OK, I have spent the morning over at http://open.salon.com, soaking up some really outstanding writing. If you have never treated yourself to a visit to this site, I sincerely suggest you do. You can get lost over there for days on end.
First stop, went over to wish Dr. Susanne (Toad Hollow) the blessings of the season…
At some point, Jon Stewart said this really amazing thing about living life fully:”You just have to keep trying to do good work, and hope that it leads to more good work. I want to look back on my career and be proud of the work, and be proud that I tried everything. Yes, I want to look back and know that I was terrible at a variety of things.”
Next, I read a piece from Norwonk, an actual Norwegian, whose blog is “Me and My Big Mouth – things I can speak about with some lack of expertise.” The piece was about the scary increase in Big Brothers “expanded scope and invasiveness of domestic surveillance programs in the US,” giving us embedded clips of “Warnings from Nazi Germany.” Due to the “digital divide,” I can’t watch the clips, but I grew up playing in bombholes and bunkers in post-WWII Holland, so I didn’t really need to see the video to get the message.
From there, just clicking on my favorite authors’ favorites to find my way, I went to Saudi Arabia, where Kirsty Isitt is bemoaning the fact that as the weather becomes finally bearable, the Saudis seem to need to turn on the heat everywhere to replicate the suffocating heat of summer.
Then I found old new lefty, who writes a post called “GOP Jiu Jitsu,” which should be a front page post somewhere in the pragmatic progressive blogosphere. He notes the surprising changes in the senate this week, after the tax compromise was signed, when after two years of non-stop obstruction, finally important things were getting done, and that maybe there could be some emerging of Rockefeller Republicans wishing to distance themselves from the Tea Party crazies about to descend on Washington, and act like grownups.
“That wily, crafty Obama pulled the rug out from underneath them by giving the very thing that they’ve been yelling and screaming about since he took office. And faced with issues of national importance, the once unified Republican army of yaks (or lemmings) is now fracturing.”
Feeling encouraged now, I went to visit David Brin, whose post I had read elsewhere last night, to deliver my own brand of spiritual truth, in response to his question about science and religion…
“In my spiritual world, my only purpose is to attain a state of inner peace and expanded awareness, such that I become a center through which the Love and Grace of God may flow. And yes, absolutely science, progress and sci-fi (imagination, creativity) are absolutely compatible…desirable outcomes even.”
Feeling really like myself now, having delivered my (current) Ultimate Truth to the planet, I found Duane Gundrum, a brilliant author and professor, who shared that “Surprisingly, the Solution to Poverty Doesn’t Involve Money,” as he told what it was like to grow up really dirt poor, how it feels, and why the thinking that becomes part of your being that traps most people (and their children) forever: “Few in poverty ever believe even getting out of it is possible.” I am thinking right now about urban violence, and African American unemployment and so many youth in prison, and musing how this is all related.
“But I was born into poverty, and I see everything from the mindset of the poor. One of the hardest things to do is to realize that when I wake up tomorrow, I’m not going to be forced from my home and required to fend for myself on the streets. Other people take this for granted; I fear it constantly, even without merit. A social program that targets someone who lives with the mindset of this type of poor person only tends to alleviate immediate poverty needs, but does little to change the belief of the person that things are never really going to get better.
Finally, before I tore myself away, Linda Seccaspina reprised a VERY engaging piece called “Four years later – Still searching for Christmas in the rain” that led me to be happy we have Christmas lights on our house. She describes trudging with a shopping basket through Berkeley and San Francisco in the rain, and having spent much of my youth in that area, and because she is such a wonderful writer, I walked with her all the way. Nowhere was there much of a sign of Christmas other than in the Castro district, where rainbow flags were waving and everything was brightly lit up, and when a homeless man, mistaking her with her basket as also homeless on Christmas Eve told her, ”Merry Christmas Mam! By the way if you have time we are all going to be sitting in front of Carl’s Jr tonight.”
“When I was young everyone celebrated the holidays and no one felt slighted. Menorahs, Christmas trees you name it were everywhere and no one was shouting for them to be taken down. No one got upset at Chinese New Year or told the Ukrainians to put their perogies away. Everyone got along and it was wonderful.”
So…. Merry Christmas, everyone, Christian, Atheist, Muslim, Gaian or Jewish, may you experience plenty of blessings of Peace, Love, and Joy, and let’s make 2011 a year we’ll never forget!