‘…amid the noise and haste.’

October 26, 2021

[Read by Shane Morris, music by Tony Anderson.]

From Marianne Williamson:

Today, the world is so tired and weary. There is an exhaustion that permeates, not only our civilization but seemingly others as well. We have so descacralized our planet that is hard to find meaning here. Too many don’t remember where we came from, who we are, or what we’re doing here. And without a sense of higher purpose, it’s impossible to achieve inner peace.

Our biggest problem, perceived by many, is that this cannot continue. The situation is untenable. It’s as though our global civilization is having a collective nervous breakdown, an identity crisis, as humanity has lost its essential connection to a moral universe. Created in love, we have become masters at lovelessness. Those standing for the most sacred values are trampled on by soulless powers. The most basic principles of right living are treated like they don’t even matter.

So now, we are where we are…living on the most beautiful planet but recklessly destroying it; created as brothers and sisters but treating each other like enemies; gifted with the most amazing powers of science and technology but using them more often for personal gain and destructive purposes than for universal good.

That we are on a self-destructive path, is clear. And I believe in my heart that enough of us get that. The question of our time thus becomes this: are we ready to consider that there might be another way? In A Course in Miracles, it says the line in the Bible “Heaven and Earth shall be as one” means they will no longer exist as two separate states. Heaven – or the awareness of our oneness – can be the consciousness that guides our lives right here, right now. We can live on the earth but think only the thoughts of heaven. We can allow love, and humanitarian values, to order our hearts and to order our societies. It is possible, and it will happen, if and when enough of us are ready to say so and make it real.

Reading Marianne’s words, I was reminded of a poem I first discovered in the 70’s, although first published in the early 1920’s. ‘Desiderata’ is Latin for ‘things desired.’ A simple, beautiful prose that speaks to our time, a time we are experiencing in deep layers of transformation, evolution, and perhaps, revolution. May it be non-violent as we continue to unfold our singular and collective experience. Ahimsa. ~dayle

Desiderata [original text]

‘GO PLACIDLY amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.’

-Max Ehrmann

 

Politeia

October 17, 2021

Marianne Williamson, Oct. 17th.

The word politics derives the root “politeia,” which means “of the people.” It doesn’t mean “of the government,” or “of the political parties,” or “of a political class.” It means “of the people.” It’s not a spectator sport, or a game. It’s our collective participation in things that mean life or death to millions of people, and ultimately to the planet and the species itself.

Whenever I hear someone say, “I’m not into politics,” I’m reminded of an old French saying, “If you don’t do politics, politics will do you.” To me, politics is a natural extension of the effort to live a decent life. We’re living in a world where it’s impossible to be a responsible citizen and concern ourselves only with things that affect us directly.

Add to that, anything that’s a public issue will ultimately make its way to your private door. Irresponsible environmental policies will ultimately affect the air you breathe and the weather conditions you experience; bloated defense spending bleeds over into militarized domestic police forces; and the allowance of toxic chemicals in our food and water affect the health of our own children. Public policies aren’t abstract, but rather practical realities that touch millions of people’s live not only here, but around the world. They are the living consequences of our collective behavior as it is expressed in who we vote for, what we lobby for, and what we stand for day to day.

Climate Emergency

‘In order to receive the Native American tradition of exchange, put down the idea that the earth is nothing more than a vast accumulation of natural resources, learning from all our relations.’ -Steven Charleston, Choctaw Nation

For Senator Joe Manchin:

From Dan Rather, Elliot Kirschner, and Steady Team, Will We Vote For Planet Earth?

“I must confess that as a journalist and a citizen, I came too late to a full grappling of the scope of our global climate crisis.

Reporting on the news, I of course was aware of the issue bubbling forth in the distant horizons of the newscycle decades ago. But it was too easy to cover it as theoretical. Its epic and all-encompassing stature made it difficult for me to put it into adequate context. World wars I could somehow understand. I lived through one. I could even understand a Cold War that put all of Earth in peril. But the idea that somehow the accrual of the countless small actions of modern life – picking up groceries at the store, turning up the heat, buying furniture made overseas – could invisibly threaten the balance of the planet, was difficult to grasp. And even for journalists, the noise produced by those who “questioned the science” was disruptive and destructive.

That I have not been alone in my evolution on this issue does not provide me with much solace. That far too many others still do not see the ruinous urgency of this moment, fills me with sadness and dread. My journey on our precious planet is nearing an end, but I think of my children, my grandchildren, and the countless billions just starting life and those yet unborn. What kind of world will they inherit?

These thoughts are never far below the surface, and they can rush forth with great power at the slightest provocation. But what we are seeing now in the United States Senate, specifically the actions of Joe Manchin who is insisting that powerful provisions meant to heal our dependence on dirty fossil fuels be stripped from the reconciliation bill, is not merely an act of denial. It is a line in the sand that will soon be wiped away by rising seas – both literal and figurative.

Senator Manchin deserves all the scrutiny he is getting. Reporters should try to follow the money and dig into his strong connections to coal and other fossil fuel interests. But I suspect he will not ever budge. And furthermore, all fair coverage should also state at the top of the story that the entire Republican caucus stands with him in opposition to meaningful action on the climate crisis. A few years ago, I would marvel at how this one issue could generate such complete disregard, and indeed contempt, for scientific consensus. But with the pandemic we see the rot on that score is far more pervasive.

I think that for younger readers it might be difficult to see how much has changed on this issue, even as the kind of meaningful action we need remains maddingly elusive. When I was a child growing up in Houston, it was a small city with aspirations of greatness. Its path to wealth would be paved with oil, a business that employed my father even during the dark days of the Great Depression. We had no idea that something we pulled from the ground could be so destructive. Rather we saw it as the means for breathtaking progress. Cars went from a luxury to an accessible part of daily life. We could move in ways we hadn’t before. We could power light during darkness. We saw fossil fuels we as the foundation for modernity.

All the while, as we burned oil, gas, and coal, we saw what could be accomplished with energy. It helped us defeat the Nazis. It propelled us into space. It brought higher standards of living to the far corners of the globe. We were not immune to its dirtiness. We could see the polluted air, the oil spills, the coal mines. But like much of the early environmental movement, the focus was almost exclusively on local and regional pollution – a lake, a shoreline, or the air trapped in a valley.

As scientists began to sound the alarm with increased frequency and fear, the issue of our climate did migrate more firmly into the center of our political consciousness as well. But even for people who really understood it and cared about it, it had a way of hovering in the middle level of lists of concern. So we dithered, stalled, and took half measures. Cynical actors framed the issue as the environment on one side and our economy on the other, without enough people understanding the fate of the two would become increasingly intertwined. The echoes of what we have seen with the pandemic in this regard, and others, are chilling.

What is so frustrating is that we already know where this story will go. The climate will get worse. The deadly impacts, already being felt all around the world, will increase. The younger generation, already more revved up for action, will replace those who rose to power during the age of inaction. And eventually we will act to stem damage that was avoidable if we had acted earlier. There will be a time when we will not get energy from fossil fuels. There will be no other choice. The choice of how to do it and how fast is the one for our moment (and the moments already past). But our political system, mired in stasis, is blinking once again.

It is easy to write about the climate and play the notes of despair. This is not being cynical; there is bad news everywhere. But like the pandemic, there can be reasons for hope. Science is giving us remarkable tools to fight this. The costs of alternative energy are plummeting. We will continue to innovate in how we make and use energy. We can learn about remediation efforts, the role of forests to capture carbon, and new hi-tech tools. More and more people will go into fields looking to undo the damage. With all the activity and money that will flow into the field, there will be new inventions that we cannot predict. In the meantime, we can prioritize local and state action. And most importantly we can elevate climate change to be at the top of our agenda.

I believe it can be a rallying cry for voters. I didn’t believe that in the past. But as the issue becomes worse, the salience of it as a reason to vote will increase. The energy (no pun intended) I see around fighting climate change has become palpable. As we deal with storms and fires and heat waves, as we see greater flooding and droughts, I suspect we will see more demands made at the ballot box. I don’t think the political class fully understands how quickly this can become an explosive issue. Much as vaccine mandates are popular so too will big action on the climate. Here there really is a silent majority and it will only grow. It’s long past time, however, that it stopped being so silent.

I will use whatever platform I have to raise this issue with consistency and urgency. I hope you will help me amplify the message and add your own voices. I know many of you feel you have been in this battle for a long time, and that the results have been woefully inadequate. That is true. But I have seen this before in other instances – the old saw of it being darkest before the dawn. Far too much damage to Earth has already occurred, but there will be progress in ways we cannot predict. There will be action, and the sooner it happens the more of our precious home we can save.”

Robert Ellsberg, “Has there ever been a pop who spoke like this? Pope Francis’s message to the World Meeting of Popular Movements.”

“Right now our brains and hands are not enough, we also need our hearts and our imagination; we need to dream so that we do not go backwards.” 

Environmentalist Bill McKibben:

(Senator Joe Manchin) plans to gut Biden’s climate plan, and with it the chances for swift global progress. This is high on the list of most consequential actions ever taken by an individual Senator; you’ll be able to see the impact of this vain man in the geologic record.

Democracy.

“Democracy has never been and never been and never can be so durable as aristocracy or monarchy; but while it lasts, it is more bloody than either. […] Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself.

There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.

It is in vain to say that democracy is less vain, less proud, less selfish, less ambitious, or less avaricious than aristocracy or monarchy. It is not true, in fact, and nowhere appears in history.

Those passions are the same in all men, under all forms of simple government, and the unchecked, produce the same effects of fraud, violence, and cruelty.

When clear prospects are opened before vanity, pride, avarice, or ambition, for their easy gratification, it is hard for the most considerate philosophers and the most conscientious moralists to resist the temptation. Individuals have conquered themselves. Nations and large bodies of men, never.”

-John Adams

🤍

October 15, 2021

 

 

 

MASS

Boise State Public Radio

‘It’s about themes of forgiveness, themes about reconciliation, about healing, and physical harm, about connection. Beautiful and shattering film. “The Chicago Reader compared the script to Tennessee Williams, adding it is “riveting, unforgettable.”

‘…the choice of the Wood River Valley as a backdrop for his (Fran Kranz) movie: “Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Hailey is a beautiful red brick church. It’s gorgeous. But it also has this modesty. It has a humility about it. It has an authenticity.”’

‘Just prior to his film opening in Idaho, Fran Kranz visited with Morning Edition host George Prentice to talk about the powerful themes of his film, and his choice of the Wood River Valley as a backdrop for his movie.’

Fran Kranz:

I had my daughter, my first child was born and my only child was born September twenty sixteen. And so she was about a little over a year old when the Parkland shooting happened and I was devastated. And this completely new and surprising way. I remember listening to a parent that day and having to pull over while I was driving. I was listening to this on the radio and I was so overwhelmed and I thought it was strange. I honestly just thought, what’s going on? I’ve never reacted this way, and the obvious answer was that I was a father now and it changed my perspective. And then what? What happened after was essentially just I. I became obsessive and went down a rabbit hole of research reading about mass shootings, school shootings, anything I could find on the subject.

I looked at churches as you know, there’s beautiful churches in Idaho, but I. And look, Emanuel Episcopal in Hailey is a beautiful brick red brick church. It’s gorgeous, but it also has this modesty. It has a humility about it. It has an authenticity about it where it’s not a grand design, you know, and nothing against. The church is in Ketchum, but they’re they’re esthetically sort of magnificent, right, and I thought, No, no, no, no, that’s that’s not what this is.

There was a sort of a mantra to the movie of embracing discomfort. So we’re in we’re in just a plain white room, you know, we’re in a church that we cannot use photography or production design to help us tell this story. That’s not what the story is about the stories about these people in the in the courageous thing that they’re doing by coming together to deal with their pain.

Hailey Emanuel Episcopal and Hailey was the last church I saw actually on that trip, and it was really, really came down to Leah Koval, Reverend Leah Koval, who (ran) that church. I spoke with her that day and it sort of turned into a therapy session, which made me really uncomfortable. She said to me, listening to my story and the story I wanted to tell, she said, I I hope you can start to enjoy being a father. And I thought I was just, it makes me so emotional, just even saying that today it just it just penetrated. It just hit me when I wanted to get out of there. But I also knew this is it. This is the church. So we, we we got gearing up for an Idaho production.

@georgepren

#Mass

#Idaho

Free Press, Disinformation, and John Oliver

On Sunday’s airing of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, the show featured a segment on how Facebook and other social-media platforms are failing to address the rising threat of non-English disinformation. Here’s the inside scoop: For the past two months, members of Free Press Action’s staff worked with one of the producers of Last Week Tonight to help focus the show on this very issue!

With a reach of more than 4 million viewers, this Last Week Tonight segment was a milestone accomplishment in our efforts to raise awareness of this critical problem — one that disproportionately harms Black and Brown communities. None of this work would be possible without you and we’re eager to double down on our efforts to fight disinformation in all languages.

Back in late 2020, we began uncovering the depths of non-English disinformation on Facebook. We learned that less than one third of disinformation in Spanish is flagged on Facebook, compared to 70% of English-language content. Since then, we’ve launched the #YaBastaFacebook campaign with our partners to urge the platform to fully enforce its rules against non-English disinformation.

But this problem is hardly limited to Facebook and we haven’t seen enough meaningful action from the other platforms, either.

That’s why we are demanding that Nextdoor, Twitter, YouTube (and Facebook!) come clean about how they’re moderating non-English-language content.

Fight Back with Free Press Action

Disinformation doesn’t just divide us — it can have real life-and-death consequences, especially during the pandemic. And all of us are fed up.

Free Press Action has been leading the charge for accurate news and information from before the Trump era to today. Right now our team is preparing a sophisticated multi-pronged approach to effectively battle disinformation on multiple fronts in the weeks and months ahead — including getting Trump and his PAC kicked off Facebook for good.

Will you donate today to fund this fight? Every gift will be matched dollar for dollar up to $10,000 — but only through Oct. 31.

Please give today!

https://act.freepress.net/donate/don_disinfo_mrc?akid=19443.9807027.__euoo&amount=100&donation_type=single&prefill=1&rd=1&t=5

L O V E

October 14, 2021

F

E

A

R

Notre-Dame of Geneva basilica. Angel fighting Satan as a dragon.

‘At the deepest level of our being, of course, all of us need love. But often our love is like a frightened child, crouching in the chamber of our heart and afraid to come out. Capable of singing with the voice of an angel, it whispers instead, in fear of being laughed at. Meant to extend its blessing to all the world, it cowers in fear of being punished for having tried.

Fear, however, has no such compunction. It seeks to nullify love. It yells, it struts, it wars, it destroys without regret, it laughs at human suffering. It kills.

Right now, greed is put into action, fear is put into action, military madness is put into action, corruption is put into action, voter suppression is put into action, racial injustice is put into action, authoritarianism is put into action…and the list goes on.

Surely it’s our job now to put love into action.

But we’re living at a time when love must expand its influence beyond just personal to collective expression.

Such considerations are at odds with a dominant economic paradigm that puts short term profit before all else.

“I didn’t do it! It was my government!” will only take us so far at this point. Ignorance is not an excuse before the law, either worldly or spiritual. Spiritually we’re not even ignorant of the Law, so much as we’re just choose to ignore it.’

That needs to change.

All of us need to play our part. When hate speaks loudly, it’s not enough for love to whisper….

~Marianne

https://mariannewilliamson.substack.com/p/love-in-action


Contagious commerce

Early adopters change the world.

While one person choosing not to eat meat will have a small impact on our climate, it will have a much bigger impact on the restaurants, groceries and food suppliers who notice what you’re doing.

They’ll change what they offer, and that will lead to a multiplier effect of other people changing their habits.

Buying an electric car or installing solar before they’re the obvious economic choice has the same impact. Because once marketers and investors discover that there’s a significant group that likes to go first, they’re far more likely to invest the time and energy to improve what’s already there.

The same goes for philanthropy. When some people eagerly fund a non-profit with a solution that’s still in beta, it makes it easier (and more likely) that someone else will start one as well.

It also happens in the other direction. If we buy from a spamming telemarketer, abandon a trusted brand to save a buck or succumb to the hustle, the market notices.

Very few people have the leverage to change the world. But all of us have the chance to change the people around us, and those actions change what gets built, funded and launched.

~Seth Godin

Predatory capitalism refers to cultural acceptance of domination and exploitation as normal economic practice. … Less well scrutinized is how predatory capitalism has disrupted non-economic institutions, particularly cultural, social and democratic institutions.

~Austrialian National University

http://regnet.anu.edu.au/news-events/events/7326/predatory-capitalism-and-disrupted-institutions

True investigative journalism.

Outrage Grows Over Jailing of Children as Tennessee University Cuts Ties With Judge Involved
NYTIMES

When It Costs $53,000 to Vote

Mr. Winter is a staff photographer on assignment in Opinion. Mr. Wegman is a member of the editorial board.

‘Earlier this year we asked Floridians whose voting rights had been denied because of a criminal conviction to sit for photographs, wearing a name tag that lists not their name but their outstanding debt — to the extent they can determine it. This number, which many people attempt to tackle in installments as low as $30 a month, represents how much it costs them to win back a fundamental constitutional right, and how little it costs the state to withhold that right and silence the voices of hundreds of thousands of its citizens. The number also echoes the inmate identification number that they were required to wear while behind bars — another mark of the loss of rights and freedoms that are not restored upon release.

This is the way it’s been in Florida for a century and a half, ever since the state’s Constitution was amended shortly after the Civil War to bar those convicted of a felony from voting. That ban, like similar ones in many other states, was the work of white politicians intent on keeping ballots, and thus political power, out of the hands of millions of Black people who had just been freed from slavery and made full citizens.

Even as other states began reversing their own bans in recent years, Florida remained a holdout — until 2018, when Floridians overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment restoring voting rights to nearly everyone with a criminal record, upon the completion of their sentence. (Those convicted of murder or a felony sexual offense were excluded.)

Democratic and Republican voters alike approved the measure, which passed with nearly two-thirds support. Immediately, as many as 1.4 million people in the state became eligible to vote. It was the biggest expansion of voting rights in decades, anywhere in the country.

That should have been the end of it. But within a year, Florida’s Republican-led Legislature gutted the reform by passing a law defining a criminal sentence as complete only after the person sentenced has paid all legal financial obligations connected to it.

Even relatively small debts can be permanently disenfranchising for people who simply don’t bring in enough money to pay them off. General Peterson, 63, served a total of three and a half years on three convictions and believes he still owes around $1,100 in fees. He is retired and using his Social Security check to make monthly payments of $30 on the debt. “You want to help me pay it? That’d be fine with me,” he said.’


The vacuum created by the collapse of independent local news in America has given rise to ghost papers, partisan hackery, unverified rumors, and worse. Yet, new cohorts of news organizations are taking root to fill that void, often supported by philanthropy, public contributions, and new creative means of sustainability. At stake is the information that all citizens need to participate in democracy. S. Mitra Kalita, co-founder and CEO of URL Media, a network of Black-and Brown-owned media organizations sharing content, distribution, and revenues, and Stewart Vanderwilt, president and CEO of Colorado Public Radio, discuss the changing landscape of news gathering with Vivian Schiller, executive director of Aspen Digital at the Aspen Institute.

https://www.aspenideas.org/sessions/local-news-and-why-it-matters-to-democracy?utm_source=ActiveCampaign&utm_medium=email&utm_content=📰+Keeping+local+news+alive+matters++Here+s+why&utm_campaign=AIN+Newsletter+10+14+21


 

The purity of peace.

October 9, 2021

Bridge pose, Setu Bandha Sarvangasana.

This asana is often used as a transitional pose to realign the spine. Practice Bride with the shoulders flat on the mat, and press the feet into the mat as the hips are gently lifted. Relax your glutei, and notice that the the strength of the grounded shoulders and feet allows the heart energy to rise, bridging love. -Cindy Senarighi & Heidi Green

“Love is the bridge between you and everything.” -Rumi

Meditation on 

P

E

A

C

E

Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, B’ahi, Green Orthodox, Christian: The path of peace as we should all live. Let peace begin with us, on our mats, in our homes, on the job, and in the world. The way of peace taught by the prophet Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Be reminded as to our own role in bringing peace to this world, out of the ditches and onto the bridge of love.

☮️

The Mother Trees

CBS

Northern California wildfires may have killed hundreds of giant sequoias as they swept through groves of the majestic monarchs in the Sierra Nevada, an official says.

“It’s heartbreaking,” said Christy Brigham, head of resource management and science for Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks.

The lightning-caused KNP Complex that erupted on Sept. 9 has burned into 15 giant sequoia groves in the park, Brigham said.

More than 2,000 firefighters were battling the blaze in sometimes treacherous terrain. On Wednesday afternoon, four people working on the fire were injured when a tree fell on them, the National Park Service reported.

The four were airlifted to hospitals and “while the injuries are serious, they are in stable condition,” the report said. It didn’t provide other details.

The KNP Complex was only 11% contained after burning 134 square miles of forest. Cooler weather has helped slow the flames and the area could see some slight rain on Friday, forecasters said.

The fire’s impact on giant sequoia groves was mixed. Most saw low- to medium-intensity fire behavior that the sequoias have evolved to survive, Brigham said.

However, it appeared that two groves – including one with 5,000 trees – were seared by high-intensity fire that can send up 100-foot flames capable of burning the canopies of the towering trees.

That leaves the monarchs at risk of going up “like a horrible Roman candle,” Brigham said.

Two burned trees fell in Giant Forest, which is home to about 2,000 sequoias, including the General Sherman Tree, which is considered the world’s largest by volume. However, the most notable trees survived and Brigham said the grove appeared to be mostly intact.

In one grove, Dickman counted 29 sequoias that were “just incinerated,” he told CNN.

“There were four of those that had burned so hot that they’d fallen over,” he said.

The 152-acre fire was 75% contained.

cbsnews.com

Highly recommend:

Imagine if Zuckerberg and the media spent as much energy and time covering the climate emergency, our planet, our dear Gaia, as they do the former president and hateful, divisive rhetoric. Imagine. Two senators, two, tied to fossil fuel and special interests, dark money, may proclude our ability to change this awful climate trajectory. Zero compassion for Earth and humanity’s future. They. Do. Not. Care. Only power, greed, self-interest. I live in Idaho. Our elected leaders do not represent their constituents, only the GOP and their lobbyists. They will do nothing. -dayle

“Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord.

1 Chronicles 16:33

What is ours to do?

October 8, 2021

“Today, American is in turmoil. Discord and hatred are dissolving our communal bonds and undermining the spirit of social responsibility–the duty we feel toward one another.” -Marianne

We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. – Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love

🌸

My soul is imprinted with the yearning to be more.

“Just as a flower bends toward the sun, I bend toward the lure of spirit. In my heart I am restless, for I know I am called to the greatness of my true being. Let me not tarry in my weaker places.” -Marianne

‘Civil’ Society

Kurt Thigpen was met with vitriol shortly after he became a school board member in Washoe County, Nevada. Credit: David Calvert, special to ProPublica

We’re Losing Our Humanity, and the Pandemic Is to Blame
“What the hell is happening? I feel like we are living on another planet. I don’t recognize anyone anymore.”

by Sarah Smith

Kurt Thigpen clenched his hands around the edge of the table because if he couldn’t feel the sharp edges digging into his palms, he would have to think about how hard his heart was beating. He was grateful that his mask hid his expression. He hoped that no one could see him sweat.

A woman approached the lectern in the center aisle, a thick American flag scarf looped around her neck.

“Do you realize the mask, the CDC said it’s only 2% effective?” she demanded. “You’re failing our children, you’re failing our country, you’re failing our students’ future ….”

Thigpen fixed his eyes on a spot in the back of the blue-and-green auditorium. He let the person speaking at the lectern fade. It will be over soon, he told himself.

“No, you’re not the boss of me, you work for us, I can’t breathe with it on —”

“Ma’am —”

“Don’t you dare cut my microphone —”

The crowd cheered. Thigpen focused on his breathing.

It will end soon, he told himself. It must. His sweat turned cold under his suit.

“The science isn’t there, take the kids outta the masks and let’s move on.”

When the eight-hour meeting finally ended, he would drive home and pull off the suit and rip off his shirt. He would only take care with his rainbow tie, resting it gently in the closet. It still hangs there today. He would close the door, lay down on his bed, and let himself cry.

The stories of cruel, seemingly irrational and sometimes-violent conflicts over coronavirus regulations have become lingering symptoms of the pandemic as it drags through its second year. Two men on a Mesa-to-Provo flight got into a cross-aisle fight after one refused to wear a mask. A Tennessee teenager asking his school board to impose a mask mandate in honor of his grandmother who died of COVID-19 got jeered by the crowd. A California parent angered by the requirement that his child wear a mask allegedly beat up a teacher so badly that the teacher had to go to the emergency room. An Arizona father showed up to an elementary school with zip ties, allegedly intending to make a “citizen’s arrest” over COVID-19 rules. A Missouri medical center has distributed panic buttons to about 400 employees after an increase in assaults on health care workers by people frustrated over coronavirus-induced visitation restrictions and long wait times.

“What the hell is happening?” said Rachel Patterson, who owns a hair salon in Huntsville, Alabama, and who has been screamed at, cussed out and walked out on for asking clients to don a mask. “Like, I feel like we are living on another planet. Like I don’t — I don’t recognize anyone anymore.”

Full piece: https://www.propublica.org/article/were-losing-our-humanity-and-the-pandemic-is-to-blame

Upworthy:

The National School Boards Association sent a letter to the Biden Administration stating that, “These heinous actions could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.”

The threats have prompted U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to address the issue. In response, Garland directed federal authorities to meet with local law enforcement over the next month to discuss strategies for addressing the increase in “harassment, intimidation and threats of violence against school board members, teachers and workers” in public schools across the country.

Just about every American would agree that we should work to protect school board members from threats of violence. However, Fox News reporter Peter Doocy used Garland’s decision to crack down on violent threats as a way to rile up conservatives.

Just about every American would agree that we should work to protect school board members from threats of violence. However, Fox News reporter Peter Doocy used Garland’s decision to crack down on violent threats as a way to rile up conservatives.

He completely mischaracterized Garland’s directive in a question he asked White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday.

“Does the administration agree that parents upset about their kids’ curriculums could be considered domestic terrorists?” he asked.

“Let me unravel this a little bit,” Psaki answered, saying that Garland is “correct” to say that threats of violence against public servants “run counter to our nation’s core values.”

“Regardless of the reasoning,” she said, “threats and violence against public servants is illegal.”

FOX NEWS mandate from TV host Tucker Carlson [HuffPost]

Your response when you see children wearing masks as they play should be no different from your response when you see someone beat a kid in Walmart. Call the police immediately. Contact child protective services. Keep calling until someone arrives. What you’re looking at is abuse, it’s child abuse, and you’re morally obligated to attempt to prevent it.”

MOTHER JONES:

September/October issue

The Real Source of America’s Rising Rage

We are at war with ourselves, but not for the reasons you think.

by Kevin Drum

Americans sure are angry these days. Everyone says so, so it must be true.

But who or what are we angry at? Pandemic stresses aside, I’d bet you’re not especially angry at your family. Or your friends. Or your priest or your plumber or your postal carrier. Or even your boss.

Unless, of course, the conversation turns to politics. That’s when we start shouting at each other. We are way, way angrier about politics than we used to be, something confirmed by both common experience and formal research.

When did this all start? Here are a few data points to consider. From 1994 to 2000, according to the Pew Research Center, only 16 percent of Democrats held a “very unfavorable” view of Republicans, but then these feelings started to climb. Between 2000 and 2014 it rose to 38 percent and by 2021 it was about 52 percent. And the same is true in reverse for Republicans: The share who intensely dislike Democrats went from 17 percent to 43 percent to about 52 percent.

Likewise, in 1958 Gallup asked people if they’d prefer their daughter marry a Democrat or a Republican. Only 28 percent cared one way or the other. But when Lynn Vavreck, a political science professor at UCLA, asked a similar question a few years ago, 55 percent were opposed to the idea of their children marrying outside their party.

Or consider the right track/wrong track poll, every pundit’s favorite. Normallythis hovers around 40–50 percent of the country who think we’re on the right track, with variations depending on how the economy is doing. But shortly after recovering from the 2000 recession, this changed, plunging to 20–30 percent over the next decade and then staying there.

Finally, academic research confirms what these polls tell us. Last year a team of researchers published an international study that estimated what’s called “affective polarization,” or the way we feel about the opposite political party. In 1978, we rated people who belonged to our party 27 points higher than people who belonged to the other party. That stayed roughly the same for the next two decades, but then began to spike in the year 2000. By 2016 it had gone up to 46 points—by far the highest of any of the countries surveyed—and that’s beforeeverything that has enraged us for the last four years.

What’s the reason for this? There’s no shortage of speculation. Political scientists talk about the fragility of presidential systems. Sociologists explicate the culture wars. Historians note the widening divide between the parties after white Southerners abandoned the Democratic Party following the civil rights era. Reporters will regale you with stories about the impact of Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich.

Theory #1: Americans Have Gone Crazy With Conspiracy Theories

It’s probably illegal to talk about the American taste for conspiracy theorizing without quoting from Richard Hofstadter’s famous essay, “The Paranoid Style in American Politics.” It was written in 1964, but this passage (from the book version) about the typical conspiracy monger should ring a bell for the modern reader:

He does not see social conflict as something to be mediated and compromised, in the manner of the working politician. Since what is at stake is always a conflict between absolute good and absolute evil, the quality needed is not a willingness to compromise but the will to fight things out to a finish. Nothing but complete victory will do.

Or how about this passage from Daniel Bell’s “The Dispossessed”? It was written in 1962:

The politics of the radical right is the politics of frustration—the sour impotence of those who find themselves unable to understand, let alone command, the complex mass society that is the polity today…Insofar as there is no real left to counterpoise to the right, the liberal has become the psychological target of that frustration.

In other words, the extreme right lives to own the libs. And it’s no coincidence that both Hofstadter and Bell wrote about this in the early ’60s: That was about the time that the John Birch Society was gaining notoriety and the Republican Party nominated Barry Goldwater for president. But as Hofstadter in particular makes clear, a fondness for conspiracy theories has pervaded American culture from the very beginning. Historian Bernard Bailyn upended revolutionary-era history and won a Pulitzer Prize in 1968 for his argument that belief in a worldwide British conspiracy against liberty “lay at the heart of the Revolutionary movement”—an argument given almost Trumpian form by Sam Adams, who proclaimed that the British empire literally wanted to enslave white Americans. Conspiracy theories that followed targeted the Bavarian Illuminati, the Masons, Catholics, East Coast bankers, a global Jewish cabal, and so on.

But because it helps illuminate what we face now, let’s unpack the very first big conspiracy theory of the modern right, which began within weeks of the end of World War II.

In 1945 FDR met with Joseph Stalin and Winston Churchill at Yalta with the aim of gaining agreement about the formation of the United Nations and free elections in Europe. In this he succeeded: Stalin agreed to everything FDR proposed. When FDR returned home he gave a speech to Congress about the meeting, and it was generally well received. A month later he died.

Needless to say, Stalin failed to observe most of the agreements he had signed. He never had any intention of allowing “free and fair” elections in Eastern Europe, which he wanted as a buffer zone against any future military incursion from Western Europe. The United States did nothing about this, to the disgust of many conservatives. However, this was not due to any special gutlessness on the part of Harry Truman or anyone in the Army. It was because the Soviet army occupied Eastern Europe when hostilities ended and there was no way to dislodge it short of total war, something the American public had no appetite for.

And there things might have stood. Scholars could have argued for years about whether FDR was naive about Stalin, or whether there was more the US and its allies could have done to push Soviet troops out of Europe. Books would have been written and dissertations defended, but not much more. So far we have no conspiracy theory, just some normal partisan disagreement.

But then came 1948. Thomas Dewey lost the presidency to Harry Truman and Republicans lost control of the House. Soon thereafter the Soviet Union demonstrated an atomic bomb and communists overran China. It was at this point that a normal disagreement turned into a conspiracy theory. The extreme right began suggesting that FDR had deliberately turned over Eastern Europe to Stalin and that the US delegation at Yalta had been rife with Soviet spies. Almost immediately Joe McCarthy was warning that the entire US government was infiltrated by communists at the highest levels. J. Robert Oppenheimer, the architect of the Manhattan Project, was surely a communist. George Marshall, the hero of World War II, was part of “a conspiracy on a scale so immense as to dwarf any previous such venture in the history of man.”

Like most good conspiracy theories, there was a kernel of truth here. Stalin really did take over Eastern Europe. Alger Hiss, part of the Yalta delegation, really did turn out to be a Soviet mole. Klaus Fuchs and others really did pass along atomic secrets to the Soviets. Never mind that Stalin couldn’t have been stopped; never mind that Hiss was a junior diplomat who played no role in the Yalta agreements; never mind that Fuchs may have passed along secrets the Soviets already knew. It was enough to power a widespread belief in McCarthy’s claim of the biggest conspiracy in all of human history.

There’s no polling data from back then, but belief in this conspiracy became a right-wing mainstay for years—arguably the wellspring of conservative conspiracy theories for decades. Notably, it caught on during a time of conservative loss and liberal ascendancy. This is a pattern we’ve seen over and over since World War II. The John Birch Society and the JFK assassination conspiracies gained ground after enormous Democratic congressional victories in 1958 and again in 1964. The full panoply of Clinton conspiracies blossomed after Democrats won united control of government in the 1992 election. Benghazi was a reaction to Barack Obama—not just a Democratic win, but the first Black man to be elected president. And today’s conspiracy theories about stealing the presidential election are a response to Joe Biden’s victory in 2020.

How widespread are these kinds of beliefs? And has their popularity changed over time? The evidence is sketchy but there’s polling data that provides clues. McCarthy’s conspiracy theories were practically a pandemic, consuming American attention for an entire decade. Belief in a cover-up of the JFK assassination has always hovered around 50 percent or higher. In the mid-aughts, a third of poll respondents strongly or somewhat believed that 9/11 was an inside job, very similar to the one-third of Americans who believe today that there was significant fraud in the 2020 election even though there’s no evidence to support this. And that famous one-third of Americans who are skeptical of the COVID-19 vaccine? In 1954 an identical third of Americans were skeptical of the polio vaccine that had just become available.

So how does QAnon, the great liberal hobgoblin of the past year, measure up? It may seem historically widespread for such an unhinged conspiracy theory, but it’s not: Polls suggest that actual QAnon followers are rare and that belief in QAnon hovers at less than 10 percent of the American public. It’s no more popular than other fringe fever swamp theories of the past.

It’s natural to believe that things happening today—to you—are worse than similar things lost in the haze of history, especially when social media keeps modern outrages so relentlessly in our faces. But often it just isn’t true. A mountain of evidence suggests that the American predilection for conspiracy theories is neither new nor growing. Joseph Uscinski and Joseph Parent, preeminent scholars of conspiracy theories, confirmed this with some original research based on letters to the editors of the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune between 1890 and 2010. Their conclusion: Belief in conspiracy theories has been stable since about 1960. Along with more recent polling, this suggests that the aggregate belief in conspiracy theories hasn’t changed a lot and therefore isn’t likely to provide us with much insight into why American political culture has corroded so badly during the 21st century.

Theory #2: It’s All About Social Media

How about social media? Has it had an effect? Of course it has. New media always has a political effect. Newspapers and pamphlets were the first purveyors of mass politics. The movie industry invented the attack ad. Radio was crucial to Hitler’s rise to power. TV brought the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War into our living rooms—along with lasting conflict over both. In the case of social media, however, we got more than just a new way of being told about the world. We got a medium controlled by ordinary people, the first one that truly gave us a close look at precisely who we all are.

And what is it we saw? Lots of people spreading rumors and lies that range from the merely dumb to the truly foul. And, particularly in the hands of extremists pushing an agenda, those lies spread fast. Republican activist Amy Kremer promoted a “Stop the Steal” Facebook page the day after the 2020 election. By the time it was shut down a day later, it already had 320,000 fans.

And how does it affect what we learn about politics? This obviously depends on how much political news we get from social media in the first place, which turns out to be surprisingly little—at least when it comes to actual articles or broadcast segments, not hot takes from your Uncle Bob. Pew Research found that among Republicans, only 10 percent said they like seeing lots of political posts. Nieman Labs, which has twice sampled news feeds from a small selection of Facebook users, found that their samples contained very little news at all and exactly zero “fake news”—i.e., bogus articles designed to look like real journalism. That doesn’t mean fake news doesn’t exist, but it does suggest that it’s less pervasive than most people think.

As for social media’s role in stoking political rage specifically, there’s no research that directly measures this. Studies using data compiled before 2016 suggested that social media didn’t cause political polarization and had little or no effect on the accuracy of political beliefs. However, in a more recent study, researchers provided evidence for something we all knew intuitively: Social media users are mostly locked inside “bubbles” of like-minded partisans. And there’s evidence—from Facebook itself—that the company’s various algorithms push people further into bubbles. A 2016 internal report states that “64% of all extremist group joins are due to our recommendation tools…Our recommendation systems grow the problem.” A large study recently published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that people were much more likely to share posts from news organizations or members of Congress that referred to their political out-group—i.e., the opposite party. And when it comes to Facebook at least, the company’s algorithms reflect or reward hyperpartisan outrage mostly from one side of the spectrum—a daily tally of Facebook’s top 10 engaged posts is always massively dominated by Fox News hosts and other far-right commentators.

Regardless, social media can’t be the main explanation for a trend that started 20 years ago. When you’re faced with trying to account for a sudden new eruption on the political scene like Donald Trump, it’s easy to think that the explanation must be something shiny and new, and social media is the obvious candidate. This is doubly true for someone whose meteoric rise was fueled by his deranged Twitter account. But the evidence simply doesn’t back that up. Trump may have taken advantage of rising political anger, but it wasn’t social media that created that anger. It was, as we’ll see, something older and more cold-blooded.

Theory #3: Things Really Have Gotten Worse

In some ways, this is the most obvious possibility. Maybe we’ve all gotten angrier as a natural reaction to things getting worse. Manufacturing jobs disappeared after we granted China permanent most-favored-nation status in 2001. Middle-­class incomes stagnated during most of the early 21st century. And if you’re a conservative, you’ve had to accept a steady liberalization of cultural norms, peaking in 2015 when the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage was legal nationwide.

But to what extent have these changes actually affected public sentiment? Surprisingly little, it turns out.

Partly this is because, contrary to conventional wisdom, a lot of things have gotten better, not worse, over the past few decades. Income inequality has risen dramatically, but wages for nonmanagerial workers have nonetheless gone upby about $4 per hour since 2000. Prior to the pandemic, unemployment had fallen to historic lows. Crime rates had fallen by half since their peak in the 1990s. Poverty had declined.

All of these improvements are reflected in widely available surveys of public attitudes. Job satisfaction? It’s been stable for half a century. Satisfaction with personal finances? Also stable. And most importantly, general happiness about life has been stable too, with those saying they’re dissatisfied with their personal life ranging between 10 percent and 20 percent over the past 40 years. There’s simply very little evidence that the American public has become less happy about its concrete material condition.

But broad averages sometimes conceal strong feelings over specific issues. Republicans, for example, insist that the middle class is outraged over high taxes. However, this hardly squares with the fact that taxes have gone down steadily since the 1980s.

Could the increased anger be about job loss? Probably not: The number of people who don’t have a job but want one—the most accurate measure of true employment discouragement—has remained basically steady for decades.

How about unauthorized immigration? Fearmongering about it was certainly a cornerstone of Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign but there’s little concrete evidence that it has been driving the long-term rise in political anger, in part because actual unauthorized immigration has been falling since 2007. Gallup polling confirms that aside from brief periods, the number of people who say that illegal immigration is a major issue has stayed pretty much constant for the past 20 years.

How about racism? It’s always been fundamental to American politics, all the more so following the Black Lives Matter protests of last year. But data from the General Social Survey, which has been conducted every two years since the early ’70s, shows that, without exception, racial bias among white respondents has either stayed the same or declined substantially over the past several decades. Crucially, Black respondents seem to agree. An especially interesting study published in 2011 asked people how strong they thought anti-Black racism was in each decade since 1950. Everyone agreed that racism was far worse in the 1950s than it is now. Black respondents were less optimistic than white respondents about the decline in racism, but on a scale of 1 to 10 they nonetheless rated the 1950s a 10 and the late 2000s a 6.

What do we know about more recent views of racism? One thing we know for sure is that both white and Black Americans have gotten more pessimistic about race relations since the Ferguson protests in 2014. But do they think that racism itself has gotten worse, especially following George Floyd’s murder and the racial justice protests of last year? Interpreting recent polling data is tricky, but my tentative read of the data is that it shows a welcome increase in the number of people who are aware of long-standing racist practices—especially in the criminal justice system—but not an increase in the number of people who think these practices have gotten worse.However, there’s one thing worth noting: Whether it’s in the 2011 study or more recent data, white respondents believe that anti-white bias has been steadily increasing. And the American National Election Studies, among other polls, have showed this belief in so-called reverse racism is overwhelmingly driven by white Republicans. This trend starts before 2000, but it’s growing and is an obvious candidate to explain rising white anger—as long as there’s something around to keep it front and center in the minds of white people.

So What’s Changed?

So far there are a few things we can say with some confidence:

Collectively, we are no more conspiracy-minded today than we have been in the past. Social media makes it harder to ignore this aspect of American society, and may have even accelerated it, but there’s little evidence that social media is the main driver.

What accounts for this? It’s here that our popular explanations run aground. It can’t be all about a rise in conspiracy theories, since they’ve been around for decades. It can’t be social media, since Facebook and Twitter have become popular in the political arena only over the past few years. It can’t be a decline in material comfort, since incomes and employment have steadily improved over the past couple of decades. It can’t really be social trends, since most of them have improved too. And most of the specific issues that might cause alarm—immigration, racism, and more—are unlikely candidates on their own. They may be highly polarizing, but in a concrete sense they haven’t gotten worse since 2000. In fact, they’ve mostly gotten better.

To find an answer, then, we need to look for things that (a) are politically salient and (b) have changed dramatically over the past two to three decades. The most obvious one is Fox News.

When it debuted in 1996, Fox News was an afterthought in Republican politics. But after switching to a more hardline conservatism in the late ’90s it quickly attracted viewership from more than a third of all Republicans by the early 2000s. And as anyone who’s watched Fox knows, its fundamental message is rage at what liberals are doing to our country. Over the years the specific message has changed with the times—from terrorism to open borders to Benghazi to Christian cake bakers to critical race theory—but it’s always about what liberal politicians are doing to cripple America, usually with a large dose of thinly veiled racism to give it emotional heft. If you listen to this on a daily basis, is it any wonder that your trust in government would plummet? And on the flip side, if you’re a progressive watching what conservatives are doing in response to Fox News, is it any wonder that your trust in government might plummet as well?

Fox News isn’t the only source of conservative animus toward government. The conservative media ecosystem includes talk radio, websites, email newsletters, and so forth. But all of these outlets had only a temporary effect in the early ’90s before fading out in the face of a booming economy. Only Fox News has had an enduring impact.

Why is Fox News so influential? Part of the answer probably lies in the fact that Fox News is cloaked in the trappings of news. Most conservatives who listen to talk radio shows understand that radio talkers are explicitly offering opinions and doing it with a large element of showmanship. But Fox News has well-dressed anchors and all the other accoutrements of a normal news outlet. So it’s no surprise that 65 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say they trust Fox News—far more than any other news outlet. After all, why would a news outlet lie?

To an extent that many people still don’t recognize, Fox News is a grinding, daily cesspool of white grievance, mistrust of deep-state government, and a belief that liberals are literally trying to destroy the country out of sheer malice. Facebook and other social media outlets might have made this worse over the past few years—partly by acting as a sort of early warning system for new outrages bubbling up from the grassroots that Fox anchors can draw from—but Fox News remains the wellspring.

The Fox of 2021 is different even than the Fox of 2019…I had a commentator say to me, “Fox is a really different place than it was preelection.” This person has seen changes even in the last six months, in terms of how radical, how extreme the content is. I had a Fox staffer, as I was writing the last page of the paperback, say, “The Biden team has no idea what they’re up against.” Maybe in three years, we’ll say that Fox was immaterial to the Biden presidency. Maybe we’ll say that Fox barely made a dent. But it won’t be for lack of trying.

It is Fox News that has torched the American political system over the past two decades, and it is Fox News that we have to continue to fight.

The Real Source of America’s Rising Rage

Water’s Soul

Jersey City.

The 80 feet tall sculpture in question is called Water’s Soul created by international artist Jaume Plensa.

The sculptural portrait, though monumental in scale, humbly gestures for quietude, a beckoning towards empathetic self-reflection. “With great ethereal beauty, Plensa’s site-specific installation serves as a tribute to the Hudson River, aligning with the artist’s ongoing interest in bodies of water as proxies for humankind.”

Jaume Plensa, a Barcelona native, is the artist behind some of the world’s most recognizable sculptures. He has installations in major cities across the globe including Calgary, Chicago, San Diego, Montréal, Los Angeles, London, Dubai, Bangkok, Shanghai, and Tokyo. Some of his recent pieces include Laura in Century City, Los Angeles, Dreaming in downtown Toronto, and Voicespermanently installed at 30 Hudson Yards in New York City.

His goal is to always “evoke inward reflection, silence, and intellectual engagement, often relying upon the relationship between the viewer and the object to complete his works.”

“Water is a marvelous metaphor for humanity,” Plensa said in a statement. “One drop of water is quite alone, like a single person, but many drops together can create a tidal wave and form immense rivers and oceans. When individuals come together to exchange ideas and create community, we can build something incredibly powerful.”

“As climate change already threatens to take hold of our beautiful planet, we must join together to protect water as one of the most precious elements in nature. It is not owned by anyone but belongs to all of us. Water is the source of life, and Water’s Soul is a celebration of life. It is my wish for Water’s Soul to become an icon for Newport and a landmark that visually connects it with New York City across the Hudson River. Just as Water’s Soul acts to unite the city of Jersey City and New York City, we are reminded that water is the great public space that unites and embraces communities as well as people around the world,” said Plensa.

Plensa was chosen by the LeFrak and Simon families, developers of Newport’s waterfront community, in hopes to convey a message of hope for humanity’s future.

‘Silent Contemplation’

On Thursday, October 21st Water’s Soul will officially debut in a ceremony to be held at the site.

[Source: hobokengirl.com]

Pulitzer Prize in Literature

October 7, 2021

 

Reuters

STOCKHOLM, Oct 7 (Reuters) – Tanzanian novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah won the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature “for his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee,” the award-giving body said on Thursday.

Based in Britain and writing in English, Gurnah, 72, joins Nigeria’s Wole Soyinka as the only two non-white writers from sub-Saharan Africa ever to win what is widely seen as the world’s most prestigious literary award.

His novels include “Paradise”, set in colonial East Africa during the First World War and short-listed for the Booker Prize for Fiction, and “Desertion”.

“Gurnah’s itinerant characters in England or on the African continent find themselves in the gulf between cultures and continents, between the life left behind and the life to come,” Anders Olsson, head of the Swedish Academy Nobel Committee, told reporters.

“I dedicate this Nobel Prize to Africa and Africans and to all my readers. Thanks!”

Gurnah tweeted after the announcement.

Walking for Beth Ann. 💗

 

“I never asked to get cancer, but what I have asked is that through my life experience, if I can help just one person, then I have succeeded in my mission.” 

Beth de Kruyff

 

Beth Ann, left, and Robin Eggert Elm, right.

 

 

For my dear friend, Robin Eggert Elm, and her cousin Beth Ann. After 10 years being cancer-free, Beth Ann was recently diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer. Robin writes:

On October 4th, she didn’t lose her life to cancer. She fought with all she had.  She spoke, advocated, fundraised, walked, and when she couldn’t walk, sat in a wheelchair, and cheered on those who could. I continue the fight for Beth Ann and all the way too many pink angels and warriors I, and all of you, love. Unfortunately, my list continues to grow.

Please donate to Robin’s 3-Day, and for when we soon obliterate cancer. -dayle

http://www.the3day.org/goto/RobinElm

The day when pink is once again only a color.

Access to Knowledge

Please support free knowledge for everyone. -dayle

 https://donate.wikimedia.org/?utm_medium=SocialMedia&utm_campaign=ThankYouPage&utm_source=Twitter&uselang=en

Marianne. 🌸

October 6, 2021

Bringing to Consciousness America’s Unconscious Shadows

  • Abolitionists
  • Suffragettes
  • Civil Rights

America is like an alcoholic home, in which no one is really saying what’s going on, the children are registering all the unprocessed realities but don’t know what to do with them, and anyone who speaks up and tells the truth is likely to be severely punished.

We can’t send the country to rehab, but we can at least try to be honest with ourselves about what’s happening. And that is no small deal. As more and more Americans bring to consciousness the unconscious shadows of our national identity, the country will begin to heal.

A lot of it is stuff we’ve all heard, but still it’s worth going over to make sure our thinking is aligned with what’s true.

In 1776, 56 men signed the Declaration of Independence, and the document was an extraordinary statement of human possibility. It was a gigantic step forward for the human race not only politically but also spiritually. For it posited the notion – what would have been considered until then a preposterous perspective – that God created all men equal.

It went on to say not only that God created all men equal, but that He had endowed all men with the “unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” The very idea of human equality had never before been codified in the founding documents of any nation on earth.

Centuries of nations ruled by the notion of the “divine right of Kings” was overthrown by a bunch of young radicals in the American colonies. All the men who signed the document were risking their lives by doing so, for if the British won the war then they would be hanged as traitors against the King of England.

That was the beginning … and yet there was a glitch. A quite terrible glitch. For of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence, 41 of them were slaveowners. Slaves had first been brought to the American colonies in 1619, and slavery would not be abolished as in institution until 1865. Even then, it was still legally allowed within a prison system that took full advantage of the loophole to enslave African American men. And the 13th Amendment, passed in 1865, was followed by another hundred years of institutionalized slavery against Blacks in America.

What all of that means then, is that from the very beginning of our country we have embodied a terrible split between the highest aspirations of humanity on one hand, and our lowest, meanest impulses on the other. Our national ideals are highly enlightened, whereas in every generation since the days of our founding we have lived out an often violent struggle between those who would stand, sacrifice and even die for those ideals, and those who would transgress against them.

Would our commitment to equality mean only white people, by not Black? Only Caucasians, but not Native Americans? Only men, but not women? Only Christians, but not Jews, Hindus, Muslims and others? Only straight and cisgender people, but not LGBTG? And the list goes on. Today, it also means – as much as it has at any time in our history – only the rich, but not the poor?

While the struggle has been embodied by every generation, over time we have tended to self-correct. Slavery was met by Abolition, institutionalized oppression of women was met by the Women’s Suffragette Movement, and segregation in the American South was met by the civil rights movement. Our legacy as Americans includes some terrible forms of oppression – from slavery to the genocide of Native Americans – but it also includes tremendous movements to push back and to ultimately defeat even the worst forms of tyranny. We have as much to be proud of in our past, as to be ashamed of.

But the most important thing, is that it’s our turn now. Today’s oppression is not encapsulated in specific institutionalized identities such as slavery or segregation or the lack of women’s suffrage. Those could be compared to operable tumors that could be surgically removed. Rather, it is more like a cancer that has metastasized and is wrapped around healthy organs, sucking from them their very life force. The new American aristocracy is the same in principle as it has always been – in the words of Thomas Jefferson, “It is the general tendency of the rich to prey upon the poor” – yet it has morphed into something new: the economic tyranny of a shadowy, predatory form of capitalism that has injected itself into every fiber of American life. Worst of all – with the obscene and unlimited flow of dark money in our politics – it now holds our government hostage, turning all three branches of government from our last defense against capitalist overreach into the very handmaiden of our corporate overlords.

American capitalism has gone off the rails, its most predatory form like a soulless force now lording over us. Our food, water and air are filled with toxins …so that stockholders can get rich. Our planet is being destroyed … so that stockholders can get rich. Millions lack health care… so that stockholders can get rich. We fight wars around the world… so that stockholders can get rich. Millions work for starvation wages and unions are busted … so that stockholders can rich. And the list goes on. There seems to be no end in sight to the corporate tyranny that now plagues us.

Will we be the first generation to wimp out on pushing back the forces that would damage our lives and limit our future? I believe not. I know how bad things look right now, but hope is a moral imperative and cynicism is just an excuse for not helping. Having run for office myself, I’ve seen up close the goodness and intelligence of the American people. The more we understand, and the more we’re willing to stand on what we know, the more power we will have to overcome.

Abolition emerged from the early Evangelicals in New Hampshire. Many of the leaders of the Women Suffragette movement were Quakers. And Dr. King was a Baptist preacher.

Throughout our history, we have found the power to override even the most oppressive forces through political activism that was fueled by spiritual fortitude. The marriage of the two is emerging once again. I can feel it in my bones.

🔆

[Image: #NFCB]

“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.”

― Isaac Asimov

No mas.

October 4, 2021

[Photo: David McNew/AFP/Getty Images]

8,320 acres — larger than the size of Santa Monica.

“Every environmental nightmare like this is a nightmare repeated over and over until we start to become numb to it. Yet that’s what we must not allow to happen.”

“The spill in Huntington Beach is from Elly oil rig, by Beta Offshore, a California subsidiary of Houston-based Amplify Energy Corporation an independent oil & natural gas company. They, and others, will continue to do what they do until We the People stop them.”

“Our disaster fatigue is one of the biggest challenges we face now.”

-Marianne Williamson

Thus far, no further.

 

 

 

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