Another world is not only possible,
she is on her way.
On a quiet day, if you listen carefully,
you can hear her breathing.

- Arundhati Roy -

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

From 52-to-48 and 48-to-52 With Love

zefrank blog has created a place where Obama supporters, McCain supporters, supporters of third parties (over 1%), and folks in other parts of the world who support this country's evolution can connect in a spirit of mutual acknowledgment and reconciliation.

These photographs of people reaching out with their messages of hope, acceptance, possibility, common purpose, and a willingness to move forward are signposts to a better future.

Here are a few examples:

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

For Our Children

Rosa sat so Martin could walk.
Martin walked so Obama could run.
Obama [ran] so our children could fly.

Original author unknown; earliest reference found to a National Public Radio interview on 28 October 2008

Yes He IS - the 44th President

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Taking Down The Signs and Leaning Over The Fences

Friday afternoon (Halloween) I was standing on a street corner with about 15
other Obama supporters on each side of the stop light in Freeland watching
the reaction of people driving by. Many smiles, some frowns, the occasional
down-thumb. And then a big guy on a big motorcycle came by, very slowly
passing right in front of us shouting obscenities about the "f-king
liberals" and the ruination of his America. It was quite a verbal assault,
finished by a roar of his bike pipes and off he went.

It made me think, again, we have to stop this raging at each other. It seems
to me that those on the right feel a sense of entitlement to rage, to
lashing out when threatened--and I am sure there are those on the left who
do the same. And all it does is widen the divide and increase fear.

Walking back to my truck a bit later, holding my Obama sign to my chest I
could feel my heart swell with hope like I have not allowed myself in a long
time. I sat in the truck cab and cried and asked myself, "How will I handle
it if McCain snatches victory from the jaws of defeat?"
And it gave me great
empathy for those walking back to their vehicles clutching McCain signs to
their chests.

So the next day, on my way to phone banks and canvassing undecided voters,
when I saw the McCain people out at another corner down the highway I
determined to walk up to every person I see who is wearing a McCain button,
holding a McCain sign, or has a McCain bumper-sticker,and extending my hand
to shake theirs. "Hello, I'm your neighbor, Christina, in Freeland. Deep
down, I believe we have similar values and dreams and come Wednesday, you
can count on me to include you in my vision of America... Can I count on you?"

This is the question. And I invite you to start asking it--for Wednesday
morning is just the beginning of an era of citizen involvement
that must go
on for the rest of our lives. This citizen involvement will have many facets
as we learn how to communicate more and more effectively with our elected
officials, and our new president. And it will be sustained at the local
level. You can count on me... And I know I can count on you.

And for the inspiration part: this American Prayer song is a must see--just as this vote is a must believe!

Christina Baldwin

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Generation We

Commitment, passion, competence and clarity - the Millennial generation is poised to restore our future, save our nation and preserve the planet.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Hope For The Fun Of It

I’m one of those people who takes “fun” seriously. When I look at the world’s troubles and what it’s going to take to get through these dark times and actually create a world that works for all, I think I may have stumbled upon a novel solution, or at least a necessary if not sufficient part of the answer.

I’ve coined a phrase to make my point: “If you want to create a new culture, throw a better party!” You’re probably thinking that I can’t possibly believe that we can party our way out of this mess, that I’m in denial at best and probably suffering from delusional escapist fantasies. It’s just a metaphor, but one that I believe contains a powerful truth about human creativity, and may in the end offer us a realistic path to a positive future. Here’s a rough outline of my case:

We live in a time (the 21st century) when humanity has a much clearer picture of what doesn’t work than what does. We know that all life on planet Earth is interdependent, beautiful, and fragile. In terms of creating a just and sustainable future, we know that war and violence will not work, nor social and economic injustice... nor environmental destruction, unchecked global warming, rampant greed and consumerism, military empire, totalitarianism, fascism, fundamentalism, mass extinction, overpopulation, etc.

While the sheer number and complexity of our problems seems overwhelming, it just may be that this painful and scary breakdown of the old world order is a necessary stage in our evolution toward a healthy, viable planetary civilization. My strategy is to “play” to our innate strengths as a creative species, while letting go of our maladapted values, beliefs, and fear-based behaviors. The question is: “What is our essential nature as human beings? Who are we, and what do we have the potential of becoming?”

I don’t want to ignore or deny the dark side of our nature -- evil exists. We’re obviously capable of horrendous, destructive, violent actions, but it’s clear to me that our salvation lies in the higher reaches of human nature. We have huge untapped capacities for love, compassion, kindness, altruism, transcendence, joy, play, and creativity, which, if developed to their maximum, can transform the world as we know it.

I truly find hope in the playful nature of our species. Human play tends to be joyful and fun, and it’s a big part of our lives throughout the life cycle. More importantly, play is at the heart of our creativity -- it opens us to new possibilities, actually making us smarter and better able to adapt to our rapidly changing world. The latest scientific findings show that play, like nutrition and sleep, is a central element in determining an individual’s health, well-being, creativity and intelligence. The National Institute for Play believes that as play is woven into the fabric of social practices, we will dramatically transform our personal health, our relationships, the education we provide our children and the capacity of our society to innovate.

Anthropologists point out that throughout human history most cultures and tribes worked a little and played a lot. The desire for collective joy expressed through dancing, singing, feasting, celebration, festivity, games, and ecstatic religious ritual seems to be at the heart of all human community. Mythic figures like Dionysus, Bacchus, Shiva, Krishna (among many others worldwide) were all fun-loving gods who could bring communities together to share in transcendent experiences, a feeling of being a part of a larger whole. Did I mention that the most enthusiastic participants in these rites were women and nature worshippers?

In “Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy,” Barbara Ehrenreich shows how the rise of social hierarchy (i.e. patriarchy) goes hand in hand with the rise of militarism and war -- people who wanted to party all the time didn’t make very good soldiers because the evolving weaponry required disciplined armies. Social elites feared that collective festivities could undermine social hierarchies (which they often did). The suppression of traditional festivities reached its zenith with the rise of Calvinism and capitalism. All embodied pleasures were to be suppressed as sinful, and money and material wealth became our most cherished gods. The hedonic vision of community, based on egalitarianism and the joyous immediacy of human experience, gave way to the agonic reality of cruelly unequal and war-loving societies... like our own.

In this context, the revival of the Dionysian in our time -- e.g. the hippie culture of the 60s (sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll), carnival in Brazil, mardi gras in the US, sports spectacles, rave and hip hop youth culture, neopaganism, deep ecology, mass protest movements, etc. -- can be understood as a healthy swing of the pendulum away from the Apollonian warlike aspects of human culture. As Ehrenreich says, “Why not reclaim our distinctly human heritage as creatures who can generate their own ecstatic pleasures out of music, color, feasting, and dance? We are innately social beings, impelled almost instinctively to share our joy, and therefore able to envision, perhaps even create, a more peaceful future.”

Rick Ingrasci M.D., M.P.H.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

We All Need Good Food

Family-farm agriculture is flourishing; living more harmoniously with each other and the earth is nourishing.

Mark Dworkin and Melissa Young, Clinton, WA