Gratitude Sunday: Thinking In New Ways

Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.

Sunday Haiku
Heat descends upon
the valley floor, embraces
coast range to hot beach.

Sunday Musings
Spoiler alert: political content.

I don’t know about you, but I find the policy proposals and the abnormal procedures of the current federal administration to be completely discombobulating. It seems so clearly defined by “us” and “them”, by haves and have nots, and by so many misunderstandings of how our current government functions. Because there is so much lacking in the common knowledge of how government normally performs, abnormal doesn’t always seem abnormal.

I’m not going to explain government to you. You get to do your own homework there. But I am a fan of “what should be” (progressive thinking) as a way to define what we want. You have to ask questions. It starts like this:

That’s not right.

How should it be?

Like this, not like that.

How do we change it?

Like this, not like that.

Of course we have to fill in the this-es and the that-s with what we want. We have to ask many more questions too until the definition is obtained. This administration has inspired ugly new waves of violence in our country. The whole mess makes me think even more radically about social policy. Politics has never been my forte, but it is unconscionable to have more than half the population of America living under the poverty line, letting elders and children become homeless or go hungry or freeze to death because they can’t afford heat, to deny health care for any reason.

All helping programs take money and I don’t mind paying taxes. Really. I don’t. But I’d like to make sure my tax dollar does something for me and for you, beyond the roads I hardly use (kind of scary out there), and the schools I don’t have children in (but please let me help your children go to school, because I went to public school and the son did as well – we didn’t have great experiences, but some people just don’t), the hospitals I avoid like plague (I am not good at being sick or injured) but so many others need. I spend less time inside my local lending library, but where would we be without libraries? Everybody needs libraries; now I use mine electronically, but for a kids’ summer reading program you need a facility. I don’t have much reason to use public parks anymore, but I used to love taking the son, he did as well, now it’s used by other people. I don’t feel much need to create barriers to citizenship, like walls and travel bans, and I feel even less need to sell other countries arms and ammunition made in the United States to use against our own soldiers when we make up weird insurgencies.

I’d like to know my tax dollars do something for me. Yes, selfishly for me. To make sure, after 40 or 50 years in the workforce, I can retire and die in my own home with just enough to cover my meager bills, with health care covering all contingencies, with enough to save annual property taxes or a bit for maintenance, like replacing that 30 year old roof, or the 22 year old car that finally costs too much to fix, or the plumbing that breaks and is just beyond my knowledge. Enough to buy laundry detergent and toothpaste and toilet paper when I need them. Just enough. I don’t need vacations (what does that word mean?), though enough for a trip to the beach an hour away once a year would be lovely. I don’t need to eat out every week, I prefer simple home cooked foods, but once or twice a year would be a real treat. Shopping at used clothing stores has worked well in my budget. I don’t need many new items and I have a disregard for fashion; classic lines suit me fine.

Remember I said selfishly for me. I’m selfish enough to want these things for you too. For every American. Not just for those whose households already have enough. It seems like once you have enough you keep wanting more and you forget what it was like not to be where you are, if you are one of those self-made types, and you seem to forget about others as well. The global “you”, of course. I know I’m generalizing, but so many Americans have the world view of “I’ve got mine. Too bad for you.”

For 50 years after FDR’s New Deal America prospered. There was a safety net created and put into place. It was just enough. Public protections such as clean air and water regulations, work safety rules, and banking laws protecting the consumer that helped economic growth. Those public protections did not hinder capitalism, but it angered the conservative billionaire class who interpreted “freedom” as the right to exploit the people and abuse the natural resources of this planet, because they have the right to maximum profit. Big Money began to influence education, science, and technology, and sometimes effectively impeded American progress in the name of obsolete and unsustainable income streams.

If we have to use a governmental model, we need and should have government that works for all the people of every income status. This might mean looking with different eyes and overcoming the “I’ve got mine, too bad for you” attitude. I propose we could care for all of us, create an entirely new economic model, and still make a profit for those who need one. Capitalism and social care are not mutually exclusive, except in the eyes of Big Money (the billionaire class) who have worked very hard to make us believe Government is the enemy. We pay plenty of taxes; we must be open to new ways of distribution of that public contribution. Isn’t that what tax money is, my contribution to the public, the public being you and me, the parts we have to share in this society? I don’t have much to contribute but they are happy to take it and use it. I want to influence how they use it. You should want that too instead of letting our legislators decide how they mishandle our contributions.

I’ve rattled on a bit and do have some solutions in mind. They’re radical. They’re maybe wild. They might even be grandly innovative. They’re ideas. They involve using your public contributions in different ways. I’ll have my ideas organized soon, and I hope you are curious enough to read future posts.

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – Summer seems official when I see the bright orange and yellow of nasturtium. I like these little fuzzy beige weeds. A neighbor put together a barrel of colorful annuals.
The texture of this spirea (?) as it goes from bud to bloom, and through shades of pink. How comfortable this sunny yellow potentilla looks up against its tree. The variety of colors and textures in this garden snapshot.

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} Complete Unknown (2016, rated R). A woman repeatedly reinvents herself in careers she knows nothing about nor is qualified for. After 15 years she tries to re-connect with a man from her past without him figuring out who she is, though he does realize he knew her, and he wants to know why she disappeared for so long. It was so riveting I fell asleep and wasn’t even curious enough to re-watch the last 25 minutes to find out why. Meh. * Finishing season 5 of Game of Thrones (2016, rated TV – MA). I’m always a season or two behind, at least in the TV and movie culture, because I refuse to pay for premium TV cable packages, as much as I would love to have the History Channel. I get to wait in queue at the local lending library, so grateful for local lending libraries. I indulge in Netflix and still remain culturally behind the curve. I can’t spend that much time in front of a screen; I indulge in books and my own writing as well. And looking at trees and the sky and clouds.

Currently ReadingThe Chalk Pit (2017, fiction) by Elly Griffiths. Ms Griffiths has not failed to entertain. Nothing less than expected. I like how she has been introducing social issues into her recent mystery novels; this novel deals with homelessness. * Taking a break from the deeply distressing Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right (2016, politics), by Jane Mayer. I only have 3 weeks with Elizabeth Warren’s This Fight is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America’s Middle Class (2017, social and fiscal policy). I am a fan of Warren’s, but this book is distressing in its own way. She gives us some history, which is the easy part. Almost everybody I know is living the reduced life of the failed experiment called trickle-down economics. The younger generation spares no feelings when they tell me “we” have ruined the world for them. I get that. I’ve worked for 50 years thinking we’d all be in a better place at this time in this century, and yet here we are. It’s not the middle and lower classes who have “ruined” the world; we’ve been working our butts off just to keep our homes and feed our kids. Big Money has effectively made a mess of the American middle class. I’m hoping the last few chapters will give me what I want from Warren’s book: answers toward fixing the mess. Please.

This week I have been grateful for:

  • Not losing my cool after several poor customer service events.
  • Patience rewarding me with a better customer service outcome.
  • Remembering it could be worse as I jump through hoops, over hurdles, and around barriers trying to get medical treatment.
  • Having a beautiful last day of spring and a repeat-beautiful first day of summer.
  • Joyful voices of the neighbor’s kids playing outside until the last bit of summer light.
  • Encouraging the hubster to clean the outdoor grill by bringing home a package of chicken wings. He didn’t quite get the grill clean, and the wings, potatoes, and asparagus went into the oven instead. Just the right amount of everything, and for the first time in ages there were no leftovers.
  • Gentle summer breeze blowing through the screen door.
  • The son getting a new job after months of searching.
  • A kind older couple who stopped me at the local farmers market and told me they missed me at my previous place of employment. My low self-esteem challenges had a lovely little heart surge. Grateful for kind people.
  • Mild summer weather this week.
  • Having the freedom to think for myself. That freedom feeling like luxury to think creatively.
  • Mid-season Oregon Hood strawberries, when the price comes down a bit, and the berries are sweeter and juicier.
  • Garden fresh asparagus still available at the local farmers market.
  • New potatoes and Hood River cherries at the farmers market as well.
  • The vital flavor of fresh food and eating simply.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

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This entry was posted in abundance, Education, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, History, Nature, Photography, Poetry, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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