Thursday, September 30, 2010

And so it ends again...

When someone decides to go for a motorcycle ride in the middle of the night after spending the last five years trying to drink himself to death, does it really qualify as an accident or is it just suicide by another name? And when you add various substances said motorcycle rider probably injested as well because he learned a long time ago that after alcohol doesn't really numb the pain of too many wounds on the soul, the question becomes more complicated.

It's that complicated thing I'm dealing with right now. I want to be angry at him. I want to be sad over him. I want him to still be alive but I also feel the truth of that stupid and trite saying "he's now at peace." I hate saying that. I hate feeling it because it really explains so little.

He told me suicide ran in his family a couple weeks after we scattered his sister's ashes in 1990. She was my friend and I tried to save her. I was young and foolish then. I really did believe people could be saved from themselves. Anna proved me wrong. She showed me that sometimes salvation is taking yourself out of the picture of human life. It took me a long time to forgive her but I finally did. I haven't changed my mind that suicide is the most stupid and selfish thing you can do to those who love you, but I forgave her. Mostly because her brother asked me to.

He had a kind soul. A very deep and vulnerable soul. He had the kind of openness that people zero in on and immediately find a way to take advantage of it. We had that in common and we exchanged many mournful and supportive emails over the years on how people needed to come up to our level and not force us to sink down to theirs. We wrote each other and said be strong, hang on to your principles, be a person of integrity and compassion, even if others are not, even if others use all that in your for their own purposes. We assured each other the occasional using was worth the good we could do in the world just by staying kind, compassionate, caring, and strong.

Ryan was a lot more optimistic about it than I was. Often he was the one who wrote me and begged me not to give up, not to isolate myself, not to run away from people who were mean and selfish, that I had to let them see the other side of life, even if it hurt and cost me a few pieces of skin. "Skin is ego," he was fond of saying, "and road rash is humility."

But in the end it was he who suffered over what the rest of the world did. He was not the type of person to stand back in silence when wrong was being done. He spent most of his considerable fortune helping others, mostly children in countries torn apart by war. He had a soft spot for the innocent victims in everything and he spent his life saving them.

But in the end, he simply felt too much. I read the downhill slide in his ever more infrequent emails. Where once there was hope and optimism there was far too often despair and depression. He took far too many drugs to cope with what he could no longer face. His nightmares took over his days. I often wondered how far it would go before he killed himself.

I always thought it would be by something clean and efficient, an overdose from the many bottles available. A staged and dramatic setting that wouldn't  inconvenience anyone too much. He didn't want to leave a mess for someone else to clean up.

A couple weeks ago he wrote me a rambling email that covered much of his life. I remembered thinking it was the kind of thing one wrote after drinking all the alcohol in the house, swallowing the pills, and typing furiously before it all kicked in.

It was probably that way. But it was a beautiful night out. The moon was full. And the road called to him, the winding mountain road in a northern Italian setting. I imagine it was beautiful. I imagine there was a moment of elation, a moment of fear, of sadness, a thought of those like me who would be hurt. But his pain was too strong and the night too beautiful and he knew I would forgive him.

Right now I'm not sure. It's only been a week. I still think of him in present time. I still want to write and talk him out of it. I want to leap through time and take his keys away. But Anna taught me such things wouldn't change a thing and my only option was forgiveness.

Maybe that is the story of my life. Maybe that is what he left me with, that often in life the only option we are left with is forgiveness. I have to accept that for now.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

9/11 Bottom Feeders

Bring In The Clowns

The anniversary of 9/11 means one thing to one person and quite another to another person. While some spend the day mourning the tragic loss of life, others are eagerly salivating at the opportunity to profit politically and financially from it.

Let's start with the oldest cast of characters, the Bush Crime Family and their paid lackeys. John Bolton who gets orgasmic over the very thought of starting a war with someone, anyone. And of course, pimpmaster Andrew Breitbart who wouldn't recognize a moral thought if it snuck up behind him and dipped his mean, shriveled balls into a cup of boiling hot tea (funded for by himself, of course), and all those Republican/Teabaggers running for office. Throw in a few high profile racists and you have the most hateful, the most self-serving disgusting tribute to 9/ll most of us will ever see in our lifetime. read more

Unless you factor in the for profit, get rich over other's tragic misfortune angle, and  then you have the King and Queen of greed, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin. They see this day as the perfect opportunity to exploit the emotionalism around the event to line their own pockets. read more

But without the hatemongering and vile tactics designed to instill fear into the hearts and minds of the easily manipulated, the event can only enrich and elect the select few. To spread the shit further and more completely, you need conventions, groups, and most of all, speakers who know how to divide and conquer for their own financial gain. That's where the American Family Association comes in. They're experts at spreading the hate around to benefit their political and social agenda. read more

And because you can't say "crime" and "family" without a shout out to the Bush family, let's not forget one of their BFF's from a couple or so years ago who was stirring shit in Germany and they immediately jumped in and screamed "religious freedom" when it was the strong-armed Christian version they were defending. Of course, the kind little Pastor Terry Jones grew up to thank them by personally trying to take care of "that Muslim problem" for them. read more

However, no tribute to hate and pandering to fear is complete without the appearance of the head clown, Newt Gingrich, who likes to pretend no one reads that internet thing and knows he likes to talk morality for political purposes, but when it comes down to it, leaving dying wives with cancer for the latest trophy intern is just another good old boy tradition his rich white Republican asshole friends admire him for. And if there's a chance to make a buck off 9/11, he's at the head of the line with his cheesy video designed to scare the dumbest people on the planet into lining his bank account even more. All those divorces seriously cut into his bimbo fund so he's scaring the "morans" into buying his crappy movie to make some of it back. read more

The Familiar Language of Hate and Division

Lost in the hysteria and political and personal grandstanding is the history of such tactics. They're not new The language of hate and division has been refined over the years to contain certain words and phrases designed to motivate the masses to do their master's bidding. From an August blog post, Peter Dreier and Donald Cohen wrote the following:

Alf Landon, the Kansas governor running as the Republican Party's 1936 presidential candidate, called it a "fraud on the working man" and "a cruel hoax." The New York Times, in an editorial, said it was "ill-considered" and "very questionable." Harper Sibley, the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, warned that it would result in "more unemployment in the future, killing the goose that lays the golden eggs."

If you look at the cast of characters (Republican Party), the compliant media dutifully reporting what they're told to report (New York Times "editorial" so the actual newspaper can escape accountability), and of course the current president of the Chamber of Commerce reading from the never wavering script that big business is their meat and the small businesses originally meant to benefit from Chamber assistance should just shut up and be bought up, you'd think you were reading about the current attack on Health Care Reform or Climate bills. But no. They're arguing against Social Security, the act that made sure America didn't become a country filled with old dead people littering the streets. read more

And they're still acting from the same scripts. Here's the Chamber of Commerce once again crapping on small businesses in order to serve their corporate masters:

"With a war chest rivaling that of the Republican Party itself, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has emerged in the last year as perhaps the Obama administration’s most-well-financed rival on signature policy debates like health care and financial regulation."  read more

It's not just Republican politicians they fund. It's all those campaign ads that ooze mud and fabricated claims. It's the attacks on groups like ACORN whose big crime was signing up poor people to vote. Can't have that as everyone knows they vote for Democrats. They even helped create a whole astroturf organization made up of poorly educated bigots and racists named after an erotic sex act, with the help of a Supreme Court Justice's connections read more, and two multi-billionaire brothers who carry on the fine Bush Family tradition of using your oil money to fund terrorism. read more

History has a nasty way of refusing to disappear from the collected archives that escaped burning or Republican revisionism. A little bit of reading shows how far back the Bush family goes in their greed and lack of morality. read more

And of course, since the Republican greedfest is immune to the passage of time, the same cast of characters keep acting out the same roles generation after generation. The nasty piece of work, Karl Rove, is joined by the asshole to the Bush Crime Family due to their shared love of profiting from Nazi atrocities. read more

The Paid Whores of The Dancing Clowns

Without the propaganda and hysterical pandering of the media, these greedy pieces of crap would be speaking only to rooms filled with white hooded sheets and card carrying Birch Society members. But the so-called Liberal media just loves to give unlimited air time to the conservative, rightwing, teabagging Republicans for some inexplicable reason. Maybe they're trying to understand why, with such a record, they aren't viewed as the Conservative Wingnut Platform like Fox (Fake) News or those crazy religious channels with the screaming, foaming at the mouth televangelists. Maybe it's because they exist solely to be used and no one wants to admit that, least of all them? read more

Fighting Back

Lost in all the hysteria, the politicizing for personal gain, and the appalling greed surrounding 9/11 are the days right after it all happenened. For the first time in many of our memories, the country came together as one people. The world embraced us in our pain and sadness because just about every country in the world lost someone that day, even Muslims who lost a Mosque that was located INSIDE one of the towers that day.

We mourned together and began to grow strong. And that scared the hatemongers, the Republican spin machine, the merchants of greed. They knew if America came together, they were finished. So we were smacked down with two unnecessary wars that benefitted the arms merchants, the Blackwater private army of killers and thugs, and Cheney/Bush's oil cartel. We were bombarded with hate and separation messages from the right wing media. We were set upon each other so completely, we would never remember that for a brief few moments in time, we were one country, one nation, one world.

Those who hate are the true fools, the real tools of the wealthy manipulators. They're behaving exactly as they're pushed toward behaving. In the stew of fear, hate, intolerance, and bigotry, you'll find plenty of chunks that are mere useful idiots for the powerful who lack the smallest inkling of a conscience.

It's time we took back those moments after 9/11 and make them part of ourselves once more or the haters win. Share your positive dreams, embrace those who are different, walk together in one shadow and write powerful pieces like this one that reminds us our first instinct on that horrible day when we were faced with disaster wasto reach out to one another and do what we could to help. That altrusim, that goodness still lives inside us. Don't let the haters kill it.


Saturday, September 04, 2010

A Calendar for the Child-Free By Choice

A couple weeks ago I updated the calendars in all my Zazzle shops and started putting together photographs, art, and quotations tailored toward the specific theme of the stores. I like to have a selection of old favorites and new offerings for those who begin their 2011 calendar shopping in September.

For the Child-Free By Choice store I chose quotations that mirrored my philosophy and reasons for not bearing biological children: overpopulation, freedom of choice, individual freedom to live outside the mainstream reality. I chose wild instead of tame creatures as part of my nature photographs to show my reverence for the earth and the need to protect our environment from ecological disasters such as war, pollution, and depletion of our natural resources due to overpopulation.

These have been passions of mine for many years. I've become immune, other than anger at their ignorance, to charges from oil company and other corporate stooges, that I'm an extremist global warming crazy treehugging dirt-munching radical environmentalist. I don't eat dirt and I'm allergic to what passes as sane in today's world, so there's not much I can object to, other than the appalling stupidity of some human beings.

But once again, we've met before. The fetus fanatics and I go way back and they haven't made a dent in my belief in a woman's right to choose what happens to her own body. These are also the same kind of people whose heads explode at the very idea that there are many in the world who don't want children, who would rather pass on art, music, literature or some other legacy rather than their genes. They are closely related to those who look at a vast expanse of desert where little could possibly grow or few could live and they claim there's no such thing as too many people on the planet.

When you combine my belief in the right to be child-free by choice, and  also being a proponent of others reducing the rate they in which they reproduce, you know I've been called a lot of things that have nothing to do with either choice. And when you add to the mix my belief that no matter what we've done to our planet, we have an obligation to prevent further damage such as that caused by war, and at least try to get along with one another, then you can understand my reluctance to draw any more negative perceptions toward mine and many other's choices.

And yet, at the same time, I'm committed to fighting against the tyranny by the few. I strongly believe no individual religious group has the right to impose their version of fairy tales upon the rest of the population. Even though I'm an Atheist I'm also an American who was raised with the idea of separation of church and state being one of the things that made us a "civilized" nation, and I very much believe everyone has the right to believe in their own version of truth as long as they don't try and force it on others. I apply this equally to all religions whether they are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Atheist or Pagans dancing naked under a full moon. I also believe if one group is allowed to build a place of worship, then the other groups need to be allowed the same constitutional right to practice their  freedom of religion.

In light of this information, you can understand my dilemma when some crazed maniac turned killer is immediately defined by the media as obsessively and compulsively against overbreeding, and has a history of protesting the effect of too many people on our planet, along with going on about  the devastating effects of consumerism and greed.

I know how our country has become a feeding frenzy waiting to happen on just about any topic that has a drop of political play around it, and I didn't want that to happen to those who saw my calendar as some kind of glorification of an obsessed killer. It's difficult enough to keep the critics from demonizing the Child-Free by Choice as selfish and un-American when the truth is we are nowhere near as selfish as those who bring too many mouths into the world to feed on limited resources, and nationalism always degrades a nation in order to marginalize those who refuse to march in unison, so the charge of un-American is meaningless to those of us who see ourselves in a much more inclusive light.

I made the mistake of asking an acquaintance who has children what she thought I should do. She will never understand how offensive I found her response that I should bag the calendar entirely because "so few people believed in that stuff anyways...." It wasn't any different than hearing and reading about a handful of bigoted morons protesting against a community center that has been demonized into something akin to a terrorist training ground right in the heart of 9/11's ground zero.

So I did the sensible thing and asked those who actually understood what I believe--the Child-Free By Choice mailing list I belong to. The responses I got mentioned several things I was already feeling about the tyranny of the few, and also how the dialogue was very much like the ground zero dialogue. If I didn't publish the calendar, I would in effect, be giving in to the same kind of hysteria around the community center building. And why should we be held accountable for those who believe as we do but are differentiated by a propensity to kill or commit other crimes? They are no more us than abortion clinic bombers represent all Christians, nor do the terrorists who blew up the towers represent the whole of Islam.

Therefore, I decided to publish the calendar because it is a valid counterpoint to the corporate message trying to sell baby products to consumers, and to  the lobbyists who defile our planet by purchasing members of Congress to destroy it for them by proxy to their own masters. My voice, the voices of the Child-Free, the anti-war voices, the protectors of our planet,  the advocates for Zero Population Growth are all equally part of this earth. And we deserve our own calendar.