Tag Archives: politics

What Goes Around Comes Around

I’ve been reading a fair amount of historical nonfiction lately, and one thing that’s struck me is how the U.S. tends to go through fairly regular cycles of progressive vs. conservative thinking. Here, from “Asleep,” is some interesting data from the 1920s and thereafter.

“Most historians now consider the 1920s an extension of the Progressive Era. The movement began with the antitrust laws that promised to rein in some of the business megamonopolies, but it soon grew into the progress laws and ideals that aimed for a more  modern, safer and healthier lifestyle. Legislation like mandatory milk and meat inspections, restrictions on tenement housing, improved working conditions, and child labor laws passed. The movement then morphed into legislation concerning civil responsibility, granting Native Americans citizenship, and allowing women to vote….”

At the same time Warren G. Harding, widely considered the most corrupt president, died in office. The Teapot Dome Scandal and many others bloomed in the aftermath of his death.

Again, from Crosby’s “Asleep,” comes the  pointed corollaries of all this progress. Immigration became a hot-button issue. The Ku Klux Klan spread like a cancer through the country. Bills were proposed to overturn American’s open-door  policy and stop immigration. A conservative backlash called for the country to return to its “original” religious and ethnic mix. Particularly hated and discriminated against were Italians, Irish, Germans, Puerto Ricans and the migration of American blacks toward Northern cities.

This all ended, of course, with the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression. “Most historians agree it was a complicated combination of factors like consumerism, market speculations, easy credit and business monopolies.”

Sound at all familiar?

By pure chance, the next book I read was set during the era of the Civil  Rights movement, when so many of these factors rose up again. And now, we see them again, and again.

* The destructiveness of consumerism and uncontrolled big business.

* Rampant fear of  “the other,” whether immigrants or people with different lifestyle choices,  or even the old familiar ‘BlackMexicanAsianArab.’

*  The spread of hate groups.  The Klan may be underground, but its brethren  are fully with us.  Westboro Church, anyone?

* Wars to keep us (we the people) distracted from real problems.

* Angry youth.

* Destructive drug use.

It all goes around and comes around, and probably has been since earliest pre-history. Does that mean we give up,  knowing that the cycle appears to be never-ending?

No. We live and seek joy and try to love even our least loveable neighbors. We lend a hand whenever we can,  turn our backs  on selfishness, fear and hatred.

Because no matter what happens before or after, all  each of us us guaranteed is this one existence. What a shame to waste it on fear and hatred and sadness. Somewhere the sun is shining.  Delight in  the day.

P.S. My daughter says I’m too optimistic. My husband probably agrees. But still… smile, laugh, see the beauty rather than the ugliness.

 

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Laying Low

One thing I really hate is when I hit those pockets of life in which nothing I do is right. I’m sure you know what I mean.

It’s those days, weeks, months when everything you do is just slightly off, seems just slightly irritating to those around you. If you’re quiet, you’re too quiet. If you talk, you talk too much. If you try to remain calm, you’re apparently sad. If you give in to exuberance, you’re embarrassing. And worst of all, it’s all in your own head. Not like anybody’s actually saying any of these things.

But it makes existence … odd. I suspect others back away to give me space, and then I feel isolated.

Y’know what? I’m just a mess, and need to stop thinking about this stuff. Here’s some actual factual things:

* I got myself apparently banned from our governor-elect’s Facebook page, and I didn’t even use any bad language. I just kept asking when he’s going to apologize for basically calling me a minion of Satan. Guess he doesn’t like the question. Guess I’d better keep asking it at every juncture.

* Finally reading “Guns, Germs and Steel,” thanks to the Amazon lending library, and finding it fascinating. Right now pondering the issue of disease from the point of view of the disease microbe. Very very interesting.

* Recently read “The Blacksmith’s Daughter,” a first novel by a very dear friend, and enjoyed it greatly. You can find it at Amazon. Also read “The Whip” by Karen Kondazian, on the recommendation of Jim Beaver, and really liked it. It’s a novel written by a screenplay writer, so it reads like a movie, but it’s based on the real life of Charlotte “Charley” Parkhurst, who lived as a man and a stagecoach driver in Goldrush-era California. Nobody knew she was a woman until after she died.

* Been making lots of hats and suchlike lately, which means I’ve been watching lots of movies/TV. Saw “Rio Bravo,” with John Wayne and Dean Martin. Reminded me of why I had such a huge crush on Dean Martin back in the day. Watched “Dark Knight” again, and renewed my admiration for the spectacular creepiness of Heath Ledger’s Joker. Watched (thanks, streaming Netflix!) “The Trouble with Angels,” which I hadn’t seen in at least 30 years. It holds up amazingly well, all things considered, and reminded me why I basically idolized Hayley Mills as a youngster.

All these things are quiet, and quiet is a good thing for me to be right now. Quiet and non-bothersome. And keep many of my opinions to myself. It all works out better that way.

 

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Personhood: Just say No to Sex

I appreciate the beliefs of the anti-choice movement, truly I do. Truth is, in 55 years of life I’ve never met a single person who was pro-abortion. Nobody likes it. It’s a terrible option. But sometimes it’s the only option, and just making the decision to go forward with it is hard enough without all the self-righteous brow-beating that’s become associated with it.

That said, I find this Amendment 26 in Mississippi, the so-called “Personhood Amendment,” overly worrisome. My daughter takes birth control for a medical condition. Is this going to become illegal? Will she just have to live with a condition that’s easily treatable, just in case she might have sex someday? It’s insane.

Anything that makes doctors nervous gives me pause, I have to admit. Plus, it’s just going to be a huge lawyerly clusterbomb from the word go: The only people who will benefit from this amendment, born or unborn, will be lawyers billing by the hour to deal with all the lawsuits. In a state that’s already so strapped for budget that it has persistent childhood poverty and is cutting education and human services, what we really, really need is an influx of state, local and federal law suits to gum up the judicial works and churn out money for the lawyers.

If the personhood people want to go after abortion, let them go after it straight-forward. I know how I’d vote on abortion, but I also know that I’m not going to vote yes on an amendment that might see my daughter have a miscarriage someday and be charged with homicide. With all due respect, I think a lot of well-meaning people need to really, honestly read this amendment, and try to see past the “save the unborn” to all it could potentially do to our daughters.

Upon pondering, it occurs to me… If the anti-birth control amendment passes next week, women will still have one line of defense. NO. Just say no. Ever hear of Lysistrata? Get ready, ladies, for one heckuva battle. But just remember… if he hits you, it’s assault. Just say NO to sex.

My New Motto: Say Yes to 26 and Say NO to Sex. With men. Ever.

Let’s see how that freak flag flies.

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It Ain’t Easy Being Green

Most of us try, I think, to be good people. The definition of “a good person,” unfortunately, doesn’t seem to be comfortably clear-cut. For instance, I try to be environmentally friendly whenever possible. We try to find good foods, to avoid engineered fruits and vegetables and over-fished or polluted meats and fish. I give whenever and whatever I can to those in need. We recycle everything we can recycle here in our small town. And I try to live by the principle of treating others the way I’d like them to treat me: Basically, letting people alone to live their private lives in private. That applies to everything from how people choose to worship to who and how they love to what medical treatment they choose to get or not get … and more.

But it isn’t easy.

Case in point: There aren’t a lot of organic farms here in north Mississippi. Not a lot of people raising and selling grass-fed livestock. So we try to support the few when we can. One of the things we’d been seriously considering was buying some beef from a local farm that raises grass-fed, no growth-hormone cows. What a cool idea, right? And we have freezer space, so we could buy a fair amount and eat it through the coming winter.

All good.

But in an apparently unrelated issue, the American Family Association (remember them? Don Wildmon and the whole anti-Hollywood, anti-TV, anti-pretty much everything crowd?) is one of the major sponsors of something called the Mississippi Personhood Amendment.  http://www.personhoodmississippi.com/amendment-26/what-it-says.aspx It’s a particularly vile piece of wanna-be legislation that they’ve managed to get put on ballots in the upcoming election. Basically, it defines life as beginning at fertilization, whether by the “traditional” method, cloning, in-vitro or whatever. This sly piece of anti-woman propaganda would have long-lasting repercussions on all sorts of things, including stem cell research, the right of a woman to live her own life and more. It’s a classic gambit to give control of women’s lives over to someone other than themselves.

So. Grass-fed beef.

The Mississippi Personhood Amendment folks have thoughtfully made available a web site which lists, among other things, politicians and businesses who support this underhanded amendment. The list has most of the usual suspects but also, dang it, the grass-fed beef people.

Well heck.

So buying the beef would support environmentally friendly cattle-raising methods and strike a blow for small farms against giant agrabusiness. But it would support folks who believe that women should not have the right to control their own bodies. I completely resent being put in the position of having to choose. But I do.

Looks like a noodle kind of winter.

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Take a Stand!

I’m so tired of feeling impotent when it comes to my government. So here’s one tiny way I’ve come up with to try and let myself be heard. Please feel free to copy and paste, forward, do whatever you like with this. Also, the icon is totally for taking. No credit needed.

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Wednesday, March 19, is the fifth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. I won’t get into anything else about that, as we all have differing opinions. But one thing most people agree on, with the benefit of hindsight, is that the invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq were a mistake.

It frustrates me that we, the average citizens, the people to whom t his country theoretically belongs, have so little say in this military action. So my challenge to us all is to make a statement on Wednesday, March 19, by flying a U.S. flag upside down.

Yes, that is an international distress signal. But if ever there has been a country in distress, whose leaders are not listening to our voices, it’s us. So here’s our chance.

Hang your flag upside down that day. Wednesday, March 19 as a symbol of the distress in our nation.

Pass this challenge on to everyone you know. Media outlets would be an excellent place. Let’s make this a grassroots thing. Use bcc when sending this onward, if you choose. We have a week, and on the internet a week is forever. Spread spread spread.

And on March 19, we the people, will have a say.

I challenge you.

Tend the fire. Pass it on.

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