Supporting the Insufferable – The Choice is Ours

I am disgusted by U.S. politics as we go into the election year, and the debacle of the impeachment hearings. So much so, that I just haven’t been able to talk much about it. And yet, I find myself thinking of a few personal incidents that have happened at home in my reading choices and drawing some parallels to the larger stage.

A while back, when we finally unpacked all of our books that had been in storage for years, I thought about rereading The Mists of Avalon, a book I had picked up at a used bookstore when I was in undergrad along with The Firebrand and had read both one time through and had picked up the sequal to Mists at the library. Truth be told, I was less than enthralled with the writing style, and I felt a vague discomfort reading some of the scenes. But I remembered how much some people cherished the books and Marion Zimmer Bradley, so I was ready 15 years later to give the books another try. Until I read up on the allegations her children made against her, and I had to come to terms with how I felt. And I decided to donate the books to my local thrift store, because while I couldn’t bring myself to destroy a book, I also did not want them on my shelves any more. My husband, more recently, learned about an author that he grew up reading, David Eddings, being jailed for child abuse for a year, seemingly unapologetic about it afterwards. As my husband was in the middle of rereading The Belgariad, he had to think long and hard about whether to continue or not. In the end, he did decide to keep the books and keep reading, in part I think because the specifics of the case aren’t readily available.

Apply this to all that has become apparent in both entertainment and politics. We, as consumers of both in this capitalist nation of ours, need to exercise our responsibilities more. We need to think critically about our choices. It cannot be about creating a cult around someone and following them forever. It cannot be about pouring our hard-earned dollars away to a horrible human being, no matter how talented or how much they appeal to you. The ends can no longer justify the means because that is not how we the people survive in the long run. One of the few ways we can exercise our freedom in this society is by choosing what we pay attention to, what we give our time to, what we spend our money on. We have choices, and we have to wake up to what those choices actually entail.

I don’t know how many political posts I will be making this election cycle. It’s hard not to get discouraged. We co-create our reality, and it seems like so many are still willingly to limit themselves to mere existence instead of actually living, and as long as their “team” wins, nothing else matters, not even how dead and numb they are inside. It is really sad. I maintain hope for the future, for my children. I try to remember that growing pains are really, really hard and painful, but I’m also anxious for the next stage to come to pass. I’m not sure I will get to see it in my lifetime though.

Guns as a defense from tyranny – where have you been?

The latest slew of violent attacks in the United States have left me reeling. And when all other arguments against proper licensing of guns and limitations on the purchase of certain ammo or models have failed against statistical facts, the big argument is that guns are important to defend against the tyranny of our own government.

This is an argument that I can actually understand the feeling and intent behind, but my question then is – where have you been? What level of tyranny do we need to be at for action to be necessary? Where were the armed protests against the passing of the unconstitutional Patriot Act? Where are the militias marching to free children from cages? Where are the armed patriots in defense of their neighbors who protest injustices to uphold their rights to protest and make sure police or private security think twice about using tear gas and water cannons or that opposers don’t drive through their lines with vehicles? Why hasn’t any pro-gun groups or individuals addressed the illegal operations of ICE and the TSA and the ever increasingly militarized police forces present in our nation?  What is the line that needs to be crossed by a controlling government for action to be taken? Because my suspicion is that the guns are really to defend your material goods from your fellow neighbors, and as long as you can pretend that tyranny never personally reaches your door (which is a gross misunderstanding of the world you are operating in), you are fine with things the way they are and in fact, frequently support those who are upholding the government and the status quo.

The way I see it, if you have knowledge, you take on responsibilities with that knowledge. It’s like being a doctor or getting certified in first aid – you then become responsible for stopping and helping in a situation, even if it puts you at certain legal or physical risks. Rights come with responsibilities for both yourself and others, and that includes gun rights. And as with so many other rights, too few understand that basic reality).

Don’t misunderstand me, I do not condone violence and death as a means of change. I value the potential of every human life to ever think of anyone as “collateral damage”. And I know that change reached via violence will never be a permanent change. But there is a lot hypocrisy in considering yourself a patriot and really just wanting your toys and the privacy to do with them what you want. So take some time to really question your motives.

We do live in dangerous times. We have willingly sacrificed much of our freedoms for the illusion of safety. We the people are angry, disconnected, isolated, sick from leading lives we should not be leading in order to survive in a damaged society. But when the building is on fire, the solution isn’t to keep throwing lighted matches at the house. And our society is essentially on fire right now.

I want a world of freedom. I want humanity to reach the point of true self-governance, where every heart and soul and mind is activated and recognizes the principle of being both individual and collective. That we don’t need to live in our fight or flight mode. But we are so far from that point right now, and there are so many systems in place that need to be dismantled to let us reach our true potential. That is where the fight needs to start.

The Value of Love, a poem by Kat Micari

Gold glitter shining in the light

The Value of Love

 

The only path

To freedom

Is being other than

Myself.

But after the charade,

I’ll enslave myself anew,

Willingly.

A golden chain

For my pound of flesh

To wear proudly.

Giving myself,

False and true,

To one who doesn’t know

The value of the heart.

And for this I will be

Applauded and admired.

But will I ever be able

To hold myself in esteem?

 

Copyright 2019, Kat Micari

Inspired by Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice

We Are Responsible

We humans have such power potential within us, but so many are unwilling to stand up and take that power. So many would rather allow other people and situations control us, because they fear taking responsibility for themselves. But you can’t run from that responsibility. It exists. It sits heavy, but shirking the load will only eventually crush you under the weight of it all.

I feel sad that so many people still are looking for a literal savior (whether that be a system or an individual) to sweep in and fix things, not realizing that until a great enough section of the population fixes the internal issues, the external ones are never going to change.

Standing in your own power can absolutely be terrifying at first. It means questioning the very foundations of your ego, it means being willing to wield the flame even at the risk of being burned by it. But it is so worthwhile.

I’m kind of rambling here, but I see so much going on. We’re going through some major growing pains as a species, and we can either be creators of our futures or we can get dragged kicking and screaming into a future not of our making and not for our well-being. But so many aren’t willing to do the necessary work. It’s really difficult to witness sometimes.

An Ode to Net Neutrality

Farewell,
Oh fickle friend,
Who imparted both knowledge
And filth
And started many a rabbit hole of
Wasted time
Over the years.

The meager mewling of many
Claim that those
Who lament your loss
Regret potentially
Paying more for
Pornography and
The chance to
‘Netflix and chill’.
They want the whining
To stop on this
So they can get back to their
Premium cable and satellite packages
To consume their own
Method of escape.

But without you,
We live with more
Government and
Corporate control
(And how sad
There are those who still deny
These are one and
The same).

You dissent?
It will be monitored
And buried.
You sell small?
You will not be able to
Compete
No matter the product.
You want a variety of sources?
Equality of the classes
On the world wide web?
Do you think that the
Overlords will give
That to their slaves?

There is no government
Of the people.
It is a farce and
Has been for
A very long time.

So farewell,
Net Neutrality.
You’ve been a friend
But it’s time for our
True status
As a people
To come to light.
It didn’t have to be
Like this,
But it seems
We don’t get to keep
Anything nice
These days.

May your death
Not be
In vain.

Copyright 2017, Kat Micari

You Should Not Sacrifice Principles for a Paycheck

This whole ‘take a knee’ movement and the backlash it’s created has presented some fairly alarming popular viewpoints (one being that professional sports actually matters in the big scheme of things, amirite?), but the one I want to address is this argument put forth that because these athletes are paid a certain amount of money, they should shut up and perform the job that they are paid to do and that’s it. The same argument went around when the Hamilton actors spoke out on Broadway, and I’ve heard the argument made for other performers that have used their fame to push a particular viewpoint or platform that they believed in. Basically, anyone who is in the public eye for a particular talent needs to completely separate themselves from their persona, whatever that may be.

Thinking about this, I think it’s because so many of the common folk either deliberately or instinctively do this at their place of employment, and when they finally sit down to watch the ol’ game or listen to music or attend the theater, they want 1) to just escape and not be forced to think and 2) to not allow anyone else privileges of speaking their mind when they themselves are unable to do so at the risk of being fired. If they are good little cogs in the machine, so should the entertainment class.

But this is so wrong. You should have principles that matter more to you than your job, that if someone wanted to you be immoral or to turn a blind eye, you would not be willing to do so for the sake of a paycheck. But we do because we fear – we fear consequences, we fear poverty, we fear the machine we support breaking down even knowing that eventually this machine will consume us. And then when other people don’t allow their fear to hold them back, that makes us uncomfortable, so we try to shout them down. And thus we place our own chains of servitude around our own necks, and we try to pretend those chains don’t exist, and we try to trap those who would escape. It’s really sad.

So, if you find yourself being uncomfortable reading this, really ask yourself what your principles are. If you aren’t willing to defend them, you need to find some better ones probably. We have so much amazing potential as a species if we just let the fear and pettiness go.

State Constitutions – do you know yours?

I was inspired a few weeks ago by a podcast that had someone elucidating the rights spelled out in the PA State Constitution, which has inspired me to slowly work my way through the NYS one. Because while I’ve read the US constitution in government class, I’ve never looked at the states before, and I have the feeling that those may be more important in days to come.

The history of the NYS constitution is interesting. It’s been amended and even re-written a couple of times. And a vote is coming up this year on whether to call another constitutional convention.

I’ve finished Section 1, and I have several tidbits I want to bring up and discuss, and I think I’m going to use Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook to do it because I really don’t use those platforms aside from sharing my blog links when I update. I’ll go in order, but I’ll pull one positive one out for today.

[Freedom of speech and press; criminal prosecutions for libel] §8. Every citizen may freely speak, write and publish his or her sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right;

NYS constitution Section 1, Article 8

Bam! Freedom of speech protected but you are also FULLY responsible for what issues out of your brain. More people need to understand this, at every level of society. Maybe especially the politicians.

Now I really would prefer we live in a truly self-governed society and that humanity was evolved enough to be able to live in this way, but until that happens, it’s important to know what we’re working with. There is already some verbiage in the first section that made me raise my eyebrows a bit.

Do you know what your state constitutions or even local community charters look like? Do you know what rights of yours may be being infringed upon either legally or illegally? Do you care?

Freedom’s Just Another Word…

I came across this quote recently from the author David Foster Wallace that I thought was interesting, because it’s the exact opposite of what most people think of when they imagine freedom.

The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day.

The truth is I have found more internal freedom than I ever thought possible through having my kids. I’ve grown so much in making space that includes family and deep soul connections in my life. I’ve lost fear. Which is the biggest freedom there is. So even though I can’t go out partying if I get the urge, even though I can’t blow my paycheck on concert tickets and new clothes, even though I frequently put another person’s needs before my own needs and almost always put someone else’s needs before my wants, I am free or on my way to being free in the ways that truly matter.  Sometimes, though, I very badly need the reminder, and so this quote hit home.

What are your thoughts on freedom?

Also, the title of the blog post comes from the Janis Joplin song “Me and Bobby McGee” which I’ve always loved singing along to.

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.