Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Action and Other Antidotes

Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got till it's gone......*

I don't think of myself as a highly sensitive person but reading Naomi Wolf's The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot sent me into despair. I put it aside while I considered how to stay informed without becoming depressed. Here is what I came up with:

1) I recognized that the fear I was feeling about losing freedom was similar (identical?) to the fear that is driving those who would pass laws to protect us from The Terrorists. They are as worried for their children, and grandchildren, as I am. Just feeling that empathy was enough to add some perspective.

2) Perspective was what I needed. I had focused too tightly on the spectre of Big Brother. My wonderful NIA teacher, Rachael Resch, reminded me that we should always hold something we love in mind. When I was little my mother would sit with me if I was scared, usually at bedtime. She would quote from the Bible, "What so ever things are beautiful, what so ever things are pure, think on these things." OK, so there is a power grab by the neocons, but good things are happening too. I pictured the wonderful time I'd had in Boston with my daughter Sally and grandchildren, Eli and Evelyn (cartwheel above). And the warm Thanksgiving with my son Fred, his wife Amy, and Sam's daughter, Jennifer, in Eugene. I picked up my Gratitude Journal.

3) I also needed to take political action. Nothing like a dose of helplessness to fuel a bleak mood. So I wrote a letter to the editor regarding Senate Bill 1959. I took a copy of the bill to a friend who teaches government at Ashland High School, so he could talk with his students about it. Plus I offered to mentor a senior project regarding governmental moves toward dictatorship as outlined in Wolf's book. And I left a copy of the book for his class. And I asked our library to get a copy. And I called/faxed the members of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs registering my opposition to S 1959. Whew!

You can read a summary of Wolf's 10 steps to close down an open society here, or watch an excellent interview with Wolf posted on Time Goes By and read more about S 1959, the Thought Crime bill. You can download a copy of the introduction to The End of America here. I encourage you to buy a copy if you can. Give them for Christmas!

We've been warned. Let it fuel something positive.

*Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi


Rick Hamrick said...

Sharry--I just watched the entire 45-minute video of Naomi Wolf speaking a couple of months ago.

She makes a compelling case. My wife and I, both old enough to have participated last in political demonstrations about 40 years ago, are now joining in public protests, something we began with hundreds of others in Denver a week or so before we bombed Iraq. As Ms Wolf calls it, the "drum beat" of war was already too far gone for the folks like us to stop it.

Now, though, we can stop it, and it will be far uglier and more painful than if we had avoided the entire situation. Still, we must do what it takes to pull all American troops--be they employed by our government or as contractors working for other civilians--from their places in Iraq.

I don't pretend to know the best way (least bad way?) to get this done. I do, though, know how to assert my right as a citizen of our country to demand that we remove our military from harm's way as quickly as is prudent.

I honor your assumption that those who got us into this, did so only while working for the American people in good faith. It is not my belief, but I will not waver from my own duty, given my beliefs, to toss the people who did not do the job and bring in a new group in a fair election where we all get the same opportunity to declare our preference.

We're on the same side, you are just more compassionate and forgiving than I am.

While I have not seen the Senate bill you refer to, I certainly will be reading it shortly.

sharryb said...

Thanks for your comments, Rick. My empathy statement had more to do with the people who allow our rights to be slowly rescinded because they fear terrorism. I do not necessarily extend that compassion to those in power who are ignoring our rights for financial gain (or personal aggrandizement). I don't know what's up with them. They are truly beyond my understanding.