Thoughts, Philosophy, Life and Love

Month: December 2011

On the outside, looking in.


There is this story I have been working on that I would like to see become a book, one day.  In this story, one of the key groups of people are the plains Indians… or Plains Aboriginal Americans, as I feel more comfortable calling them.

To prepare for this, I have been doing a great deal of reading and researching on the various tribes that covered the great plains.  Reading what I can and speaking with those that will talk to me.  And that is where my problem lies.

When I was learning ASLAN (American Sign Language), my teacher warned me that not only is ASLAN itself a difficult language to learn, but the deaf community, as a whole, is a very closed one.  He warned me to not expect to be “accepted” into deaf groups was a whole, just because I could communicate with them.  And I did learn that this was true. With the exception of a couple times I stepped in to help with a person asking, in Sign, for help or directions, many times I have tried to interact with people that were obviously signing, I was treated curtly or, in one case, ignored completely.

I have found that my efforts to learn about the Native tribes in my area have had similar results.  I have spoken to local members of the Yokuts, Cherokee and Chumash tribes, and while I find that they are willing to talk to me, I feel more that they are trying to give me the information and then dismiss me than wanting to help educate me.

I understand that I am not part of their community, I also understand that I am part of, historically, the reason that they have lost their land and their ways of life.  I will not deny any of that, but there is little I have had DIRECTLY to do with it, so I  am not sure why there seems to be this wall I have to contend with.

I suppose that I do, in part, understand their point, if I really do look at it.  There are many cases throughout history where a people have been put in dire circumstances like that and those that survived or those that were survived by their elders to continue their stories, have been remiss in sharing with those that were considered outsiders.  Take, for example, those that survived the Holocaust.  I have known, personally, two people that survived the death camps, and both of them were very difficult to get to talk about it.  Not because they did not want to share, but because… as one of them put it for me… “How do you share your emotions with another over your own pending death and the genocide of our people?”

What happened to the Aboriginal Americans was no less than genocide…  and as the offspring of Irish and Scottish immigrants who came over with the initial wave of colonists, I am sure that somewhere in my history, my lineage shares in that responsibility and guilt.

I have learned a lot through my writing and reading about the peoples that made up the Plainsmen.  This is a piece of history that we are rapidly losing, and while the story I am writing is not going to help that history, I will continue to work on getting all I can from those that are willing to sit with me and learn.

As always… thank you for your time and your comments are encouraged.


Is this the best money can buy?

I have been trying to not post political articles, I really have.  I have grown to really hate politics over the last few years.  It is not because I do not enjoy the discussion of politics, but because there has been no “side” to take recently.

I look that the people that call themselves candidates for the GOP, and the only thing that I really have to ask is, “Is this the best our money is buying?”  I mean, you listen to these jokers talking and “debating”, and you start to get the feeling that the GOP is purposely throwing their chances in the race.  That they are not really serious about TRYING to win.

I have not seen what the Democrats have to offer yet, and frankly, I am not looking forward to it.  Because with what the GOP is offering this go around, I am pretty sure that the only way the Dems will lose is if they go out and nominate Courtney Love, and even in that case, I think she would have a fighting chance, from what I have seen.

Maybe I am just naive or jaded.  I still think that the person who runs for the office should be motivated to be there by something other than popularity or money.  They should be there for the sole purpose of making the nation better.  Too often, especially during Obama’s run, I hear people talk about how he has his “Legacy” to think about.

I think that if a person goes into any undertaking thinking about their legacy first, then they are not worried about anything other than looking good to begin with.  They are not interested in taking chances on unpopular decisions.  They are not willing to go out on a limb to piss people off, even their own people in their own party.

Maybe I will end up being wrong.  Maybe this will end up being a great year for politics, but about the only way I see that happening now is if there is a miracle and we have a powerful figure step up as a “Third Party Candidate”.  If the third party ever had a chance, it is going to be this time around.

We shall see.

As always, thanks for reading.

With the best of intents…

How often have you ever been talking to a person that you have not seen in a while, then upon parting, you make that commitment that we all, or at least many of us, renege on?

I do not think that we intend to lie to a person when we tell them that we will call them later, or discuss the option of getting together sometime.  I believe that we make these plans with every intent on keeping them.  Then life just… gets in the way.  Other things happen and we keep pushing the effort to keep that promise off further and further, until, many times, it escapes our thought altogether, or at least until the next time we see them.

I am especially bad about this, and I know and admit it.  I cannot even count, anymore, the number of friends that I have let go because I have not made the effort to keep in touch.  I understand that friendship is a two-way street, and I should not be the only one that makes the effort.  But I should at least try.

It is not that I do not like these people, it is just, as I stated earlier, that life seems to get in the way.  Other things come up and take precedence over the option of calling others or writing letters to people.

As an example, let me tell you about a friend of mine.  He and I practically grew up together and were always hanging out in High School and on the weekends.  When we graduated from high school, we still got together all the time.  This lasted until he moved to Texas.  We were and are still as close as a phone call, but there is something that makes making that effort hard.  I am not sure what, but it is there.

Luckily, I guess, I am not alone.  Before writing this piece, I spoke to several people about this phenomena, and many said that they have had the same problem.  In some case people have even stopped staying in close contact with family members.  There are even a couple cases where the people I spoke to have family that live in the same town, and they still do not keep in touch.

I would like you, who are reading this now, to tell me your stories about this and why you think it happens.  Tell me, in your own words, what you do to justify it to yourself or to explain the reasoning away.  I am not trying to put any of you on the spot, but I would like to get your opinions on this.

Thanks for reading.

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