Because Mr. Smith puts it so much better than I could.
Shoot howdy, but I haven’t been here in a while! Login is NOT what I remember at all. (I had to go there a couple of times to make sure I wasn’t at some bad hacking site.)
I read this piece this morning, and found tears streaming down my face.
For days now, I’ve tried to say pretty much what Chris Hedges is saying in this piece. I feel it. I was never a “rah-rah” Merican! But I have always loved the IDEA of America. It’s always been easier for me to admire what the Founding Fathers envisioned, wrote about, fought for on the battle field and with the pen. I’ve always been cynical (to varying degrees) about contemporary America. But in the last 10 years, even with all the traveling I’ve done here, and all the wonderful places and people I’ve met, there’s been a feeling of real decay and disease about this country since 9/11.
I remember where I was when we invaded Afghanistan. I was at the San Diego British Car Show. They announced it over the loud speakers. I looked at Maurizio, sat on the grass and choked tears. “This is the beginning of the end”, I thought and said-perhaps to no one.
I remember where I was when we invaded Iraq. I was with Sylvain and Joanie. Jo and I were very upset-we were arguing for days with Sylvain because he was for it. I remember Jo and I in her living room, whilst the news was on the TV, and we hugged and talked. And worried.
These were symptoms of a pernicious illness that took over our country. After all the things that has happened in the last 10 years, I just don’t see a good prognosis.
I’m still love my country-but more for the founding of it than for the present. But I haven’t been proud of it for a very, very long time. And that’s why I sit here today, with tears and the pain of a broken heart.
There is a question that friends have asked me from time to time over the last 32 years, and mostly, I have been thanked for my answers!
"Do you think I should get married to…?" Or "Wouldn’t you be happy for me if I marry…?" And "What do you think of my new relationship?"
First of all, don’t ask if you’re not interested in an honest answer. Second of all, I have had the opportunity to observe a plethora of relationships from the pov of both men and women over the years. (And having been involved in mostly male hobbies and clubs for most of my adult life, I have had a unique opportunity in being confided in and talked to in a way that many women don’t get.)
1.) If you have to ask…
If you have to even ask that question of a friend of any degree, I’m pretty sure you have doubts and are just looking for the sort of empty positive reinforcement that you could get out of a fortune cookie. (But you’re not going to get from me.)
2.)How recent was your last break-up? That is, are you still in that giddy, first throws of love and regular sex phase? If your “Love” is true, it will last. Slow down. Get to know each other. Clear up anything about your past or present, that will probably cause arguments and tears in the not so distant future. This means having a sense of integrity and that the BOTH of you are adults who can accept that you both have had past loves, and are even good friends with some of those past loves. (One might even be your best friend!) This also shows your possible future mate that you have a loving respect for people who came before. I for one, have found this to be very attractive in a new partner. If he respects his important loves of the past, then there’s probably more of a chance that he’ll respect his current love-me!
3.) I have seen more discord in relationships because they don’t like to do the same things. It seems that usually, it’s the female half who puts the kibosh on the male half’s hobbies. (Sometimes it’s a genuine dislike of windblown hair or a ruined manicure, but very often, it’s a way of controlling and keeping their guy under their thumb. Whipped, is the colloquial term, I believe.) If I had a dime for every time I have been at a car show, (or on a first blind date) and heard “My wife/girlfriend/fiance/(or ex) hates my car/flying/sailing/golf hobby!” And then listen to them go off on that for 20 minutes-well, I’d probably have a nice little British car again! It comes down to this: you can either give up the hobbies that are a part of YOU, that help make you YOU, and instead of Saturday morning going golfing with your buddies (or diving, or to car club, or sailing) and go to the Mall or to the Spa or sit on a beach and bake when you really want to be surfing-and genuinely NOT miss it, not feel as if you have had a little chunk of you cut away, then go ahead. You’re a keeper. Enjoy the hen parties and HER friends, because you’re not going to be allowed to see your buddies very often. But any partner who asks this of the person they supposedly love…I would have to think twice about them. Life together doesn’t mean that you HAVE GOT TO do every little activity together for the rest of your lives. It means accepting the person you love for who they are. And being happy that something YOU might hate, gives them joy. When you ask -or as in many instances I’ve seen, demand or manipulate, your partners to give up their hobbies -and the friends they enjoy doing those hobbies with, you are diminishing the other person. Is that what love means to you?
4.) Plenty of people understand that they need help-therapy help. Like, they’ve made so many mistakes and bad choices-and maybe behaved in a way they know to be hurtful and destructive, but are finally understanding that the way to a better, happier, fuller life is through a therapists or psychiatrists office. And then they meet someone who raises the brain chemistry to levels that they forget all the pain they’ve inflicted and/or caused and start to think”I’m well! All by myself!”
No, you’re not well. You’re on a powerful drug called “being in love” (which is a whole different kettle of fish from “loving someone”) If you think you need help, get it. Get it before you decide to walk down the aisle and more than likely, end up with another divorce, another failed relationship, because you never got to the root of why you had so many failures to begin with!. If your partner doesn’t understand, he or she might not have been the right one after all. If they do understand, they will be sooooo very, eternally thankful!
You might think this is unusual or not very common, but it is. Why else do you think self-help books, online dating sites and “life-style” shows are all so popular-not to mention the huge consumption in this country of anti-depressants and beer? Because there’s a lot of people out there who have unhealthy behaviours and are hurting, and end up in one failed relationship after another-and they cannot understand why.
Modern Life is very tough. Everyone needs a little help now and then.
The old adage “Marry in haste, repent in leisure” still holds true, even in this day and age of quick divorces and living together.The point is, it’s ok to have fun. But if you slow down, and get to know your partner without the haze of the drug called “I feel like a 10th grader again!”, and seeing them for who they REALLY are, you probably have a much better chance of, if not growing old together, of having a good, honest relationship based not only on love and lust, but as importantly, respect and integrity that even if it ends, ends in a lasting friendship.
I commented on Nick Kristoff’s Facebook status update today, that I am so worried and afraid that Obama and the US will decide to ride into Libya to stop the slaughter like john Wayne and the Marines! It is so very very alarming. Even to someone like me, who keeps track of despots massacring their people worldwide.
I happens all the time-but we, the World in general and in the US in particular, barely take notice! And even then, we lose interest so easily-look at Egypt in the last week: no one is hardly paying attention to the news coming out of mass shootings in the prisons. Look at Iraq and Afghanistan and Pakistan-we have people there killing and being killed and no one seems to care anymore much.
The situation has been very bad in Libya for decades. No one in the West seemed to care much. Tony Blair went to Tripoli only a couple of years ago to make an oil deal. No one said peep about doing business with a man who has turned his military guns on his own people before.
Now we have a horrible situation in Libya. There have been cries that the US should, and must go in. And this is what I have a problem with.
Throughout this new era of Arab revolt, the clearest message I have heard from people involved has been, “We don’t want the US to come marching in-we just want Obama to state that he stands with us.” The has been the overwhelming sentiment I have heard from people everywhere from Lebanon to Tunisia. And I agree.
First off, we are not trusted. We are seen as Imperialists and Zionists. We are seen to be working for the best interests of the US government and US military industrial complex-and for no one else’s. (I know some who have said that they feel sorry for Americans because the government works against the best interests of it’s own people!)
We could go to Libya, guns blazing, and maybe at first, we would be welcomed and greeted with thanks. But then, within a very short time, it would go against us-the Libyan people would want us OUT. Is the US capable to go into a country in such a horrible situation, do the job-tip our hats and LEAVE? Without agenda? Without trying to interfere? (I wish Star Fleet Command would tell the Dept of Defense about the Prime Directive!) Furthermore, to quote Al Stewart “and don’t forget the oil!”
I feel sorry for Obama today. No doubt there are those around him who want him to be more of a GW Bush. And no doubt that he’s a thoughtful man who understands that us going in is a very bad thing. Do nothing-people die, go in-we could make it worse because the people fighting for their freedom won’t want to trade Ghaffafi for a US garrison! What to do?
And if we did go in, what message does that send to the democracy movements in Bahrain, Syria, Yeman? How could we help them, and turn our backs on Gaza, if we’re going to be the saviours of the region?
I agree with Nick Kristoff-that the United Nations “Right to Protect” doctrine should be invoked. Except that the neighbour countries who’d be called on are Tunisia and Egypt. At this time, are they strong enough to take action? They are helping on a humanitarian level already. But to do more?
Balancing on a pin indeed. Suggestions, anyone?
I sit here, on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, 9,000 miles from Cairo, watching events unfold. I write this because I cannot be there physically.
Even though I have an Arab name, I am not an Arab. But my sympathies lie in the Middle East. They always have. I was born Pro-Palestinian! And no one ever told me it was a bad thing. Not even Jewish friends. (Well, except the mother of one.) Not being an Arab or from an emigre family, I cannot know exactly how it feels to be watching the events of the past few weeks. I cannot know exactly what it is to be “Arab”. I’ve never even been to that part of the World. (Not for lack of trying!)
But I have known Arabs. Been related by marriage. Sat in the room and listened to the stories of the Lebanese Civil War; of Palestinians freshly bull-dozed out of their homes; of Egyptians (and Moroccans) living in penurious exile in Rome-”Anything is better than living under those regimes!” I have listened to Syrians describe massacres at their University and about fathers taken away to be political prisoners for the rest of their lives. And , further East, there are the Iranians I have known and the horrible stories they live with.
So many Americans I know have not heard these stories-and certainly not from the lips of those who have lived them. It makes a huge difference, I think, not just hearing it on the Evening News, but sitting on the floor in an illegal Roman sublet, drinking sweet Arab chai with a group from various countries who are united not just by a language, but by similar experiences of living under these oppressive regimes. Regimes that in many (most?) cases have been supported by my U.S. government.
So, although I am not Egyptian-or Lebanese, or Syrian etc, these stories and faces are engraved upon my heart and thus, have formed a certain part of me. And I thank them.
The day of the Tahrir Massacre, I had been out all day (sans BlackBerry!) mostly in the water, enjoying myself. I got home and turned on the Rachel Maddow show and was shocked and deeply disturbed by the scenes of fighting and the descriptions by Richard Engel of what was going on. And I was SO VERY ANGRY at my government for not wholeheartedly throwing support behind the protesters from the very start. I still am! I am furious!
So I did what I normally do when I’m furious at the Administration in D.C.-I bring up White House.gov, and write a letter to the President (or whoever reads the feedback.) I gotta say-the Obama administration is not very good at writing back. The Clinton administration always sent a prompt reply that hinted that they actually READ the feedback. Obama’s administration-not so much.
What to do when you’re thousands of miles away, and you can’t even get real news on what’s happening? Well, thank whatever supreme being you want to believe in or not for the Al Jezeera English, and the BBC online, and for the brave men and women who have gone to Cairo and tweet what they see. And from people in the States who have family and friends protesting in Tahrir Square.
These protests have caught fire all across the region. A whole mass of people who can no longer be pushed, and find these regimes intolerable. Who just want to have jobs and make a living wage and afford to feed their families. Same as anywhere. Same as Us. The strange thing is, there is more income inequality in the United States than in Egypt! ( File:Gini Coefficient World CIA Report 2009.png ) So, what’s the matter with us? Why aren’t WE taking to the streets to demand jobs and a living wage? (Not to mention single payer health care.) Why aren’t we sitting in Times Square or on the Mall demanding our voice to be hear? It’s a question I’ve heard over and over and over in the course of the past month.
What I do hope is that the people of Egypt prevail. That they get the Democracy and Freedom they crave. And I hope that the movement spreads all across the Arab world. We owe a lot of what is considered “civilization” to Arabs of the past. My hope is that today’s Arabs and their movement to Freedom power to the people will inspire the people of the West to take to the streets and demand a better future. After all, we are all ONE people.
Note: I found this interesting piece using the Gini to compare individual U.S. States with different countries, the the income inequality per state. If not already opened, I hope your eyes will be. Is the U.S. Becoming a Third World Country?
Hau’oli Makahiki Hou! Happy 2011!
And now for something a bit different from my recent posts. Something a bit more “upbeat”:
How are we doing with our New Year’s Resolutions?
I have on my kitchen wall, written on an envelope, a list of Resolutions for 2010. Some are quite general- “Self-improvement” and “Be generous to Self” (must be a 3am, “got sucked into an Oprah rerun” on that one!) In all, there were 9 resolutions. One of which I nailed! ( #2- no more Diet Coke! ). And another, at least I commenced and haven’t given up on-in fact worked on it all year, but “learn to surf” is not something a 50 year old woman with bad balance, masters over night! Still, I’m proud of how far I did get on that one this year. I want to be really catching waves by my birthday.
Other than those two? Well, let’s just cut our losses and admit it. The 2010 Resolutions were pretty much a bust. After the 2009 Resolution (yes, only one), which was a large undertaking and something of a victory of planning and management: Move to Hawaii.
And to be fair, 2010 was a difficult year, on many fronts. Even hellish at times. Maybe had I concentrated more on the Resolutions, it would have been easier to get through. Hindsight and all that…
Now, with only 12 hours left to the old year, and the New Year peaking over the horizon, I have started thinking about the Resolutions for 2011. A few are holdovers from 2010:
Learn the ukelele!
A new tattoo!
Make a difference!
Be more creative!
I am adding to those -”FILES!” I have so many insurance documents and different paperwork that I must keep (the government tells me so) and all that paper has taken over my counter, my nightstand, my life! Social Security is not giving me an allowance to house all the paper they ask me to keep, so I must find a home and tame the beast. One of the top resolutions. More organization for 2011!
I’m also adding a resolution for the benefit mankind: I am not going to feed the Sarah Pain monster anymore. Period. Yes, there’s so many news stories about her and yes-some of them leave one’s mouth open and are so MUST posts. But, this person thrives on being the center of attention. And for what? Not much. For 2011, I refuse to give her a nanosecond more of attention. Maybe I should start a website, or a petition or get people to pledge to turn their backs on her. Start a movement. and maybe make her go away once and for all!
And of course, the biggest and most important resolution of all: Strive to be a better person. It’s been my resolution since I was a little girl. No matter how I fail, (or succeed) I never give up that one.
So there you have it, my resolutions for 2011.
What are yours?
I remember back in April of 2007 I was visiting some friends. In between the torture of being made to sit and watch “American Idol” and “Dancing with the Stars”, I listened to the wife gush on about Barack Obama. Yeah, I’d heard of him. No, he didn’t impress me as the Second Coming. And I was torn into for not believing. Not falling all over myself over him.
It wasn’t that I didn’t “like” him. It was that I found the personality cult that was rising up around him to be disturbing. And I also found him to be too much style, but not enough substance. I remember telling this to those friends.
For one thing, they kept going on about how he had voted against the war in Iraq. “Impossible”, I countered. He was running for the Illinois State House at the time and gave a very well timed, very nice speech at a fundraiser. (Cue the boos from the gallery.)
And that was the problem-he gave wonderful speeches, but other than than he seemed so…so…jelly-like. For a guy from a difficult background, he didn’t seem to have a lot of fighting spirit or back bone. And then I read about how he would reform health care by getting everyone around the table and to come to an agreement. I knew we were in trouble.
No, I did not jump on the Obama train in the Primaries-I voted for Dennis Kucinich. (Who actually DID vote against the war in Iraq.) Like a lot of Democrats, and some Republicans and Independents, I voted for Obama in November ‘08 because, well…there was really no one else to vote for.
But I watched the results, and felt proud for the achievement. And I watched the inauguration, and again, felt proud.
And that’s where it ended.
The last 23 months since he took office have been filled with teeth gnashing, disappointment, disbelief and the conclusion that he’s a tool for the right.
Take Health care. So much for everyone sitting down at the table, singing Kumbaya and then giving the country what it so desperately needs-true health care reform with a public option. Instead we got mandatory enrollment and the perfect set up for insurance companies to gouge the consumer to death.
Stimulus? Good start-just not big enough. For a guy who needed to be an FDR, he came off as more of an FDR Mini-Me.
One cave-in after another. I might not know a lot about negotiating, but I know that when you have all the power, and the majority are all your peeps, you can go in and strong arm and even bully a little. (Think LBJ and the Civil Rights Act of ‘64.) The idea is to get what YOU want-not what THEY want. Politics has become a winner take all proposition-even more so in the last 10 years. We were the winners of that election, but we behaved like the losers.
And our leader lacks the backbone, the grit to go in there and say “This is what I want. Period. WE are the majority-suck it up.”
The past couple of weeks week saw the announcement and passage of Barack Obama’s tax plan, a so called “compromise”. A deal with 24 months of tax cuts for the richest, but only 13 months of unemployment and no extension for the 99ers; a “compromise” where the only compromise seems to be that the majority party was mostly left out of the “negotiations”. Pundits on the left are shaking their heads and wondering “What the hell happened!”
I’m a die hard Liberal, Democrat, Leftist Socialist kind of person and have been since birth. I didn’t support Obama in the 08 Primary. But I did vote for him in November. I wanted to support him. I wanted to be a fan. I really tried. All through the last 23 months. 23 months of continued war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Through bills that should have been great achievements, but didn’t go quite that extra mile. Through looking for a leader who would go in and really fight for us, but instead, caved to the Republicans. I really tried.
But after these last weeks, the tax deal, watching Bernie Sanders take to the floor of the Senate and really fight for the People., there came this last piece of news: http://www.truth-out.org/justice-department-prepares-expansion-laws-targeting-activists
This had been a story floating around. There’s been crack downs on activists, to be sure, but nothing quite as concrete as this about a legal, “let’s really make it official” crack down. So, it seems that Obama and his administration is now, finally, at last going to go that last, extra mile, to do something meaningful.
At this point, I am really struggling with what I’ll do in 2012. I hate to see the party divided-and a loss to someone like Mitt Romney or *gasp* Sarah Palin! But I really do not think that I can in clear conscience vote for Barack Obama a second time.
How about a write in campaign-I can see it now:
I always look forward to the “Behind the Scenes at the white House” sort of specials. (National Geographic did a wonderful one a few years ago, with more than the usual focus on the people who have worked there-sometimes several generations of family!)
Anyway, last night HGTV had their “White House Christmas” sort of special. I was looking forward to it. As usual. But, in the end, it left a sour taste in my mouth.
The decorations were gorgeous. The hostess, Genevieve Gorder, was tres charmant. It was interesting to see the Vice President’s official residence, at the USNO. Never saw that covered before.
And it was impressive to see how White House staff and volunteers work together in one of the most famous “homes” in the world.
Many of the decorations are made with real fruit and vegetables. Personally, I love Della Robbia , but at the same time, looking at the huge “wreath’s” lining the East Colonnade, decorated with pounds of fruit and vegetables, all I could thing was “there’s so many people in this country who would love to have a handful of that produce, not to decorate with, but to EAT.”
When they showed the military appreciation tree, decorated not only with symbols of the different branches of the military, but with shiny “doves of Peace”, all I could think of was “predator drones…military aid to Israel…the Afghans want us out of their country…”
And when “freedom” was mentioned, as it is often in these propagandistic, “feel good” shows, all I could think of was the persecution of Wikileaks, and this Administrations expansion of anti-spy laws. And of the videos starting to be shown in WalMarts, encouraging citizens to report fellow citizens if their behaviour is “strange”. (Among many other things.)
By the end of the hour, my enjoyment and appreciation of the whole thing, was burst, like one of the pretty glass ornaments on the Blue Room tree.
This is to all my friends who think that politics and world events and caring about them shouldn’t concern them because, well-they’re more “spiritual” than that and if you just put out positive thoughts and words and vibes-everything will be ok for you and yours.
But, all those of us who are fighting the good fight each and every day and whose political talk you find sooo boring and rather annoying and not very spiritual at all, we’re doing it so that YOU, dear friend, CAN be free to be spiritual and go on meditation retreats and blow a couple of hundred bucks on some self-professed “teacher” to “cleanse or Karma” back a few hundred lifetimes.
We are the ones who fight tooth and nail for separation of Church and State and to keep government on a secular path.
Imagine, if there weren’t people getting angry (“negative vibes”) and going out there to protest and write letters and to vote (“such things don’t concern me-I’m more ‘spiritual’”) you might not have those freedoms that you still enjoy.
Maybe you haven’t noticed, because current affairs and politics don’t concern you, that there’s been a real movement to conservative, reactionary evangelicalism in this country for a while now. Politicians from the right who want to supplant US law with Biblical law. Politicians (like our own Duke Aiona, here in Hawaii), who want to consecrate our states and communities to Christ-irregardless that there are many non-Christians and non-believers in the populations.
How would you feel if you woke up and wherever you lived was now under Biblical Law. If you were now required to go to church-and maybe a church that’s more into the end of days than you believe. If you were required to declare if you’re a Christian to be able to vote or your kid or grand kid had to declare Christianity to go to even a public school.
Kind of puts a monkey wrench into your plans to go on a meditation retreat and cleanse your Karma, wouldn’t it. Because now, you’d be an outlaw. What you cling to and how you pray and who you pray to, would now be if not completely outlawed, then persecuted on the side.
Get the picture yet?
So the next time those pesky neighbours or friends who “waste” their time with worrying about politics and where this country is headed, and sharing with you what THEY are doing about it-instead of rolling your eyes and sighing and telling them that it’s a waste of energy and you’re too spiritual for that anyway-open your ears and LISTEN. Do some research -and VOTE!
Because frankly, some of us are getting tired of carrying the water for you.