We Need Justice

Well, by now everyone knows 43 Republican Senators denied their oath of office, their duty to the country and failed to convict Donald Trump of Insurrection and High Crimes and Miss-demeaners. Every senator knows he was guilty. There is no doubt that they voted the way they did because they are afraid of not being elected by the very people who attacked the capital on January 6, 2021. Those 43 men and women are cowards and, some, possibly traitors to this country. Their actions show their Fascists beliefs. The are no different than those who supported Hitler in the 1920’s-1930’s and have revealed themselves for who they are. If you do not believe as they do then you are un-patriotic and un‑American.

Let me make this truly clear. When Donald Trump’s mob screamed the 2020 election was stolen from the ‘people’ of America, and those 43 senators voted to acquit, all were making an extremely specific point. They were not talking about you and me. They were saying everyone, you and me, who voted for President Biden, “you are not an American, you are not patriotic.”  The only Americans Trump and his mob recognize as Americans are those who voted for Donald Trump. Let me restate that, if you are a Biden supporter you are not a true American.

Elections always have winners and looser. One side, i.e., the majority wins, and the other side, i.e., the minority, is the looser, which is the nature of elections. The minority will of course be disappointed, which is also part of the nature of elections. In 99.99% of the time the minority accepts their defeat with grace and waits for the next time. What happens in that 0.01%? January 6th, 2021 happens.

We are not Myanmar, we are not Afghanistan, we are not other countries where coups occur on a regular basis. We are the United States of America. In this country we accept our losses and work toward the next election. We may not like it, but we know that our turn will come again. Yes, elections may not always seem fair, there are always winners and losers and the losers will always be unhappy, at least for a time.

Life is not fair, people loose elections, people win elections. But, winning or losing does not make you less of a citizen of America.  Donald Trump is calling me un-American because I voted for President Bidden and yes, I take great offense at that. Donald Trump’s followers are calling me un-American because I do not like their candidate and that makes me very afraid to live in my own home. So, do I want this man, and his family, prevented from ever holding an office?  Yes, yes, I do for my safety and the safety of my, MY, country. I want Donald Trump, his family, and his mob to be held accountable for attempting to prevent the peaceful transfer of power and the overthrow of my government.  I do not think that is unreasonable.

I want justice for my Senator who hid in terror in her office that day. I want justice for Officer Stickney and the officers so demoralized they committed suicide. I want justice for the officer who lost an eye and the other injured officers.  I want justice for Speaker Pelosi and Vice President Pence who fled in terror as the mob hunted them to kill them and I want justice for me. Yes. I want justice. I do not think that is unreasonable.

Ruth Jewell, © February 16, 2021

Angry, Frightened, and Overwhelmed

I was watching C-Span on January 6th when the mob, incited by Donald Trump, broke into the Capital Building. I watched as Speaker Pelosi was hustled from the chamber. I watched as congressional members, Democrat and Republican, huddled down as Capitol Police guarded, barricaded the doors, and tried to get them to safety.  I heard the gunshot that killed one of the rioters.  I was a witness to something I never thought I would see.

Since then, a lot has happened, the House impeached the 45th president for inciting insurrection and now with new information about the intent of the crowd may be changed to sedition.  Mike Pence was a target and barely escaped with his life; the traitors screamed “Hang Pence.” If it had not been for one brave Capitol Police offers, Officer Goodman, he might not be here today. The crowd wanted to capture and kill or hold hostage congressional members, especially Secretary Pelosi. We have learned that actual House members might have been complicit in the insurrection, even as 10 republican Congress members voted for impeachment. A Capitol Policeman lost his life and another committed suicide after the riot.  Donald Trump still has not conceded the election which is continuing to fuel his followers. In Interviews DC and Capitol Police say that they were beaten, sprayed with bear repellant, and verbally abused.  The rioters had guns, bombs, napalm, and Molotov cocktails; we are fortunate they did not use them. They were domestic terrorists so do not dare call them protestors!

This did not happen in one of the states, or in another country, IT HAPPENED HERE, in our capitol, fueled by the hate and lies of a demented president and his sycophant cronies, which included his son Donald Jr., Daughter Ivanka, and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

John and I have been glued to the television listening to events unfold. We have watched more television news in the last week or so than we have in the two years.  Even though I have been saying, since 2016, that Donald Trump wanted to overthrow the government, I still cannot believe he tried to.

I am overwhelmed, angry, and frightened. Intelligence reports tell us that those who were in Washington D.C. have returned home and plan to attack all 50 state capitals by inauguration day on January 20, 2021, and that does not include the amount of COVID-19 virus they are bringing home. 

As I continue to watch the events unfold and prepare to celebrate the inauguration of Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris, I am appalled at anyone, regardless of their political affiliations, who condones what happened. I am angry, no I am really pissed off, with anyone who supports or makes excuses for Donald Trump or the terrorists who stormed the capitol on January 6th. Anyone who does is complicit in the attempted overthrowing of our government and should be treated as such.

I am grateful some republicans are finally waking up and seeing the road Donald Trump has led them down.  I do not know if they understand their role in what has happened, or if the only reason they changed their position was to save their jobs. Their twelfth hour confession will not change, however, the fact they helped create this disaster, and they will be held accountable at some point for their role.  But at least they have come forward now.

I believe in the grace and forgiveness of the Great Spirit, yet those gifts are dependent on the receivers understanding they are responsible for what ever actions they have committed, and they will be call to account. Donald Trump, his family, the Republican Party have much to account for. They have lied to the American People, they have stolen money from the American People, and treated anyone that did not agree with them as enemies of the state. They have dismantled the advancements of the last 50 years for the sole purpose of lining their pockets and giving them power. They have tried with all their might to deny women and people of color the rights they deem theirs only. They have used their positions of power to disempower people of color, women, homeless, and the disabled. They have told those who are ill or poor that their illness and poverty is their fault and therefore unworthy of federal assistance. They have denied that their beloved resource hungry industries are destroying our environment and are bringing us all to the brink of an environmental disaster. Their hypocrisy is without bounds.

Donald Trump and the republican party has used white supremacists, white Christian Nationalist, and Fascists groups as their private army and that army will not give up their belief in their supposed white male privilege or the belief that Donald Trump cared about them. Such people will continue over the next days, months and years to attempt to overthrow our Democracy. They will use violence and thuggish behavior to intimidate any, and all, who oppose them. These groups are armed but they also are technically savvy and will use technology to disrupt our way of life in a way we have not seen before.  Already faith organizations are being warned of possible attacks because of the support they give to the hungry, the homeless, and the disadvantaged. Any group standing for justice will be under attack.

It boggles my mind that these sad groups have not realized Donald Trump’s or those who align with him, have such contempt for them. After all, during the rally before their march to the capitol he said, “I will go with you to the capitol.” He did not go, Donald Jr. did not go, neither did Giuliani, at that moment they should have realized he would let them hang by themselves. As far as he was concerned, everything his army did at the Capitol was their doing and had nothing to do with Donald Trump. He was blameless, ah, but he “loved them.”

Now the time has finally come for the reckoning of his army more than 100 have already been arrested and more is expected, including, hopefully, the Trump family.  His minions are now telling Donald Trump invited them to the rally and to the attack the Capitol, they did it for a man who only thinks of himself and they are too stupid, to deluded, or to mesmerized to realize it.

Forgiveness does not mean I forget, it does not mean there are no consequences to the actions Donald Trump, his followers, or his sycophants committed. It does means I and all who have been wronged can move on with our lives without out hate, without the desire for revenge.  Yes, I can forgive what has been done to each, and every one of us. The lies, the attacks on our integrity and intelligence, the botched handling of the pandemic, the destruction of our worldwide credibility, mishandling of environmental issues, and so much more. If every one of those responsible are held accountable and are made to pay the consequences I can forgive. 

But I will not forget. Neither should you.  You must remember, you must tell your children, they must tell their children what worshiping and idolizing people like Donald Trump, worshiping power and money did to this country. We must remember that all people no matter their gender, their culture, the color of their skin, their belief system, or their socioeconomic status are equal in the eyes of this country and in what ever Divine Force we believe in.

Our county was the first democratic experiment, let it now be the first country to honor every person regardless of who they are.  Let us begin anew and honor the Preamble of the Declaration of Independence, with some new wording. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness.”  Let us be the first country where women and men work together to create a country were each can live their lives to the fullest. Let us be the first country were regardless of your abilities, gender, faith belief, culture, skin color, or disabilities, each person can live their lives to the fullest.

Let us include in that declaration that all Creation, every creature, every plant, has also been created with “certain unalienable rights.” Let us include their rights to live their lives as our Creator intended.  Let us include in our declaration that all the creatures of this country non-humans and humans have the right to clean air to breath and clean water to drink and live in.

Let us begin something new. We can do this. If we want to survive then we must do this.

Ruth Jewell, ©January 16, 2021

Image: Associated Press, January 6, 2021

I’m Afraid

I’m Afraid

I must tell you I am afraid. Afraid of what will happen if the Orange Butt Hole wins, afraid of what will happen if he will not accept the results if he doesn’t.  I am afraid of the Orange Butt Hole’s supporters if Biden wins. Afraid of what they will do because they are lost souls who have put their trust in a soulless person.

We have always had people who have been outside of society, who have turned away from justice or kindness. But in general the people of this country have recognized them as outliers of civilization and have not placed them in positions of power. Twenty-five to 30 years ago we started electing soulless men who were only greedy for power and that has led us to a crossroad, the same crossroad Germany faced in the 1920’s.  So yes, I am afraid, I am afraid we are headed towards a Nazi run country.

Yes, I know calling Donald Trump an Orange Butt Hole is offensive, so is calling him a soulless person.  But there is an old saying that says every time you do evil you kill a piece of your soul.  Well Trump has done so much evil that I do not think he has a soul left. His greatest evil is taking the souls of his supporters and using them to terrorize the people of this country. Turning our country into a place where fear, partisanship, racism, classism, and hatred for anyone not heterosexual, male or white becomes the rule and not the exception.

How we vote will determine if we can regain the soul of this country.  How we act following election day on November 3rd will determine if we will keep that soul. I am praying, hoping, and wishing, I have my fingers and toes crossed that those of us who desire justice will stand up for it on November 4th. Let us join together not to keep hate king, but to send it out of this country.  Let us join together to bring back honesty, compassion, and justice from the liars, the greedy, the political fiends who would see only the rich survive and let the rest of the country die.

Can we do that?  Can we be better than what we have seen in the last 4 years of the Orange Butt Holes administration?

Ruth Jewell, ©October 29, 2020 

Time, Time . . .

Time, time

I washed my hair tomorrow,
it dried yesterday.
time,          time,                              
                                             time

They say time is linear
that you can’t go back
or forward

I’m not so sure

I saw Gettysburg last week,
I think the confederates won
                           this time.

I think I saw Hitler
or maybe it was Göring.
I don’t know it’s all so confusing.

Time,             time,
                                                   time

I know I saw a spaceman today,
hope in time’s window.
Time moves on.

Time,            time,
                                                   time

Back and forth,
forward, retreat
slow, fast.

Does time make sense?

Does any of it make sense?

Yesterday I died and tomorrow I am born.
I fed a calf last year,
drove off a cliff today.

Do we have enough time
to save ourselves?
Do we have enough time

to save our country, our world?

Time,                time,
                                                              time

Ruth Jewell, ©August 2, 2020

I Turned Off the News

I turned off the news,
disgusted, angry, sad,
not sure what to feel.
I have tears to fit them all.
With raised arms I shout,
     I scream,
          I cry,
              
Guns do not help.
violence does not help.
silence in the face of violence does not help.
        I am at a loss to find what helps.

Ears are blocked with hate.
Hearts are blocked with hate.
Minds are blocked with hate.
    How do we move past the hate.

I hear the names;
     George Floyd,
          Breanna Taylor,
               Travon Martin,
too many to name.
Too many tears.

I see the violence,
police with guns, tear gas, stun grenades,
protestors with guns, bottles, rocks.
I understand the
     frustration,
          fear, and
               anger.
          Answers are not found in violence.
The call for peace,
     compassion,
          understanding of the other
               lost in the chaos.

Leaders call for dialogue and forgiveness
yet that seems so trite,
so little when so much is needed,
     but maybe,
          it’s right.
We need a different way,
we need to let go of old ways.
This world
can’t
wait.

Ruth Jewell, ©July 26, 2020

Protecting the Vulnerable

Lately I have been listening to more news than I should, and I really must stop mainly because it makes me so angry.  To listen to those who would open-up our country just so they can get a hair cut just makes my blood pressure go through the roof. How can people be so, I don’t know, stupid.

All this complaining reminds me of the Israelites after they were rescued from slavery.  Several times the Israelites complained to Moses about the hardships they were encountering in the wilderness.  Exodus 16:1-3 is one of my favorites, it really showed what a bunch of complainers they were.

 1The whole congregation of the Israelites set out from Elim; and Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had departed from the land of Egypt. 2 The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. 3 The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”

I doubt it was the “whole” congregation, more than likely, just like today, it was a bunch of sniveling twits who just wanted their own way and thought they could bully God.  That’s what we have today those who only want their own way and want to bully us into doing their bidding, with no thought about who they put at risk.  Not at all unlike those who complained they would have been better off as slaves in Egypt.

 Selfishness has always been a character flaw in humanity. Sometimes it is to our good, such as when we need to take care of ourselves in order to care for others. But all to often selfishness becomes something that destroys our ability to empathize with our fellow travelers in this world. If we care for ourselves to the exclusion of those we are asked to be mindful of our selfcare becomes destructive of those around us and separates us from the Holy Spirit who calls to us.

What has always confused me is why the rest of the Israelite congregation didn’t refute the bullies? My only speculation, and it is speculation, is that they were afraid of what the bullies would do to them.  Not all that different than what is going on today. We too are afraid of the bullies. We are afraid of what we might look like if we go up against them. Fear is a force that keeps us from being everything we are meant to be. To fight against our own fears is the hardest battle we will ever have. But fight we must, and many are, in many, different, ways. But we need to be more vocal, more visible if we are to combat those who would put all of us at risk of the Novel Corona Virus.

So, the majority of Washingtonians are following the guidelines advocated by our state and local governments and we understand the reasons for them even if we don’t like it. We know that what we do will protect those who are at the greatest risk of this virus and we care enough for our neighbors to do what we can. However, we also must call out and resist those who would rush back to some kind of normalcy before we have the tools defend ourselves from the virus.  Those tools will take upwards of a year to a year and half and rushing supposed cures will only create greater harm.

What I personally would like to do to the bullies, who would put us all at risk, is not for publication, except for one method. If they want to go unprotected, then isolate them. Let them congregate together in areas away from the rest of us.

Our local and state governments must provide support for those who need financial, housing, and food assistance and all of us must support our local business’ so that they can care for their employees and themselves. We need to help our neighbors survive and protect them from infection just as they protect us. 

To protect each other is what we are called to do, as good citizens, good neighbors, and as people who find faith in each other. It is not easy, but as my father used to say: “what is worthwhile in this life is never easy, but it is rewarding.”

Ruth Jewel, ©May 23, 2020


How Do I …

How do I put into words
A grief so deep
It scalds my heart?

How does
This soul so lonely say
I miss you?

You are my love, and
You are drifting away
Bit by bit I am losing you.

Some days you are you, and
Some days a little more
Is gone.

I want to tell you
To stay, don’t go, but
You don’t understand.

I love you,
I always will,
And I miss you.

How do I put into words
A grief so deep
It scalds my heart?

Ruth Jewell, ©May 4, 2020

God’s Prayer

Meister Eckhart’s Book of Secrets, M.S. Burrows & J.M. Sweeney
Hampton Roads Publishing, 2019, pg. 70

Yesterday I received my copy of Meister Eckhart’s Book of Secrets and with some excitement opened the book, to this random page. It took me only a moment to read the few lines of the poem, but a lot longer for the shock to quiet, and the wonder set in. You see there have been more moments in my life than I care to admit that God has offered this prayer for me. This 7-line poem, inspired by Eckhart’s Selected Writings, was an unlooked-for blessing in a moment of need. Because today, you see, I needed to be reminded that God prays for me, that God wants me.

In the hours since I read the poem, I have thought of the many different ways I’ve answered Gods prayer and how many times I’ve ignored it. Over the years I’ve spent time talking to God asking why God would want to be born in me, me, a not so good, not so joyful, not so loving human.  A human filled with anger, frustration, confusion and, I’m just going to say this, hate. What would the Divine Being find worthy in me, despite my constantly ignoring the gift?

I’m afraid, even to this day, I haven’t found a whole lot of answers to my questions for God. Unfortunately, God can be quite silent on the reasons why, but persistent in praying. I guess I will have to be satisfied with knowing God wants me to have grace, especially since I remember many of the strange, wonderful, and mystical moments I have experienced. Before I offer a story that illustrates this, let me digress for just a bit.

The idea that God wants the Spirits grace to belong to me, us, that God prays we will want grace given, full abundant grace, without strings attached, has always felt just a little odd. God’s grace is a gift fit for royal/holy beings, and it is being given to you and me! Why wouldn’t any of us want such a gift? As humans we are used to knowing that nothing in this life is free. There are always strings attached, we may not see them, may not even be aware of them, but they are there. Yet here is the Divine just handing it out, for free.

God says the gift of grace is freely, abundantly given and without the necessity of paying back. To me that means in God’s eyes you and I are royal, holy beings, all we have to do is accept the gift. More importantly God wants to be born within us, to become part of us, and that means you and I become part of God. Now that is an offer we cannot turn down, right. Well we can and do turn it down for many reasons such as stubbornness, stupidity, or more likely fear. To be part of God, part of the creator, means we are partners in creation, and that means we are responsible for the care and wellbeing of creation and each other. That means we are to care for the weak, the young, the elderly, the stranger whether they are like us or not. So, yes all of us have turned God down, repeatably. The thing is God keeps asking, God never gives up on us. That is the God I know, a God who keeps trying, and keeps asking no matter how scared, stubborn, or stupid we might be.

Pride can be both a good and a bad trait, unfortunately for me pride is not always the best trait to have. Thirty or so years ago I thought I knew it all, I didn’t need God in my life, I didn’t need anyone, and, in my arrogance, I chose to do some things I’m now not very proud of. I didn’t break the law, but I hurt people who had trusted me. When I came to my senses, I realized somethings had to change but I wasn’t quite sure how to go about it. Life can be funny sometimes and in one of those moments I had an experience that changed how I saw myself, my relationship with the Divine, and my relationship with the rest of creation. So, here is the first time I found God’s grace freely given.

As a graduate student at the University of Houston School of Public Health I often had the opportunity to go along with the biologists on bird banding trips in the Gulf of Mexico. We would band baby gulls and terns in the morning and then spend a couple of hours swimming in the gulf before returning to school. On this occasion I was floating along, I don’t swim so I was simply bobbing along while wearing a life vest, I was enjoying the warm water and the sun when I felt something brush against my leg. I looked down into the water and couldn’t see anything, so I thought I was imagining it when I felt it again.  My friend called from the boat and told me to be very still and hold my hand out at the surface of the water.  I didn’t know why I should, but I did.

To my amazement a fin appeared under my hand and a dolphin rose up and pulled me along in the water. I looked into the water and there were 3 or 4 dolphins swimming around me. At first, they moved me away from the boat and just let me “ride” against them. I could hear clicks and squeaks and they seemed to want to talk to me.  So, I talked to them, I was told later for about 15 to 20 minutes, which seemed to pass like seconds. For some unknown reason I told them about my fears, how confused I was, and how unkind I’d been. Amazingly they moved in closer and seemed to “hug” me, the air around me took on a golden color and I felt something within I had never felt before. Slowly they guided me back to our boat and sank into the gulf. Before I knew it, I was being pulled from the water. My friends told me they had never seen anything like it before. I, on the hand, seemed to be in this bubble of serenity. For the rest of the trip friends told me I had this rather goofy smile on my face.

I can’t say that everything was wonderful following that experience but, inside I felt a wall come down and the Divine stepping in. Life is still life, and not all events are perfect, but I found that letting go and letting someone else lead me gave me a new perspective on how to live my life. God’s prayer that I would want the grace given, that I would welcome the birth of God within had been answered that day. There have been other moments when I have forgotten the God within. But after going my own way and needing to be reminded as to who I am, who I belonged to, I would renew my relationship with God. I have found this is an ongoing process for me and suspect it is for everyone. But that moment in the Gulf of Mexico was the first time, and a special moment that has helped me recognize God’s presence, and God’s reminders.

When I opened my copy of this book of poems and saw this prayer it made me smile, it made my memories smile, it made me open my arms and once again welcome God. If nothing else this little prayer has made the whole book worthwhile. I desired God’s grace. I opened my heart and God has moved in. I am part of God, God is part of me, I am God’s partner in this amazing creative universe. I pray I am a good part (at least most of the time). Now my prayer for you:

May you desire God’s grace,
grace freely, abundantly, given,
so that God will be born within you.
Amen

Ruth Jewell, ©September 25, 2019

A Heart Conversation

In the morning dark,
In stillness, in solitude,
I wait for you, O God.

Your breath touches my Cheek
Time stands still as I sit
Resting in your presence.

My heart speaks of fear, of loss,
My soul cries because
All has gone wrong.

Your presence comforts me,
You take my pain,
My sorrow, and my tears.

As dawn’s light returns
My heart leaps, my soul breaths anew
I am not alone for you stand with me.

Ruth Jewell, ©July 31, 2019
Image: Kauai, Hi, 2017, ©Ruth Jewell

Good Friday

You call this Friday good
but today the Good died
all love hung on a cross
the sky cried
the earth broke it’s heart
the darkness of the soul covered the earth

We hide behind locked doors
grief grips our hearts
fear takes our minds
we wait for the knock
we wait to be dragged to our own cross
we wait, . . . we wait

~ Ruth Jewell, ©April 19, 2019

Christ Cruicified, El Greco, 15.41-1614