Archetypal Hippie Speaks

 

Rights and privileges 


WE, as a nation, have a document that announces that we have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. What were they thinking when they recognized these three things; what caused them to enumerate these three? What was life to them? We are born and that gives us life. Did they recognize that gift as being from that initiating place? When in the modern parlance we declare to someone “Get a life.” We have a different take on the meaning of the word life. We are concerned that a life is an ongoing existence that ought to be fulfilling and not bogged down in some petty minutia that is what usually causes that declaration. I suspect our writers of the Constitution considered life to be that basic entrance to existence that continues from the helplessness of infancy to the independence and autonomy of the adult.


They were silent on whether capital punishment constituted some break of that right. We have to remember that they were creating a template that all thirteen states could agree to. They did not seek to determine aspects of legislation that were to be managed by those autonomous areas that were coming together to form united states.


Liberty, in those times, surely had more to do with being out from under the control of the English king than with freedoms we enjoy. They wore considerable clothing, they abided by tenets of religion, they declared a right to be free of the king and all the trappings of aristocracy. Theirs was a large apostasy from the economics of supporting that regime.


The pursuit of happiness did not entitle them to food or house or health care. Their world recognized a monetary and work relationship in the procurement of those necessities. The pursuit meant the work and structure of one’s life that one engaged in to create one’s happiness.


I do not think that they were attempting to overturn the basic reality that work is part of the requirement to make one’s way in the world.


I am troubled by the present day concept that health care, housing, food and even having a job is a right. I am also not of the opinion that one has to be privileged to have access to these. Privilege bears the meaning of having money or position that is not available to all.


When some seek to set into law that all people have a right to those things, they are also placing on me the burden of providing them. I do not think that anyone thinks a person has a right to enter their home and bed down, raid the refrigerator, require payment for some act that they decide to accomplish and hang the responsibility for healing any illness that they have on the owner of the home.


I know that individuals who have the home, the stocked fridge, the potential need for help around the house that they in the majority find time to do themselves, also find themselves unable to afford health care that the wealthy, as a result of their money, and the privileged who have positions in government have access to due to the laws that they pass.


A great deal of the money accumulated by the extremely wealthy came from the manipulations they did when they bought up companies and sold them off in pieces while the government did nothing to ensure that the pension funds promised to employees were kept intact. That money was stolen legally. That theft has to be redressed and those who made those profits ought to be stripped of them, even if our government has to go to the offshore banks with Marines and violently wrest it from them.


There are thousands of people who are living in poverty because of that inaction by our government. They and their heirs must be compensated. The way that the social security system is managed also must be revamped. It must support itself and not be set up as a Ponzi scheme leaning on the notion of an unending supply of people who will pay for those who have already retired. Each generation has the right to expect that their contributions will be adequate to support them and to do that, the investment of those monies must be handled with a conservative, staid bias and the inflation rate must be contained and therefore money must not be printed to shore up a debt that ought not have been created.


As a nation, the majority of us find ourselves in a horror movie where the walls of the room we are in are closing in on us. The privileged who have those governmental jobs have granted to the wealthy the means of garnering money by funneling it from the majority to their coffers in off shore banks. Currency is so called because it is meant to flow while in those banks it stagnates and becomes the means for the wealthy to finance the election of those who continue to support the growth of those accounts.


The idea that one person can amass the wealth that is now in the control of those 60 persons who are the 1% of the 1% of the upper echelon of the financial pyramid is utterly false. Those people have created large companies that require the labor of thousands and to tax them and require them to provide a living wage is not the same as having some requirement that I open my doors to support some indigent person.


Personally, I chafe at government telling me how to be healthy. As a doctor, I know that most people do not take responsibility to do what is required to avoid becoming a medical statistic. Extreme surgeries that replace organs damaged by the food and smoking habits of the people are prohibitively expensive and the drugs that people are enjoined to use to alleviate pain and other symptoms are likewise beyond the reach of the average person.


Stifling competition is antithetical to the rights we are guaranteed. The AMA has grabbed the government for the money to continue its power and funnels all to its administration of health care. Those who offer alternatives like chiropractic, acupuncture and homeopathy have difficulty getting paid by insurance and therefore have to charge less and even that less is unattractive when someone can get medical care for free under insurance and governmental assistance to the poor.


The problem is intensified by where one draws the line. I have a friend who runs a business. He works every day even though he is passed retirement age. He can not support a raise in minimum wage and a health care insurance, disability and unemployment insurance and ninety days of sick leave that Bernie proposes. He voted for Trump.   

 

We can not flourish with Trump because he is the epitome of greed and self-interest. Bernie is correct to point out that Trump has reneged on his promises to the people. Trump is all about privilege. Bernie’s solution of rights can counter what we presently are struggling under, but from what I know of human nature, executing them also leads to abuse that will cause an overload of the system. As a nation we have to take responsibility for enacting the right of pursuing happiness. Pursuit means action and that right means our own work unhindered by the greed of the privileged.


Tarnished Gold 


The principle seems simple: Do unto others as you would have done unto you. That sounds like an idea to be followed in order to create good relations between people. However, that notion is correct only in one instance.


What we all want is for people to do to us what we want done to us. We do not necessarily want done to us what the other person wants done to them. Taking an extreme example: a person who enjoys being beaten, if they followed the precept would beat others. Obviously, those others probably do not want to be beaten. The person who enjoys beatings can not fulfill the golden rule using themselves as the standard. What they want done to themselves is not desirable by others.


Instead what they need to do is to recognize what the others want done to them. Thus the adage needs to be Do unto others what they want done to them. That requires a further statement. We need to know that doing unto others what they want done to them places on us the charge to learn what the other does want.

Too many people make assumptions about what others want. Ah yes, we know that assuming makes an ass between you and me. The deep problem with assumptions is that we do not know we are making them. They are ingrained habits of our probabilities.


We can not avoid making assumptions without changing our approach to life. We need to pay diligent attention to the other in order to understand them. Our requirement of ourselves that we be open and aware that another person is a unique universe of needs, preferences and desires. Our comfortable position that we are the standard for what is normal has to evaporate. In its place, we become curious and outgoing with our reaching to learn what is the needs of that mysterious other, a person before us.


Even that opening in ourselves has its perils. The other person may not want to be known. All of our reaching is an intrusion, all of our care is frightening to a person who does not want to be known. Their reason for hiding is in itself its own answer. They do not want to be exposed and what causes them to be that way is deeply personal and too difficult, too painful to expose. They have their assumptions. They consider being private to be the safe normal that they have learned is how people are expected to be and is respectful. They want to be left alone even though everyone knows that humans do not really want solitude. Thus they want what life has caused them to want in a perverse denial of what is really natural to us to want. They do not want their desires to be known or for us to attempt to do unto them what they want based on coming to know them.


The person who attempts to know these people is an intruder. There is no winning possible because such exploration is not wanted and one is prevented from learning what is wanted. The person who is closed assumes that their wants are normal and we should know what those needs are. Whether we guess correctly or not we don’t know because these people will not give a clue. They have learned that is strength. Life is a card game and one never shows one’s cards.


Thus I have rewritten the golden rule: do unto others what they want done unto them and all your efforts to know what they want may not be realized if they don’t want you to know what they do want. We are always dancing on thin ice strewn with eggshells. How you react to the difficulty will form your experience of life.   


Archetypal Hippie On the Horns of a Dilemma 


Conservatives and Liberals deny the truth that each promotes. Considering the meaning of the words, we recognize that conserve means to protect, to save, and to retain. The word liberal is about freedom, opening, and derives from a sense of prosperity. The conservative recognizes the limitations of our reality, that the material we depend on is not infinite but finite and must not be wasted but conserved. The liberal relies on the plenty that nature produces as the basis for how to relate to the economy and the material we use.


One can consider the conservative to be feminine as women bring forth one egg and the liberal to be masculine with the multiple sperm that are required to fertilize it. Indeed, women tend to be more conservative, more protective, and more focused on maintaining the family unit. Males will go to war, take risks to get more in that quest for gain that frees them from the confines of the conserving status quo. Yet we do not think of liberals as the ones who go to war.


We have to look at the symbol of the yin yang to understand how it works. The male and female each have a spot of the other inside. The liberal of the conservative will war, will seek to increase its strength by accumulation that we see in the greed of the 1% who never have enough. They know there is a limit and they want all of it to be theirs. The conservative sees the liberal as unrealistic, as expecting people to be productive when all is freely given despite the conservative truth of human nature as selfish and self-serving. The conservative spot of the liberal will make rules that recognize the limitation of our reality. These rules chafe the conservative who wants freedom to be independent and despite what we would expect of concern for the limitation of the environment, they become liberal about human freedom to exploit the planet. The warring of the conservative destroys the planet and rejects the fundamental recognition of the limitations of reality, that there is not an infinite supply upon which a real conservative vision depends. The regulations of the liberal deny the freedom that is the heart of their position.


Christianity also feeds these two positions according to their lights. The conservative Christian tends to rely on God’s will informing the creation of a fetus even as the dogma looks upon nature as evil and suspect. The conservative Christian hopes for heaven and disdains the earth, nature and sex even as the religion claims that those who work are rewarded. The reward is proof for them of their approval from a God who was known for hanging around with the unrewarded poor. Hypocrisy, a lack of reason and logic do not deter these views. The liberal Christians hear the call to charity and are willing to suffer and give up by sharing what they have gainfully accumulated. Their position puts them on welfare along with too many others. The conservative derides this action knowing that society can not support everyone being poor while the liberal would have the government dispense wealth equally among us, denying the attractive activism of capitalism for those who would be independent entrepreneurs. Socialism is attractive to those who have little and who want protection for their willingness to work a job rather than to start a business.


This country was started by people who were more interested in being independent and having the freedom to do for themselves. With the growth of cities, we have more people willing to live within the confines of a job that supports them paying rent, buying a car on time. They want their contribution to count so that they have health care and food, clothes and roof. Their job ought to enable them to have those needs.


As humans we have not resolved the differences in these two viewpoints. Yet we have created a situation in which a whole new aspect of reality looms on us even as the extinction level pollution of Fukushima will diminish our numbers. Those who are hoarding all the wealth consider a smaller population as optimum because it enables them to have servants and still preserve limited resources for their own use. Those ultimate conservatives do not want billions of us wanting cars, food, and all that uses up the material of the earth. They seek to diminish the numbers of humans for their own posterity to be able to enjoy a lavish lifestyle.


The aspect of reality that we have not resolved is that we have the ability to create robots to do our work. Thus, a lot of people will not have jobs. The 1% dub them useless eaters. Our society has failed them, has failed to instill in them a desire to create, to contribute rather than consume. The best want jobs but not the risk and responsibility of creating a business that would create jobs. Trump told the people that he would unseat the privileged, but those he wants to unseat are the liberals who would make restrictions against plundering the planet. He said he would make America great again, meaning the greatness those who can run things achieve not the greatness of the social systems FDR put in place to support those who are creative and will work. Trump wants the trickle down to start further up the ladder, so he stops the leaking of food to Meals on Wheels and those on welfare, the money for health care, all that would support the poor, the elderly, and infirm.


We have this egocentric leader due to our inability as a society to resolve a balance between a true conservatism and a true liberalism. We deny the feminine care and the masculine explosion and we do not instill the reality of either in our kids whom too many parents shunt off to the propaganda of those who want us to be consumers. The result is an imbalance that will leave us without the means for being consumers. The money does not flow and the current is dammed up in banks. Everyone is waiting for someone to make a move that will decide the direction. Our new leader’s compass only points to himself, his wealth, his Baron…his offspring so aptly named and autistic to boot.


A number of people are predicting that Trump will start World War 3. Perhaps it will be a war within some form of evolutionary revolution that will lead us to recognizing that we must resolve the conflict of prosperity and limitation and the ability for us to have unimaginable leisure with our new technology. What are we going to do with ourselves? Do we whittle down to 10% of the world population, or do we value our variety and find a way to support ourselves?


Race vs Sexism 


                I know that I have something to explore because I just said a hasty good-bye and hung up on a person feeling an uncomfortable tightening in my gut. What we were talking about started with him going on about his favorite topic. He is an African American and his experience is that people in this society react to him negatively.

              
He went on about how they think he is going to steal from them. They grab their purses and cell phones as a response to his presence. We are living in Hawaii and there are not a lot of African Americans here so whatever prejudice has settled into the pale people over here from the forty-eight states seems to have also seeped into the mélange of mixed people here of Philippine, Hawaiian, Portuguese, Japanese, heritages. There are plenty of pale European people here, but their number is far less than in America. This is the Pacific Islands here and part of the United States, but we are not America. Therefore there are a number of subtle niceties in language and attitude that differentiate this little third world economy embedded into the first world economy of the most powerful country on earth. One might think that the attitudes of racism would not have made it here, but they did. They made it with the Europeans who set up the plantations and hired and imported workers. Even the Portuguese, who are European, were subjected through their poverty and their browner coloring to being held to the lower class status that is part of the racism stamp.

               African Americans came here long after the plantation society had disappeared with the loss of sugar profits to other places that could produce it more cheaply. They did not assimilate well. The locals say that they are lazy. Now that is saying something because there is not a great deal of ambition in Hawaiian society. Hawaiians are pretty laid back. They pride themselves on it. They can work and will work hard for something that they want or to make their crops grow, or to struggle with the ocean and bring home a catch, or to weave a fishing net, retain their native language despite the odds against ever resurrecting it to the point of common usage among themselves, or to make baskets or kappa cloth. In other words, Hawaiians will hang out and enjoy each other and their particular essence and do nothing or whatever bolsters their sense of community by continuing their traditions, and all of these are equal for them even as the Westerner only honors the product and result as due respect. Hawaiians don’t care what Westerners think is important. These people with their strength of togetherness encounter the African American and determine that these people are lazy. What they don’t see is any cultural continuity that motivates them to act and they don’t see them behave in the frantic way of the Westerner whom they would never call lazy but whose lack of laziness is meaningless to them.

               My African American friend on the other side of the telephone does not relate that he feels looked upon as lazy, he feels that people are afraid of him. He finds himself scrutinized and singled out for his presence. On taking a walk, he reports that a helicopter hovers over him and a cop car soon arrives. He is questioned as to his presence. What is he doing walking on a road? He is not in a gated community of Beverly Hills. He is in a middle class area of simple homes. He feels this every day.

               I agree, I know this is true. I tell him that as a female, even with my apparent pale appearance I experience a reaction to myself as a female. “How many females do you know have been lynched?” he asks. Well I don’t know any males lynched either, but I know of them of course. However, I do know of females being raped. I say so. He reverts to asking about lynching. Now I admit that lynching ends a person’s existence, but I want to make the point that rape denies a woman’s existence as relevant. Her desire and preference and choice is not important to the rapist. Besides rape, I encounter a lack of attention daily. What I have to say is ignored, what I stand for is simply irrelevant. I experience this as a world view ongoing throughout society. This experience is as thoroughly embedded in our society as the fear he encounters.

               After a moment he agrees. Women are disrespected throughout the world. However he refuses to see that encountering this on a daily basis is parallel to his experience. I agree that there is a difference in being thought a thief and being thought unimportant and irrelevant, but I want to be acknowledged for the daily grinding this stigma has on me as being in essence the same as what he experiences. He is adamant that they are totally different. After a few minutes of speaking about this, my gut begins to hurt. I tell him that I am feeling upset and so am saying good-bye and I hang up. I am more polite than he who when he is upset will call me up lay something on me and hang up without a good-bye or allowing me to speak.

               After I hang up and write this, I realize that I was getting so upset because he was doing to me exactly what I said was my complaint. What I had to say was irrelevant and I simply did not want to have that directed at me any more.  I did not deserve to be treated as though my experience was not part of an overriding social reality that too often allows women to be raped and they can not complain about having been. He claimed that pale women got their rapists punished while African American women had no recourse. However that is not true and most rapes of pale women go unreported because the women know that they have no chance to bring the rapist to justice unless they are brutalized. The male court expects a woman to fight. How do you fight when you are pinned by someone whose weight and strength prevent you from moving even as he uses his lower body to maneuver your legs to effect his lust?  I really have a problem calling this person, whose complaint I recognize as true, a friend. I think a friend listens…but of course only women listen. Men get to speak and say what is real.



Who Sleeps Daily in S.C.?

&

S.C. City Council   


 



Who Sleeps Daily in S.C.?


The dogs are howling in the bright

Midday – Why are they? –

The souls of the daysleepers

exhausted from prowling streets

in cold nights hunched and pacing.

Don’t you ever consider the consequences

of your actions if you allow

condone or do not cry tears

at the inhumanity this bonny

sitar and saxophone lullabye

by the sea, we call Santa Cruz

is perpetrating in the persecution

of plain people.

 

I call it cruel not to let people sleep.

For who have not both sleeves

raveled with care

if it be not those

who have no roof to shelter them?

 

I call it cruelty to wake the

sleeping with a kick

or with a badge.

 

Let us wake them at six AM

with a hot bowl of gruel

wholesome and smiling.

 

I am so simple, the dogs

are howling because the siren

yowls its rude derangement

of injury. Go back to your day

forget the troubles of the poor.

Having written that...I went to a SC city council meeting and came away with this poem:



S.C. City Council

 

You sit and swivel

Back and forth in your big

chairs, barely hear

the tears of need shed

before you who have power

over food, shelter, and sleep.

The petitioners come

one by one. You give

three minutes and no more.

This has gone on for years

straight forward pleas

Real tears, polite deaf ears.

One day one will come

and swivel before you

Brat a tat tat, Brat a tat tat.

It won’t be legal

neither act nor gun,

and what will I say

when your death proves

you human at last,

when your blood cries

as those before you have done

over and over again:

Will I decry your pain

as if you were the cold

and hungry poor,

You who were cold

 only to the weak

in your hunger for power?

Will I protest how cold

you lie crumpled

in your big chairs

like the executed strapped

in the gas chamber?

For the record here,

I oppose the death penalty,

but you make it fun

to seriously consider the notion.



Malaise   


 


          Have you missed me? Have you been kinda missing yourselves? Everywhere I go, everyone I speak to seems to be having a problem that is like when we are “off our feed”. Our appetite for life is in abeyance. My last post here ended with me having signed up for being a delegate for Bernie at the state convention. I, and my partner, Michael, of forty four blessed years went. We got to see how the sausage is made. You have to be of a particular frame of mind to enjoy, flourish, succeed in that environment. For us it was a greater stretch than for most. We live in the country on three acres and have a farm for our sustenance and we read and write and do art and simply do not engage in what seems to take up most of the time of the population. We are not often in places with crowds, or places with canned air and chemicals, or where the expectation is of what passes as cultural agreement about so many things, little things that we simply do not factor into our lives about buying and behavior, and these little things add up to a general perception and expectation that we know is out there, but which rarely impact our lives.

          The convention took place in a large room with over a hundred round tables with ten or so chairs around each one. There were Bernie people and Hillary people and the vote of our state had been 70% for Bernie. The delegates, due to the machinations I wrote about in my last essay were not 70 to 30 but closer to 50 / 50. The Bernie people were like us, in the main, totally new at the game. The result was that the Hillary people tried to skew the thing to her. In the course of the days however the Bernie people figured a lot out and we ended by getting not only our chairperson for our state party as a Bernie person, but we made history by being the state to bring to the National convention the proposal that delegates had to vote to represent the slant of the people. We were to have our delegates be 70% for Bernie and our super delegates also were to have that mix.

          We left feeling pretty good about ourselves and our sacrifice of our serenity for those few days in the madness of traffic, smog, crowds, corporate weight and power, in the overcrowded small island of Oahu where over a million people live. We had some adventures that are not relevant to this essay, but in the main our focus was on getting the people’s will to the DNC nationally. Michael and I were very small potatoes in this movement and we were not in running to go to Philadelphia where you have some awareness of what happened from the TV and news.

          After our convention, there were state conventions that proved the power of the Democrats to overtake and steal the vote from over 150 thousand voters in Brooklyn alone in the state of New York. In California the same occurred in even greater numbers. The machinations in Arizona were shameful. We all know.

          Thus the national malaise. People are complaining that they can not find workers. People are not going to work. The country has lost its verve has in fact become more hopeless than if Bernie had never run. Yet he pushes us to build a coalition to get people with his vision into offices so that we can overtake the DNC.  

          That is probably necessary, but I am a true Berner and I am not ashamed to say that for the first time in my life I have been praying for something. For me, the reality that there is an intelligence and a compassionate Being that Creates it all has only brought me to awe and praise in my relation to It. Prayer actually is at its root a word meaning Praise. However, I find myself looking at that overriding Reality and asking that on some propitious day in full view of the news, she prove herself incompetent. We, on this side of things do not do what the other side does. We did not do JFK, RFK, MLK, MX, Peltier, Pratt, Mumbia, nor did we cause Snowden to flee, nor Assange to hide. You sent a bird as a messenger to us, the symbolism was clear.  We got the message, but Bernie never did get the message. He did not know it was a green house finch, he thought it was a dove of peace. Its message that he did not pick up is that its food is hempseed. He never did come out for hemp fuel.

          Now there is the black snake prophesied by the Native Americans to destroy the people. The brave Sioux and so many tribes have gathered to protest the pipeline of noxious oil that will leak and make their water undrinkable. Bernie went there and on September 10 of this year he said that if we make him president that he will stop this abomination. Yet neither he, nor the Native Americans speak of the alternative and substantive solution that we need because we will not give up our cars. We need hemp fuel and the country needs to hear that there is not only an alternative but that the alternative will make our farmers rich and spread the wealth out from the 1% of 1% who now hoard it all and make us poor.

          I am writing brought from my malaise upon hearing that he would still be president if we can make it so. Yet I am here writing and asking you to tell him to come out for hemp fuel…for Grassoline as a healthy, plentiful solution to our need for the wonder that is our independent transportation in the practical way of life we all pretty much depend on.  If you do write to him, if you talk to each other, if you get the fact of hemp fuel out, you will go a long way to healing your malaise.




How Drumpf (original family name for Trump) wins


I went to my local library to vote. I was like all the throng there; I thought my vote counted.  I discovered that I was not registered. My partner’s name was on the list, but I, who had registered the same day as he, was not. So I had to go to another table and get a form to re-register. I handed that paper in and got a ballot. Then I went to the room where I had no idea what to do next. I walked up to a table where three people sat. They had a pile of Hillary posters in front of them. I thought it was the Hillary table. I thought there was not supposed to be a Hillary table. I asked the people at the Hillary table what I was supposed to do. They told me to mark my ballot and put it in the box. I had not noticed the box.


               I went to cast my ballot. Bernie Sanders was the choice directly above the last choice which was “Undecided”. Hillary Clinton was the first name and there were two or three other names of people I did not know were running. How had those other names gotten on the ballot? I wondered but did not ask.                              

 I walked over to the Hillary table and asked when the ballots would be counted and they said after all the voting was done and the delegates were chosen for the precincts. I asked how that was managed and they told me that they were for precinct one and the other table was for another precinct. I was surprised to realize that there were three precincts voting at this polling place and only two had tables. Again being somewhat a dumbed down sheep, I did not ask about that.

 

               I learned that I was from precinct one. So I sat at a table where there was a stack of Hillary posters. At that table was a woman thin and with a lovely hair style beautifully cut to the exact presentation of the curl of her greying hair. To her left was a man who proclaimed himself to be a union leader and to her right was a woman who was both forward and retreating in her demeanor. Michael and I and the woman we had brought with us all sat down at this table. We did not know what exactly it was about.


               I am sure that all the people who filed through the room handing in their ballots also had no idea what was really taking place. They had voted, had their say and were going home in hopes and certainty that democracy had been conducted. However, right in front of them was the real power play and they did not know it. Nothing was hidden except no one understood.


               At the table we were told that the thin woman was the wife of the man who regularly was president of our precinct. He was not able to be there because he was at some other important meeting since he is also some official for the agricultural part of our government. He had been president for years and wanted to continue. His agricultural connection worried me since I am opposed to GMO corn, and to the fact that GMOs have not been adequately tested. The union guy was for Bernie but he liked GMOs. He was not convinced they were bad by the science that has uncovered the tumors they cause in rats.


               The thin woman rallied for her husband and the union man wanted him to continue to be president also. These people had worked for the Democrats for years. I had no idea what they did. They said that they had introduced the process we had just been through that was purported to be more efficient and transparent than what had existed before. In fact, previously, this meeting would have been held on a different day. I think our presence and my questions were probably making them wish they had not been so transparent.


               I did not oppose the idea of this agricultural high up no show from being president nor for her to be vice president. However then it came up that there were to be delegates and now I was getting the drift of how this went. These people were for Hillary and were going to be delegates. So Michael volunteered to be the treasurer. I also volunteered to be a delegate. I do not want to be involved at this level at all, but I must do what I can for Bernie.


               The thin lovely woman asked us several times if we had the money to go to Honolulu and stay at a hotel and that the whole process was grueling. She said this several times. She clearly did not want us to be delegates. But there we were hanging in there for Bernie. When we were done, the voting was declared to be over.


               The ballot box was opened and a man sat at the table and began to count the votes. The thin woman was on the side of the Hillary count and a blonde woman was on the side of the Bernie count. I happened to be standing next to the thin woman and she suggested that I move to the other side. I was supposed to mark down the final vote count on a paper. Bernie won three to one.


               I went to the thin woman and thanked her for her work for the party and asked her forgiveness for having been so unaware of how things went that I had to ask so many questions. Her reply was “well if you do not know, perhaps you should let those who do lead.” Her voice was full of almost tearful emotion as her candidate had not won.  I felt bad for her, but I had to say, “I would gladly have stayed out of it, but I and many others have not been happy with the way things have been going for a long time.” I looked her in the eye and she was angry under her sorrow.


               So if you want to know how Bernie will lose this nomination and the country will have Drumpf for its president, then let these delegates have their say since they can ignore the vote. PEOPLE THIS WAS NOT A VOTE, THIS WAS A SUGGESTION THAT THEY DO NOT HAVE TO FOLLOW.   

           

               If that lady was angry, she does not know how angry I am. Are you with me? Then you Oahu Bernie people must show up at the convention and protest outside peacefully but strongly that Hawaii send only Bernie people to the national. We can not let those who have been running things have their way because that is what makes this a revolution-- people. They can have their offices, but they have to listen to us. Maybe they will not want to lead if they can not have business as usual. We will have to have new leaders then. Please will someone else stand up so I do not have to run for office.  I am a poet for heaven’s sake.




The Hinge of Perception





            I am raw. I have no answers. I act from my center and of course can not control any other. I have a place up for sale. The realtor who is to help me sell, showed the place to potential buyers who were accompanied by their realtor. The people looked at the place and as they left, one person spoke to the renter as she looked at a couch loaded with stuffed animals. The person heard “It looks like you are not wanted here.” The person is an African American man who has suffered from pale people accusing him, denying him, disrespecting him for his sixty years on this planet in this racist country. He calls me to say this is the crap he has put up with all his life. I suggested that perhaps she was referring to the fact that one could not sit on the couch. “Well,” he countered, “the other couch is empty.” I knew that was true.


            I called my realtor. I asked who was the last person out of that home. From the insulted man’s description, the statement had been made when he was alone with the woman whom he described as an older white woman. The realtor told me the group was made up of a couple and their mother and the realtor. The only pale one among them was the realtor. I told the realtor what had been said. “Oh” my realtor said, “No I was there when she said that.” “She said, It looks like no one can sit here.” Of course that was the meaning I had thought was intended and which I had already proposed.


            I called my friend, the renter, and told him what my realtor had heard. My friend was sure that he had heard what was said. “Who are you going to believe?”


            This is the second time in two days I am confronted with that question. I have another friend whom I know only through Facebook and a mutual concern with liberating the hemp plant. She is an attorney and she is aware that there are forays into putting forth to the people of California propositions that purport to free the plant from the laws that make it a jail offense to grow, or to use.


            Now there are two sides to the hemp plant. One is that it is an herb and to the herb there are two sides. There is the healing uses of the herb and the fun or recreational uses . The herb is called by its Latin name of Cannabis and the English name for the plant is hemp which is grown like a wheat field that is tall stalks close together and unlike wheat, this plant grows 15 to 20 feet tall in three months which means that the farmer can harvest an immense amount of material in a short time. This is why, the government put out a Bulletin stating that one acre of hemp can save 4.1 acres of trees if used to make paper.


            This is a rather old history. It took place in the 1920’s and is relevant today. The fact that hemp could make paper better than trees was not pleasing to William Randolph Hearst who owned newspapers. He had leases that allowed him to cut down National Forest Land trees for $1 per acre. He did not want any competition. In league with him was Dupont who had discovered nylon and preferred to sell nylon rope when people really liked hemp rope better. Then there was Rockefeller who had oil lands. He did not like that Henry Ford had invented an engine to run cars that used fuel made from hemp when he preferred that the engine use oil that was a disgusting poisonous substance that he had a lot of.


These men did not want farmers to have the money from a hemp harvest that they would make from their inferior, earth destroying products.  Hearst wielded the opinion bending media, and he used it to say that there was a plant that made dark people uppity. Of course he did not call it Cannabis or hemp. People knew what that plant was and were happily using it in all kinds of ways to heal themselves, to make paper and cloth and rope. The sails that made the ships travel the seas were made from canvas which is a word derived from cannabis and the toughness of the fabric ensured that the sails could weather the salt air and last for long journeys. People were not going to believe there was anything wrong with hemp or Cannabis. So Hearst used a Spanish word to demonize the plant. He called it Marihuanna and marijuana which words being of Spanish origin invoked the image of those people who lived in Mexico who were darker due to their Spanish and Indian blood that was less favored among the English paler Europeans who were the majority in the US.


These men conspired to get the law written that made growing hemp illegal. From that action all of our modern world derives. The negative attitude toward dark people did not change, but the law ensured that more of them get imprisoned because smoking it became a cultural basis for Jazz and Ragtime. What is more, the farmer who owns land that is a broad base of the economy was cut out of competing for the money that now funneled to the wealthy who were few in number and have become in our time 1% of 1% who own more than the bottom half of all of us.


Now a lot of people are coming to realize that Cannabis is curing their ills. For many years a man Jack Herer researched and learned that history and usefulness of hemp. He wrote a book The Emperor Wears No Clothes and he wrote a proposition to be put before the people of California that would free the hemp plant for all its uses. However, the people who were sick and in need of immediate use of the plant as an herb, got together and wrote a Proposition 215. This California law went before the people and was passed in 1996. Jack Herer agreed to back the proposition when the medically needy promised that with the health that they would achieve, they would then sponsor and push to get his proposition before the people of the State of California. This promise has not been fulfilled. Instead other propositions have been written.


In the course of my activism to see this plant become decriminalized…(I am not seeking it to be legal because if it is legal it is subject to restrictive laws that had no business to have been made in this country with the Constitution that says that the Federal government can not make laws outside of the ones granted already in it, but that such laws refer to the States) Well of course there was one law that the States had no business making in a land purporting to be for freedom. The Federal government overturned the right of anyone to hold a slave in any State and that was taken as the right of the Federal government to make any law the law of the land. Why was slavery allowed in the first place? Well there had to be a united front against England back in the Revolutionary times and the South would not have joined had they been restricted from having the free work force that picked cotton.


O and racism. Africans were not considered to be fully human.


Let that sink in a bit. There was Thomas Jefferson enjoying the company and sex of Sally Hemings while owning her and fully knowing that the woman was as human as his pale wife, perhaps feeling that she was more human, yet economically bound to his means of obtaining wealth so that he acted immorally with intent. Talk about cognitive dissonance, I am glad not to have his conscience.


Thus, in the course of my awareness of hemp prohibition and the resultant economic and ecological fallout from it, I have done what I can to get others to know about the wrongs deriving from this law. The California Cannabis Hemp Initiative that Jack Herer wrote has not been put before the voters. Instead there was a Proposition 19 that looked like it might be a good thing until Letitia Pepper, an attorney, analyzed it and found that it took away the rights and freedoms that Proposition 215 gave to sick people.


I had a long standing friendship with other hemp activists. Chris Conrad and his wife Mickey Norris backed Proposition 19. Chris was angry with me for being against it and called me a prohibitionist.  What Proposition 19 did that was particularly awful was to create a monopoly for those who own dispensaries to enable sick people to get their herb. The question hung in the air. Was Chris and his wife in league with those who had those designs on creating a monopoly that destroyed the work that the underground Hippie farmers had done all those years at peril for their freedom? I was not about to say that they were.


Now there is another attempt to do the same thing again. AUMA is another creation designed to hoodwink the voter into thinking that some aspect of freedom will be obtained when in fact again a monopoly will be created and the rights of patients abridged. Again Chris and Mickey are backing AUMA claiming it is a good thing while Letitia Pepper’s analysis shows again the flaws in it. Chris is getting more vehement in his opposition to Letitia. Meanwhile, Letitia is outlining her case that Chris is again in the paid league with those who wrote it. Her arguments are rational and she asks me “ Who are you going to believe?”

I know that her arguments about the proposition are true. I know that my friend who has experienced ongoing insults of racism are real. That is what I know.


I am a person of no belief. If I do not know something, I just do not know it. I do not know if Chris and Mickey have gone over to the dark side living with the cognitive dissonance of being traitors to the freedom of the plant that will solve so many of our societal and personal ills as well as that of the planet too. When my friend Letitia put the question to Chris if he was in paid league, he did not answer yes or no. She said he just looked at her with eyes that knew she knew. I was not there.


I was not in the home of my friend and renter. I know that he has been racially excluded and attacked. Was he this time? He reported that the comment was made without witness, but my realtor friend did hear something. My African American friend is certain he heard what he heard. I thought that telling him he misheard would be a balm to the re-opened wound. It was not. It caused a rift in our friendship. Who do I believe? I am simply not a believer. I was not there.




Attempt at Transport




I was about twenty years old taking the Long Island railway from New York out to Long Island out of Grand Central Station. I was sitting on one of those hard seats next to a window. The Long Island trains are about commuting so they are not soft or luxurious. The floors are hard and dirty the walls also, and the seats are bare benches, the ambiance is practical designed to get people short distances of an hour or two to and fro from Long Island to Manhattan. I was not thinking about what was outside. It was night, so although I could have looked out and seen the squares of light of windows of tenements floors stacked on floors housing those who lived closer to that hub of rock that is Manhattan, I was not looking. I did not think about how I appeared to those windows that I was not looking at. Most nights I tried to read on this journey, but this night I did not. I was sitting immersed in my awareness of myself feeling a part of humanity unlike all others just a person sitting on a train. I was the only woman in the car that was sparsely populated, I was one of about ten people sitting going each to an individual place but together with each other in this necessity of transportation that was designed to move us without the spiritual concept of being transported. There was no expectation that we, any of us, were to be enlightened or that the journey was a quest.  Everything about the makings of this means of travel underscored the daily repetitive aspect of life as drudgery and duty having only the incidental meaning that we ascribe to why we work, why we garner money for food and shelter.


               Those tenements housed lots of people who did not need to get on this train because they were so much closer to the center where all the energy required people to do what they did to make the city work. They were store keepers, janitors, food servers, stackers of shelves. Typically the men on this train were in suits, so they were among those whose work by moving paper rather than mops, or goods.  I was a student, trying to secure myself a place in the academic world. I was interested in teaching literature. Actually, I wanted a means of supporting myself so that I could write. I liked stories and words, but while I was interested in literature, I truly did not grasp the purpose of literary scholarship. I saw the tomes of criticism as an odd attempt to pretend to understand how people in the past looked at life based on their world view that formed the background of the stories. I was naïve enough to think that the people enjoyed the stories pretty much the way I enjoyed them.


               I suppose my simplicity was buoyed by something odd about me. When I was a child, I dreamed of being in a room with stone floors and walls. It was high up, and I stood at a slanted desk, a lectern, made of wood and I wrote, copying texts with an ink pen quill. In the dream, I had no sense of what sex I was, I enjoyed the work because I enjoyed the stories. In these dreams, I understood the words I was writing, but as I woke up, I could realize that the words were not ones that I used. I was dreaming of writing In another language. One of the memories was that I could look out the window that had no glass and was not rectangular but arched at the top. Looking out the window, I could see a swath of blue above and a swath of green below. I could hear sheep, but I could not see them. The view was like a Rothko painting, and maybe at cause of my loving his paintings so much. I do not usually have recurring dreams, but this one I had often. I would wake sitting up with my hand in the air writing. The stories were entertaining. One involved a traveling salesman who came to a farm and seduced the farmer’s daughter. The oddest thing about the dreams was the dissonance of understanding the story and the words while in the dream and waking to remember the words and realize that I did not understand them. I wrote them down on a piece of paper.


               I lived with an extremely ill and controlling mother. Therefore, I taped the paper to the bottom of a drawer so that she would not find it and confiscate it or question me about it. Everything I did was scrutinized and I had no idea how to explain why I had written these strange words down. So I hid the paper when I was eight. When I was in college, I took a course in Medieval literature. We studied Chaucer, but we also studied other writers and we learned that in that time, English had many dialects. I went to the library with the paper I retrieved from under the drawer. I found the story. It came from the North of England. I also learned that scribes were often people who were near-sighted at a time when glasses for that impediment were not invented. The swath of blue and green were the horizon, but the inability to see the sheep…well that made sense now. My sense of myself in the dreams was of a person who was happy, pleased, and content. I enjoyed the stories and the work where I was left alone, I was fed, clothed, clean, and there was peace. The atmosphere of the dreams was in major contrast with my life in the modern world.


               One day my mother came into my room and scrutinizing me noticed that around my mouth was a dark mark. She went ballistic. She thought I had been doing something sexual that caused this sort of hickey mark on my face. She screamed, ranted, flailed about, the air was dark with her hate, heavy with the stink of her rancor that was like puke. Her accusations and suspicions hurt even though I had no idea how I had gotten that mark. She finally allowed me to go back to my room and continue my work. I picked up a plastic glass and as I had been doing before the storm, I held it to my mouth and sucked the air out of it so it stuck to my face just a little. Then it dawned on me that the glass made the exact shape on my face where the darkened mark was. I went back downstairs where my parents sat watching TV and showed them what I had been doing for no reason at all. My mother denied that could have caused the mark. My father laughed and said indeed it could have. She finally gave in, reluctantly. The reluctance was the most grating because it showed that she preferred to think the worst of me.


               I think in her stubborn preference she was very much like so many people. The idea that people are guilty goes against the basic principle of our justice system. Our laws put more people in jail because jurors tend to think if you are caught you are guilty. Judge Judy has a following of people who find her distrust and skepticism of what people say meaningful and wise. One night as I walked to the train, I passed a couple of men in suits and one of them seeing me with my long hair, yelled out, “you are an art major” and I yelled back “No, but you are a lawyer.” “How did you know?” he squealed whining at being discovered when he thought himself so smart and perceptive. We do not know one another and we think we do in some snide way that accounts for Donald Trump’s appeal to a common attitude of distrust and fear. Believing the worst about one another is a vein of poisonous oil that we humans mine along with the greed that has fostered us to use oil. That green happy prolific hemp plant that was made contraband to further the interests that wanted to clear cut national forests and extract oil is an exact parallel to what we are going through emotionally as a species.


               The train was progressing when somehow it lurched because the engineer braked. I do not know why he braked, but at that moment the window next to me shattered and a bullet that had come from a rifle that someone who did not know me had a bead on my head missed and flew in front of my eyes by an inch. That brake was the break that kept me alive. I was sitting covered in glass and in shock I said, “I’ve been shot” and paused realizing that was not true and said the significantly altering word “AT.” One man turned and asked if I was OK. “Yes” I stood up showering glass onto the floor. I did not think about the man, it had to have been a man, who had aimed, or that he could have aimed again when I stood and proved he had not realized his intent. Whatever his emotion that made him behave in this thoroughly anti-social way, he did not need to fire again. He had made his point for himself. He had put me in shock. Of course, I had to look at life as being fragile. This was not a revelation to me who had weathered the torture of beatings and storms of my childhood. I could think that some greater force had caused the engineer to brake. However, I have never had a lot of confidence in my significance even though I am convinced that there is intelligence that guides the universe. Just as I was unaware of the tenements and of the inhabitants stuck in the social morass of class and economic structure that is the stuff of literary criticism of the future analyzing our stories of this time, I knew about them, I was not focused on them. I was not at that moment thinking about them, about their desperation and unrealized dreams. My unrealized dreams did not rankle me because I never assessed my life by the terms of that background. Someone holds out a hand asking for help and I do what I can in that moment. I write in the hopes that someone will read, but if not, I write because only I can tell about all the strange story that keeps me interested in this ongoing story that is my life. I suspect that many people have their own stories that mine give some echoes that call to them and they are emboldened to recollect and grow from as a result. 


               I was not shot and killed. I was shot at. I could have been killed. I acknowledge that a gun was in the hands of an unstable person. Still while our government and so many “liberal” types would remove guns from the hands of the public, I do not support that idea. I do not, because I am a real liberal. I want people to have freedom. If only the police and government have guns, we are like the Jews in the ghettoes of Germany. We are not governed by sane people. Power is in the hands of those who have money and have declared that the power of the corporation has the rights of persons. Over and over I see the Constitution misunderstood by those who claim to be experts in interpreting it. While the drafters of the Constitution did not see fit to heed Abigail Adams’ plea to her husband to remember women when making the law of the land, we have begun to grow to recognize the equal humanity of those who can bear children. The second amendment derived from the recognition that there was a need to protect our freedom and that sometimes we might be at odds even with ourselves if those who were in government became tyrants. The writers of the Constitution would have soiled their breeches if they had heard of hemp being made illegal. They grew it and considered it the most valuable resource even though so difficult to harvest.


               They would have been pleased to see the development of a hemp harvester and hemp decorticator that would have taken the burden of growing the plant from the farmer. They allowed slavery, knowing it was wrong and yet embroiled in the necessity of having the South be part of the Union and in their own economy that built civilization with that slavery. Cotton, hemp and sugar are all crops that bolster a need for slavery. Morality was thrown out the window of the legislature until time changed enough and we had a terrible Civil war. Then sharecropping was really not much different from slavery and the poverty ensured by the segregation that we are only a short time away from having erased as public policy. Bernie Sanders marched with King, as did I. We knew segregation was an abomination. Now we know that having cops shoot people who are melanin rich is an ongoing expression of the racism we fought.


Bernie Sanders tries to find a balance with those in his state who are gun owners and the majority of the Democrats who are stomping for taking guns away from the public. I would rather we found natural ways to deal with our mental problems than with pharmaceuticals that seem to always have been prescribed to those people who go nuts with guns. He wants us to have access to health care. I agree but fear that he is not aware of the benefits of natural means that do not have the backing of the money of the drug companies.  So it all comes together. Do we continue to be people who knee jerk hate and suspect one another? Do we deny the right of the people to have the power to unseat the government if it becomes our tyrant? Do we take it personally when someone shoots at us and say take away all guns? Do we continue to seek the ease of the pill that has so many hideous side effects or do we find those who study herbs, homeopathics, chiropractic, neurofeedback and acupuncture to find natural methods that do us no harm? Do we deny our good feelings that hemp as an herb provides or do we allow government to make it only available to the sick and dying while writing laws that put into place monopolies to dispense? Do we deny the spiritual transport possible in life and agree that we are all mere cogs in a wheel, when each of us is capable of personal satisfaction that recreational hemp re-creates? 


Bernie Sanders walks the line in a unique way. He respects his colleagues. I think that his ability to find the good ground in his opponents will be a mainstay for a change that this country craves. Refusing to allow greed to have sway and supporting the people requires a brake on the progress and we avoid the bullet of death that we face if we allow the corporate way to continue to have us in its sights. He is from the generation that wanted to make a break from the past. Are we finally ready to live from the peace and love generation…without being naïve when we face the greedy, the racist, the evil that would destroy the premise of a society that presumes us innocent and equal and worthy of pursuing happiness, life and freedom?

 

Archetypal Hippie Speaks



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