Friendships and non-friends


I continue to watch what is going on in this country, and in the world, under the trumpeter’s agenda. So I want to say once and for all.

I am 76 years of age. I have been involved in politics since I was 11 years old. I have moved thinking around as I learned things and grew up and watched changes. I went from being a republican to being a democrat, pretty much because the parties changed themselves. I remember well being a Republican in Democratic Texas; now I am a Democrat in a Republican Texas. Thing is, I haven’t changed – I have always been a liberal; I have always fought for the rights of others, and equality. I have been a christian, but there is no way I would identify with today’s christians. Nor do I identify any longer with any organized religion.

So, truth: I am ultra-liberal, and a Socialist Democrat. I believe everyone has a right to free healthcare and free education. That is about the limit of the old Socialist regime that turned into communism. And then died.

I believe every human being who ever lived was born equal to every other human being. I have never cared about the colour of skin, or what is called “race”. I have met human beings from around the world through my life, and I don’t consider a Swede as superior to a Jamaican. I do not consider a Ukranian as being superior to a Tahitian. I do not consider a Greek as superior to an Egyptian. And I do not consider a white American superior to a Native American, or a Latin American, or an African American.

I know that no child is born with hatred in its heart. They have to be taught. Remember the words from South Pacific: You have to be taught to be afraid of people’s who eyes are oddly made, of people who skin is a different shade, you’ve got to be carefully taught. You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late, you’ve got to be taught to hate; you’ve got to be carefully taught.

The big argument from a conservative generally includes that they don’t want big government. This is simply not true; every conservative really does want huge government – they just want it for themselves. Don’t mess with their Social Security Disability, or their food stamps, or their health care. And oh God, don’t even mess with the money for defense. Got to give defense billions and billions of dollars. And if to do that it requires taking benefits away from the opposition, then so be it. Just don’t step on their, the conservatives, benefits. They are entitled. And they want war, war, war.

So don’t ask me to be your friend. I will always respect your rights as a human being, but I will never respect your hatred for me, and my beliefs. It is enough that I have liberal friends that I have to debate with. But we will never call each other names, or try to shoot one another, or take anything away from one another. We are more likely to help out each other, even if our priorities are a little different. There are so many others who need help, and not every one of us agrees on which ones deserve the first help. I support Planned Parenthood, the Environmental Protection folks, the believers in global warming/climate change, the Native Americans, the tree huggers. I cannot afford to give all of them money. So I choose to give monthly donations to the Southern Poverty Law Center and the ACLU. I hope to eventually support Habitat for Humanity and Disabled Veterans on a monthly basis. In the meantime, I give what I can. I live in assisted housing, and I have given away food, cigarettes, money, until I realized there were those who simply were using me. And I closed my “free” store. But if there is a fire, a hurricane, a tornado, a natural disaster, happening to anyone near me, you will find me sharing things – clothes, household goods, food, whatever.

I know there are people who take advantage of the system. They need to be weeded out, but when a wealthy person buys a farm just so they can get the tax advantages, I believe they are the ones taking advantage of the system. When people cry out about drugs like cocaine or heroin, I remember that it is the corporate styles who actually buy them, and then sell them to the downtrodden, just so they can keep them downtrodden.

So anyone who approves of that, don’t come to me to be your friend. I have enough friends who believe the way I do.

I ramble, I know that, but I think in my rambling, you probably know exactly what I am saying.

And if you support the trumpeter, you really are the person I most don’t want to know.

Carol Stepp, Austin, TX

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Posted in Children, Crime, Economics, Equality, Family, Finance, Foreign Affairs, Freedom, Friends, Gay Rights, global warming, Health, Homelessness, Medicine, Mental health, Other media, personal thoughts, Politics, Religious, States Rights, Voting Rights, War, weather, Women's Rights | Leave a comment

War


We are headed into a new war.

Like many of you, I have been following what is going on in the US and around the world very closely. I have been a bit obsessed with World War II, and watching The West Wing. Think about it.

Why is Vladimir Putin so interested in our elections? What has General Flynn, along with Manafort and Bannon been doing behind the scenes? Why are these people so determined to get Donald Trump elected president?

While we Americans have spent the last eight or more years beleaguering our politicians about gas and oil, about racism and healthcare and leaching off the government, what have the money people, the corporations, the Kochs and Citizens United been doing behind the scenes? Trying always to make even more money, and taken down the middle and lower class of Americans. And, my guess would be, other free nations around the world. Drugs are being used at a higher rate than they used to be, and fewer and fewer people are trying to take any responsibility for themselves. They see only one thing – how do I get into that money and power situation.

Well, I think it is to take their minds off what is happening on higher levels of government and dictatorships and the daily grind of the common folks. What are we of use to them, other than to go out and shoot at other people, and kill one another off, while the generals and the corporate biggies rake in the money from the war machine, and get richer.

Also, if you look at wars through the ages, what has the United States suffered? We have been there in all the battlefields, razing their countries, destroying their cities, keeping it there so it won’t come over here. I think this is on the verge of being ended. With the war machine the world has now, and the firepower available to many – with troops being sent into Afghanistan, Syria, and other hot spots across the planet, we are already in place with many of the things needed to set this off. While we sit on our asses and watch it all and yell about it. Take the trumpeter’s speech to the Coast Guard graduates yesterday – what was he warning them about – how hard life is (also how badly he has been treated).

I don’t know what else to say. I as a liberal Democrat have done so much over the past 50 and more years to try to get people to be considerate and compassionate and to get along. So have many, many others. I am not alone out here thinking this. And we even have a new batch, and new generation or five, who are beginning to see this. But not nearly enough. The youth these days are more worried about keeping up with one another, and keeping their heads in their electronic ties to the world. Everyone is arguing their religious beliefs and their lot in life, and no-one is paying attention to the big picture. It has been a long time since there was even a war, and that was not even a real war. Korea and Vietnam have been the only true world fights in the last half century.

People are not even inclined to think about war. The Gulf Wars had no young men or women avid enough to join in. The last thing that spurred any kind of patriotism in this country was the downing of the Twin Towers. Lots of people signed up for things then. We didn’t even get into WW II until we were hit. America is as usual living in its cocoon it has built for itself, and is not going to wake up until lives are lost and damage is done. But in today’s climate, that will be too late.

What have you given up for your country lately? Well, get ready, because I think you are about to be asked for a lot more. I see the signs all too clearly.

Carol Stepp, Austin, TX

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There is no God


WOW, did I ever have an epiphany this afternoon. I was sleeping so deeply, and as has happened before, I was dreaming about NASCAR. I do that a lot. I woke up about 2:45, and got up to go to the bathroom, but I was not quite ready to get up. So I laid down and cuddled under my comforter, and went into a sort of twilight sleep. And was suddenly awoken again with this thought.

There is no god.

What I mean by that is that there is no god who allowed the Hebrews to be taken into slavery by Egypt. There is no god that allows people to kill one another, in whatever circumstances. There is no god that allowed the Germans to murder six million Jews. There is no god that allows children to be exploited by others, or for women to be exploited and forced into prostitution, or for fires and tornadoes and earthquakes and drownings. There is no god who allows evil in any way.

A god was invented by different tribes of people, not all of them with the same god. But for some reason, there are people who have to have a god to explain where we came from. However, this planet and this universe and all the other cosmic bodies there are in the universe came from science. I have always believed in science, and been fascinated by it, but I was raised in a christian family who stuffed my head with fairy tales, and made sure I knew if I was not perfect, I would end up in hell.

So I, like billions of people, struggled with the major questions that billions and billions ask every day: why did that happen? We just need someone to blame it all on, and we look up at the sky and say it was god’s will.

All wars are caused by men. Whether it is Joshua holding his arms up and stopping the sun so the Hebrews could slaughter men (not a scientific possibility), or Hitler got too much power and used it wrongly, it is not any god’s fault. Even if you have ever read the Iliad and the story of Troy, and the gods and goddesses who worked that war, they are stories out of mythology. In fact, everything that has happened with the human race since the beginning of time, has been blamed on a god of some sort.

So as long as people look to what they believe is a god running everything, and that god does not agree with another god, there will never be peace on this planet, perhaps in any other civilization as well. The sooner people accept science as what rules the daily activities of humankind, the sooner there could be peace.

So, David and others I have had this conversation with, I apparently have finally learned why atheism is so widespread. Because too many have someone to blame it all on.

So there is no god. Just our spiritual, or non-spiritual, selves to blame, or to give credit to when we understand that we are the only ones who can fix things.

Carol Stepp, Austin, TX

Posted in Children, Crime, Equality, Family, Foreign Affairs, Freedom, Other media, personal thoughts, Politics, Religious, War | Leave a comment

God/desses and spiritual beliefs


I just wrote this in response to a posting by David Gerrold on Facebook.  I thought I would bring it over to my blog so it can get wider readership.  To my Facebook friends, you will be getting this twice, once in my response to David, and now because I have FB sharing for my wordpress blogs.

David, you have written some very profound things here. As a Pagan of the Celtic tradition, I can tell you that the God/dess I believe in is a Spirit, bears no body, nor no face, but lives around and in and through me at all times. I communicate with her/him, or him/her, in my own way, and every time I do anything that will affect others, and allow me to live with myself.

But I do believe in lesser gods and goddesses that rule parts of my life. Lyr is the god of the seas – I came from water, I am mostly water, and water will be the place of my eventual return. Lugh is the god of my creativity – my artistic and writing abilities. And Herne (aka Cernnunous) is the lord of the trees, or the one who works with Mother Nature, and are being destroyed even as I write this through ecological disasters.

The Greek and Latin/Roman gods and goddesses are/were very real to me. I believe that they did have some rule over the peoples of this planet prior to about 2500 BC. They were very much in evidence, including those whose names are Egyptian or Scandinavian, or with the various natives of all the lands of this planet. They were never cut off, even in the christian bible left them behind, picking up the exodus of Hebrews from slavery. This mythology did not rid every tribe from slavery, but the priests of the early AD years needed to try and get most peoples behind one belief, and thus picked and chose what writings they wanted to bring everyone to one religion – namely christianity. And they gave their god the face of the well-known, and renown, Rabbi of the earliest days – Yeshua bin Ioseph, who was wise and compassionate, and definitely human.

It did not work, it has not worked, it will never work. Because humans were not made to be automatons to follow one belief. And so long as there are conflicting ideas of religion or spirituality, more people are going to search for their beliefs in whatever they can find to believe in, or to match their beliefs already. And war will always be the answer to them because peace will never reign until a catalyst occurs that allows everyone to live within themselves, and with tolerance for everyone else.

Carol Stepp, Austin, TX

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United Airlines


United Airlines raised a real shit storm when they decided to give their own employees four free seats. They went about the whole thing very wrong, and money will get their attention far better than people talking about it over and over. But let me point out one thing, not to excuse them for their actions: many flights for all airlines have been delayed all over the country because of the crazy weather. While people talk about the weather wherever it does not really concern them, it is when the results hit them that they start to see reality. Many planes were grounded, and with them, the employees – pilots, radio operators, stewards – were left stranded. Most of them had flown their absolute limits, according to FAA regulations. I have not flown anywhere since 9/11, but if I were to fly, I’d feel a whole lot more comfortable knowing that the pilots, especially, were not overtired. So all of the airlines have had to get their employees to other airports so they could get people off the ground and in the air. United gave thousands to one family who was stranded for a week, and missed their whole vacation while sitting in an airport – because there were no air employees to fly the planes sitting on the ground.

It was a real nightmare for the airlines, but folks who depend on the airlines to get them places faster and faster, do not stop to realize the stress and strain the airlines are under to get them there safely and on time. And they can do nothing to stop Mother Nature from having her way. Only We the People can do anything about that – and that is through being environmentally friendly to Her.

This does not leave United blameless for what they did to the doctor. I hope he gets recompensed for what happened to him. But it does at least give us a little more knowledge as to what the employees were undergoing at the time. We all live with stress these days, and we have to learn how to handle it.

Carol Stepp, Austin, TX

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The West Wing: Dead Irish Poets


I have written about my binge-watching the first three seasons of The West Wing in the past week or so. I have about four episodes left, and I think I may go ahead and buy the 4th season.

Anyway, last night I reached the episode called Dead Irish Poets, which general motif was Abbey’s birthday party. It had a lot of stuff in it that we should all remember from time to time, but one thing especially stood out for me in this particular episode.

It’s original airdate was March 6, 2002. Season three’s first episode was Isaac and Ishmael, which was a special episode to make a statement of the 9/11/01 attack on the Twin Towers. During those days of chaos after it happened, there was much confusion and chaos among the American people, and a White House that did not do much of anything but debate about going to war. Lots of people were opining on what actually happened on that day. That is not an argument I will get into here, because that is not why I’m here.

Among the things that should have been talked about more at the time was exactly how much Canada did for us in those days that followed. The airplane landings, the hospitality of the Canadians, the out-of-the-way actions many took just to help citizens of the US get back to their own countries. The Canadians really put themselves forward, and NO-BODY EVER OFFICIALLY THANKED THEM. GWB pretty much ignored them because he never said thank you out of the White House.

And that is where Dead Irish Poets came in. Aaron Sorkin, Tommy Schlamme, and John Wells, and I am certain pretty much all the actors in that series, came in to say thank you in the best way possible. I you have any memory of that episode at all, you will remember that one of the subplots was that Donna Moss was discovered to have been born in Canada because of a misunderstanding of whether the town she was born in in Minnesota was actually within the US or Canada when she was born. Another subplot was what Abbey was going to do about her doctor’s license.

So they wrote a scene that combined those two things in a way; a hen party among Abbey, CJ, Amy, and Donna. Donna spoke up about how the First Lady had taken it upon herself and Jed about her giving him his MS meds. It stunned everyone that she had taken the initiative.

But in the last section of the episode, just before Abbey voluntarily gave up her medical license for the duration of her time in the White House as First Lady, she did something to show she very much appreciated what Donna had said to her, and had the orchestra providing the music for her birthday party, play “Oh Canada”, the Canadian National Anthem, and had two soldiers walking two Canadian flags back and forth across the front of the guests. And the guests sand the anthem.

This was our country’s sCandalute and thank you to Canada for their aid to our citizens, and to those on the airplanes that could not land in the United States in the days following the attacks. And it took and very intelligent television series to make the move. I love The West Wing, at least the first three seasons, for many reasons, and this one seems to be one of the best reasons (In Excelsis Deo was the other).

Canada has a great many fans now because of Justin Trudeau, and I am among them. But their actions after the Iran shambles back in 1978, and then in September of 2001, should have just as much recognition, and appreciation. I wish I lived in Canada, but perhaps I am better off in my country of birth to keep these things in memory, and besides I need to stay where my medical problems are well taken care of.

Carol Stepp
Austin, TX

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Suffer the Children


What kind of world do we live in when the children are the targets for destruction and death? What are we trying to show the lesser angels of every single religious thought that is known?

Children: They are victims of predators, parents who abuse them mentally and physically, religious orders that say children should not be healed by doctors; children who are in hospitals all over the world because a bomb, or a missile, or a suicide-bomber, or a person on a rampage for any kind of reasons.

They have targeted school yards, McDonald’s, hospitals, front yards, back yards, parks, recreation centers, refugee camps, carnivals, circuses, anywhere children can be found in numbers, and they turn they rage on them – children, the most innocent of all. There are more children on this planet now that have never known anything but war, death, loss of limbs, blindness, loss of innocence. They have never been able to play.

And this has been brought about by mindless men who seek power above anything else. And by religious zealots who have no clue what they are fighting for or against as long as their name gets into the newspapers, or on social media, or on television.

You want an angry god, no matter what name you give him. Because yes, they are all male. Tell me the name of any female god or warlord or leader of a nation’s military who would even think about calling down the war machine on a child.

I know there are perverted women who get involved in the suffering of children in areas of life not war. But while they are included in my assessment of people who target the children, they at least are not killing them by the dozens.

Well, you who are doing these things, in the name of god or religion or selfishness or just plain meanness, you may well be the final straw for all the gods, and maybe goddesses. Because if there is an End of Days where people are going to end up in some burning firepit to burn forever, you are asking for it right now.

Suffer the children, indeed. You make me sick.

Carol Stepp
Austin, TX

Posted in Children, Crime, Family, Politics, Religious | 1 Comment