Join me, Judy Grahn and others at this reading:
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Monday, September 26, 2011
Sick Time in Oakland
Thursday, September 22, 2011
The question I keep asking myself is why is this happening now? In the USA of the nineteen fifties the world was settling in after World War II. and by 1953 the Korean War had also ended. The boys were home and they needed the jobs that women had taken during the war so a publicity campaign was conducted to acculturate women to their new lives as mothers and housewives. Many men had the income capability to support a stay-at-home wife.
We are now in another time of reduced job opportunities. Millions of folks have lost their homes and their assets have diminished greatly. This, in turn, produces great stress causing an increase in substance abuse, domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse and economic crime in general; the whole grim package. Part of the fifties resurgence is nostalgia for what was considered a safer, simpler time although, those of us who lived through it, know the fallacy of this kind of thinking.
The lion's share of this mentality is pro-active brain-washing. Don't focus on the money you no longer have or the health problems you may have developed as a result, but instead color your hair, find a spouse, have a baby, go to church and pray for things to get better! What a drag all those heavy thoughts can be!
So, in essence, we are stuck in the nouveau fifties: which means the glorification and idealization of the unexamined life. Instead of fighting back against the Wall Street banksters, the true criminals, we being encouraged to breed like a bunch of fluffy bunnies. But the fluffier the trappings, the more we should worry about the content of the message.
Yet, we must remember that just as dawn follows the longest night, the era that follows the fifties is the sixties. I'm already getting my protest signs ready and airing out my tie-dyed shirts!
Saturday, September 17, 2011
|I don't see any problems here!|
Even worse, a right-wing organization with the positively Orwellian moniker "New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms" is offering free legal support for Belforti and other poor town clerks forced into defending some of those pesky constitutional freedoms that keep getting in the way of other folks rights to bigotry and intolerance. Clearly, people have a right to be fascists on a personal level, but in a job the question of upholding the law comes into play and in
, same-sex marriage is the law. New York State
The fervent fanaticism of anti-gay religious zealots is problematic for LGBT folks in the
. Studies have shown that queer-hating straight folk feel far more passionately about anti-gay bigotry than queer positive straight folks feel about equality. This simple fact could prove problematic as LGBT civil rights are eaten away by the T(tyranny) Party and right wing sympathizers. US
We queers are in the cross-hairs of the Perry-Bachmann crusaders. The GOP is successfully delaying the emergence of a military free from Don't Ask, Don't Tell. DOMA is still a federal law. Same-sex marriage nationally is a distant dream. We, as LGBTs have no federal protection against job or housing discrimination. And now that corporations are officially people, I don't see things improving anytime soon.
Will our rights be eaten away slowly like the gradual implementation of the Nuremburg Laws? Are we now the proverbial lobsters in a pot who don't notice the water getting hotter and hotter? But most of all I wonder: Will there be enough straight people to defend our basic right to exist as it deteriorates before our eyes? I hope I never have to witness the answer to this question but, nonetheless, it's a crucial one to be asking.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Gay Hero of Flight 93
But I did turn on my television. My automatic response was to get dressed and head in to work. This was because I was used to working for the Chronicle and that's what we did when something momentous, like an earthquake, happened. We went in to work. But by then, I was working at a public library and librarians, as helpful as we may be, are not considered "first-responders." But my place of work was closed for the day and I wound up returning home.
Like many people, I remained glued to my television for days. Taking in the personal accounts. Reveling in the heroic story of Mark Bingham, an openly gay man who initiated a passenger rebellion on flight 93, preventing it from hitting the Pentagon, but losing his own life (and the lives of everyone aboard) in the process.
It is undeniable that this country was permanently altered as a result of that horrific event. Yes, the loss of life on such a large scale was a terrible tragedy. But sadder still is the fact that this event has been and is repeatedly used as an excuse to justify the elimination of democratic and civil rights on a wide variety of fronts from the "Patriot Act" to Guantanamo. All things considered, it is a day to mourn.
The tragic bombing in Oklahoma City did not make the world afraid of crazed, white-male right wing fanatics as well it should have considering what transpired in January of this year in Tucson Arizona where Gabrielle Giffords was wounded along with 19 others. Only six people died in that incident but the profile of Jared Loughner is strikingly similar to that of Timothy McVeigh. Compare that to the fear of the American Muslim Community that has become a firestorm of hatred in the USA today.
Many friends of mine believe that right-wing elements had a hand in what transpired that Tuesday morning in New York City.I can't claim any inside knowledge of this but I will say that considering the liberties they have taken with our civil rights since, I wouldn't put it past them.
However it came to pass, it is a fact that this event has been and will continue to be used to undermine our rights and freedoms on all fronts. This reality combined with the grief over lives lost that day, deserve our deepest grief as well as our incisive, compassionate and rational attention.
Monday, September 5, 2011
|Harry Bridges Addresses a Crowd in |
Civic Center, San Francisco, 1947.
In the USA today, the creation of new jobs has ceased, wages are reaching new lows, health benefits are disappearing and pensions are being taken away, barely a creature is stirring. The concept of populism has been radically redefined to mean working and poor people who have been persuaded to fight against their own interests.
I've also been thinking about issues of work destiny, the trajectory to which we each inherit. The fact is, I was born and raised to be a worker, not an owner or an entrepreneur. It was a given, unspoken, yet understood, even when my mother said, unconvincingly, that I could do whatever work I chose, the implication was always working for some firm or corporation.
The truth that I was groomed for my destiny came to me in my twenties when I was shooting the breeze with a friend whose family was, what was then called, "nouveau riche." Their money came from a chain of stores in New York. One day when we were talking about work, she told me several ideas that were knocking around in her brain: a pick-up and delivery service for disabled people, a chain of organic markets, a referral switchboard for therapists, things on that order. I was floored, amazed. She was truly a self-starter, a go-getter someone who would manage the teaming hordes one day. I, on the other hand, was a lackey, a prole, a terminal working stiff, someone who was continually told that I had no leadership qualities. As Bob Marley sang: "They take the chains off your body and put the chains on your mind."
For me, the die had been cast. I wasn't interested (or psychologically able) to start and run my own business. It was all I could do to just show up for work each day!
I have made the most of being a worker, taking advantage of CETA in the seventies and securing a public sector job with health benefits and pension in the eighties that I still have to this day. I represent a dying breed, the last remnants of the stable, American working class. Newer generations of workers now are expected to be satisfied with low wages, few benefits and some kind of 401K plan instead of a pension. It is both an impossibility and a disgrace.
The only way to "celebrate" labor day is to take back the jobs, salaries and benefits that we have been robbed of. Short of that, we can only mourn.