Dee's Blog
www.takecourage.org
Fri 11/16/2007
Understanding Real Diplomacy
Topic: Aliens

Real diplomacy, just like effective activism, understands that no amount of screaming and yelling is going to bring about quick change. It may stir people up and get them thinking. Chances are the people most likely to be stirred up and interested in long-term change, though, are the “little people” in the pyramid. And that takes so long! Because the little people do not have power except in numbers.

Meanwhile, the big blokes like Hoover, positioned at the top of the pyramid that appear to be able to protect us, does it’s own work to confuse the issues, keeping us off guard.

When it comes down to it, change is a very, very slow process. It’s a good thing to rejoice in small changes. We just want to not expect real miracles, though. Or maybe we want to re-define what a “real miracle” is. Maybe it’s the small changes.

When you look back in your own life, do you see a lot of small personal changes? Or maybe there actually were some drastic changes, some very big risks that you took, as you ignored what others thought, moving ahead for the sake of putting yourself in a position or even a new geographical location where life would not ever feel the same or the “old, normal way” that was so comfortable.

If you do find some of these moments, then you can choose to see them as disasters filled with grief. Or you can choose to see them as moments of positive transformation. Even if they leave you feeling quite lonely and longing for relationships with people who can no longer understand why you have made the dramatic choices that you have.


Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 12:01 AM CST
Thu 11/15/2007
Stopping the Success of the Terrorists
Topic: Aliens

Terrorists and perpetrators both succeed in putting us under siege. By capturing us psychologically, we have difficulty moving outside of the fear, anger, rage and hatred they create within us. That fear often becomes paranoia, and paranoia can sometimes lead us to violence, against ourselves or others.

Whenever it goes that far, the terrorists succeed. They have us where they want us.

The terrorists of 9/11 were trying to get us to see some things we’ve been needing to see for a long time. I kept hearing evidence of denial in those first few weeks after the horrific acts of violence, acts that destroyed the terrorists themselves.

I still hear evidence voiced frequently today: “Why would anyone want to destroy this country that has done so much for so many?” I’m not going into that question in depth on this blog. However, I can assure you, having lived overseas and seen the massive problems compared to the paltry foreign aid we have given, in economic terms, that I have a little more understanding than many Americans as to the “why’s.”

NOT that I am condoning the violence. Violence and unethical behavior is always a poor way of righting wrongs. That’s one of the first principles young children learn on psychiatric units like those where I have worked.

It is very hard to wait and use diplomacy. Especially when the “ears” seem to be made of stone and not even attached to the brains that lead people to act out of an irrational justification for war or terrorism, whichever term you think applies to the violence that we may think is the answer when we are focused just on this immediate moment or present generation.


Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 12:01 AM CST
Tue 11/13/2007
The Wise and the Harmless
Topic: Aliens

Rights--that’s a word that sometimes baffles people in Europe where "responsibility" is considered to be a more important word.  That's what a British clergywoman recently told me.

Sometimes I wonder if my soul is still planted more in Europe than America, though I appreciate the ideas of both rights and responsibilities. Our European friends often say that we Americans are too focused on our rights at the expense of being responsible. And I tend to agree that this is true on many issues.

One thing is certain, as we make our way through the maze of confusion, nobody has a right to use physical, spiritual or emotional violence to violate the rights of others. The same responsibilities of moving within our world to do whatever we do in an ethical manner so that we do not destroy one another’s rights, even as survivors, nor the rights of those we consider our enemies are extremely important if we are to act in ways that show us to have truly risen above the people who are using established power to protect themselves and the institutions they serve.  It’s a fragile walk sometimes, trying to be both wise and harmless.


Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 12:01 AM CST
Updated: Mon 11/05/2007 10:40 AM CST
Mon 11/12/2007
Anarchists--the Good and the Bad
Topic: Aliens

Solutions all look so simple to many survivors and advocates. The real complexities, the issues that lie so much deeper, however, elude everyone.

Those issues have to do with our belief systems. We know that our emotions are often primal, yet they come from places deep within us. We are at a loss to explain why we do what we do. Keys to understanding begin arriving when we find the courage to examine the old beliefs that we took for granted as being something we should never challenge.  Not in ourselves and not in others.  Challenging those beliefs would, in fact, be considered total heresy to many. 

That’s what the youth of my era did so much of. And that’s what brought about much change. “The Enemy Within” points that out, in fact. People who were considered anarchists stirred things up sufficiently, throughout world history, to raise the issues.  Issues like racial prejudice, the rights of women and children, the right to privacy.

The respectable anarchists, when we look back in history, were not enemies.  The real heroes for us did not condone violence or war.  Yet their teachings sometimes created in their followers a desire to rise up and act in destructive ways, all in the name of social justice. 

Whenever we step over the line, we take the low road.   For the low road always invades the boundaries of others.  It doesn't just hold the line nor challenge belief systems.  It goes a step further.  Defeating itself, ultimately, and sabotaging the higher values that are being promoted by a lot of good people.  It's a fine line indeed.


Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 12:01 AM CST
Sun 11/11/2007
Stopping the Triangulation with the Enemy
Topic: Aliens

Until we can stop the triangulation that keeps us from seeing the real enemy, we cannot team up to truly hold accountable the people who originally got things in a fog. People like the Timothy McVee’s, who ironically came from groups who thought the enemy to be a group of people who pose such a grave threat to others' security that people and valuable property need to be annihilated in order to wake up the perceived enemies.

So we need to identify for ourselves two things:

1. What emotions or ideas threaten to destroy the things that are precious within us?

2. What are the real enemies?


Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 12:01 AM CST
Updated: Fri 11/09/2007 12:53 AM CST
Fri 11/09/2007
The Fog Thickens
Topic: Aliens

Studies like “The Enemy Within” give us an opportunity to look deeply within ourselves to see that we may also become “the enemy within" to others, whether we are perceived to be the terrorist or the people of the status quo. This can happen in families and churches alike.

We can even become enemies to our cause. It happens all the time when we make poor choices that sabotage our personal fulfillment or the fulfillment of goals in advocacy. Staying rational is a difficult task. It can be made even more difficult at times by, of all people, therapists who may not understand the more complex problems or issues related to the spiritual abuse we have sustained.

There’s a paradox that is often missed in survivor groups. So often the establishment and its leaders (ie. Church and its leaders) are viewed as “the enemy.” Sometimes they behave like the enemy, too, when they start becoming more afraid and angry and full of hate toward survivors who are speaking out than they are toward the perpetrators who started the real problems that threaten to destroy the organizations, as well as the direct victims.

Sadly, the real enemy within when we have such role reversal IS the irrational fear, anger, and hate that keep apart people who otherwise might be considered very docile. It’s so hard to see what’s real and how large the threat of DIM thinking is, because of the fog that is created by perpetrators. Perpetrators, in their addiction to power and control, create a fog--just as all addicts do. It’s a fog that works to distort facts, confounds scientific research, and keeps us focused on evil, both the real evil and some that may be imagined. So often, though, our fears are real but those who really know the truth (the eye witnesses) and can bring it to light are suffering from their own irrational fears so that they deny the truth, even when they may have once spoken it behind closed doors.

When that fear becomes a fear of losing something considered to be essential or valuable, especially if that "something" is an old belief system, then it complicates life immensely and takes time to sort it all out.

 

 


Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 12:01 AM CST
Updated: Mon 11/05/2007 10:24 AM CST
Thu 11/08/2007
When Emotions Become the Enemy
Topic: Aliens

What are the emotions that fill terrorists to the point of acting violently? They are fear, anger, hatred, that all become irrational, leading to rage. Eventually this leads to irrational behavior because the fear, anger, and hatred become more and more irrational and escalate into a paranoia as the counterintelligence groups are filled with exactly the same emotions!

Survivors and advocates have these emotions, as well.   We have a choice, just as those we consider to be the enemy have choices.  We must choose whether we are going to destroy precious things in others or ourselves.  This involves deciding what is truly precious and worthy of preservation.  All the while knowing that our choices may not be the choices of others we love.  Not the choices of old friends either. 

As a young person, living through the 60's and 70's, I often was convicted that some of the old status quo thinking I'd been taught to treasure wasn't really a treasure.  The internal conflicts had to do with racism and the status of women and children.  I wasn't ready to always consider that my old religious beliefs needed to be challenged as I examined my thinking.  Deciding that was a very slow and painful process, "helped along" by running into the brick wall of collusion with violence, as it played out in the faith community.  What I chose to do back in my youth and how I choose to approach these matters today has been changed by my own life experience, my sense of security and ability to risk having a closer look.  I'm very much still in process myself.

It's a formidable task, deciding how best to navigate the rough waters of such intense emotions.   Especially when the emotions themselves sometimes seem to threaten our own well-being. 

What an ethical dilemma!  What a spiritual challenge!   What a journey!


Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 12:01 AM CST
Updated: Wed 11/07/2007 8:28 AM CST
Wed 11/07/2007
Deciding Who to Consider the Real Enemy
Topic: Aliens

At “The Enemy Within” presentation, I was especially drawn toward studies of the KKK, being from the South and having endured plenty of conversations as a kid, from relatives who were definitely racist while they denied this fact. Though, fortunately, none of them were in the KKK nor seemed to think this to be a fine organization.

Then, there was the section showing the most dramatic events in the 60’s and 70’s. Not long before that era, the KKK had revived itself in full force. Yet the FBI, under the direction of J. Edgar Hoover, had sort of ignored this threat to human rights within our borders. The KKK was given much power because it wasn’t perceived to be a threat to the nation. Plus it would be impossible to get involved without destroying the right of free speech, our nation’s leaders told one another as the KKK was methodically preparing for some of the most violent days in it’s history.

The FBI chose instead to concentrate on what the FBI called the “New Left” groups, using counterintelligence activities.  That included the Black Panthers and People's Liberation Army, people with beliefs diametrically opposed to those of the KKK, yet with tactics just as violent.

Hoover left a legacy of power and abuse of power. Some considered him to be the hero during those days. Others considered him to be the enemy.


Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 12:01 AM CST
Updated: Wed 11/07/2007 8:14 AM CST
Tue 11/06/2007
The Enemy Within
Topic: Aliens

One of the most wonderful museums in the Midwest is located in Omaha, only 20 minutes from my home. It’s called Durham Western Heritage Museum. I sometimes take visitors there. Sometimes when I really want to concentrate on a special exhibit, I like to go alone. Such was the case recently. In fact, I made two trips in for an exhibit done in collaboration with the Smithsonian. It’s called “The Enemy Within.”

What a study on terrorism in America! Terrorism, as defined by this massive undertaking, is the “use of unlawful force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce government, the civilian population or any segments of society in furtherance of political or social objectives.”

The displays were set in a large room that I know well, yet it didn’t feel like the same room at all since it was very dark to match the subject matter and filled with a backdrop of sounds that I wanted to turn off at times, sounds that reminded me of a haunted house. This was nothing like the haunted house, though. It wasn’t set up for anyone’s fun. Nor for tots or even elementary-age kids either. It would have gotten at least a PG-13 rating in the movies, and there were plenty of warning signs about its content not being suitable for children.

One purpose of this project seemed to be to get us to look deeper than the terror of 9/11, to see the history of terrorism in America, that actually started the very year the nation was born. Yes, even in 1776, when the Loyalists plotted to kidnap George Washington and assassinate his chief officers.

My mind kept going back to the days when we kids were told that the enemies were the communists who were living among us. Everyone was suspect, and we frequently had drills in school to protect ourselves under these flimsy desks and tables, where we were to stay quietly for as long as we were told. What a plan! Smacks of duct tape in recent years.

It reminds me of the belief that having a few convicted child molesters in a data base, so everyone can know where the problem sex offenders are, is going to be the magical solution to protecting us. “We can stop our vigilance. Just go in and check to see if you have one in your community. We all know where they are now.” As if they all get turned in or that all situations get reported and justice is always served. Not that data bases are bad. It's just such nonsensical thinking to believe they are the magical solution.  Such thinking creates a false sense of security, of course. Though I have to admit that I wish it was all that simple.

What is simple is teaching kids and adults alike that it's okay to talk.  Not just to talk, but to find ways of keeping us all focused on the rational concerns.  Getting that message across continues to be the biggest challenge as I see it.


Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 12:01 AM CST
Updated: Tue 11/13/2007 1:05 PM CST
Thu 10/04/2007
Another Alien Has Clearly Spoken
Topic: Aliens

Sadly, money often speaks louder than words of wisdom. The words of truth and wisdom are ignored when it comes to violence against women and children. Even SILENCE speaks louder than words of wisdom. This week, though, there was no silence. Money did talk. Now we have opportunity to hear the wisdom coming from the voice of Anusha Browne Sanders.

In case you haven’t read, here’s the story http://www.princessdominique.com/blog/2007/10/02/anucha-browne-sanders-wins-116-million-in-punitive-damages-in-sexual-harrassment-lawsuit/

Anusha was a guest on the Today show yesterday. Two statements are lodged in my memory, from that interview:

When asked what made her decide to take a stand, she said it was her realization that she was not alone. She saw the need as greater than herself. That makes it a spiritual issue, in my understanding.

The biggest problem for her was that the officials at Madison Square Garden didn’t respond appropriately. She lost her job in the process, while the perpetrator kept his! No justice at all!

I can identify on all counts. While the perpetrator--ironically another guy with the last name of "Thomas"--is screaming his innocence and getting off without paying punitive damages, Sanders has made her point clearly. As she said on Today, things will change when “leadership decides” they will change. Ultimately, no matter how many voices are raised, the ball really is in the court of power.

Except in how we rise above them to show ourselves to be people with more courage and character than either the perpetrators or the colluders. That’s what I want this blog to address most. How WE do not continue to give power to those in positions of power so that we transcend both the past and present to create a bright future for ourselves and hopefully for our world. 

That, my friends, is transitional diplomacy!

 


Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 6:25 AM CDT

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