Can A Teddy Bear Tear Down A Wall?

Today I bought a $10 teddy bear that I spotted when I walked into the grocery store. There was a huge display of them, all sizes, displayed to entice shoppers into purchasing one for a Valentine’s Day gift. Don’t ask me why I bought one but buy one I did. Later I found myself examining why I bought that silly stuffed bear. And then it dawned on me. The moment I spotted that bear I felt a part of me begin to dissolve. The bear was my key to acceptance. Accepting I must have faith that eventually right will conquer wrong.


Why you ask? What is so special about a stuffed bear and how in the world could such an object affect me so? The answer?… best friend has a huge stuffed bear that she literally hauls everywhere she goes. That stupid grocery store bear began hammering at my wall that has strained my relationship with both her and my very own sister in the present political climate. I will continue my fight for those who can’t, but allowing my angst, depression and frustration about the fate of our nation cannot cleave my best friend, my soul sister or my blood sister out of my life. That stupid grocery store bear began hammering at my wall to join my soul sister’s bear where two hearts can once again be joined as one.
I will continue to walk in protest, mail postcards to politicians, call, email, fax and tweet when I feel they are in violation of civil rights, in violation of our Constitution and generally lacking in morals and ethics. I am one small cog in the wheel of America but one small act of peaceful protest each day helps me to survive. But once my wall is down, I hope to bring some light and joy back into my life by continuing my fight as a patriot but removing my battle armaments and setting them aside whenever I am enjoying time with my besties, the people I love.
I find it ironic that 45 rose to the Presidency with a battle cry of “Build the Wall”, because on the campaign trail he built many walls across our nation. Walls between husbands and wives, friends and neighbors, sisters, brothers, mothers and fathers. This has happened only one other time in our nation’s history…The Civil War. Then as now, our Constitution and our Democracy was and is being challenged. Our democracy is a beautiful system with three different branches of government creating checks and balances that have insured our democracy’s survival for 240 years.  I must trust that our forefathers created a living document that will be strong enough to endure.
Now my new bear and I have to get busy. It is hard work tearing down a wall.

Con Artists of the Bird World

Con artists have permeated the world probably since the beginning of time. What is a con artist? How is a con artist defined in the dictionary? Con artist – a person who cheats or tricks others by persuading them to believe something that is not true. Or another definition…a person adept at lying, cajolery, or glib self-serving talk. Or another….a person adept at swindling by means of confidence games, a swindler. All of these definitions from describe people who use others for their own gain. But humans don’t have a lock on con artistry. In the bird world, con artists exist as well.

One of those bird con artists is the Shrike Tanager. A group of shrikes is known as a “watch” or “abattoir”. One bird in the “watch” of shrikes is supposed to be a “watchman” of sorts for the entire collective “watch”. So they trust their safety to one in the “watch”. If a predator approaches, the watchbird is supposed to sound the alarm so all the other shrikes can flee to safety. But sometimes the “watch” bird for the group of shrikes falsely sounds the alarm with the predictable result of a general exodus of the other shrikes leaving behind a plethora of food for the “watch” shrike to steal.white-throated-shrike-tanager-10

Our President Elect is supposed to be the watchman for all of America. All of America includes people of different color, different religions, different walks of life. All share one large common denominator…we are Americans. We live here, work here, play here and enjoy all the freedoms afforded to us by our Constitution. A Constitution that has been challenged and defended for hundreds of years by the willingness of journalists, protest marchers and military personnel who fought and many times succumbed, making the ultimate sacrifice of giving their lives, so the American democracy, our privileged way of life so heavily endowed with freedoms, can endure.

Freedom isn’t free. It must be paid for. The price all too often requires a sacrifice….writing letters, protests, calling legislators, defending against social injustice and sometimes loss of life. It is hard work, this job of defending freedom, defending our Constitution, defending democracy. It is challenging, time-consuming and exhausting. Just like a chronic or acute disease, it must be vigorously fought on a daily basis to win the battle. Our democracy has stood the test of time because of the willingness of citizens to make sacrifices to “preserve, honor and defend” not only from exogenous aggressors but also endogenous ones.

To sound false alarms about different ethnic groups or religious groups, to perpetuate lies and untruths, to demean the freedom of the press or protesters right to protest, is to undermine our Constitution and America’s promise for millions of Americans. Just like the shrike who distracts and falsely sounds the alarm, our President-elect tosses falsehoods to distract Americans from perhaps his true purpose…to undermine our democracy and establish an autocracy. He appears to want all for himself but at the expense of others and like the “watcher” shrike he will grow fat on the lives of hardworking Americans who just want to enjoy all of America’s promise, the American dream.

Another bird that is a con artist is the cuckoo. Cold hearted and ruthless, they frequently usurp the nests of other birds, lay their own eggs and then leave their progeny behind to be raised by the surrogates who worked hard and built the nest stick, by twig, by leaf. They are the “users” of the bird world.cuckoo-bird-sitting-on-wood

Our President elect has a history of being a user like the cuckoo. He borrows money to build, hires workers to do the job and then abandons them without compensation for their work. All the while he is moving forward on projects to further his self-worth and aggrandisement. Like the cuckoo, he is a swindler, refusing to pay for goods received, spending his life short-changing the other hardworking Americans and leaving in his wake a mess for others to clean up.

Con artists are the “takers” in our world. In the bird world, little damage is done by these tricksters. But in our America, in our world on this planet called Earth, the cost might be catastrophic. Only time will tell if our cuckoo bird manages to destroy us or will rise up from the ashes of his incompetent, racist, misogynist, xenophobic narcissistic self like the mythical Phoenix and actually step up to the plate and begin to think and act as the office of the President of the United States demands.