The Power of Kindness

In an issue of InStyle going back five or six months there was an interview with Lin-Manuel Miranda and a chef who was his biggest fan.

The quote rings true:

“We need to make sure people are lifted up. If we push people down, we’re going to see a tomorrow that we don’t like.”

In the Power of Kindness TIME special edition magazine there were feature articles about empathy and compassion.

To quote Lynn O’Connor:

“The happiest nations tend to be the ones where equity is greatest, while nations with high levels of inequity tend to be less happy.”

Bhutan has a Gross National Happiness Index instead of relying on a Gross National Product / GNP as a measure of wealth.

Kindness appears to be in short supply from those in command in America.

It’s why my belief that we can’t rely on the government to solve societal ills appears to be coming true.

The Power of Kindness special edition featured ordinary Americans making a difference to help out others.

One person was an 11-year old kid.

Now I don’t think kindness in and of itself can redress injustice on its own.

Yet acting kind sure beats advancing hate.

Casting a Vote

The year I turned 18 there was a presidential election. I have been voting in every election since I turned 18. That’s 37 years of participating in our democracy.

Like I wrote before I don’t think the person we elect can be our savior. I have written in this blog years ago that I don’t think the government can resolve societal ills.

What every citizen can do is hold our elected leaders accountable once they’re serving our city state and country.

I have to sign my name in the book. My handwriting is unusual–I tell the poll worker it’s the messiest signature on the page.

For protection I carry my driver’s license with me to the polling site. I carry my driver’s license everywhere I go as a form of identification.

I’ve taken to using the Microsoft Edge browser. On the Edge homepage you can read news articles. This is where I read accounts of the election updates.

Browsing the news accounts on Edge I read a CNN primer on voting and what to do should you be told you can’t vote when you show up.

Casting a provisional vote is possible when you’re challenged. This is possible when you know you’re registered to vote.

I’m going to wear one of my masks and go vote in person. I haven’t been infected with the coronavirus. I wear a mask wherever I go to reduce my risk of getting the disease.

Ballots Against Bullets

Merriam Webster online defines genocide as:

: the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group.

The definition of destruction:

: ruin.

I might be the only one using the term genocide to describe what’s going on in our country today.

History is shady too.

I was reading at the library information in an online video course on Art in American History.

One of the hosts got away with talking about how Mr. Toupee hung a portrait of Andrew Jackson on his wall at the White House.

The video host said that Jackson was the architect of the worst American genocide. During his term Native Americans were run off their tribal lands. Thousands were killed along the infamous Trail of Tears.

It tells you something that Mr. Toupee venerates Jackson.

At the library new books have been published praising Mr. Toupee and denouncing “Trump’s Enemies.” Other new books trumpet that the Donald is trashing American democracy.

Whose side of the story is the truth?

Stacey Abrams when interviewed said that we can’t expect any president we vote into office to be our savior.

We can though hold them accountable for doing the right thing once elected.

In two months we vote for the president.

People are being denied the right to vote.

If you are registered to vote I say walk into the polling site with your own two feet–or wheel yourself in if you use a wheelchair–and go vote.

Send in an absentee ballot before the deadline if you cannot show up in person.

One year I walked around the corner to the polling site and voted at 6:15 a.m.

If you haven’t been denied the right to vote–Just Do It–go out and vote.

No excuses.

MLK Candlelight Vigil

12 years ago I attended an MLK Candlelight Vigil in January.

We stood in the arctic cold in a small triangle park holding votive candles in solidarity for peace and justice.

I had thought hundreds of people would show up to the event.

There were only 5 of us. I accidentally broke the glass holder the candle was in.

The host took my email. Ever since then I’ve been bombarded with email campaigns to petition our government for farm workers’ rights and other issues.

It’s hard to read the magnitude of injustice. To hear the stories. And once again justice has not been served today.

Behind the smokescreen of ordinary issues voters are convinced to get riled up over lies the worst of human rights abuses in America and worldwide.

It’s chilling and can be numbing too.

The emails keep coming with pleas to join in for protests right in my town (against the North Brooklyn fracking and LNG depot) and faraway (the Global Thrive Act).

It can be overwhelming as to how one person can respond to every single injustice. Just being aware is the first step–not remaining blind to what goes on.

Our predicament predates our PT Barnum circus showman president.

Yet the emails have escalated since he was elected.

No one should live in fear of walking down the street. No one should have to endure what I call vicarious trauma by witnessing injustice against other people.

I want to shake sense into the people who don’t seem to care or don’t think there’s anything wrong with this picture.

How could you believe this carnival barker is what I want to know.

Give farm workers citizenship. Stop letting killer cops off the hook.

We are ruining the lives of future generations that will inherit this mess we’ve made.

My hope is that by saying something I will embolden others to break away from the silent herd and have the confidence to chime in.

Stacey Abrams

Once again a fashion magazine has come out with lucid wisdom in an interview with a powerful woman. This time Stacey Abrams is speaking.

More power to Stacey Abrams for publishing her book: Our Time is Now.

She refers to the New American Majority–the people of color, young people, moderates, and progressives who supported her in her campaign for governor of Georgia in 2018.

In the September 2020 issue of Harper’s Bazaar Stacey Abrams is quoted:

“I’d rather fail as myself than succeed as someone else.”

In fact trying to change into a person other people will approve of causes ill health. You can only fail by being someone other than who you are.

Stand tall. Walk proud. That is the way to live.

Life Cycles

Right-on–no really.

Alicia Keys in her memoir recounts having a friend ask her at a table in a pizzeria: “Why are you here?”

That sparked her activism.

And you, why are you here?

I used to visit fortune tellers. I sat down in a chair across from one woman. I hadn’t said one word. I hadn’t opened my mouth.

Out of nowhere the psychic’s first words were: “You’re here to make a difference.”

I’ve stopped going to fortune tellers.

The question “Why are you here” is relevant for everyone today.

Studying numerology can help a person figure out why you’re here. Christine DeLorey wrote the book seen above. I have underlined sentences in each section.

I once tried to talk about numerology to another person. She got spooked. Only I recommend the book Life Cycles.

Christine DeLorey can create a Personal Numerology Profile PDF document for you for $95 dollars.

Some of you might think that’s going a little too far.

However I think that whatever can give a person comfort in the time of the pandemic shouldn’t be ruled out.

I also recommend reading Susan Miller’s AstrologyZone on the internet every month.

What I don’t advise is going to fortune tellers as a hobby. Though I had the good fortune to have real psychics give me accurate readings not all of them are reputable. And what they tell you can freak you out.

The New York Times reported on a woman who gave people fake predictions to string them along for thousands of dollars. When asked to predict when she’d be sprung free from jail for her crimes she couldn’t give anyone that date.

You can browse the Creative Numerology website for an introduction to the Christine DeLorey book.

The goal is self-improvement and self-actualization.

The goal isn’t to have someone tell you when you’re going to die. Or that for $40 she can remove a bad curse hanging over your head.

Living through the COVID-19 outbreak with the changed circumstances of our lives–the mask wearing and the social distancing–have you like I have wanted to exert control over the things you have control over?

When life is uncertain and it feels like things are out of control:

I say doing things that give you comfort shouldn’t be ruled out.

Drugs or drink–no not that. Anything else–why not?

Whatever makes a person happy shouldn’t be judged.

And in this time of illness–physical and political–now more than ever having joy is called for.

Who couldn’t use a little more freedom and happiness in their lives?

LL Cool Joe

I’ve come up with a catchy code name for Joe Biden:

LL Cool Joe.

The 1990s gave us LL Cool J–the rapper whose moniker was short for Ladies Love Cool James.

Today the LL stands for Liberals Love Cool Joseph.

Politicians should be mocked equally regardless of which party they belong to.

Mark my words:

Mr. Toupee will win re-election.

Like it or not our president is going to serve another 4 years.

Should LL Cool Joe win I’ll be surprised.

Tales from My Not-so-Green Life

It might be that No One is Too Small to Make a Difference.

I say that corporations are too big not to make a difference. They must be held accountable for their role in global warming.

My life on the other hand is Not-so-Green.

I order food to be delivered that comes in plastic containers. This isn’t good. Not for the planet and not for me either. Since hot plastic leaches chemicals into food.

What is the solution?

I plan instead of ordering dinner to be delivered to have soup when I have no energy to cook.

I think it comes down to making trade-offs. You can excel in one Green area and come up short in another Green area.

My aim is to find a suitable plastic container I can take with me to the deli counter to have the staff use and reuse the same container.

Instead of buying food that comes in a new container each time.

This tactic was talked about in a book a woman wrote about achieving zero waste. If I remember right the book was titled The Zero Waste Home.

The goal as I see it is to consume less–less electricity less gas and oil less of anything that is wasteful.

My electric bill statement has skyrocketed in the time of the pandemic. Plus New York City has had a record number of heatwaves this summer.

The air conditioner has been going at all hours in my apartment. That’s not-so-green. Only I can’t be in direct heat for longer than 10 minutes. I’m at greater risk for heat stroke.

I will search on the Container Store website for a reusable plastic container.

I expect the deli counter staff to look at me screw-eyed when I ask them to use my plastic container not theirs.

The Trash is for Tossers woman allegedly reduced her yearly waste to only one mason jar of trash.

That’s phenomenal–is it realistic for most of us?

Greta Thunberg

Greta Thunberg was only 16 when she published the book shown above. She is the face of climate change protesters. 6 Million individuals have joined her in school-striking for zero carbon emissions by 2030.

I don’t like to single people out this way. However I think what should be written about Thunberg is that she was diagnosed with Asperger’s.

In her own words in the book she writes that her disability isn’t a medical condition–it’s a gift.

She credits the Asperger’s as giving her the black-and-white thinking required to tackle the global warming issue.

In 1997 three years before I moved to my beloved Brooklyn I sold my last car to a mechanic for $400.

I didn’t want to incur the higher cost of auto insurance in Brooklyn. Nor did I want to spend an hour every day driving around looking for a parking spot. And I didn’t want to need to pay for costly car repairs.

In fact the prime reason I sold my car was that I didn’t want to be dependent on foreign oil.

In 1997 when I sold my car no one talked about global warming. I was in the vanguard in moving to a neighborhood where there were retail shops and food markets within walking distance.

I was a Visionary in giving up my car and deciding to walk everywhere.

Greta Thunberg nowhere in her book talks about the root cause of global warming:

How city planners prioritized building roads and highways so that people could travel by car when they had to get somewhere.

Not only that often the highways built in effect separated well-off neighborhoods from poor communities. Reinforcing inequality.

In New York City taking the bus and subway is a way to reduce your carbon footprint.

In the coming blog entry I want to talk with a twist about going Green.

I’m impressed with the Generation Z leaders who are out there striving to make a difference.

Having Hope

Hope is called for.

I bought this coaster with the mini-easel from a street vendor in

Manhattan.

I’m an optimist.

You must be an optimist, or you won’t survive what you’re going through.

I’ve been living indoors for five months. It has taken a toll as I’m a gregarious person.

Today I go outside to my job again. There I need to cover my face for 6 hours.

Yesterday’s outfit:

Beet-color tee shirt with magenta pants and black shoes. An orange bandanna covering my nose and mouth.

Out on the street I’m the only one wearing a bandanna. The colorful bandannas get washed once a week. I wear a different one every day.

It’s far better than clogging a landfill with single-use disposable masks.

As I venture outside again I’m not always confident that there’s anything to hope for.

Yet hope I have because it’s summer. The sun is shining. The heat is here.

It’s how I see things: I believe in humanity. Even still—I believe in humanity.

I would like to write in the blog about my insight and observations as this season moves along.

I would like to see change. For myself. For others. And for my country.