SEATTLE’S SYMBOL OF STUBBORN RESISTANCE TO COMMERCIALISM IS SELLING OUT. Well, not so much selling out as being sold.
The original owner, Ms. Masefield, long since gone, turned down big bucks in order to stay in her little bungalow, defying the corporations who built towering concrete and steel structures intimidatingly up and around her home. She just sat there smiling until she died. Gotta love that woman!
A North Carolina investment company has it now, after a subsequent owner defaulted on the mortgage.
What do you think? Was Ms. Masefield admirable or just some crazy old lady?
Saturday Salons are a great place to take a topic in the news and use it as a catalyst for meaningful discussions about what is happening in your own life, like where the boundaries should be between independence and community, or corporations and individuals.
Here in Orange County, CA, people take turns complaining about the cookie-cutter, stucco suburbs, while still enjoying the numerous bike paths and parks that city planning created alongside those cookie-cutter, zero lot line houses.
Just taking this one topic-city planning – here are some questions to throw in the hat for your next Salon:
- Should everyone be required to pay for schools, even those who do not have children?
- Would you pay more in taxes if it meant campaign funding reform for local elections?
- How important are bike paths to you? Farmer’s markets? Parks? Day Care centers? Desalinization plants?
- The Arts – how important is it to have theater venues, concert arenas, and museums?
- What about other public services, like police or shelters for the homeless?
- Water use – should your city be able to tell you to tear out your thirsty, water-wasting lawn and put in a drought-resistant, natural landscape?
- What NIMBY projects would you fight? Prison? Landfill? Homeless shelter? What about noisy wind turbines or slightly unsightly solar panels? Where do you draw the line? What are you willing to give up for what benefits?
2016 IS STARTING TO SIMMER. Political parties are deciding what candidates and issues to throw in the pot. Is our Presidential Election all for show, or does your vote matter?
Throw Alexis de Tocqueville’s famous quote into the hat:
“In a democracy, people get the government they deserve.”
Do you agree?
He also said, “I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America.”
Host a Saturday Salon…!
I agree with Tocqueville only in that we still have the freedom, we just don’t use it.
HOW DO YOU ADAPT TO CHANGE? Can we ever really insulate ourselves from unwanted changes in our lives or those we love? If you are a religious person, how does your faith help you cope?
A deeper question for the Saturday Salon hat may deal with how our belief systems affect our feelings and actions, or if they reach that far? When faced with tragedy, does your religion truly comfort you or cause you to take certain actions over others?
We know what our various religions say we SHOULD think, but do we? Buddhists are supposed to take comfort in knowing everything is temporary. Reality itself is a matter of perception, constantly changing and rearranging. If we truly accept that, change of any kind will not phase us, even death, pain or illness. Christians are supposed to take comfort in prayer, asking God to intervene on their behalf, or at the very least, they accept horrible events such as a child’s death, because things are supposed to be better in the next life – the balance sheet will be reconciled and all will be well.
What do you believe, and how deeply do you believe it? Do you believe strongly enough to truly be comforted during times of unwanted change?
DO YOU MAKE NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS? Set goals? Write mission statements? Create visualization boards? What works for you? I like the Steven Covey Roles & Goals time and resource management approach, but I’ve also cut pics from magazines and glued them onto poster board for inspiration. I think it reflects my dual nature: linear and logical mixed with messy creativity and a dash of Whatever!
AREN’T WE ALL, but as they say, it beats the alternative. If we’re lucky, all our parts will wear out at the same time, and we’ll die peacefully in our sleep somewhere in our 90s. I know of no one who has accomplished this feat, however, so I’ve been thinking lately about what will give our lives meaning when we can no longer live, work, and play as we once did.
Old age creeps up on most of us. First, we give up jogging or dancing because of our knees. Then, we start forgetting where we put our car keys. Friends our age have heart attacks. Even the women. Our parents die. But first, they usually go through an illness-often cancer. Some beat it for a time, but eventually, it seems to get everyone in the end. And that’s not even listing the mental and emotional illnesses people suffer.
Not a very cheerful smattering of thoughts.
So, what are our options? Do we have examples of people whose lives continue to have meaning, who continue to have joy even when they are in physical pain, have lost mobility, or are hooked up to machines?
SATURDAY SALON QUESTION: How are you preparing yourself for old age, or a catastrophic accident that leaves you suddenly, severely limited, such as the military vets who lose limbs? What will you do, or are you doing now, to have meaning in your life? To feel joy? To serve others?
What makes life meaningful?
WHAT ARE YOU DOING about whatever it is you think is wrong with the world? Is it enough to simply express outrage at the state of _________ (fill in the blank), or are you obligated to do something about it?
It seems we have three choices.
Let’s say political corruption or partisan divide and deadlock is your pet peeve. You hate it, you call your spouse over to see the latest abomination on the news, and your blood pressure goes up every time you see CNN or FOX News. But…what do you do next? You can…
1) stew in your juices, and do nothing but remain upset 24/7.
2) become preppers and move to a compound in Idaho with multiple automatic weapons.
3) think about what you want and how it could be achieved, either by you individually, or by finding or creating a group you could actively work with to achieve the changes you want to see. Do some research. Think outside the box. Believe change is possible. Live a meaningful life.
I’m for option 3.
WHAT DOES THE LATINO COMMUNITY THINK ABOUT OBAMA’S executive action last night? Day late and a dollar short, or is he doing the best he can with Republicans blocking his every move? And why do I have a picture of Regan here? Anyone remember 1986?
What legislation should Congress write and pass? What are the real issues and what would solve this problem?
Iraq war veteran Tomas Young just died. Before he died, he made this video. Show it at your next Saturday Salon to get right to the heart of why we go to war, how to honor veterans without glorifying war, and how to use our voice and vote to prevent all the useless and horrific damage war inflicts.
Possible Talking Stick Starters:
- Can you be a patriot and still be opposed to war or to some wars?
- What kind of foreign policy would best prevent war?
- What obligations do we have to other nations? Can we be isolationists?
- Do you have any influence over our nation’s involvement in wars?
- Is peace possible, or do you think WW III is inevitable?
- Are your political beliefs influenced by your religious beliefs? In what way?
Let’s start talking with each other about things that really matter.
WATCH THIS 10-minute FILM at your next Saturday Salon instead of pulling a question from the hat. Then ask the simple question “What was this film about?” You will be so surprised at the variety of answers you will get! Great way to learn something about yourself and others. Perception is everything! Things are not as obvious as we think they are.