“Lady Liberty and Uncle Sam” A Poem – AKA I Finally Wrote a Thing

I was going to do a post on kindness this week in honor of the preorder for The Kindness Book, but I find myself moved to reblog this poem from last year instead.

I am so disgusted by the current state of affairs and the so-called elite believing they are a class unto themselves and that people in the general population applaud and want to emulate them. We can do better. We can BE better.

Kat Micari

I wrote the following and it was super cathartic to do, but I think I would describe it more as a “piece” rather than a “poem” due to the discordant rhythm and the dialogue involved, but that suits the mood. Hopefully this means my streak has been broken. We’ll have to see.

Lady Liberty and Uncle Sam

Lady Liberty weeps
In the corner on the floor,
Torch extinguished.
Uncle Sam says
“Smile! Don’t you know
You are so much
Prettier
When you smile?
I can’t abide
Your ugliness.”
“Oh Sammy,” Liberty wails,
“Your games have gone
Too far,
And I feel such pain
That smiling is an
Impossibility.”
“You’re too temperamental,”
Uncle Sam replies.
“You let your
Emotions
Get the best of you.
Swallow it down, like me,
Until you are
Numb inside.”
Standing, Liberty shouts.
“No, I won’t allow myself
To become internally
Dead.
Nor will I hide
From…

View original post 139 more words

Humpty Dumpty’s Reign

Humpty Dumpty’s Reign

Humpty Dumpty crowned himself king
He said “It really don’t mean a thing!
Cuz you’ve been serfs for years
So forget all your fears
And keep pretending freedom will ring.”

Humpty Dumpty wanted a wall,
And to get it, he had the actual gall
To shout “Let’s get the ball rollin’!”
And try to use capital stolen
From people who have no will left to stall

Humpty Dumpty spewed out his lies,
Never hearing the people’s painful cries
“It’s as if they’re already dead,
So I’ll ignore the sounds in my head,
And continue to crush them like flies.”

Humpty Dumpty’s fall from grace
Will leave a nation with a big empty space
You can bet the men of power have met
To choose and pull out a new puppet
Thus continuing the system of control apace.

Copyright 2018, Kat Micari

Democracy, An American Novel Review

I just finished reading Democracy, An American Novel by Henry Adams last night, and it was a fascinating read for several reasons. The history behind it’s publications is really interesting. Henry Adams published it in 1880 anonymously, and his publisher didn’t release his authorship until after his death even though the novel became popular.

It deals with the corruption of politicians and lobby groups in Washington D.C., which goes to show you that nothing much has changed over the several centuries of this “great experiment” of a nation, and includes some absolutely delicious quotes like “…a government of the people, by the people, for the Senate…” and “No representative government can long be much better or much worse than the society it represents. Purify society and you purify government.”. It gives some remarkable insight into both the male and female positions in society during the 19th century, and those who were “in” society and those who were not. You can read the Wikipedia entry here and get the book for free over at Project Gutenberg (both of which take donations and if you have a few bucks to spare at the end of the year, I would suggest either as worthy causes since they are the depository of so much free information).

I got two very big things out of this book for myself. Firstly, the main suitor of our heroine, a Senator Ratcliffe, honestly thinks he is behaving the only way he can in the corrupt world of politics, and he also honestly thinks he loves the widow Mrs. Lee as far as any self-serving narcissist can, and Henry Adams neither makes apologies nor condones his (or any other character’s for that matter) behavior during the course of the book. Ratcliffe operates in the only way he knows how to operate in the only game he knows how to play, even though it is repugnant and reprehensible in many ways. Apply this to a lot of the people who are not only allowing evil to operate in this world but encouraging it because it allows them to feel some semblance of power and privilege to do so. Many of them don’t know better. It doesn’t excuse the behavior, nor should the general population allow such behavior to happen, but knowing that they don’t know better provides us common folk with some clues on how to correct the problems, if enough of us ever stand up and start trying to. Secondly, Mrs. Lee almost gets trapped in a kind of savior complex in trying to “save” Ratcliffe from his lower instincts and thus help influence a change in the overall machinations of D.C., but she realizes that this wouldn’t happen and it would be her character that would change and be destroyed in the filth of the political atmosphere, a kind of textbook narcissist/empath relationship played out on a grander scale. This is important for those of us who do want to change things to keep in mind as we go about our work.

Some might read this novel and despair at the impossibility of real change ever happening, considering the distance between then and now and yet the similarities in corruption. But I really do feel like this period of time we’re in now is a necessary purging. We can’t hide from the filth anymore, nor should we, so our options now are to drown in it or to clean it up, personally and collectively.

Anyway, a random but timely quick read, and I recommend this book if you like witty, sarcastic 19th century literature.

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!

IMAG0031

Getting Involved

I have a lot of transition going on in my life yet again, but it is important to me to start taking more action in the world. So, I am going to tell you what I’m doing in hopes that it may inspire you to do something as well, and if you have any suggestions for improvements on my end, please feel free to suggest!

  1. Inspired by my friend Shing Khor, I will be hosting a political write-in get-together early in March. Date still undecided because I am waiting for postcards from her (she made this Lady Liberty movement),  I am going to create this weekend and print a small run of postcards from my America Lost illustration below, and I’ve contacted a friend of mine to potentially use a piece of her art to create a science or educationally-minded postcard.
    America Lost

    Copyright 2013, Kat Micari

    It will be open house style with snacks and beverages, and I’ll have a list of government officials with addresses and suggestions of different topics for people to write about. My hope is to include stamps for people too, and I may put out a tip jar to help cover postage but we’ll see.

  2. I’ll be making the postcard file available for free download for everyone, so look for that here early next week! And use it how you will.
  3. I contacted a local organization that works with victims of domestic abuse to potentially do a hand sewing workshop monthly or so. If they’re interested, I’ll start with them, and if not, I’ll contact other organizations of at-risk populations. Hand sewing is an important life skill for people to have and something I can easily teach and make not scary. If the first organization goes well, I’ll add more as I feel I can handle it. Even if they don’t have money to reimburse me, contributing a handful of dollar store sewing kits and using my own muslin supply for the samplers won’t cost me more than $20 a workshop, and I can definitely afford that once a month or so.
  4. I am going to start a monthly “sketch/art” meet up at my house of mine and my husband’s creative and creatively-blocked friends. People will bring sketchbooks or whatever they’re working on, and we’ll sit and hang out and play. And hopefully brainstorm ideas to creatively get things going in the wider community. As an added benefit, it will force us to keep the house clean enough for people to come over every month.
  5. I have started to ask really difficult questions or make suggestions to get people thinking. And then I let them respond to me and I’ve gotten some really well-thought responses. I don’t argue with them, though I could, because I’m really trying to get their gears going mentally. My plan is to step up the questions slowly.
  6. My husband and I are trying to become more sustainable and self-sufficient, and I will be talking more openly about that rather than hiding it because I don’t want people to feel bad. We’ve started composting this week, and my husband has started taking notes for the first veggies and herbs we’re going to attempt to grow. My reverse osmosis water filter has been installed finally by my husband and the water is delicious (no chlorine! no fluoride! and if something like Flint MI happens here, we’ll be set!). And I am going to be making reusable facial wipes instead of using cotton balls/wipes thanks to a post suggesting it from a friend of mine. We already cloth diaper and use cloth wipes, and I switched to handkerchiefs years ago (though apparently used tissues are good to go in the compost heap). Not a perfect system yet, but baby steps are better than no steps at all. Why talk about this more? Because sometimes the most revolutionary thing you can do is be healthy in body and mind so you have the strength and stamina to fight the good fight, and not enough people connect those dots yet.

So that’s where I’m at. Since I’m starting the new job and still taking care of baby, this feels like what I can handle at the moment. As I get a rhythm going in my work/parenting/creative schedule, I’ll try to add some more community-based actions. But this feels like a good starting point for me.

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.

“I don’t want to live in my father’s house no more…”

The lyrics to Arcade Fire’s Windowsill have spoken to me since hearing the album Neon Bible for the first time years ago. Actually, that whole album is thought-provoking in many ways. But it was this song that came to my mind waking up after the election in the United States last month.

I’ve always been a floater socially. I know that’s a jump in topics, but stick with me because there is a point. In high school, I had friends and acquaintances in a lot of different groups, without truly belonging to any one group. It made me feel both alienated in some ways and free in others, because I never concerned myself with dressing or acting a certain way to fit in. And for someone getting over the scars of being bullied in the years leading up to high school, it felt safer to not dig in too deep anywhere. Sure, there were feelings of isolation sometimes, of never fitting in, of loneliness, but I was also given the opportunity to notice the similarities between individuals in different groups. We all struggle for the same things in life, and we’re all struggling for them alongside each other. And it would be far easier if we reached out a hand to help each other rather than hope that an entire group of people ceases to exist. That way leads to disaster for everyone.

I’m not entirely sure what the answer is. How can you help heal cognitive dissonance in a massive number of people? How do you help them to realize how much they are manipulated by various systems in such a way that doesn’t alienate them? It seems a herculean task, but a necessary one.

So despite my initial response, I am not leaving “my father’s house”, either physically or mentally. I intend to remain and do the work needed to build the society we could be living in. I intend to engage as much as possible with this time we find ourselves in. As part of that, I will start to blog about some ideas I have but don’t really have the knowledge to implement, and maybe some of you will be able to chime in, and maybe ideas can become realities.

Here are the full lyrics. Gives me goosebumps to read them.

I don’t wanna hear the noises on tv
I don’t want the salesmen coming after me
I don’t wanna live in my father’s house no more
I don’t want it faster, I don’t want it free
I don’t wanna show you what they done to me
I don’t wanna live in my father’s house no more
I don’t wanna choose black or blue
I don’t wanna see what they done to you
I don’t wanna live in my father’s house no more
Because the tide is high
And it’s rising still
And I don’t wanna see it at my windowsill
Don’t wanna give ’em my name and address
Don’t wanna see what happens next
Don’t wanna live in my father’s house no more
Don’t wanna live with my father’s debt
You can’t forgive what you can’t forget
Don’t wanna live in my father’s house no more
Don’t wanna fight in a holy war
Don’t want the salesmen knocking at my door
I don’t wanna live in america no more
Because the tide is high
And it’s rising still
And I don’t wanna see it at my windowsill
I don’t wanna see it at my windowsill
I don’t wanna see it at my windowsill
I don’t wanna see it at my windowsill
Mtv, what have you done to me?
Save my soul, set me free!
Set me free! what have you done to me?
I can’t breathe! I can’t see!
World war iii
When are you coming for me?
Been kicking up sparks
We set the flames free
The windows are locked now
So what’ll it be?
A house on fire, a rising sea?
Why is the night so still?
Why did I take the pill?
Because I don’t wanna see it at my windowsill!

Windowsill from Neon Bible
By Arcade Fire

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.

We All Bleed Red – A Poem

We all bleed red.
No matter your politics,
Your net worth,
Your religion,
Your sex,
Or the color of your skin.
Whether just or unjust,
Right or wrong,
Kind or cruel,
Full of love or hate,
The bleeding is the same.
Heart-wounds pulsing
And pouring from us.
The blood flow steady as it streams.
Torn flesh, broken bones.
Bruises and abrasions.
Until life’s breath ebbs away
For each and every one.

Copyright 2014, Kat Micari

Reposting this in response to the ugly politics all ready happening in this country. It’s really disheartening.