Open Letter to Artists in Dark Times Like These

We fight for ideals, but we live in reality. In some ways, this kind of dissonance will always feel hopeless. But this is also where artists shine. We know that the space between vision and reality is where creativity and potential thrive.

It’s twenty eight days until the election in the US.

The election which will effect the entire globe in dire and serious ways. I have encouraged us to not sit this election out and vote. I have expressed why as a writer I believe in my core that we must preserve and protect and secure our rights to freedom of speech, protest, and speak truth to power. And why we must vote Trump out in November.

Today I wanted to remind us that it’s totally normal to feel hopeful and hopeless at the same time. To loathe the dystopian reality we are living in and at the same time fight for a better future with fierce compassion and strong conviction.

If 2020 has taught me anything, it is that we are being (forcibly) taught to hold two opposing emotions at once. Hope and fear. Dread and love. Compassion and numbness. Energized and depleted. We are being stretched so thin in our hearts, souls, minds, bodies, and spirits, and this kind of maddening growth is so painful and so frightening.

If you feel out of your mind from one second to the next. If you are fighting to get out the vote, to have hard conversations with friends and family. If you have suffered loss and grief and pain and you look around and see only the same reflected back to you all the time. You are not alone in that. I feel that, too.

I feel all of that, too.

And yet.

We will get through if we stick together. If we focus on the love more than the hate as best we can. You can bring your hurt and pain and brokenness to this fight. You can bring all of who you are to this fight. You can define your Why in this fight and allow it to fuel your contribution.

We can be creative in times like these.

Artists are born for times like these.

We know personally and  intimately what it means to take our pain and turn it into a vision that creates the reality we want to come alive.

We are not helpless, we are hurting.

If we are gentle with ourselves, and honest, we can work with that.

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P.S. If this post resonates with you please share it on WordPress, Twitter, Facebook, Email, and/or any other platforms where you think it will reach like minded people who need to feel more empowered and less alone as we approach November 3rd. Words that resonate should be shared so communities can be made stronger, held more precious, and made less afraid. Get Out The Vote for Biden/Harris 2020.

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Photo by Peter Bucks

Why I’m in This Fight for Democracy Itself

I grew up in a family where we could talk about cultural issues and have open debates on things while still respecting one another, listening, sharing, trading thoughts and views on the political scene.

It was normal for me to listen in as my parents and grandparents, my aunts and uncles, offered their perspectives on issues at the dinner table and I wanted to be part of the conversation, too. It felt like everyone was welcome to be part of it.

In my family there are Republicans and Democrats and Independents.

As a lifelong Democrat, I have never been this involved in a political campaign but it is crystal clear to me that this election is the most consequential for our country and the world.

I am in this fight for democracy itself.

As a writer and a creative person I believe we must maintain, protect and uphold the freedom of speech, the freedom to protest, and the right to speak truth to power without fear of abusive, violent retaliation or suppression.

I have seen these freedoms being deliberately eroded, and fast, over the past four years, the truth and facts distorted, hidden, ignored, and blatantly manipulated, causing more and more people to be afraid to speak the truth in media, in the streets, in high levels of government and even in our own families.

The only way to achieve equality and justice for all in this country and to fight climate change all over the globe is to protect our fundamental rights and freedoms to communicate hard truths with full transparency when it matters most.

Because if the truth doesn’t matter, then nothing does.

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P.S. If this post resonates with you please share it on WordPress, Twitter, Facebook, Email, and/or any other platforms where you think it will reach like minded people who need to feel more empowered and less alone as we approach November 3rd. Words that resonate should be shared so communities can be made stronger, held more precious, and made less afraid. Get Out The Vote for Biden/Harris 2020. 

Isolation, Oppression, Terror, and Why This Election is Like None Other in American History

“Just as terror, even in its pre-total, merely tyrannical form ruins all relationships between men, so the self-compulsion of ideological thinking ruins all relationships with reality. The preparation has succeeded when people have lost contact with their fellow men* as well as the reality around them; for together with these contacts, men lose the capacity of both experience and thought. The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced Communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction (i.e., the reality of experience) and the distinction between true and false (i.e., the standards of thought) no longer exist.”
Hannah Arendt on Loneliness as the Common Ground for Terror and How Tyrannical Regimes Use Isolation as a Weapon of Oppression

For the record, I would like to be writing about anything else but I am compelled to write about the only thing that matters on an existential level for the next 33 days which is making sure that everyone who is considering voting Biden-Harris on November 3rd actually gets their ass to the polls and does so.

Because this is not a game. You do not get to opt out or turn it off or leave or put the responsibility on anyone else. Just by living here, you’re in it.

And beyond that, it may just be our last shot at maintaining the Republic we claim to stand for and love. All well and cute, but what are we willing to do to protect and preserve it? Gonna get in the fray, figure it out, and raise our voices?

There is no time for sitting on the sidelines when this election is so consequential. There are people in my life whom I love dearly who I know glaze over when I say things like it absolutely matters a great deal that Trump is owned by Putin. That our “leader” is part of an international crime ring and to him America is just another commodity to be broken up and sold.

That his being $450MILLION in personal debt makes him, and therefore us in the US, extremely and exceptionally vulnerable to foreign influence.

He will sell out America to save himself.

He is already doing it. Authoritarianism is not creative, it’s all by the book, and it follows a predictable pattern you can see unfolding if you know what to look for, if you listen to those who know because they have studied it all before.

The sad thing is, those who are cheering this President on will be just as abused and neglected as those who aren’t, maybe even more so.

I was on a few days vacation with my husband when, low and behold, the first Presidential debate took place. If you could call it “Presidential” or, for that matter, a “debate.” I tuned in a few random times and became so disgusted I turned it off.

I know full well Trump appeals to certain types of people. I get that. But what I am concerned with now are we the people who can see and hear and watch and understand the racist dog whistles, the wholesale disregard for human life, dignity, honor, truth, the brutish obnoxious ignorance that is the current President and how dangerous a combination are his ties to Russia and other foreign oligarchs, dictators, and authoritarians, his massive amount of (hidden and in plain sight) debt, his pitting of us against them on every level until everyone of us is paranoid about each other.

There is a reason someone in that much debt (even in much less) is not given security clearance to know top secret information. But here we are. He’s got it and he is tremendously vulnerable. Keep watching the money story. Keep following the money.

What I am asking us to pay attention to – pay full and hyper attention to – is how we are being sold line after line of this bullshit made up binary which stunts our thinking, crushes our vision, and leaves us little room for envisioning a better stronger more inclusive and resilient Republic: Left vs. Right, Republican vs. Democrat, Black vs. White, Rich vs. Poor, Privileged vs. Oppressed, Right vs. Wrong, Traitor vs. Patriot, Winner vs. Loser.

And how this is tearing us away from each other, dividing us against each other, in the service a regime hell bent on destroying the world around us before they ever have to pry their hands off their own wealth, power, or greed.

Maybe your choice wasn’t Biden, he wasn’t mine. But this is not about Biden, it is so much bigger than that. If you want to continue to live in an America where there is freedom of speech and the ideals of dignity and justice for all are upheld, Biden is the only one who gets us remotely close. We clinch this election and then we fight tooth and nail to get us where we want to be.

Democracy is work. It cannot stand up for itself we have to do it ourselves, together.

People isolated are easier to control. When you cannot tell fact from fiction you have no more grip on reality so an entirely new reality is written for you. A reality which serves dark money and dark purpose.

This election matters because if we do not vote on the side of Democracy, we may never get the chance to vote at all again for a very, very long time.

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P.S. If this post resonates with you please share it on WordPress, Twitter, Facebook, Email, and/or any other platforms where you think it will reach like minded people who need to feel more empowered and less alone as we approach November 3rd. Words that resonate should be shared so communities can be made stronger, held more precious, and made less afraid. Get Out The Vote for Biden/Harris 2020.

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Photo by Mitchell Hartley

Dissonance

Everything is nerves. The coffee tastes sick, or maybe that’s the bile churning in my stomach. In my throat. My mind is chewed up inside the newsfeed as it makes of me, my neuroses, my tendencies, my addictions, a feast.

I am studied. I am a study.

I do not know how I feel because I feel so much I have had to go numb to survive. A little bit, I just breathe a little bit. Everything in small bites, tiny sound bites like a digital water torture I sign myself up for. Sign myself into. Login. Pay for. Pay handsomely for.

Somewhere across town a panicked woman watches a panicked man flashing on the screen and validates her own fears against his. Fear is manufactured, you know? They promised manufacturing jobs would return.

The coffee is cold as I shiver beneath my nest of blankets, window open to the chilled autumn air coming off the street. Inside the room inside my mind I feel the tension rise and fall with the spinning in my belly. The cognitive dissonance of these days is jarring. The threat is overwhelming because it is us.  The line between existing and not has always been us.

We are an experiment. We are the cure and the disease. We are the lab and the secretions. The junkie and the drug.

It’s finally fall which means we are finally done with the wretched scorch of the sun. I’ll take the razor sharp blue sky, the orange blaze of another season burning by. I adore the changing leaves, crimson cinnamon air, and the frigid ocean waves glittering in dazzling white morning light.

And all the while, the terror. A family torn apart. Entire lives and their dreamers, up in smoke. Comedians. Fundraisers. Artists. Soldiers. Models. Click bait. Murder. Botox. Kitchen supplies.

The pornography of a life distorted. Voided out. Blocked.

And I know I have to try. And I know they tell me it’s ‘now more than ever.’

I know it’s how they want us. Colliding with ourselves inside.

 

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Photo by Omid Armin

 

Something Which Eats Itself: Why We Must Vote Trump Out in November

We have become something unspeakable. Something which eats itself.

The current President of the United States of America is driven only by one thing: greed. And greed, by its very nature, can never be satisfied, it can never be filled; it will always be empty, it will always be starving, it will always be on the take.

Greed knows no other way.

Donald Trump knows only greed, and greed knows only one thing: ‘more.’

The insatiable need for more power, more money, more attention, more fame, more horror, more destruction, more chaos, more shock, more trauma, more ratings, more more more more until, ultimately, nothing more exists because greed has eaten everything.

And so it is forced, by its very own nature, to eat itself.

If left unchecked, unchallenged, undefeated, the only end to greed is the end of everything.

Donald Trump is not in the highest office in the world in order to serve or protect the American people, or any people at all in fact, except for him and his family. He stole the office because of greed, and because he is aligned with all of the very powerful people all across the world who know only greed, only acquisition at any and all cost, including, and sometimes centered around, the loss of human life.

Nothing is personal to the greedy, and yet everything is.

Entire lives lived out on full display devoted to a single insatiable sadistic relentless craving for more. Money. Power. Chaos.

Destruction, panic, and suffering for entertainment.

The fewer people on the planet, the less bothered these powerful people have to be with the inconveniences humanity as a collective pose to the obtaining of more land, more resources, more. Hence the denial of climate change. Let us burn and drown.  Let us fend for ourselves. Let us be extinguished by ignorance. Perish by smoke and mirrors.

And so they push ‘herd immunity’ and let the virus ‘run its course.’ It’s all a game. It’s one big worldwide episode of Survivor. 

Tell us patriotism means being willing to die for the economy.

It means to die for the NRA.

The people Trump has put in charge of the vital institutions of our democracy have been put there precisely because they are hellbent on destroying these very institutions. Placed in charge of the educational system, disease control, healthcare, mail delivery services, legal systems.

The ones who are supposed to protect us want only to annihilate us.

The country is being dismantled from the inside out. It goes on because there is no accountability. No force greater than greed has sufficiently challenged the greed, and so it goes. The threat is grave because it is invisible yet evident everywhere, it is hiding in plain sight. The call is coming from inside the house.

The flaunting of the corruption, the indignities, the lying, the deceit, the cruelty, the anger, the fear, the pardoning of cronies and criminals.

The refusal of even reputable media to call lying and cheating what it is. To speak truth to power. Even as the stakes have never been higher to do so.

It is not politics. The cleverest thing they have done is to convince us this is about politics. Fuck politics. ‘Politics’ is an illusion. It pretends to have lines you can cross or not cross, no. This is about the very basics of human decency, honesty, integrity. The value placed on human life, or the lack of value placed on it.

Basic human decency versus the vacant vacuum of greed which will never be satisfied until it eats everything and then is forced to eat itself.

If we do not vote Trump out of office in this election it is Game Over for our democracy. The ramifications will last generations and will decimate not only America but the world. There will be no stopping it. Already we are cut off from our allies, deliberately and recklessly, we are being systematically isolated, lied to, terrorized, bullied, abused.

It’s like the abused spouse who is cut off from anyone who may be able to help her. Made helpless, gaslit, and left alone. Much easier, therefore, to control.

No one is coming to save us.

So we have to save ourselves.

We get one last shot. We have got to make it count, we have got to win this thing and the only way to do it is in massive numbers that leave no question about the overwhelming outcome of this election in Biden’s favor.

But we won’t, unless we see just how very dire a situation we are currently in, and how very bad it will become if we do not shut it down in November.

It isn’t just that Donald Trump doesn’t care if we live or die – it’s that he is actively pursuing the latter.

We must vote Biden into the White House this November like our lives depend on it because they absolutely do. I do not write this to convert anyone who is already committed to Trump. There is nothing in that for any of us.

I write this for anyone in America who is thinking of sitting this election out for any reason. Please VOTE.  It matters. Vote while we still can. Vote while we still have a voice and a way to make damn sure it is heard. Make your plan, get registered, make sure all of your friends and family do the same.

Lastly, to my fellow Pennsylvanians, we are a CRITICAL swing state this year, in fact it was stated on fivethirtyeight.com that we are THE critical swing state in all of the USA. If PA goes red, Trump has an 84% chance of winning the Presidency. If we go BLUE Biden has a 96% chance of winning the Presidency.

We have become something unspeakable. Something which eats itself. The only way to stop the greed from destroying everything in its wake is to remove it, like a cancerous tumor, from the host.

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P.S. If this post resonates with you please share it on WordPress, Twitter, Facebook, Email, and/or any other platforms where you think it will reach like minded people who need to feel more empowered and less alone as we approach November 3rd. Words that resonate should be shared so communities can be made stronger, held more precious, and made less afraid. Get Out The Vote for Biden/Harris 2020.

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Photo by Tania Medina

Made to Suffer

The professor speaks to me of pain while twisting it into a kind of pleasure which is not a new sensorial experience for me, but is new to have someone attempt to explain it in such clinical terms. Intrigued, I close my mind to all other thought and listen with marked attention. There is a blurring of boundaries which takes place both inside of his mind and inside of my own as he describes the body’s natural responses to stimulus, both hurtful and enjoyable, defining each as ‘punishment’ or ‘reward.’ I watch his eyes, flashing almost imperceptibly when he uses certain terms. Like ‘administer’ and ‘the subject’ and ‘threshold.’ Taking a sip of water to quench my thirst and attempt to cool the heat beginning to simmer in my veins, I slide a wet finger across my lower lip and take a note down in my notebook. It is the separation which is the illusion. It is the labeling of a feeling such that categories may be constructed to fit inside a mind which is instinctively fearful of discomfort. How we fear and crave discomfort in the same sweaty breath which holds the heart and mind suspended above the mundane human experience, elevates us for a few heavenly moments into the divinity which expands beyond the body, only rarely accessible through it. Forcing myself to concentrate on this man’s teachings, I observe the slowness with which he crosses the room in front of me, setting a pace, a rhythm, the deliberate pattern of his steps a metronome back and forth rustling a fire beneath my blossoming curiosity.  Perhaps to suffer is a prerequisite for euphoria, not entirely apart from it, some kind of distorted abundance. A terrible excess. To suffer is to feel deeply everything except the thing you most desire to feel. As a lover suffers the undesired absence of both the pleasure and the pain inflicted by her object of affection. It is the void which is the gaping, the ache, the mystery. As a poet suffers for the word. For the ache of being made aware that the word is there, just beneath the surface of her own skin, yet cannot be touched.