Welcome to Dysfunction Junction!

Welcome to where politics, emotion, and spirituality meet!

I live in Grand Junction, Colorado, which is renowned as being one of the most conservative counties in the state. Extremely conservative, in fact. I, most certainly, am not extremely conservative, as I’m sure you’ve guessed. No, I’m what some people might even call “radical.” But if that word conjures visions of brick-throwing, Molotov cocktail-lobbing, ski mask-wearing rioters for you, let me assure you, that doesn’t describe me.

No. I’m just a person with thoughts, beliefs, life struggles, and emotions, like everyone else, I would imagine. It’s just that those thoughts and beliefs, my thoughts and beliefs, are far, far outside the mainstream of thought and belief, especially for Grand Junction, Colorado in the year 2020. In a dry sea full of fundamentalist Christians, I’m an eclectic Pagan. In a valley full of Trumpsters, I’m a “Bernie Bro,” even though I’m female, but what does that matter, I guess.

And ideologically, I’m even farther left than Bernie, too. I’m more in line with anarcho-communists, truth be told. But I don’t think that has to be a scary thing. I’m not a scary person, I don’t think. And I also recognize that my ideal anarcho-communist utopia is far, far, far from the reality we live every day in the USA. And that you have to meet people where they are. I might be radical, but I’m not unreasonable.

My life struggles are probably pretty run-of-the-mill: adult child of an alcoholic, product of a dysfunctional family, depression, romantic relationship issues, career and life-direction issues. You know. The same old stuff. It’s taken me a long time to get a handle on the emotion part, and still my grip is not always terribly strong. But I’ve come a long way. And I’m in a much more healed place than I was even five years ago. Ten years ago. Twenty. Thirty (no way!).

Nothing exists in a vacuum. Our political leanings don’t exist in the absence of emotion, life experience, and belief. It’s precisely those things that influence our political opinions, and then our politics help to create our life experiences, and therefore our beliefs and emotions. It’s a feedback loop. Like the infinity sign. This is why so many people out there “hate politics” or just “aren’t into” them and “don’t pay attention.” Because they have emotions about them that they don’t want to face. Old wounds they don’t want to open. Mental health glitches they’d rather not deal with. Politics are “depressing.” Right? And people are dicks about it, too. Who wants to deal with that?

But we don’t have to be dicks about it. Really. We don’t. Or, well, sometimes we have to be dicks about it. Suffice it to say that we don’t have to be dicks about it nearly as often as we are. And pretty much always, we’re dicks about it because of the emotions we have around it.

Nothing ever gets better until you deal with it, until you face it down, until you confront it. Like your dysfunctional relationships. You’re just going to get yourself into another one that might even be worse if you don’t recognize your dysfunctional patterns. So, you have to deal with it. For your own good.

“Politics” is the same way. It ain’t gonna get any better by ignoring it.

This blog is my attempt at facing down the dysfunction in my life and in my world. Sometimes, it’ll be blatantly political. Sometimes, it’ll be meditative, poetic, and healing. Sometimes, it’ll be analytical, philosophical, and maybe even educational. If you can roll with that, I hope it helps you feel less alone.

Peace and Solidarity,

The True Meaning of Halloween.

Samhain (pronounced Sow’en,) in pagan philosophy, is when the old year dies. The growing season is over. Vegetation withers and falls. Winter, aka death, is just beginning. It’s also when the “veil” between this world and the spirit world is “thin,” if you believe in that sort of thing. Hence the association of Halloween with ghosts. Hence, El Día De Los Muertos. It’s supposed to be a time when communication with the spirit world, with your ancestors, is easier.
Death is not a subject most of us like to think about or talk about. For some, it’s even something to be flat- out denied. But like it or not, death is a part of life. That’s what Samhain teaches us. Everything dies eventually, whether we want to admit it or not. That’s the inevitable consequence of being alive. If you are alive today, you will, at some point in the future, be dead. Being faced with this hard truth invites us to become self-reflective, to re-evaluate, to look back, to look forward. For instance, my father, who’s never been one to admit an ounce of guilt, upon learning he had prostate cancer (which he beat and survived, and which has not returned), finally apologized to me for being “a little too controlling” when he and I were both younger. I had to stifle a snort of laughter. Lotta good that does me now.
Obviously, the apology was more for himself than it was for me. I had long since forgiven him, accepted him as simply a controlling, micromanaging person, and moved on. But I was encouraged by his willingness to even make such an apology. That was a new thing.
But that’s what confronting death, scary as it may be, does for us. It makes us think about how we’ve treated the people in our lives and about what we’ve accomplished, or not accomplished, yet. It makes us think about what we still need to do and about how maybe we should treat our fellow humans better. It doesn’t need to be “depressing.” It could be motivating, energizing, even healing, if we let it. It could be the impetus for tremendous, revolutionary change. If we look it straight in the eye, death says to us, “Look around. See all this old, dead clutter? All these things you don’t really need? All these things that just need to be cut down, weeded out, and composted? These things that don’t do you any good anymore? Things that don’t hold any value or meaning? What say we ditch some of this shit, huh? What say we clear some of this shit out and make room for some new growth? Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?”
I’m reminded of the born-again Christians who are constantly talking about the “Culture of Life” and the “Culture of Death,” only I think they’re confused as to which one is which. Is it not part of the “Culture of Life” to acknowledge that death cannot be separated from life? That they are part of the same thing? That what we call “life” and what we call “death” are quite a bit more complicated than they may first seem? Cuz’ if not, that just seems like straight-up death-denial to me.
All death is not created equal, though. Obviously, there’s a surplus of preventable, tragic deaths that should not have been and should not be. This is 2020, after all. All the more reason for some self-reflection.
A lot of the death we face is metaphorical death, though. Symbolic death. The end of one thing and the beginning of another. This is the opportunity Samhain offers us as a spiritual occasion. It’s our opportunity to ask ourselves what ideas, beliefs, and behaviors of our own it is time to shed. What have we outgrown? What isn’t doing us any good? What needs to be thrown on the slash pile? Now is the time to ask yourself this.

All that aside for a moment, I’m going to go on a tangent that I promise will be relevant by the end. I promise.

Rocky Mountain National Park is currently beset by two monster wildfires. The Cameron Peak fire, to the north, is now the largest wildfire in Colorado history and continues to burn uncomfortably close to the towns of Estes Park, Loveland, and Fort Collins. The East Troublesome fire started on the west side of the park near Grand Lake, but in one fell swoop, jumped the continental divide and is now still burning, again, uncomfortably close to Estes Park from the west. East Troublesome grew one hundred thousand acres in one day due to high winds and extremely dry, dead fuel. Much of the forests these fires burned were filled with trees that were already dead from the pine bark beetle infestation, which has been going on for at least ten years. So, Mother Nature was doing some house cleaning of her own. However, there would not have been nearly so much cleaning to do if humans hadn’t been diving headlong into unchecked greenhouse gas emissions lo these many years. Pine bark beetles, it turns out, used to have their population controlled by extremely cold temperatures over long periods in the winter. Now, with climate change, winters just aren’t cold enough anymore, and the beetles are getting in two breeding cycles, instead of just one, and not as many of them are killed off in the winter. So, in the summer months, there are that many more of the little fuckers to eat through entire forests, killing the trees and turning them into future wildfire fuel. And then the wildfire comes and burns down people’s houses. Go figure.

It was a common practice among the indigenous people of North America to set fires that would burn away the old, dead underbrush and allow new growth to come up. These fires were low-intensity and at least somewhat controlled. This had the added benefit that when a forest fire started unintentionally, it didn’t have all of the old, dead fuels to burn, so it wouldn’t be quite as hot and destructive as it would have been otherwise. Once white people took over, though, fires were suppressed. They were seen as “bad,” and were put out as soon as they started, instead of being allowed to burn away the old, dead shit.

Luckily for Rocky Mountain National Park, last week, just in the nick of time, the first winter storm of the season arrived and dropped a bunch of snow on both fires. It didn’t put them out, but it did slow their progress and give firefighters an opportunity to increase containment. But the fires still burn.
This same storm knocked my own personal electricity out for several hours over a couple of days. With no internet, no TV, and only candle light, there’s not much else to do but sit and think. Reflect. And this is what I thought about:

Only about a hundred and thirty years ago, the 1880’s, let’s say, no one had electricity. No one. Electricity didn’t exist, at least not in a way that was harnessed and used by humans. Now we’re completely lost if we’re without it for a few hours. We even worry about our food going bad without it. This was not a problem anyone had a hundred and thirty years ago.
Although it may seem like a very long time to us, a hundred and thirty years is not all that long ago, in the grand scheme of human history. I mean, think about how long ago the Roman Empire was. And that was even relatively recent compared to ancient Babylon, or any pre-history human existence. It’s safe to say that for the vast majority of human kind’s existence on this planet, we did not have electricity. How did we ever survive? Looking at how we all live today, one would never know. But this is a problem we’ve chosen to live with, this not being able to live without electricity, supposedly because it’s made our lives so much easier. Electricity has. Supposedly. But has it? Really? Or has it made life much, much more complicated?
A hundred and thirty years really isn’t that long, if you think about it. Especially not when you think of it in terms of geologic time. The oldest rocks on Earth are around three to four billion years old. A hundred and thirty years ain’t shit, really. And yet the idea, today, of living without electricity sounds like the craziest bat-shit there is. Maybe.

Electricity is why we mine coal, drill oil, frack natural gas. It’s why we mine uranium and have nuclear power plants. It’s why we mine rare minerals for the wiring and computer chips inside all of our electricity-powered devices. It’s why we clear forests to put up wind turbines and clear deserts to build solar arrays. It’s why we dam(n) rivers and flood canyons for hydro-electricity. And we’re always told that we need more and more of this electricity. We need it. To live.

Do we? Seriously. We didn’t need it a hundred and thirty years ago. In fact, we didn’t need it for the entirety of human existence on this planet. Up until about a hundred and thirty years ago. A hundred and twenty, maybe.

Electricity is also why we have climate change, and habitat destruction, and mass extinction. It’s why we have severe droughts, wildfires, hurricanes, tornados, and why we have them more frequently, and why they’re more severe than they used to be. Because of electricity and our supposed need for it. I mean, it’s not all because of electricity, but a huge part of it is.

And if we do, truly, now, in this modern age, need electricity, do we really need so damn much of it? And do we really need more and more all the time?

Yes, I realize that I am currently using electricity as I sit here in my warm house writing this blog post. Do I have a choice, really? Really? I am still, last time I checked, part of modern American society.

Another part of Samhain, along with confronting death, is honoring the dead. Honoring our ancestors who have gone before us. Some of them maybe recently, some of them maybe long, long ago. In the USA, this has kind of a weird twist to it, though. Because for most of us, if we go back far enough, our ancestors did not occupy this land. They were not from here. Their bones are buried elsewhere, on another continent. At least if we go back five hundred or so years, which again, in the grand scheme, is not that long. Some of us only have to go back one hundred or two hundred years before our ancestors lived on some other land. Some of us only fifty years, or less even. The indigenous people of this continent, however, have ancestors who lived and died here, on this land, going back to the last ice age. Ten thousand, eleven thousand years ago. It is their bones that are buried here.

Theirs was a spirituality that accepted death as a natural and necessary part of life. Both metaphorical, symbolic death and actual, physical death. They acknowledged that certain kinds of death were “bad,” obviously. I’m sure they understood what murder was, although they may not have had the same cultural judgements about it, or the same punishments for it. But death was something that was confronted and accepted, not denied and avoided. Old, dead things that needed to be burned were burned so that life could renew itself. And people were, perhaps, maybe, more willing to look at themselves, to self-reflect, to admit when they were wrong, to change unworkable ideas and beliefs. To accept and not deny.

Ancestors, electricity, fire, and death. That’s what Halloween is all about.

Happy Samhain, witches!

Most Depressing Post Ever. Do Not Read.

No one cares about me. I don’t mean that in a fishing-for-sympathy-pathetic-loser-ish sort of way. I just mean it as a calm statement of fact.

My 90-year-old father is in the ICU tonight for a non-COVID-related medical condition. In the coming days, he’ll have surgery that should fix the issue, and which everyone seems to be feeling optimistic about. But he is in the ICU right now. And that’s always a little scary.

My “partner” couldn’t give two shits about me, or my dad, or the emotions I’m feeling right now. The news that my father was in the ICU was nothing more than momentarily interesting to him. There was no, “I’m sorry to hear that,” or “Are you okay?” or “Is there anything I can do for you? Do you want to talk?” None.

I need to leave him. I know this. But things are not that simple.

My brother called me to tell me that Dad had been moved to the ICU. He used it as a segue into talking about how he’s sick of this shit, and there is no “surge” going on, and my dad was supposed to have this surgery back in April, but the Fascist Democrat Governor had to go and say no non-emergency surgeries, and this is all an excuse to take our freedoms away!

He doesn’t care about me, either. He never asks how I feel or what I think about anything, unless he’s just trying to bait me into an interaction where I’m not really listened to, my opinions given zero respect or consideration. It’s all just an excuse for him to pontificate.

My father does, and has done, the same exact thing, for my entire life. He’ll ask me questions that he is not at all interested in hearing the answers to. He only asks so that he can interrupt me and then go on about what he thinks is right, and how whatever I think is wrong, invalid, immoral, even.

I talked to my dad on the phone earlier this evening, before they had to move him to the ICU. He had just had an exploratory procedure so they could get a better idea of what they’d be looking at for his surgery. When I spoke to him, he sounded a little groggy. He was still coming out of a Propofol fog, but he sounded like he was in a good mood. He complained that he hadn’t been able to eat solid food all weekend, and still couldn’t. But he sounded cheerful, nonetheless.

He didn’t bring up politics, or how terrible he thinks it is that they’re tearing down all these statues, or how crazy these Antifa protestors are.

He just told me stories about his 100-year-old roommate, with whom he got along famously. This roommate was discharged today.

I know my dad loves me. He tells me all the time. He just doesn’t care. Everything is still always all about him.

Sure. He put a roof over my head and food on my plate. He came to most of my soccer games, choir concerts, and school plays. He and my mom afforded me an upper-lower-middle-class up-bringing. I’m not ungrateful for those things.

But I can’t help feel that all that was less about me, as a person, and more about his re-living his own childhood through me, more about how my activities and accomplishments reflected back onto him. And my participation in these activities was not really about what I wanted to do, but more about what he and my mom wanted to be able to say their daughter was doing.

They did not care what I wanted. That was irrelevant.

My mom probably cares about me, about who I am, more than the rest of them. She just doesn’t want to know because the more she knows, the more she worries.

If you asked any of these people, my dad, my brother, my partner, and my mom, they’d all say that they care about me deeply.

But they don’t even know who I am.

If you’re reading this blog, you, a complete stranger, know more about me than any of these people. The people who are supposed to be the “closest” to me.

This is the only place in my life where I get to say what I really think, express how I really feel, be who I really am.

Do you care? I suppose I don’t care if you don’t.

My dad is a tough old dude. He’ll probably be fine. He has, and always had, lots of people caring for him. The ICU, I’m sure, is taking good care of him tonight, just as I and my mom and my brothers have taken good care of his ego for him these past 50 years. Just as my brother will probably take his place as the heir to the narcissistic throne and make his own children responsible for his ego. Just as my partner will surely find another woman after I’m gone to do his dishes and laundry and cook his meals and tiptoe around his opinions and emotions.

I love my dad. And I will not desert him in his time of need. Because, bitter as I may be, I actually do care.

But I am done with this shit.

See? I told you not to read this.

10 Things Your Small Town Can Do on July 4th to MAGA!

Trigger Warning: This post is satire. It is mockery. It is sarcasm. Yes, it uses some offensive language, but only to mock those who would use it in real life. I originally posted it last year. It was my first post, actually. Hope you get a kick out of it.

#1 – Have your homemade “MAGA” sign ready to go!

Have it seated in a place of honor, ready to pick up and wave in the air at a moment’s notice! You never know. There might be some libtards in the parade. Be prepared to show them who’s boss!

#2 – Insult the manhood of all heathen non-believers!

He was too quick for me to get a picture of, the little bugger, but it’s very important to have a little old man on a bright yellow motorcycle with stickers all over it saying “REAL MEN LOVE JESUS” at the front of your parade. Otherwise, how are all these fruitcake, non-Christian fairies supposed to know that not accepting Jesus Christ as your savior makes you one of the most evil, vile creatures known to us Jesus-loving macho-men – – a woman! Or, a homo, I guess.

#3 – Wrap yourself in the nearest flag!

Make sure you wear your loudest, tacky-est, most obnoxious star-spangled red-white-and-blue clothes to the parade. But, if you don’t have anything quite obnoxious enough, just find the nearest American flag and drape it around your shoulder!

#4 – Monster Trucks!!

Your parade should be mostly big, loud, gas-guzzling motorized vehicles, but if your little town doesn’t have any military tanks to parade down main street, the next best thing is, you guessed it, Monster Trucks!

#5 – Remember the true meaning of 4th of July!

America would not be what it is today without war, and lots of it. So why not remind the world again that you could kick its ass any time by making your parade mostly about thanking our veterans and active military for their service at every chance you get. Ideally, about three-quarters of your parade should be thanking our military. This has the added benefit of letting any non-military-serving, anti-war pansies feel like the unpatriotic scum that they are – – AND letting them know that you could kick their specific asses at any time, too. If there’s one thing that makes America great, it’s war. And that’s what 4th of July is all about!

#6 – American flags are not enough!

You also need a “TRUMP 2020” flag carried on horseback! 4th of July is not for everyone, and it’s specifically not for libtards who don’t support the re-election of our divinely appointed dear leader, Donald Trump. Make them feel as unwelcome and outnumbered as you possibly can! And make sure to order your Trump 2024 flag before it’s too late!

#7 – ATVs!

In addition to your parade consisting mostly of big, loud trucks, you should also have about 20-30 ATVs. The more, the better. If God wanted us to enjoy nature just by hiking, why did He invent ATVs? And even with Trump’s inspired “Energy Dominance” policy, there are still some places where the libs won’t let you drill for oil. Make up for this by insisting that you be able to drive loud, fossil fuel burning, little animal crushing, cryptobiotic soil destroying ATVs everywhere. What’s more American than that?

#7 – More Monster Trucks!

You cannot have too many Monster Trucks! I cannot stress this enough. How else are you supposed to let everyone know that you could mow down their little enviro-libtard-pansy-homo-heathen asses if you wanted to? And how else are you supposed to let everyone know how big your dick is?

#8 – Make sure you have as many people in red shirts as possible!

They should mostly be old, white people, too.

And preferably, they should all be part of a far-right-wing group of Constitutional originalists.

Because we all know America was at its Greatest in the 1790’s, am I right? Any amendments beyond the Bill of Rights are just superfluous fluff for a bunch of snowflake cry-babies. Who needs ’em!

#9 – Feel free to snicker contemptuously

No matter how hard you try to make them feel intimidated, outnumbered, and unwelcome, there are bound to be a few Jesus-hating, libtard fags in your parade. While you don’t have to boo, hiss, and openly jeer at them, although this is highly encouraged, please feel free to giggle and snort conspiratorially with your friends and family members while their one very small truck and all of five marchers go by with their laughable little sign exhorting people to READ, of all things! HaHa! READ?? Are they fucking serious?

#10 – Make sure people are very, very scared – – of a word.

And what word is easier to make people scared of than “Socialism?” There’s already been about 80 years of work put into this, so your job should be easy. Make it very clear to all of the old, white, middle class and upper middle class people at your parade that Socialism doesn’t mean expanding the rights and power of all people, but that it means taking away their rights and power and giving them to some Arab-Mexican-libtard-homo-enviro-fags instead. This oughta scare the shit out them!

In conclusion, if you want to Make America Great Again next 4th of July, put lots of big, fossil fuel burning trucks in your parade; continually remind everyone that wars are awesome and that if you’re not in the military, you don’t deserve any thanks; make a point of insulting all non-Christians; and most importantly, make sure to scare the shit out of everyone. But especially, make sure they’re scared of the word “Socialism!” ‘Cuz that’s what makes a country truly great: Fear. I think some famous dude once said something like that. “It is better to be feared than loved.” Or something like that. Who said that again? Anyway, Happy 4th of July! And MAGA, bitches!!

The Weaponization of Emotion

This post was originally supposed to be about Michael Moore’s controversial new documentary, Planet of the Humans. And it still is, but not in the way you’d think. I’m going to leave alone, for now, my opinions about the film itself, my opinions about the overall message of the film, and my opinions about the admittedly sloppy details of the film. I’ll get to those later.

Maybe I’m a little late to this party. But maybe that works in my favor here, too.

I just watched the movie last week and started writing a reaction post, which quickly got away from me, and I heard a little bit of the uproar over it back when it first came out. At the time, I had a slightly similar emotional reaction to the one everyone else seemed to be having. I was pissed. Not having seen the movie or heard Michael Moore’s side of the story, I was mostly pissed at how depressed it seemed to make those who had seen it. I’m constitutionally against nihilism, fatalism, and despair. I think it’s all incredibly unhelpful, and I have strict personal rules about not engaging in it. So, when I see others becoming nihilistic, fatalistic, and despairing over something they watched, or read, or heard, I’m kind of reflexively like, “Fuck that thing, then!” But something gave me pause.

I’ve been trying a personal experiment over the past four years. When someone says something that I have a vehement emotional reaction to, which happens all the fucking time these days, I don’t react right away. I stop, take some deep breaths, and ask myself, why is this thing pissing me off so much? Why do I feel so threatened by this thing? Do I actually feel threatened by it? And if so, should I? Does it make sense for me to feel so threatened by it? Is my emotional reaction preventing me from understanding what this person’s point really is? Is it going to hurt me to at least consider their point of view? To try to understand where they’re coming from? And are they indeed coming from a genuine place? Or am I getting played?

I rely on my intuition a great deal during this process. Especially when it comes to figuring out if I’m getting played or not.

I started doing this late in 2016 as a result of the presidential campaign. I was on Facebook a lot. I was unemployed from November of 2015 until May of 2016, so I had plenty of time to fully immerse myself in all the Bernie groups I could handle.

After a while, though, I started to feel emotionally drained after being on Facebook for hours and seeing one thing after another that pissed me off. And it began to seem to me, sometimes, that it wasn’t just seeing things that pissed me off, that I felt slighted by, or that I disagreed with. It was compounded by the reactions I saw other people having. So if there was a story about something Hillary Clinton said that a whole bunch of Bernie people were pissed of and offended by, it would make me way more pissed off about it than I would have been otherwise. I guess it’s maybe kind of the mob mentality. Everyone seemed to feel pressured to match the emotional level of the most pissed off person. If someone shared a post and wrote in all caps about what an outrage it was, I found that I was way more likely to be super pissed off and outraged about that thing, whether or not it was worth that much energy and outrage, and whether or not it was really that outrageous. And not only was this becoming draining as hell, but I could see how this could be very consciously used by manipulative people with ill-intent to stir some shit up. It took me a little longer to understand that being super-emphatic and insistent and emotionally aggressive is an extremely effective way to gaslight people. So that this, in fact, was a behavior to be very leery of and definitely one I should try not to get sucked in by.

And once I recognized this behavior for what it was, I started seeing it everywhere. At least all over the media, social and otherwise. On MSNBC and CNN. In the Bernie groups. From my right-wing, Trump-supporting family members, even. Everywhere.

I saw it earlier this year from mainstream Democrats, particularly Chris Matthews, after Bernie won Nevada. The insistence that Bernie was akin to Stalin and Castro. Or maybe even Hitler. If you can see through this technique of aggressive emotional freak out, it smacks of desperation.

I mention all of this because this is exactly the reaction I’ve been seeing from people who criticize Planet of the Humans.

Before I watched the movie itself, I watched Michael Moore’s interview on the Useful Idiots podcast with Matt Taibbi and Katie Halper. And I watched Kyle Kulinski’s “review” of the film. Then, I watched the actual film. Then, I watched Michael Moore’s interview defending it on The Hill TV’s “Rising.” It was around this time that I thought that maybe I should watch or read some of the actual critiques of it. So, I watched a post from a You Tube channel called “Now You Know,” which is made by a couple of guys who are pretty obviously somehow involved in the solar industry. And I watched Josh Fox from when he was on “Rising” condemning the film.

The one thing I noticed, and I will admit that I had to rely quite a bit on my intuition to notice this (My intuition is very strong, and I trust it completely, by the way. It has never steered me wrong. That only happens when I ignore it.) but what I noticed, intuitively, is that Josh Fox and the guys on “Now You Know” were definitely displaying this hyper-outraged, let’s-compare-this-thing-to-the-most-horrific-thing-we-can-think-of-so-that-no-one-wants-anything-to-do-with-it, super-emphatic, emotionally aggressive reaction to the movie. They were “triggered,” to use the parlance of our time.

I also had to forget, for a moment, that this was Josh Fox who was so triggered, and that I really like Josh Fox and respect his work.

One of the things they were the most triggered about is the movie’s suggestion that perhaps our planet is overpopulated. This suggestion immediately sparks the reaction from both Josh Fox and the “Now You Know” guys that Michael Moore and Jeff Gibbs are saying we need to literally start murdering half the people on the planet. Of course, Michael Moore, Jeff Gibbs, and the movie are definitely not saying any such thing. This reaction, though, is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. Michael Moore and Jeff Gibbs are absolutely not suggesting any kind of mandatory rules or anything about the number of children you’re allowed to have, nor are they suggesting any kind of genocide, but Josh Fox and the “Now You Know” guys want you to think they are. If this interchange were to have happened on Facebook, it might go a little something like this:

Michael Moore and Jeff Gibbs: The population of the Earth has grown exponentially over the past two hundred years. Maybe the Earth just doesn’t have enough resources to support all of us, given how much of its resources we all consume. Maybe we should try not to consume so much.

No. No one is saying that. And it’s quite frankly ridiculous to suggest that anyone is. It really is a very large leap from what the film actually says to “They’re in favor of ‘Population Control!'” Plus, I noticed, no one is refuting the actual numbers used in the film to demonstrate how much Earth’s human population has ballooned out of control over the past century. They’re not saying Earth is not overpopulated, they’re just saying if you state that fact out loud, then you’re in favor of “Population Control.” Obviously.

Didn’t it used to be kind of an environmentalist thing to choose not to have kids because overpopulation? I mean, having fewer kids and being less of a consumer used to be things environmentalists were in favor of. I remember that. Back in the ’90’s. I was there. I swear people talked about that. I even knew a dude who got a vasectomy. But now, we can’t talk about it because it somehow equals picking an ethnic group to kill off? When did that happen?

There’s a quote that I would like to attribute to Edward Abbey. I’m pretty sure it was him. But it goes, “Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of a cancer cell.” (Shhh! Don’t tell anyone Ol’ Cactus Ed was kind of a racist and kind of a sexist. They’ll try to cancel him.)

But here’s my point. I think Josh Fox knows that Michael Moore and Jeff Gibbs aren’t talking about population control. I think he knows damn well. But I also think he’s pissed at them for kind of shitting on his solar and wind party. Likewise, I also think he knows damn well they’re not advocating for continuing to just go ahead and use oil and gas until we die, or until we run out of oil and gas, whichever comes first. Anyone who walks away from the movie thinking that is consciously choosing to think that, willfully misunderstanding. I think Josh Fox knows that what this movie is saying does not amount to “oil and gas industry talking points.”

One could just as easily say that the film is secretly making the case for a return to nuclear energy, which it also is not doing.

I think Josh Fox is pissed off. And I think he’s pissed off not because he actually thinks the entire movie is bullshit, and not because he thinks Michael Moore is now siding with the oil and gas industry, and also not because he’s afraid that this movie is going to do any effective harm to our planet, nor is he pissed because he truly thinks Michael Moore is advocating population control. He’s pissed because Michael Moore and Jeff Gibbs are calling into question one of the main platforms upon which Josh Fox has gained fame, notoriety, and credibility. Not to mention money. I mean, they’re kind of blowing up his whole thing. The same could be said for Bill McKibben.

So, it’s not that Josh Fox is so terribly upset about the supposed invalidity and falsehood of the movie and that he thinks it actually endangers the planet. He’s so terribly upset because it endangers his professional credibility and threatens his career. You can tell by the gaslighting. Same thing can be said for the somehow solar industry connected “Now You Know” guys.

Over the past fifteen to twenty years, there has definitely been a kind of “establishment” of the environmental movement that has developed. And it gets just as threatened as the “establishment” wing of any political party when it’s challenged. And the “establishment” of the environmental movement has gone all-in on solar and wind. Even though, there are legit environmental issues with solar and wind. They are by no means perfect or without environmental impact. Others have been pointing this out for years. Long, long before Planet of the Humans. It’s just that these other people who have been raising these concerns for years aren’t academy award winners.

And the “establishment” of the environmental movement reacts the same way when it’s threatened that the “establishment” of a political party reacts when it’s threatened.

It weaponizes emotion.

A Meditation On Matriarchy and Paganism.

Matriarchy isn’t what people think it is, either. It’s not women being in charge of everything, or having power over men, or anything else. It’s the opposite of patriarchy, not it’s mirror image. It’s something totally different and apart from it.

If patriarchy is all about dominance and competition and aggression and hierarchy, then matriarchy is all about equanimity, cooperation, gentleness, consensus, and egalitarianism. This, of course, is not to say that there aren’t any men who are gentle and cooperative and want to be fair to everyone. It’s also not to say that there are no aggressive, competitive, “alpha” women, either. Matriarchy and patriarchy actually have nothing to do with our real-life, individual genders or sexes. They are power structures. Patriarchy is a power structure based on everything we think of as masculine, and men are pretty much the only ones who benefit from it. It’s competitive, like Capitalism. They win, we lose.

Matriarchy is a power structure based on everything we think of as feminine. Openness, compassion, nurturance, care, acceptance, etc. In a matriarchy, ideally, everybody wins.

There are traditional societies and cultures on this planet that are far more matriarchal than mainstream, Christian, white culture in the US, not that that’s a difficult thing to do.

There is no such thing as pure matriarchy, nor is there such thing as pure patriarchy. In matriarchy, masculinity is still allowed expression. In patriarchy, the feminine will always find a way to undermine, to poke up through the cracks.

Today is the Summer Solstice, or Litha, by its Pagan name. It’s a religious holiday for me. I shit you not. I’m not even kidding. Not even a little bit. In all seriousness, I’m an Eclectic Pagan who practices Green Witchcraft. That all is not what you think it is, either. Unless, of course, you know exactly what it is.

One of these days, I’ll get my shit together enough to start making some videos. And when I do, they’ll be about Paganism and Astrology and Tarot and Green Witchcraft. I know already what the atheists and agnostics are thinking. “Okay, that’s it. I’m done. I thought this chick was political.” Well, I am. And I don’t mean any offense by this at all, and please don’t take any, but that attitude is a very patriarchal attitude. Just be aware of that. To dismiss something simply because it’s “irrational” is to dismiss emotion and intuition, two things that definitely fall on the feminine side of our definitions, and to dismiss them is to dismiss the feminine. And that’s like one of the main things patriarchy does. Human spirituality is a real thing. Just because you can’t quantify it, or it doesn’t make “logical” sense, or it can’t be “proven” to exist in the physical reality, does not make it stupid or worthless. It just makes it something you don’t understand.

And maybe it would be good if you tried to understand it.

You can’t prove love exists, either.

Likewise, any Christians or Jews or Muslims who are maybe freaked out by the idea of Paganism and think it’s “Satanic,” I’ll just point out that most of the Pagans I know don’t believe in Satan or the Devil. They believe in evil, sure, as do I. But I believe that evil is a creation of the human mind. And thought creates reality. So maybe we should stop thinking so many evil thoughts. Satan and the Devil are just our own imaginative representations of evil. And I worship neither one.

I also don’t believe in one divine being who rules over everything. Divinity does not rule over us, it runs through us, like our blood.

In patriarchy, there is one male God with power over everything.

That’s part of what drew me to Paganism. It’s matriarchal.

In Paganism, everything naturally occurring is divine. Human beings are divine. The things humans create and build, though, maybe not so much, although sometimes, sometimes.

Divinity is both male and female, masculine and feminine, dark and light, creative and destructive. Nothing is to be feared because it is all one. No one thing rules over anything else, but we all participate in creation and destruction. We all have the power of creation and destruction. We share this power. There is no one who wields it over us. Our power has limits, but within those limits, we are responsible for what we create and what we destroy.

And it’s always Christian Republicans going on about “personal responsibility.” Ha!

We are responsible for what we create and what we destroy. Every mother should know this.

Today is Litha, the Summer Solstice. The time of growth, the time when we need to be nurtured, cared for, encouraged. The time when we need to nurture, care for, and encourage each other, so that we may grow.

There’s a new moon, which means that the moon is right next to the Sun in our sky, so we can’t see it at all. The Sun is too bright and the Moon is up during the day. There is no visible Moon at night because the Moon has already set with the Sun. Today’s New Moon is a special New Moon, too, though, because it’s also involved in an Annular Solar Eclipse. We can’t see it from the US, but nevertheless, it’s still happening. In Astrology, eclipses signal endings and new beginnings. Times when old patterns are broken and new ones forged.

This particular New Moon and Solar Eclipse on the Summer Solstice are happening in the astrological sign of Cancer, the sign associated with the Moon and with mothers and motherhood. The sign associated with the ocean, the mother of us all. The sign associated with the womb, the place of nurture, the place of growth, the place of new life, the place of fertility.

The patriarchy is falling. Now is the time to build the matriarchy. Go.

The Selfishness of Rich People.

Or, Paying To Destroy Nature, But Not To Preserve It.

So, I’m gonna let you in on a little secret that’s not much of a secret. My day job right now is working for the National Park Service at the entrance gates of a national monument. No, not the kind of monument that’s just a statue of some racist white guy from a long time ago. The kind of national monument that’s just like a national park, only a little smaller. The kind that protects a natural area from getting fucked up by the oil and gas industry or by some multi-million dollar estate properties. That kind of national monument. I tell a lot more stories about this day-job in my book (see my “Publications” page) How To NOT Be A Dumbass In A National Park (And How To Fight The Power.) But I digress.

The story I have for you today is one I’ve encountered far too often as a booth-monkey, and it’s about the most infuriating thing I ever encounter, except maybe for the people who think that their taxes pay for national parks. (Ha! No, your taxes pay for war and tax breaks for billionaires. Not national parks.)

So anyway, these people from freaking Vail ride up to my booth on road bikes that probably cost about $10,000 each. They don’t have an annual national parks pass, which at $80 a year is a damn good deal, if you use it. But I tell them our entrance fee for individuals is $15 per person, which it is, and they ask me when it went up from $5. I explain that this happened a couple of years ago and that since 2016 (we all know what happened in 2016, right?) Washington has insisted we raise our fees every year. I didn’t say “Washington has insisted,” but I did my best to strongly imply that, because it’s true.

But it was their response to this that infuriated me. They said, “Oh. Well, we’re just gonna turn around then. We don’t pay for public lands.”

“We don’t pay for public lands.” Think about that for a minute. “We don’t pay for public lands.”

But they paid $10,000 each for their road bikes. They paid at least $75,000 for the obnoxious gas-guzzling SUV they drove their expensive bikes out here in. They paid a cool million or more for their house in Vail. But they don’t pay for public lands?

It’s as if this land, these last vestiges of a world not overrun by humans, these last reserves and refuges for non-human beings, these final bastions of hope against Climate Chaos were worth nothing to them. Absolutely nothing.

And this is the problem. This is why our public lands are in danger. Because people will willingly pay to have them destroyed, but they don’t want to pay to preserve them. Sure, they enjoy riding their road bikes that cost more than half of my annual salary through beautiful scenery, but not enough to pay for it. Yet, every time they gas up the SUV or their 35 ft motor home, they’re paying the oil industry to destroy our public lands. Where do they think most of the oil drilling and natural gas fracking happens in this country? Do they not know It happens on public lands? (Mostly land managed by the Bureau of Land Management.) And the only reason, the ONLY reason why the national monument where I work exists for them to come and ride their expensive bikes through AT ALL is because people pay entrance fees. If people didn’t pay entrance fees, the national monument where I work would’ve been mined for uranium or drilled for oil or carved up into upscale private ranch properties a long time ago.

This is not the first time I’ve encountered this attitude. And it always seems to come from the folks driving an expensive car or RV, or riding expensive bicycles.

This is also why our national parks and public lands are now too expensive for a lot of lower-income people to visit. This is why entrance fees keep getting raised every year. Because rich people don’t want to pay for our public lands. If these lands were privately owned, they’d pay, I bet. It’s more than a little ironic that these folks don’t want to pay their entrance fee, but then they also don’t want their taxes to go up to pay for public lands either. But I bet they’d have no problem paying thousands of dollars to stay at a private resort for a week, but for public lands? Lands that are owned by The People, in common. No way! What a rip off, right? God forbid they pay for something poor people own, too. Gross by association!

Okay. Sarcasm aside . . .

National parks and monuments should be The People’s Vacation, as far as I’m concerned. They should be cheap enough that working class and poor people can still afford to visit them. They should be something that all Americans get to see and explore. Public lands should be a tremendous source of pride for us, just for the fact that someone, many people actually, somewhere along the way, lots of places along the way, had the foresight to preserve land, to preserve ecosystems, and to protect them from human fuckery. We should all be incredibly proud of this and this land should be extremely valuable to all of us. We should all be willing to pay whatever price necessary to keep these lands public, owned in common, by all Americans, and protected from destruction and exploitation.

But these people on their bikes today, they take no pride in this land. It’s not worth anything to them.

Had I not been at work, I would’ve shamed them till they begged for mercy.

A Few Far-Left Reasons To Maybe Think About Voting For Joe Biden.

I’ve made my feelings known in previous posts how I feel about Joe Biden as the Democratic nominee for president. I think he sucks. That hasn’t changed. And I’m still not VBNMW, as I’ve also explained in previous posts, and I’m not at all in favor of vote shaming. Vote your conscience, but think about it first is all I’m saying. I try not to turn my brain off when I vote, and VBNMW seems to advocate just that. But I’m also not 100% sold on voting for a third party, although ideologically, I’m closest to the Green Party and have voted for them before. In the spirit of not turning off my brain, though, I’ve given some thought and consideration to some reasons to vote for Joe Biden that maybe don’t come from a neo-liberal-normie-Democrat place. It doesn’t hurt just to think about them, right?

I’ve seen a lot of posts on social media of Bernie supporters asking Biden supporters to give them reasons to vote for Joe Biden without mentioning Donald Trump. You are asking the impossible. There are no other reasons. The only reason is harm reduction. That’s it. That being said, though, there are some very specific harms that can be reduced by helping to elect Status Quo Joe over Donny Douche-bag. They are as follows:

#1 – The First Amendment

Over the past two weeks, we’ve seen how Donald Trump handles a truly massive public outcry against racism and police brutality. He handles it by violating people’s First Amendment rights and increasing the very brutality protestors are raising their voices against. He’s called for the US Military, who are trained to do one thing: kill “enemies,” to be deployed against its own people. This is both unconstitutional and a full-on authoritarian dictator move. Progressive You Tubers Kyle Kulinski and Krystal Ball, both strong advocates for either not voting or voting third party, have even started to change their tunes a little because of this. Because while Joe Biden might increase police presence or call in the National Guard to subdue a protest, he certainly wouldn’t call in the US Military. That’s something that’s suppose to be 100% off the table. And maybe Trump hasn’t succeeded in actually deploying the military against protestors this time. But what about next time? What about next time?

#2 – Antifa

No matter what you think of Antifa, hear me out for a minute here. They get blamed for a lot and they’ve gotten a lot of undeserved bad press. They’re a very convenient scapegoat for people who don’t really understand who they are or what they do. “Antifa,” of course, stands for “Anti-fascist,” and the philosophy behind them comes from anarchist organizational theory, and no, that’s not an oxymoron. Contrary to popular belief, anarchy does not mean structure-less chaos. It actually requires a much higher level of non-hierarchical organization. In an anarchist society, every individual has a say as to how the community operates and every individual serves the community in some way. Without getting too mired down in specifics, anarchist philosophy acknowledges the need for a community to have some kind of volunteer defensive force to protect the community against those who mean them harm, such as fascists. This is where Antifa comes in. they are not a “terrorist organization,” nor are they even really an “organization” at all. They are a decentralized group of loosely affiliated individuals who have pledged to defend vulnerable communities against white supremacists, racist police, and other violent authoritarians. Does that sound like such a terrible thing?

Now, what does this have to do with voting for Joe Biden? Good question. There are some on the “progressive” left who have pointed out the ridiculousness of comparing Donald Trump to Hitler, and rightly so. Obviously, he hasn’t tried to exterminate an entire ethnic group nor has he invaded any neighboring countries, yet. However, from a far-left, libertarian-anarcho-socialist perspective, he most certainly falls in fascist ideological territory. His desire to designate Antifa, again “Anti-fascists,” as a “terrorist organization” really kind of outs him from the fascist closet. One does not need to be just like Hitler to qualify as a fascist.

Also, from the perspective of far-left, libertarian-anarcho-socialism, people in the US who call themselves “progressive” and consider themselves “leftist,” are actually just liberals. Not neo-liberals. Neo-liberals are pretty damn far-right economically, and thus, would be considered conservative. But Bernie Sanders supporters, and I still consider myself to be a Bernie Sanders supporter, for instance, are actually liberals, from the far-left, libertarian-anarcho-socialist perspective. We’re only leftists from the right-wing perspective.

Semantics aside, many who call themselves anarchists don’t vote on the principle that no matter who you vote for, you’re casting a ballot for your oppressor. They understand that no matter who’s in power, they’ll be fighting against them. However, there is also a contingent in the anarchist community who see that voting at least gives them a nominal say in who and what exactly they’ll be fighting against. And, while Joe Biden is a standard, neo-liberal, corporate, conservative capitalist, he’s not a fascist. And, if you’re gonna go ahead and vote, and you consider yourself to be anti-fascist, well then, you vote against the fascist. That means voting for Joe Biden. You’ll still be fighting against all of the terrible policies he’ll want to implement, but at least you won’t have to fight against literal fascism.

#3 – Regulatory Agencies

Donald Trump has done all that he can to prevent the government agencies that are supposed to protect the public from things like toxic chemicals, contaminated food, unsafe work environments, unfair housing practices, and the misuse, exploitation, and theft of public resources from actually protecting the public from those things. He has appointed people to run those agencies, like the EPA, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Education, who do not even believe the agencies they head should exist in the first place. When possible, he has avoided appointing people to these positions at all and instead, opted for extending indefinitely the duration a person serves as an “Acting Director.” Acting Directors don’t have to go through Senate confirmation hearings. He has attempted, and in some cases succeeded, in preventing these regulatory agencies from regulating anything at all.

While Joe Biden would certainly not appoint “progressives” to any of these positions, he also wouldn’t appoint people whose goal is to destroy the agency from within. And he wouldn’t be trying to roll back all of the regulations Obama and previous presidents have put in place. To date, Trump’s administration has either rolled back, tried to roll back, or expressed a desire to roll back almost one hundred environmental regulations. Joe Biden would definitely not do that, and hopefully, he would reinstate the regulations that have been removed.

#4- Climate Change and Public Lands

Donald Trump is a Climate Change denier. Joe Biden is not. As part of his “Energy Dominance” plan, Donald Trump’s administration has made it much, much easier for dirty, climate-change-increasing, fossil fuel companies to frack, drill, mine and do whatever on our public lands. It has basically been a free-for-all for extractive industries. The process for Environmental Assessments and Environmental Impact Statements has been “streamlined” – read that as “made a lot easier for oil, gas, and mining companies to do their nasty business regardless of impact to the environment.” The Endangered Species Act has been significantly weakened. The cost of leasing public lands for drilling and fracking has gone way down. Trump is basically flooring the gas pedal towards climate disaster. Biden would still head in that direction, just not as fast. He’d at least tap the breaks. He’d buy us a little bit of time, and with Climate Change, time is everything, because we are running out of it quickly. Can we afford to completely lose another four years? Well, pretty obviously, no.

Not only that, but don’t forget about Trump’s reduction of Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments. This was a huge gift to the coal mining and uranium mining industries as well as a total slap in the face to the Navajo, Ute, Hopi, and Zuni tribes. If you want a more in-depth discussion of that, read my book, How To NOT Be A Dumbass In A National Park (And How To Fight The Power.) (Available on Amazon Kindle for just $.99! See my “Publications” page.) But anyway, Joe Biden would certainly not reduce any more national monuments, and hopefully, he’d restore Bears Ears and Grand Staircase to their original boundaries.

Public lands are absolutely crucial to combating climate change, and Trump couldn’t give two shits about either. Joe Biden would at least try to undo the damage Trump has done. Or, one would expect him to.

#5 – The Supreme Court and Roe V. Wade

If Donald Trump gets to appoint another Supreme Court Justice, they will repeal Roe V. Wade. They just will. That’s what Trump was elected to do. And they will continue to stack the lower courts with right-wing judges.

If Joe Biden is elected, again, he’s not going to appoint anyone who would be considered “progressive,” but he also wouldn’t appoint someone who would go along with repealing Roe V. Wade.

One Last Thing

I still don’t know how I’ll vote in November. When the time comes, I’ll probably study my ballot and then go with my intuition. And I 100% sympathize with the anger and frustration around how things all went down with Bernie in 2016 and 2020. I acknowledge that threatening not to vote for Joe Biden does give us maybe a little more leverage with the Democratic Party. At least then we can threaten them with a loss. But I think there might be another way we can gain some leverage. Because one thing that has become increasingly obvious is that the mainstream Democrats do actually respond to public pressure. It may take massive amounts of public pressure, but they do respond. Trump and the Republicans do not. Or maybe they respond to pressure from far-right, racist, sexist, gun-nut wack-jobs, but not from us. So, maybe, just maybe, the better strategy is to help elect Joe Biden, as terrible as he is, but to keep up the immense, intense pressure on Democrats, to continue to criticize them and call them out, to continue to protest. Maybe. I don’t really know. All I really know is that we should think about these things. It never hurts to think.

Patriarchy is not what you think it is. It’s way worse.

There seems to be this idea among many who call themselves feminists that patriarchy amounts to nothing more than men being in charge of stuff, and if only women were in charge of stuff, everything would be better. This belief is both insufficient and false. Because words hold a lot more meaning than just their dictionary definition. In fact, most of a word’s meaning, and thus power, comes from its connotations. And the word “patriarchy” means a lot more than just “men run everything.”

Connotations are the images, ideas, and feelings associated with a word and therefore are highly subjective. They will vary a great deal from one person to another depending on the person’s cultural heritage and life experiences. All of us who are part of the western civilized dominant culture share very similar connotations.

Connotation is also one of the main ways advertisers, politicians, and mainstream news media use language to manipulate us. They do this one hundred percent on purpose and with full conscious awareness, I assure you. They openly discuss these things in meetings about “messaging.” It’s just part of what they do.

So, think about the word “patriarchy” in terms of this for a moment. The denotation, the dictionary definition, is “rule by the father,” with “father” being synonymous with masculinity, so then “rule by masculinity” more or less. Agreed? Good. So now what are our connotations of the masculine and masculinity?

  • Strength
  • Virility
  • Discipline/ Disciplinarian
  • Dominant/ Domineering
  • Leader/ Leadership
  • Assertiveness
  • Aggression
  • Savior/ Protector/ Hero/ Warrior
  • Bread winner/ Provider/ Wealth accumulator
  • Competitor/ Competitive
  • Perpetrator/ Abuser
  • Wisdom/ Maturity
  • Capability/ Competence

And the list could go on. All of these ideas exist in our minds along with the word “masculine” and along with the word “patriarchy.” They are all conjured up by their use. Also though, these connotations may not describe any particular, given man at all. And if they don’t describe that particular man, he is bound to be considered “effeminate” by some. Conversely, these may be excellent descriptors of a particular, given woman. And that woman will be seen as a “masculine” woman; the one who “wears the pants in the family” or who is assumed to be a lesbian. The word “masculine,” along with all of its connotations, has absolutely nothing to do with men in real life but has everything to do with how we think about men and what we expect of them. And what they think and expect of themselves. You might not like them. You might disagree. You might take personal offense to some of these connotations, and you might think that some of them “shouldn’t be” connotations of masculinity. That’s all well and good, but it doesn’t do away with the reality that these are, in fact, images, ideas, and feelings that western civilized culture ascribes to masculinity and therefore to patriarchy. This is a fact.

So, “patriarchy” is not just men being in charge of things. Patriarchy is the privileging of everything we associate with masculinity over everything we associate with femininity. Patriarchy is a societal structure where, if you are bigger, stronger, and more virile than someone else, you get to rule them; if you are more assertive and aggressive than someone else, you get to rule them; If you are wealthier than someone else, you get to rule them; If you save or protect or fight for someone, you get to rule them; if you are more competitive than someone, you get to rule them, etc. It’s a system that bestows the right of conquest, the right of domination, the right to exert power over others, if you can.

This is inherently abusive. Patriarchy = Abuse.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman. You have both masculine and feminine traits in your personality. Or, you have traits that we humans of western civilized culture consider “masculine” and “feminine.” Also, there is nothing wrong with masculinity per se. There is such a thing as positive masculinity. It’s the kind that’s balanced with femininity. But that’s not what we get under patriarchy.

I believe that gender is all in our heads and has nothing to do with the physical bodies we’re born with. That should not come as a relief. Because thought creates.

Our thoughts have created an abusive system. Our thoughts have created a system where if a woman wants to “make it to the top,” she has to be like a man. She has to be masculine and demonstrate these “masculine” traits. This may or may not have anything to do with her physicality, but it will have something to do with her assertiveness, aggressiveness, competitiveness, and dominance. It will have something to do with the extent to which she is abusive, or at least the extent to which she upholds the abusive system.

Before I continue, allow me to define “abuse.” We tend to automatically think of abuse as physical or sexual. This is mostly because of the patriarchal milieu we exist in. But abusiveness is actually an attitude, and abuse is the behavior that results from that attitude, whether it takes the form of emotional, verbal, psychological, or physical abuse.

Lundy Bancroft and Jac Patrissi, in their book Should I Stay or Should I Go?, define the abusive attitude as one where the abusive person feels he or she is better than you, that his or her needs and desires come first, the he or she has the right to control you, and that you have no right to stand up for yourself.

Now, think about it. How many different people, groups of people, and institutions in our society does this describe? Does it describe your boss at work, or maybe all of “upper management?” Does it describe your domestic partner? Does it describe the Republican Party? How about the Democrats? Does it describe the wealthy, owner class? How about the upper-middle, managerial class? Does it describe white people, as a group? How about Christians? How about men? Generally, as a group of course. White men? Or, lots of white men, anyway? (If you’re reading this, I’m sure you’re an exception.) How about the whole western civilized dominant culture? “America First,” right?

Patriarchy is a system based on the abusive mentality, which is based on a power-over dynamic. Over time, the power-over dynamic results in the extreme stratification of hierarchies

So, guess what? If you’re a woman who believes in this power-over dynamic, if you’re a woman who perpetuates and upholds the extremely stratified hierarchy, if you’re a woman who has this abusive mentality, you are part of The Patriarchy, make no mistake.

And if we all were to vote women into leadership positions where they have power over others in our same, current, highly stratified and hierarchical system, we would still have patriarchy. We’d just have patriarchy run by women. I shit you not.

Every Day . . .

. . . is “Earth Day.” We just don’t notice. As humans, at least as “modern,” “civilized,” “westernized” humans, we like to think of ourselves as separated from this other thing we call “Nature.” We like to think of ourselves as “in control.” This, I assure you, is 100% illusion. We are not separate. We are not over and above. Us and our petty concerns, like the economy, are not more important than “Nature,” this thing we are not at all separated from and cannot “control.”

“Wilderness” may be something that is “out there,” far away from our houses, our apartments, our cars and trains and airplanes. But what about “wildness?” What if “wildness” is the “Nature” within each of us? What if wildness exists within all things not made by humans? See that bird in the sky? It is wild. You do not control it. Now, put your hand over your heart. Do you feel it beating? It is wild, too. You do not control your heartbeat. That is your wildness. See that tree growing from its little square of dirt surrounded by sidewalk? It is wild, too, just like you. It photosynthesizes without even thinking about it. Hear your breath? You breathe without even thinking about it. You, too, are “wild.”

We may find this idea very frightening. Humans, by definition, do not control wildness. We cannot control wildness. Not completely. Try though we may. And we are scared by that which we cannot control. Like death.

We try, with all our effort, all our strength, all our might, to control life. But there are many aspects of life we will never be able to control, that will always be wild, like death. Death is part of life.

But what if, instead of being scared, which leads us to want to separate, to want to control, what if we accepted and surrendered to our inability to control? To the ultimate incontrolability of life, death, nature, and wildness? What if we accepted and surrendered to our wildness? What if we saw that there really is no such thing as “Nature,” this thing we are separate from and try to control, like life and death. What if we were able to see, for just one day, that there are only beings – human beings, plant beings, bird beings, fish beings, deer beings, and on and on – living and dying within this universe, as part of this universe, inseparable and wild?

Would we, then, finally change the way we live? And die?

Happy Earth Day.