Thursday, June 25, 2009

Rest in Peace, Michael Jackson

I had just come home from lunch with the girls and was posting on my other daily blog when the old man switched the TV channel and the news was that Michael Jackson had been taken to the hospital. By the time I had finished that posting and checked the news, he had been confirmed dead. I'm not normally a celebrity buff, but when I read that it saddened me. Let me tell you why.
He was only four years and a few months older than my son. When my son was in grade school, he thought that Michael Jackson and the Jackson Five were the greatest. We were living in Portland, Oregon at the time, and when a Jackson Five concert was booked at the Coliseum. we bought tickets so my son could see them. You can just imagine two adults taking their child to a concert attended by mostly bubble gummers. I have to admit, they put on quite a show. That was back when Michael was not quite a teenager yet, so he had his own original nose and his own original face and he was not only cute, but you couldn't help but enjoy watching him perform. This post is for that child.
I don't know what was done to him as a child to turn him into a self mutilater (by cosmetic surgeons) but as I looked at pictures of him through the years, I always felt that he was trying to erase his own identity. Maybe by working his whole childhood in the public eye, he didn't get a chance to just be an ordinary child. Maybe he was forced to erase himself to find himself. Whatever the reason was that made him into a caricature of his former self, I always sensed a tremendous sadness in him. I hope he is at peace now.
We seem to feed off the personalities of those we deem celebrities, but we forget that they too were someone's child. As a mother myself, I feel only sadness for his mother, I can't even imagine that kind of loss. Mother's aren't supposed to have to bury their children. I'm glad to have the memory of watching him and his brothers performing in that concert many years ago. Most of all, I'm glad that my son isn't a celebrity, except to me. There is something to be cherished about being able to live an ordinary life. Celebrity gives no guarantee of happiness, it just guarantees that your death will bring up the ratings on the cable news shows. Too bad he had to die to do it. Rest in peace.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Not my money, nor my vote!

I usually receive at least one piece of mail daily that is asking for a donation of money. The bulk of them are from politicians, with an occasional one from a cause I feel is worth contributing to. I don't have much money to play around with, so I choose very carefully. I can't tell you how many I have returned to the DNC (Democratic National Committee) along with a note letting them know that I would never send them one red cent until they grew a backbone and started doing their job in the public's interest, not their own. They still haven't gotten the message, because they keep sending me the same form time after time.
During the last election campaign, I did some volunteer work here locally for the Obama campaign, but did not give money. I was initially for Dennis Kucinich for President, even though I knew the national media and the Democratic Party would never back him because he is too honest and not a pretty boy. I even told the guy at the Obama campaign headquarters here in Rock Springs, Wyoming, that Obama was not my first choice. However, after he answered some specific doubts and questions about Barack Obama, I became an ardent supporter and did whatever I could as a volunteer, short of contributing money. Not since the assassination of Senator Robert Kennedy had I done any work for a candidate. After he was murdered, I had lost faith in politics. It felt really good to be able to believe in a candidate again after all those years. With each new speech he gave and each policy statement of his I read, I became genuinely convinced that Barack Obama deserved to be elected President. I wrote letters, answered phones, made calls, talked to people, voted for him in the Sweetwater County Caucus, and totally backed him as a candidate. To my surprise, along with millions of other hopeful American citizens who voted for him, we got him elected. The hopefulness and pride in what we Americans had done was almost overwhelming.
Now that he is our President, I am seeing some very distressing signs that my vote was obtained with more than a little truth-bending. I still approve of a lot of what he has achieved in a short time, but am growing uneasy with his waffling on single payer health care and his back-stabbing of the LGBT community, denial of the release of torture pictures, the expansion of the war in Afghanistan, the cross border bombing of Pakistan, the continued use of non-military security in both wars and the supplemental budget for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I could list a few more things also, but when I think about the list it makes me both sad and angry. I'm not naive enough to think that all promises made on the campaign trail will be kept, but I also did not expect to be lied to yet again. I keep hoping that he will do a turnaround and show us the face we believed in during the campaign, but I won't won't hold my breath while waiting. You know that old saying; Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me? That's how I feel. Not only will I not contribute money, I will not contribute my time either. Unless I see some real progress for the American people in the next three and a half years, I will not vote for him again. In fact, I won't vote for President at all, I'd rather withhold my vote than vote the wrong way again. I don't like being lied to, and I'll bet that there are a lot of unhappy Obama voters out there who feel the way I do. Fool me twice, shame on me!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Losing Hope for Change

When the last election turned out to be a huge landslide victory for Barack Obama, a Democrat, I was filled with hope that he would be an agent for change in our battered and bloody America. It was what he campaigned on, which was why I voted for him. He promised to bring an end to the war in Iraq and change the way way our government governs. He championed the underdog and cautioned the corporations, and the moneyed class, that ALL people deserved decent treatment and the right to earn a decent living. He spoke of the citizens working together and creating a better world, a world where every citizen counted. He told the uninsured that he would work to see that all would be able to have healthcare, without discrimination. He spoke of backing the Employees Free Choice Act to ensure that anyone who wanted to could have a union. He assured our diverse citizenry that there would be no discrimination by government on the basis of race, gender, creed, sexual orientation or poor versus rich. On the night of his inauguration, we watched along with millions of other Americans, with tears of joy as he was sworn in to lead our country out of the mess we have gotten into. For the first time in a long while, I was hopeful that change would indeed happen.
I am now, five months later, becoming more than a litle alarmed that a lot of those promises are either getting amended or blatantly broken. The Democrats in the House and the Senate seem to have forgotten that they work for the American public. President Obama seems more interested in placating the Republican Right Wing than in working for the people who elected him. I'm only going to say this once. The Democrats won the Presidential election by a large majority. So why are we being governed as if we were the minority? The vocal representatives of the Republican party, who are a very small minority, are being treated by the media, the press, and yes, our elected officials as if they are super-important. The voters be damned. I have signed petition after petition online, called representatives and senators, written letters to them, and I have yet to feel like any one of them heard what I was saying. I'm not saying that I think voting for President Obama was a mistake, I'm just saying that he and his administration should do a little more listening to their constituents. Some of his actions I am applauding, but I am also aware that saying you are going to close Guantanamo does not make it so. Actions have to follow the speeches to make the deed complete.
I'm watching everything that is happening in D.C. very closely, and the speeches far outweigh the done deeds. At this point, my hope for change is feeling like it has been badly bent, if not completely broken. I'll keep watching and listening to see or hear some sign that our politicians are listening to the public, but I'm not holding my breath. Hope dies hard.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Linguistic Suicide

As usual, the Republican Party has diarrhea of the mouth. As if they haven't pissed of everyone above the age of reason already, they just can't stop themselves from making it worse. If they weren't so awe -inspiringly incompetent, it would be sad to watch them stick their feet into their mouths. As a political party who espouse pro-life and strong moral values, they seem hell bent on a mission to destroy what's left of their own brotherhood, in a flurry of suicidal rhetoric.
Just since the last election, they've managed to alienate just about every constituency whose vote they need. They just can't seem to stop spewing bigotry, misogyny, race-baiting, narrow-minded linguistics, much in the same manner as their hero Dick Cheney's shotgun scattered shot, but with less accuracy. If there were a Doctor Kevorkian who put political parties out of their misery, he couldn't do a better job than they are doing themselves. Do they even have a clue? They are becoming a laughing stock caught up in their own bitterness and stupidity. I can't help but hope that they continue their insane diatribes until every last one of them are defeated in the next election cycle. It's what they deserve, political death, by their own hand. Or should I say mouth?
And they're not the only ones. The Democratic Party is squandering an immense opportunity to lead the country out of the dismal mess we are in. They too, are so caught up in their own egos, that they have forgotten who they work for. It's supposed to be of the people, by the people, and for the people, but instead they have changed it to screw the people, the corporations are the ones who are lining our pockets. I have been so disgusted with their performance on the issue of health care. Except for Ted Kennedy, who truly wants a single payer government health care option, they are too busy making sure they get re-elected and taking money from insurance companies to care about whether the common citizen has healthcare at all. They didn't have any trouble voting for billions more for the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, don't tell me that killing more poor people in other countries is more important than keeping our citizens here healthy! Get your priorities straight, people, we need to start taking care of our own citizens, and spend money on things that help them, not harm others. Think how much better life would be for all of us if our politicians would work for us not against us! Call your Representive or Senator and tell them that we won't accept anything less.