action and inaction

The “end of slavery” is certainly worthy of commemoration, celebration, and introspective examination.

In the designation of Juneteenth as a federal holiday, it’s possible that we’ll become a little better educated on this moment of United States history and contemplate its significance then and now as well.

Nevertheless, it boggles the mind that our legislators can be this transparently hypocritical. They managed to pull themselves together to actually accomplish something for once, and that something turns out to be nothing more than official lip service. This activity on the part of our legislators is simply virtue signaling writ large, the status quo. From some perspectives, it is even a pitiful co-opting of a long-standing African-American observance.

No, our illustrious “representatives” in Washington did not manage to accomplish anything else that might actually affect, say, matters of social or economic justice, equality, or freedom. You know, things that might actually impact peoples’ lives for the better. They did, however, give themselves a day off in the process.

Hopefully, though, the new federal holiday will fuel more discussion, and who knows, maybe even action around those urgent issues. Anything’s possible, right?

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fugitive

he walks out of the darkness, hands in the air, to be met with either a spray of bullets or handcuffs. does one mean life and the other doesn’t? imprisonment began long before the moment of guilt. when the gavel comes down, that cell door slams, or voltage snuffs the breath, then hands are washed but stains persist. mankind asks what kind of man but neglects to query kindness. the fugitive, the walking amalgam, just like other animals, born and constructed, shaped along the months and years of his life, carrying the weight of generations and the stamp of his place and times, finally becomes just a reviled memory, but still and always forgotten, another flawed discard on the manufacturing floor.

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compassionate new year :)!

Perhaps 2021 can be the year we begin to build in earnest our own compassionate culture. After 2020’s time of introspection, its heavy dosing of fear, its many questions, lessons, and losses, maybe we can feel empowered to build something new.

We see, after all, the technocapitalist drill does not serve humanity, the other beings, the planet, quite so well. It’s really good at some things, but compassion — a key element for life — is missing entirely.

Let’s make this year the one where we bring deep, fundamental compassion to the system.  Let the system shiver and learn to adjust, or crumble.

Love. Health. Abundance. Creativity. Freedom.

go ahead, change the world

As we all watch our leaders in Washington struggle, yet again, to bring themselves to serve the people instead of, say, defense contractors, who can help but wonder what we can do. 

As we watch even the progressive “squad” demur from forcing Medicare for All to a floor vote during a pandemic, we wonder just what it will take to effect real change. 

Each day, as we see the President-elect prepare to nominate yet another empty-suited crony to a top position in the new administration, we struggle to know how real change, positive change will come. 

We feel powerless, helpless to change this massive system that rolls along and over so many.

And yet, it is we who really do hold the power in our hands. Short of organizing, beyond organizing, there is one simple thing each of us can do that would immediately trigger change towards the world we want to see. 

If we all really want peace on earth and good will to all beings, we will walk away from using and eating animals. It’s that simple. And it’s something any of us – yes, even you – can do.

The uncomplicated act of refusing to participate in our society’s oppression, abuse, and killing of animals on a scale beyond imagination is the beginning and the key to massive, positive societal change. 

If our society really embraces a whole food plant-based diet, we will witness profound changes in everything from much-improved health to a reversal of climate destruction (and just in the nick of time). We will break the grip of the cabal of corporations on government and in our lives.

We will change the world in amazing ways, turning toward a compassion-based way of life instead of the cruel competition that we were taught to believe is inevitable and normal. 

Cruelty, killing, impoverishment, suffering, control is not normal. Nor is it inevitable. We have the power to change it for the animals, and, in so doing, we will change it for ourselves and our culture. We will change it for our children, and theirs.

So simple. It’s something you can do. It’s enjoyable. There’s tons of support and information. Be delighted by what you discover.

YOU have the power. Step up. Go ahead, change the world.

question not

No matter the church doors shut,
science is the new religion.
Cover your face, humble yourself in solitary contemplation,
bow in fear of the awesome power of your new god. 

Believe! the white-coated preachers call.
Faith and money will save you.
Proffer ample gold at the altar of the chosen science,
then bring your body and soul to the sacrifice.

Bow before the altar,
turn not your eyes toward any other. 
Make outcasts of those who would be scientists 
with data or ideas deemed unholy by your master.
Mingle not with heretics
no matter how learned.
Spit on them, damn them, gag them
in deference to the one true deliverer of science.
Shun the neighbor who questions.

Open your throat and
extend your arm for the sacraments.
Place your children on the pyre of the appointed science, too.
Empty their minds and yours of other notions.
The proclaimed science does not query, 
nay, it commands the natural world.
Question not.
The homeless, the unemployed, the lonely, the struggling, the ostracized, the injured, the ill, the once-free —
see how the saving arms of the only true science make it all so deserved.
Believe and be grateful.

turtle in the pond

turtle in the pond
live free
and happy
while the sun shines down
and the leaves flutter in the breeze
and the fish swim by
and the birds dip low
and the dragonflies skitter past
and the greenness of growing things surrounds you

turtle in the pond
live free 
and happy
until day the researcher bands you
or the birds and the dragonflies mysteriously disappear
or the fish die off from pollutants
or the agricultural run-off chokes your lifeblood 
or the net dips down for you
or the bulldozers come

turtle in the pond
we are not so different, are we?
live free
and happy
we are all turtles in the pond

pulse of truth

you are more than this
beloved
more than this

clinging without thought
desperately clutching
the narrative

even if in your heart
you notice a persistent quiver
the pulse of truth

still you walk the path to which you are pointed
shuffling along with the rest
turning your eyes away as your own heart calls out to you

the one voice you could trust

you have a choice
the path your heart knows looks insurmountable and fearsome
only until the moment your foot alights there

once you are on it
you flow like a waterfall
laughing

then you see all the others still trudging
the appointed path 
you wave and call out to them

you are more than this, beloved

accountability

Of course there’s next to no press coverage of it, but a United States court of law yesterday found that the National Security Agency acted illegally in its mass surveillance of US citizens’ telephone data and lying about it. As reported by Reuters, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit declared it may have been unconstitutional as well.

The government’s assertion that the warrantless surveillance program of its own citizens served to fight domestic extremism also fell flat in the courtroom as the court ruled that the records did not support such claims.

This is a WIN for the American people. This is a WIN for the American Civil Liberties Union that helped bring the suit. It is also a WIN for courageous whistleblower Edward Snowden who disclosed the crime in 2013, and who remains in exile under threat of the US government’s use of the Espionage Act against him for said truth-telling.

It is wonderful to see a victory in the category of what’s right, but, somehow, and sadly, I do not think that this will reassure Snowden that it might be safe to come home to the country for which he so bravely stood up at such great personal cost.

It’s way past time that we recognize folks like Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, and Julian Assange as the heroes they are. It is despicable that the powers that be continue to malign them, hunt them down, imprison them, torture them, and more using the empowerment and funding of the people these heroes sought to protect. It is way past time that we demand that those entities serve their people legally and constitutionally, with transparency and accountability.

As usual, folks, the responsibility is ours to raise our voices and seek what’s right.