Do we care about our police officers? I don't think so. We create torturous scenarios for them that they have to follow. Officers are told what their job is - to uphold the laws of the city, state & federal. Then they are prioritized by safety, economics and political pressure: DUI, drug busts (mj, meth, coke, horse, etc.), seat belt laws, cell phone usage, burglary, murder, rape, loitering, and so on.
We ask officers to deal with those among us who are the least socialized. The most angry. The mentally ill. Sociopaths. Psychopaths. Belligerent. Drunk. People who steal for money to support an addiction. Some who like to beat other people in an attempt to relieve some psychological pressure inside themselves. People who want to explain why they have a "right" to go 70 in a 35mph zone. People who claim they don't deserve a ticket because they are "special" (judges come to mind). We ask officers to interact with this level of society and also to be cheerful. Cheerful? Really?
I can imagine how a kind-hearted person wanting to serve & protect could become jaded in a very short time given all that. Oh, and let's not forget that police end up in violent situations where their lives are in peril.
Now I am not so pollyanna to think that all officers are kind-hearted. There is also a societal permission given to those who themselves are belligerent, autocratic, authoritarian, bullying and just plain mean. Those whose personality lends itself to the above can use the societal role to hide behind the shield. Do we do them a favor by allowing them to continue to abuse, control or denigrate others to alleviate their psychological issues? I say we do not. It limits their potential and it deflates the very trust we want to have with all those with guns on their hip.
It's Columbus day (even though the holiday was observed yesterday.) Have you taken a moment to reconsider what this means? Please take a moment out of your busy day. Columbus brought conquest to the American Continents; is this something to celebrate? Is this a socially just and appropriate national holiday? Would it make more sense to remake the day into an indigenous holiday?
Video from Reconsider Columbus day:
And here is a passage from Howard Zinn People's History. It describes what Columbus saw, and why Columbus was traveling, what he thought, and what did to the people who were already here:
Chapter 1: Columbus, The Indians, and Human Progress
Arawak men and women, naked, tawny, and full of wonder, emerged from their villages onto the island's beaches and swam out to get a closer look at the strange big boat. When Columbus and his sailors came ashore, carrying swords, speaking oddly, the Arawaks ran to greet them, brought them food, water, gifts. He later wrote of this in his log:
updated with more thoughts:
I have been thinking a lot lately about civilization. I wonder if the whole concept of civilization is part of a harmful mythology. I wonder if the idea that Western society is civilized is part of a mythological cultural construct, one that is based more in fiction and fantasy than in reality and rationalism.
One way to define civilization is the stage of society that is considered most advanced.
So, what makes for civilization? Does high technology make society civilized?
Or is it possible to measure civilization in other ways, for example in the ways that people treat each other, and the ways that people treat living systems of the planet and the very planet itself... Is it possible to measure civilization by how harmoniously members of a society co-exist with each other, and how well a society co-exists with other societies?
How does the USA add up? Does the USA have pretty harmonious relations? Is the USA pretty civilized?
Ought it to be considered advanced if a society is destroying the biological and physical systems that it depends on for quality of life, as well as the natural beauty of the planet?
Ought it to be considered advanced (i.e. civilized) when members of a society exploit each other for purposes of economic self-interest?
p.s. Where did Ernie go? I was looking forward to learning more about Ernie.
The move to award the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize to President Barack Hussein Obama, provides us a beautiful view of the human cosmos. Something more spectacular than satellites crashing into the surface of the moon, or even glorious nebulae viewed through the lenses of Hubble.
The bitter resentment, the grim condemnation, and the pleasant relief, each reveals a region of this universe. From the left we have voices who condemn and admonish. From the right we have accusations of absurdity and unreason. From the nationalists we hear the shrieks of the oppressed and mistreated, pleading with the world to, even for a moment, cast their eyes upon them. These views of the human cosmos betray the vantage point of their origination. "It is not that we are so small, but that we are so brief!" This is the cry of every human soul, significant and insignificant.
I am sure, some though have seen, what the message is. Through the dense, dense fog of time, this man may represent the last hope for all of humanity. Not in his person, but in the meaning and importance of his life. This is not a prize given to a man, but to an idea. This is not an idea born of this man, but of all who have supported and enabled a world in which this man is the President of the United States of America. The nation which enslaved, and slaughtered and nuked and napalmed a world in the name of its own self interest and destiny and security. That the wise people of this nation overcame that history, and elevated this man and his family to the highest office in the land. That is the event recognized by the awarding of this prize.
The world today is suffering under the weight of humanity. Yes, human society has brought many wonderful creations into being, and there is much to praise. But —the planet is suffering. Large segments of humanity are suffering. Ecosystems are suffering. Some human activities, and human over-population are putting massive stress on economic and biological systems (a.k.a. ecosystems [simple def.: interwoven webs of life]).
Considering all of the damages and harm, is a growth-based economic model appropriate for this day and age?
Would a steady-state economic model be more appropriate?
Is is possible that there might be something in between the two that might work for everyone? For example, the concept of "benign growth" - to differ from the current model, which is, from my perspective, malignant and harmful. Is it possible to have growth without necessarily causing harm?
A Night of Solidarity[tickets are $10 in advance, available at Traditions Fair Trade Café, and $15 at the door.]
Friday, May 23rd
Y’olde K-Records building
Cherry and Legion
The Iraqi Student Solidarity Committee began efforts to bring displace Iraqi students to The Evergreen State College in October, 2007. We’ve made great progress by securing one tuition waiver for fall, 2008. There are currently more than four million Iraqi refugees living in Syria and Jordan ; this may be the largest refugee crisis since World War II. The Iraqi Student Solidarity Committee and The Evergreen State College have addressed this dire humanitarian crisis by offering a complete undergraduate education.
However, we must raise funds to cover expenses not included in the tuition waiver. These expenses, among others, include airfare, health insurance, books, and supplies. In order that the tuition waiver will be available for fall 2008, the Iraqi Student Solidarity Committee must raise enough funds, in cash or in kind, to pay for expenses that are not covered by the tuition waiver by June 30, 2008.
The Iraqi Student Solidarity Committee works in conjunction with The Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice. If you would like to contribute or find out more information visit our website at olympia-issc.org or email ISSC.Evergreen@gmail.com
Earth day was last week and it got me thinking about going green locally, and how we can help. SPS Habitat has a number of ways to help you reduce your footprint and help out a great cause.
* Cans for Habitat
Recycling is great, but it is even better when the money goes to building simple, decent, affordable and environmentally friendly houses. Just drop your aluminum cans off to one of our Can Collection Houses and we will do the rest. To date we have recycled over 2,500 pounds of cans!
* The ReStore
Our new and used building supply store in downtown Olympia is the perfect place to go to keep things out of the landfill. Shop or donate because both are important. Last year, with your help, they diverted more then 150 tons of usable items from Thurston Co. landfills. All proceeds cover the cost of our alfiliate, so each monitary donation goes that much farther.
*Cars for Habitat
As gas prices rise we are all starting to look at how much we drive and how we can cut back. If you have an old car sitting around that doesn't do anything but cost money maybe you should donate it to Cars for Habitat. For every car donated SPS Habitat gets money, in fact in March two cars were donated in our name!