America: Land of the Free to Speak my Mind, and Home of the Unloving.

Just another day in Eugene.  
I live in a town where hippies never died, and small insanities rear their bizarre head every year in an event known as the Eugene Celebration.  Eugene, where rain falls more than it should, and college kids never leave town, making for over-educated bus drivers and baristas, is an anomaly to the American Dream.  Dollars bills have been sacrificed by the individual in exchange for political agendas and activism. We're not your average capitalistic town.  

Yet trying to get to know any of your neighbors beyond a passing hello or comment on the oft-changing weather, is sadly as common in Eugene as any dead end city I've ever lived. Despite all our idealism, we are just as insular, closed off, and unloving as most other cities in America.  

Unloving. If there is a term for what ails this nation, it is that. We replaced unloving with words like polarized, judgmental, skeptical, angry, upset, marginalized, opinionated, politicized, radicalized, and selfish, but a weed by any other term is still a weed.  And this town, this state, this nation is infested with weeds (and no, not that weed).  Uncultivated plants crowding out the desired produce.    

It crops up in conversations, in comment boards, in phone calls, texts and social media. Everything is making us angry and bitter and separated.  I recently read the story about the three women who escaped from a house in Cleveland after being abducted almost ten years ago.  Bleck and hallelujah.  Hopefully a trial that can be turned to gold.  

I then watched the story of the neighbor, Charles Ramsey, who helped the women escape--what a breath of original air he was.  When asked if he ever suspected anything of the kidnapping neighbor, he said, "I used to eat ribs and listen to salsa with this guy." 

I've never eaten ribs with my neighbors. Course in Eugene it would probably be salmon, tofu, or a fruit salad, which I would've found a way to excuse myself from because I'm a horrible neighbor (and I hate vegan-like food). Jesus said to love your neighbor like yourself. One of two commandments! TWO! YOU MEAN LIKE OUR SECOND AMENDMENT GUN RIGHTS? Surely Jesus wants me to have an opinion on gun ownership? Right? No?  

After reading the article on CNN (one of the few news sites that still allows commenting) I wanted to read the reactions of people. This type of story should make for all kinds of interesting discourse.
You know where any good
spiders are to eat? 

Unfortunately, like all major events anymore, the vast majority of humanity has become hardened and unloving. Some commenters insanely blamed the girls. Some blamed Puerto Ricans and immigrants. Some blamed Obama. Some made dark comedy jokes, as if this was some SNL skit. Some jumped down the throat of the 911 operator, as if this would save these women from any more trauma.  

I felt like I was inside the asylum from the movie 12 Monkeys.  

Where is our heart, America? I've never commented on CNN before, but I felt compelled to say this, knowing that I would be trolled instantly afterwards:

Newsflash people: This story is both traumatic and hopeful. A true miracle after a decade of hideousness. It made me hug my daughters a little tighter.
It is not a moment to make baseless political statements: evil has no political ally.
It is not a moment to make banal jokes: this is not a dark comedy, it is human life.
It is not a moment to criticize people of faith: evil is the antithesis of faith.
It is not a moment to question every aspect of the story that doesn't make sense.
It is not a moment to show your wit, or trolling skills, or fantastic retorts.
It is a time to celebrate life. Three lives that are free of sick disgusting evil.
Think before you post if you are adding evil, or humanity, to this life we all have to share.
I realize that the internet, by nature, is unhuman; but it doesn't have to be inhumane. We've let the internet go far too unchecked. It's time we rescue the internet from quacks, imbalanced ideologues, anger mongers, soulless trolls, and extremists.  

I've tried to show more love in the real world as well. I've seen a lot of unloving actions that I felt the need to act on. I reported an act of parental abandonment to DCS (which for once turned out positively for the child); and I sent a very emotionally personal (and not Chris-like) text to an extended family member after he burnt his bridges in the family, telling him what he meant to me personally.  

I love my family, but it's hard for my love to branch beyond my family tree. I'm trying to recognize the other trees, desperate for love and nourishment around me.  I'm trying to be a better neighbor. Maybe if we all try to be better neighbors, we might catch wind of sicknesses before they've festered for a decade, like in Cleveland. Maybe we can pluck the weeds before they steal the nourishment from the trees. And--because this story originated in Eugene--we can grow one epic forest together again. Ugh. I sound like a hippie. Oh well, the Beatles were hippies, and so was Jesus, kind of. That's not bad company.
You might have warmer weather, but we have this awesomeness.  


  1. I'll take that view over the warmth of L.A., any day. I live in the capital of unfriendly neighbors, and the cynicism isn't even intelligent here - it's selfish and shallow. Sigh.

    1. I'm heading to LA this summer to go to Disneyland. Maybe I can change the climate while I'm there (physically and interpersonally).

  2. Living in Natalie's hood, I can attest to that. I live in apartments, so I see many of my neighbors everyday. The most I've shared with them is a quick, "Hello." And sometimes, my hellos are returned with a quizzical stare. I don't get what's so hard about saying hi to someone? I miss the days of my childhood where we'd run up and down the street with all the neighborhood children. I'll keep dreaming right there along with you.

    1. When I lived in an apartment I found the people to be very insular as well. Maybe being so close to people forces us to be very selective and private at the same time. Maybe not outside America, though. I bet they know each other very well.

  3. very informative..thanks and keep posting..:)