Friday, January 20, 2017

A Very Little Cultural History

Admittedly it feels much more like a funeral than an inauguration today; I wore a black armband at Dubya's coronation, but maybe I had more energy then. . .

As I pore through my customized Facebook news today because I can't keep my damn hands off, I can't believe from how many directions I am offended.  Not from Trump supporters, because I don't have any of those kind of friends, but from clueless children, the amnesiac press, and the self-serving Democrat asses. Four times today already I have been solicited for money by "the Party," those selfsame greedy bastards who lost the country to Trump in the first place. Kicking Bernie Sanders to the curb was not so smart after all; it certainly came back to bite them, didn't it?

(Numbers show, as well as common sense, that with Bernie it would have been no contest. And still the Clinton-blindered buggers say they don't think there needs to be a change.  In my own no-longer-radical opinion, if Keith Ellison does not get the DNC chair so that at least a start can be made down that Progressive road, the Democratic Party is toast.)

But that's just an aside. What really pisses me off is that there is no sense of history about any of this. A few journalists have tried to compare previous inauguration and cabinets to point out current crappiness, but no one calls out what you and I have seen happen in our lives. We are the testament, and we need to not forget.

THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A PRESIDENT AS LOVED AS OBAMA. Um, I remember the sadness when Ike left office,  the affection the whole country had for Mamie and her bangs; not to mention that my own President, John Kennedy, was shot down like a dog for daring to be young and innovative, for trying to accommodate me and my generation, and there is not a one of us who does not remember the moment they heard about Dallas. I still hate Texas.

BETSY DEVOS DOESN'T BELIEVE IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS. No, she doesn't. Nor does she have any experience with education. Just exactly the sort of person who will speed up the already steep decline of a once-sincere effort in the US to create an informed and critical population toward the betterment of all. The problem here is that the idealistic 1950s were the historical anomaly and we just didn't know it. We believed in justice for all because our parents, who survived the massively disruptive and violent second world war, wanted just that - to make a better world.

But there were other factors in play, like newly unoccupied government spook organizations and greedy capitalist bottom feeders and suddenly the generation they wanted to send to such a profitable war in southeast Asia stood and fought, refused publicly and with intent.  It became clear that the drive to excellence that was our educational goal in 1970 needed to be reversed, and we have watched it systematically and ruthlessly dismembered and disabled by people like Ms. DeVos ever since. Of course she is here to finish it off. Get real!

THIS IS THE MOST RELIGIOUS CABINET EVER SEATED.  Who remembers the master stroke of franchising the fledgling religious right for Ronald Reagan? Fundamentalism, which in the fifties and sixties had been relegated to Sunday morning TV, suddenly was everywhere spouting creationism and fear. We have some smart Republican campaign people to thank for that.

And then there was Jerry Springer, who made it okay to whack your cheating partner, in public and even if it was with your brother. What good is education when such least common denominators are so darn entertaining?

At the same time, the eighties saw a swing public education toward vouchers and private charter schools while in higher education, liberal arts were out and business and technology were in. The money moved, culture changed, and in my mind the past fifty years prove indeed the old saw that the last thing a politician wants is an educated populace.

As elders, we are what remains of perhaps the best-educated generation the US ever produced. Use it. Speak up about the past; tell these disaffected young people what has happened. None of them remember when fundamentalism was NOT the wolf at the door; few of them know that the Republican plan for economic and cultural domination has a long and treacherous past. If we don't do another single thing toward Resistance, we need to tell our grandchildren, speak when asked, marshal our critical skills, and convince who we can that none of this is random; that the People have once again gotten the government they deserve. It will be up to the current generation to take it back.

Monday, January 16, 2017


Would that all my passed revelations had been written down before consigned to the deepest of my archives!

Took the Bridge bus to work this morning, vacillating, not a thought for the Bridges but only for the moment and the extra time this route takes. But the familiar soothe of the wheels brought out the headphones, and Built to Last informed me, and I remembered the Bridges, and positioned myself to view them as we rolled across the river.

The smooth transition of shapes enabled as I pass this view has now distorted, tripped so that each of thousands jumped at me for attention, sharp-edged and pulsing, like the moment I wrote about years now ago when I saw between the pulses of reality – a hesitation as between movie frames. I was shocked, amazed that I have gotten so far out of sync with my personal landscape, jolted into thinking what it means. 

The result of the intense holidays for sure, but at a deeper and more important level I realized that my latest big mis-adventure has literally shaken up my core. Being the repressive that I am, I thought I was just not thinking about it much and that I had accepted lack of success as the outcome of five years' effort. That I had moved into an Oh Well kind of space and was ready to move on.

Of course not, and here was my proof, my message to myself read in the moving parts of passing bridges. So I learn that my symbology is good for something besides self-analysis and inspiration; it is good for tracking my wandering mind. 

I will do what I can to smooth out my edges until once again the universe is turning in greased grooves. One thing already - a new Last Stage theme: Look for Something Built to Last. Once more the wheel turns and now I am on the hunt for legacy. Nothing stays the same.