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"An open letter to Laura Bush from La Madrina, the Godmother" ('Nobody suffers more...')

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Bluebear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-09-07 04:36 PM
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"An open letter to Laura Bush from La Madrina, the Godmother" ('Nobody suffers more...')

By Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Ests

And believe me, no one suffers more than their president and I do when we watch this, and certainly the commander in chief, who has asked our military to go into harms way. Laura Bush

Dear Mrs. Bush,
With respect You are an older woman of a certain age and so am I. You try to help people, and I try to help people too. You are a mother who loves her children; I am a mother who loves her children also. You support adult literacy projects, and because my family of immigrants could not read or write, I am committed to adult literacy too your mother-in-law, Mrs. Bush elder, and I, were keynoters together at NY Literacy Partners.

But, you and I are different too. Your husband is the leader of the free world. My husband is the leader of a cub scout pack of little boys who just earned their fishing badges. You live in a heavily guarded mansion; I walk alone on the streets. You have maids and chefs; I clean my house and cook pretty good posol y csirke papriks no complaints.

You Made A Serious Error
In all sincerity, you made a grave mistake with your statement: no one suffers more than their president and I do You may have meant it as an unmindful figure of speech, however your choice of the words their president, uses a formal title, rather than what real people say when they are deluged by real suffering Those who suffer speak in the familiar, the personal: my husband, George, my mate. Not, their president.

Your choice of the word, watching, implies observation from a distance. We all know you are not cheek-to-cheek with an M-14 or 16 rifle, nor are you expected to be. But, watching cannot be compared with the face-up and face-down suffering of military families and their loved ones who are breathing sand in Iraq and Afghanistan, nor to the families of dear ones who are no longer breathing at all.

Certainly you and your husband suffer from whatever you bear. But it cannot be that no one suffers more than you. Forgive me for saying so, but your comment fell far beneath a wisdom line that the soul eternally maintains.

La Madrina, The Godmother Rises to Speak
Mrs. Bush forensic analysis of words aside, in my ethnic traditions, when a younger woman makes an error, an older woman steps in to speak to her. Truly, someone older than you ought have la platica, a talk with you not about your comment per se, but about the mindset that produced these seeming bombastic words. Since I am older than you, I humbly step up to be the point woman, the platicadora, to have a talk with you today

I am a Madrina, a Godmother, and an abuelita, a grandmother, and these constitute my root authority to speak to you. I am not here to punish, for hardly anyone ever learns or considers anything new by being taunted, and all of us make mistakes. Neither am I here to make fun of you nor to patronize you. Perhaps you know already all I am about to say, in which case I would just offer to you what my own elders used to advise: Listen anyway, so you might relearn what you have forgotten.

I am just here as one who understands fairly well the pressures to build a public persona over the softer-bellied self. As an author who has toured widely, Ive learned too when I go on tour, its best to take along a spare shoe or two, just in case I might accidentally put my foot in my mouth more than once. Everyone makes errors, Mrs. Bush. The remedy is to reset the words to say what you really meant, as quickly as possible.

Words That Fall Short of the Souls Bar
No one suffers more than their president and I do I believe you could not have thought this statement through beforehand, for it pulverizes what we Latinos call, la tierra del alma, the ground of the true self street cred. Your statement damaged your authentic standing about what kind of insightful heart you have, and how you understand the depth of suffering in persons who are not you.

If we were sharing a bistek ranchero at a local madre y padre cocina (diner) here, I think wed agree right away that even though suffering is not a competition for who suffers most and how much and for how long, there are legions of people in this war who suffer more than we do, even though we might be filled up to capacity with our own sorrows. Certainly we are allowed to grieve our own cup of sorrow. But, regarding this war, if we each have our one full cup of sorrow, then others are being forced to drink gallons and gallons daily and endlessly Mrs. Bush.

When What is Heard Can Never Be Unheard Ever Again
Regarding the war fronts in Afghanistan and Iraq, I can just say this, having myself been caught in wars in Central America in the 1960s When you and I were young mothers, we learned to tell the different kinds of cries our infants gave; hungry, lonely, wet, or ill.

And you and I now, all these years later with our children all grown up still, when we hear a baby cry, no matter who that baby belongs to we feel immediate pain literally in our breasts first, and we turn to see, Is care being given? Is everything all right? We can never forget the cry of the helpless young. Our bodies remember and go into mother-alert before our minds can ever catch up.

In war there are also different kinds of cries; bellowings of stat commands, howls of warning, screams of those injured and maimed, and the worst of all, the screams of the souls who cannot be comforted.

No amount of our watching war on television from 6000-plus miles away, not even by visiting the fronts briefly as a political tourist rather than as a person, citizen, solder, commander, nurse, doctor, evac pilot, who stays onsite and struggles with the people for months and years no amount of our seeing the very few pictures were allowed of grieving families and funerals none of these can capture those cries of the souls who cannot be comforted.

Those cries are not five second segments on television before we cut to commercial; they cannot be contained in 7 column inches of newsprint. These cries go on until the people lose their voices and are screaming only air.

Screaming air and the silence that follows is the kind of silence with whimpering and staring and stock stillness that youd pray and pay never to see or hear again, for those cries grab your guts right out of you and throw them on the floor. Those cries make you feel as though you yourself will die of a heart attack to hear them. Those cries remind you that you are caught in a madhouse and have no way out. Those cries make you think you will lose your mind in grief. Those cries make you ask God to consider destroying all of humankind and starting over again. Those cries make you think you are worthless, for you cannot intervene, nor save anything or anyone who is harmed or gone.

This is why, once you hear these kinds of cries and these kinds of silences, these kinds of empty bodies with souls above hovering, that you cannot live as though you never heard them. Those cries live on in your body now. And we havent even touched on the smells and sights and tastes and other sensory events of war pressed into body memory for life. Its a long, long road home again from the streets and plains of war, even once you are back home and/ or war is done.

Suffering To Know About Something, is Not The Same As Suffering From and With
Thus, I think it fairly certain that youd agree, that it is different to suffer with knowledge about the war only, rather than from knowledge and face-to-face experience with and in the war. Both ways are genuine, but qualitatively different. Certainly people might want to hear about how you and your husband fare in this circumstance of war.

But, we all know that you and your husband have not been at the scenes of killing and murder, have not been at the front end of the world of screaming people who will not be comforted. You and your husband have the experience of visiting some of the brave wounded and some of the grieving families, after the fact.

Thereby, you are at the very removed end of the slightest tip of the tail of war. The quiescent tiniest bunkered tip. To be set away from war and protected is not and never will be the same as being first-person in hell. It just isnt.

Ceremonial Persona Covers Up Authenticity
Yet, even so Mrs. Bush, the critical factor missing in your statement was this: realness. Down to earth realness as opposed to ceremonial persona.

Beware ceremonial persona. Many a person who began public life ser humano, as a true human being, wound up within months, looking and acting as though theyd been made into a plasticized pink silk sofa while still alive. Beware ceremonial persona as a way of life, for the soul cannot co-exist in or with it.

When you said, no one suffers more than their president and I many have said you averred this because you are heartless and self-centered but, I think it is more so your words came from speaking through the dust of all the many wearing pressures and events youve experienced thus far, all braided together

and perhaps even more so, from the fatigue of wearing a false face toward the world one that does not reflect your true thoughts and feelings. Any person can build on the river of realness, a concrete dam of such spans with castles atop it, that other fools will fall down in adoration of such concrete-works.

But, to dam a genuine river and just let a little bit of what was once leaping and sparkling water through to a reservoir kept deadly quiet, only allowing just a calculated bit of water across the spillway

thats not a real river. Nor a real life. Both have blocked off the true soul, keeping it from being seen in its native sensibilities, ones that carry intelligences that far eclipse the tiny egos alone.

Resist Being Politically Correct In Any Direction
In our culture, accusing someone of being politically correct is shorthand for You did/said/wanted something I dont like and dont want to examine further with you; I dont like you, what you said, or the horse you rode in on. Pseudo-arguments about political correctness stop rather than enable discussion. Evolution of ideas is halted by side-sniping about who is and who isnt politically correct. I suggest you not get tangled in those reins.

But, I will hope Mrs. Bush, that you will clarify your statement, adding some other words that show you did not mean to aver, And believe me, no one suffers more than their president and I do when we watch this, and certainly the commander in chief, who has asked our military to go into harms way.

that you didnt mean to say the Bush family feelings, trump the suffering of others who endure this war first-line, firsthand, and for life.

I hope you will call in the press people of your choice, and not plan a big televised special about how you and your husband are attending funerals and visiting the wounded
but just consider and say something simple along these lines:

I misspoke. I didnt mean to put it that way. Perhaps I am exhausted from how unrelenting the bad news of death has been these many years, and I am prevailed upon by many people from all sides. I was just trying to say, I have no words, that sometimes you are out of your wits with the endlessness of death and destruction. I have my own sorrow about these matters, but I know that the families who have been and who are at peril, the ones who sacrifice every day, they are the ones who have the deepest courage, hope and the most anxiety and suffering of all.

Something like that. Something true. And real. For, first and foremost, amending your statement will do much to take the long black thorn out of those unjustly pierced by your original assertion, those already wounded deeply by this war who think you crassly set yourself and your husband ahead of them.

It may also bring you relief from your tiredness, for the energy required to be artificially acceptable, is far greater than that required to be a true self.

Ill close the shutters now to our little room by my fire where weve had our platica. The Madrina, Godmother advice I offer to you as I wave you down the path, is that you resist any pressures to be politically correct in any direction, but rather be soulfully correct about this matter, and that will be en puente, right on the head.

To say something to correct a misspeaking is not a loss of face; it is brave. To say something to correct a misspeaking ought not be a political act: It ought be an act of the soul.

http://themoderatevoice.com/war/12676/open-letter-to-la...
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AndyA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-09-07 04:51 PM
Response to Original message
1. Wonderful! When you write the truth, it flows so easily.
This was a great read. Thanks for posting! :thumbsup:
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-09-07 04:51 PM
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2. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
grace0418 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-09-07 04:58 PM
Response to Original message
3. "many have said you averred this because you are heartless and self-centered"
I am one of those many. It's well-written but I think the author is too kind.
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Bluebear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-09-07 04:59 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. I think she is twisting el cuchillo very subtly. :)
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eppur_se_muova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-09-07 05:10 PM
Response to Original message
5. "...how you understand the depth of suffering in persons who are not you"
That sums up the whole problem so pithily. What a wonderful writer.
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mnhtnbb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-10-07 11:49 AM
Response to Reply #5
20. It's called empathy. Laura does not have it. Bushie boy does not have it.
And far too many people in this country do not have it, or they would never have voted for Bush/Cheney.
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young_at_heart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-09-07 05:23 PM
Response to Original message
6. "Their" president? How would an 'analyst' analyze that?
The first time I heard this I immediately picked up something strange was going on in such a statement. I don't think it's normal.
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tblue37 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-09-07 06:37 PM
Response to Original message
7. I loved this phrase: "plasticized pink silk sofa"--
especially considering the upholsterers who design her clothes.
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Bluebear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-10-07 03:13 AM
Response to Reply #7
17. 'looking and acting as though theyd been made into a plasticized pink silk sofa'
This writer, who is new to me, is a genius!
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Bluebear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-10-07 10:57 AM
Response to Reply #17
19. .
Edited on Thu May-10-07 10:57 AM by Bluebear
edit
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blondeatlast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-09-07 06:45 PM
Response to Original message
8. Laura in a beautiful nutshell and so sad that LB will never read it.
K&R.
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La_Fourmi_Rouge Donating Member (878 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-09-07 07:07 PM
Response to Original message
9.  Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Ests : A very wise woman
You know, she wrote a really great book some years ago called "Women Who Run With the Wolves". I regard her as the female version of Joseph Campbell.

Wikipedia Entry on Dr. Estes

"Clarissa Pinkola Ests, Ph.D. (born 27 January 1945) is an American poet, psychoanalyst and post-trauma specialist who was raised in a now nearly vanished oral and ethnic tradition. She grew up in a rural village, population 600, near the Great Lakes. Of Mexican mestiza and Magyar heritages, she comes from immigrant and refugee families who could not read or write, or who did so haltingly. Similar to William Carlos Williams and other poets who worked in the health professions, Ests is a certified psychoanalyst who has practiced clinically for 36 years. Her doctorate, from the Union Institute & University, is in ethno-clinical psychology, the study of social and psychological patterns in cultural and tribal groups. She often speaks as "distinguished visiting scholar" and "diversity scholar" at universities. She is the author of many books on the life of the soul, and her work is published in 32 languages."
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knitter4democracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-09-07 07:21 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. I'm a fan, too.
Her book really changed me in college. Amazing writer and thinker.
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Morgana LaFey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-09-07 08:55 PM
Response to Reply #9
13. I reread it not long ago, trying VERY HARD not to
underline every damn line, like I did my first version. I didn't succeed very well. It is an AMAZING book. Just amazing.

And her wisdom shines through in this piece, with such clarity.
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badgerpup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-09-07 10:34 PM
Response to Reply #9
14. Godmother indeed.
Wisdom, patience, compassion, and 'tough love' shine through every word. :applause:
I wonder if Laura will take this...strike that.
I wonder if she is capable of taking this kind of advice.

I have Dr. Estes' book Women Who Run With Wolves too.
Think it's time for me to re-read it.
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Raksha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-09-07 07:26 PM
Response to Original message
11. Beautiful letter from La Madrina. And what a great name for her! n/t
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Mend Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-09-07 07:27 PM
Response to Original message
12. "you have not been at the scene of killing and murder"...Laura killed her
boyfriend although we don't know if she was "there" mentally as no alcohol or drug test was done after her car smashed into him.
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NastyRiffraff Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-09-07 10:45 PM
Response to Original message
15. Not that Laura will listen
or apologize in any way, but it's a beautifully written piece.
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SeattleGirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-09-07 11:01 PM
Response to Original message
16. Amazing letter.
k&r
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Bluebear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-10-07 07:08 AM
Response to Original message
18. para la maana. nt
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