Ruminations on the crazy people we are, by a retired teacher/musician. Can't get the "requests" out of my system after years of barroom/lounge/restaurant/party gigs mining 100 years worth of the musical mother-lode.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Something Lost

There is a mantra that fans of St. Anthony use:
"St. Anthony, St. Anthony, please come around,
Something's been lost and must be found."

I was listening to a CD of some great sounds by Pete Seeger, and some of those old labor union songs came on, like "Which Side Are You On?" out of the coalminers struggles, and "You can't fool me, I'm sticking with the union," one of many union songs that used earlier folk tune melodies, in this case replacing the words from "Red Wing," "There once was an indian maid," with "There once was a union maid." Simple, but very effective. I felt a great sense of nostalgia, and perused my memory to explain why.

I had been a union member, once in a factory before I joined te ranks of professionals, and once as a teacher. The feelings were the same in both instances. Being on strike at the risk of loosing your job is a bit scary. It's scary when you're single, and much more scary when you are married and are responsible for others besides yourself. Both occasions came to a successful conclusion. I learned a lot more about unions, however, at first when I studied them, and later, as a teacher, when I taught that aspect of American History. Union history is full of guys and gals who took the big step, willing to be the first ones out front to be harassed, or beaten, or sometimes, to be killed. Those people are American heroes, but most often are not given that acclaim in our history texts. They understood one idea: when someone seeks to use you, there is no choice but to prevent it.

What brings on my nostalgia most is the memory of what strength of character it took for those early leaders of unions to put themselves at risk for the benefit of others. We have lost sight of that kind of struggle. The "interests," as Dos Passos used to call them, are not as clearly visible. They're bigger, but less visible. How so? Well, in many cases, the interests of working people have become entwined in the interests of the "interests." The middle classes have seen themselves too much as potential capitalists, and less as members of the work force. In addition, the "interests" have become much more adept at pulling the wool over everyones eyes so as to have us all thoroughly bamboozled.

"Something's been lost and must be found." I think something truly must be found that has been lost: a sense of fighting the battle in behalf of the ordinary working people of this world. We need to be aware that the pols, the "interests," the sellers of everything from pills to perfection, must be reduced in their power, and the "people" regain a sense of their people-ness.

End of ruminations for today, 7/25/06. Stay the course.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Mustn't Talk With Food In Your Mouth

Did the whole world miss it?

I guess because of the media's puritan-potty-training angst, when the President said "shit," like the whole word took a bounce. That alone is ridiculous ; the big issue, however, was totally spaced.

Consider: here sits this guy, by the greatest political accident of all, conversing with the at-least-duly-elected Prime Minister of the Brits, looking like he's at a ballgame leaning over the back of his seat to discuss strikes and ballgirls with a mouthful of peanuts all of which have not been properly shelled, TALKING WITH HIS MOUTH FULL!

I don't doubt he is not the first to do so, but none of the others got photographed while doing so, the while saying SHIT! Try this at home. You can't possibly complete the exercise without spitting nuts and shells all over the room.

Land o' goshen, and howdydoo! What lies in wait for us next?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Happily Wrong

Having opinions, as well as the habit of expressing them, puts one at risk some times, but what's life without a little risk. In this instance, the risk proves well worth it.

Try this: I am happy to have been proven wrong. Why? Well, there's a sense of discovery, also a sense of getting my information more correct than previously, and, best of all perhaps, it's good for the humility.

Here's the thing. I often am willing to rely on my instincts to make judgments, (necessary for voting, by the way,) about political figures who are often in the news. It has usually proven correct, from "Tricky Dick" all the way to "Devious George." In both cases, and in many others, I have hit the nail right on the head. Of late, I have seen much of Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina on the screen, either in a Senate hearing room as a member of a committee, or in press conferences outside those rooms. Instinctively, I didn't like the guy. Now, I don't know what he has for breakfast, whether or not he beats his wife, what his civil rights background is, or whether or not he has ever been arrested for DUI, but I do know this: in the discussion on the legal system for treating the Gitmo detainees, this guy stands tall. In opposition to the President, a fellow Republican, he is speaking up in behalf of a truly American system for their legal processing. "I'm a big fan of the Geneva Conventions," he said yesterday. Holy Smoke! A Republican who's a big fan of the Geneva Conventions. His point in this is purely democratic: the systems we set up for this issue will say more about what WE believe than what others have done. This is the sort of position the world has expected from us, not the harsh, near-fascist approach of the Rovites in this world.

The recent Supreme Court decision on this matter began a trail of "chickens coming home to roost" for the Bush/Rove/Cheney cabal. Hope like crazy, however, that the neocons do not get one more Scalia-clone on the Court.

On to November. And has anyone remembered about Darfur? They're still dying.

End of ruminations for today, July 18, '06. Stay the course.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

To whom much is given, much is expected

I left somewhere, drove somewhere else, it was a nice day, no one shot at me, and I got where I was going. It was that simple.
It was so simple, I was jarred into consciousness as to how fortunate I was. I needed to remind myself that most people in the world do not have that ease of transport, or freedom to enjoy, without a care in the world. The cares I do have are all workable; I need not worry how I shall survive for the day.

There is no option in my life not to have serious, ongoing concern for people less blessed. I then turn to "the world" and what's going on today,and wonder where my country went wrong. The answer is forthcoming quickly: our leaders do not think we owe anybody anything for the blessings we enjoy. If they did, would they rush to war? Would they fail to meet the needs of thousands in the worst natural catastrophe our nation has ever known? Would they forget the poem of Emma Lazarus at the Statue of Liberty?

The tight-fisted mood of those who would turn out the poor who seek to find sustenance in our country as they cross a border at risk of life, is not what is best in America. It does not represent a majority of Americans in any sense.
But it goes on, because the nasty, tight-fisted ones have control of the government.

November looms: the tight-fisted are vicious, and will stop at nothing to maintain control. Are you angry enough to be as committed as they are? Are you leading the fight to get our government back? If not, expect more of the same.

End of ruminations for today.