9/19/2009

When The World Is Too Much

Lately, you have probably noticed that the posts here have slowed tremendously. There's actually a very good reason for that. Sometimes, the world just gets to be too much, too real, and too full of meanness and strife.

I have been watching the health care reform debates closely. My position has been obvious as a person who fell victim to private insurance and the patchwork of private/public programs available. My own husband cannot get basic post-cancer care and screening because his employer does not offer health insurance as a small business and he can't purchase private insurance as a cancer survivor. The "high risk pools" available are as much as $2000 a month which is as much as our monthly gross income combined.

Still, I watch the crass nuts screaming in the street and our media treating them as though they have a legitimate point of view. Perhaps this comparison is a bit harsh but it feels right: It's like our media calling up Charles Manson to get some good advice on family management! Our media stopped reporting and informing long ago and now entertains us with the most outrageous visuals and statements, pretending that the most disgusting and crazy claims are treated with the same gravitas as legitimate policy dispute.

I have watched progressive congresspeople and senators cave to corporate sponsors to give up our public health to insure profits and gold plated serving sets on private jets. I have listened as the ACLU, the ACLU of all groups, has weighed in to enshrine corporations with the same civil rights that we enjoy as individuals! What is next? Allowing corporations to commit murder with no criminal penalty? Well, that's already happening. The ACLU has taken the stand that money is a form of political speech. The more money you have the louder your voice should be and the more service you should get from your government. In essence, the ACLU position has become: If you are poor or of ordinary means your voice should be silenced by the bribery and mayhem in our government. The ACLU! What has happened in our world?

I have watched right wing extremists in the streets with automatic weapons, trying desperately to see how close they can get to the President and take a shot. I have watched as these same terrorists have been exposed as Christian extremists who also call for the murder of LGBT Americans in the streets.

I have seen gays in Iraq singled out and murdered horribly by the Sharia Death Squads while our own military and government stands idly by. I have thought of how our own military when they liberated the death camps of Nazi Germany were quick to release Jews, Gypsies, Socialists, and others but kept gays locked up - just as the horrible Nazis did!

I have watched our President instruct his Justice Department to defend the Defense of Marriage Act saying that equal protection doesn't apply if you're LGBT. Then I have watched Gay, Inc. buy the argument. I have watched him waffle on Don't Ask, Don't Tell and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

When a few brave senators introduce a bill to repeal DOMA - exactly what the President and the "Progressives" wanted - I have watched Barney Frank play the "mid-term election card" and caution that it's "not the right time."

In short, it has all become far too much. I have realized that I am often depressed and anxious over the state of affairs in our nation. I read my newsfeed from various places and see the same inane babbling about all this. It's like the weather, everyone is talking about it but nobody ever does anything about it. Our own President seems immobilized by the headlong rush into open violence on our streets fueled by entertainers and racists.

I always wondered why my mother would cook when she was upset. No matter what was happening she would start baking. Couldn't sleep because of worries about money or the mills closing? She'd be up in the middle of the night making a pound cake from scratch. Depressed about the illness or death of a family member? Bake a coconut cake.

I've discovered why she did that. Baking can be a very Zen activity. A little over a month ago I launched a new blog Sugar Pies that focused on baking and in particular traditional and heirloom recipes. It was fun going through my mother's recipes and looking over ones I'd not made in years. Then I started baking. When I couldn't sleep or the news got to be too depressing, I whip up some Lemon Cookies. When I'd worry about Michael needing a colonoscopy and complaining lately about some pain but with no way to get one, I'd switch to Maple Cookies.

When baking, all of those troubles would fall away as I busied myself with measuring the ingredients. I would turn on the oven light and watch as cookies rose and browned, the smell of maple or lemon permeating the house. Then I would turn, not to this blog where I would be forced to confront all of the ugliness in our nation or brought about by our wars, but instead to Sugar Pies where I would share the recipe along with a photo of the treat I'd just made.

In short time, I was making some lovely new friends through cooking sites who enjoyed my recipes and my reminiscences on food history, my stories about my Mama, and simple back to basics ingredients and flavors. We didn't discuss politics. We didn't argue about "tactics" and we didn't care about political alliances. In all but one case, I have no idea where these people fall on the political spectrum and it's wonderful! We share something much deeper, a love of baking and a connection to how food impacts our lives at the most basic levels.

So, I've been quiet here on SE2SW while I've enjoyed this time. I'm sleeping better and am happier. I have discovered what my mother did - bringing joy to yourself and others is very healing and when faced with overwhelming problems a bit of sugar and butter made into a glorious treat can always remind you of what is really important.

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