None Are Better Than….

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October 8, 2021- This afternoon, as a foreshortened school day was in its final half hour, I greeted two classrooms of 10-11 year-olds, several of whom were full of piss and vinegar, and all too eager to push the limits with one whom they saw as a dotty old man.

I set them straight, in short order, by giving a young man, who was posing as ringleader, some gratuitous time out of the room. He came back about three minutes later, and proceeded to follow the directions for the activity.

My parents told us that no one is inherently better than anyone else. I was never favoured over any of my siblings, and vice versa. My youngest brother was cut more slack, because he had more special needs than the rest of us. He was though, generally speaking, held to the same core expectations. The same ethic was dominant in our neighbourhood, in the schools and, as I experienced it, in my Army basic training and Advanced Individual Training units.

My experiences with artificial pecking orders came with active duty at Fort Myer, and more so, in deployment to Long Binh and Cholon, VietNam. I was dubbed one of the lower caste members, owing to my autism-and found myself feeling more empathy with the Black, Latino and Pacific Islander members of our units. The mantra in my head remained the same-“None are better than the rest.” I had a select job, handling accountable mail, and I did it to the best of my ability. That didn’t make me above it all, and when the bulk mail truck pulled up, in Long Binh, the lock went on the AM cage and my hands were emptying that truck, along with everyone else’s.

In the years since I was honorably discharged, every situation has also had its pecking order. Sometimes, the elitism was codified: Students answered to professors and professors, to Deans; Teachers answered to Principals and principals, to superintendents and Governing Boards; Volunteers answered to paid staff and paid staff, to administrators.

In other situations, the waters were muddier. It was then that the human animal’s penchant for an alpha to lead rose to the fore. Ad hoc authority figures have inserted themselves into my life, or tried to, at several junctures. American expatriates in Korea, retired military (whites and blacks) on the Navajo Nation, and authoritarian personalities, without portfolio, in several of the schools in which I’ve worked as a substitute teacher, have presented themselves as plenipotentiaries. In each case, my response has been: “I am not at your beck and call.”

So, in advising, admonishing or instructing the rising generations, my mantra is that of Mom and Dad: Regard yourselves as good as the rest, neither above nor beneath.

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 56: Defiance

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July 26, 2020-

Defiance is not just a city in Ohio. There comes a time when an individual must stand up and say, even holler, “No more!” There comes a time when a community, a society, a nation-even a planet full of people, must stand up and say with one voice. “NO MORE!”

After sitting in my home base apartment, most of yesterday,and responding to those with different takes on the murder of Bernell Trammell and the stabbing of Drew Duncomb. Unless and until these acts of violence are given the weight of investigation they warrant, there is, as BLM members say, “No justice, no peace”. Ditto, for the burning of the Headquarters of the Arizona Democratic Party-and I would say the same for any torching of Republican offices.

I have begun reading “Democracy In Chains”, by Nancy McLean, and am learning of a clever and insidious campaign, inspired by the life’s work of the misanthropic John C. Calhoun, initiated by one James Buchanan, late of the University of Virginia and George Mason University, and perfected by Charles Koch. Remember ALEC , the American Legislative Exchange Council? That was, and maybe still is, part of the game plan. Take power away from the common people,the reasoning goes. ‘Power belongs to those with money, with investment capital. The hoi polloi have no idea how life should be. Why trust THEM?’

So we see Senator Mitt Romney, saying that Social Security should be cut, from the oldest senior to the youngest disabled person. I do not intend this as an ad hominem attack-but Mitt Romney has his. So does every other person who has signed on to the chaining of democracy.

I do not wish to take a dime, from those who have earned it-no matter how gargantuan their fortune is. In turn, no one gets to take a dime, from me and mine. I pay my taxes. I pay my rent and utilities. I honour my debts. I give to those in need, as best I can, without becoming one of them.

So, the defiance starts there. It continues:

I honour the health protocols recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with respect to wearing a clean, well-fitting mask, when in proximity to other people; when standing in line and keeping a six-foot distance. On my own, I am not leaving the State of Arizona, barring an emergency, until mid-October-at minimum. I draw the line at taking a vaccine whose contents I do not know. That is a fight for another day, though. Immunity to a disease may be accomplished through rigourous holistic health practices: Organic diet, maintaining vitamins, minerals and essential oils; drinking alkaline water, regular deep breathing. That is my immunization plan, for the foreseeable future.

I will not bow or kneel to an ad hoc authority- no matter how well-armed, no matter how loud the voice, no matter how “popular”. I am an American citizen who follows the rule of law-not of any man, hiding behind interpretation of law. I am a World Citizen, who obeys codified law, wherever I might be.

So, no one gets to order me to stay home. I have eyes, ears and love in my heart for the people. I will know when it’s safe to leave and where it is safe to go. I don’t need to kowtow to anyone’s fear.

No one gets to order me to believe a certain way. I have my undying Faith in God, through the teachings of Baha’u’llah, al-Bab, Mohammad, Jesus the Christ, Moses, Gautama Siddhartha, Zarathustra, Krishna and Whoever founded the pure, initial forms of Wicca, various Native American beliefs and African faiths. I have my undying respect and love for conservative and progressive, alike. Those who savage one another, based on ideology, are being duped and are on a fool’s errand, with no ultimate winners. The only “winner” in this case, will be one whose mindset is founded on lies.

I will not bow to a puppetmaster-ANY puppetmaster.

Namaste and Godspeed.