Standing On Common Ground

Standing On Common Ground

My baby brother is here! He has made his home in Seoul for the past eleven years, with his beautiful wife Julie. They have two daughters, Elysia and Genevie. My nieces! I am going to soon meet my nieces! It has been four years since Garan has been in our home. It is so nice to have him here.

My family spans the globe, so it is always such a great amount of good feels when we can sit on a porch, listen to the life around us, and just be together. I have grown into a community that also provides those good feels, and believe me, that is no small feat for someone as guarded as me. One of my main hopes with this digital space is to introduce others to a few of the exceptional people who live in this area we all share as home. To expand the members of our community. To share experiences. I do this through a narrative of words and pictures. A narrative I control. For the most part. Sometimes, though, a story takes on a life of its own, and I just try to hang on.

Community is a most dangerous thing to an abuser. One of the first things an abusive partner does is restrict the abused partners access to friends, loved ones, and activities. The abusive partner isolates the abused, and maintains full control of the narrative of life around them. A quick Wiki search provides the following list of manipulative techniques abusers employ: Lying; Lying by omission; Denial; Rationalization; Minimization; Selective inattention or selective attention; Diversion; Evasion; Intimidation; Guilt trip; Shaming; Vilifying the abused; Playing the victim role; Playing the servant role; Seduction; Projecting the blame; Feigning innocence; Feigning confusion; Brandishing anger; Bandwagon effect. Any seem familiar? They should. These are techniques to control the individual. These are techniques to control the masses. The state and multi-nationals (those are still separate, right...?) can not terrorize everyone with physical violence and maintain a functioning empire. Neither can supervisors or administrators.

I always thought the scariest immediate effect of the election of George W. Bush was the squashing of positive public discourse, accomplished, in no small part, by the 24/7 vitriol of FOX "News." (I'll have to write more about that later. If you want homework, look up what happened to the investigative reporters on the FOX rBGH story, and into the history of FOX distribution in cable and satellite. Teaser: the reporters got fired, Ailes states that FOX is entertainment not news, FOX secured exclusivity rights to basic package tiers.) Without positive public discourse we can not maintain healthy community.

The people of this little blue ball are in a world of pain. That is not a metaphor. Despite that, today, people are changing the world for the better. Today, people are gaining control of narrative through wider and wider reaching waves. Thought is infectious. Belief is viral. Solidarity is a world changer. The digital age allows us to communicate at lighting speed, and brings the isolated into communities. I can't say this has all been positive, but it has not all been bad. 

Unions are a specific form of community. Some of the people that I admire most are members of the faculty union APSCUF in Pennsylvania. Some of the people that I admire most are currently fighting for the life of one of their most vulnerable. Long story short:

Two weeks into the Fall 2017 semester a temporary faculty member was told they needed an immediate life-saving procedure with a lengthy recovery. The faculty rallied around their most vulnerable member, and attempted to donate time to cover the obligations of the temporary faculty member. They sought a one time agreement with Administration to allow the time donations to save the life of another person, because, if terminated, the temporary faculty member would not just lose their job, but also their health care coverage.

The Kutztown University President, Kenneth Hawkinson, was directed by the state system, PASSHE, to terminate employment of the temporary faculty member. There was nothing he could do, he said. The cost was too great, he said. We can not set precedent with this case, he said. Raging Chicken Press has a great piece, Precarity or Solidarity: When lives are on the line, Which World Do You Want? if you would like to read more. You should.

The faculty members of APSCUF continue to support the terminated temporary faculty member. There is  a way to help financially , if you are able. This is the power of community: The story is shared. The vulnerable find care. Members stand in solidarity.

But, this is just one story. Crowdsourcing for medical bills is normal in America. Not everyone has the means to create a crowdsource campaign. They are our most vulnerable. We must act to ensure a single payer insurance system for everyone. Everyone in, No One left out. The only losers are the Insurance and Pharmaceutical Vampires. The only thing they lose is money, not their life.

Community is a most dangerous thing to an abuser. Solidarity is the most dangerous thing to an abuser. 

Soooooo, Back to my Baby Brother!

Tonight I have promised him a roast chicken that will make him taste chicken for the first time. It is a Kreeky Tree Farm chicken that I picked up from Allan on Saturday. I am going to cook with restraint this night, forgoing the dry vermouth and lemon. I want Garan to taste Chicken. My youngest son says the skin is 'Chicken Bacon' when I cook it this way.

Roast Chicken with Potatoes and Carrots

(1) 4-5lb. Chicken

Coarse Salt & Cracked Pepper

4 medium potatoes

8-10 carrots

Olive Oil

Coarse Salt & Cracked Pepper

Useful Items: Cast Iron Skillet, Cooking twine, Baking sheets

Preheat oven to 475F

Place chicken in skillet. Liberally sprinkle inside of cavity. Truss up chicken. Coat chicken with coarse salt and cracked pepper.

Cook chicken at 475F for 15 minutes.

Thinly slice potatoes. Place in bowl and liberally coat with olive oil, coarse salt, and cracked pepper.

Slice carrots. Place in bowl and liberally coat with olive oil, coarse salt, and cracked pepper.

Reduce heat to 375F. Set timer for 15 minutes. Cook chicken for 15 minutes. 

Potatoes on one baking pan. Carrots on second baking pan.

When timer goes off, place potatoes on bottom rack, carrots on top rack next to chicken. Cook for an additional 15 minutes.

Remove potatoes and carrots and check internal temperature of chicken.

When done, let chicken rest for 15 minutes before carving.