After work and before going to an evening asana class, I joined in at the People’s Filibuster on the looming tax bill. Speaking were a mixture of dedicated elected officials and people of the cloth. Several of the latter were arrested today for reading the Bible out loud inside the Capitol–perhaps because instead of reading the passages that support ill treatment of women and those who don’t follow a traditional heterosexual mold, they were reading the passages about how Christ advocated treating the poor and the sick.
The crowd chanted “kill the bill” and “not one penny,” but it had the resonance of gospel or kirtan.
Have you called your elected officials (or sent a postcard)? Do you have friends or family you can get out to vote? How are you going to use your voice to further spirit?
To be a tantrica does not mean wild and indifferent sensual indulgence. On the contrary, it means fully engaging in all of life. A tantric life is one in which everything one does–work, family, relationship, consumption, citizenship–is steadily and progressively more informed by the teachings of yoga and infused with the fruits of the practices. A key aspect of participating fully in the life of a householder in a democracy is to educate oneself about politics and to participate. Please vote. Here’s a short video from the ACLU that you might want to watch and pass along to your friends and family.
How do you react when you see signs of neglect, disinterest, disregard for the health and well-being of the earth and other beings? Do you get stuck in a sense of helplessness or rage? Do you think we’re all screwed anyway and decide no effort to make things better is worth it? Are you moved to political action? Are you moved to take better care of self, family, and friends, even if you think you cannot make much of a greater impact beyond your intimate circle? Can you remain engaged and still find joy, whatever the apparent immediate results and how hard the battle seems to be?
The Bhagavad Gita, says that to live a life of yoga, we must do the last of these. The first teaching from the Bhagavad Gita on this point is that we must live in accordance with our dharma (duty). The second teaching, and more important for having peace of mind in a life of duty, is that of “actionless action.” The true yoga is to live a life of action in accordance with dharma, but without attachment to the outcome (i.e., live in an orderly way, accepting the tendency of the universe to be chaotic).
Dharma in the Bhagavad Gita, of course, contemplated rigid roles in terms of livelihood and place in society. In the paradigm of citizenship in a democracy that does not so narrowly circumscribe one’s livelihood or place in society, I wcould argue that it is all of our dharma to participate as a citizen, voting, speaking out for our beliefs, and otherwise using the freedom we have to live a life that best supports the twins of individual and common good, including not just human good, but the whole ecology in which we exist. The actionless action part is to keep seeking (without despairing) to make things more in alignment even if the forces against healing, nurture, and alignment seem to conspire against positive results that we will see or actualize ourselves.
Are you registered to vote? Have you watered your trees? Casey Trees reminds us that this week in DC is dry; trees need about 25 gallons of water or 1 1/2 inches.
My friend J.E. forwarded this email from her friend Kathy O., inviting me to share this with every woman I know. This remembrance felt in kindred spirit with my honoring the Day of the Dead.
This is the story of our Mothers and Grandmothers who lived only 90 years ago.
Remember, it was not until 1920 that women were granted the right to go to the polls and vote.
The women were innocent and defenseless, but they were jailed nonetheless for picketing the White House, carrying signs asking for the vote.
And by the end of the night, they were barely alive. Forty prison guards wielding clubs and their warden’s blessing went on a rampage against the 33 women wrongly convicted of ‘obstructing
They beat Lucy Burns, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air.
They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed and knocked her out cold. Her cellmate, Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack. Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging, beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting and kicking the women.
Thus unfolded the ‘Night of Terror’ on Nov. 15, 1917, when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned there because they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson’s White House for the right to vote. For weeks, the women’s only water came from an open pail. Their food–all of it colorless slop–was infested with worms.
When one of the leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on a hunger strike, they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat and poured liquid into her until she vomited. She was tortured like this for weeks until word was smuggled out to the press.
So, refresh my memory. Some women won’t vote this year because — -why, exactly? We have carpool duties? We have to get to work? Our vote doesn’t matter? It’s raining?
(Mrs. Pauline Adams in the prison garb she wore while serving a sixty-day sentence.)
Last week, I went to a sparsely attended screening of HBO’s new movie ‘Iron Jawed Angels.’ It is a graphic depiction of the battle these women waged so that I could pull the curtain at the polling booth and have my say. I am ashamed to say I needed the reminder.
(Miss Edith Ainge, of Jamestown , New York )
All these years later, voter registration is still my passion. But the actual act of voting had become less personal for me, more rote. Frankly, voting often felt more like an obligation than a privilege. Sometimes it was inconvenient.
(Berthe Arnold, CSU graduate)
My friend Wendy, who is my age and studied women’s history, saw the HBO movie, too. When she stopped by my desk to talk about it, she looked angry. She was–with herself. ‘One thought kept coming back to me as I watched that movie,’ she said. ‘What would those women think of the way I use, or don’t use, my right to vote? All of us take it for granted now, not just younger women, but those of us who did seek to learn.’ The right to vote, she said, had become valuable to her ‘all over again.’
HBO released the movie on video and DVD . I wish all history, social studies and government teachers would include the movie in their curriculum. I want it shown on Bunco night, too, and anywhere else women gather. I realize this isn’t our usual idea of
socializing, but we are not voting in the numbers that we should be, and I think a little shock therapy is in order.
(Conferring over ratification [of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution] at [National Woman’s Party]
headquarters, Jackson Pl [ace] [ Washington , D.C. ]. L-R Mrs. Lawrence Lewis, Mrs. Abby Scott Baker, Anita Pollitzer, Alice Paul, Florence Boeckel, Mabel Vernon (standing, right))
It is jarring to watch Woodrow Wilson and his cronies try to persuade a psychiatrist to declare Alice Paul insane so that she could be permanently institutionalized. And it is inspiring to watch the doctor refuse. Alice Paul was strong, he said, and brave. That didn’t make her crazy. The doctor admonished the men: ‘Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity.’
Please, if you are so inclined, pass this on to all the women you know. We need to get out and vote and use this right that was fought so hard for by these very courageous women. Whether you vote democratic, republican or independent party – remember to vote.
(Helena Hill Weed, Norwalk , Conn. Serving 3 day sentence in D.C. prison for carrying banner, ‘Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.’)
History is being made.
So, refresh my memory again. Some women won’t vote this year because – why, exactly?