Growing up, I was told that we were created in God’s image. But no one really explained the concept to me. I assumed that God was static, unchanging, and altogether perfect. To the best of my knowledge, it had always been this way. Was my behavior to resemble this as well? Any number of theological loose ends was never tied up, either from ignorance or theological neglect. Sometimes it is easier to say nothing than to risk the potential offense provided by the truth. Fast asleep is a comfortable place for many, particularly in houses of worship and everyday communities which are deathly afraid of change.
Jun 13 2011
Feb 06 2011
Dec 17 2010
It not only matters that the information travels, but in how it travels. There are those whose job is in the painstaking research, often resulting in books, if only the footnotes in the same. There are those whose job is in straight, “unbiased” reporting for mainstream publications, local papers or scholastic journals. I think it is important to continue to support 4th estate. Without your subscriptions, how can entities like “The Nation” survive?
What is just as important to remember? Most of these very institutions have been pressed, in the name of “objectivity” to abdicate their duty to report without actual bias. Facts seem to have a penchant for a “liberal bias” by undermining the propaganda arm of the Right’s agenda.
Worse yet? Disgusted by the right-wing bloviating as “reporting” by dubious “news” channels like Fox, the Left has become unwilling to OPINE. Edward R Murrow would be spinning in his grave. There was a time, ladies and gentlemen, to do as he did and call McCarthyism what it was, and there is a time, and that time is now, to call Assangism what it is. Both things are an attempt to prevent the dissemination of ideas, cover up wrongs and demonize truth tellers to protect predatory capitalism. There are now constraints in place, constraints created by the very entities that benefit from the status quo that are put upon journalists who wish to make a living writing.
That is where we ground-level writers must do our duty, and fill the void. We have nothing to lose, and must speak the things the muzzled cannot…. speak them until it becomes impossible for the MSM to not address.
Oct 22 2010
As long as we don’t take it too seriously ranting may be all we have left as a productive political activity. Sure, organizing and all that is a good thing–but on what basis? On the left, where most of us here live, there is no solid intellectual framework for us to rest. In America Marxism never took hold though it provides us with an excellent frame of analysis of our current system but it isn’t the only one. I prefer our native pragmatism which can step outside of systems and allow the “data” to guide us to see patterns. Marxism is useful to orient us but I don’t think it offers, as a general intellectual framework, a system that works for the current environment. Still, I consider Marxists the most valuable contributors to the project of the left. Certainly the time for liberalism is over because reform, in all foreseeable political arrangements is now impossible.
On this the day of the full-moon I urge that we howl at the Moon and rant. Ranting is a way to find out what we really think un-censored from the super-ego which in this country is fraying anyway and won’t last too much longer. We need to touch the truth and to touch it we need to find an authentic place in each of us. We need a new dispensation and that will only be made clear by a process of de-programming ourselves from the current discourse.
Let me be provocative here. I think the time to say “it isn’t fair” is over. It’s time to stop with careful analysis of the political situation when we lack a strong framework. The criticism from the American left always comes down to some moral complaint–that the rulers are, in some way, immoral. Really? I think that’s a pointless and bootless complaint. The problem is in the system that has emerged, not in the people that run it. The system has been constructed to meet a need on the part of the oligarchs to bring stability to their power-positions (not only them personally but their families as well) on the one hand–and on the other hand the need of the vast majority of the American people to take away their responsibilities as citizens because to try and understand the world around them without a solid framework of certainties is simply too painful–thus they want to be assured that they are indeed brave and virtuous when really they are, increasingly (by historical standards) quite the opposite because their focus in life is to have their job and their cable-TV where they can live in fantasies. Most people want to live in fantasies because reality is, to most of us (myself included), almost incomprehensible. This is enforced by a system of laws, cultural practices, structures like “security” (which reflect a profound collective cowardice) which gradually are eliminating any semblance of freedom as envisaged by the Founders. In short, to put it bluntly, we have to face the fact that the majority of the American people (in my view) consciously or unconsciously want to be in chains–it is the only conclusion that I can reached based on the data in front of me.
The only answer I have is to rant.
Oct 11 2010
Here an introduction for the layperson. The past several months have seen a flurry of postings and columns in which Generation X and Y Feminists have expressed exasperation at the ways of their Baby Boomers mothers. Snark and sarcasm factors have been high. This argument has quickly grown very personal indeed. Linked below is the latest salvo in a growing war of bitterness and resentment. What I have written here may not be worded as tactfully as it needs to be, but I wrote it feeling decidedly annoyed and opted to keep my initial response. The essay I have referenced is snide and condemnatory, so I couldn’t help but return a volley or two of my own.
Sep 02 2010
Crossposted from that wild-left-fringe blog’o mine The Wild Wild Left
I am Fringer. I want an American Socialist Revolution in my time. Ideally, a World Revolution. I am fringe enough that even with the absolute certainty that my desires will likely never come to fruition does not make the fires of my desire burn even slightly less intensely. I am WAY out there.
In fact, I would seriously postulate that I am an extraterrestrial being, but I have evidence to the contrary: You never see bags under those huge alien eyes – and my human weaknesses are too telling in that way.
Life and gravity have not been kind to my all too human packaging.
I feel that a true desire for justice, for all that is good and right has an event horizon; a gravity that once you commit to it, will not allow one to back away from the position. Once you see that light, that is really all that exists. You are part of the singularity.
Budhydharma wrote a brilliant sermon (fiery as a sermon, anyway) in which he asks, “Do YOU Want The Republicans To Win?” The frightening title would infer trying to make people cling back to their partisan politics, to renew their support for Democrats. That was not his whole story, though. He accomplished that in some, while maintaining that the Dems themselves are doing nothing to stop it. His idea is to “push” the Dems to do better. The comment thread was the best part, inspirational to me.
I honed my analogy from last night, from the pages of WWL, where we have been discussing the same issues, just from a Fringe-Left position. The last 4 or 5 essays all have been in part, or in full, about the process of actual change in this country. Let me expand my thoughts. (and use the Red Sox, rather than the Tigers – I hear it will make a more compelling argument 🙂
You cannot get a Red Sox fan EVER to like the Yankees…. but you can get a Baseball fan to get REALLY pissed at the Owners for locking out the League.
We need to change the very basis of the conversation.
The Owners of the League set the rules, the prices, the schedule, the ads, everything. They make bazillions off the trade. These, the richest of the Game, get subsidized by we the fan’s tax dollars – to build larger shrines to them, larger so they can charge more, and fill more seats while so doing. Welfare for the rich, tax-fueled stadiums, and tax breaks for building them in our cities.
The Players? Oh, yes, they are the pampered and well paid whores that enable the process. It doesn’t matter one bit if they wear a Yankee uniform, or a Red Sox one. They can change teams as easily as underwear.
You, the fan? Are nothing but an easily played means for more revenue. Back your Team! Show your Pride! Pay for the newest arena! Hate the other Team! Pay through the ass to watch what is still theater, meaningless team-less theater… brought to you by your Owners.
Do I need to point out the obvious analogy to our Political process?
Aug 29 2010
I appreciate the opportunity now laid before the American people to have a long overdue discussion on race. Prior opportunities like these have come and gone but, pardon my skepticism, I still don’t think many of us are willing to commit to it. Doing so would explode a variety of myths, particularly ones held by those who enjoy patting themselves on the back for a job well done. Jobs this complex cannot be undone by one movement alone.
Aug 14 2010
To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I give a tenth of my entire income.’
“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Aug 08 2010
Earlier this week I had the opportunity to speak informally at length with several college-aged young adults. Most were at least a decade or so younger than me, and it was interesting to compare how a younger generation’s perspective was both different and similar to that of my own. We covered a wide variety of subjects in a relatively short period of time, but one particularly interesting discussion grabbed my attention. To some extent, it might as well have sufficed for the main idea of every related topic we covered. Many were within a few semesters of graduation, and starting to contemplate what life after college would have in store for them.
Aug 02 2010
copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert. BeThink.org
On the eve of President Obama’s birth date, thoughts turn to his time in office. As a man, countless admire the person, Barack Obama, and yet, feel that they cannot fully celebrate his performance. Hope has all but disappeared. Audacity appears vanquished. Still, some are sure that there is reason to believe. People ponder potentials not fully realized. Prospects for change loom large. Several may be shared in the sentiments offered on this auspicious occasion.
Dreams have yet to die. The desire to write to the President on the anniversary of his birth or converse with him personally is strong. Most will only be able to meet Mister Obama circuitously. Nonetheless, millions will try to talk to the man in the White House. People, such as esteemed Educator, Doctor Cornel West has addressed the President profoundly though the airwaves. “One of America’s most provocative public intellectuals,” West speaks of what is needed for a genuine success. The Princeton Professor ponders aloud; if only President Obama advanced classlessness.
Mar 26 2010
The stereotypical definition of Feminists held by many is that they are frigid, miserable, depressed, angry, and obsessed with finding systemic fault in every man and under every rock. I find evidence of this sentiment no matter who I ask or where I search. In response, I will say only that every activist movement has a tendency at times to let anger at the status quo threaten to overshadow its altruistic policies predicated on compassion. However, this characterization isn’t exactly justified for a variety of reasons. With the passage of time the radical, reactive voices within Feminism have been held up to highest scrutiny—the implication being that they must surely speak for the whole. The ultimate fault in why this assumption has been allowed to thrive and grow is not easily assigned, but a drop off in active involvement within the movement as a whole is regrettably a big part of the problem.
Institutional memory in American liberalism is often in short supply. We frequently forget the trailblazers and fostering mothers and fathers that guided us because so many of the rank-and-file have left or devoted their attention toward other things. Feminism once was quite fashionable, as was participation and proud membership within groups like NOW, along with the omnipresent subscription to Ms. magazine. Looking specifically at membership in a wide cross-section of left-wing movements, I note with some trepidation that we are now neither losing, neither are we gaining. As one person leaves, another springs up to take his/her place. But when this happens, the newcomers find themselves severely challenged by the ability to use the breakthroughs and lessons of the past and put them in their proper context.
Every ideological movement or group based on common identity feels a compulsion to look back into the past to find both a means of pointing to supreme authority or for help in its own discernment of ideas. As much as we embrace the future as the bellwether of the needed systemic changes to advance our agenda, we also rely heavily upon the past to grant us guidance and underscore our values. This is not a paradox in terms, but it nonetheless is a facet of Progressive thought that often times goes overlooked. Speaking specifically to the Feminist movement, this is accomplished for some by constantly alluding back to Feminist history. However, without a common memory, these names and accomplishments seem like ghostly apparitions pulled from the shadows. Without a collective sense of continuity, the most abrasive, strident voices easily rise to the top and end up dominating the entire message.