Reflections on Our Heroes; What the Virus Can Teach Us; Last Week’s Review

We offer a powerful piece on our need to look within; what we should learn from the virus; plus a thought-provoking poem from Kristin Flyntz. Also links to last week’s posts, including music from Playing for Change, and What If Trump Wins?

Tuesday, April 21, 6:30 – 8 p.m., Retake Our Democracy Zoominar, a conversation with Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard and Commission General Counsel Ari Biernoff. We will discuss the current capacity of the Land Commission to regulate the gas and oil industry and how proposed emergency rule changes could vastly expand that capacity. Most importantly, these rule changes could enable the Commission to deny leases and impose higher bonding levels to protect NM from well operators who leave decommissioning costs to the state. We will also talk about how the legislature could further strengthen Commission authority. Attorney, author, and CPA Greg Rogers who wrote the seminal book, Financial Reporting of Environmental Liabilities and Risks will join us for a portion of the conversation. He also submitted written and oral comment for the Land Commission’s emergency rule-making hearing. Greg was my guest on last Saturday’s Retake Our Democracy radio show KSFR. Click here to listen to the podcast with Greg.

Click here for more info & to register. You MUST pre-register to participate in the Zoominar.

Updated Actions & Events Page

Our Actions & Events now includes links to a remarkable series of twice daily interviews by Firoze Manji. Manji interviews an array of activists from throughout the world with perspectives on Kenya, Gaza, Cuba, Syria and other countries. Click here to review this new series and other coming events and actions.

Our Everyday Heroes

Roxanne and I watched a bit of the MSNBC musical tribute to our front line workers this weekend. The focus was on healthcare workers, heroes from whom we should beg forgiveness for years of being okay with absurd patient-nurse ratios and salaries out of sync with the value of the work they perform.

And then I thought of all those “others” who do not have Elton John, Paul McCarthy, Cold Play, and Stevie Wonder singing on their behalf. The grocery checkers, the childcare workers, the teachers, the auto mechanics, the handymen, the waiters… all of them serving the rest of us, balancing their home budgets, underpaid, caring for their children, borrowing to make it work, all of them who make it possible for the rest of us to survive.

This virus will pass, but likely much more slowly than we hope, and certainly more slowly than our cretin-like national leadership want. There are so many people we depend on who are too often invisible and under appreciated. But they are there and they matter. My most fervent hope is that we remember and honor these heroes.

We need to value the hidden Americans, our neighbors, many of who work at low-wage jobs, often without healthcare, sick leave, or other benefits. These are the people whose children either can’t afford college or leave it with $100K or more of debt. They are the fodder for the capitalist system and yet they are our heroes and our neighbors. When we work hard in the 2020 elections, we must remember we are working for them. When we head into legislative session, we work for them. We must not forget this when the euphoria of release from our shelters occurs. We must remember.

Now, a poem sent to us by supporter Jade Gordon:

Stop. Just Stop by Kristin Flyntz

Stop. Just stop.

It is no longer a request. It is a mandate.

We will help you.

We will bring the supersonic, high speed merry-go-round to a halt.

We will stop the planes

the trains

the schools

the malls

the meetings

the frenetic, furled rush of illusions and “obligations” that keep you from hearing our single and shared beating heart, the way we breathe together, in unison.

Our obligation is to each other,

As it has always been, even if, even though, you have forgotten.

We will interrupt this broadcast, the endless cacophonous broadcast of divisions and distractions,

to bring you this long-breaking news:

We are not well.

None of us; all of us are suffering.

Last year, the firestorms that scorched the lungs of the earth did not give you pause.

Nor the typhoons in Africa, China, Japan.

Nor the fevered climates in Japan and India.

You have not been listening.

It is hard to listen when you are so busy all the time, hustling to uphold the comforts and conveniences that scaffold your lives.

But the foundation is giving way, buckling under the weight of your needs and desires.

We will help you.

We will bring the firestorms to your body

We will bring the fever to your body

We will bring the burning, searing, and flooding to your lungs that you might hear:

We are not well.

Despite what you might think or feel, we are not the enemy.

We are Messenger.

We are Ally.

We are a balancing force.

We are asking you:

To stop,

to be still,

to listen;

To move beyond your individual concerns and consider the concerns of all;

To be with your ignorance,

to find your humility,

to relinquish your thinking minds and travel deep into the mind of the heart;

To look up into the sky, streaked with fewer planes,

and see it,

to notice its condition:

clear, smoky, smoggy, rainy?

How much do you need it to be healthy so that you may also be healthy?

To look at a tree,

and see it,

to notice its condition:

how does its health contribute to the health of the sky, to the air you need to be healthy?

To visit a river,

and see it,

to notice its condition: clear, clean, murky, polluted?

How much do you need it to be healthy so that you may also be healthy?

How does its health contribute to the health of the tree, who contributes to the health of the sky, so that you may also be healthy?

Many are afraid now.

Do not demonize your fear, and also, do not let it rule you.

Instead, let it speak to you—

in your stillness,

listen for its wisdom.

What might it be telling you about what is at work,

at issue,

at risk,

beyond the threats of personal inconvenience and illness?

As the health of a tree,

a river,

the sky

tells you about quality of your own health,

what might the quality of your health tell you about the health of the rivers,

the trees,

the sky,

and all of us who share this planet with you?

Stop.

Notice if you are resisting.

Notice what you are resisting.

Ask why.

Stop.

Just stop.

Be still.

Listen.

Ask us what we might teach you about illness and healing,

about what might be required

so that all may be well.

We will help you,

if you listen.

Kristin Flyntz

A Look Back at Last Week’s Posts

Another almost unfathomable week with mounting deaths, idiotic, dangerous protests, threats to Dr. Fauci, and more painful-to-watch press conferences, AKA campaign rallies.

The post that drew the most attention was the one that asked what you will do if Trump wins re-election. But the more important part of that post was asking what you might do during the next 200 –now 196– days to prevent that occurrence. This will very certainly be a topic of many future posts.

The week also marked a shift in focus, as I was critiqued by my son who felt that the blog had become too bleak, too focused on what is happening that we can do little or nothing about, and not focused on what could be. Thanks to Jesse, we ended the week with a goofy post on Trump as Captain of the Titanic and an inspiring guest post from Michael Meade. Certainly we will continue to offer commentary on what is going on, but we are also going to begin to explore more deeply what transformation might look like and offer up some very specific suggestions…. soon.

Trump Plans to Bankrupt the Postal Service & Seems Poised to Fire Fauci

Tuesday, April 14. Another head-shaker: Trump plans to veto any support for the USPS and appears about to fire Dr. Fauci. We also include some good news on a NM Farm-Food Bank cooperative, an XR call for artists, and two feel-good music videos. Click here to read the full story.

What If Trump Wins Again?

Thursday, April 16. Roxanne asked me recently what we would do if the unthinkable happens again. The notion was so repugnant. I just wanted to run from the question. But then I thought: there are 200 days til the election. What can we do now? What will you do if somehow he wins re-election? Many folks commented, and some noted what they would do over the next 200 days. Tick, tick, tick. I encourage you to check it out if you missed it and to share it with some pals if you enjoyed it. Click here to read the full post.

If Trump Were Captain of the Titanic & More from Playing for Change

Friday, April 17. We all need a laugh and so in this post, a bonus blog with only one short piece that will make you laugh. Also, more from Playing for Change. Thanks to Bobbe Besold for sending this very funny and frankly pretty spot-on satire. This reflection inspired a variety of other “What if Trump were…” riffs. It certainly feels like he is making this up as he goes along. Click here to read the full post.

The Need for Spiritual Transformation: A Guest Blog from Michael Meade

Saturday, April 18. I turned the blog over to Michael Meade from Mosaic Multicultural Foundation on Saturday. He examines how we must respond to despair by looking inward. In “The Light Inside the Darkness,” Meade notes that: “In every crisis the issue becomes whether we become a bigger soul or a smaller person. In the dark times, the awakened soul can become the unifying agent for a collective renewal.” Clearly we are in a time when some of us are rising to the occasion, connecting with our bigger soul…and then there the others who reveal the paucity of their souls. After weeks of withering news, this is a breath of fresh air. Click here to read Meade’s powerful peace.

Playing for Change: “Guantanamera” By 50 Cubans Scattered Around the World

In Solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne



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4 replies

  1. About heroes and commensurate pay for value of work: I’ve seen two or three documentaries about the 1918 influenza epidemic. One noted a post-epidemic scientific study which looked at factors leading to survival for those who caught the flu but did not die. The leading factor? Undeniably, unequivocably, it was GOOD NURSING CARE.
    Doctors are great; nurses are the BEST.
    In my own health care, I’ve found that I appreciate and love my doctors. But nurses – a nurse is solid gold.

  2. Life after Trump will be more or less the same. Or, maybe, more of the same but worse for the bottom 70%.
    Harari, the 21st century historian, thinks so.
    https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/apr/20/yuval-noah-harari-will-coronavirus-change-our-attitudes-to-death-quite-the-opposite

  3. Let’s not forget the misogynistic nature of the oppression of “essential” workers. The majority are women. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/18/us/coronavirus-women-essential-workers.html

  4. workers in the meat processing industry are getting sick. Look for meat prices to rise..

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