What to do with all this outrage?

This level of outrage is unsustainable.

Perhaps like you, I am feeling utterly outraged far too often these days.

According to Deepak Chopra:

“In any situation of maximum stress, a person’s coping skills are severely tested. Stress is maximized whenever three elements are present: repetition, unpredictability, and loss of control. Repetition is supplied by Trump’s constant presence on all media. Unpredictability is at an all-time high, thanks to his policy flip-flops and neck-wrenching mood swings. Loss of control has been mandated by the right wing’s take-no-prisoners, make-no-compromises stance.”

Merely reading the news—the “fake media,” as Trump calls it—feels overwhelmingly exhausting and emotionally draining. Thus, I turn away from the media (social or otherwise) for a bit. Taking a digital detox each Sunday has become one of my strategies for sanity. It’s sometimes tough to find the balance between burying my head in the sand and reading obsessively about my home country’s politics.

Lately, people have started comparing the USA to Nicaragua and other “banana republics.” I live in Guatemala and the government here is plenty corrupt (thanks in large part to the CIA’s intervention in the mid-1950s, the effects of which still echo in Guatemalan society today), yet my day-to-day life is good and gratifying. I am thankful to be able to turn away from the news and play with my little girl, take a walk in nature (a.k.a. our neighborhood), and meditate over a cup of warm hibiscus tea.

Still, the outrageous outrage returns every other day or so with more news of further shenanigans, overt corruption, and intentional deception from our greedy, lying, reality-star-in-chief.

Pussy. Politics. Patriarchy. Power. Paradigm.

These P-words are punctuating my frustration with the system and society as it is. It was hard enough for me to believe that anyone would actually vote for Trump, and it’s harder still to fathom that large swaths of American citizens and Republican party leaders still support his atrociousness.

According to the liberal media, impeachment is imminent—after the mid-term elections in 2018 when Democrats will surely take back the majority of the House and Senate. Can we really wait that long? Eighteen more months when it’s only been four months so far of nonstop absurdity, harmful policy making, and blatant disrespect for the Constitution? Please, no!

Keep reading

Advertisements

Make America Kind Again

The “Golden Age” from 1945-1972, was an exceptional phase of American history. Looking back upon this era now widely considered to be the epitome of American prosperity, historian Eric Hobsbawm wrote, “Gold glowed more brightly against the dull or dark background of the subsequent decades of crisis.”

The vague, much-repeated promise to recapture the wonders of this era was the foundation of Trump’s winning presidential campaign. Its slogan, “Make America Great Again,” falsely promised a return to the fairy tale past that never existed.

The Golden Age was marked by the explosive economic growth. This was a new kind of economy, one of mass consumption. The right maintained its hold on political power and control throughout most of the world. By the 1960s, it had become clear that capitalism was forging ahead, winning the ideological race and leaving socialism and communism in its dust. Interestingly, the terms “capitalism” and “capitalist” were considered taboo and, therefore, were not widely used in print or in conversation until the late 1970s.

Postwar capitalism cohesively combined economic liberalism and social democracy. Welfare expenditures began to dominate a much greater portion of public expenditure. Under the stabilizing influence of expanding and interventionist welfare states, international rates of manufactured output quadrupled and international trade grew tenfold. The spread of consumer capitalism to Europe led to this exponential growth and increasing interdependence.

The Golden Age coincided with the culmination of an 8,000 year period in which the vast majority of human beings on the planet had lived directly off the land. Along with this ending came a promising new beginning: the emergence of an increasingly urbanized and industrialized world. The collapse of the peasant class across most the world was dramatic, even more rapid than the dissolution of Europe’s peasantries in the nineteenth century.

Alongside the migration from the countryside to the growing metropolitan areas came a wave of new technologies. This was the dawning of the globalized age of the automobile. Mass production in the style of Ford was extended to new kinds of production, from house construction to junk food. McDonald’s was a postwar success story. Technology spread: telephones, plastics, TVs, computers, and domestic electronics ever decreasing in size and increasing in portability—these things that had formerly been luxuries became part of everyday consumption.

Along with the sharp increase in manufacturing came the unfortunate and unacknowledged by-products of pollution and ecological deterioration. Yet, as Hobsbawm wrote, “The dominant ideology of progress took it for granted that the growing dominion of nature by man was the very measure of humanity’s advance.” Civilization bulldozed through the jungle without showing any mercy or regret. Keep reading…

Where is the Middle Way?

 

What we have here is a lack of union.

Extremes have become ultra polarized to the point of absurdity
The polar ice caps melting can’t be denied
Science isn’t a matter of belief
humanity is KILLING OUR MOTHER EARTH

The government isn’t meant to be a two-party system and politics shouldn’t be what is has become: corporation ruled corrupt GREED

Martin Luther King, Jr said: “Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” YET WE MUST CHOOSE LOVE OVER HATE

This is a dangerous time. Watch your step. Mind the gap. But, please. KEEP WORKING FOR THE GOOD

Are you on the edge? The left or the right? Can you see outside your narrow, conditioned point of view? No. TAKE A GIANT LEAP BACK

Be moderate. Take the Middle Path: ever the goal, ever the practice. Discovery of balance, presence, awareness. I must choose love over hate. I must recognize both goddess and god and remember that all of live is simply energy moving within and without us and all beings, whether we call it divine or buddhanature or the holyspirit, or not

This is a potent time. GIVE LOVE. BE LOVE. BREATHE LOVE.

A New Story of Thanksgiving

Once upon a time, last week, the people of a great and vast nation elected a morally bankrupt billionaire TV star as their government leader.

Nothing has changed, yet everything has.

Is it worse than we think, or should we give the guy a chance?

Reactions are as unique and diverse as our personalities, and largely dependent on our demographics. Lots of old white people are afraid of losing their “freedom”, in other words, their long-held privilege. A multitude of privileges, really, that the brown/POC have never known.

According to the New York Times, the “failing” publication Mr. Trump so despises, 85% of the land area of the United States of America is “Trump’s America,” versus just 15% of the coastal regions and urban centers which make up “Clinton’s America.” However, Hillary Clinton did win the popular vote by 1 million at last count. Regardless, the rural areas pushed Trump over the top and he won the 270 electoral votes necessary…. in theory, at least.

The official Electoral College vote is on December 19th. There is a movement to persuade electoral college votes in each state to “vote their conscience,” in other words NOT to vote for Donald Trump. It isn’t probable, but it is possible.

And in this case, it really would be the lesser of two evils. Hillary Clinton may be a corrupt, establishment politician but at least she is experienced in world and domestic affairs, at least she is not full of the hatred and bile of Trump and his die-hard fans. Bernie Sanders would have been a better candidate, and probably would be the President-elect today if the DNC hadn’t nominated Hillary.

People are either happy, relieved and triumphant (if they voted for Trump); complacent, curious and concerned (if they did not vote for Trump and are white and middle-class or wealthy); or fearful, devastated and confused (if they did not vote for Trump and are not white, not male, not Christian, not straight).

In the middle of the American Civil War, President Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day, to be celebrated on the final Thursday in November 1863. Of course, the “First Thanksgiving” had been celebrated 242 years earlier by the Pilgrims and Native Americans after the immigrants’ first harvest in the New World.

Naturally, the subsequent genocide of Native Americans by whites led to a souring of the original feelings of community celebration. University of Texas professor Robert Jensen says, “One indication of moral progress in the United States would be the replacement of Thanksgiving Day and its self-indulgent family feasting with a National Day of Atonement accompanied by a self-reflective collective fasting.” He certainly has a point.

Nonetheless, Thanksgiving is a time to come together with family and friends, to bask in gratitude, to feast, to celebrate life and love. This year’s political drama is taking its toll on families divided by liberal and conservative belief systems. Many will not come together at the dinner table due to these ideological differences, and those who do will probably want to avoid the subject altogether, if that is possible.

What if, despite feeling fearful, devastated, confused, depressed and/or anxious about the present and the future, we choose to sit down at the table together, anyway: black, white, red and yellow?

What if we choose to make peace?

What if we look and see the fear underneath the hate?

What if we choose to celebrate?

What if we choose to open our hearts and minds to other points of view, to new horizons, to gratitude?

May the spirit of thanksgiving dwell in all of our hearts, today and every day.

There is so much to be grateful for, and we are here on Earth for a purpose.

thanksgiving_the-first-thanksgiving_cph-3g04961-e

I WON’T let it slide if a friend makes degrading comments about a minority or women. Even if it’s over Thanksgiving dinner, I’ll push back and say something like: “Come on! You really think that?!” ~ Nicholas Kristof, A 12-Step Program for Responding to President-Elect TrumpThe New York Times

Incite Insight

Read the original post on elephant journal.

Let’s take some collective deep breaths.

The ascension of Trump to the US Presidency is a world tragedy. It is a complete catastrophe that the electorate brought upon itself. Perhaps now we should pause, log out, take a deep breath and have a look at our minds. What can we let go?

I am letting go of delusion.

As much as I’d like to avow that Donald Trump is not my president, he appears to have won legitimately. With all due respect to Michael Moore’s morning-after-the-election to-do list, harboring a belief or hope that somehow Trump will be intercepted before taking office does not seem realistic.

I am letting go of blame.

It’s terribly easy (and lazy) to simply shoot arrows at Trump supporters, to write them all off as stupid, bigoted and reckless. The blame game is a waste of time. Let’s try to be less reactive and more productive.

I am letting go of shame.

Yes, it’s humiliating to have Mr. Trump as our national leader. As the elders have pointed out: we’ve lived through some terrible presidents in recent history. Remember the years 2000-2008? I used to tell people I was from Canada, not Texas, when traveling internationally.

I am letting go of hatred.

Like many people, I despise Donald Trump. I can scarcely bring myself to look at him, much less listen to him bloviate. Yet, I realize this is not productive. Instead, slowly and gradually, I am practicing metta for Donald Trump. May he be safe, happy, healthy and free from suffering. May we all be safe, happy, healthy and free from suffering.

I am letting go of despair.

Life is tough. Personal dramas and tragedies abound. The future is uncertain and this moment feels particularly dark and dreadful. It would be a cinch to slide into depression.

Holding on to delusion, blame, shame and hatred is harmful. While it is okay to feel what we feel and important to process in due time, I am choosing in each moment to let go of despair, to let go of my deeper-than-realized attachment to liberal rhetoric, to let go of buying into the endless narrative.

I am choosing to move toward the light.

I leave you with the wise and eloquent words of Alice Walker:

“Our surprise, our shock, our anger, all of it points to how fast asleep we were. This is not a lament. It is counsel. It is saying: We can awaken completely.  he best sign of which will be how we treat every being who crosses our path. For real change is personal.  The change within ourselves expressed in our willingness to hear, and have patience with, the “other.” Together we move forward. Anger, the pointing of fingers, the wishing that everyone had done exactly as you did, none of that will help relieve our pain. We are here now.  In this scary, and to some quite new and never imagined place. What do we do with our fear? 

Do we turn on others, or toward others? Do we share our awakening, or only our despair?

The choice is ours.”

A Nation Divided: Where do we go from here?

{Read the original post on elephant journal.}

There is no silver lining.

Instead of a qualified woman, a hateful man has been elected. TRUMP TRIUMPHS, blares the New York Times.

The election of Donald Trump to the Presidency is nothing less than a tragedy for the American republic, a tragedy for the Constitution, and a triumph for the forces, at home and abroad, of nativism, authoritarianism, misogyny, and racism. Trump’s shocking victory, his ascension to the Presidency, is a sickening event in the history of the United States and liberal democracy.”
~ David Remnick

I am speechless.

My daughter, who will be four in January (when, instead of Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump will take office) is sleeping fitfully, tossing and whimpering in her slumber. And she doesn’t even know. She has no idea. I don’t have to explain anything to her, and the President of the United States actually matters not at all to her life. I only wish the same were true for the rest of the world.

“We thought that our fellow citizens would not, in the end, vote for a candidate so manifestly unqualified for high office, so temperamentally unsound, so scary yet ludicrous.

We thought that the nation, while far from having transcended racial prejudice and misogyny, had become vastly more open and tolerant over time.

We thought that the great majority of Americans valued democratic norms and the rule of law.

It turns out that we were wrong. There turn out to be a huge number of people—white people, living mainly in rural areas—who don’t share at all our idea of what America is about.”
~ Paul Krugman

Almost everyone, including me, wants to see the sliver of silver lining.

What if there is none?

What to do now?

Read on

Palinsanity

In a mere 18 months, McCain’s Hail Mary gone haywire has become a cultural phenomenon. America’s favorite half-baked Alaskan is more cunning than we thought. She is now reaching millions with her bestselling book (though her political action committee, SarahPAC, boosted her royalties and exposure by spending $63,000 on its own copies of “Going Rogue”), via her Facebook and Twitter pages (1,376,704 fans at last count), as mavericky leader of the Tea Party movement, and as the newest addition to the Fox “News” team. Love her or hate her, this shooting star is spreading her own special mania, Palinsanity.

Palinsanity. Think Beatlemania, only a stylish coif instead of mop head and a global song of “Drill, Baby, Drill” in lieu of “All You Need is Love.” Palinsanity is a psychological conundrum that debilitates victims in one of two manners: Type I turns otherwise good-hearted real Americans into frothing Palinistas who utter incoherent claims about our country’s demise. Type II causes afflicted intelligentsia to obsess over Palin’s idiocy to the brink of insanity – and to utter irrational claims about our country’s demise. Most of us know the Type IIs. Gosh darn, if you’re reading this, you may have already been diagnosed.

According to Palin’s ever-astute political analysis, Americans aren’t safe. Wait. Doesn’t this seem familiar? The indifference to reality, the foxy charisma, the arrogant, “not blinking” rhetoric. Palin is W. without the Y chromosome! But even Bush Jr. knew a bit about American politics by osmosis. Sarah Palin is nothing more than a public figure operating in a sick society that has made a mélange of politics, media and celebrity. No matter what she does next, she has access to an electronic soapbox, a staff of expert advisers to guide her, an eight-figure income, and none of the bother or accountability of political office (yet).

Sarah Barracuda infiltrates the 24-hour news cycle.

So Palin couldn’t effectively govern a state with a population of 600,000? So her ticket lost the election? This is Americ-uh. So, why shouldn’t she have a New York Times bestseller? Why shouldn’t she be a guest on Oprah? Why shouldn’t the most popular cable news network in the United States hire her? Granted, it is borderline entertaining to watch Glenn Beck read to Sarah from his diary. When Bill O’Reilly lobs her softballs like, “It’s almost funny that these people feel you are such a threat to them. It’s almost amusing, is it not?”, she sits and smiles wryly. Very amusing.

Game Change, the latest tell-all book on the 2008 campaign, alleges that in preparing Palin for her first major network interview, McCain aides discovered that, among other things, she did not know what the Federal Reserve did, or why North and South Korea are two different countries. Her rebuttal, prompted by O’Reilly? “That is a lie.”

Lady Blah-Blah is a vocal proponent of the “culture of life,” when it comes to fetuses but not criminals: “We cannot condone ending another life,” Sarah says. Yet she’s for capital punishment. So, women should not have the right to legally terminate a pregnancy, but felons should be murdered ASAP? I could “refudiate” her dim-witted spin until I’m blue in the face, but what’s the use if the Palinistas are so hypnotized by her winks that they don’t comprehend the gap between her public babble and private lies? Despite her hollow answers to the simplest of questions, Fox has concocted the perfect conditions for the virus to spread while protecting her from scrutiny.

Palin is right, in a sense, when she claims that Americans are afraid. She and Beck strike fear in the frightened white folks with their ridiculous rhetoric. A black man with a Harvard education is turning our one nation under God into an over-taxed Socialist-Communist-Fascist State that will outlaw our God-given rights to eat Big Macs, drink Big Gulps, and listen to Rush Limbaugh.

Who needs science when you have a holy UFO that will whisk you to heaven?

Thirty percent of Americans self-identify as evangelical Christians. Palin’s evangelical base is comprised of orthodox believers, many of whom feel in their hearts that in their lifetime the anti-Christ will come cloaked with a smile (and with dark skin?) and that Jesus will descend to Earth to sweep up his flock and abandon the rest of us to burn on a scorched planet.

As a “Bible-believing Christian,” God is Sarah’s answer to everything. This is a characteristic of any Fundamentalist mindset — Christian, Islamic, or otherwise. Post 9/11, Palin exerted her gubernatorial power to declare a National Day of Prayer and to designate a Bible Week and a Christian Heritage Week in Alaska, the latter touting the supposed Christian beliefs of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Oh, how she loves harking back to the Founding Fathers – though when Glenn Beck asked which one was her favorite, she replied, “You know, well, all of them.”

Before the International Summit on Climate Change in December 2009, Palin urged President Obama to boycott Copenhagen — via Facebook. She bloviated about “real science and real solutions, not junk science and doomsday scare tactics.” It’s impossible to reason with people about saving the planet when they don’t believe the planet is worth saving. The most die-hard Evangelicals believe that the Rapture — a literal event in which Jesus will literally lift their bodies up to heaven — will be soonish.

These particular revivalist Palinistas live in a peculiar paradox: They trade the “doomsday” scenario based on scientific evidence for one based on varied interpretations of the controversial final book of The Bible. So, it makes sense that Palin zooms around in a Chevy Suburban that chugs 15 miles per gallon, boasts that there’s room for all wildlife in Alaska (as long as it’s served next to mashed potatoes), and dropped that boring, thankless job of governor.

Though Sarah Palin has seen, firsthand, the most compelling evidence for climate change up there in Alaska, she has denied that global warming is man-made. Since earth will burn like Gomorrah in this lifetime, why rain on her parade? Eat, drink, and be angry – for tomorrow we may not be around.

Maybe Palin’s right. In which case, she’s really right – I do not feel safe. If she were to become Mrs. President, there’d be a lot more to fear than fear itself. At present, there is no known cure for Palinsanity. I’m still searching. I suggest you do the same.