Category Archives: peace

Let’s Put The “We” Back In The People

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If this gem doesn’t just scream my name I don’t know what does. That’s right folks, I’m officially hanging with the pigeon squad. 

I am EXHAUSTED!

Not by the hamster wheel of life, but by the behavior of my co-humans.

By the increased hatred and decrease in common decency.

By the lack of truth and over indulgence of misinformation and lies.

I am EXHAUSTED!

By the loss of common ground and the divided beliefs.

By the daily negativity of, he said she said while important issues sit silently.

By the rise in civil obedience and the lack of active participation in the process.

I am EXHAUSTED!

By being told who to hate by our televisions, while books collect dust.

By judgments, labels & stereotypes in one hand and Bibles, flags & hypocrisy in the other.

By the absence of faith, hope & charity and the escalation of greed.

I am EXHAUSTED!

By the Social Media scholars and their ignorant followers.

By the callous treatment of the less fortunate and the misguided definition of fame. 

By fear dictating our decisions, while common sense faces extinction.

I am EXHAUSTED!

By the abuse of our first amendment and the overextended defense of our second.

By selfishness leading the way, while collaboration sits on the sidelines.

By the misconception that strength is loud and quietness is weak.

I am EXHAUSTED! 

By the thought of war being the answer and not giving peace a chance.

By the short memories and selective truths.

By the thought that I’m too optimistic, while others have surrendered hope.

Let’s TRY to celebrate our Independence and our Interdependence today by being free from our hatred, fears, and differences. These are the freedoms that lay out a strong foundation for our future. These are the freedoms that unite. These are the freedoms that will thrive. 

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the Common Defense, promote the General Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to Ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Now, I’m not going to lie, I will have to remember all of this when my beer induced, wanna be pyrotechnic neighbor starts setting off fireworks from his weather-beaten, one spark short of an inferno deck this evening. I NEVER SAID IT WAS GOING TO BE EASY…anything worthwhile rarely is easy.

We’re all in this together, so hop in and Enjoy the Ride!

 

Let’s Put The “We” Back In The People

31c32a1162447a8ac92a38fc195e2436

If this gem doesn’t just scream my name I don’t know what does. That’s right folks, I’m officially hanging with the pigeon squad. 

I am EXHAUSTED!

Not by the hamster wheel of life, but by the behavior of my co-humans.

By the increased hatred and decrease in common decency.

By the lack of truth and over indulgence of misinformation and lies.

I am EXHAUSTED!

By the loss of common ground and the divided beliefs.

By the daily negativity of he said she said while important issues sit silently.

By the rise in civil obedience and the lack of active participation in the process.

I am EXHAUSTED!

By being told who to hate by our televisions, while books collect dust.

By judgments, labels & stereotypes in one hand and bibles, flags & hypocrisy in the other.

By the absence of faith, hope & charity and the escalation of greed.

I am EXHAUSTED!

By the Social Media scholars and their ignorant followers.

By the callous treatment of the less fortunate and the misguided definition of fame. 

By fear dictating our decisions, while common sense faces extinction.

I am EXHAUSTED!

By the abuse of our first amendment and the over extended defense of the our second.

By selfishness leading the way, while collaboration sits on the sidelines.

By the misconception that strength is loud and quietness is weak.

I am EXHAUSTED! 

By the thought of war being the answer and not giving peace a chance.

By the short memories and selective truths.

By the thought that I’m too optimistic, while others have surrendered hope.

Let’s TRY to celebrate our Independence and our Interdependence today by being free from our hatred, fears and differences. These are the freedoms that lay out a strong foundation for our future. These are the freedoms that unite. These are the freedoms that will thrive. 

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the Common Defense, promote the General Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to Ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Now, I’m not going to lie, I will have to remember all of this when my beer induced, wanna be pyrotechnic neighbor starts setting off fireworks from his weather-beaten, one spark short of an inferno deck this evening. I NEVER SAID IT WAS GOING TO BE EASY…anything worthwhile rarely is easy.

We’re all in this together, so hop in and Enjoy the Ride!

 

Peace Ride

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Originally Posted On: Uncle Spike’s Adventures

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Edmund Burke

Here’s how to add your support to our message of peace:
1) Publish the following statement on your own blog
2) Post a link to Twitter (#BloggersUniteForPeace) and/or Facebook
3) Reblog this post or any post that replicates this statement
4) Request to be added to the signatory list below by adding a comment or mailing uncle.spikes.adventures1@gmail.com
5) Add an image Widget using this image URL and link to this post

12049679_10205727794898815_2434700194727613292_nOut in the real world I try my best to spread this message everywhere I go via my license plate. Some days are easier than others. 

Driving around with this message on a daily basis carries a huge responsibility. It forces me to control my urge to get angry at other drivers, even when they deserve it. It reminds me to be courteous; mindful and respectful of those around me.

Believe me when I tell you these are not easy tasks to accomplish!  Living in a world where everything is moving at the speed of light, patience are sparse and tempers run high make it challenging at best, but I try and that is a start. Trying and succeeding are not the same.

“True peace cannot be dictated, it can only be built in co-operation between all peoples. None of us, no nation, no citizen, is free from some responsibility for this.” Quakers in Britain in 1943

So fellow bloggers stand together for Peace and … Enjoy the Ride! 

The Power of PEACE

I came across this amazing story 3 years ago and believe it should shared yet again. These men and their non-violent sacrifices should be recognized for their service at a time of war and their lifetime commitment to continue that service right here at home.

With Memorial Day approaching I would like give a well deserved nod to a group of very brave men. We rarely hear about this peaceful group, especially on holidays that memorialize war heroes, but they are heroes too. The Conscientious Objectors or CO’s as they were better known, provided services that were not combative. Non-combative rolls served this country long after the dust of the war had settled.

In my personal search for “something more” I began attending a Quaker Meeting in my area. After years of attending regularly I proudly made it official and became a Quaker. It was among this group where I first learned about these very brave peacemakers. Being a pacifist in a country that prides itself on war could not be easy, but that’s how Quakers roll. Throughout history they stood for unpopular injustices without batting an eye.

This story touched me for many reasons, but it hit home since I was raised in a neighborhood that literally sits in the backyard of this hospital. I grew up looking at the shells of these abandon buildings. They were a constant reminder of the horrors that took place.

Please take a minute to read this well written story by Joseph Shapiro. He brings the works of these very brave men and the POWER of PEACE to life. Click below to see and hear the moving work of these men. Their quiet works should be an inspiration to us all.

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WWII Pacifists Exposed Mental Ward Horrors

by 

In September of 1942, Warren Sawyer, a 23-year-old conscientious objector, reported for his volunteer assignment as an attendant at a state mental hospital. The young Quaker was one of thousands of pacifists who had refused to fight and instead were assigned to work in places few outsiders got to see — places like Philadelphia State Hospital, best known as Byberry.

“Byberry’s the last stop on the bus here in Philadelphia,” Sawyer recalls. “Any young man on the bus, other people knew that we were COs working at the hospital. And they’d make different kinds of remarks, supposedly talking to each other, but hoping that we hear. And you know: ‘Yellowbellies, slackers.’ ”

Those slurs were harsh. But not nearly as harsh as what awaited the young men inside the gates of the chaotic and overcrowded hospital for people with mental illness and intellectual disabilities.

The young pacifists would be changed by what they saw in places like Byberry, and then become a force for change themselves.

Serving The Country At Home

Ten million men were drafted into the military during World War II. But more than 40,000 refused to go to war. These conscientious objectors came from more than 100 religions. But most were from the traditional peace churches: people from the Church of the Brethren, Mennonites and Quakers. Still, they wanted to serve their country. Many did serve in the military in noncombatant roles. Others did alternative service, like the 3,000 who were assigned to 62 state mental hospitals around the country.

“Well, I called them hellholes,” says Sawyer. “Terribly overcrowded. All we did and all we could do was just custodial care. Because when you have three men taking care of 350 incontinent patients with everything all over the floor, feces and urine and all that kind of thing.”

The smell got into his clothes and was so strong that even after he washed them, the smell lingered. “In the incontinent ward,” he says, “it took a few weeks before you got used to eating supper with the smell all through your clothes and everything.”

The “incontinent ward” was what the men called A Building. It was a large open room with a concrete slab for a floor. There were no chairs. There were no activities, no therapy, not even a radio to listen to. So hundreds of men — most of them naked — walked about aimlessly or hunched on the floor and huddled against the filthy bare walls.

Nearby was B Building; it was called the “violent ward” or the “death house,” because angry men sometimes violently attacked one another. In one room, rows and rows of men were strapped and shackled to their bed frames.

Sawyer wrote frequent letters home, and those letters provide some of the best surviving historical record of the conditions in those grim wards and of the work of the conscientious objectors at Byberry.

“It was in B Building, the death house,” he started in a letter written in September 1944 that explained one day of violence. “Due to the shortage of cuffs and straps and restraint locks that has prevailed in B Building for some time, one of the patients was able to get himself loose. He was a very dangerous fellow. He only had one cuff and strap on and he got out. He had a spoon that had been broken off at the end and was sharpened almost to a knife edge.”

“After he was loose, he went to another patient and jabbed him in the side of the neck on top of his shoulder and drove the spoon down about one inch deep, just missing the jugular vein.”

“Our work was to try to get attendants to realize these were ordinary people with a little problem and they needed help,” says John Bartholomew.

Working in such a brutal and chaotic place tested the men’s own ideals of nonviolence.

“But I found out there, the difference between violence and force,” says Hartman, who at the time was a young Methodist. “We used force. We’d grab a man and we’d pin him. And then maybe get a nurse if we could to give him a shot. But we didn’t use violence. And the difference was: It wasn’t unusual next day for the patient to come around and thank us for not using violence when we could have.”

There was lots of violence at Byberry. Many of the regular attendants were drunks who’d get fired at one state hospital and just move on to a job at the next. Some kept control by hitting patients with things like sawed-off broom handles or a rubber hose filled with buckshot.

Hartman says the patients came to appreciate the gentler manner of the conscientious objectors. “Cause they knew, the regular attendants, one of their tricks was to use a wet towel and put it around their neck and squeeze it. It, of course, choked them awful, but it didn’t make any mark on them so no state inspector could catch up with them,” he says.

These four men were all conscientious objectors during World War II. For each of them, the experiences they had serving their country at home influenced their future career choices. From left to right: Neil Hartman, Warren Sawyer, John and Evert Bartholomew.

Making A Lasting Impact

Still, the young pacifists worried that it wasn’t enough simply to show kindness. With the end of the war nearing, the conscientious objectors soon would be gone, but they didn’t want to leave behind a place where untrained and underpaid attendants ruled patients by brutality and violence.

So the conscientious objectors came up with a daring plan. Sawyer wrote about it in one of his letters home:

“We are working on a carefully laid out plan to blow this place open in two months,” he wrote. In secret, they went to newspapers, with details of the scandal inside the institution. “If we COs do nothing about this place to improve it,” Sawyer continued, “our stay here has been to no avail and we have accomplished nothing. Two other fellows and I are heading up this thing to launch a campaign and gather material.”

One of those other fellows was a conscientious objector named Charlie Lord.

Today, Lord, 89, lives in another Quaker retirement community, this one in Tennessee. In the living room of his brick bungalow, he flips through old yellowed photographs. “Here’s the original one. Here, 1946. This is the day room with dozens of naked men along the left wall.”

At Byberry, Lord sneaked a small Agfa camera in his jacket pocket. It was the camera he’d borrowed to take on his honeymoon. But he’d dropped it in a lake and then felt he had to buy the damaged camera from his friend. Now he could use it to take pictures to show conditions in the A and B buildings.

When no one was watching, he’d quickly shoot a picture without even looking through the viewfinder. “I’d try to fill the frame,” he says. “You know, not just have little people far away. I’d get up as close as I could. I was aware of composition. But the main thing was to show the truth.”

Over a few months, Lord filled three rolls of film, with 36 exposures each. His pictures showed the truth, in black and white. In the past, reformers and journalists like Dorothea Dix and Nellie Bly sneaked into institutions and wrote exposes about the horrific conditions there.

But Lord was one of the first to ever expose institutions by using the power of photography. “I just thought this would show people what it was like. It’s not, not somebody writing to describe something,” he says. “They can use flowery words or you know, do whatever they want. But if the photograph is there, you can’t deny it.”

One of the first people to see the photographs was Eleanor Roosevelt, in September 1945. A meeting was arranged between Roosevelt — whose husband, President Franklin Roosevelt, had died just a few months before — and a couple of the conscientious objectors from Byberry. They brought along Lord’s disturbing photos. But Roosevelt at first doubted them.

According to Steven Taylor, a professor of disability studies at Syracuse University, Roosevelt assumed these were photos from some institution in the South. She said she knew about those kinds of conditions in Mississippi or Alabama. When told that they had actually been taken at an institution in Philadelphia, Roosevelt then promised to support the reform campaign and wrote about what she’d seen to government health officials and journalists.

Going Public

Lord’s photographs would have their biggest impact several months later, when they were published in Life magazine in May 1946.

Taylor says the images of thin, naked men lined against walls echoed some other disturbing images Americans had just seen. “The immediate reaction by many people to these photographs were that these look[ed] like the Nazi concentration camps. People could not believe that this was the way we treated people with mental illness and intellectual disabilities in our society,” he says. “So it created a kind of mass uproar, nationally.”

Of course, one can’t equate the conditions in American mental hospitals back then — no matter how inhumane — with the extermination of more than 6 million Jews and others. In fact, among those killed by the Nazis were up to 250,000 people with disabilities. They were mainly people with mental illness and intellectual disability, the same disabilities as the people who lived at American institutions like Byberry.

Still, Taylor, who has written a new book about the World War II conscientious objectors calledActs of Conscience: World War II, Mental Institutions and Religious Objectors, says the photos punctured a national sense of American superiority.

“We saved the world. We stood for human rights; we condemned the Holocaust,” he says. “America’s confidence was soaring in the immediate post-World War II era. We were morally superior; we were militarily superior. And I think this was a stark reminder that America wasn’t perfect. America had its shortcomings.”

In postwar America, the country turned to righting those shortcomings. Conscientious objectors from Byberry started a national association that helped train and professionalize workers at state hospitals. And, most of all, they helped improve the lives of the vulnerable people who lived in those state institutions.

The COs from Byberry continued to work for social change, in political activism and in the jobs they chose.

Charlie Lord became a professional photographer and a social worker. The Bartholomew brothers both went into social work. John Bartholomew worked for a mental health group that moved people out of institutions and into small group homes.

Neal Hartman was a teacher. Warren Sawyer sold real estate and is proudest of the way he helped integrate neighborhoods.

Sawyer says what he saw at Byberry — and what he saw could be changed — fortified his dedication to work for human rights. His work at Byberry, he says “changed my life in terms of appreciation of people who are forgotten. It makes me want to make people aware of the many things that need to be done, that people need to be involved in doing things.”

Buddha Groove

e900583987541fc0b7aa582f8437f9a2New year new attitude … right? Lord knows I’m doing my best to get my Buddha groove in motion, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. Correction: It would be very easy if other people weren’t on the planet. 

I was grooving like no ones business while I was home enjoying days 1 through 4 of this fabulous new year, but going back to work on the 5th made things slightly more challenging. Breathe …. just breathe is my new go to for sanity.

You see this glorious change in attitude comes on the heels of me taking some MUCH needed time off over the holidays to refill my happiness tank. People, especially those in my workplace, have been siphoning the happy out of me for months. I was running on fumes at the most joyous time of the year! 

My attitude leading up to my 2 weeks of freedom consisted of being too old, too tired and way too sober for the shit that I was enduring for a paycheck. It’s safe to say FIRE was coming from my heels as I headed to my car on December 18th!

As soon as I got home I put my angry eyes away, shoved the last gram of fucks I had to give down the garbage disposal 6a00d8341c796d53ef0115724cb43c970b-500wiand enjoyed my family, friends and fur babies over 14 days. All good things must come to an end and this is no different, but I was ready.

Monday was the first day back to my normal routine, but I prepared myself for whatever negativity came my way. I filled my tank with premium happiness; my zen shield was running on full power; and I focused all my energy on building a new attitude. Those first 10 minutes across the threshold were blissful, absolutely blissful. 

As I quietly made it through the day I focused on accepting the Oscar for best actress in a dramatic series. The Oscar goes to Lisa for her role in “The Employee Who No Longer Gives A Fuck.” The red carpet, paparazzi and hobnobbing were all crystal clear as the clock clicked away throughout the day.

121d0ef79e4691cd11d83ad84301a0dbI survived day one and my happiness tank was still on full, which wasn’t easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is easy. Yea me!

That evening I attended a meditation class. Another step in a positive direction. I had no idea what to expect considering my ADHD squirrel attention span kicks in when I’m forced to think about nothing. Is that even possible?

Please note my dear friend joined me for this venture. Our friends at the gym refer to us as Lucy & Ethel, which you must keep in mind.

I went in without expectations, so I was pleasantly surprised by the peace that filled me the second I entered the room. The lighting, warmth and company were collectively welcoming me into the space. Lucy and I were both in need of this peace after our day and we settled right into mood. 

Ahhhhh … there we were getting our much-needed peace on when suddenly there was a knock at the door. The door locked at 8 sharp according to the website, however the instructor let this bull man through the door. He was the poster child for the term “Bull in a china closet.” 

Peace scooted out as soon as the bull arrived walking head-on into the chimes, which sounded like a marching band. This was the start of the snickering between Lucy & Ethel. The bull then “settled” in to the class with the grace of an elephant settling into a Smart Car. Comical was an understatement.

This incident, followed by some deep diaphragm breathing, was not good timing for Lucy, Ethel and their immature sense of humor. Just hearing the instructor say “it’s ok to laugh, these sounds are silly” made it that much harder to control the snickering.

After what seemed like the longest 45 minutes of my life, I decided mediation was something I need to explore further … with or without the bull. 

Enjoy the Ride  let your inner peace ride shotgun! 

Let It Be

897d0d663d67107e77eed1f5f1615eceA couple of years ago I found a little pamphlet or should I say it found me that contained the keynote address given by Arthur Larrabee at the Friends General Conference Gathering of Friends, which was held back in 1998. If you weren’t aware, I attend Quaker Meeting every Sunday. It’s where I’ve been going regularly for the last 3 years to … well … get my peace on. 

One Sunday I entered Meeting very troubled. Things were beginning to get somewhat extreme in my head over a particular situation. It wasn’t good. I found myself sitting somewhere differently that day, but it was right where I was suppose to be, next to this wonderful little pamphlet. Psst…Lisa…sit here you need to see this now.

When I opened it up the words resonated so deeply that I found myself unknowingly crying. Whoa-simmer-down-nowI know right? I’m sharing this now because as I was cleaning during my oh shit we’re having company for Easter frenzy, I came across the pamphlet in my house and paused to re-read it. This must be shared….it just does.

Simma down folks I’m not going to get all religious on you, but I am going to fill you in on some of the messages that I received that day. The first thing that hit me was the story he shared, which some of you may have already heard over the years. I had not. It is a Taoist  fable of sorts … here it is.

An old man and his son lived in an abandoned fortress on the side of a hill. The son was the sole support of his father, and their only possession of value was a horse. One day, the horse ran away. The neighbors came by to offer sympathy. “This is a terrible thing”, they said. “How do you know?” asked the old man.

Several days later the horse returned, bringing with it several wild horses. The old man and the son shut them all inside the gate. The neighbors hurried over. “This is fabulous,”they said. “How do you know?” asked the old man.

The following, day the son tried riding one of the wild horses. Alas, he fell and broke his leg. Sure enough, the neighbors came around as soon as they heard the news. “What a tragedy!” they said. “How do you know?” asked the old man.

The following week, the army of the emperor came through the village, forcing every young man into service to fight faraway battles. Many of them would never return. But the son couldn’t go. He had a broken leg.


The message here is that the old man lives in the now. He doesn’t attach himself to the big “What Ifs?” surrounding him. He embraced the situation he was presented with, therefore giving him peace of mind … which I was desperately seeking in my life.

My personal story was a little different. It didn’t involve an old man or a horse, but it did include that annoying neighbor in the fable … that was ME  a/k/a Debbie Downer.  No one was more surprised by this news than yours truly. As much as I want to deny the whole experience…I can’t….it’s true.

There I was sitting in Meeting sobbing due to the realization that I was slowly strangling my own life with predetermined judgements, while blowing any chance of peace of mind right out the window. Yep, Debbie has a way of sucking the life out of every party. 

20111The Debbie Downer in me immediately put her negative judgement on the situation at hand. Why, because it’s easier than moving on to something new? Umm…yep. She put her preconceived notation that this new experience I was presented with was a “bad” idea and she wasn’t afraid to let it be known … over and over and over again. Clearly, Debbie is also a huge pain in the ass! What I wasn’t “seeing” was that this event was just a teeny tiny piece of a much larger story, one that needed to be TOLD not INTERRUPTED.

So, I spent months, yes months, holding on to what was comfortable, while fighting the new. I was literally being held prisoner by my own resistance!  It’s really no surprise that the tears were flowing, because in that moment I was empowered to give Debbie the big heave-ho out of my head. Toodles Deb, don’t let the door hit ya!

As I re-read the pamphlet this time around it was more of a reminder … one I efff55a4cfdecb4540ea21f05610b2c8constantly need!  I need to stop killing my own chances at life and embrace the resurrections, even if they’re filled with challenges … I think I’m worth the risk.

Easter Message:

Stop the death in your life by letting go of your attachments to the pain, the past and your pre-conditioned thoughts on how things are “supposed to be.” 

Resurrect your life by embracing the challenges, the hopes and the risks by letting things “just be.”

So, say YES! to life and Enjoy the Ride …. it’s a gift.

Love & Power

Below is a message that was shared by Parker J. Palmer. Mr. Palmer is well known Quaker, who I admit has influenced me in many ways. Listening to his words have made me a better person. Here is his thought for this very special day.

Take time to reflect this important message:

On Monday, January 21, Americans will celebrate our 57th Presidential Inauguration and the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Here’s a quote from Dr. King about the relation of love and power that’s worth pondering on this or any other day. I kept this quote close at hand as I wrote my new book, sub-titled  “The Courage to Create a Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit”

The best way to honor the gift of American democracy is to do whatever we can—in our homes, schools and workplaces, in our communities, states and nation—to help create a politics that joins love and power.

An impossible dream? Of course. But where would we be if people like Dr. King had been unwilling to dream impossible dreams, confident that others would come along to pick up where they left off?

Was their confidence well-placed? The answer to that question is in our hands…

296779_10151214588717078_1720718757_n

Revolution? Nobody Has Time For That!

0050_soap_box3I’ve been trying to get up on this damn soap box all week, but I kept getting distracted by one piece of insanity after the other. So here I am, finally **tap pssh tap** I hope you can all hear me out there in Blogosphere and beyond. Ok, here we go…..

I need to address the escalated chatter I’ve been hearing lately in regards to a Revolution of some sort that is prompting people to run out and purchase firearms. People, I might add, who have NEVER owned a gun in their life. Everyone suddenly wants a weapon for “protection” for this Revolution. Really? Have these people ever tried to organize a group of people for a cause? Please!

You can call me crazy, but I’m going to provide you with a little scenario explaining why I believe there will NOT be a Revolution.

SCENE SETTING: The rally is being held in a large arena with red, white & blue balloons strung across the large stage. The PopsOrganizer is in jeans, a tailored shirt with dressy work boots, hoping his outfit will appeal to all classes in attendance. Flags are waving, lady Liberty is being erected through the center of the stage just as the Uncle Sam dancers make their way up the aisle high-fiving the crowd. The speaker appears at the podium and everyone is asked to move down closer to the stage due to the poor turnout. Just keeping it real.

REVOLUTION SPEAKER:  Good afternoon. Thank you all for coming out today. I’m sure it wasn’t easy pulling yourselves away from your busy lives to make history, but I’m glad you chose to make this sacrifice for your country. Roaring Applause. I know everyone is feeling a little unsettled these days with the direction our country is taking, but this has been happening for a very long time. Between the chaos in the Middle East, school shootings, slow economy, healthcare issues, Social Security issues, Medicare issues and our everyday life issues we are all on edge. So, I thought it would be a great idea if We The People got together to form a Revolution. Enthusiastic applause. In order to do this we will all need to share in the responsibility of organizing events all over the country. Applause seems weaker. We will all need to do our part to make this a successful Revolution. The crowd begins to shift in their seats. We will be setting up tents throughout some of the largest cities in America. This means you may be living in conditions that you are not accustomed to for long periods of time. If your want change, you have to be willing to make some sacrifices. Section A leaves to use the restroom, they never return to their seats. We will organize groups to get the word out via the Social Media, but let me be clear, we will only use Social Media outlets to invite more of the We The People to join us. The majority of our mission will be held on the ground. Whispers are heard amongst the attenders. We need to show our strength in numbers by physically attending these events. A hand is raise and a question is asked from the crowd. Can we just “like” this Revolution on Facebook? Applause. No sir, this is real life. Forefathers begin spinning in their graves. 

SCENE SETTING: The sounds of “This Land Is Your Land” is playing in the background. The Uncle Sams’ and Lady Liberties exit to man the tables and serve refreshments.

SPEAKER: Are you ready to take your country back? Weak applause and unrecognizable mumbles. We have information tables set up right outside these doors, so please, enjoy the refreshments while you decide how your talents can serve this Revolution best. Crickets can be heard chirping in another county.

WE THE PEOPLE: The crowd heads out to the lobby. We begin to whisper while avoiding eye contact with the organizer and aggressively search for the Exit signs.

SCENE SETTING: Long tables are set up outside the arena. Women dressed as Lady Liberty are patiently waiting to be swarmed with anxious Revolutionary participants, while the Uncle Sam clad men are serving refreshments. The free red, white & blue Revolution pens are waiting to be picked up to fill those sign-up sheets. Some curious potential participants begin to approach the table.

WE THE PEOPLE:  First: Are these pens free? Um, is this Revolution thing going to be during the week, because I work?

                                          Second: Is there any way we can revolt on a Saturday? Oh, wait make that Sunday Jimmy has practice on Saturday. Oh, no wait Sunday isn’t good Mary has dance. Can I get back to you? Are these pens free?

                                          Third: Can I revolt from home? I work every other day, so I can revolt on my days off after my errands.

                                          Fourth: Do you think this Revolution thing will take long? I can commit to 2 weeks of my vacation time, but that 3rd week is mine. Are these pens free?

                                          Fifth: I really, really want to revolt, but Idol just started so, if your still revolting when the season is over I’ll be happy to help out. Hey, can I have this pen?

Instead of filling our homes with weaponry in preparation for a Revolution that may or may not happen, why don’t we figure out a way to honor the gift of American democracy. Impossible? That answer is up to all of us.

It’s time for me to leave the soap box and Enjoy the Ride!

Caps Lock Crazy

I’ve noticed a trend recently that has really taken off like wildfire. No, you won’t find  in on the pages of Vogue or on the runways in Paris, but you can certainly find it everywhere else.

Divide & Conquer are hitting the streets hard and the Social Media even harder as we get closer to November 6th. Can you say Caps Lock and Crazy? 

On Monday I made a comment on a conservative friends Facebook wall. I just couldn’t leave well enough alone. She posted a photo, paid for by the Romney campaign, regarding high gas prices. I simply stated “Who holds the largest vested interest in Oil in this country? Hint: He doesn’t live on Pennsylvania Avenue.”  Nothing mean-spirited, just a fact.

Well, hot diggity I never saw this response coming … “Good Grief! What does that have to do with anything Lisa? It is supply and demand, simple economics. Guess you weren’t home-schooled or you know how an economy works. Sorry, but I have had it with people who didn’t bother to learn anything about how things work.”

My parents were not Economists, but they certainly knew how to rob Peter to pay Paul and survive. Hey, looks like I might have been home-schooled after all…so there! 

I must say I was a little taken back by this attack. Isn’t that exactly what I just said without the hate & judgement. Needless to say this certainly had me wondering…What the hell just happened?  Are we really that far removed that we can’t even recognize that we might actually agree on a point?  Maybe she was blinded by my peace sign icon…I don’t know. 

The down right hatred I’ve witnessed over differences in opinions on political views, religious beliefs, race, sexual orientation and the reproductive system of a woman are downright mind-boggling.

News Flash: Conflict and Tension are tearing We The People to shreds at the speed of light. If you want to regain the will of the people, you must recognize the wisdom of Parker Palmer.

“Political civility is not about being polite to each other. It’s about reclaiming the power of “We the People” to come together, debate the common good and call American democracy back to its highest values amid our differences. The civility we need will come not from watching our tongues, but from valuing our differences and the creativity that can come when we hold them well.” Parker Palmer

As for me, well I vow to try not to give into temptation, unless of course it’s necessary. I’m not guaranteeing anything, but I will do my best to be kind when I do it. 

The words you choose have a profound effect on the people they reach, please choose them wisely and Enjoy The Ride! 

HOPE

Recently I was presented with a challenge by Miss Four Eyes to write a post about HOPE. I was given this honor in response to my recent post Democracy Is Alive which was regarding a Grassroots effort to save a piece of Open Space near my home and the HOPE that we would be successful in our efforts.

What she didn’t know was something happened between then and now that resonated the highest form of HOPE.

In the very early hours of Monday morning, a very dear person in my life, lost her daughter in an automobile accident.

At 18 years old “Sammi” was full of life, vigor & HOPE. The reality is she experienced more than most in her short life, but throughout it all she never lost HOPE.

She HOPED to turn her life around and she did just that when she graduated in June with honors.

She HOPED that she would have the opportunity to be proud of her accomplishments and she did just that when she purchased her first car and moved into her own apartment.

She HOPED that everyone would just love each other and that love was evident at her funeral yesterday where there was not an empty seat in the church.

I went to visit my friend to express my condolences, however I was the one being consoled. This woman just lost her daughter, yet she was some how at peace. She explained that up until a few hours earlier she couldn’t fathom living another moment, but then something amazing happened. HOPE?

She was told by police earlier in the day that when they approached the accident there was one dead deer at the scene, however another deer was standing next to her daughter, protecting her until the authorities arrived.

A glimmer of HOPE …

Next she went to her childhood church where the services would be held. At this point she was overcome with the unknown answers to her questions. Where is Sammi? Why can’t I feel her? Is she safe? Little did she know those questions were about to be answered.

HOPE is moving in…

It was suggested that she take a moment to visit the new Prayer Garden around back. As she entered the gate she was feeling a pull to go to the right. At first she was fighting the urge because the brick path was heading in the other direction, but she gave in and followed her instinct.

HOPE is getting brighter…

Just when she thought nothing could ever give her peace, she looked down to discover (3) statutes. One deer standing, one lying down and an angel sitting between the two.

Standing in awe at the foot of the statues a large bight yellow butterfly began flying around her, to the point of her letting out a typical mom statement of “I know, ok, ok I see you!”  Sammi?

HOPE is in the shadow…

The butterfly took a seat on her shoulder as she walked to the back of the garden where a large statue of the Blessed Mother stood, she realized Sammi was indeed in good hands.

HOPE is now a reality. 

Please keep my dear friend in a positive light in HOPE that she continues to have the peace she needs to get through each day.

I would like to pass this journey of HOPE onto a wonderful fellow Blogger who holds HOPE at its highest when it pertains to the treatment of animals. She is Susannah and her recent post Take Shelter is just one of her many posts that expresses her diligence towards the injustices against animals.

Have HOPE and Enjoy The Ride! 

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