WE PAW Bloggers E-zine — Issue 66

Let us be the clarion call for a better future.

Writing Challenge: Reflecting Crisis In an Unprecedented American Post-Election Crisis; Crisis During the Pandemic; In Support of Racial Equality

The “Write to Cope” prompt is open only to WE PAW Bloggers group members on Facebook. Member contributors were asked to submit ANY writing about our multiple crises. Each contribution is limited to 1000 words or less and may be written only submissions, or may be spoken word readings under seven minutes in length (but with text transcriptions included).

What we writers, poets, authors, and artists of all types do reflects the joys and turmoils in our societies in which we create. We creatives are the mirrors of our society in the midst of our the still growing global pandemic and a new generation of righteous struggle for civil rights and equal justice.

We face unprecedented crises in the US election 2020 aftermath — A POTUS wages war against American democracy, inciting a siege on the nation’s Capitol just two weeks before the inauguration of a Biden/Harris. Even after the failed coup attempt, a major party’s political leadership continues to enable him. And still, we continue to drag on and on through this period of the global pandemic with with 400K dead in America and more than two MILLION dead worldwide. Even as these upheavals clutch and grasp at our world, trying to snatch hope from our fingertips… we still dare to hope. This is why we writers and creatives write to cope.

Hands and hearts and minds and voices committed to working for tolerance, peace, and social justices everywhere, always. ~MomzillaNC

A Few Home Truths About Freedom of Speech

Freedom of speech is a human right.

It is the right to express one’s ideas and opinions verbally or in writing, either publicly or privately.

It is the right to engage in public conversation about personal and public issues and events. It is the right to communicate meaningfully with other people.

Even so, it has its ethical limitations.

All individuals have freedom of speech. It is not just the domain of one person, or one group. This means that the right is also accompanied by the responsibility of listening to, and responding thoughtfully to, the ideas and opinions of others. Freedom of speech is a two way street.

It is not the right to cause harm or injury to other people.
It is not the right to incite violence.
It is not the right to abuse, slander, or misrepresent situations or other people.
It is not the right to spread dangerous disinformation.
It is not the right to break the law or commonly accepted rules.

The people decrying Twitter and Facebook for banning Trump need to understand these things.

When he opened his social media accounts, he agreed to the terms and conditions. Nobody can have those accounts without agreeing to those rules, which clearly state that one cannot use that social media platform to break the law or encourage anyone else to do so. There is a clearly stated warning that infringement of those rules will result in your account being suspended or cancelled.

There is no doubt that these are the rules invoked when the accounts belonging to a range of criminals and terrorists were cancelled in the past. People and governments actively and rightly demanded that this should be the case in response to the manifesto and live streaming of the actions of the Christchurch mosque terrorist, for example.

It is illegal to use social media to promote illegal activity or post offensive material.

Why, then, should Trump not be banned for inciting a riot or encouraging sedition? Why should his followers not be banned for plotting violence and premeditating murder and insurrection?

The clear answer is that they absolutely should.

Anyone using social media to plan or conduct a criminal act should be banned and then prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have acted rightly.
They have not assaulted anyone’s free speech. It is not censorship. Those on the quiet end of a ban have invited that consequence for themselves.

Bivouacked

I read a tweet that made me stop and think, “Wait.. what?”

The word that got my attention was ‘bivouacked’. Despite the fact that I am a passionate reader and a scholar and teacher of History, I had no idea what this word meant. Obviously, I wasn’t the only one: plenty of people responded that they had to look the word up.

My trusty Macquarie Dictionary gave me the definition.

Etymonline explains that the use of bivouac in English dates back to 1702, meaning an “encampment of soldiers that stays up on night watch in the open air, dressed and armed.”

It is an image of readiness to defend and protect, which was exactly the context of the tweet. These images of bivouacked soldiers in the Capitol building, Washington DC, are confronting and comforting at the same time. That it is even necessary is heartbreaking, yet in the current political climate, I am thankful they are there.

The word came from French, and before that from the 17th century Swiss/Alsatian word ‘biwacht’ which meant “night guard”.

By 1853, bivouac was also used as a noun to mean an outdoor or open-air camp.

The use of the verb ‘to bivouac’, meaning to post troops in the night dates to 1809, and meaning to camp or sleep out-of-doors without tents dates to 1814. It should be no surprise that the noun became a verb in the context of the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812, during both of which the practice would have been common.

BYLINE: Joanne Van Leerdam

Dreams and Nightmares

Image from the public domain

Trump’s vision and King’s vision are both part of America. One represents our national nightmare; the other our national dream. One is the original sin of America from which we must repent; the other is the path of redemption towards Beloved Community to which justice loving persons aspire. One leads to a violent insurrectionist “March on the Capitol” that will live forever in infamy; the other leads to MLK’s “March on Washington” that will forever inspire love and justice. One is a path backwards to the big lie of white supremacy, division, and hate; the other is the path forward to truth and reconciliation.

As I write this for Martin Luther King Day 2021, I am aware there will rightly be numerous tributes to King on MLK Day; including many quotations from King’s speeches, sermons, and writings. King’s eloquent declarations of his vision for the creation of a beloved community in this our one world house continue to remind us of what we can become if we build a society based on love and justice rather than hate and the perpetuation of gross inequities.

I am also aware that some of the persons who perpetuate America’s nightmare of injustice and continued systemic racism will use MLK Day to usurp King’s words in their attempt to “promote unity and healing” and to “put the dark day of January 6 behind us” in an effort to avoid accountability for their actions.

To them I say:

  • If your words and actions incited insurrection day, don’t be quoting MLK on MLK Day.
  • If you supported throwing out the votes of millions of people of color to overturn a free and fair election, don’t be quoting MLK on MLK Day.
  • If you vilify Black Lives Matter and cannot see that MLK’s whole life was about Black Lives Mattering, then don’t be quoting MLK on MLK Day.
  • If you call BLM a socialist or communist organization, perhaps you may know that the Trumps of MLK’s time also called him a communist and much worse, and you should keep your MLK quotes to yourself on MLK day.
  • If you think being anti-racist is simply about having some persons of color who are friends or about sharing videos or social media posts of persons of color because they agree with your political point of you, don’t be quoting MLK on MLK day.

As we celebrate the life and work of our national hero of civil rights and social justice, may we all be reminded of his vision that being anti-racist is about actively and relentlessly working to transform the systems that perpetuate social, economic, educational, and justice inequities within our communities and society as a whole. Quotes and tributes can inspire us in this work, but we must repent from the national nightmare of systemic racism before we make our way towards the dream of justice and reconciliation in Beloved Community.

BYLINE: Mark Davies

Unity or Justice?

The Two Cannot Be Mutually Exclusive.

The way forward cannot again compromise with hatred and bigots. From the very founding of this nation, our American history has been one of compromise with white supremacy and bigots. The long arc of our national history led us to what now must be a national reckoning.

“Hate is a contagious mental illness that requires qualified and substantive psychiatric treatment.” ~MomzillaNC

For more than half a century, the GOP used their power to undercut our democracy itself, becoming completely divergent from our constitutional democratic system. It has been calculated and systemic. Under a veneer of religiosity and patriotism, the party spent more than half a century trying to impose a Dominionist vision of a theocratic corporate feudal state where we are all required to just shut up and work until we die. Our constitutional democratic republic has been hijacked by the white fury of those intent on remaking the republic to suit their wrongheaded opinions, their sense of entitlement and superiority — all while claiming 1st Amendment protections of free speech.

Freedom of Speech was NEVER intended to protect lies.

The decades long anti-democracy agenda of white fury culminated in elected republicans violating their oaths of office and engaging in actual sedition by attempting to overturn a fair and free election their own party definitively proved was properly and constitutionally won by the Democrats — and helping to incite an armed insurrection in the siege of the Capitol on 06 January 2021.

Worse though — and let us be absolutely clear and never forget: White nationalist insurgents led their charge with prayer and in the name of the Prince of Peace — launching a violent assault on the Capitol bearing a cross AND the noose, and baying for the lynching of one of their own top conservative leaders, VPOTUS Pence.

After the POTUS gave his Trump Army their marching orders and they besieged the Capitol, republicans are now calling for unity and warning that impeaching Trump would further divide the country. They are actually claiming that justice for Trump is bad for the country, essentially demanding the Constitution and justice be thrown out to protect the president who incited war against his own nation — and would still be actively doing so if he had not been cut off from public forums.

To them I repeat my own words from another blog:

“Until the GOP walks away from the base, there cannot — nay… MUST NOT — be any reconciliation. Should the world have reconciled with post WWII Nazis? Should the world reconcile with ISIS or al Qaeda? No. We cannot make room to reconcile with extremism and hate and bigotry. That demographic has never changed, will never change, refuses to change. Instead, they drag whatever party they inhabit into the pit with them, burrowing hell-bent-for-leather, head down for Hades.”

Our future generations will look back upon this history and ask what we did to resist this forced march toward oppression. We may have won the day for now. But our children and grandchildren will look to the siege of the seat of our democracy and seek an accounting of us. For their sake, we must stop candy-coating the evil ideologies of fascists, nazis, and white extremists advocating race war and genocide; these are people literally fighting to over throw democracy in America. There can be no middle ground. There will be no moral high ground in silence. This struggle defines for all Americans an unequivocal moral imperative as a nation: Either you stand for democracy against the terrorism of racist fascism, or… you stand with it and Trump.

Trump made the GOP over in his image. He orchestrated the domestic terrorism of the American right. And no, it is not an exaggeration to say that. Around 42% of the voters consider themselves conservatives and predominately vote republican, as much as around 138 million Americans. Over seventy four million Americans voted for Trump. Three out of four self-described conservatives STILL do not believe Biden fairly won the election. This is not some fringe group — it is mainstream conservatives, and seem to believe they are the only Americans who matter.

When what you believe is used to oppress and even endanger someone else, it is time and past time to examine just what it is you think you believe. In my estimation, what they did and continue trying to do is sedition, anti-democracy insurrection, and treason against America. We can and MUST choose unity AND justice. Nay… we cannot have real unity without substantive and unfettered justice.

Justice and unity cannot and must not be mutually exclusive.

BYLINE: D. Denise Dianaty

Editorial statement

We write to cope because we see a world leadership leading us to our worst inclinations with mendacity and cruelty. And, we see our fellow humanity following, supporting that leadership. We write to cope because the world is broken and we hope our words may help the healing begin.

“If you must support or do wrong to achieve what you believe to be good, then there is no good in your achievement.” ~MomzillaNC

If you wish to contribute to this ezine, please join the group on Facebook. All writing creatives are welcome.

D. Denise Dianaty, Editor and Graphic Designer for the WE PAW Bloggers E-Zine. Administrator for the writers forum “WE PAW Bloggers” group and its sister group “Pandora’s Box of Horrors” on Facebook. In addition to being a self-published author and poet, artist, art-photographer, and administrator of the group, “WE PAW Bloggers,” Denise is a graphic designer with 25+ years experience, predominately in print media.

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