Monday, November 21, 2011


When I was a kid, and people across the nation were demonstrating for peace and social justice, folks used to say, "Keep the Faith."  The trouble is that you've got to have faith before you can keep it.

Faith and Trust go hand in hand - or at least they do in my happy little world.  That little world wasn't altogether happy last week on account of I shot off my mouth on a friend's Facebook thread.  I'm not sorry I mouthed off on Facebook since I'm pretty sure the best thing we can do during this global paradigm shift is share our evolving thoughts which should, theoretically, strengthen the human connection.

I just wish that I would have been mouthing off about the pertinent topic.  When I saw this Facebook thread talking about how OWS was wrong to tie up traffic at rush hour because it hurt the 99%, I had no idea that a Fox Local News anchorman, Greg Kelly -  son of NYPD Commissioner Kelly who brutally evicted the occupation from Zuccotti Park last week with the help of Homeland Security - went on TV and said that OWS was going to shut down the subways.  I was mad at my FB friends because they said OWS was inconveniencing commuters when the trouble actually involved having more faith in the Mainstream Media than the Movement.

Instead of saying:
You know, that march years ago in Selma led by Martin Luther - what's his name?  That was pretty inconvenient too.  And I'll bet those folks in Pakistan getting hit by drones have also been inconvenienced - but at least they don't have to worry about babysitters anymore now that their kids are dead.
I should have said:  What are you talking about?  Nobody is shutting down the subway today.  Who the hell can shut down the subways in New York City anyway?  Bat Man? 

If I had been smart, I'd have included a link to where OWS publishes their daily plans.  But I wasn't smart.  My head exploded and I got mouthy.   Just as my friend had fallen for the BS in the Main Stream Media, I fell for the "divide and conquer" technique.

The good news is that neither she nor I blocked the other - which I suppose is the FB equivalent of stomping off in a huff determined never to speak to someone again.  It feels more like one of those family dinners where people who love each other get all fired up and start shouting until they realize they are talking about two entirely different things.  We can be grateful that it was way too early in the morning last Thursday for alcohol to be involved.

And we can be grateful that we all learned something important.  I am assuming that my dear friend learned something too.  I can make that assumption because I have faith that no matter what words come out of her mouth sometimes, she's a caring, thoughtful, ethical human being.

My wish for everyone, as we head into another holiday season surrounded by all sorts of relatives is that when we feel our own heads starting to explode, we take a breath and fill ourselves with love before mouthing off.  That doesn't mean we don't state our opinions as strongly as we can.  God knows some there are plenty of dumbasses out there vigorously spouting off about all manner of shit, and that BS must not be allowed to go unaddressed just because we're trying to be cordial over dessert.

I know it's possible to be strong and respectful at the same time because I watched Marianne Williamson do it last Saturday at Middle Collegiate Church.  Although everyone in the audience that day was 100% behind OWS and everything it stands for, during the Q&A after Marianne's talk, it was clear that there were plenty of mouthy, albeit well-intended, assholes.  Marianne softly pointed out that their words carried blame, judgment and an air of superiority.  For example, one man had been down to the park and was delighted to see that classes in non-violent resistance were being offered daily, but he was dismayed to find that the people at the information table were clueless about the teachers' credentials. Marianne said that asking for someone's credentials was inherently shaming - as if somebody needed a pedigree to care about peace.  She said that all anyone had to do was read A Testament of Hope by Martin Luther King, Jr. and s/he would know everything anybody ever needed to know about Non-Violent Resistance.  She went on to say that in reality, the only credential anybody needed was being born, and told the man that he should go back down to OWS and offer to teach the classes himself.   That man sat down with a lot to think about, and Marianne hadn't been rude at all.

It's different at Thanksgiving when we're forced to be nice to miscellaneous family, friends and neighbors who don't know their asses from their elbows - but we are trying to educate people, not eradicate them (as attractive as that notion may be).

Marianne referenced this MLK quote, too:
You can have no influence over those for whom you have underlying contempt.

And this one:
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

Martin Luther King, Jr delivering the Time to Break the Silence speech about Vietnam from the pulpit in the church where I work.
It's easy to hate people like Mike Bloomberg, and Rush Limbaugh, and Rupert Murdoch, and Ann Coulter and Grover Norquist, and Dick Cheney and Phylis Schafly et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.  It's not so easy to veiw them from a place of love and respect for their wilted humanity.

If this movement is going to be successful - and I have faith that it is - then we're going to have to nurture our own humanity and help it grow and develop with love.  Most of us will never actually have to speak to Bloomberg or any of those people face to face.  However, we will have to engage old friends, relatives and neighbors in active conversations that facilitate evolution of thought for everyone in the conversation - including ourselves.

Every day people across the world are standing up for economic and social justice, motivated not by hatred of the 1% but by love of each other and ourselves - even those among us who are simply pissed the fuck off and ready to bust windows at the Bank of America.  It's a struggle every day.  But when I see videos like this one Dennis Trainor, Jr made last week of the #N17 demonstration, I have absolute faith in this shifting paradigm and trust we're going to make it to that mountain top Martin Luther King talked about the day before he died even if it takes ten thousand years.


Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

Contempt is kin to tolerance.
I am the MOST tolerant of souls--vertibably the milk of human kindness by the QUART in every vein--as long as I am not met with intolerance.

Similarly, I cannot NOT hold contemptible people --Herman Cain crosses my mind, or Sarah Palin, or Sir Barry, the Nutless, come to it; people who behave or speak contemptibly--in contempt.

I guess there's a secret to it that I haven't got. Oh, well...

PENolan said...

I don't think it really matters if you hold someone in contempt as long as you're not trying to influence them to come around to your point of view. If you're fixing to lop off somebody's head with a guillotine, for example, feeling contemptuous is probably a good thing.

Jim said...

Guillotines are good, but must be exceptionally strong and sharp to deal with thick necked thugs like the Newt. However, I digress. Thanks for such a great post. It's hard to remember how important remaining non-violent and how important keeping the bigger picture in mind is, i.e., making a better life on this tattered planet for all of us.

mac said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mac said...

Sorry, that comment didn't turn out as I would have liked it too.

I was trying to show how I think, even though they are different, Marianne and unASLEEP are very similar.

listen to how beautifully calm Un can make you :-)

rraine said...

thank you for reminding me of the MLK quotes. i'm lifting them to put on my facebook page. i've been on a rant and roll lately, about the need for us as individuals to weed out our own violent tendencies as a path to creating peace in the world. i think it's the hardest thing i've ever taken on in my life. and i don't think i'll complete it before i die.

Vancouver Voyeur said...

MLK's words are spot on. We must be patient, but persistent, loving, but firm. We must reach a point of communication between the various sides, viewpoints. We will never undo this mess or change anything without cooperation.

Mr. Charleston said...

Non-violence and non-contempt don't work. We have ample evidence of that from the 60's. People had to get violent and set things on fire to effect any change and then, it was only temporary. Get pissed, shout and scream and VOTE the bastards out!

Gail said...

HI TRISH - I love your "voice" because it speak for and to me and so many. I am grateful for you this Thanksgiving for all you do to make a difference in the best of ways and in so many ways.
Love Gail

intelliwench said...

Thanks, I needed that!

Patricia said...

It is good to know civility still exists, The Occupy movement has shown very clearly how cruel and uncaring our culture has become. I think they are turning the tide. MLK's words are very appropriate, some of his work, especially regarding poverty still needs resolution and revolution. Think I'm going to re-read "Letter From Birmingham Jail"

PENolan said...

Mr C - I'm going to go back to our old friend Howard Beale from Network - hollering out the window. Sometimes you can be completely non-violent and still be aggressive and confrontational. Not mutually exclusive. It's all about Intent . . .

Jim, it's all about the bigger picture for sure.
mac, I'm looking forward to being utterly calm

rraine, I don't think any of us ever complete that task - except maybe Ghandi and MLK. We learn a lot by trying, though.

V.V., I'm beginning to see that Connection is the Key.

Gail - right back at cha!

Intelli - hugs and happy holiday!
You too, Patricia - and btw, I love your blog. Are you just starting out with blogging or have you done one before?

brooklyn guy said...

Did anyone posting here happen to visit Occupy Wall Street at Zuccotti Park? Seems the answer is NO.

On the other hand, I did. The protesters were sadly lacking in every way -- mainly because they knew nothing about almost everything.

Most disturbing was their own misunderstanding of themselves, which led to their desire to create a dictatorship based on their perception of injustice.

Very much like the 60s, except none of the OWS crowd were/are facing the draft.

In fact, every member of today's US military is a "hero" rather than a "baby-killer".

Nevertheless, one protester I met was wearing his Marine Corps dress blue uniform, a Guy Fawkes mask and holding sign that claimed cancer had been cured in the 1940s by Dr Gerson.

Dr Gerson's cure, according to the former Marine, was a coffe enema.

I asked him why Steve Jobs had not taken the coffee cure and he told me the government wouldn't allow it. The cure is only available in Mexico, where, he said, thousands had gone and come back cancer free. But not Steve Jobs.

He believed what he said. The entire OWS crowd was the same way. They shared his form of believing and thinking.

PENolan said...

Actually, I've been to Zuccotti park several times. I've housed occupiers and participated in discussions with folks from occupations around the country. Your comment, Brooklyn Guy, reminds me of other comments made over the years from that Wall Street guy who trolls progressives blogs and tries to stir up a commotion for kicks.

Glad to see you are well and apparently enjoying a happy Holiday.

Kold_Kadavr_flatliner, sub/dude said...

How this: God blessa youse -Fr. Sarducci, ol SNL

Kold_Kadavr_flatliner, sub/dude said...

How this: God blessa youse -Fr. Sarducci, ol SNL

PENolan said...

And your's too, Flatliner

Jennifer said...

Beautiful post. Thanks for the reminder; a way to walk into tomorrow. Happy thanksgiving.

okjimm said...

I just got into it with an old friend... about the pepper spray incident at OWS on the UC Davis campus. He got very mad at me when I defended the students right to protest.... and stalked off when I offered to buy him the next beer. He could not accept my opinion even as I was willing to drink to his... oh well.... have a good turkey&stuff

susan said...

MLK was probably the closest the US has come to having an enlightened being willing to take the public spotlight.

Wouldn't it be nice if we finally managed to see things not in pairs of mutually opposed opposites but in tertiary ways?

dissed said...

"Wilted humanity." That's what I'll take away from this one. I agree that we can't influence those for whom we feel contempt, but how can we stifle the contempt? And should we? I don't know. Before any minds can change, you have to get their attention. But I'll try to hold onto the Wilted Humanity of it all.

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