February 6th, 2008

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Good Morning!!

I had trouble getting to sleep last night, actually felt physically sick, but here I am this morning.   My brother pointed out that if CA had voted in June, as we usually do, it might have gone for Barack, as he was moving up.  It is odd to consider.  Last night, Katie Couric said that Latinos would not vote for a Black.  I was unaware of that prejudice but certainly they are a huge voting bloc in CA and would affect the sway of the land.

I come to these words these morning and consider.  

The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.

- Carl Jung 

They are interesting words to contemplate the night after an election.  I still have the news to read, but plop here with my first morning thoughts.

It is not unusual for me to have my candidate not be the chosen one, so I should be more prepared.

I hear on the news that there is patchy morning fog this morning.  I feel the same inside.

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The spin -

It seems it is not over yet, and both Hillary and Barack proclaim yesterday as victory.    I suppose it is exciting that the race is close and no matter what, it is amazing that the "race" is between a woman and a black, and that this election probably ensures that in the next one, none of that will matter.  We are on the cusp, and in my lifetime have seen huge change.
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Here is Maureen Dowd today!

Op-Ed Columnist

Darkness and Light

Published: February 6, 2008


Hillary Clinton denounced Dick Cheney as Darth Vader, but she did not absorb the ultimate lesson of the destructive vice president:

Don’t become so paranoid that you let yourself be overwhelmed by a dark vision.

I think Hillary truly believes that she and Bill are the only ones tough enough to get to the White House. Jack Nicholson endorsed her as “the best man for the job,” and she told David Letterman that “in my White House, we’ll know who wears the pantsuits.” But her pitch is the color of pitch: Because she has absorbed all the hate and body blows from nasty Republicans over the years, she is the best person to absorb more hate and body blows from nasty Republicans.

Darkness seeking darkness. It’s an exhausting specter, and the reason that Tom Daschle, Ted Kennedy, Claire McCaskill and so many other Democrats are dashing for daylight and trying to break away from the pathological Clinton path.

“I think we should never be derisive about somebody who has the ability to inspire,” Senator McCaskill told David Gregory on MSNBC on Tuesday. “You know, we’ve had some dark days in this democracy over the last seven years, and today the sun is out. It is shining brightly. I watch these kids, these old and young, these black and white, 20,000 of them, pour into our dome in St. Louis Saturday night, and they feel good about being an American right now. And I think that’s something that we have to capture.”

Tuesday’s voting showed only that the voters, like moviegoers, don’t want a pat ending. Even though Hillary reasserted her strength, corraling New York, California and Kennedy country Massachusetts, she and Obama will battle on in chiaroscuro. Her argument to the Democratic base has gone from a subtext of “You owe me,” or more precisely, “Bill owes me and you owe him,” to a subtext of “Obambi will fold at the first punch from the right.”

Hillary’s strategist Mark Penn argued last week that because the voters have “very limited information” about Obama, the Republican attack machine would tear him down and he would lose the support of independents. Then Penn tried to point the way to negative information on Obama, just to show that Obama wouldn’t be able to survive Republicans pointing the way to negative information.

As she talked Sunday to George Stephanopoulos, a former director of the formidable Clinton war room, Hillary’s case boiled down to the fact that she can be Trouble, as they say about hard-boiled dames in film noir, when Republicans make trouble.

“I have been through these Republican attacks over and over and over again, and I believe that I’ve demonstrated that much to the dismay of the Republicans, I not only can survive, but thrive,” she said.

And on Tuesday night she told supporters, “Let me be clear: I won’t let anyone Swift-boat this country’s future.”

Better the devil you know than the diffident debutante you don’t. Better to go with the Clintons, with all their dysfunction and chaos — the same kind that fueled the Republican hate machine — than to risk the chance that Obama would be mauled like a chew toy in the general election. Better to blow off all the inspiration and the young voters, the independents and the Republicans that Obama is attracting than to take a chance on something as ephemeral as hope. Now that’s Cheney-level paranoia.

Bill is propelled by Cheneyesque paranoia, as well. His visceral reaction to Obama — from the “fairy tale” line to the inappropriate Jesse Jackson comparison — is rooted less in his need to see his wife elected than in his need to see Obama lose, so that Bill’s legacy is protected. If Obama wins, he’ll be seen as the closest thing to J. F. K. since J. F. K. And J. F. K. is Bill’s hero.

For much of the campaign, when matched against Hillary in debates, the Illinois senator seemed out of his weight class. But he has moved up to heavyweight, even while losing five pounds as he has raced around the country. The big question is: Can he go from laconic to iconic to bionic? Will he have the muscle to take on the opposition, from Billary to the Republican hate machine to the terrorists overseas?

“I try to explain to people, I may be skinny but I’m tough,” he told a crowd of more than 15,000 in Hartford the other night, with the Kennedys looking on. “I’m from Chicago.”

The relentless Hillary has been the reticent Obama’s tutor in the Political School for Scandal. He is learning how to take a punch and give one back. When she presents her mythic narrative, the dragon she has slain is the Republican attack machine. Obama told me he doesn’t think about mythic narratives, and Tuesday night in Chicago he was reaching up for “a hymn that will heal this nation and repair the world.”

But, if he wants to be president, he will still have to slay the dragon. And his dragon is the Clinton attack machine, which emerged Tuesday night, not invincible but breathing fire.

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Thoughts -

Jane and I had a good discussion this morning about Breast Stroke.  She has felt my experience with the horses should  not be in the book, that it was too Marin, too new-agey.  I have wanted it there as a tribute to a program that started in Montana, and is about as non new-agey as it gets. It began with cowboys.  Perhaps, I should explain.

Cindi Cantrill has brought a program to Marin that coordinates with Jim McDermott at Marin Stables.   You've heard of the Horse Whisperer.  That's Jim.  He works with children, who are handicapped, and with juvenile offenders.  Cindi suggested he work with those who have or have had cancer.  I was in the second group of cancer patients that went through the program with him.  

It is an eight week program, and the idea is to learn how to use your body to guide the horse.  It is titled "Natural Horsemanship." No words are needed.   For me, it was a chance to see how well I have been indoctrinated in submissive, female posturing.  I struggled to learn, and then came to enjoy how my energy could be used to get a horse, a 1200 pound animal to come forward or back up, to do what I wanted it to do.  The idea with cancer patients is that so little is in their control that working with horses is a way to feel empowered again.  In eight weeks, we learned to be up on the horses and gallop and trot and control the horses, with only intention and a raising and lowering of our energy.

I was so fuzzy at the time, so fatigued,  that I had trouble determining if I wanted the horse to go left or right or in circles.  The horse then muddled.  I had an instant mirror for my state of mind.  When I focused, so did the horse.  When I was present with the horse, the horse was present with me.  It is a mind-meld.  Horses are intuitive, and they are also prey animals to our predator selves.  They reflect us back. 

The program in Marin is so staffed with volunteers that there were at least twice as many of them as there were of us.  They kept telling us we were the givers.  I realized Monday when I went back through my notes that, at the time, I was so exhausted, I was barely there.  I knew it was a great experience, and I recorded diligently what was going on, but there was some way it was so much for me, that I was absorbing at a visceral and unconscious level, but was not really able to appreciate intellectually the changes that were occurring.

On Monday, when I went back through Breast Stroke and the part with the horses, I really "got" what I was taught, and I rewrote what I had written.  Before,  I was recording.  This Monday I was back in the experience, and writing from there.  

How does this relate to anything involving you, you might ask.   Well, I think we have a visceral response to our candidates.  Barack Obama has charisma.   Hillary Clinton is heavily defended.  We feel it and pull back.   She says it is a good thing that she is defended, but it comes across as offensive.  We pull back, because her energy is too "out there."   We want to know what is behind it.   What is she founded upon?  What is her inner state?  Is there one?   Does she have any connection with what she truly feels, desires, wants?   Is her desire to be president true in this moment, or is it a habit based on years of hammering that this is what I want?

When you want the horse to come to you, you pull your energy level down and exhale.  You look at your feet or the feet of the horse.  Curious, the horse comes forward.  That is what I believe Hillary needs to do, to allow us to come to her.   It may be that Barack pulls this out and is our candidate, but no matter what, I would love it if Hillary could touch some place in herself, some place of inner knowing, that allows her and us to know what she truly wants.  Anyway, at this point, it is certainly a horse-race, pun intended.  

I believe it is important and beneficial for each of us to learn and note how we use our energy and how others respond.  Are we too "out there," or too submissive?   Play with it today, and come back to neutral over and over again.  A horse stays in neutral most of the time, so their energy is ready when they need to respond.  We, too, can do the same, and not live every moment pumped up, but drop deeply into neutral for a great deal of the ride.

I realize now that in these days of automatic transmissions, people may not know what neutral is, but, again, play with it and see what you discover and find.
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The country is extremely divided right now, and the reasons for how people voted reflect that.  The NY Times makes a good argument for us at least being able to listen to the "other side" or sides.


Divided They Run

Polls of Democratic voters on Tuesday made it clear that the politics of identity — race, gender, class — was driving the contest between Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton. In the Republican contests, the far-right fringe is trying to maul their party’s front-runner, Senator John McCain.

Since the voting did not produce dead-certain winners, the coming contests in states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, Louisiana, Washington and Virginia may only increase the pressure on campaigns that are more than willing to bare their fangs.

Whoever wins the Democratic nomination will face the gargantuan task of winning over the other’s voters. While Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton have few policy disputes, voter polls showed gulfs between their core supporters: men for Mr. Obama and women for Mrs. Clinton, and so on with black voters and Hispanic voters, more educated voters and less educated voters, richer and poorer, those driven by the idea of change and those looking for a candidate who cares about their problems.

Mrs. Clinton fired the first divisive shots of this campaign, and we have said before that if she is the nominee she will have to stretch herself to connect with Mr. Obama’s supporters. Many of the most passionate of them are getting involved in politics for the first time. Mr. Obama will have that same formidable challenge with Mrs. Clinton’s supporters if he wins, and an even more vexing one if he loses.

Having run on the idea of broad participation across society’s divisions, Mr. Obama’s campaign often seems to teeter on becoming a cult of personality — a feeling that the candidate and those around him do nothing to dispel. In an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America,” on Monday, Mr. Obama’s wife, Michelle, was asked if she would work to support Mrs. Clinton if she won. “I’d have to think about that,” she replied.

Mrs. Obama quickly got back on her talking points, stressing party unity. But her unguarded answer was similar to what we heard from Obama supporters in e-mail messages that we received after endorsing Mrs. Clinton. Many of those readers said they would not bother to vote if Mr. Obama lost the nomination. That is not the way democracy is supposed to work.

Among the Republicans, as Mr. McCain has pulled ahead, he has been shrilly attacked by Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, who have said they’d rather lose the White House than have a nominee who does not pass all of their litmus tests. That is not the way democracy is supposed to work. Their claim that Mr. McCain is not a conservative (based largely on his willingness to actually talk to Democrats) is ludicrous, but it’s damaging to a party bloodied by eight years of the politics of George Bush and Karl Rove.

There has been much wrong with this campaign: too much money spent on advertising, too many soft-money donations. There is still a chance, at least, to save the race from leaving the country even more divided than in the Bush years. Any candidate, and any party, presuming to unite this country must first unite their own. That is how democracy is supposed to work.

Rosary steps


This World


I would like to write a poem about the world that has in it

nothing fancy.

But it seems impossible.

Whatever the subject, the morning sun

glimmers it.

The tulip feels the heat and flaps its petals open and becomes a star.

The ants bore into the peony bud and there is a dark

pinprick well of sweetness.

As for the stones on the beach, forget it.

Each one could be set in gold.

So I tried with my eyes shut, but of course the birds

were singing.

And the aspen trees were shaking the sweetest music

out of their leaves.

And that was followed by, guess what, a momentous and

beautiful silence

as comes to all of us, in little earfuls, if we’re not too

hurried to hear it.

As for spiders, how the dew hangs in their webs

even if they say nothing, or seem to say nothing.

So fancy is the world, who knows, maybe they sing.

So fancy is the world, who knows, maybe the stars sing too,

and the ants, and the peonies, and the warm stones,

so happy to be where they are, on the beach, instead of being

locked up in gold.


~ Mary Oliver ~


(Why I Wake Early)