I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken

Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
-Bertrand Russell

What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell

February 04, 2014 - 1:24 p.m.

The Good Fight

Funny thing, I love writing. It is often, even usually, the very best part of my day, yet I find it difficult to get started and procrastinate. It's why I need trigger mechanisms to begin. I can write without feeling like I'm committing myself Then I ease into it.

Once again I didn't do much yesterday. I went to therapy. Because of the snow I gave myself extra time. It was not as much extra time as I wanted. I gave myself an hour for the 35 to 40 minute trip, I wanted an hour and a half. I could have used it. The problem was not the snow. There was a fire in the Clark Street tunnel and the trains on my line were backed up. I just sat between stations. When I finally got off at Atlantic and switched to the things were fine. I was crossing the Manhattan bridge as therapy was supposed to begin. I texted my shrink and told her what happened. It helps that I figured out that I can send a text when I'm out of service and it will be delivered as soon as I get a signal. So I let her know when I got the bridge and when I got out of the subway. Luckily for me she had time after my session so we could go long. I wasn't in crisis mode this week. The way I put it was that I had equanimity last week. I didn't hit the real lows. I am not sure how much she is helping me and I don't think she's he right therapist for me but she does provide something I need, someone to talk to. In the last week I had only extended conversation and that was back on Wednesday. Other than that I'm alone or just making chit chat at shows. It's snack food for the soul, I need more substantial meals.

Speaking of meals I went for comfort food last night, Nathan's franks and Hasselback potato. This was the best one I made since I first tried it when visiting LORi. I'm learning the idiosyncrasies of my oven. I am pretty sure it runs hot. I am trying very hard to get back in the habit of cooking every meal at home when I can. But I did have my therapy food too. I almost forgot. After therapy I went to Max Brenner for their Peanut Butter and Banana chocolate crpe. It's topped with dulce de leche ice cream. It is over-priced but exquisite. It does as much for me as therapy.

And now to move on to the part that's hard to write about but the reason I'm writing today. It isn't about me at all but it's personal. It's a theme that I said I'd return to and I am, the plight of the powerless.

I did not know what to write about today till I read the wonderful Frank Bruni's column this morning, Love, Death and Sochi. Not actually a good title as it isn't primarily about Sochi but about the plight of gays in even more oppressive countries.

Although it has an easily abused and utterly ridiculous law against so-called gay propaganda, it doesnt technically criminalize same-sex activity. About 75 other countries do, and by the laws or customs of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Mauritania, Sudan and certain parts of Nigeria and Somalia, such activity is even punishable by death. Gays, it turns out, are handy scapegoats, distracting people from the grave problems that really hold them back.
The last sentence is my theme. The most oppressed people can perpetrate the most vile oppression. People commit enormities in the name of traditional values. The travails of Roger Mbede that Bruni recounts isn't even close to the worst atrocity that I've heard recently in the name of traditional values. The one that haunts me the most is Village Council in India Accused of Ordering Rape . A young woman was gang raped as punishment for wishing to marry someone from outside the village. How can anyone think this is right? How can the elders have ordered it? How could the young men have done it? All to easily. When given a moral pass people will indulge their desires for sex and not just sex but power. People who feel they have no control over their lives feel catharsis controlling others.

There's a myth that poverty ennobles people, it doesn't. It wears them down, it courses them. Look at the countries where gays, women, and children, are the most persecuted and you'll find it where all the people suffer the most. Even in America, it's the poorest states, like Mississippi that are the most intolerant. These are the breeding grounds of bigotry.

Im reading The Name of the Wind. It's a heroic fantasy but the part I'm up to could happen in so much of the real world today. Kvothe's family has been murdered. He was a 12-year-old boy alone with nothing on the streets of a metropolis; homeless and uncared for. Not yet the hero he was to become.

The object of the chase was in the middle of the alley: a young boy, eight years odl at the most. One of the older boys was holding him down. The young boy's bare skin shone pale in the moonlight. There was another sound of ripping cloth, and the oby gave a soft cry that ended in a choked sob.

I'd been chased before at night, several times. I'd been caught too, months ago. Looking down I was surprised to find a heavy red roof tile in my hand, ready to throw.

Then I paused, looking back to my secret place, I had a rag blanket and half a loaf of bread here. I was save here. Even if I hit one of them, the rest would be on the roof in two minutes. Then even if I got away I'd have no place to go.

I twisted my blanket in my hands and clenched my teeth, trying to shut out the low rumble of conversation punctuated by course laughter and quiet, hopeless sobbing from below.

That scene or something much like is happening as you read this, no matter when you read this. It's what life is like in much of the world. It isn't pleasant to read about. It is less pleasant to think about. It's far less pleasant to experience.

So what do we do? We start by not just accepting it as inevitable. We realize that peoples do not have rights but that only people do. People don't have a right to a culture that persecutes others. But that's perhaps the easy part. The hard part is realizing that to change things you have to help the persecutors too. Give people a better life and they live life better. Give people hope and fulfillment and they don't have to find it by taking hope and fulfillment from others.

I know I'm not going to save the world. I know that you aren't going to save the world. All I am trying to do is get you to think about it, to think about the things you don't want to think about. And then I want you to let others know that you care about these things. I want you to get others to think about them. I know my eyes are glowing and I sound pretentious but you have to do that sometimes At least I do.

Back in middle school when I played accordion when we finally go to pick our own songs to play one of the first pieces of sheet music I bought was Guantanamera. Someone had a hit with it then. I'm not sure who. I knew it in Spanish and learned the English translation from Pete Seeger. I've always taken the end to heart.

With the poor people of this earth,
I want to share my lot.
The little streams of the mountains
Please me more than the sea
I still feel that way but even more than the poor people it's the powerless. Certain romantic notions I never outgrow. Like King Arthur and Merlin that it's not might makes right but might for right. Those with the power must help the powerless and empower them to help themselves.

I signed the Pro-Truth Pledge:
please hold me accountable.

Memories: Not that Horrid Song - May 29, 2018
Wise Madness is Now In Session - May 28, 2018
The NFL and the First Amendment - May 27, 2018
On The Road Again - May 26, 2018
Oliver the Three-Eyed Crow - May 25, 2018

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Horvendile February 04, 2014
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