Step Back And Realize [on Flawed Wednesday]

If you are like us, every day brings another report of a friend or loved one who has Covid. As someone recently said to me, “With Omicron, it’s only a half degree of separation between you and someone who’s carrying the virus.” I’d say, given the wave of people we know falling sick and reporting positive test results, it’s true. It’s no time to let down your guard.

On Saturday we watched a documentary film, The First Wave. It’s a film everyone should see. It chronicles the first few months of the pandemic in a New York hospital. It is shocking how, in a few short years, we’ve normalized hospitals being overrun. How removed we, the populace, are from the tangible horror of this pandemic. Refrigerator trucks used as temporary morgues. We stand today at 865,000 deaths and counting. People. By comparison, 620,000 people died in the Civil War. 418,500 US citizens, military and civilian, died in World War 2. We ought to be grieving instead of dividing. We ought to be reaching to help rather than peacocking our politics. This film will slap you awake. It will help you step back and realize what we – all of us – are passing through. It might help you grieve.

Kerri tells me that the woman in the next car thought she and 20 were doing a drug deal. He felt sick, needed a test and could find none. We had a few so they met in a parking lot to make a safe pass. While making the exchange, he handed her an envelope. Money for the phone bill but I’m sure it looked suspicious.

It reminded me of the time, many years ago, that Sam asked me to meet him in a parking lot. He rolled down his window and passed to me a sheaf of poems. The window went up. I was to tell no one. It was terribly vulnerable for him to share. I cried the day he published his first book of poetry. It was a titanic journey from fear-of-certain-shame to proudly publishing his beautiful work. He was transformed.

I imagine someday we will stand and look back at this titanic journey. I hope that I remember with fondness the story of Kerri and 20 making an exchange in the parking lot, the women one-car-over shocked by what she thought she was seeing, and we smile. Transformed. Remade as better people in a better community making better assumptions of each other. Stronger.

For now, as the credits rolled on The First Wave, we looked at each other and together said, “I’m exhausted.”

read Kerri’s blog post about THE EXCHANGE

Call It What It Is [on Flawed Wednesday]

If you are disgusted and surprised by the Republican senators’ hypocritical jamming through of the nomination of Amy Coney Barret to the Supreme Court then it’s a good bet you don’t live in Wisconsin. Life in Wisconsin is basic-training for the stomach-turning antics of modern day Republicans. Governance is nowhere on the agenda. If you lived in Wisconsin you’d be utterly surprised if belief in the democratic process was more than bloviated rhetoric by the party in red.

Consider this: in the midst of a global pandemic, with a national economic melt-down erasing jobs and driving folks from their homes, the Wisconsin Republican-led legislature simply refuses to meet. In 195 days they’ve managed to gavel open a few sessions called by the Democratic governor only to gavel them closed seconds later. They simply refuse to debate, collaborate, or compromise (the tools of governance). They’ve only one lonely tool in their sad little tool box: obstruction. They plug their ears and drown out all other voices. They can and do sue with ease, especially when reasonable minds and public health officials try to protect citizens from a deadly virus. The good-old-boys stop the process every time so it should come as no surprise that the seven day average of new cases in Wisconsin has jumped 405% in the past two months. Obstruction has a price.

The Wisconsin Republicans are famous for their 2011 gerrymandering the legislative map. The maps are so egregiously tipped [rigged] for Republican success that fair representation is nigh-on impossible. It’s their ball and they’ll play when they want to – and they’ll only play if they’re guaranteed a win. The Supreme Court is weighing in. Though, on this day, the Supremes, in a 5-3 decision, just ruled against a voter’s right to have mail-in ballots counted in the days following the election. Our neighborhood is pocked with signs demanding fair elections and fair legislative maps. Wish us luck and don’t hold your breath.

If you lived in Wisconsin you’d not be surprised by the shenanigans of the national Republican party that is gifted at obstruction but resistant to participation. The stack of legislation sitting on Mitch McConnell’s desk is legendary. In these past four years the red party’s enabling of the-pathological-liar-at-the-helm has undermined our system of governance and given us the sad experience of flailing during a pandemic. Who isn’t sickened to hear yet again “rounding the curve” while the numbers of deaths and infections skyrocket? Who isn’t sickened by the guys-in-ties defending the lie and the liar?

MM recently wrote that he is awakening to the reality that this nation, this government is not what he’s always assumed it to be. I suspect he’s not the only person having that revelation. We are routinely lectured by our leaders about ethics, values, the virtues of moral compass, fair play, responsibility to community. As Hamlet said to Polonius, “Words, words, words.”

Politics are ugly but we are no longer in the arena of politics. For that to be true, Republicans would have to once again believe in the democratic process. They would have to stand by their words.

It could happen. But it’s a good bet it won’t start in Wisconsin.

read Kerri’s blog post about DISHONEST PERIODS

Rise [on Merely A Thought Monday]

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Signs of the the times. 1) The salutation in almost very email I send, every email I receive, is this: Stay safe. Stay well.  2) The most common response to”How are you?” is some variation of this: Staying more or less sane.

More or less sanity.

I expect a revival of Salvador Dali, a new wave of surrealism. What was solid melts and drips. What was fluid is frozen. None of the rules of normality apply. “So this is what pandemic feels like,” Chris wrote.

The hat we call “normal” has been knocked off our heads. Nothing is normal. Or is it? In our house we have an ongoing socio/political conversation about whether things have always been this way and, in the severity of the moment, we are now seeing it. The ugly politics. The gaping disparity. Or, is this madness new?  Are we more or less sane now?

We’re taking our afternoon walks in the cemetery at the end of the street. It is the only place we can walk without having to be constantly vigilant about bumping into other people. “It’s weird that, in the midst of a pandemic, we have to go to a cemetery to safely walk.” Kerri noted.

Yes. It is weird. Is it more or less sane? The only thing we can know is that all measuring sticks are broken, all of the old navigation points have gone missing. We are standing solidly in the midst of the unknown. What will be true next week? Anything is possible.

And, that is the point. The sword of possibility cuts both ways. Right now, anything is possible. If we get caught in the sticky notion that our circumstance defines us, then we are hurled to the side of less sanity. Panic. Chaos. Fear. Every man/woman for themselves. If we hold fast the notion that we are creators and are experiencing but not defined by the present pandemic fire, then renewal and re-imagination pull us in the direction of sanity. We stay centered in the midst of the fury. People helping people to survive, to thrive. The best rises in us. Brother’s/Sister’s keeper, and all of that. More sane. Not less.

 

read Kerri’s blog post about MORE OR LESS SANE

 

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may you….[be healed]

Flawed Cartoon Wednesday

Your daily dose of chuckles from the melange on this hump day.

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I have a symbolic suggestion or perhaps a suggestion on symbols. I think we ought to drop the donkey of the Democrats and the elephant of the Republicans and replace both with a single, more hopeful and less arbitrary symbol: the pushmi-pullyu. One animal, two opposing points of view.

More and more I feel as Doctor Dolittle must have felt. I understand less and less of the contentious conversation playing over the human airwaves. It seems like so much bad theatre. Antagonism for the sake of antagonism. It makes for good ratings, I suppose. It is so much noise!

A good talk with the animals is certain to be more fulfilling. A turn toward nature is always good for clearing the head of made-up-thought-clutter and punching through the madness. Maybe a better symbol, the pushmi-pullyu, would remind the makers-of-law (and the rest of us) that they/we share a single heart, that sometimes it is necessary to be the side to walk backwards if progress is going to be made – and that requires some serious collaboration. I push, you pull. I pull, you push. In either case, collaboration or contention, the reality, regardless of symbol, is that we end up together in the same place.

 

EYE TO EYE merchandise///I TO I merchandise

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[don’t be confused! we had so much fun with this one that Kerri created two different product lines. poke around on society6 and you will find both]

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read Kerri’s thought’s on this Flawed Cartoon Wednesday

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kerrianddavid.com

 

why is it that we never see eye to eye on anything ©️ 2016 david robinson & kerri sherwood