To be hopeful in bad times

 

 

These are the times that try us. We can be broken. We can fall down. We can walk down a path of darkness but that does not mean we will never see the light. That doesn’t mean we will never walk in the sun again.

To be hopeful in bad times is not stupid or futile or simply in vain. To be hopeful in bad times is essential. This is our foundation. This is the beginning.

 

We have been taken on quite a ride lately. Our “normally” crazy world is insane. Our society is sick and we are running a fever.

I am a mix of emotions in regard to our current situation in the United States and the world. I am passionate in my belief in equality and kindness, in peace and understanding and inclusiveness.

I like many others believe our country is going to hell in a hand-basket. The words “fascist” and “dictator” are floating around paired with “dangerous”. People are angry and sad…and scared. I have wondered what it would have been like to be a German citizen during the rise and rule of Hitler. Watching the changes, living with the results…

I also am very conscious of the fact that the status quo has much to be desired. The deck has been stacked against we the people for quite some time.

I will not mention his name, never, in any of my writings; in my blog, on Facebook or on Twitter. He is not my president, that damn and damned orange menace.

Never before have I seen such division and hostility. Our dear leader is showing us how to conduct ourselves and it is downright nasty. It is not who we are. I refuse and I resist.

We are the descendants of immigrants and revolutionaries.  Right or wrong, our country was built on revolution, sacrifice and blood, sweat and bitter tears. It was also built with certain ideals, ideals we have lost to greed, vanity and indifference.

These ideals are etched in our hearts and minds. It is our diversity paired with a belief in equality and fairness that makes us strong. We are united in our common love for life, our families and humanity. We are the strongest when we are united and united behind a common cause.

I believe we have our cause…

It has been said one needs to hit rock bottom before one sees the light. I believe we are waking up. It has taken a shaking but I believe, hope anyway,  that we are sufficiently shaken for the magic to take effect.

The common enemy; I don’t mean that orange menace exactly. Our true enemy is our collective selves. We have allowed this to occur; this what some would call a coup, a misstep or a stupid and dangerous mistake. Somehow we have someone in office who most of us didn’t want doing things that most of us do not like, do not like at all.

Lots of people have marched and ranted. Some have destroyed. Some people I suppose must be glad if they paid attention and believe and wanted what he promised, he is dong those things; as fast as he can. An agenda that obviously been planned. He is checking them off one by one.

Every day a new outrage.

And everyday more and more stories of unity. Maybe if we can unite behind a common enemy we can unite behind other issues.

Perhaps we had to hot rock bottom to finally ‘get it”. I know from experience that in order to have a different world a shaking up in the status quo must occur and seldom is this easy or peaceful.

Yes, to be hopeful in bad times is essential and this time is no different. I have hope because people on a whole do care and I do believe they are good at heart.

This is a time to dig deep and not turn a blind eye and just go along. What this means; listen to your heart, to your soul, it knows the way…it knows the truth, we all do.

For now I am holding on to hope, trying to be calm and kind and more understanding and to keep a smile….

…time to write something funny for the next one…

 

~nlm 

 

peace friendship-63743_640

 

 

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness…

(From the Declaration of Independence ) 

 

 

 

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The Illusion of Choice

 

 

 

 

 

 

We live in interesting times with one foot dragging behind mired in the memory of a gilded past and the other poised to go off the edge into a dark unknown abyss. It’s preferable to focus on the comfortable illusion of sameness, ignoring the obvious signs of change especially if the change is not so good.

Our planet is in trouble and so is our spirit and our collective soul.  In a world with a swelling population and dwindling resources it’s easy to zone out on the meaningless and glaze over that gnawing feeling with yet another distraction and there ate plenty distractions to keep us occupied.

 

work-buyconsumedie-consumerism
“All over the place, from the popular culture to the propaganda system, there is constant pressure to make people feel that they are helpless, that the only role they can have is to ratify decisions and to consume.” ― Noam Chomsky

We are bombarded with messages everyday, bits of information, much of it totally useless that invade our minds on constant basis. Most of us are used to this constant stream of stimuli. Some of us thrive on it, and depend on it.

These messages are unimportant useless fluff that disguise themselves are dire. They cover up what is truly important. They lull us into complacency, we are not required to think, they do that for us.

They provide our heroes. the dreams and the ideals that we as responsible consumers should aspire to.They also tell us who to point the finger at and there are endless sources of blame to go around.

They give us our scapegoats. They prey upon our fears which they too have cleverly crafted.

 

Credit: Banksy
Art by Banksy

We are managed and manipulated by a system that has become rigged against most of us to benefit a privileged very few. Our lovely planet that belongs to all of us is becoming more and more privatized and profitized used to feed an bulging worldwide economy with a hearty appetite that never stops being hungry.

We are told we must have endless war. That we are not safe.

We are told that the worthiness of a human life is measured by one’s assets. We are told a lot of things.

They distract us. They divide us. We are told what and who to fear. They are very good at this because they have been doing it for so long.  They provide the illusion of choice.

 

vote-politics-sheep-vote-blue-red

Treated like children we are presented with limited choices, usually two. This team or that team?  Coke or Pepsi? Red or Blue? Republican or Democrat? Left wing or Right?  When in reality it’s the same damn bird.  They who control what we see and and hear they would let us believe these are the only choices but they are not, far from it.  We do have real choice and we can make the world a better place for us all.

There are forces that would polarizes us. They divide us with their illusion of choice.

They want to keep us from finding common ground. Pitting one side against another, distracting us from our common enemy. Because as drastic as that sounds there is an enemy and it those who pull the crooked strings, those in the shadows, the ones that have the game rigged.

 

 

art-street-graffiti-puppet-corporate-control

 

They manipulate everything they can. There is no pie they haven’t already eaten most of and they are still very hungry.  We are being forced to share what little is left. They distract us with this and that. They divide us. And they are very good at it.

Most of us exist on the bottom of a great pyramid where those very few on the top live on the backs of those on the ever widening bottom. The very top depends on this arrangement and pretty much always has, we the people are waking up to that illusion of choice; that our much touted and much admired democracy is an outright and blatant lie and has been for a long time.

 

pyramid-dollar

 

 

 

Art by Banksy
Art by Banksy

 

consumerism
“Our economy is based on spending billions to persuade people that happiness is buying things, and then insisting that the only way to have a viable economy is to make things for people to buy so they’ll have jobs and get enough money to buy things.” ― Philip Slater

 

Together we are powerful.  A force to be reckoned with. And we can remake the world into what we want it to be. We can heal our planet and ourselves. We can take back what rightfully belongs to ourselves and future generations.  We can refuse to play, to go along with the idiocy of the day.

We need to focus on what we agree with not what do not, this separates us. We need each other; divided we fall but united we stand strong.

charles-activism-interview_another-world-quote
“We can change the world with every thought we have and every word we speak.” –Alberto Villoldo

 

We can get back to basics. Turn off the damn TV. Go outside. Go for a walk and leave your car behind.  Talk to your neighbors. Grow some tomatoes.  Don’t buy anything you don’t really need. Open your mind. Open your heart. Question what you are being told. Speak up and speak up for others who cannot.

Topple their false idols and render their marketplace a ghost town.

How did this become our God?
How did this become our God?

 

Perhaps we can break out of the illusion and make our own choices. I do think we do have a choice and despite what one may hear about rigged elections and the like, I know for a fact that money talks. Don’t buy what you are being sold. Question what you are being told. Listen to what your inner voice tells you.

Encourage free thought. Listen to those who may have a different view that you. Seldom if ever is one side 100% right or 100% wrong for that matter. Listen to those who may be supporting a different presidential candidate than you. Many of us have friends and family members who fit that category and it is easy to be confused at their choice or their lack of choice at all but there can be found nuggets of universal truths and wisdom everywhere and in everyone, seek that out. Let us not be separated from each other at a time when we need each other the most. In reality we are all on the same side. No matter who is elected to any public anywhere. It is we the people who matter and it we the people can make a difference.

 

~NLM

love-peace-art-street-graffiti“Choose a leader who will invest in building bridges, not walls. Books, not weapons. Morality, not corruption. Intellectualism and wisdom, not ignorance. Stability, not fear and terror. Peace, not chaos. Love, not hate. Convergence, not segregation. Tolerance, not discrimination. Fairness, not hypocrisy. Substance, not superficiality. Character, not immaturity. Transparency, not secrecy. Justice, not lawlessness. Environmental improvement and preservation, not destruction. Truth, not lies.”

Suzy Kassem

Related articles and stuff

These 6 Corporations Control 90% Of The Media In America (businessinsider.com




Coca Cola Commercial - I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing (In Perfect Harmony) - 1971

An Indigo Rant

screaming woman in public domain

I’m angry…damned angry. Boiling mad angry. This is a rant my friends and if you don’t wish to see the darker side of SBI please look away. Come back again on another day. That is a warning and this is a rant!

I feel someone should speak up here. I suppose I lead a sheltered existence, safe in my little blog world where I am surrounded by enlightened and caring people.  I do however venture out to the virtual world at large, and oh yes, we all know this world can be ugly, unbearably ugly.

I try to stay  away from all this but I am concerned.  I do care and I am curious.  I recently visited the Huffington Post. It is a place I go. I have an account there and I am called theindigoside. As the name suggests it is the indigo side. I can get somewhat political but I am me, and all the me I can be.

I ran into a story:

Timothy Alsip, Oregon Homeless Man, Robs Bank For $1, Asks To Go To Jail To Access Healthcare

TIM-ALSIP

This is all very sad.  Many of us in The United States have no health care. I was chatting with a British friend of mine on Facebook and had a difficult time explaining how our system “works”. I personally have recently lost my benefits and those for my two children. It is a scary thing to be at risk like that but  I am grateful and I feel blessed to have all that I do…but I digress.  This rant is not about me.

This poor man in the story is a homeless and obviously desperate man. He could be mentally ill. He could have a myriad of problems.  This is not my point….it is obvious again that he could be doing better but he is not. THAT is a fact.  We could go over who and what the problem is. We could blame the government, the Democrats or the Republicans. We could blame the one percent or the 99. We could blame his parents, society or corporations..we could even blame the man himself.

The world is f**ked my friends, oh yes, we all know this…

This is all valid but this is not why I am so upset, at least not at this time. Right now,  I am upset about the type of comments this story received.  I am appalled really.

No one saw the sadness, no one had any empathy for this man. Some blamed the “freeloaders” of society. Many had someone or something to blame.  Some made fun of his appearance and all the comments I read blamed him in some way. Not one of them had any sympathy for this poor fellow human.

It was a competition on who could be more clever and witty than the person before them.  I probably put myself up for ridicule with these people but I had to speak up…I had to…

This was my response:

However someone looks at it. Whoever someone blames for the ills of society. Whatever someone says trying to be clever and witty all the while sitting at home with a full stomach and a nice warm comfortable bed to retire to. In this someone’s opinion it is a sad and sorry state that has befallen us when no one has any sympathy, empathy or any sort of feelings for a fellow human being.
NO one is immune to adversity. However and whatever some may think. One’s fate can turn on a dime, just like that. This story is just sad. Damn sad all around.”

And it is not just here. It is everywhere. I see smug self-satisfied people judging others. It is so easy to do so. It is easy for some to tell themselves that their luck or success or whatever is due to the deserving of it.   It also is easy to save one’s compassion for the attractive while condemning those who are not so much; old people, ill people ,the homeless, the wretched, the insane, and the troubled. It is easy for some to blame and condemn, to point the finger to all except themselves.

Many rich people have worked very hard and so have many poor people. Good fortune plays a huge role and that fortune can and does change.  As we all know the rain falls on us one and all.

I know for a fact that you are not like this. You are compassionate and wise and wonderful.

Surrounded by people like you all the time one could think everyone is like you, but this is not the case.  I know I am preaching to the choir here.  I guess what I’m trying to say….

…next time you hear some of this garbage being spewed by your fellow human please stand up for us. Set the record straight, help us all and preach understanding and compassion. Let those who hold these sorts of negative and unproductive opinions know that that sort of thing will not be tolerated. Speak up for the voiceless, the misunderstood and the ugly. Stand up for the ill and the homeless and the poor people who have done nothing wrong but be poor.    We all deserve kindness.

speak-the-truth-300x287

Because…

quotes suess EarthDay

Thanks for listening,

~SBI

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.” ― Plato

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Doing the Environmental Drag

I don't want to set the world on fire...I just want to put a flame in your heart...
Credit: Public Domain

Lately I have been doing a fair amount of research for a few articles with environmental themes. And there is something that bothers me about the whole thing. As I was wading through all this technical minutiae, it struck me on how depressing the whole thing is.  There are reams upon reams of information on the environment out there; books, websites and blogs from our fellow bloggers and what has struck me like a wicked slap in the face is all this doom and gloom that permeates it all.

I am someone who cares about our world an awful lot. I know there are many of us who do.  I am quite passionate about the state of our planet and how we treat it.  I seldom can watch the news anymore. It gets me all riled up. I find myself yelling at the screen.  Environmental disasters such as oil spills and the like can set me on high simmer. So probably like many others; I have tuned out, I have admittedly buried my head in the sand. A person can only take so much bad news before they shut down.

I recently did a piece on saving the trees. It was mostly hopeful and upbeat. I included some ways on how we all can help our friends the trees. I did a lot of research on the subject and I must admit; it made me depressed.

black dog howling
Credit: Public Domain

I like to put a hopeful spin on my writing and in my life in general but at times I have to fight bouts of depression. I suppose many of us creative types do. I have borrowed a page from Winston Churchill; calling it the black dog. This dog is never welcome but from time to time it sits on my front porch and howls a bit.  This clouds up my skies with gray and I try to distract myself, writing helps, working in the garden helps…helping others and trying to spread a little cheer around really helps.

Let me tell you, reading through endless reports on the state of our environment does not help. To be fair to my fellow writers out there. I know they work very hard, probably much harder than I. They are learned individuals where I am a self-taught layperson. From what I’ve been reading it is easy to see why your average person who probably cares a lot for the planet is turned off by all this stuff.

I think some writers like to show off their vocabulary and knowledge and perhaps like to play a bit on the sensationalism factor.  It is difficult at times to be a reader soaking this up.  There are gifted writers of non-fiction out there who makes learning a pleasure; conveying information seamlessly and seemingly effortlessly but those writers are not as common as I like them to be.

I find myself wading through this information just to get to the pertinent information. Like a bowl of oatmeal; it is good for me, but it’s bland. It just sits there like a tasteless lump and it difficult to digest.

I guess that is one of the reasons that I try to write like I do. I could use bigger words. I could try to impress you with my 20 plus years of acquired knowledge but how boring is that?   This brings me back to the environmental thing. I was reading some blogs by who I’m sure are very smart well-meaning people but…and I ‘m half joking when I say this….but it made me want to jump off the nearest bridge.

 positive-attitude happy face
Credit: Public Domain

If we are going to save this planet we should know what’s going on. I realize just how important and serious it all is and I am no Pollyanna, although at times I may seem like one. I am a former pessimist turned optimistic realist, emphasis on the optimism.

I talked to MM about my troubles.  He is practical where I am not and he usually gives very sound advice.  He said: “You do it.”  “Do what’? I asked. “You should concentrate your writings on the environment, put a positive spin on it, but be real and get people to listen.” He replied calmly like it was the most simple thing in the world.

Wind turbines
Credit: public domain
newfreedompark-garden
Credit: Public Domain

I think what is needed is to face our problems head on and acknowledge them no matter how ugly and then move on to positive ways to deal with them…always looking at the bright side because there is always a bright side. We need to focus on what is good and what others are doing that is making a difference…but the key here is action.

So in the future look for more environmental pieces from me focusing on the bright side and what we as average citizens can do to help.

On the Sunny side of the street but walking with purpose,

Strawberryindigo.

day-of-1000-trees in public domain
Credit: Public Domain

 5 pieces of good news from planet Earth (motherjones.com)

Positive Environment News   (greatnewsnetwork.org)

Good Environmental News (huffingtonpost.co.uk)

Save The Trees (strawberryindigo.wordpress.com)

Opinions on Environmental Justice Forum (frsm1000dra.wordpress.com)

Observing, Understanding and Respecting Nature is Imperative of Deep Faith (seriouslyplanning.wordpress.com)

Never Underestimate the Value of Cash–Election 2012

But, shucks, we got the best politicians in this country that money can buy.”

Will Rogers

It is election day and after a long fight both sides should be exhausted after working feverishly around the clock, mostly in swing states, trying to reach those undecided voters. Meanwhile, the same politicos with the toothy white grins and the perfect spins are haunting the TV and Internets with images of big glossy maps of the United States decked out in blue and red with a touch of gray.  Always coming to the same conclusion, we are a nation divided. This is of no surprise and how this can be news is beyond me.

We in Oregon are often overlooked. We are quiet and quaint. Most people are distracted by the bright lights of California or Seattle. Politicians usually ignore us. At most we are a photo-op stop as Obama showed in 2008, we are a blue state and I live in a very blue county inside this blue state.

Romney hasn’t a chance here and he should know it but his constant barrage of commercials suggest otherwise. I’m relived that this whole mess is finally almost over.

(See the opinion of a future voter in the following You Tube video that’s making the rounds.)

Tired of Bronco Bamma and Mitt Romney

I think I may speak for all Americans when I say that I am sick to death of all these commercials and ads from both sides. To me it’s a waste. It shows how absolutely money crazy we are. If we have any national religion it is the worship of that–Money.  It’s holier than thou and it’s burning a hole in your pocket right now…

In our mixed up national psyche we are convinced that the candidate who raises the most money is the automatic winner.  Nothing else matters and it’s not as if anyone is holding bake sales to raise this money–they are getting it from the rich who have their own agenda and ideas which may not jive with most of us.

And why do they need the money…what do they spend it on? A great deal on those damn ads and flyers…

My mail has been inundated for weeks with thick glossy and expensive flyers proclaiming this and that. I have been bombarded with countess TV commercials–all with smiling politicians proclaiming this and that–supporting this message and that message.  Each proclaiming the other guy is wrong, very wrong even scary wrong.

Since my city of Portland is right on the border with Washington State we get their commercials too–this can get confusing and annoying.

 

The whole system is like that. It’s not just the presidential candidates or the Democrats or Republicans, it’s all of them.  Honestly, I am happy the people in the flyer factory have jobs and the media people do too and really kudos to the postal service.  I know all this money must be stimulating someone somewhere….Right?

I can’t help but wonder in my simplistic way that perhaps all this money spent on this mania could be spent on something more worthy… 

For instance: feeding hungry children or repairing crumbling bridges. How about training programs for the unemployed? How about jobs…not just lip-service trickle down jobs that live solely in campaign speeches but real jobs…perhaps via public works programs? How about it?

How about money for schools? or for disaster relief? I can think of a million worthy causes…

If I saw a politician spending “hard-earned” PAC money to feed the hungry and damn the consequences, I would have respect for that person–I’d be downright impressed and I’d listen to what that person had to say–regardless of party. I think a lot of people would as well. I also think that people are more independently minded than others may give them credit for.

This kind of do-gooding could create a buzz that would bring in the media with free advertising; a win-win situation for almost everyone…except for the ones with the deep pockets…the donors..the movers and the shakers…the ones attached to all that cold hard cash.  I ran across a list of them, it is HERE

I’ve read that between the two major candidates six billion dollars will be spent on this election, a new record. I can’t help but wonder what good that kind of money could do.

I did a little research…and six billion dollars goes a long way…

In The United States:  All that money could buy 200,000 average-priced cars…22,059 average-priced houses or…with six billion dollars 69,940 students could attend college for four years.

6 billion could buy one month’s worth of food for over 9 million families of four.

2 billion children could buy a warm coat with that amount of money and 6 billion dollars could definitely buy the world a coke…I could go on and on but you get the picture.

HAPPY ELECTION DAY!

Strawberryindigo.

References:

2012  Presidential Campaign Finance Explorer (Washingtonpost.com)

Does big money spell big trouble in campaigns? ( CNN.com)

Cost of Average Home (www.census.gov)

What’s the price tag for a college education? (Collegedata.com)

Average cost of a 4 year University (USATODAY.com)

USDA cost of food Sept. 2012 ( USDA.gov)

Cost of food at home (USDA.gov)

Mind the Gap–The One Hundred Percent

I remember the beginning of The Occupy Movement; first came the stories, little blurbs on the news. People started talking and it grew and grew and what started in a park in New York City spread like wildfire and many cities, one of them my town of Portland, Oregon joined in the protests.  It was new and exciting and no one could seem to know what to make of it.

I was stoked! I am a firm believer of Power to the People and all that. The whole movement had this air of fresh hopefulness. Looking back now I think I saw what I wanted to see; a grassroots effort leading to something big and changing the world. I admit that I am a sucker for that sort of thing.

However, I was not as exuberant about the methods of the movement which struck me as unsustainable. The entire concept of occupying didn’t sit well with me. I was cautious. I was afraid the fledgling movement would just make some noise, spiral out of control and then die on impact.

I wrote about the movement back then. I pleaded with the protestors in a series of posts, to be careful. I knew they needed a leader and I was hoping one would emerge…

To my dismay a leader did not step forward and the movement, like a chicken with its head cut off, ran around and around in circles making a huge mess and then just up and died. There seemed to be no clear goals or agenda, just occupying.

I visited the Portland camp a few times.  I remember the people there. The hopeful and the not so hopeful. The extremes of humanity.

I remember the friendly man in the tie dye who welcomed us to the occupation, I remember the art tent, and the free condom jar. I remember the makeshift kitchen and the line of hungry and grateful people.

I remember the teenage girl in white shorts and flip flops, hungry, dirty and cold eating a glazed twist like it was heaven. I wonder what happened to her? I wonder what happened to many of them. I remember their faces. I remember the despondent man in the wheelchair and the little old lady who screamed at us, and the boy with the fancy rat…

I remember the kind people who showed up with a giant urn of coffee and the woman and the little girl who were passing out homemade cookies with the tiny M & M’s.

I also remember the number of obviously homeless and mentally ill staying in the encampment. Many of them seemed to be there just to “make the scene”.  Most were not concerned with equality or social justice. Many just came for a hot meal, and who could blame them? Some came for a party.  It seemed many had nowhere else to go and were just taking advantage of the situation…

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Did the movement accomplish anything beyond becoming a parody of itself? A messy and expensive one at that. The same conditions are present, nothing has changed, our problems have only deepened.

In my opinion one of the core reasons the movement did not meet its objectives is because it had no objectives except to occupy; to take, to seize public and private property in the name of protest and damn everyone else.

We need more togetherness in this world.

The movement alienated the very people whose support it needed; your average citizen. The responsible adult who has bills to pay, perhaps a family to take care of, a job to go to (if they are lucky.) Who has the time or inclination to sit all day in a park and “protest”?  I think frankly the whole thing scared and upset a lot of our citizens. To succeed a movement needs to be inclusive, it needs to bring people together, it needs to solve problems not create more.

Occupy Portland, October 21, 2011

The thoughtful voices calling out for fairness and equality, for rationality, were drowned out by the storm of senselessness the movement became. It became a circus and the media gave us all a front row seat.

The few who truly cared were striving for social change.  I think they may have been in a bit over their heads and for all their lofty ideals and ideas, the practicalities of life got in the way as they have a tendency to do.

Perhaps in all reality, all it was just a bunch of angry and frustrated people, not knowing what to do about being angry and frustrated.

It is easy to sit back and judge. To say it was all for not and that it was a complete and total disaster…but I don’t think it was all loss…

What can we learn from this?

If anything, The Occupy Movement showed us the ugly side of our society. It shed the light on just how many angry and desperate people there are and what they can and will do. It showcased the need for equality and justice and what happens when our safety net of social services gets pulled out from underneath us.

I think recent world events have helped put it all in perspective for me.  What we Americans deem important at the time can look puny in retrospect compared to what people in other countries have to endure. I think many of us, myself included, take our freedoms for granted.

Everyone wants, but no one is willing to work for it…it’s pass the buck, follow the crowd, don’t dare think for yourself and leave the mess for someone else to clean up.

They say revolutions can get messy, I will agree to that but revolutions bring change, The Occupy Movement in this country was no revolution–just a mess.

Life isn’t easy and our problems as a society cannot be solved easily. Our biggest strength as a nation, is our diversity. We live in a land of a million ideas and a million ways. This perspective makes us special and unique and this makes us strong. Whatever and however we solve our problems, and we will solve our problems, requires not just work but it requires…

We the people, by the people, for the people..

.  The Occupy Movement showed us something about ourselves, it showed that We The People are a force to be reckoned with. There is power in strong emotions including anger, but that energy needs direction. True change requires work from all of us.

All 100% of us.

…and this reminds me of a quote. The author is unknown, consider it your typical everyday citizen. It came from a piece of graffiti on The Berlin Wall, it was found and recorded after the fall of that famous wall.

“Many small people, who in many small places, can alter the face of the world.”

The dream is not over, only postponed.

Strawberryindigo.

Based on :Image:Peace Sign.svg, drawn with thi...

Much has happened since The Occupy Movement began….

‘Occupy’ costs U.S. cities at least $13M – USATODAY.com

Occupier’s Occupy woman’s home (citizenjournalistdotorg.wordpress.com)

Cameron Whitten from Occupy Portland to mayoral candidate to hunger strike (photo essay) (photos.oregonlive.com)

Occupy Portland Website (www.portlandoccupier.org)

We The People (strawberryindigo.wordpress.com)

Occupy What Next? (strawberryindigo.wordpress.com)

Occupy Standoff (https://strawberryindigo.wordpress.com)

Occupy Moves On (https://strawberryindigo.wordpress.com)

Occupy Portland, October 21, 2011

 What others are saying…

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This was written in response to The Weekly Writing Challenge put on by The Daily Post.

To participate in the challenge, tag your posts with “DPchallenge” or leave a link to your post in the comments. We will keep an eye on the tag and highlight the week’s best posts on Freshly Pressed each Friday.

This week’s theme: Mind The Gap: “As we revisit the events of Occupy Wall Street one year later, or cover the new happenings, some WordPress.com bloggers have begun speaking about what the Occupy Movement does or does not signify for them. For this week’s Mind the Gap, let us know: What does the Occupy Movement mean to you?”

The curse of the cat people

Hello

On a recent rainy Sunday I had the occasion to drop by the International Cat show appearing at a local motor hotel.

This wasn’t my first time at this particular Holiday Inn.  It’s the place this crazy city chooses to put on some of the cheaper and more tacky events. I had last been here several years ago, for a bad art show and this day, this rainy Sunday reminded me of bad art.

M.M and I with teenage daughter in tow arrived about noon or so.  The parking lot was packed, but by the grace of the good parking lot fairy, a miracle in the form of a departing minivan left a gap and MM masterfully grabbed it.  I took this as a sign of good fortune in this year of the dragon and as soon as we landed I hydroplaned across the slick parking lot and almost ran right into a red VW bus full of hippies and cat people.

This I took as a sign of my utter stupidity and it wasn’t until I heard the frantic mewing that I stopped in my tracks….what was that?  I listened, MM listened and so did our daughter…The parking lot was full of frantic cat cries…”Is that where the losers go?”  Back to a locked car and who knows what?

After passing several nervous smokers we finally hit the front gate and into the show proper.  We received our ballots with instructions on the voting.  The winning cat gets 1000 bucks.. what does a cat do with 1000 dollars? I did not know until I saw it…..

What is it?  Good question.  It is a scene of utter foolishness and fools parting with their money.  Rows upon rows of kitty condo cages crammed together, all customized I guess, according to each cat’s personality. Some of the cages proudly displayed an elaborate ribbon or two declaring their superiority. In each deluxe luxury unit lie a cat, flaked out and asleep surrounded by an array of cat accessories the likes I have never seen.  These cats were tired and worn-out like overdone starlets sleeping it off in the lap of luxury. Who knows how long before they end up frantically mewing in a locked car in the parking lot out there with the others.

 Just keep those ribbons coming Fluffy…… 

The owners of the cats seemed to be living quite a different life. Many of them hovered around their charge, eyeing each other and everyone who came near, seeing them as a potential threat. Don’t even think about trying to pet a cat.  That is a strict no-no to the nth degree.

Never under any circumstances should you ever attempt to make any physical contact with any of the cat contestants.

This is the supreme sin in cat shows and we were reminded of that constantly.

Most of the cat owners were middle-aged women wearing ugly cat shirts and nervous stressed out faces.  Many of them were eating foul-smelling chinese takeout that seemed to mix with the odor of cats to create an atmosphere I will never quite get over or explain.

Every few minutes or so an annoying man with a microphone and a raspy voice would cut through the roar of the crowd and shout out a number, calling up the next contestant.  A harried backstage mother/owner would then jump up, frantically brush the cat and rush up to the stage while warning the onlookers out of the way by repeating over and over:

 “Make room for people holding cats, make room for people holding cats.”

Pity the poor spectator who got in the way; these women meant business. I hate to admit it but some of them made me a wee bit nervous, especially the big ones.

I made my way past the harried and through the endless rows of cages to view and perhaps meet with a few contestants.  Some of the more ambitious ones were out stirring up the crowd and posing for pictures.

We toured the entire circuit and I was afraid that I wouldn’t find a cat worthy of my vote for the 1000 dollar prize.

It was the high-pitched squeals that first alerted me, the kind some little girls and some bigger ones make upon presentation of something so unbelievably cute, and how…I joined the chorus of girly oohs and aahs as soon as I spied the cutest kitten there has ever been in all kittenkind. I realize the seriousness in that statement and I’m telling you cat lovers out there that it’s true and anyone in attendance would definitely agree.  This kitten in all its kitten glory with its soft fuzzy spotted fur let out a silent mew that literally drove one woman to tears.

“I wasn’t ready for such cuteness.” she exclaimed as her wary boyfriend looked on.

This was one of the more surreal moments that will stick in my mind for some time to come. It wasn’t that I didn’t think it strange, I did. It was that I completely understood and was feeling a bit overwhelmed myself. The kitten was that cute. It was so cute that I neglected to take a picture of it. It was at that very moment that confirmed what I have really known all along…

These are my people..I am one of these cat people…..

I broke out of the crowd and made my way to the very back.  Littered along the edges were tables with various vendors selling their various cat trinkets for various sums of money that seemed all too much for me.  I visited each table and exhibit feigning interest and looking like a potential sap.

I stopped and watched a woman spinning yarn out of cat fur.  She seemed nice and quite normal except for the fact that she was making cat yarn.  She told me about the ups and downs of the day and how no one seemed to be buying her sweaters…

 yes… cat fur sweaters….

I politely excused myself by mumbling something about the world’s tallest cat and how I must find it. After all it was the headliner….

The world’s tallest cat! Wow!

I wandered around until I found the biggest crowd. It took some doing to get inside the circle and see what all the fuss was about. I ended up crawling under everyone but it was worth it because there it was!  The world’s tallest cat!  It resembled a smallish cheetah and it looked bored.  I couldn’t fully appreciate its incredible tallness because it was sitting down.  I crawled along the very ugly carpet and snapped a few pics… I’m glad I did because then suddenly my camera went buggy and refused to take anymore pictures.  This was terrible…At a cat show?!

I must admit now that I came here not exclusively because of my love for cats.  I came here to find weird-looking cats and take pictures of them so I could write about the weirdness. Now fate forced me to slow down and realize that I had yet to find a really strange-looking cat, most appeared pretty normal and even the one’s with the squished faces were sort of appealing.

We had about exhausted the place anyway and we all admitted that we were eager to leave to get home to our own cats…Mario, the black and white  and Sunny, the Calico.  They are the winners in my book and I give my vote to the both of them.  Too bad that doesn’t win the $1000………

Mario catnapping

Have a purrfect day full of catnip and naps.

Strawberryindigo.