Doctor Dragged from United Flight And the Greater Metaphor

There is the shocking footage currently circulating of the doctor that was dragged from a United Airlines flight due to overbooking. You can see the New York Times article here. And people filmed it, people verbally protested the man being dragged, but not one person moved to intervene. And following the incident, everyone, including the doctor, got back on the flight. This boggles my mind, because I would not go anywhere with that particular crew given that they clearly showed what they truly think of the passengers.

For me, I immediately imagined myself in that situation, or being at home and watching my neighbors be violently dragged away by “the authorities” for no reason whatsoever. And I honestly don’t know. One person against several are not decent odds. But an entire plane-full? Why didn’t they collectively demand a different crew, demand their money, demand for lawyers to be brought to the airport? It didn’t have to be a violent uprising, but some kind of uprising would be more respectful. We’ve been treated like livestock by the plane industry for years, but this really surprised me. Yet another sign of how complacent we’ve all become.

So here we stand, on the brink of yet another unjust war fought over oil on a foreign field that we helped set the stage for, that the powers that be have been manipulating and trying to accomplish for years. And we may loudly protest what will come, but will any of us actually try to stop them? Will we stop giving our power over? I don’t know.

Liberty for All – A Poem

What have we done to Fellowship?
Where’s the love for our fellow man?
The insular lives we now lead
Means that we don’t do all we can
No more living the Golden Rule
Each for theirself, so weak, so small!
No help for your neighbors, nor hope!
It’s one for one, not one for all.

Can we e’er find Equality?
So elusive, it seems to hide.
It’s us verses them ev’ry day.
To walk this path, always deride.
Rather judge a person theirself
By thoughts, actions, and their deeds.
Instead of what we still look at:
Gender, race, sexuality, and creed.

Whence has flown great Intelligence?
Where have our brilliant minds all gone?
No more knowledge for its own sake,
The focus is on rich gains alone.
The latest big consumer toy
Or vanity pills down our throats
Learning reviled, hated, in vain.
Party lines are our only quotes.

How can we now achieve Justice?
That lovely and resilient song?
Impartial code for all to see.
Two rights can never make a wrong.
No more destruction or violence.
Each working to remove that stain.
Natural rights for ev’ryone.
The end of strife and futile pain.

Who knows how to speak out the Truth?
Unbiased and clear as a bell.
And could we even recognize?
We may not know and dare not tell.
It still is there for us to hear.
All it takes is for us to start.
The clarion sound can ring out loud
If we carry it in the heart.

Who now remembers Liberty?
To get it, will you make a stand?
Rights and responsibility,
Alway together, hand in hand.
Never yet in our history
Have we seen this, but let’s begin.
To grow beyond our current fate,
Search the mirror, dive deep within.

Copyright 2017, Kat Micari

Postcards

I got my postcards for my gathering this weekend. I invited over 100 people to stop by and am guessing I will get between 10 and 20. But that’s how it goes. You can only do so much to get people active, and hopefully even if people are too busy or are sick of politics, getting the invite will get them thinking a little.

I hope I get some surprise guests and have to run out for more snacks. But I am excited to see everyone who has said they are coming and look forward to talking social issues and real solutions beyond begging for proper treatment from our current crop of so-called leaders.

But look how pretty!

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America Image – Creative Commons License

postcard-front

Here is the redone illustration created for postcard size. I am granting this a CC-BY licensing, so if you want to print out your own postcards or flyers or use this for what you will, have at it.

My postcards will be ordered tonight for my Write-to-a-politician gathering. My friend who is an artist AND a scientist has created a science-friendly postcard that I will be printing as well, and I hope to get a good turnout when I schedule this event (probably early March by the time things ship). And my suggestion of a workshop at our local domestic abuse shelter got positive feedback and has been forward to the pertinent person in the organization, so my efforts for getting involved are progressing.

My new job got pushed back a week due to complications in the life of the shop owner. I am getting a little nervous but glad to have an extra week at home with the baby and take advantage of the extra time to get some smaller projects done. Life is what it is, right?

Do the Right Thing, Always

“Do the right thing, always”. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. It was one of the core values at the office job I had on my last break from the theater world, and it is a value I have always felt (though sometimes fallen short of). But it is one we should all be striving for.
 
“Do the right thing, always” – Not “Do the right thing when convenient”. Not “Do the right thing because I’m afraid of what will happen if I don’t.” Not “Do the right thing when someone else is watching”. Not “Do the right thing because the higher power I worship is telling me to.” Not “Do the right thing when it also serves my financial interest.” Not “Do the right thing for me and mine and screw everyone else.” But “Do the right thing, always” because it is the right thing, and it is done for the sake of itself.
 
I think it is so important that as many of us as possible carry this value in our hearts and live it every chance we get. That we take action in our world out of rightness – at home, at work, with our families and neighbors and community. That we start supporting celebrities and businesses that follow this core value rather than excusing and admiring bad behavior. That we hold all of our so-called leaders and civil servants to this level and demand they play by a strict code of ethics. But it starts with individuals. It starts with us. Because it is only by standing and taking action through rightness, even in the face of adversary, that we will get through this. It isn’t easy and it isn’t comfortable, but it is absolutely necessary. Are you ready?
In the interests of being honest, I posted the above word-for-word on my personal Facebook page, too. I felt it was important to share both places.

America, Home of the Free?

I haven’t posted very much about the new political and social climate here in the States. In part, I try to avoid saying our new president’s name as much as possible. But honestly, I am having a hard time getting angry.

See, I’ve been angry for years. Since a young teen really, so it’s been a couple of decades at this point. I have been spouting off about the dangers we were heading toward for a very long time. And now that we’re here, all I can do is feel sad. Sad that we allowed this to happen because of our complacency. Sad that so many people are suffering. Sad that so many still don’t understand that we are all culpable for the actions that those in power take and have taken because we fueled the beast with our sweat and our dollars, and in fact we still are doing it even as we fight it. We handed over our power and said “take care of it all for me” and then stuck our fingers in our ear and were surprised by the results of our actions. We are reaping what we sowed, and our parents sowed, and so on even back to the founders of this great experiment of a nation. Which is why I snicker when people want to go back to the “good ol’ days”. But that’s a tangent so never mind.Not that I am into saying “I told you so”. I just feel on the outside of a lot of what is going on because I’m not angry or grieving or surprised. I find myself in Observer mode, giving people room to feel anger and grief, trying to help others process when I can, to encourage others to take their feelings and turn them into actions, to take action myself in small ways that never feel like enough.

I still find myself feeling hopeful that we can build momentum and make a big leap forward as a society, even as a species, but I know it could go either way, and that every leap forward comes at a steep cost. I don’t worry so much for myself but for my children. What kind of opportunities will they have? Can we fix enough? Will more people in their age group understand basic truths about the way the Universe operates and that no one in this world has to suffer unnecessarily? And is our having to deal with the craziness that is happening right now the impetus necessary to get us to a brighter future? I have to believe that possibility exists so I can go about my day and be present for my children.

In the midst of everything going on, I want to remind all of you that sometimes the most revolutionary thing you can do is to take care of yourself body and mind. Keep yourself toned and sharp. You owe it to yourself and your loved ones not to be complacent, to be ready to fight and win in a war of words with Truth over opinion, with Love over fear. And you should be ready to defend yourself and others physically if it comes down to that and to even run if it really comes down to that as well. The times are uncertain, but the future is still not set in stone.

An Election Day Poem

I said I would post this poem every election day until things change. This year, the United States election climate got especially ugly. We fall so easily into the traps held open for us.

Crumbs

We squabble over crumbs on the floor

While the big pile of money… oops… food

Sits on the table just out of reach.

We eat self-help slogans

Never acknowledging that this game

Of life is rigged against us.

Slogans offer little sustenance.

We dance as the puppet masters

Pull the strings.

We follow the magicians’

Sleight of hand

And allow ourselves to be astounded

With their misdirection.

We obsess with details

Refusing to ever see the big picture.

And we are amazed that we remain

Forever hungry.

 

Copyright 2013, Kat Micari

From The Little Book of Insurrection or the Poetry of My Discontent

 

The Spin, a poem

plugged_in

 

The bile fills my gorge

As round and round we go

The pictures flash and burn

As round and round we go

 

Loathing and disgust

At the ten second clip

Empathy to last

’Til only the next blip

 

Push it down our throats

As round and round we go

No need to really know

As round and round we go

 

Integrity is flushed

Sensationalism’s in

To flounder during sweeps

Is the absolute worst sin

 

They’re selling us the news

As round and round we go

Can we ever learn

As round and round we go?

 

Poem copyright 2007, Illustration copyright 2013 – Kat Micari
Both found in The Little Book of Insurrection or The Poetry of My Discontent

I’m feeling this poem so much this week that I had to share it. There are discussions I want to have with people, things I want to say that would wake them up to this, but people are caught up in a riptide of emotion, many rightfully so. So I stay silent, and listen, and experience their pain with them and offer support where I can, which is all I can do at this point. And then use that energy to create as best I can so it gets processed into something constructive at least.

Part of me would love to update this poem as well. I glibly included the stanza on “sweeps week”, but the spin goes beyond just trying to hustle and make money. It really is a tool for control.

Some Thoughts On “Democracy Incorporated”

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I finished reading “Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism” by  the now deceased Sheldon S. Wolin. It is written as a series of thoughtful essays, and it provided me with some new thoughts and facts to chew over. If you actually think America is still (or ever really was) a democracy, then I highly recommend reading this book with wide open eyes. It may help you start questioning our modern lives with a little bit more scrutiny. The notion of inverted totalitarianism is an apt describer of our current state, I think.

However, I don’t think the author went far enough. He points out the problems without really looking into the mechanics or offering any concrete solutions. He is almost an apologist for the Democratic party, effectually laying the evil, power-hungry blame on the Republican elite while claiming the Democrats were merely weak and ineffectual, and almost willfully ignoring the Clinton years (there was maybe one paragraph in the entire book). To ignore the fact that the ruling elite has it’s fingers in both parties is perilous to enacting any real change. And I don’t know if he really kept his blinders on and believed that if only the Democrats were stronger, everything would’ve turned out different, or if it was a deliberate attempt on his part.

Anyway, again, the book is still relevant today, and I would have been interested to know Sheldon’s true thoughts of the years he lived during Obama’s administration. He’s someone I would have loved to have drinks with and really probe his mind.

A New Theoretical Idea of Governance

My post a couple of weeks ago remarking on Justice Scalia’s passing and politics as usual here in the states brought to my mind again my tongue-in-cheek belief that if a person actually wants to be a career politician, he or she should automatically be banned from running for political office. Because clearly if you WANT to make your career in such a dirty cesspool, there is something at least a little wrong with you. And thinking about that reminded me of a notion I put forth on my Facebook feed many years ago that was immediately shot down by several people. Maybe you’ll all shoot it down too, but follow me down the rabbit hole and really think about this rather than giving it a knee-jerk response.

My idea is that we set up our society to be governed on a lottery system. There would be some kind of computer or machine built that would randomly select people for every office from local to federal level that we’d of course have to figure out a way to make incorruptible. We could keep the age and citizenship restrictions that exist, if we want, but basically when a person comes of age, they automatically get entered into the lottery. You serve one term if selected at whatever level, and then you are INELIGIBLE for ten years following your service so you can actually live and experience real life, thus giving you something to draw on should you be selected again ten years later. Maybe we would make it so that no one can serve the same office twice. Of course, any candidate would have to pass a drug and sobriety test (and I kind of feel like our current lawmakers should take one every time they go into work anyway) and a mental evaluation as we wouldn’t want anyone with dementia or severe mental health issues making decisions that effect so many. We’d probably want to make sure they can speak and understand English at a high level as that is our primary language. So there would be some vetting process, but for the most part, the playing field is leveled.

I can already sense some of you recoiling away from this. But Kat, we can’t risk the redneck hillbillies being in political office, or an inner city drug dealer, or a hooker. We can’t risk being the laughing stock of the world. And to that last part I would say – ummm… too late. Really, do you still delude yourself that America is admired by the rest of the world and has any kind of reputation to protect other than that of top bully in the schoolyard? But seriously, if anything has been taught to us in recent decades is that intelligence and ethics are no longer admired traits nor are they requirements to hold any positions of power, who are we kidding here? And if the veneer of “rich white man” really makes a difference to you, you need to examine your priorities in life. I acknowledge that switching to a society set up in this way is terrifying, but it is also exhilarating to consider. Just stick with me and imagine this post-transition. True equality. A land where you don’t just say “any kid can grow up to be president of the United States” as a bland statement but where it’s a very real possibility. Every citizen knowing that they could be called on at any time to serve a term of office. No more political parties polarizing the people. And the notion of an unwed single mother serving as governor of New York or an atheist President serving with a Born-Again Christian VP is fascinating to consider.

What would be the changes on a societal level? Well, first we would fix up our health and education systems VERY quickly. We’d have to as we couldn’t risk someone who has a 2nd grade reading level as an adult or someone who has easily preventable health issues make us look bad. I think that we’d also make sure that our education included more civics courses, that ethics play an important part at every level, and that every citizen could learn how to form their own opinions and then back up those opinions with facts, in an ideal version of this. Housing needs would be met, because again, who would want the embarrassment of a political leader that was a homeless veteran and would be potentially returning to that life after he served office? In brief, I think a lot of our current issues that get frequently sideswept would get the focus they need and get taken care of.

And what changes would we have on an individual level? Really picture this part in your head. How would you feel growing up knowing that at any moment of your adult life, you could be called to serve a term of office? And if brought to a high enough level, that your entire life history would be brought to the attention of the world? Would you have thought twice about some of the choices you made (and maybe are still currently making)? I think having both that right and that responsibility to be an active participant in government would bring about a lot of positive changes for children growing up under them, but might make many in our current society crack under the pressure. I have to wonder, though, if we would run into the same issues with this that we do currently when people are called for jury duty. I can remember being vetted for a jury case and a veeeeery important businessman started shouting for the plaintiff to die, that he was scum and deserved it, just to get kicked out sooner rather than later. Under this system, would someone take crack just to get out of serving a term? Or pretend to be certifiably insane?

Please note: this is just a theory I’ve kicked around. I’m in no way saying “let’s go out and do this tomorrow!” But imagining a society and a government built like this in the future is intriguing, and it helps me better see the many flaws that exist in our corporate oligarchy that we have today. Maybe it will help you do the same.