Tag Archives: SephiPiderWitch

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelo

I Know Why the Caged Bird SingsYet another book that you have to take a deep breath before writing a review about.    If for no other reason that what can be said about it that has not already been said?

I have been meaning to read this book for many years.  Looked for it when I could remember (I often forget to bring my notebook that has books I am supposed to look for that I think I want to read).  I finally came across it in a used bookstore and its been sitting on my shelf for about a year.

All I can say is, if you have not read this book, you are missing out!  The book, the woman, is as amazing as everything you have heard about her and it.  The prose is lyrical, haunting, like dripping honey infused with lavender highlights that seep into your soul and speaks directly to it.

For those that are not familiar with the story, its an autobiography of her younger life where she and her brother were left in the care of their grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas, life there in their country store, the racism and hatred that was part of the time, and even more so in a small Southern town.  Through her words, we are drawn into the little store, the home her and her brother share with their grandmother, her simple words, so perfect, you can smell the smells of the fires, taste the sugar lumps on their fingertips and smart at the harsh words of the white people who treat them as less than human.

When her mother shows up and carts them off to California, she shows you a new world.  One that is changing fast with a new breed of colored that are finding a place in the world, a place where there is money and property.  Where, if like her mother, you are light enough to almost pass for one of the white women, doors open for you.  It is in this world that Maya is raped by her mother’s boyfriend.

One of the most striking things of the novel is the lack of anger in the voice of the author.  The story is told in the gentle voice of a storyteller who is passing along a tale of how things were.  It is story to be savored by any willing to open its pages and promises sadness and tears, joy and laughter and an empowerment of the spirit.  It is the story of a child who rose from the dust of the South to become one of the greatest and most loved voices in American Literature.



Paving the Road Towards Theocracy

church-and-state“The Government of the United States is not in any sense founded upon the Christian Religion.” 1797, The Treaty of Tripoli, initiated by President Washington, signed by President John Adams, and approved by the Senate of the United States

From the beginning, our Founding Fathers were adamant about the separation of church and state.  Not just the agnostic ones, not just the questionably atheist ones, but all of them.  Not because they were against religion, not because they wanted to suppress people’s religious rights, not because they wanted to wage war on Christmas.  But, because they were truly wise men who understood that there needed to be a clear and distinct line drawn between the two.  They understood that history has always shown that Theocracies to be the most oppressive forms of government.

Currently, almost all of the existent theocracies are Islamic with the exception being The Vatican City being Christian/Catholic.  But, those are enough to paint a picture of the consequences of such governments in the modern world.  In history, you have the Mayans, the Egyptian Pharaohs, China, and the divine rule of Europe.  Every one of these governments is a horror show of elitism, bloodshed, slavery, torture and subjugation of its people.

For even in a country where there is a shared religion, quite often there are still variations on those religions, areas of disagreement, application, fundamentalism.  And it is predominately in the realm of fundamentalism that things can get taken to the extreme.  The word itself defines taking those religious texts to their literal extremes.  And any delusions that a Christian theocracy would be any less oppressive shows that one is not listening to the political demands of the Religious Right or any true reading of the scriptures.  Since so many of them are so fond of quoting laws of Leviticus, it would be suggested that one’s research begin there.  I doubt Shariah law can hold a candle to the laws in this book.  Leviticus prohibits eating fat, eating blood, touching an unclean animal, bringing unauthorized fire before god (which begs the question, where does one get fire authorization from?), drinking alcohol in holy places (so much for Catholics), having sex with your mother, sister, granddaughter, etc. (well, there are some that make sense).  It is from this same set of laws/rules that they draw their anti-gay rhetoric from.  It also acknowledges life to begin when it has breathed life.  In the womb, the bible only treats it as a property loss and subject to such penalties if lost in an act of violence.

The beliefs of our founding fathers have been the subject of debate for as long as I can remember.  It is known that at least 1/3 of the signers of our Constitution were Masons, a secret fraternity whose origins could be traced to the church, but also with magic and secret rituals.  Reading many of the writings of the founding fathers does cast much illumination on their beliefs.  Some of these men were strongly religious, and yet others were one step removed from atheism, if they were not in silent embrace of it.  Simply read the writings of Jefferson (a man who created his own bible by removing all the supernatural passages from the new Testament and clipping it down to what he believed were the essential teachings of Jesus.  In truth, many of the founding fathers spoke and wrote in words that showed their staunch position regarding the complete separation of church and state.     Although none of the founding fathers were out of the closet atheists, or even agnostic, the writings of many of them shows that many of them almost certainly were.

“I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.” ~~ Thomas Jefferson – Letter to the Danbury Baptists, January 1, 1802

Regardless of whether they were Christian, Atheist or anything between those, the fact remains that they held the universal belief in the absolute separation between church and state, the free exercise of religion, all religions and no religion, to belong to the individual and to have no place in the government of a free republic.  Even the most Christian president this country has had, Jimmy Carter, believes that there should be a clear and distinct separation between church and state.

And even granting that there has always been debate as to the meaning of the text of the first amendment, that it does not explicitly call out a wall between Church and State, the Supreme Court has always found on what is obvious of the intent of the authors, that there should be a separation.  That you cannot have the free exercise of religion, regardless of religion, if that separation does not exist.  And that said exercise is an individual right, not a state or government right.

And the problem with allowing that line to blur, to fall into question, opens the door to insert religious morality and laws into the government.  The Comstock laws of the Victorian period in this country were so restrictive that even medical texts that showed nudity or the reproductive organs were deemed to be lewd and pornographic.  Most people would find most of these to be ridiculous.  But, what many don’t understand is that these laws are still on the books.  The saving grace has been the Miller Test by the Supreme Court for determining if something can be considered to be “pornography”.  Because this is a subjective test based on who is seated on the court and the lawmakers in power, what is currently allowed as freedom of the press, art, freedom of expression can be quickly changed.  In fact, there have been politicians running for as high as the office of the president that have vowed to enforce the anti-pornography laws on the books.  Those laws are the Comstock laws.

Move forward to the McCarthy era where hundreds of people were questioned and suspect for being “communist sympathizers”, mostly artists and people in the film industry.  Yet, like all true persecutions, anyone that was an annoyance to those behind this witch hunt could find themselves under scrutiny.  One of the results of this period was the addition of “In God We Trust” on our money and “Under God” added to the pledge of allegiance.  Prior to these proceedings in the early 1950’s, these words did not appear on our currency or in the pledge.  And we have now allowed them to be so firmly ingrained in those that most people believe they have always been there.  Even more so, they believe that a person is a traitor if they refrain from speaking the added line, threatening a kid in school for it and taken disciplinary action against them.

“Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.” ~Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814

Enter the current time and we have politicians not just espousing their religious beliefs as supposedly guiding them, but making statements that this country was founded on Christian principles and is a Christian nation.   They strive to insert god into the classroom, teach religious doctrine as science and deny any science that interferes with their goals.  And they take it to levels of absurdity that makes one wonder how any sane person can buy what they are selling.  There is the congressman who says that climate change can’t happen because humans can’t change what god created, a rape pregnancy is a “blessing from god”, homosexuals should be put to death, etc.  They have granted religious rights to for profit corporations, seek to legalize discrimination, just to name a few of  their latest trends.

“Persecution is not an original feature in any religion; but it is always the strongly marked feature of all religions established by law.”  ~~ Thomas Paine – The Rights of Man, 1791-1792

Keeping the bible out of politics, out of our government is not a war on Christianity.  The truth is that it is as supportive of Christianity as it is for all religions.  In fact it is tantamount to having freedom.  Our constitution was not based on the bible, as has often been said.  Yet, we find ourselves being herded further and further into the pen of a theocracy.  Even in the face of the statistics that state that fewer and fewer people consider themselves religious.  Yet, it seems they are still afraid of having that non-believer finger pointed at them and step in line.  Our politicians now go out of their way to espouse their religious convictions, denying science, promising to uphold bigotry, intolerance and greater separation of the classes.  With each election, it seems we are stepping one step closer to that Theocracy.

“The civil government … functions with complete success … by the total separation of the Church from the State.”
James Madison ~ Writings, 1819

Keeping religion out of government does not in any way restrict or prohibit anyone’s religious freedom.  It, in fact, is the only way to protect those freedoms.  We may or may not agree with all that a secularist government protects, but it protects on the basis of personal freedom, common sense and the inclusion of all of its members.  Its what the Founding Fathers intended.  And it works brilliantly until we attempt to tamper with its mechanisms.  For the reality is, if there is not freedom for all, there truly is not freedom for any.

I believe “their” words could not be any clearer.

“If I could conceive that the general government might ever be so administered as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded, that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution.”
George Washington ~~ Letter to the United Baptist Chamber of Virginia, May 1789

SephiPiderWitch 01/05/2015




December Early Musings

December 2014-6
The Seattle area is nothing if not a cloud watcher’s delight.  For many, it’s too gray for them to ever make it a place to call home.  For me, you can keep the eternal sunshine.  We get our doses here.  We have those things called “seasons” that the people in sunny environments don’t understand.We also have interesting old farm buildings out in the country.  Add these with the “weather” and it can be quite beautiful!
December 2014-12Recent studies have shown that the electro-magnetic charge of grains can substantially increase the range of your television antennas.  They also have the added benefit of, when placed in conjunction with lightning rods, provide a data transfer method to your reanimations at the moment of awareness, thereby decreasing the level of hostility that might be encountered when they awaken from their numerous sleeps.
December 2014-15
Luckily, I got out with the camera before the last storm.  The leaves are now all gone from this little tree in my yard.  But, I had one beautiful late fall day that allowed this pre-winter’s nap shot first.
December 2014-20One of the interesting things about some leaves in the fall is they seem to become almost translucent and can be almost light prisms.  Even stripped of color, they glow with the luminescence of whatever light touches on their surface.
December 2014-23Coming home, the colors of the sky insisted I take a slight detour and capture some of their play across the sky.  Peeking through the brush you get your first glimpse of the dying embers of the sun.
December 2014-25If I had only arrive just a few moments sooner.  The colors had already begun to darken and fade by the time I found a place to park and snap the shots.  Not as vibrant as it was a few minutes earlier, but still quite pretty!
 December 2014-27And stripped of color, it takes on one of those haunted looks!
December 2014-28I believe that lil white peak on the left is Mount Baker.  Not quite as prominent as Ranier, but it’s still pretty impressive.  I think it may actually claim more lives annually than Rainier too.  Cuz people like to climb it.
December 2014-33And the swans have arrived.  As part of their all-inclusive resort package, their first stop is the always popular mud baths to restore their complexions and rejuvenate their bodies from the long flight in.
December 2014-37I have no idea why the have attracted the riff raff from the other side of the field.  I suppose they got tired of cow dung and thought swan dung would be an interesting change-up.  Caviar of the air???
December 2014-39They are rather interesting to watch though.  It seems its a mixed array of blackbirds, swallows, cow birds and others.  Which just goes to show that if birds of different feathers can flock together, why can’t we?
December 2014-42And new flights coming in all the time.  Or, are they on their way out?  They do like to field hop, so its hard to tell.
December 2014-46And just in case you are wondering.  No, some of them did not get carried away with the mud baths.  The tawny ones are the young swans.  They go completely white at about a year old.
December 2014-47Yeah!  I’m Bad!  I’m Bad!!
December 2014-48Just stylin’ with my new dress on!!!
December 2014-51And this pair even came with its own escort.  Wonder if they are royalty?
December 2014-54Now this just had to be shared.  It’s a beet!  And this is not a trick of the camera.  It really is that big!  And it wasn’t even the biggest one they had.  And it didn’t lose flavor from being so large.  I got some roast beets out of it and some beet powder.  Gotta love the organic farms up here.  The cabbages are even more impressive!
December 2014-57And the snow arrived!  My fire pit is getting closer and closer to being done!
December 2014-59Love the first snow with tiny icicles!
And another sunset.  Aren’t the clouds amazing???December 2014-64
December 2014-65Its one of those, I don’t care if its out of focus.  It looks cool and you can rub your eyes after and put Visine in them.  But, it’s still cool looking!
December 2014-75A friend asked how you know if they are swans in the sky.  Its easy.  They have the really, really long necks.  You watch them fly and all you can think about is what a neck ache they must have by the time they get to their destination.
December 2014-78I had to make a trip over to the old brokey down house after the snow.  I have no idea how much longer it is going to remain standing.  So, I am going to try to get some shots in different weather conditions before it finally comes crashing down.
December 2014-79And I met the neighbor this time.  He thought I should take his picture too.  Cute little thing, isn’t he?  He just watched while I took my pictures.
I do think it is starting to fall a bit more.December 2014-80
I like this one!!December 2014-81
This one came out pretty cool too, I think.December 2014-82
December 2014-84I will have to some day create a story around this house.
December 2014-86And I saw this as I was turning around to leave.  I had to pull the camera out again and get a shot.  Just took my breath away.
Even without color, its pretty!December 2014-87



The Violets of March by Sarah Jio

The Violets of MarchThis book came up as a recommendation when I was poking around the library site looking for a new book for my ride to work.  It looked like it had potential, so I gave it a shot.

Emily goes to visit her aunt to try and find inspiration for a new book.  Her aunt, Bee, is the kind of strong and fiercely independent and doting aunt I think many of us wishes we had.  She puts Emily in her mother’s old room and she finds a red velvet journal in one of the drawers and can’t resist beginning to read it.  And there the mystery begins as she emerges herself into the lives of the people in the pages of Esther’s journal and she begins to ponder who Esther really is.

Its a charming little tale of forbidden love and family secrets that no one wants to talk about.  It’s a story within a story.  The tale from the past and the mystery of who they really were and the investigation in the current as she learns of her family and the secrets they have all kept that has created rifts in the relations.  Agreed, the story itself is not particularly original, but it is in the way Sarah Jio writes it that makes it intriguing.  It’s not so much that I was caught up in suspense and needing to see what happened next.  But, I did get very much immersed in the lyrical style of her writing.  The story was well told.  Granted, it drug a bit at times, but not overly much so.

I think some of what I liked the most in this novel was the interaction between Emily and Bee and some of the other characters.  She created wonderful characters that were believable and human.  I do accept that part of the charm I found in the book was the author’s obvious love of the islands of the Sound, which I understand now that I am myself a resident of one.  The only negative I have on this book is that I feel there were too many loose ends at the end of it.  I am not sure if she intends this to be the first in a series, but I don’t think it lends to a second book.  Even if it did, the end should have been tied up a little bit better.  Not wishing to give away any spoilers, simply there were questions that were left open that I think should have been answered.  That said, I found it to be a very good novel.  Even more so that it was a debut novel.

I have read some of the other reviews and many of them are overly harsh on this writer and her book.  I have attempted to read books by seasoned authors that couldn’t come close to the natural ability of this writer.  I suppose the book could fall under the umbrella of chic lit, but it doesn’t to a level that I would find distasteful.  It’s a charming read by a writer that is definitely worth watching in the future.



Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

downloadI got this book as a present from my son who felt I would enjoy it given our similar feelings on the over reaching of the government and NSA encroachments.  I have to admit that I was very much hesitant to read this book given that the last time my son told me about one of the best books he had ever read, it was Crooked Little Vein.  I am sure he is still snickering about luring me into reading that one.  Thankfully, this book is in a totally different realm, so I shan’t need nearly as much therapy to get over it.

Little Brother is an excellent book about what happens when the government gets out of hand and dismisses the people’s bill of rights.  Not too far removed from so very much of what we see happening in the world right now with the NSA and other government agencies that have been allowed to sidestep personal privacy and encroach on people’s lives.

The story is told through the eyes of a group of high school kids who are playing a game and are in the wrong place at the wrong time when a bomb blows up the Bay Bridge.  They wind up in the hands of Homeland Security on Treasure Island where they are interrogated for days with methods that are barbaric and criminal.  When they are finally release, they are given threats of what will happen to them if they speak to anyone of what happened to them.

Through Marcus’ eyes, you watch the transformation in the adults in his life as they find ways to accept and cope with the loss of freedom  they are subjected to as their city becomes a police state run by Homeland Security.  Marcus and his friends decide to wage an electronic war with the government and it becomes a cat and mouse game throughout.

Its a good story and one that needs to be told and needs even more to be read.  The biggest problem I have with it is that it is written to the young gamers and computer geeks.  Though he does try at times to explain the geek speak in many of the areas, it takes up a very large chunk of the novel and will cost him the readership of many people that don’t share the vocabulary and interest in such things as role playing games and such.  If his goal is just for the crowd that understands this, then it is fine.  Because maybe he is plying to them to spur them into action to change the things he sees happening in the world. If that is his intent, then he has done an excellent job.  But, if he wanted to reach a wider audience, he would need to cut some of the geekdom out of the book.  The problem is that it is hard to tell which of the two he wants because at one turn he seems to be speaking to the young adult readership and then a few pages along, he seems to be addressing the rest of the readership.

My son tells me that the second book is even better than this one and has also sent that to me.  So, when I get to it, I will see if he has made up his mind what his readership is in it.  I will hope that it is the more general readership as he has a story to tell that I think needs to be told.  He is a very good writer and I did enjoy the book.  Particularly, the knowledge that much of what he refers to in the book is actual technology that we currently have.  For those that think that people are being paranoid and our privacy is not being encroached upon at an unreasonable level, they really need to read this book.  For those that he calls to action in the jacket of the book, I hope they take heed and take up the challenge.


The Silencing of Justice

ProtestIt was another day, another failure to indict a cop for the killing of a citizen.  There are protests taking place all over the country.  Thankfully, most of them seem to be more peaceful this time than the ones in Fergusen.  I have been feeling the need to express how I feel about all of this and struggling to find the words or know where to even begin.

First, I think I need to say that I am not going to approach this from making a statement as to the guilt or innocence of any of the parties involved.  What we know of the situations is what we are given by the media.  And information from the media is always, always tainted to whatever they feel will sell the most papers, glean the highest ratings.   So, I am not going to focus on whether any of these men were guilty, innocent or even venture a guess to who held and to what extent they held any culpability in the events.

My biggest concern is what has happened, or rather not happened, in the aftermath of these killings.  Because, killings happen every day.  They happen in the home, they happen on the streets, and they happen at the hands of “public servants”.   And I think that is the main area where my concern lays.  Because, I found the need to put public servants in quotation marks.  For it seems they no longer seem to feel that they are public servants.  Its become a systemic problem, starting from the bottom and continuing all the way to the highest ranks in Congress.  And the reality is that both sides need to take responsibility for this breakdown.

One cannot argue that police are capable of abusing the power of their uniforms.  This has been a problem probably since the first creation of a police department.  Its a position of power, and there are always those that will abuse it.  The question is, is it worse now than it has ever been.  I’m not sure.  Statistics list that between 500 and 1000 people are killed each year by police.  That number is more than the number of soldiers that were lost in the war in Iraq, more than were lost in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  Departments are not required to submit information about their use of force.  I think that bespeaks a problem.

There are protests continuing around the country.  And to an extent, I feel this is a good thing.  But, where I see the problem is that protests tend to run out of steam.  The cause is often forgotten.  They are not long term fixes for the abuses of power.  Because the abuses are much farther reaching than what the protests are addressing and I believe ignoring the extent will only further erode our rights and freedoms.

Police are almost never charged with abuse of power.  At the very most, the departments are ordered to look at their procedures.  Things clean up for a while.  There may be a few people that lose their jobs.  Politicians no longer tell you what they will do to clean up the abuse on the streets.  They now simply tell you what their opponent did not do, could not accomplish.  And the air waves are full of so many people preaching their own brand of hate, blame, bias and intolerance.    We have politicians trying to insert their own brand of religion into our government and the right to discriminate against anyone that doesn’t fit their brand’s acceptable model.

It seems to be a no win situation.  It makes you want to just bury your head in the sand and never come back out.  To be honest, I have lived through times where such biases were part of everyday life.  I don’t want to again.

Its so easy to point fingers in all of these situations.  To say the police are wrong, to say the victims are wrong, the politicians are wrong, etc.  But, all of us hold a piece of the responsibility in the degradation that is taking place in our society.  Whether it be through acts of hate, or inaction.  We have created the climate.  We are seeing the fruits of those labors.  But, as is generally the case, we seek an immediate answer to a series of problems that have been brewing for years.  But, the change will happen, if it does, the same way we got here.  One step, one change at a time.

I listened to an interesting podcast a few days ago by a man named Bart Campola.  What he said, though it didn’t have anything to do with the current demonstrations, still had much to do with the current demonstrations as well as what has happened to our society.  Its true that we have become and are becoming more and more of a secular society through the years.  That’s not a bad thing, in and of itself.  But, what is a bad thing is that we have released the connection with others in letting go of our beliefs in the supernatural.  And it is through those bonds, those connections that we create community and make change.  We did it in the 60’s and 70’s with the Summers of love, with community projects, outreaches, organizing.  And what change was made during that time!  The embracing of peoples of color, religions, sexuality.  It utterly changed the landscape of the world as we know it in an handful of years.

And then we got busy with other things and forgot about making a better world and thought only about buying a bigger house or where our next vacation was going to be.  We got richer.  We got greedier and we gave up community in exchange for the new and improved American dream.  And it was all about the individual and we forgot we were part of the community of man.

Then the towers fell, Wall Street fell and those in power seized the opportunity to recreate the world in their own image.  We gave up our freedoms for the illusion of safety.  The elected said we will pass this bill to protect the citizens even though we have not read it and they made it so.  And they gave powers to the police they had not had before.  And they gave military equipment to the police, who were not military.  And many believed it good that we were so well protected by these newly re-armed police.  And we put in office people who said they would make government smaller, care for us, represent us.

And we saw our rights erode before our eyes.  And they fed us stories of hatred for our neighbors and our friends.  The gays, the women who wanted control of their bodies, the Muslims, the atheists, the black, the immigrants.  And they brought in the preachers and the speakers from the lower levels to take up the causes.  So, each was only preaching for the rights of their small group.  The black preacher was condemning the gays, the women.  The white preacher was condemning the Muslim, seeding fear of any person of color, damning the gays.  They fractured and they split and they shattered.  And no one knew who to trust.

We made a step with Occupy.  But, it lost its momentum.  I believe this was because there was no real leadership in it.  That was one of the primary things in it, was that there were to be no leaders.  Leaders are needed.  But, leaders that answer to the needs and wants of the group they represent.  The problem with Occupy is they didn’t understand that.  They didn’t have leaders.  They didn’t have goals.  They didn’t have direction.  And you can’t win a campaign without those things.  They lacked the cohesive glue that holds a movement together.  They lacked the structure that creates a community.

The 60’s and 70’s with all its promiscuity, drug experimentation, insanity, did have all of those.  Granted, there wasn’t a single leader in it.  But, there were leaders.  There were communities.  There were goals.  Ending the war in Viet Nam.  Women’s rights.  De-segregation.  And in most of it, they all held hands together.  They were in it together.  And they changed the world.

The side of power is winning because we are wandering like chickens with our heads cut off.  We march in the streets and then next week or next month, we go back to whatever we were doing before.  We ignore our neighbors, we anesthetize ourselves with electronics and we stay home on election day because we convince ourselves that our vote doesn’t matter or its too much trouble to turn off long enough to go to the polls. We have effectively told those in power that we don’t care what they do.

And so, they are doing whatever they want.  With the knowledge that we aren’t going to do anything about it.  We aren’t going to vote them out of office.  We aren’t going to take the time to understand the system enough to know who is responsible for what.  All we will do is throw a tantrum for a few days and then forget about it.  We’ve been doing it for quite a few years now.

Those that have the greatest long term vested interest in what will happen to their world, the young people are turning out in fewer and fewer numbers every year to vote.  This last term, they showed at 13% of those that were registered to vote.  And even as they complain about things like student loans, gay rights, voter right infringements, they still do not show at the polls.  And then when it blows up in their faces, and the powers against them begin to abuse their power, they cry foul.

The other side, however, does show up in large percentages to vote.  The ones that believe that gay marriage should be criminal, that all blacks are thugs, that women who want the right to govern their reproductive lives and their lives in general are whores, that rape victims must have done something to ask for it, that domestic abusers should have the right to carry guns, even if they have a record, that there should be no limits or restrictions on gun ownership, that you should be able to shoot someone simply because you “think” they pose a threat, but you should not be able to marry who you want or choose when its right to have a child, that arguing with a police officer is grounds for being tackled and strangled, that the President of the United States should be shot, no respect should be accorded him and calling him a nigger is part of your first amendment rights.  These people vote.  Every. Single. Time.

You don’t think your vote matters?  There is a reason it matters to them.  Because they know it counts.  And they vote.  Every time.  And they organize.  And they have a community.  Granted, its a community based on hate and bias and intolerance.  And if only hatred votes, then the laws of hatred are what will prevail.

The sad thing is that it really doesn’t seem like love is a very strong force.  And sometimes it isn’t.  Hatred is so very often far more powerful.  It is far easier to get people to take the hands of others and cross the lines to meet the eyes of a stranger in anger or fear than it is to do so in brotherhood and in love.  But, that is what we need if we want to change the climate.  If we want to change the power.  We need to build communities, not based on superstition, but on human connection.  We need to take the hand of our brothers and sisters without looking at their color, their religion (or absence of religion), their gender orientation, their hairstyle or their shoe size.

I believe there are far more of us that want an inclusive world where everyone matters.  I believe there are far more of us that want a world where it doesn’t matter how you gender identify, what color your skin is, what god or demon you follow.  I believe the 1% will cease to matter if the rest of us stand up for what our hearts tell us is right and stop listening to what Brother Loveless tells us.  And I believe it is harder for the police to brutalize when a true community exists that will call them to task.

We need to bring to light what is wrong in our communities and our power structures.  But, we also need to take responsibility to create the communities that we want.  We can’t just sit back and trust that justice will prevail.  Justice will only be as good as the elected official in charge of it.  The good of the community will only be understood if the community works together and talks.  And shows up at the polls to insure that the officials best suited to meet their needs are put in office.

I hope that maybe the good that will come out of all that has happened of late is that maybe people will realize this.  That maybe they will take back their communities.  That they will go beyond the protests in the streets to the real long term actions necessary to reclaim the government for “the people”.  And that if you don’t stand together, you will find that you are standing alone.  And that is how “they” win.


Nano Recovery

Winner-2014-Web-BannerSome insanity overtook me and I decided to enlist in the Nano madness for the first time ever.  For those not aware of it, its Nanowrimo, National Novel Writing Month where you commit to writing 50,000 words in the month of November.

I chose to engage in it because I have had a book idea brewing and thought it would give me the kick in the pants I needed to make a serious dent in it.  And I am very proud to say that I did indeed meet the 50,000 word count.  *Bells and whistles off in the background*  The task took me away from many things and I pretty much spent all my extra time plugging away at the keyboard.  I got none of the books I had read reviewed, haven’t gone through the photos in my camera and haven’t drawn anything.  But, I got the 50K!

That said, I am such a very long way from saying that I have a “novel”.  I have the foundation of one.  But, as in most things in my life, I seem to have bitten of a rather large bite on mine.  I have decided that before I consider plowing forward, I need to take a step back on the book and lay a bit more groundwork and decide what needs expanding and what needs some culling.  So, I will probably become a quiet subject for a while.

But, its over!  I did it!  And in the few days since, I have gotten a couple of reviews written on books I read during November.  And I plan on going through the camera this weekend.  The swans and snow geese are in and I have gotten the first batch  of pictures taken of them!  Oh, and the snow is filling up the mountains!  Very pretty!  Which caused me to sing a little ditty on the way home while waiting for a friend to pick the phone back up.  Little Christmas trees in the snow on the side of the road, covered with Christmas snow in the afternoon sun.

What a joy to live where there are seasons.  And thankfully, the rain has taken a short break giving the roads a chance to dry out  bit.