Category Archives: Rants
The Way of a Peaceful Creation
Hearing creation stories always thrill me as what was once a speck of a thought could turn into such a huge impact on the society and culture we find ourselves. These stories span more than the traditional Judaeo-Christian Adam and Eve, or even the Iriquois’ turtle and
mother, but even span into ideologies and such as is read in Invitation to Peace Studies the beginnings of modern “nonviolent action” (122). This is further developed by Henry David Thoreau in his essay on “Civil Disobedience.” Within both of these sources there is an underlying call to action that can’t be ignored. When powers at hand are getting out of control it is up to the people to stand up in nonviolent action against the threat that is either being imposed or quietly setting up ambush.
Treating nonviolent action as a method of war is important to the rationalization and justification of it. Many people unfortunately believe that we can not live without war or violence and that humans are programmed for it, though war and violence are a means to death. Taking the non-combative course is necessary but must still take on some characteristics of war. So much energy and time is devoted to running scenarios and planning for the worst and best scenarios, and nonviolent action requires the same if not a little less of this. If this sort of discourse was spoken more often in real war situations we would certainly see a much more rational means to an end of the war. The act of war isn’t reserved for whole countries violently fighting interstate wars but is also standing up against an institution or program, law, etc. to positively affect our own situations on behalf of humans and their rights.
A population growing restless is a threat to the order and governance of a government that is why peaceable solutions need to happen when these arise. Gene Sharp “described 198 different nonviolent actions used in dozens of nonviolent campaigns across diverse societies and eras” (122) but perhaps some of these nonviolent campaigns came too late. As is later pointed out in the text some of them moved on to actual wars within only a few years time. Then, I have to wonder how many heard the call to start speaking out in a positive light to try and quell the storm rather than waiting. Thoreau explains it just as I’d imagine that “they will wait, well disposed, for others to remedy the evil, that they may no longer have it to regret.” The regret paints the first sign of a brushed off obligation that one holds. The idea of waiting means they already have a goal in mind but have only time between them and that goal. Waiting is sometimes something that’s inevitable but actively waiting spells a totally different story.
The truth that is making the distance between action and inaction lesser is the availability of facts and methods. “Never again will people be…faced with inventing tactics on their own” (122) to combat what ails us as a nation. I have waited long enough to have the guilt to begin weighing on me. If I’m getting discouraged because no one is standing up and saying “Enough!” then maybe it’s time someone like me does. There is enough good intention in this world that could strengthen the pleas and add formula and further planning to such an outcry. There is a lot that goes into organizing and pulling off such a strong feat with building momentum. But as with all creation stories it could be your spark that starts the new beginning.
Thoreau, Henry David. “Civil Disobedience.” Blackboard. Sdccd.blackboard.com. 1849. web.2 Oct. 2016
Wood, Houston. Invitation to Peace Studies. Oxford. Oxford University Press. 2016.
*please note all links contained within are to supporting documents of statements made*
It is impossible to turn on the news without hearing some absurd happening within communities of these united states. Trivial things turned vicious, ignorance turned deadly, and tolerance turned intolerant. The number of stories have increased tremendously especially over the last 8 months. It seems as if there is something America has forgotten. A phrase, saying, and steadfast pillar of peace and tolerance; practice what you preach, treat others how you want to be treated, turn the cheek, or even bite the bullet. The amount of specific examples where this phrase or collection of phrases could have been used to promote peace is astounding. Following are a few examples.
In 2011 Florida state highway trooper Donna Watts arrested a Miami police officer who while driving a marked police car led her on a high-speed pursuit for over four minutes with speeds topping 120 mph on the highway. After the arraignment and judicial procedures the arrested officer lost his job. Though he broke the law, other law enforcement officers from 25 different agencies searched police archives (privileged information) to find her address and contact information in order to harass her.
If the other police men and women took a second and said, “practice what you preach,” they would have found no need to try and intimidate an officer who was actually doing what they are all sworn in to do. Maturity would have allowed this phrase to enter their minds before they reacted blindly. It also should have stood as a testament to the fact that they are not above the law. Of course there are many other current situations where this applies to the cops as well, so please, officers start asking yourself if you are practicing what you preach.
LGBT community and supporters
We all know the fight for equality has been difficult but has seen some amazing steps forward with the repeal of DOMA and Prop8, along with the repeal of don’t ask don’t tell. The past few years have been great, there is still, however, a very real struggle underway. In some places the fight is going backward. Let’s think Memories Pizza in Indiana. They refused to make pizza for a gay wedding. It is their constitutional and living right to choose who they serve. If they decide they want nothing to do with it, try some other business, or think of some other cuisine. The backlash created for this family run business is sickening. If we allowed the phrase, “treat people the way you want to be treated,” to run through our minds this wouldn’t have happened.
No we don’t want to be looked down upon, or berated for who we are, so why would we do that to someone else. Just because their beliefs don’t align with what the rest of the world is trending toward doesn’t give us, the same people who only recently have made some serious milestones, the right to tear their business to shreds.
Those screaming RACISM!
It will be a very dark page in the history books when the stories of Ferguson, Garner, and many more hit them. It is a time in America when we can say that unfortunately racism still exists. It is with all of my heart that we can get this to go away, but it won’t if the reactions continue to be less than appealing. There is no need to shoot and kill an innocent officer because of the color of his skin. There is no need to attack and refer to all police as killers. If it weren’t for the police force we would be in a world that stinks way worse than it does right now. So even in these rough times, when it seems there is new evidence being turned out about some other wrong doing every single day, we should be asking ourselves, can we “treat others the way we want to be treated?” Racism exists, yes, but we need to be able to come together and live life devoid of the ignorance that creates the terrible idea called racism. You may never know when you meet someone that’s racist, but as long as you hold true to yourself and let your light shine, you may never know who you converted away from it either.
I don’t know your story, nor will I ever, but the color of ones skin doesn’t equal the caliber of human you may perceive them to be. In a clear, unaltered news story that recently came up a few Florida police officers were fired because of the slanderous way they talked about black people. Sure it can be easy to lump individuals together by a common feature, but you are doing yourself one of the worst injustices you can. Don’t be narrow minded and allow yourself to think, “treat others the way I want to be treated.” Who cares what your thoughts are or what you think of people. Do the most human thing and think for a second and treat everyone the way you would want to be treated. It is, after all, ignorance which breeds intolerance.
The Unyielding Religious
It doesn’t matter what religion you are, most religions preach peace and love. Yes there are certain abominations, but it is also up to God, Allah, or whatever god you pray to, to judge those in abomination. So keep that in mind when you want to judge someone for the way they are. Recently a lawyer in California, who claims to be Christian, posed a ballot that encourages homosexuals be punished by a “bullet to the head.” This is an extreme case, but in every day life you will run into someone who’s views or life you don’t agree with. It is already stated in the bible that you aren’t to judge anyone, but leave that for God. So why can’t you say to yourself a phrase taken from your book, the golden rule, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (Matthew 7:12)
To Those crying No Immigration!
Recently President Obama went out of his way to pass a law that would allow illegal aliens to gain citizenship in the United States. This was a double edged sword. If the people didn’t meet all the criteria chances are they could be deported back to their country. Some of you reading this may be happy about that, but I ask you, where did you descend from? In 2013 only about 2% of Americans were native, which means your family came from somewhere else. We are constantly flooded with reports on how immigrants get a free ride, let me tell you this is false. Understandably there is concern about foreign criminals and such reaching our soil and staying, but the government has many practices in place to limit that from happening. So think about those families who want to come here and are willing to take the jobs you don’t want, along with another, just to make ends meat and support a family away from said criminal and brutal activity. Practice what you preach. If it weren’t for immigrants chances are you wouldn’t be here.
There are many groups that weren’t touched on here but the point of the essay is to increase the internal dialogue of everyone. This is America, home of the free. Of course there will people that don’t agree on one topic, life, religion, or creed. That’s the point. Take that and realize we are merging into a new era, a new generation, and the last thing we need to be guilty of is creating a hostile environment for our young ones, let alone our neighbors and ourselves. We are united with the respect of each living person, glorified in the knowing that we can live harmoniously together.
There will be times when the simple phrase, treat others as you would like to be treated, will go to the way side especially when someone threatens what we all stand for. An enemy of our rights. A true threat to the freedom that we have to be able to argue about such values. But when it comes to person to person, neighbor to neighbor, community to community we must stand united with a respect to each human to have their own thoughts, beliefs, life, and religion. This is America. These are our fundamental truths that we must not let pass.
May God Bless America!
Caleb A. Mertz
How’s life? A bar patron asks the manager at the restaurant I occupy. He smiles and goes off on a tale about the Padres. The guests smile and they begin to talk, I drift with a perfect beginning to my post.
Life is good. With the past few months of laxed writing practices, I am happy to say that I’m back! Not just back, but better than ever. In previous posts, in particular On a very different path, I take you along my road to recovery after a break-up… Welp, here I am, sitting in a restaurant while my boyfriend is in dance class.
My boyfriend, my FOUND inspiration, my new beginning. A life that, since he’s been in, has been utter bliss. I would tell u the story of how I knew one day I’d be speaking spanish, but that’d only bore you. Who cares about the young man feeling envious of the secret code being spoken around him? Desperate to break the barrier and understand what was being said, thus using bi-lingual packets to begin his learning. Who cares?
Now, I sit. I look around the restaurant. Only one other couple occupies the bar, but many have gathered to watch the fight between the Dodgers and the Padres. It is San Diego, after all. My Miller Lite is extremely lite, just as my wallet.
I present the only card that may be able to cover the price of two beers. If I succeed, I’ll have another and pay cash. If not, well, I have enough to cover and a nice tip as well.
I can’t help it! I think back to him. His smile, laugh, everything.
“¿Como estas?” A young couple asks, walking to the bar.
I know that: How are you?
Now the conversation goes a bit further. I understand! Not everything, but all things in steps right!?
It’s now within my scope to translate my best selling book, “With Thoughts of Jason” into Spanish. Why not broaden the scope of people that might be able to enjoy a book taken from my heart and soul?
My boyfriend is Mexican, and with that comes a sleu of, ahem, thoughts…yeah, thoughts. You see, my sister married a man from México, and well, he’s done some damage. So now, even with my boyfriend in the room with me, my mom doesn’t seem to accept that i’m dating a Mexican.
“Mom,” I say, “he’s my boyfriend, not just a friend,” I realize it might take her some time, well untill she’d meet him. At that point i know she’d fall for him as quickly as I have.
Well hey. Just wanted to give u all a heads up. I feel like life is taking a turn for something amazing, if u believe so as well be sure to like or follow my blog! I can’t wait to share more exciting things when it comes to writing, or stupid updates on the life that’s wielding my writing.
Caleb A. Mertz
The cold. Wind rushes through the leaves. My skin retracts, muscles convulse. The exhale of a cigarette escapes my mouth and rushes away from me. Smoke, gathers and writhes, billows, yet dissipates. A thought.
A thought that takes me from such treacherous cold; meaning, place, part of the plethoral consciousness.
The cigarette, I again, unwisely, place to my lips to take a drag. The ashes redden, smoke swirls and dances against the influence of the wind, my lungs fill with toxins. I pause. Nicotine infects my blood cells flowing false euphoria to my brain, and yet I still ponder the thought.
Meaning… What do I mean? There is no measure. I can only measure meaning by self importance, so what does it mean? Does it matter?
The cigarette ashes flick into the brass chalice with ease, yet the wind catches them to take them away. Not willingly, but taken by force. Quickly the cigarette is again raised to my mouth. I hesitate a moment, as I look five feet from me to the dark gray slate roof, with what was once a white gutter. The orange stucco impedes upon my memory as I now take yet another drag, smoke hugging my fingers as I shiver once more.
Place… Where am I? Not in position to my physical whereabouts, but more, my mind. The chill exhilarates me, causing me to stand now in the corner where the bitter claws may not reach me.
Something within stirs. It has been, yet I try not to notice. I notice, but I fear. I fear, but I’m strong. I’m strong, yet I fear the weakness it may present. Weakness, and knowing its whereabouts builds strength. Strength I need to overcome such fear. Fear, I have no affinity with.
Plethoral consciousness – a phrase of my own construction. The combination of all human and non-human thoughts, energies, and will. Where? Or shall I ask, what part do I play? Am I one that will rise above? Or the balance to allow others to succeed?
The cigarette is nearly done, and has been resting in my hand atop the railing along my balcony. The brisk cold scratches my face. The thought. Why would I think it? I guess we all must. We have to, at one time or another, question where we stand. Whether it’s dramatic or simply pondering. For the cigarette, it was time to end. The red-hot ashes explode as I plunge it quickly into the chalice. I smile at the cold, as I open the door to find my warmth, and answer to the moment.
A young man stood upon the rocks in ocean beach, peering into the vast darkness. A land, or space, or existence that held breadth and terrible power within. The waves are ever constant, in five’s or maybe seven’s did a large one come forth. A distant light catches his eye, as a voice from within begins.
“You’d never make that swim,” the ocean swirls upon the rocks to his right. Cresting high upon the barnacles, white froth displaying the water’s torment. “You’d tire just far enough off shore you couldn’t return, and not far enough to make it.”
The water recedes out as sanderlings run in. The young man takes two steps further to the edge.
“It’d be like everything else,” a wave sends a small flurry of splash across his face, and spurs small ripples in tiny tide pools.
“Like Jonathan,” a young nude couple runs down to a small private beach between the rocks. They laugh, as she tries throwing him into the now on-coming wave. He tugs her teasingly but sends her falling into the water.
“Or Aaron,” a piercing scream comes from the young nude girl as the frigid water rushes over her. The wave recedes as they both giggle, now allowing sand to cling to their bare skin.
The light still shines, off in the distance, across this barren space, full of unknown dangers.
‘The big one is due’ he thinks to himself watching the water swirl around the rocks, then the white crest of the in-coming waves tumbling upon themselves. The blue moon shines imperiously upon the surface, demanding attention, and breeding insight.
“Everything you’ve tried, you’ve failed at lately.” Another wave washes in, traveling up a small fissure within the stone embankment. The young man sits now at the edge of the slippery rock. Another wave crashes in, but still of no “big” proportion. The water churns below his feet, swishing and unpredictably taking paths not taken the same before.
The light from a boat off in the distance has traveled slightly to the right, both blue and red lights still bequeath their light, and strength upon the barren land.
“Failure is something that must be learned to be taken,” small waves continue to wash upon the shore. The young nude couple has quieted, except for a random female pleasure song. A long hoot is heard from a-top the steps as three college kids arrive to indulge in drinking, and eventually driving.
The moon shines promisingly on a white-cap well off to sea. ‘This could be the big one,’ it had been seven, eight, nine, since the last swell.
“Sharks infest these waters. They feed at night. You’ll be chum,”
‘the swell!’ he hoped. There were rocks beneath him, capable of bending his skeleton in ways not meant. It could snag him and hold him there, if that were her intent.
“He’s gone too far,” a whooshing noise came.
“You’d never make the swim,” the white caps frothed and exploded as they should.
The college students arrived upon the rocks.
Hollering ensued. The nude girl screamed in artificial orgasmic praise. Our young man planted the heels of his hands steadfast upon the rock.
The wave came in.
‘Nothing’ a small wave ran into the big wave, and reduced its power. The lone young man stood. Bottles smashed behind him as the reckless college kids wreaked havoc on this sacred place.
He walked past the three college kids, falling upon their 24 bottle load.
“Fuck you!” They yelled.
“Fuck you!” He yelled back.
“What did he just say?” The one asked to the other. Another waved crashed upon the barnacles, and rocks, and sand, and love making one-night-stand. He jumped from the rock to the private beach where the lovers once rolled in sand.
“Go get that fuckin faggot!” One collegiate roared at the other.
The pants of our lone young man loosened and fell to his ankles. He stepped from them.
“Dude really is a fag! Fuckin’ get him!” He marched past the nude girl whimpering in fake pleasure as her knight shook above her. The small wave caught his toes, then his feet, then his calves, it’s fuckin’ cold!’ he yelled at himself. Sand was flying high with the run-prints of his potential attacker closing in. The next wave, a medium one, rose to his thighs as he purged through the water. The shirt came off next to reveal the fat of the old relationships bearing heavily upon him. A sight no one in the modern world would want to see, fat, man-boobs, and a gut jiggling upon the slightest vibration from the universe.
“You’re going to die,” the voice rang within him.
‘if it gets me away from you’ he thought.
“Get back here! Are you nuts!” The drunken scholar hollered.
Sanderlings rushed in with the receding wave, as our young swimming loner took off to sea. The crest of the next wave intruded upon his sight of the light that lay off in the distance. No foot could be placed upon the ocean floor as it dipped quickly: nearly relentlessly. She, the ocean, demanded the strength and endurance of only a man.
The sound of water lapping around him stirred nothing within him. ‘I have to get to that boat’ he demanded.
“Get back here! Homo!” Roared the intelligently educated master of the arts upon his mast.
“You’ll die!” Roared the voice within.
With that, he saw it. The wave he was going to jump into upon the rocks. The one he hoped would carry him out to sea, to the boat where he needed to be. It raised high above the waves that crested behind him.
‘I’ll take you’ he said sure of himself. Ready to take a deep breath and ride her recession out to the boat. The boat that was now three-quarters a mile away.
“You’ll be chum.”
“Dude!” The collegiate sang, swimming in fifteen feet of water. Our lone-swimming young man was fifty yards from the rocks now. The houses and lights shown oddly about the shore. Perhaps it was the cold gripping him, perhaps it was this new perspective.
‘no time to linger’ he determined himself. He continued to swim, as the big wave went beneath him as nothing.
The splash of his arm, upon arm, upon stroke, upon stroke wore upon him. The unexpected wavelength cast salt water to his lungs. The swim was still to be made.
‘am I mad’ he asked of himself.
“Chum,” was all he heard back. Rarely could he here the call for what now sounded as a concerned college kid yelling from the rocks.
Peace was here now, while his breathing increased. He remembered his swim classes, “look away from the fishies; talk to the fishies.”
The lights of the boat went further than he could have hoped. Land was so far in the distance only a speckle of light shown where he once was. The poor girl, devoid of sexual pleasure assuredly made her male mate feel competent, the college boys probably talked about the crazy guy that went for a swim.
“You should have stayed, he would have come back for you,” the nagging voice ensued.
‘and then WHAT!’ the lone swimmer screamed before talking to the fishies.
“He would have taken you back,” the voice continued.
‘no.’ the swimmer continued. He continued to swim, he was making better time than ever before. ‘no he wouldn’t have’
“So why!” The voice asked. The swimmer continued to paddle. Wave upon wave, he felt the oceans force. “Why do this?”
‘Because I have to!’ he yelled within himself. His limbs were growing numb, the lights from the boat nearly getting further away. He took a second to wade water.
‘it’s only in my mind’ he said looking upon the darkness that surrounded him on all sides.
“This is no longer just your mind,” the voice of reality came in. It was true. All things ventured lately were failures, but he wasn’t going to give up on this. He continued to swim.
“You’ll never make it,” the waves lapped his face. He didn’t dare think of what may be trailing him, lurking, stalking, getting close. Though peaceful, it was loud; between the heavy breathing and the splash of each stroke he took. The cold water and his efforts bore down upon him.
‘I’ll never make it’
The ocean is a strange and powerful creature, so full of life it carries a soul of its own. A soul that reserves itself for no man, beast or fowl. A soul content with being beautiful, gently caressing places she holds dear, but bolstering a power never meant to be taken lightly. Rarely does she help to make one persevere, it had to be there before ever tempting her.
The ease of swimming to shore was not one our lone swimming broken-hearted boy ever intended. He could still hear what still sounded as a concerned college kid. Yet he was too far out.
“What are you doing!?” He heard. “I’m turning around!”
His jaw nearly dropped. The feeling of stalking wasn’t from a shark! Someone was following him, the college kid from the shore!
‘what is he thinking?’ he thought angrily swimming back where the voice came from.
“Where are you?” The voice called.
“Here!” He yelled.
“Here!” He splashed about to ensure he was heard. He swam faster than he had before.
‘someone really cares!’ he thought excitedly. The waves propelled him now. As he rose with the waves he could see a head not far off in the distance.
“Don’t do this man!” The head called.
“I’m coming back!” Our loner responded.
“C’mon, last one to shore is a chicken leg,” the college student yelled.
They swam, faster and faster. Head to head. And soon arrived to shore tired of their efforts, and breathing with sharp inhales.
“Why did you follow me?” Our loner asked.
“I couldn’t stand to watch someone try and off themselves.”
He looked at him. The kid was handsome, built, and had eyes that sparkled in the spotlights from above.”I wasn’t going to off myself,” he responded. The waves crashed around them.
“Then why would you swim off into the night ocean?” The student asked. Our boy looked out to the ocean, only a small flicker of light shown from the boat he was going to swim to, even if death had met him.
“I do it all the time,” he said, then scooching closer to the young man, “will you hold me?”
“What? No!” The student responded, still too out of breath to move.
“Right,” the loner responded seeing a kayak lantern off in the distance. He stood as the strong seventh wave came in. “You stay here,” he commanded. Then looked back at the handsome young man who thought he was saving a life. “I never would have made it, if it weren’t for you.” He said, then turning back to the lone lantern. He estimated a twenty minute swim to it. “Keep your faith alive in humanity. But this one has to make it alone.” He said walking then trudging into the ocean. He would embark upon the path he told himself he couldn’t make. The belief in humans renewed he had a plan, and one that wouldn’t require too much swimming.