icon caret-left icon caret-right instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads question-circle facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle

Research & Thoughts

A "Copper Conundrum" Solved

Response to David Malakoff article in American Archaeology, Spring 2021, that the magazine editor refused to print to correct the fallacies contained there.


The pre-contact copper industry is the Americas' oldest metal industry. Unlike what many scholars believe, it did not disappear, but it's true that it did change and evolve, in part as a response to the growing trade network.


I'm from Wisconsin and well aware of Bill Reardon's two radiocarbon dated points dating to 6500 BCE. The oldest copper industry may well date back to the Late Paleo period, if the late Dr. Jack Steinbring's research on the I-K point is validated. There was also a very early awl dated in Illinois to around 7,000 BCE. Float copper was their first source of copper, and it would make more sense for the Illinois people to have started working copper found on the ground, left behind by the glaciers, before anyone farther north.


Float copper was used first, before mining, left laying on the ground for anyone to pick up. Malakoff failed to mention this.


"When humans learn to do something, they usually keep doing it." This comment is not logical. Humans experiment, they adapt, they are continually striving to make something better.


In the article was a discuss of whether copper made a better tool than stone, to see if maybe that's why it was abandoned. But what they fail to recognize is that copper can be re-made into something else. If a point breaks, you can repair it, unlike with stone. Copper is a recyclable and malleable material, unlike stone.


Personally, I think the technology for creating copper tools delighted them and they continued to experiment throughout the centuries. This would be the reason that some designs are found in more numbers than others. If you were to look at the Wittry typology (I keep it updated at my website) you would see the variety of copper tools and ornaments is amazing. They did not stagnate in this industry, nor are the artifacts produced of inferior designs that were tossed.


Instead, copper tools were often handed down through the centuries. We find some with hash marks, indicating ownership, or, as some think, how many generations of ownership it had. One is even shown with has marks, without note, in the article.


So copper tooling did not disappear. I had this argument with a state archaeologist here in Wisconsin who also said tooling stopped between the Hopewell and the Mississippian periods. But the CAMD demonstrated that this is simply not true. The points created changed, such as those found in numbers at the Riverside site in Michigan. Then points got small when the bow and arrow came into the region as early as 500 CE.


It is nice to see the article attempt to validate the age of the Oconto copper burial artifacts. I was curator at that museum for three years, and continually suggested that the oldest could be valid as well as the dates of not so old pieces, because the site could have had longevity, being used over thousands of years.


More efficient forms did replace less efficient ones. I see no reason to believe otherwise. The conical point was used for a very long time, for hunting and fishing. The common celt form was used in a number of different ways, depending on size. The true celt form went south while the crescent form stayed more northerly, and eventually, the celt form took on some crescent features down in Mexico. These people evolved their copper use as needed, and continued to use forms where they worked for them.


I do agree that by the Late Archaic, with mining well underway, certain groups likely gained control of the mines as part of a trade network. The Hopewells were big miners, if we believe some of that data that was uncovered around Lake Superior. They created, as noted in the article, many wonderfully intricate copper pieces. Beads became valuable in the Late Archaic, and remained that way. Ear spools that were full copper for the Hopewell became copper-covered in the Mississippian, indicating the growing scarcity of copper.


Once float copper was used up, mining was the only way to get copper, and if you don't have control of the mines around Lake Superior, you needed another source; they found one in the Appalachians, which wasn't quite as pure. They might have had a harder time working it. But mining around Lake Superior didn't stop until they got out all the workable pieces with the technology they had.


I am working on a series of copper resource manuals to make the CAMD available to the public. I was glad to see this article because I feel the copper industry in the Americas has long been neglected, which was why I started the CAMD after leaving the Oconto Copper Burial Museum.


But fallacies are still being spread about the pre-contact copper industry.

Be the first to comment

Political Correctness: Gone too far?

I once asked a group of readers and writers in a writers' support group: "Would you buy a novel called "Saga of a Half-Breed?" Several teachers in the group were aghast. "Never," they said in agreement. "We'd never buy that." And they never returned to our reading writers group ever again. Wow, you'd think I was offering them recipes for eating people.


I looked into what gave "half-breed" its negative connotation and decided that this whole topic of political correctness (PC) needs correcting, especially when most of the time political correctness means we're forcing modernity into behaviors of the past. We're trying to whitewash our history.


Are we too prissy now to stand a little annoyance? A comedic sketch demonstrated how sensitive we've all become: "You're annoyed by what I said?  So what? Since when did sticks and stones may break my bones not become relevant?" See it for a chuckle at www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rl6lX08MXDI at around 4 minutes.


Do some people really think changing a few historical terms that annoy us will change history? We've gotten so hung up about slavery that we want to wipe it from existence in our history books. Neat, but life doesn't work that way. The only PC changes we should concern ourselves with is how we address societal norms today. History, and its players, need to remain intact to show us where we've been and how far we've come.


So that's what we're going to look at here—the proper use of PC.  I took this topic to a historical conference in Virginia, but halfway there I realized I was in over my head. So many things I see today I wish I'd known then. Still, we had a riveting discussion, and I concluded that, while we can't allow those terms a dominant role (like a book cover) anymore, we cannot hide the past. Generalities (stereotypes) created this modern antagonism of stomping on other people's rights, and it's time to understand that humans really are all alike inside. Whether or not we eat them.


After all, who's correcting Shakespeare? And why was he so nice to the ladies, anyway? Even better than we are today. I suspect they weren't near as patrilineal back then as the U.S. society is trying to remain today.

An old song, "Baby It's Cold Outside," was recently deemed insulting to the #MeToo movement, and some considered the movie, "The Philadelphia Story," as making light of domestic violence. I guess PC means we can't enjoy media from the past because it reminds us of who we used to be. We think stereotypically that domestic abuse is one-sided (it might not be—consider the movie "War of the Roses."), or that anyone who says no could not possibly just be waiting to hear the right words. Ask around. Has anyone raped a woman because of that song? Yes, we need to make sure that we are providing an atmosphere where rape victims are not afraid to call foul. But we also have to realize that women can and do make faulty accusations (think Al Franken). We need both balance and understanding in looking at any issue these days.


Historical media are time capsules to understand the eras in which they were created. PC should not apply to erasing history.


Political correctness has gotten a bad rap, and people yell foul when you call them racist for supporting Trump. Western movie fans want to go back to shoot 'em up westerns where Indians were always the bad guys. But don't call them racist. One post on TV westerns at Facebook started with the caption: "Good God ...we have become a nation of pussies."


Yes, we have. It's called giving due respect to all human beings and getting history right. Cats are easy-going, mellow, and like/hate all people the same, regardless of skin color or religion. So let's be pussies.

First, what is the proper application of politically correct?




Oxford Dictionary online defined PC this way: "The avoidance, often considered taken to extremes, of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against." We have all been marginalized, insulted or excluded at some point in our lives, right? Didn't make the baseball team in third grade? That favorite little girl didn't give you a Valentine in Kindergarten? What about walking home from school? Were you often alone?


But this definition refers to groups. If you're Jewish, you're greedy. If you're black, sit at that back of the bus. Today some whites claim they voted for Trump because they've been marginalized and disadvantaged. At the Parkland shooting, the gunman supposedly belonged to a group that wanted to make all of Florida white. Trump claimed that he was going to "Make America Great Again" and his base is filled with racist sentiment. The KKK supports him. So are we to assume that "greatness" is tied to "whiteness?" Is that what the border wall is all about—protecting whiteness? Whites are so afraid of becoming the minority because then, guess what? They'll be coming for you. It's all nonsense, really. The world is a melting pot and it always has been. Being white doesn't make you smart, or better, or nicer. Let the erasing of whiteness continue!


This PC definition, by referring to groups, attacks stereotypes. Not all whites are racist, for instance. That's what PC is meant for, and really, all that it's meant for. There are a lot of ways this political correctness is being misused and then gets a bad rap—not because of what it is, but because of what it shouldn't be applied to.


Take Trump's logo: Make America Great Again. Never mind that he means white again. Of course he does. White and rich. But what does the word America stand for? America in geography encompasses all of the North and South American continents. But American in the U.S. means just us, and this attitude goes back a long ways. It's a hard concept to erase—that by saying American, we mean Canada and all points south. If we want to be PC and assign ourselves an appropriate group name, we should refer to US citizens and residents as Uessens (U-S-ens). I doubt Trump is interested in improving Central America, for instance, or he'd see that as a better solution than a border wall.


Political correctness means that we recognize that generalities that were used in the past were inappropriately applied to groups of people. For example, all Indians were to blame for the attacks of a few. Today, not all who wear those red baseball hats are racist—although if they wear them to a Democratic rally, they are looking for a fight. See how this works? If you think all Muslims are terrorists, you are not being politically correct. PC attacks stereotypes and recognizes all the varying attitudes in the world, and how humans inside are all the same. PC attempts to correct radical attitudes by showing history as it was, not in stereotype to further a racist agenda.


Maybe this definition will help:  Today we recognize that slavery was wrong, that there is no inferior race; and all religions are created equal. Today we use this understanding to put all humans on an equal basis, and to understand our common core of humanity. PC means giving equality to every race, creed and philosophy, and recognize people as people, not as representing any single group.


No, the United States was not founded on Christian values. Freedom of religion is in the constitution, and "in God we trust" was added to our currency during our fear of Communism in the 1950s. God is not sending Armageddon as a second coming—unless God is just having a good chuckle watching us destroy ourselves with these ridiculous beliefs.

Religion doesn't create racists, as there are plenty who don't support supremacist white culture. But if you don't like being politically correct, you are probably racist because it means you don't believe all humans are equal. This attitude led to the denigration of Black Lives Matter (BLM) and the creation of All Lives Matter. Many view BLM members as terrorists because, to them, BLM protests led to cop killings. They ignore the fact that many cops get away with killing unarmed blacks. The problem is not that, yes, all lives matter. Of course that's true. The problem is that it seems that all lives matter except blacks. Lives of kids in cages matter, but All Lives Matter was just rhetoric and an anti-PC movement. It doesn't mean they really care.


Cops killing blacks has been going on long before Obama. Obama's presidency began to shine the light on the racist cop issue a little more. And today there are still more incarcerated blacks than whites; minor offenses that elicited major jail time for blacks, but not whites. In 2013, during Obama's term, the incarceration ratio was nearly 4 blacks to 1 white.


Reverse discrimination can also exist, if the attitude is generalized. All whites suck is non-PC because it generalizes and is probably not true. All whites have advantages in the U.S. is probably not true, but no white has had to sit in the back of the bus (unless maybe they were stinky and dirty), and, until Obama, all US presidents were white men. There is also economic injustice, but that is rarely referred to in PC terms. There people are just called lazy—which is also non-PC if an entire group is referred to as "on the dole."


Name calling is also a PC issue. Russell Means, a 70s activist, once said, "The one thing I've always maintained is that I'm an American Indian. I'm not politically correct."


Referring to groups by their favored jargon has always been a sticky widget for authors and others who are writing about groups. Hyphenated names are considered PC, so you'll see many of those in texts. I'd be European-American, right? Some insist blacks should be called African-American. But the group is not called "African-American Lives Matter." Most blacks are not from Africa and I've never lived in Europe. We say American Indian so we don't think they're from India. Or they're Native American, or indigenous, or even native American Indian. He should have noted that he's Oglala, rather than American Indian.


And no, Uessen Indian makes little sense, for the mere fact that Indian is a misnomer to start with, their ancestors migrated all over the Americas, and their ancestors were here before America split into divisive borders. Historically, redskin and half-breed were common names but are now considered degrading, as are Negro and colored. These are PC issues, because of the attitude that developed behind the use of the names.


And attitude is what we're talking about.




If black and white are acceptable terms for skin color, what about yellow and red? "Redskin" indicates the color of the native's blood when they were scalped and no one wants to be referred to as yellow, which is now a term for coward. Why? Not because of Asians migrating to the US in the 1800s, hopefully. One source noted that it came from lily-livered, or when you have jaundice because you have liver problems.


Use what's acceptable to the group—what they call themselves, or what they find non-offensive. We still refer to people in groups, but the attitude toward the group is an important consideration in that address. There are some who might get annoyed by anything you call that group—people just don't always agree. But we can learn to accept a little annoyance from time to time, as long as the attitude is not damaging or negative. Don't yell "Hey nigger" at a black man. He won't get your attitude, and you might get the response you intended.


Attitude is key in any PC discussion. One lady in a blog wondered why dressing up for Halloween in Muslim garb is considered in poor taste. Were those fellows sitting around pretending to be terrorists? Or were they discussing the good things their religion stands for? A negative attitude is what hurts any residing member of any group. I don't want anyone looking at me, seeing white, and calling me racist.


What about the issue of Washington Redskins? Is it too PC to want the name changed? Why do some of us liberal whites take offense to the name? This is a change that the American Indians should demand, right? Well, take the Standing Rock Sioux protests in North Dakota against a pipeline a few years back; why would the Sioux take on a football team when they have more pressing matters? Saying whites can't join in the fight for fair treatment of the indigenous population is like saying whites had no business in the Selma march in the '60s. American Indians should lead the way on these issues, and now that there are American Indian women in Congress, maybe we'll hear more about changing these derogatory name markers.


PC attitude attempts to stop us from belittling any particular group of people by generalizing that they're all like a particular member of that group. Not all American Indians are offended by "redskins."


"Half-breed" is one of those terms where historical attitude changed over time. The nonfiction history book, "Halfbreed" by David Fridtjof Halaas and Andrew Masich, was published in 2004 with that title in big bold letters. But inside the book, the term is rarely used, opting for "mixed blood" instead. But half-breed is a term exclusively for that 'condition' of being half-white, half-Indian. You can't use half-blood anymore, because Harry Potter fans claim that now. In "Halfbreed," a nonfiction book, there are two attitudes—some sided with the Indians, while others worked for the whites. Guess who made half-breeds a bad word? Right, the whites. And use of the word "breed" makes Indians sound like animals. Heck, we all breed, don't we? It wasn't the word, though—it was this changing attitude.


Let's see look at a few of those changing attitudes.




Western movies today strive for political correctness. What that means is that they now work to undo the unfavorable stereotypes of the past. Now they make movies that are historically accurate, but western fans whine that there are no villains left. So what did one producer do? Cast Kurt Russell in a western where the bad Indians were cannibals (if you haven't seen Bone Tomahawk, don't bother.) Right now, drop that idea that cannibals are the last great villains. Cannibalism was either a ritual spiritual practice or because people were starving. They are not all Jeffrey Dahmer. But does this mean that John Wayne westerns cannot ever be watched again? No. But understanding stereotypes in in our recent history gives us the ability and knowledge to understand attitudes in history.


Proper use of PC stops us from saying all Indians were savage and all cowboys were John Wayne, trying to save the settlers. I was amazed a few years ago when I was interviewed by a college class in Maryland that had used one of my historical novels as required reading. The question was, "But cowboys and Indians were never friends, right?" The answer should be obvious by now but wasn't to them. Lots of whites and Indians got along, even in the 1800s; that's why we have "half-breeds" and "The Lone Ranger."


PC doesn't pertain to the Christmas Issue. Some Christians feel persecuted when they say Merry Christmas to you, and you say Happy Holidays in return. We hear "Jesus is the reason for the season" as their reproach. As a Pagan, I know that Christmas was placed over the winter solstice celebration, so I get annoyed when I'm told I must believe in Jesus to celebrate the holiday. I once wrote an editorial about the Christian takeover of Pagan holidays and got a phone call from a local politician thanking me. He said I opened his eyes to something he never knew. Everyone should know this.


Learning about the variety of religious beliefs and accepting that people have varying attitudes about a lot of things, however, is a very PC thing to do.


My annoyance stems from the belief that Christians and Catholics and those people who knock on my door want to convert me. Their annoyance relates to the idea that they haven't. The Christmas tree and Santa are German traditions, and the Pagan celebrations at winter solstice were rituals to make the days longer again. And it always worked, too. The other celebrations this time of year have nothing to do with Jesus—such as New Year's, which used to be April 1st, and school break. We often say "happy holidays" as a way of embracing the time between Christmas and New Year's while many people are on vacation.


Here's a solution. You say Merry Christmas to me, and I won't get offended because that's what you celebrate. I'll say Happy Holidays to you, and if you get offended, I won't care.


Religion is a topic filled with attitude, and today it seems directly tied to immigration. Kick out the Muslims, block immigration based on religion, and build that Mexican wall; Trump sounds sincere when he believes these things will make "America" great again. Being religiously tolerant is not a PC issue—it's in the Constitution.


Here's an example of someone taking an immigration issue too far:


"Just recently, our local Board of Educators held a training session where staff members were taught how to assist voters with language problems. One employee happened to remark that his parents emigrated from Poland to the United States, and he casually mentioned that they had to learn English before they could vote. Some Hispanic members at the session were outraged by the remark, and the worker was fired. Talk about draconian political correctness!" reported by editor Ronald Kohl.


There's a difference between Polish immigrants in the 1800s, who were probably Christian, and people coming up from Mexico in today's climate. They are probably Catholic and could become voters against Trump's GOP. Anyone, Polish or not, who is a citizen is eligible to vote, but there are rules and speaking English is one of them. These Hispanics may have been offended because they thought the guy was criticizing them for not learning English—which is still a requirement for citizenship. Is citizenship a PC issue? No, and neither is immigration; unless you refer to all from Mexico and Central America as terrorists or "lazy bums who will live on our food stamps," which, by the way, they can't get until they're citizens.


Is citizenship hard to get here? I tried to find out on a Q&A site set up online, and it asked if I was over 18, and live here, and have a green card. (I expect now that ICE will come knocking on my door.) Once I got that far, I realized the questions were all in English. I did learn that to apply for citizenship, you need to be a green card holder for at least five years, be physically present here for 30 months out of those 60 months, and be able to write, read and speak English. Yet here in Beloit where I live, with its high Hispanic population, many of the signs are in Spanish. And of course you have to be law-abiding, of good character, know the Constitution … huh. Then how did someone like Trump get to be president? I wouldn't let him into the country.


It really shouldn't be a problem to let migrants work here and go home again. This is a justice problem and not PC, except that we're stigmatizing an entire group of people. They're Latinos, so they don't belong here. There's even a special category for them on any census record: white &/or latino. Amazing what this country gets away with.

So what does politics have to do with PC?




Politics is run by flawed humans. How political is PC? From Writing.com:


The phrase "political correctness" has been around a lot longer than most people realize. Today the phrase is applied in everything we do, say, or act upon.  In 1793, the phrase was used in the US Supreme Court "to describe something that was not literally accurate but correct in the political field." 


What we want to do here is remove "everything we do, say or act upon." PC has a much more limited space than that.


I'd say that the term refers in general to society, and society is run by politics; but other than that, it has become a catchphrase we cannot escape. So political correctness is tied up in the politics of the day, and in society in general. PC attempted to equalize the economic playing field with affirmative action, and then, hey, it worked, we can get rid of it now. "Look how far blacks have come since Obama was president." Really? Are the jail ratios equal now?


Obama's failures, however, were more related to the growing Tea Party influence (read: racism) on the GOP, who decided they would make him a one-term president by not working with him on anything.


Conservatives in the GOP were okay with PC if it worked in their favor. But PC attitude is now considered liberal, or leftist. Note this from Conservapedia.com:


The modern politically correct movement began at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which is one of the most liberal colleges in the United States. Political correctness is a liberal degrading of the freedom of speech. Words or actions that violate political correctness are called politically incorrect. At American universities, liberals began imposing political correctness to prevent recognition of differences [stereotypes] among gender, religion, belief system, sexual orientation and nationality.


In the 1960s, feminists began to demand that the neutral pronouns he, him and his be replaced with expressions like "he or she", "him or her", "them", etc, even though the last one is actually grammatically incorrect. They argued that no one would be able to understand that the masculine gender included the feminine gender in neutral contexts. But this was just part of their campaign to redefine the social roles traditionally associated with masculinity and femininity.


Note this negative attitude toward affecting our freedom of speech. Can we have freedom of speech when words like "coon" or "nigger" or "spick" are taboo? Of course we can. But we can't have freedom of speech if we use the word "human" in place of "man?"


Listen, the word police are not going to arrest you for using the words you want. You may get shunned or lose friendships, but no jail time. Learning to think non-stereotypically is a matter of attitude and good taste. Yes, it's PC to eliminate some words from our vocabulary. We can be annoyed by political correctness, but our annoyance isn't the same as someone else's annoyance. We're all annoyed by different things. There's no pleasing everyone, as the saying goes. Understand why we don't use those words anymore and go eat a hot dog.


Today "Make America Great Again" seems to say, let's go back to the 50s. The GOP are fearful of the rise of women in the marketplace, and decry changes in our language, like using "she" when we talk about soldiers. They are now trying to rob women of choice and seem to indicate that it's okay to rape them. "Isn't that God's will, too?" No! The #MeToo movement took some bites out of that, but women accuse Trump of harassment and nothing happens. "Make America Great Again" refers back to a time that didn't exist. America … I mean the U.S. … was never great. We realize that when we pick on old media for encouraging rape and violence. But erasing that old media does not change history.

It is "not cool" to say that any group of people is too lazy to get a job, or all blacks are on welfare, all immigrants are abusing the system, or women dress to get raped. It is good PC to recognize where our dialog crosses these lines—hardly a petty annoyance to assert that no one deserves to get raped. Rape is not protected free speech; although with recent abortion laws, it is starting to feel like rape is in vogue. It never was, by the way. Just in case you're wondering.


Bill Maher's "Politically Incorrect" series was cancelled after he alluded to the idea that President Bush knew 9/11 was going to happen—apparently, it's okay to be fired when you're against a conservative president. And then there's what happened to the Dixie Chicks for being anti-Bush. In a lesser known case today, back in 1969 the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour was canned for being too political, anti-war and anti-Nixon. That's erosion of free speech. Trump yelling "fake news" at the media is erosion of free speech, especially when he's the fake one.

So how do we properly apply PC today?




There are a lot of words in history books considered offensive today, such as "half-breed." If we change the words in his books today, as one young educator advised, we are changing history. The term "half-breed" was used in the 1800s to identify someone who was half American Indian and half white. White settlers first headed west, as trappers or explorers, and they married Indian women. William Bent was one. His son Charly became a Cheyenne dog soldier and died a Cheyenne dog soldier. His son George worked with Indian agents as an interpreter. Half-breeds in the 1800s who were interpreters were considered valuable because they could understand both sides. If they became warriors, however, they would teach other Indians things like how to tear apart railroad tracks and set cars ablaze using coals from the engine.


Even half-breeds like George Bent, featured in the book "Halfbreed," were considered a nuisance when the army no longer had need of them. After the Little Bighorn, they were written out of Indian annuity rights; suddenly they didn't know where they belonged anymore. Indians married whites because they felt their offspring would give them leverage with the white world. But after the Little Bighorn, even this didn't work anymore. 


Today's teachers, like those in my support group, seem unable to teach the real history of these words. If they let the kids read Mark Twain, they're afraid that they'll be reintroducing these words into today's conversations. All they need to do is to learn how to teach the history of these attitudes by showing the difference between what people knew then, and what we know now. We can talk about these attitudes if we do it the right way.


The other problem with my title, "Saga of a Half-Breed," is that I'm all European. So how could I write about an experience I could never understand? But that's the point of being a historian. We research a period in history that no one today has lived. Historical terms help explain the attitude of the time. If we understand the attitude that created those worlds, we can write about them. For Boone Tyler's world, he was raised by his white mother, and when he's set loose in the world, only gradually come to understand his Kiowa half. He's even memorized some Shakespeare and uses that to stay rooted in his mother's world. That's how a European can write about being a half-breed.


We need to understand our history as it was so we can learn from it. Unless we understand that, we will never use PC as intended. Consider the case of the Smothers Brothers. They were exercising a right they had to free speech on a national stage. That right was perceived by the government as a threat. (I watched the 2019 Golden Globes and everyone was so careful not to be political—that's degradation of free speech.) Before the Smothers Brothers were removed, protests against the war increased; Johnson received criticism and wouldn't run for another term. Their show was cancelled early in Nixon's first term, and Nixon cheated to get a second term. Let's learn from that and erase cheating from our elections.


Feeling superior to another race is an attitude created by a stereotype. Waving a Nazi flag today is an attitude. Believing all people are equal is an attitude. PC is a device that only serves us by removing stereotypes and reminding us, as the Constitution tried to inject—all people are created equal. They didn't believe that, back then, because slaves were still slaves, and women had no place in government. But to try to erase Jefferson from our history because he was a slave holder is a case of taking PC too far. We can admire Robert E. Lee for being a great leader while wondering why he didn't just quit and free his slaves. But we didn't live back then. All we can do is try to understand—and change the stereotypes of today.


Of course, some people are going to resent the attempts. Most racists won't admit to being racist. They just want to see their John Wayne westerns still being made without all that politically correct (true history) junk.


Clint Eastwood made the movie "Gran Torino" because he "hates the so-called PC thing," according to Edition.CNN.com. The movie was about an old man who's a Korean war vet and an open racist. But he has a change of heart when he sees a neighborhood Korean boy being tormented by other boys, and comes to his aid. He learns that they are people, too. Getting to know people is the best way to get over racism and his movie demonstrated how a racist changed his attitude. Clint actually made the perfect PC movie while getting to spew his non-PC dialog.

Politically correct history is showing history as it really happened, not as it's been fed to us in school. We Uessens were taught patriotic history, which is clean and proud and lacking in shame—the Indians and everyone else got what they deserved. PC truth tells us, however, that Uessens aren't always the good guys. That takes a little getting used to. Our country's leaders made mistakes.


So what happened to my book? Thanks for asking. "Saga of a Half-Breed" became "Saving Boone: Legend of the Half-White Son." The publisher got mad because I refused to use the controversial title and told me that "Saving Boone: Legend of a Half-White Son" sounded like Daniel Boone. When I wouldn't change it, they completely ruined the cover. But they accepted the book after I told them why I was changing the title as a result of my presentation.

People have weird attitudes these days.


I still use the term "half-breed" in the dialog of the book because, for teaching our children what the world used to be like, they can see how much better the world is when we treat each other as equals. Okay, we're not there yet. But don't stop teaching Mark Twain just because you don't know how. Learn how. Use it as historical text. Show students what people were like that back then; explain why it was considered acceptable then, and why it isn't now.

Once we start figuring out what our history is really all about, we might even recognize those special times when eating people was okay, too. With the way we're screwing up our climate, people recipes could become vogue.

Annoyance intended.

Be the first to comment

The Abortion Debate - Uncensored

Let's start this debate off with a little quote from a well-researched novel about the Church's attitude in 1215.  "Her funeral, too, had to be held outside the church, for her body held an unbaptized infant, and the church must not be defiled." Really? You wanted babies baptized inside the womb?


I'm going to say it out loud, because that attitude is so offensive.  Just because Christians believe that every conception is a gift of God doesn't give them the right to regulate someone else's womb.  This whole issue about birth control, including abortion, is about a woman's right to choose her time to be a mother.  But it's more than that.  It's against the Christian idea that they have the right to control society.  Normally I have nothing against Christians.  But on this issue I do, and by the time you're done reading this—if you read it with an open mind—you'll understand the debate a little better.  


Granted, this opening quote was from 1215 in Italy.  But think about it—is it really so different an attitude than what pro-lifers promote today?  I made a radical comment in a novel I wrote—about a girl out west in the 1800s who was raped by her father, gave birth, and the father strangled the child and never let her see it.  There have been readers who have badmouthed the book and refused to read more because of this event, a pivotal event in a relationship that moves the story further.  Why so incensed?  Because it could never possibly happen?  Of course it could.  Had this girl been allowed an abortion, a lot of grief and trauma could have been avoided.  I don't know how they did abortions in the middle 1800s, but by the late 1800s I know that abortion doctors were available.  I found search for another novel set in the 1940s that claimed the use of a morning after drug.


 A recent (2013) newspaper article indicated that 52% of Americans believe abortion should be legal under certain circumstances, 25% legal in all cases, and 20% legal in no cases.  That is roughly the same breakdown they found in a poll conducted in the 1970s.  The article also noted that, regardless of race, abortion is linked to hard economic times.  This is the same rationale women have had about becoming mothers since the beginning of time.  


But in today's world, we need to factor in emotional maturity, because today's unwed mother is so often left alone to fend for herself.  And pro-lifers refuse to face that fact.  They want to force that woman to bear the child but provide nothing to help her out afterward, unless she is willing to fall on the auspices of their church and plead eternity loyalty to their savior.  


Is it any wonder that newly born babies are often found abandoned?


If you believe that from the moment an egg is fertilized by sperm its life deserves to be protected until it is born and takes a breath, you're a pro-lifer.  Paul Ryan, former House Rep from Wisconsin, wanted to give a fertilized egg the same legal rights as a breathing human being.  


If you believe the pro-life movement wants to remove a basic freedom women have enjoyed since the beginning of time, the freedom to choose when they're ready to be a mother, then you're pro-choice.  It doesn't mean you're pro-abortion.  It means that what someone else does with their body is none of your business.  


Here are some of the better-known statements on the right and left of the pro-life debate that we'll look at, one by one.


1. "Who will speak for the innocent gift of God, the unborn, if we don't?"

2. "Abortion is murder, and that gives us the right to interfere."

3. "The newborn baby owes its entire existence to its mother."

4. "Until it takes a breath, it is not an individual."

5. "Did anyone ask to be born?  No.  But we have to make the best of it."

6. "Children deserve to be born into loving arms."


First:  Speaking for the unborn. If you think you can speak for a fetus, imagine asking it this:  Would you rather be born in a loving world, or an abusive environment?  Would you like to take a chance with being dumped in a garbage can?  It seems to me that pro-lifers believe we are killing a child's only chance ever to be born.  But if they're religious, then they should know that the soul and consciousness is what makes a human being, and not just its physical matter.  Also, an innocent infant that's not baptized when it dies is still considered a child of God, unlike back in 1215.  So even if what you believe is true, and it's that child's only chance, at least it's not doomed. Instead it is spared a life of abuse.


But I believe that no fetus gains consciousness or soul until those precious moments during labor. Consider the idea that taking its first breath is what draws in its soul. Isn't that a beautiful thought? If you can comprehend this, you will understand why even the Bible considers life to be a breathing human being, an individual that can sustain life while still needing to depend on others for nourishment and feeding.


You do not speak for the unborn if you ask it to be born into a potentially unstable environment.  You speak for your moral up-righteousness, a personal attitude that you have no right to expound on others.


Second:  Is it murder?  It takes two people, a mother and father, to create another being.  They and they alone are responsible for that life. When that breathing human is born, it is still helpless but now it's crying its demands and needs all the loving support that can be mustered.  Being a parent of a newborn is extremely hard.  It's probably the hardest job a woman ever takes on.  Carrying a child is nothing compared to caring for it after it's born. It requires commitment and lots and lots of love, and this is often left to the mother alone.  


My strongest argument in favor of birth control, including abortion, is that there is no one more helpless than a newborn infant, an eating machine that at first seems to cry incessantly because he doesn't always know how to eat, or maybe he's simply frustrated, too, at the birthing process and in pain from all the adjustment his body has had to make.  The mother has to have extreme patience in those first months, while dealing with this squawking eating machine, especially if breast-feeding, along with a host of other problems, namely pain and maybe even a little post-partum depression.


If you call abortion murder, then what do you call miscarriage? Miscarriages happen all the time and some babies die at birth. They fail to survive breathing or die of other complications. Grieving women have a hard time coping with the loss of their lovingly anticipated offspring.  Should we accuse them of murder?  Did they do something wrong, causing the fetus to abort?  Absolutely not.  But how do we know that this mother, whose baby miscarries or dies at birth, really wanted it?  If you outlaw abortion, will ever single prenatal death be called murder?


Conception is a biological process that we have in common with animals.  What makes us different is our soul/consciousness. Animals have controlled patterns of mating; they don't "do it all the time."  But humans have taken themselves out of nature, and with conscious thought patterns men can feel those urges all the time.  That means it's up to the woman to control the sexual act, and also control whether or not it leads to offspring.  Pro-choice is pro-responsible.  A woman determines when she's ready for children; no biological process can control that right.


How do other people, then, have the right to pass judgment, or force the process on someone who is terrified by the idea?


Let's analyze this idea that "life begins at conception," where at first the fertilization resembles just about any animal on the planet.  Here's a pro-life comment from the website American Life League:


"While I agree with the concerns that should be expressed for any animal that appears to be abused by those caring for it, there is a line that must be drawn when it comes to personhood—a category of identity that refers to human beings. Among those who have made the point eloquently is Nancy Flanders, who wrote, "A 'human being' is defined as 'any individual of the genus Homo, especially a member of the species Homo sapiens; a person, especially as distinguished from other animals or as representing the human species.' There isn't a definition of 'human being' that excludes the unborn."


My question is how does this include the unborn?  This site also addresses their moral right to interfere in your life:

Excuse me, but I think you are confused. We are talking about an abortion, which results in the death of a person. We are not discussing a view, but rather a crime. Would you tell us that you personally oppose owning slaves, but would not mind if others did?


I think they're confused because the last time I looked, abortion is NOT a crime. Their opinion that it is doesn't make it one. Again, it is the mother's responsibility and her business. The crime is one of interference.  The crime is in the belief that the mother cannot choose when she's ready for the enormous task. And comparing it to slavery is just ridiculous, because you're comparing something that's not breathing to someone who is. 


Here's a list of repercussions when abortion rights are removed:

· Babies found in garbage cans and toilets. (crime)

· Environmental destruction (crime)

· Psychological damage/abuse (crime)

· Removal of wanted children from the world

· Forcing beliefs on others (should be a crime)

· Increased crime (caused by neglected children who turn into disturbed adults)

· Desperate measures taken to abort (kills otherwise healthy women).


Think hard before you consider what you're calling a crime.


Three:  It is absolutely true that a child owes its entire existence to its mother.  The dad is also needed to create pregnancy, but the dad can run off (and often does), leaving the mom to fend for the two of them, both during pregnancy, and after.  Only the mom can breastfeed, and more and more are breastfeeding these days because it's cheaper and healthier.  Breast feeding ties you to that child 24 hours a day.  At first, the baby is hungry every two hours.  Sometimes you feel that's all you do.  


If you don't bring that child into a completely loving environment, this demand can become overwhelming.


A woman has an abortion not because she's mean, but because she's loving. She knows that her child deserves the right kind of environment. So what happens when you force her to bear young before she's ready?  She may have such a horrifying experience that she never does it again.  So by making her bear one she doesn't want, you are robbing her of the loving experience of having others she does want.


Conception is a completely biological mammalian process of sperm meeting egg, but animals can also choose when not to care for their young. Since about the beginning of time, animals and our human ancestors with and without consciousness have taken total command of when to nurture and when to abandon the pregnancy or the young.  Once upon a time, women did not even know that men were making them pregnant.  Ever hear of a "virgin birth?"  That's the concept.  Women bore children as if by magic, or caused by the wind.  Humans once traveled in packs and the men shared the child-rearing assistance, never knowing which were theirs.  The women could share nursing duties, because wet nurses were more common.


Today, a woman needs to be ready, because killing a breathing infant IS murder.


Fourth:  Pro-lifers don't seem to understand a basic biological necessity.  No breath, no life.  A woman can go those nine months only to see her baby stillborn.  It happens.  No breath, no life.  Until it makes that separation from the woman to become its own individual, it is a part of her; completely dependent on her blood and breath.  Once it is born and breathing on its own, then it is life.  Then it is placed in its mother's crying joyful arms, a real gift of whoever her god or goddess may be.


But what happens if everyone is convinced that "life" begins at conception?  Well, first, it becomes more devastating to miscarry.  A mother can become more paranoid about everything she does while carrying, rather than believing this child will be born if it's meant to be.  A reluctant mom might even seem thrilled, at first, when the child is born because the adrenalin of childbirth is running on high, or she may simply turn away and not be able to watch, eyes filled with tears, as her child is taken away to someone else.  She may try her darndest to love the kid, only to begin a cycle of abuse, or she may, as she heals, regret giving it up.   She may give birth in secret and abandon the child, to die or be found, which is happening yet today because some are fearful of the stigma of admitting they're pregnant.


Caring is a remarkable feeling and giving birth is a beautiful thing -- if the child is wanted. Yes, adoptive families are most often loving ones (although I have known failures).  Adoptive children fill a gap. But there will always be things about that adopted child the parent will never know, forcing that child out to seek her birth parents.

The mother/child relationship is a remarkable one—when it works.  When it doesn't, it's horrendous.  Child abuse is one result.  Suicide, murder, abandonment, crime, psychosis, you name it.  All kinds of bad things can come from forced motherhood.  A friend, Marisa, shared with me the research done by Steve Levitt that determines that crime rates dropped 18 years after Roe vs. Wade.  You can see more here:




Fifth:  Does anyone ask to be born? According to some, it's God's will, and we are just to make the best of it.  No, no one asks.  It just happens.  These bodies that our souls inhabit are just a matter of luck.  If I hadn't gotten this body, I would have gotten another one.  In fact, I used to have tantrums when I was two, and I think that this could have been frustration of learning what body I was in. I don't know too many tantrum-throwers, but I have a hunch they're people of high sensitivity, like me.


The problem is in believing that every conceptive moment is sparked by God, and that aborting means undoing God's will.  It's not God's will.  If it was God's will, then Romney would have won the 2012 election. Heck, that praying quarterback would have won the Super Bowl. God only observes. We act. We do.  We create.  And what we create, we better be ready to take responsibility for.  Would God create a baby only to be abandoned in a garbage can?  What kind of God are we talking about here?


Abortion has a very long history, indicating that women have always believed they had the right to choose motherhood.  But then Christianity stepped in and made it a forbidden act, by converting those "pagans." Aside from the crime rate caused by unwanted and abused children, do you know what women had to go through before Roe vs. Wade?  Doctors were sought who would perform abortions in closets (figuratively speaking), coat hangers were used by those desperate for do-it-yourself … I would bet some very dangerous substances were ingested as well.  Women died in desperation because of the fear of bringing a child into an undesirable circumstance. And we've mentioned the occasional dead baby found in the garbage, or flushed down the toilet because of the terror of women unable or unready for the responsibility, and fearful of the stigma of pregnancy.  


Sixth:  Birth abandonment continues today, even with abortion rights.  Why?  Because people condemn women for accidentally creating potential life they weren't ready to carry.  Help them get birth control, instead.  Have you heard that abortions are down?  A report in the newspaper on 11/22/12 noted the biggest decline in abortions is due to increased use of contraceptives.  


But pro-lifers are against birth control, too, and are likely outraged by doctors who agree that birth control pills should be sold over the counter.  "Control yourself, woman!  If you don't want a child, don't have sex!"  But aren't you against prostitution and gay coupling, too?  Are you condoning rape?  In today's world, we cannot afford to be against birth control.  We need to protect the sanctity of motherhood so that those babies born are welcomed into loving hands. Since Roe vs. Wade women are given the ability to make the right choice—for them.  They get counseling on all aspects of their decision.   


Here is from the Planned Parenthood website:


Our primary goal is prevention — reducing the number of unintended pregnancies, especially the alarmingly high number of teenage pregnancies, in the United States. At the same time, to protect their health and the health of their families, women facing an unintended pregnancy must have access to safe, legal abortion services without interference from the government. Decisions about childbearing should be made by a woman in consultation with her family and doctor — not by politicians.


Insistence that they must have access to planning their parenthood is NOT the same as insisting they have the abortion.  



I know a Catholic woman whose husband left her after their 6th child was born.  He couldn't handle the financial burden anymore.  She fell onto the mercy of her church for help, and on her father.  The only way to stop that Catholic woman from having babies was by removing the man in her life.  


I saw a mother the other day at a grocery store with five children five and under.  And all I could do was shudder.  My dad felt the strain of having five; shortly before he died he found a job that he felt could support us.  He died when I was 14 and my youngest sister was 3.  My Catholic mother may well have had more, even though we couldn't afford it.


As a babyboomer in a generation just coming to terms with free sexuality, I had friends in high school who aborted and other friends who responded to their pregnancy by getting married shortly after graduation.  The two who aborted went on to have three wanted children each.  They were fortunate that abortion was available to them, at a time when birth control was not.  Their children are happy and productive members of society. The two who had to get married are both divorced; one's husband became abusive; the other went through excruciating mental anguish during and after the separation when she learned he was cheating on her.


Sure, we all know people who remained together happily after a forced marriage. But the point is that it's the individual's right to choose the story that's right for her.  Had the two who didn't abort been forced to abort, they would have lived with guilt all their lives.  Had the two who aborted been forced to give birth, the world would have lost those later children who were wanted.  


And then there was that poor Indian woman in Ireland who died in late 2012 because a Catholic hospital there refused to terminate her pregnancy when it was obvious she was miscarrying.  For three days the fetus's heart kept beating so they said no, abortion was illegal.  There was no chance of saving the child because she was miscarrying and they knew that.  Finally the baby died and the pregnancy was terminated—and Savita Halappanavar died of septicemia, blood poisoning, four days later.


She was not Catholic and the baby could not be saved.  She was already at a hospital, so why didn't they know the potential dangers of delay?  Perhaps they accused her of deliberately miscarrying and this was a form of punishment.  Think about it—Ireland's law states no abortion unless the mother's life was threatened.  Why didn't they realize she was threatened here?



The point of pro-choice, then, is not to stop people from having babies. Instead it recognizes the seriousness of the mother/child relationship and allows the mother some say when it's her time.  


Pro-lifers think everyone has to give birth because they and their God will be offended otherwise.  But their God does not belong to everyone. They want everyone to believe as they do.  People who are comfortable with their spirituality have no need to push their beliefs on others, which is what pro-lifers are trying to do.  


Does any child want to be born unwanted?  How can anyone presume to know what a fetus wants? They believe their God is speaking through them to stop abortion.  They're wrong.  God's gift to us is the healthy child born into a loving relationship.


My friend Claire in the UK says pro-lifers there are not necessarily religious.  They believe in the two-cell-is-life theory from a more scientific standpoint.  I do not know how to respond to them.  You call it life just so you can interfere in other people's lives?  Maybe you're just a busybody, then.  So a scientist who would think nothing of spaying or neutering a dog or cat feels that every match-up of sperm to egg must be preserved?  I don't see the logic.  You say too many cats or dogs are ruining the environment?  What about too many people?  Do you know how many are starving right now, at this moment?  Where's the real crime?


Realize that if you force women to have babies they don't want, you have to take responsibility for those babies.  You have to make sure that child is loved and cherished and doesn't develop any psychoses for the next 18 years or more.  Are you up to that?  And not just for one baby; for all the babies you save that are misplaced, misused, abused, and end up asking without answer, "Did I ask to be born?"


No one is going to be forced to have an abortion.  That might be the biggest fallacy out there.  But to say we want to be free to have guns and defend ourselves and in the same breath take away a woman's control of her own body is an arrogance that only an insensitive man can devise. And when women listen to these kinds of men, they are engaged in mental abuse, whether they know it or not.


I'm not a fan of abortion after the first trimester, at which time the woman should be given adoption counseling.  I also would not allow any woman to keep a child if she has sought a way to abort it after it has started kicking, because then you are putting that child's life at risk after birth.  In the first three months there is the greatest risk of spontaneous abortion, what we call miscarriage because obviously we don't like the term abortion for anything.    

I long for the day when there is no need for abortion, because of easy access to birth control, lots of sexual activity training by the time the girl is menstruating and at that same age for boys, an open conversation and dialog about this most important of duties, and free birth control and morning after drugs readily available.


And I would rather see Christianity disappear than hear one more of its radicals say that they have the right to stick their hand over another woman's vagina.


Be the first to comment

Political Compromise 2012-style

(A History Repeats Itself blog, written in 2012)


I know I made some people mad this political season.  But hopefully I had good reasons.


I have always been a passionate person.  I think it helps carry me through writing a novel.  It helps me get things done when I really believe in what I'm doing.  I'm not the type to just shrug my shoulders and go back to watching TV.


But this presidential election I became fearful, and that's never a good thing when it comes to voting.  It's never good to say, oh my god, if we let that guy win we're all doomed!  I saw many Republicans doing that and swore I would not let fear dominate me.  


Honestly, I don't know what they were afraid of.  We've already lived through Obama's first four years and the next four can only get better.  But when you hear some companies say that they will lay people off if Obama gets re-elected, then you get some idea where their fear comes from.  Many companies, for instance, fear Obamacare, but they don't want to wait and give it a chance to work.


My fear came from a completely different area.  I am editing a book for my co-partner in Dancing with Cannibals, and it is all about oppressive regimes in Africa.  We all know America has had a less than stellar history in messing with other countries, installing dictators who are friendly to our resource interests.  It's not a good thing to do, and for the countries in Africa, after colonialism ended, the regimes didn't care at all about making improvements to the country but just took the money they made on resources and kept it for themselves.  We know this is happening, but editing this book of Dicho's has thrust me right into the middle of it.


The problem is, once those dictators are in there, how do we get them out?  How do we know the next one won't be just as bad?  Should we depend on the internal uprisings, and support them?  We never supported Fidel Castro overthrowing Batista back in 1959.  And that made our relations with Cuba strained.  There was talk that Kennedy was going to try to improve relations with Castro before he was killed.  That would have been the right thing to do.

Anyway, as a Democrat, I heard all the talk about how all the rich people and companies and Koch Brothers, etc., are supporting the Republican Party, and that seemed to me like another attempt of the rich to take over another country and make the rest of us poor – kind of like creating a third world country right here.  That's why there was so much talk about defending the middle class in America.  Because without unions and good public schools, our country is lost to oppression.


So yeah, put all that together and you can see why I got a little passionate this election.


Then there was my husband, who I encouraged to run for state assembly.  He was asked during the height of his busy season on the golf course and was inclined to say no.  But I told him they want you, and you'll never get another chance if you say no.  The Democrats were trying to get as many people as they could to run against incumbent Republicans, who dominate the assembly in Wisconsin.  I knew I would have to do most of the work until his season ended, but I also gave him ideas that he could handle  when he wasn't busy.  Finally, after knocking on some doors and getting my teeth kicked in, and seeing he wasn't making the phone calls or otherwise worrying about it, I turned my attention to other ideas.  


Nothing I tried worked very well, and I can't say it's because we didn't have Democratic assistance.  I'm very grateful to the people who tried to help us.  But the insistence on fund raising was contrary to our abilities.  I don't like to think we have to have money to win in politics.  I know they all say we do.  But Joe did not want to call people and ask for money.  And I could not.  With his over a decade as town chairman, he should have called a lot of people asking for support, but he didn't.  He didn't get anyone to write him a letter of support to the newspapers.  The day before the elections he finally went door to door by himself, and he had a great time.  If only we'd known that sooner!


So for the most part, we hoped that a Democratic win by the others in our state would pull him and other assembly candidates into the win column.  For that reason, too, I really pushed, at least on Facebook, to convince others to vote Democrat.


And now I'm exhausted. I'm like the balloon with the slow leak that's about out of air.  I think we all have to direct our passion where it suits us best.  I think worrying that whoever wins is going to lead the country down the wrong path is the wrong thing to do.


But one thing I will add, before you go.  The Tea Party must go.  The people who insist on mixing religion with politics must stop.  This country is one of diversity and freedom of religion.  It must stay that way.  Religion and politics do not mix.  You do not have to be Christian to be a good person.  


If we can agree on that, we might actually be able to reach all kinds of political compromises, the kinds that help this country grow.


Oh, and Republicans?  Try to find a better candidate next time.  Maybe change your platform image a little?  Seeing Romney talk was kind of like what I would imagine George McClellan trying to tell the country the war was wrong, after he lost so many as General after Antietam.

Be the first to comment

A Killing Society

(Updated from 2014)


I happened to glance through the sport section of the paper the other day and saw an article about a guy going after the biggest bear known in the area.  He decided he was going to pretend to leave the area to see if he could trick the monster, and sure enough the bear showed up. That's when the article turned nasty.  Of course, he shoots it, but do they have to describe the bear's exploding ribcage and the howling cry of pain?  What is it about violence that gets people off?


The next day on a trip south I saw a sign – "Love the smell of gunpowder in the morning?  So do we." It was a sign for a shooting range.


What kind of violent society are we that we have to take the 2nd Amendment with its right to bear arms as militia protection from a tyrannical monarchy using muskets to meaning we can walk around with semi-automatic pistols and AR15s into school yards, airports, malls, churches and farmers markets?  


What kind of mentality creates this kind of society that advertises the love of the smell of gunpowder? Is shooting just for fun?  Or do these people really think they're protecting themselves, and need the bear meat to supply for their families?


I can understand going out to hunt meat when you're starving, and this is all you can afford.  But how can this kind of activity be fun?  Of course people who call hunting a sport also say they eat the meat they kill, but what is it about killing the animal when you're not starving that you get off on?  Are they reassuring themselves that if our society ever collapses they have the skills to survive? Part of their rationale is that these animals would overpopulate and terrorize our cities if they weren't hunted. But why brag about killing?


What I see going on now, with increased crime rates since Trump's loss, is that society will collapse because of weaponry. One thing Biden hasn't tackled yet, but to be fair, he's not even had a month yet.


I don't think there are too many people, NRA or not, who don't believe that George Zimmerman enjoyed having the 'excuse' to kill Trayvon Martin.  Of course he did.  He bought a gun and he walked around looking for a reason to shoot it.  He found one -- he created one. That he got away with it indicates he could do it again.


I get the need for every country to have soldiers. But I don't think for a minute that they're making us safer by killing people in other countries. It's like the tribes in America's pre-contact past. If you kill one of mine, I have to kill one of yours. This is a mentality that has been with us as human beings forever. Iran is smarter than Trump, so they could not be goaded into starting his war. We're fortunate they say him for what he was. But why do people become soldiers?  Why were so many ex-soldiers part of that January 6th capitol raid?


Can't we all see that not killing is better than killing?  Join the Peace Corps instead.


I asked recently if humans having consciousness are really still so far from being beasts as the beasts without this knowledge of "me-ness," and the feeling seemed pretty universal – no, we're not. We're still just beasts trying to protect what's ours.  We're still territorial. What good is ou consciousness if we don't use it to think?


Of course there are many altruistic people in the world, too -- people who wouldn't dream of picking up a gun.  Trayvon Martin might have been one of those.  Those could be the people who are truly evolving away from this 'beast' mentality. I like to think I'm one of them. But am I?  Or am I just fooling myself into believing that I'm safer without a gun? Am I just a declawed cat that's gone crazy?


I have to admit, if there's a societal showdown between people who want their guns and those who don't, we without are at more risk. That's what became scary when Trump kept insisting he won that election, and getting his supporters to believe it. But again, Trump failed to get the war he wanted.


I only know I'd rather die than live in their world anyway.  Because there's no place in my world where killing live breathing life -- for meat, for protection, for war -- is fun. It's sacred, and needs to be treated that way. No one's life in nature is of more value than another's. If you believe all living, breathing life is sacred, then don't glamorize your hunt. It just makes you look like a bully.

Be the first to comment


Ego Vs. Selflessness

(first written 10 years ago)


I woke up this morning and read my obituary.  No-no, it's not quite the way it sounds.  What I mean is that symbolically I decided to bury my ego last night, and awoke to its death this morning.


I'd like to talk about that process for a minute. It's not really something you can do overnight.  It's not like you can wake up and it'll be gone.


I keep wishing I could see my obituary in the paper.  This desire has been going on for some time now, and I think it means I wish I could die and be someone else.  It means I wish I could bury this person who has this ego and be someone who doesn't notice herself so much all the time.


But this ego was given to me when I was a kid. It's not something I woke up with one day clinging to my back.  I had so many people when I was a kid telling me that I had something, or that I was something.  My father's last words to me when I was 14 and he was dying were "You look so pretty today."  


So I don't see this huge ego—that tells me I have to BE someone—as being all my fault. But it's there, and I'm the one who has to deal with it, right?


Nobody should be given the idea that they're going to be great someday.  It made me feel like I didn't even have to try.  It's not called giving someone confidence.  It's called giving someone unreal expectations.  It's something I felt was gonna happen no matter what I did.  I had it and people would just naturally see it.


But they didn't.  They don't.


And I have to face it.  I'm not that "pretty."  I'm average.  A lot of people have told me that they know my twin (four times at one convention). So thanks, Dad.  I could have used some other final words, you know.


I have this attitude that it's me who's important and not anyone else. So I'm here today to bury the "I" and focus on the "U".  The U that is all of us.  I want to focus on how we can go about doing that and become a better in the process.


I always thought of myself as a good person. I always thought people liked me.  I thought I was likeable.  But I find myself at age 68 facing loneliness due to friendlessness.  I thought that if I moved, I could be happy somewhere else. But I cannot move away from me.


The change comes from within. You know, you hear that all the time.  The change comes from within.  Well, great!  Wonderful!  Whoopee!  They don't tell you how to do that, though.


I'm going to try and see if I can make it work for me and if it does, I can share it here. How?  I versus U.


You know, I was gonna start this with a little grammar lesson.


I and U are so far apart in the alphabet.  It seems they never hang around together at all.  And I comes before U in the alphabet, so doesn't that prove that we always should put ourselves first?  Because if we don't, who will?  And there's a lot that comes between I and U – there's J, K,L – etc.  Just like there's a lot that comes between people and keeps them from communicating.  You can't put JKL together and make a sentence.  All you get for a vowel between I and U is O.  Oh.  But the words joke and poke – they both need an E.  


I have an acquaintance I'd love to be friends with, but it's not happening.  I think we have a lot in common but for some reason she keeps herself at a distance from me and I don't know why.  I thought it had something to do with the distance between I and U in the alphabet. I couldn't think of any words that used the two letters together, next to each other.


But I was driving one morning to a location on my GPS and I did at double take at the street name.  Muirwood Drive.  Muir was an environmentalist in Wisconsin awhile back.  And that name, with the UI together like that, is one of the few instances where you see the use of those two letters together.


Notice the U comes first?  Because when we talk about the environment, it should never be about ego – it should always be about Us. I love synchronicity.  This word, Muir, is very symbolic of what we're talking about here.


It seems we all say "I" very often.  I did this. I went there.  How many of us in our conversation say "You did this" or "you went there"?  We can't speak from the perspective of U.  We can only speak using our own eyes, what we witness.  And that gives "I" its importance.


We don't have to take away the importance of "I" to get rid of the ego.  But we have to recognize the times when "U" is more important.


"I want to do this" has a totally different connotation that "U want to do this."


"I am right" is diametrically opposed to "U are right."  Do you see how much better you feel when you recognize and concede to someone else's opinion?  Can you see how much better you make them feel?


We may ask others to apologize but how often can we say "I am sorry."


The use of I means that we are not intimidating to U.  It's about feeling good – and who should feel good. Do we claim that right, or do we give that right to someone else?


That's what we're looking at.  We're looking at how to make U feel more important than I.  And that's the whole basis of being a better person.


One way I'm going to suggest doing it is keeping Muir in your head. He asked us to remember the environment, and the environment is for all of us.  Not just me.


I only means me.  It is a very self-centered position.  The more you use "I", the less people will listen to U.


But let's get to a lesson in using U.  Say you're sitting at a bus stop.  The bus doesn't stop.  You stand there saying "Hey, I'm right here.  What are U, some kind of jackass?  Why didn't U stop?"


That's placing the blame on U.  Now try placing it on I.


I didn't wave at the bus.  When I saw it, I stepped away from the bus sign toward the place where I thought it would stop, but as I did so, the driver saw me only as walking away from the bus stop and figured that I saw it wasn't the bus I wanted.


I was at fault.  I can't blame U.


See how that works?


The next time you think life is all about I, trying thinking about all the other people in the world. U and I might just get along a little better that way.

Be the first to comment

Paganism Revealed

Pagans get a bum rap. They are Satan worshippers, or they are witches casting evil spells and making people into zombies by sticking pins into them. They dance at night in the trees and in the day they give you evil-eyed stares.

Let's right now understand what Pagans are not. They are not devil worshippers. They are not a religion. All religions have a form of devil worship. But in the case of Pagans, devils are just the bad things that happen as opposed to the good things.

Duality. That permeates most all of the ancient cultures composed of people who could be called Pagans. Yes, Paganism is the oldest form of 'religion' in the world, but it's not technically a religion at all.

The interesting thing about Paganism is that each person is free to develop their own beliefs based on their dreams, and no one would dare argue with another person's dream. Dreams were just another level of reality. No one who calls themselves Pagan would dare to tell you to believe as they do.

There are some beliefs in Paganism around the world that are pretty standard, however. Beliefs in ancient cultures had oral traditions, not written ones; we can usually only guess how people felt about their spirituality back then by observing the last of these cultures today, by looking at historical records of early encounters and by their own art left behind or found underground.

Overall, however, there was this belief in duality: good/evil, man/woman, night/day, hot/cold, up/down. The change of the seasons affected them directly, without air conditioning or temperature gauges. Sure, they had enclosed structures and fire. But they had to worry about the fire going out, in ways that we don't today.

They understood a lot more than we give them credit for. They understood that they were a minute part of a huge universe, they understood the use of plants, and they examined the biology of other creatures, even comparing them to themselves. They must have wondered why a lot of male animals had a penis bone while human males did not. Did they understand human consciousness? Probably, as it can be found reflected on in their art.

So Pagans can be simply defined as a spirituality devoted to nature and individualistic depending on dreams; not something to be argued. In other words, I'm a Pagan and recognize that without Mother Earth, we would be dead. And I am not obsessed with convincing you to see it my way, as you might be with converting me to your religion. Nor would I denigrate you to feel inferior to me, as Europeans did to the native Indian cultures in this country when they first arrived.

Here's an internet definition of Paganism.

Wikipedia: is a broad group of indigenous and historical polytheistic religious traditions—primarily those of cultures known to the classical world. In a wider sense, it has also been understood to include any non-Abrahamic folk/ethnic religion. The term pagan was historically used as one of several pejorative Christian counterparts to "gentile" as used in the Hebrew Bible—comparable to "infidel" or "heretic". Modern ethnologists often avoid this broad usage in favour of more specific and less potentially offensive terms such as polytheism, shamanism, pantheism, or animism when referring to traditional or historical faiths. Since the 20th century, "Paganism" (or "Neopaganism") has become the identifier for a collection of new religious movements attempting to continue, revive, or reconstruct historical pre-Abrahamic religion. There are roughly 300 million pagans worldwide.

"Historical pre-Abrahamic (Judaism) religion." Yes, that would be the first organized religion that pulls its roots from Paganism. Orthodox Judaism is a spirituality that is practice a lot more on a daily basis, as were the early Pagans. Everything they did was with nature's gods in mind, both good and bad.

The book I'm working on is called "Creating Consciousness" and looks at the roots of all religions to find what it is that we created to deal with our fears of death. This is what sets us apart from the animals. All Paganism does is sees spirituality in everything, and that humans are all a part of nature. That's a good thing. That's a belief to be honored above all others, not demonized.

Be the first to comment

Reflections: A comparison of two presidential campaigns

Jack Newfield's memoir of Bobby Kennedy is an intensely personal look inside the man before he decided to run for president; Newfield started following Bobby as a journalist in the autumn of 1966, and then covered that campaign through June 5, 1968. Apparently Newfield started out disliking him, noting that he'd picketed the Kennedy administration in 1963 at the Justice Department over the treatment of blacks to date. At that time Newfield was protesting black oppression, and saw Bobby come out. When someone yelled, "we haven't seen too many Negroes coming out of there," Bobby's only response was that they did not hire by the color of the skin, only by their ability. Bobby was booed for this. Two years later, Newfield found himself following Bobby as a journalist reporter.


So Newfield fills this book with intimate moments showing what Bobby was really like. He was a human being, and certainly flawed. He was not only complex, but contradictory. Newfield claimed he was a man at war with himself, especially in these early years after his brother was killed. This book made me understand Bobby more, and identify with him as a human being.


This is also a book that, in reading it today, shows how little politics has changed since then. I'll share some of those comparisons here in this summary of a book I highly recommend; it sells pretty cheaply used at Amazon.


Bobby is portrayed as a passionate, sensitive introvert, not naturally inclined to the political process but drawn to the nobleness of it. He could be moody, and he daydreamed. According to Newfield (54), he was "a nature sensualist. Clouds and rain depressed him. Sun, wind and the sea elated him. Mountains, rapids and animals exhilarated him."

His belief about the nobleness of the political process can be summed up in his own words (55): "…but we can lessen the number of suffering children, and if you do not do this, then who will do this? I'd like to feel that I'd done something to lessen that suffering."


In today's world so many people think all politicians are only crooked, no longer working to lessen anyone's suffering. But we have to believe that desire is still there in the people who want to run our country, or all hope is gone. Are we nothing more than dollar signs walking around?


Newfield (56) called this time between 1965 and 1968 "the most concentrated and violent change in American life since the 1930s." This book demonstrates that change as a reflection of the Vietnam War, just as our politics evolving today continue to reflect Bush's invasion of Iraq and growing terrorism that has resulted.


What's interesting about the 1968 political campaign year is that Lyndon Johnson (LBJ) became one of the first to decide not to seek re-election, which happened previously in 1884 with Cleveland. In Johnson's time, television was to the people what the internet is today, certainly a mover and driver of more information than people ever had access to before. They were showing Vietnam battles on nightly news, and that was unprecedented. I think there were some World War II scenes shown in movie houses, but nothing like this before. It's really not surprising that there would be an outgrowth of war protests with those kinds of visions. "Television, and the media in general, are now more powerful in determining politics than heredity is," noted the author (57).


People get upset over the idea of a "Clinton" dynasty, as some were over a "Bush" dynasty, but that's nothing new in American politics—the Adams, the Roosevelts, and here potentially the Kennedys. If one is suited to the task, with experience and education, the last name shouldn't be factor.


One of the criticisms of Hillary Clinton has been that she changes her mind. But a trait of a good leader is the ability to reassess. Bobby Kennedy did so on Vietnam and in his Vietnam speeches between 1965 and 1968 he would often apologize for the role he and his brother played on getting them involved. George McGovern's break with Johnson in 1965 had a big impact on him (130). He later said that if McGovern had run in '68, he would not have. The author also quoted a columnist here who believed Bobby stayed quiet all through 1965 to avoid a fight with President Johnson. Later the author said he made his first aniti-war statement in 1965, but became more vocal in '66, when the Senate too had begun to turn against the war (134).


Immediately Bobby faced a backlash of criticism from many, including those who had been friends with John Kennedy. "The general impression was that Kennedy got the worst of the political exchange because of the subtleties of his own position, and the potency of the simplistic anti-Communist rhetoric of his opponents" (135). Sometimes the development of the strength of convictions takes time, and in-depth analysis of the mood and pitch of the country's people; a true leader can change with the times and the will of the people.


But the backlash meant that Bobby stopped talking about the war for the remainder of 1966 (136), even as his opinions grew. Newfield gives readers the impression that Bobby was not the natural politician that his brother had been. But he wanted to be president because there were so many people to help, and he didn't know how else to help. His passion made people begin to rally around him. He felt real.


He was back at it in 1967, and this time, he did not give up. Here's from his last speech in 1968: "Do we have that authority (to kill) tens and tens of thousands of people because we say we have a commitment to the South Vietnamese people? But have they been consulted—in Hue, in Ben Tre, in other towns that have been destroyed? Do we have that authority? ... What we have been doing is not the answer, it is not suitable, and it is immoral, and intolerable to continue it."


Bobby was afraid to run up against Johnson. They never got along and for a while, Johnson's politics were favorable; also, his brother had chosen him (though Bobby told him not to) (202). No love was lost between them during JFK's presidency; Bobby was often treated (and acted) like second-in-command. For these reasons he was late to declare himself an anti-war president, and was considered a coward for a while. Eugene McCarthy got in before him and gained a lot of support from the college crowd. Johnson at first—following the JFK assassination—received as high as 80% approval, and 69% of his bills in 1965 were passed, a record number (189).


Politics at this time revolved around poverty, racism, bureaucracy, foreign policies and war. How little things change, sometimes, no matter how hard we try. But in 1967 the revolution began, and it wasn't started by Bobby or the Beatles. It appears it started with the anti-draft movement (195), probably related to the news reports showing what went on in war. By early 1967 the Democrats were looking to replace LBJ. One movement was to draft Bobby, but he wasn't ready (19 . In June of that year, he was clearly in turmoil over his inability to challenge Johnson. At that time he used glowing praise for the president that he later regretted (203-204).


He finally began to travel the country in mid-January of 1968, making anti-war speeches, and his closest friends felt that meant he was running. He openly admitted to disliking McCarthy, calling him pompous, petty and venal. He couldn't endorse him. "Gene just isn't a nice person" (211-213).


Yet it was the Tet offensive beginning January 31, 1968 (234) that got Bobby into the race and not LBJ's decision not to run again, as I had thought. With McCarthy already running he was receiving a lot of support from the campuses and the Jewish communities. A number of Bobby's closest advisers jumped up to encourage him, but his brother Teddy remained uncertain (235).


Finally on March 16th he made his candidacy official : "I do not run for the Presidency merely to oppose any man, but to propose new policies … I made it clear to Senator McCarthy … that my candidacy would not be in opposition to his, but in harmony … my desire is not to divide the strength of those forces seeking a change, but to increase it" (257).

He worked hard to gain the trust of the college crowd, who saw McCarthy as the man with courage. At first Bobby's audience was made of those who hated hippies and happy that Bobby was running against Johnson. He talked up the college revolution scene, saying that we need to attack life with all our youthful vigor (262-263).


By the end of March, "Kennedy Besieged … there was almost a riot at the airport, the crowds were out of control, and there as a brief fistfight between a Kennedy enthusiast and a McCarthy heckler." There seems to be a distinction here—enthusiast versus heckler? It's a perspective issue, same as today. Or it really was a McCarthy fan sending jeering words at a Kennedy fan. "I want to find jobs for all our people," said Bobby into a bullhorn. I want to find jobs for the black people of Watts, and the white people of eastern Kentucky. I want a reconciliation of blacks and whites in the United States" (273-274).


Reconciliation? You see, blacks and whites didn't always not get along. They don't all not get along today. See the movie Free State of Jones playing now and you'll see what I mean. The more we live with each other, the more we can. That's why desegregation was so important in the 1960s, but still, we see so many places today where a white hasn't seen a black, except on TV.


Bobby was devastated by the death of Martin Luther King, and was tempted to withdraw. Shades of Dallas had to have run through his head. But he knew he had to speak out. "But the vast majority of white people and the vast majority of black people in this country want to live together, want to improve the quality of our life, and want justice for all human beings who abide in our land" (281).


And later: "For there is another kind of violence, slower but just as deadly, destructive as the shot or the bomb in the night. This is the violence of institutions; indifference and inaction and slow decay. This is the violence that afflicts the poor, that poisons relations between men because their skin has different colors. This is a slow destruction of a child by hunger, and schools without books and homes without heat in the winter" (283).


How far have we come, really? Shouldn't we be ashamed that many of these words can still be said today? Where is the hope of the 60's?


Kennedy began winning heavily with the black population, to the point of Ethel saying, "don't you wish everyone was black?" (299) When Kennedy didn't do as well as expected, Newfield intimated a double standard: "If Kennedy had the relationship that McCarthy has with Shana Alexander and Mary McGrory, it would be a scandal. But Gene can get away with it because no one accuses him of buying off the press. So he gets a free ride."


If Kennedy was like Sanders early in the race, he became like Hillary later. Bobby appealed to the blacks, as Hillary does, and both are accused of duplicitous methods. Was Bobby using his brother's name? Newfield believed the opposite was true (303). By invoking their mistakes and how wrong the war was, and ramping up on Civil Rights, Bobby was making a name for himself. Hillary, too, puts herself squarely with the liberals and women's and black rights, and the need for more gun regulation.


A man heckled Bobby at one of his stops, and the police arrested him. Bobby said to let him go, but they wouldn't. So Bobby promised to get him out of jail as soon as he was elected. That kind of peaceful rhetoric seems missing now, where this kind of heckling had been easier to tolerate.


Bobby also pursued gun control legislation, and he tested the ground against rifles and hunters in Oregon, known for being very volatile state over the issue. He lost Oregon, but he loved to challenge his audiences, not cater to them (307). This was before the California vote, and if he didn't get that, he wasn't sure he could keep going.


His speech in Oregon is worth noting: "Nobody is going to take your guns away. All we're talking about is that a person who's insane, or is seven years old, or is mentally defective, or has a criminal record, should be kept from purchasing a gun by money order."


After Johnson announced he wasn't running, Bobby took on Hubert Humphrey with the same vigor of being pro-war that Johnson was. "If the Vice President is nominated to oppose Richard Nixon (and Nixon was pretty much running in the primary unopposed), there will be no candidate who has opposed the course of escalation of the war in Vietnam" (313).


In Oregon, McCarthy had scored heavily against Bobby, but Bobby didn't counterattack, fearing to appear ruthless, and not wanting to alienate McCarthy's college voters. He wanted people to see him as running against Humphrey. McCarthy, on the other hand, went after Bobby's previous pro-war record with his brother. But Newfield noted that Bobby was on record as being anti-war even before McCarthy (315).


Bobby finally agreed to debate McCarthy before the California primary, and of course they each won it, depending on who you listened to. But when his staff asked why Bobby blew the closing remarks so badly, he said, "You won't believe it, but I was daydreaming. I thought the program was over and I was trying to decide … where to take Ethel for dinner" (321-322).


The last time the author talked with Bobby, it was about Bob Dylan. Bobby had just heard the song "Blowing in the Wind" and was very struck by it. He decided he wanted to meet Dylan. As they talked and Newfield wondered how Bobby could win the activist students, Bobby turned to brood out the window again (324).


Toward the end of California campaigning, those in Bobby's camp decided that Bobby and McCarthy were alike on so many issues, and the focus still needed to be against Humphrey. Yet on June 4th McCarthy claimed that Martin Luther King had endorsed him; that Bobby once had his phones tapped (330). Some feared Bobby wouldn't take New York later. Others feared this country was going to kill another Kennedy, "and then we won't have a country" (327).


We all know what happened. He was killed, just after winning California. We can hope and pray that never happens in this country again, even as the death toll from guns rises. Newfield ends the book without mentioning the killer's name, and just asking "Why?" 


As you think about the campaign in 2016, let Bobby's last words stay with you:


I ask you to recognize the hard and difficult road ahead to a better America –and I ask you tomorrow to vote for yourselves. The people must decide this election—and this must decide so that no leader in America has any doubt of what they want. For your sake, and for the sake of your children, vote for yourself tomorrow (327).


I don't want to share the author's final words because, quite frankly, I don't want to believe them. "And from this time forward, things would get worse; our best political leaders were part of memory now, not hope. The stone was at the bottom of the hill and we were alone."

Be the first to comment

A Violent Society

Revisiting a blog I wrote in 2012


Guns seem to be everywhere lately and though innocent people, people who don't carry guns, have been dying, no one wants to do anything about it.


But violence has a long history in this country and many believe that to have freedom we have to accept risk.  But does it have to be at the point of a gun?


They say there have been 700 anti-Muslim attacks since 9/11.  But we can look farther than that to see images of intolerance in this country.  The real problem seems to be people that are lunatics can get guns.  These are smart lunatics, too, for I'm told they can outwit the psychological evaluation questionnaire they are supposed to complete before getting a weapon.  Maybe they're just smarter than whoever evaluates the questionnaire.


Smart.  Like Mark David Chapman, who gunned down John Lennon by shooting him five times in the back.  In the back.  I don't know a more horrifying act than killing peaceful people, like the Sikh recently in Wisconsin.  But we understand, at least, the anti-Muslim sentiment and how a whacko can make a turban-esque mistake.  


Be different in America at your own risk, right?


No, shooting innocent people because you're mad at a few radicals is never an answer.  And yet it seems the chosen outlet in this country, one that no one is trying to do anything about.


What was Lennon's crime?  It's hard to imagine that this happened to him, even today, 40 years later.  World-class peacemaker who wanted everyone to live together, completely accepting each other.  But Chapman, whose name I wish I could forget, was a born-again Christian who took offense to Lennon's utopian sentiment in Imagine.  


Chapman was a Beatle fan until Lennon's innocent comment about Beatlemania being too big in 1966.  Many Christians took offense—at 13, I was one, and that allowed the emergence of the Monkees who recaptured that innocence that the Beatles outgrew.


I had to mature into John Lennon myself. As I rediscovered him with Imagine, I learned that most of my favorite Beatle songs were Lennon songs.  One of my wedding songs was his, but I didn't know he sang it when I picked "Love is Real."


But it's interesting, now that I think about it.  It seems Lennon's "anti-Christian" comment was a defining moment in time in many ways.  It allowed John to reach out beyond the Beatles.  But it also made early Beatle music my favorite, and I never could figure out why my husband, who is older than me, preferred late Beatle music.  It's because he became a fan after that comment, when he wasn't before.


Chapman, on the other hand, turned away from the Beatles and never looked back.  He became Christian.  He allowed the song Imagine, and the man, eat away at his soul.  He wanted to make a name for himself and he thought Lennon was bad for the world.


Did he take a psychological evolaution to get a gun?  Doubtful.  How about Oswald or Ray or Sirhan?  Why was violence seemingly born in the 60s?  Because the hippie movement that blossomed also gave birth to its opposition.

Unless we realize we have a real problem in this country with racism and religious intolerance, this violence will continue.  Who will be next?  You?  Me?


I'd like to see guns completely purged from the U.S.  Barring that, the FBI profilers need to sit down and create a fool-proof questionnaire … problem is, can we really deny someone a gun because he answers questions wrong?

But then what can we do?  Just keep putting up with the freedom to be killed by a lunatic?  What terrible new event awaits us?


They like to say guns don't kill people.  People kill people.  But how will they kill if you take that gun away?  Bombs?  Maybe.  Knives?  Doubtful.  You won't kill too many in a theater with knives.  


Guns are easy.  Too easy.  Just ask Yoko Ono.


Update: I post this as Trump's Proud Boys are roaming the streets with guns, looking to create the violence that could start another  Civil War. Because do not doubt that Trump's only way to save his own skin is to at least have a part of the country he could still be president of. Fortunately, for all his blow-hard words, so far, are all empty. DO NOT give them something to shoot at. We only have a little more than a month before we have a new president.

Be the first to comment

An Anti-Gun Post from 2012

I wrote this in 2012, and it's disturbing because we see the forces that elected Trump emerging.



Guns seem to be everywhere lately and though innocent people, people who don't carry guns, have been dying, no one wants to do anything about it.

But violence has a long history in this country and many believe that to have freedom we have to accept risk.  But does it have to be at the point of a gun?

They say there have been 700 anti-Muslim attacks since 9/11.  But we can look farther than that to see images of intolerance in this country.  The real problem seems to be people that are lunatics can get guns.  These are smart lunatics, too, for I'm told they can outwit the psychological evaluation questionnaire they are supposed to complete before getting a weapon.  Maybe they're just smarter than whoever evaluates the questionnaire.

Smart.  Like Mark David Chapman, who gunned down John Lennon by shooting him five times in the back.  In the back.  I don't know a more horrifying act that killing peaceful people, like the Sikh recently in Wisconsin.  But we understand, at least, the anti-Muslim sentiment and how a whacko can make a turban-esque mistake.  

Be different in America at your own risk, right?

No, shooting innocent people because you're mad at a few radicals is never an answer.  And yet it seems the chosen outlet in this country, one that no one is trying to do anything about.

What was Lennon's crime?  It's hard to imagine that this happened to him, even today.  World-class peacemaker who wanted everyone to live together, completely accepting each other.  But Chapman, whose name I wish I could forget, was a born-again Christian who took offense to Lennon's utopian sentiment in Imagine.  

Chapman was a Beatle fan until Lennon's innocent comment about Beatlemania being too big in 1966.  Many Christians took offense—at 13, I was one, and that allowed the emergence of the Monkees who recaptured that innocence that the Beatles outgrew.

I had to mature into John Lennon myself.  Many fans had to.  As I rediscovered him with Imagine, I learned that most of my favorite Beatle songs were Lennon songs.  One of my wedding songs was his, but I didn't know that when I picked it.

But it's interesting, now that I think about it.  It seems Lennon's "anti-Christian" comment was a defining moment in time in many ways.  It allowed John to reach out beyond the Beatles.  But it also made early Beatle music my favorite, and I never could figure out why my husband, who is older than me, preferred late Beatle music.  It's because he became a fan after that comment, when he wasn't before.

Chapman, on the other hand, turned away from the Beatles and never looked back.  He became Christian.  He allowed the song Imagine, and the man, eat away at his soul.  He wanted to make a name for himself and he thought Lennon was bad for the world.

Did he take a psychological evolaution to get a gun?  Doubtful.  How about Oswald or Ray or Sirhan?  Why was violence seemingly born in the 60s?  Because the hippie movement that blossomed also gave birth to its opposition.

Unless we realize we have a real problem in this country with racism and religious intolerance, this violence will continue.  Who will be next?  You?  Me?

I'd like to see guns completely purged from the U.S.  Barring that, the FBI profilers need to sit down and create a fool-proof questionnaire … problem is, can we really deny someone a gun because he answers questions wrong?

But then what can we do?  Just keep putting up with the freedom to be killed by a lunatic?  What terrible new event awaits us?

They like to say guns don't kill people.  People kill people.  But how will they kill if you take that gun away?  Bombs?  Maybe.  Knives?  Doubtful.  You won't kill too many in a theater with knives.  

Guns are easy.  Too easy.  Just ask Yoko Ono.

Be the first to comment