Put A Pin In It

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Put A Pin In It

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As a white woman of privilege, I joined in outraged solidarity with others in my community at the results of the election. As the mother of two black sons, I wanted so desperately to be surprised by this election. As luck would have it, I got to be surprised in a new way. Just when I thought our level of blind racial injustice could go no deeper, we "put a pin in it." Seriously? 

I am sorry, but unless our plan is to pin ourselves to a Latino, Muslim or Black person that is about to be deported, registered or shot by the police, I'm not thinking the pin thing is all that helpful...

Here are some suggestions that I would like to ask of MY friends and family and yes they are the same rules we have in our house.

Make Good Choices: Please speak to your kids about what to do in the face of hate speech and blatent racist acts. Teach them not to confront but IGNORE the aggressor and to let my sons know that they are not alone. You are there with them.  You are watching and will not hesitate to call the police so that they can show up and shoot them.

Pick up after yourselves: Be willing to stand up to your own friends and family and let them know that because you love them AND because ignorance is no excuse for any adult, you will call them out on words and actions. 

Remember to Flush: Are your police officers, school board members, elected officials and other public servants engaging in the kinds of behavior that sets a good example and keeps our children free from hatred? If they are not, wish them well and flush them at your next local election.

And for god's sake, take that safety pin off unless it is holding your blouse together, in which case definitely keep it on!

 

 

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This did not JUST happen!

This did not just happen last night. It did not just happen last week, or last month or last year. This did not happen eight years ago when our nation began to clear a path towards hope.

No, this happened the day our nation was born. Born with the premise that there should be have and have nots and that we have the power to sit in judgment of who belongs in which group.

This happened the first day we enslaved humans for profit. The day we allowed men to go unpunished for harming their wives, partners and children. This happened when we sat and watched those we thought to be more powerful than we, exploit those we deemed to be less powerful than us.  

This did not just happen. 

When will love be stronger than hate, hope be larger than fear and compassion be more powerful than judgment? The day we realize that this did not JUST happen and it will not JUST end unless we use our power to change it. 

                                                    "it isn't where you came from that counts, it's where you are going."

                                                                                                                                              Ella Fitzgerald

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Thank you Mr. Speaker

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Thank you Mr. Speaker

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I have spent countless hours in the Vermont House Chamber listening to a myriad of politicians lobby for, what they believed to be, the will of the people they represent. Last Wednesday night, I had the opportunity to forge a different experience of this glorious space, as I listened to "true" stories. 

How unique would our political system be if we applied the same simple rules that we apply to storytelling, to politics?

           The story you tell must be;

            true,

            told in the first person (it had to happen to you and not some distant relative) 

            without notes, and

            within the time limit.

No stand-up routines, no soliciting for personal causes and when you are given the signal, you must finish promptly.

As a listener, you must simply, pay attention. No devices or interruptions. 

At the end of the session, the audience will cast a binding vote. If you have not taken the time to choose and practice your words carefully, if you are not fully invested in the story's message, if you are only there to "win the night" you will leave disappointed. 

In a time when our politicians care more about their Facebook pages and twitter feeds then they do about funding the libraries that contain real pages and the number of children living in poverty,  I do wonder if a few simple rules might help to remind them why we sent them there in the first place. 

Thanks to Jen Dole at Extempo for providing Vermonters with the opportunity to listen and tell true tales over the last six years! A longer tenure than most politicians...

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Dance Like Everyone is Watching

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Dance Like Everyone is Watching

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My teenage sons would say,

"No mother please don't dance like no one is watching. The person who who invented that line was a terrible dancer who had no children or friends. You should dance as if everyone is watching and judging".

 I certainly don't start out my day thinking "how might I embarrass my children?" Yet, If I had started this week with that as my goal.. nailed it! So when this picture appeared on the back cover of the Seven Days my eldest son had this to say,

 "You do you, mother. If you want to pose in your unders as part of the middle-aged comedy feminist party, I am totally good with that. I would however, appreciate a heads up before one of my friends points it out at the campus pub."

Point taken.

Thanks Aristelle and the Vermont Comedy Divas

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The Organic Hunger Games

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The Organic Hunger Games

There are few times in my life that I can recall feeling truly vindicated; last week was one of theses times. 

Thank you, Sally Pollak at the Burlington Free Press, for this small triumph.  I will readily admit that I was not a supporter of the original plan that favored a bourgeois cooperative over a more utilitarian supermarket, but I don't begrudge this decision. It is however, hard to reconcile what this "good intention" has devolved into. 
When did we become so obsessed with "healthy living" that we were willing to sacrifice our civility in search of high priced organic produce? I continue to struggle with the concept that mowing over a pedestrian in the parking lot to secure the last piece of hand massaged kale is the price we pay for "success".

As the city of Burlington highlights its need for economic development while maintaining its status as a livable city, I would hope that we will take a lesson from the COOP and realize that the term "free range" should never apply to parking.

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