Friday, April 7, 2017

Breakfast at Sporty's: Responding to the News

The news last night--cruise missiles heading for Syria--hurt my heart so much! I have never felt such deep emotional pain. I thought of all the people who have had to flee the war.  I thought of Jemilla and her five children who fled first to Turkey, then came here for medical attention she could not get there, of Safa, who fled Aleppo when there was not food, no work, no homes, no hospital, no diapers for the baby.

Most especially, I thought of Jamila "Rose Anne" saying in tears,  "When I left Syria, the county was stable; now it is destroyed." And that was before the terrible events of this week!

Prayer helped a little. Talking with Rifaat helped a little. Even so, I found myself wondering if there was some drug I could take that would help me escape from the pain. I now understand why people get addicted to drugs and alcohol!

I was exhausted this morning from mourning all night, so Rifaat took me out for breakfast at Sporty's. "Lets Make A Deal" was on the big screen T.V., as usual.                       

Breakfast at Sporty's

Suddenly, I understood the silly costumes, the exorbitant prizes, the anticipation, the excitement. It makes a wonderful distraction for people caught in pain, emotional or physical. So, It has it's place.     
But I don't want my life to be about distraction, so I tend to take it in small doses. Distraction that is (not life!).
Then I called one of my spiritual teachers, Khadija.
Khadija said that those of us who are emphatic or who are on a spiritual path, are more sensitive now, as things heat up. That some of the greatest Spiritual growth and insights seem to happen when the world is in greatest turmoil.

She reminded me how important it is to stay grounded in the Divine and in one's center (or Dantien, or Hara), and gave me a practice to help with that. She told me that the usual translation of "Allah Ho Akbar" as "God is the Greatest" is incorrect; it compares God, and God is incomparable. A better translation she says, is "Peace (Divine Peace) is Power."

God's Peace is Power. If I can stay grounded in that, perhaps I can weather these times and keep my sanity, and maybe even bring some peace to those around me!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Sketching Bob Ferguson, WA State Attorney General

When Joy saw me with pencil and paper in hand, she asked if I was taking notes for our community of Quakers.  Well, yes, sort of. Drawing while listening actually helps me take in and remember more.

Our Washington State attorney general, Bob Ferguson, received a standing ovation from the packed Methodist church at 7:00 am this morning. I sketched while he talked.

Here are some things I remember him saying:

Trump's executive order banning immigrants from certain countries was not entirely unexpected, given his campaign speeches. So the attorney general's office was geared up for quick action. The order came out on Friday evening; the attorney general's team spent the weekend, literally night and day, looking at the order carefully to determine it's legality, putting together the case, and gathering support from Industries and businesses that were adversely affected, such as Amazon and the University of WA. That way, they were ready to file an injunction before the end of the business day on Monday.
What I did not know, is that Obama had apparently tried a similar executive order with no better success. “It's not about Trump or Obama”, Ferguson said, “It's about the law.” Trump's legal team made the claim in their brief that the president's order was not subject to the law. They confirmed this by telephone at the hearing. Even the president is not above the law. That's why we have a checks and balances system.

Trump's claim that the executive order was for “national security” was disputed because :
1.The head of Homeland Security stated that banning people by national origin actually makes America less safe from terrorist attacks.
2.When an action or law is challenged legally, the courts look at the intent of the law. Because Trump had stated in his campaign that he would ban Muslims, it was clear to the court that his executive order was indeed based on religious discrimination.

The WA State Attorney's Office has put out a 100 page advisory for cities and institutions (such as schools) who are concerned about cooperation with ICE. The attorny's office is working with the mayor of Seattle around becoming a sanctuary city.

Trump's claim he will roll back regulations aimed at environmental safeguards (instituted by the Obama administration) will be legally unenforceable.