Dixie Darr

Archive for the ‘Resistance’ Category

Just the Facts, Ma’am

In Friends, Learning, Resistance on May 16, 2018 at 10:36 am

A Facebook friend (now former friend) recently posted a meme showing Senator Chuck Schumer saying, “it’s racist to only allow citizens to vote.” That sounded fishy to me, so I looked it up and found out that he never said anything like that. I commented that it wasn’t true and suggested that she might try checking before posting. She was highly offended and told me I “didn’t have to be so nasty.”
Was that nasty I wondered and reread my comment. I guess I could have said “please.” Then it occurred to me that she had posted a vicious lie about someone, yet somehow concluded that my correcting her made me the nasty one. Before I had the chance to compose a polite response, she unfriended me.
This is why I can’t seem to stay friends with conservatives: They refuse to accept facts. “I’m entitled to my opinion,” they say. Yes, they are, but opinions are not equal to facts.
Another friend who hasn’t (yet) unfriended me rails against politicians, saying, “They’re all crooks. They’re all the same.” So far I have avoided telling him my opinion that only conservatives say that to justify voting for a crook. I’ve never heard a liberal say that. Maybe that’s because we pay attention to the facts.

In their last 25 years in office, Democratic Presidents had a total of three executive branch officials indicted with one (1) conviction and one prison sentence. that’s one whole executive branch official convicted of a crime in two and a half decades of Democrat leadership.
In the 28 years that Republicans have held office over the last 53 years, they have had a total of 120 criminal indictments of executive branch officials, 89 criminal convictions, and 34 prison sentences handed down.
Notice this doesn’t go back to the Nixon years. There I go again, pointing out facts. My friend, Chris, says, “My life is a constant battle between wanting to correct grammar and wanting to have friends.”
Yeah, what she said.

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Roseanne

In creativity, Learning, Resistance on April 5, 2018 at 6:59 am

I loved Roseanne the minute it debuted back in 1988 (THIRTY years ago!) right through the next-to-the-last season. Let’s face it, that last season was a turkey. Anyway, I’ve been looking forward to the reboot and dreading it at the same time. Would they ruin a good thing? Could it be updated and still remain relevant? I certainly hoped so.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t watch the premier and started seeing some alarming (or alarmist) posts from people saying they wouldn’t watch because the character Roseanne was a Trump supporter, as is the real-life Roseanne.
I wanted to give the show the benefit of the doubt. As divided as the country is, maybe treating it with humor on both sides would help.
Then Roseanne tweeted some nonsense about giving Trump credit for freeing hundreds of child sex slaves each month. Say what? Turns out it’s a conspiracy theory from one of those whacked-out websites with no regard for the truth. Apparently, Roseanne wears a tinfoil hat whenever she’s not on camera.
Now I was really eager to see the new show. Yesterday, I finally got the chance, and I liked it. Yes, Roseanne’s character supports the orange man, and her sister Jackie stands, if a bit wobbly, in the opposite camp. The rest of the family are too busy trying to live their lives and deal with daily problems as well as unemployment, single parenthood, surrogate birth, and cross-dressing to pay much attention.
The humor, sarcasm, and family relationships have only evolved and it was very funny. While I remain pretty much unable to deal with Trump supporters in real life, maybe the fictional characters will help.
Can we separate an artist from his/her work? Yes, I think we can. Sometimes.
On the other hand, I will probably never again be able to watch a Woody Allen movie. Some things are unforgivable.

Irrational Exuberance

In creativity, Friends, Home, music, Resistance on March 21, 2018 at 4:35 pm

The phrase “irrational exuberance,” was coined by Nobel laureate Robert Shiller and refers to the enthusiasm of investors not supported by reality. I’m using it here in a more general sense.
Even the most cursory glimpses of our world today reveals problems, so many problems that we can’t keep up.
If I turn on the news, I’m barraged with stories of women attacked in public places or their own homes, children abused,
childish and corrupt behavior from the man in the White House, the proliferation of racists crimes, threat of losing health care,
CEOs making 217 times the average worker’s salary, our crumbling infrastructure, the stimying of academic research for political reasons, sacrificing the environment to corporate greed, and reduced budgets for education.
I hear people screaming that anything they don’t like is “Fake News!” Other people scream unflattering names at the first group.
Wars slaughter men, women, and children all around the globe for stupid, petty reasons and new wars are threatened every day. And so on. Until I just can’t take it anymore.
I turn off the TV, sit back and breathe and try to clear my mind by turning my attention to the good things in my life.
It’s spring! Flowers are starting to bloom and trees to bud. I have plenty of books to read and words to write. I set my own schedule and answer to no one. I have love and joy and music and sunshine. I have church every week. To quote a friend, “It’s still a wonderful world.”
Yes, it is.
When confronted with bad news, I would like to think that I acknowledge it and do what I can, then, like the flower pictured, I’ll
find a scrap of soil and water and turn my face to the sun. I’ll put the shadows behind me and drink in the light.

They Walked Out

In Learning, Resistance on March 15, 2018 at 8:18 am

They stood up and walked out by the thousands to protest gun violence in schools.
When school administrators threatened them with suspension, they walked out anyway.
When schools tried to lock them in, they broke out or took a knee in the school hallways.
Even when they stood alone, they walked out.
They ignored criticism from so-called adults who accused them of just wanting 17 minutes out of school or being stooges for the political left, and they walked out.
People mocked them, threatened them, and tried to silence them, and they walked out.
They paid no attention to those who said nobody cared what a bunch of kids thought, and they walked out.
They reminded cynical, money-grubbing politicians that they will be voting soon, many this November, and they walked out.
They walked out in rain and snow and wind. When their schools were closed because of inclement weather, they went to school anyway to stand together in protest.
In small towns and big cities, in red states and blue, they walked out.
They walked out wearing homemade t-shirts and waving homemade signs, and I have never felt so proud of our American youth.
They stood up for what they believed, that school should be a safe place for kids, and that the horrific proliferation of guns in this country matters.
Did you see the quotation from an Australian, who said, “It looks like students all over the US are begging their government to protect them from guns, and the government’s response is, ‘Kids, kids, you need to understand. We like money more than we like you.’”
They walked out.
God bless them every one.

An Uphill Climb

In Arvada, Learning, Resistance, Walking on March 14, 2018 at 7:25 pm

I went dog walking with a friend and knew I was in trouble when we started off downhill. Contrary to conventional wisdom, my arthritic knees and ankles hurt more going downhill or down stairs than up, but I was also wondering about my stamina in climbing that hill on the way home. It didn’t help that my friend, who’s thin and physically fit, may not have even noticed the slope.
How’s my walking going, you ask? The first couple of weeks with my new shoes were great. I walked 5-6 days a week and even looked forward to getting outside and moving. Then it snowed and snowed again and the sidewalks were icy. Ten years ago, I slipped on ice in the library parking lot and broke my arm. To avoid doing that again, I don’t walk on ice. Then the winds came up and walking in the wind is just too difficult. I’m an excuse machine; I can come up with an excuse for anything.
For a couple of weeks, I barely walked at all. I never thought of it as being a failure or even a dropout—I was just on hiatus, and
now I’m attempting to get back on track. So to speak.
It isn’t easy, but I’m trying. Was it Yoda who said “Do or do not. There is no try”? Okay, how about this: I’m walking regularly and generally improving my physical fitness; I’m just not perfect yet.
I may be operating against human nature here. In her book about establishing habits, Better Than Before, Gretchen Rubin said, “starting again is often far harder than starting the first time.” I really don’t want to hear that, and I’m not sure I believe it. Starting to eat chocolate or potato chips again or reprising a habit of inactivity seems infinitely easier the second time around. Any former smoker will tell you how easy it is to slide into old habits. Anyway, I’m working on it, but sometimes it seems as if life is an uphill climb.
I’m in my golden years, people. It’s all supposed to be downhill from here.
The problem is that I never know if that means things are going to get better or worse?

Deny, Defy, Resist

In Resistance on January 18, 2018 at 6:17 pm

You may have noticed that I have lately stepped away from political rants. Don’t think it’s because I no longer feel strongly about the way #45 and the Republicans are destroying our country or that I no longer consider myself part of the resistance. Sometimes I just need a break from the intensity. I don’t watch the news much, and when I do, I mute it as soon as the orange shithole appears. Pardon my language. I do still listen to Rachel Maddow every night. (I don’t have cable, so I can’t watch the show, but the audio portion is available as a podcast.)
I like to think I’m keeping up at the same time I’m keeping my distance. I just can’t live a life of constant fury, so I focus on more pleasant things.
I’m ashamed that my generation of baby boomers is largely blamed for putting this nightmare regime in office. Most of my friends are boomers and virtually all of them agree that this is one of the darkest periods in our nation’s history, so we’re not all doddering fools. I’m happy to hear that the number of millennials of voting age now outnumbers baby boomers. Now if they will get out and vote, maybe we can begin to turn things around and return to sanity and reason and, yes, hope.
That’s as much of a rant that you’re going to get from me, at least until the daily accumulation of awfulness overwhelms me again and I just can’t help myself.

A Few More Days

In Christmas, Church, Resistance on December 27, 2017 at 10:03 am

I’m not quite done with Christmas yet. After all the preparations, I’d like it to last a few more days, please. Another day of relaxation and savoring the hope, peace, love, and joy of the season. This is a nice time of year. People are nicer to one another.
In many ways, 2017 was a disastrous year, and yet I’m not quite ready to turn to 2018. In the midst of a truly horrible year came some sweetness, affirmation that not all is lost. The first taste came on January 21 when hundreds of thousands of women and men all across the earth took to the streets to demonstrate against the monster in the White House and his regressive, idiotic ideas. When I saw a picture of two of my favorite men wearing pink pussy hats headed for the demonstration, it made my day.
It was a great year for my church with several projects started after a highly successful capital campaign. We also decided to fly our “freak flag” for all the world to see in the form of our big banner proclaiming that we believe science is real, love is love, women’s rights are human rights, black lives matter, and many more things that wouldn’t have seemed the least bit controversial a year ago. Even the massive hail storm that took out our roof and several stained glass windows couldn’t dampen our spirits. We observed Pride month with more banners and with the biggest Methodist contingent at the gay pride parade. In October we celebrated our 125th anniversary.
Personally, my world turned upside down when my first boyfriend from 51 years ago re-entered my life bringing unexpected joy and making me look at things from a whole new perspective.
I just want a few more days to relish all the wonderful things that happened even when all seemed lost. These lines from a poem by Dinos Christianopoulos sum it up nicely, “what didn’t you do to bury me / but you forgot that I was a seed.” Like all the other seeds, I’m comfortably canoodling with the earth, preparing to burst forth again soon.

We All Shine On

In Christmas, creativity, Resistance on December 9, 2017 at 10:40 am

My Secular Advent, Day Seven

The first week of Advent celebrates hope. We rest in the darkness waiting and preparing for the glorious event that we know is coming. Jan Karon wrote in her latest book, To Be Where You Are, “Advent for me (is), the expectation that something wonderful will happen” Unfortunately, in most of life, we don’t know what’s coming, and we still must wait and hope.

Our much-loved former President Barak Obama said, “I have always believed that hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting.” We need these words now more than ever.

We need to continue to forge forward, believing that this is a time of darkness but not despair. Look up at the night sky and see tiny points of light breaking through the darkness. Untold millions of them. And that’s what’s happening in this bleak midwinter here on earth. No one has the answer to what will finally bring peace on earth, good will to all people, yet millions of individuals perform daily acts of kindness and integrity, becoming beacons to those unable to speak or act for themselves.

Belief in a brighter future requires action to realize our hopes. As Maya Angelou wrote in her poem, Still I Rise

You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I’ll rise.”

In bitter times like these, maintaining hope is difficult, but it is our nature. We are, after all, made of stardust. We rise and we shine.

It’s what we do.

Dancing With My Cat

In Learning, Resistance on October 4, 2017 at 8:24 am

Most mornings Radley and I perform a ritual clash of wills. He decides I need to get up at, say, 4:45. I demur. He pats me, claws extended. I push him away. He tries to sit on my head. I pick him up and drop him to the floor. He launches himself back on the bed and tries to claw my leg. I pull the covers over me and he, lacking the necessary knowledge of object permanence, thinks large portions of myself have disappeared. He wanders onto my bookcase headboard and attacks a box of kleenex. I take it away and hide it under the covers with me.

Repeat.

Occasionally he will let me catch a few winks before he starts the sequence all over again.

This continues for maybe as long as an hour before I give up and get out of bed, at which point Radley meows piteously at me. He’s probably berating me for making him work so hard. He always wins, partly because I will always eventually get up and partly because he never gives up.

At some point during this daily dance, I realize that I’m only fighting him out of habit and a need to assert my dominance.

I think the seemingly interminable clashes between the left and the right are a little like dancing with a cat. We think they’re evil; they think we’re weak. We think they will someday, miraculously start paying attention to facts and logic. They simply refuse to recognize such things. We try to do the right thing for society as a whole. They do what “feels right” for themselves. We each get used to performing our ritual steps without either side acknowledging the other.

We aren’t cats, of course, and the stakes are much higher than what time to get up in the morning. How on earth can we get past this standoff? Sometimes I wonder if there is anything at all that we can agree on.

As Water is to Fish

In Learning, Prejudice, Resistance on September 27, 2017 at 6:46 am

The painting shows a tiny black girl in a white dress walking resolutely to school, eyes straight ahead, surrounded by U.S. Marshalls. The wall behind her has the N-word scrawled in rusty, running paint. The famous Norman Rockwell painting is one enduring image of racism. What it doesn’t show is the gauntlet of white parents screaming and spitting and throwing things at the little girl.

In normal life, they were probably perfectly nice people who paid their bills and waited politely in line and helped their neighbors. The thought of an innocent little black girl attending their children’s school, however, turned them into snarling lunatics.

In 1960, Ruby Bridges became the first African-American child to desegregate the all-white William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans. It didn’t go well. Somebody had to be the first.

The other lasting impression of racism for me is the devastating song, Strange Fruit, by Billie Holiday.

Southern trees bear a strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
Black bodies swingin’ in the Southern breeze
Strange fruit hangin’ from the poplar trees

Pastoral scene of the gallant South
The bulgin’ eyes and the twisted mouth
Scent of magnolias sweet and fresh
Then the sudden smell of burnin’ flesh

Here is a fruit for the crows to pluck
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck
For the sun to rot, for the tree to drop
Here is a strange and bitter crop.”

You should listen to it.

When other white people tell me they don’t believe in white privilege or institutional racism, I think of the meme that says, “Racism is to white Americans as water is to fish.” And I think of Ruby Bridges and Billie Holiday.

We have to stop this. We white Americans have to stop this. The first step is acknowledging that it isn’t somebody else’s problem. It’s our problem. We’re the problem and we have to fix it.