Art, Country, Personhood, Politics

Words Matter

For a time I was the coordinator of the Kansas Authors Club Writers in the Schools program, a State Board of Education pilot project.

One of my presentations to students was on the power of words.  I told them words were magic because I had the power to put pictures in their heads.  If I said “cardinal,” a red bird popped into their heads.  If I said “rattlesnake,” not only did I put a picture in their head but also some fear or anxiety.

I have thought about the power of words a great deal over the past five years.  Words are being used to manipulate people in unhealthy ways. 

To create an us-vs-them world, we call protesters “a mob” to reframe an event.  With one word we both defame people with a constitutional right to protest and deter people away from the injustice under protest.

Ethnocentrism (inherent superiority) is alive and well as code words are used to separate people in this nation.  For instance, “the suburbs” is code for white.  “Invasion” is used to refer to immigrants or people of color moving into the United States or into “the suburbs.”

I have grave concerns about who we are as discerning individuals.  Why choose to believe a lie rather than the truth?  I suppose winning could be more important than truth to many.  For those of faith, I find it interesting that “the truth and the way” is negated to allow prejudicial behaviors and language.

Why do we perpetuate untruth with our posts?  Personally, I think some have come to believe that we live in a reality TV world, that winning is everything and truth is inconvenient.

We all have opinions about everything from constitutional government to abortion rights to civil rights, but opinions are questions of our world view and less about absolutes.  Opinions come from faith, cultural preferences and as a reaction to fear. 

Truth is many things – science, factual evidence, what I see and hear myself.  Do we try to reinvent truth to justify our fears?  Fear of change?  Fear of other?  Fear of lost control?  Fear of shared power?

We are back to choice.  I choose to speak truth.  I do not try to manipulate and I will not be manipulated.

How I value others in my life depends largely on their value of truth.  The truth is we are all Americans.  The opinions of Democrats or Republicans is of less value than the overwhelming truth that we are all members of families, this country and of the world community.  The truth is that some people try to divide us along party lines, racial lines and religious lines. 

Words matter.  Truth matters.  Choose wisely!

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Aging, Art, Country, Memoir, Peace, Politics, Uncategorized

Political Winds

Seventy-one and a woman who’s seen mighty change—internet, cell phones, and one step for mankind on moonscape.  Veterans of WWII branded their stories on my young soul.  That damned McCarthy caused me to look for communists neath my bed.  Viet Nam tattooed my innocence.  Patriotism, plated as political righteousness, challenged the rage against dying and peace movements—Gandhi dared Patton philosophies wrestling for ethos.  No winners, just battle-worn heroes.  Now drums the social-till-doomsday-shrill-media robbing weak heads of free thinking—new mind control.  Fear like rain cuts rough, new gullies of hate, fear and rage.  Peace lost not on a battlefield, love in surrender to hate.  Godly abandoned in rallies, the modern lion’s den, truth’s death.  Long serving soldiers dismissed for truth-telling.  A Medal of Honor bestowed on a bigot.  Romney the lone statesman.  Loyal, weak servants rewarded and righteous, strong saints defiled.  Labeling knowledable elitist.  Labeling brown other.  Labeling good hearts feeding hungry folk socialists.  Villainous!  Rise up you virtuous patriots.  Be the strong voice of right.  Rise up still Christians and claim the mantle of kindness.  Rise up to speak!  Rise up to vote!  Rise up!

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Art, Country, Personal Growth, Poetry, Politics, Uncategorized

Angst

These times challenge saints more than sinners.

Fear and anxiety accompany worship and school attendance.

Slowly we move into democracy lost or renewed.

Our children will live on a dying planet or learn stewardship.

This journey will make heroes and villains of us all.

 

Must we relinquish control to madness?

Some frantically compose FB posts to vent their anger –

posts with scripture to counterpoint side against side,

posts to request prayer – pointed and raging – self-defeating peace,

posts with cartoons screaming louder than words.

 

Must we become what we hate in others?

If my voice is the loudest, am I right?

If I manage to trample on your rights to protect mine, am I right?

If I belong to a party, does my membership make me right?

If I rationalize without facts, can I proclaim truth?

 

Have we seen these behaviors play out in history?  Perhaps.

The Crusades.  Germany.  Turn neighbor against neighbor,

religious sects in pious rebellion abandon values long held,

citizens dehumanize the immigrants, the disadvantaged, women.

Like Legos in a three-year-old’s hands, we are breaking apart.

 

I refuse to conform!

I have the power not to be evil or angry or hurt.

I will speak truth in a quiet voice, but I will speak!

Perhaps, someone will join me and two of us will be free of hate.

Awesome power.  All I control is me.

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Aging, Art, Me Too, Politics, Uncategorized

Me Too

Fall takes on new meaning as we age – the thought of the approaching cold, final winter of our being.  Not a depressing thought, just part of the journey.

We have seen many changes over the decades, especially the relationships between men and women.  As a liberal woman championing the women’s movement over the decades, I am pleased with the changes.  My husband Ken, a conservative libertarian, defends a man’s liberties and finds himself in conflict with a woman’s rightful discernment/definition in a relationship.

This morning over a hotel breakfast, Ken and I listened to the news.  The “Me Too” movement is celebrating their first anniversary today.

I said, “The problem with men is that they see everything as ‘all about me’ rather than listening.”

Ken looked at me with that you-have-two-talking-heads-and-neither-one-makes-much-sense side glance.

“For example,” I said as I added syrup to my waffle, “My hip hurt last night, so I rolled over about 3:30 a.m. to sleep on the other hip.  You decided to cuddle.  By 4:00 a.m.  I am unable to sleep and lose an hour playing Sudoku while you continue your blissful rest.”

“You nudged my back twice.  You wanted to be held.”  Ken looked hurt.

“At 3:30 a.m. I am not thinking about you or being held.  If I were thinking at all, it would be about sleep.  Which proves my point.  You thought when I rolled over in bed it was about YOU!  Really?”

“What does this have to do with the Me Too movement?” Ken asked.

“Everything.  I remember working when I was young and attractive.  I was busy with office work all morning – filing, typing a report, preparing for a meeting.  About noon a man in the office said, ‘I love the way you flirted with me all morning.  What a turn-on!’  I barely knew he was present because I was focused on my work.  It was all about him.  Idiot!!!”

“Maybe you were not aware of the vibes you were giving off,” Ken insinuated.

I snapped back, “I win.  I have the blog.”

Ken said, “Yeah, SHE who writes the history wins.”

Ken reached over and stroked my chin.  We both started laughing.

Fall is in the air.  Change seems to be slower to reach fruition than the winter of my days.  Understanding may never be fully achieved, but surely we can continue to love good men and good women throughout the journey.

For younger women, seek justice as I once did through organizations, politics and personal conviction; but do not lose patience with kind men who only want to hold you on a cold night in October.

 

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