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Love It! | International Women’s Day Celebrations

 

 

Clara Zetkin and Rosa Luxembourg in January 1910

Own It!   Note the human error in linking this day to an event that did not occur (a 1908 strike of the International Ladies Garment Worker’s Union.)  Let’s not let this be a stumbling block to the spirit of protecting our human rights and its rich global history.  So long as there is a desire to produce, create, buy and sell, the need for restraint and oversight of these economic activities will continue.  It is a necessary element of economics and human rights.

Feel It! Today is International Women’s Day and I am excited.  Remembering to hold an awareness of human history, our relationships with economic development and human rights, is an act that feels astonishing.

Live It!  Check out UNESCO,  Wiki, the Google Doodle and search, to remember our human history.  Get out there and march, and/or get Social Media active: Tweet, Follow, Like the events of the day.  Make a note on your calendar  for next year’s celebration, with plans to become more involved in 2018.

Love It!

When the Killer Wears a Badge: Race, Advocacy, and Healing

When the Killer Wears a Badge: Race, Advocacy and Healing

Own it!

Image Courtesy APA
Image Courtesy APA

I am currently researching a paper while reading the works of psychoanalysts who are uncovering how power uses race as a tool to oppress people around the globe for economic gain. I appeal to all psychoanalysts to step up and advocate for human kindness and dignity to be afforded to all people. The profession is in an ethical impasse, as I understand it, about its place in society to advocate from their position as professional healers. And while Rome burns, they fiddle. This I know is harsh criticism of the profession and I know it does not reflect the position of everyone in the profession. Yet, society needs them to lead the way towards healing. The works of Paul L. Wachtel, Carter A. Wilson, Robert Maxwell Young, Frantz Omar Fano, Joel Kovel, Eugene Victor Wolfenstein and so many more reveal that we must never lose sight of the economic and social interests being served and mediated by racism. Racism is viewed as false consciousness at the social level, scapegoating and rationalization at the individual level. It is not unique and is always a mediation of socio-economic issues. What is unique is its virulence – the sheer psychotic permissiveness of racist feelings and the actions to which they lead.

I can’t do this work, as I am not a trained psychoanalyst. Thus I call upon the profession of psychoanalysis to engage in professional advocacy on behalf of human kindness and dignity.

Feel It!

13-year-old Tyre King, who police said was wanted for questioning in an armed robbery, ended up fatally shot by a police officer in Columbus, Ohio. Photo Courtesy of Walton and Brown, LLP
13-year-old Tyre King, who police said was wanted for questioning in an armed robbery, ended up fatally shot by a police officer in Columbus, Ohio. Photo Courtesy of Walton and Brown, LLP

As a lawyer who studies critical race theory and spirituality, and having developed a theory for personal and social healing, I still felt in my body shaking, my stomach churning, tears streaming from my eyes; and the emotions of profound sadness, helplessness, frustration, exhaustion, insecurity, disgust and so many more emotions when I read stories of two black men and a 13-year-old male child were killed by police since September 14th. (Tyre King, Columbus, OH; Keith Lamont Scott, Charlotte NC; Terence Crutcher, Tulsa, OK) and the release of a shocking video characterized by former Cook County Judge Andrew Berman as “gangster-like” police shooting, saying, according to Susan Richardson, Editor and Publisher of the Chicago Reporter, “If these had been White kids, this would not have been handled this way.” How can one justify tazing a motorist who is trying their best to not be a threat by hands up, hands on vehicle when all that is happening is a motorist needing assistance? Where is the “Serve?” The facts of these killings suggest something deeper is happening. The psychoanalysts have insights to this phenomenon. The economic and social relationship comes first and finds plenty of scope for mediation through human psychic processes. I can relax, breath deeply and write. The emotions of hope, optimism and enthusiasm now give me courage and vitality to carry on my work. I am a lawyer. I recognize that policing is difficult; it requires continuous training on officer safety, identification of threats, proper use of force, and so many other tactics. Yet the center of policing, to “Protect and Serve,” requires people skills and emotional intelligence.

Live It!

Image Courtesy ClassCrits
Image Courtesy ClassCrits

In doing the work of critical race theory and spirituality, I can add that it might be wise for society to consider a higher standard of care required by trained police officers than that of an ordinary citizen who has not received the specialized training of police officers. The current “fear of imminent danger” is woefully lacking in its acceptance of a recitation by trained officers that “I was afraid.” Policing by definition places officers in harm’s way. One should be afraid. Yet, proper training and debiasing practices can reduce or eliminate the emotion of fear to the point of killing when encountering black people.

I think about Young’s statement that “the dialectic – the deep, mutually constitutive interrelations between the racist and the oppressed. What binds them together is not only the worst aspects of human nature – aspects that may well be ineradicable. What makes these destructive aspects take the specific form of racism is historically contingent, and at the root of that contingency is the social and economic organisation of the world that gives order to consent along the lines of economic and nationalistic relationships which are specific to our own age.”

Love It!

Original painting by Emilia Bang-Chalk used with permission of the artist’s parents.
Original painting by Emilia Bang-Chalk used with permission of the artist’s parents.

I intend to incorporate these psychoanalytic findings and revelations into my work. On September 16, 2016, NBC News published an article by writers Kurt Chirbas, Alexander Smith and Erik Orti, reporting “As with all police-involved shootings, the officers will receive “mandated psychological support counseling” and be given the opportunity to “take leave time to assist in recovery from a traumatic experience,” according to Columbus police.”   Let’s hope the psychological support counseling is lead by professionals familiar with the psychoanalytic studies about race, power and justice. Let’s hope the counseling provided is informed by the economic and social interests being served and mediated by racism. Let’s hope, dare I add, the counseling reaches beyond recovering from a traumatic experience to racial healing.

“The key to any attempt to keep economic and social interests in the forefront of our understanding [about racism] is to try to think dialectically,” suggests Young.

 “The arch of the moral Universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

More Moral Panics : Dog Whistles that Distract | the Educating Gossip ™

KaepernickOwn It: I find moral panics both bothersome and intriguing. On the one hand, I know them to be lame attempts to disrupt, distract, and divide, typically around race. Yet as a strategy, it is so effective at snaring a large segment of the community. Why? Why are individuals so easily triggered emotionally to the extent that they can’t think straight?

Feel It: These moral panics get me shaking my head: I’m no longer amazed, nor surprised by the panic it creates. As I dive deeper into my spiritual journey, I feel sad. Good people want to care about issues that matter. And the technique of moral panics is jerking their chain: intentionally causing stress, pain, dis-ease, outrage, and strife.

All these intentionally negative disruptions cause tears in the fabric of peace and unity within the individual and the community. Wisdom studies identify these acts of disruption as a mindset, a spirit, if you will. It is a mindset of hate, hostility, and confusion. Individuals are warned to beware of these tactics and people who use them. These warnings are found everywhere: in theology, religion, spirituality, humanist studies, psychology, sociology, and just plain common sense. And yet, so many fall prey to its emotional moralistic triggers.

For my Christian friends, I think on Colossians 3: 12-17. The two ideas in these passages inform me to know that the wisdom contained in these writings are worthy of consideration; and second, that this source of wisdom recognizes and acknowledges that there is a longing in individuals to experience freedom from the moralistic regulations and religious systems that enslave them. Here is how to do so: “…clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience….And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

Live It: So I chose to write. I seek to draw to me, those individuals who seek enlightenment through my process of studying critical race theory and bias. The sharing, I believe, will elevate us all now. There is so much good information and communities of consciousness available to anyone who seeks a deeper and richer understating of reality (that is to say, humans on a planet spinning wildly through the cosmos).   This process includes creating a life well lived as an individual living in community with the world.

Love It: For me, life on this planet is a vastly interesting human experience that brings me more joy than angst. My intention is to share this experience and welcome you, in the spirit to love, to join me.

Take Aways:

Beware of all or nothing thinking.

As to Kaepernick: Remember that individuals have the cherished right to free speech. Each individual must bear responsibility for their own life’s journey. Protest and dissent is a precious American value. It may not be the choice you would make, but it’s their life choice and ought to be respected.

And lastly, Lotche and personal responsibility: the truth matters. Lies (including embellishments, exaggerations, half-truths, and boulder dash), especially when designed to shift the blame for one’s own bad judgments and decisions, onto others and in the process attack the core being of the other’s human dignity, is just plain wrong, period.

These events ought not to be causes for  individual or community moral panic. However, it is cause for seeing the reality of democracy at work (Kaepernick), and for seeing the reality of bad decisions made by an immature adult (Lotche).

Gold Star People, Communities and US Election 2016

Many people in other countries around the globe risk violence to exercise their right to vote. Yet in the United States (US), less than half of those eligible to vote in presidential and mid-term elections actually go to the polls and vote.

Amy Goodman, host and executive producer of Democracy Now! Believes the low turnout is not largely attributed to apathy. There is a direct correlation between low voter turnout and obstacles to voting that make it a challenge for people to participate in this constitutional process. Ms. Goodman identifies several obstacles to voter participation. For example, “holding elections on just one day when most people are working, limiting hours that polling places are open, or requiring photo identification that disproportionately disenfranchises poor people and people of color. And then there are those who feel that there isn’t a significant difference between the candidates, or that money destroys the process so much that their vote doesn’t really count.”

Most people in the US care deeply about the country although they sometimes forget to think about the country within the global context that is the reality. Globalization is the new normal, like it or not. The US can no longer employ isolationism, barriers to trade and other methods used in prior centuries. Learning how to accept reality is a human challenge. It is a hero’s quest, to have the courage to live decently while creating a world that works for everyone. We here at the Educating Gossip ™ celebrate and spread the joy (“gossip”) of people who engage in their communities to create a world that works for everyone. We lift people and  communities up as we join them in bringing love and light to global human concerns.

You are invited to bring to this project your love, your light, and your best intentions to create a world that works for everyone. Comment, post on social media and enjoy being a part of a loving community that seeks to expose imbalances of power, restore balance of power, free those who are enslaved, and overcome (transcend) the tensions found in dualities: to accept reality, and yet live decently within it, creating peace and healing. Own it! Feel It! Live It! Love It!

From a cardboard hovel in a darkened street
To the well-lit windows of a penthouse suite
All are desperate souls with a human fate…
It’s the same old story keeping us apart”
And we all feel lost sometimes
And we all feel hurt inside
And we all cry and we all need

We All Need Songwriters-Bryan Duncan;Charles Barth

 

What I Need to Know and Do About Global Climate Change

There's Still Time to Save the Planet.
There’s Still Time to Save the Planet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whoa…well, what I need to know about climate change is that the world’s people need to do something about it NOW.   Uh duh.  Scientists, world leaders, activists and others have been trying to get our attention for many years now.  Climate change is now at a crisis point.  But, I’m feeling hopeful because there are things I can do to move national policy forward.

According to an interview in Oprah magazine, former Vice President Al Gore believes that in a crisis, people tend to pull together.  He notes that during super storm Sandy, “We saw New Jersey governor Chris Christie and President Obama put partisanship aside and act in a powerful and unified way.”  I believe that Congress will get the message that teamwork is required for national service.  National debate and discussion will occur on this issue, options will be identified, and public policy will be enacted.

It’s not greed.  Bankers and corporations do what will advance their interests.  They are doing what the economic system is telling them to do.  Pressure from citizens is effective when it goes to the power structure and clearly says that unless the system is changed, we all will be facing a very big problem.

OWN IT     FEEL IT      LIVE IT      LOVE IT

Own It

I’ve come to understand that there is a lot of misinformation and confusion in the discussion about what’s happening with the climate.  But after watching, reading and listening to diverse voices, I own my belief that the global will experience in the coming years major weather impacts due to changes measured in the increasing carbon in the atmosphere.

Feel It

I understand the feelings about this issue:  it feels frightening, confusing, and hopeless.  But with action, I feel that I am working with a team of Americans who understand that it it makes no difference if the climate crisis is manmade or not.  What matters is that humans must prepare for the impacts of increased climate volatility, rising oceans, food production disruptions, etc.  And, if we can do things now that can slow down the climate change, let’s do it now.  To be on a team with esteemed scientists, economists, and world leaders makes me feel joyous, happy, and confident.

Live It

What am I doing?  I’m participating on the Bill Moyer & Company site  at PBS.org following along with the discussion about this issue.

Love It

And…I’m loving it!  When my family and friends ask me, “Whatcha doing?”  I tell them about the books I’m reading, the DVDs and programs I have watched, the petitions I’m supporting and the discussions I’m having with people around the globe who are, like me, passionate about this issue.

Follow me on Facebook and Twitter to see who is leading the debate and discussion on global climate change.  And…get involved!

the Educating Gossip™

 

CIVICS 1 B – Let’s Go!

CIVICS 1 B – Let’s Go!

In the United States, we have an economic system and a political system.  Most people tend not to distinguish between the two.  But it is very important to do so.  Let’s look a little closer at the political system.

The Foundations of the American Political System

You’re probably learned, or knew at some time or another, what the basic values and principles are that form the foundation for the American political system.  In a democracy, this knowledge and understanding among the citizens is expected to increase with each year of our lives.  With age comes wisdom.

The fundamental expressions for American principles and values are important to understand for many reasons.  Americans are people bound together by the ideals, values, and principles they share rather than by kinship, ethnicity, or religion, which are ties that bind some other nations of the world.

Americas’ ideals, values, and principles have shaped their political instructions and affected their political processes.  The ideals, values, and principals set forth in the nation’s core documents are criteria that Americans use to judge the means and the ends of government, as well as those of the myriad groups and organizations that are part of civil society.  So, understanding of fundamental principles provides the basis for a reasoned commitment to the ideals, values, and principles of American constitutional democracy.

Theses values and principles of constitutional democracy that the American political system is based upon can be found expressed in such fundamental American documents as the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution including the Bill of Rights, the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, the Federalist Papers, and Antifederalist writings.  Other documents which express and elaborate upon the values and principles of the founding documents include the Seneca Falls Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions, Martin Luther King’s Letter from Birmingham City Jail, and landmark U.S. Supreme Court decisions.  Such fundamental expressions of American principles and values are important for us to understand.  It is from these ideals and thoughts that American democracy is shaped

Americans realize that the United States and its constitutional democracy are not utopian.   It has its shortcomings and there is room for improvement.  However, a constitutional democracy is a way of allowing the competing ideas, values, goals, and interests of the people, individually or in groups, to compete with one another in a peaceful manner.  A constitutional democracy affords its citizens means of reconciling their differences and their competing visions of truth without resorting to violence or oppressions.  Constitutional democracy is a limited government, where powers governing the people are shared at the national, state, and local levels.  The founding documents saw this complex system as a means of limiting the power of government and placing in the hands of the people numerous opportunities to participate in their own governance.  This system helps us hold our governments accountable, and helps to ensure the protection of the rights of individuals.

America’s Presence on the World StageThe United States exists in a global community.  We are part of an interconnected world in whose development we play an important role.  America’s political democracy has a profound influence abroad.  Our democratic ideals and the benefits of its open society have drawn the attention and inspired the hopes of people worldwide.  And just as the ideas expressed in the writings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the U.S. Constitution, and other fundamental expressions of American principles and values has a profound influence abroad, we must also remember that America and its citizens have been deeply influenced by the institutions and practices of other countries and the cultures of other peoples as well.

We need, as a minimum, to acquire basic knowledge of the relationship of the Unites States to other nations and to world affairs.  Citizens need to make judgments about the role of the United States in the world today and what course American foreign policy should take.  This means we need to understand the major elements of inter-national relations and how world affairs affect our own lives, and the security and well being of our communities, states, and nation.

OWN IT, FEEL IT, LIVE IT, LOVE IT

OWN IT

Sounds daunting, but it’s not.  We’ve been acquiring an understanding of American democracy while in grade school through high school.  The seeds of successful citizenship have been planted in us all our lives.

  • We understand that citizenship in this American constitutional democracy differs from membership in authoritarian or totalitarian regimes.
  • We understand that each citizen is a full and equal member of a self-governing community.
  • We understand that each citizen has fundamental rights.
  • We understand that each citizen is entrusted with responsibilities and must carry out those responsibilities.

Just as we are responsible in our civil society to cleanup after ourselves, drive safely and be courteous, we also know that we are responsible to make certain that the rights of other individuals are respected.  It’s also a fundamental responsibility of citizens to make certain that government serves the purposes for which it was created and does not abuse the power that the people have delegated to it.   The Declaration of Independence, for example, proclaims the primary purpose of government: “That to secure these Rights (Life, Liberty, ad the Pursuit of Happiness) governments are instituted among Men.”   And, the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution says that the purposes of government are to “establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty.”  We as citizens strive to hold our government accountable to these purposes it was created to serve.

FEEL IT

We need to be unafraid and rather fearless and fierce to

  • continually expand our intellectual and participatory skills, and
  • work tirelessly to improve our public and private character traits.

Our private character traits include becoming an independent member of society; assuming the personal, political, and economic responsibilities of a citizen; and respecting individual worth and human dignity.

Our public character traits include participating in civic affairs in an informed, thoughtful and effective manner; and promoting the healthy functioning of American constitutional democracy.

Sometimes these traits of public and private character are referred to as civic dispositions.  We must all understand the role and importance of these civic dispositions in our system.  We have to be considerate of the rights and interests of others, and of participating in civic affairs in an informed, thoughtful and civil manner.

LIVE IT

Our learning and applying civic knowledge and skills is influenced all the time: at home, social interaction among friends, relatives, members of the community, co-workers, neighbors, television, online media, radio, and even the entertainment programs we choose to watch.  All of these life contexts provide arenas in which our civic knowledge is acquired, civic skills are used, and civic traits of public and private character are applied.  It’s where we learn about rules, accepted behaviors, and basic democratic and constitutional principles and values.  And, we also recognize how deeply influenced we are by the institutions and practices of other countries and the cultures of other peoples.

LOVE IT

Although some would argue that in general, civil society is on the decline in America, I see it more as something each one of us can work on improving.  As individuals, as we each enjoy participating as citizens in this constitutional democracy, our lives will be richer.   It provides new meaning in our lives: to grow our understanding of American constitutional democracy and renewed purpose in our lives: to live responsibly, increasing our knowledge, intellectual and participatory skills.

We’ll own it – the role of governments and the relationship of the United States to other nations and to world affairs; understanding fundamental principles that provides the basis for a reasoned commitment to the ideals, values, and principles of American constitutional democracy.

We’ll feel it – the impact of the various levels of government on our daily lives, the lives of our communities, the welfare of the nation as a whole, and world affairs.

We’ll live it – read, develop our intellectual skills, make informed judgments about the role of governments, seek diverse information sources, engage in many participatory opportunities to be involved in government in addition to elections, campaigns, and voting.  We’ll exhibit civic dispositions by thoughtfully participating in public affairs, and civic life—traits such as public spiritedness, civility, and respect for law, critical mindedness, and a willingness to listen negotiate, and compromise are indispensable for the nation’s well-being

We’ll love it – be filled with joy and happiness as we attain individual and public goals, hand-in-hand with participation in political life.  We’ll unabashedly declare that as participating citizens, we are maintaining and improving our American constitutional democracy that is dependent on us to be informed, effective, and responsible.

Debate on Long-Term Assisted Care Insurance Part 2

On February 1, 2012, at 7:05 p.m. the U.S. House of Representatives members voted to repeal a part of the 2010 health care law, the CLASS Act that provides long-term health care services. In October, the Obama administration said that it would not implement this portion of the law.  The bill was sent to the Senate for consideration.

America is about empathy and responsibility: people caring both for themselves and for one another, and acting responsibly on that sense of care. When I hear otherwise, I wonder if the speaker really understands and wants this vision of America. There is certainly room in America for those who can afford it to purchase long-term assisted care insurance. And they are free to do so. The real question here is: What about those Americans who can not afford to purchase long-term assisted care insurance? And, we’re talking about the majority of Americans – hundreds of millions of people.
American democracy has two roles: protection and empowerment for all its citizens. It’s a myth only recently created in American that people make it on their own. In fact, nobody makes it on his or her own. Yes, the individual is responsible to pursue happiness, and in doing so, meets countless individuals who have made contributions to their success.
Your Exercise
Own It: What are your moral values when it comes to others in our society? Whose ideas in this debate do you identify with most?
Feel It: How do these values make you feel? (Review the list of emotions on this blog site)
Live It: Contact your Senator(s); share your experience with long-term assisted care insurance; and let them know what you value in the life of aging adult living in America.
Love It: Be happy about your contributions to the debate. Tell six other friends about this site, the CSPAN video and your hope for America.

Jobs, Industry, and Cantankerous Old Men

The title was so catchy, I couldn’t resist reading this essay by Christopher Ketchem at Truthdig.  Two points caught my attention:

“I’ve been thinking recently of another old man, a friend of the family named A.J. Centola, who went homeless a few years back… A.J. and I used to sit around gabbing on afternoons, walking around the old neighborhood, Carroll Gardens, where he grew up during the last Great War, [with]… merchant marines in boardinghouses, and dockworkers, ironworkers, grocers, and freelance laborers like him.”

 

 

“…A.J. said one day. “…You have one class now in Carroll Gardens, the mono-class of the rich. No industry, no trades, no jobs for the average person to pull himself up. Now it’s all restaurants on Court Street that the old-timers can’t afford. People live their whole lives in the same place, and then this is not their place.” 

 Christopher Ketcham: God Bless Cantankerous Old Men – Essay – Truthdig

What struck me was the idea that there were jobs in the neighborhood:  diverse jobs in industry (ironworkers), trades (grocers) and manual labor that paid good enough to raise a family on (merchant marines, dockworkers).  As both Robert Reich and John Taylor spoke to on PBS Newshour today, the principle problem is jobs and low economic growth.

If Americans want to get serious about increased jobs that pay wages sufficient to grow and build a middle class, we’re going to need industry, trades, skilled and manual labor sectors.  I can’t imagine a highly industrial America.   But its clear jobs will have to come in many different forms, to fit different worker skills. 

It won’t be easy, but I’m confident adjustments will be made by government so that capitalism again advances the interests of the people.  Gainful employment is at the top of everyone’s list.