%s1 / %s2

We're working on a new version of PRX. Want a sneak peek?

Playlist: The River Is Wide

Compiled By: Susan Cook

 Credit: Susan Cook
Image by: Susan Cook 
No text

The River Is Wide (Series)

Produced by Susan Cook

Most recent piece in this series:

The Opposite of Love is not Hate, it's Indifference: Cupcakes and the Lineage of Hatred

From Susan Cook | Part of the The River Is Wide series | 07:52

Soudabscookjrnolanbest2_small

The Opposite of Love Is Not Hate, It’s Indifference:
Cupcakes and the Lineage of Hatred
-Susan Cook-
Dutsi, depending on whether the translation is from the Sanskrit or Tibetan, means human remains. In Tibetan Buddhism, small amounts are consumed during some very high level spiritual rituals. It is said that when Chogyram Trumpah Rinpoche, a modern Buddhist spiritual leader, was a boy in a Tibetan monastery, he was given as part of his monastic teaching, dutsi to eat from his beloved brother who had died. What is consumed is no small matter in Buddhist circles.
I help staff from time to time Buddhist retreat weekends, during which Trumpah Rinpoche’s teachings are taught, bringing bagels, tea, sometimes more elaborate celebratory fare. At one retreat, an anti-choice participant brought 46 cupcakes, symbolizing 23 pairs of chromosomes- the veiled gesture being that some of those supporting reproductive rights- would be eating cupcakes , symbolically chromosomes.  as if they were cupcakes. Chogyram Trumpah Rinpoche was similarly deceived- the legend being that the monastics did not tell him that in his grieving moment of lost idealization of deep love- in this case for his brother. Such are the lessons of impermanence in Buddhism. Left un-grieved,  traumatic loss of idealized love and attachment brings consequences like permission to  physical and sexual abuse, abandonment, addictions , deep maltreatment and trauma. Un-grieved loss, in effect  perpetuates a lack of human compassion. And an absence of  love in the world.
Most of the people at the retreat didn’t count the cupcakes or notice the unspoken energy around the mockery in  eating cupcakes they were offered-  as might have been the case for Trumpah Rinpoche in his isolated dependence on his monastic  teachers. 
One might say that the compassion Buddhist teachings aim for was lost in dogma.  Buddhism’s  Four Noble Truths, include that we all have been given precious human birth. In Tibet, surviving beyond birth has always been and is still extraordinarily difficult. Precious human birth comes in that culture in very, very  different ways than it does in Western culture. Almost 40 years ago, I worked for a year on an observational study in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at a major hospital where we observed infants born before 28 weeks gestation and the environment around them. Very sophisticated medical technology, intubation, oxygen ventilators, umbilical IV monitoring and other complex interventions brought some of these neonates to survive. Others did not. And, no insurance did not cover all the costs, then or now. In 2015, the New England Journal of Medicine, published a study of 5000 premature infants which found that the gestational age at which  some neonates receiving this complex technology could survive - still not breathing on their own- was about  2-3 gestational weeks earlier than sophisticated technology made available 40 years ago. In the Far East where Buddhism began, that medical technology is not now and has never been available.
We don’t know how Trumpah Rinpoche experienced the consumption of dutsi. As an adult, he brought his interpretation of Tibetan Buddhism to the West in a palpable and palatable way to white, alienated, privileged westerners. His life characterized great spiritual accomplishment as well as sequelae of trauma. Nancy Steinbeck, one of his early devotees wrote about the ‘crazy wisdom’ of Trumpah in  her memoir “The Other Side of Eden‘.
Belief in reincarnation is also a steadfast truth among devoted Buddhists. The question often asked  is how could genetics alone and mere nurture bring, so quickly,  such ominous gifts to very very young children. In Buddhism, tulkus are children recognized at a very young age as being reincarnates of Buddhist deities and realized practitioners. In ‘Music in the Sky’, Michelle Martin wrote at length about the recognition and pronouncement of Tulkus.  They’re not recognized because of western smug science about the available gene pool , having ‘good genes’ and chromosomal status. There’s much, much more to the accomplishment of spiritual lineage than that.
To get back to the cupcakes, Buddhist teachings about compassion are often displaced by white western proprietary dogma and replacement of ‘what is’ with what someone else thinks ’should be’.  ‘Dharma’ the teachings of Buddhism, translates as ‘things as they are’.  The holocaust survivor Elie Weisel said ‘The opposite of love is not hatred. It’s indifference’ to things as they are. Indifference is transformed  to mindful awareness through Buddhist practices, meditation in particular. The Compassion that Buddhist practice develops means that hatred and acts of unkindness won’t be unnoticed.
During the 2016 campaign, the Presidential candidate- now President-  remarked with a not-so-veiled hatred that any woman who terminates a pregnancy should be punished. His remarks were met with some push back but certainly implied warning to any of his former casual sexual “dalliances“ which -  who knows- may have resulted in  unwanted pregnancy-  to not disclose their  private medical history.
Elie Weisel reminds us that hatred is not on the opposite end of a continuum that begins with love. Hatred is a different entity. If we do not recognize the unkindness, its mockery, its one-up-man-ship, smug claim to a better version of ‘what is’, in its hidden consumption either as cupcakes or dutsi, we may end up with more of it in our system than we know. And that may well be how the lineage of hatred is perpetuated after all.

Apple and The 15 Year old's Myopic World View

From Susan Cook | Part of the The River Is Wide series | 05:07

So we now know that Apple has made the extraordinary contribution called ‘Enter the wrong password 10 times and all the data on your way-too-expensive made in human-rights-violating China I-phone' disappears.

This leads me to believe that yes, Apple is run by and its products designed by those with worldviews like 15 year old Information Technology hackers who live with their parents but stay in their rooms most of the time and have never actually read a newspaper printed on actual paper held in their hands, not even The New York Times.

There are worse things in life than having your parents know what’s on your I-phone. Finding out who mass murderers have contacted is important for the whole world. Many 15 year olds don’t realize that.

Apple doesn’t seem to see that clever 15 year old hacker privacy features which they use to promote faith in the I-phone is as damaging as any privacy breach. Eliminating all the data on an I-phone can be as damaging and terrorist-like as reading what’s on the I-phone in the first place- depending on whose I-phone it is. And you don’t even need a password to do it. You just need to enter the wrong one ten times. I don’t see too many I-phones being carried around in armored vehicles- more usually in back pockets.

Img_0691__1__small

Apple and The Fifteen Year Old ‘s Myopic World View

-Susan Cook-

 

So we now know that Apple has made the extraordinary contribution called ‘Enter the wrong password 10 times and all the data on your way-too-expensive made in human-rights-violating China I-phone' disappears.

Which leads me to believe that yes, Apple is run by and its products designed by those with minds like 15 year old Information Technology hackers who live with their parents but stay in their rooms most of the time and have never actually read a newspaper printed on actual paper held in their hands, not even The New York Times.

There are worse things in life than having your parents know what’s on your I-phone. Finding out who mass murderers have contacted is important for the whole world. Many 15 year olds don’t realize that.

Apple doesn’t seem to see that clever 15 year old hacker privacy features which they use to promote faith in the I-phone is as damaging as any privacy breach. Eliminating all the data on an I-phone can be as damaging and terrorist-like as reading what’s on the I-phone in the first place- depending on whose I-phone it is. And you don’t even need a password to do it. You just need to enter the wrong one ten times. I don’t see too many I-phones being carried around in armored vehicles- more usually in back pockets. Eliminating all the data from a 15 year old’s phone so parents can’t see it may be absolutely inconsequential- depending on the health and well-being of the 15 year old. If the I-phone belongs to a Chief of Staff or an Airlines executive, that amplifies the consequence. But the 15 year old hacker is often the most important person in the 15 year old’s world. Which brings us to the difference between a visionary world view and the myopic one of Apple’s 15 year old worldview.

Making products in China with no acknowledgement that China remains one of the worst violators of human rights in the world is a passive acceptance of human rights violations. In China, the government Mom and Dad get your information and you are in jail like Liu Xiaobo- but of course they don’t need your password to do that. Publish a paper very similar in content to the political platforms of the Democratic or Republican parties and the Chinese government will eliminate access to paper, pens, and yes, I-phones by putting you in jail. Ask Nobel Peace Prize winner Lui Xiaobo when they let him out of jail.

Apple’s 15 year old world view brings it to make products in China which ties this enormous American company to Chinese workers whose human rights survive by a string. It ties Apple to the Chinese economy which is kind of how the Chinese like it, of course. And the Chinese figured out a long time ago that accessing your private data by figuring out your password is old school. They will tae that I-phone completely and eliminate any data making- privacy feature or not- and sentence you the other way- in a court. Apple in its 15 year old worldview has not yet realized parents do that kind of thing which - by making I-phones in China- Apple makes itself vulnerable to- the parent Chinese government taking things away. That only changes when China has civil liberties - not just an I-phone privacy feature. Which brings us back to having an easy way to eliminate I-phone data that does not even require a password- just 10 wrong ones- is as damaging as being able to read the data itself.

Apple could solve the problem by getting rid of the eliminate data feature. If Apple could just get over itself- and realize there is a big human rights violating world out there- which a psychologist could lain is extremely difficult for most 15 year olds who stay on their I-phones all day to do.

Harper Lee' s American Mirror

From Susan Cook | Part of the The River Is Wide series | 04:07

Twenty four hours or so have passed since a portrait of the older Atticus Finch as a bigot, complaining about the integration of “Negroes” into the culture, has been given to us by Harper Lee in the newly published "Go Set a Watchman". She has given us a mirror of the struggle to sustain and protect deep compassion, that is, in many, many ways a uniquely American mirror.To Kill a Mockingbird could not have been published when it was in many other countries. And in another country, or culture- maybe this Atticus Finch in Go Set a Watchman wouldn’t have stung quite as much - because the good one is no longer purely good. But so many people here feeling the sting- recognizing that is part of this country too. We all are the watchman in our own way.

Soudabscookjrnolanbest2_small

Harper Lee’s American Mirror
-Susan Cook
Twenty four hours or so have passed since a portrait of the older  Atticus Finch as a bigot, complaining about the integration of “Negroes” into the culture, has been given to us by Harper Lee.  She has given us  a mirror of the struggle to sustain and protect deep compassion, that is, in many , many ways an American mirror.
We long for the good one to be the good one and the bad one to be the bad one. Deep compassion like that of the  father of the 8 year old boy who died at the finish line of the Boston Marathon is rare and very difficult to sustain. He said  his  family did not want the death penalty  for the bomber . The child’s father said the bomber chose hate in his actions. The death penalty is about hate. The child’s father said  “We chose love. We choose kindness. We choose peace.” And that is what makes us different from him.
Sometimes the bad one cannot be sacrificed because if you sacrifice the bad one, compassion and love are also sacrificed. Harper Lee’s mirror in Go Set a Watchman tells us sometimes the good one is not all good and the bad one is not all bad and not worthy of compassion.
It is far easier to kill the mockingbird than to tolerate its imitation - mirroring- and yes- being fooled- over and over- because you cannot tell if it is what it really is- which  bird the real one- which one not.  The truth saves us from that or saves our trust in what we hear and see. And so, as an older man, the truer Atticus Finch is not who we thought he was- or not completely.  He is a portrait of the difficulty of sustaining compassion. It is not  impossible- an eight year’s old grieving father shows that- but difficult, taxed out of us by an intrusive culture  or media or a political system that insists- and will lie if it has to- that good ones are good and bad ones are bad. 
There are many examples of  us being fooled, compassion lost when we thought it would be, there,  the good one being the bad one , the bad one turning out to be a delusional schizophrenic - who maybe was never asked about his delusional fixation- guns- if he had guns, where he kept them, where he bought them and why he wanted them.  And sometimes, the good one being inexplicably mean, greedy, completely ignoring the stark cruelty of what’s been done, running fast and furiously away from any mirror someone might hold up. 
Harper Lee’s mirror is an American mirror- though.  To Kill a Mockingbird could not have been published when it was in many other countries. And in another country, or culture-  maybe this Atticus Finch in Go Set a Watchman wouldn’t have stung quite as much - because the good one is no longer purely good.  But so many people here feeling the sting- recognizing that is part of this country too. We all are the watchman in our own way.

A Musical Tribute to the 2016 Presidential Primaries: "Tonight"

From Susan Cook | Part of the The River Is Wide series | 01:22

The River Is Wide today offers a musical tribute to the 2016 Republican primaries to the tune of "Tonight" from the Broadway musical "West Side Story." The tribute is called '"Tonight".

Soudabscookjrnolanbest2_small

‘Tonight- A Musical Tribute to the 2016 Republican Pirmaries’

To the tune of ‘Tonight’ from West Side Story

-Susan Cook-

Tonight, tonight,

won’t be just any night.

Tonight we will be hearing

more news.

Voters don’t want

a President named Cruz

or Rubio politically,

who can’t tie their shoes.

At least, it seems

that way when voters

see the screws

now coming loose

When Rubio or Cruz

Tell them the truth

On what it is they’ d do

As president, what they’d choose.

If they can win.

But anyway they lose,

wondering what

Jesus would do.

Instead, they bring

Mitt Romney back

to soothe

them in his familiar voice

So similar to

An information

-ad

for laxatives

to re---move

You-Know-Who,

toooooo-night.

A Hackle o' Meter in Every Home, A Not-Politically Fit bit On Every Wrist

From Susan Cook | Part of the The River Is Wide series | 03:19

Elected officials or politicians aspiring to be elected officials say things that would register on our Hackle o’ meters and our Politically Unfit Bits- if someone would just invent these tools. Our Hackle o’ meters would go up because well, our hackles would go up. And our Politically Unfit bits would practically fall off our wrists because of all the calculations of political unfitness they’d be making.

I am not taking about You-Know-Who. I think You-Know-Who, for some people, raises adrenaline by stimulating the amygdala- the part of the brain which raises adrenaline and fight-or-flight hormones because something feels dangerous. Dr. Joseph Ledoux , a neuroscientist says the path signals take to the amygdala is fast and spontaneous, thus he calls it the Low Road. We also respond to danger, he says, by signals sent to the Frontal Cortex when we sense danger but those signals are slower so he calls that path the High Road.
A Hackle O’ Meter or a Politically Unfit Bit works very differently. Both work from subtle, subtle visual and auditory cues. And they might be good for the country.

Soudabscookjrnolanbest2_small

A Hackle o’ meter In Every Home; A Not Politically Fit Bit On Every Wrist

-Susan Cook-

 

Elected officials or politicians aspiring to be elected officials say things that would register on our Hackle o’ meters and our Politically Unfit Bits- if someone would just invent these tools. Our Hackle o’ meters would go up because well, our hackles would go up. And our Politically Unfit bits would practically fall off our wrists because of all the calculations of political unfitness they’d be making.

I am not taking about You-Know-Who. I think You-Know-Who, for some people, raises adrenaline by stimulating the amygdala- the part of the brain which raises adrenaline and fight-or-flight hormones because something feels dangerous. Dr. Joseph Ledoux , a neuroscientist says the path signals take to the amygdala is fast and spontaneous, thus he calls it the Low Road. We also respond to danger, he says, by signals sent to the Frontal Cortex when we sense danger but those signals are slower so he calls that path the High Road. So when we listen to You Know Who, your amygdala might get revved up and you turn off the television, radio or click ‘Power Shutdown’ on the PC. If your Frontal Lobes start firing, you just say ‘I am not voting for him.’

A Hackle O’ Meter or a Politically Unfit Bit works very differently. Both work from subtle, subtle visual and auditory cues. We Observe Mitch McConnell for the 450th time say he will not give President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee the time of day. We see the visual image of his clamped shut jaw, creating a glacier of pale skin beneath that jaw. I hope he has a sense of humor because really, landscape metaphors work best. I am not saying the man is dangerous ala’ Gorilla walking into your living room. But he may well get your Hackle o’ Meter going and if you had a Not-Politically Fitbit, it might fall off your wrist with its calculations going wild.

Now, there are Democrats who effect Hackle o’ Meters and Non-Politically Fit Bit. Some of the ones in my state register so strongly on the Non-Politically Fit Bit, I had to take mine off.

If only someone would invent these tools. It would be good for the country. Someone could slip one on Mitch McConnell’s wrist or one of the Politically Unfit Bit high registerers in my state and very gradually- it’s better to go slow- the Hackle o’Meters and the Politically Unfit Bits would convince them. Not their job to undo the US Constitution, not their job to use Internet Bullying to trade votes with Republicans, no amnesia about policy positions and no blocking duly nominated Supreme Court nominees.

Why Women Don't Tell: Dying from Silence and the Shaming of this Election

From Susan Cook | Part of the The River Is Wide series | 07:43

The anniversary of the loss of my childhood friend who died from suicide is coming near. She, like many women, was sexually abused and never told anyone. Her not telling makes her like the hundreds of women now coming forth to identify themselves as victims of unwanted sexual behavior if not assault some by a man now running for President. They are finally telling. For the silence of those who have been exploited or sexually assaulted to end, shame needs to be disenfranchised, for once, from telling. Which means that the blame, the ready cacophony of ‘She’s lying’, the persistent undermining of women’s credibility, no matter what her experience or credential ends. We all bear witness to that in the reduction of an exceptionally experienced, brilliant woman now running for president to liar, sneaky untrustworthy thief and criminal. A man with the same experience would never be treated that way. I hear in those loud violent denigrations of the first woman to prevail and run for President the indifferent dismissal of girls who tell their mothers they’ve been sexually abused, met with accusations that they’re lying, they deserved it or many many times a slap across the face. Yes, I hear it in the denigration of this woman running for President has been slapped across the face by all those, including other women colluding with them, using the familiar arsenal of discrediting that has always been used against girls and women who finally tell. The shame should be placed firmly on those doing the denigrating. It has not been , by the media, political party leadership or even other women. Yes, I’m angry about that. But not as angry as I am that my friend ‘S’ could not tell about her long sexual abuse because she feared or maybe even knew she would be denigrated for telling and thus died, from silence.

Whywomwndontell_small

Why Women Don’t Tell:  Dying from Silence and the Shaming of this Presidential Election
-Susan Cook-

October 24  will  mark 41 years since  my childhood best friend, who I’ll call ‘S’ committed suicide, she, a diabetic, who stopped taking her insulin, who drove to an isolated country road, parked her yellow American- made convertible by the side, and, in time, died. Someone found her there. The rest, followed over a few weeks time-   the  telling to me by her roommate when I called late one Sunday night,  on a whim, hoping to talk  to my longest friend, the spreading of the Word, the scattering of her ashes from a mountain overlooking the ocean.   Then the long disoriented grieving began for a 24 year old, who I knew had not always been happy, but presented happiness to everyone else. Yellow was her favorite color.
Years later, her roommate, who had an unusual first name., was mentioned in a memoir I was reading. I wrote the author, wondering if the mentioned person was the roommate. I wrote  and asked if she might give me the person’s address, who it turned out , was the roommate I had spoken to that night.
I called the roommate soon after. And she told me. Yes, she said ‘S.’ had been repeatedly sexually abused by her brother. ‘S’ and I shared many,  many private thoughts , feelings and experiences, that‘s the  deep resonant trust of adolescent best friendship, but she never told me that.
The path from childhood to adult sexuality is  gifted with the innocent unraveling of human development. Sexual assault and abuse pockmark what needs to be traveled. The language of sexual violation implies violence , as it should, because anyone who is the object of unwanted sexual behavior is a victim of violence. Sexual development and the observing world that waits to peer at  developing young women unfolds of its volition, following its own course.  I remember when her first high school boyfriend told  her , she had ‘bedroom eyes’. one of those precipitous moments when, she and I knew, there was something emerging in the way she was seen. That wasn’t there before.  Then there were the nights when  her parents weren’t home, when we each with our then 2 or 3 week - long romantic partners,  disappeared into  separate rooms, the radio on, playing ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’. From ninth grade on, she bleached her hair with ‘Summer Blonde’, lighter and lighter shades, the older she got. She had learned males like blondes.
Why S. never told me, or for that matter, told only one other person that I knew of, until her late teens, makes sound emotionally protective sense , in one way. Not telling a secret implies shame and we know well that the burden of that shame, in this culture,  is passed on to the victim, in the sea of culturally sanctioned  sexist distortions that women are forced to carry. . In this culture, telling implies there is something to be ashamed of.  But not telling means isolation. And isolation for children who have been sexually molested  exacerbates the real possibility of suicide. Not all sexually violated people commit suicide . But if  suicidality, which is symptomatic of clinical depression, doesn‘t come, substance abuse and deep despair and distress do.  All of these effect consequent difficulty in functioning well in daily life.
Why don’t women tell or why didn’t S tell? She did ultimately, but not in time for the full armamentarium  of protection to fall into place, so that she would never ever ever ever end up on an isolated country road, physiologically and emotionally spent and soon dead.
All of this comes to mind , as it does every year,  because of the upcoming anniversary of her death , or anytime I drive near the road where she was found. But ‘S’  not telling  makes her like the hundreds of women now coming forth to identify themselves as victims of unwanted sexual behavior if not assault some by a man now running for President.  They are finally telling. For the silence of those who have been exploited or sexually assaulted to end, shame needs to be disenfranchised, for once, from telling. Which means that the blame, the ready cacophony of ‘She’s lying’, the persistent undermining of women’s credibility, no matter what her experience or credential ends. We all bear witness to that in the reduction of an exceptionally experienced, brilliant woman now running for president to liar, sneaky untrustworthy  thief and criminal.  A man with same experience would never be treated that way. I hear in those loud violent denigrations of the first woman to prevail and run for President the indifferent dismissal of girls who tell their mothers they’ve been sexually abused, met with accusations that they’re lying, they deserved it or many many times a slap across the face. Yes, I hear it in the denigration of this woman running for President has been slapped across the face by all those , including other women colluding with them, using the familiar arsenal of discrediting that has always been used against girls and women who finally tell.   The shame  should be placed firmly on those doing the denigrating. It has not been , by the media, political party  leadership or even other women. Yes, I’m angry about that. But not as angry as I am that my friend ‘S’ could not tell about her long sexual abuse because she feared or maybe even knew  she would be denigrated for telling and thus died, from silence.

A Citizen's Guide to the Difference Between Telling the Truth and an Attack

From Susan Cook | Part of the The River Is Wide series | 04:51

I heard Jill Abramson , the former executive editor of the New York Times say recently that since the George W. Bush administration, there have been no less than eight lawsuits against members of the press for disclosing truth from information held in government documents.

Because the truth can change people’s beliefs, we are now in a time when telling it has been raised to the “orange alert” stage- the now unused system for alerting the public to danger. Fourth grade girls knew the truth is threatening in this way all along anyway. But as citizens, we have to ask what we lose when telling the truth is called an attack, something to prevent at all costs and thus beyond the reach of our beliefs because the powers that be don’t want us to hear it. The inner fourth grade girl in all of us is silenced and we are left with whatever the real consequences of the abuse of power are- which getting back to the outcomes history has displayed are often far worse, more damaging because the observers and the people in power who could have stopped those dangers did not have truth on their side or chose to ignore it or pretend that truth telling was an attack rather than act of protection.

Fourthgradegirls_small

A Citizens Guide to the Difference between Telling the Truth and an “Attack”
-Susan Cook-
Much of the harm that has fallen to the  human race might have been prevented if people had told the truth. Cigarette smoking and lung cancer , carbon emissions and global warming, agent orange and cancer among Vietnam Veterans, and the Holocaust, the Rwandan genocide,  the Armenian genocide and on and on. This does not include truth  telling on the Bernie Madoff scale of course credit swap default derivatives and the economic collapse of 2008.
I suppose we could turn to the Chinese philosophies of Sun Tze for the origins of the belief that deception is central to the art of war which presumes that telling the truth is contrary to successful aggression,  if in fact there is a war in progress. But these days, telling the truth can be cited in the media as an attack. To use the  word “attack” to describe telling the truth is a twenty first century twist on Sun Tze’s fondness for deception.  What do we have on our side if we don’t have the truth? 
But telling the truth as “attack”?  I heard Jill Abramson , the former executive editor of the New York Times  say recently that since the George W. Bush administration, there have been no less than eight lawsuits against members of the press for disclosing truth from information held in government documents.
I suppose on the one hand we could say that national security has now caught up with the social intelligence that fourth and fifth grade girls have mastered.  Paying attention to what is really going on,  telling the truth is very threatening to people in positions of power because part of what power subjugates is what you are willing to believe. How else would women have put up with being paid 69 cents for every dollar than men make for so long unless someone  had led them to believe that discrepancy was justified? Who would ever buy into the idea that one political party or leader or pubic policy is any better than another if belief systems were not what political power holds sway over? Who would ever believe that insurance company CEOs should be paid millions dollars annually unless people in positions of power had led  others to believe it was justified? Belief  levels the power playing field. Believing in the democratic process what keeps people voting and what makes people stop. Without it, unless there are weapons  and physical aggression involved,  power loses its scaffold- the story, the structure that justifies it.
Because the truth can change people’s beliefs, we are now in a time when telling it has been raised to the “orange alert” stage- the now unused system for alerting the public to danger. Fourth grade girls knew the truth is threatening in this way all along anyway. But as citizens, we have to ask  what we lose when telling the truth is called an attack, something to prevent at all costs and thus beyond the reach of our belief s because the powers that be don’t want us to hear it. The inner fourth grade girl in all of us is silenced and we are left with whatever the real consequences of the abuse of power are- which getting back to the outcomes history has displayed are often far worse, more damaging because the observers and the people in power who could have stopped those dangers did not have truth on their side or chose to ignore it or pretend that truth telling was an attack rather than act of protection.