Sunday, October 21, 2007

Aloneness and Creation

I am drawn to ponder the word ALONE,
and in that pondering remember its opposite,
which is almost completed by the word ALONE:

Whether coupled or single, I think the external manifestation is always a match to the inner reality of the individual. We can be lonely in a couple or a crowd, or happy and fulfilled alone or with others. What are we doing with our powerful imagination? What are we making in the workshop of our mind? What images pulse with feeling and color - desirable or undesirable. These are the ones we are giving life to. Are they what we want?

This is such a slippery subject, the objects of attention and emotion in one's own mind. We naturally want to blame outer circumstances, people, conditions for the state we find ourselves in. Yet we are in charge of our own experience. I think this is an inescapable conclusion. But also, when faced directly, is enormously freeing. And empowering.

The notion that I can turn my thought to something that nourishes and encourages, that gives me beauty, that soothes and uplifts - that is a huge awakening. Even a glimpse of this, as when a door opens just a crack, can let in enough light to start the journey. One step at a time, one thought at a time, moving toward that which offers its blessing.


Saturday, October 13, 2007

Letter to Congressman for HR 676

After checking the link on to see how your representative voted on HR 676 Medicare for All, and learning that our RI Congressman Jim Langevin has voted NO, I clicked on the link to send him a message, and this is what I sent.

Dear Jim,

I was shocked to learn that you, of all people, are opposed to HR 676, Medicare for All. I retired two years ago, and am learning the bitter fact that basic health care expenses, including dental and vision care, are eating up a huge chunk of my and my husband's monthly income. This is not right, not in America where human life and well-being are championed.

Please look deeply into this issue and consider the difference your vote can make. That is one vote you will never be sorry for.

Thank you,
Citizen Gail Murray


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Bill McDannell at Obama rally

Exerpted from Bill McDannell's journal

Tuesday, October 2:
This afternoon I had the opportunity to speak at a Barak Obama rally and was extremely well received there, and then drove up to the San Diego Veterans for Peace meeting and talked a bit and answered questions there.

I promised some people at the Obama rally that I would post the little speech I gave at the rally here in the journal. So here it is, as promised:
I am truly grateful for the opportunity to speak to you today. I am nobody special, but I did just complete a special journey, and I would like to share with you a few of the experiences and insights I gained along the way.

On November 4th of last year my wife and I sold our home in Lakeside and most of our possessions, bought a 23 year old camper, and I set out on foot from San Diego, carrying a petition asking Congress to officially end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and restore the Constitutional balance of power between the executive and legislative branches of our government. My wife drove the camper, accompanied by our two dogs, as my support vehicle and, on August 18th, after 3,185 miles of walking, I arrived in Washington, D.C.

I planned my walk to pass through smaller towns and travel along secondary roads most of the way and saw many, many places I've never seen before. I saw one thing in many places that particularly impressed me. In the center of many small towns across America I found an open square surrounded by local businesses. In the center of the square would invariably be an impressive, stately old building, often the tallest building in the town. I realized as I walked into these towns that if the building had a cross or some other religious symbol on their towers they would obviously have been magnificent cathedrals. But these buildings do not display a religious symbol. If anything, they have a huge clock near their peaks. These are the city halls and county seats of America, and most of them are lovingly preserved.

These buildings speak of a time when government was absolutely central to the lives of the citizens. It was here where local justice was served. It was here where dedicated men and women did their best to bring the Consitution of the United States of America into direct connection with the local barber, the local shopkeeper, the local rancher. It was here where the average citizen most directly touched America, and it was a place treated with respect, diginity and, yes, reverence. When people came to these buildings - and they did so often - they knew they were about important business and that their presence there and their participation was valuable to their city...and their country.

If there is anything we need to reclaim from the past, it is this sense of direct participation - and direct responsibility - in the affairs of our nation. Shortly after the Constitution was drafted, someone asked Benjamin Franklin, "What have you wrought, sir?" Mr. Franklin replied, "A republic - if you can keep it." That injunction has now been passed on to us. We have a republic - if we can keep it. And I have been trying to sound a simple warning that we barely have a republic now, and are in grave danger of losing it altogether if we do not dedicate ourselves to keeping it. I do worry that America will go the way of Camelot - a bright, shining dream that died before it ever was able to fully become a reality.

While we were on our journey my wife and I did a lot of thinking, and talking, and reading. We stopped one day and picked up a book that is probably familiar to many of you. It is called "The Audacity of Hope", written by a man by the name of Barak Obama. And my wife fell in love. She found a man in the pages of that book who remembers America and has a clear vision of what our nation is about and how it should be governed. But I have to be honest with you. As the weeks and months unfolded and the various candidates appeared before the cameras and communicated with the public, she became more than a little bit frustrated. She wanted more than anything else to search out Mr. Obama, and to walk up to him and say, "I just finished reading this wonderful book by a man of great integrity and vision - and I think you might want to take a look at it." She was not hearing what she was expecting to hear. The insane process that now leads to our choice of presidential candidates was taking its toll and obscuring the message she had hoped would be brought forward.

And she was frustrated. Because as I walked across the country we were also looking for something. We were looking for leaders.

We were looking for leaders whose first allegiance is not to political party or personal fortune, but always and only to the Constitution of the United States of America.

We were looking for leaders whose primary concern is not for the people of their district or the people of their state, but for the people of this planet - and for the planet itself.

We were looking for leaders who know that when the founders of this nation wrote that all of us are created equal and are endowed with certain inalienable rights they were not talking only about Americans, but about all of humanity.

We were looking for leaders who at last seek to learn from our history and our mistakes - and vow to do everything in their power not to repeat those mistakes.

We were looking for leaders who recognize that admitting a mistake is not a sign of weakness, but rather a clear sign of strength, maturity and wisdom.

We were looking for leaders who have the sense to understand that when they stoop to the rhetoric of fear, intolerance, prejudice, arrogance and hatred - they have lost their way and are no longer deserving of the public trust.

We were looking for leaders who can comprehend that when you employ the tactics of the enemy you become the enemy.

We were looking for leaders who are smart enough to know the difference between supporting our troops and supporting the misbegotten mission of their commander in chief - and brave enough to articulate that difference.

We were looking for leaders who are aware that when they authorize the use of tactics of war they will have the blood of our sons and daughters - and untold numbers of innocent foreign citizens - on their hands for all eternity.

We were looking for leaders who realize that war is not a tool to be used to shape the political landscape or appease corporate interests, but war is a terrible, loathesome and evil thing that always demonstrates an abject failure of leadership.

We were looking for leaders who can see that as long as we are engaged in the actions of war we cannot possibly explore any of the other actions available to us when we seek to resolve an international crisis.

We were looking for leaders who understand that, when the primary cause of instability in Iraq is the presence of our military forces, sending more military forces in to try to stabilize the country is the equivalent of pouring gasoline on the fire to try to put it out.

We were looking for leaders who acknowledge that they are not the deciders, but rather - in this great nation - it is We, the People who are the deciders - and that if and when they become unresponsive to We, the People, it is not only our right, but our solemn obligation to immediately remove them from office.

And you may find it difficult to believe, but we found a leader who possesses all of the qualities we had been looking for. We found a leader who has both the vision and the power to right the wrongs that have been inflicted on our nation, to steer us to a bright, promising future, to instill new hope, new strength and new passion within us and rekindle the beacon of American greatness that will inspire and unite the world in its pursuit of peace and stewardship. That leader is here with us tonight. That leader is you - the citizens of America.

We discovered that you have not lost the dream - you remember what this nation is about, you have the wisdom to perceive when you are being misled and manipulated, and you have the determination to make things right and make our nation whole. You also have the power, as citizens of this grand republic, to steer its course responsibly. As you now strive to invest that incredible power in Mr. Obama as your representative, I ask you - I implore you - to remember that the power remains yours - and you must continue to use it to propel the man you support in the direction you know he needs to go. Continue to hold him accountable; continue to remind him of who he is - and who you are - so that he may not lose sight of the goals you strive to achieve through him. Remember that your office - the office of citizen - is the most powerful office in the grand experiment that is democracy, and its responsibilities neither begin nor end at the voting booth. Do everything you can to keep your candidate true to himself and true to us because this is the way forward. America will learn from her mistakes and regain her glory when her people reclaim their authority and faithfully exercise their power to guide their chosen representatives toward governance that is true to the principles upon which she is founded - the principles which form her soul - the principles which make her great.

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