Sunday, December 31, 2006
Tomorrow, Monday, January 1, 2007, in Denver, a candlelight vigil will be held to commemorate the 3000 U.S. soldiers that have given their lives in Iraq. Meet at Civic Center park at 6:30 p.m.
If you don't live in Denver, you can find a vigil near you by going to the AFSC website .
Saturday, December 30, 2006
So Much Magnificence
I have spent the last few days in northern California, visiting my daughter and son-in-law and taking in the redwoods and the ocean.
After watching the sun open up into flames of oranges, reds and pinks during its descent into the ocean... after breathing in the humid redwood forest air... after standing in awe of the immensity of the redwood trees... after walking in forests where life just wants to burst everywhere (a sharp contrast to the dry climate of Colorado and of the Utah desert that I so love)... after all of that, we came back to my daughter's apartment last night and turned on the computer to read the news of the week.
And I saw that we have lost 2995 soldiers to date (2998 as of this writing this morning).
And I saw that Saddam was hung.
There is so much magnificence in this world. How do I hold it all in my heart? How do I not become a total cynic?
It seems like the hanging of Saddam became an emergency. All of a sudden, it had to be NOW. Does it have anything to do with how close we are to having 3000 of our soldiers dead, while Iraq is a mess (a happy little diversion maybe)?
Now that we have killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis in revenge for the death of 3000 Americans in 2001, now that Saddam is dead, now that 3000 of our soldiers are dead, where does it stop? Who is the last to give their life to make the tally come out fair?
Yesterday morning, while the whole family was still in bed, a loud bang happened somewhere outside our cabin. An hour and a half later, when we were up and around, we looked outside, and on the porch was a bird that appeared injured, although there were no visible signs of injury. It sat on the porch, breathing heavily, but otherwise not moving. The bang that we heard must've been the sound of the bird flying into the cabin's window.
We talked. Who has the guts to kill this beautiful animal as an act of kindness - to relieve it of its suffering? What if it is not terminal? Do we bring it inside? Would human contact just be another layer of trauma? I believe that animals are much more okay with their own death than humans tend to be. Do we just trust and let the bird do what it innately knows how to do?
Before we left, we contacted the caretakers and told them about our new little feathered friend. By then, it had sat there without moving for probably four hours. One of the women brought a towel to put around the bird so that she could pick it up. As she placed the towel over the bird, it came to life, and flew up into the branches of a tree.
The other woman caretaker did a little circle dance.
I felt like the smile inside me filled my whole body.
It's such a miracle.
It so wants to be.
It is such a travesty, such an error, for humans to think they know enough and have enough authority to make the decision of life or death for another.
Taking in all of the beauty of this trip, I am also trying to breathe in the anger and hatred that is all around.
And I feel like the magnificence of it all fills my whole body.
Monday, December 25, 2006
I am grateful that I have found a community of like-minded people, all of whom give their lives to make this world a better place. Some of you live nearby and some of you I have met only via the internet. Some of you stand as a witness to peace every week - with sweat rolling down your face or shivers rolling up your spine, depending on the weather. Some of you have paid the price of your freedom.
I am grateful for my family. I am supported and loved. I feel it. I see it.
I am grateful for the abundance and opportunities that I have.
I am grateful for the beauty that is everywhere.
I am grateful for my spiritual life and for the skills that I am learning that help me to open to what is.
And mostly, I am grateful for being able to love.
Thank you for reading my blog!
2972 Soldiers Have Died in Iraq
Where's the Peace & Goodwill?
So far, this has been a particularly deadly month for U.S. soldiers in Iraq. This past October was really bad (110) - the worst in almost two years - and the numbers for December may come close to matching it.
And we're still not winning friends and influencing people.
According to Iraq's interior minister (as reported by the AP), over 12,000 Iraqi police officers have been killed since Saddam was ousted.
Iraq has (or maybe had) a population a little less than 1/10th the U.S. population (26 million, compared to 300 million). For simplification, lets just use the 1/10th figure.
If we were occupied by another country, and as a result, 120,000 of our police officers had been killed in less than four years, how would we be feelin' about now?
What would your life be like if 6,650,000 U.S. citizens had been killed in the past 3 3/4 years? (665,000 Iraqi civilians have now died from the war.) Most likely, some of your friends and family would not be with you this Christmas day.
I know, I know... we've got to kill them over there so that they won't kill us over here. Better them than us...
Reminds me of a recent Onion article titled Israel Bombs Anti-Semitism Out Of Lebanon.
Israel will not bomb any Anti-Semitism out of Lebanon and we will not bomb the hating of our freedom out of Iraq.
Of course freedom doesn't have anything to do with why our soldiers are in Iraq and giving up their lives this Christmas.
Reflections of My Life
Some gifts I received last night: A PEACE bowl from my in-laws (there's a dove on the side of it); A decorative star-shaped PEACE hangy-thing from my niece & nephews (maybe it's to hang on a tree, but I will hang it in my office); a Roots of Peace - Seeds of Hope book from my sis/bro-in-laws, and a left turn mag from my son.
Sunday, December 24, 2006
Saturday, December 23, 2006
'Twas The Day Before The Day Before Christmas
(Witnessing A Slice of Humanity)
Today, six of us stood in a narrow little path of packed snow where there used to be a sidewalk. We were separated from the street by a thigh-high hill of icy white stuff.
I don't know what to think of my fellow (wo)men. At the beginning of our vigil, I had a story that I wanted to write on my blog - and it wasn't good. I was actually kind of wondering if, all along, I have been living on the wrong planet. But as the hour went by, I realized that, yes, this is the crazy, mixed-up planet that I, for some reason, chose to spend this lifetime figuring out.
I'll see where this goes...
Traffic was very hectic today - the last Saturday before Christmas. Because of the blizzard and the resulting Colorado state of emergency, stores had been closed for two days and people were really now just coming out of hibernation.
The snow was beautiful, the sky was blue. Holiday goodwill was felt throughout the land. A few honks and peace signs were shared. Then, a man slowed down his truck and calmly and eloquently said, "I like peace, too, but freedom isn't free." I kid you not. I thought that the person in the car must be W or Rummy or someone. When I realized that it wasn't any of those men, I got really scared. I find it really frightening when the government is one's god, and the government's rhetoric is one's mantra.
During our vigil, many, many people waved and showed beautiful appreciation for our efforts. Some flipped us off (Merry Christmas), and some gave us the thumbs down.
Then, one driver just went off. I will not write the words that he yelled at us. "You ____, ____ bag" were some of them. I have never heard anyone as angry as this man. He went on and on. From one part of his tirade, I deduced that he might be a veteran, and I wondered what he had experienced while he served. Was he trying to tell us (in a not-so-artful way) that he needed for us to understand that he had risked his life in hell, believing that he made a difference, and our signs indicated to him that we didn't appreciate his sacrifice? I can understand that.
The woman passenger in the truck just put her head down. My heart breaks for her. I hope that she is safe.
I love standing with Women in Black. Since we don't engage, when someone is angry, the anger comes out and we allow it to just hang in the air. We don't add fuel to the fire, and I feel good about that.
I still believe that most Americans want an end to the war. Anger comes to us loudly or in violent gestures. The people who want peace express themselves in quieter ways and we have to look for them, but the silent applause through the passenger window and the heartfelt, silent thank you's are way more numerous than any displays of outrage.
Labels: Women in Black
Friday, December 22, 2006
The Religion Before Any Other
Four years ago at this time my wife and I were in Iraq , on the eve of the invasion. With the members of the Iraq Peace Team we were trying to bring to the attention of world media the enormous mistake the coming invasion was about to enact, and the agony that mistake would inflict on the people of Iraq and the world.
I remember feeling a sense of the inexorable, blind weight of my government's decision to attack. It seemed like a weight cast from mountains of habitual thoughts passed down through time, all of these habitual thoughts emerging from one root idea: we are separate. Separate peoples, separate nations. Our identities are fixed in separation. We take it for granted.
But this is not just an idea maintained by the Bush administration or by Western culture. It's everywhere. The Han Chinese maintain it; the Arabs in Somalia maintain it; the Quebecois in Quebec maintain it. Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, Turks, Greeks, Jews, Welsh, Catholics, Brahmans, Navajos, Republicans and Democrats maintain it.
It is the enormous habit of our species. Our need to associate with a particular group with a particular identity in contrast to other groups with other identities is an old addiction. We seek security inside them, inside these structures of identity passed to us from those who have gone before, structures of tribes, ideologies, ethnicities, religions, and nations. These structures are the myriad houses of our separateness - they are our father's house.
Our father's house. Each generation of us remodels that house to some extent, tears down a wall here or puts up an addition there. But the walls of the houses of our identities are always built with the same concrete of separation.
I'm not talking about the natural differences among us. Our differences are beautiful. I'm talking about how we grasp onto those differences, how we identify with them to such a degree that they divide us from each other.
This has been going on a long time, so long we believe that's the way things have to be. But do they? Is there another way to experience the human condition?
In the four years since the U.S. invasion of Iraq , I have become increasingly involved in a project in the Middle East called the Abraham Path (see Letter from the Road #31). Although I didn't realize it at first, this project, and Abraham's story behind it, exactly addresses these questions of our species' long habit of separation.
The point of the Abraham Path is simple: to open an 1100 kilometer walking trail from Harran , Turkey , where Abraham first heard God's call, through Syria , Jordan , Israel , culminating in Palestine at his burial place in Hebron/Al Khalil. It will be a trail for all people to walk on, no matter what their religion or nationality. And more than a trail, it will be a focus for the constellation of historic sites scattered through this land that tell the inspiring and anguished story of Abraham’s children.
I have just returned from my seventh journey to the region, this one with a delegation of twenty people from ten countries, a "Study Tour" sponsored by the Abraham Path Initiative and Harvard University . For the first time we traveled the entire Path (by bus), holding meetings along the way with governmental and business leaders, religious clerics, university professors, and leaders from civil society.
Everyone we met felt the sense of promise and optimism of this simple idea of a path wandering through the countryside. These are people who have grown up with conflict and who expect it. Yet there is something striking about the image of a path and the image of people walking on it, the image of our children and their children and their children. It touches a recognition deep within us of how things are in the truth of our existence, not how we think they have to be.
But why is it that Abraham's footsteps inspire this sense of promise? What is it about his story that has caused such widening ripples in the surface of history? What did he do?
I've come to see there's one crucial event in Abraham's story from which everything else emerges: God's call, "lech lecha," Go forth! And the Lord said to Abram, "Go forth from your land and your birthplace and your father's house unto a land I will show you." And Abraham did. He took a step. He acted.
That step created the path. It was a step away from his father's house. It was a step into the unknown, for God had not told him where to go, just to go. Although we see in the history of the Abrahamic religions just the opposite tendency, with adherents of each religion and sub-sect refusing to leave their father's house, nevertheless at the heart of what is honored in Abraham's story is this particular step and the faith it signifies to walk into the unknown, to release the habitual thoughts and fixed ideas that reinforce our sense of separateness from each other.
This step is a subversive act. It undermines the entire structure of human identity. It is the ultimate crossing of borders, leaving our father's house. And at the same time it signifies pure faith, not the faith in beliefs, but the faith that this is a step into our real home, our real belonging, beyond the smaller belongings of our nation or religion or ethnicity.
I am not saying we need to abandon all forms of identity. We can still be Americans or Cambodians or Manchester United fans or Episcopalians or whatever affiliations we are comfortable with. I am suggesting we need to learn to hold these affiliations very lightly. They are affiliations after all, they are not who we are, not our true belonging.
What then is our true belonging? What is outside our father's house?
Some time ago on a trip to Syria I was invited to give a talk to a group of about 40 Shiite clerics and businessmen at a beautiful mosque in the old city of Damascus . I hadn't prepared and was unsure what I should say. I got up before the microphone and looked at the circle of bearded and turbaned men, some in elegant clerical robes. I thought I saw suspicion in their eyes, their arms folded, waiting to hear what this American had to say.
Looking back now, I see this was a moment when I stood at the threshold of my father's house, looking at other men standing at the threshold of theirs. And for some reason I was able to take a step - a little one admittedly - and go forth into the unknown.
I started by talking about children, the little four year-old girl, Roquai'ya, a Shiite saint whose shrine was the heart of this mosque, and the Prophet Muhammad as a little boy whose birthday was being celebrated that day, and the infant Jesus who was spoken of in the Quranic verses we had just heard recited under the dome of the mosque. It touched me that we grown men and women had come here to take notice of these children who lived long ago, and the mystery of innocence and presence they revealed.
I told them I had recently been blessed with my first granddaughter. I made the gesture of holding her in my arms, and said, "Surely some of you must know how that feels, with a grandchild or a baby of your own." Suddenly I saw little smiles appear. Some of them glanced at each other and nodded.
And then I said, "When I looked down at this little one I suddenly realized she was not an American, or a Syrian, or a Russian, or from any nation. Where was she from? She was from God's country. And then I realized, oh my goodness! She was not a Christian, or a Buddhist, or a Muslim, or a Jew. What religion was she? She was from the religion before any of these!"
The men melted. Their eyes glistened. For that moment we were together, outside our fathers' houses, realizing that actually we all shared the same belonging, the same home, the same nation, the same religion, just like little children.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Hibernating (Or Not)
"Spanish meteorologists predict that this year is likely to be the warmest year on record in Spain, just as it is likely to be the warmest year recorded in Britain (where temperature records go back to 1659). Globally, 2006 is likely to be the sixth warmest year in a record going back the mid-19th century."
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Reflections on a Winter Day
This is one of my favorite Larry G Blackwood photos. I think it's really interesting. I enjoy the fact that the reflection is the clearest, brightest part - and we only see the bridge's reflection, not the bridge itself.
I also like how daring it is... the bravery of walking out onto ice that is obviously starting to melt.
Here in Denver, we're burrowed in as the snow flies sideways. It's absolutely gorgeous - at least when I look out the window. White cotton is glued to the fences and the window screens. Sensuous drifts curve up into peaks, then down into oblivion.
Driving was not all that fun when I went out this morning. There has been no point in shoveling, since the wind would just fill in our work anyway. And the Post Office isn't delivering any holiday greetings in this weather, so it doesn't matter if we can get to the mailbox.
I have spent much of the day calling and emailing friends to catch up one last time before the holidays. I am not one to send holiday cards - mostly because I feel a need to at least write something about my life in each card and I get bored real fast doing that. I enjoy reading about how the year went for others, but trying to remember what I did six months ago is way beyond my interest. Kinda like filing (see #6), most of my past is dead to me.
Holding hopes and wishes for warmth and safety for the people stranded on the highways and those living without a warm and comfy home at this time of darkness.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
"When I dare to be powerful -
to use my strength in the service of my vision,
then it becomes less and less important
whether I am afraid."
(Before she died, she took the name Gamba Adisa, which means
Warrior: She Who Makes Her Meaning Known)
I am very late in fulfilling this important obligation, because blogger has been very, very mean to me. I WAS in the process of upgrading to beta (whatever that means), but all that happened was the loss of my ability to post on my blog. Does the fact that I don't know what beta is count as another weird thing about me?
Well, here's my list, supplemented by my daughter who could go on and on about my weird qualities.
1) When I was very young, my friend and I would sit at the window, watching the stars and singing love songs to God.
2) At about the same time as above, a babysitter told me that when we "sin", our hearts turn black. She even had those felt things that stick to a felt board and she showed me what it looks like to have a red heart and black one. So for MANY years after that, in my mind, I saw my heart turning just a little more black every time I did something "bad".
3) I was a member of a cult for two years when I was in my late teens/early 20's - and don't ask me which cult, because, trust me, you have never heard of it.
Oh, now I feel very naked.
4) When my kids were adolescents, I put our table in storage, so we ate on the floor. We would put a tablecloth on the floor and sit around it. This really embarrassed my kids when we had our friends over for Thanksgiving.
5) I have never owned a microwave or lived in any place with one. My daughter thinks this is weird. I don't.
6) I love piles of paper and don't believe in filing. I go through my piles of paper periodically and find wonderful things that I have forgotten about. But anything in a file cabinet is dead to me. I will never remember what's in a file cabinet and everything will just sit inside there until I die. Then my daughter can inherit it all. She will go through those ancient papers and find out new weird things about me.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Musical Missions in Venezuela
High school girls practice their sexy moves to music on the street while another proud young man, the usual multi-racial mulatto African/NativeAmerican/European mix, explains once again that Venezuela is the happiest place on earth! "We are always in enjoyment! And we are good people and there is hardly any crime or delinquency! The newspapers are not telling the truth about that! The reporters want to get their pay so they invent stories about crime!"
Although I am still adjusting to the Venezuelan accent, quite different from the Peruvian or Mexican accents with which I am more familiar, I am returning back to the USA after dozens of spontaneous discussions about the quality and excitement of life in Venezuela. I feel so lucky to be someone who has a life-long habit of travelling through places where I've really had to learn and use other languages! Yes, when you learn a new language, you acquire a new soul.
Venezuela is an oil exporter: we pull up to the pump and fill the empty tank in our rental car for less than $2. Gasoline here costs about $0.16/gallon; diesel only $0.10/gallon. This reminds me of being in Iraq when gasoline was $0.04/gallon. As an Iraqi friend told me at the time: "We drink gasoline; it's cheaper than water!"
President Chavez, the one who called Bush "the devil" at the United Nations, was just handily re-elected 61% to 37% last week. The poor people love him and the upper classes are scared he'll nationalize their businesses and properties. We heard that the mayor of Caracas, the capitol city, is considering nationalizing a golf course and building Cuban-style housing for the poor on it.
The upper classes complain that Chavez gives too much Venezuelan wealth away to other countries and fails to follow through on plans and proposals. But the poor folks seem very happy with their new state of affairs. There are now hundreds of new health clinics for the poor across Venezuela staffed by, among others, ten thousand Cuban doctors. This thanks to the relationship Chavez has with Fidel Castro. The rich folks complain that the quality of health care has declined somewhat but don't always mention that it is now available to nearly all. According to the statistics just quoted in English in a Time magazine article, in the last 3 years alone, the percentage of Venezuelan people living at poverty level has dropped from 50% to 35%. And as we drive east from Maracay we see new government-built housing replacing cardboard and tin huts.
Chavez loves to talk. Every Sunday he talks to Venezuelan folks on TV for at least 4 hours. I listened to him reading poems at a celebration in Cuba. He's obviously not all about love and poetry but the majority of Venezuelans are in love with him and love to brag about their personal encounters with him. And legions of Chavez-loving volunteers are thronging the roadsides in their red hats and t-shirts cleaning up the last fifty years' worth of trash.
Yes, right now, Hugo Chavez is a lot of what Venezuela is about. Hearing that an Argentine milk company is on the verge of bankruptcy and will be soon bought for next to nothing by a multi-national "imperialist" corporation, Chavez has asked his congress to consider sending 120 million dollars to Argentina so they can buy their own milk company and "cooperativize" it. I read in the paper that this plan was approved.
I learned by living with the Inca villagers of Peru and Bolivia back in the late 1960's and early '70's what it feels like to see the world through the eyes of others and I just wish I could find better ways to bring these tastes of another world to young people here in the United States. There are so many mistaken stereotypes still playing out. It's such a shame that it seems to take hundreds of years for societies to evolve and learn the basic lessons of compassion! And we have, I feel, so much to learn from others about open-hearted generosity and what it feels like to be part of a thriving outdoor tropical community. We truly fell in love with the energies of Venezuelan communities like Jaji and Bocono in the northern reaches of the Andes mountains.
Chavez is following the visions of Francisco de Miranda, Simon Bolivar, Che Guevara and Fidel Castro and works to rid all of South America of imperialist and colonial vestiges. Chavez himself is, like 75% of all Venezuelans, a mix of African, Native American and European blood lines.
"There is no point in talking to the US government," says the chief Venezuelan foreign affairs officer, "when what is said and what is done by the USA is seldom the same and the aggressive assumptions about the supposed superiority of the USA remain in place. This is not Venezuela's problem, it is the problem of the USA and it affects their relations with the whole world." ...this from a Venezuelan newspaper I read just a couple of days ago.
We enjoyed our plane flight from Caracas to Merida. We could see out the front windows of the plane: a rare treat! No closed doors to the cockpit! And we could carry our liquids and our scissors and pocket-knives on board no problem! I guess Venezuela hasn't made too many enemies, or, if they have, they're too busy living life to worry about them. Fear is definitely not the ruling factor for how to conduct your life here.
Crime rates in Caracas: still very high in the poverty-stricken barrios. We met the aide to the US embassy in Caracas by chance at a restaurant on Isla Margarita. He and his wife were there for a break from the big city. He mentioned the terrible murder rates in Caracas. I did the math (how many people die violent deaths per year per 100,000 of population) and discovered that it is comparable to Washington DC. I mentioned this and he found it unbelievable, of course. We don't like to be aware of or publicize crime rates in our own country preferring to think that other parts of the world are "more dangerous."
Growing up in rural Missouri in the 1950's I enjoyed and took for granted my freedoms. I frequently find the plethora of rules by which modern American citizens seem to like to live to be uncomfortable. Life with fewer rules but more alertness feels kind of good and reminds me of the good old days of my youth. Lots of dogs, bicycles, cows and trucks hang out along the edges of the roads. And with socialism on the rise, the poor folks are pitching in to work toward the common good. We'll see how it goes. Right now it feels good to be in Venezuela. And, of course, as always, it feels good to get back home to Colorado to all the friends and family who form the roots of who I am!
Friday, December 15, 2006
Thursday, December 14, 2006
My friend's cancer is now metasticized into
Many points in her belly
Like the wounds of our world
It is no longer useful to try to remove one tumor
While others linger and spread
We stand for peace in Iraq
But genocide ravages Darfur
We struggle over inhumane treatments
While the wounded earth silently weeps
Earth and body
Scream out for
A systemic cure,
Of the soul
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
But I don't think that would be true.
Our friend, John, died a few weeks ago. Most of us didn't know of his death until recently. That's how bright his light was. It didn't die with him.
I met John in a park downtown this past 4th of July when he came to our Troops Home Fast. A couple of dozen of us were fasting for the day - in unity with thousands of others around the country - as a protest of this war. We brought food to give to the homeless people that hang out at the park. Some man that no one knew just came up and sat down with us. He didn't talk, really. He just sat with us. That was John.
We planned to be in the park from dawn till dusk, but most people left way before the sun started to set. All that was left, when a HUGE downpour began, were four of us who had planned the day - and John. John helped us to load up all of the stuff in the pelting rain.
After that, I saw him at every activist event I went to in Denver.
John was a big smoker, and he had a belly that Santa would covet. He was a man of few words, and I knew very little about him. He was 62 when he died.
So why do I write about this man?
Because today, while twenty-two of us gathered to remember and honor him, I saw the impact one person can make on many others, I really GOT how wrong we can be if we "judge a book by its cover", and I learned that we are never a done deal while we're still walking on this planet.
Words that I heard about John today: "a Light" "Kind" "He just started to blossom this year" "self-effacing" "He came to the library every day from the time it opened until it closed" "He always wanted to read the Denver Pest (Post) and the Rocky Mountain Nuisance (News)" "Gentle" "He said that he had never thought it was right to be an activist, but now he didn't like what was happening in our country." "When he sat in the bus at the Bush protest, he said that that day, he really felt important." "We gave him a 'no war' button at the Troops Home Fast, and I never saw him without it after that."
Something about him just opened up a place in us. I think it was his transparency, his authenticity. And he was a true gentleman. I felt safe in his presence.
Yeah, that's it. There was no "man/woman tension", no expectations, and no games. John was himself. Through and through. I can't say that about very many people.
CEO's, Presidents, Kings, and Statesmen may have more people and finery at their funerals, but none will receive any more love and respect than John did today.
The light didn't die. I saw it all over the world today.
Fly High, John!
Monday, December 11, 2006
At Crown Hill II
A Government Of Big Business, By Big Business, And For Big Business
The government says that we have to have High Definition television by 2009. WHY would a government give a sh.. about what kind of television we have? We are looking at the potential to annihilate ourselves with WMD's or via damage to the environment, and our government cares about television transmission? We have healthcare problems, a sky-high debt, and rising homelessness, and we worry about the type of television transmission we have?
I mistakenly voted for Ken Salazar for senate in 2004. Since then, besides supporting this war, he has:
* voted to seat Alberto Gonzalez as Attorney General
* voted for the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (which basically takes away our rights to habeas corpus appeals or to invoke the Geneva Conventions as a source of rights)
* co-sponsored a "surprise bill" to place a high definition TV tower on Lookout Mountain in Golden. The people of Golden and the City of Golden have been fighting this for years, because of concerns for the health of the many people who live nearby. There ARE other locations that wouldn't affect the population. But four days ago, Mr. Salazar and Mr. Allard pushed the bill through, and W, who sits in D.C., and probably has never met one of the children who will grow up in the shadows of this proposed tower, is expected to sign it. Once again, money speaks, and the voices of the people WHO ELECTED YOU, MR. SALAZAR are not heard.
From Channel 4 Denver:
Because the Congressional action happened in the middle of the night and essentially passed before anyone in the opposition could do anything about it, there were some hard feelings for the lawmakers who ushered it through. Golden City Manager Mike Bestor is among the critics.
"It's such a basic element of our democracy that people have a right to be heard before you pass legislation," Bestor said. "It definitely leaves a bad taste in our mouth."
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Saturday, December 09, 2006
2744 - And We Wondered How Many More
A video on this October's Eyes Wide Open exhibit in Denver.
You can see me in the video - I didn't know that I was filmed.
It brings back many memories and feelings.
I wish that W would've been there and walked the rows of boots with me. We could've talked about the lives and loves and dreams of the people who once walked in those boots.
An Hour of Our Lives
A young man drives past the Women in Black cast. Inside his truck is one of those things that you hang on your rearview mirror to make your car smelly. Only it isn't green, shaped like a little evergreen tree, and smelling of pine. Instead, it is white, shaped like a hand giving "the finger", and it's anybody's guess what scent emanates from it. Maybe a little Eau D'Anger?
Another young man in a white SUV speeds by while yelling, "If there wasn't war, you'd be dead!"
(We say that we are standing in silence, but laughing doesn't count as noise, right?)
As we pack things up in the parking lot, a woman approaches us. She is sad that she missed getting a photo of us, because she wants to put it on a Christmas card to send to her relatives who live in the South.
(Now, I am thinking of going into the Women in Black Christmas card business.)
And the curtain closes as W realizes the big mistake he made, so he brings the troops and weapons home (troops to a warm reception, weapons to be made into plowshares).
Friday, December 08, 2006
Little Mosque on the Prairie
Thursday, December 07, 2006
For J & P (You Know Who You Are)
Of love for you
Call me and I will always
Tell you that you are the
Sun that brings me warmth
But know that you shine
Whether or not
I am here to see
So when my voice
Can no longer laugh
At the sound of yours,
Remember that our hearts
Are forever connected in
And you are safely
The Intense Magnificence of a Young Person
I wish that I could do something so that never again would a child have to suffer because of the ignorance of adults.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Jeff Lucey hung himself after he returned home from Iraq. I have read different stories on him, some of them questioning the validity of his version of his experience while in combat. I say that it doesn't matter. If he was good enough to fight in a war for our prez, the demons that haunted him afterward are valid and we need to look at that.
Malachi Ritscher self-immolated as an expression of his pain about the war. People question his state of mind.
Some people are the parakeets in the mine. They alert us to the fact that we are killing ourselves - our bodies, earth and souls.
What is more crazy? Feelings of overwhelming pain when witnessing atrocities or thinking that it is okay to kill, rape, and pillage other countries and our earth?
Statement from Kevin and Joyce Lucey:
We watched President Bush (41) break down while talking of his son who is leaving the Florida Governor's job.
We would ask all of them to think of how it is to talk at your son's wake and funeral. For those of us who have lost our loved ones due to the arrogance, stupidity and the deception of this Bush and his "team", to watch this father break down at his son losing his employment as governor appeared to be such a slap in the face of all of those who have truly suffered a true loss of a loved one due to a Bush's malfeasance.
This demonstrates the shallowness and the theatrics of this clan - We would just ask any of the Bush family how many wakes and funerals have any of them attended of those who have lost their lives due to actions of the Bush who presently holds the Office of President.
This family should hold their heads down in shame and disgrace - due to the fact that their family member has caused thousands of families in this country to experience such grief and loss during this " Holiday " season - not only due to battle but also due to the neglectful treatment of the VA - where they abandon the returning troops who have the most need of them. ... and for a war of choice.
Kevin & Joyce Lucey, the proud parents of Cpl. Jeffrey Michael Lucey
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
In some moments, I am caught up in what I'm doing and everything feels fine. Then I suddenly feel PISSY. Then I crave CHOCOLATE (I saw some at a meeting I was at this a.m.). Then I feel really mad about the fact that some people can just send people they don't know to kill other people they don't know. And throughout the whole thing, I feel really spacey.
Winter fasting is cold. Hot water is appreciated.
When I was in massage school, a teacher suggested that we might try giving a practice session while in an altered state - maybe when we are sleep deprived. I took that suggestion to heart and gave a session after drinking a little too much wine. It was... well, probably not my best session. But I put my practice buddy to sleep and I had fun wwwooorrrkkkinnggg iiinnn rrreeaaalll ssssllllloooowwww mmmoootttiioonnn. Like, wow, man...
Don't know if I learned anything from that experience.
Today I am learning how much I am tempted to not take responsibility for my choices. And I would like to eat chocolate and forget about this fasting stuff. And I can be a big grouch on the inside (but, being the GOOD GIRL that I am, I try not to show it).
But I am also seeing my strengths - the gifts that I have that contribute to life on this planet. I'm feeling so much appreciation for the people who are in my life and the people who have lightly touched me as they passed by.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
2900 Sons, Daughters, Sisters, Brothers, Husbands, Wifes, Mothers, Fathers
How could man rejoice in victory and delight in the slaughter of men? ~Lao Tzu
Saturday, December 02, 2006
Women With Icicles
Anway, I wanted to write about the cold.
Cold is like hunger. Just feeling cold for an hour or just fasting for 30 hours (or 3 days) will not kill us. I'm not talking about standing naked in below zero temps. I'm talking about wearing high tech winter clothes while the temps are in the teens and snow is falling. The mind has major issues with discomfort, so when the body reports hunger or cold, the mind tries to convince us that the situation is an emergency and encourages us to immediately do something to bring us back to comfort.
As I stood outside yesterday, shivering with cold arms and wanting to do something about that, I knew that I was uncomfortable, but I was not going to die. My mind flashed to the people of Pakistan who survived (or didn't) the earthquake that occurred a year ago last October. I figure that I probably have more warm clothes than a lot of the people of that area. I wondered what it would be like if I only had the clothes I was wearing and I got to sleep in a tent - in the winter - night after night. (Some Pakistanis are facing their second winter living in a tent - and it is feared that more deaths will result from the rains that are hitting the country.) I figured that, in that situation, I'd cry - until I figured out that crying in the freezing air is not a good thing.
Plato suggested that we "practice dying". Opportunities present themselves every day. Every time we feel hunger, pain, or cold and don't immediately have to run to eat, take a pill or turn up the heat, we gain a little inner strength for that moment when there are no options that will take away the discomfort.
(And I bet our soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq get to live in discomfort every day.)
Friday, December 01, 2006
A Good Time To Give Up The Skies And Start Walkin'
He was willing to give up his soul
And he lived a very long time
As a dead man
With only a number
For a name
In the name of freedom and safety, here are just two things that our government is doing. Just two little actions that I read this morning in mainstream news.
Airport Tests Controversial See-Through X-Rays
"Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix will test a new federal screening system that takes X-rays of passenger's bodies to detect concealed explosives and other weapons."
I avoid x-ray as much as possible and see no reason to choose to subject my body to it at the airport. This just gives me the willies.
Feds assigning terror scores to international travelers
"Without notifying the public, federal agents for the past four years have assigned millions of international travelers, including Americans, computer-generated scores rating the risk they pose of being terrorists or criminals.
Travelers are not allowed to see or directly challenge these risk assessments, which the government intends to keep on file for 40 years.
The scores are assigned to people entering and leaving the United States after computers assess their travel records, including where they are from, how they paid for tickets, their motor-vehicle records, past one- way travel, seating preference and what kind of meal they ordered."
I'm wonderin' how it affects our score if we order vegan...