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Random Chance and directed response.

I had a weird set of experiences today.

I was taking my usual walk down a residential street, not too far from where I live. Down the steps of a house came a couple and a child around, oh, I don’t know, 5 or 6? They smiled at me, I smiled back, we passed… and the child, deliberately, and of malice aforethought kicked me, as hard as he could.
The parents didn’t see it… or didn’t act like they saw it. I swung around, they were five paces off already and I said, “Hey! You kicked me! Deliberately. That’s not acceptable.”
I spoke directly to the child. The parents were shocked and the child laughed. I said, “That’s NOT funny.”
Then I stood there. I said nothing further, I didn’t look at the parents and the child covered his face and made sobbing sounds. The father/male stood back, the mother after seeing I wasn’t moving, or doing anything further tried to talk to the boy, asking him, “What do we say?” He played the “shy” child perfectly, burying himself into his mother’s legs. And making the sobbing sounds.
After several tries to get the boy to bring down his hands, and clearly expecting him to be terrified, she pulled them away from his face. He was laughing, his eyes twinkling as they met mine in malicious delight.
I still said nothing and waited. After looking at the child’s face the mother’s firmed up and she said, “Very well. I guess we aren’t going anywhere today.” She called to the man who had crossed the street and opened a car and gotten in. “We aren’t going anywhere!” She dragged the boy, still laughing back to the house and I walked on. The parent was doing something and I felt no need to say anything more.

I forgot it, within a block or two. I had a passing thought that it was good that the parent did have a response to the child’s obdurate behavior. Another that the child’s kick was quite practiced. He judged our respective velocities to a nicety and made a very solid contact. I wondered how many classmates he’d kicked and gotten away with the behavior. His laughter and fake crying told me it was probably something he’d done and gotten away with before.

Then I continued. As I reached Market Street I ran into a crowd of people going to pass me. A few minutes later I realized it was a family group leaving the theater. But at that moment all I was conscious of was that there were too many people on the sidewalk who weren’t sharing. Another child, this one female, was parading along with an umbrella, open (it wasn’t raining) and she did not give way to oncoming pedestrians, her putative parents did not give way and the ribs of the extended umbrella dug into my groin.
“Hey! Watch out!” Sharp, but not angry… it was a child. The father (he identified himself as such) roared at me, “Fuck you bitch! Leave my daughter alone!”
I stopped, my jaw hanging at the anger. The wife grabbed his arm, “Michael, Michael, stop!”
“You BITCH! You couldn’t let my daughter go! Why’d you push her!!!”
(As a matter of record, I turned sideways with the tug of the umbrella ribs and the kid dragged them across me.)
The wife walked between us. I’m still standing, my mouth agape, completely at a loss as to how to respond. He cursed me out some more and I became aware that the entire crowd was a family. The man, his wife, the baby on his chest, the girl with the umbrella, another couple with a baby and an older woman. The wife and other couple all began to call on Michael to leave it. The wife met my eyes and told me, “Stop! don’t say anything more.” Turned to her husband. “Michael, stop, stop it now.” The other couple closed with him, and not touching him, edged him away in the direction they were going, the wife backed off, along with them and the older woman met my eyes and said, “Peace, just peace.”
Then they were gone, just a shred of angry man roaring around the corner and I walked up to the crosswalk waiting for the signal.
I didn’t forget this one. The difference in how the two couples responded to my interactions with inappropriate behavior from their young snagged my attention. I was also trembling and well aware that the four other adults had been scared and trying to defuse what they saw as a very dangerous situation.
I paid attention as I passed people in the street. We met eyes or not, smiled or not. I didn’t seem to have horns on my head or a red tail dragging behind me. A man with a child biked past me. She wobbled and he was directing her on how to bike safely on the sidewalk.
Another person left their large SUV on the sidewalk while going up to the house, I detoured around onto the grass and as I came up the other side he came out of the house holding a child in his arms. “Oh! Sorry,” he said. “Not a problem,” I answered. We smiled at each other and the child smiled, too.
So, it didn’t seem to me that I was the cause here.
And I’m sourly aware that violence can come at one out of nowhere and protecting oneself is always a tricky proposition. Angry people on my daily walks are very rare. I interact with several dozen people in the course of the 90 or so minutes I walk daily. In two years this is the second time I’ve had to deal with an outright threat. And only the third or fourth time I’ve had a child deliberately try to harm me. One actively malicious child with appropriate parents was a first for me. One distracted child with a parent willing to attack me was a second or third. Well, the dice have no memory, so two in a day and none for many days previously is the way distributions usually happen.
But, had the man Michael decided to take exception in a more physical way than what his present family had allowed, he would have hit me as my back was turned. He had a good five to six inches on me, probably another 100 pounds, and was easily thirty years my junior.. and from the way his family reacted, not adverse to putting an uppity woman in her place.
We roll the dice. I’ll keep walking.


Labels and how sick I am of them

Time for another rant.

I am not a "LABEL."

Labels are terrifyingly grotesque things. They are also wonderful things. They allow us to sort our life and experience into discrete segments so that we can evaluate them and make decisions in a more productive form. They also allow people to chose to create categories that we can then treat in certain ways; for instance, dehumanize segments of the human population, narrowly defining categories; require certain people identified under one or another label to conform to externally imposed standards of conduct, behavior and beliefs.

I've spent my whole life being labeled, and then being told I am a poor example of said label. Being told I must fit into somebody else's conception of what that label is. And if I don't--being slammed for not being an appropriate "LABEL," and required to get my game going because I'm not a good "LABEL."

From age 4-13 -- "Queeeeer!" also, "girl," "whitey" "honky," "tomboy," "stupid."
From age 11-27 -- "Gringa!" "Puta" "Gavacha" and many others I have no interest in remembering.
From age 16ish on "Feminist!" (or alternatively Feminazi!!!!") also, whore, slut, tight-ass, cunt; Imperialist, Fucking American! Probably many more epithets that I won't bother remembering.
And in my adulthood, "privileged" "white!" "girl!" "lezzie" "breeder"... the latest two are "sell-out big-pharma shill" and "Social Justice Warrior."

I've lost friends along the way over these epithets.

Just to take one example... I am not a "Jew." My maternal grandfather was a Jew. My father is the son of two people of "pure" Jewish descent. Practicing Jews in his family are one or two generations or branches distant from him. As far as the German third Reich was concerned, I would have been a "mischling second degree." Both my paternal great-grandfathers died before the second world war blew up (one as a consequence of Kristallnacht) and my paternal grandfather swam the Rhine carrying rich men and women on his back to make a big enough stake to get his family out of the madhouse.

I respect my Jewish blood, and my Jewish family, believing and practicing cousins, half cousins, second cousins... but I was not raised Jewish and do not practice the Jewish faith. I am not a Jew.

I am a witch. I am a Pythia of Apollon. I chose these paths and they mean something specific to me. When I was told, "You worship Satan!" and "The dictionary says," my response was to blow a rather vulgar raspberry at my grandfather. I don't really care what the dictionary says, it's not authoritative. Anyone who needs to know what I believe can ask me.

So, am I a feminist? Am I a BIG-pharma-shill? Am I a Social Justice Warrior? My response is rude, vulgar and explicit. Translated into polite speak, "Go away. Stop self-stimulating yourselves on my body, my life and my ideology."

Social Justice Warrior (SJW) is a label that was invented a while back. It's been co-opted by a variety of groups since. Mostly it is used to describe a segment of the population as a bunch of whinny cry-babies out there that don't like the world "like it is," and are going to make the government intervene to give them special privileges. Those are SJWs. And the people using the pejorative are the people who feel they stand to lose their slice of the pie because of the actions of these other people they have labeled.

Recently, in Science Fiction fandom a group of people have begun to use this term to explain why they didn't like books published in that genre and why the books they wrote, that they liked, weren't getting published in that genre. It's all a conspiracy by the SJWs and they've been at it for years!

This little trick of inventing an enemy, giving the enemy a name and then labeling a lot of people as being part of that group and then punishing the group and mobilizing a lot of people to fight the group that has been targeted is as old as humanity. And has been going quite strong through the last 200 years.

I am especially offended by the label, "Social Justice Warrior," as a pejorative. My husband asked, logically enough, "So what are they? Social Injustice Warriors?" Hmm, good point. They are, in fact, begging that the clock be turned back to the 1950s or 1850s or some other idealistic point in history that they feel better would suit them in terms of a larger slice of that putative pie.

If you are reading this and have no idea what the Sad Puppies are, or Worldcon or the Hugos, you can just wander off. If you do understand these terms, then you are the audience I am writing for. My impulse after the last four weeks of shit-storm, and the blatantly ugly, x-sogynistic, and to a large extent, nyah-nyah bullying and nasty chortling by the group that has created their label of "sad puppies," (and rabid ones, too) is to go to my next con with as many labels as con-goers are present, in red, green and yellow. Slap them onto random people's backs and then announce over the PA system that a mellow-yellow was seen stealing in the con-suite and that the Greenies are hunting for that person right now. "Please all reds and un-aligned, give all your support to the Greenies. Find the bad mellow-yellow!"

(Performance art... not that it's needed.)

I am not a label. Am I a Social Justice Warrior? I have no idea what that even means to the people saying it--they are using it in a very pejorative fashion, so probably not something I would be willing to embrace and hug into the way people see me.

I am a humanist. A person who believes that all people have value and can contribute value to the world. And as such, all laws discriminating against any one segment of the human population offends me; because it denies our world and our people all those minds, souls and work that could be given to the advancement of our own selves to greater prosperity, intelligence and comfort.

I would much rather see a positive law enacted than a negative law that enumerates all the people who can't be discriminated against and whom the government will police.

I want a law that says, "We hold this to be a truth enshrined in every aspect of this world. All people are equal."

Of course, people being people, will then try to enact laws defining what makes a person a human. That pesky little "y" chromosome, the color of the skin. The nationality of the parents. Maybe we should declare that all sophonts are full citizens and have a test... Like one that checks the ability to read critically, analyze a problem and solve a mathematical question... oh yeah, that's been tried, too.

Soldier on, all my friends. I'll keep working on the "humanist" approach. And Fuck all LABELS.
Cross posted from facebook


Obama has the potential, as a post-president, to help move America forward on issues that we are in the middle of fighting for balance. Once he is done being president, he can be something very different, and very important. I link this with the "Kids watching the Oatie-o's ad" or was it Cheerie-os? At any rate they were "like what's that? Why's that a problem?" "Huh?" And as we mature and grow... a nation, more and more will look at color and say... but that was injust! un-just, unjustifiable and we age as a nation, the haters will slowly die out. I feel, but can't document that the hating is generational... yes there are younger people in it, but cohort by cohort I see a diminishment in the raw numbers and in the proportions. I wish I could document this. It would give me more than hope.


Today I heard somebody on my porch and the buzzer buzzed. I was waiting for my daughter... I wondered what she'd done with her keys... but it wasn't her. It seems appropriate that as I listened to President Obama's speech on Trayvon Martin that a very black man, heavyset and looking like a boxer, dressed in a proper, but ill-fitting suit, be on portch, telling me he was a Jehovah's witness.
I've got a lot of grunks against proselytizers... but since I returned to America in 1984 I have only twice met with an "angry" proselytizer. In Portland, every month somebody from the 7th-day Adventists down the block would come by and break in on my cleaning routine.
Then one day it came out that I was a witch... and the pastor came up a few minutes later, long TALLLLLL drink of water. Very very dark skin and the gentlest manner in the world... asked me if I wanted to be on their "do not call" list. I said yes, and after that, once a year on Sunday they would come by and ask if I still wanted to be on that list. And I'd say yes, and we'd shake hands.
Mormons have been equally respectful, and today's Jehovah's Witness was also knowledgeable and respectful.
As I said "No," and explained, I was also reflecting on the staff that lives behind the door. My area isn't a violent crime area, but we've had a spurt of petty and not so petty thefts and break-ins over the past two years. Today I didn't grab it and felt no need to have it at hand as the gentleman and I spoke to each other and [metaphorically] bowed respect and went about our day. President Obama's words, "woman clutch her purse in the elevator..." rang in my mind. I hadn't felt threatened, I didn't feel threatened... but what did he see on his side of the divide? I opened the door without looking through the peephole, poked my head out, then opened it completely and spoke with him.
I don't know what he saw or how he interpreted it. And THAT'S the dialogue that needs to happen that President Obama is talking about... I can't walk in his black man's shoes, or his Jehovah's witness shoes any more than he can walk in my woman's shoes, or my witch's shoes... but we can respect that these shoes exist and inform our reactions.
This year, 2013, has been an interesting one on the Fan/Fen circuit. I find it interesting as so many problems, problems I've been well aware of, have come to a head and precipitated out into open dialogue. This process where the tipping point has arrived and things start to fall is interesting to watch... even as I sit right on the slope that is threatening to avalanche.

Everything from the cosplay=/=consent to the accusations of sexual harassment and lack of support or reporting at ReaderCon, to what's hoped to be the end-game of the 10 year long slo-mo chase of Dragon-Con's founder and 1/3 owner's several charges of pedophilia and onto the SFWA bulletin's total stupendous and horrifying debacle with issues 199-201 that started with their retro-futuristic "chick-in-chainmail-in-the-winter" cover, followed by the lovely comment that women should be "like Barbie..." And then I ran full-face into the "editor sexually harassing an author (female) and how to report harassment when at a Con."

I have been part of the Sci-Fi community from as long back as I can remember. I work in the publishing industry, I write, I costume, I edit, I critique. This is my community.

What's happening? Well, I think that everything has a tipping point... and that tipping point is a conglomeration of a number of different things. It has to do with longevity of a community, with an open and porous community, with a political scene that has slowly (slo-mo--why am I remembering the Orange Juice?) been catching up to the fact that laws don't alter behavior. Activism and telling people to their faces--politely and respectfully-- "Stop that shit. It isn't permissible and I am going to say it at the top of my voice so the entire convention space turns around and asks, "What's going on?" Stop RIGHT NOW!"

There are a lot of people out there who are upset and offended over this--on both sides of the camps, and trying to figure out what to do... and a lot of us are hampered by how we were taught to be polite.

Sexual harassment isn't polite... it can even be actionable. And many companies are beginning to realize that allowing a person (yes, women do it, too--but in much smaller numbers; both raw numbers and proportions) to use the position of power they have to make another person uncomfortable--to insult and denigrate them, or use them in some way-- is going to blow back on them someday in a nasty way.

And all those people who've been doing it for years and haven't been outright called on it are offended. They got away with their hand in the cookie jar saying, "But I didn't mean to put it there... it just happened." Now everybody who ever had his (or her) hand in that particular cookie jar is afraid of the consequences and fighting like crazy, not to show they are reformed-- oh NO, to show that it's OK to do that. That they never did anything that wasn't acceptable.

Here is a little piece from the desperate fight put up by Mike Resnick and Barry Malzberg's "fucking shitfit" Quote: "You know, I think a lot of this brouhaha is because we're Old White Guys (though I consider myself to be in a state of Advanced Youth)" end quote. ( http://radishreviews.com/2013/05/31/linkspam-53113-edition/ ).

What is he saying? "Old White Guy" but really considers himself to be in a "state of Advanced Youth." As in a boy who never grew up and became a mature, responsible, respectful, thoughtful and socially appropriate man? The Sci-Fi community abounds with mature, responsible, respectful, intelligent, thoughtful and socially appropriate men. The few who aren't that kind of men and stand out like sore thumbs in conventions... in my opinion and experience rarely act any differently in other aspect of their lives.

Many years ago my (then 7-year-old) daughter was in a "special" school and endured 70 minutes morning and evening on a "special school" bus that took her way out to the boonies to what I called "kiddie jail." She was the only girl on the bus and the second to the last to get off. The bus driver started to drop the last kid off before her and take her to the local store and buy her candies. I sure everybody who knows me has a good idea of just how immediate and full my response was. What was the bus driver's response? That he had every right to give my child food and keep her on the bus with no one else present and would not alter his actions and would keep on doing it... because "if I do anything else I'm letting them think I believe it was wrong."

It should surprise no one that in 1995, as a foster parent with no "legal" ties to my child, I got absolutely nowhere with this. Between the kiddie jail, the county's mental health contracting of a school busing authority (who hired and refused to investigate, background check, or fire the offender) and the legal guardian of my child at that time, the county and state we were resident in, no action was ever taken. But, the accused bus driver did attempt to sue myself and my partner for "defamation of character."

Fortunately I managed to spring my beloved kid from kiddie jail soon after that, and then adopt her so as to be able to fully protect her.

Why bring this totally un-related story up in the middle of a rant about sexism in the Science Fiction Community?

Because the attitude of that bus driver is one I am seeing right now in the horrendous response to the reasoned "Please stop this shit," postings. I'm not posting links... they are all over the place and easily googled. And a lot of the comments are on the level of the "trash talk" that has been endemic from male gamers (small subset of them) for decades. It's time to forget politeness and get into faces. It's not going to be pretty, but it never was pretty; it's just that the victims were quiet and left, some in anger, some in tears, and some with careers and aspirations and ambitions in tatters. It's amazing how much power one person might have over another, how much one sharp, nasty or sexist remark can do to hurt and turn somebody from approval to forevermore hating.

Out there is a very popular author I haven't read since the mean answer to a gushing fan-girl letter I sent him in 1987 or 8. Out there is an author with whom I have had a ten year positive and productive relationship because he was respectful of my particular accomplishments and knowledge.
It's time to be pro-active in our writings, in our artwork, in our actions at conventions. At conventions... in our so-called "safe" space.

"Sorry, this doesn't look like a happy interaction. Do you need some help or backup?"
"Get the fuck out of this conversation."

Let's ride, super-heros!
"Hero" a person of any gender who stands for respect, and actively asserts the need for that respect and for politeness, too.

Not interpreting anymore

For a number of reasons, the biggest being it wasn't paying enough to pay my bills and the hours were tanking and none of the other outfits in town seemed to have any better deals, I stopped interpreting and went looking for another source of income.
So now I am working in a Literary Agency, the Linn Prentis Literary Agency, doing just about everything under the sun. It's interesting work, but I'm wiped at the end of each day. I'm not used to steady 8 hours a day work anymore.
I'll have to post more on this turn in my life later.


Feet on the Ground

One of the great things about being a contract bilingual interpreter (there are not great things) is twice or three times a year we get our feet on the ground in the public schools. There is always such an anti-school bias in the news reporting. Everything in America seems to be wrong in the schools. The teachers, the administrators, the pupils, the parents.

And then I get to go there and sit in on student conference after student conference, meeting up to 8 or 9 teachers and students and their parents in a day, or do two or three days of it.

I don't see it. I see hard working, dedicated, interested, progressive, thoughtful teachers. I see very supportive staff. I see and hear the workers in the schools talking about things, without realizing I am there. They talk about how to find a ream of paper... where to get the funds for another mop. The district meeting and who can go and can they pay for the lunch. I see parents who ask, "What can we do to help our child succeed?" I see teachers who bend over backwards, who speak to the kids and in whose voices, faces, tones and actions show their dedication to making each kid a success.
And I see kids who really wish they could do better and make all these people happy. But they are kids and they are doing the kid thing.

Some are great and interested in school, others are great and have other interests that aren't very compatible with school, but they are all nice kids from nice families. I learn from the interactions that some families have challenges, some of them are pretty massive challenges, but they are all people trying, and really dedicated to their kids.

And I see all the mess of "standardized" tests, goals, objectives and "non-report" cards. We are still grading them, and I don't see what purpose it plays to call it something else. But I see everybody very concerned if little Roberto hasn't met the goal of the fifth month of kindergarten and he's half-way through second grade.

I see the happiness when the teacher can show that Sayel has finished all the goals for first grade and it's only the third month. Sayel will get a lot of support and extras and kept busy completing other tasks more suited to a higher grade.

Roberto goes home with flash cards, Roberto's parents with many ideas, work books and support from the teacher. And the children? They grin at each other in the hallways as they pass and reach out to each other.

Yes, I'm always glad for the parent teacher conferences I get to interpret. I get such a better idea of the reality of our schools that way. They are never boring, or tedious, and I meet the nicest people in the world doing that job.

Meet their eyes

As a Pythia of Apollon, I talk with my God. He never "orders," me to do anything, but his advice always seems good.

I've been asked if I am schizophrenic, and asked that of some of the people I once worked with in the mental health industry. The baseline between a mystic and schizophrenic appears to be fear. I am in no fear of the voice of the God and I have no compulsion to follow his suggestions.

Still, as I say, his suggestions often seem good. Some years ago he spoke about the depths of the hole the world was wandering in to. He said there was precious little we could do to change things as individuals. I'm not a political activist and got no feeling as to whether the new movements will be helpful or harmful in the long run.

What I did get told to do was to acknowledge the humanity of each homeless person I saw in the street. How? By meeting their eyes and speaking directly to them. The homeless are here, with us, and all of us skate a narrow edge where walking the streets ourselves is but a stumble away. Look at that person, with their little cardboard sign. They want money, enough to pay for a sheltered bed, a warm meal -- a shot of booze, a cig. They are human; we are they and they are we.

Turning away, refusing to meet their eyes is a symptom of our fear; for they are the living representatives of our nightmares. But, sweeping the uncomfortable and unamusing parts of our lives under a rug doesn't help. I have no solution for the poor in our world, Phinney Ridge, Seattle, Washington State, the United States... the world. But I meet the eyes of the people that I see. I carefully and discretely cover my nose when they are near (If I didn't have a bathroom--I'd smell, too) on the bus. And I nod my head and say, "Good morning, Good afternoon, I'm sorry I don't have any extra money on me." And very occasionally I have a dollar and I give it... or I go buy a pair of gloves, a hat, a warm drink and give that.

So, the next time you pull up at a stop light and hear, "Will somebody help me? Please." At least make eye contact and acknowledge the humanity of the speaker.


Crow Talisman

In my community we are pretty antsy about "doing a spell for x." Informed consent is very important and we'd really rather people did their own magics, for reasons stated below. I'm lucky that I have a strong pagan community that will support me when I ask for help on ethical issues.

I wrote the crow feather talisman post as a way of reviewing and thinking about a spell that came to me, but I didn't feel "positive" about it. Putting things down in black and white pixels helps me review it and look at the proposition from all sides. It also allows people to get back to me with their thoughts.

I work as a medical interpreter. Part of my training was about informed consent and its importance in medicine. My training emphasized that I might be called into court and asked very deep probing questions on just how much was understood and consented to. Some of my clients will grab the papers and prepare to sign, and then I step a bit beyond plain interpreter, though not all the way to advocate (where I should only rarely venture) and say, "Are you sure you want to sign? It's a legal binding document and I haven't interpreted it for you. That's why I am here, so you can know exactly what each line says."

I believe in the power of magic. Magic is the art of changing ones reality by altering oneself. Doing a spell for somebody else involves imposing ones own interpretation of a situation upon somebody else. My interpretation can be very different from that of the person who requests the spell. The results can be... unpredictable at best. Noxious at worst.

Posting that spell was my way of taking a bad thought and setting it out and looking at it with the help of friends and saying, "Oh! No. Bad idea; don't go there." However, we all have filters in our brains, and if parts of the idea sound like a good idea and something one of my readers thinks might have a positive influence on them, I would urge them to think about it. Take your time. An idea has a lot of power. Build the idea in your minds, turn it this way and that and work on it on and off for a time. I can't say how long; only the spell worker knows when the thought has matured.

Often the readiness for performing the spell is triggered by my finding something. I pick up a rock on the beach that is a particular shape, a branch, a flower, see a little thingy in the store or picture on the internet and something goes "snap" into place. Other times the thought slowly fades and either I managed the magic without it, or it wasn't to be done anyway.

So, no, I will not make those talismans. If elements of this spell resonate with other people, they are welcome to do it for themselves.

Crows and eating them

One of the thoughts I'd had was... magical. Not in a positive way, however. In the full glory of an unpleasant blow-out, I am seeing human nature at it's very stript-edness. And over the two horrible months past (by bits and pieces, my life has by no means been only this) I have found myself creating a talisman in my head. I've been tempted to make several of them, and give them out. The first one would be awarded to me, of course, the next ones to several of the principles and their chief supporters.
The talisman would be a black feather. I have quite a few of them. They are duck feathers, dyed black. But they can be used to give the idea of crow feathers.
I'd knot a sheath for the pin of the feather, tightly, and then take all the threads (maybe ten or twenty) and create a tangled set of knots making the two sides of a net. It could be hung over a lamp or a neck.
But it's purpose would be to remind people that eating crow is never pleasant be it eating ones words or actually eating that omnipresent bird in Seattle. I've gone 9 weeks without posting any of my thoughts on the situation, but sometimes, writing is needed, at least for me. I get constipated after a while of repression.
Yes, I'd like to make the crow feather talisman. Many people on both sides could use a dose of, "think before you act, because you will live with the reality of your actions for the rest of your life." I am sure, however, if I gave it to the people who have tweaked the reaction out of me, I'd cause grave offense; so I stay balanced in the middle, deeply aware and concerned.

Thoughts on being socially conscious

Some months ago a good friend of mine got into a lot of trouble. When friends get into trouble, friends rally round. That's axiomatic.
For how long? Some troubles are more trouble than others and I find myself determined to continue to provide support, an ear and grave critical assessments to my friend. But I am watching the parade of friends on the one side and the other. I've rallyed round for my friend and many others have, also. But the trouble has involved two parties and they are still in conflict, albeit, legal conflict now.
I watch the long, slow progression of our legal system and wince at the injustices it perpetrates and the opportunities it offers for abuse. And I read the comments made from one party and the other party's postings.
I'm not so interested in the rights or wrongs at this moment of musing. I've staked out my territory of support and non-intervention and I am going to stand it. But I see how much time and effort is being... wasted... on this conflict and it bothers me. The first thing I see is that many people may be sympathetic to one side or the other, or both; which is common, but they have neither the time nor the desire to dig into the wrongs and rights of the law, or the morality of the actions. And the conflict has gone on long enough that people are walking away.
Where does one give up and draw the line? Abandon people and a situation-- How much time does one give and for how far before one becomes enmeshed into another person's life and loses ones own?
At this time I'm nowhere near the "enmeshing" stage, but I am extending this experience to the political process that our nation is undergoing at present and thinking hard about the time and effort it takes to research the issues and cut through the fog. Complaints are made daily that the electorate has surrendered their power. But the microcosm of"I did not say that!" "I did not mean that!" "I am saying this!" and the difficulties of coming to an understanding of what happened when is reflected into the greater political realm of political parties and jockeying for funding... and I see people give up and walk away and vote with minimal or no information, out of their "gut," or prejudices or with blind jabs.
The issue here is trust, but it is also judgement. One set of figures can mean very different things to several different people; and to our dismay, those figures very rarely stand up to closer scrutiny; simplified, massaged, purged, twisted, re-focused and often, to the horror of the "peer-reviewed" journals, outright fabrications.
So I watch the microcosm pass by me and do my best to keep my balance in a difficult situation; a little boat tossing in a tub of water on the deck of an ocean liner, tossing in high and dangerous seas. And I can't really do very much one way or the other, save keep my own integrity.



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February 2016


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