I’m surprised at how sad I am about John McCain’s passing. I can’t stop crying. I think I’m not just mourning the man and his ethic of service and sacrifice, but also what feels like the loss of civility, dignity, seriousness and intelligence in American public life.
The Republican Party of my childhood was one of lofty ideals, erudition and egalitarianism. Not without its shortcomings and failures for certain. But back then there were impressive thinkers and leaders who espoused the values of democracy, free markets, personal autonomy, international leadership, and freedom of speech.
Now, with very few exceptions, intelligent people of character and accomplishment have been traded for racists, convicted felons, pedophile sympathizers, reality stars, wife beaters, dopey billionaire donors, and other assorted grifters, miscreants and opportunists.
It has been surprising and disappointing to see people I love follow this fear-mongering, ethically bereft administration convincing themselves that somehow “the ends justify the means.” All the lessons of my life – my religious upbringing, my moral education and the march of history have taught me otherwise.
Rather than dwell on the disappointment of lost illusions, I choose to put my energy into finding positive ways to move forward. One thing I can do is teach my children the power of language, and what real patriotism entails. It’s a tough task, but the rare and shining example John McCain is a good place to start.
“We are citizens of the world’s greatest republic, a nation of ideals, not blood and soil. We are blessed and are a blessing to humanity when we uphold and advance those ideals at home and in the world. We have helped liberate more people from tyranny and poverty than ever before in history, and we have acquired great wealth and power in the progress.
We are 325 million opinionated, vociferous individuals. We argue and compete and sometimes even vilify each other in our raucous public debates. But we have always had so much more in common with each other than in disagreement. If only we remember that and give each other the benefit of the presumption that we all love our country, we will get through these challenging times. We will come through them stronger than before, we always do.”
–Excerpt from John McCain’s farewell letter.
People confuse the trappings of spirituality with the real deal. True yoga, meditation cannot be merchandised or possessed. Our actions are our only true belongings.
“My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground on which I stand.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh
i watched the first two episodes of the netflix series SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT on a plane.* i will NOT continue with further episodes. i love spike the auteur. a true artist. i loved the LOOK of the show. of course the music and humor were aces. BUT the story, the main character Nola just didn’t seem authentic to me.
she seemed like a dude’s idea of what a super-empowered woman would be. living alone in a gorgeous apartment, spending her days as an artist, having all manner of satisfying and frequent sex with multiple partners. being invulnerable – if not physically than emotionally. and of course she is insanely gorgeous because only gorgeous women get to be self actualized.
this is the stuff of male fantasy – not female fantasy. kinda like beatrix kiddo was quentin’s fantasy. freakishly beautiful, outrageously strong willed, expertly skilled, the mind, body and temperament of a martial arts master. unattainable. NB: here we are 16 years later, having learned how he made uma drive the car against her better judgement and she almost killed herself. Grrrrrrr.
for starters, Nola would NEVER go for mars blackmon, the ugly guy on the bike. yes, these are caricatures, and he’s a light-hearted court jester type. and the story is trying to suggest that she wants fun and levity in her life so she goes out and gets it through that guy. but it doesn’t ring true. she is machiavellian in every sense of the word. not in any universe would she go for an unattractive sneaker obsessed kid who doesn’t have his own phone. NOT HAPPENING.
and her reaction to the late night attack rings false. a man grabs her on the street as she’s walking home in the dark, says threatening things and stops just short of greater violence. she frees herself and escapes. given how she conducts herself in life, i don’t see nola openly express her feelings of vulnerability to all of her friends and lovers. i’m not buying it.
these are just a couple of the errant details. i read up on the series and apparently a lot of women wrote contributed to it. but the macho spike vibe looms large, IMO. just can’t invest more into this one, knowing what i know, feeling what i feel.
* these are fresh perspectives on the new netflix series that have no relation to the 1986 motion picture.
everything changes all the time, and sometimes good form is all we have to hold on to in life.
when we are wronged… treated unfairly, unjustly, cruelly betrayed, it is so tempting to follow in kind and try to exact revenge.
twitter is a microcosm of this. people say awful, untrue, unfair things to each other all the time. doing so just takes them both lower. it is not constructive … and by engaging in it a person of otherwise strong character debases herself.
same goes for relationships. one partner’s selfish, cruel infidelity is what it is. it is her actions, her legacy – it cannot be rationalized away or undone. nor can it be bested with revenge. revenge is just as ugly as the narcissism and selfishness that led to the betrayal.
the only answer is to keep calm and carry on. keep good form because it’s what you want to teach your children. it’s not fair but life is not fair.
^^ It’s the title of a self help book which I may or may not have read years ago. I don’t recall. I’ve read so many … Nowadays I think self help books don’t work. If you’re constantly seeking, constantly looking for answers, for a new, superlative amazingly simple solution, you’ll never be satisfied.
All peace, confidence and self-knowledge is auto-generated. We create it ourselves by staying present in the moment, expressing gratitude for the goodness in our lives, by observing ourselves, feeling our emotions and then once we’ve felt them, letting them pass.
There is no external fix, no panacea. No geographic cure, no perfect relationship, no spiritual or religious solution, no ideal job, career or marriage. Nothing external can “fix” us or make us happy or secure. Until we acknowledge this… until we take responsibility for our own experience, we’ll repeat negative patterns and attempt to avoid pain by focusing on the external, shallow and fleeting. Those around us may also get unwittingly and unwillingly drawn into our drama.
We owe it to ourselves and those we love to find the love, acceptance and answers we seek first within ourselves.