Mary Beth Writes

This photo is of Milwaukee's 'Dancing Grannies'. Some of them were killed and hurt yesterday. 

11/22/2021

Yesterday, as most of you know, a person in a red SUV plowed through the Waukesha Holiday Parade, killing at least 5 people, hurting at least 40. Today downtown Waukesha is cordoned off because the whole damn downtown area is a crime scene. There is evidence to gather, people’s stuff to be removed from sidewalks– blankets and strollers and so much more. There’s blood to be washed away. Schools are closed today. There will be a vigil tonight at 5PM in Cutler Park which is the green space around the library.

Today is November 22. Many of us remember 11/22/63 as the watershed day when Kennedy was shot. The US we lived in before that happened felt different than the US we have lived in since. The way we believed in and trusted our society before it happened is different than the ways we have trust ourselves since.

The last few years have felt brutal, haven’t they? We try to not be alarmist. We recognize that if we feel less trusting and safe in our lives, this is the shadow of what others have experienced and tried to tell us all along. Black people. Asian people. Many, many (all of us?) women. Native Americans. Our friends and citizens and neighbors with brownish skin and/or maybe with accents. Our friends who are not “straight” whatever that even means anymore. This has never been a safe and cozy nation.

The super-rich have always exploited our diversity. As long as politicians and oligarchs and oligarch-owned politicians can keep convincing us that the problem is “those people” – well, they can keep taking our wealth, resources, labor, and the sweetness of the lives of the rest of us. We need to burn the phrase “those people.”

Once again, it feels as if the big tent we are all living in came loose at a corner. A stake blew up and blew away and once again the floor beneath us is heaving.

I have two things to suggest.

1. Support people who support education.

The fastest way to lessen security in a nation is to cut education. This society has decided, more or less by default, that schools are the place we advance society. It’s where we started with anti-segregation. It’s where we do whatever health education we do. It’s where we (used to, sometimes still do) teach home-making skills and how to fix thing skills and physical education. It’s where we feed kids and provide social workers and nurses. It’s where we teach and integrate kids with mental and physical challenges into society. And yet, all these budgets have been cut and cut and cut again.

Remember when we received annual hearing and vision tests in school? Yeah, that used to be a thing. Remember when college kids could pay most of their own college costs with summer jobs and working campus jobs during the year? Back when states subsidized tuition because educated people were considered our best resource? Politicians cut those taxes and thus cut funding for college and now they tell us our kids should avoid education debt and they list the alternatives - none of which include sending our kids to the colleges that they send their kids to. Hmmm?

Support education. Support taxes for education. It’s where the heavy lifting of this society happens.

Work and vote for people who vote for education.

2. Talk. Don’t preach (unless you are a preacher and they pay you for it). But talk to yourself about what you are experiencing. Talk to your partner, your friends, your kids, your cat. People who come through emotional trauma best are the kids and grownups who process what they experienced. Don’t just zip past yesterday if, yesterday, you were blown back by what was happening. Take the time to write or say what your experience was and is.

If you would like to say your story here – please do. Use the comments section. Even if you usually state your name, feel free today to claim anonymity. Say your piece of the story here. What did you hear? What did you see? Were you stuck in one of the lockdowns? Did you spend minutes or hours worrying?

No one has to answer - but if you could use a place to unload where others will care, here we are.

As always, I monitor comments and will delete names or claims not verified.

 

 

 

Comments

I’ve quit listening endlessly about the political travesty we all “get”. I cannot listen anymore to the counts of gunshot victims “last night”. I’m keenly aware of these painful facts and it is killing my spirit. But I am writing letters to politicians who offend me. I send money to organizations and campaigns I support. I help to resettle Afghan refugees who have been terrorized in Afghanistan..and I pray that will not happen here too. I believe there is goodness in many people who don’t know how to proceed because it is so overwhelming. But doing anything is better than standing by, like watching a red van careen through innocent bystanders. That was horrific and I don’t mean to suggest anyone could have stopped that. But so often it is a simple as speaking up, saying hello to a stranger, or writing to a senator. If only we all believed our small efforts could make the difference. It’s been one heckofa week.
Mary Beth's picture

That feeling that what we do as one person isn't enough to make a difference - to me these days - that's what I consider when I say I am a person of faith. Not what religion will save me from hell - but what congregation and what beliefs will keep me doing one small action at a time.

I thought you lived here. Seems trite but not meant as such...... I'm so sorry this and your personal loss. Just sending air hugs and lighting candles. fuck...... Hold on to your family....
Mary Beth's picture

Isn't it crazy that once upon a time these horrific events moved ALL of us for a LONG time - but now we stop and consider if we now anyone in that particular melee.

Thought of you and Len immediately when I saw the the news. I have other friends who lived there, have visited more than once, was shocked that yet another seemingly safe place is not. Is there nowhere safe anymore? I know that for many folks, there has never been anywhere that is safe -- is this what it takes for Americans to understand that. I just started reading Jane Goodall's book about hope -- hoping that it will help me to hope.

I thought of you guys when I heard of this. I cannot imagine, grandmas and small children— death. Your state must be in shock. God Bless You All.

Yesterday afternoon, I was surprised to find myself at a church where my daughter decided to have her children baptized. When I asked her why, she said she wanted them to feel a full part of this community that she has come to value. Community, that I understand completely; my only antidote some days to despair.
Mary Beth's picture

I once preached to my own congregation about why we belong to our church. Maybe you would like to read it. https://www.marybethdanielson.com/content/sermon-why-do-we-attend-church-um-i-cant-remember

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Coming & Going

11/18/2021

And just like that, my website is back.

Behind every website are a zillion lines of code. If you want to see what that looks like behind a page you are perusing – do this: On a computer (not on a phone) right click on any segment of a website. A box will open, click on Inspect and that will show you the code being used in that part of that website. You can’t mess with it, but you can see it.

...and we’re home …

11/12/2021

Many of you sent emails and notes and we read every single one. Thank you! We loved the photos of where you live and what you are seeing in your world … and Neal, that fish that you caught is BIG!

A very small update on the very big upheaval In Len’s and my life

11/7/2021

We are doing pretty well. Len has 46 staples in his head – the rehab admitting person counted them. Not sure if I wanted to know, but now I do.

His mind, brain, coordination, balance, and motor movements all seem to be exactly the way they always were. Twice he has politely helped the professional therapists who are helping him – unscramble some confusing things on their computers.  

I will be away for a while

Last Tuesday Len went for a big bike ride in the morning. He came home, did some chores, took a shower, ate lunch, laid down for a nap and when he got up he fell on his head.  His nose rivals a boxer's nose after a bad night.

THE USED BOOK SALE IS COMING!

What are you doing November 3-6 and/or November 11-13?

Do you

Three Things - Birthday Moments

10/21/2021  Three Things

My birthday was last weekend. This is my question for you; have you celebrated a birthday lately that seemed extra fine? I wonder if the quarantine year reset our happiness scale. I don’t remember being miserable last year, but this year felt so rich.

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