23 January 2017

Fourteen Points about You, Me, and Everybody Else

I, actually, don't look anything like this.


So, I've been meditating on the last few days for the past three months.

And I have a couple things to say about it:

1. If you wanted "CHANGE," honey, you are about to get some REAL CHANGE, for real. 
I hope it's to your liking.

2. I never thought the day after an in-inauguration would move me more than the day itself. The day after became a new kind of the-day-itself, and I thank each and every one of you for making that happen.

3. The Law is something we subscribe to--and when it is often wrong--we resist. The United Republican Democratic States of the continent of north America only exists because of resistance, dissent, and revolution.

Never forget that while we agree to disagree, we disagree to agree. We build consensus from dissent. But you have to know shit to disagree and then change your mind. Know shit. Be educated, nuanced, sophisticated, smart, and compassionate. Listen. Know more later than you know right now.

4. We are all immigrants to this land..

No human life took hold in the western hemisphere, until immigrants, who crossed the Bering Strait/Sea, long ago, in our prehistory, settled it.

After that, the settlers were all people from across either of the oceans that nestle us in "the West"--an area surprisingly "protected" by the, so-called, Monroe Doctrine--some of them, even in the earliest days before the Republic for which the American flag stands, brought here forcibly to labor without pay and to make more people, their children, who would also be forced to labor without pay, and to foster grandchildren, great, great-great, and great-great-great, great-great-great-great grandchildren, to be ensnared until the present day and after in American law and the "Justice" system, to be imprisoned, paid lower wages, to be denied the franchise, and to, on the average, die at a younger age, unless they were made to join the lowest ranks of the armed forces as cannon fodder or, often unarmed, shot dead by the police.

We are all immigrants to this land. This land, which is your land, this land, which is my land, from California to the New York Island(s), from the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters. This land, which, in point of actual fact, was not made for you and me, but which is a land upon which we are all living, so, we certainly had better start figuring out how to get along better, because none of us is going anywhere. Except for the very old, who tend to vote Republican.

We are all immigrants to this land.

Respect people who came here because they had the temerity to believe in The American Dream. A Dream that still exists in those foolish enough to believe in it. Do not let them down! Respect immigrants. We are a land of only immigrants.

6. Jews are actually people.
Muslims are actually people.
Women are actually people.
Women's rights are human rights.
And black lives actually do matter, too.

Why is this so hard to get through your skull? Black lives mattering is not about all lives not mattering, it's about the fact that, heretofore, it didn't seem to matter to much of anyone not black that lives lived by black people matter, too. Not just your bullshit. This isn't that hard. Stop resisting it. It's called normalization, motherfucker. It's called Brown vs Board of Education, motherfucker. It's called Loving vs Virginia, motherfucker.

Could we, please, put a stake into that insidious vampire, in my lifetime? Please? It just makes you look like an ignorant asshole. And you're probably not that ignorant or that much of an asshole to completely disregard reason.

The point isn't that black lives matter more than all other lives when they're black, it is that lives matter when they're not white.

Honestly, this is so American basic. It's something even a racist could understand. In America, all men are created equal, even when they are black, even when they are women. And yet black men are disproportionately killed by the police and women are disproportionately underpaid, even when they are white, and even in Hollywood. The evidence is epidemic; the evidence is moribund.

Black lives matter, too.

I guess there's only one way to find out.

7. Corporations are not people. People are people.

Any questions?

8. Money is not free speech.

If you have more money that does NOT give you more speech.

And THAT is the American way, okay?

Any questions?

9. I'm sorry you grew up in coal country--or oil country. I'm sorry your fathers and mothers killed themselves to give you life, clothe you, feed you, and do everything they could to make your lives better than theirs. They were good people doing good things in this life. But the fossil fuels are fossils.

We have to move on from fossil fuels. If your local, state, and national governments haven't done all they can--and I am certain most of them have done very little--to help your communities with jobs, most especially in the renewable energy sector, then blame THEM and vote them out of office.

The canary in the coal mine isn't that big business found lower-wage workers to do the job you used to, the canary in the coal mine is that no one gives a fuck about funding a proper public education for you or your children, or figuring out a way to help you find a job.

You're not lazy. PS Black and brown people aren't lazy, either, Cracker. But we pay taxes to the government to make our lives better, not worse. I will happily pay all the tax dollars you let me to get your kids an education, get you healthcare, get you off drugs without incarcerating you, get *you* a job you like that will make you solvent enough to feed yourself and your kids, pay your rent, buy your home--if you want to--and live life for sunsets, dancing, friendship, love, music, reading, philosophy, pleasure, family, joy, education, civic duty, goodness, and NOT doing unto others as you have them NOT do unto you.

We are our sisters' keeper. And our brothers', too.

10. Rich people do not know more than we do and do not, as a function of their wealth, make your life, my life, their lives, or anyone's life better. Wealth only takes away some of the harm that life deals out to you, personally. Wealth doesn't make you happy or smart.

If anything, wealth just makes you better at taking advantage of other people.

And is that who you really want to be?

11. The canary in the coal mine isn't a canary, it's the whole fucking environment telling you to stop burning fossil fuels. When the planet is dying from the fumes--instead of a tiny bird--I'm pretty sure it's time to pay attention.

12. Educate yourself--because the Republican-led government doesn't care about your mind or body, male or female, white or black or brown. Speak truth to power. Volunteer; not just for religious groups--the world actually includes things beyond religion--and in this country, we're *supposed* to have a separation of church and state, which is a good thing. This is why: it may not be your church. Are you *really* willing to take that chance?

Vote. Run for office, locally. For Christ's sake, believe in something that doesn't only include you.

13..I lived in the same city as Donald Trump for twenty-two years. If you voted for him, I feel sorry for you. But you probably didn't live in the same city with him for twenty-two years.

Because, if you had....

14. The perfect is always the enemy of the good. 
Strive to be good. Strive to be happy. I bet no one told you it was very important to strive to be happy. Strive not to be angry. Strive not to be anxious. Strive to be compassionate. Do some yoga. Strive to be happy.

So, anyway, please, have a great day.

20 January 2017

This is Prophetic

In the bedroom communities let us be taken by surprise.
Yes! Let the band play on and on,
This is Prophetic

Smiling and waving, Mrs. Nixon and her entourage leave the commune and proceed to the next stop on her tour: the Summer Palace where she is photographed strolling through the Hall of Benevolence and Longevity, the Hall of Happiness in Longevity, the Hall of Dispelling the Clouds, and the Pavilion of the Fragrance of Buddha. She pauses in the gate of Longevity and Good Will to sing.

PAT
This is prophetic! I foresee a time will come when
luxury dissolves into the atmosphere like a perfume,
and everywhere the simple virtues root
and branch and leaf and flower.
On that bench there we'll relax
and taste the fruit of all our actions.
Why regret life which is so much like a dream?
Let the eternal plan resume.
In the bedroom communities let us be taken by surprise.
Yes! Let the band play on and on,
let the stand-up comedian finish his act,
let Gypsy Rose kick off her high-heeled party shoes;
let interested businessmen speculate further,
let routine dull the edge of mortality.
Let days grow imperceptibly longer,
let the sun set in cloud;
let lonely drivers on the road pull over for a bite to eat,
let the farmer switch on the light over the porch,
let passer by look in at the large family
around the table, let them pass.
Let the expression on the face
of the Statue of Liberty change just a little,
let her see what lies inland:
across the plain one man is marching...
the Unknown Soldier has risen from his tomb,
let him be recognized at home.
The Prodigal. Give him his share:
the eagle nailed to the barn door.
Let him be quick.
The sirens wail as bride
and groom kiss through the veil.
Bless this union with all its might,
let it remain inviolate.


John Adams (composer), Alice Goodman (librettist), "This is Prophetic," Nixon in China, 1987.