cities, but there’s development pressure, there’s only one place for it to go, and that’s out in the county. The question is, do we want to turn it into a suburbanized area? That’s a question for the community. The community needs to answer.”
Schoen’s personal answer is written across his land. He placed a conservation easement on the property curtailing its ability to be developed; those acres will never be subdivided.
“I would judge his view of county government as that of a purist,” he said. “He interpreted it as it was intended, and was fair in its application.”
Schoen: “When I talk to students, I tell them if you’re going to enter elected office, your main goal shouldn’t be to get re-elected. It should be to do what’s in the best interest of the community. To uphold the law. In a very dynamic, engaged county like ours, that will leave some people happy. Others won’t be. Eventually, that catches up with you.”
“There are roles I’ve been able to play because I was a county commissioner. I’m proud of the connections I’ve made, what I’ve been able to do. This job’s been immensely rewarding—for me personally, and, I hope, for our community.”
[Bob Carr, the creator of Bob’s Crystal Cave near Joshua Tree, Calif., where he welcomed visitors for 15 years.]
Joshua Tree Artist Built A Crystal Cave Of Wonder
With Chicken Wire, Spray Foam
“There’s nothing out there. It’s all you. The whole universe. The etherium. It’s already in you. You’re looking out there.”
Bob could be cryptic, especially when talking about the Crystal Cave. When I asked him why he built it, all Bob would ever say was: “Just plain old unexacerbated joy.”
Despite his radiating happiness, Bob had lived a hard life. He told me he grew up as one of seven kids, to poor parents who fled the Dust Bowl.
“There was never a book in the house. There’s no kind of library, you know,” Bob said. “We didn’t have a shower or a bathtub. Poverty sucks.”
“I needed to express the uncontainable joy I built up over so many years,” he said. “That’s surrender. When I look at you, I can see you. Therefore, I am stunned by the beauty of joy of every single human I meet.”
It may seem strange to suggest that the key to happiness can be found in a spray foam cave, in the middle of the California desert. But Bob taught me that every one of us is capable of making beautiful experiences for each other. Even out of chicken wire and spray foam.
Bob died earlier this month at age 80. He is survived by his wife Elizabeth and daughter Zena. Bob “died as he lived — on his own terms and with dignity and grace,” Elizabeth says.
Bob’s Crystal Cave: https://hiddenca.com/portfolio/bobs-crystal-cave/
“On December 20, DT signed the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 (commonly knows as the Farm Bill) into law. The bill, projected to cost $28 billion over the next five years, is one of the largest spending packages in the country, doling out money for low-income nutrition assistance, crop insurance, commodity subsidies and conservation programs, among other things. Learn more about the triumphs and failures of the new farm bill from Marion Nestle on Food Politics and Dan Imhoff on Civil Eats.” -Local Food Alliance
The bill takes up 807 pages, with a table of contents of 11 pages. It will cost taxpayers $867 billion over ten years. That’s more than $1 billion per page.
by Marion Nestle
Recall that more than 75% of Farm Bill expenditures go for SNAP—The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly Food Stamps).
The “bipartisan win”? Attempts to cut SNAP expenditures and introduce work requirements failed to pass (whew), although Congress is still working on ways to cut enrollments.
The bill allows payments to more distant relatives of farm owners—cousins, nieces, nephews—a gift to the already rich. Payments can still go to those earning more than $900,000 a year in adjusted gross income (sigh).
The bill authorizes $395 million in research funding over the next 10 years, and small amounts for data collection, offset of certification costs, and technology upgrades. But the bill weakens restrictions on chemicals that can be used in organic production.
The bill grants $2 million a year for support of hemp as a crop, and authorizes USDA to study the economic viability of its domestic production and sale. It also authorizes Indian tribes (that’s the term the bill uses) to grow hemp.
The bill allows funding for USDA trade promotion programs in Cuba.
The Managers recognize that expanding trade with Cuba not only represents an opportunity for American farmers and ranchers, but also a chance to improve engagement with the Cuban people in support of democratic ideas and human rights…The Managers expect that the Secretary will work closely with eligible trade organizations to educate them about allowable activities to improve exports to Cuba under the Market Access and Foreign Market Development Cooperator Programs.
JOIN THE GRANGE
Founded in 1924, Upper Big Wood River Grange, aka the Hailey Grange, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, fraternal organization that advocates for rural America and agriculture. It also is home to the Wood River Seed Library’s Seed Vault. Learn about becoming a member at the Grange’s January 17 Meeting and Annual New Member Drive – 7:15-8:45pm, at Grange Hall, 609 South 3rd Ave. in Hailey. Guest speaker Aimée Christensen, founder and executive director of Sun Valley Institute, will talk about resiliency and food-related risks and opportunities before us.
Like many “adult” things I try to explain to her (daughter) these days, this one made little intuitive sense. “Because he doesn’t want our neighbors to be able to get in,” I said.
Our president’s desire for a wall has all but brought our country to a standstill. And while his unforgivable dehumanization of immigrants is deeply rooted in white supremacy, the morning chat with my daughter reminds me that it’s also deeply rooted in America’s obsession with private ownership.
I might not be a white supremacist, but I live in a neighborhood — as you likely do — where we live among fences and organize our lives around the maintenance of our own homes and cars and possessions. When those in the upper middle class need help, as we inevitably do, we hire someone — a house cleaner, a childcare provider, an in-home nurse. We underpay these people and keep them off of our social media feeds. In that way, it’s not just our physical surroundings and stuff that we maintain with a lot of attention and energy; it’s our performance of self-sufficiency.
Each day, in a hundred little ways, elite American families build a mental wall between ourselves — capable, efficient, and deserving — and the others — the weak, sick, addicted, uneducated, undeserving. We may even pity the latter, but we don’t — as a rule — believe that our thriving has anything to do with their struggle. Not really. We have our house, our car, our country. They have theirs.
We may have more empathy for immigrants than President Trump, but our daily actions don’t teach our children that each human being on this planet deserves dignity. We tell our kids to share but do little of it ourselves. Maybe, in addition to fighting his walls and his white supremacy, we should be doing more to welcome our own suffering neighbors.
In other words, where are the places where neglect and a lack of moral imagination exist in my life and in the life of my family? I’m trying not to just tell the story over and over again about how much I abhor this president’s politics, but also tell a new story about us.