Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: Politics

all the king’s horses and all the king’s men

The taste and sound
of denial parades daily
before clamoring cameras
unaware of disconnects
between reality on the
ground and fake scenarios

Propping up the current
prince who wants to be
king takes effort of the
most subtle kind if one
wants to retain favor
as well as political clout

Looking on I’m reminded
of all the king’s horses and
all the king’s men who
couldn’t put humpty dumpty
together again despite
best efforts to salvage him

and if it weren’t so very
personal I could laugh
at this show of barely
clothed disinformation
parading before cameras
as the real thing it is not

or better yet I might try
raging in disbelief though
today I’m grieving the loss
of our small fragile world
never to be put back together
again despite its deep flaws

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 19 March 2020
Image found at businessinsider.com, as of 16 March 2020

Queen for a Day Proclamation

I, Queen Elouise,
do solemnly proclaim via my faithful town crier
the following:

On this very day,
Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Leaders of all nations, fiefdoms,
clans, tribes, and houses of worship –
NOT excluding the President of the United States of America –
shall promptly and without demur
stand before a full-length mirror
and practice articulating in full voice
each of the following statements
a minimum of three times:

I need help.
I was wrong.
You deserve better.
I let you down.
I have no excuses.
I resign.

Furthermore –
I solemnly urge each of them,
not excluding POTUS,
to practice this spiritual and political discipline
for as long as he or she remains in office

***

Guarantee of Effectiveness:

When publicly delivered as needed,
these words, any or all, are guaranteed to
make headlines and elevate truth
everywhere

Long Live True Greatness!

QE, Queen for a Day

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 5 September 2017
Image found at clipart-library.com

Response to WordPress Daily Prompt: Elevate

A Day! Help! Help!

I think Emily wrote this little gem just for today. Read on. My comments follow.

A Day! Help! Help! Another Day!
Your prayers, oh Passer by!
From such a common ball as this
Might date a Victory!
From marshallings as simple
The flags of nations swang.
Steady – my soul: What issues
Upon thine arrow hang!

c. 1858

Emily Dickinson Poems, Edited by Brenda Hillman
Shambhala Pocket Classics, Shambhala 1995

Emily Dickinson wrote this poem in the years leading up to the Civil War (April 12, 1861-May 9, 1865). I can’t help making a connection to what’s happening now in our country.

The short poem grabs my attention. There’s no such thing as an ordinary day. Like an arrow poised to fly through the air, each day arrives full of potential for Victory. Which I take to be a Victory for good. The good of all who dwell on ‘such a common ball as this.’

Common ball, you say? Doesn’t that mean a formal occasion focused on gorgeous apparel and elegant dancing? The kind of show that delineates the rich from the poor, the ins from the outs, the titled from the untitled?

Perhaps, but I can’t help noticing these are the years leading up to the Civil War, also known as the War Between the States. Or the North against the South, or vice versa.

And so I vote for the ball being this terrestrial ball. The planet on which we live. Or even better, this great dance of life to which all are both invited and entitled. A dance choreographed by our Creator, the true Host of the Party.

For me, the question is simple: Will I participate as a full partner? Or will I be relegated to the kitchen, the stables, the dungeon, or any other situation that keeps me in ‘my place.’

“Your prayers, oh Passer by!” Will each and all of us win together? Or will business return to business as usual?

I pray your day might be dated a Victory that bodes good for us all. No matter how insignificant your Victory seems to you.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 24 March 2017
Response to WordPress Daily Prompt: Ordinary

Chewing My Cud

~~~~~A tarine cow chewing the cud near the Habert de la Dame

Dear Friends,

Today’s Daily Prompt is ruminate.  You know—chewing the cud. Turning things over and over and over. Mashing them around. Trying to make digestible what might be indigestible. Spitting out what reminds me of liver and okra. Swallowing the rest and hoping the outcomes are good for me.

So what’s this post all about? Several things. Please note I need no sympathy. In fact, I abhor it. I’d rather have empathy or even your listening ear. You don’t have to like it, agree with it, think about it, try to solve it, or come back for more. If all you do is read with a listening ear, I’ll be deliriously grateful.

So let’s start with my health. It’s on my mind daily. Maybe that’s what happens in the golden years—things just sort of moosh together and feed on each other relentlessly.

The list gets longer: heart arrhythmia and heartbeat speed or lack thereof; non-diabetic hypoglycemia; jaw bone loss of memory and inability to function properly; kidneys showing signs of aging; on glaucoma watch with nothing to report lately; IBS ever with me and I with it; still allergic to chocolate; caffeine considered poison to my system; lactose and soy intolerant; those pesky little skin cancers that just seem to keep popping up; and whatever I forgot to mention or didn’t mention on purpose.

And yet.

I look around and am beyond grateful for this female body and the ability to care for it. I spend hours in the kitchen making sure the food train is ready to go, and cleaning up pots and pans. I have a lovely kitchen, enough food, water, cookbooks galore, and a pantry full of ingredients. Best of all, I have a kitchen dining area with a lovely view of our back yard, bird feeders, birds and bees, trees, shrubs, spring flowers, the sky, the occasional bunny rabbit, groundhogs, and did I mention squirrels or that stray cat?

Two days ago I was—and still am—sorrowful because another church friend died last week. Teared up all day. In church, out of church. Anxious about my health, given my age. Down in the dumps about the way this presidential election and outcomes have galvanized family, friends, neighbors and strangers against each other. I’m also lonely—feeling like Emily Dickinson’s poem from the inside out. Yet hungry for time alone, especially in the evening, and for music to sooth my spirit and bring on another wave of tears. Vulnerable and grateful.

And yet.

That very evening I had fallen apart. Out of control in the space of a heartbeat. Storming around the attic overwhelmed by messiness. We’re making great progress up there. Yet the messiness freaked me out. Not just my messes, but you-know-who’s messes. To say nothing about how I’ve been cleaning up (other peoples’) messes all my life and I’m sick and tired of it and I won’t take it anymore!

What’s going on? What if I tried something different next time? I don’t have answers. That’s why I’m writing about it. My way of ruminating. Out loud.

Thanks for listening, and not trying to solve my stuff. Empathy is also deeply appreciated.

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 7 March 2017
Photo found at braemoor.co.uk

Response to WordPress Daily Prompt: Ruminate

Interrupt and Replace

I woke up this morning feeling down, weary and discouraged. ‘Dis-couraged.’ An interesting word. It means I had courage ‘back there,’ and now I perceive a deficit. How can this be?

If I go back to my childhood and teenage years, I know when dis-couragement happened and why I need to attend to it, lest I lose my voice or become an enabler.

As a young girl I knew when the flames started licking around my legs, weakening my focus and my courage. Back then I persistently carried focus and courage into every punishing situation inflicted upon me. First by my father, and later by men with power to inflict punishment on me as a professional. It’s called bully behavior.

One gift of being a childhood survivor with PTSD is the ability to feel when certain dynamics are in the air. Dynamics neither we nor the person in control are necessarily able to change.

The behavior we’ve seen thus far from our new president is the behavior we’ll most likely see for the next years of his tenure. We already saw it in the presidential election cycle. Nothing has changed except this: the power of the office of President of the United States of America now protects him.

So here I am today, feeling dis-couraged by the events of this past week.

What can I do to change things? I can’t change or replace him. Nor can I change or replace myself.

Back to my father. As a child I was powerless. There was no way I could replace him with a different father. Nor could I interrupt his agenda for me. Especially when he determined I needed to be punished.

I’m an adult now. I’ve done my homework. I’ve learned not just to interrupt and replace the internal voices that mess with me, but the voice of my father talking about himself. He died in 2010.

Now there’s Mr. Trump. I want to interrupt him. The presidency isn’t all about him. Nor is it a platform for bully-talk toward and about others. One painful example will do: his language and behavior toward women who are, apparently, there to serve the desires of his heart.

So how can I do my bit to interrupt Mr. Trump’s monologue and replace it with contrasting voices? Not in debate form, but as a proactive, fearless way to change the conversation, the topic, and the outcomes. The Women’s March is an example of other mass interruptions that changed the topic, the political conversation, and the outcomes.

I want to be part of a movement to interrupt political bully talk and replace it with dialogues that make a difference. I’d love to hear what you’re thinking about. Or how your courage is holding up.

Thanks for listening!

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 30 January 2017
Response to WordPress Daily Prompt: Replacement

Dear God | Unfiltered

I wrote this last night, and am letting it go in this post as my next small step in this Trump presidency era. I’ve changed nothing, and have added one small explanatory note about one of the words I use. Even though you may not be a Christian or agree with me about our situation, please read it. It’s to God, and it’s also from my heart to your heart.

Dear God,
I don’t know where or how to start praying for our country or myself or my family and friends or our supposed leader. I feel at a loss.

I think most of all I want to affirm over and over that You are my Leader. My One and Only Leader who made each of us and this world that seems to be falling apart. You are my eyes, my ears, my mouth. I know this isn’t true of me now, but I want to see, listen and speak in ways that honor you as my Most High God. The only One to whom I owe total allegiance. I read that focusing on You is the best way to deal with what’s going on all around me right now. I’m not sure how that works, but I’d rather look to You than to anyone else right now.

I don’t feel abandoned. I do feel uneasy, uncertain, somewhat caught off guard—even though the warning signs were all there. Mr. Trump is not a trustworthy leader, yet I’m supposed to pray for him and for the good of our nation. Well, I’m not sure what that would look like, so I’m not sure how to pray in that way.

If I could say You’re on my side (and against others), that might feel a bit easier. But You’re for everyone, though not without discrimination* regarding our hearts. So tonight I just want to bring you my heart for safekeeping while I sleep. I pray that I’ll be honest and unblinking about reality, without becoming cynical or giving up. Or even making it all about how awful DT is.

DT does not define reality. You do. Your eyes see with utmost clarity all things. I can only count on that, though I wish I could experience it. So in this strange reality that doesn’t feel like reality at all, I pray that I’ll remain faithful to you and to my family and to the people you bring into my life. We’re all lost and weary and confused. Devious and proud. In many ways, DT is a larger than life version of each of us in these difficult and even shocking days.

What good can come of this? I don’t know. I’m putting it in front of You, though, because You see all and know all before it ever comes to pass.

Thy kingdom come—on earth as it is in heaven. Give me grace, strength and boldness to follow Your son Jesus who has gone before us to show us the way. Not the correct way, but the way to worship and honor You above all others. No matter what the cost.

I pray that You will clarify for me, or lead me to next steps I can take to be Your faithful beloved daughter child. A clear and listening witness to these troubled times.

I pray in Jesus’ name,
Amen

*Discrimination: recognition and understanding of differences – a good thing, in this context

*****

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 27 January 2017
Written in my journal before going to bed on Thursday, Jan. 27, 2017
My contribution to today’s WordPress Daily Prompt: Filter

Beautiful Leaders

I love beauty. I have a sense of proportionality and space. Depth and lighting. I also believe lives can be beautiful. Not perfect, but beautiful. With a sense of proportionality and space. Depth and lighting. Especially, but not only, over a longer time.

Today is Wednesday. It’s only two days before it happens–the event so many thought would never happen. Mr. Trump will take the oath of office and become President of the United States of America.

As noted in The Rift, we are not united. Not even against a common enemy, much less around a respected if not universally well-liked leader.

Part of me wants to scream. Another part wants to run and hide. Yet another wants to move to another country. And where would that be? I haven’t a clue. I just know this event in two days will be the beginning.

Of what? I haven’t a clue. Nor am I ready to say I’m giving Mr. Trump the benefit of the doubt. I’ve already seen and heard a great deal over a lengthy, protracted, wearying presidential race. Or was it a slog?

Whatever it was, it gave me enough input to squelch any idea that two days from now we will somehow turn a page and start writing a brand new book.

Will it have proportionality? What kind? When I skim through the chapters will I find depth and beauty? Will there be a sense of proportional justice, opportunity and access for each and every one of us?

I’m not naïve. I don’t look for perfection. I do, however, look for patterns of attitude, behavior, speech and yes, facial expressions. Also for concrete signs of empathy joined with rigorous attempts to name and address major rifts that run through our nation and our global community.

In short, I look for Beauty. The kind that’s found in leaders who know how to be human, humane, thoughtful, unthreatened by facts or other opinions, clear, honest, perspicacious and humble. The kind who don’t like to take the spotlight because they’re busy turning the spotlight on all the people who helped them succeed.

I don’t put my trust in Mr. Trump. Nor do I hope for Someone Out There who will appear suddenly and save us all from our worst fears.

I do, however, hope and pray daily for each of us. I pray that we will become Beautiful Leaders within our own small circles of family, friends and coworkers. Furthermore, I’m challenging myself and you to step up and show up no matter what happens next. As the beautiful person you are in God’s eyes.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 18 January 2017
Response to WordPress Daily Prompt: Aesthetic

The Rift

It isn’t new. It’s older than our nation. It dogs us like the monster it is. Yet we say we don’t see it, or things have gotten better, or it’s the way things were meant to be.

The rift is bolder and more brazen today than at any time in my lifetime. It runs like a fault line beneath everything we say, do, feel and think about in our relationships with each other.

It isn’t the only fault line. And, as I said at the top, it isn’t new. It’s simply in our faces—even though many seem not to see it.

Not seeing it is part of the problem. Sometimes people say to me, ‘Oh—I don’t see gender any more. I just see people!’ How odd.

But this rift isn’t about gender. It’s about something that affects each of us in this country. It doesn’t matter which gender we’re born into, or whether we seek to change our gender or not.

I hear it often these days: ‘Oh—I don’t see color anymore. I’m color-blind!’ As though being blind were the solution. Or even making black or brown one ‘color’ among all the rest.

In this country we have an ill-kept secret. We are racist to the core. I am racist to the core. This is true even though we have varying degrees of consciousness and commitment to rectifying injustices perpetrated on our black neighbors and fellow-citizens.

It didn’t happen yesterday. It happened the moment we began building our nation on the backs of slave labor. Yes, we’ve used white slave labor also, and are still addicted to that. Witness our below-living standard wages in many states and businesses.

But the case of imported slave labor has its own history—which is foundational to our nation’s history. It includes what’s happening today in our school systems, prisons, courts and neighborhoods.

It’s no longer enough to say ‘I’m against racism.’ Or ‘this company, university, state, nation or political party is against racism in all its forms.’

The question is more basic than that: Are we committed in our homes and in our places of business to dismantling racism? Are we engaging our brothers and sisters in conversation, letting them lead us to take strategic action together to replace policies and procedures that enable racism?

This is personal and institutional work. Not an overnight fix, or an easy answer to a survey question. It asks us to stand up and be counted on the side of dismantling racism—not just saying we’re ‘antiracist.’

Eloquent statements or sermons, and ever-so-large protests aren’t working. We seem to be at a stalemate.

In fact, we seem to be going backwards. We’ve developed and largely accepted a devious approach to being color-blind. We lock people up in prisons, restrict them to certain parts of our cities, towns, businesses and school systems, and lower the impact of their votes in state and national elections.

Out of sight, out of mind? An increasingly uneven playing field? This isn’t a proud legacy. It’s a judgment and a strategy against all of us.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 10 January 2017
Response to WordPress Daily Prompt: Uneven

“Hope” is the thing with feathers —

emily-dickinson-hope-is-the-thing-with-feathers-pinterest

Emily’s poem for today is a gem. A gift for anyone who feels distressed about the state of this world or what lies ahead in 2017. My comments follow.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –

I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of Me.

c. 1861

Emily Dickinson Poems, Edited by Brenda Hillman
Shambhala Pocket Classics, Shambhala 1995

I hear Emily saying something like this.

  • I can’t manufacture Hope on my own or even with my friends. Sometimes people exhort me to have hope. I can’t. It’s already there. Like a little bird perched in my soul. Singing its heart out nonstop, without words or a sheet of music in front of it. Am I listening?
  • Hope isn’t linked to the time of day or night. Or to the weather and what the outlook is for tomorrow. It’s there regardless of circumstances, singing its ‘tune without the words.’ Sweet, strong, welcome, heartwarming and life affirming.
  • It seems nothing can shame or humiliate this little thing with feathers. It doesn’t shut up and it doesn’t go slinking off in defeat or humiliation. It sings out with sweet clarity, especially when things look most hopeless.
  • Hope keeps our spirits alive, ‘warm’ even in the ‘chillest land.’ It doesn’t offer us a plan of action or a map that will get us through hard times. Neither does it pretend times aren’t hard. Instead, it accompanies us through the hard times, lifting its voice in a way that lifts our spirits.
  • Best of all, Hope is a gift. It doesn’t ask anything of us, even when things get really rough. Not a crumb, not a dime. In fact, should we decide things are hopeless, I think Emily’s little Bird would just keep singing its heart out on our behalf. It doesn’t even demand that we listen.

One more thought. Whatever Hope is, it isn’t denial. In fact, I think Emily’s poem doesn’t work if Hope is supposed to erase or numb reality. Nor is Hope a crutch to get us from here to there with empty smiles pasted on our faces.

I believe Hope can open our eyes to see possibilities precisely where and when we least expect them. Often with people we least expected to meet or invite into our lives. Little Birds have exceptional eyes, not just exceptional songs.

My prayer today is that we’ll listen to Hope and be alert for unexpected possibilities, especially in what seem to be gale-force winds already on the rise.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 7 January 2017
Image found at pinterest.com

The Real Thing

My magic wand wish for today:
That I could change protest into pro-test. 

Would that not solve most of the world’s ills?
Expose misbegotten promises that bode no good? 

For a small example, take this morning:
My cheery alarm clock starts beeping on time 

My body, mind and spirit aren’t ready to be on time
Yet my cheery alarm just gets louder and louder
I am forced to turn it off and turn over 

Don’t assume I want to get up.
Don’t assume what you promise is what I need.
Don’t assume what you promise is what I will get. 

I just want to know
Are you and your promises The Real Thing?

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 7 Dec 2016
Response to WordPress Daily Prompt: Protest

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