Desperate People

Posted on 21 February 2017 | No responses

This cartoon says almost everything I said in a lengthy article. Brilliant! I just wish I knew who the artist is. Clearly an Australian.

Desperate people make ideal workers and distracted citizens.

What Can We Do?

Posted on 20 February 2017 | No responses

#NoHomelessBan

Things are going seriously wrong in the world. Many people are finally concerned enough that they want to take action.

A lot of different people have the populace running around like chickens with their heads cut off. “Do this! Do that!” Soon people are confused and weary. We need to reduce the busy work, while still supporting consistent action. That action may sound like stuff you have been told many times before, the point is that we finally need to listen. So, I suppose I am giving you another list. Today is the general list. On another day I will give you a more specific one. I just hope they are particularly effective ones. I want to get at the ugly roots of our problems, so they are more likely to go away for good. That will take a deep courage worthy of great respect.

Priorities

In order to put our to-do list together properly we have to set our priorities. The two most pressing concerns that are driving a long list of woes are:

  • Poverty and
  • The abuse of our living world.

These two issues are profoundly bound up in each other. We must be willing to grapple with why these problems have become so entrenched in our culture and find genuine solutions for overcoming them. My sense is that at base this is about fear and our felt need for control. Fear is a very broad term. So, let me provide an example of fear and what it can do.

Fear and Power

In 1971 Philip Zimbardo ran the Stanford Prison Experiment, in which students role-played guards and prisoners. Early into the experiment things went horribly wrong and Zimbardo had to cancel it after the students roleplaying guards began to abuse the students roleplaying prisoners, some of whom experienced mental breakdowns. Zimbardo describes the incident in an article published by Nautilus.

Students in 1971 were anti-war activists. Many students on many campuses protested against the war, were beaten up or suffered abuse by their local police. So nobody wanted to be a prison guard. Initially, it was very difficult for the boys playing prison guards to get into their role. But, the second day of the study, the prisoners rebelled. They did not want to be dehumanized, because one way to take away power is to take away your name, your style, the way you wear your hair and so forth…

All 12 guards came in, and they crushed the rebellion. At that point, the guards said, “These are dangerous prisoners. We have to show who is in charge, who is the boss.” That changed everything. That’s when it became a prison. No one used the word “experiment” again. The guards used physical force—stripped the prisoners naked, put them in chains, put them in solitary confinement. There was actual fighting. The guards used psychological force to make prisoners feel helpless and hopeless.

Example: Poverty in Melbourne Australia

I am currently helping the homeless of Melbourne to stop a new set of laws targeting them. These laws mean those who have been forced to sleep on the streets can be fined or have their belongings confiscated, simply for having the bad luck of having to do so in the city. These people are caught in a nightmarish trap. People who have lost jobs, are refugees, had to run away from home, etc have to choose food over housing. Because they don’t have an address, they are ineligible for Federal support. This forces them to become professional beggars. Most of their time is taken up with simple survival.

Unemployment in parts of Melbourne is as high as twenty percent. A single unemployed person on Newstart Allowance is receiving $528.70 per fortnight. Currently, private rooming costs $130-$200 per week for one person. This leaves people with as little as $64 per week on which to get by if they are getting funding. This kind of money is beyond the beggars. Victoria has 35,000 people waiting to receive public housing and the state government is selling these properties off to developers. This creates more homeless. It doesn’t take long living in the streets for clothing to be damaged and for people to become dirty. Not only are they not getting Federal help, there’s no way to make it possible for them to get jobs.

We are already seeing the outcomes of these changes in Melbourne city policy. If a homeless person has to use the toilet and leaves their things to do so, the police come and take their things. People have been told they can pick their items up at town hall, but when they arrive they find the items have been taken to the rubbish tip. One homeless man was frantic when the police threw away genuine medication for a serious medical condition. Unsurprisingly these people become upset and angry. They are desperate. What is being done means the difference between life and death. And the homeless come from all walks of life: children from middle class families, former university lecturers in astrophysics, people from the building trades, and more. Those who are living secure lives want to see these people behaving peacefully before they are willing to give them help. To be honest all I have seen at the homeless rallies is peaceful behaviour albeit peppered with angry colourful language.

Sadly, homeless anger is being used by the city council to justify their strong measures. At the council meeting I attended people told stories of their degrading treatment and I watched councillor’s faces shut down and their manner become formal. The place was utterly surrounded by police. We had to have our items checked and many of them left outside before we were allowed to enter the council chambers. The news reporting largely painted a picture of the event that was imaginary. They pointed out how aggressive they found the homeless. If you were there it was clear that all the power was in the hands of the council. We were all completely vulnerable to the whims of the city government. Evidently the council plans to spend money on a public education campaign to discourage people from supporting homeless people with donations of money, food, and basic supplies.

Can you see how similar this situation is to what happened in the Stanford Prison Experiment? The more dangerous the powerless were portrayed as, the more control was enforced upon them, the worse the situation became.

Conclusions

The frightening core of this situation is that as a society we are only as safe as the people we treat the worst. Anyone for any number of reasons can fall between the cracks. You could fall between the cracks. Our security is an illusion and many people sense this without consciously acknowledging it. The more poor and homeless we all see in the world, the more frightening it becomes to lose a job. With that fear we all accept worse and worse working conditions to make sure we are the ones who survive. We can convince ourselves that we are getting by because of our virtuous work ethic. This is also a tool for toadying up to employers: “You want to keep me, see how much harder I work than anyone else?” Yet the more we work, the less time we have to ensure we live in a fair and humane society—the less time we have to even love, reflect, and feel human.

When most of our day and most of our life is dictated to us by a company where we have no say in how we are treated or what we can do, we do not live in a democracy. Then when people are subsequently coerced to work for the dole, because there are so few jobs to be had in our increasingly technological society, that is slavery. It is work when people are being given public service jobs with full pay and full workers rights that they can take or leave by choice, anything less and they are being used as captive menials.

So we now have levels of captivity. And the more we struggle to stop the abuse, the more force the people at the top use to control us. Sadly, we are often complicit in this in our attitudes toward those below us as we imbibe in the Stockholm Syndrome cup. We can become desperate for status. That desperation equates to a need to consume in a manner that will make us feel secure. We will want to live like we are rich, so that we can become part of the rich club, so we will hopefully be beyond poverty. And so we use up our planet’s resources. We find we need the poor to prop up excessive lifestyles. Those who are poor will kill endangered species and destroy forests, rivers, oceans, and ecosystems just to eat. More destruction. Hence we create a planet that can no longer support us…any of us, rich or poor.

The To Do List

Don’t focus on Trump. Don’t focus on particular politicians or wealthy corporate heads. You do away with them without changing our culture and nothing gets better. Learn how to best care for the vulnerable and do it. Learn sympathy and how to help one another. Learn how to live simply. Find intrinsic satisfaction and peace, rather than always chasing after extrinsic validation and false security.

The crazy thing is, even though those in power are immensely wealthy, they only have as much control as we give them. So few people are calling the shots that collectively we could knock them over with a feather. Doing so through violent revolution would be a complete waste of time and lives. War is a lose/lose less situation. All we need to do is not play their games, and replace those games with better ways of living.

Create a world where all energy is renewable, all needs are met sustainably, all businesses are democratic nonprofit cooperatives, and all people and all creatures are treated with respect and dignity. We can do this at a community level. If enough communities do this then cities, states, and whole countries will be carried by a public tide.

As dark as things seem. Change could be easier than we all realise.

Peace and kindness,

Katherine

Beyond Rage

Posted on 15 February 2017 | No responses

Kitten

For twenty-three years the right-leaning Liberal-Country Coalition government had led Australia when in 1972 Gough Whitlam and the left-leaning Labor party made it into power. The Whitlam government instituted universal health care, free university education, and legal aid programs. The opposition worked hard to obstruct Labor programs. In 1975 they demanded a new election. Whitlam arranged to meet with the Governor-General, Sir John Kerr in order to call a half-Senate election. Instead Sir John Kerr dismissed Gough Whitlam without warning and commissioned the opposition leader as prime minister.

Gough Whitlam was shocked. In his speech to the public after the event he exhorted the Australian people to “Maintain your rage”, so as to ensure the upcoming election would reflect their anger. Their right to choose representatives and leaders had been over-ridden by an inherently un-democratic system.

Since that historic moment “maintain the rage” has been a popular expression in Australia when people feel their rights are being abridged. This inspite of the fact that people were unable to maintain the rage on the behalf of the Labor party in the 1970s. It wasn’t until 1983 that another Labor goverment was voted into place.

Anger has an important place in our lives. However, chronic anger is known to be damaging to people’s emotional and physical health. Medical studies have found strong links to anger and higher risk of coronary disease and type 2 diabetes. People also drive in a riskier manner and are more likely to be in car accidents. Fight, flight, or freeze responses are biologically meant to be temporary.

Right now people all over the world are having their rights eroded by corporations and politicians who are supporting corporate agendas. The US is experiencing a tidal wave of rage as the Trump administration attempts to perpetrate one human rights violation after another. Already we are seeing discussion about people facing protest fatigue.

Change can and must be made to create a safe world: a world of peace. Such change will require long-term dedication. Rage feels like power. Rage feels like the hot steam needed to propel a train at high speed to some sort of victory. Humans are not made of iron and all we will achieve using rage is our personal self-destruction before we achieve the needful.

Bonding with others through a shared enemy is not very sticky. That’s because tolerance has been established through distraction. So long as we are focusing hate on one person, we are too busy to look closely at the flaws of our compatriots. Worse we overlook the fact that the problem is more far-ranging and systemic than that single enemy, and therefore miss our target and fail. We need people bonding out of shared values and a shared vision. That’s much stickier for a long-term effort. What is the thing you are aiming for beyond the current conflict?

Political manipulators will polarise people, drive them to extremes, then take over. This time we did it to ourselves. We created a culture of rage where we have polarised ourselves such that people like Trump were able to just step into power. We have people putting the hate on anti-vaxxers without considering that these same people can also be strong supporters of environmental conservation. We have people putting the hate on Christians, without considering that a number of them believe Jesus when he said to love your neighbour as yourself: Christians like Martin Luther King Jr.

What deeply worries me is that the US Republicans will let masses of their citizens exhaust themselves in protest, then remove Trump replacing him with Pence. They will be all, “Look now, we have replaced the bad man. You no longer have any reason to worry your pretty heads.” In this way they may take the wind out of our resister’s sails and get people to accept even fewer human rights. I’m not certain how long this would last before the US either completely collapses economically and/or deteriorates into even more violence. Either way the future is bleak unless we change tactics.

What we need more than anything are cultural changes to do with our values and our priorities. Part of that will be learning how to recognise each others humanity, then acting out of goodwill for all people and all living beings. We are passengers on one tiny solar satellite. We need each other to ensure our mutual survival. Let’s learn how to be good friends, good neighbours, good allies, and good stewards. Genuinely, it takes so little to be kind and so little to be happy. We just have to agree to share and coexist.

In peace,

Katherine

The Heart of Storytelling

Posted on 13 February 2017 | No responses

The problem with storytelling as conflict

A popular dictum found in English classes and books about creative writing goess “Storytelling is about conflict.”

Even worse is the corollary: the bigger the conflict, the better the story. This is largely a Hollywood formulation that has crept into our universal understanding of stories. It has more to do with cultural priorities and toxic masculinity (bigger is always better) than a genuine core to narrative.

Conflict certainly helps to sell blockbuster films. This solidifies its place in a dogma of storytelling that is more about status and domination than experiencing and understanding the world both within and without.

What is most telling is if we go back to the original formulations of narrative conflict as taught in English classes. I remember being taught these in high school. I have books that list these formulations, but do not cite their source. The oldest work I have of my own is A Handbook To Literature (fourth edition) by C. Hugh Holman published in 1980. Conflict was said to come in the below flavours.

  • Man vs himself
  • Man vs man
  • Man vs nature
  • Man vs society
  • Man vs God/Fate

The first most obvious cultural imperative in this list is the primacy of males in narrative. If you check for Conflict (narrative) in Wikipedia it also uses the word “man” rather than “person” or “character”. The second imperative is the necessity of a win/lose formulation that comes with the word “vs”. Finally, this list frequently no longer includes “God” in modern texts, or combines it as “fate” with “nature”. Recently, “Man vs Machine” has been added to some lists. These are strongly indicative of the cultural nature of this list, given such shifts can occur.

Modern revision

In the past I have reformulated this list and included it in my own lecturing. My list looked like this:

  • Character vs themselves
  • Character vs character(s)
  • Character vs nature

I remove the sexist language. I remove character vs society. A person never reallly fights society per se—they fight individuals within social structures in order to create change among a wider circle of people. Besides, the more you personalise a story, the more emotionally effective it becomes. Character vs God/Fate can be subsumed by either “character vs character” or “character vs nature”. However, I’m not even convinced by the separate designation of “character vs nature”.

If in Moby Dick Ahab’s relationship with the whale was a personal one, where the whale was consciously participating in the conflict, it was “character vs character”. If the whale had no intrinsic motivation for interacting with Ahab other than a simple predator/prey arrangement, then the conflict itself is more inside Ahab’s head, making this a “character vs themselves” scenario. A mountain, rock, tree, or animal with little to no conscious engagement can be dangerous, an obstacle, and a challenge but there is no conflict.

This leaves us with “character vs themselves” and “character vs character” as the only legitimate conflicts. For me this is indicative of where the true heart of storytelling lays: relationship.

Narrative and Relationship

Relationships will certainly include conflict upon occasion. Because we are all unique, we are all constantly negotiating with other people in order to get our wants and needs met. Sometimes these negotiations break down into conflict. To see all such negotiations as win/lose conflicts leads to a narrative of paranoia which is reflective of a need for control through dominance.

I will stand by the formulation that a story must have a beginning, a middle, and an end as per Aristotle in Poetics. A literary work of art can do away with this formula for dramatic structure, but it is no longer a story: perhaps a prose poem. As such storytelling represents human life in process through characters relationships with themselves and one another. The chief component of this process is problem-solving. The greater the challenge to overcome with this problem-solving, the more dramatic the story. Yet, even stories with smaller challenges can be made engaging (ie slice of life stories such as Mon Oncle by Jacques Tati). Conflict can certainly be a component of problem-solving, eg a problem is resolved when one character hits the other one over the head.

To make conflict central to the vast majority of stories is to teach ourselves and our children that we live in a dangerous world where relationship is usually conflict. We even romanticise the notion of domination. It’s seen as a good thing to beat up an enemy in order to prove worthiness and win your very own princess—surely we have outgrown this.

If we want to live in a peaceful world, we need to rediscover the heart of storytelling. We need to tell a broader range of stories that help us to heal and to grow as a culture. Change our stories and we can change the world!

Peace and kindness,

Katherine

image: 2015 July 14 CC BY 3.0 Marie-Lan Nguyen

Our Security

Posted on 13 February 2017 | No responses

As a society we are only as safe as the people we treat worst.
Kindness creates security.

Peace and kindness,
Katherine

 
 
2008 May 23 CC BY SA 3.0 unported Artaxerxes

Rallies for the Homeless

Posted on 8 February 2017 | No responses

Below I have merged two speeches I gave today and yesterday: one was for Protest Melbourne City Council proposed homeless laws and the other Defend and Extend Public Housing.

No society is stable that is built on the backs of the poor and the vulnerable. Universal safety nets are critical to a functioning society.

  • There is no freedom for anyone when there are no safety nets.
  • There is no security without safety nets.
  • And most significantly there are no rights without safety nets.

Anyone can fall from grace. Anyone can go from security to poverty. What people do to the poor and homeless is the pit they dig for themselves. They have to fear the very same abuse they are heaping onto you.

So long as everyone is fearful of becoming poor, it becomes easier for governments and corporations to manipulate and mistreat people.

  • With kindness comes freedom.
  • With kindness comes security.
  • With kindness comes peace.
  • We must learn to share.

When we don’t share, when we create a divide between the haves and the have nots, we all live in fear of what violence may erupt. And there is no need for this.

Article One of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.

Article 25 states:

Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well being of themselves and of their family, including

  • food,
  • clothing,
  • housing,
  • medical care,
  • necessary social services, and
    the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond their control.

Australia was one of the eight nations to draft this declaration of rights. We signed this document and have signed subsequent treaties that are meant to show our national and international commitment to being a humane nation. We as a country need to show some self-respect by caring for our people. Everyone who needs a home must be given a home. That is your right.

We must all be willing pitch in to help one another with our collective burdens. Anything less is not only irresponsible, we will all lose this planet—everyone regardless of the numbers in our bank account.

Love your neighbour isn’t just a nice idea…it’s about our mutual survival.

Peace and kindness,

Katherine

Scribble: End Poverty Everywhere

Posted on 7 February 2017 | No responses

Too many people send aid overseas and do nothing for the people on their own doorstep. People overseas do not challenge us in any way. We can feel like the good guys without getting our hands dirty, without having to change how we think or how we live. How can we hope to help resolve anyone else’s problems when we won’t even look at our own? I think we flatter ourselves and need to take lessons in the values of simple living and unconditional giving.

Peace and kindness,

Katherine

 

Image: CCBY 2012 May 11 Peretz Partensky

My Position

Posted on 5 February 2017 | No responses

  • It is better to create allies than to make enemies.
  • It is better to educate than to argue.
  • If someone is genuinely intractable, do not waste energy on them…just walk away.
  • If someone is causing genuine harm, do your best to get out of their way and/or stop them.

There will be times when I can be tired, stressed, or something is simply a hot button and these points are forgotten. Eventually I recognise that it is time to stop. I apologise if need be. I do my best to learn from the experience and move on. For the last one, it’s okay to be scared. Seek help or at least support.

I originally wrote this 2016 February 05. I think it was meant to be advice for online discussion. Under current circumstances it is completely relevant to resisting tyranny. We need the patience to create allies and the strength to face down those who seek to harm. As part of the process we have to always recognise the other person’s humanity and act accordingly. Anything less and we lose the humanity we see lacking in others.

Take care.

Peace and kindness,

Katherine

Know Your Human Rights

Posted on 3 February 2017 | No responses

2017 Janaury 21 Women’s March

You have rights. You have rights. I was flabbergasted the other day at the homelessness rally when someone said, “We should have a right to a place we can call home.” This is true for both the homeless and refugees. Not only should we have that right, in fact by international agreement we do have that right. It is found in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

This is a serious problem. If people are made unaware of their rights, then they become unaware when their government is abridging those rights and should be called into account. Governments that wish to pass laws and take actions that are outside of their United Nations agreements are often negligent in their duty to inform the public of their rights. The United Nations is not simply picking on Australia and trying to make us feel bad about ourselves when they criticise our human rights violations. Those rights are there for your protection. By protecting everyone’s rights around the world we all live safer more peaceful lives. You cannot hoard safety by mistreating others. Ultimately our fates are tied!

The Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights form the hub of international law. Members of the United Nations are expected to abide by these documents as well as the Genocide Convention and the Refugee Convention. Australia had a significant role in creating the Universal Declaration. We were a founding member of the UN. We were also one of the eight nations involved in drafting the declaration. Dr Herbert Vere Evatt of Australia’s UN delegation was President of the UN General Assembly the year the Universal Declaration was adopted. We should see this document as our own. We should take great pride in abiding by its articles. Instead we are ignoring and hiding the wisdom of our elders.

Some of you may be thinking what good is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights when it is unenforceable? If you are, you are probably thinking in terms of the International Court of Justice which settles disputes submitted to it by states and provides advisory opinions on legal questions, which may seem narrow and toothless. However, the UN has sent in protection forces such as in the case of Bosnia and Herzegovina, when they entered the country to ensure safety of peoples regardless of religion and the disbursement of humanitarian aid. The UN has also called for boycotts of countries with gross violations of human rights. Boycotts can be very effective in putting pressure on a leader and a state.

What you also need to understand is that we agreed to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. We later signed the multilateral treaty known as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in 1972 and ratified it in 1980. Both of these documents represent a commitment on Australia’s part. A couple of legal cases in this country have been won by making reference to the Universal Declaration. So those documents have an effect on our own courts and how their judgements are determined. Also, abiding by our treaties makes us trustworthy in the eyes of other nations. It influences how willing those nations are to cooperate with us. That affects our trade agreements, our military agreements, our agreements to protect the Earth’s biosphere. You cannot cherry-pick which rights you are going to give your own people and others, and still expect the rest of the world to have any respect for you as a nation. Valuing our national integrity is critical to good international relations. It gives us what is known as “soft power”, something the US is swiftly losing.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is not written in legalese. It was carefully drafted so that anyone could understand it. The little booklet that I carry around of the Universal Declaration is only fourteen pages long. I also have a copy of We Are All Born Free, a children’s book which easily explains all the rights listed in the Univeral Declaration (and has a foreword by David Tennant!). You can also get posters that condense the thirty articles of the declaration onto a single page. When I first read the declaration, I didn’t find it dry at all, I found it inspirational! Under current world circumstances it behooves us all to learn our rights and to call our governments to account.

I have been trying to get people interested in workshops not only to understand the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but to engage with them. I want to see books, plays, songs, television, comics, films, and more telling stories that illustrate the importance of these rights. Change cannot be made in the world until we all change our values and our priorities. Human rights should be a top priority. Stories help to mould people’s values. If you want to be a part of such a workshop tell me. If you have written a play short or long that deals with human rights, let me know and I will look into producing it. This is now a large part of my mission on this planet. In the coming weeks I will be putting up meditations (not the “om” sort) on each of the rights listed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Keep your eyes peeled!

Peace and kindness,

Katherine

What to Expect from an NPD President

Posted on 2 February 2017 | No responses

CC BY SA 3.0 Germany by Benutzer: Nephiliskos 2009

My family like any number of families has some serious problems. One of those problems is a few members have Narcissicistic Personality Disorder (NPD). I will talk about this very broadly and generally, so not everything is about my own experience nor anyone near me. I keep feeling surprised that others are surprised by the actions Donald Trump is taking. His actions are all textbook NPD.

To those of you who are resisting his presidency, let me give you a little insight. He will be using these tactics to control you.

Lovebombing

He may be past this phase, but may come back to it to see if he can pacify you. This is where the person with NPD will tell you that you are the most amazing person in the whole world. They will smother you with manipulative warmth, even if they are crossing every boundary you set, because they do not respect boundaries. If your heart is aching for any reason, they may seem like the most wonderful person in the world since they appear to be answering your needs. Think: “I will make America great again.” They may also shower you with expensive gifts and offer to buy the candy shop for you. People who are sexually abused by family members may find themselves abused then treated like royalty before being abused again. Welcome to the crazy house, this is only the beginning.

Gaslighting and Devaluing

I cannot handle the Alice in Wonderland books because they remind me too much of the crazy world you live in when you are living with caretakers with NPD. There is no consistency to the world other than what is convenient to the ego of the person with NPD. You can hear screamed at you “Off with her head!” at any moment for any reason and have no way to behave in a manner to avoid these punishments.

They will also tell you who you are and do everything they can to force you into their convenient boxes. Those boxes will not be good ones. They will tell you that you are intelligent (or beautiful or good at sports, etc) then tell you how intelligent people behave. Then when you behave in an intelligent manner, they tell you how other people’s children are much more intelligent than you and that you aren’t measuring up. If you resist them, they will then want to paint you in a bad light and want to feel justified in doing so. Therefore, they will then push you into transgressive behaviour. This is how they create their own reality. I can’t tell you how many people fall for that one, thinking they are punishing a parent, when in fact they are giving the parent everything they need to cut you off and justify their own bad behaviour. Trump will use this one over and over again. Those of you resisting will be goaded to behave badly in order to justify his use of military forces against US citizens.

If the person with NPD decides they particularly want to punish you, they might get more cunning. They will use a great wave of small put-downs and reality switches. Anything you say, the opposite will be taken as true. You could be on time for things, they will relentlessly complain and joke about how you are always late. You may be very good at something, but they will find a way to put you under so much stress that you can no longer do something you may even love doing. They may achieve this by putting you under unreasonable time constraints, or giving you the wrong ingredients or tools, or finding ways to give you information that is confusing or just plain wrong. Most especially they will try to push you into thinking “what’s wrong with me?” so that you will never ever ask what’s wrong with them. Bureaucracy is often used in this way.

Hoarding What Is Good

The right talk about “real Americans” and are happy to be utterly unamerican in their unconstitutional actions to shove you out of what they like to think of as their country. They have managed to shove anyone who genuinely believes in Christian charity out of what has become the religious country club of the right, where they don’t actually believe any of it. Yet they use it to not only look like the good guys, but to feel like the good guys, while they network with each other to do the cruellest most evil acts. They will steal every word and every institution you think of as good, pervert it, then try to push you away from those things, so you will not rescue them. Imagine someone saying over and over again that they own Peace Day and turn it into an event where military vehicles are paraded around federal buildings. You might come to hate “peace”. The word “love” has reached a nadir in usage by pop songs in the history of recorded music. How can we let people like Trump steal love from us?

Don’t get caught up in the dysfunctional games of the right. Learn how to be healthy people who know how to love, how to cooperate, and how to create change. This will involve learning how to not let government and the media push you into despair and/or cynicism. Those feelings will suck you dry of your ability to act as empowered individuals. Find people who can help you boost your resilience and strength. We have to be in this for the long run. Take care of yourselves and let kindness be your guide.

Love,

Katherine

Image: CC BY SA 3.0 Germany by Benutzer: Nephiliskos 2009

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