Do Something!

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I don’t know about you, but the news about Trump’s evil policy of ripping children from their parents has me as upset as I’ve ever been.  Just Friday, Mrs. Whatsit posted a long list  of things you can do to help address this evil.

Here are a few more.  Call your Senators , Congressperson,   and Governor  and tell them that you want this process stopped immediately.  Every Democratic Senator has signed on to Diane Feinstein’s bill to reunite families..  Republicans who are feeling some pressure are trying to do symbolic things such as issuing “bothsides” statements or drafting useless letters.  That’s not good enough.  They need to join the Feinstein bill.  Also, I am urging all of these representatives to go visit the ICE detention facilities   in my state.  Today, my Congressman visited a facility   outside DC, but I’m continuing to ask him to go to the facilities in our state.  (I’m bugging my AG and Lieutenant Governor about this, as well.)

I’ve been urging my Governor to pull our state’s National Guard units back to Virginia so that they are not assisting in Trump’s evil policy of ripping children away from their parents.   Today, he did just that.   I don’t flatter myself that I’m responsible; I’m sure he was hearing from lots of people.  But it’s an easy way for governors to show that they value keeping families together.

Speaking of which, large marches  are planned for Saturday, June 30th.  I’ll be there.  Will you?

And, of course, any action you take, whether calling, writing, protesting, etc. can be done with magical intent, inside a circle that you cast, in concert with your ancestors or in concert with America’s mighty dead.

Picture found here.

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Monday at the Movies

You know, one thing I’ve never understood were the religions that sacrificed their young people to propitiate some deity.  I don’t understand those deities and I don’t under stand those religions and I don’t understand the parents who went along with those sacrifices.

And I don’t understand it in America, today.  We keep sacrificing our innocent babies, and our precocious preteens, and our beautiful young men and women on the altar of Patriarchy’s adoration of the the deity of guns.  I may not be in a position to judge ancient societies and why they did what they did, but I am exquisitely placed to judge our society and, like Emma Gonzalez, I call BS on the evil priests of the NRA who keep cutting  the beating hearts out of our children and throwing them on the alter of evil.

We have a choice that perhaps parents (and friends, and brothers & sisters, and grandparents, and . . .) in ancient times didn’t have.  We can vote the evil priests out. Please register and please make sure to vote in November.

The Magical Battle for America 6.17.18

Today’s post comes from Terence P. Ward, who also writes for  The Wild Hunt.  I’m grateful to Terence for providing this working.  (I’ve very lightly edited Terence’s work, mostly to add a few commas and to change “tears” to “rips” to avoid ambiguity.  Needless to say, I’m a big fan of Terence’s writing.  Also, I am certain that Terence is onto something here.  Folding the American flag in the prescribed manner — with magical intent — could be very powerful magic.  Do you have a flag?  Will you commit to try this and let us know in comments how it works?  Summer Solstice and the Fourth of July would be very powerful days to do this working.)

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. Maybe wrap up in a blanket or cloak and grasp a stone or talisman that matters to you. Grow your roots, send them deep into the soil, let them intertwine and grow small hairs to attach to the mycelia in your own landbase.

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 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. What’s become familiar to you? A tuft of prairie grass? Buffalo off in the distance? The scent of sand carried on the wind? You’ve been involved in a months-long magical working here, joined with magic workers from across the globe. Feel your connection to this place on the astral plane. It is always here for you, always a source of strength.

As you sit on your hillock, basking in the energy of the landscape, you catch an unexpected sound on the breeze: explosions, one after another for a time, with random pauses between. You search the plain and, spotting the disturbance, arrive there at the speed of thought. Before you is a American battlefield strewn with dead and dying soldiers, thick clouds swirling overhead. On a rise near the center of the mayhem, two figures struggle against each other, in the center of a single beam of sun which has broken through the cloud cover. Here on the astral American plain, it’s clear these two are the very values being fought over: self-determination and stewardship, altruism and exceptionalism, freedom and security, environmentalism and economic growth.

The two pull apart, and while they are very different in feature and dress, it’s clear that they are closely related. As they separate, you see that between them is a tattered American flag, rent and torn from the battle and now yanked to and fro, as each seeks to take sole possession of this prize. Knowing that the flag represents the ideal union in this country, no matter how shaky the reality might be, it’s clear that should either win, no one will.

In the midst of the turmoil, re-root yourself in the American plain, the spirit of which is unfailing no matter what transpires amidst the amber waves of grain. From here, sense the energy of your hillock, and know that you can draw upon the landbase to do this work. Allow your grounding energy to roll out from you, over the battlefield and toward the struggling figures on the rise. As your energy becomes a visible bubble of blue, expanding outward from you in all directions, invoke the name of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and ask his assistance in bringing radical change through peace.

As the blue light passes over the battlefield, evidence of injury disappears. Those lying on the ground do not reawaken, but they are at peace. Soldiers still standing lower their weapons and do not continue to fight. When it reaches the central figures, they relax, but do not release the flag, lest it fall to the ground. You take it into your own arms,  and look upon its sorry state: there are rips nearly its entire length in places, several holes, and one corner torn off, doubtless when it was pulled from its pole. A flag which cannot be repaired should be retired, but can this bedraggled bit of cloth be repaired in the right hands?

A name rises: Betsy Ross, apocryphal creator of the first American flag. She sits beside a window which affords good light for the work,  and assesses the damage. Ross clucks as her fingers probe the damage, and finally she shakes her head noncommittally. She will do what she can,  but promises nothing. Deftly, her hands work, patching where needed, closing rip and tear. Under her care, the mending melds into reweaving, as broken threads spin back into unity and patch lines fade into obscurity. The quality of the craft rises to meet the skill of the crafter, and smiling, Ross presents a flag which you scarcely recognize as the same until you touch it. Each sewn rip and patched hole is as obvious as scar tissue beneath your touch. Ross shares with you a knowing look, and you realize that this flag must be folded in proper fashion to complete its transformation.

Retunr to the battlefield, now bound to peace. That scene, rather than the sunny room in Ross’ home, is what surrounds you. Something is different. You realize that one of the two sparring figures is not present. Instead, you hold one end of the rejuvenated flag, while the other archetypal Americans grasps the other. To properly fold an American flag takes at least two people, but you look in this person’s eyes and feel a shudder run through you. Although undeniably American, this is more the kind of person with which you fight on Facebook than the sort with which you break bread. You see in those eyes a different understanding of history, a different set of fears about the present, and a very different vision of the future of America.

Nevertheless, with this partner must the flag be folded, and you begin: in half lengthwise once and again, pulling it taut to begin the next phase. You hold the field in your hands, the blue corner emblazoned with stars, which means that your partner will fold as you keep the fabric taut. The third fold is across to create a triangle, the fourth flips it straight across, and the fifth folds the triangle over again. Each fold draws this person closer to you, and with each fold you see more the common values than the different interpretations. With the thirteenth and final fold, the flag is placed in your hands to tuck the remaining fabric in, and you present the star-spangled banner back to your partner. This person’s experience and worldview may never align with yours, but in that moment, it was clear that they share threads between them.

Needing rest, you return to your hillock, allowing gratitude for the aid of King and Ross in your working. As you sit on your hillock and rest, 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. 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. The flag is always available to you when you want to do magic to strengthen America.

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 hot cup of tea or some water with lemon. If you like, have something to eat, maybe polenta or corn pudding.

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. You may want to bless a flag on your altar, to remain there or to be displayed to inspire recognition of what unites us as Americans rather than what divides us. If your flag can catch a breeze, let that breeze lift up your working. What other actions are you inspired to take for the resistance? If you’re willing, please share in comments what happened and how this working went.

 

 

Stop Adopting the Theocratic Right’s Framing!

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I know that I go on about issue framing quite a bit, but that’s because even people who should get it don’t seem to get it.  If the other side can define the issue the way that it wants to, you will lose the argument.  I’m a lawyer and this is true of every legal battle ever fought.

You’ve probably experienced this in your own life a number of times.  You want to have a conversation with your partner about who should do the laundry.  You bring up the issue — “Honey, can we talk about who should do the laundry?” — and your partner says, “Why are you always criticizing me?”  If you’re not careful, you’re soon going to be discussing whether or not you criticize your partner and whether or not your partner criticizes you, what counts as criticism, what about that time you yelled at him/her in front of all your friends, and why don’t you ever fill up the gas tank.  I guarantee you that, by the end of the day, you will still be the only person who does laundry.  Why?  Because you allowed your partner to frame the issue to be discussed.  Your job was to keep the focus on getting the laundry done fairly and efficiently, but you lost control of the frame.

Instead of the laundry, we’re debating whether and how often you criticize your partner because that’s an argument your partner would rather have and, frankly, once you concede the frame in this argument, it will be helpful to your partner in all future arguments.  After all, we’ve now established that asking for help with housework is tantamount to criticizing your partner.  Now, having lost the frame, want to bring up shopping for groceries?  Mowing the lawn?  Vacuuming?  Didn’t think so.  You know you’re already beat.

Over the last few days, liberals and Democrats have dangerously lost control of the frame on the issue of Trump’s throwing children into concentration camps.  We allowed Huckabee-Sanders and Sessions to shift the frame from what’s legal and moral to what’s “biblical.”  And, like the dog running   after the shiny bouncing ball, we were off.  “Oh, that’s the same bible quote used to justify slavery!”  “Oh, I know another bible quote that supports the opposite position!”  “Oh, let’s talk about what Jesus would have done with immigrants or compare Jesus, Mary, and Joseph’s trip to Egypt to the trip immigrants take from other countries to America!”  “Democrats love their neighbors, as Jesus commanded!”

Shiny!

Look what they did.  They seized control of the frame.

America is a country of laws.  We do not run our country on “biblical principles,” however defined.  Even if the bible explicitly said, in plain English, that it was OK for Trump to throw immigrant children into tent cities in Texas, that would be completely irrelevant.  But, for decades, the Evangelical Taliban has been trying desperately to re-define America from a democracy, in which we separate church and state, into a theocracy where (their interpretations of) the bible is law.  And, in one fell swoop, they pretty much did it.  They reframed the issue and now we’re no longer maintaining that one religion’s book doesn’t matter, we’re trying to work within the framework of whether or not our laws,* and the way the administration carries them out, are “biblical.”

Like the argument with your partner, the right wing has done more than just win this battle.  They’ve reframed the entire argument and will use that in future arguments, as well.  Now, having lost the frame and conceded that we judge administrative actions based on the bible, want to bring up women’s rights?  Environmental justice?  LGBQT rights?  Control of public education?  Didn’t think so. You know you’re already beat.

So what do you do?  What do you say when your partner tries to reframe the issue to whether or not you criticize him or her or when the right wing tries to reframe the issue to whether or not it’s “biblical” to rip nursing infants from their mothers’ breasts and throw them into cages?

It’s not that difficult.

You refuse to engage with or adopt their framing.  “I want to discuss how we get the laundry done every week.  I’ve come up with a schedule that I think takes into account both of our schedules.  Are you willing to agree to this schedule or do you have some changes to propose to this schedule?”  “No one cares about your religion; this is not a theological issue.  We separate matters of church and state in America.  Now, how can you justify breaking up families seeking asylum?”

You don’t attempt to negate their framing:  “I’m not criticizing you.”  (Now the argument shifts to what constitutes criticism and away from who does the laundry next week.)  You don’t attempt to negate their framing:  “But Jesus said for us to love our neighbors.”  (Now we’ve agreed we are a theocracy and the argument shifts to which bible verse controls.)  As George Lakoff  has famously noted, when Richard Nixon said, “Your president is not a crook,” he was toast.  By attempting to negate the other side’s framing of the issue, he simply reinforced it.  Stick to your frame and refuse to engage with their frame, even to negate it.

Framing matters and we need to get a lot better at it.

Picture found here.

 

 

*It’s another of Trump’s lies to say that the law requires children to be separated from their parents, but that’s a different issue.

 

Happy Bloomsday!

All acts of love and pleasure are rituals of the Goddess.  Yes.

Families Belong Together

children on cots in a large cage at ICE internment center

In case you’ve somehow missed it, so-called (for now) President Trump’s brownshirt force, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is separating the children of undocumented migrants from them at the border and housing them in internment camps.

This is, in fact, DEPLORABLE.

Let’s dispense with a few myths.

Fuckface VonClownstick keeps insisting that he’s just enforcing the law that Democrats passed. This is a blatant lie. It’s 100% his own policy and he’s just trying to avoid culpability for it, as he does with, well, EVERYTHING.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders says Trump is just being “biblical” for enforcing the law. I’m sure she can find a verse supporting her position. But here’s a contrary point of view from Leviticus 19:34:

“But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”

We can play this game all day, Aunt Lydia, or maybe we should just acknowledge that using a religious text made up of myth, fable, and TONS of contradictory information and advice as the foundation for government decisions is a very bad idea.

Speaking of, if I wasn’t already totally sickened and horrified by evangelicals’ continuing support of Trump, this would be the LAST GODDAMN STRAW. I don’t know how you people can claim to follow Jesus, or even look at yourself in the mirror. Matthew 25:35-36:

“For I was hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

(Like I said, Aunt Lydia, all day. Don’t try me. And by the way, the people who did the feeding, taking in, clothing, and visiting were the ones who got invited into the kingdom of heaven. Things didn’t end so well for people like you and Fuckface. Let’s just say the phrases “everlasting fire” and “eternal punishment” figure prominently. “Least of these,” Aunt Lydia, “least of these.”)

It’s all horrific.

So what can you do?

You can bring attention to it in your social media accounts and in day to day conversations with people. Don’t be the “ordinary” Germans from the Third Reich who turned – and allowed each other to turn – a blind eye to the moral depravity of what’s going on here. Need a little help with that? A bunch of really great organizations have thrown together a quick website with some resources that they’re adding to all the time.

Rallies and marches are also happening all over the place. Shine that light, y’all, and be like Representative John Lewis (D-GA), STILL sitting in and blocking traffic at 78 years old. “Good trouble.” The ACLU’s People Power initiative is one place you can find out what might be happening near you, or even organize an event yourself.

As always, contact your Senators and Representative. Not sure who they are? 1. Get with the program. 2. The League of Women Voters can help.

Longer term, there’s a movement afoot to Abolish ICE. The agency has only been in existence for 15 years, an artifact of the reorganization of many federal agencies and responsibilities under the auspices of the Department of Homeland Security in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks (and do be sure to ask New Orleans residents how well that worked with FEMA).

Obama used ICE in some pretty nefarious ways, too, so Democrats are far from innocent here, but in the Trump era, and driven by Trump and #MAGA rhetoric and actions particularly with regards to the DREAMers, this *feels* different.

Hence, the Abolish ICE movement, as articulated in a recent article by writer Sean McElwee in The Nation.

(This also relates to Hecate’s recent post about shifting the Overton Window, one of McElwee’s stated goals.)

Quoting House candidate Dan Canon (D-IN) from McElwee’s The Nation article:

“ICE as it presently exists is an agency devoted almost solely to cruelly and wantonly breaking up families. The agency talks about, and treats, human beings like they’re animals. They scoop up people in their apartments or their workplaces and take them miles away from their spouses and children.”

Trump’s rhetoric plays right into this disgusting and reprehensible narrative.

Another thing you can do is advocate, on your state level, for local law enforcement to refuse to cooperate with ICE. In other words, lobby for sanctuary cities. Hell, your local police almost definitely WANT your city, town, or county to be sanctuary, because it makes their jobs easier and reduces crime.

So force yourself to look at the pictures that are starting to emerge of the interment camps, read Senator Jeff Merkley’s (D-OR) account of his visit when he finally managed to get in, watch Chris Hayes’s interview with whistle blower Antar Davidson, get angry, weep, and then DO SOMETHING.

(Tons of other bad shit has gone down this week, from so-called (for now) Attorney General Jeff Sessions telling women fleeing domestic abusers to go fuck themselves to “master negotiator” Trump giving North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un recognition, ceasing military exercises with South Korea, lifting of sanctions, and for langniappe a fully-produced propaganda movie – in other words, every single thing Kim wanted – in exchange for, essentially, nothing. But tearing nursing babies away from their mothers’ breasts is a level of evil that’s hard to even contemplate.)

Edited to add: ALSO! Crossing the border without proper documents is a MISDEMEANOR offense. You know, like being drunk in public. Imagine walking home with your kids after having had a few too many beers at the annual block party, and the police jump out, arrest you, take your kids away, and then put you and them in separate internment camps. Just so you get the enormity of what we’re talking about here.

Image found here – and yes, it’s an actual current photo of an actual ICE internment center for actual children from an actual news site. THOSE CHILDREN HAVE BEEN TAKEN FROM THEIR PARENTS AND ARE LOCKED IN CAGES. We should all be ashamed that we’re allowing this to happen.

(Belated) Words for Wednesday

AquaStack

As I hit 49…

~Bernadette Noll

I want to age like sea glass. Smoothed by tides, not broken. I want the currents of life to toss me around, shake me up and leave me feeling washed clean. I want my hard edges to soften as the years pass — made not weak, but supple. I want to ride the waves, go with the flow, feel the impact of the surging tides rolling in and out.

When I am thrown against the shore and caught between the rocks and a hard place, I want to rest there until I can find the strength to do what is next. Not stuck — just waiting, pondering, feeling what it feels like to pause. And when I am ready, I will catch a wave and let it carry me along to the next place that I am supposed to be.

I want to be picked up on occasion by an unsuspected soul and carried along — just for the connection, just for the sake of appreciation and wonder. And with each encounter, new possibilities of collaboration are presented, and new ideas are born.

I want to age like sea glass so that when people see the old woman I’ll become, they’ll embrace all that I am. They’ll marvel at my exquisite nature, hold me gently in their hands and be awed by my well-earned patina. Neither flashy nor dull, just the right luster. And they’ll wonder, if just for a second, what it is exactly I am made of and how I got to be in this very here and now. And we’ll both feel lucky to realize, once again, that we have landed in that perfectly right place at that profoundly right time.

I want to age like sea glass. I want to enjoy the journey and let my preciousness be, not in spite of the impacts of life, but because of them.