A Bigoted Rant: A Response

There are times when we have to do a bit of house cleaning, and this is one of those days. I’ve had my choice of videos to present, but the one I’m linking to is one that has caused a stir in the military community because of the way it feeds into gross stereotypes and uses fallacious facts.  There’s a well documented concern about the widening of understanding between civilians and our troops.  Sadly, evidence may be found everywhere. Jillian and I felt caught in the crosshairs while we were at Kripalu. Yogis (who ironically were mis-practicing yoga) were reluctant to think about veterans without a political lens. I’ve even had yoga teachers spew their political views  on the mat. Their liberties are the antithesis of yoga, and have everything to do with ego. So why am I sharing my views on this particular video?  Not because this person does yoga (I would be shocked if she did). But how this person thinks is more common that we think.

Generational Variations: LibertyChick & Tom Metzger

A young woman on YouTube has made it clear: she does not support the troops. She’s adamant, and frankly, I don’t care whether or not she supports them.  Her “facts” about the conflict are less than clear, and the facts she presents aren’t supported by Human Rights Watch, and many other human rights activists, observers and on the ground humanitarian aide workers. Like we’ve said: understanding peace and war is one heck of a lot of work.

LibertyChick’s impressions are grossly inaccurate. She makes comparisons between soldiers and serial killers, seeing them as one and the same. “In fact, if you’re a serial killer, what better job than a soldier.” She calls soldiers dumb, unable to get a job, or evil. She claims not to care about what others think, so there’s no reason to think there will ever be any enlightenment.  Though if she doesn’t care what others think, why is she on YouTube, which is guaranteed to garner an audience?

Her rants remind me of vintage Tom Metzger, the founder of the White Aryan Resistance in the early 1990′s. His brand of vitriol inspired at least two generations of skinheads to violence. Like him, her fuel isn’t reason, it’s hatred. She’s not afraid of troops, but what she’s afraid is some far left liberal counteracting her accusations with fact, and perhaps enlightening her and broadening her view.  I call it a constipation of self.

It would be far more honest for her to say, “I hate the troops.” By saying she doesn’t support them is giving the illusion that she’s capable of a rational point of view. But what she says is comparable to a racist/religious/sexist/cultural/sexual rant. Try this: Substitute the word Asian, Mexican, African American, Baptist, Catholic, poor person, rich person, female, male, gay, lesbian each time she says soldier or troop. You’ll see what I mean. Hatred is her driving force, and people who live their life guided by it often find their lives drifting down an increasingly coarse path. Prejudice is a lousy life plan.

Years ago, Oprah had Metzger and his skinheads on for a show. The results were disastrous. Oprah decided to never let herself or her show be used as a catalyst for ignorance and evil. The same applies with LibertyChick. No troop, or  person who works from a base platform of brotherhood, love, honesty, respect, and hope should get stuck on what she thinks about them. It’s onward and upward. There’s so much good work to do.

Yoga In Our Community: WarRetreat Makes Plans

We’re taking on the really hard question: what is my community doing to transition veterans home where they live?

Our role at WarRetreat is to find ways to offer a respite from the memories of war -ones that might plague them at night, or induce a sense of hyper-vigilence making it difficult for them to forge to enjoy the present, or to fully relax.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be looking for people to build a local team: a yoga teacher, massage therapists, a few veterans, financial people, social networkers to develop a program solely supported by local businesses and citizens without  government funding. One of the great shortcomings of trauma sensitive yoga programs is an impression that the VA will have jobs in abundance for yoga teachers. But the truth is, many VA’s are a two hour bus ride, or a one hour drive from where a veteran might live. It’s also not the organic, home grown system we prefer: people helping one another where they live.

And so, the best thing a yoga teacher can do is make something happen in their own yard. We’re not big believers in giving anything away: we’ll come up with a budget so that rent, and teachers can be compensated even if in a small way.

There’s enough money in many towns to support such an effort.  So if you’re in Fullerton CA, hit the Contact Us button at the top. If it doesn’t pan out in Fullerton, we’re not giving up. Some other city with plenty of vision will come through.