Just my 2 cents:

The MAGA hat boy did nothing wrong and was the most respectable person involved.

I’ve hunted the longer videos, read various statements, been all up and down twitter feeds. The insanity is real, folks. A red hat it all it takes now to condemn a man. Wait, that was a teenager. And they doxxed him. Targeted the wrong kid. Death threats pouring out everywhere on a number of families.

Until yesterday, I had respect for some news companies. Today, I have none. I see what Trump is saying now about fake news. This needs to be taken to court. These companies need to be held accountable for promoting lies and promoting hate and violence.

But there is one thing that still bothers me. And it is how many people became enraged seeing a kid smile in front of a man with a drum. It had nothing to do with the picture but with the narrative being told surrounding it. It never had anything to do with the facts. This is a story of us vs. them, of who’s in my tribe, who’s gonna defend me, defend us.

I can pull plenty of media moments far more disgusting that never had the reach or pull of the outrage machine. I think I know why. In all the others, the truth was obvious. In this, the truth was obscured so those believing had to believe on the strength of those reporting it. And in doing so, they bypassed rational thinking and allowed hate and outrage to grow.

We tend to defend our friends with a ferociousness of a momma bear. We also tend to not question them or fact check them. They are in our inner circle of trust so why would we double check? To do so would mean we don’t trust, right? No. We need to check every time and check our hearts too. Not because we don’t trust you, but because we can stay calm when you are upset.

The saddest part to all of this for me is seeing where all these peoples hearts are at. Some had their hearts in the right place. And some relished the attack. And others fell into line as mob justice formed. Others questioned. A few waited and watched. It’s those who waited and watched, thank you. Thank you for resisting the pull of being enraged. Thank you for your dedication to the truth.

As the media companies play on our emotions, we must stop the rush to judgment. We must withhold judgment until a time where we stay calm and review all the facts available. Our emotions are powerful motivators, powerful engines of change. Every one of us has the choice to master our emotions or allow others to use them against us. Yesterday, many had their emotions used against them. And I find that outrageous.

Found Wisdom

Found this story in an unusual place and it was credited to Facebook. It is too good to keep to myself. With current events and the news cycle reacting instead of investigating and then reporting, we need to be mindful of that which divides us as members of the human race. We need to calm our minds and thoughts before acting. Often, reacting is the wrong action to take. Stop. Breathe. Wait.

~ Are you a witch? ~

One of my friends told me about a powerful lesson in her daughter’s high school class this winter. They’re learning about the Salem Witch Trials, and their teacher told them they were going to play a game.

“I’m going to come around and whisper to each of you whether you’re a witch or a normal person. Your goal is to build the largest group possible that does NOT have a witch in it. At the end, any group found to include a witch gets a failing grade.”

The teens dove into grilling each other. One fairly large group formed, but most of the students broke into small, exclusive groups, turning away anyone they thought gave off even a hint of guilt.

“Okay,” the teacher said. “You’ve got your groups. Time to find out which ones fail. All witches, please raise your hands.”

No one raised a hand.

The kids were confused and told him he’d messed up the game.

“Did I? Was anyone in Salem an actual witch? Or did everyone just believe what they’d been told?”

And that is how you teach kids how easy it is to divide a community.

Keep being welcoming, beautiful people. Shunning, scapegoating and dividing destroy far more than they protect. We’re all in this together.

Tiny Announcement

I don’t post much here at all so most of you here don’t know me. I have other focuses and passions which brings me to this posting. I’m launching my own blog for short stories and general fiction. I’m not taking anything away from what’s being contributed to this blog. I am instead, carving out my own nitch in this wide and wonderful writing community here on WordPress. If you are interested in short stories and fiction, consider following me on Jessie Warner as well. I’m just getting started so don’t mind the cobwebs, dust and all the hammers hammering away.

May you all have a wonderful day.
Jessie Warner

The Case against Kavanaugh Is Collapsing

It’s moments like this that makes me think this country has fallen into mass hysteria. I’ve read about women in tears, having panic attacks, being triggered all because of a collective sense of making someone pay for the sins of others, that’s called scapegoating folks, is failing.

It bothers me so many people are willing to ram home that belief without a shred of proof of a crime; charged and found guilty by the court of public opinion. The mob is mindless folks. The mob is the public. And it is the mob that operates on the power of emotions and it this case, fear, guilt and anger, a trifecta of dangerous negative emotions that will lead all over the cliff straight in social chaos to land squarely in a world devoid of any sense of humanity and decency.

I don’t know if he ever raped anyone. I do know, as of right now there is no evidence of such an act so I give him the benefit of the doubt until such a time that more evidence is presented to sway my personal opinion in a direction off of neutral. It is a principal I believe has value even now, to withhold judgment in the presence of strong emotion and evaluate according to the principals of reasoning under the demand for strong evidence.

Allowing ourselves to be swayed by strong emotions leaves all of us vulnerable to manipulation and it is this in the age of social media that each one of us needs to guard against.

“Your soul takes on the color of your thoughts.”
-Marcus Aurelius

So many have grabbed anger and coloured their minds with it. They have taken sadness and made it a part of themselves, and to what purpose? To enjoy misery? to enact a form of social solitary? Why this instead of that? What has made sadness and anger and misery more important than celebrating joy, happiness, and a life well lived?

Every moment of your life is lived by choice. Even in times such as these.

The Case against Kavanaugh Is Collapsing

Inside my treasure chest

When I first read this assignment (write about inanimate meanings, ie pull from your treasure chest)  I went into a tailspin. I took this on such a personal level I searched my history to find something to pin this story on. I found nothing. Asking my husband, my friends and family-we all came up drawing blanks. I had nothing, no treasures from my past, nothing that I had truly held onto. It’s depressing to feel treasureless.

How could I write this without having experienced this first? How could I convince the reader to share in the creation of an experience that leads them to hold fondly onto the picture I paint with these words; if I had not experienced the depth of these emotions first? I concluded I was lacking emotional depth and screwed as a writer.

I’m not a mentally normal person. It’s no excuse for hiding, dodging and not doing the work. Yesterday, I came back to myself, back to this mind frame that can do the work. This morning I woke up inspired. All I had to do was change the parameters of what makes a treasure.

Physical objects as treasure I do not have. I never cherished things that I knew could disappear at my parent’s whim. I learned early on to not hold onto the comfort of a blanket and to transfer it to whatever object was available. I had learned detachment was more valuable than attachment. Facing that one fact hurts.

But I tell stories. Some of these I’ve recounted over the years to the point I have a favorite one.

I spent a great deal of time in the yard as a child. I watched life change in her slow ways over those years. Have you ever noticed the thickening of the tree trunks in the spring? Ever notice where the wild thistle comes from? Have you watched the slow war of the ants? The environment was my main source of mental stimulation.

At six I enjoyed running across the yard to pick buttercups, dandelions, oxalis, clover, wild mint, sweet peas, and violets. For most of them, my pickings encouraged them to grow and spread out even more. Except for the buttercups. By the time I was seven, there was only a single patch in the yard. It was a health bushy patch surviving the onslaught of the lawnmower bravely.

Then, came me and my greedy hands. In a single spring, I decimated their future. I proudly gave my mother the biggest and best buttercups I had ever seen. The flowers were bigger than my thumbprint, they were giant buttercups. Their yellow pollen would cover our chins as we asked silly questions about our love, or not, of butter. It was such a happy spring and summer, the year of the giant buttercups.

The following spring I eagerly searched for the buttercups. Not a single buttercup plant existed in the yard. None existed in the neighborhood. There were no buttercups to be seen. I had picked them all, to death!

In my innocence, my desire to shower my mother with affection led to the destruction of our favorite flower. It’s a lesson that I’ve carried with me and never forgotten.

Turns out buttercups are annual plants and they need their flowers to form seeds. It took ten years for wild buttercups to spread and reseed the yard. Such little actions often have deep and long-lasting consequences. This is my earliest treasure-awareness.

The Last Gift

Writing class is tough. Had to do a piece on love lost and pull as much emotion into it as I can. I don’t think I hit that mark. I choose a moment from my past that still lives inside me. One day, I’ll rewrite it.

The cold air prickles my skin as we walk in. My nose wrinkle. It’s not quite the same antiseptic scent of the hospital. Bouncing one baby sister on my hip, I coo softly as the other sleeps peacefully in the stroller. We stood there, my father, I and my two sisters in the middle of the bright atrium.

Clearing his throat, my father cracks the silence “Is anyone here?”
Smiling, I look at Leah and play with her lip, bouncing her on my hip. She smiles back, sucking my finger. I feel her tiny sharp teeth. My heart calms as I watch. I nuzzle her head, inhaling the faint baby scent clinging to her hair. I close my eyes. I could be anywhere but where I am.

“Hello. I’m Mr …” A suited man approaches us, stretching out his hand to shake my fathers’. I step towards a display case. It’s filled with urns and plaques. They look like school awards. I stand there staring, waiting. From the glass reflection, I watch my father follow the suit. I turn around and push the stroller and follow them.
Soon the table fills with paperwork. The adults talk. I watch my baby sister turn over and wake up. I put both girls on my hips. I play horsey and bounce them. Their giggles echo bringing more giggles. I steal hugs and kisses from each of them.

I wish I hadn’t been listening. The cold seeps into my stomach. The suit stands and directs us to a room and motions us inside. From floor-to-ceiling, the room contains coffin samples. The bright oak, dark mahogany, shiny brass, chrome trim, silks and satins catch my eye. My fingers trail across the smooth surfaces as the cold seep in. Never before have I seen such elegance.

“Jessie, I want you to pick it out.” I turn around to face my father. I note his eyes, his body language. Empty. I read nothing from him. He leaves no clue to what he wants. “I’ll take the girls.”

I’m left alone in a room of coffins with a task. I allow myself to think of her now. My heart races and I push back, slowing it down. I welcome the cold of the room inside me. I breathe. I circle the room once, then twice. I spot it in the corner, hidden. My fingers trace across the cream enamel and silver roses. I fluff the silk head pillow and smooth my palm across the satin lining. Such riches, mom never enjoyed in life, form this box. It’s beautiful, like my mother. “Don’t say you love me, show me” her words echo in my heart. I know I’ll never hear her say “I love you.” I caress the roses slowly, her favourite flower. These, the last flowers I give to her, must last an eternity.