The Magical Battle for America 6.24.17

Wow.  Trump has been president for six months and we’ve been resisting him for longer than that.

It’s completely understandable if you’re tired; I think we all are.  It’s easy to get discouraged; I think we all get discouraged when we pay attention to what this administration is doing.  But this was never going to be easy.

In many ways, our fight is simply one more battle in the long-running war for the American soul.  America is both drenched in the original sins of genocide, slavery, rape of the land, and Patriarchy and bathed in the bright light of democracy, the principle of equal justice under law, the search for unity, and the arc of the moral universe, ever bending towards freedom.  Our current civil cold war is, in many ways, simply a continuation of the hotter civil war that was supposed to have ended at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865.

As I indicated  when we began these magical workings, I have two goals.  The first and most obvious one is to protect America from the Trump administration.  And the second is to help America to build up a library of magical/archetypical tools to use when threatened from either within or without.  When Dion Fortune  and her society turned to the magical defense of Britain, they had an entire arsenal:  Arthurian legend, the king who sacrifices himself for the land, Drake’s drum, the ravens at the Tower of London, etc.  We’re a younger nation and so we’re still stockpiling our defenses.

In today’s working, we’re going to be strengthening and working with one of America’s truly archetypical heroes, a figure who seems now to be almost more myth than man, the sacrificial king who did lay down his life for the land:  Abraham Lincoln.  He’s as close to an American Arthur as there is.

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Now’s probably a good time to remind everyone to check/refresh the wards on your home or wherever you do this work.  Be sure that you’re rested, grounded, and in a comfortable position.

Breathe.

Anchor yourself firmly to your landbase.  Notice a small detail that will call you back when this working is finished.

Ground and center.  Cast a circle.

Breathe.

As you move astrally to our American plain on the astral plane, you can see again the safe hillock where you do your work.  You can see the five giant banners, shining in the sky:  Walden Pond, the Underground Railroad, the Cowboy, the Salmon, and Lady Liberty.  Do they seem more defined since we began our work?  Do they have anything special to tell you this week?

For a few moments, just sit on your hillock and allow yourself to become comfortable. This place should be feeling very real to you by now; we’ve been working together to create it for months and months.  If you look to the East, you can see Gettysburg, Pennsylvania through the mists.  A terrible battle took place here and, in the middle of the Civil War, Lincoln came here to dedicate a cemetery for fallen soldiers.  His speech  is iconic in American history, similar to Queen Elizabeth’s “Heart and Stomach of a King” speech before the battle with Spain’s Armada or to Churchill’s “Blood, Toil, Tears, and Sweat” speech* in World War II.

Stand up upon your hillock.  Wrapped in your magical powers, you stand so tall and so straight that you can see from sea to shining sea.  You can see each of the giant banners, and you can see all of your sisters and brothers in the Resistance, those alive now, those who have lived, and those who will carry on our work long after our bones are as dry as those buried at Gettysburg.  You are between the worlds, in that place where all times are one time and you are standing with Lincoln on that April afternoon.  Listen to Lincoln’s words and, at the same time, declare them with him, so loudly that they echo and bless the land, protecting and immunizing it against the harms that this administration is inflicting.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.

The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

We are now those “living” to whom Lincoln referred.  It is, as he said, for us to be dedicated to the “great task remaining before us,” the task of ensuring, in the face of all that this administration and its fellow fascists around the world can throw at us, “that government of the people, by the people, [and] for the people shall not perish from the earth.”  Take as long as you like, standing firm upon your center of power here on the astral plane, and send strength, and power, and enthusiasm to that great task.  Rededicate yourself to it.

And know that you are not working alone.  The Resistance — both magical and in all of its mundane (phone banking, check writing, representative calling, letter writing, canvassing, voting, volunteering, tutoring, restoring wetlands, growing plants for bees) manifestations — is huge.  As Shelly wrote, we will “Rise like Lions after slumber/In unvanquishable number/Shake [our] chains to earth like dew/Which in sleep had fallen on you/[W]e are many — they are few.”  Know that you are a powerful worker of magic, rooted in your very own landbase, working with the strong archetypes of this land, assisted by countless unseen others who labor in league with you.  You are brave and growing braver.  Your magic and your practical workings can make the difference.

Breathe.

Return to your own body, your own landbase.  Open your eyes.  Rub your face, move your arms and legs.  Notice the detail you selected to call you back from the astral.  Open your circle.  Drink something, maybe a glass of water with a slice of cucumber in it or some dark, strong coffee.  If you like, have something to eat, maybe a few slices of nectarine or some barley soup in a stoneware mug.

During the course of this week, you may want to visit the bannered prairie several times in order to strengthen its presence on the astral.  You may want to repeat this working several times.  You may want to copy out the Gettysburg Address and place it on your altar.  You may want to journal about it.  Are you inspired to make any art?  Can you sit beside a warm fire, or light incense, or stare into a candle?   What actions are you inspired to take for the Resistance?  If you’re willing, please share in comments what happened and how this working went.

*Churchill’s speech is remembered for the well-known phrase, but I have always been far more partial to his closing words, which seem, to me, quite appropriate for our own times:

You ask, what is our policy? I say it is to wage war by land, sea and air. War with all our might and with all the strength God has given us, and to wage war against a monstrous tyranny never surpassed in the dark and lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy.
You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word. It is victory. Victory at all costs — victory in spite of all terrors — victory, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory there is no survival.

Let that be realized. No survival for the British Empire, no survival for all that the British Empire has stood for, no survival for the urge, the impulse of the ages, that mankind shall move forward toward his goal.
I take up my task in buoyancy and hope. I feel sure that our cause will not be suffered to fail among men.

I feel entitled at this juncture, at this time, to claim the aid of all and to say, “Come then, let us go forward together with our united strength.”

Ossoff’s Loss Gives Me Hope

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Lots of hair-on-fire finger-pointing on the left this week, in the wake of Jon Ossoff’s narrow loss to truly deplorable human Karen Handel in Georgia’s 6th district.

One narrative is: “Four special elections since November, four Democratic losses, PUSH THE PANIC BUTTON Y’ALL. It’s Nancy Pelosi’s fault, it’s Hillary’s fault, it’s neoliberals’ fault, it’s Kamala Harris’s fault, it’s the DNC’s fault, it’s Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s fault, it’s Cory Booker’s fault, it’s Obama’s fault, it’s the Women’s March’s fault…” (notice it’s never some white guy’s fault)

I’d like to ask us all to stop and take a breath for a moment.

Where were those four special elections lost?

Kansas. Montana. Georgia. South Carolina.

Notice anything in common?

All DEEP red states.

Kansas, if you’ll recall, TWICE elected a small government radical as governor, who’s basically turned the state into a third-world country in the name of hewing to his demonstrably false ideology that the cure for ANYTHING that ails you is MOAR TAX CUTS!11!!!11!

After he utterly destroyed the state’s budget and tax base, Brownback’s Republican dominated legislature FINALLY reigned him in a little this year, passing minor tax increases with a veto-proof majority. But it’s probably too little, too late. Someone should remind these yahoos that no matter HOW low the taxes are, businesses aren’t really interested in moving to a location where the roads are impassible, the bridges are about to fall down, the schools are crap, the air and water and soil are unsafe, and the police and fire departments are badly understaffed.

[As an aside, in the 2014 Kansas gubernatorial election, Brownback had fucked things up so badly that over 100 Republican leaders in the state endorsed his Democratic opponent, who lost by three points. The third party candidate siphoned off FOUR points. Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it is all I’m saying.]

In Montana, the Democrats ran Rob Quist, a guy who under normal circumstances would have been a novelty candidate who didn’t make it out of the primary. Then, to make matters worse, Bernie Sanders decided to weigh in and publicly support him. In a deep red state. That is not exactly full of hipster dudes from Brooklyn who think Bernie is MLK, John Lennon, and Jesus rolled into one. So yeah, that was totally the right strategic move there.

South Carolina and Georgia? The last Democrats who won those districts were Dixiecrats before I was even born (and I am not young). In fact, part of the reason so-called President Trump tapped Mick Mulvaney and Tom Price to be part of his administration is they were giving up “safe” Republican seats to do it.

Which brings us to my point: these were NEVER going to be competitive races.

Also, all FOUR candidates (Ossoff, Quist, Archie Parnell and James Thompson) were complete newbies – none had ever run for any type of office before.

[Column interruption two: Democrats need to start running for lower-level offices. City Council. School board. Mayor. State legislature. Let’s get candidates building a base of support and experience in both campaigning and legislating BEFORE running for national office. Also, not for nothing: four white guys. Who’s your base again, Democrats?]

But, to share a piecesof wisdom I recently spotted on Twitter:

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Or as the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent (“The Plum Line”) puts it:

“the last thing Democrats should do right now is allow this loss — Ossoff fell short by just under 4 points — to demoralize them…let’s hope Democrats take a different message from this year’s special elections: The House is very much in play in 2018.”

It’s worth reading the whole article, as Sargent gets detailed on some of the math – calculated by Republican strategists – working in our favor for 2018.

As Sargent notes:

“The crux of the matter is that of course an Ossoff win would have signaled that Republicans are in very deep trouble, and that would have been great for Democrats. But the fact that this didn’t happen does not undercut the idea that the general trends still show that the House is likely to be in play next year.”

HOWEVER, that is NOT an invitation to relax and take it easy. It’s a call to keep fighting, because what we’re doing is working. We’re making up enormous ground.

But we have to keep registering people in the Democratic base to vote and getting them out to polls (hint: the base is NOT white dudebros, not that they aren’t welcome to join us – well, at least they’re welcome if they can stop acting like misogynist assholes for a damn minute).

We have to keep phone banking.

We have to keep looking for potential candidates and nurturing them to run, for city council and school board and mayor and state legislature and governor AND Congress.

We have to keep giving, to individual campaigns and candidates, to the party, to organizations like EMILY’s List  or maybe Onward Together, which is acting as a signal booster and as a clearing house for donations for spunky upstart groups that are punching way above their weight right now and could do amazing things with a little more cash in the till.

So let the brogressives flash their ill-informed hot takes on Daily Kos and Eschaton and Twitter and whatnot and congratulate each other on their brilliance and tire themselves out, while the rest of us – the REAL Resistance – keep doing the work. As we do.

Image found here.

Patriarchy. We’re ALL Soaking In It.

It happened again the other day.  It keeps happening.  It really needs to stop happening.

A very intelligent man I know said, “Gee, I’ll never understand why white women voted for Trump over Clinton.”  He was referring the fact that :

[N]early twice as many white women without college degrees voted for Trump than for Hillary, and of college-educated white women Hillary won by only a narrow margin — 51 percent supported Hillary, compared to 45 percent who supported Trump.  Overall, 53 percent of white women voted for Trump, alongside 58 percent of white men who did so as well.

Every time someone questions this I just want to stop and say, “REALLY?  You really don’t understand that?  Gee, Patriarchy, how DOES that shit work?”  But smart people keep asking the question so I’m going to answer it.

Herewith:

OK.  Apparently, this will come as a shock to some of you, but girls, every bit as much as, if not more than, boys, grow up soaking in Patriarchy.  They breathe it in, from the moment that the doctor says, “It’s a girl,” and they are swaddled in pink blankets , have constricting headbands with bows put on their heads to make sure we all know that they’re girls, and are taken home to pink bedrooms , decorated in lavender and lace.  They absorb Patriarchy through the Disney princess  movies, toys, underwear, and pajamas that they must obtain, through the “toys” that are actually training for housework that they receive, on through books about meeting other people’s needs and all the time they spend watching movies and reading books that show men, and not women, chewing up most of the dialogue, making most of the decisions, and doing most of the things that need doing.  They breathe it in when almost every single superhero they watch is a man and every single woman is just a sidekick.  (Wonderwoman is such an anomaly that I know grown women who have seen it half a dozen times and cry  every time it is mentioned.)  Little girls soak in it with every history lesson that not only focuses on men but that also ignores women.  They consume it on tv, where men’s sports are the “real” thing and women’s sports are the substitute, the one where people are paid less and where ads don’t cost as much.  They learn it in school and the workplace, where they are interrupted by men on a regular basis and still chided for talking all the time.  They grok that, even with more education, they will get paid less   than men and that they will, in fact, retire with less net worth than men.

So, gee, how ever do those girls grow up and vote as if men’s lives matter more, as if only men should be in charge, as if there’s something wrong with a woman who imagines she could be in charge?  What’s wrong with them?

Let me, in my never-ending devotion to Muriel Rukeyser, tell you a story.

Back in America in the 1950s and 1960s, racial segregation was widespread.  African Americans had to use separate rest rooms, drink from separate fountains, get their hamburgers at separate drug store fountains, and had to attend separate schools.  Not surprisingly, African American children grew up absorbing society’s notion that they were inferior,  just as America’s girls grow up absorbing Patriarchy’s notion that they are inferior.  In a blindingly simple set of experiments, Dr. Mamie Clark and her husband (you see what I did there) used a set of white and black baby dolls to test how African American children perceived color in America.  Based upon Dr. M. Clark’s earlier studies, they

designed and conducted a series of experiments known colloquially as “the doll tests” to study the psychological effects of segregation on African-American children.

Drs. Clark used four dolls, identical except for color, to test children’s racial perceptions. Their subjects, children between the ages of three to seven, were asked to identify both the race of the dolls and which color doll they prefer[ed]. A majority of the children preferred the white doll and assigned positive characteristics to it. The Clarks concluded that “prejudice, discrimination, and segregation” created a feeling of inferiority among African-American children and damaged their self-esteem.

Thus,

In the experiment, the Clarks handed black children four dolls. The dolls were identical except that two had a dark-colored skin and two had light-colored skin. The Clarks asked the children questions such as which dolls were “nice” and which were “bad” and “which doll is most like you?”

The results of the test showed that the majority of black children preferred the white dolls to the black dolls, the children saying the black dolls were “bad” and that the white dolls looked most like them. To the Clarks, these tests provided solid proof that enforced segregation stamped African American children with a badge of inferiority that would last the rest of their lives. The argument swayed the US Supreme Court[.] Chief Justice Earl Warren, in writing the Court’s opinion, noted that the legal separation of black children gave them “a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely to ever be undone.”

Dr. Clark asked the following questions

“Show me the doll that you like the best or that you’d like to play with.”

“Show me the doll that is the ‘nice’ doll?.”

“Show me the doll that looks ‘bad’.”

“Give me the doll that looks like a white child.”

“Give me the doll that looks like a colored child.”

“Give me the doll that looks like a Negro child.”

“Give me the doll that looks like you.”

African American children who had been subject to segregation were even more likely to associate black dolls with “bad” characteristics and white dolls with “good” characteristics than were African American children not subject to segregation, although all were somewhat more likely, having grown up in a racist society, to prefer the white dolls to the black dolls.  In other words, and to the surprise of no one, African American children who grew up in a racist society were likely to have absorbed racist attitudes.

These studies were, in fact, one of the key reasons why the Supreme Court, in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, struck down laws that segregated school children along color lines.  Justice Warren, writing for the Court, looked to the studies and explained that segregation, and the racist ideas that it perpetuated, engendered within African American children “a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely to ever be undone.”

Now, let’s revisit those white women without college degrees who were far more likely to have voted for Trump than for Hillary.  Women in states more steeped in Patriarchy — for example, in the South — were, comparably to the children in states with more segregation, more likely to vote for Trump.  Those women grew up in steeped in Patriarchy and, no surprise, were, just like the African Americans who thought that white dolls were “nicer,” more likely to believe that a man should be president.  They voted accordingly.

I can’t imagine why that’s surprising to anyone.

In What Works for Women at Work, Joan Williams discusses well-constructed studies that show that both men AND women, steeped in American Patriarchy, judge women by much more stringent and demanding standards then they judge men.  For example, both men and women require female candidates for a job to “prove it again.”  In other words women, far more than men, must provide more evidence of competence in order to be seen as equally competent.  Ms. Williams provides studies that show that:  (1)  Men are judged on their potential, while women are judged on their performance; (2)  Women’s mistakes are noticed more and remembered longer than men’s mistakes; (3)  Women’s successes are considered to be luck, while men’s successes are attributed to skill; (4) Objective requirements tend to be applied strictly to women, while they are applied more leniently to men; (5) Women experience polarized evaluations, and, finally, (6) Women are, far more than men, subject to the “stolen idea,” (if you’re a woman in America, you’ve experienced this) where a woman proposes an idea and it’s ignored, but, a few minutes later, a man says the same thing and everyone says it’s a great idea.

I’ll let you walk through each of these issues vis-a-vis how Hillary Clinton was judged.  It’s not difficult.  And, yes, women raised in Patriarchy made the same biased judgements against Hillary — requiring her, but not Trump, to prove it again; requiring her to be judged on her performance while Trump was judged on his potential; requiring her to deal with her mistakes being remembered longer, while his were forgotten almost within hours; forcing her to cope with her successes being attributed more than his to luck; insisting upon her having the objective requirements for president being applied more strictly to her than to him; forcing her to deal with more polarized evaluations, and subjecting her to her having her ideas stolen — as did the majority of men and it hurt her in the end.

So, you know, shut up with all the OH MY GOD HOW DID WHITE WOMEN VOTE FOR TRUMP LET’S IGNORE WHAT MEN DID AND JUST KEEP ASKING WHY THOSE WHITE WOMEN PICKED THE BOY DOLL IN THE EXPERIMENT I GUESS IT’S THEIR FAULT HE WON SO WE CAN ALL GO HOME AND BLAME THE WIMMIN.

Patriarchy.  We’re ALL FUCKING soaking in it.

And it’s toxic as shit.  Let’s quit blaming the victims of Patriarchy for being the victims of Patriarchy.  Let’s start asking why white men, who benefit from Patriarchy, voted overwhelmingly for, well, duh, Patriarchy.

 

Words for a Wednesday Solstice

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Summer is, obviously, a favorite topic of poets, but this is the one poem that says Summer Solstice to me.  And I find its call to courage particularly appropriate for these times. May the longest day of the year bring great joy to you, may the sun shine on your crops, whatever they are, and may we bring to fruition that which we most long to obtain.  This is my will.  So mote it be.

Little Summer Poem Touching on the Subject of Faith
Every summer
I listen and look
under the sun’s brass and even
into the moonlight, but I can’t hear

anything, I can’t see anything–
not the pale roots digging down, nor the green stalks muscling up,
nor the leaves
deepening the damp powers,

nor the tassels making,
nor the shucks, nor the cobs.
And still,
every day,

the leafy fields
grow taller and thicker–
green gowns lofting up in the night,
showered with silk.

And so, every summer,
I fail as a witness, seeing nothing–
I am deaf too
to the tick of the leaves,

the tapping of downwardness of the banyan feet–
all of it
happening
beyond any seeable proof, or hearable hum.

And, therefore, let the immeasurable come.
Let the unknowable touch the buckle of my spine.
Let the wind turn in the trees
And the mystery hidden in the dirt

swing through the air.
How could I look at anything in this world
and tremble, and grip my hands over my heart?
What should I fear?

One morning
in the leafy green ocean
the honeycomb of the corn’s beautiful body
is sure to be there.

Picture found here.

Bonus Solstice Music

Monday at the Movies

Sunday Ballet Blogging