Archive | Higher Ground

‘I think y’all need a blessing’

Ashley Jordan and her husband Michael do all of their shopping at Walmart every two weeks – but they have apparently never encountered as compassionate a cashier as Sharnique Dasant. The couple, who are the proud parents of three children, were loading up two shopping carts worth of groceries and baby clothes at a Walmart in… Continue Reading →


Our friend needs help

You may remember Jay, a long-time reader here. And like many of us, he’s in a place where one financial catastrophe (a broken transmission) may snowball into many others. We’ve all been there, right?

Couple of years back I bought a nice very used 1999 model Ford car from a man here in town for $1500. I don’t drive much, and I have tried to be gentle with it but things eventually wear out. This morning the transmssion broke down and will cost over $1000 to fix. I need to raise enough to repair it or buy another used car from the place I got this one.

I am 67 years old and my main income is Social Security, (less than $900 a month) and two night classes I teach for Marshall University. If you can help me get back on the road, I will be very grateful. I am totally on foot right now, so time is of the essence. I live a mile out of town, and I have to walk over the hill to get any supplies.

I spent my prime earning years as a minister and did not accumulate any assets for my “golden years”. Also I spent the last 15 years caring for my elderly mother until she died in September 2015. When she died I lost 2/3 of my income and it has been a struggle ever since to get by.

It’s my late mother’s birthday. My mom was one of those people who worried about everybody, and I know if she was still here, she’d want to help. It would be nice if we could all chip in and help Jay.

If you can spare even $5, please contribute to his GoFundMe page.

Don’t give fascists the violence they crave

Philadelphia People's Inauguration

[Cross-posted at Orcinus.] Early on during the Inauguration Day alt-right event on the University of Washington campus that eventually devolved into a near-fatal melee, I looked around Red Square, and I had a bad feeling. I wasn’t just afraid that things would get ugly. I saw the guys in the red “Make America Great Again” hats… Continue Reading →

What Plato can teach you about finding a soulmate

By Firmin DeBrabander, Professor of Philosophy, Maryland Institute College of Art. shutterstock In the beginning, humans were androgynous. So says Aristophanes in his fantastical account of the origins of love in Plato’s Symposium. Not only did early humans have both sets of sexual organs, Aristophanes reports, but they were outfitted with two faces, four hands, and… Continue Reading →

Dress rehearsal

Today, right now, there is a march and rally outside the GOP retreat here in Philly. This was last night, before the official march:

I love my sanctuary city.

Pussy power fights back


Lovely piece by Joan Walsh that made me feel I was there:

The incredible march turnout was restorative to me—especially the robust presence of men, I have to say. No one can quantify the extent to which a misogynist backlash hurt Hillary Clinton, and no one wants to talk about it—male or female—lest it lead us to conclude we shouldn’t run another woman for about 100 years. But there’s no denying that discomfort with social change, and with the evolving and increasingly powerful role of women, drove the Trump campaign. “No one cherishes women more than I do,” he told us. And then on that Access Hollywood video he said he could “grab them by the pussy.” That’s the patriarch’s dream—protect the ones who are yours, defile the ones who aren’t, and don’t let any of them—have autonomy and power. Because at some primal level, they are afraid we have all the power—“pussy power!,” as many signs read (and as those waves of pink hats signified). We are fighting something old and deep and powerful, and a lot of men—from billionaires to scrubs, including scrubs who are billionaires, like Trump—are fighting back.

On Saturday, we showed them who we are, and we showed ourselves, too. Even Chait acknowledged it was important in New York magazine—“Don’t let anyone tell you the marches didn’t matter”—although he couldn’t bring himself to actually say what the marches were about, or who organized them.

That’s OK. We know the marches mattered. And we know why. I’ll never forget what it felt like when I realized the marchers were everywhere; I couldn’t leave them if I wanted to. They were walking me all the way home, which is all we can do for one another in this world.

Obama commutes most of Chelsea Manning’s sentence

President Obama commutes the majority of Chelsea Manning’s prison sentence

Activist groups have been working hard to lobby President Obama to commute Chelsea Manning’s sentence and he has heard them. New York Times: President Obama on Tuesday largely commuted the remaining prison sentence of Chelsea Manning, the army intelligence analyst convicted of an enormous 2010 leak that revealed American military and diplomatic activities across the world,… Continue Reading →

Get me through December

Athenae at First Draft:

A week ago I sat at the bedside of someone I loved, listening to a respirator hiss. I read from All The Light We Cannot See, because there was nothing else to do. I re-read familiar books at this time of year, and they’re all stories of what happens when even hope is exhausted. When all you have is momentum. When, even falling, there is enough left in you to fall forward.

I’m so tired. I know you are, too.

I’ve been saying it since Nov. 9 and I mean it: It’s our job now to save as many as we can. That’s all we’ve got. But that’s all we’ve ever had. The poor family with their baby in the horse’s stall, they weren’t thinking about eternal life, about remaking the world in the image of God. They wanted their baby to live. These stories come from a time when more children died in the winter than survived, when you had 10 children and raised six. No one is ever thinking about glory.

So be it resolved that if we are merry this year — and I don’t grant we are — it’s not an act of reckless abandon or naive optimism but of deliberate falling forward, of momentum enough to land in front of where we started. Save who’s in front of you, next year. Save as much as you can. Don’t worry that you’re not doing enough or that the job’s too big. Reach out as much as you can. Ask for help, if you can’t.

It’s only in hindsight that we turn the darkness into a story, into what came before the light. It’s only afterward, when we can put it in order, that we see the blackness as temporary.

In the midst of it, when we don’t know the light is coming, how do we act?

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