Posted in Uncategorized

On behavior, attitudes, beliefs & values

People—individually or in a group—have a tendency to gravitate toward certain routines. They navigate a pattern of choices throughout days, months, and generations, each time reaffirming their routines and solidifying their own sense of normalcy. This is done both for survival and to plot a course through the complex hierarchies that embody our world.

We create structures, societies and rules of decorum—whether spelled out like laws or tacitly accepted like social cues and rules of etiquette. And within that spectrum people choose to behave in certain ways.

Behavior toward social situations, popular media and marginalized cultures are, in large part, determined by attitudes. Perceptions—whether fictitious, encouraged by media or informed by experiences—teach our brains to have attitudes about certain situations or sources. Our minds anticipate, as they revert to the familiar comfort of establishing a pattern, to reaffirm the outcome we have already determined when our attitude first formed about that situation, group or event. Continue reading “On behavior, attitudes, beliefs & values”

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Posted in history, politics, Uncategorized

Previously known as John Brown’s Body

Six months into the Civil War, things were not going well for the Union (the north). Their army lacked effective leadership, comprehensive training, and many of the engagements took place in Confederate territory, allowing the advantage of familiar terrain. Virtually everyone had presumed the conflict would last 90 days; the terror, destruction and carnage that followed was difficult to fathom.

While in D.C. in November 1861 with her husband, Julia Ward Howe overheard the tune “John Brown’s Body,” the self-chosen theme song of regiments in the area, and entertained the idea of re-writing the lyrics. Later that night, she awoke from a sound sleep with the words in her head that would become the anthem of the Union Army, and subsequently the Union. Even today “the Battle Hymn of the Republic” is a familiar tune, although contemporary understanding is only the first verse, and little on its meaning.

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword:
His truth is marching on.

(Chorus) Glory, glory, hallelujah! Glory, glory, hallelujah! Glory, glory, hallelujah! His truth is marching on. 

Continue reading “Previously known as John Brown’s Body”

Posted in activism, politics, Uncategorized

You can’t pour from an empty cup.

As you might (or might not) have noticed, it’s been a while since my last post. Like everyone else, I have been overwhelmed with the bombardment of breaking news and political explosions, exhausting everyone’s ability to deal with the current political climate with the numerous and egregious violations of the law, human decency, and common sense.

In the meantime, I’ve been doing what’s admittedly not often a priority for me—self-care; devoting time to coping with stress. I think activists and general “helpers” are consistently so busy assisting others that they neglect themselves—at least until they’re exhausted, have a breakdown or get sick. So I’ve gotten better at tapping into what my gut is telling me, and then listening to it. Continue reading “You can’t pour from an empty cup.”

Posted in activism, politics, Uncategorized, women

My pro-life post

If you really are pro-life, then I assume you support everyone’s life—including the lives of black people; the lives of gay men, lesbians, and bisexual people; the life of a Syrian refugee child; the life of a transwoman or transman.

If you truly are pro-life…that means you’re interested in ways to support people through some of the most difficult moments in their lives—whether it was an intended pregnancy with a precipitous medical condition; a non-consensual experience; or despite all efforts to use effective contraception, that little plus sign appeared. These are not moments that happen blithely, as folks in business suits discuss talking points across a conference table. Pregnancies—both intended and unintended—are in the unsanitized realm of life—the messy, sometimes bloody, ooey-gooey part of our existence. And in those moments, people need support and compassion more than ever. Continue reading “My pro-life post”

Posted in activism, history, politics, Uncategorized, women

Throughout her life, Stanton’s father would say, “I wish you were a boy.”

My family is full of strong, successful women. They are teachers, mothers, counselors, translators, researchers, wives, social workers, and change makers. They are brilliant, passionate, stubborn and protective. Growing up amidst their example and stewardship contributed to who I am today.

My maternal grandmother and aunt took my sisters (one younger, one older) and I on a multitude of excursions as children. These trips exposed us to the many possibilities and viewpoints outside of the small town we lived in. When I was around ten years old, we visited Seneca Falls for the first time. Continue reading “Throughout her life, Stanton’s father would say, “I wish you were a boy.””

Posted in activism, history, politics, Uncategorized

In the words of a man named Martin

A lot has been written, discussed, displayed and filmed about Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., perhaps the most iconic Civil Rights leader in our history. Revered during his life and immortalized by his tragic death in 1968, Dr. King’s legend has a lot to do with the profoundly insightful things he said.

Martin Luther King Jr. is one of three people who have earned a federal holiday. Christopher Columbus got a holiday for “discovering the continent” (for Europeans); George Washington had an integral role in shaping the country as we’ve known it; and Dr. King called upon the nation to follow through with its “all men are created equal” notion. It wasn’t officially observed in all fifty states until 2000, but the effort to establish a “Martin Luther King Day” began shortly after his death, and was signed into law by President Reagan in 1986.

The almost-six-year-old monument to Dr. King in D.C. features a white granite representation of the leader, cut to create a gap in a half-circle of high stone, where visitors can view some of his quotations. The sixty-foot profile stares with his arms folded out at the Tidal Basin, toward the columned dome dedicated to Thomas Jefferson, a slaveholder, founding father and former President. The side of the block featuring his statue reads “Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.”

Continue reading “In the words of a man named Martin”