Not OK

I keep telling myself that it will all be OK. In fact, it’s a phrase that’s repeating in my head as a mantra. It’s going to be OK. But I know that’s a lie I’m telling myself, and it’s a very self-serving one. Things are not OK. They have never been OK.

The US is the same as it’s always been. It’s just all out in the open now.

I’m white and affluent. Those privileges count for a great deal, especially in the rural South where I live. My family is locally prominent (actually this is the reason my blog is anonymous). There’s so much that I’ve never had to deal with, and so much I’m probably not going to have to deal with, compared to my friends.

I’m perfectly safe where I am, but I don’t feel that I can in good conscience remain “where I am” for the next few years. My friends are not safe, and I’m scared shitless for them. It’s not OK.

End War. Aid Warriors.

I’m going to start this post with a little family history: both my grandfathers were veterans of WWII. My mother’s father served in the airforce; he fought in North Africa and Europe. My father’s father was in the Navy and Marines. He was stationed in the American territories where he tended the sick and wounded.

My maternal grandfather’s main “war story” was of gaining his future college tuition by cleaning out the doctors in a North African hospital at blackjack. He had a photographic memory and was capable of “counting cards” as it is called today.

My paternal grandfather was fluent in German, and after the War was over, he helped process refugees by serving as their chaperone and guide in New York City.

***

I am a pacifist, and also very passive by disposition. I am also Buddhist, and I hold to the value of ahimsa. Yet warriors are I believe the most human of us, because they have seen humanity at its worst, and also its best. I almost said “I could never be a warrior” but I know that is a bald-faced lie. Everyone has it in them to fight, to kill even.

What I say next is not going to be popular: we should not place our veterans, our soldiers, our warriors, on a pedestal. The current valorization and glorification of the military in US society erases the humanity of…human beings. And in many cases they are human beings who need help and support.

Yellow ribbons and bumper stickers, black flags and parades mean nothing, ultimately. Say “support our troops” all you want. That means nothing. None of it can feed the hungry, house the homeless, comfort the grieving. You want to support the troops? Don’t support war.

white_poppy

A Quick Word

I don’t care if someone sacrifices an animal. I *do* care if someone has no clean water, nothing to eat, or can’t find a safe place to sleep. India has a 61% literacy rate. Think about that while you rail against Hindus practicing animal sacrifice. What’s more important to you – goats or people?

– Saraswati, on animal sacrifice.

“Big Pharma” & Privilege: Or Why I Wish Allies Would Stop Using This Phrase

You can pry my paxil from my cold dead hands.

Foxglove & Firmitas

A friend posts an article on Facebook about how the United States’ medical system does not meet the needs of those with chronic pain. This is a reality that I have experienced. This is a reality that I regularly speak to others who experience chronic pain have also experienced. About a month ago when I was at the doctor’s office for my annual exam, I overheard 2 medical workers talking about how they hate when patients say they’re in pain, because they know they’re over-reacting. I was horrified, but it wasn’t the first time I’d heard someone in the medical field say something like this.

When we talk about chronic pain, and disability in general, inevitably someone pops up to say something like the following:

I think chronic pain (and other illnesses for that matter) should be tackled with a holistic approach. Putting our faith completely in the medical system…

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Re-Framing Autism Awareness

YES

The Lefthander's Path

April is Autism Awareness month- or as some of us prefer Autism Acceptance month. I’ve seen many of my fellow autistic activists express frustration with how “awareness” tends to be promoted by a certain organization. While I certainly share their frustration, I think it’s better to promote our own messages- or re-frame messages that others are using for our own purposes. I’ve learn a lot about how to effectively spread messages to a broader audience from political campaigns I’ve worked for- as well as observing how the GLBTQ rights movement has been more effective when it is pro-active rather than re-active in its messaging. Here are some tips-

1) Have fun with “Light it Up Blue” and put your own positive spin on it! Some think the origin of using blue is due to the higher number of boys who are identified with autism. Turn this around and talk about…

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