Loneliness: The most powerful photo I’ve ever taken

Loneliness: The most powerful photo I’ve ever taken

A few years back, hurrying to work, I nearly missed him. He was sitting along the wall beside the AT & T building in Chicago’s Loop, stoic and still among rushing throngs of office workers, tourists and students. To either side were his two dogs, A cart with the man’s world belongings were beside him.

I didn’t know his story or where he came from, and I have not seen him since. It was a moment in which the paths of our lives crossed for a perfect and powerful moment.

What I find in looking at this man becomes less of a narrative about him as it is an insight to my own heart. Still, it is impossible to escape the torture of his eyes, one that speaks to pain and lonesomeness. In that face are a thousand stories and possibilities. Perhaps he ran afoul of the law when he was young, or made poor choices in life that brought him to this place. Maybe it was drugs or alcohol, or even mental illness. Maybe it was none of these things. Life can bring any soul to the precipice of despair. Not everyone comes to that fight with the same strengths. Some are crushed under the weight. I have felt that strain before. I have people who love and support me. Those blessings are simply not the case for all of us.

There is a certain wisdom tinged with exhaustion in his eyes that suggests at a life of tough breaks and  a lack of family and support. It could well have been an illness or the loss of someone close that he could not recover from. In the end, the story one makes about the man tells more about them than about him.

One thing that is without question is the loneliness in his stare. The dogs are his companions and family, but there is little to suggest in the evidence that the story of their shared lives will end happily. And that is where I will leave it…

hierarchy of suffering

An interesting post from a friend about pain and victimhood and the dangers of hierarchical assignments of suffering and pain by individuals, communities, groups, nations, what have you. This was my brief reply:  Was interesting in Rwanda during the genocide, and in Sarajevo during the siege the very natural human tendency towards competition of suffering. However, can’t throw the bay out with the bathwater. There is a therapeutic aspect on some level of understanding, acceptance and perspective gained by the individuals suffering. Also seen this, and it is actively encouraged among vets suffering PTSD, but I get your point, verbalizing and communicating one’s pain should not become a hierarchy of suffering. Always someone, somewhere suffering worse than you. That doesn’t diminish your pain or mine, but means your pain is as valid and substantial to you in your life as my pain is to me. That should be the place where we negotiate the community of our pain; the ultimate truth for each of us.

STORMS: A Poem

We are storms and banks and reeds

Whipped by the wind, we rise to bluster and succumb to our own floods

We are fear and desperation and pointlessness

Cold, we huddle for fear of being forgotten, yet that is our fate.

We are hope and need and desire

Dragged from our homes, Our cries lost to the tumult of the world

We are tragedy and sickness and alone.

And if there is any redemption left to us it lies in the sacrifice of love

                                                                                       WC Turck

Beat it, Mooch!

A long needed conversation with my socialist welfare addicted dog, thanks to Senator Rand Paul, Dan Proft and Joe Walsh. Finally told him to go get a job. I was tired of our dog Bleu mooching off the system, sitting at home chewing on Milk Bones, EXPECTING to be fed, given water and provided free healthcare, while the wife and I do all the work. Well, the gravy train(see what I did there) is OVER! And I can already hear the victim mentality: “Oh, I don’t have opposable thumbs so how can I fill out an application,” or “I suck at Microsoft Office!” Cry me a river. So I kicked him out into the rain and pointed towards the busy street and said you’ll have to take PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY or die, ya mangy mutt. Donald Trump did it, with a mere $3million from his dad, and look at Jared Kushner, who pulled himself up by multi-million Dollar bootstraps, and look at him today! With that, shivering in the pouring rain, Bleu simply put his head down, looked at me with those sad and confused brown eyes and sighed.

Dr. Lora Chamberlain on Illinois gubernatorial candidate Chris Kennedy…

but love her or fear her, the good Doctor calls it like she sees it, knows the issues, and is an unflinching Progressive who never pulls her punches. Thought this post was critical as the race heats up towards the election; one that may decide the future and fate of the state and it’s people, and whether it returns to the people or is looted to insolvency and ruin by Rauner and the oligarchs. Doctor:  

Kennedy – Is He Our Progressive Champion??? A report from the Gubernatorial campaign trail:

I have been going to multiple forums with the candidates trying to push them on a IL State Bank, fracking / climate change, single payer health care, progressive taxing solutions, I toss out as many questions as I can get in.

Yesterday I saw Chris Kennedy at Horner Park. A couple of thoughts: Wow, he really does have a temper – this was the second time he has berated me, without my attacking him, I was just stating some truths, I am not liking that very much!

He does seem to be really angry at Madigan and the IL power elites for their corruption, he wants to end conflicts of interest in Springfield by disallowing them of serving as property tax assessment attorneys, and ending other conflicts of interest, and get everyone back to public service – this is very good.

He states that he wants to bend the rules of the economy to benefit the poor and the average folks – this is very good.

He is very concerned that our youth are leaving the state, that our University system is being dismantled by Rauner, and that 75% of high school graduates across the state are not college ready.

He is for a Progressive Income Tax and something he calls a “Jupiter Island Tax” – (“Some of the wealthiest people in the United States live in Jupiter Island: Worth magazine ranked it #1 in the country for having the highest median home sale, and it has the highest per capita income of any inhabited place in the country”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jupiter_Island,_Florida ). This “Jupiter Island Tax” will be levied on executives or anyone who does business transactions in Chicago, even if they are employed elsewhere – (I am pretty sketchy about this tax and tried to get more details from him last night and could not seem to get him to come forth with any). But it sounds like it would tax who we want to tax – the rich folks.

He does not think a transaction tax would work, he thinks they will squirm out of the tax and get away with it.

He does not want to legalize pot and tax it, (he thinks legalization requires more research – he would be more inclined to support decriminalization, he is pretty conservative on this one).

He is for getting to a Single Payer Health Care System eventually, even on the State level if the Feds destroy Medicaid and Obamacare, but was again very sketchy on the details and did not mention California’s steps in that direction.

He thinks that fracking is not part of our energy future but he thinks that coal will stay at the same percentage of our energy mix that it has right now – I was personally aghast at this comment – his brother is Robert Kennedy Jr. who is a very significant environmentalist, it does not seam that they talk very often about this issue.

I really tried to push Kennedy on the economic issues last night. He was for maintaining our obligations to our pensioneers, but seemed to be behind Rahm’s attempt last winter to come to a pension bargain – this did not make sense to me.

I asked him how we could tax the 25% of corporations that pay no tax in this state, I have to say he was not forthcoming – he asked me if I wanted to get into the weeds of corporate tax issues and I said “yes” and then he did not answer my question.

My sense of him is that he prefers not to be questioned about the details around his policies, he is a bit of an elitist, and he wants us to trust that he is going to act in our best interest – well Mr. Kennedy that just does not fly any more in American politics!

He also was not very happy at the end when we brought him a copy of: “Here Come the Kennedys” https://jacobinmag.com/…/chris-kennedy-illinois-governor-ra…, – a must read about some aspects of Kennedy’s background, but he did not have much to say about it.

I was hoping that Kennedy was our independent progressive in the race who had the balls to take on Madigan, Cullerton, and the rest of the power elites in this state – and this would call for a serious set of kahunas! But I get the sense that Kennedy is really a centrist Democrat, similar to Pat Quinn, with a few pet progressive issues. I am going to continue to push him on a IL State Bank, and some of the other progressive issues – I will let you know if I get anywhere.

…and I will let you know what she finds…

To a Better Border Wall…

In fairness, I don’t want to dismiss Trump’s idea to put solar panels on the border wall, costing America and Mexico less money, but I don’t think he goes far enough. Here are some other ideas for Mr. Trump’s wall to save money and stop so-called illegal immigration:

1. A coal powered wall, since he has promised to bring back coal, despite the entire nation evolving past coal.

2. Paint it to look like the desert, and when people bump into it and fall down we can videotape our national prank, and like coal, revive Bob Saget’s Funniest Home Video career.

3. A 2000 mile 60 foot tall aquarium, because surely Trump will believe Mexicans will believe that America sank and go home.

4. Post America’s $20 trillion debt clock on the Mexico side of the wall. Might encourage poor refugees to take pity and throw soon to be worth more than the dollar pesos over the wall as charity.

5, make the wall from the same place he gets his hair. Immigrants will get hopelessly tangled, but would otherwise be same.

6. Replace the water in the Rio Grande with Budweiser beer. I like beer and I would run from that! Seriously?

7.Show immigrants anything from PBS on the Mexico side of the wall, and when they slip into a Coma, carefully pick them up and move them south 100 miles.

Build the wall on the border of Canada, and wave them north to a decent country.

8 Put the whole country up on polls

Anything I might have missed? After all, its all about helping our Grifter in Chief…

 

Left or Right?

Have to agree with Annie Froelich from a previous post. This is less a sign of Left vs Right, as it is about anarchy(save you posts anarchists) it is about a society that equivocates on everything, which tilts towards the wealthy and white, then pardons, overlooks and explains away their crimes. It is a white cop murdering a Black man on camera, then deciding afterwards he was “afraid for his life.” It is about Sandra Bland. It is about the devaluing of individuals for the purposes of consolidating power and excess. It is about a deficit of moral leadership in the White House deepened by administration after administration. It is racism, consumerism, lawyerism. It is about describing a worldwide religion as terrorists, or a race of people “illegal.” It is a generational assault on education, information and enlightenment in favor of spin, opinion and a beer-swilling, foreigner-hating, big truck-driving, slack jawed nationalism. It is news media for profit. It is profit above community, by corporatists in America who put profit above their nation, and then are protected by media. It is, if the president or congress or the corporate spokesperson lies to get what they want, or to escape guilt and justice. In short it is an American cultural and moral cancer that will prove the ultimate demise of this nation. And all of us allow it to happen.