Monday, April 24, 2006

The Emperor's New Political Platform

You know sometimes I feel like the little kid hollerin’ out that the emperor ain’t got no britches on and people are lookin’ at me like they plumb forgot what britches even are.

Here we are with fools like Frank Corte, more worried about what I do with my girlie parts than I am and other politarded activties when really, the man is runnin’ around without a stitch of clothing on his body.

Metaphorically speakin’, naturally.

What I am talking about, yet again, is the fact we have lost sight of the fact that the government was designed to take care of us and protect us.

Or as Andrew Greeley put it so breathtakingly elegantly in this article about immigration:

The American theory is not that we bestow rights on humans by legislation or constitution. Rather, we affirm what is part of our common humanity. Many countries do not acknowledge the existence of such rights. You have only the rights that the law gives you. In America we believe that laws exist to sustain and protect human rights without regard to race, creed or color.

This bears repeating, dunnit?

The American theory is not that we bestow rights on humans by legislation or constitution. Rather, we affirm what is part of our common humanity.

Where is our common humanity? What happened to the simple things like making sure people don’t go hungry or stay sick, and seeing that their kids get educated?

Fortunately, there are two simple things we can do about it. We can start demanding candidates address real issues.

And we can stop voting for the naked people.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Master's Tools

Democrats can be such wimps.

Yeah, I said it.

And you know I’m right.

La Familia de Little Larry spent a lovely Easter with David Van Os and his fun family. All the discussion about campaigning and politics in general with the Os-Man has given me enough material for several blog entries.

But one thing we talked about that has been resonating with me all week. We were talkin' about how we, as Democrats, continue to try to beat the Republicans using their strategies and their systems of discourse.

If they spend a ridiculous amount of money on consultants and exit polling so do we.

If they focus on stupid issues we get right in there and muck around in the stupid right along with them.

If they say we are mean, we get all worried about our image and we try to be nicer.

And then we wonder why more people vote for the next American Idol than the next American president.

Everyone is so disgusted with our current political system that just runs in circles chasing its own tail. Even though the majority of Americans want nationalized health care and feel that war with Iraq is wrong, they don’t vote for the Democrats who are platforming, theoretically, on these issues.

All they see is two parties playing the same game and only one party doing is successfully. So we do a mental shrug and think well, at least the Republicans are good at it and they buy a ticket for the agenda juggernaut that Al Franken termed “fear, smear, and queers.”

It’s time to stop it. Right now. Just stop it. Don’t play this game with them one more minute.

As David says, you can’t blame them for doing what helps them win. We can only blame ourselves for playing along. It’s time to take our ball and go home, y’all. We are not going to play on this field anymore.

Don’t engage in pointless debate that we can’t win and doesn’t matter. When someone brings up gay marriage to you? Call them on it. Tell them that it is bullshit and not worthy of discussion when we are losing family members in Iraq and it costs a day's salary just to fill your car with gasoline to get to work.

Whether or not the bible says “Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve” doesn’t matter when you don’t have insurance and can’t afford to go to the doctor when you are sick.

Who is the better legal guardian for Terri Shiavo doesn't matter in relation to the indentured labor and forced abortions happening in our own US Commonwealth Marianas Islands .

Stop playing their games and stop playing by their rules. It is time for us to reclaim our democracy and bring forth the real issues that are affecting our daily lives.

Anyone else who has ever taken a Women’s Studies class may be thinkin' now of the same essay I remembered when talking to David last week. In a speech given more than twenty years ago, Audre Lorde warned us that the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.

It’s a lesson that bears repeating until we learn it.

Those of us who are poor, who are lesbians, who are Black, who are older - know that survival is not an academic skill. It is learning to stand alone, unpopular and sometimes reviled, and how to make common cause with those others identified as outside the structures in order to define and seek a world in which we can all flourish. It is learning how to take our differences and make them strengths. For the masters tools will never dismantle the master's house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change.

--Audre Lourde (From The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle The Master’s House from Sister Outsider: Essays And Speeches)