Spring herbs: medicinal and magickal

Please join Tchipakkan and Jane Sibley of Auntie Arwens Herbs  on the New Normal 8 pm Wednesday, April 12, 2017, 8-9 p.m. edt.

If you miss the live show the archives are here:

We’ll be talking about herbs and their uses, concentrating on the Spring herbs and how to use them for healing and magick.

Jane is also known as Auntie Arwen, and her shop Auntie Arwen’s Spices, offers herbs, spices, salts and blends from around the world. While you really must find them at an festival or market some time, just to sniff many of the culinary herbal blends (you can’t do that over the air), we are going to be talking about other aspects of herbs and spices- the magickal and medicinal (because herbs were the beginning of most medicines). (We’ve done this together at Earth Spirit’s Twilight Covening as a weekend intenstive on spiritual herbalism.)

Most people have heard about willow bark as the precursor of aspirin, and that cherry bark is in cough drops, but there are so many other herbs that we will talk about that you can use to help you in many first aid situations. We’re concentrating on the ones you can find and use in spring, like dandilions, chickweed, violets, lambs quarters, mints, wood sorrel, & coltsfoot flowers. We’ll try to cover both wild herbs you’d collect and ones you’d grow, perhaps talk about the ones you may be planting now. (This offers us the chance to do shows later on summer and fall herbs as well.)

If you’d like to catch this interview, call in and be part of the live chat happening during every show? Call 619-639-4606 between 8:05 and 8:50.

If you just want to listen (while doing other stuff on your computer), you can open a window on your computer to http://www.Liveparanormal.com, click the “Listen Live and Chat” listing under the “radio-listen/chat room” heading, and click “LISTEN HERE” next to “the New Normal”. We’d love you to call in with questions: 619-639-4606 (live only). If you have a question, but are busy during the live show, leave a question in the facebook events page. We’ll try to answer it during the show.

If you can’t tune in 8-9, Live Paranormal.com archives its shows by date, and I archive them by date, guest, and topic on my website: https://tchipakkan.wordpress.com/the-new-normal/directory-of-podcasts/

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Things a man can do, and things a man can’t do

This morning I lost a contact. This was exacerbated by my having lost a contact a month ago, so I have been dealing with seeing clearly from only one eye while waiting for an appointment with the ophthalmologist (coming up only in another few weeks- he’s apparently a popular guy). Even then he has to send the order off to some lab, so it will be another week or ten days until I can see with both eyes again.

This brought into focus (as it were) many realizations about how dependent upon my contacts I am. Without them I cannot drive. I cannot work the computer (because while I can make some images bigger, and touch type a bit, I cannot see as far as my hands to find the right keys on the keyboard. No computer means no email, no facebook messages, no working on my website or the CTCW website, no painting, except for miniatures (with those and fine illumination I take out my contacts and have my nose almost on the surface as I work), no watching movies, or, in fact, seeing anything across the room, or anything anyone pointed out to me. I couldn’t tell if someone was pointing at something, or get hints about how they felt from facial expression. I wouldn’t see it.

I felt rather helpless. I called in Willow, whose talents luckily include finding and she did, in fact, find it, which is the only reason I’m able to write this. But the two hours it took her (I had dropped it in my bedroom where the path between bed and dresser is narrow, further blocked by stacks of books and probably related to that, not vacuumed in longer than I like to think, I was able to ruminate on how my poor eyesight would effect the whole family. I’d been getting dressed to go to the dump. Until then, Willow would have to do dump runs. She’d have to do all errands, drive me and Kat to any appointments. I wouldn’t be able to go to the library or shopping. I would probably be able to continue cooking, washing dishes and do other domestic chores, but I was going to have to get help to contact the people who’s paintings I was working on to let them know about the issue.

I started thinking about people in history before there were glasses. (Sadly, my prescription is such that if I wear on the nose type glasses I get dizzy and walk into things, so I don’t bother with a back-up pair.) Grandma could still sew if one of the kids was available to thread her needle. Old people ask those with good eyes to tell them what’s going on. Some jobs were not possible. Helpers help, but it comes down to what you can do and what you can’t.  Which takes us to the Captain Jack Sparrow’s quote I used as a title: “The only rules that really matter are these: what a man can do and what a man can’t do. For instance, you can accept that your father was a pirate and a good man, or you can’t. … And me, for example, I can let you drown. But I can’t bring this ship into Tortuga all by me oneses, savy?”

He compared two problems, what Will chose to believe, and what he physically could do. It’s easier to look at our physical limitations, although those still are a problem. I think most of my old friends share my occasional confusion when we try something we’ve “done all our lives” and it doesn’t work any more. This may or may not be because we define what we can do by our personal best, as though that should always be possible (and improvable). Intellectually we may accept that our reflexes are a bit slower, we tire more quickly, we forget things we “should” remember, and it hurts when we try to lift something we think is not that heavy. We can blame it on others, “my doctor doesn’t want me to…” “I haven’t recovered since the last time I was sick…” but it’s easier to accept our gains than our losses. So we become experts at working around our disabilities. Carry smaller but more loads, think around the need for strength or speed, medicate the pain or work through it (and maybe be cranky), and as a last resort ask for help.

Thank goodness we have modern technologies to help us! No one thinks twice about glasses and hearing aides these days. We are getting more accepting of prosthetic devices and wheelchairs, but we still have problems when someone trying to do something for themselves requires us to be inconvenienced. We recognize that a wheelchair doesn’t help with stairs, but don’t want to pay to have buildings retrofitted with ramps. People with prosthesis remind us of our own fears of dealing with serious injuries. We appear not to be able to deal with “otherness”, and would rather the people who are trying so hard to just have a life just stayed out of sight so we didn’t have to think about it. Many of us even get cross when we have a hard time understanding the accent of someone who speaks English as well as their own, and possibly several other languages. Why should their “disability” slow our lives down? We need to learn to accept disabilities in ourselves and in others as a part of life.

We have to accept what we can do and what we can’t do. When we figure out what we can do, we can often find work-arounds to do more, to get what we need and what we want done. If we accept that some of us need glasses, and when we wear them, we are good drivers, how far can that be from some of us need medications to keep our blood sugar or moods regulated, and can still do what those around us do. We shouldn’t have to pretend that we don’t need the help we need to be accepted.

Learning to believe something that changes your world view- that may be harder, and if I come up with a good answer for that, I’ll share it. After all, Will did eventually believe that his father was both a pirate and a good man. Some day perhaps we will learn to accept that this is true of people with other beliefs.

 

 

False but comforting lies

I have had the Downeaster Alexa going through my head this past week, and it rarely fails to make me cry. I can’t help sympathizing with a man who only wants to support his family, even if it is very hard work. Fishermen, Miners, and others, it’s not that they are asking for a free ride, they simply want to be able to keep doing what has worked in the past for their fathers.

The problem is that they are forgetting that things have changed. They are forgetting that although once vast, the resources they are using are not infinite. The shoals and banks have been fished out, the coal and oil is used up, the water from underground aquafers is nearly gone, and that it cannot be replenished in an foreseeable future. This throws farmers who have planted crops in places where the rain will not support them in the same group. Likewise people who have built shining cities on fault lines and floodplains will lose them- or rather the people who live in them when the water rises and the land shakes will suffer. Those who started it are mostly safely in their graves. Perhaps their spirits will grieve for their descendants who they thought they had left a lasting legacy. Their fault was accepting a false, if comforting, lie, and that is shared with those who have to deal with the results.

Like abused women who stay with their abusers who promise to never hurt them again, our miners and fishermen believe the lie because they cannot see any another way to survive. The answer is not to tell them to fix it themselves, but to help them find another way. It is highly unlikely that we can get those who profited from the original decision to take on the cost of cleaning up after it, but that doesn’t change the problem that it still needs to be fixed. People need to be moved away from at-risk areas, and people whose jobs are dependent on depleted resources need to be given other options to support themselves. To not do so is to perpetuate the lie, and that will only make things worse. We also should protect the last of the resources so that, even if they can not recover enough or soon enough for us to start exploiting them again, that they have a chance to recover.

We need to scale back. Use less, find a sustainable level of living on this planet. I read a story about people from the First Nations who traded furs for guns and ammunition. They were able to harvest many more pelts more easily, although their old people warned them not to desert the old ways where they recognized the balance that needed to be preserved, but the addition of firearms and metal cooking pots and cloth and all the other things they could get by trading made it seem foolish not to take advantage of this opportunity. A few generations later the fur trade collapsed, and they no longer knew how to live the old ways. We can learn how to live with less than instant gratification. Remember, children are not hurt by having limits imposed, they feel better when they know what is reasonable. It’s time for us to grow up, and stop acting like spoiled children.

I will not deny that the accumulation of great wealth allows those who have it to patronize artists, and Tiffany and Faberge would not have been able to make the beautiful things they made without patrons paying for them spending years on a project. But beauty can be created without using slave labor to dig diamonds up to create something to sparkle. Pyzanki eggs are as delicate and colorful, if not as valuable and sparkly. These days many women donate their wedding gowns so that others can afford to have one day dressing like a princess. Centuries ago some towns kept a wedding crown to loan to brides, thus sharing the cost, and those who couldn’t borrow those made exquisite straw crowns, now preserved in museums for their beauty. The craft “quilling” was was created by nuns to get the effect of gold filigree with paper strips. Art will happen even without patrons. The aristocratic cultures that exploited the people and resources to create a beautiful life for themselves are like soap bubbles- beautiful, delicate, and colorful, but they cannot last. Sadly, neither can any system built on using resources in a non-sustainable way. To accept the lie is to support and participate in it. I only hope that we can turn to sustainability before we push more resources past the point where they can recover.

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Pet Psychics and Psychic Pets

Please join Tchipakkan on the New Normal 8 pm Wednesday, April 5, 2017, 8-9 p.m. edt.  If you missed the live show- it’s archived here.

Pets are close companions; they can even feel like part of the family. And sometimes their behavior is “inexplicable”. Does your cat chase “poultermice”? That’s what we call it when they seem to be chasing something, but we can’t see it. (It could be pixies I suppose…)

We’ll be talking about the things we’ve seen, or heard about (personal stories are the best, of course), such as the cat funeral a friend observed. Many people have seen ghosts of their pets, and many pets seem to be more sensitive to ghosts than humans.

There are also animal “whisperers” who seem to be able to communicate with our non-human companions, and even pet mediums (although we’ll probably also talk about how to spot a scam in case you are thinking of hiring one).

Want to catch this interview, call in with questions or be part of the live chat happening during every show? The Call in Number is 619-639-4606

If you just want to listen (while doing other stuff on your computer), you can open a window on your computer to www.Liveparanormal.com, click the “Listen Live and Chat” listing under the “radio-listen/chat room” heading, and click “LISTEN HERE” next to “the New Normal”.

If you want to chat, you’ll need to go to the top of the home page on the extreme right and click “Join” to set up a personal account (it’s free but takes a few moments, so you might want to do this in advance) You can ask –Name- questions in the chatroom, or
We’d love you to phone in with questions: 619-639-4606 (live only). If you know you’re going to listen later but have a question, look on the facebook events page and leave a question there. We’ll try to answer it during the show.

If you can’t tune in 8-9, Live Paranormal.com archives its shows by date, and I archive them by date, guest, and topic on my website: https://tchipakkan.wordpress.com/the-new-normal/directory-of-podcasts/

Hope you can join and me tomorrow night from 8-9 at the New Normal on liveparanormal.com

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The Stories we tell ourselves

One of these days I have to actually see Hamilton. This shouldn’t be a problem, as I am exceptionally fond of musicals. I haven’t made the effort because I was immediately repelled by the images I saw in ads of young women dancing around in what was clearly underwear while the men were fully dressed. It seemed sexist to me, and still does, although in other musicals from Oklahoma to 7 Brides have women dancing in their drawers (not with men around).
But recently I’ve been reading (in _American Nations: History of Rival Regions_ ) about history from that period, and wonder just how much BS has been included.
I know that when I picture John Adams, it’s William Daniels I see, not the round face we have preserved in portraits, or the brilliant mind shown in _Abigail and John_, I fear that someone has latched onto the snippet that Hamilton was from Barbados, just as, when I was young, the “black pride” people latched onto the idea that if Cleopatra was Egyptian, she must have been black, and put her forward as another powerful black woman who’s race had been suppressed by biased white historians. She wasn’t. (The Ptolemaic pharaohs were Greek, from the time that Alexander’s generals split his empire up- they just took the title Pharaoh because that’s what Egyptians called their rulers.) It’s a lovely idea that one of the founding fathers was at least a little bit black, but it doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. (Also, I’m not a huge fan of rap or hip-hop and musicals are expensive.)
Now I read that Hamilton was strongly anti-democratic (he helped put in the Electoral college to protect the government from the commoners), and that he profiteered from the post war debts to the soldiers, he was against a free press, and all sorts things we don’t usually associate with Founding Fathers. I was also surprised at reading that Wilson, who is portrayed in the musical _1776_ as a wimp, was a powerful representative of the Appalachian side of Pennsylvania. It makes me suspicious of the other (appealing) characters from _1776_, and how their portrayal may be only what the story being told required. Eleanor of Aquitaine was an amazing woman- but look how differently she is portrayed in _Becket_ and _Lion in Winter_.
The stories we tell ourselves have to be taken as what we need to hear, not what is necessarily true. They show *A* truth, and to a great extent they create truths. There is a reason that some people will not believe evidence right before their eyes if it challenges a core belief. That’s such a human characteristic, I’m sure that it’s true of me as well, and wonder what things I believe that are not true, but that serve me. When we look at this what we can learn is what our needs are.  For example, if we look at what Trump supporters believe that isn’t true, we can figure out how to help them with their real problems. We only tell ourselves false stories when it fills a deep need. Sometimes that need is also BS, for example, when our inner critic tells us we are fat or stupid, it may indicate our need to be accepted, to agree with the people who first told us that. The story that Hamilton was black probably reflects the need for respect that doesn’t come with  slave labor, no matter how important that work was. Sadly, it does seem to present the need to excel and gather wealth and power in a more positive light than I’d put it, but it makes sense for modern blacks just as Hamilton’s early years make sense of his later behavior.
When we create stories about ourselves, they do become part of the fabric of the future, so we’d better be careful. Much of modern thought is grounded in the myth of infinite resources that was created in early America, and we are unwilling to let go, as that would require us to change both our sense of what’s right and wrong, and our behavior. So when we make stories, about ourselves or our past, we should think carefully about what we are saying and the consequences of taking that as a given, because future generations will.

Cultural Appropriation in Pagan Practice

Please join Tchipakkan and her guests on the New Normal 8 pm Wednesday, March 29, 2017, 8-9 p.m. edt.  If you missed the live show the archive is here.

I recently read an ebook, Talking About the Elephant, a collection of essays about different aspects of cultural appropriation and how it occurs in Neo-pagan culture. Ii can highly recommend the book, and it’s a discussion that really should not be avoided, especially as so may of our traditions do draw inspiration from the spiritual practices of other cultures.

None of us wants to be guilty of “plastic shamanism” or to participate in cultural appropriation- disrespecting the spiritual and intellectual rights of other cultures, yet when all humans are psychic and working with the same basic spiritual abilities, can we be told that we are not allowed to do what others do when working with spirits? Anyone (with training) can visit the Akashic Records, but should only those with a background in Sanscrit call them that? Anthopologists have popularized the term Shaman (used by Tungusic Spirit Workers); since most cultures have someone who does this work, so should we reserve the term for only the handful of those in that culture? Let’s face it, as extensive as English is, it has very few terms for spiritual concepts, so, as usual, it borrows terms from other cultures- and we often go to other cultures for a deeper understanding of how anything from chakras to other levels of consciousness work.

Magickal practitioners, (like Samuel MacGregor Mathers & Moina Mathers illustrated in Golden Dawn robes) also have a tradition of borrowing concepts and props from other cultures, as did early 19th c. Druids, and many others. At what point does imitation stop being flattery and become appropriation? Any of us who truly respect our teachers and models need to look at these issues and try to find the lines we don’t want to cross before we find ourselves defending actions about which we aren’t really comfortable. We cannot keep “ignoring the elephant in the room”.

I’d really love to have people call in and share their perspectives on this important subject. The New Normal is live, on LiveParanormal Wednesdays at 8, and the call in number is 619-639-4606

You can open a window on your computer to www.Liveparanormal.com, click the “Listen Live and Chat” listing under the “radio-listen/chat room” heading, and click “LISTEN HERE” next to “the New Normal”.

If you want to chat, you’ll need to go to the top of the home page on the extreme right and click “Join” to set up a personal account (it’s free but takes a few moments, so you might want to do this in advance) If you know you’re going to listen to the archives later, later but have a point or question, look on the facebook events page and leave a question there for me to share during the live show. I post a link to the archives on the fb event page and on my website, (LiveParanormal archives them only by date and New Normal).
You can get the kindle book on Amazon, and the paperback book is still available from Lupa at:

http://www.thegreenwolf.com/books/

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Amy Wilson The Power of the Spoken Word

Amy Wilson will join me on the New Normal 8 pm Wednesday, March 22, 2017, 8-9 p.m. edt.

If you miss the live show, it’s archived here: http://tobtr.com/s/9906137
The words we speak carry a power. Many spiritual practices use chants, affirmations, incantations, or other magickal words to manifest a desired result. We often forget how our day to day spoken words manifest results in our everyday life and how it can amplify our magick or undo it. We will discuss how to go about recognizing and changing the way we speak to achieve our desired results.
As the old saying goes, “A Witch is only as good as their word.”

Amy C WilsonAmy C Wilson Lady Minah of Other Worldly Waxes Amy C Wilson is celebrated Spiritual Medium and Psychometrist who has worked with and read for individuals and missing person cases. She has been a practitioner of the Magickal Arts and has worked in various New York City occult stores for over 25 years specializing in healing others through Candle Magick. Amy holds Round Tables every month to discuss various life topics from a metaphysical perspective and how to transmute our energy into positive reflections into our outer reality. Amy also is the voice behind the Reluctant Spiritualist which she created to help other’s become more conscious of thought patterns that are holding them back from their fullest potential. You can find her at her shop Other Worldly Waxes in Beacon, New York

Want to catch this interview, call in with questions or be part of the live chat happening during every show? If you just want to listen (while doing other stuff on your computer), you can open a window on your computer to http://www.Liveparanormal.com, click the “Listen Live and Chat” listing under the “radio-listen/chat room” heading, and click “LISTEN HERE” next to “the New Normal”.

To chat, you’ll need to sign in, it’s free, just go to the top of the home page on the extreme right and click “Join” to set up a personal account (it’s free but takes a few moments, so you might want to do this in advance) You can ask Amy questions in the chatroom, or leave questions here.

We’d love you to phone in: 619-639-4606 (live only). But if you know you’re going to listen later but have a question, look on the facebook events page and leave a question there. We’ll try to answer it during the show.

If you can’t tune in 8-9, Live Paranormal.com archives its shows by date, and I archive them by date, guest, and topic on my website: https://tchipakkan.wordpress.com/the-new-normal/directory-of-podcasts/

Hope you can join Tchipakkan and Amy Wednesday night from 8-9 at the New Normal on liveparanormal.com

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Starwolf and Protective Magick on the New Normal 3-15-17

We’re having our favorite metaphysicist and “Psychic soldier of fortune”, Starwolf back to go over techniques for keeping ourselves safe in “interesting times”. He has over 30 years of experience as a shaman, Wiccan Priest, and metaphysical engineer. As well as being psychic, his engineering attitude leads him to experiment to find techniques that work best, using everything from the innate properties of stones and plants to the natural, but often forgotten, abilities of people.

If you missed the live show, here’s the link to the archive. And we mentioned 4 Thieves Vinegar– the recipe for that is here.

War Water

Currently many of us are feeling a bit overwhelmed by how fast changes are happening, which can leave us feeling apprehensive. Unfortunately, this is likely to attract more chaotic energy. The best way to counter this is to assert control over your own life, step by step. Starwolf will explain how to take some of the first, very practical, effective, and affordable steps to protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our immediate environment. Tune in on Wednesday evening, and if you have a question, a question about some specific problem, do call in 619-639-4606 (only during the live broadast 8-9).

We’ve covered this a bit before, we did a show on “Hexbreaking, Uncrossing, Warding and Curse Turning. The REAL Defense Against the Dark Arts” back in 9-16-15, Banishing, 3-13-13, and Techno-magick, magickal tools, warding, and curse lifting, 7-4-2012. And check out links at ForesightyourCTpsychic Practical Living in a Magickal World, where you can get more tips on Warding and other protection.

If you just want to listen (while doing other stuff on your computer), you can open a window on your computer to www.Liveparanormal.com, click the “Listen Live and Chat” listing under the “radio-listen/chat room” heading, and click “LISTEN HERE” next to “the New Normal”.

If you want to chat, you’ll need to go to the top of the home page on the extreme right and click “Join” to set up a personal account (it’s free but takes a few moments, so you might want to do this in advance) You can ask me questions in the chatroom and I’ll pass them to Starwolf, or if can’t listen live, but have a question, leave a question on the facebook events page. We’ll try to answer it during the show.

If you can’t tune in 8-9, Live Paranormal.com archives its shows by date, and I archive them by date, guest, and topic on my website: https://tchipakkan.wordpress.com/the-new-normal/directory-of-podcasts/ (although I’m not really caught up).

Hope you can join Starwolf and me Wednesday night from 8-9 at the New Normal on liveparanormal.com

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Jason Nadeau on Ancestors

Please join Tchipakkan and her guest Jason Nadeau on the New Normal 8 pm Wednesday, March 8, 2017, 8-9 p.m. edt. as we talk about Ancestor work. If you missed the show the archive is here.

When we look beyond the “Attend church on Sunday, pray if you fear for your life” level of religion, many people feel the call of those who came before them. We find great meaning in practices that have been dropped in the modern world, but are an integral part of spiritual and religious life for people from cultures all over the world: Africans, First Nations, Traditional Chinese and Shinto, Hindu, Celtic and Heathen, Khemetic, even Christianity has some- trick or treating goes back to giving Soul Cakes to children in exchange for their praying for your beloved dead. Modern Spiritualism is a way to get in touch with dead friends and family. You may discover that working with ancestors provides an integral part of your spiritual practice, no matter where your family came from.

Jason Nadeau has been working with ancestors, bringing ancient practices into modern life and that’s what we’ll be talking about. “We are the product and life of our ancestors. Once on the other side they can see things far down the horizon and can help guide us. Those that lived a less than kind life often want to make things right and can be powerful allies while those who were our supporters in life often continue being so after crossing to the other world.”

Jason is a Licensed Massage Therapist, Reiki Master/Teacher, Shamanic Practitioner, and Certified Firewalk Instructor. He’s been on a spiritual path for over 20 years and has been a full-time Massage Therapist/Bodyworker/Spiritworker for over 12 years.

Want to catch this interview, call in with questions or be part of the live chat happening during every show?

If you just want to listen (while doing other stuff on your computer), you can open a window on your computer to http://www.Liveparanormal.com, click the “Listen Live and Chat” listing under the “radio-listen/chat room” heading, and click “LISTEN HERE” next to “the New Normal”.

If you want to chat, you’ll need to go to the top of the home page on the extreme right and click “Join” to set up a personal account (it’s free but takes a few moments, so you might want to do this in advance)
We’d love you to phone in with questions: 619-639-4606 (live only). If you know you’re going to listen later but have a question, look on the facebook events page and leave a question there. We’ll try to answer it during the show.

If you can’t tune in 8-9, Live Paranormal.com archives its shows by date, and I archive them by date, guest, and topic on my website: https://tchipakkan.wordpress.com/the-new-normal/directory-of-podcasts/

Hope you can join Jason and me Wednesday night from 8-9 at the New Normal on liveparanormal.com

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Learning from History

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In an attempt to try and figure out what’s going on now, I have been reading up on the history of Germany in the 1930s. Ever since I first heard about WWII, I’ve been trying to figure out how it could happen. It seems to me that while there are some people in the world who like throwing their weight around, the vast majority are good people who want to help each other. They must have been unhappy with what was happening around them. Could they possibly believe that Jews, Romany, Blacks, the deaf, and labor unionists were a threat to them? Were they able to convince themselves that mass murder wasn’t happening? Were they afraid that they and their families would be attacked if they spoke out? These are the questions that I asked, and others with whom I’ve spoken asked, and decades later, we are still asking. Now we can add the question: Can it happen here? and that one we can answer. Yes it could. Which raises the question: How can we stop it? In turn that begs the question: HOW does it work?  Which is sort of where we started. Because if we don’t know how it works, how can we stop it?

So I look back to history. Other than the too-easy answer of “Anti-semitism”, which boils down to “Fear of other and the unknown”, I am willing to admit that antisemitism is real, as is racism. But in a country based on freedom of religion, where Pennsylvania and Rhode Island were created so that a different kind of Christianity would be legal to practice, people who live here shouldn’t be surprised that while you’re allowed to not like other groups, but you aren’t allowed to attack them because of it. I think it’s because the people who are in charge of enforcing the laws, the police and judges, have been allowed to indulge their biases and enforce the laws according to the local cultural attitudes- against blacks, against Native Americans, against Hispanics, and now, against immigrants. If you have been brought up to believe that blacks or Hispanics or immigrants are naturally criminal, those are the people who are arrested and prosecuted, whereas the good WASP boys have “made a mistake” or are “sowing wild oats” and are told to apologize, and behave better in the future. Sadly, because this is the way it’s “always been”, they see no reason not to continue to do it that way. Just as doctors were offended when Semmelweis told them to wash their freaking hands because their germs were making patients sick, it took nearly a half century before doctors actually started accepting germ theory and practicing antiseptic procedure. We can’t expect people who have come to explain all the problems that seem outside their control on some fantasy (whether racism, manifest destiny, or the Second Coming) to suddenly stop change their world view because the laws change. If they don’t like the laws, they’ll figure out a way to fiddle them, and in the USA, to change them.

litany-against-fearMy generation has embraced a few concepts, like the Bene Gesserit Litany against Fear, and Yoda’s advice to Luke.yoda-fear-leads-to-anger  I think the only way to reduce the fear that causes the hatred is to stop giving them something to resist. I’m not saying to allow them to harm other people, but I am saying that we should concentrate our energies on soothing their fears, because when they aren’t afraid, they won’t need someone to blame things on. When the fear doesn’t fuel a need to defend their position, they can relax, and start thinking for themselves, and maybe realize that their experience may support a less fearful position. I’ve recently read about something called the Backfire Effect “When your deepest convictions are challenged by contradictory evidence, your beliefs get stronger.” This is how exercise makes muscles stronger, and it’s clear that it works with how people’s worldview is strengthened as well. It resembles what was called the Semmelweis reflex  (tendency to reject new evidence or knowledge because it contradicts established norms, beliefs or paradigms), but we always need to discover things for ourselves.

On the Muslim Ban, Trump says “Until our countries representatives can figure out what the hell is going on. We have no choice.” This is Trump’s “Big Lie“, the fear he needs to reinforce in order to be allowed to take more power. In 1933 there was a fire in the German Reichstagsbrand (parliament building), a month after Hitler had become Chancellor of Germany, and the next day they made a decree suspending most civil liberties including habeas corpus, freedom of expression, freedom of the press, free association and public assembly. I think we need to keep an eye out for this sort of thing. We must be VERY careful to protect the freedom of the press, and the freedom of expression, as well as the freedom of non-mainstream religions to practice their faiths. They are not the problem, trying to take them away is.

So many times laws are claimed to be to “protect the children” (like what if they saw a trans-person in a public restroom, they could be attacked). We mustn’t let an incident be used to justify stopping what we stand for to be set aside for the illusion of safety. The whole “Homeland Security administration” has created a great deal of “security theater”, but like the Muslim Ban, while it reduces the rights of the many, it has no real impact on the few who might really threaten our security. We have a choice. We can choose to accept that there are a few whackos out there, who are, by their very nature, hard to defend against, or we can choose to treat everyone as a potential threat, turning people against their friends and neighbors. People who are afraid of each other are not secure at all.
We must not let the “protect the children” arguement gain power. Hitler gained a great deal of power by creating the Hitler Youth- an organization like Boy Scouts, where the kids were given handsome uniforms and outings, and trained to be “patriotic”. Back when Justinian was trying to convert the Eastern Roman Empire to Christianity, he started by making laws that banned pagans from teaching (to protect the children), and a few years later from being doctors, then from holding public office, then from being able to pass their property to their children. Full circle from protecting the children to motivating the children to pressure their parents to conform. But it starts with education. For years the backbone of the homeschooling movement has been people who didn’t want to have their children “harmed” by being taught science (evolution) by the public schools. The public school system is what makes a democracy (or even a Republic, like ours) work. If people can’t read and have access to information, how can they decide what to support with their votes?

Another reason people might “go along” with horrible activity around them is the Stockholm Syndrome, which we also see in the behavior of victims of abuse. If your survival depends on it, you make excuses for and even feel affection for your abuser. We have to worry about that one a lot. One thing I’m still trying to figure out is that Hitler seems to have gotten support by giving workers better conditions, shorter work days, longer vacations, more pay, but at the same time, he abolished unions. The Germans who had just undergone a punative depression and inflation between the wars, thought that they were getting better off, and therefore didn’t realize they were not getting rights, but getting handouts that could easily be withdrawn.

Sadly, I still don’t understand how it could happen- although stories of the horrors of living during the depression in Germany help explain how people who finally were able to buy necessities were willing to support the regime that seemed to help with that- until it was too late and they had lost their ability to object. quote-first-they-came-for-the-communists-but-i-was-not-a-communist-so-i-did-not-speak-out-then-they-came-martin-niemoller-285246We must not let our fears lead us to accept scapegoats, and accept restriction of our freedoms. The sooner we draw our line, and say ‘beyond this, I will not be moved’, the better off we will be. We do have a choice, we can choose not to give in to fear mongering, and stand with our neighbors, even if they are different than we are.

I will almost certainly keep reading about the thirties (and other historical periods) to try to find clues on how to keep from being “…doomed to repeat it” (the darker parts of history). democracy-politics-system-concept-flat-d-web-isometric-infographic-politic-tribune-over-abyss-248942326And  I will cling to hope, drawing strength from every judge who defends the constitution, and every person who persists when they know that they are right.

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