Wednesday, January 12, 2011

On Lighting A Candle And Trying Not To Curse The Darkness

Sarah Palin is a spiritual crack cocaine dealer. She trades in lumps of self-righteous outrage, bags of coded language and dog whistles, and promises the high of pretending to be a persecuted minority while still holding on to the privileges of the majority. She is not the only dealer of this type of course, there were many before her and there will be many after her too. But she's made herself a figurehead of this movement, contributing with a wink and a smile to a toxic environment that's been bubbling and reeking and reached its hideous ends in Tuscon this Saturday.

It's enough to make you feel small, helpless, and scared. It's how I feel right now. But I don't believe it has to be this way. And I don't believe or think it's the natural order of how things are supposed to be either. Hate is not natural. There are many who profit from it and encourage it to cement their power but it's not who we are. I don't know if our default state is to love but I do know it's to do no harm. To look out for one another. You can believe this is divinely inspired. I don't, but whatever it is I've seen too much of the good in people to be able to just sit back and say nothing. I won't let the Spiritual Crack Dealers control and win the argument by default.

And so let's look at anger again. Uncontrolled anger is a poison, but anger can also be a catalyst to action. I like the quote from St. Augustine “Hope has two beautiful daughters: their names are anger and courage. Anger that things are the way they are. Courage to make them the way they ought to be.” And in a world where people will do this and where people will do that I think all of us have in a little something that can make the world a little better. So what do we do with our anger? We use it to resolve to be better, to try a little harder. We don't roar across the countryside like The Furies, but we tell each other the story of The Furies and transform them into something good. And so...

Alecto, The Unceasing, she gnaws like a constant hunger. Quell her with Heifer International, a remarkable group that sends livestock to developing countries to end hunger and build financial independence for its recipients. Buy a share in a sheep, send a swarm of bees, get together with your gaming buddies and see if you can sponsor a water buffalo.

Meagaera, She is the most dangerous for she dwells in petty jealousies and envies. Level the playing field by visiting DonorsChoose and helping out the next generation of leaders, explorers, and teachers. In Arizona alone, help kids paint their stories, make Bill Nye proud by confirming that science rules, and help out a fellow future film geek.

Tisiphone, the Avenger. Strike a blow against mental illness by helping out Pets For Vets. They place rescue dogs with Veterans who are suffering from emotional or physical injuries due to combat. Their success in this is remarkable.

To quote from Angels in America you are all fabulous creatures, so come on, let's make the great work begin.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Sunday's Verse, "A Ritual To Read To Each Other" by William Stafford

If you don't know the kind of person I am
and I don't know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dyke.

And as elephants parade holding each elephant's tail,
but if one wanders the circus won't find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.

And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider--
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.

For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give--yes or no, or maybe--
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Sunday's Verse, "Ozymandias" by Percy Bysshe Shelley

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear --
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away."

Saturday, January 01, 2011