Gratitude Sunday: Truth, Lies, And The American Way

Gratitude * Sunday

Quote of the Week – “It is difficult for the common good to prevail against the intense concentration of those who have a special interest, especially if the decisions are made behind locked doors.” Jimmy Carter

Sunday Haiku
Weather disregards
the calendar, autumn weighs
upon our shoulders.

Sunday Musings
Truth is truth. Facts are facts. Truth can be twisted. Facts can be skewed. Repeating the same lie will never make it true regardless of how many times the lie is repeated.

In any study of psychology studies show truth is often a matter of perception. We do not always see or perceive the same things. The shade of red I see may not be the same shade of red you see. Even though we have similar equipment (vision, rods, cones, brain cells to interpret what we see), the experience of red can be different between the two of us. Two people witnessing the same car accident will have two different stories of what they saw.

As Americans, we have choices as to how we want to be governed, whom we want to represent us, and how we parse out the facts and truth from the propaganda and the lies.

For example, when a woman says she has been violated we have to believe her. I expect men not to believe us, as they are generally the perpetrators of violation and are invested in maintaining that power (perceived or real) over women. But I am often startled when other women blame the victim, saying she must have done something to warrant the violation. I see this as jealousy and competition. It is tempting to be jealous. Somebody may have more than you, or think themselves better than you, may be prettier than you, or younger that you. So? It’s likely every one of us think that about every other one of us. Would we have a better world if we celebrated the success of others? Would we have more personal success if we celebrated the success of others? Would we be stronger individuals by building each other up?

When a candidate for any office lies under oath at a congressional hearing, as another example, that should be evidence the person is not fit to serve. Over the last two years, though, lying to get what you want seems to be normalized, even though lying should not be tolerated even from toddlers who can be taught from the very first how to tell the truth and own their own behavior. This was my experience in the workplace. Lying was normalized and the truth was discounted aided by the power of numbers; the truth carried no weight and was not honored. As a volunteer I’ve seen this happen in almost every group I’ve worked with from the classroom at the son’s school to youth groups.

As a group, Americans have the power to stand up for the truth, to define facts as facts. We have the power to make life better for all of us, not just for a handful of elite wealth holders. We have the power to protect women and children, to keep the poor from being blamed for circumstances thrust upon them through no cause of their own. We have the power to end fossil fuel consumption and to create sustainable energy technologies. We have the power to create safe spaces for men and women of all types, shapes, and sizes, to create a stronger society by elevating each individual through education.

As it is, Americans, many of us anyway, are pretty darn smart. We can see through the lies. The hard part is trusting our elected representatives to stand up for the truth. If they don’t, our recourse is to elect other representatives. The length of service by any representative should not prevent them from being changed out when they are not working for their constituents.

As citizens we help our representatives by telling them what we want and who we want to represent us. That’s called voting. Voting is an important part of being a contributing citizen in America. We don’t get to vote on national or state policy so we must carefully choose our representatives, whom we pay our tax investments to, to decide policy in our name and for our sake.

We must vote responsibly. Take a little time to read about candidates and the issues presented us to vote upon. Read whole articles, not just headlines. Read from more than one source. Read a foreign source to see what they are saying. If reading isn’t your thing, listen to the news on the radio or TV, and choose more than one source for information.

Most states require you to register to vote. Some states have requirements like age or length of residence. Each state has details for registration. In Oregon, for example, you must be registered 21 days before election day. This year October 16 is the deadline for registration, and if you will be eighteen years old on or before November 6, 2018 you can pre-register to vote (before October 16), and vote in the November 6 election. Each state posts their election and registration requirements on-line these days and lists a phone number in case you need help. If you need help, just ask, and do it when you have lots of time to be patient with the volunteers and interns who may help you. Then register to vote.

Last step: Vote. You’ve studied the measures and the candidates. You’ve ignored the propaganda and the mudslinging. You might have called to find out how your representative voted on the last policy you were interested in. Don’t vote because somebody tells you whom to vote for. Do your research, listen to other peoples’ opinions, but make your own decision. The result might turn out to be good or not so good, but you did your citizen’s duty, and you get to have a say. Occasionally we will be disappointed with the way a vote turns out. That means we must be more vigilant than ever next vote around. That’s called progress.

What else can we do? We can help other people vote. We can take them to the polls, or deliver their mail-in ballots when we are taking ours. We can help people who don’t have computers register and check their current registrations. We can ask people if they are registered or if they checked to make sure the registration is current. (This is not the time to talk about whom we are voting for.) We can encourage young voters who may be shy or uncertain because it’s the first time they’ve voted. We can encourage voters who think their vote doesn’t count, which isn’t true; don’t fall into that rabbit hole.

We can stand for an America where truth is still truth, and facts are facts. The current administration will not get us there. They are in it for profit for themselves, not for the average decent, honest, hardworking, accountable American. Whether we claim the label of republican, democrat, independent, socialist, democratic socialist, green party, or whatever, when we sit down to talk face to face, friend to friend, neighbor to neighbor, we have more common beliefs than not, and there are many ways to make improvements and progress when we share our common beliefs. Now is the time to share (talk, research, ask), prepare (register, check for correct registration), decide (it’s up to us), and vote. November is just around the corner. Register. Vote.

Color Watch
– colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week
– Creamy white pampas grass, and plant neighbors in gray and green. Bright surprising orange of the Chinese lantern bush. Many shades of gray, green moss overlay, and other natural color notes at the local labyrinth. A speck of yellow leaf and gray lichen on the smooth aggregate sidewalk. Brown, green, and gray textures of the season, composed upon soft red brick.

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.} Two movies arrived from my local lending library and the way they fit together was entirely serendipitous. Because of the waiting queue and the due dates I watched them back to back. I don’t know nearly enough about history and this was enough to tantalize my curiosity. I don’t do war. I don’t understand the strategies, machinations, mechanizations, and coordinations of land, sea, and air. I can’t tell a plane from a plane, and can barely see the difference between a ship and a boat. In uniform all the soldiers look alike, even if one side is red and the other blue. I’ve never set my mind to study war because I don’t understand why: why you would need to have power over other people for whatever reason, or take their resources for your own. That said, Darkest Hour (2018, rated PG – 13) dramatizes the first month Winston Churchill served in the position of prime minister of the UK in May of 1940, during which he ordered Operation Dynamo, by calling out a civilian flotilla of volunteers to rescue hundreds of thousands of British and French soldiers from Dunkirk where the Royal Navy could not reach them. * Follow with Dunkirk (2017, rated PG – 13) about how Operation Dynamo was deployed with a threefold strategy on land, sea, and in the air. I was grateful Dunkirk was not terribly gory as so many war movies are. There was enough shooting and exploding and fire to make me know I would be a crazy screaming blubbering mess if I had to serve in battle of this sort. * Woohoo, finished the fifth and final season of Dr Kildare (1961-1966, TV series not rated). The last four half hour episodes addressed the elephant in the room: abortion, and not just medical necessity, but a woman’s right to choose, and have the procedure safely administered by a doctor in a medical facility. The debate then was much the same as now, and it’s such a confusing subject with so many details to think of. The dialogue handles the debate rather delicately but all the real world implications of death in botched unprofessional abortions or self abortion, and the right of a man or the law to have the say over a woman’s body are there. I suspect this subject matter may have been the reason the series was not renewed, rather than the change from one hour to half hour format.

Currently Reading – Finished The Little Stranger (2009, fiction) by Sarah Waters. The best kind of ghost story: an old English country house in the early years after World War 2 when aristocracies are falling apart, a distressed family, the country doctor, the hint of romance, a bit of terror, tons of suspense and tension, a tiny bit of gore (thank goodness, don’t enjoy lots of gore), and the “ghost” is never quite revealed in the end. Recommended. * The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Stronger Societies (2011, sociology) by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett. So close to the end of this arid statistical book; it’s hard to make your point through numbers and keep your audience. Numbers don’t lie, but the way we use them can be skewed; the numbers show we would all, from the richest to the poorest, have better lives beginning with trust issues between citizens and going right on through to basic health outcomes and gaining wealth for all of us, if our society was more equal.

This week I have been grateful for:

  • Petrichor.
  • Rain.
  • The fragrance of wet cedars.
  • A cousin who had gone into hospital is home and a bit better. Still praying for her better health.
  • A safe journey to the Social Security office an hour away while the engine light was on.
  • Getting my Medicare straightened out. Glad to have it, but not impressed.
  • The interns who listen to my concerns as I call my representatives’ offices twice a week.
  • Young people, who are smarter than they know and smarter than olders give them credit for.
  • Olders, because we are living libraries of history and we’re still pretty darn smart ourselves.
  • Generations talking together.
  • People who grant me the kindness of listening to my thoughts and observations (I can get a little intense) without freaking out.
  • Crushing a cinnamon stick into a beautiful old glass ashtray for the beauty and comfort of the fragrance. I love the look of old heavy art glass ashtrays, whether clear or colored glass, even though I don’t smoke. They are perfect for potpourris and other fragrance delivery as whatever leafy or earthy oil is in the product is captured in the glass and won’t stain furniture and is easily wiped away.
  • Living in the same house for 19 years, longer than my baby house I was raised in.
  • Splurging on steak, bake, and cake for the son’s birthday.
  • The best, sweetest cherry tomatoes and getting to know the farmer who grows them.
  • 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, Aging, Education, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, History, Nature, Photography, Poetry, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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