Plain sayin’ …………

It’s hard to wade into the steam of people-speak anymore
without recoiling in pain,  so many barbed words raking across soul so vicious
it’s a quick trip to make it out with tender parts alive.
Everybody talking at each other;  no one listening.
Like a nightmarish cocktail party where everyone’s drinks have been tainted
so that no one can see another’s face.
Just pasting labels over breathing souls with a narrow slap of hand.
And all the while,  shame working the floor like some crazed maestro,
conducting a symphony of suspicion,
painting a jury so harsh that we rush to condemn before the gavel comes down
on our own feelings of failure and flaw.

Where we could be a team,  a community,  a family,  a tribe,
there spews a flood of blind judgment and false accusation.
But we don’t know,  you and I, the being beneath the label
that we’ve just nailed into tender flesh.
We may have some facts,  but we don’t know the sum.
And their story will never be told or heard or understood
in this poisonous room.
It just won’t.
And what you think you know,  the heart of the matter,   likely you don’t.


And the people you just criticized,  do you think they crawled back through generations
and hand-picked the brokenness their wounded stuff springs from?
Do you think your belittling scorn is the medicine
that  may punish them hard enough to kill the cancer?
Like a strong dose of chemo?

No,  if you’re criticizing,  you’re part of the sickness,
shooting up from the same root that started the whole damn thing.
It’s only fuel,  your hate and blame and scorn,
when you slap a narrow label on a living,  breathing thing.
Call it activism,  politics,  ministry,  passion,
….whatever cheap aerosol spray you wanna mist around the filth of
words like “bigot”,  “racist”,  “monster”,  “pervert”,  “heathen,” “religitard,” “redneck,”
“sexist”, “ignorant,”  “hater”…..whatever flavor you’re better than.

Because you think you know them,  don’t you,  that “conservative”
who must therefore be a narrow-minded,  tight-fisted,
self absorbed, greedy,  judgemental, arrogant, woman-hating, heartless,  unseeing person of privilege.
Or that “liberal” who has got to be an irresponsible,  lazy,  immature,  unmotivated,
short-sighted, hedonistic, free-loading, immoral, self-serving professional victim.
It’s got to be one or the other,  right?

2015-05-10 19.53.41

No.   Sure,  both parties are out of balance.
Because both are wings that we need in order to fly.
Torn apart,   we’re all flopping helplessly in dirt.
(Yes,  both have virtue;  both have corruption….it’s part of the package)
So we suck it down,  the tainted information the talking heads are selling,
an IV laced with fear,
and construct from all the pieces,  like legos in a bin,  a form
to label and love or loathe
Our own comfy version of the truth.

And who loses?
We all do.
The abused and the abuser,  the hungry and the homeless,  the marginalized and the rich,
the sick and the helpless,  the lonely and the pimped.
We’ve built some good walls;  supply can’t get through.
Except for  where people of solution
are bypassing politics and creating change and finding effective ways
It’s happening.  Quietly it’s happening.
No party has a corner on compassion.

But think what we could do if we all started building together
instead of against.

In honor of the fourth and all the freedom we enjoy
in in this land that I love,
my first and last political vent:)
I’d love to send a zine to someone…..will draw a name next weekend.
Leave a comment and I’ll toss in your name:)

“You may say I’m a dreamer.
But I’m not the only one.”
-John Lennon

“We all need a little tenderness,  how will love survive,  in such a graceless age?”
– Don Henley


  1. Julia on July 5, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    Oh my, I was breathless when I finished reading your post Jennifer. You are truly on target with your rant. It is true. Yes it is true. You do see it like I do. It’s hard to digest all that is thrown at us.

    Plenty of blessings sent your way. Hugs,

    • Jennifer Richardson on July 10, 2015 at 5:46 am

      I so appreciate your encouraging visits:)
      Thanks for coming by to have a read;
      hope you love these days like your sweet boy
      loves spaghetti:)

  2. Elephant's Child on July 5, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    An emphatic yes.
    We are,or should be, all citizens of the world. A community which should build together, grow together, celebrate together and grieve together.
    Us and them diminishes us all.

    • Jennifer Richardson on July 10, 2015 at 5:47 am

      Us and them diminishes us all.
      Yes. Yes, exactly.
      Big joy and thanks,

  3. Julia on July 5, 2015 at 5:01 pm

    Dear Jennifer, I was so taken by your rant that I forgot to say thank you for the lovely zine you sent my way… It’s so beautiful what you do. I was so pleased to have this gift in the mail from you on Friday after work. Thanks again.

  4. Jane on July 5, 2015 at 7:02 pm

    Reading this, I feel convicted…for occasionally speaking my piece (peace) and falling into the fray. Sometimes I think FEELING compassion and speaking against oppression is the least (and SADLY the only thing) I can do. But your words do sting the part of me that may appear to others as seeming “better than.” Being perceived that way is my fear and my shame.

    • Jennifer Richardson on July 10, 2015 at 5:52 am

      We all go there, Jane…’s what we know; what we’ve all been served up.
      I do the same. Raised my kids on a steady diet of it:/
      I think we can speak our piece (peace:)) and still not criticize; it’s a heart thing.
      And, you’re right, someone will always call it criticizing even when it’s not.
      That whole shame thing gets stirred up big time. Shame is the enemy. And fear.
      We’re all on this journey together. I love your honest way, Jane.
      Thank you.

  5. Kathy on July 5, 2015 at 7:25 pm

    Except for where people of solution
    are bypassing politics and creating change and finding effective ways
    It’s happening. Quietly it’s happening.
    No party has a corner on compassion.

    It’s so hard for me to watch the news anymore. I still believe in us. Our brave foundations and good heart. Thank you for your heartfelt words and perspective.

    • Jennifer Richardson on July 10, 2015 at 5:53 am

      “I still believe in us”
      Yes, oh thank you for that, Kathy.
      It’s hard to even plant my feet there some days.
      Bottom line: I still believe in us.
      Yes. Big joy to you, friend.

  6. Sandra L. on July 5, 2015 at 8:09 pm

    So very well said, Jennifer. <3

  7. Barbara on July 5, 2015 at 9:06 pm

    I love how you point out that we need both sides in order to fly. This is all so true and I flinch when I hear pronouncements and labels from either side.

  8. gotham girl on July 5, 2015 at 9:14 pm

    Your posting needs to be on the front page of every newspaper and every magazine in this entire country. Brava my dear, brava!

  9. Sue on July 6, 2015 at 5:34 am

    I believe your post reflects the views of many in this country of ours. Unfortunately we turn to apathy. Perhaps we each need to live a life of compassion for others, working together. Great post, thanks for sharing!

  10. Gwen Lilly on July 6, 2015 at 9:16 am

    Our life is hid in Christ. He is the TRUTH about every person. He is where we live and move and have our being. May the true Gospel/good news of God’s Love spread like a wildfire burning down every word/belief but His in the heart of whosoever will be humble enough to listen and believe. Loved your vent. God’s love is the Cure. This I know and this I live.

  11. susan troccolo on July 6, 2015 at 9:46 am

    I’m with Robin (Gotham Girl). Your poetic soul and the pain you express needs to be shown on newspapers around our country. But sadly, I don’t know if the right people would read your heart on the page. Your words made me think of Billy Collin’s poem Endless Love (I believe) where he speaks of his heart being out in the world awaiting the next arrow that would pierce it. This terrible dichotomy–this “either/or” worldview is killing us. You are right. The Founders designed a balanced nation where intelligent minds could disagree in peace. Part of our problem is that we have broken the division between Church and State. It is an essential division, and we risk combining them at our peril. Europe knows this all too well. The USA is still a young country; a teenager in the world. I hurt along with you. (Your Zine is a moment of peace in my day.) Thank you more than I can say.

    • Jane on July 7, 2015 at 8:10 am

      “Part of our problem is that we have broken the division between Church and State. It is an essential division, and we risk combining them at our peril.” ~Susan Troccolo

      YES! Thank you for expressing this thought so succinctly.

    • Jennifer Richardson on July 10, 2015 at 5:57 am

      either/or….always a terrible dichotomy.
      Overly simplistic. Someone always loses.
      Thanks for wading into the wash with me:)
      I always love and appreciate your comments,

  12. Suzanne on July 6, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    I so hear you, and I so appreciate you speaking this truth that needs to be heard, that needs to be felt, that needs to resonate within each of us in order to help us awaken even more and come to a place of unconditional love for one another. Blessings!! I appreciated your thoughts so very much. <3

    • Jennifer Richardson on July 10, 2015 at 5:57 am

      So grateful that you dropped by and shared
      that beautiful heart of yours, friend:)
      Much joy to you,

  13. janet on July 6, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    Wow! Just wow! That’s beautiful and nutrient dense! Want to share on facebook!!

    • Jennifer Richardson on July 10, 2015 at 5:58 am

      “nutrient dense”… good. Thank you for those words:)
      I love the way you think,
      the way you are:)

  14. Kathy on July 6, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    Release…I hope that speaking your truth has helped with the bad taste of politics and hatred…wouldn’t it be a beautiful miracle if everyone followed the Golden Rule and spread love and kindness?! July love to you, Jennifer!i love your thistle photo!!!

    • Jennifer Richardson on July 10, 2015 at 5:59 am

      Big thanks for your visit, Kathy, and for listening
      to my rant:) I do love a thistle:)

  15. Lady Fi on July 7, 2015 at 12:59 am

    I wholeheartedly agree with you! Why can’t we all put that negative energy into helping each other instead?

    • Jennifer Richardson on July 10, 2015 at 6:00 am

      Exactly. So much waste of good resources.
      We could be powerful for the good
      Thanks for dropping by,

  16. Donna on July 8, 2015 at 8:35 pm

    Oh Jennifer….’all we need is love’…I wish we could be kind to one another…really that is what is needed…more kindness and less judgment…

    • Jennifer Richardson on July 10, 2015 at 6:01 am

      Thanks for coming by and joining the conversation, Donna;
      more kindness; less judgment, indeed:)
      I love you and your way:)

  17. Jennifer Richardson on July 10, 2015 at 5:54 am

    Hi Sandra…..thank you:)
    I appreciate you coming around to visit:)

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