Gary's Third Pottery Blog

When the going gets tough, dragons gonna get going....

Gary's third pottery blog

WRITE TO ME! garyrith@yahoo.com Come see me! Open studio HERE! November 25-26 (11-4 each day); Aurora Art and Design, daily until 12/24; Cooperstown Art Assoc. daily until 12/24; Ellis Hollow Community Fair, 12/10; December 10, Little Red Wagon at the Space at Greenstar. All material on this blog unless stated otherwise is copyright Gary Edward Rith 2016

Monday, November 14, 2016

musings upon bullying and fear….




Just a word or two about fear.

We moved a lot when I was a kid, and I was the subject of some merciless bullying when we got to new places.  One example is Mike Waller who sat behind me in 6th grade music class and hit me over the head with his book when the teacher’s back was turned...repeatedly.  For weeks. The 25-30 kids in class tittered.  I didn’t cry.  I never told anybody. I was the new kid, I was shy, and what authority would listen?  And as teens will tell you, if you speak up your ass gets kicked ten times worse. The little...well, she is not so little anymore as a fifth grader...daughter of a friend of ours has all these Diaries of a Wimpy Kid books at home.  It is about that sort of sh!t, and about trying to do the right thing in a world full of bullies and social stigma.  I can see why kids would like that stuff, because the kid can be a hero and set things right in the end.  I don’t know if Mike Waller died young of some horrible and painful, disfiguring disease, but if you believe in karma, he will get his.  Except, so often, really, bullies don’t, they go on to lead happy and prosperous lives.  Sometimes those guys even get elected president of the USA.

We didn’t put an HRC sign in our yard, because, secretly, I was afraid.  Afraid of the pickups that drive by on our very busy road, including (although we live in the NORTH) some with Confederate flags.   Those dudes might have guns.  When HRC ran for senate here in NY some years ago, my next door neighbor’s yard sign was flattened by a pickup that drove across their lawn to do so. They didn’t want to put up signs anymore.  They have kids in the house.

I have been into a synagogue only 3 times in my life, although I have known Jewish people all my life.  They look and act and think exactly like me.  Except I am a Quaker and know very little about Judaism.  The 3 times I have been into that synagogue I have wondered at the likely difference of being any ordinary American who might go to Temple one day and a swastika would be painted on the door.  Or a window smashed.  Or a bomb thrown through the window. These things happen to Jews all the time around the world, and in America too.  It has been decades or centuries since anybody has harassed Quakers in meeting, as far as I know, or gone out of their way to be simply violent to us as a group.  So when I was in that synagogue having fun at a holiday fair, looking at little kids who are like any other little kid, I wondered what kind of person could hate somebody as a group.  Not even knowing them, you could just throw a rock through the window, or a bomb?  I asked friends from that synagogue about security--they have cameras, and procedures for safety.  Quakers don’t.  Do white Baptist churches worry about these things?  Presbyterians?  Do they have wire mesh on the windows and security cameras everywhere? How about black churches?  Why do we hear of so many burned to the ground here in the US?  What sort of devil would do these things?

We have an African-American neighbor married to a white woman...how on Earth do they feel?  Scared as hell.  And this, on the edge of what has been called the most liberal city in the USA.


I don’t have to face those sorts of things as a straight WASP male who didn’t even have an HRC sign in his yard.  I just want to be left alone to make my pots.  Shouldn't everyone be left alone?  But sh!t, a whole lot of people don’t have that luxury right now, because the fucking bully WON.  He is on his way to the White House.  

5 comments:

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

Oh, Gary... the whole bit about being afraid to put a HRC sign in the yard... I live in a red part of my state and I was just wondering this week why I hardly ever saw a sign for her, was it because people weren't voting for her? Or because people were afraid? (I don't do yard signs in general, nor did my parents.)

I can tell you that my Presbyterian church does have security cameras. You might remember that about 16 months ago, we were broken into during the night. The thief was probably pretty disappointed, since we don't have cash but they stole other things. I was so relieved there was no graffiti or senseless damage. At the time, our camera system was being upgraded and we didn't have a working camera inside the building, so we could never prove who the guy was enough to charge him (although some neighborhood peeps recognized his mug on the security footage shown on the TV news. Since that burglary we have also improved some other security measures (for my safety in the office as well as other things). But you know what? I don't live in fear. I do know that bigger churches (we only have 80 members and most of them are Caucasian) have to plan for something really bad happening. They have security measures in place. I get the e-mails about such things and I pass them off as alarmist, but I think the more evangelical churches do get into the security stuff because it feeds on fear (I'm thinking of the kind of people who helped elect the big bully as our next President). Personally, I delete those messages in my work e-mail.

There is so much to be worried about now that the flying monkeys have been let out -- and like you, I'm only a cisgendered, hetero female WASP.

Carol S. said...

And now all the media normalizing of the bullying and fear he not only participated in but incited! It friggin blows my mind!

Barbara Rogers said...

So sorry that we now have to deal with our basic rights and freedoms being threatened. My consolation (and many are gathering in community to offer such to each other) is to consider this a disaster about to happen, a hurricane if you will. Just as neighbors a few miles away are being evacuated from wildfires...we need to make a plan. Be ready to leave on a moment's notice. Have enough supplies to last at least a week. Yes, we can not depend upon the infrastructure. The GOP bullies will do everything they've been screaming they want to do right away. It is a disaster that will be upon us. Make a plan to survive! And of course cherish those we love.

knittergran said...

This is all so frightening that I don't even know where to start to deal with what's coming. I'm a deer in the headlights.
And the "normalizing" of it? Even more frightening. Nothing about this is normal.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

What bugs me, too, are the people who are like, "What's the big deal? It's over, move on." It's a sick and twisted form of blaming the victim.
Your empathy is beautiful, Gary. The world is better there for having you in it.

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I am a full-time studio potter, sculptor, and dog walker, married to superhawt Missus Tastycake.