Friday, September 13, 2019

Which Truths Do We Hold?: Use Your Words

Today’s post is a monthly writing challenge. If you’re new here, this is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once. All of the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the recipient will take them. Until now.

Use Your Words, a multiblogger writing challenge | developed and run by | #MyGraphics

At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them.
I'm using: envision ~ stray ~ protect ~ ground ~ sentence ~ infringe
They were submitted by Tamara of Part-time Working Hockey Mom.

This is going to be a serious one today. That's partly because of where these words naturally take me, and in part because the thoughts, no longer stray considerations but permanent nagging, brooding ruminations that have become pervasive, depressing, even terrifying. Fears that have, in a very real way, infringed on my peace of mind, even wavering my innate ability to maintain something as visceral as hope.

I've spoken before about the difference between my world view and College Boy's. A conspiracy theorist, he thinks I'm unrealistic, I think I try to be optimistic. I think he's a pessimist, he believes he's just a realist. But what do we have in common? We both envision a world, and certainly a country, where people matter, where freedom is for all, where it is possible for anyone to succeed if they have the will, where humanity and compassion, are standards met with ease. Where safety, equality, basic human needs and dignity are a given.

I know that hope is improbable on a global level, in the near future anyway. There are just too many moving parts. But it can be, it needs to be, a goal. 

On a more local level, in this country, there's no question that there is a long way to go. I honestly don't have a problem with that. As long as we remain on the road, put one foot in front of the other, no matter how quickly or slowly we stay the course, build the groundwork to a more compassionate society. But we're not. We were, but we're not on that road any more. Quite the opposite, we're in reverse. And gaining speed.

I cannot put into a sentence, I cannot adequately put into all the sentences in the world how dismayed I am to know how far we've fallen. I sit in my warm comfortable home, where I am safe and healthy, where there is clothing in the closet, clean water coming out of the tap, an abundance of food on the table.

Chicken and Vegetables Skillet Dinner cooks quickly in one pan. Sliced chicken and fresh vegetables are cooked in a flavorful broth. Serve over pasta or rice for an easy dinner option. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #dinner

Chicken and Vegetables Skillet Dinner
Chicken and Vegetables Skillet Dinner cooks quickly in one pan. Sliced chicken and fresh vegetables are cooked in a flavorful broth. Serve over pasta or rice for an easy dinner option. | Recipe developed by | #recipe #dinner

I sit here in my home and I'm assaulted, ASSAULTED, by the knowledge that there are terrified children separated from their mamas and put in cages, and it's my country put them there. That the destruction of our planet is being deliberately and maliciously executed in the name of capitalism. That there are lies, constant and continuous, many times completely nonsensical lies coming out of the White House. That we have lost our place as a leader on the global stage, are in fact a laughing stock, barely tolerated, held in contempt as human rights violators, seen as inconsequential, falling behind in trade, in relationships, in innovation. That we have no rational policies, foreign or domestic, based in fact or even rational thought, and that are applied with consistency. That assault rifles are trained on innocent people with an increasing regularity and they are NOT being used by the mentally ill (STOP blaming mental illness. Just STOP), but by the angry, by the misled, by the hopeless. That we put people to death for walking while wearing a hoodie or selling cigarettes on the street. That our access to information, the press, is under constant attack. That we abuse, intentionally target, minorities, all of them: the needy, the ill including the mentally ill, those who pray or love or speak or look a way we're now condoning demonizing, both within and at our borders.

That we are doing nothing about it. Any of it. And so, as it will do, the malignancy metastasizes, unchecked.

Because so many of, in fact the majority of, the not-so-duly elected (gerrymandering, voter suppression, party super delegate systems and the electoral college negating the popular vote) people who are charged with representing us are so blinded by greed and personal power as to have brought our system of government to a jarring and complete halt. Those still possessing a moral compass have either left or are leaving, exacerbating the decline. This is the thing that nightmares are made of. Our form of government is not working. Checks and balances have fallen off the scale.

Will we protect this American experiment in freedom and democracy? We, as a society, need to start by considering one basic question. Have we devolved past or are we actually still collectively capable of holding the same truths?

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. That they are endowed, by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." 

That's the part that we always remember of Thomas Jefferson's quote, but there's more:

"That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government laying its foundation on such principals and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness."

I don't believe it serves us to throw the baby out with the bath water, to do away with the form of government with its inherent checks and balances laid out in the constitution. I'm not saying anything quite that drastic. But without a doubt it is time, past time, not to abolish, but to alter. 

On the road to humanity, to justice, to freedom, we have taken a wrong turn. But the majority of us still possess a moral compass. 

Recalculating . . .

Here are links to all the other Use Your Words posts:

Chicken and Vegetables Skillet Dinner

Printable Recipe

1 1/4 # boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced
salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
2 TBSP olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp dried basil
4 oz mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed, sliced
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup broccoli florets
1/2 small zucchini, ends removed, halved and sliced
1/4 cup grated parmesan

OPT: cooked pasta or rice

*Sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
*Heat the olive oil in a large skillet at medium to medium high heat. Add the chicken and minced garlic, cook and stir until the chicken is cooked through.
*Add the chicken broth, wine, salt, pepper, basil, mushrooms, tomatoes, broccoli and zucchini to the skillet. Cook and stir, bringing the broth to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and boil, stirring now and then, until the vegetables are crisp/tender, about 5 minutes. 
*Sprinkle with the grated parmesan. OPT: serve over cooked pasta or rice.


  1. I love everything about this post. Scary times indeed, but like you, I am holding onto hope that the children we have raised will be the ones to make the changes that the world so desperately needs.

    1. I hate that daily we leave them with a bigger and bigger mess.

  2. It's a terrifying time that's for sure. I totally agree and as my husband and I were talking last night isn't this the exact same way that Hitler could rise to the top. Why don't people see this? I just don't understand. We're following the same path as Germany did so many years ago and I can't stomach it. I just don't understand why everyone can't see this. (Rena)

    1. Although I hate comparisons to Hitler, I think they're made was too often in circumstances that are trivial compared to what Hitler did, I completely agree with you and in trump's case have made the correlation myself, it is just so glaring.

  3. I'm glad you somehow found an optimistic ending, and I do hope you're right!

    What worries me though is that the many of the people who voted and will likely do so again, have never gotten the ability to think somewhat beyond their own limits. What I am saying is that in certain regions of your country (that I love, you know it) subjects like science are a mere decoration in students schedules. So they grow up believing what they see on TV. But I don't have to tell you.

    I hope that some of the Democratic candidates makes enough of an impression. Or one of the independent ones for that matter, Hello Howie!

    In the meantime, have a nice glass of red wine with your Chicken and Vegetables Skillet Dinner! Heck, make that three.

    1. I agree with you, but the other part of the equation is voter suppression in which not only are (mostly minority) voters removed from the rolls, but voting stations are deliberately moved to places too far from the poor to have access. The bigoted manipulation of our system is far worse than I ever would have dreamed possible.

  4. I could not agree more. I know that I am watching from just 'over the fence', so to speak, but yours is my brother country. The place my family emigrated from two generations ago and where most of my family has re-settled. My heart aches as rights and freedoms are nibbled away and undermined. One's tendency is to just curl up in a ball and pray for it to all go away. And that's what we cannot do. Thank you for your voice. For helping me know that it's not just me thinking this way. (That's another insidious result--when we start to question ourselves) May those with a moral compass find their way home!

    1. I know that you're over that fence (lucky you, generally but mostly at this point) but I also know that your heart is with us.

  5. Karen, I felt every word of this. I feel like your post includes part of the conversations I seem to have with people on the daily. Where once weeks would go by without something shocking happening here, it's now become normal for me to hear the "breaking news" hourly. Like you, I'm sick and terrified. What are we leaving for our children? What are the resources and where are the helpers? It's a huge mess. Keep writing and speaking and sharing your message. There are so many like you and I. That has to be good enough until there is some justice for all; for those who love and share as well as for those who've watched our country collapse and have kept silent.

  6. My fear is that, as we try to find our way home as a country, is that it will get worse before it gets better. I think it will get better, but what horrors will we have to face? A dictator? Another Civil War? I shudder to think. But those who write have helped set our compass before and I implore all those who write to keep writing. Alana

    1. Although I hope that it will get better and I agree that it's possible we haven't yet hit rock bottom, my biggest fear as we right ourselves, concerns the damage done that cannot be undone.

  7. Past generations also worried about what world they would be leaving their children, so not a new thing those concerns are pretty normal I think for many.

    1. True that previous generations have had that worry, but in this country things have never been this bad before. I don't think we've been this fractured since the civil war.

  8. I've spent enough time watching older shows here recently that I don't think we've actually gone backwards. These problems have been here a long time, but America as a whole swept them under the rug. Maybe it feels worse because the rug has been violently yanked away and every asshole in the country is proud to hang it out in the open.

    1. I think we're saying the same thing but in different ways. The backwards is that much of the bigotry had been to some degree pushed down, called out and vilified for the hatred that it is. Now, as you said, it's back out in the open, it's been given permission to be blatant once again.

  9. I'm not totally in agreement or disagreement with what you've said. I know there are some areas we see differently but in the grand scheme of things we want the same thing. A safe place to live, a place to be proud of and call our home. A place where everyone is respected, where we live, love and laugh and protect. As soon as I saw the words, I knew where you were going.

    1. You don't have to agree with me, of course, but I thank you for finding the common ground.


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