Signs

img_0320On Wednesday, March 8th we’ll celebrate  International Women’s Day. It’s been  around since 1913, but seems to have taken on new relevance during the last few months. Many who previously have been complacent are no longer sitting back.

Women proudly and courageously are stepping forward to take the lead in sending out a message loud and clear about what we want our world to be. Anyone who watches television, reads the newspapers, spends time on Facebook, in the blogosphere and all of the other social media sites realize what is happening. Women are calling for, demanding, a world without bigotry, bullying, intimidation, excessive greed, and, most of all, one in which blatant lying and ignorance is recognized when it appears center stage decked out in all its ugly rhetoric.

In February, I was in Wickford  for an exhibit of Pop Up Art from the Women’s Marches that have been taking place all over this country.  Included in the exhibit were sculptures, posters, prints, banners and photographs expressing many of the thoughts on all of our minds during this time of upheaval.

As I walked around the room, studying each piece, I began to formulate my own personal message – message I’d like to share in order to open up a discussion.  It centers around what is at the bottom of much of the selfishness, the callousness, the cruelty that has been unleashed since the malignant narcissist has taken office. It concerns the hateful acts  perpetrated on vulnerable people during the last few months since the new administration has taken charge. It’s about a pernicious malignancy that has lain deep inside our own culture for as long as I can remember.

My message concerns boys and their toys. You see, I believe the real danger here in the USA is not from immigrants, refuges, or foreigners. The real danger to this country comes from within. It comes from our own home-grown terrorists. It comes from the angry, young boys with weapons who grow into those angry men with weapons placed easily at their disposal.

I’m referring to the countless guns and weapons used for play andimg_0328 used to kill innocent children; to murder people at prayer, kids in school, workers in public buildings, people in movie theaters and nightclubs. I’m talking about the toys and pass times such as the violent, misogynistic video games; the flashy pimped-out vehicles, the roaring “look-at-me I’m a big man” motorcycles,  the beat-up, exhaust-belching trucks  used to intimidate with their road rage.

And I’m throwing in, for good measure, the corporate jets that carry grown boys on their international quest to build, to destruct, to make the connections that help them accumulate the wealth they suck into the vacuum that is their ever-growing piggy banks. In doing so, they’ve  left the middle class depleted and have created a growing class of economically disadvantaged families steeped in a dark poverty that falsely promises everyone a 1% American Dream regular citizens never will attain.

What is this country doing so wrong that results in the unleashing of these angry, selfish young men with their toys and their lack of empathy; their disdain, their hatred? We, as a people, need to spend more time trying to solve this growing problem rather than simply believing that keeping foreigners out will make America safe again. Keeping foreigners out will only keep them safe from the home-grown terrorists we are creating within our  own borders.

I feel women must be the ones to help craft a solution. Mothers, sisters, girlfriends, cousins, daughters, wives. We could begin by not allowing  ourselves to become accomplices in all of the detritus surrounding each act of unkindness.  And our message must be direct and clearly articulated:

We are not your toys. We are not your Barbie dolls – the accessories you dress up to wear on your arms to complement your Italian designer suits. img_0326We are not  little puppets mouthing your limited thoughts, your self-absorbed ideas, your ridiculous rhetoric.  Not your marionettes. You cannot pull strings to make us dance to your dissonant tunes. They are not our songs – not our notes, not our music.

We are not your trinkets –  to be used, abused, grabbed, groped, intimidated, fondled, insulted, broken and humiliated – to be cast off for the shinier, newer baubles you covet.

And finally, we are not your cohorts who will stand by in silence while you hurt others.  

We expect our boys and men to do the right thing. Tell the truth. Make the right choices. Use strength to protect the vulnerable. Practice acts of kindness. Acts of sacrifice. Acts of heroism.  These are the outward signs of compassion and strength. These are the behaviors that will make us proud to stand with them. 

If the women who surround our mis-guided leaders would embrace these ideas and express them to their men, together we could make sure this world does not end up being a segregated playground, an exclusive tree house. “Girls not allowed.”  “Women not welcomed”.

Those signs are being torn down everywhere as I write this. They are being torn down by the women and the men who encourage,  respect and support them – the fathers, brothers, husbands, sons, nephews and friends who are not threatened by the thought of a gender-equal society. They are the men who do not espouse the ideals of the New American Dream: “He with the most toys reigns supreme”.

They are real men who do not need superficial toys and games to create a facade of potency. They are the dignified adults setting positive examples to counter the childishness we are all now being subject to daily by the buffoon in charge and his giggling little buddies.

New signs are being raised up every day to take the place of those old, misogynistic messages too long hanging out there.

A backlash to the greed, ignorance and hatred has been unleashed. Thatimg_0314 is the one good thing to come of this awful chaos of hopelessness trying to engulf not just our country, but our world.

Our leaders have let us down. They’ve taken us to the bottom of an abyss and many regular citizens are finally realizing it’s up to us to do something to create that better world where our children can find sanctuary from fear and want, since it is now blatantly evident those leaders have no intention of placing this as a priority on their self-absorbed agendas.

On January 21st when women of every color and creed  marched together, all over the world, please understand – they knew full-well the importance of what they were marching for – a  world that truly is great and safe for all human beings.

United, they were telling their daughters they no longer have to sacrifice their principles; they don’t need to live to please. They do not have to drape themselves over the arm or to  clutch at the coat tails of any man to be financially secure or to attain their goals. They were telling their daughters that they could be anything they strove and worked hard to become.

Even more importantly, these women were sending a personal message loud and clear to their sons:

We expect so much more of you than we see in the orange-faced buffoon who masquerades as a man, but is really just a spoiled, little boy who lies, bullies, throws tantrums and doesn’t want to share his toys.

We have a responsibility to bring our children up to respect and care for other people. We need to start a discussion on the serious problem within our own society that  gives rise to the donalds. We need to understand what it is in our culture that spews forth the Dylan Klebolds, the Eric Harris’s, the Adam Lanzas, the Timothy Mcveighs, the Dylan Roofs – middle-class, white males born and educated right here in this country. Angry, young men outfitted with high-powered guns and home-made bombs.

Pretending that the danger lies within the immigrant population is ludicrous. Those children do not come into this nation eager to kill. Their parents do not espouse terrorist views. Those boys are radicalized right here in this country.

“We have met the enemy and it is us.” (Walt Kelly, 1970 in Pogo).

So, what are we going to do about it? Wednesday, March 8th, is our day. But 2017 is our year. And if we get this right, if we persist, it could be a year everyone remembers for the good it did in making this country better,  stronger and kinder. Perhaps, even an Equal Rights Amendment could be on the horizon? Now, there’s an idea – Equal Rights! Gender Equality!

Give thinks!

Wishing you all a peaceful week.

 

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83 thoughts on “Signs

    1. We were in Washington, DC last week working on making sure funding for Cancer research was not cut.It certainly is a strange place filled with interesting characters. You’d think someone could take care of the buffoon once and for all. If they hadn’t let him get in in the first place, we wouldn’t have to be working so hard to get him out! Very turbulent, indeed. We need a Kate Shepard here and now!

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    1. Thanks, Kate. I think the momentum is there and women are not going to allow ourselves to go backwards. We’ll be seeing more concerned men and women running for office and that should set us on the right course. Because right now we are truly adrift on uncalm seas.

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      1. Fans that don’t read and only listen to talk radio and watch Fox News. They are among the brainwashed element. Then there are the very rich who will make out quite well as long as he is in DC. And we need to keep in mind that he became quite a cause celeb with his “Apprentice” show in some parts of the US, so there is that. And then there are the poor souls looking desperately for change and clinging to the hope that he would be their saviors. They bought his lies hook, line and sinker. And of course, there is that darker element I alluded to in my post – the haters. And I will end my personal review of his fans there. Such is our diverse country.

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    1. Bernadette, When I listened to him announce he was setting up regulations to protect us from the killing by illegal immigrants and then the next day in one pen stroke, take back all that had born done for gun control by the parents of those babies in Newtown, I wept.

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    1. Thanks. I will not do many political posts in the future but March is a month that had to be started with a few words about our current situation. Plus, we were steeped in politics last week while we were in DC. I’ll write about that in my next post.

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      1. I promise to make it a very optimistic piece on a very serious subject. We were there to advocate for prostate cancer funding. It was quite a positive experience that taught me much about dealing with political issues in a time of turmoil. Thanks!

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  1. Such a though-provoking post, Clare. Thank you. And thanks for sharing so many wonderful images. I have been thinking that if we are ever going to change direction and start embracing equality, acceptance, non-violence, and, yes, kindness, it will be a women’s crusade. Not that men cannot participate, but women need to claim our power and use it. Sadly, there are still many women who feel neither complete nor adequate unless they have a man, and to get/keep him they often surrender their autonomy, their independence, and their ability to reason. As we address the problem of boys and their toys, we also need to assure that we are raising girls to understand that they are whole just as they are, they are equal and powerful…and that they can change the world. Thanks for stating it so well! Happy International Women’s Day!

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    1. Donna, I love my liberated husband dearly and some of my best friends are wonderful, caring men, but I’m convinced the only way to move in the right direction is through getting more women involved in politics. We just don’t have enough voice, yet to counter some of the macho crap that pushes its way into and permeates everything.

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  2. Wonderful post. I still am truly dumbfounded as to how this craziness occurred and every morning I eagerly look to see if something wonderful has happened and it is over. No luck yet, in fact it seems to be getting even more crazy. I pray.

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    1. Hello, Shiva. I am glad to have met you, too, as you are one of those supportive men I refer to. As we talk about the dangers to our society, we must focus on solving the real dangers, not the fear-mongering, manufactured ones. Thank you for visiting me. I’ll see you very soon. Clare

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      1. Thanks Maam for your encouraging words. I always feel to contribute something to the work of fellow blogger friends; let it even be by just commenting.
        I am happy for your visit to my posts.
        I only feel if you had the time to express your opinion on my thoughts and work.
        Thanks
        Shiva

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      2. Your thoughts are kind and thought-provoking, Shiva. I am hesitatant to critique or comment on other’s writings, especially poetry. Poems are a poet’s children. They are such personal pieces, filled with feelings. I always fear that I may misinterpret or say the wrong thing and I would never want to hurt anyone in that way.

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      3. I understand the feelings you have for the feelings of the poets.
        But I definitely feel you would never ever hurt anyone. Anything when said sincerely with the effort to make know for the good shall be always welcome.
        I would always welcome it with open arms and open heart.
        Thanks
        Shiva😃

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      4. This feeling of yours Clare, has made me more than being the President, rather, I am feeling on Top of the World.
        Thanks for being to be My Team.
        It makes me to tell you about my Novel that is in my Head. I cannot express the story here, which you would love to hear it. If you were in person I would have loved to tell you. It is something about being an Emperor. I do not know if it shall come in print or it shall go with me in the sands. Let destiny decide. Haha…
        Shiva

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      5. Shiva, you definitely should start putting your idea on paper (or computer). Then you can work on them to see if they grow into the novel you imagine. And it is always good to write, because it clarifies what you are thinking. I believe everyone has a grand story within them.

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      6. Maam today is International Women’s Day and I wish You the Best on this Day.
        Women are the one to be respected the most, even more than Men.
        There are so many reasons I could elaborate but I know that you know it all.
        Fond Regards
        Shiva

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      7. Oh! Claremary, Yes! My Mother is not only amazing but is the most Beautiful woman by looks and so also by heart. Today morning I told her about it and that you have invited me to come to US and that you would be in my team, She was so happy and she gave heartfelt smiles.
        You can see her young in one of the photos of My Interview with Jacqueline, in which I am in my Pops’ arms when I was just nine months old. Please visit Jacqueline’s post for that, the link is mentioned in my post.
        I am so happy of this comment, I shall always keep this in my pocket for reference to my own self.
        In this context let me tell you that YOU are one of those Most Beautiful Women I have come across in my Life, I mean by Looks and by Heart.
        Rare and the Rarest
        Amen!
        Shiva

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      8. Shiva, I read your interview with Jacqueline and saw the beautiful photo of you as a baby. Jacqueline is a fine person and she attracts good people like you to her blog. I have followed her for a few years, now. Thank you for your very kind words and I am happy that you are smiling today because of my words. Your friend, Clare
        (Yes, your mother is truly lovely.)

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      9. I really very happy today Clare! Your words have touched my Heart. Thanks
        Yes Jacqueline is one who works hard to make all happy.
        Thanks again for reading my interview and the compliments for my Mother.
        Your friend Shiva

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  3. What an excellent post, Clare, which deserves to be read widely everywhere.
    I believe more Americans are killed by Americans than by extremists/terrorists coming into the country.
    I loved some of the posters you showed, especially the woman saying she is too old to protest all this shit (bit like how I feel sometimes) and the one saying she’s so angry she stitched the banner so she could stab something 1000 times.
    On a slightly more positive note, another blogger friend posted some adverts which would not be allowed to day and they made me realise we have made some progress. Here’s the link: https://nutsrok.wordpress.com/2017/03/01/vintage-ads-that-wouldnt-sell-now/comment-page-1/#comment-35157 My mother would have probably seen those ads as normal!

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    1. Good morning, Mary. Thank you. Yes, the statistics to back this are staggering and yet, we cannot get anywhere with gun control because of the money behind and the lobbying of our National Rifle Association. Boys and their Toys to the Nth degree!
      Those posters were my two favorites! The one about being “too old for this shit” was done by a ninety-four year-old woman and I couldn’t say it better. Having marched in the 60’s and 70’s, I’d hoped Americans would have evolved a bit over the years???? But, many are still pursuing that “American Dream” of accumulating things as opposed to fixing things.
      I’m checking that link right now. And then I’m going to take a needle and stab at a pin cushion for a while. Thanks! Clare

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    1. Hello, Lucy! I just returned from a few days in our Capitol, so I haven’t been a very good friend lately. I’m sorry. I’m way behind in writing posts and even farther behind in visiting and reading. I will try to do better this month. My next post will be very optimistic, as it will be on our trip to DC to advocate for the funding of cancer research. And then Roxie wants to write about parrots. Yes, Polly want a cracker, parrots! I’ll stop by to visit soon. Love, Ethel

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      1. Hi Ethel, you are a wonderful friend!! Never say that again! I have no home internet, so I’m not visiting any either.
        😦 Yay!! I wanna hear all about the trip to DC! And of course, I always want to hear whatever Precious Roxie has to say!!
        Love, Lucy

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  4. One of the most outstanding and significant posts I’ve read. There can be no just future without equality for all. And if we don’t have equality, the future is bleak.

    Sadly, in addition to some men who remain ignorant, there are also some women who have not learned these lessons.

    Well done, Clare, a message for everyone.

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    1. Sharon, I totally agree. If we could just move those women to use their influence on their males partners, rather than stand by like little Stepford wives, so much more could be accomplished. We’ve seen how many men have evolved and try understand women’s issues. Now, we have to work on those women to see the light. I’m going to your blog after this to catch up on the latest book titles. I wish I had more time to read right now, but writing and editing have seemed to take over my days. I am finishing reading Gloria Steinem’s “My Life on the Road”. I intend to buy a few copies to give to some people who have no idea what feminism is really about. Take care and I’ll be by soon. Clare

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  5. An excellent post. Of course, you would guess that I would be not just on page with you but line by line word by word step-rhyme with you all the way. I need say no more. I am delighted by what you have written and cannot do more than shout loud from over here that you have every sane European woman on side with you in all you say, of that I am totally sure. Gros bisous a toi 🤗

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    1. You know, Osyth, I almost didn’t publish this post. I am really not comfortable putting my intense political views in writing. I can have discussions about them with friends, but writing them down and seeing them in print seems preachy and does not really lend itself to a debate by those who feel very differently. Although there are statistics to back my words, it still seems that I am imposing my personal views on readers. I just never thought this blog would be dealing with such issues. But on the other hand, I hate to think that readers from other countries are not aware of how many of us middle-class Americans are feeling right now. And so I write about topics far a field from my children’s stories with happy endings and my mystery, that seems to be taking so long to be published.
      I hope all is well on your side of the pond. Roxie is very anxious to write her next post, but she must take a back seat for at least another week, as I have one to write about Charley and my experiences last week in Washington. Take care. Love, Clare

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      1. I know how you feel. Of course one tries to stay away from politics and religion and all those well-warned (rather than well-worn) paths BUT all rules have to have exceptions. I do not comment on US politics for the sole reason that I do not think, despite the great influence the USA has on my world, that it is my place to make commentary. I do, however, comment on the British situation because, despite the fact that I will never live there again in all probability and I will take citizenship in whichever of the two countries 🇫🇷 or 🇺🇸 we finally end up which will be dictated our personal situation at the time of my husband’s retirement, I feel that being a British Subject gives me some right to a voice. You used yours powerfully and passionately today and I do not think anyone can possibly knock you for expressing your views so eloquently on what is, after all, your blog. Tell Roxie patience is a virtue. Second thoughts, don’t … I’m not sure virtue is appealing to that kitty 😉 xx

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      2. Thank you, Osyth. I think many of my followers read my political posts and choose not to comment for that same reason, but I am open to all views – just not the haters. At this moment, Roxie is still punishing us for leaving her alone with ZuZu last week. I’ve been indulging her with cat videos, as Maru seems to have a quieting effect on her. ZuZu is just glad to have us back and rolls over on our laps to get her belly scratched whenever we sit down. This annoys “The Queen” to no end, as she finds that kind of behavior in a cat uncouth.

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      3. Oh Roxie … ye of little tolerance and such lofty opinions, do make me smile! Keep doing what you do, Clare …. you are one very talented woman and I am proud to know you 😊

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  6. Well said. Thank you for this post. You make a good suggestion about how women could react, and ask a keen question about what is producing these angry, raging, disdainful young men. Both are key at this time.

    I suspect that many young white men expected to have a loftier place in the modern world, and are angry that others who were previously deemed inferior are moving up through education and enterprise. I also suspect their feeling of displacement, in a time when well-paying jobs are not readily available, has left them feeling less important and very vulnerable. They need education and help, not rage, but they were encouraged by the new president to be enraged.

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  7. Great post. I was at the Women’s March in St. Louis in January and this made me reflect on some of the signs I saw. I loved that a bunch of men were with their daughters and wives with “This is what a feminist looks like” shirts and signs.
    Some of my favorite signs were “Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s none of your business!” and “I’ve seen better qualified cabinets at IKEA!” 😉

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  8. Clare, this is a powerful piece of writing which any reader will be better for reading. Thank you. I especially applaud the paragraph beginning: ‘We are not your toys. We are not your Barbie dolls – the accessories you dress up to wear on your arms …’ so fitting for International Women’s Day but which applies everyday.
    I have forwarded to others who are not bloggers but who, I know, will appreciate the way you have articulated the feelings of people, especially women, around the world – because we are ALL affected by this presidency one way or another.

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    1. Robyn, Here in the US there are women everywhere who understand the effect this buffoon is having on the whole world. We are embarrassed to think this guy represents Americans around the world. Ugly American to the Nth Degree. Thank you for sharing my thoughts with others. I had written the post weeks ago, but thought it might be too strong to publish. But after last week in our Capitol, and then after those Saturday tweets about our past President, and with International Women’s Day coming up, I didn’t think it was too strong at all.

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    1. I just watched of video of hundreds of women in Goteborg, Sweden singing in the streets with their pink hats on. They sang as loud as they could sending a message to us here in the USA chanting over and over “I can’t keep quiet” in beautiful harmony. Women all over the world are not going to let this buffoon and his buddies ruin the USA.

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  9. Great post, Clare. So thoughtful, well constructed and beautifully written. The underlying problem you have identified is deeply entrenched in your country and I hope the growing movement against it is successful. But it’s going to be a very hard task! We boys here have our toys and our prejudices too, but what we don’t have is easy access to weapons to facilitate a violent ‘solution’ to any problems we see in society. I wrote a post last year after Orlando, in which I expressed my amazement that you don’t have tighter control over gun ownership. Sadly, there are too many vested interests there to make that likely, but removing the toys of death would bring major benefits, like it has here.

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      1. It’s something so inherently wrong and most countries are puzzled by it. Just look at the stats: no Americans killed by people from the Muslim ban countries, more than 11,000 killed by other Americans. Money talks. Sad.

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