Archive

Posts Tagged ‘hope’

God is in this place

I once
read a book
called God Was in
This Place & I; i
Did Not Know

I’ve forgotten
the book itself,
but the title is near
my heart
always
now

Because I know
where God is
right now

Long before
I began to notice,
corporations have
destroyed the earth
with the blessing and
support of my country’s
government

To discover the
depths of this, and
how truly it has been a
bipartisan endeavor,
has crushed me

35 years ago,
Exxon was aware
of climate change, but
worked to suppress
awareness, because
that awareness
spread wide
would harm
its profits

Today, as elected
Democrats give lip
service to the harms
of climate change, the
Democratic U.S.
president continues
to approve new oil pipelines
while issuing thousands
of fracking permits

If he and his
believe in climate change,
it is irrelevant; for their acts,
simply
do not
show
it

Words
are cheap;
actions,
revealing,
damning
(all
of
us)

In
this
place,
where
Earth
may
soon
fail
us
(for
we
have
failed
Her),
we
have
little
time

Where,
then, is
hope?

Where,
then, is
God?

At Standing Rock,
in North Dakota,
Sioux people
have risen
against an
oil pipeline,
the Dakota
Access
Pipeline

They have arisen
because they
deserve to
survive”
(free from
colonialism)
and this
pipeline,
routed
away from
concerned
Bismarck
citizens
who feared
for their water
and through
Native lands
granted by
treaty,
is
lethal

As the
Standing Rock
Sioux act to
protect
themselves,
they protect
Earth, water,
you, me, our
children,
both
blocking
construction
and
saying, to
corporation,
to country,
and the world,
“Our lives,
our planet,
should not
be valued
less than
the profits
of oil
men”

When my
heart turns
to Standing Rock,
it is full; goosebumps
ripple up and down me,
as I feel the pull of a
tide I can explain
no other way than
to call it God

As I think how long I
have barely believed
in God, I understand
I misunderstood
how we are all
connected, be we
in Long Beach or
North Dakota or
Yemen or
Somalia or
Peru

She who stands
for one, stands for
all; she who stands
against Earth’s
destruction for profit
stands for us all

In this time
where it so hard
for me to find hope,
I need only think of
Standing Rock and
know, truly, deeply,
through my soul,
there is yet
hope

The sooner
people everywhere
see and stand with
the Standing Rock Sioux,
the sooner people
everywhere will
stand a chance

Because God
is at Standing Rock,
beckoning us to
hear-see-feel this

God is in this place

God is Standing Rock

10 Ways You Can Help the Standing Rock Sioux Fight the Dakota Access Pipeline

Share that light!

I’m an introvert.

I once used stick figure drawings to demonstrate this.

bubble 4

There’s a bubble of space around me I don’t like people invading. I’ve often gotten downright cranky when people have tried.

bubble 3

Even more recently, I’ve come to see a different kind of bubble.

Long before I realized it, I was in a bubble of light. It was mostly warm, and cozy, and illuminated by lots of other friend-filled bubbles around me.

Then Ferguson caught my attention, and I caught glimpses of darkness out beyond these bubbles of light.

I explored. I spoke. And, finally, I moved on, exhausted.

I soaked up the light and forgot my fear of the darkness I’d seen out where light couldn’t–or didn’t–reach.

As the Democratic primaries neared conclusion, I saw darkness again.

I reoriented my bubble so I could no longer see the darkness.

That only worked for a little while. The darkness began peeking through no matter which way I turned.

So rather than fearing its seeping in, I held my breath, clenched my fists, and stepped out into the darkness.

I soon learned that very, very few people are permitted cozy bubbles of light. Their–our–bubbles were purchased by others’ pain.

I learned that my country’s leaders have, for decades, spread the darkness for impoverished people they haven’t (yet) killed worldwide. They have done this for corporate gain.

I discovered my comfortable bubble was paid for by genocide.

“I can’t fucking believe we’re committing fucking genocide!” I roared in agony to friends.

“Mind your language!” they retorted.

Now I see how many lives depend on light breaking through all that darkness.

I’m ashamed I spent so much time in my own bubble. I’m ashamed I tried to hold that light in and keep it just for me and those the very, very nearest to me. More than that, I’m committed to standing outside my friends’ bubbles and encouraging them to burst those bubbles and share their light. To penetrate the darkness and illuminate the world for everyone.

Burst that bubble!

Share that light!

The light outside will be much dimmer than what you’re used to, at first …

… but to many who’ve never had any hope of ever affording their own protective neoliberal bubble, the light may well be blinding.

Please read my sister’s impassioned post
from earlier today.

It may hurt. It may be scary.

It may also well be part of your path to letting
your
light
shine.

If you’re willing to take the journey outside your bubble,
we’ll be overjoyed to walk that road with you,
growing all our strength in solidarity.

rache me mid-80s

Let it shine

Yesterday morning, my seven-year-old son heard my husband, Anthony, and I talking about election results.

“What happened?” asked Li’l D.

“Trump won the presidency,” we explained to him.

He looked stricken.

“Oh, sweetie,” I said. “I know you’ve heard a lot of terrible things at school. But, you know what? Lots of people you love voted for Trump.”

Anthony and I listed these people, and emphasized how much they love him and are committed to protecting him and keeping him safe.

image

See? Punisher! Wait, no ...

Many people are afraid right now.

Some of that fear is very reasonable, particularly for minorities. Some Trump supporters hold bigoted beliefs, and some portion of those feel enabled by Trump’s victory.

But some of that fear was carefully cultivated by the DNC, which very intentionally elevated Trump’s candidacy–and fear about his supporters–starting early 2015 to improve Clinton’s chances of victory.

On both sides, fear has been used to divide and conquer us.

I wrote this morning about why I would have voted for Trump were there only two choices. I hope you’ll read the post and consider the possibility that some of what you’ve learned has been wrong.

(I’ve spent the last six months doing this, and it’s been painful to understand how my ignorance has helped hurt people. You’ve seen some of that in anger that’s sometimes bled through here, less at anyone else and more at myself that it took me so very, very long to see.)

Please don’t categorize people as “self” and “other” right now. Resist the urge, as I must personally be vigilant about doing right now.

Please, please listen to each other, hear each other, stand up for each other–even if your voice or knees shake–and fight against the fear machine.

You are loved, you are loved, you are loved.

Take that love and let it shine, because that love translated to action is quite literally what it’ll take to save this world for our children.

Our lives mattered

My husband, Anthony, is a good man.

Anthony recently urged me to volunteer. He recognized that my heartbreak at the plight of refugees forced from their homes by American actions needed an outlet bigger than writing.

rocking-horses

My kids get home, food, water, relative security, and lots of toys. Refugee kids get temporary play on two little rocking horses.

I volunteered twice last week, and quickly understood that Anthony was right.

I told him I’ve wanted to delete this blog. “I wrote it when I was asleep!” I told him. “Now I’m no longer asleep and the whole blog just bugs me. What am I supposed to do with it?”

“Be patient,” he told me. “I think you’ll find you have things you want to say there. Different things than before. That’s okay.”

My birthday’s this weekend. Two particular pieces of news are all the birthday present I could possibly want.

“Hon,” I asked Anthony, “is it okay if I gloat just a little about today’s news?”

“No,” he replied swiftly. “Gloating turns you into Trump.”

I trust him, so I won’t gloat. I will, however, explain–and I’ll do it here, because (1) Anthony’s been right many times over and (2) this is outside the little bubble I’ve built on Learning to Speak Politics.

When I saw Hillary Clinton speak with Black Lives Matter activists a few months back, I recoiled from her transparent loathing.* While her words sounded respectful, every other facet of her demeanor screamed, “I don’t even see them as people.”

I tried explaining this to some of my Hillary-loving friends. Impressively enough given all they know about my turbulent youth, they indicated my privilege (and potentially misogyny) blinded me to the wonders of Hillary.**

I read more about the Clintons. As I read, I became more and more horrified. I saw that my fact-averse friends were acting out the same role as wives of predators I knew in childhood: denying because accepting would shatter their relatively comfortable worlds.

A few days ago, one of my friends posted a picture of herself in a sweatshirt proclaiming how it’s about time we had a woman in the White House.***

Immediately after I unfollowed her, Anthony got to hear a lot of really unpleasant reflections about my historically derived basis for translating the sweatshirt’s text to, “We need more poor brown-skinned people dead in this world–there’s too many alive already!”

(The rest is not fit for printing here. I’m trying to work through my rage about how these self alleged “enlightened” friends prop up violence worldwide, stealing countless lives as I type this, but acceptance is a slow process.)

I mentioned my birthday’s this weekend, right? And that today’s news was like a birthday present for me?

Two pieces of news in particular filled me with hope.

First, a 2006 recording of Hillary Clinton advocating voter rigging in Palestine came to light. That the words were spoken is horrible; that they were released, a gift to the future of democracy in the United States.

Second, the FBI indicated that it had received access to new Hillary emails requiring further investigation.

How exactly were those emails derived? Funnily enough, through the husband of Hillary’s top aide, Huma Abedin. Huma’s husband, “disgraced former New York congressman Anthony Weiner,” was being investigated for issues related to illicit messages he sent to a minor, investigation of which led him to hand over a laptop containing what one federal official described to The New York Times as “tens of thousands of [previously undisclosed] emails related to the Clinton case.”

You know what people don’t delete before handing over some portion of subpoenaed records? Yoga schedules.

Many who desperately want a woman in the White House have adamantly avoided any inspection of Hillary’s history. They’ve steered far clear of WikiLeaks, despite (1) its ten-year pristine track record and (2) ample confirmation outside invested Beltway punditry that Podesta Leak contents were not only valid**** and unedited, but not likely obtained via Russians. (Podesta fell for at least one phishing scheme, and used easily guessed passwords such as “p@ssword.” Indeed, after emails began being released, Podesta’s Twitter account was accessed by someone who gleaned his password from the leaks.)

There’s still a good terrible chance Hillary will become president, given how late this news is coming.

Still, I’m hopeful. Late is better than never, and if this news helps Americans see their votes for Clinton count as endorsement for her backing numerous murderous coups*****, past, present, and future, there’s hope that fewer people will be bombed or starved by our kindly Democratic leaders in the months and years ahead.

‘Cause, let me be clear: If I’d been born in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, or Libya, my mom, my siblings, and I would have been among those bombed or starved to death thanks to Clinton. We’d have had no resources to escape, and no hope … save the tiniest sliver of hope that Americans might, before me and mine died, learn to see and join together to speak up in a way that reflected their acknowledgment that

our
lives
mattered.

kids outside 792

* Hey, at least something about her is transparent.

** The same “privilege” also made me more receptive to documented historical fact, thank goodness.

*** Totally agreed if that woman is Jill Stein or Gloria LaRiva.

**** Some great articles have derived therefrom, including some highly damning ones about how the Clinton Foundation was a tool to personally enrich the Clintons. Since I didn’t make note of the articles that caught my eye, here’s a list of the 100 most damning situations uncovered so far.

***** So very, very happy to provide links to anyone interested. I’ve mostly omitted them here because they’re really time-consuming to add and only 4-5% of them ever get clicks here.
Read more…

Saturday Soliloquy: Seek the Stars

Do you feel comfortable engaging with politics?

I didn’t, until recently. I hadn’t done enough reading. I didn’t understand enough. This being so, I was sure I could never understand enough.

Changing careers last year helped change my perspective. I stepped from a universe full of knowledge-stars and into the darkness of a universe apparently nothing like the one I’d left behind.

The darkness was daunting, but I sought out the stars. Read more…

AN ENTREATY: sing loud for love & life

Hey, lovely friends,

Barbara Lee was the only U.S. representative who voted against a vague Authorization for Use of Military Force immediately following the 9/11/01 attacks.

Lee rightly feared that a “rush to launch precipitous military counterattacks runs too great a risk that more innocent men, women, children will be killed.” The same AUMF, together with the 2002 one targeted specifically at Iraq, has been used for fifteen years and supported U.S. bombing of seven countries to date. With virtually no constraints on how the 2001 AUMF may be used, there’s a very real possibility it will be used to kill and upend more lives than the millions it already has.

Catastrophically, in addition to itself bombing these countries, the U.S. has partnered with human rights travesty Saudi Arabia (to start) to bomb many of them. The Obama administration alone has sold $115 billion in weapons to Saudi Arabia, despite that the Secretary of State is supposed to consider human rights records when weighing whether or not to approve arms sales to any given country.

One-third of Saudi Arabia’s air strike targets in Yemen have been non-military, with approximately 4,000 civilians killed and infrastructure necessary to deliver humanitarian aid crushed. So many Yemeni people have died that the Red Cross has begun donating morgues to hospitals.

The 2001 AUMF authorized the president to “use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.” Given that Saudi Arabia was home to three-quarters of those who attacked the U.S. on 9/11/01, I believe it is fair to say the AUMF has (1) given enormous, unchecked power to the executive branch while (2) straining credulity that the AUMF continues to be used–if, indeed, it ever was–for its stated purpose.

(If you wondered why President Obama would vow to veto a bill allowing 9/11 victims to Saudi Arabia, it is arguably this: that to do so would prove fatal to a strategic U.S. alliance, no matter how destructive that alliance.)

Please, please consider signing Lee’s petition to revoke both AUMFs, and talking to those you love about doing the same. I know it can feel like there’s little we as individual citizens can do in the face of such enormous tragedy, but our voices matter … never more than when they join together in a resounding chorus of love.

The lives of innocent, impoverished men, women, and children on the other side of the world depend upon your love, and your loving use of your voice.

I beg you to please, please use that voice to call for an end this senseless violence.

With love & thanks,
Deb

Note, while I will continue using my politics blog
to address most political topics, I perceive this
as more “life-or-death” than just “politics.”

This was originally an email to friends.

The grace and joy of “for”

I’ve had such a monumental heart-shift recently, it may well take me weeks or months to articulate it.

It will almost certainly take thousands of words. At its core is for: the difference between being for and against, but it runs much deeper than that handful of words conveys.

What a felon looks like. Also, love.

What a felon looks like. Also, love.

A piece of this shift showed up in conversation I had with my friend Ra a couple of weeks ago. I told her how I’d written a post called “I believe you” while she was in prison. I mused aloud about how one piece of that post was difficult for some to grok: the piece where I suggested I was for her, not against him, in sex assault cases. As I wrote then,

It’s not my job to adjudicate. In any case, I’m not interested in weighing his guilt, threatening or cursing him. That doesn’t change anything–not for the better, anyway.

In fact, I believe focusing so keenly on all the details of any one him, speculating about him or castigating him hurts not only you but all of us. We blind ourselves to the whole picture because it’s easier to speculate on one lurid detail: one him. We’re so busy ogling the accident on the roadside, we don’t see the crumbling bridge ahead of us. Nothing gets changed that way because we can’t change something that’s already happened.

I’d like us to stop talking about any one him and start talking instead about how to help you. How to lift you up in healing. How to let you know we are here for you, listening to you, believing you.

I’d rather focus on building than destroying.

I now believe those words a million times more intensely than when I wrote them last January. A trillion times more, even, or to the infinity-eth power.

I also understand that there are a billion more ways to destroy than I then understood, and that I perpetrate some of them daily.

Listening to Ra speak of prison and parole, I am overwhelmed by the tragedy of all the lives destroyed by the United States prison system. Less and less do I believe we send people to prison for reform, or allow those freed from the physical walls of prison to ever be free.

Mackorah Debenzie 2011

Mackorah Debenzie 2011

Somewhere in my heart of hearts, some part of me used to believe people who went to prison deserved whatever they got, for however long they got it. Then, on a long car trip with my beloved Mackenzie some years ago, she waxed eloquent about how dehumanizing that was. I still dehumanized others after that conversation, but Mackenzie’s insights started me down the path of questioning some of my basest assumptions. (Thanks, Mackenzie. ILU.)

With Ra and Mackenzie’s words in my heart, a quote by Ellen Degeneres then made my heart sink as I thought, “That was me.”

So when I read Ra’s most recent post this morning, I cried. Of course I did. It’s the epitome of what I’m struggling to articulate; it’s for, through and through.

Ra is not against Ellen, but for love. For hope. For books, and literacy. For seeing the inhumanity with which we treat prisoners, whether they are within or outside of prison, and for accepting the humanity of individual prisoners, seeing each as herself instead of one indistinguishable piece of an identical whole. For compassion. For love. For for.

I am for all of these things, and for Ra, and for you. I am for you reading Ra’s post and spending some time today contemplating and then basking in the sweetness of sitting with all the many things you’re for.

%d bloggers like this: