Thursday, December 22, 2016

You couldn't live with yourself if you didn't at least try



A friend sent that to me in a facebook message today. It's a conclusion I had come to since the election.

I had reached a point in life where I felt I have been fighting something or other forever and where I am tired. It was like in Fellini's movie, "The Clowns." His camera crews traveled around Europe contacting and interviewing all the famous clowns from European circuses. As an aside if you watched carefully you would see the crews pull off some of the great clown tricks. There is a scene where they pull up to an address in a small car and before you realize it, 20 people have come out of the car carrying all manner of movie-making equipment. But the point of telling this is the last scene
in the movie where Fellini staged a grand circus parade under the big top. But as the elephants and the acrobats march around the tent, we notice three of the clowns sitting on the ring itself. Asked why they are not in the parade one of them says, "not any more, I am just too tired."

I could take that as a reason not to fight or like Chief Joseph of the Nez Perse said after defeating the U.S. Cavalry and then trying to lead his people into Canada, "I will fight no more forever."

In the Fifties, believe it or not, we objected to complacency, not a big fight, but still. In the Sixties came the Vietnam War and civil rights, and for a bit more spice, women's liberation. After that came the whole environmental movement. By the Eighties  I was driving a boat in Alaska waters and seemed to be far from the battles. About then SeaWorld came to Alaska to capture our whales and then Exxon spilled oil all over our ocean and shores. Those took care of the Eighties, Nineties and 00s.

After that I put in a sitnt at a newspaper and that's a place you are constantly exposed to the world's battles, all of them, on a daily basis. Choose your medicine. It never goes away.

Some time after that I thought I could enjoy retirement as I felt I had reached a point where I could say I did what I could and now when I was tired and would fight no more forever.

Then came the 2016 election. I was one of those naive persons who could not envision Trump winnning. I might as well have been punched in the stomach when he did. And even since, every time I think of it I react physically. On top of that there are those people who now have a majority in both houses of Congress who want to cut Social Security and Medicare. I depend on both of these and would be pretty much reduced to poverty if they succeed. I am outraged. I have been paying into Social Security for more than 50 years and now they want to take it away from me because they hate  Franklin Roosevelt.

I stewed over it for some time until I realized that's not going to help. Also I can't just write about it. If I am not going to sit by passively and let it happen to me I have to do something. But what? A blog post doesn't do much, after all most of the people who read my blog agree with me. So, I made a start. I sent a serious email to all three of Alaska's representatives (all in-line Republicans) in which I pointed out that 83,000 Alaskans receive Social Security benefits, most of them retired people. That was a start.

The missing senator wrote back first. What I got was a condescending (it might as well have started out "Dear Stupid) note explaining what the GOP says is wrong with Social Security. Our other senator said she was examining the issue. I never heard back from our only U.S. Representative, but then he says he only represents those who voted for him.

So, that was a start. Obviously more needs doing and fast. At the moment I am in the deep woods, a good place to devise a plan. Unfortunately I am stranded by a broken-down, brand-new snowmachine so I have a lot to contemplate, but I am thinking through what I can do in the fight to keep the benefits we've earned. I guess I will fight at least once more forever. So thanks, Shelley, for the kick in the pants. I just hope it doesn't kill me.

A COUPLE OF COMENTS FROM FACEBOOK
10-4. my sentiments exactly. retired. moved back to the woods to live on a very small income but lots of time to do art, meditate, walk in the woods and smell the roses. also thought no way in hell america would elect an utterly incompetent, psychotically narcissistic baboon. but we were wrong and now we have to fight again and again until we die in the trenches. this time the battlefront is so multifacetd it's overwhelming: social security, economic freedom for lower and middle classes, racial
and LGBQT rights, women's rights, environmental survival. .... anon.... there is no moral or just cause this satan-spawn isn't attacking. my experience w Dan Sullivans office to phone calls is the same----yawn. who cares about what you peasants think? and Young, of course , is like Trump---- he feels
he was divinely anointed and overtly hostile to constituent opinion. i will continue to call them, donate $ where i can, and just be the squeaky wheel. anything else that occurs to me is illegal. mostly i plan to just live long enough see these jack-offs in their graves after they have destroyed everything – GRETCHEN SMALL


Gretchen Small that matters except what is inside my soul. like Gandhi. "i will not obey. you can kill
me but then all you have is another dead body. you still will not have my obedience."


Former congressional staffers tell how best to influence members of Congress.

1 comment:

  1. When the election results were announced I went into a kind of disbelieving withdrawal, watching the daily horrors unfolding before us and trying to understand what happened. I still don't understand it, but I can no longer just sit and watch the unraveling. I'm not sure what finally set me off, but if you look at my Facebook posts of the last week you'll find some pretty interesting posts and comments. Hundreds of them. As a writer, I believe in the power of words, and I have seen what they can achieve when put together right.

    ReplyDelete

Interesting quotations

"In the final analysis your life is only as good as the background music you dance to." – that was me

"Whether you think that you can or you think you can't, you are right." – Henry Ford

"You want to feel alive until the day you croak" – Frank Gallagher Shameless

"Smooth is good but sailing takes a brisk wind" – me

"I'm a drinker with writing problems." ~ Brendan Behan

"Religious Freedom is not about stopping persecution; it’s about being the one who gets to do it. Glory!" – Mrs. Betty Bowers, America's best Christian

It doesn't matter what you write, it only matters that you write.

"Give someone a book and they'll read all day. Teach someone to write a book and they'll spend a lifetime mired in paralyzing self doubt." – internet meme

"It's been a long time since I heard my backbone crack – Chuck Berry

“Don’t think you’re on the right road just because it’s a well-beaten path.” – JD

"I was the only person up on the hill with both racing numbers and a handicapped placard." – Kitty Delorey Fleischman, a grandmother who occasionally still races her Porsche in hill climbs.

Like most writers, I feel like a reprobate who does not deserve to live on any day that I do not write, but I also feel that four or five hours is enough to earn my stay on the planet for one more day. – anon

"Religion was invented when the first con man met the first fool." – Mark Twain

Shit happens; you just come up with a different plan. – Kitty

Your body is not a temple. It's an amusement park. – Anthony Bourdain

Never too late for a happy childhood – Berkley Breathed

A real writer doesn't just want to write, a real writer has to write. – Internet meme

"It was like the aftermath of an orgasm with the wrong partner" – David Lagercrants, "The Girl in the Spider's Web"

The non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity. – Franz Kafka

If the muse is late, start without her – Peter S. Beagle

We never comprehend how heavy the things are we insist on carrying until we set them down. jd

Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. ~Mark Twain Actually you could do the same thing with the word "really" as in "really cold."

If you are looking for an experience that will temper your vanity, this is it. There's no one to impress when you're alone on the trap line. – Michael Carey quoting his father's journal

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. – Benjamin Franklin

It’s nervous work. The state you need to write in is the state that others are paying large sums of money to get rid of. – Shirley Hazzard

So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence -- Bertrand Russell

You know that I always just wanted to have a small ship to take stuff from a place that had a lot of that stuff to a place that did not have a lot of that stuff and so prosper.—Jackie Faber, “The Wake of the Lorelei Lee”

If you attack the arguer instead of the argument, you lose both

If an insurance company won’t pay for damages caused by an “act of God,” shouldn’t it then have to prove the existence of God? – I said that

I used to think getting old was about vanity—but actually it’s about losing people you love. Getting wrinkles is trivial. – Eugene O’Neill

German General to Swiss General: “You have only 500,000 men in your army; what would you do if I invaded with 1 million men?”

Swiss General: “Well, I suppose every one of my soldiers would need to fire twice.”

Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.—Gloria Steinem

Exceed your bandwidth—sign on the wall of the maintenance shop at the West Coast/Alaska Tsunami Warning Center

One thing I do know, if you keep at it, you usually wind up getting something done.—Patricia Monaghan

Do you want to know what kind of person makes the best reporter? I’ll tell you. A borderline sociopath. Someone smart, inquisitive, stubborn, disorganized, chaotic, and in a perpetual state of simmering rage at the failings of the world.—Brett Arends

It is a very simple mind that only knows how to spell a word one way.—Andrew Jackson

3:30 is too late or too early to do anything—Rene Descartes

Everything is okay when it’s 50-below as long as everything is okay. – an Alaskan in Tom Walker’s “The Seventymile Kid”

You can have your own opinion but you can’t have your own science.—commenter arguing on a story about polar bears and global warming

He looks at three ex wives as a good start—TV police drama

Talkeetna: A friendly little drinking town with a climbing problem.—a handmade bumper sticker

“You’re either into the wall or into the show”—Marco Andretti on giving it all to qualify last at the 2011 Indy 500

Makeup is not for the faint of heart—the makeup guerrilla

“I’m going to relax in a very adult manner.”—Danica Patrick after sweating it out and qualifying half an hour before Andretti

“Asking Congress to come back is like asking a mugger to come back because he forgot your wallet.”—a roundtable participant on Fox of all places

As Republicans go further back in the conception process to define when life actually begins, I am beginning to think the eventual definition will be life begins in the beer I was drinking when I met her.—me again

Hunting is a “critical element for the long-term conservation of wood bison.”—a state department of Fish and Game official explaining why the state would not go along with a federal plan to reintroduce wood bison in Alaska because the agreement did not specifically allow hunting

Each day do something that won’t compute – anon

I can’t belive I still have to protest this shit – a sign carriend by an elderly woman at an Occupy demonstration

Many people hear voices when no one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stared at walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing. – Meg Chittenden

Life should be a little nuts or else it’s just a bunch of Thursdays strung together—Kevin Costner as Beau Burroughs in “Rumor has it”

You’re just a wanker whipping up fear —Irish President Michael D. Higgins to a tea party radio talk show host

Being president doesn’t change who you are; it reveals who you are—Michelle Obama

Things sports announcers say

"… there's a fearlessment about him …"

"He's got to have the lead if he's going to win this race."

"Kansas has always had the ability to score with the basketball."

"NFL to put computer chips in balls." Oh, that's gotta hurt.

"Now that you're in the finals you have to run the race that's going to get you on the podium."

"It's very important for both sides that they stay on their feet."

This is why you get to hate sportscasters. Kansas beats Texas for the first time since 1938. So the pundits open their segment with the question "let's talk about what went wrong." Wrong? Kansas WON a football game! That's what went RIGHT!

"I brought out the thermostat to show you how cold it is here." Points to a thermometer reading zero in Minneapolis.

"It's tough to win on the road when you turn the ball over." Oh, really? Like you can do all right if you turn the ball over playing at home?

Cliches so imbedded in sportscasters' minds they can't help themselves: "Minnesota fell from the ranks of the undefeated today." What ranks? They were the only undefeated team left.

A good one: A 5'10" player went up and caught a pass off a defensive back over six feet tall. The quote? "He's got some hops."

Best homonym of the day so far: "It's all tied. Alabama 34, Kentucky 3." Oh, Tide.

"Steve Hooker commentates on his Olympic pole vault gold medal." When "comments" just won't do.

"He's certainly capable of the top ten, maybe even higher than that."

"Atlanta is capable of doing what they're doing."

"Biyombo, one of seven kids from the Republic of Congo." In the NBA? In America? In his whole country?

"You can't come out and be aggressive but you can't come out and be unaggressive."

"They're gonna be in every game they play!"

"First you have to get two strikes on the hitter before you get the strikeout."

"The game ended in the final seconds." You have to wonder when the others ended or are they still going on?

How is a team down by one touchdown before the half "totally demoralized?"

"If they score runs they will win."

"I think the matchup is what it is"

After a play a Houston defender was on his knees, his head on the ground and his hand underneath him appeared to clutch a very sensitive part of the male anatomy. He rolled onto his back and quickly removed his hand. (Remember the old Cosby routine "you cannot touch certain parts of your body?") Finally they helped the guy to the sideline and then the replay was shown. In it the guy clearly took a hard knee between his thighs. As this was being shown, one of the announcers says, "It looks like he hurt his shoulder." The other agrees and then they both talk about how serious a shoulder injury can be. Were we watching the same game?

"Somebody is going to be the quarterback or we're going to see a new quarterback."

"If you're gonna play running back in the SEC you're gonna take hits."

"That was a playmaker making a play."

Best headlines ever

Church Mutual Insurance won't cover Church's flood damage because it's 'an act of God'

Homicide victims rarely talk to police

Meerkat Expert Attacked Monkey Handler Over Love Affair With Llama Keeper

GOP congressman opposes gun control because gay marriage leads to bestiality

Owner of killer bear chokes to death on sex toy

Support for legalizing pot hits all-time high

Give me all your money or my penguin will explode

How zombie worms have sex in whale bones

Crocodile steals zoo worker's lawn mower

Woman shot by oven while trying to cook waffles

Nude beach blowjob jet ski fight leads to wife's death

Woman stabs husband with squirrel for not buying beer Christmas Eve