Poem : Desecration 

A blast 

Will blow out all the things 

That slowly built  

Nuclear power 

And mushroom clouds 

Wiping all life

That roamed before 

Who is left in the rubble ?

Buried beneath the layers

What recognizable form?

Or is there none —

Only the echo

Shell and bones 

The spirit lost

In the upward spiral

Of the desecration 


Wise Words

“Language informs behavior.”

This was a quote I heard recently on a local public radio station as stated by Dottie Morris, the Chief Officer of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs At KSC.  This was in reference to two local ‘officials’ (one a police chief and one a politician) making racial remarks in public. One was overheard in a private conversation in a public place, which sparked much public debate about his first amendment right to freedom of speech.

Living in a small New England state that prides itself in freedom of all sorts it didn’t surprise me that, while people might not like what this man said, they felt he had the right to say it. So they called in to this local talk show and said so. Emphatically.

But when Ms. Morris said these three simple words: language informs behavior, I stood dead still in my kitchen. There were no more words needed to say, although the show had about 45 minutes still to air. I didn’t have to listen to much else after those words because she was so right.

Someone who says degrading, derogatory and prejudicial remarks would not ever be someone whose behavior you would expect to be anything but superior, mean and discriminatory. Certainly no-one should act these ways, but to have our public figures represented by these attributes is disgraceful!

She went on to explain that these behaviors will lead them to create or vote for certain legislation or profile people and even treat their constituents/community members differently. And this is unacceptable. We don’t even need to discuss the police issue as its rampant in the news. Sadly, an incident like this only supports the public’s outcry.

So there is no excuse. If words are coming out of someone’s mouth, in a public place or private, and they are clearly negative towards another race, sex, orientation or whatever, then obviously that person’s heart and soul feel a certain way. There is no convincing me otherwise! Oh ‘it’s just a joke’ is bologna!

Remember the wise words…when it comes to anything really: LANGUAGE INFORMS BEHAVIOR

And watch (and think) about what you say.

A Thanksgiving Perspective

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As we near Thanksgiving I was ruminating on the President’s speech on immigration last night. I don’t like to get too political here on my blog, but I feel compelled to share a few thoughts.

First, I have to say (and which will possibly surprise or annoy some), Thanksgiving is my least favorite holiday. My feelings are based on a few reasons: it bothers me that we pick a ‘day’ to be thankful when it feels to me that so many of us don’t feel thankful much of the time (just listen to people around you); people overeat and stuff themselves on this day when so many in this country and others are starving and we continue to be so wasteful with food in this country–not to mention how unhealthy we are around food in this country; and finally the origins of this holiday seem profoundly hypocritical to me given the suffering of the Native Americans in this country today. These are my feelings, so I often spend it working, alone and/or fasting. Plus as one maitre de at a restaurant once said: Thanksgiving is a rather tragic holiday for a vegetarian. (Now I’m a vegan and gluten-free!! )

So here we are in 2014 with an immigration war raging again. It’s not the first time the politicians have fought this battle, and it’s far from over. But I thought about this war, and I thought about Thanksgiving. And I thought about those Pilgrims and the first steps they took on this land when they emigrated here. How they had hopes and dreams for a better life. How they had suffered dreadful seas and weather and lost friends,  family and left the homes they knew. They did it because they had a glimmer that maybe they could have something new, forge new fields and build a new, freer government.

They were met by strangers when they set down. Those immigrants who put their feet on this land, not their land, but the land of other caretakers who had lived here for centuries and followed the way of earth. They came in droves after and pushed the natives back. Killed the animals and brought theirs. Cut down the trees and planted their crops. Brought disease and alcohol. More immigrants came from other lands and this nation of ours grew and grew. Cities flew up. Pollution filled the skies. Cars filled the streets. The natives were placed on small tracks of lands and were told this was all they had now.

And now generations of those immigrants call themselves Americans. We, the descendants of those immigrants, call this country great. New immigrants want to come because it is a great nation with opportunity, money, jobs, education. Other immigrants, just like those first ones want to come here because they have the same hopes and dreams to make a better life for themselves and their children.  They climb fences, swim rivers, deal with police, get shot…anything to come to our wonderful country and to get away from terrorism, drug dealers, and murderers.

So on Thanksgiving, when people sit around their tables to give thanks–remember your ancestors. Remember where we all came from and why we are here and free. Think about why others might want to be also. Remember we’re not perfect either. We took when we came. Maybe we need to pay it forward now by doing right to some new immigrants because it may certainly be too late to make up for what we’ve done to the Native people who were already here.

November 22, 1963

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“And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country.

My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.

Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.”

While many of us know the first part of President Kennedy’s inaugural speech of 1961, we may not know the last part. I didn’t until today. In reading it on this day, the 50th anniversary of his assassination, I was moved and brought to tears.

Some words are powerful and poignant, no matter what year they are spoken. These words are certainly so. While I’m not a religious person and not necessarily the most patriotic,  I am still highly spiritual and certainly love my country.

As I hear the horrors that transpire around the globe with constant wars, political killing, global treatment of women, vast poverty and hunger–I still feel America is a nation of abundance and freedom. True we have our own poverty and hunger also, but we have constant checks and balances to combat it. And I’m not sure it’s to the extreme of other countries with millions living in destitution.

But the words that for me seem to ring in my soul are that we as individuals must do for our country.  And beyond that, we must work together to make things happen! President Kennedy, as a practicing Catholic, knew enough to say that while God can help, you must truly be the one to do the work on earth! Whatever your higher power may be. And that you do it because it’s right!

And only history will show how well we all did. Since 1963 have things improved? Has hunger in the world gone down? Is there more equality among people? Is shelter more available? Is there less war? How is America doing in all these arenas?  Or do we have more work to do both globally and at home?

It’s not just up to our government and America to do it all for us. We can’t sit back and expect the citizens to make more laws to protect resources and then all go and drive huge cars. We can’t complain about healthcare and the cost of insurance and then be overweight and not exercise. We can’t complain about over crowding in schools and school taxes and then have five kids per family. We can’t complain about our neighbor’s noise when we’ve never even made an effort to know who our neighbors are. And it’s easy to forget that the millions dying overseas of starvation are people just like us.

It’s time we as Americans take responsibility: for ourselves, our community, our world! It’s easy to complain, blame and expect ‘them’ to fix things. It’s easy to point fingers and say it was the other people who broke everything. But until we admit that maybe it was us too and we are willing to meet halfway, then we can never heal. Make at least one sacrifice in our life–one change!

It’s 2013 now, 50 years later and President John F. Kennedy had a vision. He tasked a nation to take on responsibility. I was only a small child then, but somewhere in the deep recesses of my soul I have tried to embrace these words. Hopefully as a nation we can move closer and closer to these goals and embrace the world as one.