Although I have long had issues with our justice system and particularly with the death penalty, this story hit me very hard.
I think it was the line about some lives being worth more than others.
I am sure that I have heard this before, maybe even coming out of my own mouth, as a commentary on some perceived injustice or other... but this is not my crazy observation, it is tangible truth demonstrated through the actions of folks who surely don't consider themselves racist.
Like so many other clear representations of our dirty racial problem of late, it also surprises me how easily some can dismiss the findings in this report. The fact that the race of the perpetrator didn't affect whether or not the prosecutor decided to seek the death penalty is small consolation to someone who has just had demonstrated to her that her life is worth LESS than ANY white person in the world.
These are rantings that should not be confined to this blog, but, honestly, I am afraid of saying this out loud in front of my friends ... what if they don't see the inherent flaw in our society, will they also be exposing their belief that some lives are worth more than others?
How many times have I heard, "Recognizing your problem is half the battle"?
Too damn many.
Like many other aphorisms, it is utterly untrue.
1/4 of the battle, maybe, but I am afraid that it is much, much less.
Perhaps the first problem with this saying, and the entire approach, is that this IS NOT a battle to be fought and won. This is life.
Life happens... our happiness quotient goes up and down with the daily rituals, obstacles, successes or just every day happenings. Generally speaking, it is good to plan, but things rarely turn out the way we plan. So, flexibility is important, but that doesn't mean just let life happen, ala Forrest Gump.
Don't get me started on FG. You won't like what I have to say.
So... here we are, breathing, living, reacting to the world/life that happens around us. What does it mean? 1/2 the battle, 1/4 of the battle or much, much less. There is some out-of-whack belief that there is an elusive HAPPINESS that we can reach... if we just try harder? tap our heels together? just let it happen? wait expectantly?
All I know is to live right now, with whatever emotion is cascading over me, is very difficult and perhaps the only way to "WIN" the battle.
It is a very difficult state for me... I try, walking around, sitting at my desk, even when I am interacting with others, to stay in the moment... to feel all that is happening, to appreciate each breath and its intricacies, like carefully inspecting a spider's web, but I find my mind wandering to the myriad of what if's that only serve to leave me feeling bereft.
There will always be an "if only" -- there is always room for improvement, there are a million ways to approach any task and therefore infinite resolutions to any situation. None and all are right, yet I fight with myself in just accepting what is facing me right at this moment.
Figuring out, recognizing if you like, what the problem is only plays into this not-living-in-the-moment thing for me... I play and replay, parse, analyze until I know exactly what the problem is, where it came from and even how to get rid of it. None of that is now... it's yesterday, this morning, when I was five, or tomorrow, next month, or when I get around to it.
Right now I feel better and I want to cry at the same time. It's ok... I will keep breathing in and out and feeling.
A while back, I was carpooling with a couple. I found them on Craigslist before I was willing to casual carpool, but after I realized just how expensive it was to commute!!
In any case, it was also very soon after the divorce. The couple was ok; she was in law school, almost done. He was a graphic designer for pottery barn. They were driving into San Francisco because he had surgery on his leg and couldn't walk very well. So she drove him to work every morning and then took herself to school.
In the time that I was carpooling with them, I learned that he was really into vw bugs and drinking. He would go to flea markets devoted to the buying and selling of obsolete parts for really old cars that probably shouldn't be on the road. He had talked her into buying one that didn't even run; he was fixing up another one or two. Wednesdays were Whiskey Weds. So Thursday mornings were always interesting.
The part that was difficult for me was that every morning there was some drama, some tension. I bristled every time, but I thought I was just being overly sensitive. He seemed super manipulative and power hungry. He couldn't drive, so he spent most of the ride telling her which lane to drive in or when to go faster or slower. I think by the end I was consciously trying to engage him in conversation during the ride to keep him off her back. But, I figured that they were a normal, regular couple and I was seeing things from a crazy, paranoid space.
Once, I was telling a friend about the carpool couple. I described him and my friend asked if he had tattoos on his hands. I hadn't ever noticed. My friend said a guy that sounded like him at hit on her at a bar recently. Weird, I thought, the carpool couple seem really solid. They are talking about buying a house.
Well, his cast came off and we stopped carpooling (and I started using the casual carpool where people don't talk to each other, I like that). I thought of them, and their talk of buying a house; I wanted to grab her by the shoulders and scream...don't invest anymore time or money in this guy. But, I just smiled. Occasionally I would see him waiting for the bus as I drove by in some stranger's car.
One day, I was walking in my neighborhood and I saw her. By then, she should have graduated and passed the bar. I told her I saw him sometimes at the bus stop, and she said, "We broke up, it turns out he's a cheater." She said she had moved to where she would be working. She was just in the neighborhood to pack up her stuff. I wished her well and kept walking down the street, but I never forgot her words. "It turns out he's a cheater."
It took me a long time to realize why her words had struck me. She was so matter of fact about it. It was HIS problem. It had nothing to do with HER. Of course, you might say. It is a perfectly logical and healthy way to see the situation.
The thing is I had just spent at least three years trying to turn myself inside out. Trying to be the person who my husband wouldn't cheat on... never even contemplating that it might not be my fault. He said it was my fault and I believed him. To be fair, not that he deserves or needs it, I wanted to believe him. His little statement was playing right into the drama I wanted to live, subconsciously or not, where I was the villain. There was something inherently wrong with me that caused him to go out and seek someone else, anyone else.
So, reading this article today, I was again taken back to these two moments in my life: when this half of the carpool couple illuminated me about how infidelity works, and my insane belief for too long on how I was responsible. I wish I could say I were completely healed and see things like my carpool buddy does, but I am still working on it.
The blues are because you're getting fat and maybe it's been raining too long, you're just sad that's all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you're afraid and you don't know what you're afraid of. Holly Golightly... Breakfast at Tiffany's
Not necessarily appropriate, but it is, in fact, my favorite quote from my favorite movie... so it is the Friday Special.
Not that I disagree with relieving this poser from his post, but this coupled with the full court press to whitewash the "bungledness" of this disaster today, I am convinced that this is all vast right-wing conspiracy to make the president look good.
I especially like the very little play that george's mom's comments got. I guess the NY Times finally wrote something about it, but I would have liked to see it replayed over and over just like the looting images. I guess since it was radio, it's less sexy.
I am also irritated by the product placement of the other Mrs. Bush ... I don't want to hear the former school librarian telling me that as a woman she would like the other supreme court nominee to be a woman; that little comment didn't help us last time the jerk named someone. I especially don't want to hear her excuse the handling of the disaster. I really don't care if Laura doesn't mind being used this way, I just don't want to hear it.
This, by the way, is my favorite part of the blog... the ability to rant on and on about something that no one else needs to hear unless he/she wants to and yet I get it off my chest.
I am awash in unacknowleged feelings... I know they are out there but I am loathe to even concede their existence.
I think my body is mirroring this ... despite the fact that I have not been physically active, I am stiff as though I have just finished the marathon. Every movement causes pain ... I feel as though I will not be able to move at some point.
I know I need to stretch... to do the yoga, to breathe, to let go; but I don't... I won't... for reasons that I truly do not understand and cannot articulate, except that these pains are just the physical representation of the emotions that I refuse to recognize.
Perhaps now that I have published it for all the world (or at least just for those who read this blog) to see, I can start to unwrap the emotions and the muscles...
I keep thinking there are things I need to put in here... I remember that I have two drafts waiting to be completed and posted, and yet, I cannot write. Too tired, too overwhelmed, or just plain empty. Not sure which one it is.
Mourning is emotionally and physically draining. I try to find the energy to do the things that will make me feel better, but instead I sit on the couch or go to sleep or read inane things on the internet.
Can you say, "You just don't get it!"? I can... and I will.
To think, believe, innocently speculate that REFUGEE is a more appropriate term to use for your fellow American citizens in need of relief/compassion/basic human kindness because it is more PRECISE than EVACUEE is disengenuous at best and just plain hypocritical and inflammatory at its worst.
Folks who made it out before, during and/or after the devastation of the hurricane, as well as those who chose to stay because they have no where to go are SURVIVORS. These folks embody the best of our collective will/courage/strength.
While we all speculate about what is best for an entire city and its population from the comfort of our dry living rooms, almost 500,000 people from New Oreans alone (not to mention the folks from other devastated areas) plan for their futures with no certainty that anyone will be there to help.
Admit it, all those news people who are calling people REFUGEES are doing it because it makes for a good story, more sensational and more seedy... you want the ratings and you'll do ANYTHING to get it.
Then, of course, there is the incredibly articulate and honest Mrs. Barbara Bush ... referring to the poor who had lost everything back home and evacuated, "And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this--this (she chuckles slightly) is working very well for them."
If you need to read the article, just to prove to yourself that there are people out there who are willing to say exactly what they think no matter how egregious that might be, here is the link: http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1001054719
The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when he discovers that someone else believes in him and is willing to trust him with his friendship. - -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Had dessert and wine with a friend I haven't seen for a while tonight. It is incredible to have such a fabulous talk with someone who I haven't seen in a long time. I forget how easy it is to connect, how adult conversations are not necessarily difficult to find, and how important it is to have folks to whom you don't have to explain yourself.
Thank you god, spirit, creator, who ever might be out there to appreciate this gratitude.
Somehow it has taken us five days, but finally, not only has the government begun to mobilize, to react, to feel the sense of responsibility and urgency the disaster in New Orleans demands, but the business community, celebrities and regular folks are doing anything and everything it takes to help those displaced by the hurricane to see that we are one people. More stories to make us proud to be citizens of this complex and sometimes contradictory country...
Troops Bring Food, Medicine to New Orleans http://apnews.excite.com/article/20050903/D8CCKJGG0.html
LSU Quarterback Opens Home to Fats Domino http://apnews.excite.com/article/20050903/D8CCF4H80.html
Donations Pour in for Katrina Relief http://apnews.excite.com/article/20050902/D8CCCL702.html
Stars Pledge Help for Katrina Victims http://apnews.excite.com/article/20050902/D8CCC08G1.html
New Orleans Hospitals Getting Some Help http://apnews.excite.com/article/20050902/D8CCBFKGA.html