just sayin”

Trump’s Wall

Building a wall is an absurd, lazy-minded, and antiquated notion in this modern age.

It’s simply a nasty and shallow political ploy that plays to the ears of folks who still buy into the age-old concept that someone “other”/alien is the cause of all their troubles. This is rarely the case and most of the real (bottom-line) culprits are home grown, though few observers seem to have the courage to point that out.

Not enough attention or emphasis is placed on this by non-conservative and non-partisan talking heads on TV!

It’s truly disgusting that conservative politicians still peddle this useless and dishonest nonsense, and we don’t want to contribute ONE tax penny to funding it! (It’s more than ironic that those who incessantly laud and, mistakenly, credit Ronald Regan for the Berlin WALL coming DOWN, now support and promote putting UP a much larger WALL here.)

Mexico certainly will not, and should not pay for this – the primary purpose of which is to bolster Trump’s insatiable ego and placate his so-called base (to whom we attribute way too much power BTW.)

It’s now very clear who would foot the beyond outrageous bill: US…………

Seems about time those of US who feel this way, organize to stage our own massive “dump the tea into the harbor” resist & protest national rallies. So dust off your powdered wigs, and put on those comfy buckled shoes, folks – it’s time to show em who’s really in charge!

A “confession”

In my early 20’s I was a member of a local Socialist organization in San Francisco for a few years. Though I’ve since identified consistently as a Democrat I still believe in the fundamentally compassionate principles of Socialism.

It’s very frustrating that associated groups/people are so stupidly and broadly vilified here in the US. They get a bad rap because, I believe, the essential principles of Socialism and Communism were deeply compromised due to being instituted in places that were not sufficiently developed to support the system, and became corrupt and severe to compensate.

As Marx wisely pointed out: a society must be sufficiently developed for Socialist ideals to be fully realized. And though admittedly, the leaders of these social movements ignored his warning and really screwed up, no political system is ever perfect. So, in developed countries which understand all this, Socialist principles are embraced but modified to suit the realities of their particular societies. They consistently rate as the best places to live, and the happiest people in the world. Go figure.

In the US the Dems are the closest we get to a viable social(ist)- oriented party. At our core, unlike the Republicans, most Dems believe the principle role of government is not to protect our sovereignty and position of power at all cost, but to provide (social) services and overall support for our citizens. And the idea of building walls to keep out “unworthy aliens” is anathema.

Unfortunately all political principles are at risk here because of our ridiculous, long and expensive electoral process, blind devotion to the promises of capitalism, and pervasive lobbying! Faced with these challenges, most US politicians of all stripes seem to forget what their job is and who they actually work for. They are continually in campaign mode, trying to appeal to everyone they can in order to be re-elected. So rather than being the norm, solidly principled politicians are rare beings to be celebrated.

But sadly, like Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama, these individuals are more often labeled as “weak” because they aren’t blustering blow-hards with itchy trigger-fingers, and a propensity to ignore or minimize the history, norms, achievements, and perspectives of other nations. God-forbid we should ever try to learn anything from societies that have been gaining experience for thousands of years! No, we have to reinvent the wheel every time we’re confronted with a new challenge, because we think “we know better” than everyone else. But in reality we’re quite unsophisticated politically and socially. Seriously, we can’t even handle more than two parties, let alone a woman for president. “Sad”

to Blog or not to Blog

I honestly consider “blogging” (in broad terms) to be a nasty business and generally a huge waste of time. But I may have it conflated with tweeting and all that nonsense which, I’m convinced, contribute massively to an alarming increase in self-absorbed narcissism and dumbing-down of our culture. (Witness the daily discharges of DJT.)

 I do love that these new venues for self-expression, accessible to virtually anyone, are very democratic, and that the availability and dissemination of information has so vastly expanded (if also dangerously fraught with inaccuracies, slander and falsehoods.)

There’s now so much free-for-all “sharing” out there that it’s overwhelming, and I feel quite lost in all of it. However, as I don’t want to depart this earth having left nothing behind, this is part of an effort to ensure that may not happen. So I shall persist, at least for awhile, until lack of inspiration, appreciation, or response overcome me……………then again, I must have some hope or I wouldn’t bother at all, and I am quite stubborn and tenacious – as anyone who knows me will gladly attest to.
So there’s at least a chance I won’t just turn to dust without leaving any other trace behind.

an228

What’s up with Personal & Cultural Identity?

On a personal level in trying to create or affirm a strong sense of who we are, we often try to distance ourselves from the confusing or painful elements of our past. Sometimes we reject all of it – even those elements which could positively impact the forging of our “unique” identities. The baby/bathwater syndrome…………………

Similarly, on a societal level, in the process of re-creating or affirming a national identity in our modern world, many make the mistake of rejecting their ethnic origins as being tied to the suffering of the past: poverty, oppression, persecution, lack of education, equality, opportunity. Others, in order to feel a heightened sense of importance, legitimacy, power, etc. reject cultures they know little about, or those which are very different from their own. Thus it isn’t hard to imagine that a day will come when all unique cultural elements will be reduced to a few curious artifacts entombed in the glass cases of museums.

In truth, our diverse ethnicities are as deeply entwined as threads in the vast and rich tapestry of our humanity, which is replete with commonalities despite our best efforts to deny them. In truth we all came from the same origins, the same original pair (whether called Adam & Eve or something else). And we all came from the same place, whether we choose to believe it or not: Africa. Our “motherland” which for eons we’ve ironically and tragically ignored, neglected, forgotten, exploited. This is a black thread which is woven throughout our multi-colored human tapestry.

So I wish we could turn the world inside out for a while. You know, everything would be reversed:

– white would be black or brown, yellow, red and vice versa

– the rich would be poor and the poor nations would be wealthy and rich with resources

– persecutors would be persecuted

– hunters would be hunted

– Muslims would be Christians, Hindus would be Muslims, Catholics would be Protestants etc. Better yet, everyone would be Buddhists, because they are (usually) accepting of everyone (except the Rohingyas of Myanmar).

– “conservatives” would be “liberals” (omg)

– slums would be mansions and estates

– deserts would become jungles or oceans

– the thin would be fat

– the hungry would be well-fed and the gluttonous would be starved

– etc.

What’s the point? Well, if I were an optimist I’d hope people would thus become more compassionate and understanding of each other. They’d realize first-hand what’s going on in other parts of our country and our small world, what it’s like to live like the “others”. Things might change, become more balanced, thoughtful, equal, fair, shared, peaceful.

Another option would be a visit by aliens from another planet. That would be a great unifying distraction from us fighting one another here on earth. No longer would we be focused on our so-called differences – rather we’d join together in solidarity to deal with this new “other”. Ideally they’d be evolved, benevolent, gentle, nonthreatening, so we’d have no excuse to project our antipathy onto them, and maybe we’d learn a helpful thing or two!

Monuments

Last night I had a dream and this is its story:

I lived on a stunning green and blue planet named Earth, one of eight (more or less) that spun around a great fiery star called the Sun; contained within a swirling great galaxy of many other suns and planets, floating in a vast and boundless universe. (Certainly this, so far, is a scene anyone can relate to – the setting of a dream based on things we know.)

But as my dream unfolded and its details emerged I became aware of things startlingly different from our familiar world. Endowed with the omnivision of a dream I was able to see many places at once. And one detail soon became obvious: each country’s capital was marked by a huge and very unusual construction. These were all quite similar in their dark colors and overall angular characteristics, but their sizes and exact shapes differed. The presence of these structures everywhere made it obvious there was something very important about them.

So, using another special talent bestowed to humans only in dreams, I swooped down like a bird for a closer look. I circumnavigated one, then another and another of these massive shapes, traveling supersonically from one country to the next, searching for an answer.

Initially it seemed these were just massive blackish blobs of metal, though in fact angular, rather than blobular. But I knew there must be a significance to them, so I searched for details that might provide some clues. Closer scrutiny of one, revealed surfaces that were not smooth but irregular and marked with a great variety of small protrusions and depressions. One such shape jumped out in relief at me, but it took several seconds to register what it was – a partially melted gun. Thus informed, I scanned the rest of the sculpture and identified many more parts of guns, rifles, automatic weapons, grenades, missiles, weapons of all kinds. In our own nation’s capitol the sculpture was, of course, quite massive – created from many thousands of guns.

Then, with the speed and ease of a character in an Ann Rice novel, I revisited the sites of the other constructions scattered in capitals all over the world. Armed with my new insight it was now easy to identify the same shapes of weapons melted together in these huge metal piles. Intrigued, in one location I asked passers-by about the significance of this. (Of course they all could understand me perfectly.) They explained that citizens in each country had somehow been persuaded to turn in all their weapons so they could be melted down to create these monuments symbolizing a world-wide commitment to non-violence.

Then I woke up to the real world of the USA.

Cells Run Amok

Occasionally I occupy myself by viewing this earth-world of ours as if it were one cell in a vast humming universe of cells. All are more or less different and serve various functions but all are subtly, yet strongly connected. From this perspective it appears our own particular cell is quite bent on self-destruction with all its tiny internal parts battling each other in fierce and pointless duels. This cell obviously hasn’t the sense to realize its survival depends completely on the cooperation and mutual support of its countless parts, rather than the “victory” of one over the other.

It baffles me that after billions of years at this game of adapting, developing, and sustaining life, this cell with supposedly intelligent elements within it hasn’t yet developed better sense (the survival of the fittest stategy now being rather obsolete and all). Rather it seems profoundly dumb – not much better than an amoeba. And shockingly, in a way dumber because amoebas and most other basic organisms have parts that actually work together cooperatively to sustain their life and growth. They don’t senselessly destroy themselves!

Humans seem therefore, to be more like a virus which has taken over our cell, gobbling its parts up and everything else around it, absolutely heedless of the very real and devastating consequences including, ultimately, the complete demise of the very thing which sustains it.
What could be the vaccine for us “humanaids” who have run amok? Why have all suggested cures thus far failed? Why has the larger global entity of the cell itself not realized what’s happening? Can it not sense its illness? Why did it not long-ago recognize and stop this plague which has caused its dysfunction and contamination?

It’s incredible to me that each of us, though so much smaller than an atom in this scheme, believes that our own personal existence has such great significance, and that even our smallest actions are of great “importance” – yet we typically lack a corresponding sense of responsibility to the whole organism, without which we simply cannot exist.

If we were more sensitive and attentive to our surroundings, wouldn’t more of us realize something is very wrong and getting dangerously wronger? Wouldn’t we understand that we’re fouling our own nest and even killing our own kind? Why are we so bloody obtuse? Isn’t it our role (as the “most intelligent” elements of our cell) to be conscious custodians? We arrogantly think of ourselves as in charge of it all, but every day each of us inadvertently does some thing or, even more ignorantly, many things to help destroy our life support system.

What is being worked out here?
Is this just a small faulty cell in the vast universe that will, and must, eventually destroy itself? (So far it has been amazingly resilient – surviving so many brutal forms of internal assault. But really, how long can this last?)

Or has something else gone just terribly wrong with an experiment called human life, and it’s doomed to fail? Is this also happening elsewhere in other cells in the universe, so no big deal – it’s just the normal cycle of life and death being repeated? On the other hand, as with all other living things (like those amoebas), will the instinctive drive toward survival ultimately produce a viable new adaptation or mutation which will lead us, and the cell in which we dwell, in a more sustainable direction?

Obviously we’re still just at the beginning stages of the slow evolution of these mysteriously endowed and largely unused brains of ours. My worry is that in the meantime, our stupidity combined with our destructive power will put an unfortunate and premature end to it all, taking everything else down with us. But maybe that’s okay too, being as we’re not as “precious” as we seem to think we are. Other forms of life would arise and perhaps do a better job. That I’d like to see………..

On Writing Like D.B.

I’ve always wanted to write like Dave Barry. But to do that honestly I’d have to be Dave Barry, and unless he’s secretly a sixty-ish, slightly crotchety, yet still-young-at-heart woman, that ain’t gonna happen. So I must be content to continue with the kind of short essays I’ve always written which address whatever serious issue captures my fancy at the moment. Or more accurately, whatever gets my goat at the moment. (If I were Dave Barry I’d now insert a clever little aside like: “What if I don’t have a goat to be got?” And readers would howl with laughter. Alas it seems only Dave can pull that off, and I shall have to live with DB envy forevermore.)

The best approximation of DB’s style I can muster is snarky, satirical, or ironic snidery that hopefully elicits at least a chuckle or smile. But better yet, a jolt of recognition, because ultimately my goal is not to amuse but to pull the wool off rather than over, uncloud, remind, illustrate, clarify, illuminate, awaken. To that end, my writing typically focuses on observations about culture, society, politics etc. and may at times seem esoteric, or even convoluted. (My father complained the stuff’s too complicated. This is a bit worrisome, because he was one of the kinds of folks I most want to reach! Not quite “Joe the plumber” but close enough.)

The writing doesn’t always start out that way, but ends up like that due to the way my brain works. I can take a pretty straightforward topic and by the time I’m done with it, there are all sorts of interconnections and extrapolations caught up in the tight net I’ve cast in the process of elaborating.

In my defense I truly do strive for clarity, so don’t know exactly how what I was trying to say sometimes gets tangled up like yarn after a cat attack. During one reading it will all seem crystal clear, verging on dare-I-say “astute”? Yet reading the same essay another time can feel like I’m trudging thru water loaded with sediment. It’s like two people with entirely different sensibilities are reading the same stuff. Crazy.

Plus, as you can see, I like to use a lot of descriptive words, commas, italics, and quotation marks. Thanks to attending an almighty Journalism School I know I’m not “supposed” to, but I just can’t help it. They seem to have to be there for me to make my point. Does that mean I’m a crappy writer who uses these cheap and despised “gimmicks” (see there they are again) to make my points? I don’t know, maybe. Honestly I’ve tried to do without these punctuation crutches as much as possible, and with enough revising often find that I can eliminate some. But oftentimes not, so there they stay like so much confetti strewn upon the pages. Just think of them as hieroglyphics……there for some very mysterious but “good” reason. (BTW have I used enough mixed metaphors?)

On the other hand some folks who’ve read my work have described it as: “like a dream”; “lyrical”; “painting terrific word pictures”; “a joy to read”; “beautiful prose”. They obviously know more than I do about what constitutes good writing! (And no, though tempting, I will absolutely NOT stick an lol in here. I abhor the things. But trust me I am, as I write, laughing at myself.)

So hearing from you and getting your feedback would be both enlightening and terrifying. I look forward to it! – AH