Category Archives: Editorialsl/Essays
Do you feel like you just do not want to vote in this Presidential election because you aren’t comfortable with either candidate? Or do you feel that you need to vote for one whether or not you really agree with all of his party’s platform? If you do not want to vote for either one of these two corporate-funded Presidential nominees, please don’t just vote for the less of two evils, and don’t sit-out the election in despair and protest, instead I urge you to please go to Presidential third-party nominee Jill Stein’s and her VP running mate Cheri Honkala’s Green New Deal Party website @ http://www.jillstein.org and and see what they have to offer you. Stein is the only candidate who is for the 99%…the rest of us! If all of us who do not really like or want to continue as we are IN the hands of the corporations and be forever in debt to them….vote for her! We need something really new, we need someone who is really for the people and cares about the people (the poor, the homeless, those who are without healthcare, those who are drowning in debt, the unemployed and the SICK ). She is a doctor, she teaches medicine and she is for green living, not the bankrupting industrial superiority complex that keeps us ignorant of preventative healthcare, destroys our and our children and grandchildren’s health (children have cancer, diabetes, asthma, ADHD and many more preventable diseases) , our planet (look at the climate changes reeking havoc, the ozone, the pollution), our relations with other countries, takes money from the poor and gives it to the rich, bails out the big banks and corporations and keeps students and graduates indentured to the corporate/government/banks/Wall Street machine. She wants to provide Medicare for everyone which would save trillions in private health insurance and illness (by going Green). She wants to provide affordable private and public housing for the millions of homeless because there are literally more empty homes than there are homeless people! Instead of continuing to bail out those corporate bigwigs who lied and got us into this mess, she wants to hold them accountable and stop giving them back trillions of dollars that was promised to those who lost their homes but was never delivered. She wants to instead bail out the students and graduates by providing free upper level education for everyone and loan forgiveness. This would provide countless jobs and boost our economy immensely in the long run. She wants to hire back all the teachers, the health care workers, etc. She wants those who caused the housing market to crash and the wars over oil to be held accountable financially. And instead let’s bring the troops home and cut the military funding 50% because we won’t need to fight for oil if we create our own green sustainable jobs! This is her plan. Our planet, our health, our finances, and any hope of peace depend on a change right now. There is a lot more that she and her running mate KNOW about the other 99% of us than the 1% of wealthy tycoons and corporate controlled candidates of the other two parties. They can relate to us in a way that neither of the others can. There is so much more on their platform than they have-in fact the other two are offering us nothing different. The debt went UP during the last presidency, and employment was higher than it has been in over 30 years…the one very wealthy guy wants to DOUBLE military spending, take away what little healthcare we have now for the poor and middle class (Social Security and Medicaid) and the other wealthy one (yes Obama does have money) is also in the corporation’s pocket and with basically an almost identical agenda, only his campaign is just a little more subtle about it. They are both war mongers, the one more in- your- face about it than the other, but neither working for moving toward true negotiations for peace. They want to keep pouring money into taking more lives in other countries who don’t even want us there than putting money into health insurance and preventative health care for our own country whose people are literally dying from lack of care and resources for their own environment. How many people are currently without health insurance or homes or jobs right now? Think about it. How much do the private insurance companies cost and how much of your taxes go to caring for sick people who are sick because of our polluted and chemically manipulated and compromised environment, water and food supplies?….How much would we save on gas and fuel if we went GREEN? And what could we save on the cost of WAR, be it financially, medically and in lives lost? The military drones, other weapons and occupation are NOT making us safer, they are costing us more money and making us more enemies. We are less safe and more despised and inexcusably drowning in more debt than when we started this war. But the two other mainstream candidates want to keep our troops stationed in other countries and pour even more money into the war(s), cutting back on what we, the people of this country, so desperately need! Does anyone know that President Obama signed a bill last year to detain someone without legal cause? Did he tell us about it? And did Romney mention it in the debates? Did any of the Republican reporters tell us about it…even in one of the trillion dollar election attacks? Hmm, I guess it just wasn’t something that seemed to be important to either of them….or any of their supporters or reporters or even opponents, and certainly not important for US, the ones who are affected by it, to know about! But, if this IS something that is important to you, then you should really take the time to educate yourself about it, and then ask yourself why BOTH parties felt it was not only alright, but obviously best to keep US, the 99%, in the dark about it. And it makes me wonder just how many other important issues we are deliberately kept in the DARK about. Hmmm, maybe, just maybe, this is why THEY will not ALLOW the other candidates who are on the ballot to participate in the Presidential debates, at least not theirs. They refuse to even air the debate between Stein and Johnson that is scheduled for Nov. 5 in Washington DC between 8 and 9:30. It is being carried by a Russian channel. What does this tell them about American democracy? Is this democracy? Being given only two choices that are seen as so close in the view of other countries (and many of us here who are looking closely at the issues) that there is NO difference. This speaks volumes about our political machine and the fact that we do not have a true choice here, except to vote for the less of two almost identical evils? Or do we? The third-party candidates have to literally be arrested in front of a University debate between Obama and Romney while trying to get inside in order to get any media attention. And still that is even downplayed and hidden from us, unless we search for it or just possibly stumble across it. They strong-arm any attempts to get media attention by these third parties so that the other voices are unheard and, as one reporter said, Stein could probably not even be picked out of a line-up! If they (the third party Presidential nominees) do not have the financial means and/or corporate connections to buy the media attention, they just do not get it. They literally have to be arrested. Stein and Honkala did the hard work to get on the ballot and the League of Women’s Voters states that if that is accomplished then they should be allowed to participate in the debate. But, now because of some patriarchal law regarding percentages, they were handcuffed and detained on a bench in a room for eight hours. These two women have lived the life on the street. Cheri, mother of two young boys, was literally homeless and living in abandoned homes, and now is a staunch advocate for the impoverished and goes to legal bat against the large banks and lending institutions to prevent people from being evicted from their homes or to get them back after they are repossessed by high percentage loan banks such as Wells Fargo and Bank of America. Stein wants to tear down these big banks and financial institutions who have no one to answer to because they are in the pockets of the political arena and vice verse. These are two tough women. Jill Stein is the mother of two young men, she is a graduate with honors from Harvard and Harvard Medical School, a medical doctor and teacher of medicine. She’s been in the public political arena for over twenty years, running for mayor of Massachusetts in 2002 and 2008. She decided to go into politics when she discovered the futility of trying to get the politicians to listen to her medical opinions regarding the environmental and American lifestyle effects on our health. She states that she is now practicing political medicine to try to help people. She pounds the pavement and is NOT a wealthy woman as the other two” main stream” candidates are. She and her running mate, Honkala, are extremely sympathetic, empathetic, understanding and can relate to the poor and middle class and, in my opinion, the two have more moxie than all the other candidates put together. They fight and they do not give up! And they listen. We need a president who will listen to US, the people, who understands the people’s needs, and who really cares about the people. If the previous Presidents had listened to the people(not just the 1%) and information provided to them, there would have been no 9-11 or economic crash and we wouldn’t be where we are right now! We are not going anywhere with the other two parties, either one, except down a one-way road to even more disaster, disease and, tragically, death. As Stein quotes Alice Walker; ‘The biggest way people give up power is by not knowing they have it to start with.’ Let’s look at this: 99% controlled by 1%? What is wrong with these numbers? Is money that powerful? It would seem so if we look at our political track record. We need to remember that we have rights and that we are supposedly a “free” people, that we are supposed to be a country of democracy, of people’s choice, not of a money ruled and funded corporate-controlled political machine! We do have another choice besides the two that are being shoved down our throats. Let’s take it! Vote for Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala of the Green New Deal Party for President and Vice President for the United States on election day. And if you do not vote for them, please don’t choose the less of two evils, vote for one of the other six candidates in this Presidential race, (and,yes, there are even more independents). No, the corporate controlled duo-party do not want you to know this, but many third party candidates are on the ballot in most states and as write-ins on others. Your voice really does count, so vote with your heart, your head and your conscience and take back your voice and true freedom of choice!
An Annotation of Katherine Hepburn’s Me: My Life in Stories
Katherine Hepburn was born on May 12, 1907 in Hartford, Connecticut. Her mother was Catherine Martha Houghton and her father was Dr. Thomas Norval Hepburn. She was the second to the oldest of six children. Her father was very athletic and encouraged Katherine and her siblings to become interested in almost every sport. As a result, Katherine became adept at such sports as gymnastics, swimming, diving, golf and tennis and continued to excel in many of these activities throughout her life.
Her mother and father were active in the women’s movement and her mother became the head of the Connecticut Woman Suffrage Association. Her parents were well-educated, well-read, and progressive advocates of social, political and economic reform and equal rights for women. They were “dedicated to the bettering of men and women” and they instilled a fierce independence, determination, enthusiasm, ambition and strength in Hepburn which would prove invaluable to her throughout her life.
Katherine wrote “Me: Stories of My Life”, her memoirs, in a conspiratorially intimate first person voice from an adult perspective. She utilized, at times, a nonchalant matter-of-fact autobiographical tone peppered with the keen sense of humor, style and decorum for which she has become legendary. Although she wrote from her viewpoint at the time the memoirs were written, which was well into her eighties, she aspired to stay true to the timeline of the story which spanned from her childhood in the early 1900’s to the time of the book being written, which was in the 1980’s. Her early life was centered on a comfortable lifestyle provided by her parents in an upper-class social atmosphere. The family employed a nurse, cook and housekeeper. She admits that she is a snob and, most refreshingly, writes like one.
The fact that Hepburn can so candidly laugh at her own snobbery, selfishness and temper is in and of itself a testimony to her honest nature. Her ability to never take herself too seriously and her often brutal exploration of herself and her life grabbed and held my interest, commanded my respect, and tugged at my heartstrings. Her frank narration of her brother’s suicide left me reeling.
She narrated this event from both the innocent voice of a fourteen year old girl’s bewilderment and shock at discovering her sixteen year old brother hanged and the eighty-something year old woman’s wise yet still possibly even more bemused voice attempting to speak for that little girl. Hepburn’s account of this terrible tragedy and she and her family’s apparent inability to come to terms with it, illicit feelings of compassion and helplessness from the reader as we understand that Hepburn has not ever fully come to terms with this tragedy.
How does one ever reconcile one’s self to something like that? On a personal note, I am aware that I have never been capable of properly voicing my own feelings at discovering my late husband’s death engineered in the same manner as Hepburn’s brother’s suicide. Her ruminations reflect the icy cold aftermath in which survivors of suicide are left to dwell; “…I burst into tears. This is what I thought I should do. People die-you cry-but inside I was frozen.” The fact is that seventy something years after this horrific event, Hepburn is still in denial; “Actually Tom’s death remains unexplained” and “Dad made a statement that it was very possible that Tom was practicing hanging himself. Dad had told us of a trick of pretending to hang as a kid”. This seems to in some way corroborate my own feelings of incongruity concerning my late husband’s death.
Although, Hepburn’s close family ties are evident and pronounced throughout “Me”, the majority of her memoirs are centered on her acting career. She focuses on each of her movies and goes into detail about many of them as well as her numerous disastrous attempts at acting in the theatre. However her professional life is so completely entwined around her personal life-friendships and lovers that she manages to efficiently weave everything into a series of memory flashes. These ultimately join together to bring the reader an accurate picture of what was most important to her. Her ties with family and friends were strong. Her ambition and selfishness were possibly even stronger. She was a shrewd businesswoman. She admittedly used people to get ahead, yet she was fiercely loyal to those who were loyal to her. She was many times selfless, although in the long run, the selflessness would ultimately benefit her own goals and desires.
I must admit that one of the reasons which I decided to read Hepburn’s memoir’s, aside from the fact that I have always been impressed with her strong blatant attitudes on feminism, was to uncover the mystery of Katherine Hepburn’s alleged affair with Spencer Tracy. I must also confess that I have seen few, if any, of Tracy’s movies and knew next to nothing about the man prior to reading Me other than that he and Hepburn were reportedly lovers and that he was a married man. Of course, Hepburn is astutely aware of this and saves it until the very end of the book; “Now I’m going to tell you about Spencer. You may think you’ve waited a long time. But let’s face it, so did I” (391). If this is a tell all book-and it is to a point-Hepburn still manages to do this without doing it, so to speak…
For instance, she tells of her love affairs but never gives the details of whom she was intimate with and who she was not. This voice of decorum is not only founded in the time and era in which Hepburn was born and bred, but also in her character. No matter what anyone comes away with after reading this book, and there are a lot-insights, truths, pain, laughter and a life fully lived-it can never be argued that Hepburn was a anything but a lady.
Her honesty can also never come into question. Hepburn admits that she and Spencer Tracy lived together, that he was married, and that she indeed found him in bed dead. But she is careful to never state openly that she slept with him. In fact, she speaks of lying on the floor beside his bed talking him to sleep because he was an insomniac. She talks of going to see him in the casket prior to the funeral but not attending the actual funeral as it would not have been proper, although they were together for “nearly thirty years”. She does say; “I loved Spencer Tracy”. Her struggle to define this love, just as she defines her life, is simple yet insightful and moving; “LOVE has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get-only with what you are expecting to give-which is everything”.
Sharon Lynn Van Meter
Hepburn, Katherine. Me: Stories of My Life. New York: Random House, 1991.
A Time for Reflection
Women have a very difficult time saying no. We are pushed and pulled from every conceivable direction, from children to spouses, from friends to business acquaintances, from obligations to more obligations. We must be there for everyone and we must fulfill all of our obligations, after all it is our responsibility and we simply have no choice, or do we?
Anne Lindbergh penned her memoirs “Gift from the Sea” as a series of present-tense logs in a diary she kept during her visits to her home by the sea during the 1950’s. She used different types of shells or stones from the beach or sea to convey meaning in regard to different aspects of her life.
Anne Truitt, author of the journal/memoir “Daybook,” wrote her memoirs in first person, present-tense over a period of seven years, spanning from 1973 to 1981. Sbe focuses on her family, her art and writing and the combination of them all.
Both Lindbergh and Truitt were successful artists and loving, devoted mothers. They also enjoyed full social lives and stimulating friendships as well as the much needed rejuvenation, inspiration and peace afforded by self-imposed solitude. Intimacy and privacy was essential to them and both acknowledged that women thrive on it. Sensitivity was vital to them both as well and Anne Truitt eloquently surmises this in Daybook when she states; “Many of us [women] have been lonely too, deprived by our male peers of that sensitivity they had to brutalize out of themselves…” (200). But that which is crucial and speaks volumes regarding these accomplished women and their flourishing lives is the profound emphasis they placed on alone time; it was not a luxury to them; it was a source of survival. As Lindbergh says:
Actually these are among the most important times in one’s life-when one is
alone. Certain springs are tapped only when we are alone. The artist knows he must be alone to create; the writer, to work out his thoughts; the musician, to compose, the saint, to pray. But women need solitude in order to find again the true essence of themselves…” (Lindbergh, 44).
Lindberg elaborates on the essence of what it means to nourish the woman’s soul by articulating that Virginia Woolf’s thoughts in her classic work on the woman artist, A Room of One’s Own, which merely cracked the door for women to enter. Although Woolf acknowledges the financial security required for a woman to purchase the room, or the time, of her own, she stresses that “…even in poverty and obscurity, [to write] is worthwhile (125).” For instance, both Lindbergh and Truitt were both financially able to afford this time to rejuvenate and replenish their inner selves, however Lindbergh acknowledges that the “problem is not entirely in finding the room of one’s own, the time alone, difficult and necessary as this is. The problem is more how to still the soul in the midst of its activities. In fact the problem is how to feed the soul” (Lindbergh, 45).
According to Lindbergh, the demanding lives which most women lead are not ones of simplicity but of multiplicity “that the wise men warn us about” (20). It is interesting here to note that it is “men” who are presumed wise. Could this be because most men have no difficulty or reservations whatsoever in saying no, especially to something or someone which interferes with their plans or personal alone time? I must agree with Ms. Lindbergh in her hypothesis that this life of multiplicity which most women lead “does not bring grace; it destroys the soul” (20).
If this is so, then why do women continue to allow themselves to be pushed to the absolute breaking point? There are many possible reasons, from the archetypal female ideal, which society has placed upon a pedestal for all women to emulate, to the biological roles assigned to women in motherhood, to the women’s liberation movement which theoretically delivered equal rights for women. But these rights failed to get past the front door of the living room. Women could bring home the bacon and cook it up in a pan, whereas until just recently (and still it appears to be rarely), men were only expected to bring the bacon home but not step a foot into the kitchen. That was women’s territory, along with the nursery, the laundry room, entertaining, shopping, the list is endless. To an alarming degree, this idea that women must not only conquer the outside world but remain in control of all domestic responsibilities, especially that of rearing children, remains prevalent even in modern society.
It is somewhat disconcerting that a strong, independent and self-reliant woman such as Truitt says of her domestic responsibilities, “I could lower my standards but in doing so would sink with them, taking my children with me” (Daybook, 63.) However she swiftly defends this statement, by stressing the importance of structured mealtimes to nurture children through stimulating conversation. Ms. Truitt must be commended for her unswerving devotion and untiring dedication to her family and her artistic craft. Although she steadily pushes herself to the limit time and time again, she not only takes time for her children, friends and social life, but also for herself.
The profound insight found in Anne Lindbergh’s compelling questions is a revelation and assertion regarding her hypothesis that a life of multiplicity destroys the soul. She asks; “Can one actually find oneself in someone else? In someone else’s love? Or even in the mirror someone else holds up for one” (60)? She echoes her answer by quoting Eckhart, the German born spiritual teacher and author of The Power of Now; “going into one’s own ground and knowing oneself” is the only way to find one’s true identity (Eckhart qtd in Lindbergh, 60). She further expands on the dilemma of the overwhelming demands faced by women, especially by loved ones, by saying “My life cannot implement in action the demands of all the people to whom my heart responds” (Lindbergh, 116) and with understated grace and timeless eloquence, Ms. Lindbergh instructs all women how seemingly simple it is to feed one’s soul: “The past is so far away and the near past is so horrible and the future is so perilous, that the present has a chance to expand into a golden eternity of here and now” (Lindbergh, 118).
So if we as women can beg, borrow, buy or steal the time and place to be alone, how do we nourish our depleted bodies, minds, hearts and souls once we are alone? Anne Truitt dreams. She dreams a repetitive dream about the sea (which seems to be a milieu for the creative process.) She dreams of a man whom she is deeply in love with, indeed she is “one with (84)” Stating that their “bodies are the same texture (83)” and she and this man “love one another so closely that each other is only as much as we are other than the sea (84).” In the dream, Truitt and her lover are carried into a crescendo of surging and crashing waves and once more, as in the other dreams, they survive. However, the end of her dream is crucial to the nature of the male /female relationship in context with the fierce, lonely, elated independence of woman as artist and individual; “The magic begins to recede. The color is draining from the rocks, the water, and our bodies. We are separating. We are conscious of each other. We are separate. I begin to feel ‘I’ ” (Truitt, 84, 85).
According to Truitt, the man in her dreams is her animus, the masculine aspect of her personality which affords her the strength and, dare I say-selfishness- to become an independent and successful artist. She learns to “create” the ability to “create” by recognizing and nurturing what her soul needs and how to feed it. All women must follow this example and create the time, place, state of mind needed, to seek out the people who nourish our souls and to discard those who deplete our dreams and who hamper our inner peace. In essence, we must do what likely appears brutally selfish and insensitive to women who have long accepted the roles of socially appointed caretaker and self-inflicted martyr, and ask ourselves the candid and philosophical question: What do I want?
Lindbergh, Anne Morrow. Gift from the Sea. New York: Pantheon Books, 1955.
Tolle, Eckhart. The Power of Now. Canada: New World Library, 1999.
Truitt, Anne. Daybook: The Journal of an Artist. New York: Penguin Putnam, Inc., 1982.
Sharon Lynn Van Meter
- Pearls from artists* # 12 (barbararachkoscoloreddust.com)
- ‘Against Wind and Tide’ – The Double Life of Anne Morrow Lindbergh (oneminutebookreviews.wordpress.com)
- Pearls from artists* # 5 (barbararachkoscoloreddust.com)
- Book Review – Gift Of The Sea (comehomewithme.wordpress.com)