Peace, Personal Growth, Personhood, Politics

POLITICS 2020

I have given a great deal of thought to linear thinking lately.  Vile posts and conversations have invaded my space.  I listened to the rant of an unfeeling Sons of the Confederacy member who believes the virus is a hoax.  I have seen posts by well-educated people who are unwilling to recognize history as a fluid experience with learning opportunities rather than as a place we inhabit mentally in perpetuity.

Both parties have people who, although not at the fringes, are incapable of expanding their world view.  Single-mindedness or linear thinking is another way of renaming lack of empathy and bigotry.  I do not believe many of these people behaving in bigoted ways are aware of their harm to others.  I also believe most would claim to be without prejudice.  Linear thinking is not given to self-examination, but is generous with the judgment of others.

I believe there is room for compromise for the sake of peace and, most importantly, for the sake of justice. 

Compromise 1:  Wear masks.  The people who want to open everything up get their way.  Those of us who want to be protected from the virus get our way.  Win.  Win. 

Compromise 2:  Relocate the monuments.  Living in Texas magnifies all symbols of personal independence.  The questions are: When the symbols of independence and freedom were erected, were they meant to only allow freedom to whites?  Were they meant to intimidate people of color?  Are these symbols of oppression more important than the living people whose souls shrink in their shadows?  Are the monuments representative of who we are today?  Do the monuments keep us stuck in the painful past?  My compromise:  Put the monuments in Confederate cemeteries or in museums.  Raise a statue of a man reading to his child in front of the local library.  Put a quote in front of the courthouse, “Justice cannot be for one side alone, but for both.  Eleanor Roosevelt.”  In front of the schools erect monuments that inspire achievement – scientists, artists, John McCain (one of my more recent political heroes).  

If we do not learn to compromise, we will lose our country.  The question for us all is whether being right is worth sacrificing our democracy.  Let’s get real and do the hard work of learning to get along.  Regardless how we may want to win all the marbles, our children may lose everything if we plant our feet in the past and refuse to move forward.

Stating the obvious: the past is behind us and the future is our gift to the next generation.  What are we creating in the now?

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Church, Personal Growth, Politics, Uncategorized

CHURCH SYSTEMIC RACISM

I am a liberal, old, white woman who has supported equal rights for women and people of color over the decades.  I would NEVER vote for a white supremacist like Trump.

I do not know the black experience because I was born into white privilege.  This is not to say I did not experience poverty as a child or did not work hard over the years.  And I might add, I have had to deal with over-zealous police who scared the bejesus out of me, but my outcome was better than that of a person of color.

Why is the church, MY CHURCH, not doing a better job defending the rights of black people?  We must acknowledge there are a number of bigots in our congregation who would claim they are not.  The white, thinking church congregants want to be too polite.  Don’t rock that boat!  We protect the feelings of people who hate because they are volatile, loud and will throw scriptures around like bread crumbs to ducks on a pond.  Enough!

I am scratching my head over the hypocrisy of this position considering Biblical teachings.

Over the past few years, I personally have had the following experiences with other women, just to name a few:

  1.  I did not feel a team calling itself the Rebels and carrying a Confederate flag (the flag tradition ended, I believe) should be allowed in the public school setting.  I was told by clergy that as a native Texan, she could accept this tradition.  Apparently, Texas tradition trumps (pun intended) all things holy.  As a congregant, this conversation diminished my respect for the practicing theology of my church.  Needless to say, I left this church.
  2. I am a Methodist and have been very enthusiastic about educating girls in foreign countries, as well as in the U.S.  This was the original passion that drove the creation of United Methodist Women – the right for every girl to receive an education, especially in countries where girls were seen as “lesser than” the boys.  When I asked why the mission of UMW was not being shared with the women in my church, I was told it was too political.  I had never heard that mission was political in my previous churches.  As a congregant, I felt I was being told to be silent, join a Bible study and allow ignorance to flourish in my congregation.  Silence was polite and easy.  Talking about the needs of brown children was too controversial.  After all, we were allowing Hispanic children to be caged at the border in Texas and were remaining silent as a church. 
  3. A church woman called me.  In the course of our conversation she told me, “The Bible says you should respect Trump.”  I need not expound on this church experience.  Not pretty.

For women, like me, who were brought up to be polite and not create a scene, it requires some tenacity to speak up. 

Our silence gives permission to evil intent in all its forms.  I recognize at this point in history, I need to be vocal. 

I am proud of our protesters.  They are not only making demands for their own rights, but are most likely going to save our democracy.

Those of us with heart and intellect must be less polite and more engaged.  We owe that to our black neighbors and to our country.  The peril is great.

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Peace, Personal Growth, Personhood, Politics, Stress, Uncategorized

To My FB Friends

I heard an interesting interview of a mental health professional.  (I never remember names.)  She said there was a stress study of cadets.  The expectation was the cadets’ stress would be highest in the beginning of their studies or even when nearing finals and graduation.  The highest stress was after they passed their classes and their careers were promising.  The research discovered that the stress was higher because they no longer were in a struggle together, no longer in unity with their classmates.

I find that is true of me (and maybe you) during this pandemic.  We are not pulling together as Americans.  One political party is not the enemy of the other, unless individuals create chaos by reposting feeding-frenzy nonsense.  I personally am not going to be used by manipulators manufacturing articles to divide us.  I believe science, not fantasies.  I believe most people on both sides of the aisle are basically good and share my American values.

I am stressed each time a friend posts another deep state conspiracy.   Government workers are our hard working neighbors who have children and grandchildren who play with our children/grandchildren.  They keep us safe in law enforcement, process paper by the tons, work for the VA, investigate nursing homes complaints, and keep our tap water clean, etc… etc…..

I am stressed by people who post their rights to infect others (me!) by not wearing a mask or curtailing their activities.  As much as I grieve for those who lost loved ones – almost 80,000 families, we could have had twice that number if we had not been responsible.  The time out was not a waste of my time.  I had no burning desire to kill someone (the elderly, medical personnel, my neighbors).  I am a grown-up and can be still for a brief time.

I am stressed by people, most churched and professing love, who have chosen to be hateful rather than be my friend on FB.  It is a choice.  I will miss them, but not the hate.

My stress goes down when I behave in a loving manner, am kind and rational.  My choice.  What I control.  I hope more of my friends regain their loving centers before we are lost to one another.  No one can have too many friends, especially during a pandemic.

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Art, Country, Personal Growth, Poetry, Politics, Uncategorized

Angst

These times challenge saints more than sinners.

Fear and anxiety accompany worship and school attendance.

Slowly we move into democracy lost or renewed.

Our children will live on a dying planet or learn stewardship.

This journey will make heroes and villains of us all.

 

Must we relinquish control to madness?

Some frantically compose FB posts to vent their anger –

posts with scripture to counterpoint side against side,

posts to request prayer – pointed and raging – self-defeating peace,

posts with cartoons screaming louder than words.

 

Must we become what we hate in others?

If my voice is the loudest, am I right?

If I manage to trample on your rights to protect mine, am I right?

If I belong to a party, does my membership make me right?

If I rationalize without facts, can I proclaim truth?

 

Have we seen these behaviors play out in history?  Perhaps.

The Crusades.  Germany.  Turn neighbor against neighbor,

religious sects in pious rebellion abandon values long held,

citizens dehumanize the immigrants, the disadvantaged, women.

Like Legos in a three-year-old’s hands, we are breaking apart.

 

I refuse to conform!

I have the power not to be evil or angry or hurt.

I will speak truth in a quiet voice, but I will speak!

Perhaps, someone will join me and two of us will be free of hate.

Awesome power.  All I control is me.

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