Could you believe it?

Is this what we’re doing now? High school girls twirling rifles?

Did anybody notice? Does anybody care?

I couldn’t believe it when I saw it. It was the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and I’ve watched it on television every year since I was a child. It’s been kind of a Thanksgiving morning tradition. All the floats. The appearance of celebrities. The marching bands from high schools all over America, with their drum majorettes fastastically tossing and twirling, and miraculously catching, batons.

Only this time they weren’t batons. They were facsimile rifles.

That’s right, rifles.

What is that about???, I asked myself when I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

Not just one high school marching band, but several, with their teenage drum majorettes marching along with them in flashy outfits. Let me offer you the definition of “drum majorette” found in most dictionaries:

“drum majorette — noun: the female leader of a marching band. * a girl or woman who twirls a baton, typically with a marching band or drum corps.”

Well, in America as of Thanksgiving 2017 (and perhaps before…I hadn’t noticed until now), we have to change that definition to “a girl or woman who twirls a facsimile rifle, typically looking like a military weapon, with a marching band or drum corps.”

Did you see it with me? Did your jaw drop with mine? The high school majorettes were twirling white objects, but not batons. Apparently made of wood or plastic (or who knows what), these items were cut in the exact shape of a military rifle, with its stock, trigger housing, magazine, barrel and sight.

I couldn’t believe it.

What are the children watching this parade—on 34th Street in New York and on TV at home—supposed to think? Is this the imagery we want to embed? What is the message we are sending?

For that matter, what is the energy and imagery that the teenagers in those marching bands and majorette units are absorbing? Are we actually proud that facsimile weapons have replaced shiny, sparkly batons as the item of choice that we’re having our teenagers twirl — just like the real-life military marching units also in the parade, members of which were twirling actual rifles with bayonets?

Have we gone far enough to glorify weapons, to glorify the military, to glorify killing and war? High school drum majorettes twirling rifles?

My God, what have we come to? As a society, what have we come to?

Am I the only one whose heart sank seeing teenage drum majorettes smilingly and flashingly twirling facsimile weapons?

Am I just getting too old? Am I so far out of step with where we as a society now are…and want to be?

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  • Spiritual_Annie

    I have to admit that I didn’t see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I haven’t watched it for years because I believe it is part of the commercialization of Christmas, which was meant to be a Holy Day celebrating the birth, life and hope of Jesus (or the Christ Consciousness). It has never, for me, supposed to have been a holiday where one wonders what gifts one might get, or literally fights in the store to grab whatever special item is on sale that there are only a few of to draw people into the store. (My sister worked at WalMart as a second job, and told me about the scams they pull during the holiday season.)

    I can’t say I’m surprised, though. When we can’t even have a national debate about the banning of automatic weapons, which are clearly about doing the maximum amount of damage in the minimum amount of time and are certainly not about hunting or protection of one’s person, after the series of mass shootings in our country; when the government is selling “surplus” equipment to local police departments, including armored vehicles and flamethrowers; when the use of violence against peaceful protestors has become commonplace–why would we not expect a fake version of them to replace batons in parades?

    [As an aside, my oldest sister was in a parochial school marching band, and when we’d go to watch and listen and support her, there were fake rifles being twirled. She graduated in 1970. Whether or not it’s been happening in the Macy’s parade or not, I couldn’t say.]

    You aren’t alone in wondering what we have come to be as a society, compared to where people of peace in our country would prefer for us to be. But as “The Mooch” so infamously said, “The fish stinks from the head down.”

    We have, as our elected President and Commander-in-Chief, a man who will not condemn racism; who has called all 16 of his accusers of sexual assault liars who he pubicly denigrates and says he will sue (only 2%-10% of reported cases of sexual asssault are false); who dotes on dictators like Putin and Duterte and Ergovan (not sure that’s spelled right); who lies more than he speaks the truth (according to fact checkers), his latest being to imply he might be “Person of the Year” for Time Magazine but, because they wouldn’t say for certain, he said “No thanks!” and felt the need to tweet about it (which Time denies ever occurred because they do not announce or publicly discuss the “Person of the Year” until December 6th, the publication date); who our Congress has had to hold discussions about ways to keep him from using the nuclear “football” during one of his infantile tirades and who had to write into the law sanctioning Russia that he couldn’t just simply decide to terminate the sanctions.

    I could go on, but I think that’s enough to paint a pretty good picture of a stinking fish head.

    This is where we currently are as a country–divided, overwhelmed, angry and confused. Is this where we desire to be? I certainly don’t, which is why I am both a political activist and someone who focuses Spiritual energy towards healing–our country, our people, our planet “and all her relatives.” It’s difficult to maintain two competing aspects of Who I Am, but it is the only answer I have found for myself. I speak out, with data to back up my statements, on social media–but I also meditate, pray and commune with a focus on peace and awakening the planet. I’m still working on finding the right balance for myself, though, as sometimes I end up in bad places in my head where I am angry or depressed (anger turned inward) or my PTSD is triggered (emotional reactions to situations similar to previous trauma).

    I don’t have the answers, not even for myself. Sometimes it feels like I’ve been battling my entire (nearly) 58 years, and I grow weary. I desire peace–for myself and all peoples everywhere. But I don’t believe that it’s going to happen from where we now find ourselves without action, and I feel called to act. My government representatives–local, state and federal–are probably tired of seeing my name on the quantity of letters I’ve sent, lately at least weekly. I sign petitions nearly every day. I keep up on social media, following the stories and checking their sources, commenting and retweeting many posts (which are then also posted on my Facebook page automatically). I stop periodically to rest, recover, regenerate–meditating, praying and communing for peace and awakening. I watch silly movies, play with the dog, weed the garden, play a video game, socialize with my next door neighbor. And then I’m back to it because I feel it’s important. I feel we’re worth fighting for.

    That’s probably not the answer that you were looking for, but it’s the only answer I currently have.

    Love and Blessings Always,

    • Raphael

      “…when the government is selling “surplus” equipment to local police departments, including armored vehicles and flamethrowers; when the use of violence against peaceful protestors has become commonplace–why would we not expect a fake version of them (guns) to replace batons in parades?”

      Exactly! And what is more shocking, fake guns or real brutality?

      • Spiritual_Annie

        Funny (not really), but I was recently told I should stop posting about the Black Lives Matter movement because I’m white. It was rudely explained to me that I couldn’t possibly understand, having “white privilege” all my life. I certainly don’t see it that way (is it a “privilege” to be sexually assaulted? to work harder than my male coworkers? to think who I love is nobody’s business but mine and theirs?), and explained that I grew up and lived most of my life where I was in the minority. But she kept right on with her attitude, especially about reparations. When did willing and informed allies become unwelcome? And why isn’t her attitude considered prejudicial? She’s even sent a couple of trolls after me.

        I understand the concept of divide and conquer because my father used it. We, as a nation, are using it against ourselves, willingly playing into the hands of those who rule over (“govern” just isn’t appropriate anymore) us and devise ways to stay in power. We’re split into so many different groups that none are a majority. It saddens my heart.

        In my opinion, we need to get to a place where we remember we all belong to the same family: the human family. And we need to start first with our existential crisis, which is the damage we do to the planet that sustains us.

        Love and Blessings Always,

        • Kristen

          Annie, theres a funny thing about human nature….we love to fight our own battles, people dont necessarily want allies or help, we are stubbornly independant. I can see where the person is coming from, she will be feeling you are stealing ‘her’ battle from her, its something that empowers her and what she sees as her people. In that aspect, ‘white’ people are different tl others, as a majority we dont really notice colour or race anymore, but others are still divided, and by the colour of our skin, in their battles, we are kind of the enemy. Someone told me its a pride thing…you dont fight battles or win anything by asking for help from strangers or different races, that makes you feel inferior, that you NEED their help to win. Ask african Americans directly if they want you to fight for them, and ask for honest answers, I think youll find they want support, but as back up only.

          • Spiritual_Annie

            I hear what you’re saying. I hadn’t looked at it as an “independence” issue. But, then, I learned earlly on that I can’t always accomplish things alone.

            I think I will ask. Twitter now has a way to conduct polls. I have hundreds of followers, whose race or nationality I haven’t much paid attention to because they mostly come from Spiritual or political (patriot not partisan) tweets I make. I just need to figure out the wording first.

          • Kristen

            Good idea, I fight alone, far too much pride to ask anyone for help other than God so Id be one of those who would say ‘thanks for the offer, but Ive got this, and please dont even pray for me’ BUT it works for me, obviously not others. If it didnt work, my answer would be different, so its all personal and perceptive, a poll would be hard. But interesting.
            Good luck,

        • Raphael

          I think Kristen make some good points…people take pride in their own fights and struggles. Although the civil rights movement welcomed outside help, but times have changed and the dialogue seems more strident today, no doubt due to the divide and conquer strategy, as you mention, as well as disinformation, used by alphabet soup government agencies to keep all of us distrustful, alienated and easily controllable, especially those who question the status quo.

          Native Americans welcome allies, as long as they don’t take charge and start telling them what to do, which is, let’s be honest, a white man’s disease (notice I did not say white woman :)).

          All environmental movements and social movements should ally and form one large international life movement…but you can bet that if this actually happened and was successfully threatening the status quo, the powers that be would start another world war to crush it, because this is how they have operated in the past.

          • Spiritual_Annie

            I agree with much of what you say, my friend. Competitiveness to be a protected and respected minority overlooks the real problem of class separation, and the gap is widening. Sometimes I feel like we live in India, with its caste society. There, they more or less accept whatever caste they’ve been born into and hope to reincarnate to a higher level in another life. Here, we’re always hoping for “the American Dream” of making more and having more.

            I experienced a little of what would be considered the high end of middle class before my father left us. Mama had jewels and furs. We kids always had new clothes. We always had more than enough to eat, always fresh veggies and the finer cuts of meat. While his leaving was a blessing in many ways, it impoverished us. Mama raised us on $50/mo per kid in child support, and alimony that only covered the mortgage and insurance on the house, which my father maintained a 50% interest in. When she first started working, with absolutely no work history, her pay was very low because of the jobs she held. We had to turn to charities for clothes, especially as my four brothers are all at least 6′ tall and were constantly outgrowing their clothes (not to mention eating enormous amounts of food). That food also changed. We had things like “bbq rotiserie bologna” and veggie soup made with soup bones, lots of potaotes, and the leftover veggies that were added each night to a container in the freezer. I learned how to darn socks and patch jeans.

            Once she entered into the accounting end of the insurance industry, she started being promoted into positions never before held by men. She knew she got less pay and a lot of attitude, but didn’t argue (much less burn her bra). Usually within just a couple of years, she was earning more than any man who’d held the same position because of her skills and abilities. Then would come the next promotion, and she’d start all over again. That kept happening until she met her final boss. She so impressed him that, when he was sought out by another insurance company for an executive position, he would only accept their offer if Mama went with him as his Executive Assistant (which was a huge leap over several steps she would normally have had to go through to achieve). Then, we no longer had to accept charity, which had hurt Mama’s pride so much. Then, she could contribute to charities once again, as she had when married.

            What I didn’t realize until much later was that, even with all we had, there were classes more wealthy than we. Things like replacing the roof or repairing damage from a flood were real financial challenges for us, where for others it was simply a matter of writing a check. Part of that understanding came from my father’s wealth. He became popular in the “speaker’s circuit” on both civil rights and education, and made a lot of money doing it (which he illegally hid). So much that, when he and his second wife and my two half sisters moved to Arizona, they paid for their house in cash before their house in St. Louis had sold. She was now the one with jewels and furs, and a personally designed greenhouse in the back yard.

            There’s a balance I’ve always tried to maintain between being grateful for what I have (at any stage of my life), and wanting to better my situation. Now I’m a part of society that is “invisible” because most prefer not to think about (much less see in their neighborhoods) those who are barely making it from check to check with the help of food banks, thrift or secondhand stores, and helping agencies. Here in Florida, all three of those are struggling to survive themselves as they become more and more overwhelmed with clients as the gap grows wider. My Case Manager (not the agency) has a caseload of over 100 clients, all of whom need assistance. The agency itself has only 10 Case Managers because they can’t afford to pay for any more. They never turn away clients, and they don’t push on getting their copays, but not all are as lucky as I to have a Case Manager.

            The rich are getting richer and a less populous class, while the poor are getting poorer and a more popular class. I’m amazed that people who make $450,000/year are considered “middle class.” I live on about $20,000/year, and my SSDI disability benefits are higher than most I know.

            What the rich haven’t learned from the past (or simply don’t care about) is that when that gap widens enough is when revolutions occur. The only reason it hasn’t happened outright here in America is that we are so divided.

            Love and Blessings Always,

  • Raphael

    What was previously hidden is now coming out for all to see it (or not).

    America has always been a militaristic culture…waging war almost continually since the founding of this nation.

    As much as the twirling of fake guns by drum majorettes might be shocking, it is just a logical step for a spectacle that is already very military in nature…marching, drums, military music, uniforms…add it all up and what do you get? It is actually very revealing of American conditioning that the public would not see this as a military show and be totally shocked by the logical addition of fake guns!

    Neale aren’t more shocked by the fact that police departments are being given surplus grenades and bayonets, and the overall militarization of police? Or that the Pentagon is given unprecedented funding to expend its already bloated budget?

    When a government uses violence and brutality as a means to resolve imaginary or real international conflicts, what kind of example does it give to the population?

  • Kristen

    Neale….nothing about America would surprise me, as a country you are as crazy as North Korea! ; ). Seriously. But as a country you just can’t see it, your version of controlling the masses into corrupting the population and youth, is worded as ‘freedom’. Freedom for anyone to say or do what they want, those in jail are nothing compared to the damage the ‘free’ do to society. I wouldnt be shocked at all to see a American parade of young topless girls, sponsored by an alcohol company, riding unicycles while firing guns in the air. There are no limits or boundries, nothing would surprise me one bit. Maybe you need to live in a different country for a year and watch America as a whole from the outside.
    As Raphael has said below, I think most Americans are actually completely oblivious to all the things going on behind the scenes that are slowly being bought into the open. Did you think Disney was a ‘nice’ organisation for kids? That its just a fluke that the most horrible of music and ‘skankiness’ comes out of America? I was looking up music the other day, and the number 1 song in America at the moment is appalling.
    Smiling as I sit here on a beautiful sunny Sunday evening just before sunset at 8pm, blasting The Doors from the stereo as People Are Strange is on, wearing Levis, Esprit and Converse chucks….cant object to the great old American music, clothes and cars! You should have just stopped time in 1985, and stayed there. Ill pretend Im just dessed American for Thanksgiving so I dont have to eat my words..Im not hungry!
    Take care,

    • Raphael

      Good comment Kristen! You are right, most Americans are completely oblivious, or just don’t want to be bothered to find out anything unpleasant their government is doing in their name, because it could ruin their day and their skin tone. And the few prominent individuals who do take notice and speak about it, like Chris Hedges for example, are called “radicals”, while ordinary people who think in these lines are called “malcontents”. Words have always been used as weapons by governments to discredit their critics.

      Here the government expects you to vote once every 4 years and then the rest of the time go shopping and fatten yourself on toxic fast food or processed food, kill your brain cells watching inane popular TV shows and let your masters govern unchallenged. Even journalists dare not ask pertinent questions of politicians for fear of being called “confrontational” (unless these politicians are from the green party, then it’s open season). Challenged politicians walk out of town hall meetings, or simply do not show up.

      America has mastered the art of homogenizing its mostly compliant population as efficiently as it does its milk supply. And the outcome is equally unhealthy for both.

      • Kristen

        It was a harsh comment, I know, but Im completely shocked Neale found it odd, perhaps not realising the core of America globally is war and violence. An ‘ego’ country.

        • Raphael

          I totally agree, I had the same reaction. And yes, the national symbol should be the ego, not the eagle!

  • Craig

    Welcome to South Africa 1976. Rhodesia 1983…

  • Stephen mills

    Unbelievable ,perhaps their thankful that they have the god given right to own and carry guns and this is the way that they mould the next generation into this mindset .By normalising the fact that guns are supposed to be just another must have item carried by every citizen and even school age children for their own protection and liberty !!
    America is the land of the free and the brave after all.

    Who would sanction such a thing as getting our impressionable young women to twirl these replica looking killing machines ? There has to be an enquiry into this ,what kind of people do we have championing these kind of ideas ?

  • AKA Patrick

    Oh, is this a “deep” one–subject, that is. Back a bit later with more to comment on.

  • Jethro

    “What are the children watching this parade—on 34th Street in New York and on TV at home—supposed to think? Is this the imagery we want to embed? What is the message we are sending?”

    The parade is the only concern for the crap on T.V.? REALLY? The Parade?….. What are the children watching outside of the parade? What video games are they playing? I’m willing to bet that the average person didn’t even notice the difference. Killing, torture and sex fill our T.V. screens daily and some wooden fake guns make the blog. Sex and violence prevail on everyday television, Shows that give me nightmares! Exactly what are the children watching every hour of every day or viewing on the computer that is worse than fake guns in a parade? Do people send the kids to their room so the news can be watched? I doubt it.

    “Am I just getting too old? Am I so far out of step with where we as a society now are…and want to be?” No, You might have ignored what’s actually being shown on everyday T.V. though. Freedom has been exercised beyond common sense. Real life calamity is being advertised daily and the parade was nothing!! Fake rifles in a parade are teddy bears the kids can fall asleep with because the fake ones are not killing people like on the news… images that might be disturbing to some (or all) viewers.

    I’m a little upset that the parade is up for discussion and the images of everyday television are ignored!! I guess as long as the good guy is advertised as winning it’s ok. Though we have all read that right and wrong is relative to what we support. Freedom… to do what? to have what? to say what? to show what? To be what? Freedom… America is crying freedom. There has to be a line!! maybe we should just be free to kill, torture or be sexual any way we wish… NO!! It all needs to stop and to stop advertising it would be a good start!!!

    Good day Y’all

    • Raphael

      I do not have a TV, hadn’t had one in 15 years. I grew up without one, and only when married was I finally “convinced” to get one, against my better judgment.

      But I had a glimpse of what is shown on television today in a store…and the graphic violence is shocking beyond belief. I had to turn away and leave…

      A note about freedom: there is no freedom in America or under any other government, only the illusion of freedom. Freedom means sovereignty. We have no individual sovereignty, only permission by our governments to do certain thing rather than certain other things, and more often than not within extremely limited legal contexts.

      A “freedom” that does not get you to leap in the air with exuberant joy and happiness is not freedom, a freedom that you do not actually feel in your solar plexus and that does not get you to laugh with pure joy is merely a concept, a permit, an allowance by our masters.

      We are still treated like incompetent fools or like young children by our governments, who as Annie wrote no longer govern but rule, are no longer the servants but the masters. This is not freedom by any means. But again, with freedom comes responsibility, and with responsibility comes freedom.

      The “freedom” we are given concerning television programming is that of being gradually desensitized and zombified.

    • Kristen

      Exactly…and dont forget to include the internet and music clips in that.

      • Stephen mills

        Hi Kristen Cwg does say if you want to live in a world free of violence it might work not to have children exposed to images and video games of that nature 24/7 which are then normalised by the culture .

        It’s what works depending on your desired outcome. If you wish for more violence let’s continue down the path we are on if you wish for another way to be human change !! Make violence unacceptable as a way we resolve our problems take it away as much as possible that includes twirling fake weaponary designed for children .

        There is nothing more I wish to change than the arms trade and the use of violence to settle disputes in our world. I find it unconscionable that people make money from death and destruction of their fellow human beings .

        I enjoy reading your posts ,good to here what’s happening down under or is it up over ? Life sounds pretty tough for ordinary folks in your part of the world ,but I think your not alone there . Keep up the good humour anyhows .

        • Kristen

          Hi Stephen,
          NZ is right down the bottom of tne world, down under. Barely even a fart on the globe!
          I struggle with CwG as there are so many contradictions, nothing is specifically clear BUT it explains reincarnation in depth, including that CwG was Neales chosen path, and that nothing can happen that people havnt pre arranged and signed up for via reincarnation. Therefore, or as I understand that and eveeything on reincarnation says the same , the only people who will change are the ones who prearranged to change, many via here.
          So basically, it seems to all be a complete waste of time, only changed or cancelled reincanation paths will change anyone or anything.
          Im not reincarnated, Im a first lifer, so thats a huge struggle for me, especially with all the suffering caused. Years ago I asked ‘guides’ why there was so much suffering, and why some people end up homeless abused people and others millionaires and with insanely cool lives by the time they are 20? The reply was “reincarnation, and you cant do a thing about it”. My next question was then what I can do to stop the suffering of others? The reply….’feed birds, thats about it, they are the only species not caught up in reincarnation paths”.
          SO I struggle with that huge contradiction in CwG..trying to change people yet saying reincarnation paths, including all deaths for which Neales God talked about Neales own mother the year she died, and Neale was clearly upset that she had ‘chosen’ to die. His God had to discuss it further, including I think that she had already overturned death once for him. It was actually really good reading, showing Neale and his Gods emotions. Neale was quite upset about it all, CwG was at first rather factual and ‘asbergers’, then came back later talking in a nicer tone and explaining more, perhaps remembering that Neale was human, struggling with acceptance, and his God realised he was dealing with a human with himan emotions, rather than a robot typing channelled information. I do always wonder if coming back and being nicer was Neales Gods realisation OR if he/it was told to or reminded. In CwG, thats all I really look for, Neales Gods personality. I acknowledge personalities before everything else.

          • Raphael

            Personally, the way I understand reincarnation, is that there is a lot more flexibility than some people seem to assume. There might be a general chosen script, but there is also a large degree of unpredictability, of accidents, of unforeseen challenges and of changes in one’s path, otherwise indeed there would be no point to a pre-destined life, it would be an exercise in futility, the same as if death equated “enlightenment”.

            We do not have just one path…throughout life we encounter many crossroads, and make choices. These choices are not
            always predestined…I think we always have freedom. We can climb the mountain or stay home, or swim with sharks in the ocean.

            I believe that many people use the notion of destiny (choosing our own destiny) to lessen the degree of emotional pain occurring during personal tragedies (as was the case in the example you gave with Neale and his God).

            That’s when beliefs act as pain killers…opiates. I do not believe in opiates, in not facing and healing one’s own pain, in the suppression of feelings. We should not talk ourselves out of feeling and expressing, releasing and healing our real feelings, unless we seek to become unreal. Unfortunately religion (and now new age beliefs) are often used as a form of opium, of suppression, as old Karl once said (and he was scientifically accurate, as studies have shown that feel good beliefs can directly influence brain chemistry).

          • Kristen

            Last sentence…completely agree, plus things manifest physically. Like anything in a group of Laws, you cant just feel one emotion, they will all be on the same scale. Those who feel extreme joy, will also feel hurt, grief and the other emotions in extreme…me!

            Re reincarnation..I would love to believe as you do, but havnt found anything to indicate that based on modern times with a huge population. Apparently its like the movie Sliding doors, one change for one person like missing a train can affect millions of paths of others, so its pretty much all locked in now so synchronicity can work like a finely woven web. Which is why people like you, and others craving flexibility and freedom have to break free from others and live an almost isolated life. First lifers like me are the same, ypu have to be on the outskirts of it all and just like an extra on the film set, that Earth is. Those who chose to not be a part of it are quite easy to spot and ALWAYS self employed without staff other than ‘pocket money helpers’ or unemployed, and generally single long term. There are simply no jobs, social events other than a few ‘treats’ or things allocated to you. People are often without set friends as well, or generally neighbours or acqaintenances (cant spell it, wtf!). This is so you dont screw things up for others, like if you went to someones 50th party and met someone there, who was pre arranged to meet someone else a week later. I understand it really all is like the Truman Show, that tightly orchestrated and automated other than people think they have freedom and are writing their own scripts. CwG explains it like that or similar as well.
            In a Doors phase, damn Riders On The Storm makes me want to be at a cool 70s festival, chilling out completely. And the intro to Cmon Baby Light My Fire is sheer genius, who the heck can come up with that 5 second bit of music. I wanna go to Woodstock! Love Me Two Times is doing my head in as well…hot song! Sorry….obviously Im paying more attention to what Im hearing rather than what Im typing. I think the next Walmart husband has to be a drummer and guitarist. Im officially a middle aged slapper! Who’d have thought?!

            Oh, dont think I ever said I dont have a TV either now. Nothing on worth watching in a year and other than two guys, no one on my fav Greys Anatomy is good looking enough for TV, so I ditched them! If I want to see normal average people I can do that without TV in real life.