The Power of Activism

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Editor’s Note: This is the second part of an essay adapted from Irit Shimrat’s keynote speech delivered at the 2014 conference of the National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy. The author was invited by Jim Gottstein to give an updated version in a recent virtual event. The first part can be read here.

I want to tell you briefly about VEEC: the Vancouver Emotional Emergency Centre. Way back in 1974, a group of former mental patients and their allies founded VEEC: a safe space where people in extreme states could stay for a few days or weeks and be accompanied while they went through whatever they were going through. No drugs, no force, no medical personnel. Just people helping people in whatever way was wanted.

Despite (or because of) its unprecedented success in keeping people out of hospital by helping them navigate emotional crises, the Centre lost its funding after only two years. It was just too much of a threat to the psychiatric establishment.

The late, great activist Judi Chamberlin stayed there, in the earliest days of her own activism, and was inspired to write On Our Own: Patient-Controlled Alternatives to the Mental Health System. By the time I moved to Vancouver, in 1993, it was hard to find anyone who even remembered VEEC. But I’ve never stopped thinking about it.

The point of getting support from other psychiatrized people, outside of the system, is not just that they won’t be alarmed by you, or that you can learn from and be inspired by their experiences. It’s also that the support is, or at least has the potential to become, mutual. You are not being “treated” or talked down to. The contact is genuine and natural, rather than being bound by “therapeutic” imperatives. No one in this picture needs to be fixed.

I can just about hear, in the far distance, the howls of people—not any of us here, I hope! —protesting the idea that those with “severe mental illness” or in a state of “psychosis” do not urgently need suppression and drug treatment.

Well …

Decades ago, Michael Cornwall, voice-hearer, activist and therapist, was working at a special ward in a California state hospital.

I met Michael at a Toronto conference called Psychosis 2.0. I was stunned to hear him say, “We didn’t use medication, or restraints. We knew we’d get punched, hit, kicked, physically assaulted. But other staff would come, and we’d securely hold the person, in a loving, gentle way. And, almost always, this would result in a real turning point in that person’s process.”

Another speaker at the conference, voice-hearer, researcher, author and counsellor Eleanor Longden, said, “I believe there is no greater honour, no greater privilege, than facilitating this process; than bearing witness, and reaching out, to voice-hearers; than sharing the burden of suffering, and holding the hope of recovery.”

These words made me think of my friend, mentor, and longtime lover, the late, great Chris Bearchell. Chris was a superb journalist; a passionate socialist humanist; and a brilliant and effective women’s and gay liberation activist.

Before she died, in 2007, she and I were planning to write a book together, called Paid to Care, about the problem with making a living from the provision of love and caring—which some practitioners claim to offer by way of therapy. Call me cynical, but I have to ask: When you’re making money from it, can it really be genuine love and caring that you’re providing?

In general, people set high stock by professional expertise. But in truth, each of us is the expert on her own self. And it’s not just psychiatrized people who can help each other. Anyone can get help from friends, relatives, and others—from almost any compassionate person whose perceptions have not been muddied by psychiatric, psychological or social-work training, or by the “cop mentality” that often develops in those who enter such professions, however good their original intentions.

I very much doubt that anything learned from psychology textbooks compares to what an ordinary grandmother understands about life, and has to offer by way of wisdom, kindness and support.

Our society includes more and more old people, retired people—people who can easily be made to feel useless. So many end up being made useless: shoved into so-called care homes, where they are often brutalized with restraints, tranquillizers and sometimes, incredibly, electroshock. And where, lately, far too many have been dying, alone and desperate, as Covid tears through entire facilities.

And yet, if such institutions didn’t need to exist—because, say, we lived in a society in which people took care of each other and elders were honoured—imagine how much they might have to offer to others who are, or are in danger of being, in psychiatric or other trouble.

And what about all the abused, neglected or abandoned children and teenagers currently being labelled and made to take harmful drugs? Surely these youngsters should have opportunities to get support from those oldsters, and vice versa, rather than everyone being expected to get professional help.

I want to return, briefly, to the subject of electroshock. ECT—so-called electroconvulsive therapy—is well known to cause permanent brain damage, with effects notably including permanent memory loss and severe cognitive deficits. Most members of the public believe that ECT went out of use decades ago. But in fact, its use is very much on the rise.

When I was young, shock was mainly used on people who were “unresponsive” to drug treatment and those diagnosed with “clinical depression.”  Then, as now, many recipients of forced or coerced ECT were unruly women, and especially older women, and especially women of colour. But of course, men—and especially marginalized or “scary-looking” men—are often subjected to unwanted ECT as well.

And now, the scope of ECT is much broader, and notably includes children. According to the National Institutes of Health, in the United States: “The indications for electroconvulsive therapy in children and adolescents are similar to those in adults…. Multiple published reports demonstrate the safety and efficacy of ECT in pediatric patients with a wide range of psychopathology. ECT has also been successfully used in youth with autism and other neurodevelopmental disabilities…. However, resistance and stigma persist regarding the use of ECT in children and adolescents in both the professional and lay communities, creating barriers to pediatric ECT access. We argue that the use of ECT in children and adolescents is appropriate for specific clinical indications, and urge removal of impediments to ECT access in this population.”

There is sometimes the appearance of informed consent procedures being followed, as required by law. But who would ever consent to electroshock, or indeed to any psychiatric treatment or procedure, if all of the risks were actually divulged?

Over and over again, we are told, that mental illness is like diabetes and that antipsychotic drugs are, like insulin, necessary for saving lives. But, in fact, there are physical markers for diabetes and for every other real disease—but none for any “mental illness.” Not to mention that antipsychotics actually cause diabetes!

I know, or know of, way too many people who’ve had physical problems that were ignored, or not found, by medical professionals, due to a prior psychiatric diagnosis.

Years ago, Canadian artist and author Persimmon Blackbridge was diagnosed with depression, when she was actually suffering from a physical disorder called hypercalcemia.

But Persimmon had a psych history—so no one thought to look further. Shrinks decided she’d had a lifelong problem with “Bipolar 2.”

“I’m the world’s least manic person,” says Persimmon, “but they had to make my previous, non-depressed, times fit into their diagnosis somehow.”

For ten years, Persimmon took antidepressants. Meanwhile, her kidneys kept deteriorating. By the time she was finally correctly diagnosed, she’d become exhausted and dizzy. A doctor, checking for diabetes, happened also to check her kidney function, and discovered the whole mess. Persimmon ended up losing a kidney, completely unnecessarily.

And now I’m going to tell you my own story about real, versus fake, disease.

In the year 2000, I was diagnosed with cervical adenocarcinoma—an especially pernicious type of cancer. Had my tumour not been found in time—quite by chance—and had I not had emergency surgery to remove it, I would have died.

I had been locked up several times during the previous two years, after 18 years psychiatry-free. And whenever I get locked up, I spend a long time, afterwards, just lying in bed, feeling sorry for myself. So, there I am, pretty much unable to think about anything, except wishing I were dead. And then, all of a sudden, I find out I have cancer. And, instantly, all I want to do is survive!

I’ve always thought this was such a hoot—that the effects of being diagnosed with a fake disease, “bipolar disorder,” caused me to long for death, but being diagnosed with a real and potentially deadly disease made me fall in love with life.

Since then, I’ve developed an increasingly keen sense of what’s most important to me: helping others survive or avoid psychiatry and find better ways of living in the world.

Award-winning journalist Rob Wipond has written extensively about how psychiatric treatment doesn’t work. (I urge you to check out his writing at robwipond.com). In an article published at alternet.org, Rob describes a Danish study which found that people who had visited a psych emergency room were 30 times as likely to kill themselves as those who had not. And those who were actually admitted to a psych hospital were almost 50 times as likely to kill themselves. The study quotes a psychiatrist who admits, “It is entirely plausible that the stigma and trauma inherent in psychiatric treatment, particularly when treatment is involuntary, might, in already vulnerable individuals, contribute to some suicides.”

Another of my favourite writers on psychiatry is UCLA professor, researcher and author David Cohen. In his essay, “It’s the Coercion, Stupid!” at madinamerica.com (see madinamerica.com/2014/10/coercion-stupid), Cohen writes: “Since the beginning of psychiatry, the only constant in psychiatric treatment has been coercion. Psychiatry’s coercive function is what society most appreciates about it. Families and others can call upon police to restrain someone acting strangely, and have that person taken by force to a place run by psychiatrists. Without the shock and awe of a coercive medical discipline, the flimsy theories and continually-refuted hypotheses of physiological defects as causes of distress and misbehaviour would actually have to [account for] what ails people, what makes them tick, and how to help them overcome their problems. After decades of engaging in critical analysis of the psychiatric and other evidence, I conclude that there has never been good evidence to support psychiatric theories. Psychiatry’s top experts admit that they have found no biological markers for any mental disorder. Yet no one cares that 50 years of psychiatric research have failed to turn up a single scientific finding….”

Fortunately, amazing work is being done outside the system to promote better ways of dealing with extreme emotional states. This includes efforts supporting the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which prohibits forced psychiatry and upholds the equal rights of all people with real or perceived disabilities, including psychiatrized people.

I urge you to check out the campaign to support CRPD’s prohibition of commitment and forced treatment (absoluteprohibition.org), and also the Center for the Human Rights of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (chrusp.org), and the World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (wnusp.org).

Also promoting many good ideas are MindFreedom International (mindfreedom.org), the Wildflower Alliance (wildfloweralliance.org) and, in Canada, the Coalition Against Psychiatric Assault, Our Voice/Notre Voix (ourvoice-notrevoix.com), Madness Canada (madnesscanada.com), Mad in Canada (madincanada.org), Health Justice (healthjustice.ca), SeeSpring (seespringcoalition.org) and the Mad Canada Shadow Report Group (madcanada.wixsite.com/shadowreport/report).

And don’t forget to ask Jim Gottstein about Soteria Houses!

I would also encourage you to check out some of the back issues of the Canadian national magazine, Phoenix Rising: The Voice of the Psychiatrized, which Jim has very kindly put up at Psychiatrized.org.

Phoenix Rising was founded in 1980 by Don Weitz and Carla McKague.

Don Weitz was a survivor of insulin-subcoma shock. He was also the great pioneer of Canadian antipsychiatry. Don was one of the angriest, kindest, most tireless, and most generous activists I’ve ever met. And it wasn’t just about psychiatry. Don never stopped fighting against all the different kinds of injustice and discrimination on which “Western civilization” is based.

We lost Don on September 1, 2021.

Carla McKague, who died in 2015 and was supported by Don to the end, was an electroshock survivor, author and, for decades, a ferocious advocate and mental health lawyer.

Both have written powerfully on issues related to psychiatric force and fraud. (You can read Don’s book, Resistance Matters: An Antipsychiatry Activist Speaks Out, at https://www.madinamerica.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Resistance-Matters-April-2019.pdf.)

Phoenix Rising was published until 1990. It gave a voice to psychiatrized people who had never had their work published before, showcasing talents previously buried under the weight of shame and suffering.

I had the enormous good fortune of being hired by Don to edit Phoenix for its final four years. That work revolutionized my life, and helped me more than anything else in recovering from psychiatry. The hopeless, hurt, lonely, angry mess that was me—all that seemed to remain of my self, once the shrinks had got through with it—was transformed into a feisty defender of psychiatric survivors’ rights.

When I look back at Phoenix Rising now, I am wowed by its beauty and power. And this is not because of my competence as an editor, or the considerable skill of its designers.

Rather, it’s all about the contributors’ brilliance and the magazine’s uncompromising ethical stance.

What I have longed for, more than anything, ever since 1990 when it folded, is that the Phoenix should rise again.

And that is why I am so thrilled to tell you that this might actually happen, thanks to the Don Weitz Legacy Project!

December 10th, 2021, was Human Rights Day, and would have been Don’s 91st birthday. On that day, his children—my dear friend Lisa Weitz and her brother Mark—led an inspiring online celebration of Don’s life. One of the upshots of this event was a generous gift from a Canadian philanthropist, to start something new in Don’s memory.

And one of our hopes is to resurrect Phoenix Rising as a downloadable, printable online magazine. I can’t tell you how much I look forward to editing Phoenix again, if that’s what ends up happening. But I can tell you that Don Weitz would have loved this idea.

And, buoyed up by the opportunity to do good things in Don’s memory, I find myself daring to hope. Maybe there will come a day when the entire disease model of strangeness and distress has been made obsolete. When the idea of mental illness has faded from memory, because everyone knows that “otherness” and emotional intensity are not and never were medical issues, and that diversity and difference are at the very heart of what makes humanity wonderful.

Because, despite all the horrors of the 21st century, human beings are amazing creatures. We have the ability to come together with open minds, open hearts, and a will to make things better. And, when we do, we can find the power that systems have taken away from us—or that we never had in the first place. We can resurrect ancient ways, and create beautiful new ways, of dealing with problems of mind, soul, and heart. I think maybe we can change the world. At the very least, we can surely do a whole lot better than the mental health system.

***

Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.

16 COMMENTS

  1. No, you’re totally wrong! People should be on their therapist’s couch venting, and punching pillows. Activism is rebelling against God!

    And chemical addicts should not try to understand why they drink and use, they should be handing their lives over the the care of God as they understand him and they should be making fearless moral inventories.

    Like Rick Warren says, “Everybody needs Recovery”.

    🙂 🙂 🙂

    Joshua

  2. https://youtu.be/kGuxaY8HPjs

    This docu mesmerizes.

    Why is it that only this one tribal native is being intensely revered and studied for his words? Why not a rare homeless man in the desolate forests of city street furniture? Why is the homeless city dweller not deemed rare and special? Why are his words not loving collected in an unbickering cherishing? Why are your words not? Why are my words not?

    Oh yeah, if we are not thought rare then we are common as muck. And if so then our individual free choices of paradigms or words do not matter. The consensus is what matters. Whatever consensus reigns now.

    I have eight hundred words I would like to be lovingly jotted down. I expect most individuals would. It seems such a civilized thing to do. Listen to words with jawdropping amazement. The amazement is not at the words but at the rare mind of the person plucking such words out of thin air and making SOMETHING OF HIS OWN WITH THEM. That is what the anthropologist and linguist are aware of, of crossing a threshold into a green labyrinth that is the unique distillation of what one tribesman experienced of nature. The anthropologist and linguist are trained on his vision of what he sees with his eyes and his mind, because they want to follow that track there and go back there themselves to “a rare time”, a time where consensus was not the only thing that governed the human being. A rare time when the human was free to not have to be a puppet on a string bleeding and bickering over a dictionary. A rare tribesman speaks of a rare time and eight billion puppets want to go there and mine it and log it and firebomb it and erase it to HAVE IT ALL HAVE IT ALL HAVE IT ALL.

    They do not realise that to have it all means HAVING NOTHING but a string between the butt cheeks and a jewel of spital on the tip of an arrow.

    The tribesman uses a long word for the word walk. A long meandering snaking vine of a word. A long wandering rivulet of a word. A long oceanic crest of tree canopies kind of a word, studded at night with a thousand glowing green coins. We have the word walk.

    A short word for our linear zigzag streets. A truncated trunk stump of the word it ought to be. Go for a walk. Where? There is nothing living left to walk through. Yea though ye walk through the valley of death God Greed with his consensus opinion may still kill the babies to build an industrial mine.

    The psyche is full of long long long strolls and saunters and wends and ways and meanders and dawdles but here comes consensus opinion with its dictionary still dripping ink and its insistence that your psyche must not find its own way back to your own rare time, that time where only “your” words were the words revered and only “your” heartbeat was what made things special.

  3. https://youtu.be/FVl7bdGO-sM

    This charming video shows intellectual boffins battling over “certainty”. The lad is sure it is “sprinkling” but the lasses are sure it is “raining”. The “certainty” was given by each of their mothers.

    Why does it matter whether it is sprinkling (spwinkin) or raining (wrayinin)?

    What is all the partypooping political fuss over establishing “certainty”? Surely the sandpit is just as fun whether drizzled in or deluged. But fun goes to the wall when it comes to facts and the insituting of them. Human certainty is like a mirror ball made of a mosaic of a million blindingly dazzling facts. But a mirror ball is all surface concealling beautiful “unknowingness” deep within. You can only begin being curious about the shared world if you believe you know nothing about it. Curiosity is the enquirer. The listener. It is the first thing jettisonned in the human adult haste to “be right”.

    These pint sized scholars have to back up their mother’s certainty because deep down they aware they don’t know anything beyond their perfectly reliable feelings. The gentle interior of the mirror ball. These small people want to prove their own mommy is no liar because that awful thought once crossed their developing mind…

    “What if…the deity that my parent is to me is not fit for purpose and knows as little about the world as me…something my parent has said makes a person look stupid?”

    So enormous effort is brought to bear to enshine the parental “certainty” again, to mend that wound of insecurity.

    An animal does not mend its insecurity by establishing cast iron logical certainty and facts. An animal rather uses a moment of insecurity to burst the bubble of pleasantry and have a wonderful breakdown. The breakdown makes emotions simmer up and soon that whirl of many feelings accepted relaxes the creature. The relaxation IS the medicinal anti-venom balm to frightful insecurity. But since the relaxation comes via feelings and not logic, there is no need to pummel home factual mind based certitude. This is the original way the child, who is just a mini animal, finds balance. The human adult parents have been taught that “certitude” is all that counts, even though feelings are neither “right” not “wrong” but simply just are what feelings are.

    The child sees the wound within the parent, the parent’s need to be “certain”, and because the child needs a strong, whole parent, the child needs to pick up the dropped doll of “certitude” that fell from the parent’s argument and give it back to the parent’s worried fingers. The child becomes tge parent of their parent in that gesture, in order to “have” a mended parent, a parent who has lost all memory of how to mend and relax through only accepting the authority of their feelings or intuitions about the world.

    The child begins a fraught compulsion to establish “certainty” to save what the “certain” parent is. And so “certainty” has behind it, throughout life, an infantile blocked dam of feelings, blocked by anxiety over imposed lectures on “rightness” and “wrongness”.

    So “certainty” is a bunch of roses bound up with hidden taut inelastic anxiety. If the anxiety is acknowledged that is a disaster, because the anxiety indicates lack of “certainty”. A failure to “confidently” denote “certainty” becomes a failure to shore up the mother’s need to have “certainty”, and therefore this “doubting” of “certitude” becomes a threat of loss of mother. So having a challenge put to whether you think it is “spwinklin” or “wrayinin” is like having to endure someone punching your mother. Which any helpless toddler orphan knows is like a punch to your self.

    In humans it is “certainty” that replaces the comfort blanket of “feelings acceptance” that all animals have.

    But to trail around a shawl of “certainty” requires a lifelong commitment to knocking any opponents “certainty” shawl from off them and trampling it in the soaking sandpit. To have your sense of security in your mirror ball of facts requires shattering the flashy confidence of anyone else’s disco bauble.

    At one point the boy in this scene tells the girl she is pretty and she does not exist. An incel handbook quote perhaps. What he is doing is getting rid of the painful idea that his mom might be broken and not so “certain” after all. So he goes all out “unexisting” the competing arguing “certainty”. He blocks his ears and refuses entry of those horrid elfin “facts” about meteorological weather precipitation. His anxiety and his dammed up feelings do not want to be given any more facts, facts, facts. His only way to get those plaguing insecurities off his personhood is to make any other person’s reality null and void.
    Soon the pursuit of facts through life becomes a way of disappearing people whose facts, and even worse, whose “feelings” are completely different. It causes the successful win at the facts match to be a superpower so linked to security that it hardly matters what the specifics of the opponents facts are or their “feelings”.

    But living a life of prioritizing factual “certitude” rests uneasily with inner emotionality that may be animalistically “illogical” and “fay”. So an inner division begins in the new human, an anguished one, between going with rather scientific certainty OR wishy washy babyish personal sentiment. Both the ways in that division offer an antidote to anxiousness, but it is not a holistic antidote or balanced antidote. One that merges factual mind to inspired free feelings. A nice blend of both.

    Instead there is quicksand in the sandpit that means nobody can just have fun with life and just play with life and just rest easy with NOT knowing anything about life or shouty boys or pompous twins or wrayin or spwinklin.

    Animals assume nothing.

    Animals are the wonderfull doubting hollow pacifist inside of the mirror ball only.

    Animals offer no argumentative mirror.

    Animals are not interested in fighting facts with facts.

    Animals know nothing and remain curious, as if seeing the world and all creatures in it for the first time ever.

    Animals do not do activizm.

    Animals do not do wars.

    Animals do not rely on scientific or anti-scientific certainty.

    Animals follow the guidance of their feelings.

    With feelings there are no “right” people or “wrong” people.

    ALL ARE EQUAL

    This and only this…

    …IS nature’s activism.

  4. I think Don Weitz would shudder at Phoenix being resurrected as anything less than an anti-psychiatry publication. The point is not to change laws to improve the lot of psychiatric prisoners, or look for “alternative treatments,” but to eliminate psychiatry altogether. If the “new” Phoenix continues in the self-absorbed manner of the current lot of “mad activists” it will be demeaning to what it and Don Weitz and so many others stood for for so long. Psychiatry in the end is a tool of capitalist conformity and corporate greed, and all should disabuse themselves of the notion that it is simply “bad medicine.”

    • I like your clear comment.

      I see comments as being like Parisian fashion costumes proudly striding down a catwalk in a “this is me…this is who I feel I am” way. A no apology robust celebration of particular held opinion in a debate of many diverse opinions.

      If I am to delve into your specifics then I would say that the disparaging of capitalism can sometimes be used to disparage free choice. Capitalism is often about satisfaction of wishes. I see nothing intrinsically unhealthy in that. Animals are selfish. Animals satisfy their wishes. But why animals are not greedy is because animals do selfishness to perfection, in that they enjoy ALL of their feelings and this brings calm. An animal arrives at calm through free choice and feelings acceptance and this results in calm and from calm only can come authentic feelings of caring. A creature who is not calm cannot care. They are too stressed.

      It feels approriate to tackle rampant greed in the world. Greed, which comes from bullying, can infiltrate ANY politics or paradigm or religion.

      But bullying does not come from selfishly feeling. Bullying comes from stress and never relaxing into feelings accepting peace. Bullying is at war with selfishness, your self needs and my self needs, and so bullying often lurks in a charade of overly decent moral rectitude. But this level of bullying can creep into ANY way the world may be led. The bullying is separate from the ideology the bullies use to promote the justification of oppressing people’s self needs and self feelings.

      Capitalism, socialism, atheism, fundamentalism, any “ism” can be fertile ground for numb feelingless stressed out bullies to bicker in and tell you how to think. But all of the various competing “isms” listed above and more are rather neutral reveries about how to make bits of the world run better. But the world is not full of only one kind of animal…or human. Each social group or tribe has their own customs and traditions and cultures and each individual finding belonging in these finds that this difference feeds their free choice of self needs. It just won’t feed everyone’s choice.

      I am saying the word feed alot. The angels often inspire significant words in me. I think food, actual global food, will become a problem due to climate change, which is caused by runaway greed and bullying. So to reverse what causes climate change means dropping the wish to be a bully. That is not easy when everyone lives in a world of intolerance and anxiety and stress.

      The healing of a bully is in helping the bully to reacquaint themselves with their healthy prioritizing of their own feelings and their own free choices. Macho culture can put an obstacle to revelling in inner emotions. This can ramp up the societal spread of numb bullying. Numb bullying gets bored with no access to feelings and one day the imperious veneer of moral perfection cracks and seeks instant gratification in binges. Like priests who crack and become debauched abusers. Thus greed. Addictive covetous greed.

      But to say in a grand sweeping statement that the ideology of capitalism or feminism or Darwinianism or marxism or wokeism is the very same thing as the bullies who use such philosophies as podiums to spread a message that nobody should enjoy free choices or free feelings is to broadly promote ill health in a world that wants to be inclusive and diverse. Puppets on strings will always jiggle when told that any certain opposing group is preventing their difference, but being a puppet on a string at all means being accusatory about anyone else’s difference.

      It is not difference we need to frisk at a million checkpoints. We need only be aware of boring old human stress, of a sort that causes disconnection from feelings and then the numbness that leads to greed and abuse and cruelty. That stress will use ANY “ism” as a platform to promote the supposed wisdom of persecuting difference. Even beautiful climate activISM. Even pacivism!!!!

    • Yes.

      That is ghastly.

      I understand.

      I like you informing me

      without seeming to want to change me.

      With your information I can change me. If I choose to.

      If I do not change me or if I do change me it will not disturb so much as the surface tension of the gutter puddle that the governor will shatter with his fast expensive car. I see the future. It is full of people from all sectors of life being rounded up. Sadly there is nothing one can do to stop it. It disgusts me that in a world this enormous someone sleeps on a bed of memory foam contoured to the body while someone else’s body sleeps on a wall bifurcated by garden railings. They should rename memory foam as forget your shivering brothers and sisters foam.

    • Joshua, You make an interesting point, however there are forty-nine other states and several territories that one can move to in the United States, if, for some reason, they are unhappy in the state in which they live. In the US, it happens all the time. I have done it myself. I have heard that Arizona is a great state, but very hot and dry. And, it’s right next door to California. Of course, there are those Americans who have been unhappy or felt they fit somewhere else and exiled themselves to another country. The possiblities are endless when one looks up to see the stars rather than down to see the bars. Thank you.

      • Our Constitution and basic human rights apply in the whole country. What Newsom is trying to do, if he gets away with it, it will be done other places and the scapegoat list will be expanded. He must be stopped.

        If you try to solve problems by running away with your tail between your legs, you eventually run out of place to run to.

        There has always been a contingent which wants to rationalize income disparity as morality. And when that didn’t work anymore they turned to social Darwinism. And then when that stopped working they turned to Mental Illness and Brain Chemical imbalance.

        Joshua

        • I appreciate what you say and you may be right. However, the best suggestion, in my mind is to just leave or believe it or not ignore people like Newsome. These people get their power from those who are angriest at them or fight them tooth and nail, as they say. That is why I made that assertion. Most times, the best way to win a fight is to walk away. The instigator loses their power. This is definitely true in the realm of politics, but with all due respect, it would not matter what I say, as you would find some way to disagree. I can say no more. Thank you.

          • Newsom gets his power from people who passively comply with him.

            Slavery would still be the norm in human society, were it not for the fact that some people recognized that it is a kill or be killed situation and rose to the challenge.

            Joshua

  5. I must abscond from the comments section before I can answer any replies.

    If people ONLY focus on discouraging bullying and not focus on the community or faith or ideology or “ism” that the bully sets up a promotional kiosk in then everyone will be free, free to enjoy partaking of ANY community ethos or ideology or “ism” that floats their boat. Then all people will become calm through their own feelings acceptance of what they like and need. Then in such calm they will “cherish the difference” and “celebrate the different” without fearing that the different are the same thing as hostile bullies. Having a free opinion or free understanding or free ideology or free inspiration or free feeling does NOT make a person a bully.

    NOT having free access to your heart’s desire WILL cause you to become an embittered bully.

    Happiness spreads.

    Unfortunately so does bullying.

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