February 22, 2017

13 Ways of Looking at a Cracked Turd, or Exit Strategies Post Election 2016

1) PETA organizes "Operation Guinea Pig" to mock Trump's hairstyle and also to insinuate psychotropic drugs into his hair products...Faced with a relentless and apparently unstoppable onslaught to his vanity, exacerbated by the drugs' effects on his already tenuous mental processes, Trump's head explodes one morning. The entire operation was funded through the sale of bumper stickers in other countries that read: "My guinea pig is smarter than your President."

2) Steve Bannon's (mostly paid) gay lovers come out of the closet, releasing thousands of emails from him. Paul Ryan does a taunting dance in Congress, waving a briefcase of printed-out emails above his head, and shouting childish insults at Trump and Trump's current wife. Mike Pence has an apoplectic seizure and is rushed away to hospital, but dies en route because he refused treatment from a lesbian paramedic. Remaining Trump cabinet members "move farther down the bench", and ultimately lobby to impeach Trump "because stupid". David Duke commits suicide. No one weeps.

3) Vengeful Hillary supporters convince First Lady Melania to order all of her new clothing from their secretly selected group of fashion consultants, resulting in a wardrobe comprised entirely of couture pantsuits with coordinating Hermes head scarves. Even her lingerie consists of lace and mesh pantsuits. When Trump predictably protests her new style, she tells him, "You are not the boss of me, you big bully", strangles him with a handy head scarf, and is taken away shouting 
something about "moose and squirrel".

4) A battered blue phone-box, also known as a TARDIS, appears above Washington, D.C. Doctor Who must save us from ourselves. I hope someone films it for the holiday 2017 episode. 

5) Trump succumbs to a mysterious food-borne illness, later revealed to be accumulative arsenic poisoning via food sourced from a variety of food trucks: "Murderous Miguel's Tacos", "Halal Hijabi's Shwarma", "Capitol Hillel's Kosher  Killer Sandwiches", and "Malcom's XX Barbecue". Trump's minions admit that they failed to notice anything odd about the dodgy food truck names, saying, "It all sounds foreign to us."  

6) Joe Biden decides to take one for the team, and destroys Trump and the entire Cabinet with an arsenal of automatic weapons purchased whilst twitching, frothing at the mouth and shouting random obscenities.

7) The US and the UK agree to a ‘bigot exchange’; then argue over which country has to take more of them. In utter disgust, Queen Elizabeth reveals that she has terminal cancer, and straps on an explosives vest for her state visit with Trump. Her last words are reported to have been, “We are NOT amused, you intransigent buffoon.” 

8) Pussy Riot operatives secretly replace Trump with a crotch-sniffing, carpet-pissing, snappish circus dog wearing a mohair toupee. No one notices.

9) Viagra and Cialis stockholders and CEOs unite against the Trump regime over a catastrophic fall-off in prescriptions due to the collective depression’s effect on American libido. They force other members of the super-secret ‘Insane Autocrats’ Club’ to fund a coup against charter member Trump (coup code name :“Tiny Hands”) by threatening to cut off their own access to ED drugs and Botox. Kim Jong-Un’s contribution was, perhaps unsurprisingly, the biggest.

10) Trump cracks open one morning and thousands of tiny but deadly alien invaders spill out of him, revealing his presidency to be an elaborate alien Trojan horse plot. They take over the world, tweeting effusively about their victories under the hashtag “#smallerbutsmarter”. World leaders trample each other to be first to welcome the new overlords, correctly observing that “things can only get better.”

11) “Vlad the Mad” Putin has Trump murdered by his own security forces over a private quarrel between them about “Who’s the fairest of them all?” He then has thousands of leaflets dropped on Washington, all bearing bare-chested photos of himself cavorting with tame bears. After a year or so of Trump, it doesn’t seem that weird anymore.

12) Thousands of overworked, underpaid, utterly exploited garment industry workers in various third world nations who were making Trump family product lines rise up in protest. Using funding from a number of nations’ covert ops agencies, they descend on Washington en masse, armed only with the safety pins on their lapels. After successfully agitating for a meeting with the President, their delegates rush up to trump and knock him to the floor, where they proceed to safety pin him to the carpet and call him names. He dies of sheer humiliation before security forces subdue his mostly female attackers, muttering, “nasty...nasty...nasty” as he expires. 

13) In an unprecedented scientific collaboration, hundreds of the world’s top researchers produce a working time machine. They use it to go back in time, accompanied by a team of Planned Parenthood clinicians, and sterilize Trump’s ancestors. Then they go to the year 1787, where they remove the Electoral College from Constitutional Convention documents. For good measure, they stop off in the year 2015 and kidnap all senior members of the DNC who pushed Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders as the Democratic candidate of choice. We all wake up one morning and rejoice.

February 21, 2017

sorry, not sorry

i am too old to apologize
for your shortcomings
anymore
if you are wrong
not just mistaken,
or unaware,
i'll let the score
stand. you may realize
that what we are becoming
is much more
about the song
of the forsaken,
and that i care
more about the size
of your core
values than a long-
winded, unawakened
puff of air.
you are the pause before
the drop. the prize
we seek is coming
and the door
it enters by is long
awaited. its making
was the prayer
of all the poor
and lost and wronged,
who, despite your hate, will rise.





February 3, 2017

"Body Politic"---What the Women's March Offers

"When a culture is in crisis, genius comes not from the center, but from the edge."

---Martin Shaw


I've been finding Shaw's words terribly relevant lately, and this quote is a pretty good summation of why the Women's March was so important. Not just to me, but to anyone who cares about social justice, and peace, and democracy, and a sustainable future. These things are linked; in the verbiage of evolving feminism, they are intersectional. All of our freedom is bound up together...All of our voices must be heard, all of our votes must count equally. We cannot continue to have some of us go through life less safe, or less valued. We cannot put the profit of a few, or wishfully unscientific thinking, or failed and unjust economics ahead of the health of communities of of ecosystems. We cannot continue on a trajectory of polarization that has divided our populace, and that has paralyzed our government, and led to its current state of imperilment.

Our culture IS in crisis. Education is broken. Government is broken. The environment is broken. Health care is broken. The economy is broken. Justice is broken. Too many of us are broken. We are failing our children and each other. There are two things operating at this time---both potentially hopeful, if we navigate them correctly, but both with a high possibility of discomfort.

The first is a basic observance of systems transformation: systems will change in response to changes in the components and in response to changes from without. When an existing system is in the process of breaking down and/or changing, there is disruption throughout it. If all aspects of the system are cooperative and equally invested, then changes can be navigated in an evolutionary fashion. Disruption is minimized. But if the components of the system are unequally represented, if they are in acute competition with each other for safety or resources or participation, changes will provoke growing disruptions that ramify throughout the struggling system, accelerating the breakdown of it. Disruption is magnified, and change comes in a revolutionary rather than evolutionary fashion, and the formation of a new system is a matter of urgency. In this latter scenario, in which a system that has become unstable due to unequal components is breaking down and changing, it is common for dominant elements to resist the change. In human cultural terms, this is when we see "backlash" phenomena, as those most invested in the failing/failed structures attempt to reassert their vision of the world and to stave off changes that threaten it.

We have been living in a social system that has been unjust for a very long stretch of time and is becoming increasingly unsustainable. As more people have awakened to the inequalities that were embedded in our social structures, changes began to be made toward greater inclusion and access. Gains were made for women, for those living in poverty, for people of color, for disabled access, for LBGTQIA people, and for environmental protection. We began to take steps again as a nation that would help us fully express the promise of our stated principles of democracy, and justice, and refuge. And just as those gains seemed to be consolidating and expanding, we saw backlash begin. It grew ever more virulent and widespread, manipulated and fomented by those who stood to gain or retain power and wealth, until it now threatens to destroy our most cherished institutions and our image of ourselves as decent people. My hope is that we will recognize this backlash for what it is: the death throes of a failed system. If we see this, if we call it out and continue to work toward a more inclusive and just system to replace it, we have a chance to make America greater than it ever has been. Because America, more than anything, is an idea; it is a dream of a place of freedom and equality, which must ever evolve and expand as the people who make it evolve and expand. It is not---and never has been---a static entity. There never has been an American golden age, but rather a complex narrative of good, not so good, occasionally great, and downright ugly. Nations, like the people of which they are made, are complicated. They are stories, viewed differently by the different people living and telling them. To believe otherwise is to build a citadel on shifting sands...

Which brings me to the second thing that is operative in our current situation: if a nation is a narrative, as I believe, it must continually retell its story using all its voices. It must continually revisit its origins and re-examine them from different vantage points. Chapters that have gone missing from its tale must be found and bound back into the narrative. Tendencies toward expurgation of uncomfortable elements must be fought, because excluding the shadow side is toxic. And we have a lot of excluded shadow work to do as Americans. Our story has not been fully inclusive. We have not faced the ugly bits of our history in a meaningful way, and every attempt to roll back gains we have made keeps us from moving forward as a united nation. Every attempt to silence voices whose stories we find uncomfortable, to keep doors closed on the tellers, leaves us like Bluebeard's last wife, wiping blood off the keys to our past and to our future.

If our story is incomplete, we, as a nation, are perpetuating wrong-doing. Until we hear the complete stories of First Nations peoples, and address the injustices they contain, our story remains delusional. Until we hear with full acknowledgement the stories of the Black Americans descended from people brought here as slaves, and own the wrong done, our momentum forward as a nation will be impaired. Until we tally the stories of recent immigrants and refugees along with those of our colonial "founding fathers" (who were also immigrants), and acknowledge their crucial contributions to our nation, our dialogue of immigration is flawed. Our citadel IS built on shifting sands, because it is built on the unrecognized and unaddressed injustices done through the system that created it; a system in which some people were excluded and exploited by others, in layered hierarchies which expanded and contracted over time, but which have reached the end of their ability to argue for continuance. It is time to revisit our origin story, and to build a better foundation for all.

So, in a time of crisis, we need to hear the voices of the edges of our culture. The voices of those in the center have been the only voices, or the loudest ones, all along, and the lack of other strands in the common story have crippled the whole. This is why the Women's March has something crucial to offer to the dialogue that we need to have: diversity with mutual respect and unity of purpose, a recognition that all of our liberation, all of our safety, is linked together. There were all kinds of people in those millions of assembled marchers, many voices, each there to address different aspects of the crisis that we all face. Many were there in support of multiple viewpoints and issues. Many of these perspectives have been ignored or only minimally heard yet in the political and legal realms, but all of them are important. People were present to speak up in support of immigrants, and refugees; in defense of women's rights; for freedom of the press; for education; for peace; for the environment; for functional government; for Black lives; for religious freedom, and against bans that betray it; for true and unimpaired democracy; for the differently abled and for human dignity; for LBGQTIA civil rights; for First Nations peoples' right to be heard; for clean water; for access to health care; for clean and sustainable energy; for science-driven policy; for their children's future; for kindness...In short, there in those huge crowds were people with the perspectives needed to mend what is broken in this nation. They stood together in all their diversity of age, appearance, social status, identification, and privilege level, with their different but intersecting viewpoints---viewpoints that if truly heard, and truly given primacy in political dialogue, and truly represented in all their brilliant and beautiful and mutually enriching diversity, could provide the kind of vision we need to transform our failing system into something new that could navigate the challenges we face today. Government is meant to be the voice of its people, and the people are speaking.

Millions of people around the world participated in Women's Marches and solidarity actions on that day in January. Millions more expressed support for them. This is an extraordinary statement of unity in diversity, seen around the globe. Awakened women and their allies, led by the voices less heard until now, have tremendous potential to craft a safer, kinder, more sustainable world. It is long past time for their voices to be heard. Indeed, it is now urgent.




Zeroing In

This is very much a work-in-progress... But in case anyone wants to get started on alternatives to store-bought cleaners and cosmetic items...