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News from my View

If my job was to write (on Facebook or other media), here is what I would be writing about today… what is on my mind:

  • The cease fire has been broken in Aleppo. Russian and Syrian bombing is continuing. Thousands of innocent civilians still stuck in hellish and brutal conditions. We are living through one genocide after another.
  • A young, 18 I believe, Black man from Charlotte was killed yesterday by SWAT police. Timothy Davis. Police brutality against Black and Brown bodies is unquestionable and close to all of our homes.
  • Asheville journalists are resistant to call the beating of a Black man left on the side of the road with a chord around his neck a hate crime, “because we just don’t know yet.”
  • The DA will release his statement about the murder of Jai “Jerry” Williams by an Asheville Police officer and wether charges will be filed on Thursday. Will this “liberal, caring” city actually hold someone accountable for their actions that result in murder, allow the courts to do their job, or will the law enforcement system protect their own and continue to give the message to Black and Brown bodied people that they actually don’t matter here.
  • Trump’s appointments, their experience in their respective areas, and what are they telling us about what might be coming down the line
  • The process of discrediting the media that is happening by Trump and his people and how undermining the media is a way to destabilize checks on the government and is a significant play in creating a Fascist or Fascist like regime
  • How important it is for us to be learning from history and looking at the accounts of today side-by-side with historical events
  • How supposedly Trump’s admin requested various lists of names of Climate Change workers from the Department of Energy and Dept. of Energy denied releasing those names — are government-sanctioned witch hunts about to return?
  • Personal reflections on what my practices are to be living in this time
  • Reading the new article from Ta-Nehisi Coates, My President Was Black
  • Obama’s statement to Trump that it is not wise to refuse the daily intelligence briefings and it is smart to listen to the expertise of others

Now I will try and work today.

I leave you with a video from the opening ceremonies at the NAIS People of Color Conference last week when 15 year-old Royce Mann and other students from Atlanta reminded us why we were there, why we are here alive at this moment on this planet. “Let’s Rise Up.”

Screen Shot 2016-12-20 at 3.55.13 PM

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Prayer for This Moment

My heart and body is shaky. This familiar place of tension. Work needs to get done. And yet the bigger questions call to be stronger. My heart is fluttering. Curiosity pounding my brain to “want to figure it out.” What seems clear to me is that there are many White people in this country who do not have any (??) close friends or family who they have meaningful conversations with about what it feels like to be a person of color in this country right now. That folks are not hearing the personal stories of how Muslim, Lantinx, Black, LGBTQ children are being effected right now… the fear they are feeling. The stress of the children because they feel they have a president that hates them and their people and now their classmates feel empowered to hate and discriminate against them as well. Fear that their families aren’t safe. The stress of parents trying to hide their own emotions as they assure their children that they will be safe.

I imagine that folks who think this time is just about politics don’t have relationships where they hear first hand stories about being victims of hate speech or hate violence. I believe in the good of human nature and I believe that if folks genuinely understood how real the threat that many Americans are feeling right now was… if people really got that, then they would be willing to stand up against the rhetoric that is promoting this hate.

I believe in the goodness of people and my body aches for us as a collective to transform like I used to watch the Incredible Hulk as a child… may the pressure of injustice, hate and violence be so strong that our actual cells and chemistry transform. May we be emboldened with such courage and bravery that the fierceness of our love and devotion to that which is sacred and life-giving has a collective power like we have never seen before. May we have access to the fullness of our spiritual powers, our emotional strength, our physical strength, our intellectual wisdom, and the power of our connected relationships. May we be as graceful as possible amongst the chaos and complexity. May the suffering, trauma and pain that we feel find moments of respite in our breath so that it does not interfere with our actions, so that we may act in ways that are driven by love and dedication to freedom, justice and the sacredness of life. May we experience healing and forgiveness. May we be clear about the journey we are on, even with the path is uncertain. May we be humble to the fact that clarity does not equal knowing… that it is not through our knowing that we will find the way, but through our reverent listening, centeredness and attunement to the moment and what is calling for our attention. May we have the humility to recognize when to step back, when to follow the leadership of others, when to act differently than we have in the past. May we be awake to when we are being called to step forward and to do so with humble grace and fierce courage. May we be committed in our relationships, using the power of our connections to walk with others, support one another, and grant us all access to the collective wisdom that is so much grater than our individual thinking and doing. May our hearts be filled with love, love, love. May we remember to smile and laugh… often. Inviting each other into moments of joy… even as we stay close to the real suffering that is present. May we be spiritual warriors, learning from indigenous relatives about what this actually looks like, how we move with the sacred, being humble as we step in ways that we’ve never stepped before, re-membering the wisdom that we all have access to.

May it be so… Ashe.

Thank you for reading, listening, praying with me. 

Excerpt: “At a time when specific groups of students are being targeted, we must ensure that those students specifically know that their schools welcome them and that they will be safe. We urge all education stakeholders, including district leaders, heads of schools, principals, teachers, parents and guardians, and other educators to take action immediately within their school communities to support all students, especially those who face bias incidents in their schools. These actions should specifically affirm the right of all students, regardless of race, color, national origin, immigration status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or religion to be educated in an environment free from fear, violence, and intimidation.”
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What Will Motivate Us to See and Face the Truth

My biggest question… What will motivate more people to find the strength to see what is happening and grow the courage to resist the stripping of our freedoms and human rights? This is not hypothetical. This is happening now. Yale historian and Holocaust expert Timothy Snyder wrote recently:

 ”Americans are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism, or communism. Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience. Now is a good time to do so.” Snyder is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (which includes former Secretaries of State), and consults on political situations around the globe. He says, “Here are twenty lessons from the twentieth century, adapted to the circumstances of today.”

  1. Do not obey in advance
  2. Defend an institution
  3. Recall professional ethics
  4. When listening to politics, distinguish certain words
  5. Be calm when the unthinkable arrives
  6. Be kind to our language
  7. Stand out
  8. Believe in truth
  9. Investigate
  10. Practice corporeal politics
  11. Make eye contact and small talk
  12. Take responsibility for the face of the world
  13. Hinder the one-party state
  14. Give regularly to good causes, if you can
  15. Establish a private life
  16. Learn from others in other countries
  17. Watch otu for the paramilitaries
  18. Be reflective if you must be armed
  19. Be as courageous as you can
  20. Be a patriot

Click here to read the explanations of all 20 lessons.

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Learning About Fascism and Such

Screen Shot 2016-12-01 at 7.22.21 PMI commit to facing history and this present moment.

Here is a mix of quotes, all from articles posted at the bottom in my efforts to learn about fascism and Nixon era as relates to now.

Few Americans under the age of 50 have a grasp of fascism or the history of fascist movements in modern history. Hitler and the holocaust mesmerize the culture with horror, yet a fundamental understanding of fascist ideology is absent. The spread of fascism in the 1920s was significantly aided by the fact that liberals and mainstream conservatives failed to take it seriously. Instead, they accommodated and normalised it. Back in the 1930s, The New York Times assured its readers that Hitler’s anti-Semitism was all posture. Comfortable happiness is readily available in a fascist state.
This nation was founded as an opposite to an authoritarian monarch. We set up institutions like a free press and an independent court system to protect our fragile rights. We have survived through bloody spasms of a Civil War and a Civil Rights Movement to extend more of these rights to more of our citizens.
From the Nixon years, we know that a law-and-order president who lacks respect for the Constitution poses a critical threat to dissent. In 1969, Nixon’s vice president, Spiro Agnew, warned that TV stations broadcasting unfavorable stories could see their licenses revoked by their Federal Communications Commission or their corporate structures dismantled by the Justice Department. Now we are facing limitations on the freedom of our expression, freedom to protest, and even freedom of movement…
The national press is likely to be among the first institutional victims of Trumpism. There is no law that requires the presidential administration to hold daily briefings, none that guarantees media access to the White House. Journalism is difficult and sometimes impossible without access to information. Nixon did great damage (including the invasion of Cambodia, the killings at Jackson State and Kent State, the government infiltration and surveillance of dissenters), but the country survived. We must resist because the consequences of twenty-first century fascism are unimaginably horrific. Unlike Germany’s fascism of the 1930s, we possess today nuclear weapons, biological weapons, massive surveillance infrastructures, a gargantuan military industrial complex controlled by Dark Money, and a servile media. We have never had fascism on Earth in this context.
I believe there is a vast majority who wants to see this nation continue in tolerance and freedom. But it will require speaking. Engage in your civic government. Flood newsrooms or TV networks with your calls if you feel they are slipping into the normalization of extremism. Donate your time and money to causes that will fight to protect our liberties.
There was a flipside to the Nixon age: It produced some of the most enduring progressive organizing in the nation’s history. The Stonewall Rebellion in New York City erupted in June 1969, launching the modern-day LGBTQ movement. Less than a year later came the first Earth Day. Second-wave feminism gained traction throughout that period and produced victories like Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion.
We are a great nation. We have survived deep challenges in our past. We can and will do so again. But we cannot be afraid to speak and act to ensure the future we want for our children and grandchildren. In order to become whole, as opposed to further divided, we must, and I mean must, create safe circles of connection and community with each other. Anyone who attempts to navigate the crisis on his/her own or just with “me and mine,” will not and cannot. If there is ever to be a majority national movement for social and economic justice, it needs to include whites who have suffered from deindustrialization, offshoring, the decline of unions, and the shrinking farm economy. At the same time, there is a lot of policy turf to defend—human rights, public education, the social safety net, the planet’s health—and those are areas where we need to redouble our grassroots efforts. We must squelch the impulse to pretend that things will be fine… moving too fast to normalize the news. And we must protect from harm those in our communities who are most vulnerable both to the Trump administration’s policies and to the violence and intimidation we’ve already seen.
Business as usual is completely over.
All of above is quotes from these articles:
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Here We Go

“The story of the campaign and this historic moment has been your story. It is about the great things we can do when we come together around a common purpose. The story of bringing this country together as a healed and united nation will be led by President-Elect Obama, but written by you. The millions of you who built this campaign from the ground up, and echoed your call for the change you wanted to see implemented by the Obama Administration – this process of setting up that new government is about you.

This transition is about selecting a new staff and agenda that will help reclaim the American dream and bring about positive lasting change to this country. In order to do that, we want to hear from you.

Tell us your story and the issues that matter most to you. Share with us your concerns and hopes. – the policies you want to see carried out in the next four years.”

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Inspiration Rising

Obama ’08 – Vote For Hope from MC Yogi on Vimeo.

Inspiration rising
Celebrating potential
Boldly believing

…dancing with a smile

A big thanks to Amy for this video.

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Confessions of a Confused American

I’m trying to follow politics these days… but mostly I really don’t understand them. It reminds me of my early experiences with religion.

I remember as a child being fascinated by this thing we called religion. I grew up Jewish. I was one of the few Jewish peole in my circles as a kid. I remember that often other people would ask me if I believed in God. I always stumbled a bit in my mind because at age 6 or 7 I knew that the question wasn’t really meant for me as a person, but was actually just an effort to learn about Jewish people. You could tell by the tone of their voice. It wasn’t one of curiosity. They weren’t asking if I believed in God, but were instead asking me, “Do Jews believe in God?”.

I would give the obligatory “Yes” on behalf my people as I knew many people misunderstood Jews and thought that since we didn’t believe Jesus was the son of God that meant we didn’t believe in God. As the other person wasn’t interested in a real conversation, that then allowed me to ponder the question they had asked me, do I believe in god? Here’s the thing. I totally believed in something. The world is amazing. Life is incredible and incredibly mysterious. There would be no way to find all of the answers to all of the questions that exist in the universe. There is no way to come to a place of certainty about everything. And therefore, my sense was that there is always some mystery. And within that, sure, I can believe that it fits with that word “god” and the sense of omniscience that comes with that word. I believe that there is an unknown and awe-some force.

But this God that people refer to in religions. I wasn’t sure if I believed in that God. As I perceived it, God was the central element to religions. And it was things like God and Jesus that made millions of people throughout history hate one another so much that they would kill each other’s families. And often they would say it was in the name of God. How could God be something wonderful and beautiful that causes so much hatred and violence. I just couldn’t believe in that God.

So as a little girl I would pause because I really wasn’t sure if I believed in God. Religion just didn’t really make sense to me. What people said it was and what was presented as being important didn’t really seem to play out in how it was practiced.

I feel the same way right now with American politics. It really doesn’t make sense to me. I can’t find much congruence between what people say it means for two candidates to run for the president and what I’m actually seeing play out. I’m enjoying it (and it makes me nervous) because it’s an exciting and baffling story with a degree of suspense. But so much of it seems to have nothing to do with my vague sense of what politics are. The McCain/Palin ballot and their actions feel like a sit-com that’s about games, manipulation, spinning stories to win the pageant, lying and acting out with a great deal of drama.

I feel like more than ever, this election will provide a reality check for our country. I don’t know how to speak eloquently or politically correctly about this.

I feel like Obama and Biden together bring the fundamentals for being leaders in the executive position. I feel like they’ve offered a clear sense of what they’re all about. Whether they can deliver is the politics-as-usual game, but at least I feel like I have a sense of what to expect.

John McCain and Sarah Palin scare the shit out of me. All that seems clear to me is that they feel strongly about promoting Palin’s religious right beliefs and fulfilling both of their desires for power and McCain’s strong desire to be the president, at whatever cost. They feel like two politicians that aren’t grounded in anything that is even remotely close to governing for the greatest good. From my vantage, as I watch this entertainment, it feels sleazy and inauthentic. I am very distrusting. Palin seems to live in a box. It might be a beautiful, “average mom” box to many people, yet it is very prescribed and she doesn’t step out of it. The campaign has tried to coach her into existing out of the box, but we know how much effort has gone into shaping what we see. It terrifies me to think of her as the president and it baffles my mind to think that this country could possibly be filled with enough people that believe that would be a good thing. And McCain’s campaign in general just seems like a strategy show to me. It all feels like a cartoon aimed at showing muscle and might and proving why “I’m the best” regardless of what I have to offer.

And what is equally as baffling to me in all of this is that what I keep being told is that the reason McCain has even a chance of winning is because Obama is black (even thought he’s half white) and there are still enough Americans that are afraid of that. I know we’ve got a long way to go in our country to unravel the racism that is so deeply embedded in our social fabric. A very long way to go. And yet, given these choices, the possibility that a majority might still feel more comfortable being led by McCain/Palin than Obama/Biden just makes absolutely no sense to me. If this were to be the truth, we need this shocking of a reality check.

I truly believe that it’s possible and greatly hope that one month from tomorrow I will celebrate and learn from the reality that the majority of the people in this country are ready to step forward with Obama and Biden because they care about a greater good, not just because they’re acting out of fear or they want to see more of their values forced on others.

… and that concludes this off-the-cuff confessions of my confusions. Please do forgive me for my political ignorance.

Photo by LuluP

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