Tag Archives: People

I Will Speak No Evil. Well, Maybe.

The First Amendment of the Constitution reads:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Many people, myself included, think this is one of the most important amendments in our constitution (besides the ones that enfranchised blacks and women, which should not have been necessary to define them as people with rights)  The impact of this freedom cannot be overstated in my opinion.  When you have a country that allows the free expression of opinion, the ability to petition the government for change, freedom of the press to explore the truth when it is found, you have the foundation for a free society.  There will still be abuses, power controls, etc.  There always are. 

There are, and should be, some exceptions to this freedom of speech.  You do not have the right to incite violence.  You do not have the right to spread knowingly false statements.  Other than those, there are few limitations. 

Which brings me to the bug up my butt right now. 

It started with a white supremacist march a couple of months ago.  Now, I have absolutely zero use for white supremacists or klansmen.  I have no use for hate purveyors of any kind.  I would like to believe that we should have evolved beyond such things by this time.  It is obvious that we have not.  But, so long as they are engaging in a non-violent demonstration, they have the right to speak their words of hate.  And as offensive as I find their words, I will defend their right to speak them.  Many people don’t agree with me on this, and that is also their right. 

One of the things that followed this demonstration was people posting pictures of people who were part of this demonstration.  They identified many of these people and searched out where they worked and lived.  Then they demonstrated and protested to their employers, neighbors, schools.  Many of these people were fired, their homes put in danger, etc.  And many will say they got what they deserve.  I am not sure I agree with that.  I believe all that was accomplished in this was creating even more anger, hatred and increasing the numbers of the haters who had been hiding in the shadows.  By targeting a few, they gave the numbers a greater cause to raise a flag to.  Hate is not solved by creating more anger and hostility.

There was recently a woman who was riding her bike and flipped off what she believed to be Trump’s motorcade.  Whether it was or not is irrelevant .  When she was identified, she was subsequently fired from her job.  Even though she was on her own time and simply gave a visual comment to a figure she didn’t like.  Because the image of her (from the back) went viral online.  She was fired.

A dear friend of mine almost lost her job of many years for speaking her mind after the presidential election.  The social media and in person campaign waged against her and her partner was horrific, invasive and reprehensible.  I believe the only thing that saved her was the equally strong forces that stood behind her while she fought the attempted character assassination. 

Women are stepping out from all corners about sexual abuse in their workplaces.  Not that this is an issue that we don’t all know is a commonplace occurance.  And no matter how powerful some of these women are, they are still in a battle of their lives for their character.  They are made the victims all over again and accused of false accusations, Ulterior motives.  Calls for them to be dismissed from their roles. 

Freedom of speech is so very powerful.  And it is also so very vulnerable.  All freedoms are.  We want to step on the moral high ground and say “But, they are speaking hate.  It has to stop.”  But, they are saying things I don’t like, it has to stop.  They aren’t saying it the way I want to hear it.  It has to stop. 

When you seek to silence the klan, the supremacists, you weaken everyone’s right to speak.  Because they will take what you did to them and apply it to everything you do or say.  As they did with the woman on the bike.  As they are trying to do with the women coming forward.  As they try to do with anyone that has something to say that they don’t like.  As you try to do with anyone that has something to say that you don’t like. 

I do, however, believe an exception is a person in political power.  They are public servants and sworn to serve all the people.  And first responders and medical people.  We need to trust that these people will serve all the people equally.  To not sever the rights of any of the citizens because of their hate stance or affiliation or religious conviction.  The minute they leave that arena, they can do what they want, say what they want, so long as they are not bringing harm on others.

I do boycott companies whose practices go against what I believe in.  I do not tell others not to buy from them.  I do tell they why I don’t.  They have to make their own choices.  If after I tell them my reasons they don’t feel those reasons work for them, that is their choice.  I will join in protests if their practices take away or limit the rights of other, such as Hobby Lobby and Walmart.  But, herein lies the truth.  They still exist.  They still prosper. 

This is not to say that you should not counter protest.  Of course you should.  We should all make sure our voices are heard on matters that have meaning to us.  We worry about Big Brother.  But the truth is that WE are Big Brother.  There are many groups whose speech I despise.  Westboro, the klan, the supremacists, many of the hate preachers like Pat Roberston, Jerry Falwell Jr., Jim Bakker and his pasty food.  But, I will defend their right to speak their words.  I won’t silence them.   Because I don’t want to be silenced.  I don’t want the people I respect and love to be silenced.  And I want to know who the haters are as well.  I can’t fight what I can’t see.  I need to know where the shadows are.

The reality we need to understand is that if any one of us is silenced, even the most base of us, then we all are silenced.  We don’t win by silencing.  We win by speaking.  We win by talking and listening and understanding.  We don’t win with hatred.  We win with connection.  Walls only separate.  Even walls of silence. 

SephiPiderWitch
11/14/2017

 

Eye Study – 2017 Sketches

Practicing eyes a bit more.

 

The Lost Art Of Communication – Safety Screens

I actually started this a while back from a different angle.  I may add those parts in as serial installments at some time as I feel this is an ongoing subject that needs some serious pondering.  So, aside from that little introduction, on with the piece.

Communication has become a misnomer in our society anymore.  We are dysfunctional, divided and biased without full information.  The news has been reduced to short feeds on our phones, quarter paragraphs on the websites and sound bites on the television.  We connect, arrange and break up through the safety screen.  This makes it so easy to not have to deal with the messy interaction of emotions, self-reflection, or taking of responsibility for our actions and seeing the possible destruction our actions have caused.

Case in point.  I just had a multi-year relationship end via a 3 paragraph e-mail.  No in person discussion, no voice talk.  Just a simple safe e-mail, where the other party didn’t have to deal with the pain that was caused as a result of their decision.  The reason for it was because I had the audacity to get angry that they had made plans to have friends out on my birthday weekend almost 2 months ago and I only find out the week before my birthday.  Yet, I am in the wrong.  I am abusive because I say it is thoughtless and disrespectful to not speak of this well in advance.  I’m not even worthy of a phone call for this.  Just an e-mail so they can have the last word and walk away from the wreckage without a single look back.It is like I was a file on their computer that had been sitting around for too long and simply swept into the recycle bin during the latest housekeeping.  I wonder how many of us now find ourselves sent out for recycling?

The saddest part of this is that it could have been handled so very differently.  Communicating early on, accepting it could get a bit emotional and messy, but that is part of life.  I believe this had more to do with his inability to find the contract work he needed to make the trips out since he retired.  Something I had even asked him about on occasion and was told that wasn’t the case.  I have known it would come to an end at some point because of his retiring in another state.  So, I wonder how much of this was needing to create a situation rather than admit I was right and he had failed to find the jobs he was so certain he would get.  The truth is, it wouldn’t have made him any less in my eyes, it’s just how things are sometimes.  I would have been hurt.  Maybe angry for a little bit.  But it, at least, would have been something I had both been expecting and could live with.  It would have changed the relationship.  Granted, it would have taken some time to get used to, but when you care for people, you work through things.  You find ways.  You fight for the relationships that have meaning.  They don’t come along very often.  You don’t just sweep them into the trash because you made promises you can’t keep.  Because its easier to throw it in the trash rather than ride out the storm.  So you shatter what could have been reformed a bit with a little patience and real communication.

Were this an isolated incident, it would be one thing.  But it isn’t.  People talk through screens, make plans through them, organize and create their lives through them.  They are the greatest hiding devices in the world.  You can be anyone you want to be, say anything you want to say.  Hell, even the man in the white house shoots out angry tweets at anyone that displeases him that day.  The sad truth is that is how he got there in the first place.  So, it is no wonder that it has become the common way we deal with our lives.  Nor is it any wonder that we don’t understand why things are the way they are.  One of the more ironic things is the fact that he and I used to make comments about other people conducting their lives, breaking up, etc., via their phones or other electronic devices, what cowards they were to not handle such things face to face.  And yet, he also chose the coward’s way out.

We cannot as individuals or as a society build bridges if we remain behind a safety screen.  If we stand in a place where we believe that we can do what we want without taking anyone else’s feelings or expectations into consideration.  Alliances, friendships and all relationships are complicated workings.  They don’t always run the way we want them to.  But, if we step from behind the safety screens, we may find that there was more worth saving than we thought.  And in the interim, it shall be a very sad birthday this year.

SephiPiderWitch
September 9, 2017

 

Out of the Mystic – New Painting

Out Of The Mystic

This one was a bit of a surprise.  I was trying to paint an image someone in one of my groups took a picture of and it seemed to want to take on a life of its own.  I think I like it though.

 

Sketching Practice – May 18, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then I worked on darkening the flamingo sketch a bit.

 

 

Common Ground by Justin Trudeau – Book Review

I must say that I am even more in respect of Mr. Trudeau after reading his autobiography. The first half of the book is about his family, childhood and how all of that shaped him into the man that he is. He speaks of his mother and her struggle with bi-polar disease, how she has become a spokesperson for it and his immense respect and love for her. His father, former PM of Canada and strict in many ways, but also a very loving father. He took time every day to spend quality time with his children. And raised them to never believe themselves ,to be better than others, with some very interesting examples. He speaks of the loss of his brother and the crushing impact it had on the family. He speaks of his wife, Sofie, how they had known each other through his brother, the depth of the love and respect he holds for her and the family they have made.

The respect he shows for all people shows as a part of his core makeup as is evidenced by his words.  His belief in women’s rights, the rights of immigrants, the rights of the poor and displaced.   The theme that is repeated throughout the book is, We are stronger not in spite of, but because of our diversity.  We, as Americans, can learn much from his lessons.

I have probably somewhat unfairly given it only four stars because I was far less enraptured with the second half of the book as he spoke at much length about his rise through the political system. Though I realize its importance, I found it rather tedious at many points. I did appreciate the things he had to say about equality and a more equal distribution of wealth, which most economists state as a necessity for a healthy economy and society. And though the US holds the gauntlet on the extremes on this, it has become an issue in many, if not most countries. He also spoke much about the inclusion of all people in Canada and how they came close to becoming two Canadas and the steps taken that prevented that. He ends the book with an absolutely beautiful First Nation’s poem.

Its worth reading to learn more about this amazing man and its also full of pictures of him! 🙂

SephiPiderWitch
05/02/2017

 

Blind Curves: A Woman, a Motorcycle, and a Journey to Reinvent Herself

Blind Curves: A Woman, a Motorcycle, and a Journey to Reinvent Herself by Linda Crill

I really wanted to like this book more than I did. I was looking for awakenings, insights, and interesting stories on the journey. However, the author was fixated through the entire book on her motorcycle, learning to ride it, maneuver it, etc. And though I can understand how that needed to be a part of the book, she rarely deviated from it. She made the entire Pacific Northwest route where she gave only a couple of pages to the surroundings. Overall, I found the book tedious lacking in atmosphere and engaging storytelling. The author is used to giving talks and speeches before crowds for work she does. And maybe that is where the problem is. She writes like someone standing before a crowd trying to do an infomercial. I actually found myself skimming through areas of the book so that I could reach the end, hoping that she would something of real interest. Ah well, maybe the next book.