September 11th. Looking back, looking ahead, and looking around.

Here is something I wrote in September 2001:

I want to recognize that this is a time when we all are aware of the vulnerability of our country and our people after the attacks on the east coast. I have been reading about people feeling that those acts of terror have stripped away the sense of safety that we as a nation felt. While I acknowledge that is true in some important ways, I would also like to say that it has been a long time – if ever – since many of us felt safe, when so many people in this country and in our world are targeted, harassed, beaten and killed because of bias based on their real or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, race, religion, ethnicity, ability, etc. Many of us have been aware that we have lived in a war zone all along. Six years ago my youngest son was beaten because he was bisexual. He committed suicide a month later because he believed he lived in a world filled with hate he could no longer face. When I watched the news and heard that people were throwing themselves from the windows of the World Trade Center as it was being destroyed, I thought of my son Bill. ~ Gabi Clayton.

A lot has changed and a lot remains the same. Many people are still not safe for SO many reasons.

That doesn’t mean I think we haven’t accomplished anything. I know we have. But our work is still very much cut out for us.

Am I a pessimist or an optimist? No … Yes … Neither … Maybe … Sometimes … Of course! … It depends on which issue and when you ask me.

Its not an either/or thing. Its also not a scale of zero to ten with 0 being totally negative and 10 being totally positive.

The way I see most things the scale is this:

(Click on the scale to see it larger in another window.)

Look at any issue at a specific time, or how you feel or how you are doing in an aspect of your life and put it on that kind of scale with the understanding that its how you see it at that particular moment.

Not that its always that way. Five minutes from now or five years from now you might change where you mark the scale depending on so many things.

The way I see it, nothing is linear. Nothing is permanently fixed. Not politics, not the impact losing Bill has on me, not how I feel about having epilepsy. Nothing. And sometimes thank goodness for that, and sometimes thats too damn bad.

Since I am getting philosophical about all this, thinking about the scale and non-linear thinking, you can draw circles around that scale to represent lots of things, and you can have lines coming out in all different directions. Use a mind map ~ those are cool. I started using them in college as a way of taking notes. (See Mind Mapping on Wikipedia.)

One more thought …

Please take the time to listen to the powerful song “if i give your name” by emma’s revolution ~ Sandy O (Opatow) & Pat Humphries ~ on thier wonderful album one x 1,000,000 = change.

The song “if i give your name” is about the silent suffering of family members of undocumented workers lost on 9/11 in the World Trade Center. It was the 2003 Grand Prize Winner in the Folk Category of the prestigious John Lennon Songwriting Contest.

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