I am flying to Tennessee on the day after the election. The town where my parents live--Oak Ridge--is not your average southern town. It has a national laboratory in it, full of elitists with education Pile High and Deep. Oak Ridge has so many scientists that the general world view of assimilating new information and coming up with new, reason-based theories, is part of the town culture. Tennessee itself is not really fully southern, having been split by the Mason-Dixon line and with families on both sides of the civil war divide. Still, I am curious to see what I will find the day after the election.
Bitch. I have been called this. Always by men. Always by men who wanted me to do something other than what I chose to do. Always by men who were unable to control or manipulate me. They hated that I had a mind of my own. They wanted me to bow down to their will. I am not bitchy; I do not strike out for vengance. I want only the same freedoms that men themselves expect, without having to be called names. Without being told "calm down honey". Clinton is in for as many years of verbal abuse as she is in office, plus some. I thank her in advance for her strength and restraint in the face of the onslaught. I am grateful that Obama has modeled for all of us the finest in human decency. You dudes out there who say he is divisive: you are projecting.
I am not for "trigger warnings" and the extremes of political correctness that some youngsters seem to be demanding in college. Buck up I say, and realize that some people take for granted what is exceptional to you, and vice versa. Learn to self-soothe, to calm yourself in the face of alarming or disturbing realities or even art. If you must protect yourself from certain things, do it yourself, do not expect the rest of us to tiptoe around you forevermore. Friends are kept away like slugs when you are surrounded by eggshells. Life is rich and lucious and sometimes the spice burns. Eat it anyway. Feel the feelings and realize that feelings are not you, they are something temporary that passes through you. This too shall pass. Racists: our first black president is about to step down and thousands of us will miss him terribly. Sexists: our first female president is about to win. Get used to it. Whatever the reason for your bias, it is not acceptable. We're moving on.
These interesting times are about to get even more interesting.
If the consequence
of standing against [Donald] Trump
and for principles
is indeed the election of
so be it.
will become clear
you can look into your own heart.
Who looks outside, dreams;
who looks inside,
SOME ALMOST CONFUCIUS SAYINGS:
Man who wants pretty nurse, must be patient.
Lady who goes camping must beware of evil intent.
Man who leaps off cliff jumps to conclusion.
Man who runs in front of car gets tired, man who runs behind car gets exhausted.
Man who eats many prunes get good run for money.
War does not determine who is right, it determines who is left.
Man who fight with wife all day get no piece at night.
Man who drives like hell is bound to get there.
Man who live in glass house should change clothes in basement.
He who fart in church, sit in own pew.
Man who win lottery find great change in himself.
Most people who believe this bunk don't understand what the mercury retrograde really is. They think it's something serious, when it is really just an optical illusion in the sky. Mercury appears to be going backwards because of our perspective from here on earth, and the relative movements of the other planets. For a sky-watcher, it's interesting. For the superstitious person, it's momentous. Like zodiac signs in astrology, it guides their choices and gives meaning to events.
People who embrace "new age" spirituality are the most likely to believe in the negative effects of a mercury retrograde. They also tend to believe in karma and reincarnation. These beliefs are indicative of the overall ignorance of our populace. People think that because they have shed institutionalized religion that their new superstition must be better. Too many people seek explanations for what they experience, and then latch onto them without further consideration.
How is reincarnation any more plausible than heaven and hell? Are we capable of living with "I don't know" as our answer? Is intellectual laziness really our future?
It has a lot to do with who we grow up with. If we grow up in an educated multi-ethnic culture, then ethnicity no longer has such a charge. But if we are acculturated in a homogenous group, we will feel more comfortable with people of our same kind. This is the instinctive basis of xenophobia. It is reasonable to be cautious around people whose values are unknown to you, and whose behavior is not predictable.
Xenophobia can be trained in at any stage of life. I have suffered the hate of the Navajo and Apache when living and traveling in Arizona. I understand why they hate the white eyes, because I do too, but I personally do not deserve their bad treatment. Still, I got the bad treatment, and now when I see a tribal member I am on guard. The same thing has happened to me here in Portland. I had always liked and respected every Jew I ever met. Then I was mistreated by an attending Jewish doctor who took offense at me saying the words "a Jew" because in her mind she inserted the word "dirty". That word was not in my mind until she explained to me how offensive it was for me to say "a Jew", and then threatened to flunk me, sanctioned me through the college and required that I take cultural competency training. Other Jews near to me have hurt my feelings since then, and I have developed a reaction to Jews that I did not have before, when I lived in Denver next door to the Ashkenazis and thought they were really decent folk.
In spite of all my education and knowing things, I have feelings that are influenced by what happens to me in my life. Does this make me deplorable?
Oh, and all you decent men out there who think that you are not sexist. If you were born and raised in the U.S. you are sexist. Ask any European, male or female. I am a woman. I have never made anywhere near as much money as my partner, in my opinion because he has a penis. Yesterday I drove a vehicle up to a boat inspection station on the highway and the man with the clipboard came up and started asking questions of a man who got out of the passenger door. At the gas station the attendant speaks to the men first. Men here invariably address men first when approaching a couple. This seems like a tiny offense, but compounded into the reality of daily life, a woman knows that this is still a man's world. Clinton knows it all too well. American men, including educated ones, are unconscious of this kind of sexism "lite". There's no stoning here, but men are not aware of the degree to which they are programmed to be sexist, and should spend more time in introspection around this. I think part of the problem conservatives have with lesbians is the men have no one they can talk to.
I realize I'm making a bunch of generalizations, just like Clinton did. My point is that these base impulses are present in the vast majority of all humanity, and Americans are clearly not above it. Our culture seems to be regressing. In my lifetime I have watched our society and politics become obnoxious. Substantive debate is rare, name calling commonplace. If there is to be a conversation between opposing sides, there must first be respect. Respect is a Universal human need. People denied respect are hostile and possibly subversive.
Liberals in general need to stop denigrating conservatives and dig deep enough into themselves to understand the conservative position. Conservatives need to educate themselves to articulate their concerns and rationales clearly to others. Everyone needs to start with the assumption that the other guys are decent humans just trying to do the right thing, the best way they know how. Then the conversation can begin.
Trump, on the other hand, is not part of the "establishment" except in so far as he is rich, and he is stupid enough to become their tool, just as Shrub did. His daily empty statements, like what I just heard that he "will win" 95% of the black American vote, are lunacy. There is no way that he is getting 95% of any vote, except perhaps of those white male voters who are angry and desperate enough to commit suicide but would rather have someone else do it for them. I understand the line of thought that says "crash this train", that is to say, destroying our corporatocracy is the first step toward building something new. This is more the approach of libertarians who understand that big business will not be dethroned by small measures. Electing Trump would be a drastic measure that could crash this train, except for the fact that the corporate Republican powers will feed his ego and narcissism and keep him busy and distracted by giving him televised glory while they run things. In other words, it won't work. Electing Trump will not derail the corporate train.
The Libertarian and Green candidates are relatively attractive in this election. Unfortunately the Libertarians appear to be almost as "estalishment" as Clinton, see Gary Johnson's positions here. Jill Stein of the Green party is a physician and one smart cookie, and she actually makes the most sense to me of any of the candidates. She knows that our two-party system is broken, and she addresses that question and others with a raft of information instead of party lines or defund-it-all ideology.
I do not know what it would take to persuade a majority of voters to choose third-party candidates, but I pray that I live to see it. At this moment it appears to me that Clinton will win because so many people are terrified of the specter of a Trump presidency. His racism, bogus claims and impetuous thin-skinned personality are enough to disqualify him for all but the most blindered of voters. It is true that if he were elected the Republican party would attempt to control him, but we all know that he would be more likely to push the nuclear button than any other president in living memory. While it bears discussing why we refrain from using nukes, just as it bears discussing why we can't as a society afford freeloaders, we might want to discuss it very well before we hand any control to a tool such as Trump.
I am sure I've mentioned it before, but it is my belief that in order to build a majority that can beat both established parties, we need to build a bridge between the far right Libertarians and the far left Greens. When this happens we might actually wrest our democracy back from its service to business. It would be heralded as a great crisis, just like the Brexit vote, but don't believe everything you hear in the news. A reduction in our GDP might be good for us. More unemployment is not an entirely bad thing. We Americans need to get back to the project of taking good care of ourselves and our dear ones, building community, and being real people face to face with other real people. This wealthy life of internet and automobiles has created a Great Satan that is making us sad.
** first use of tag: green party
Willing to die,
You give up
Your will, keep still
By what moves
2. Portland has ample fresh water, including a well-protected drinking water supply. The Willamette River splits the town in half, and the even larger Columbia River divides north Portland from southern VanCouver, Washington. Hydropower plants on the Columbia provide cheap electricity. Rains fall predictably from fall to spring. Climate change scientists suggest that Portland will be getting less long slow drizzles, and more intense downpours, but the total amount of precipitation is likely to remain similar.
3. It is easy to grow things here. Portland is called the City of Roses because rose sprigs that came from Ireland in ballast took root along the banks of the Willamette. Today cultivated roses bloom from February until November. The climate is so mild that the city doesn't own any snow plows, and many plants survive the winter because it doesn't freeze often or hard. In the summer, with a little irrigation, food gardens are highly productive. Those invasive blackberries that people can't seem to kill produce delicious sweet berries every summer.
4. The city is so liberal that even conservatives are welcome! Everyone can find a community here. Local pride about the openminded nature of the residents is relfected on bumperstickers that say "Keep Portland Weird". Here in Portland it is legal to be naked in public (look up the Nude but Not Lewd Law) but people are so polite that they only get naked downtown during the annual naked bike ride, for which people who can't bear to see are well warned and able to avoid the affront. There are communities of many ethinicities and religions living peacefully side by side, and great ethnic food too.
5. The roads belong to everyone in Portland. Cars actually stop to let pedestrians cross. Bicycles are given a lane, or at least a little attention and respect. Public transportation in the form of light rail and busses is busily bringing people into and out of the city to limit traffic and parking crunches.
6. Nature is everywhere. In town there are large and small parks and lovely pedestrian trails. The volcanoes of the Cascade mountains are visible from town, and the protected Oregon coast is only an hour's drive away. The Columbia gorge begins just outside the urban area and is loaded with gorgeous waterfalls and fantastic hiking trails. A visitor to Cascadia cannot fail to notice the richness of the green.
7. People are green here too. We recycle what we can and reuse everything else. We refuse to drive our cars when possible, and are mindful to minimize our carbon footprints. We eat local and organic and support sustainable agriculture. We have solar panels on our roofs. We are trying to save the world, or at least, doing our own small part and feeling good about it.