Back To School

The way forward has become clearer in the last few months. Becoming an organizer, public policy maker, lawyer, or other community leader has become attractive. I’ve always cared about social & economic justice, but I’ve not had much personal power.

I’ve read four books in the last few months that have been very illuminating & instructive. Thomas Frank’s, Listen Liberal, helped me see how we got where we are, along with George Packer’s: The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America, which details through personal narratives how America lost it’s center, while Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, by J. D. Vance reveals another facet of America’s slow, and not-so-slow, decline.

My favorite book, however, and the one which drives my ambition to organize is: A Force More Powerful: A Century of Non-violent Conflictby Peter Ackerman, & Jack DuVall, which is available on film as a PBS documentary.

As I’m boycotting Amazon, I suggest streaming online using iTunes, or Hulu, or borrowing the books and film through your local library. Amazon has become a predatory company with abysmal working conditions and unfair pay for many, if not most, workers.

The Woman’s March was affirming, and there are more planned marches in the works as the new authoritarian regime takes shape and we stand to lose ever more of our Constitutional rights.

Democracy requires participation, and while subtle stripping of our rights over the last few decades in the name of ‘fighting terrorism’ quieted many, we can no longer complain from the sidelines as we see bolder disassembling of our republic by those elected who follow their own agendas rather than the majority’s consent.

We can’t have everything, and we do need to compromise and find common ground where possible, but we resist attempts by the monied class and other interests to ruin our environment, or remove our Constitutional guarantees to seek redress for wrongs, to peaceably assemble, and for free speech.

https://www.monticello.org/sites/default/files/uploaded-content-images/Declaration_Engrav_Pg1of1_doctored_0.jpg
https://www.monticello.org/sites/default/files/uploaded-content-images/Declaration_Engrav_Pg1of1_doctored_0.jpg

Power is derived from the governed’s consent as our Declaration of Independence reads, in part:

“…We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.- That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, – That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Abstractly Distracted’s Blog, 2010 – current

More Interesting Times

I’ve been talking with several women friends over the last few weeks who I’ve found in nearly the same position as I am.  Financials are terrible, prospects dim – and none of us are blaming President Obama.  We’re smart enough to understand that the republicans in Congress had a mandate to make President Obama a one-term President, and I hope they’re wrong.  Mitt Romney would be a ghastly choice as President.  The republicans in Congress have consistently blocked legislation, have not worked on jobs, as they said they would, and this hell we’re currently in started a long time ago.  Who was the last President to balance the budget?  Bill Clinton.  The wars we’ve been in, and are still in, the tax cuts for the rich, regulation repeal, and Citizen’s United vs. The Federal Election Commission, along with an already dire need for campaign finance reform before that disastrous Citizen’s United decision sided with corporations and made political spending – made money – a form of ‘free speech’, have all contributed to the place we’re now in.

Republican leaders know that there is no way America would elect Mitt Romney, so they’ve changed voter laws in many states where republicans are in power.  Of course, the changed voter rules make it disproportionately harder for minorities and those with low-incomes to vote.  Voter suppression is far more dangerous to our democracy than voter fraud, of which there is little, even though it does happen.  It also happens with all parties and not with one political faction.

Democracy requires vigilance, but when you have campaign money flowing like never before from large companies who no longer have to disclose their donors, and from individuals like the Koch brothers who can lose a million dollars and not notice, the requirements of maintaining a healthy democracy are seriously impinged – which, of course, is the new republican strategy.  Those hate-filled extremists seek to re-institute ‘unfettered capitalism’, with an added dose of theocracy.  Because we all miss the days when there were no labor laws keeping our children out of factories and coal mines, etc., and back when companies could dump raw sewage and toxic chemicals wherever they wanted because no one was stopping them.  Ah, yes, those were the days…  Combining a free-for-all market with theocracy will be a powerful cocktail to help keep the lowly from rising up, at least until another revolution happens.  It’s a short step to say that GOD wants you where you are in life or you would have been born rich, or able to otherwise succeed.  And why wouldn’t those with power and money want that?  They’ll never have to pay the piper, and nor will their successive generations with their trust funds and iron grip on the nation.  It’s only the middle class and the poor who will suffer even more.

I wonder how many people know about the Mormon mandate to take over the United States Government?  It is the only religion with that express purpose.  Other religions try to inject their beliefs into legislation, and would like to make America a theocracy on principle, but Mormon leaders indoctrinate their followers to believe that Mormons will rule America.  I don’t care what people personally believe, but when they try to legislate their fanaticism, that’s when it gets ugly.

Are people paying attention to what’s been happening?  Birth control, abortion rights, equal pay for equal work – all on the line!  Stopping that crazy train is of utmost importance, and that requires participation in our democracy by voting, being politically educated, and actively supporting candidates who will fight to retain the rights that were already fought and died over.  We’re not going back to those dark times, not if I can help it.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Political Ruminations

America is such a screwed-up country, and I don’t know who or what is ‘right’, but we’re wildly out of balance.  If you read comments under any political statement on the web, what people say about their fellow citizens is so harsh.  Can’t afford medical insurance? – then you should die.  There are people who utter and write that kind of uncompassionate tripe, whether they believe it or not.  Would they say that about their parents, or their children?  If they would, then they are psychotic and should be medicated and/or institutionalized.

We can’t afford care for all, or food for all, or housing for all – under the current system.  I don’t agree with philosophies that rule from the top down.  Theocracy is totalitarian rule, and is usually more repressive/regressive than other forms of governance.  I’d rather be ruled by an atheist dictator than one who purports to follow the orders of some unverifiable/unknowable ‘god’.   There is no Utopia.  All forms of governance are fraught with missteps and corruption.  I like the idea of a council with elected members – all of whom have a publicly funded budget for their campaigns, and that’s it.  Now that we have a plutocracy where funding comes from undisclosed sources in an organization, political influence can now be, and probably is, from outside the United States as well as from multi-billion dollar corporations.

Mitt Romney and the Republican party want to make the poor poorer by taking away programs that barely help them, as well as making them pay more tax, while greatly reducing, if not eliminating, taxes on the wealthy.

Eventually, the people will revolt as poverty increases in the United States to the level of third world countries, if it’s not there already.  Pockets of the citizenry are doing what they can to keep rights for the labor class – and while unions need reforming and more flexibility – they are also important to keep rapacious business practices at bay.

I remember hearing that while I’m preaching to the choir, even the choir needs practice.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.

Personal Political

I have a number of friends and acquaintances who ‘don’t do politics’.  I know what they mean by that, and I don’t think we should be up in arms about issues all the time, but democracy requires participation and vigilance.  Thankfully, there are plenty of people on the front lines, picketing, discussing (sometimes loudly), and doing what they can to effect change.

We all have different agendas – even if we follow the same basic course.  I have several family members who are on opposite sides of the political spectrum, and as long as discourse stays civil, I can learn at least why someone believes the way they do, even if it doesn’t change my position.

I think consensus is far too difficult to achieve, but approaching consensus is possible.  There will always be people who will not budge one iota, so they represent the absolute.

I typically fall somewhere in the middle, although I, too, have my absolutes on issues like rape, molestation and other forms of violence, as well as several other issues that I would die rather than disavow.

I’m grateful for those who work in the democratic vigilance field, and I do what I can to participate.  Tomorrow, I won’t post, in support of the Internet Strike: http://sopastrike.com/strike/

The current bill before the Senate (SOPA, S. 968), does more harm than good.  You can read more about it here: http://news.cnet.com/8301-31921_3-57329001-281/how-sopa-would-affect-you-faq/ and here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stop_Online_Piracy_Act, or go to Open Congress for the full text: http://www.opencongress.org/bill/112-s968/text

If you like to laugh while being educated, Stephen Colbert obliges you here: http://boingboing.net/2011/12/02/stephen-colbert-explains-sopa.html

This is the end of the service announcement.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.