Saturday, December 24, 2011
Okay, set aside the advertisement driven shopping opportunity where folks are frantically buying beyond their means trying to fulfill expectations in others and themselves that can never quite be reached because who can recreate a childhood moment. We got out of that merry go round some years back and found unmatched serenity in the process.
Lying in bed this morning, my own answer came to me clearly. As if the Angel were visiting the wise men to the East, or perhaps whispering into the ear of Elizabeth, a thought crystallized in my mind and became manifest in my heart. Whether we are speaking of Isis who gave birth to Horus, or Mithras giving birth to her child, or the Mary in that stable in Bethlehem, on this darkest time of the year, we celebrate the joyous birth of a new baby.
In my repose I had to smile, as with my subconscious ear I could hear the screams of that little baby. Then I let out a quiet chuckle, realizing Momma even when she is a Goddess is facing some sleepless nights ahead. Oh my goodness though, how that baby changes anyone who comes near. Everyone who comes around wants to hold her or him. Love is given and returned without even thinking about it. Momma has a contented smile, nursing the baby who feeds freely upon that most special of gifts, the milk of her love. Daddy stands there too, watchful and proud. There are other gifts of course, as people pour in to meet this special new baby, bringing what they have to offer. Along with the Magi from the east with their frankincense, gold, and myrrh, others no doubt supplied baubles and perhaps extra swaddling clothes for the newborn. Boxes of pampers are readily welcomed.
It is our nature to love a baby unconditionally, and to have that love returned in kind. There’s something else that happens. In this baby, we place our hopes for the future. We’ve come face to face with our own imperfections, and that of others. Deep inside we know that this child will grow up imperfect as well, for that also is our human condition. But on this day, we give birth to hope, committing ourselves to nurture that dream of what can be. On this day, we offer not only our dreams, but also our better selves. Parents, extended family, and the community enter a covenant to create a world where this tiny baby can grow to be the fulfillment of our hope.
So what does this all mean to me? Normally around the time of the Solstice, I begin to look inward. In the long dark nights, when better to do such a thing. At Christmas (or Mithras or Hanukkah or whatever your holiday), what better time than now to give birth to hope, to create peace, to offer love, to be my better self. In this spirit of love, light, and a newborn hope, let me wish you all Happy Holidays, as well as peace on earth and good will towards all.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Yes, today was the day I became an enemy of the state. Do not misunderstand. I’m not talking about the Constitutional Democracy we all grew up with called U.S.A. No, I am the enemy of the usurpers, who today in an act passed overwhelmingly in both houses of Congress will turn our back on the Constitution that has been the cornerstone of our system of law for over 200 years. It will give the president and his minions authority to declare someone a terrorist, arrest them and hold them without trial, judge, due process, for as long as they choose to hold them. Indeed some who might be found not guilty might still have to be held because of their nationality. In addition, such arrests can occur on U.S. soil and included as potential terrorists exempt from rule of law INCLUDES AMERICAN CITIZENS.
Now what are the characteristics we usually assign to a constitutional democracy? Dating all the way back to the Magna Carta, a cardinal tenant of any democracy is the right to habeas corpus, that is a right to a speedy trial in a court of law. This most fundamental rule by which a civilized democracy has now been abolished by this act, investing unlimited authority by the President to decide who the exceptions are without any court proceeding. Our 14th Amendment provides for due process. Abolished in this act. Right to an attorney? Forget it. The constitution provides for who can be considered treasonous. Our Congress and our president ignored that to establish their own criteria.
FACT: THIS CONSTITUTES A POWER GRAB, A MOVE TOWARDS AN EMPERIAL PRESIDENT, WHETHER INTENDED OR NOT. THIS ACT IS ILLEGAL, AND I WOULD SUGGEST, TREASONOUS.
Now folks who know me, know I’m not your average extremist type. I am however an American, one who believes that without our Constitution, we are NOT AMERICA. For a man who taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago, Emperor Obama has no excuse he can offer. He threatened to veto the law. It turns out the only reason was that he wanted to have the final say so as to who was a terrorist. Earlier that was left to the Defense Secretary.
Folks, for all our lives, the army did not make arrests inside the country. Today that changed. So much about this act that angers me, I can hardly begin. Our Democracy died today. Like the poem says, not with a bang but a whimper.
Here is how I am choosing to respond. Anyone who supported (or signed off) on this bill will never again get my vote. Increasingly until much more changes, it does not matter anyway. Big money calls the shots. The only candidates I will vote for are those who opposed this bill or are actively opposing this atrocity. I’ve been a life long democrat. But none of the Democrats in my liberal corner of the woods could bring themselves to support the very underpinnings of our democracy. My president who ran on a ticket of protecting our civil liberties has betrayed us. He will not get my vote. Furthermore I will support every effort out there to overthrow these pretenders to the crown. While I may be an enemy of the state, they are the true enemies of the nation I grew up in. These clowns stole our democracy from us. I pray every day for a hell they can rot away in. They deserve no less. I will not participate in any system that can deny its very constitutional underpinnings. I’m non-violent, but I am no longer a friend to this government. Today you have turned your backs on the forefathers and foremothers. The shame is yours for all to see.
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Now don’t misunderstand. Our system of democracy with her liberties didn’t just collapse overnight. This was not sudden at all. It began decades ago. Let’s look at some examples.
Freedom to assemble: Slowly laws have been enacted below the radar to control that right of assembly. Permit laws were put in place. Yes you can protest this group or that law. But we are only going to allow it out of sight and sound of the people who need to know you are upset about it. Sometimes permits are just simply denied. Other times the crowd size is limited, or charges are attached, or a time limit imposed. You want to protest on public property? Well no megaphones please. Not without a permit. Some guy is sitting over there with powered up amps on his radio, but you can’t amplify your message.
Freedom of speech: Well okay, as long as you don’t offend anybody. If you speak up at a public forum and the candidate doesn’t like what you have to say, he simply has security evict you. Elected officials give tickets out for public forums to determine who can and cannot attend. Can’t have any opposition can we? Now Wisconsin wants to charge people for the right to assemble and protest. Any group over four can be deemed a protest and charged.
Freedom of the press: In wars media are required to be imbedded. Recently they’ve been trying the same thing for protests in our nation. Sometimes the abuse is blatant. Lately a number of reporters have been arrested, abused, or simply removed from covering stories. Of peaceful protests no less. At the same time over the last few decades, the corporate media has gained a stranglehold on the news we hear. Fewer and fewer corporations own all the mainstream media sources. The government allows them to restrict the news most will here. If you are not corporate media, all too often you are not allowed access at all. Meanwhile more and more information is classified, not because it’s a security matter, but because it might be embarrassing.
Freedom of religion: That of course also includes freedom from religion. Look around the country at places like Tennessee, where all out efforts to restrict the right of Muslims to practice their faith is occurring. Our politicians in several cases have sided with these hate mongers, trying to pass laws “against Sharia… hello the Constitution already does that” or to otherwise restrict our practice our spiritual path. Our politics are laden with religious tests in a land where the constitution says we can’t do that.
Freedom to vote: As we speak, states around the nation are setting up legal obstacles to a person’s right to vote. They require certain types of id, make the registration process more difficult for certain classes of people, all to control the types of people who are voting for political purposes. Meanwhile paperless computer systems are the rule in many states with no way to check for fraud by those who operate the machines. Part and parcel with the right to vote is the manner in which elections are carried out. Recent cases have declared corporations to be people, who can donate unlimited amounts of money to the candidate they choose. Combined with an interminably long election season, only a person with sufficient corporate support has a chance of winning an election. This effectively takes the power to elect out of the hands of the people and into the hands of corporate donors. Oh and corporations can donate anonymously while you or I cannot. To make it even worse, in the absence of proportional representation, it is extremely difficult for you or I to run without the sanction of one of the two main parties. This limits the voices that are even heard. Together they create a circumstance where both parties represent their donors rather than us. An issue 85% of Americans can support doesn’t have a chance because the money folks would cut off a candidate for voting against their interests.
This all brings us to the most basic freedom of all. One we inherited from the Magna Carta. The right to due process and a speedy trial is the very definition of a democracy. Without it, we are but one more tinhorn dictatorship, even if we have the illusion of a democracy to pacify our fears. Inherent in our constitution was a series of checks and balances that protect us from despotism. A person can be arrested, but they had a right to a speedy trial. No one can tap your phones without a court review to ensure there is probable cause. Each branch of government served as a check and balance against the other.
Then came the attacks on New York City on 9-11. Out of anger, a rash of laws were passed. Some circumvented civil liberties by a declaration of war, not on a set of people or a nation, but against an idea. It’s a war that never ends. For the world has always had terrorism, and likely always will. So war powers are perpetual. We began arresting terrorists from elsewhere and holding them for long periods without trial. We began to torture people. We’ve taken warlike actions against nations who were never involved in the attack. Then recently, the president ordered an attack on an American citizen deemed to be a part of Al Queda. No trial by jury. No clearance by the judicial branch. A solitary executive action ordered execution without due process.
Then the other day, the final straw, the death knell to our constitution was sounded. A bill was passed by the U.S. Senate and is expected to pass the House. This bill makes it legal for the defense department to identify a person as an enemy of the state, without any court proceeding. They can be determined so even if they have not directly worked against our interests, but were seen to cooperate with those that do. It does not matter if that person is a U.S. citizen or not. They can have the person arrested and HELD INDEFINITELY WITHOUT TRIAL OR A HEARING WITH ANY JUDGE FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIFE IF THE MILITARY SO CHOOSES. THAT INCLUDES ON AMERICAN SOIL WHICH IS NOW INCLUDED IN THE DEFINITION OF “BATTLEFIELD.” In this Senate vote, only seven Senators voted no. Three were Democrat, three were Republican, and one an Independent. In a bi-partisan action the very definition of what is a democracy was undermined. Freedom died that day. Yes Obama can veto it and he says he will. But with that sort of overpowering support, a veto can easily be overruled.
I’m a life long Democrat, or DFL as we call it here. Ever since my first vote at age 21 in 1968, the Dems have gotten my vote. It makes this act by so many of my party to be even that much more a betrayal. Until the political process is corrected in a radically different way, it no longer seems useful. The time has come for that peaceful revolution. I pray it is peaceful at least. My two Senators, Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar lost my vote with their support of this National Defense Appropriation Act. Unless they change their vote to uphold an Obama veto, which the veto is expected, I’ll never cast a ballot for them again. The same is true of any Democrat who votes to undermine that most precious of documents, our Constitution. I now will support all actions to effect a revolutionary change for our nation in a peaceful way. Without a constitution, laws have no meaning, and regulations are but dictates of a society that has lost credibility. It’s a sad day for me really. Still I have hope that we will fix it over time. Not our irrelevant government, but the people who must again demand a redress of our grievances and declare ourselves free. We have been betrayed. Now comes the beginning of retribution for our politicians who betrayed us, and the rebirth of a free people once again. We begin today.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Today, large crowds are gathering in Washington, D.C. and New York City and in cities across this nation. Our gathering in Minneapolis begins on Friday with an occupation of "Freedom Plaza", the plaza by the government buildings. This movement has struck a chord bigger than anything we've seen in recent times. The other day over 700 were arrested, yet still they show. Why? Years ago I studied the tenants of revolution. The lesson of history was this. Revolution succeeds when everything else has failed. Today we can vote for politicians, yet they continue to listen not to our interests, but those of big money. Our needs have become meaningless to the political folks, the system skewed to ensure power (and wealth) is focused in the hands of the upper 1 % of this nation. For the rest of us? Too bad. We've tried the normal processes, and none of them have worked. So now it is time to take to the streets.
Some people cringe when I use the word revolution, so an explanation is necessary here. Revolution does not have to be violent. Indeed in our recent history the most successful revolutions have been those that were non-violent. When the people share your goals, over time you will prevail. Think Gandhi or King. Or the Arab Spring. That does not mean there is no bloodshed either. We all recall the beatings and dog attacks against Dr. King. Power and those who would abuse it do not surrender easily. But given time and numbers, change comes despite the despots in Egypt or Wall Street.
Over the coming days, power will try to co-opt this movement. We must resist. Today I heard members of the media, after ignoring us for so long, actually claiming credit for our growth. I've received numerous fund raising letters from various political organizations trying to pretend to be behind the organization of these protests growing by the day. The truth is however, that the idea is larger than any of these johnny come lately's. Poor people and working middle class, democrats and republicans, old and young, there is a broader appeal to this call than anything we've seen in recent times. How many protests have I watched filled with a sea of the same old faces, mostly white. But I look at these crowds and I see the diversity of America. I have heard reporters insist there must be a manifesto, something concrete. Something perhaps they can rally around to control? No, the broader goals of removing money from politics and initiating a more fair society is sufficient. Then the trained politicos must earn their money or be bypassed forever, once again subject to the whim of the people, not a bunch of greedy, selfish, hedge fund operators and CEO's who are only concerned about their profit, not the good of the country.
So Friday, health willing, I plan to show up downtown. I'm just one person. One of the 99% of all of us who is fed up and wants my America back. Wall Street, you feel above it all right now. Perhaps the victim of hubris. Of course the inevitable outcome of hubris is the fall. Tragic but necessary. Let the revolution begin.
Monday, September 26, 2011
In his blog, The Well, Rev. Justin Schroeder presented this question:
"And here's the thing, if I'm not grounded in this way, I know I will burn out, that the pain and weight of the world will crush me, that I will turn toward anger and cynicism, and that I will become toxic to myself and those around me. The world is in need of some big changes, it's true; these changes won't come overnight; they will take time; there will be failures and heartbreak. And so we must have practices that sustain and strengthen our spirits, so that we can be grounded in faith as we work on behave of love and justice...or we'll be no good to anyone, anywhere, regardless of final outcomes.
What are your spiritual practices? How do you stay grounded and balanced in difficult times?"
It's a good question. One I felt deserved more than just a quick comment. My life has been filled with disappointments and I've had lots of practice, success, and failure as well. There were times I was burnt so crisp I'd be surprised no one would comment on my pronounced singe marks. I've got one major asset at this time in my life's journey. In the late Autumn of my life, there's a ton of experience I carry into the fray, failures where I learned a few lessons along the way.
So what are some of those practices I've picked up along the way? Here's a few:
o Every day I am alive, I make a mental inventory of everything I'm grateful for in this life. I've got love, a roof over my head, a community who helps keep me aloft.
o Each day I take a moral inventory of my behavior. What could I have done differently or perhaps better. When did I blow it, and do I need to repair my mistakes?
o I try to find someone else to help or reach out to, especially in those moments when I start to feel jaundiced towards it all. Helping another is wonderful therapy for self pity I find.
o I make a conscious effort during this time of meditation to look at the "big picture." It's easy to think that what happens in my little piece of the universe IS the entire universe. Of course it is not.
o During that meditation I try to put everything in perspective over the long view, not just days or weeks, but months and years.
o I constantly remind myself that I'm human. I blow off steam if I need to, rest when I'm tired, eat when I'm hungry, call friends when I'm lonely. Basic stuff, but these practices help me remain steady.
o I do pray. To the Ethos, the Universe, I can't define the supernatural or even if it exists. Still I pray. Why? It helps me. It is a process where I can move out of my self centered place, turning emotions outward rather than inward.
o I repeat the Serenity Prayer. I need to remember that the only actions I have control over are my own. If I'm keeping my head and heart in the right place, then over time that moral arc of the universe will indeed tilt towards justice.
o I remind myself constantly that I'm part of a larger community. That is especially important these days. Issues of health, transportation etc means I'm not around community as much as I once was. It does NOT mean I am not part of those same communities.
o Each day I remind myself that I can't live in the past or try to force the universe to conform to my wishes. If I live ethically, take the actions towards a better world, over time despite the stops and starts it will happen. Also the world is NOT divided into two camps. This is not war but peace we seek.
Each day I think I have a decision to make. Live with hope or with despair. Frankly, hope feels a whole lot better. I'm just enough a sensualist to want that in life. Some days are better than others. Some days hope will be dashed into the dirt, and I will own despair for all to see. With the practices I mentioned, after the moments of weakness passes, I can start over. Each day really is a new day, no matter whether the world around me is going to hell in a handbasket or not. I think sometimes of the thoughts recorded by those who were in slavery in previous generations. Yet they found the way to hope. There is a lovely saying among the black women I knew back in East Texas where I grew up. If somebody was offering to help, or asking for help, they simply replaced one word for another. It would go something like this, "Can you hope me?" "Let me hope you with that." I always thought that was a wonderful way to express life and hope.
Thanks for the question Justin:-)
Thursday, July 28, 2011
All of a sudden liberals all over America are jumping on the 14th Amendment bandwagon ever since Bill Clinton suggested that President Obama could simply bypass Congress regarding the debt ceiling. So I'm a liberal. However I completely disagree with using that strategy. Allow me to explain.
First there's the obvious legal argument. Here's the section of the amendment in question:
Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
This section was included following the civil war and many legal scholars believe that section beyond those circumstances are not covered. If the President used this rationale, the likely response would be impeachment by the other side. Even if they could get the courts to hear it, that might take some time. Meanwhile that uncertainty would have an adverse effect on the world markets and our status would continue to slip.
However, that's not my primary reason for being opposed to this amendment. No, my concern has to do with a trend going on for several decades moving power from the legislative to the executive branch. These precedents over the last several years have continued to enhance the power of the President, endangering the checks and balances that were built into our Constitution.
The founders placed budgetary decisions clearly in the hands of the House, subject to passage also by the Senate and ratification by the president. Their logic was clear. Members of the House are chosen every two years, and are most responsable to the electorate. Since it's our money in question, we need to have the greater voice in that decision. The Senate and President serve to protect against the excesses of the people. Right now an issue exists because the people elected a bunch of folks who are unable to compromise and the result of that intransigence may cost us all dearly. Still, within a few election cycles, those folks can be replaced and over the long haul a correction will be made.
What happens though if the president acts and he somehow prevails. A precedent will have been set and future presidents could use the similar rationale and act as they saw fit regarding budgetary law. One more power ceded to an increasingly imperial presidency and further deterioration in the checks and balances that made America great for so long.
Right now liberals see Obama as the closest thing to our world vision, so it seems easy to shrug and say, well heck, it serves our needs so why not? We need to think beyond this circumstance to evaluate the wisdom of any move of this sort. What sort of decision from the president's office could we expect from a President Bachmann? Do we really want to enhance her power any more should she be elected? How about a President Rick Perry from Texas? It is clear the conservative side of our population is ready to play loose with our constitution. It's a good argument to make against them, weakened if we choose to do the same thing.
This sort of usurpation of power can have very opposite results years down the road. For this reason, I oppose using the 14th Amendment to justify bypassing Congress. Perhaps this is liberal heresy. I've never been a stranger to heresy. With the liberal's vision of what America can and should be, I think principles like checks and balances trump the immediate concerns of our day. Bypassing Congress would be a big mistake.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
The events in Norway yesterday were disturbing. What sort of insanity would lead someone (s) to blow up a building, then enter a youth camp and slaughter them indiscriminately? I can hardly imagine the pain and anguish of so many families and friends in Norway. My prayers and heart are with the Norwegian people today.
It is easy to pin this on him as if he were disturbed and an aberration. Yet our own history should suggest that might be a cop out. Think of the atrocities of our times. A right wing extremist (Christian) blows up the Federal Building in Oklahoma City. We know he had help. The murders of abortion doctors around the country. The bombing at the Atlanta olympics, another example of extreme intolerance leading to violent acts. 9-11 was an extreme act of intolerance, that time by Muslim extremists. The man who entered and opened fire in a Unitarian Universalist congregation in Knoxville, Tennessee. He hated liberals and their tolerance of diversity. His home was filled with writings by folks like Limbaugh and Beck.
What I'm trying to say is that while it is re-assuring to label these acts as insanity, they seem more to be an inevitable outcome of extreme intolerance. It doesn't matter the religion or lack of it. Osama Bin Ladin claimed to be an Islamic extremist but they guy watched porn in the sanctity of his compound. Religion is the excuse, but intolerance towards diversity remains the reason.
AS SUCH, WE ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT INSANITY, BUT A POLITICAL ACT.
Over the days ahead, more details will become available. A second man was found with a knife in the hotel where the prime minister was going to be speaking with the families. Was he part of a larger plot? What is clear is that the current intolerance towards diversity by the right wing, religious groups, and pundits are reaping their desired result. True believers ready to do the unthinkable. Perhaps the time is fast approaching for a new "intolerance of the intolerant." How many more lives will be lost in the name of hate?
Friday, July 1, 2011
This is the time of year when people celebrate the Fourth of July, touting her greatness and waving the banner using militaristic language. Everywhere you turn, there is the imagery of war, and in our politics, the implied command to love her without question. If a person does question, they are assumed to be something less than American.
That is not my America.
Some see it as an excuse for a sales event. Some brandish the red, white and blue as surely as an advertising poster, either to sell their product or to sell others on their patriotism. Seriously, is patriotism the sole venue of unquestioning devotees who regardless of their own experiences demands blind allegiance?
That is not the America I believe in.
Political pundits speak on Fox News insinuating that those with different views from their own somehow hate America, and perhaps do not belong here. Some believe we are inherently superior to people in other lands simply because of the piece of geography where they were born. Or that God somehow ordained America to be right, even when she was wrong. Some even believe all Biblical prophecy focuses on what's happening in America at any given time.
Once again, not the America I believe in. I think the word for that is ethnocentrism.
So let me share what my America is really about. I go back to our founding Mothers and Fathers. People who believed in the capacity of individuals to use their own minds, to recognize rational thought as the ultimate gift of the Creator. They were not swayed by dogmas or preachers, indeed ensuring a sufficient separation of church and state. They were willing to look at what does not work and then fix it. The movement from a confederation of states to a constitutional form of government made us one nation indivisible. Some didn't like it, even as some are trying to go back to the ideals of the confederation today. A horrible civil war was fought over that. In the name of state's rights with a goal to keep others enslaved, that bloody war had to be fought.. The struggle for true equality goes on to this very day. It was, and is, our willingness to change, our willingness to improve, that established the dream that is America.
Have we lost that dream? I'm not sure. I know it lives in me. Yet we sacrifice our liberties in the name of fear. We discard freedom for safety. That is NOT the America I believe in. Corporations want the rest of us to pay the way while a fortunate few harvest all the profit of our labor. How unAmerican can one get? We fight wars and keep alliances to preserve systems that are the very antithesis of the American dream. So often decisions are centered more upon greed and avarice. I fear that if nations can experience karma, our debt will be much greater than the national debt in the news today.
Yet still I dream of the America that can be. I'm a liberal homosexual transsexual liberty loving American woman who loves her homeland, and dreams what many ordinary folk dreamed of ever since our founding. I don't believe I'm alone in that]. A great poet said it better than I. In the words of Langston Hughes:
Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.
(America never was America to me.)
Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed--
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.
(It never was America to me.)
O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.
(There's never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")
Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?
I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek--
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.
I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one's own greed!
I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean--
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today--O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.
Yet I'm the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That's made America the land it has become.
O, I'm the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home--
For I'm the one who left dark Ireland's shore,
And Poland's plain, and England's grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa's strand I came
To build a "homeland of the free."
Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we've dreamed
And all the songs we've sung
And all the hopes we've held
And all the flags we've hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay--
Except the dream that's almost dead today.
O, let America be America again--
The land that never has been yet--
And yet must be--the land where every man is free.
The land that's mine--the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME--
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.
Sure, call me any ugly name you choose--
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people's lives,
We must take back our land again,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath--
America will be!
Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain--
All, all the stretch of these great green states--
And make America again!
- Langston Hughes
Many decades later, I echo his words. We the people must redeem... and make America again!
Friday, June 17, 2011
Monday, March 21, 2011
Terror is more like it. Let me explain. One year ago they found an aneurism on the ascending aorta, right where it leaves the heart. We would watch it after 6 months to see if it has grown. Well the cardiologist never got back with me, so a year later, it was time to try to set up a ct-angiogram to find out what was going on.
This surgery is a dangerous one. Normally about 30% of those who have it don't survive. I've been wrestling with bad health issues for a few years now. I needed to build myself up, but every single time I tried to work out, I'd be sick again. The last several months were just non-stop coughing and sleepless nights and drainage from hell. Then my regular doctor tries to help me set up the appointment, but my cardiologist would not return her calls. So now we get another cardiologist. But meanwhile I'm terribly run down, dramatically increasing the odds I'd be one of those 30% that don't make it. Okay, we find out I've got asthma. Great. I can treat that, and for the first time, I'm able to diet and exercise and even feeling good for once.
Friday I go for the test. Unless there is an emergency, I see the cardiologist in April. If they want to do surgery, do I do it, or take my chances a while longer while I become stronger? If it bursts it is instant death. This is one of the powerless times in my life. Mostly I'm pretty good with that. But I do NOT want to die. When the decisions become of the level of life and death, it gets pretty scary.
I don't have the answers, nor does anybody else. I'm not seeking solutions. Oh and yes, some have it much worse. I feel bad for them. But it doesn't make this one any easier. People say knowing makes it better. I'm not sure about that either.
I do want to shout out for all the world to hear my frustration and my anxiety. Perhaps a blog entry is as close as I can get to doing that. Life offers lots of journeys, some pretty scary. This one ranks right up there in that department. My prayer is that I've got more time before we have to do surgery. Maybe I'll get lucky. Who knows? Acceptance will come. I'm not there yet.