Write with a purpose. Get out the vote.

Some of us are better writers than we are speakers. That includes me.

I meant well when I signed up to help with a Sierra Club Get Out the Vote effort by making phone calls. Before the 30-minute training was over, I realized my time would be better spent writing GOTV letters.

So that’s what I’m doing. I’m way better at it.

This is one of those times when writers and other artists do well to examine how they can make the best use of their skills.

Write with a purpose. Get out the vote.

If you can talk and write, know that there’s an urgent need to call people to encourage them to vote and tell them why you think it’s important. Not so good on the phone? Sign up to write letters or texts.

The reasons to vote are many and my guess is you’re aware of them. One that should be especially important to writers right now is the First Amendment.

Whether you write or edit news, nonfiction, sci-fi, fantasy or some other genre – or if you express yourself through photography, visual arts, performing arts – your right to do that is under attack to an extreme we have not seen in the United States in a long time.

Exercise your rights. Write with a purpose. GOTV.

B.J.

Violent crime is higher in some places? No shit, Vince.

By the time the Denver Post landed on my driveway* this morning, Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca’s plan to replace policing with peacekeeping in Denver had already been thoroughly rejected by the city council.

That surprised no one. Still, columnist Vincent Carroll belittled the plan as “half-baked” and used nearly 800 words to explain some but not all of the disparities in arrest rates between the Black and White communities.

Pixabay image

He graciously gave us all permission to “dismiss the arrest statistics as additional evidence of racial bias,” so feel free to have at it. Here’s the column.

Carroll also felt compelled to tell us, while explaining some but not all of the aforementioned disparities, “The violent crime rate really is higher in some communities.”

No shit, Vince. It is what it is, you might as well have written.

That is not a reason to reject out of hand the very idea of rethinking and even replacing failed, seriously flawed police forces. Stop apologizing and excusing and start to think a little harder about the root causes of these life-and-death issues and how to deal with them.

Feel free to start with this concept:

When the pot of water starts to boil over, you don’t turn up the heat. You turn it down.


*We canceled our home delivery subscription a couple of months ago and went digital-only. The newspaper mysteriously began showing up here again a week or so ago, quickly followed by two unauthorized withdrawals from our checking account totaling just shy of $100. Repeated calls and complaints have yet to resolve the issue or get us a refund.

That time I tried to meditate

This morning I returned home from a routine visit to the doctor determined to keep an open mind about his suggestion that I try some meditation. That he might recommend this at some point was no surprise; I caught a glimpse of the prayer flags in his office the first time I saw him a few years ago.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

I decided to give it a try on my lunch break. As he said, guided meditations are easy to find on YouTube and elsewhere. I got down to business, found a short video, and decided I could easily spare five minutes.

Nearly every second of that time, one of the first few words the guy’s soothing voice said ran through my brain, again and again and again.

Thank you for gifting yourself these next few minutes.

This was not relaxing. I want those five minutes back, dammit.

I grudgingly admit that people have used “gift” as a verb for a long time, but I’m one of the people Merriam-Webster mentions here. It was good to see I’m not alone, but I do imagine I should probably go meditate some more.

Take it easy, my friends.

B.J.

What can a white guy do?

You want to do something to support people who are out protesting police brutality and other manifestations of racism, but you don’t know what to do.

You are far from alone.

Since I don’t have the answers, I’m passing along something a colleague shared this morning. Maybe you will find it useful.

FOR OUR WHITE FRIENDS DESIRING TO BE ALLIES

B.J.

Not all died for freedom

Image by luxstorm from Pixabay

On this Memorial Day, as we remember and honor the men and women who fought and died in wars to preserve our freedom, we also remember and honor those who fought and died in our other wars. We often forget on days like this that not all wars are just, which makes lost lives all the more tragic.

Despite the idiotic “Happy Memorial Day!” tweet by our impeached president, ads touting special Memorial Day sales on nearly everything, fun cookouts and other shallowness and joy at having a day off from work, this is not a day of celebration. It is a day to commemorate loss, bravery and sacrifice. It is an observance.

I wish you all a peaceful day of reflection.

B.J.