Saturday, December 15, 2012
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Greetings and Happy Holidays-all of them! My volume of poetry, Mutterings, is now available on Amazon and Kindle. (Still, I urge you to patronize your friendly neighborhood independent bookstore, where you'll also find it.) My Amazon author page is amazon.com/author/masonjohn. Again, we have the tradition of the holidays, along with the playing of Bing Crosby and Dean Martin of Christmas songs, of artificially contrived controversy over religions respecting each others' holidays. It used to be it was the Nativity scene on the grounds of the county courthouse, how that violated the separation of church and state, favoring one religion over others-and there are other religions besides Christianity. It's one of the great things in this country that there isn't supposed to be ONE predominant religion; but religion does pop up in public discourse. In the period of our history before the Civil War, people were terrified of Catholics, and that the Pope would take over the nation. Anti-Semitism cropped up, especially with the immigrants coming in from Eastern Europe, and certain hotels, restaurants, and universities would ban Jews from entering. Now, our Muslim fellow citizens, unfortunately, have to go through the same damn thing. Last year saw bills in state legislatures prohibiting Sharia (Islamic) law being made official law in the government. This is from legislators in a political movement who use their alleged "Christian" religion as an excuse to deny women the right to control their own bodies and deny the most basic human rights to Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) people. Plus, we have, through Fox "News," stories of Christians being "discriminated" against, allegedly being told they can't say "Merry Christmas," and like that. It's as if some people think that discrimination is the way of the world; if WE don't oppress THEM, THEY'LL oppress US. It's as if mutual respect isn't possible, and it's either domination or submission of one group or another. The psychological device of "projection" comes to play here: the right-wing Christians have a deep authoritarian streak in them, but they deny it and accuse others of such a tendency. Along with this comes the tedious whine about (God forgive me for using this phrase) "Political Correctness," the idea that you should be ashamed of yourself for complaining about racism-sexism-homophobia-poverty-etc. Like every other catchphrase of the Right, this comes from the Left, the complaint about pedants, cranks, and extremists going too far and chasing red herrings. Still, racism, sexism, homophobia AND poverty remain very real, and we have to combat them. Me, I go after the sharks and barracudas in our economy an dour society that devour poor and working people, I don't waste time with red herrings. The aforementioned sharks and barracudas, our plutocratic class, remains furious with workers that we stood up to them, and voted against their candidate Mitt Romney. Their revenge is to lay off workers supposedly because they "can't afford" the Obama health care plan. "We took your job from you, so blame Obama and the Democrats." No, we WON'T! If not for the workers working to make your corporations profitable, you'd be nothing. And what do YOU do for the company, other than play with stock options and pay off politicians to skew the tax code in your favor, and try to profit from closing down plants in THIS country, taking jobs from AMERICAN workers living and paying taxes in AMERICAN communities, and shipping the plants to impoverished nations, where you pay pocket change for a day's wages, and the government can be counted on to beat down workers trying to organize? You call it "class warfare?" You've been waging it ever since the New Deal, the last time we counted on leaving you in sole charge with running the economy, when the government, working with sensible corporate executives, and trying to head off a revolution, sought to ease the economic burden of the depression by implementing Social Security and supporting workers' right to organize. From that time on, you tried to rewrite history to deny the effects of the Depression, and to regain your old power, trying to beat back every institution that could get in your way, like unions. Plus, the government has shifted, a little, since the New Deal, from being the enforcer of corporate power to trying to accommodate workers and consumers, to making certain their concerns are heard in the halls of the State, with regulations on occupational safety, fair wages and hours, non-discrimination in housing, preventing pollution in air, water and food, etc. All this was done, not from the beneficence of the State, but by working and poor people coming together into unions and community groups for their benefit. You plutocrats fought against those things as well-for what, a few extra points in the stock market? Is that all you know about? If so, should we therefore trust the affairs of government to your kind? No we won’t! The idea of government of, by and for the people can still be made real. We can all take a part in bringing this forth, and rest assured, I’ll do mine. Bye!