Santa Cruz Good Times

Saturday
Feb 13th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

No Means No

Lisa_JensenWomen who take self-defense classes are always coached to fight back. Whether it’s a potential date rape situation with someone you know, or an unexpected assault from a stranger, any time an aggressive male presumes to put himself in a position of power, your best defense is to refuse to lie down and take it. Your life may depend on it.

It’s a prosecutable assault case as long as it can be established that you were dragged into the encounter against your will. So the first order of business in self-defense is a strong, clear “No.” If that “no” is not respected, the aggressor can expect a fight.

Back in the Reagan administration, the “N” word was invoked as a weapon with which a younger generation of warriors was supposed to fight back in the so-called war on drugs. If anyone tried to bully them into a toke, a tab, a hit, or any other unwanted agenda, kids were advised to “just say no.”

Sure, it’s only a word, but it may be one of the most powerful in the language, any language. Its power is as eternal as the parent-child relationship; chances are the first word any crawling infant actually understands is “no.” Ditto dogs, whether in obedience class or in the act if being chased off the furniture. (Even cats understand the word “no,” they just assume it doesn’t apply to them.) The first thing any pet, any child, any date, or any peer must understand if a relationship is to succeed is this: No means no.

Here in the age of irony, we like to sauce up our simple declarative remarks with a little extra oomph. Nowadays, a parent or colleague or partner attempting to put an emphatic kibosh on some particularly crazy scheme may resort to sarcasm. “What part of ‘no’ don’t you understand?” we deadpan.

For three years now, America has been held hostage to an aggressive male agenda. She was coy about it at first, wasn’t sure if she ought to speak up. His argument seemed so compelling, and she wanted to be a good sport. Besides, these are scary times. Maybe it didn’t seem like such a bad idea to let the big, powerful cowboy have his way with her. If she gave in to him, at least he’d be around to keep her safe from even scarier aggressors with foreign accents and impenetrable motivations. Like many a deceived lover before her, she chose to believe his snaky lies and agreed to stay his course; better the devil you know, as the rationale goes.

But familiarity breeds contempt, and we’ve gotten to know this devil all too well. Last November, America finally woke up from her, long slumbering acquiescence and decided, however belatedly, to stand up for herself. While he was off somewhere beating his war drum, she snuck out the back way to the ballot box and sent a strong, clear message: No. No more lies. No more fruitless aggression. No more dying for no good reason. A newly reorganized House and Senate has put the lonesome cowboy on notice: America won’t lie down and take it any more. She wants out of Iraq.

And how does the great Decider respond? By proposing to feed 21,500 more troops into the gaping maw of Iraq, an additional 21,500 potential lives to throw away for the sake of his sagging, flaccid pride. In yet another unnerving echo of the Vietnam era, Bush, like Nixon before him, doesn’t want to be the one to lose a war. After three years of unalloyed chaos in Iraq, he wants another chance to make his policies work.

Oh, c’mon, Baby, just give me one more chance. What woman hasn’t heard that one before? And even if you take the louse back, how often does the situation ever really improve?

Here’s a news flash, for those of you who came in late: there’s no such thing as winning a war. One government or ideology may be temporarily victorious over another (at least until the next war). But for those who actually fight the damn thing, it’s a no-win situation. It’s devastating for the losers, who mostly end up dead, and thus unable to appreciate the glorious benefits of democratic freedom. And it’s devastating for the winners, many of whom also die, or are otherwise physically, mentally and/or emotionally maimed for life. As  Jean Paul Sartre once wrote, once you hear the details of victory, it’s hard to distinguish it from a defeat.

And yet, we’re warned of dire consequences should the U.S. “fail” in Iraq—like bloody civil war, or the possibility that Iraq will become Command Central for international terrorist activity. Oh, wait, that’s going on in Iraq right now, thanks in no small part to the presence of U.S. troops. Does that mean we’ve already failed? Mr. Bring-it-on can wave around his pop-gun all he likes, but the real fighting men and women deserve to come home now. America wants to get on with her life.

Three years, more than 3,000 American (and countless hundreds of thousands of Iraqi) lives, and unconscionable billions of dollars are more than enough. Why give him a chance to do even more damage? What part of “no” doesn’t he understand?

Send a strong, clear message to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of February 12

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Pub Watch

Mega gastro pub-in-progress at the Old Sash Mill, plus the best pasta dish downtown

 

How do you know love is real?

When you feel the groove in your heart and you’re inspired to dance. Becca Bing, Boulder Creek, Teacher

 

Temple of Umami

Watsonville’s Miyuki is homestyle cooking, Japanese-style

 

How would you stop people from littering?

Teach them from the time that they’re small that it’s not an appropriate behavior. Juliet Jones, Santa Cruz, Claims Adjuster