Good People Doing Good Things — You, Me, All Of Us!

Today’s good people post is not about a man saving 50 people from a burning building, nor about a dog rescuing a family in the Himalayas, nor about a woman stopping a runaway car with her own car.  How often do any of us find ourselves in those situations and with the wherewithal to be a hero?  When’s the last time you were walking and came across a burning building?  Note that I am not putting those acts of heroism down … no, not at all!  But I’m just saying that most of us will never, or at best once in our lifetimes, have the opportunity to be that sort of a hero.  But … unless you’re a hermit like me … you interact with people on a daily basis, whether it’s a store clerk, librarian, a coworker, someone you pass while out walking the dog, or just the postman delivering a package.  And every interaction is an opportunity … an opportunity to maybe brighten someone’s day and to practice your ‘good people’ skills.

Last year, Axios did a three-part series in their Finish Line newsletter about the little things people do to help someone or brighten somebody’s day, and I thought it would be fun to hear what the recipients of those little acts of kindness thought.  We tend to undervalue those simple little acts of kindness when we do them, but as you’re about to see, they are much more highly valued by those on the receiving end.

This first one really moved me …

  • “Some 30 years ago, I was working on recovery from a horrible depression. It was harder than anything I’ve ever done. One morning, it took everything I had to make a grocery run. As I dragged myself toward the store, a man looked at me and smiled, saying, ‘Good morning.’ I felt so much weight lifted off me. I could, for the first time in months, see a way out of my sadness.” —Sherri W., McKinney, Texas

A simple “Good morning” and a smile made so much difference!  And how much effort did that take?  That’s why on my Jolly Monday posts I’m always reminding you to share those smiles … you just never know what someone else is going through and how much your smile might mean to them.

Here are some of the other comments from recipients of small but important acts of kindness …

  • “The first time I was traveling alone with my daughter — who was 11 months old at the time — a stranger on a plane offered to hold her after we landed so I was able to gather our things and have a moment to breathe. It meant the most to a young mom with her hands full.” —Abby D., Des Moines, Iowa
  • “A fellow lawyer, a total stranger, put money in a parking meter for me when he realized that I would get stuck in court beyond the time I had left.” —Avraham M., West Hempstead, New York
  • “Just the other day I was trying to navigate a stroller through a coffee shop … not a glamorous task. When I went to leave, a man came darting from across the entire coffee shop to open the door for me. … It truly set the tone for my entire day.” —Lily M., Atlanta, Georgia
  • “My wife and I, both in our 70s, were loading heavy bags of rock for a landscaping project into our car.  A woman approached and loaded the rest. As she finished and turned away, I shouted, ‘You have restored my faith in humanity.’  She responded, ‘We all need that.'” —Roger R., Ballwin, Missouri
  • “I left my backpack, complete with my work laptop and files, on the busy NYC subway one evening. I was certain it was lost forever. I made a claim, panicked, and worried and worried again. … Then came an email and a text: ‘I have your red backpack.’ This amazing and kind medical student brought my backpack to me.” —Jane C., NYC
  • “Several years ago I was struggling to lace up my very large and cumbersome — but totally awesome — dress in the Maryland Renaissance Faire parking lot. The girl getting dressed at the car next to mine offered to help me do up my laces.” —Caroline M., Walnut Creek, California
  • “My first day working in a new city, I exited my office building and couldn’t remember how to find the train station. A stranger walked by, noticed I looked lost, and doubled back to see if I needed directions. I fell in love with Chicago that day.” —Spencer W., Chicago, Illinois
  • “When I got to the checkout, my 3-year-old ran away and my newborn started crying inconsolably. The lady behind me took over packing my shopping so I could find my son and calm my newborn. That act has always stuck with me because I had been feeling so overwhelmed and that helping hand made all the difference.” —Katherine N., Oxford, U.K.

See how easy it is to be a ‘good people’?  Let’s all dig up those smiles and kind words this week, hold the door open for someone, smile and say, “Hey, how ya doin’ today?”, and see if you can brighten someone’s day.  You never know … OH!!!  And just in time, here’s Jolly and Joyful with that basketful of smiles!  Take a few and share them, won’t you?

Filosofa’s Meandering Mind …

What Is R.E.S.P.E.C.T.?

Yesterday, I played Aretha Franklin’s wonderful song, R.E.S.P.E.C.T.  And then, I did my usual perusal of the day’s news and a question began to form in my mind:  What, precisely, is respect?  My first answer was that it is something we have far too little of in this world today.

A quick look at the online dictionary gives two definitions for the word “respect”:

  • a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.
  • due regard for the feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of others.

Both are apt, I think, and certainly there are people who deserve our respect as per the first definition, though we might not agree on who those people are.  But the context in which I typically speak of respect is more aligned with the second definition … which can be simplified by my motto:  Live and Let Live!!!

So, let’s talk about this just a bit.  I’ve written about this before and will no doubt have occasion to write about it again, but I keep trying to understand, and keep hoping to make a difference somehow, even if only to open one mind.

I am a woman and I believe in women’s rights.  I believe in women having the same rights as men to vote, to be treated and compensated fairly in the workplace.  I believe women have just as much right as a man to own property, to divorce her spouse if a marriage isn’t working, and to make her own decisions about her own body.  I believe that a woman has a right to have access to birth control and to have an abortion if she deems that is what’s right for her, just as a man has a right to have a vasectomy if he decides he does not wish to sire children.  This does not, however, mean that I don’t respect women who choose not to have an abortion.  It is every woman’s own personal decision … it is NOT the decision of legislators, governors, and Supreme Court justices – or at least it should not be.  Just because I believe in the right to an abortion does not in any way mean that I would impose my will on your body.  It should, however, work the other way too.

Respect is a two-way street.  IF you expect me to respect your rights, then you must also respect mine … that’s just the way it works.

I am also an atheist, but I am very careful to show respect for other people’s religious beliefs as long as they do not harm anyone.  The law of this land, the U.S. Constitution, provides for freedom of religion … that means you can follow Christianity, Islam, Judaism, or be an atheist … you cannot be discriminated against for it!  But, the law of the land also calls for a “wall of separation between church and state” so that no one religion can become the national religion to the exclusion of all others.  I don’t tell you where to go to church or what to believe, and I respect your right to believe as you wish, but again … it must work the other way, too.  You must, in turn, respect my right to not believe in the religious rites and rituals of any religion.

I keep asking why people are so determined to attempt to force everyone into their own mold, and I think perhaps the answer boils down to fear of the unknown or the misunderstood.  Perhaps people spend so much time living in their narrow enclaves that they do not understand the world and therefore fear it.  Fear is a powerful motivator, and unfortunately people in power, whether political heads or religious heads, know how to use fear to drive hatred.  And We the People, like a herd of cattle, allow ourselves to be driven.

In this country, it is fear of Black people, fear of Muslims, fear of LGBTQ people, that are keeping the country so divided that it is truly a tinderbox just waiting for someone to throw a lit match.  You mind if I let you in on a little secret?  I have Black friends, Muslim friends, gay friends and trans friends, Christian friends, atheist friends, agnostic friends, and Jewish friends, and I love them all … I do not fear any of them.  I respect them, their beliefs, and it is in part our differences that keep our friendships interesting!  We learn from one another!  Wouldn’t the world be a lackluster, boring place if we were all exactly the same?

We need to learn to embrace our differences, to respect others’ rights as we expect them to respect ours, and we need to learn to LIVE AND LET LIVE!!!  If we don’t, we will soon destroy ourselves, destroy the nation from within, and turn it into some dystopian society in which nobody would want to live.

Happy Mother’s Day … With Humour!

This is a reprise of my ‘Mother’s Day’ post from last year … I was considering doing a new one, but I liked this one, and especially the cartoons at the end, so I decided to reprise it a second year!  One aside … as Clive reminded me last year, Mother’s Day didn’t actually originate in the U.S., but is a throwback to the Middle Ages, however the U.S. did invent the commercialization of the day, as we have with almost everything!

Today is Mother’s Day in the U.S.  I bet you can’t tell me the name of the person who is credited with the idea for a national holiday recognizing mothers?  Well, although Julia Ward Howe inspired the first movement toward a national observance during the Civil War, her idea didn’t quite catch on – perhaps the nation was still reeling from the divisive war, casualties, deprivations and didn’t feel like celebrating anything, even their mothers!  But a half-century later, in 1905, Anna Jarvis successfully introduced the idea for a national holiday recognizing mothers.  The first observance of Mother’s Day came on May 10th, 1908, at Jarvis’ church in Grafton, West Virginia.  By 1911, the celebration was observed in most states until on May 9th, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Mother’s Day a national holiday to be held on the second Sunday of May.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2020 there were some 85 million mothers in the U.S., and in 2022 it is estimated that $31.7 billion were spent on gifts, flowers, and cards to celebrate mothers.  🙄 Leave it to the marketing industry to convince people they must spend, spend, spend, when a simple hug and an “I love you, Mom” would have sufficed.

But wait … there’s more to the story!  Jarvis’ idea was for a small, intimate occasion—a son or daughter honoring the mother they knew and loved—and not a celebration of all mothers.  But, as people are wont to do, they grabbed the proverbial ball and ran with it, turning it into a multi-billion dollar commercialized fiasco each year.  Anna Jarvis soon became disgusted as Mother’s Day almost immediately became centered on the buying and giving of printed cards, flowers, candies and other gifts.

Seeking to regain control of the holiday she founded, Jarvis began openly campaigning against those who profited from Mother’s Day, including confectioners, florists and other retailers. She launched numerous lawsuits against groups using the name Mother’s Day, and eventually spent much of her sizable inheritance on legal fees.

In 1925, when an organization called the American War Mothers used Mother’s Day as an occasion for fundraising and selling carnations, Jarvis crashed their convention in Philadelphia and was arrested for disturbing the peace. Later, she even attacked First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt for using Mother’s Day as an occasion to raise money for charity. By the 1940s, Jarvis had disowned the holiday altogether, and even actively lobbied the government to see it removed from the calendar.

Her efforts were to no avail, however, as Mother’s Day had taken on a life of its own as a commercial goldmine. Largely destitute, and unable to profit from the massively successful holiday she founded, Jarvis died in 1948 in Philadelphia’s Marshall Square Sanitarium.

In total, Mother’s Day spending exceeds $20 billion each year, according to the National Retail Foundation. In addition to the more traditional gifts (ranging from cards, flowers and candy to clothing and jewelry), one survey showed that an unprecedented 14.1 percent of gift-givers plan to buy their moms high-tech gadgets like smartphones and tablets. (Some people have more money than they have good sense, eh?)

On a personal note, I made a huge screw-up this year 😖, but I cannot tell you about it just yet, for it involves my gift to my daughter (because she is the mum now, and the best one I know!) and she sometimes reads my blog posts, but I’ll tell you later. 🙄

At any rate, to all the mothers reading this post, I wish you a Happy Mother’s Day!  And now … the ‘toonists get to have their say about the day …

What Matters

Yesterday evening I came across something on my friend Carolyn’s ‘Tuesday Thoughts’ post that stopped me in my tracks.  I said, to nobody in particular, “YES!  THAT IS SO SPOT ON!”  Just … take a little minute to think about this one, to ponder on the simplicity.  I often criticize those who have or who seek great wealth, and this … this one little meme sums it all up for me.  It reminds me of some of the wisdom of the fictional Forrest Gump.  THIS, my friends, speaks to us of what is important with very few words.  Do you agree?

Thank you, Carolyn, for permission to ‘borrow’ this one … it says so much … so very much.

Short, Angry, and To The Point

Republican House member Steve Scalise spoke about the Nashville school shooting earlier today:

“The first thing in any kind of tragedy I do is I pray. I pray for the victims. I pray for their families. I really get angry when I see people trying to politicize it for their own personal agenda, especially when we don’t even know the facts. We’ve talked about things that we can do, and it just seems like on the other side, all they want to do is take guns away from law abiding citizens, before they even know the facts. The first thing they talk about is taking guns away from law abiding citizens. And that’s not the answer, by the way. So why don’t we number one, keep those families in our prayers.”

I had not intended another post today, but after reading Mr. Scalise’s words, it’s either verbalize my frustrations here, or punch a hole in the wall!  There is so much to rebut here that I don’t know where to start.  A word of warning, this is a rant on my part and I will not mince words, nor will I apologize for what I say or how I say it.

  • You can pray until the cows come home, Mr. Scalise, but that is NOT helpful. Millions of people have been praying for decades about the severe gun problem and related deaths, yet the numbers keep rising instead of falling.  You can believe whatever the hell you wish, but don’t shove your rhetoric down MY throat.  Keep your useless prayers, take comfort if you wish in the myth that if you just pray hard enough, no more children will die.
  • “We don’t know the facts …” he says???  We know that a person bought 7 guns, took three of them into a school and murdered three children and three adults.  That’s a fact.  It’s also a fact that over 10,000 people have died by gun violence in less than three months, more than 400 of them children!   And to say that we are ‘politicizing’ it for our ‘own personal agenda’ is disgusting, offensive, and proves that Scalise is not mentally competent to serve in the United States Congress!
  • The incessant call for ‘thoughts and prayers’ by Mr. Scalise and others in Congress is naught but a sorry distraction, a sorry excuse for the fact that THEY are NOT doing their jobs!  Much easier to sit on their fat arses and mumble a few words of prayer than to go against their big donors in the NRA and pass laws that actually protect children!  Their job is to legislate in the best interest of this country.  Having more guns than people in the country, including millions of assault weapons that can mow down a crowd in under a minute is NOT in the best interest of the nation!  It is getting people killed EVERY DAMN DAY!
  • Scalise says we, the people with both brains and a conscience, want to take guns “away from law abiding citizens.” Law abiding citizens, Mr. Scalise, DO NOT purchase seven guns, as did the Nashville shooter!  Law abiding citizens DO NOT own AR-15s!  Assault weapons are purchased with only one thing in mind:  to kill humans!  You yourself were a victim of a mass shooting, and yet you foolishly refuse to even consider any form or fashion of gun regulation!  What a damn fool you are!

BAN ASSAULT WEAPONS NOW!!!  There is no other starting place … if you want your children and grandchildren to live in a safe place, then demand that your representatives and senators take action this week!  NOW!!!

Did We Move, Or Did The Scale Shift?

I don’t think most of us change our views much during the course of our lifetime.  Oh sure, as we age, as we learn new things, learn about history, about political and social ideologies, are exposed to new experiences, we may shift our viewpoints, but I don’t think we do much of a swing from the time we were young.  When I focus on young people in my ‘good people’ posts, I always have the feeling that these people, some as young as five or six years old, are going to grow up to be awesome adults with humanitarian values.  We are who we are, and while our views may shift, I don’t think the core of us changes much over time.  Cruel children grow into cruel adults, children who have compassion as children, typically grow into kind, compassionate adults.

I grew up in the 1950s, came of age in the 1960s during the Civil Rights movement, and for as long as I can remember, I’ve been appalled and disgusted by man’s inhumanity to man, by the depths of cruelty of which the human species is capable.  When I was very young, I asked questions … LOTS of questions!  Drove my parents to drink, I did!  I stopped asking questions about religion, for I figured out early on that there were no answers, but I continued to ask questions about other things, like why my best friend, whose skin just happened to be brown, couldn’t be in our family Christmas picture that would be sent to my grandmother.  She was, in my book, part of our family.  Or why certain people had to sit in one part of a restaurant while others sat in another.  I didn’t know the words ‘racism’ or ‘bigotry’, but I saw that different people were treated differently, and I didn’t like it, didn’t understand it.

So, if one must use labels, I suppose I’ve always been liberal-minded.  I don’t think that in the “land of milk and honey”, the “land of opportunity”, anybody should be homeless or have to put their children to bed hungry at night.  I think the more education we can give our young people, the better equipped they will be to deal with the challenges ahead and help make the world a better place.  And I think education through college should be affordable and available to every single person.  I think great wealth is the most useless waste of resources – resources that could be saving lives and benefitting far more people.  Those are, of course, liberal ideas, but no different than I’ve believed for all of my adult life.

However, while at one time I was just left of center in socio-political ideology, today I and my views are called “far left”.  I’ve wondered about this for some time, had a vague notion that it was the ‘right’ pushing the left further from the center, and last night I found this clip by Robert Reich that explains it perfectly and makes much sense.  Take a look … see what you think.


I’m tired, my friends, and I imagine you are too.

  • I’m tired of being told that more than 3,200 deaths by guns, including 44 mass shootings in less than 28 days is simply the ‘price of freedom’. Freedom to … WHAT?  Get shot to death at the grocery store?  To have our children killed in school?  If that’s the price of freedom, you can keep the damned freedom!
  • I’m tired of the altogether too frequent killing of people by the police … the very people we are supposed to be able to trust to protect life. The relatively few police who take the lives of primarily Black people who have done little or no wrong, have given police officers everywhere a bad name and frankly, if I see a cop in a store, I turn the other way, hoping he doesn’t even notice me.  If I see one behind me at a traffic light, my heart stops and I try so hard to look innocent that I probably look guilty!
  • I’m tired of being called a ‘Marxist’ because I believe in human rights, believe that nobody should amass huge amounts of wealth while others go to bed hungry at night, or live on the streets in cardboard boxes.
  • I’m tired of spending more than half of my monthly Social Security stipend on medications that are essential to keep me from dying, while seeing the profits of the pharma companies that manufacture those drugs skyrocket.
  • I’m tired of listening to Republican politicians threatening to cut that very same Social Security that a) I paid into all my life, and b) is not enough to support me if I lived on my own! This is a threat against the very survival of those of us over a certain age, so apparently those politicians have decided that our lives no longer add value to the world.
  • I’m tired of conspiracy theories, especially those lies told by politicians who know the truth, but find it more expeditious to their own ends to push the lies.  And I’m tired of the ignorance in the general public that allows so many everyday people to believe those lies.
  • I’m tired of companies that raise their prices for one of a variety of excuses – supply chain issues, staffing shortages, increased production costs – and then at the end of the year show a huge increase in their profits.
  • I’m tired of the bigotry that is on the rise in this country. Anti-LGBTQ sentiment, racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, misogyny … all are increasing at significant levels, thanks in part to religious ‘leaders’ who have zero tolerance for any that don’t fit their pat little images, and in part due to politicians like Ron DeSantis and others who promote the idea that ‘other’ is bad, ‘other’ is to be shunned.
  • I’m tired of a free press that keeps shoving the former guy down our throats. By now, he should have faded into obscurity to the point that if we saw a picture of him, we’d say, “Oh yeah … I remember that fat slob … what was his name again?”  But no, we have to see his picture and read every word that comes out of his lying mouth on a daily basis.
  • I’m tired, most of all, of Republican politicians in Congress who are bastards. Sorry, Keith, but that fits them to a ‘T’.  They take our hard-earned tax dollars to the tune of $174,000 and more every year, and then fail miserably to do the job for which we paid them.  They don’t legislate, they retaliate.  They don’t build, they destroy.  They don’t govern, they campaign.  Before the current 118th Congress was even seated, they were already plotting their next election campaigns.  I’m tired of our government being so divided by party that ‘party’ is the only thing that matters, not people.
  • I’m tired of feeling helpless to change any of the things I’m tired of. I’m tired of being ashamed of this country I’ve lived in for almost 72 years now, tired of wishing I were almost anywhere but here.  My vote is my voice, but it is a very small voice, made even smaller with such tactics as gerrymandering that dilute my voice.

I could probably think of more, but … I’m tired of writing for tonight, so I think I’ll go read for a while now.

More Questions Than Answers

This man, Tyre Nichols …

… is dead.  He died at the hands of police officers who used excessive force at a routine traffic stop on January 7th.

All five of the officers were charged on seven counts yesterday:  one count of second-degree murder, two counts of aggravated kidnapping, two counts of official misconduct, one count of official oppression and one count of aggravated assault while acting in concert.

My initial thought was that here we go again, white cops killing an unarmed Black man.  And then … I saw the picture of the five officers and … my jaw dropped.

Clockwise from top left: Officers Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Justin Smith, and Desmond Mills Jr.Credit…Memphis Police Department, via Associated Press

I’m not proud of the fact that I automatically jumped to a conclusion about the colour of the officers’ skin … what does that say about my own prejudices?  A topic I shall need to ponder on in a bit.

Meanwhile, I don’t know much about the incident, but I have questions.  Why were five officers involved in a single traffic stop?  I’ve been stopped before, but never by more than one or two officers.  It is said that they pulled him over in suspicion of reckless driving, there was a skirmish, the police used pepper spray, and Mr. Nichols left the vehicle and ran.  The officers caught up with him and beat him so severely that he died three days later.  What caused five supposedly well-trained police officers to severely beat a man … any man? There is video … presumably body-cam footage … that will be released sometime after 6:00 p.m. tonight.

Why the delay, you ask?  Because of the near certainty that once the public sees what has been said to be horrifying, shocking video, protests are expected, so the timing is critical … Friday night, when most people have left work and are home, safe & sound for the weekend.  Not only Memphis, but the entire nation seems to be braced for a huge public backlash.  Officials are telling people that it’s fine to exercise their right to protest, but to please do so peacefully.  Everyone from Nichols’ own mother to President Biden is calling for peaceful protest …

“As Americans grieve, the Department of Justice conducts its investigation, and state authorities continue their work, I join Tyre’s family in calling for peaceful protest. Outrage is understandable, but violence is never acceptable.  Violence is destructive and against the law.  It has no place in peaceful protests seeking justice.”

In the coming weeks, questions will be answered in this most puzzling, tragic case.  Meanwhile, I hope that protests are peaceful, but I won’t be surprised if they are not.  People seem not to have learned that you cannot fight violence with violence.  I hope people will remember what Dr. Martin Luther King said …

“Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars … Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

♫ Get Off Of My Cloud ♫

I’ve only posted this one once, in August 2019.  It’s more … loud … than my usual fare, but tonight I’m angry, I’m hurt, I’m in the mood for loud and raucous … I want people off of my damned cloud!  I want mass shootings stopped, I want guns all destroyed, I want war banned, I want … I want … I want peace.  I want radicals, bigots, and greedy, arrogant people off my damned cloud.

I’ve been doing music posts long enough that you all know by now this song is not my normal style.  I only vaguely remember loving the Rolling Stones, but I don’t think it was their music that was the draw as much as it was Keith Richards’ … er … um … cuteness?  Hey, gimme a break … I was 14 years old and just discovering that boys were good for something other than playing football & baseball with!

At any rate … moving along …

This song, released in 1965, was the Stones’ follow up to their #1 hit, Satisfaction.  According to co-writer Keith Richards …

“‘Get Off My Cloud’ was basically a response to people knocking on our door asking us for the follow up to ‘Satisfaction,’ which was such an enormous hit worldwide. This, to us, was mind-blowing. I mean not only was it a #1 record but, boom! We thought, ‘At last. We can sit back and maybe think about events.’ Suddenly there’s the knock at the door and of course what came out of that was ‘Get Off Of My Cloud.’ Because within three weeks, in those days hey, they want another single. And we weren’t quite ready for that. So it was our response to the knock at the door: Get off of my cloud. And I’m surprised that it did so well. I mean it has a certain charm but I really remember it as a knee-jerk reaction. And it came out better than I thought.”

And from the other co-writer, Mick Jagger …

“That was Keith’s melody and my lyrics. It’s a stop-bugging-me, post-teenage-alienation song. The grown-up world was a very ordered society in the ’60s, and I was coming out of it. America was even more ordered than anywhere else. I found it was a very restrictive society in thought and behavior and dress.”

The song has energy … I’ll say that about it.  Today, it wouldn’t be a favourite of mine.  And yet … as I was tidying the kitchen this evening, it just popped into my head.  And so …

Get Off Of My Cloud
The Rolling Stones

I live in an apartment on the ninety-ninth floor of my block
And I sit at home looking out the window
Imagining the world has stopped
Then in flies a guy who’s all dressed up just like a Union Jack
And says, “I’ve won five pounds if I have his kind of detergent pack”

I says, “hey, you, get off of my cloud
Hey, you, get off of my cloud
Hey, you, get off of my cloud
Don’t hang around ’cause two’s a crowd
On my cloud, baby”

The telephone is ringing
I say, “hi, it’s me, who is there on the line?”
A voice says, “hi, hello, how are you?”
“Well, I guess I’m doin’ fine”
He says, “it’s three a.m., there’s too much noise
Don’t you people ever want to go to bed?
Just ’cause you feel so good
Do you have to drive me out of my head?”

I says, “hey, you, get off of my cloud
Hey, you, get off of my cloud
Hey, you, get off of my cloud
Don’t hang around ’cause two’s a crowd
On my cloud, baby, yeah”

I was sick and tired, fed up with this
And decided to take a drive downtown
It was so very quiet and peaceful
There was nobody, not a soul around
I laid myself out, I was so tired
And I started to dream
In the morning the parking tickets were just
Like a flag stuck on my window screen

I says, “hey, you, get off of my cloud
Hey, you, get off of my cloud
Hey, you, get off of my cloud
Don’t hang around ’cause two’s a crowd
On my cloud, baby”

“Hey, you, get off of my cloud
Hey, you, get off of my cloud
Hey, you, get off of my cloud
Don’t hang around ’cause two’s a crowd
On my cloud, hey, you

Songwriters: Keith Richards / Mick Jagger
Get Off Of My Cloud lyrics © Abkco Music, Inc


As I take a quick glance through the news, here are just a few of the stories I see …

  • Bill would ban use of certain personal pronouns in ND. The bill has since been rejected, but it would have allowed fines of up to $1,500 for a trans person referring to themselves or others with gender pronouns different from the ones they were assigned at birth.
  • Indiana GOP Introduces Two “Don’t Say Gay” Bills. These bills would prohibit all Indiana schools and their third-party vendors from providing any instruction in kindergarten through third grades with the intent to “study, explore, or inform” students about six topics: gender fluidity, gender roles, gender stereotypes, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation.
  • Illinois Judge Blocks Ban On Sales Of Assault Weapons. An Illinois state judge temporarily blocked the state’s assault weapons ban, signed into law on January 10th, that would prohibit the sale and distribution of assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and parts that convert handguns into assault weapons.
  • FL Defends Ban On African-American History Course. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis attempts to justify his ban on the teaching of African-American history.
  • TX Youth Pastor Arrested In Mass Sex Trafficking Bust. Self-explanatory
  • AZ Senate Advances Anti-Trans Pronouns School Bill. More of the same.
  • WI Catholic School Teacher Gets 6 Years For Child Sex. Self-explanatory

And there’s more, but you get the picture.  More and more with each passing week, I wonder what kind of world we are living in.  How did we get to this point where guns are more highly valued than humans, where skin colour and gender identity matter more than intelligence or compassion, where sexual abuse by those in the most trusted positions is now the norm?

America, the land of opportunity, land of freedom, a nation that opens its arms to refugees in need of a new homeland.  The country where, as I was often told when I was a child, you can be anything you want if you work hard.  A land of justice and equality.  I have trouble equating that land to the one I see today.  Was that ever the reality, or was it always a myth?

As children, my generation were told so many lies … we were taught that the first European settlers made nice with the Indigenous People, when the fact is those settlers committed genocide against them.  And today?  There is a growing movement to hide the facts from the days of slavery, and later Jim Crow, where in one sense Black people were still enslaved.  We manufacture lethal weapons by the thousands, even ones made especially for children.  We teach our children to hate, and label it ‘Christianity.’ We hide the reality that not everyone is exactly the same. We build walls to keep people out, rather than bridges to welcome them.

Lee Greenwood famously sang a song, Proud to be an American.  Once upon a time, I would have agreed, but not today.