We The People

This week has been… well, it’s been, hasn’t it? We’ve been confronted with a lot of ugly truths about the United States, and looking them full in the face is necessary if we are ever going to have a chance of surviving as a society.

Biggest truth of this week for me – there is no collective “we the people”. If you look at the voter counts, it is so close to 50-50 in so many areas of the nation. There is no true will of the people at this point. And for those of us who care about other people, that is hard to bear. We haven’t reached the tipping point of the population giving a damn. And we don’t have a whole lot of time left to reach that tipping point.

I know we’re all exhausted. Some have their hopes pinned on a change in the White House being the key to everything,, but it is only a first step. The work is far from done. We need to process, hold people accountable for their actions, hold ourselves accountable for our own, and do what we can in the communities we are a part of. And that looks different for everyone, so don’t compare yourself to others. Just take a moment of quiet reflection every day, and do the best you can with what you have. Rest when you need to. Then pick up the load as soon as you can to drag it a little further. Complacency is a luxury we were never entitled to have.

Crumbs – an election day poem

Crumbs a poem by Kat Micari about our societyI said that I would post this poem every election day until things really changed in this country, and here it is again. Originally from The Little Book of Insurrection or the Poetry of My Discontent. And you can also see me doing a reading of it here.

I know this isn’t a very exciting election cycle nationally, but your vote counts more locally, and it is through making changes on the smaller levels that we can get more change at the higher levels. If you choose to vote, vote for your convictions, not for the almighty dollar or for the corporations. Unless your convictions are to worship said money and corporations, and if so, I might have some questions for you.

I want honesty and integrity and all the muck out in the open. I want civic leaders to be true leaders, examples to the rest of us, and not repugnant filth that I wouldn’t want my children to go near. It shouldn’t be too much to ask. But that’s not how the game is played. My solution, as always, is to change the game.

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.

“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

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

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.

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?

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.

On Unemployment and the Cycle of Poverty

I wanted to share some facts I’ve learned about being on NYS unemployment that I didn’t know before, and since many of you haven’t ever experienced it either and there is still quite a few preconceived notions about people who end up on public assistance, I think spreading this knowledge is important. Because it is very, very easy to be doing everything “right” according to societal standards and still wind up needing help. And if I had lost my job 4 months after having my son, while living month-to-month and completely depleting my savings account while on maternity leave, we could very easily have found ourselves in a very bad situation. Thankfully that isn’t the case for us now, but it could have been.

So, I got my first payout of unemployment last week. My last paycheck was 12/16. It can take 3-6 weeks to get your first payment of unemployment. If you are living paycheck to paycheck, you are already screwed. Beyond feeding yourself and your family, you are already behind on the rent or mortgage for the month which in many cases means a late fee and sometimes means your rent automatically gets increased. There is one unpaid week of unemployment (not sure of the reasoning behind this… just to make sure you realize how bad you’ve got it?) and then once unemployment does kick in, it is substantially less than your paycheck – in my case about 50% gross though I’m not sure if it’s on a sliding scale. And I absolutely get the thinking behind not making it exactly what you were making previously because then it’s potentially rewarding people for getting fired, but still, if you’re living paycheck to paycheck like many people have to do, then you get to start playing the rotate-what-bills-you-can-pay-this-month game, start accruing more late fees, and eventually start getting dinged on your credit score (which can lessen the number of jobs you can get – did you know some places check your credit score before hiring?), and get kicked out of your living situation. And I suppose the theory is that being faced with all this, you will get yourself a job (any job) as soon as you can, so this doesn’t happen.

Well, you have 10 weeks to look for a job in your former field that pays 80% or more of what you were making before, and after that, you have to look for any job you can physically do that pays at least that much. Which means that if you were an office worker or customer service rep (many of whom have some kind of degree beyond high school because you usually need that to get one of those jobs these days) and you hypothetically make between $11 and $12 an hour, if you can’t find a replacement job, you could easily wind up working a minimum wage retail or restaurant job. Not only that, but “reasonable commute” to work is 1 hour by personal vehicle and 1 ½ hour by public transportation, which is understandable in a big metropolitan area (we did it when we were in Los Angeles) but completely ridiculous for any of the upstate NY areas. The distance I can drive in an hour, and being required to put that wear-and-tear on my vehicle for a low paying job is crazy. Someone having to be on a bus and make three transfers to go work at a McDonald’s is crazy. But that is what happens, because a lot of the time, when you get close to running out of unemployment benefits and have no option but to go on public assistance to support yourself and your family, you have to take whatever work you’re handed to keep up the benefits. Your kids are now in a publicly-funded daycare when not at school and you barely see them so thus aren’t really given the opportunity to raise them the way you see fit anymore (not that you’d have the energy at this point anyway), you are commuting almost 3 hours a day, constantly stressed until you just grow numb to it, and the obstacles in your way are growing daily because you will never catch up on the bills. This is one of the ways the cycle of poverty begins and why it can be so difficult to break.

My point being this: whether you are a conservative with a pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps mentality or a liberal that feels intellectually and morally superior or you are a supposedly “woke” individual (and how much I am coming to loathe that word is a separate entry in and of itself) who enjoys putting down those who are still “asleep”, realize that there are many, many people who are doing the best they can, and sometimes doing anything beyond mere survival is impossible because of the systems that are in place. So try empathy before you cast judgement on someone. And don’t separate yourself from the masses. Creating the “other” is what got our society into this mess.