Political Outrage

I’m coming to hate the Republican Party more and more every day. They serve the corporations. Oh, I’m not saying Democrats don’t serve corporations as well. But Republicans have made it into a sick art.

Check out this story out of Michigan about the closing of the Catherine Ferguson Academy.

Civil Disobedience at it's finest.

The Short Version:

In Michigan, conservative politicians have pushed through a law that changes the rules for when they can declare a state of ‘financial emergency.’ Now it is easier to declare and consequently easier to take over a municipality (I know, boring word, but it applies), toss out the elected officials and just do whatever those same politicians want to do.

Case in point- Benton Harbor, a mostly black town that has been declared in a state of financial emergency. There has long been a movement to take a private beach in Benton Harbor (a beach specifically left to the town by a couple almost 100 years ago, with specific instructions that the beach ALWAYS and ONLY be used as a public beach for the town), and make it part of a posh golf course development. This golf resort would likely be for people other than the ones actually living in Benton Harbor, whose average yearly income is about $10K.

Now that Benton Harbor has been declared to be in a state of financial emergency, the state government has put in a ‘financial manager’ to get the town back on it’s feet…and one of the first things he’s going to try to do is clear the way for this golf resort to be built. Convenient.

(Disclaimer here: Benton Harbor likely was doing poorly financially. My issue is how the rules are being changed so conveniently as to give the conservative politicians exactly the powers they need to do what they couldn’t get the votes or support to do already.)

What Does This Have To Do With Catherine Ferguson Academy?

This academy helps mothers and pregnant girls get a degree. It is highly successful- a far higher percentage of their students graduate in a year than in an average high school. State politicians tried to shut it down a year ago- and failed. The protests from the community were too strong. Now that this financial emergency has been declared and the person put in charge by the state can do whatever he wants- and he wants to shut the school down. Never mind that the community wants to keep the school, that they fought to keep the school or that the school has a phenomenal success rate for the girls who attend….

They’ve put the school on a list of schools to be shut down this spring.

Here’s where the outrage gets outragier:

The students and some faculty gathered at the school over the school’s spring break to make protest signs and stage a peaceful sit-in at the school. They were arrested. The cops arresting them even turned on the police sirens as they were stuffing the teen mothers into patrol cars- so that the voices of the protesters couldn’t be heard.

Some days, I just can’t believe what some of the asshats in our government are doing. Okay, most days…

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What the heart responds to

I know we’ve all had those moments where we read/hear/watch something and it totally strikes a chord. It was, for reasons unknown, exactly what you needed to experience at that moment. I found two of those things today that seem to be speaking directly to me. They’re swimming in the same pool of subject matter that holds my current discontent with political rhetoric. But don’t worry- this post is not [directly] political. I just wanted to share something inspirational. Some days we forget how much we need that.

Number One:

If you want to hit the target square
You better not have blind anger.
Or it’ll be just one more time
The correction creates another crime.

Very Buddhist-esque. A great song.

Number Two:

a poem by Langston Hughes, in honor of National Poetry Month

Let America Be America Again (Abridged for this Blog)

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed–
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There’s never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this “homeland of the free.”)

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery’s scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek–
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!

I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

O, let America be America again–
The land that never has been yet–
And yet must be–the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine–the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME–
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath–
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain–
All, all the stretch of these great green states–
And make America again! Let it be the dream it used to be.

Mary Sue’s Note: This version of the poem is abridged by me. Read the full version of the poem HERE.

What I won’t do on Facebook…but I will do here.

I just heard a comment that made me stop my entire workday. I’ve been meaning to write about this topic for a while, but this one-liner made it have to happen now.

Backstory: I abhor political/religious discussions on Facebook. A.B.H.O.R. If there is a stronger word for hate, insert that in place of ‘abhor.’ I want the strength of my sentiment known. One of the reasons that I hate these types of discussions so passionately is that I’ve experienced my share of pointless ‘discussions’ where people argue back and forth and everything just disintegrates into name-calling, generalizing, deliberate baiting, etc.  Two people who are convinced they are right “(usually because they think God Herself is on their side, and so their opinion is righter- how convenient for them that God is on their side), and so come away from a discussion without learning anything, but having smeared more metaphorical shit on the Walls of Facebook…sigh, I hate it. It makes me feel mean towards people who are not willing to concede that the other point of view might contain some validity. And I hate feeling mean in general. It holds no appeal.

But I digress.

So, on Facebook I’ve been both bystander and participant in these discussions and never come away thinking that more than one or two people were actually listening. Usually people just wait for their turn to talk and pull out some preconceived point they’ve been rolling around in their prejudiced little noggin that isn’t really a response to what was just actually said. It was a response to what they want to respond to.

I try (albeit at times unsuccessfully) to keep politics and religion off of my Facebook page.

But on my blog, here- It. Is. On.

I think my opinions on Facebook get truncated, misunderstood and half-considered. But here, I can say it whole, without being interrupted. And if you’re rude or go off topic, I can strike you from the record. Booyah.

No, it’s nothing radical that in a forum where I have more control I’ll feel more comfortable. But it’s worth a shout to the sky that in a world where I walk a careful line every day (you know, cause the words applied to opinionated women frequently rhythm with ‘krill’ and ”itch’), that there is a place where I can speak my peace.

Which brings me back to the comment that stopped my day.

This news story popped up today: Democrat Chastised for saying ‘uterus’ on House floor

Brief summary: Democrat from Florida goes onto the floor of the State House of Representatives and calls out the doctrinal hypocrisy of the Republicans who say that they don’t want to regulate business, cause it’s bad for the economy- just the issues that they think are their moral right to control. That’s right, Republicans just want smaller government, except when it comes to what goes on between a woman and her doctor. (Small enough government to fit inside my uterus and my doctor’s office. Really, really small.) So the Democrat from Orlando, Fl. suggests that his wife ‘incorporate her uterus,’ to stop Republicans from pushing measures that would restrict a woman’s access to abortion clinics.

In covering this story, one show had the Democratic representative who made the speech on to comment on the reaction. The representative had this gem of a response:

“[Regarding Republicans and their relationship to the female uterus] …I guess they want to control it, but they don’t want to respect it.”

1) I have not heard any phrase yet that so perfectly encapsulates (for me) the resistance of Republicans (as a political party) to giving one half of humanity personal reproductive control over their own bodies.

2) I sincerely hope I never have to put the phrase “Republicans and their relationship to the female uterus” together again. Ever.

While this is an issue that I won’t discuss on Facebook, I think it is one of the few real, unequivocal  life-and-death issues of our time. It’s about power and control. It’s about Naming, which is a revolutionary act. It’s about true quality of life, and not in the way Republicans think. I feel strongly that restricting the ability of women to control their own bodies LOWERS the quality of life for her and her children. I feel that the Republicans are working from a fallacious perspective from the onset, and framing the entire debate as though it rests on only one question and thus can be reduced to a matter of when Human Life begins, regardless of any social context. Pretending it is a black/white issue and that women (left to their own devices) would get abortions all the time (and so need to be restricted for their own protection) is a slap in the face to any woman that has had to make this difficult decision.

Plus, I find something unseemly about people who will never have to make this decision for their own bodies (men) trying to tell people who do (women) how the experience should go. I think this is sexual politics at its dirtiest and most dishonest. I’m against any argument that tells me it is simple. Nothing involving humans is simple. Bringing in projections about God never makes it simple either.

The article is the wind up.

The quote is the pitch.

Let’s play ball.