soldiers: go awol!

as a ‘military brat’ i know that soldiers often get to political development the hard way, by finding themselves out in the world fighting people who have nothing to do with the war they are now being displaced/attacked/harmed/killed for. suddenly you see: this is not justice. it isn’t fair. and it won’t increase the safety of your nation or anyone else in the world.
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this violent reckoning is especially likely for those who join the military for economic reasons. poor people get pit against each other for wealthy whims.
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it’s not too late to think it through. it’s a matter of life and death for you and those you will be next to and across from. if you have even a shadow of doubt, bring light to it. make this phone call before you participate in this unjust action the president has initiated to distract from his own accountability.
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if you have active duty family or friends, spread the word, let them know there is dignity in taking a stand to defend humanity from tyranny.
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I’m outside the US and there are t-shirts everywhere that say “Trump = Next Hitler”. this is no time to simply obey orders. there is a role of resistance now that only soldiers can play. and there are many of us who believe in your existence, your right to think for yourself. we welcome your passion and skills.

repost from @vetsaboutface, #nowariniran #dontbeapawn #befinn

first the unbearable (learning of Egypt)

i hear the condolences first
read the written word, the name, the place
someone is sending love, with rage,
with shock, with tears, with analysis
with their people
with all people
and i go looking for the fresh wound

i want to not know
to not step from here, without this pain
to the next moment, marked by blood
looking past the flayed horizon
whispering no. no not this many no.

the numbers grow on my tongue
i say them to no one
i read the news to whomever is near
even if they have read
or are reading it
i want to lend my voice
to the spell of awakening
to make every head turn
look, look what we’ve done
look what we have not undone
what we have allowed and encouraged
what we have invested in
what we forget, what we remember
look who we are now
look who we still are

i want to change the story being written
the history still warm and wet on our fingers
i want to focus on the intimate heartbreak of violation
what stole my smile, my childish peace
boorish men, the mountain of offense
we have all burrowed through
the memories we walk with, and the terrors
navigating legacies of genocide and erasure

i know all of the harm intertwines at the root
i know the medicine has to go deeper down
to the core of existence
to the cord between us and god
to the faultlines between us
that make us think: i can be without you

but first, the unspeakable
the unimaginable, the unbearable
we have created hell with our boredom
we birthed hierarchy, greed, and the foolish need for victory, for righteousness
it is killing us
it is killing everything
eating us up from within
the detonation of cancer in a living body
the cancer of violence in a living world

some days i am nothing more than a prayer
a vessel of tears being emptied
stunned by my own insignificance,
our inability to stand in the way of our demons
the brightest truth about us

some days i have to focus on one story
out of the hundreds of deaths,
one person telling god everything
feeling the sacred flood all of their senses
planning the next meal’s portions
and what to say to their sweet and distant lover
one person remembering they are enough
one person smiling as they gather themselves
for the world outside
enjoying the mundane pleasure of bodies
all around
in and of faith, wearing faith, speaking faith

the doors will open
the violence will burst in
so sure of itself, so wrong
i will learn your name in your absence
perhaps i cannot fathom
the entirety of gore
the scale of destruction we have committed to
but you, stranger of faith
comrade in the act of prayer
beloved to your God, your mother, your son
you i will grieve for
you i will grieve
for all the time and sea between us
i feel the shock of losing you
it is a devastation
i would have loved you
but my species
we are terrified of love.

21 days in…

research shows it takes 21 days to form a new habit. today is the 21st day of my attempt to break my personal media cycle from the negative, and only share either successful/victory/advancing news, or news with an actionable item, some thing that the reader can do that is meaningful. it should mean something when you spend time with information and stories, your knowing it should have an impact.

so i have been only posting and sharing things where there’s a “to-do” or a “oh hell yes!!” involved.

it’s hard! so much of the news we consume is either scandalous, tragic, violent, or distant. punditry is possible because there are folks who are willing to speak to any topic, based on a bare minimum of information. we are mostly trained to be pundits now, because our school systems teach us to regurgitate information, as opposed to asking hard questions and pursuing individual opinions, thinking critically. i can do the pundit thing, and enjoy it – i can be witty, i can make any current event fit into my world view.

but what purpose does it serve?

knowing a shallow amount of information about everything prevents me from investing time in developing deep knowledge about things that are relevant to me and my community – community food systems, nonviolent strategies, reconciliation, action.

i want to create a new habit – i want to use my writing and speaking skills to celebrate, to incite, and to advance the front lines of our work. i want to push the boundaries of my own knowledge, learn, feel my world view expand and evolve.

a few days ago i said, “if you don’t have anything informed to say about honduras (insert iran, iraq, etc.), then don’t say anything.” it’s literally a waste of your brain power and a waste of other people’s time.

stepping out the constant viral spread of bad news and controversy, even a baby step, makes it painfully clear how strong and shallow the news cycles are. watching everyone weigh in on iran, then watching that attention move on, reminded me that the cycle’s movement is like that of waves. ebbing and flowing, coming and going, taking things and landing them on a new shore without apparent purpose. you can ride wave after wave if you’re savvy, witty, sardonic in the right ways. or you can get pummeled by the waves if you are emotionally open to the actual horror and tragedy of things humans are doing to other humans every moment.

or…you can be a fresh drop, a deep dive, create new waves, be part of the tipping point towards solution-based thinking, community-based knowledge gathering and application.

i slip up, it’s addictive to know a little about a lot. but i’m committed. my whole interaction with data is much more passionate and specific and emotional and deep right now. i’m starting to like it.

a recent issue of WIRED magazine, edited by j.j. abrams, reframed science for me. we’re taught for at least 12 years that science is memorizing all that is known and true, what has been discovered, the laws of the universe. in this WIRED issue, science is presented as the pursuit of the unknown, honing the skill of curiousity, question, wonder, deep research – why, why, why?

science is our lives, philosophy is our lives, current events are our lives. but are we simply repeating old information down through the ages, or are we shifting what and how we communicate to create a new age?

i’m heading into 21 more days, towards a new age.