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*Sacred Order of Bodhisattvas, Buddhies, Beatniks, Bohemians, Bards, and Bozos

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day: Then and Now


Julia Ward Howe (May 27, 1819 — October 17, 1910)
Mother of Mother's Day
Although I plan to honor the various mothers who have graced my life today, I'm beginning to recognize that one of my pet peeves is seeing how often our holidays have morphed into highly commercialized social events that seem to be completely divorced from their historical roots as powerful celebrations of the human spirit.

I've already Rambled On about Labor Day here.  At some point I'm probably going to rant about Martin Luther King's Birthday and the pervasive whitewashing of his views on war and economic justice in a capitalist society by the mainstream media each year.  And don't even get me started about the Birthday of the Prince of Peace and the Annual Blue-Gray All Star Classic college football game with Blue Angel fly-overs.  (I'm gonna take some long, slow breaths and sit still for a few moments before I continue. LOL)......

So, here's the deal on Mother's Day:
(Continued)

Saturday, May 4, 2013

May 4, 1970: Four Dead in Ohio

I wrote this piece last year on the Anniversary of the Kent State Shootings--but it never made it to the Rambling On Blog.  It's hard to believe that a year has passed, let alone 43 of them since I walked into the teacher's lounge at Wauconda Middle School as a first year teacher to hear a colleague proclaim, "those kids got exactly what they deserved. " 

As the pundits search for answers to the Boston Marathon tragedy, the shootings in Newtown or Aurora, how often to do they address the glorification of violence that lies deep in the fabric of our own cultural values? A society that continues to support capital punishment and the use of drones against distant villagers; a society that entertains itself with violent video games and countless media heroes with blazing guns, need not look any further for the answers. -----Brother Lefty  

Lest we forget--or never knew--on this day in 1970 four students at Kent State University were killed when national guard troops called into "maintain order" opened fire on the unarmed protestors.

I hadn't realized the anniversary was today until Jenny, my friend and Yoga Mentor mentioned it this evening after class.  She was amazed that when she had mentioned to a 40 something year old friend earlier, she had never heard about Kent State--or Crosby Stills Nash and Young for that matter!! The true history of the quest for peace and justice--and the violent reaction to it--is so often lost in the noise and distractions of daily life in this hyper-capitalistic society today.  It's easy to forget.  I did today--twice.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

International Workers Day 2013: Lest we forget!


"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent 
 about things that matter."
Martin Luther King, Jr.


As well as being a splendid Spring Day here in Western MA, it is also International Worker's Day throughout the world.

Photo: As well as being a splendid Spring Day here in Western MA, it is also International Worker's Day throughout the world.  

Lest we forget, many of the privileges we enjoy only came about by the sacrifices and hard work of organized labor, progressives, and socialists of all stripes who were willing to put their bodies on the line--usually peacefully--to bring about a fairer and more just democracy.

So, amidst the splendor of the season, take a few moments to thank those noble women and men--who were just like you and I--and, perhaps, contemplate how you and I can be more like them at this point in history.  That type of courage and commitment to the common good is sorely needed.

So:
WORKERS OF THE WORLD  (and that includes all of those who sit at desks, work the fast food counters, and run our own small businesses, etc.) --UNITE!!! 
The only thing we have to loose is the Kleptocracy created by the 1%  !!!Lest we forget, many of the privileges we enjoy only came about by the sacrifices and hard work of organized labor, progressives, and socialists of all stripes who were willing to put their bodies on the line--usually peacefully--to bring about a fairer and more just democracy.

So, amidst the splendor of the season, take a few moments of silence to thank those noble women, men, and children--who were just like you and I--and, perhaps, contemplate how you and I can be more like them at this point in history.  


Then, after those moments of silent contemplation, find your voice--and speak out!  Find others who you can work with and take action--however, wherever and whenever you can.  Follow the example of Martin Luther King, Jr.: stand, march, sit down with courage and commitment--in peace and good will.  At a time when capitalism preaches "me first", folks willing to roll up their sleeves for the common good are sorely needed. Our voices, again must be heard.


WORKERS OF THE WORLD (and that includes all of those who sit at desks, work the fast food counters, and run our own small businesses, etc.) --UNITE!!!
 

The only thing we have to lose is the Kleptocracy created by the 1% !!!

My Humble Take on the Real Deal

I believe that the movement for peace, economic democracy and social justice is a Spiritual Quest. No mean feat, what is called for is a True Revolution of the Heart and Mind--and it starts with each of us.

This revolution has to be Peaceful. The Hippies (and Jesus and Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. King, et al) had it right. It really is all about Peace and Love. Besides being a total drag, violence just doesn't work. It keeps our wheels spinning in fear, anger and pain. Who needs that?

Besides some hard work, I think the Revolution also calls for dancing, plenty of laughter, and some sitting around just doing nothing. (Some folks call it meditation.)


As Stephen Gaskin, proclaimed years ago:

"We're out to raise Hell--in the Bodhisattvic* sense."

Doesn't that sound like some serious fun?

(*The Bodhisattva Vow is a set of commitments made in the Mahayana Buddhist tradition. It basically says I vow to get my act together and figure it out well enough to really help out--and I ain't gonna stop until everybody is covered.

I've found that doesn't necessarily have to happen in that order. It's best to try to help out even before you have it all together! Like right now.)

-----Brother Lefty Smith, Founding S.O.B*