Saturday, June 30, 2018

Today's Rally

Today's immigration rally in Petaluma:

a small part of the gathering before the rally, where we heard speakers from our government and community
Cay holding our sign before the march.

I don't have extensive photos from the march, as I no longer have a camera, however, Cailin took film and video,  which I'll link when she gets it edited and uploaded.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Pining for the Coast

one of my photos of a humpback bubble feeding in Monterey Bay, Nov 2016

This past week I've been home a lot with very little sleep and feeling pretty rough. It's not going to be any better this week, but I'm holding out some hope for the week after that.  The long and short of it is that as a result, I've spent a great deal of time online, which resulted in two things:  The deletion of most of my Facebook posts and friends and a very restricted news feed, and looking at a lot of photos of whales from whale watching groups I do still follow.

and those whales... those whales!  They've literally brought me to tears I miss them so much.

I get this kind of ennui being away from the coast.  The redwoods outside my window are beautiful, and Petaluma is a safe and lovely city, but there are times, many MANY times, when I can't stop thinking about the aquarium and the whale watching.

I've found a company in San Francisco that does all day whale watching out by the Farallons for $99, which is a great price for a day trip!  Of course, they warn you to dress in layers (they compare it to an arctic or moon expedition) so I'm a little worried about just how cold it is during the summer months when the humpbacks are out there.  I'm hoping to save up to go in mid-late July or early August, since it seems there are so many humpbacks feeding off the LA and Orange County coast right now.

and I'm hoping that I'll be well enough at that point to go.

Today I realized that I've pretty much been living in my over-sized Cabrillo Aquarium sweatshirt, even when it's 80 degrees.  I suppose some of it is because it's just so darn comfortable, but I think it also is comforting.  I had thought, before leaving LA, to buy a second one and actually went into the gift shop a few times to look at them, but then thought maybe I wouldn't wear it once I got out here to Petaluma.  Now I'm kicking myself, because I'd definitely want another.  This one is getting pretty well worn and stained.

Tomorrow my daughters will be here, and they want to go to the beach.  I'm not sure I will be well enough to do that, but I so want to get down to the ocean, to see if I can see any of the whales from the shore (I'd have to be up on the cliffs to see the humpbacks, and the grays are long gone). 

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Mother of Exiles

People forget that the other name for the Statue of Liberty is Mother of Exiles.   While I was preparing signage for the June 30th march (yes, it's still on, more about that after the video) I found this video, and wanted to share.

I love the music, but I also love the stories told throughout the video, meeting the immigrants, finding out where they came from, then seeing their place in the nation.

and immigrants DO have a place in this nation.

Now, about the march on June 30...

A lot of people are sitting back with a sigh of relief that Trump has signed an order which supposedly keeps families together.  It doesn't exactly do that.  It states that kids can only be taken if their welfare is at stake, which is pretty much the excuse used to separate them in the first place.  The Flores Act allowed for the immediate removal of unaccompanied minors from detention centers into "least restrictive environments".  It was not designed to be used to tear children from their mothers and send them across country other detention centers.  In 2015, a federal judge was quite specific about refugee detention:
"Judge Gee ordered that the families that did not pose the risk of evading law enforcement officials be released." [Time]
Now, however, the president has ordered those crossing the border seeking asylum turned over to the Department of Defense rather than ICE (part of Homeland Security).

We are treating immigrants and refugees as political prisoners.  I'd hate to think that this is what they have planned for Guantanamo Bay, our most infamous DoD detention center.

The Mother of Exiles would weep, could tears fall from her copper clad eyes...

The New Colossus

   Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, 
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
he wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

It's not a gap, it's a chasm.

It isn't like some of us didn't see this happening.  We were told we were liberal nut jobs, called snowflakes, offered tin foil hats.  And while Obama never came for people's guns, Trump now has concentration camps.

I suppose we could smugly sit back on our couches and say "I told you so."   Some of us who voted scratch our heads at how the country could have let this happen, while others of us saw this under-welling of fascism forming back in the late 80s and early 90s, and were shouted down.  After all, the Nazis, the White Supremacists, they were all tiny minorities who could never come to power...



and yet here we are, crossing over the threshold into ugly, with a president who has all but crowned himself while one side of congress sits back so as not to anger their "base" and the other side tries to reach a compromise, some midpoint between mediocrity and utter madness, when they should be pushing for fairness and excellence.

Over the past decades, the left has compromised their way into the right, while the right shifts ever rightwards.  It's a tug of war, and the only way to stay in the midpoint is to have balance, and if one side is tugging with all their might, the other side has to tug as hard.

This week's revelations have a lot of liberals who believe in "standing in the gap" or reaching across to bring together both sides, finally realizing that in order to stand in the gap you must shift your position, not just your point of view, toward the other side.  Believe me, the right knows this, which is why they don't shift.

I've recently cut most of my social media ties, and no longer use my Facebook page to shout rage into the echo chamber.  It's like lying in bed at home with the covers over my head screaming at the top of my lungs "there are monsters out there".  Everyone in the sound of my voice has already heard it.  I know, because they're screaming, too.

What all that cowering and screaming does is create an air of helplessness. Do you think everyone in post WWI Germany thought that Hitler would rise to power?  or wanted him to?  Today I read an article in The Root titled White People are Cowards. There is, of course, an element of truth in this. It's also divisive. Perhaps it's meant as a goad, to shame the silent white into speaking up, speaking out, or taking action.  As a majority, you'd think that whites would feel empowered.  My experience is that many white liberals do not,  that we are, as a whole, too worried, too soft, too considerate.  As a group, liberals are afraid to call out evil, because while "actions" are evil, "people" are not.

I am here to say that if you revel in evil acts, you are evil. If you believe that stealing kids is OK because their parents had the audacity to come to our border and request asylum, something that they are allowed under international law, then you are evil.  If you believe that Black people are less human, less intelligent, less capable, less divine than white people, you are evil.  If you believe that Jews are secretly pulling the strings of the world economy and need to be stopped, you're paranoid AND evil.

For the last 30 years I've been worried, and I've started quoting more and more often from Malcolm X's speech, The Ballot or the Bullet.  Now I understand that a lot of people would distance themselves from Malcolm X in this period because of his beliefs surrounding the history of mankind and the origin of white people in particular, but I've always found that understandable (if not excusable) as the product of his social environment.  What IS important in The Ballot or the Bullet is the idea that
it's time now for you and me to become more politically mature and realize what the ballot is for; what we're supposed to get when we cast a ballot; and that if we don't cast a ballot, it's going to end up in a situation where we're going to have to cast a bullet. It's either a ballot or a bullet. [Malcolm X, The Ballot or the Bullet, 1964]
The right is already talking about taking up arms against the left.  We've seen it in the NRA responses to school shootings.

We need to stop pretending/hoping/praying that this is a mere difference in political opinion.  We need to stop talking about it, and start actively resisting the oppression and fascism in this nation.  We need to vote, we need to march, and we need to wake up and face the ugly truth that there are factions in this nation that would gleefully make it another Nazi Germany, that we have allowed the atrocities to become normalized, and that we've granted evil the reigns of power in our country.

It's time to take to the streets and to the ballot box.  It's time to march, to show solidarity, to gain power and hope in the numbers of those who earnestly desire a nation of fairness and freedom.  The ballot is always preferable to the bullet, but the shots have already been fired from the right, literally, in our churches and our schools, sanctioned by the gun lobby while politicians offer nothing but "thoughts and prayers".

The left has to offer more than our thoughts and prayers.  We need to offer aid, resistance, strength, and hope.  All that comes from action.  If the talk on social media doesn't promote action, than what are we doing except wallowing in helplessness and pain?  That emotional overload, that feeling of being totally overwhelmed and helpless in the face of this madness, is exactly what the right counts on to keep us in line, helpless, as our nation erupts into evil.



One thing you can do, one little start, is to take a couple hours out of your day on June 30 to take part in the march Families Belong Together.  There are marches all over the country, in cities and towns, and if you click the link or the image above, you can go to the website and search out a local march or rally.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Holding Pattern

I found this graphic today going through one of my photo archives looking for something else.  Actually, it's perfect for right now.  I keep having this little false starts when it comes to making plans and wanting to get out.  I can see the light at the end of the tunnel in some respects, but I'm not in the clear yet.

Tomorrow I'll be spending the morning in Sonoma Valley Hospital for medical testing, and that, and the blood work next week, will pretty much determine what the direction is going to be for managing my health conditions (well, at least the digestive portion of them).  I've pretty much resigned myself to the possibility that there is nothing that can be done at this point, and that this is my life, to deal with as best I can.

I've been afraid to go hiking... heck, some nights I'm afraid to go to sleep!... but I think things will be better when my daughter arrives, because she likes to do a lot of the same things I do, and I'd feel a lot safer on the trails with someone who knows (and can respond to) my medical issues.

I think it'll be good for Cay as well, although it feels kinda like a step back to not be living each in our own apartments, it's also going to free us up to do the things we enjoy outside the apartment, and I don't think I'm the only one getting my life back in doing this.

Today, however, I'm spending some down time, getting ready for tomorrow, just kinda coasting. I've got some good books (well, I've got my Kindle) and I've got my paints organized (yesterdays project) if I feel particularly inspired... and I can hold out for a couple more weeks.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Interesting Times

There is a reason "May you live in interesting times" is a curse.

My time has been interesting, but probably only to me.  I haven't done much except the mundane day to day things: grocery shopping, house cleaning, paying bills, and going to the doctor.  There's been a little drama with the medical stuff which has taken up a lot of my time, but scheduling and rescheduling medical procedures does not make for good blogging.

I feel like I need to get back to myself, and that my entire life has been put on hold while we discover the scope of my medical issues and develop some sort of plan to deal with it all.

My daughter is coming out at the end of the month, and I hope that will help with some of the issues, like transportation, or helping me with the day to day stuff when I'm feeling too sick to do much.  Once she gets here I'll be back to exploring and hiking. Recently I've been living with the fear I could have a medical problem out on the trail alone and there would be no-one around to help me (or dial 911)  She enjoys the same kind of walks I do, and has a lot of the same interests when it comes to visiting parks and green spaces, so I get a hiking buddy who has experience with recognizing my symptoms of low blood sugar.  I'll feel a lot safer.

I'm ready for a little positive interesting times.