politics, Uncategorized

Your papers, please.

It’s likely been decades since this country first violated the Geneva Accords that it once helped create. Today our troops fired tear gas at unarmed women and children. They were not a threat to anyone other than white oligarchs who rely upon scapegoats.

The white poor who support those very rich are themselves inches away from falling into even worse straits, but they still believe in blaming their problems on people even more powerless than they.

I’m still having arguments with evangelical airheads who somehow believe they retain the moral high ground by supporting all this. I’m the fool.

But this is just part of a continuum. We haven’t even gotten near what we should be expecting next; food riots and demonstrations by the newly-poor and dispossessed, put down by armored troops. Some of those who’ll be shot and imprisoned in internment camps might even look like someone you know.

We’ll all be told they’re dangerous subversives.

election, politics, Uncategorized

Midterm Election Day + 1.

One of my Democratic senators (Bob Menendez) was reelected last night despite the fact that he’d been investigated for corruption. His federal trial ended in a hung jury (he’d covered his tracks well), and his courthouse announcement afterwards included a Soprano-esque “To those who were digging my political grave so they could jump into my seat: I know who you are, and I won’t forget you.” Not a guy anyone should want in Congress.

But it gets better.

Reliably, Menendez’ Republican opponent (a pharmaceuticals guy named Hugin who’d raised the price of a cancer drug by something north of 800%) eagerly supported (and received support from) Trump. No amount of calling the Democrat “corrupt,”—in Youtube ads or roadside billboards in two languages—could apparently overcome the taint.

Yeah, my guy sucked and will likely continue to do so. Despite the fact that he votes sensibly on a lot of big-issue bills, his party could still do a lot better for me and my state.

But as much as my guy sucked, the other party found someone who was even worse. It’s part of how they recruit now.

I held my nose and voted. ‘Twas ever thus.

comedy, entertainment, storytelling, theater

On Neil Simon.

Neil Simon wrote the first play I ever appeared in (almost 30 years ago), not to mention one other play that gave me an enormous workout nine years later.

It’s easy to dismiss his writing as comedic fluff, but there’s personal truth in the characters he created. Some broke down before our eyes, others went at each other, hammer and tongs. I played both kinds, and couldn’t help but recognize each as parts of myself. Telling their stories was akin to telling my own.

Hell of a run, Mr. Simon. Well done, sir.

family, illiteracy, politics, Uncategorized

Ain’t We Lucky We Got ‘Em. Good Times.

This won’t be the most coherent post I’ve ever written. I’m too angry for that.
* * *
Remember the WTO protests in Seattle 18 years ago? Whatever the genuine issues were, all you likely saw about the event on television was images of kids throwing rocks and looting stores.
Without the full context of what was being protested, it was easy to conclude who the bad guys were, wasn’t it? Assholes in masks showed up, thinking they’d send a message to someone. All they did was get dismissed.
Remember the police-brutality protests in Ferguson two years ago? Whatever the issues were, all you likely saw about the event on television was riots, looting, and how much an unarmed kid who was shot and killed deserved to get shot and killed. Very little about the atmosphere that Ferguson’s poor citizens live within, every day. It was easy to conclude who the bad guys were. Assholes showed up, either intending to start a violent confrontation to have some fun, or to discredit the entire protest, or thinking they’d send a message to someone.
Three or four weeks ago, I’d never heard the word “antifa.” Now I know it means “a bunch of very different groups that range from peaceful people who have a clear anti-violent message to people with a long list of unrelated grievances, who’ll show up hoping to get a picture of themselves throwing rocks while shouting about nothing relating to American Nazis.” But not to people who feel a need to defend a President they voted for, who has in turn defended those Nazis. That’s not what they believe.
A lot of them—people who should have a longer memory and an awareness of history—have found it easy to conclude that both entire sides are bad, therefore they don’t have to care about either. Their President is looking out for them, isn’t he?
* * *
In many such public confrontations, the ones that the news uses to define an entire category of protester are usually the ones who least represent the central issue. They’re just the handful of assholes who become the visual thumbnail for an entire protest.
But white supremacists and Nazis don’t deserve differentiation. They show up to intimidate, bully, inflict wounds, or kill. It’s people like them who are responsible for the fact that my immediate family is so small. They show up with automatic weapons and riot gear, while advocating genocide of entire races and religions. They want to beat on people they know won’t fight back.
By all means, ridicule anti-fascist protest groups who can’t communicate a clear message, and who indulge themselves with the belief that their incoherent laundry lists of demands, echo-chamber rhetoric, and tunnel-visioned dogma somehow contain the power to persuade the undecided. They’re wasting time and resources, because this problem has already been solved, and some of the many groups they’re protesting already know this.
* * *
Here’s the problem, though. Those assholes who got on the news are the ones who represent the entire issue for the people you might be arguing with on social media. Anyone you’re trying to inform or persuade of what you’re aware of right now is coming back at you with the video of some violent asshole, repeated throughout the day, while a news twinkie repeats the words that ostensibly characterize the entire opposition.
You can say all you like about what Nazis, supremacists, or the Klan believe, represent, or have done. Your friend, acquaintance, or uncle will then What-About you until you realize you’re dealing with someone who feels underserved, frightened, and has undergone some very effective neuro-linguistic programming. They’ve been very effectively distracted by professional scapegoating.
I don’t know how to fight that.

Seriously? You’ve wasted entire national elections because…?

I’m mortified to have only just now learned that the Green Party doesn’t bother to field candidates for local elections. And yet they still expect to win the trust of an entire population after not having bothered to do the years of work required to participate in a system at the presidential level.

I can only conclude that they don’t really want to do that work at all. Especially after having nominated someone who’s even less qualified than Nader was.

No specifics about how their “policies” will be funded. Just platitudes. They’re not even committed to acquiring power for themselves. They’re just hogging camera time.