Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Meat of the Women's March




Imagine a meat cake.

Made of liver, or maybe head cheese. Something most would find unpleasant. Mixed with whatever is needed to hold it together, maybe an egg or two and some breading. Then baked in round cake pans, and cooled once solid. And after that frosted with all the frills and flowers and candies and so on so that it looks lovely.

Then imagine people looking at and admiring and praising this beautiful cake.

But then they cut in and find the meat.

That's how I view the Women's March.

They've coated it with all sorts of issues - Trump's vulgar comments and actions, his insults, his statements about Muslims and immigrants, and respect for women, health care for the poor, so on.
Issues that many people care about.

But when you go beneath all those issues that attract people you find the vile meat - the reality of the march.

Abortion. 

That's what this march is really about.

That's why the organizers have not responded to overtures by prolife feminist groups to be sponsors or to help with organizing. And more recently, when March organizers found out that one feminist group that they had accepted was prolife they removed the group from the list of sponsors. As one of the people pushing the prolife group out tweeted:

"Intersectional feminism does not include a pro-life agenda. That's not how it works! The right to choose is a fundamental part of feminism."

Another person tweeted: "Horrified that the @womensmarch has partnered w/an anti-choice org. Plse reconsider - inclusivity is not about bolstering those who harm us."

Finally, the organizers issued a statement declaring "The Women's March's platform is pro-choice and tour stance from day one." And they apologized for letting a pro-life group in, and said the prolifers had been removed..

I know many caring people, including many Catholic people, who plan to take part in the March in Washington or one of the local marches not realizing that what they are really do is marching to defend abortion.

But if you try to tell them, they cite all those other issues.

The frosting the abortion advocates used to disguise their purpose.

They have a long track record of doing that.

And so far, they've gotten away with it.

Pax et bonum

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

St. Jerome clerihew



Irascible St. Jerome
was justly noted for his biblical tome,
but he was upset that no one would look
at his vegetarian cook book.

Pax et bonum

Monday, January 16, 2017

On those protests against Trump

        
watching the snowflakes
drift down and melt away -         

inauguration 

A poet friend sent me information about an online protest against Donald Trump by writers and poets. The information from the organizers contained more of the same negative, prejudging, critical comments typical of these protests. 

I said I found the protest - and similar efforts - silly and misguided and trendy. I noted that while I did not support or vote for Trump and while I was troubled by some of the things he has said, he has not been inaugurated and has not officially done anything yet worthy of protesting. I said we need to wait until he actually does something, then, if we are troubled, protest. And I argued that knee-jerk protesting might undermine the protesters' credibility making it harder to protest specific things later. 

The friend noted that he has already said many troubling things, and that he has nominated objectionable people for Cabinet and administration positions. He said I had optimism that he did not share. 

I responded with the following: 

Optimism? Perhaps, but I prefer to think of it as following the lead of Mahatma Gandhi who believed there was good in all people and who sought to call forth that goodness. He never protested until the person whose actions he was protesting actually did - not just talked about - what Gandhi was protesting. Moreover, when he protested the protest was focused, with a clear goal that was obtainable. He did not stage broad, amorphous, vitriolic protests. 

Too much of what I see of these anti-Trump efforts are scattershot, with too much of the kitchen sink approach, and not taking into account changes and adjustments in his statements and positions. Indeed, many of the protests seem to be about yelling and screaming for the sake of yelling and screaming just for the fun of yelling and screaming and because all the right people are yelling and screaming. I suspect if Gandhi were around today he would write letters to and articles about Mr. Trump cautioning him and advising him, but not protesting until Trump actually did anything worth protesting and only when there was a chance of success. 

I understand the fear that some people feel, but sometimes that fear is based on perceptions and not reality. And while Trump does say and do much that is troubling, the protesters often seem to ignore when he has done some reasonable and generous things, and rather than engaging in dialogue to promote what is best for the country and to build on what is good - as Gandhi would have done - they seem more intent on stereotyping, name-calling, and mocking. I see a lot of hate and bigotry in the language of those who attack Trump's alleged hate and bigotry. 

I wrote another short comment, then went off to do  other things. When I later tried to return to the thread I was not able to - don't know if I was officially blocked, or the thread was removed. But my comments were also gone.

So much for free speech and sharing views. 

So many of the protests seem to be based on misinformation, outdated information, opponent talking points and so on. And with some, there is are agendas that some of those caught up into the emotion of the moment may not be aware. I have Catholic friends who plan to take part in the Women's marches, for example, without realizing that those marches are really about abortion and other concerns that go against Catholic teachings. 

But if you dare to point that out, you are dismissed or cut off. 

Just as the "free-speech" promoting writers apparently did. 

I suspect I will protest some of the things Trump says he'll do if he does indeed go ahead and do them. But I will wait until he actually does them, look at what he has done, and judge if the issue is worthy of protest and is one to which there is a better alternative. 

Pax et bonum
 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

On the passing of a friend


As I noted in an earlier post, I had been sending light poems to a friend who was dying of cancer in hopes that it might provide a little relief. She died the same day that I sent her another batch of poems.

Last night I went to the wake/viewing. There was a long line; she was a much loved friend, teacher, and member of the deacon program.

When I got to her husband, we shook hands, then hugged. He thanked me for the poetry, noting that she was unable to read by the time she received them, but that he had read them to her. He said she smiled and said, "That's Lee."

That was kind of him.

I then looked at her in the coffin. What with the years and the effects of illness she did not look like the friend I had known. It was as if I was looking at a stranger. I felt so sad. So distant.

I said a few prayers and a goodbye, watched the slide show, and then quietly left.

Outside, there was a full moon.

a full moon
sends shadows across my path -
leaving a friend's wake

Pax et bonum

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Torricelli clerihew



Evangelista Torricelli
was fond of refried beans and jalapeno jelly.
One of his lesser-known achievements was a way to measure
frequent bouts of abdominal pressure.

(Torricelli was an Italian scientists who among his many achievements created the barometer to measure atmospheric pressure.)

Pax et bonum

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Trying to help a friend deal with cancer


During surgery for something else in September, an old friend was discovered to have an advanced stage of cancer that had been previously undetected, though she had been having health issues for a while. The cancer has spread, and treatments have failed. She and  husband are now talking about hospice.

Many people, including I, have offered her love and well-wishes and prayers. But I thought that if I were in her situation, while I'd be grateful for the supportive messages, I'd also welcome something to take my mind off my troubles, and maybe add a dash of humor. I know I'd likely be cracking jokes to make light of the situation; one of my way of dealing with grief and worries is humor. Heck, I want Three Stooges and Marx Brothers routines to be played at my wake! And I know she has a sense of humor.

So I decided to send her light verse. I don't know if she's even able to read them at this point, but I'm hoping she is able to smile even just a little.

So far I've sent two batches - one more literary in nature (she's a fellow English teacher), and one just plain silly.

The literary ones are among my "slug" haiku:

a slug among weeds
looks forward every year
to fruitcake weather

a slug among weeds

ventured into “The Waste Land”
but found no food there

a slug among weeds
wonders why there are so few
poems about slugs

a slug among weeds
assumes Whitman assumes he'll
celebrate himself


a slug among weeds
dreams of hearing a frog leap
into an old pond

a slug among weeds
conspiratorially
mouths, "Who's your Dada?"

a slug among weeds
never met Harvey, but he
wouldn't mind a drink

a slug among weeds
finds too much time with Prufrock
leaves him etherized

a slug among weeds
unconsciously knows Dada
is as Dada does

a slug among weeds
believes when it comes to fleas
that Adam had `em

a slug among weeds
climbed up the red wheelbarrow
and enjoyed the view

a slug among weeds
begs pardon for the trail left
on the dead wife's comb

a slug among weeds
spotted Ginsberg and Whitman
shopping for fresh fruit

a slug among weeds
watched as Garcia smirked and
crumpled the message
 
I also sent some "bad" haiku I'd written for a bad haiku contest one December (hence the holiday subject matter). 


Clem’s birthday shotgun
provided the Christmas feast –
Rudolph’s final flight

 Aunt Ann’s old fruitcake
arrived for Christmas again
(no, not Uncle Ed)

over the river
and through the woods we scurry –
in-laws still find us                                                            

Next year, Santa, please
along with your reindeer bring
a pooper scooper

finding stale cookies
Santa raids the cheapskate’s fridge –
ah, a pecan pie

folks in their beds with
visions of credit card bills
dancing in their heads



half-eaten cookie
clutched in Santa’s stiff fingers –
wicked witch cackles

prone beneath the tree
an unconscious Santa Claus –
Ned’s booby trap worked

Christmas morning Mass –
during Father’s homily
beeps from new game boys

practical joke with
Ex Lax explains why reindeer’s
nickname was “Dumper”
 
I don't know if it's wrong to send the poems or if they are appreciated. It could be my friend and her husband are wondering what's wrong with me. The intent is just to make things lighter, and as I said humor is one of the ways I deal with stress and grief.
I plan to send more poems, unless I hear a request to stop.
And I will keep praying.
UPDATE: I JUST GOT WORD THAT THE FRIEND DIED YESTERDAY. I'M HEARTBROKEN.

Pax et bonum

Will Planned Parenthood have to get out its begging cup?


The rumblings from Washington suggest Planned Parenthood will lose its million of dollars of tax-payer financed federal funding soon.

Planned Parenthood and its supporters, not surprisingly, are screaming about the loss of health care for women if they are not getting that funding.

Of course, Planned Parenthood's main focus, abortion, is not health care. And I don't believe our tax dollars should be going toward recreational drugs like birth control pills.

But some Planned Parenthood affiliates do offer some legitimate health services such as STD tests and pap smears. Such care is overshadowed by the evil services they offer, but they are offered.

However, those services are available elsewhere though many health care facilities. Indeed, there are far more such legitimate facilities than there are Planned Parenthood clinics, and many of those real health care facilities could use some of that federal money.


What I would like to see is the money that is being given to Planned Parenthood be redirected to those legitimate health care facilities. Women who need help should not be denied.

As for Planned Parenthood, if they want to replace the funding, they should ask for the support of their supporters. I suspect their good friend Hillary Clinton has a few dollars left from her failed Presidential bid.

Then maybe they'll find out how much people really want or support them.

Or not.

Pax et bonum