How are we?

I’ve been thinking about lots of things, so this is a slightly stream-of-consciousness post.

How a sincere compliment can make someone’s day. 😁

I’m currently eagerly listening to a podcast called 13 Minutes to the Moon, which tracks the USA’s space race journey over thirteen episodes. 🌕

I am a bit of an astronomer – I love the stars, the moon, space. If it were safer and personally cheaper, I’d love to see the Earth from space (which is what the current episode is about.) We exist in a vast universe, which leaves me full of wonder. Including the little things here on Earth too. 🌏

I hope we continue to experience these wonders for years… though that does depend on action being taken against the bad things, like climate change. This leads to thoughts of what-ifs which are sometimes scary, because even if us little consumers do everything we individually can (which varies person-to-person), real action (not tokenism!) still needs to be taken by governments and major polluters. What will it take for the latter to be more concerned about changing for the better than preserving the current status quo? Bah humbug. 😠

My mind returns to other matters: all I can do is raise my voice and live my life as best I can, doing what I can. That includes being a part of the future through my work and communities – choir, church, online groups, friends. 😌

Spread love and do what you can. 💜

If you could choose the major virtues of society, what would they be?

Hi all.

I just read a book called Eve of Eridu. In it, a society is based on six virtues, which guide rules that have saved a portion of humanity after dark times caused by a Third World War. These rules include restrictions on feeling emotions. The book is the first in a series by Alanah Andrews and is a somewhat dark thought experiment considering the lengths people go to survive and how people can be conditioned into believing a particular way of existence. I’m a naturally emotional person and I found the book a challenge at times. I’m interested in the sequel that’s coming out this year.

Back to those virtues. I’m curious as to what six virtues you’d base your ideal society on. I found reducing the number to six quite challenging. I could only whittle mine down to nine and I’m not entirely satisfied.

  • Authenticity [Edited to add]
  • Compassion
  • Assertiveness
  • Self-determination (& self worth)
  • Creativity
  • Generosity
  • Whole intelligence (EQ & IQ)
  • Healthy individual spiritualism
  • Equitable justice & care for all people

What are yours?

Why I Marched

So on the weekend I marched in Melbourne at one of the many “Solidarity” events happening across the world in support of those marching against Trump in the US.

There were at least 6,000 of us and possibly as much as 10,000.  Men, women (and presumably other genders), children and dogs walked from the State Library to Parliament, avoiding Bourke St. It was a good event, with several speakers. I made a few new friends along the way.

One of the speakers was Van Badham, a writer, columnist and feminist. I enjoyed her speech the best, because she made global events local and talked about intersectionality – the real sort. Like how we have to try and understand where people who vote differently are coming from. Times are changing rapidly and progress isn’t equal – so we need to be out and talking with people about concerns. Memorable quotes from her included, “If your feminism doesn’t involve being part of a union, then you’re doing it wrong”. While I’m wary sometimes of doing the whole “feminists are/not this or that”, I think Van Badham makes a good point. How can we change things if we’re not involved? How can we show that we share the same concerns if we’re not a part of those sorts of groups – if we’re not active? I’ll return to the union thing in a minute.

We need to come together. As Jennifer Wilson of No Place for Sheep shows here, there are plenty of things that need change within Australia as well as outside. The activist group March in March Australia (via Trish Corry) has another list of Australian disgraces:

march-in-march-1

I was thinking about these things today when my friend pointed me in the direction of a movie, released a couple of years ago, that she’d just viewed. Anyone remember Pride? It was released in 2014 – it was one of the few movies I watched that year (I’m not a big movie-watcher….). It’s a film about true events that occurred in 1984-85, in Britain. “It’s the summer of 1984 Margaret Thatcher is in power and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) is on strike. At the Gay Pride March in London, a group of gay and lesbian activists decides to raise money to support the families of the striking miners.” Of course, when they try to donate the money there’s a bit of a culture clash at first. But the hand of friendship is extended between the group (Lesbians and Gays Supporting the Miners) and a small mining town, Onllwyn, in Wales. Despite hiccups, both ‘sides’ come to accept each other. It’s a brilliant story of allyship and intersectionality “done right”. The best part is that it is very close to the true story of what happened. Go watch it if you haven’t already. =)

It’s got a cracking script, paired with some great songs. Two in particular fit my mood today – the end song is “Power In A Union”, the version by Billy Bragg. The original song/manifesto is older than that. Unionism plays a big part in the film – please look Pride up and read the history behind it if you can’t watch the actual film. It’s so very relevant given the message of the Women’s March and of the film itself of being “stronger together”. Organise!

Hopefully in a non-violent fashion. I don’t want to sound preachy but I think the best way of doing things is to use words and constructive not destructive action. That doesn’t mean switching off, in the hope of “denying them oxygen”. As Jennifer Wilson said in a different article, speaking of another matter, “I disagree, not least because this is completely unrealistic: of course they will be given oxygen, and in view of that, to remain silent is to enable.” Well said! So let’s resolve to give up all forms of exclusion and in doing so, actively listen to each other, so we can better speak up for and support one another.

Another memorable quote from Badham spoke of us going away and talking, “in your schools, your offices, your mothers’ groups, your church groups” – I’m paraphrasing, because it’s been a few days so I can’t remember the exact words. But it’s still a good reminder that all of us have our own communities, plural, in which we can build change.
Or as Darth Timon put it, “So today, look to your pets. Look to your friends. Look to your significant other, your children, and your family. Look to all that is good, and kind, and unite in that spirit. Unite against the new occupant of the White House and his ilk. You are many, and you will make a difference.” (Emphasis mine.)

I’ll leave you with another song used in Pride that my friend pointed me towards again. I rediscovered my love of this song. I’ve used a clip from Pride because it is such a beautiful, powerful rendering of the song.

I give you, “Bread and Roses”. Song history here. It’s good. Quote from the song: “Hearts starve as well as bodies/ Give us bread, but give us roses”.

 

 

 

 

 

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. meditation: “Peace on Earth” is a call to action

Interesting. “If you want peace, work for peace”. Doesn’t mean we have to be passive, but *assertive*, which is different to being aggressive.
Of course, sometimes the only option to get people’s attention seems to be by doing the latter…. It’s got me thinking, anyway.

This Saturday, there are marches being organised across the world, Women’s Marches, as a way of expressing emotions about Trump and what he and others represent – as a way of saying, “No” to their hate (in all forms) and “Yes” to unity, compassion, kindness and cohesion.
See here: https://www.womensmarch.com/sisters/
Also, a screenshot from the page:

womens-marches-locations

They’re happening across the world: London, Washington, Vienna, Tel-Aviv-Yafo, Budapest, Nairobi, Beirut, Ljubljana, Oslo, Auckland, Melbourne…. In several countries there are more than one city participating.

That’s one way of sending a message!

Messy Jesus Business

Happy Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. day to all of you! What are you doing to honor the legacy of Dr. King today?

Please, let us allow ourselves to be disturbed and transformed on this national holiday. This is not a day for sentimental history lessons. It is not a day to rest nor enjoy the comforts of privilege. We cannot afford to rot in complacency.

Rather, we must become students of nonviolence and courageous change makers. Today is a day for contemplation and action; for meditation and community building. Let us effectively scrutinize these times and organize our resistance. Let us lean in to the Spirit to be transformed into true Gospel people. These are the ways we can truly honor Dr. King–and all those who gave up their lives nonviolently for the sake of equality.

Today would be an excellent day to pray with Pope Francis’ World Day of Peace…

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Meryl Streep Speaks

This speech is powerful. Please watch. She uses her speech at the Golden Globes to call out the mocking of a disabled reporter by the USA’s President-elect and his views on immigration (without directly mentioning his name). She raises some good points about privilege, power and people.

Take to the High Road

Yes, I’m doing one of “those” posts, the sort that many people on social media are doing at the moment. Why? My reasons are that I am a global citizen (and a woman, at that) who is affected, even peripherally in Australia. I am also a bit of a politico and a proud social justice advocate and friend of different people. So, this stuff matters.

I was pretty pissed off about the results when I first heard. I mean – seriously? Trump as President??  O_O

I’m disappointed because of what that means.
I’m also disappointed because I liked Clinton. I didn’t agree with everything she said, but I liked her. She’d have been good. Now, America will go from two great terms of a great President, Barack Obama, to a wanker like Trump?

I’ve seen things going around on Facebook saying “If you voted for Trump, unfriend me”. I’m not doing that. In part because, looking at my feed, I don’t really have to – pretty much all the people I regularly see things from are on the same page as me. I am able to ignore any who aren’t – I have that privilege.

Unfriending and ignoring is a good strategy in the short term to avoid being swept into a pile of bad emotions. That’s my first thing: if you’re rattled by what’s going on atm, step away, as much as you can, at least for a little while. I’m doing that. Engage with people around you who share your views to build support. We will eventually need that support to unite and fight back (globally, in our different areas) against the separate-but-connected stupid sh** that’s been building in different places.

Another reason why unfriending purely on voting won’t quite work is that I recognise that this situation occurred from a mess of factors/reasons and that some people who voted Trump voted for legitimate (i.e. not sexist/racist/power-hungry/other stupid fear- & control-based) reasons. Like – the anti-establishment feelings and all that, especially in places where industry has been down and people have felt left behind or forgotten about? I get that. Unfortunately, they’re lumped in together now with the -ists mentioned above, the ones who I wouldn’t want to have on my feed in the first place. Trump et al – as I see it – have only used that anti-establishment support to shore up his ugly sexist/racist/etc. base. That challenge will have to be negotiated at some point: I don’t think your “great America” and his are the same. (For those whom it is the same, well – that’s a whole other kettle of fish.)

I am going to draw close to my “tribe” so to speak. If there’s something this has reminded me of, it’s how we can support one another. I’m also going to choose to, as my friend put it, “see the love not the hate”. Which does not, as she explained succinctly, mean ignoring hate – it means calling other people on their sh**, while “spending my life turning today’s ****storm into something worthwhile” by helping others however we can. For example, the “Take My Seat” badges initiative. I’m getting on board!

As I saw elsewhere on Facebook: “We must keep doing this, and other things, and other things, because we clearly have to take responsibility for connection and community into our own hands. No-one in power is worth a tinker’s cuss when it comes to this stuff. How people get to run the joint when they have the emotional intelligence of a kilo of lead poisoning is beyond me. But there you go. And those of us who have some, well, obviously we need to share it around.” ~ Fiona

We’re in for a bumpy ride as global citizens in the next little while (with bumpiness increasing in certain directly-hit areas). We can pull through though – and be the change we want to see. Let’s harness that – the power of kindness, rather than fear.

So cuddle your pets and hug your friends and family, arrange meet-ups and just generally affirm each other. Walk through nature and share funny/cute/etc. things – seek out joy and hope. We’ve been knocked a few times this year, but we’ll keep fighting.

You know what? Something I really hope for is that these events, this year – if they’re not the peak, then they’re the start of a crest of unpleasantness. My second hope is that the events will cause us progressives, in all forms, to unite more strongly, more globally, and see off the sh**. Maybe it’s a long shot, but sometimes, that’s the best shot. (The link is an awesome song I heard yesterday when searching for distractions.)

Thinking about this just made me remember this, too:
The important quote starts at 0:43.

Sums it up well, I reckon. There are a bunch of other quotes from different fandoms I could use, too.

😉

 

 

WT&TT: Not Just a Story (reblog)

This is so true and so important.

Not “Just Fiction”: Representation Matters

by Paganaidd

Every so often, when I criticize a work, I get a response of “OMG! It’s JUST a STORY!”. Last week, someone on Twitter told me I needed to learn the difference between reality and fiction (sadly, I was talking about politicians saying silly things in public and I’m pretty sure they’re real).

Yes. It’s just a story and no actual people are harmed in the creation of a work of fiction.  However, the story itself can harm people. Misrepresentation causes direct harm.

Stories are how humans understand and communicate their world. When my husband,Bryan, gives his workshop on Digital Storytelling, he asks the audience, “What is a story?”. There is always a flurry of answers, but when he asks, “What is NOT a story?” the room goes silent.

Read more by clicking on the linked title.