How a person dies is almost irrelevant. What do I mean?
Well, we see or read that someone died doing something selfless or heroic and we want to hold them up as a hero. Because iconic single acts of heroism are easy. It is an easy message to to get behind. An easy sell to the public.
Hero. That’s what is said. But…we aren’t built for heroes. We tear them down as we build them. They don’t as individuals perfectly embody your personal ideals. So they must be evil. If they aren’t heroes they are villains. Right? That’s how this works.
So instead of someone who did a good act, we have a false pedestal. And we do evil by destroying that person because we can’t abide anyone on that pedestal who isn’t an ideal of perfection which cannot exist.
We need to change. To instead view the act as the good, not the person. To idealize the act of doing good things, silent, without recognition. That will make us all heroic. And make heroism irrelevant.
It would normalize the beauty of kindness. And that would change our world.
I linked something I wrote rather than explaining that something. And that person found themselves on the page, reading multiple posts. And they ask me, why aren’t you a writer. Which is kinda insulting. Well meaning and I understood what they meant, but insulting. Because, I am a writer. Obviously.
But what they mean is why am I not doing that for money. For a career. And I said, well it doesn’t pay well. And that’s true enough that people accept the answer.
And in some ways, I do wish it were my career but not if I was made to write at the behest of others. And that limits me. To the rolls of the dice. Because the things I best write are rants and poetry.
Though the better reality is that I’ve been paid beyond funds by my writing.
It’s been my therapy. It’s been the only constant that I count on. It has brought me to many people who I love. And some are still in my life.
More than that, I’ve been told how what I’ve written meant something to people. That it made their lives better. And even further than that.
So, as an artist, what else could I really ask for?
Financial success doesn’t make an artists career. Instead it’s those lives that the art has touched.
And I know in that regard, at least for the past, I am successful.
Not by finances or by standard measure. But in truth. In the lives who have been positively affected.
I am a writer. I am a poet.
It’s enough, I think.
When we feel vulnerable
We lash out at the targets closest to us. The ones in reach who have exposed their vulnerability to us.
It is a terrible and self destructive act that makes us feel powerful. But it hurts another who was reaching out, perhaps imperfectly, but reaching out. Slapping that hand away then denouncing them, then crowing to everyone else how you took this action. And concealing who you did it to, because you know that actions have consequences.
That isn’t strength. That is pain. That is fear. That is cowardice.
Reacting like a wounded animal lashing out at anyone near…
It doesn’t heal the wound. It just pushes the pain on others.
I know. I used to do it. I would turn my mind and tongue into a razorblade and leave people bloody and bleeding from my vitriol. Isolating myself further. Pushing away all who reached out. For a brief few minutes, feeling righteous. Justifying my actions to anyone who would still listen.
Then wondering where everyone went.
Imperfect allies are still allies. Rejecting them, attacking them for the failure to fit into your perfect idea of what an ally is. It’s the embrace of self defeat. The pyrric victory. An act of the wounded pretending to be whole.
Don’t kid yourself. Don’t allow yourself the luxury of self deception.
I look at the wind blowing leaves across the ground
Caught in the quiet seconds of beauty
Noting the fluid interplay between strength and seemingly passive forces
Thermals pushing up against the air
The fluid aerodynamics of the push and pull
The sound of flutter and howl of deep wind
These alone moments
Where despair and epiphany take root
Heartbeat sounds heavy
In these long moments
Facing across the chasm of distance
And the hope of soon
Time fires an arbalest
Year by year the pain grows the lesser
Though instead of sharp
We find the dull ache of loss
And the fading taste of the world
This destruction which once stole away years
Now lasts a long morning but still
It never fades completely
Even as every memory but the pain leaves
As if what was belonged to another me
Who has since passed away
Faded in the firelight
I was a conservative in my youth. It’s how I was raised. How I was indoctrinated. And it’s really odd. Because when I was young my parents weren’t religious. Their positions weren’t anointed by the false images of a god that never was. So they justified them with science and opinion. And my mom was fiercely feminist. Like hardcore feminist. So she would talk and I respected the strong women in my life forever because of her.
They used to be Democrats. They’d declare it that after Jimmy Carter they lost faith. That’s how they described it. Like politics was religion. And that is the key, isn’t it? They viewed their politics as religion and they rolled into the 80’s doing well economically. So they’re religion became money and their presidents became saviors. Each one inviolable. The opposing party, a villain. The face of the adversary. And that’s how they raised us.
I was never comfortable with it. I argued and that original politics as science is what sunk in. And science, science changes. It looks at the world. It looks at the evidence and it shifts. By the time I was 18, I’d shifted to Libertarian. The platform not the individuals in it. The people that are in it are fringe. The ideas fringe. Maybe, I read too much Heinlein. But my thinking shifted. And my relationship with my parents became double sided.
On one side they were my parents, and on the other they were adversaries. But ones who I still had some things in common with.
Those commonalities waned down the years. As my eyes and world grew wider. And science based politics forced my positions and opinions to change. I became far left Libertarian. Until 2016. Until the rubber band broke, and I could no longer affiliate with a party that had anything in common with the Republican party and the monster they endorsed and elected.
And I’ve watched as my now so called practicing Christian parents salivate at the thought of doing harm to those who are other than them. Eating up the thinly veiled propoganda of Fox news. And far right radio. Believing everything that Trump says even when it contradicts the things he just said.
And I find that I love them. Because they are my parents. And they have never acted against me. Seem to genuinely want the best for me.
But, I know that they are my enemies. And that hurts. That loss of safety. Because I can never be sure now that I will be supported. And maybe it’s dumb for an adult to need them still. But I’ve seen them be better people. And I wish they would come back.
I want to be clear
What we are seeing is no less than the hijacking of the election.
The means by which millions of Americans vote has been slowed. Mail-in ballots, which this country has used since the Civil War and which is widely held to be a reliable and secure means of voting, are being slowed by deliberate actions.
First by appointment of a Postmaster whose first acts were to destroy the Post Offices means of sorting by decommissioning the sorters which allow the mail carriers to sort at volume. Then by disallowing overtime. Then by forcing sorting at the end of the day instead of the beginning. Each step intended to slow down and disrupt the delivery of the mail. Which includes prescriptions for the VA(Veterans Affairs). Which includes mail in prescriptions of all kinds.
Let me make this point clear. A disruption of mail service, during a pandemic, is nothing less than an assault. Delays that this disruption is causing is medically endangering people. And it is disruptive for the process of voting which would enable people to vote without additional risk to their lives.
But it’s clear, from the tapes that the president invited by having a series of private interviews with famed journalist, Bob Woodward. It’s clear that he knew that the virus was deadly. He knew what it’s transmission rates were. It’s clear that he has a callous disregard for any life that is not his own.
And the assault continues, because even that is not enough. He(trump and his fellow co-conspirators) packed the federal judges with conservatives wherever possible. Which means every time we as citizens question the law or the government we run head first into a wall of red. And the means by which, the last means we have, of removing the president from office after our checks and balances have failed is being abridged.
Be clear, we are under assault. This is a all out war on our rights and privileges. And when the dust and blood clears, we will either be defeated or we will be at war. Because he will not leave office quietly.
I once held this country in high esteem. I was proud of what it stood for(in the ideal, not the practical). I believed that if we could put aside our small minded fears, we could be something grand. A beacon of hope. I was wrong.
We are in a war to the knife for this country. And if we lose here, we are done. Maybe not immediately, but this is the tipping point.
Wake and act.
I totally wish I was asleep right now
Huddle in a blanket
A little too warm but oblivious because I am about to be oblivious
I completely get why I’m not
I have to get up
I have to get ready for work
So that they keep paying me
So that I can pay bills
So that the lights stay on
So I can live in a house
Not the street
So that I can eat today and tomorrow
So that my health doesn’t deteriorate faster
And that’s completely why I want to be asleep
I have to go to work
So that I don’t die
So that my living conditions don’t devolve
Because there is no basic human state of living
Which our society would support
No level at which safety is guaranteed
There is either working poor
Or super rich
If you stopped working today
How long would it be before you were homeless?
Before you couldn’t eat?
Before this level of belief that you are doing well deteriorates?
For most of us, not even a paycheck
For many of us
Less than that
The people who have somehow made enough money that they have other streams of income
Many of which are dependent on you going to that job every day
They last longer
But eventually we all fall
And who is left?
The ones who accumulated so much personal wealth that they are themselves nation-states. They personally employ so many people, that their lives are safe…for longer.
But the system is collapsing
In slow motion perhaps
But it’s falling
Because we created tools which influence human weakness on a vast scale
And gave those tools to whoever had any amount of money.
I finally see how the world of Anathem(Neal Stephenson’s book) comes about
How worlds fall and are reborn
But we don’t have a system in place to reboot us
We’ll fall into barbarism
And we’ll pay for the privilege
And the ones with the money will last longer
But when the structure crumbles
The towers fall eventually
I have to go to work
Because I’m not paid to see and speak truth