Pleading The 5th

 If you chance upon a bonfire in your travels

as you go

Would you ask the guy upon it some things

folk would like to know

Has perspective from his vantage

changed his mind one bit

Or does view above the gallows

convince him right of it

Was it treason, treachery or a fight

for freedom bid

Would he try again to be shot of them,

politicians, all well rid

Were voices raised in passion but denied

a listening ear

Did he do it with a brave heart or a soul

choke-filled with fear

Did desperation drive him and does he think

we’ve learned a thing

About method and its madness, the results

some actions bring

Would they better listen now to the cries

of human rights

Or is power the same oppressor

the same old history to fight

Was it carelessness or vengeance that denied

his V for victory

Were there moments he regretted when

admitted he his plea

Was he guilty of the horror of a terrorist

home-grown

Was there quite no other way to go, all other options,

had they flown

Does he take November note of fireworks

and blast them all to hell

Was he demon, daring hero or a

roguish ne’erdowell

In your travels, if you see him, would you

ask the guy on fire

If the pyre is worth the burning, would he,

yet again, conspire

While they lift his carcass high to brilliant

colours in the sky

If you see him as you’re passing would you ask him

if again he’d try

Was persecution, bigotry

rife on both the sides

And does he see more clearly from on high, please

ask him to confide

If no answer is forthcoming from that effigy

they lift

Tell him hindsight colours history and let him

plead the fifth.

May Music, Day 14 – ‘Damn Right I Support It’

Pick a song, says Twindaddy, that reminds you of your boyfriend/girlfriend, for day 14 of his 25 days of music challenge.

It’s been a long time since hubby or I could be described as boyfriend/girlfriend. Or boy and girl, for that matter.

So, I’m going with the prompt as a reminder that love knows no distinctions. In honour of all my children. And everyone else’s. Love is love.

boyfriend/girlfriend

boyfriend/boyfriend

girlfriend/boyfriend

girlfriend/girlfriend

All bases covered here. And it still looks and feels like love to me. It takes love to know love. Same Love, Macklemore.

Equality and Effort

I started off writing a comment on a fellow blogger’s page after she had linked to the Mirandasings video that I had posted called, ” I Don’t Support Equality”..

The blogger enjoyed the post and it got her thinking about equality and inequality in terms of talents and abilities and in terms of people’s rights. I agreed with her that we are not equal in talents or abilities although equality of human rights must be observed as she also stated.

I then realised that I was going somewhere else with my comment – as those of you who know me know I’m inclined to do. 😉

Hence this post.

I suppose what drives most people batty is the idea of inequality based on human rights. In the UK any perceived violation of human rights can be referred to the European Court where certain agreements are in place to protect the rights of individuals as human beings. People have done it and legislation has changed to reflect any injustice. In the US I guess that would come under your Constitution.

Nowadays it seems a nonsense in our culture to think that women once did not have the right to vote. You should hear my daughters on that one. They just can’t imagine that this was ever the case. One of them last night was asking me why women in the workforce were ever paid less. (Not that it still does not happen). There followed a history lesson.

I completely agree that we are not equal in talents and abilities and what a boring world it would be if that were the case.

However, there is an identified hierarchy of human need that has to be recognised when we speak of equality for people and these rights are paramount, I feel, when we argue for equality.

450px-Maslow's_Hierarchy_of_Needs.svg http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow’s_hierarchy_of_needs

What I can’t bring myself to feel comfortable with is that some talents and abilities are more recognised as valued than others and so we have crazy situations where footballers are paid a fortune for their skill with a ball and, of course, the effort they put in to acquiring that skill.

We have politicians whose ‘skill’ in their field may have less to do with their innate ability than other forces that come into play e.g. a thirst for power or glory, an ability to articulate and/or be presentable to the public, a family tradition of politics (unless we choose to call those innate abilities, I suppose).

We have models whose looks rather than talent determine their success in their field. Although we could argue that this too is innate good fortune.

We have movie stars and pop stars whose individual talents may or may not far outweigh the accumulated talents of so many others. But does that mean their efforts are any more worthy than those of ‘untalented’ people?

What really concerns me is that there are millions, well billions, of people getting up every day and putting in the effort to be active, work (if they can and if they are able to find it), to try their best at whatever they do and the reward, in terms of material return, in no way reflects the effort.

We could argue that it is more difficult for people with minimal talent to achieve great success and therefore their efforts must be worth more – that they try at all.

When we come back to the hierarchy of human needs we could argue that as long as we have the bare minimum at the first two levels we’re sorted. But, if that is the case, why do we all strive for more than the minimum? I think we all, or most of us, want to achieve that highest level. But what are the chances of that when basic needs are not met? And there are so many reasons why those needs may not be met. Not all of them self-inflicted as some politicians and others would have us believe.

There is a growing tendency to look at the ‘have-nots’ with some disparagement as if they choose not to have or to depend on the state for basic requirements.

I know of no one whose basic needs are met while depending on the state. And I know quite a few people whose inability to manage with what is received results in loss of electricity and heating. Results in doing without what many consider to be basic essentials. people who either are unable to work or for whom no work is available.

First priorities always include food and shelter. These are two on the lowest most basic level of human needs. And they both cost!

Perhaps that’s why sex is so popular. It’s free!

Why else is there a growth in food banks? Why else are so many at risk of losing their homes? Why else are so many children still living below  the recognised poverty line? No amount of ‘handouts’ from the state matches the level needed to avoid that.

Sure, there are some who abuse the system. But the percentage is miniscule compared to the percentage lost through tax fraud.

fraud chart_1http://www.cas.org.uk/features/myth-busting-real-figures-benefit-fraud

Inequality is alive and kicking. Not always because of differentiated talents or abilities. But because we as a society value certain skills more than others. As long as we are prepared as a world to pay millions for the work of dead artists and millions for talented footballers we are telling most of the world population that effort does not matter. That dragging yourself out of bed everyday and doing your damndest in whatever it is you’re doing isn’t worth the effort needed to do so. As long as we listen to purveyors of distorted truth and cite laziness or licence as the reason for hardship rather than economic mis/management and inequitable policies, practices and perceptions, there will be inequality.

Get Up MM900285266MH900358961

Einstein may have been right when he said that genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. But in our world the perspiration seems to count for very little. Regardless of the fact that it is the perspiration of the vast majority that keep the wheels of government and commerce going round.

The fellow blogger mentioned above asked at the end of her post,

“What do you think? Is equality possible? Or should we focus on encouraging and developing our personal talents?”

It may be Utopian to imagine that equality is possible given that we are so varied as humans. And it’s great that we are. Let’s develop those talents and innate abilities and attributes. But let’s not lose sight of the fact that, for most people, it will not be their talents that take them to work each day or get them out of bed to tackle whatever their day may hold. It will be the effort involved in believing that another day in life has to be accomplished as best they can even while unappreciated.

Now how do we change a value system that no longer appears to support or accommodate the realisation of our basic human needs?

Now here’s a Scots comedian who knows what I’m talking about. Maybe I should just have posted this in the first place. 😉

 

“I Don’t Support Equality”

This is Miranda, alter ego of Colleen Ballinger, introduced to me by my sixteen year old daughter, Rachel. Rachel loves Miranda and ‘forces’ me to watch her vlogs. Actually, I now find her quite amusing. And even downright funny sometimes.

For those who don’t know her, she is a comedian. And, like most comedians, can encapsulate life humorously and with more truth than argument.

Rachel miranda2 And, just for the hell of it, this is my daughter dressed as Miranda. We’ll pretend that it was for Hallowe’en. But it wasn’t. She just likes dressing up! At 16!

And now the Glesca Mammy is out.

Before submitting this post I made two phone calls. To two of my children. To ask permission to post what is here. They both gave me the thumbs up.

Below is a word for word response that I made in comment on a blog post in OM’s Project O http://aopinionatedman.com/category/project-o/. I will not include the blog post itself.

‘My twenty year old daughter told me recently that she read of a poll conducted where one of the questions asked was, ‘When did you choose to be straight?’ The response given was, ‘I didn’t choose. I was born that way.’
However you perceive homosexuality in terms of the bible and the love of Jesus, there surely must be room to question whether anyone – anyone – born with whatever actual or perceived ‘disability’ has the same human rights as another?
I have seven children. I am a practising Roman Catholic. I have two gay children – one of each. Lucky me. For it allows me to practise what I preach – that all men and women are born equal. That God’s love is for all.
There may be some mystery attached as to why some people are born gay but until that mystery is revealed to me by the grace of God’s wisdom, I will love and defend the rights of all people.
Perhaps He chose to make it so to determine whether our love and sense of equality is all-inclusive or selective.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. They were most enlightening.x’

If you want to argue human rights, try me. Just try me. These are my children we are talking about just as all gay people are someone’s children. Just as all gay people are people. You might not like it, you might not understand it. But it’s here and they’re born that way.

I can only conclude that I am in awe at how selective people can be in matters pertaining to human rights. So long as you are the right colour, nationality, creed, gender, sexual orientation. I am gobsmacked. Utterly gobsmacked.

Coming Out Of The Closet. Mark 2.

For as long as I can remember I’ve hated having my photograph taken. I’m not entirely sure why, although feeling awkward in front of a camera and some hellish looking pictures over the years may have had something to do with it.

When I joined WordPress I had no intention of putting my face or own name to my site. I’ve already done a post on my reasons here ‘faceless, not voiceless’, so it’s pointless to reiterate. But something has changed. Maybe not hugely. But significantly enough.

OM did a rant on his post, the-right-to-opinion, regarding Project O, which I took part in. I mainly took part in it because of his rant. How dare I not express my opinion when it may be of some benefit to others? As pointed out by OM, some people – many people, way too many people – do not enjoy that basic right.

I said, quite truthfully, in my post for Project O that I would fight for my rights. All of them. But, especially those I value highly – like free speech, self-determination, freedom to worship in my chosen way, freedom to be me.

And then it occurred to me that fighting means putting yourself out there. Oh, I do that in my life but not in public forums. I’m actually quite shy in lots of ways and the main one has always been any public display.

This sounds a bit stupid to my own ears, coming from someone who has sung in front of hundreds of people and in pubs, in front of strangers. But, I was so much younger then and probably had a different sort of confidence. But mostly, my mum had drummed it into me that talent was a gift and self-effacing bashfulness disallowed use of that talent. Talents are to be shared. Otherwise we insult God. And waste our gifts.

Anyway, all I had to do was stand up and perform. Performing is one thing. The idea of ‘being myself’ in any sort of public display embarrasses me.

I’m the person who would use a nom de plume if I ever finish a book. I would shun publicity if it were required.

So, what kind of righteous militant am I when I can’t face people but ‘hide’ behind my voice?

I don’t feel I’ve been hiding here. I’ve found kindness and understanding and approval. For my words. But, most importantly, as my words express me, for me.

It may seem somewhat pathetic but maybe we’re all a bit pathetic. With or without faces, we’re all seeking something from WordPress. From each other. Otherwise, I’d still be writing, dating it and filing it.

So, coming out of the closet Mark 1 was putting myself, in words, out here. Not on Facebook, not on Twitter or anywhere else.

But that has to change, I feel. Coming out of the closet Mark 2 has been required. And I did it yesterday. I did a video reading of a poem I’d written and opened up a scottishmomus Facebook account so that I had somewhere to post the video to. I had a hellish time trying to work out how to connect it from Facebook to WordPress but, with a little help from my friends, thanks Cubby, I did it.

At the moment, all that means is that I’m ‘performing’ but I’m putting my face with my voice and my words on display. For public perusal.

I am kacking it slightly but I see no reason to go back  – unless, of course, Facebook people are horrible to me!

I don’t know what Mark 3 will be or even if there is one or should be one. But, my ‘getting over photophobia’ and fear of public display begins. I am adding a page to my site for video readings of some of my writing. My face is there, my voice is there, my words are there.

OM asked what we hoped to expect or happen from Project O. I never expected this. I’ll be running around naked next through the town, shouting to passersby that I’m no longer shy or afraid. Well, maybe not naked. I do have some modesty left.

Little and large things can be changed in so many subtle, unexpected ways.

Something special is occurring here. I can feel it. I know it. OM’s Project O is not just for me and my little foibles. It’s for everyone. To give over an entire month on a forum that has over 23,000 followers, to allow all of those linked in this way to share each others’ minds and opinions is huge. It’s momentous.

I don’t know what it is yet. But, I’m pretty sure OM has an idea and hopes. I’m really beginning to think that ‘Ohm’ would be more appropriate as his catch-all.

It takes someone a bit ‘bolshy’, a bit questioning, a bit pushy, a bit ‘get in your fucking face’, to raise awareness. He’s doing that. And not, I believe for himself. Oh, he may get something out of it. There’s usually splendid payback when you do something wonderful, And, really, this has the potential to be full of wonder. My stomach’s fluttering at its potential. Insights and understanding of others could go a long way in making the world a better place for all of us. For all children, no matter where they are born. Namaste.

 

My videos will be ‘warped’ somewhat to protect myself, I hope, from mammies and daddies of weans I teach. If any of them come on here and see my full face and name I might get into bother for letting ‘fuck’ and ‘wank’ and other such niceties slip from my pen. I try to do so only when it seems fitting and I’m pretty sure lots of people (including mammies, daddies and some school kids) use them. But, given some of the odd things that happen in this crazy world, I’m looking out for my job.

And, if anyone recognises my face that knows me as Mrs. ******, school teacher extraordinaire! – I’m blaming OM. He made me do it! Well, you know what I mean.

And, if ever I make it into print and people slate me, I’m blaming him for that too.

And, if I burn the dinner today – well, I’ll blame my husband. I’m too busy writing to cook!

Thanks OM. It’s only taken 52 years! Where have you been all my life? Oh, that’s right, you weren’t born. 🙂