Saturday, September 24, 2011

They're There! Where's The Media?

Last Saturday, 2000 people occupied and marched on Wall Street. They have camped out in a park. They are standing up and speaking out for the majority of us who can't be there. This is no longer "life as usual" people. Yet, there was no coverage on any of the major news programs.

We need to complain to the mainstream media. They will cover the nasty little Westboro Baptist bunch, sometimes numbering less than 15 people when they spew their homophobic hatred at the funerals of our service people. But 2000 people, assembling peacefully to see that the truth is heard..they are suspiciously silent. Is this coming from the top where media moguls are wanting these folks to go away, unheard?

This is a movement that is spreading, a movement that doesn't have the deep pockets of corporate mercenaries behind it. It is you and me and young people who can't find jobs and the elderly who are watching their hopes for a dignified retirement drift away. I worry about where all this is headed, but I admire and support them for their efforts.

We are living in a time when, in the name of greed and dogma, people are willing to see our government and our nation go down for the count. We are seeing, to our shame, the man holding the most important position in the free world being treated with disrespect and hostility. And yet he remains a gentleman.

For those whose attention is still solely on adoption issues, let me add my opinion here, for what it is worth. If one of the GOP candidates is nominated and elected, the chances for real reform, open records and the rights of single mothers will go down the tubes. You might as well kiss that goodbye, especially if one of the Tea Party Darlings is elected.

Three years ago, I was elated and joyful that our nation seemed to have overcome racism to the point that we would elect a well-qualified man of mixed race to the Presidency. Now I realize that there were a lot of good old boys and girls who didn't think it would happen and the hatred boiled to the surface. Now I am fearful, for the President, for our nation, for my family, my loved ones and my friends. Something nasty is happening.

The hatred of the teabaggers is a festering boil on the face of the USA. If we seemed ugly to the outside world before, just combine corporate interests with the racism and adamant fundamentalism of the baggers and you have the end of freedom, the Constitution, and life as we know it and our downfall will be very public and very disgraceful. Poverty and hunger will make rebels of many, and corpses of more.

Doomsday scenarios are not easy to take, and I am not saying that the world will end, but it will definitely change, for the worse, if the Republican/Tea Party/ALEC Power Brokers get their way. We can only stop this from happening by making a lot of very public noise and making enough of it that we can't be ignored. The people occupying Wall Street need our support. So here are a few email addresses and phone numbers through which the national media can be contacted. This is just the TV news departments. You can also easily Google the big-name newspapers and they have email addresses to send letters to the editors.

ABC News:
CBS News: Phone: 212-975-4321
NBC: 212-664-4444
PBS/Newshour With Jim Leherer:

Let's get these reporters out there covering this story. I don't want to see these people leave, dejected and feeling they have failed us. Help them.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Dear Republicans

Dear Republicans,

I'm not sure, but I hope I am writing this to a group of real people. You see, I probably am a naive idealist, but I have to think that there has to be a way to get the realities of life across to you. I am a senior citizen. Yet, I still have hope that there is compassion and decency in the vast majority of human beings.

I know you don't want there to be a Democratic president. I fear you REALLY don't want a mixed-race, Democratic president more than anything. But is it fair for you to engineer an economic disaster that will take us all down, except for those of you who are wealthy, just to try to destroy one man? And why do you seem to think that none of us see what is happening and why? I feel, somehow, disrespected as a person, a woman and a senior by the tactics you are using. I am neither blind, brainwashed or ignorant.

In my lifetime, I have seen statesmanship left behind and replaced with political idealogues, I have seen the incremental destruction of everything socially and politically good that came out of the first 70 years of the last century. There are babies out there, on the ground, crying because they have been thrown out with the bathwater. I have seen the decline of truth and the rise of the spin doctor. I have seen a nation grown so lazy that they depend on media sound bites rather than researching the candidates before voting. I have seen an educational system so crippled that it is turning out functional illiterates.

I started out as an activist in the area of adoption, specifically, coerced surrenders of the Era of Mass Surrenders. I always looked in wonder at the attitude of adopters or PAPs who felt they were entitled to the child of another woman, just because they wanted one. Now I see where they get it. Most of you are attorneys that have been elected to Congress and I have never seen such a bunch of self-entitled people in my life, except, perhaps, the corporations and financial fat cats and hedge funders that line your pockets.

Yet you call the pittance that we have worked for and paid into all our working lives an "entitlement?" I call Social Security a promise and a deal. I call Medicare necessary and paid for with OUR money. And I call social programs that help feed, house and educate the less fortunate among us, especially children, COMPASSION.

Capitalism, on its own, is a ravenous beast that consumes and acquires with no thought of consequences. Without social programs to balance things out, our system becomes even more corrupt and ugly than it already is. We WILL fight for the social conscience that keeps our nation from becoming a complete corporate-owned plutocracy and theocracy.

And yes, while we are at it, what IS IT with this evangelical overload? Not only have many of your number thrown the Constitution to the ground, but with this aspect, you tread all over it with mud on your shoes. America is a nation of multiple beliefs and non-beliefs and it should remain that way. I don't think "freedom of religion" means just freedom for one segment of believers.

President Obama has offered the olive branch more than once and you have hurled it back in his face. Oh you good Christians, you. He has offered programs to help our nation and you look, not at the merits of the program (similar to many passed in bipartisan actions over the years) but at the source of that program and you sneer and reject. We want that program. We need it. But you are in that "my way or the highway" groove.

I know a lot of self-proclaimed Republicans that seem to be decent people and they are looking somewhat embarrassed, these days. They still puff up and flash their "Nobama" buttons, but they are wondering what happened to their 401Ks and retirement as well. And they are not real keen on Social Security cuts or Medicare cutbacks. You're walking a slippery slope with those subjects.

You want us to blame President Obama for his predecessor's excesses and your stubborn pique and that's not representing the people. That is a vendetta and not a pretty one. Maybe you need to step back and remember that you, whether you are well to do or not, are just one of the herd and that the strength of the working class makes or breaks any nation.

Of course, I look at the picture of the current GOP candidates and find myself, an agnostic, praying that none of these people defeat the President next year. That would probably put an end to my American citizenship. I have lost trust in you and in your motivations. So hope you don't win 2012 or you will have a nasty situation on your hands. Hungry, desperate people can get angry and determined.

I'll just get out if I can, should that happen. I'm too old for your nonsense. Here's some truth for you.


Robin Kinney Westbrook

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Legacy of Greed and Arrogance

9/11 has left us with a curious and terrifying legacy; asshats, motherf***ers, and bullsh***ers as far as the eye can see, bad things happening to good people, bad people getting all the dough and all the power, and good people watching their homes burn or washed away in a flood and people in Africa starving while a bunch of pin-headed, self-righteous redneck, evangelical elitists and greedy power-mongers glad-hand, campaign and make back-room deals.

These influence brokers used the fear generated by the cowardly attacks of 9/11, ten years ago, to erode our freedoms and break the back of our government. Bin Laden got what he wanted.

Racist bullies, liars and hypocrites sit in their snug little ivory towers and rain down hate rhetoric. Inane/insane pundits burst our eardrums with their messages of hate....This goes beyond party and philosophy and into the heart of the human race where it is festering and about to blow. They wanted to use fear to control the populace. Well, good job, Sh**eaters! I am definitely afraid. But controlled? Not yet.

I fear a return to the dark ages, an elite class that celebrates the ignorance and fear of the masses while they control access to everything that makes life, creativity, art, music, freedom. I fear a time when the public becomes nothing more than voiceless drones. I fear a bloody rebellion, a destruction of something so precious, lost because it was taken for granted.

I see the seething anger and/or the exhausted resignation of the millions who just want to work for a living. I see a wife entering a church to ask for food. I see a man gathering scrap metal so that he can sell it to buy gas to look for work. I see elderly people wondering if they will die in poverty.

And I see a large dark cloud harboring a hideous, tentacled, Lovecraftian monster with many faces; Koch, Murdoch, Bush, Perry, Beck, Coulter, Rove, Cheney, Palin, Bachmann, Robertson, Cain, Paul, Devos, Exxon Mobile and tar sand blasters, pipeline runners and mountain cappers...not enough room to list all of the dastards.

I see book-burning, church-run "education" and emotions, especially love in any form, outlawed and punishable by law. Orwell just had the year wrong. Atwood is a visionary as well. History and literature have warned us but we haven't heeded the warnings and are beginning to pay the price. "Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it."

Ten years ago, we saw the results of hate and religious fanaticism. It cost the lives of thousands of innocent people and left a scar on the face of our nation. I find it absolutely flabbergasting that the parallels are not recognized in the antics of Robertson, the Tea Party and praying candidates who fall to their knees while their states burn. Fascism isn't socialism, People!! It's intolerance and fear and iron control and fanaticism and it isn't just Islam that has a claim to those attributes. It is here in the fundamentalist, evangelical, end-of-timers Christian Dominionists and we should fear them just as much as the Arab piloting an airliner. There is an ACTIVE campaign to replace Democracy with control through fear, and to replace the Constitution with the bible. And YES, that would be a bad thing!!!

My time is coming soon, when I won't have to worry about it. I am in my "golden years" (*snort) and the worse will probably come after I am dead and gone. But I have children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and a legacy of ignorance, fear and poverty is not what I would want for them.

For every time I didn't speak up, for the times when I was younger when I was too self-involved and reacted rather than researched, for all the votes I didn't cast because I was too "busy," I am so sorry, my Dear Ones. As long as I still have breath in me, I will protest and write letters and keep the DC switchboards buzzing. I will support that which speaks to the rights of all and fight that which gives the best to a few.

I just hope we aren't too few, too late.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Distilling Knowledge

Kerry and Sam...1990

When I first reunited with my surrendered daughter and then my son, I knew that I was entering a strange land. All the maternal feelings were there, but there were kinks in the chain. Little did I understand at the time, or for years, how that gap in years, and missing out on sharing their childhoods would dash any expectations of a normal relationship and cause a lot of hurt and frustration.

I can see jealousy in my surrendered children, towards their siblings...not hostile but wistful that my raised children have something with me that they don't. It speaks to the importance of shared experience.

You see, my raised children, Kerry and Sam, were my babies, then my toddlers, then my little girl and little boy, then my rebellious teens before they became my adult children. I can recall, with them, special moments, traumas and happy times. My surrendered children were my babies and then they were gone. All the in-between was lost and I admit to searching, hungrily, in their faces for the children they were rather than the adults they now are. That was MY bad.

In 1993, I was hit by a storm of emotion and confusion, with two reunions in one year, just as I was going though a very tough time in my marriage. It took me a long time to accept and mourn the fact that what I had lost would never be returned. Those precious formative years belonged to someone else. And to say I was displeased with what took place with my babies during those years would be an understatement.

I tend to over-analyze a lot. And often, I have to stand back and quit going around my arse to get to my elbow. Accepting what I can't change has always been a challenge for me, but I find myself in a much better state of mind when I do that very thing.

Yes, I am the Mother of the two children lost to adoption...their true Mother. But they are not, nor will they ever be my little girl and little boy. Those years will always belong to someone else.

My daughter's adopters are deceased, but they are still a living presence in her. She often posts tributes to them on her FB page. Now that is not the norm for children raised by their natural parents, but what the hey...whatever floats her boat. I just cannot read those paeans without feeling a bit of a knife in my gut. I have to wonder if that is why she does it.

I feel the family connection more keenly through my granddaughter and her children. I wasn't there when she was a baby, but then lots of grandparents weren't. Our relationship is easier, laughter comes to us more readily and we don't try to burden each other with our troubles. And she gave me a gift when we visited while I was in San Antonio....the gift of her truth and the verification of a lot of my suppositions. The weight of the world was lifted from my shoulders.

Now I know that in any dysfunctional family, the truth is usually somewhere in the middle. But this is the first time I have really listened to my granddaughter and heard her pain and frustration. Once I had boiled down all this information to the inner essence, I knew that I had to distance myself from a toxic relationship. I would do no one any good by enabling them.

So here I sit, on Labor Day, having been greeted by my raised children and my granddaughter, and getting on with the bigger fish I have to fry. We have to figure out how to make our move to WV, on hold for four years, now, due to a badly damaged economy and corrupt, political shenanigans. We also have to re-work our budget, deal with the expenses we have without incurring any more and make sure we are covered, health-wise. One of my raised children is going through a terrible time and needs a strong shoulder on which to cry. Oh Bla Di, Oh Bla Da and all that.

And even that pales when I remember riding through the countryside of Texas, to the west of San Antonio, and seeing the devastation of drought and heat that is ruining the livelihood of millions. I watch the news when I feel especially brave and I have to do what little I can to aid in preventing our Nation from going completely down the tubes greased by greed and arrogance. I can write, I can vote and I can talk. Like I said..bigger fish to fry.

And as the song says, "You got your troubles, I got mine." My little girl and little boy were taken from me and I have accepted that. And maybe that tragedy will be a learning tool for someone else and a preventative from falling into the same trap. Instead, I am concentrating on what I do have, and I am one fortunate woman. I need to remind myself of that on a continuing basis.

Sometimes, you just have to boil it all down to the basics, distill your knowledge and go with the essence. Simple, but not easy...but then the simplest truths are never easy to take.