Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Greetings! I stand corrected-A reader questioned me as to whether it was Idaho or Iowa that legalized same-sex marriage. Here is a list of states where same-sex marriage is legal, and they include the District of Columbia: California, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Maine, Maryland, Washington. (Utah’s ban on gay marriage was overturned by a federal court, but reinstated by the Supreme Court pending a review.) Quite a wide swath of the country, and its citizens, have called for an end on banning same-sex marriages. (Pennsylvania-not yet, but eventually…) But back in 2004, while America was mired in Iraq and Afghanistan, commentators kept saying that the only thing that worried voters was same-sex marriage; Karl Rove, George W. Bush’s political advisor, arranged for referenda is certain states that would specifically outlaw gay marriage, and that would turn out the religiously-oriented conservatives to vote. Now, same-sex marriage is growing in acceptance, in public consciousness and in law; what a change in so short a time. The movement is also growing to legalize the recreational use of marijuana-Colorado and Washington are two states that have legalized it, and there are also movements in other states to start small, with medical marijuana. ( I DO have a slight cold, heh heh.) Ideas and causes that for decades have been relegated to the fringes of political discourse (by whom? The corporate news media? The political “leadership?”) has now arrived in the “mainstream“-by people, activists and people in general, who have decided “This isn’t working, no more of this!” Of course, politicians are going to take their time with changing these laws. Such is the nature of conservatism, a belief or idea can be proven wrong, but they cling to it anyway because it’s what they’ve grown up with and they’re afraid to think anything different. Opposing marijuana and same-sex marriage have been default mental modes in our politics and our corporate “news” media, it’s been orthodoxy for SO long. Forgive me for being away for so long, I have had problems with my computer, my electricity, and my furnace all through the winter. And just as I had to upgrade my entire household infrastructure, the United States needs to upgrade its own infrastructure of road and highways, bridges, levees, airports, and railroads. This has been an old issue, dating back to the Andrew Jackson administration, when it was known as “internal improvements,” at the time when capitalism was developing and farmers and manufacturers needed roads, bridges, canals, and waterways to move their goods to the market. BUT- the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has a “report card” web site, http://www.infrastructurereportcard.org, which shows the decay the nations structure of airports (D), bridges (C+), dams, drinking water systems, levees, inland waterways (D-), harbors, public transit, (D), railroads (C+), highways, solid waste treatments systems, and schools(D). A serious program of public works repair and upgrading, like what went on during FDR’s New Deal, would employ workers, and they would have money to provide for their families, and they would spend their money in locally-based stores-THIS is how you revitalize the economy, from the bottom up, and not by giving tax breaks and grants to billionaires. BUT-the Republicans in Congress have constantly refused to vote for the money to pay for such projects. Thus the economic well-being of American working families is imperiled by the most foolish economic game-playing. Keep these things in mind in November, so we can FINALLY vote these idiots out of Congress. What have I been up to otherwise? In March, to help recover from the miserable month, I joined my wonderful congregation Leyv Ha-Ir (leyvhair.org) for Purim, the wild and crazy holiday which commemorates the Megillah of Esther, which tells of the beautiful queen, married to the not-too-bright king Ahasueras, who foiled the plot by the evil prime minister Haman (BOO!) to massacre all the Jews in the Persian empire. It’s the holiday where arrogant power-mongers are taken down a few notches. This month, we will commemorate Pesach, or Passover, the time of the liberation of the Jews from slavery in Egypt, known in Hebrew as Mitzraim, the narrow place, the place of limitation. It’s a wonderful time to look at our lives and find out what are our OWN places of limitation and what we are enslaved to-a bad habit or relationship, low self-image and self esteem. It’s also the holiday where the youngest person at the table asks Mah Neshanic - “Why is this night different from other nights?” The asking of questions is encouraged as the first phase of learning, which is the enemy of the tyrant ignorance. Plus, I will, later on in the month, go on vacation, rewarding myself for enduring the miserable winter and what I had to put up with. Rest and recreation are not luxuries, they are necessities, for your physical and mental health. It is a sign of good self-esteem, to know you are worthy of some fun and pleasure. I hope you out there treat each other just as well. Bye!