Home

The Most Sane Thing Is To Say Goodbye to Patriotism…

2 Comments

Patriot missile

Patriot is a real missile and a metaphoric word of mass destruction

Bloody Hell!

I’m tired of looking into the same sun and getting my eyes burned.

I’m not Catholic so I’ll confess it here… I listen to far too much CNN.

It’s an anti-Trump thing and a nasty addiction. Someday I’ll go back to cocaine and chocolate-coated popcorn.

Now it might not be cable news per se, but I hear the word patriot bandied about a lot.

Uh-oh…. it’s coming up…. yup… here it comes… Rant time… here goes…

I have a few pet peeves, and the word PATRIOT is on my Top Ten list.

…………….

CAMBRIDGE DICTIONARY
patriot:
… person who loves their country, and, if necessary, will fight for it.

…………….

You hear Patriot, I hear Polarizing.

Samuel Johnson: Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.

Patriotism sets up a ME vs YOU scenario. Good witch vs Bad witch. You are or you aren’t.

good vs bad witch

Patriotism is a rebel statue that implies separation under the guise of unity.

Patriotism suggests that if you reject anything emanating from “the other” (gun control, abortion, BLM, LGBTQ rights, gender equity, socialized medicine, etc etc) side of the ideological fence, then YOU are not a patriot.

Patriotism is a patriarchal word. Men make fists and pound desks and shout aloud.

Women understand. How many women use the word patriotism? Most women play games where everyone wins: no losers, fewer battles, fewer monuments and statues to war “heroes”.

Do we call the (former) Dixie Chicks unpatriotic because they reject a war? Is kneeling during an anthem as bad as mixing pickles and peanut butter on your sandwich? Is protesting an oil pipeline a sign of unpatriotism or … perhaps… just an expression of a firm belief?

Oscar Wilde – Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious.

Patriot has become a bitter wedge that divides.

A wedge and a wall that separates the good guys from the bad guys.

Is building walls the answer to our global problems?

A hungry person in Sudan, or Syria, or… even in my own town, is a hungry person in my eyes, regardless of borders or continent.

hunger

The answer to the question is not segregation and a simpleminded it’s your problem, deal with it.

Did we learn anything from segregating black children into ghetto schools and backs of buses? Or hijacking indigenous kids into residential schools?

The world is so interconnected now that I wonder how we can continue to look at the sun and not get burned.

We all need to be ready to do what we can to think of doing the stuff that is necessary and restorative.

It’s difficult, complicated and messy – change of action and thought always is – but compassionate human minds can and do find answers. It’s the reason humans are still walking this planet.

Can we agree to find a kinder, gentler solution without resorting to “patriotism”?

It’s not a big answer, but a tiny step forward…

Every year we add a host of new words to our lexicon. Social isolation and COVID will be a part of our dictionaries next year.

Language evolves and the strong and meaningful survive. Patriot is a word that has lost its usefulness in the earthbound web of humanity.

Run up the global United Nations flag of inclusivity and equality.

Patriot(ism) … It’s time to set it on a boat and push it away into a gentle sea along with my other pet peeve words moderation and retirement.

……………………

Post Script: I’m a slow learner… after writing all of the above, while looking up the definition for PATRIOT in the Oxford English Dictionary, I found this:

“2017 – Oxford University Press have confirmed that the word ‘patriot’ will no longer feature in future editions of the Oxford English Dictionary. 

The words ‘patriotic’ and ‘patriotism’ will also be removed, due to concerns that they have become synonymous with racial hatred and xenophobic buffoonery.”

Fishermen preparing for fishing

Boosting Your Empathy Muscle

2 Comments

empathy2

Oh … good morning… and welcome. Only a month until Halloween!

I’m talking to myself here today, but you’re most welcome to listen in…

The word I’m hearing in my head is empathy.

Empathy is an elusive killer for me.

I search under the couch pillows for it (score, a nickel!) but can’t always find it.

Empathy is a daily battle against our internal hurricane forces.

Empathy is difficult for most of us. For Trump, empathy is a word that doesn’t even exist. Too bigly maybe.

Empathy is all about understanding. Flushing ignorance. Discovering compassion.

When I feel anger and distrust and suspicion and fear it’s often rooted in my lack of empathy, an inability to put myself in someone else’s shoes.

I see it over and over again in others too.

My Dad used to have a small slice of birch wood etched with the words from a poem titled Walk a Mile in His Moccasins written in 1895 by Mary T. Lathrap  (often attributed to various First Nations tribes):

Pray, don’t find fault with the man that limps,
Or stumbles along the road.
Unless you have worn the moccasins he wears,
Or stumbled beneath the same load.

There may be tears in his soles that hurt
Though hidden away from view.
The burden he bears placed on your back
May cause you to stumble and fall, too.

Here’s an “empathy” example from this week:

It seems really strange to me when I’m helping out at the local soup kitchen and a fellow volunteer (sometimes several volunteers) gets pissed at the downtrodden clients at the serving window.

Stringy hair, missing teeth, stained and torn shirts, bruised eyes and vacant stares. Some better, some worse. All hungry.

Just yesterday a usually lovely, friendly woman chopping carrots next to me turned in snarl and said: … they’d have more success in getting volunteers to help out here if it wasn’t for all of these freeloading fruit pickers.

I cringed, blood filling my ears. Instantly – empathyless – I wanted to yell at her and add sarcastically: … sure, and how about all these drug addicts and homeless people that won’t go out and get a job?

angry vegeatbles

This is a double conundrum.

I’m hearing a lack of empathy for these folks in her anger, her refusal to wear another’s moccasins … plus I have to suppress the bitter distaste I feel towards her for her unkind beliefs and my struggle or refusal to wear her moccasins.

In my head I’m saying to her, why the hell do you come to work here (for free) if you don’t feel that the people coming in should get a free meal? This is a f*%#ing soup kitchen!

Angst comes from a lot of different directions.

It’s hard to see a homeless person in the street. Maybe you  have a relative in the hospital. Or a friend in jail. You’ve watched someone descend into an addiction. You scream and swear in a rage at the a**Hole that just cut you off in traffic.

I often don’t know how to deal with the vitriol in life. Sometimes I’ve been stupid and just avoided these people. That’s my fear speaking.

But no, I tell myself, this lady chopping veggies may have had a rough start to her day and her minor frustrations are boiling over in a weak moment. It happens to us all, right?

Maybe her house had a water heater leak overnight and caused a minor flood. Lots of maybes…

Of course being empathetic doesn’t mean you have to be abused by anyone. There are some people we’re better off leaving to stew in their sour anger and frustration. We can’t save everyone.

But we can take the time to breathe, think, and reflect and look a bit deeper for the reason, the root of someone’s anger, frustration or unhappiness.

Empathy takes time and patience and a positive view that sucks energy like an old 100 watt light-bulb.

Yes, empathy needs an energy generating bootcamp.

Compassion and empathy are muscles. And it’s important to exercise. Empathy bootcamp.

And the best way to change someone’s life is when they really need your help and you have the ability to give it, if only in gracious restraint and a willingness to accept that everyone has their own unique troubles.

Exercising empathy is probably the healthiest muscle to exercise.

Wise idea? Maybe…

I only hope I can listen to my own words going forward…

NB: This blog post is dedicated to the memory of Julia Christine Lane (1986-2019), a beautiful, compassionate, and highly empathetic soul.

empoathy heart