Greetings, freedom fighters! My dear friend Fran Metzman now has a book of short stories out, The Hungry Heart, available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Please look it up.
I am experimenting with a new web site through the web hosting service, webs.com; please look up jomason.webs.com and let me know what you think.
I, with my wonderful congregation Leyv Ha-Ir, celebrated Purim, the wild and crazy Jewish holiday celebrating the downfall of Haman (boo!), who as vizier to the Persian King tried to massacre all the Jews in the realm; but his plan was foiled by Mordechai (yay!) entering his beautiful cousin Esther (woo hoo!) into a beauty pageant to be the queen, and Haman’s plot was foiled.
It’s the celebration of the downfall of a tyrant; the world has been full of them, people who have become legends in their own minds, such as Mubarak in Egypt, Ghadaffi in Libya, and Assad in Syria. There are also mental Hamans as well, within our psyches, such as low self-esteem and self-doubts, which we daily must overthrow; I know, I deal with them as well.
Now coming up is the holiday of Passover, the liberating of the Jews from Pharaoh's slavery in Egypt. The traditional word for Egypt in Hebrew is Mitzrayim, “the narrow place,” the place of limitation. There are Pharaohs in the word today-political dictators for one thing, also abusive relationships-as well as internal Pharaohs, like the voice inside you that says, “I’m not good enough, I’m not smart enough, I can’t do it.” Those dictators and tyrants, inside and around you, also need to be vanquished.
One issue I have dealt with is allowing myself downtime, time of rest and recreation and plain ol’ fun, however you define it; I have often felt guilty about not doing something “productive.” But when we went to school and studied, we twice daily had recess, so it’s not an either-or situation. Having fun and recreation can be a great revolt against the inner and outer Hamans and Pharaohs in the world, you can in effect say to them, “Screw you, I’m not your damn pack mule!”
We are living in a stuck-on-stupid era, where one large, organized, and wealthy political party, the Republican, is appeasing ignoramuses, haters, xenophobes, and religious fanatics, which has become their base and needs constantly to be catered to for votes. Total racists have appeared on the stage of the past Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), and none of the Republican candidates called them out on it, nor do they disassociate from them. They act like the racist nut jobs truly represent the American people, that WE the people are entirely moved by racism, religious bigotry (like against our Muslim fellow Americans), and homophobia (with the crusades against same-sex marriage); it’s THEM that are the elitists, THEM who think we’re so stupid as to think we can’t see the real situation, with the economy.
At the CPAC conference, a couple of conservative activists put on a rap show, jumping around in track suits while wearing colonial-era wigs, reminding me of a pre-Civil War minstrel show; the duo let out what sounded like a certain nasty N word, and the Black man working the controls walked out, and the activists insisted they said "knickers." This is in line with Rick Santorum's statement that "I don't want to make black people's lives better by giving them somebody else's money." Oh, wait, he said he meant "blah" people! Make a racist statement and then deny you said it-What does he think we're smoking, or else what's HE smoking? Is that the mentality of the conservative movement-play up racist sentiments while denying racist feelings? A movement, like an individual, can be, and IS, in denial.
In earlier CPACs the John Birch Society, which accused every worthwhile social movement and Dwight Eisenhower of being “communist“, reemerged from its rock; now it's "white nationalists" like Peter Brimelow, who runs the racist web site VDARE, and Joseph Farah, who runs the web site WorldNetDaily, which STILL, no matter what facts you put before them, insists that Obama was born in Kenya, and is thus not qualified to be President. This is the movement that prided itself on being cold-bloodedly "realistic" about the world, as opposed to the "bleeding-heart, soft-headed" liberals; it has its own news media, and so apparently it has its own news and its own reality.
I hope Obama has given up trying to reason with conservatives; they don't want to compromise or meet half way or get equal time on TV-they want to control us, to smash us. Let's let them know that WON'T happen.
I close with this bit of shameless self-promotion: I, along with other poets in the Philadelphia area, will read my material at the 16th Annual Poetry Ink, to be held April 22 at noon at Robin’s Books/Moonstone Arts Center, 110A South 13th Street, in Philadelphia. I urge everyone within the sound of this newsletter to attend-the arts are for ALL of us. Bye!