Saturday, July 04, 2009
Gus has up a typically thoughtful post about patriotism. The right wing has worked v hard for over thirty years to claim patriotism as their own and to brand liberals as unpatriotic.
Well, fuck that shit.
Born deep in America's heartland in the middle of the baby boom, I grew up loving the ideals espoused in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. I grew up on stories of how my dad walked, to the strains of Pomp and Circumstance, out of his graduation from Boulder High School and into the recruiting office in the middle of World War II. I grew up on stories of how the GI Bill, passed to thank a generation of young people who defended Hawaii and Europe, changed my family's life, making my dad the first person in his family of transplanted Cockneys to ever graduate from college. I grew up on stories of how union members exercised their rights to peacefully assemble in order to obtain better wages, rights, and working conditions. I grew up in the middle of the Civil Rights movement and on stories of my dad, the journalist, attending Dr. King's speeches and then -- sadly -- funeral. I grew up in the middle of the protests against Viet Nam, the protests against the "Establishment," the protests for women's rights. And I never once doubted that the Constitution, the spirit of America, Lady Liberty, was on our side.
The more that I learned about American history, although I was ashamed at the dark chapters and appalled at the discrimination against women and others, the more I agreed with Dr. King that the arc of American history, like the arc of “the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” At least, I knew that it could, if I put my back to the wheel and pushed, and that's what I've tried to do, ever since I was a pre-teen, demonstrating against the war in Viet Nam.
American democracy can't, as Abby Hoffman noted, be measured by the freedoms that it gives to assimilated conformists. It has to be measured by the freedoms that it gives to disaffected dissidents. I think that, like Robert Frost with the world, I've had a long-running lover's quarrel with America. "You could be so much more yourself, if only you tried!" But a lover's quarrel is still a quarrel between lovers.
I never vote without tearing up over the people who died (especially the Suffragettes) so that I could walk into my little local community arts center and vote. I never walk into the Supreme Court without seeing the inscription "Equal Justice Under Law" and sobbing with love, a practice that's been professionally embarrassing more than once. I never stand in the Lincoln Memorial, or the Jefferson, or the Roosevelt, or the rotunda of the Capitol, or the well of any court or federal agency in the land without remembering the oath that I took to support the Constitution when I became a member of the bar and an officer of the court. In my most profound dreams, I walk among the marble statues and memorials of this city dedicated to the Goddess Columbia.
And so I'm happy and proud to say that I am a patriot and anyone who says that I'm not a "real" American" (fuck you, Sarah Palin, et al.) is a fucking liar. I'm as American as you can get, born at the foot of Pikes Peak, looking out over a wheatfield, thriving on the banks of the Potomac, exercising my Constitutial rights, sworn to defend the Constitution, and loving what America stands for with all my heart.
Happy 4th of July.
Yeah, I edited it. Whatcha gonna do about it? Even in the original exclusionary language, it makes me cry every damn time.
Declaration of Independence
(Adopted by Congress on July 4, 1776)
The Unanimous Declaration
of the Thirteen United States of America
When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of [humankind] requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all [beings] are created equal, that they are endowed . . . with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among [humans], deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that [people] are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with [brave] firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.
He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.
He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.
He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:
For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing taxes on us without our consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:
For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:
For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:
For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:
For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, .
In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British [brothers and sisters]. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of [humanity], enemies in war, in peace friends.
We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.
New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton
Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark
Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean
Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton
North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton
Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton
Source: The Pennsylvania Packet, July 8, 1776
Picture found here.
Thursday, July 02, 2009
These are the new day lilies that Landscape Guy put in the other week. The first three are Sir Mordred and the last two are Bela Lugosi. We also put in a bunch of Ice Carnival (white) and Satan's Revenge (v. dark), but those two aren't blooming, yet. It will take a few years for these new lilies to grow in as thickly as the old orange ones, but I'm loving them already.
What's the darkest thing you grow?
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
for the Mari, God has nine substances, or hypostases, ranging from the life-giving Ilyan Yumo to the birth goddess Shochinava.
Asked about the theological foundation of his faith, Mamayev smiled and said, "Everything works through nature."
Indeed, like most animist religions, the Mari faith traditionally knows no written scriptures and no sacred edifices. Prayers are chiefly held in sacred groves, where some feasts include the ritual slaughter of animals as sacrifice.
"Nature is our temple," said Zoya Dudina as she walked with worshippers on a winding path through high grass after the ceremony in the grove had ended.
Dudina, a poet and intellectual from the republican capital, Ioshkar-Ola, expressed pride that her people had regained the possibility to practice their traditional faith.
In Soviet times, she said, villagers would sneak out to the sacred groves after midnight, hoping that nobody would report their forbidden prayers.
Indeed, unnoticed by much of the outside world, the Mari faith has made a remarkable recovery since the end of Soviet Union.
In Marii-El, the Mari Traditional Religion, dubbed MTR, is recognized as one of three traditional faiths, along with Christianity and Islam.
Picture found here.
Because I get so much shade I'm often more than a week behind some other folks' bloom times. I've been eyeing Asiatic Lily blooms in my neighbors' yards for days. This morning, mine had popped. They make the air smell wonderful.
Ladies! Listen up! Detecting breast cancer early is the key to surviving it! Breast Self Exams (BSEs) can help you to detect breast cancer in its earlier stages. So, on the first of every month, give yourself a breast self-exam. It's easy to do. Here's how. If you prefer to do your BSE at a particular time in your cycle, calendar it now. But, don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
And, once a year, get yourself a mammogram. Mammograms cost between $150 and $300. If you have to take a temp job one weekend a year, if you have to sell something on e-Bay, if you have to go cash in all the change in various jars all over the house, if you have to work the holiday season wrapping gifts at Macy's, for the love of the Goddess, please go get a mammogram once a year.
Or: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pays all or some of the cost of breast cancer screening services through its National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program. This program provides mammograms and breast exams by a health professional to low-income, underinsured, and underserved women in all 50 states, six U.S. territories, the District of Columbia, and 14 American Indian/Alaska Native organizations. For more information, contact your state health department or call the Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER.
Send me an email after you get your mammogram and I will do an annual free tarot reading for you. Just, please, examine your own breasts once a month and get your sweet, round ass to a mammogram once a year. If you have a deck, pick three cards and e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll email you back your reading. If you don't have a deck, go to Lunea's tarot listed on the right-hand side in my blog links. Pick three cards from her free, on-line tarot and email me at email@example.com. I'll email you back your reading.
Photo found here.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
This is part of my daily practice. I'm back from my morning walk, I've got a cup of fresh-ground coffee in my hand (my mug says: You Pray. I Dance Naked in the Forest!) and I'm walking around the garden seeing what's happening. This morning, I have daisies, which Landscape Guy convinced me I could grow even with all my shade, and dill blossoms among the lavender. The bees adore it.
What is your morning practice?
Monday, June 29, 2009
Sunday, June 28, 2009
In regards to specifically urban deities, new or old, most of the Pagans I spoke with had either never considered the possibility of such deities or could not conceiver of them at all. However, many spoke instead of a ‘spirit’ or ‘energy’ unique to a city or a portion thereof. Those who did not initialize discussion of this concept in the interview were able to identify such a spirit when directly asked. The spirit of the city, or a particular neighbourhood, is often considered to be an entity embodying a community of people. The modern Pagan understanding of a city spirit might also be identified as a manifestation of the Jungian collective unconsciousness. One interviewee defines it as “a compilation of everybody who’s lived here since its beginning and everything that’s happened here.” (Danny) Another interviewee states: “Theoretically, I believe all cities have some sort of underlying energy collection that feeds off the people and the people feed off of in turn.” (Kat Morgan) A third interviewee stated she could conceive of a city spirit “in the sort of Hegelian sense that the Spirit is something that emerges from people and their culture” (Mehtare). Finally, one interviewee described the spirit of the city as “the collective emotions of all the people of the city all at once. […] I mean, think about it: how did the city get there? Many people pouring their Harte and soul, using their hands and heads to make something to last forever, to stand as a beacon in the night to every thing that human kind has accomplished. How can that not have a spirit?” (Mike).
Two notable Pagan publications have equated various parts of the city with magical purposes such as subways systems functioning as underground energy channels and metaphors that equate skyscrapers with the more traditional Tree of Life. Many Pagans, especially so-called technopagans, speak of “energy” that can be sent through telephone, electrical, and modem wires. A repopulation of the environment with magical beings is another form of re-enchantment – bringing the sublime to the city. Faeries, who are associated with Nature, are also recognized to live in cities and to interact with humans, especially in playful ways. Totem animals of the city, such as dogs, pigeons and rats (Penczak 2001), instead of the traditional “wild animals” such as wolves, lions, and bears, are another example of enchanted (non-rational) urban denizens. These urban totems are often touted for their abilities to adapt and survive in the city.
The envisioning of these urban beings comes to its most creative fruition in the “finding” of new urban deities. Goddesses such as Asphalta (goddess of roads and those who travel them) who help drivers find a parking space and Digitalis – Goddess of computers – are two of the more well-known creations from the 1988 small book Found Goddesses. Barbara Ardinger, the author of a more recent publication titled Finding New Goddesses describes them as “the ones we make up to help us deal with modern life. The ancient and classical goddesses can help us with love, abundance and revenge, but whom do you ask for a good haircut…? To find a decent apartment…? What goddess is responsible for air conditioning? Which goddess do you go shopping with?” If the gods are beings who help Pagans in their daily lives, then it is appropriate that Pagans generate more deities to cover the range of modern conveniences and activities that were non-existent when the classical deities were born. Found gods and goddesses are often simultaneously humorous parodies and true reflections. They embody the light-hearted creativity found among many contemporary Pagans.
~From Urban Paganism: Envisioning the City as Sacred Space, © Mandy Furney, Paper presented to the Canadian Society for the Study of Religion, May 2004
Picture found here.