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Zoonart

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Member since: Fri Sep 19, 2008, 07:59 AM
Number of posts: 241

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Artist, Author, Activist. http://www.zoonart.com

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Deprogramming The Parents


The election cycle this year has been so deeply divisive, that I thought it was time to post this diary I wrote in 2004, when my family was divided by another, equally damaging Republican.
Re-reading it today… it could be about this election.

My father has since passed, my mother is an invalid and a shut in, and my brother is a Republican.

I invite you to replace the name Bush with Trump as you read this diary.

"An unconscious people, an indoctrinated people, a people fed only partisan information and opinion that confirm their own bias, a people made morbidly obese in mind and spirit by the junk food of propaganda is less inclined to put up a fight - ask questions and be skeptical."
I don’t remember where I got this quote from back then, but it is still appropriate.



Deprogramming The Parents

My elderly parents came to visit this weekend. We had reason to celebrate. My Mother had a terrible health scare in December and had recovered nicely. They hadn’t visited my home in nearly a year and my husband and I were keen that they enjoy their stay.

My chosen life path has caused tension between my parents and myself that has simmered below the surface of our relationship for years. Raised Presbyterian, I have embraced Buddhism. I have been a vegetarian for thirty years. I am childless by choice so that I could pursue my career as a painter and writer. Most annoyingly, I am a liberal Democrat whose most wonderful and loving friends are Gay, Jewish, and Black.

My husband is a birthright Quaker who shares my views, supports my ambitions and loves my parents.

Everything went swimmingly for two days.

Even though my parents sprinkled their conversation and reminiscences with their typically obtuse racial stereotyping and insistence on labeling all of their interactions with a … “well, you know he’s a Jew”… or “he’s very regular for a gay”… “NOT THAT THERE”S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT” kind of covert Christian racism; I remained sanguine. Both my husband and I have deep groves in our tongues from biting down deep in order to preserve family harmony.

The problem started Sunday morning over coffee and bagels and, of course, The Sunday Times. My father would never spend a dime on the Times; he’s a Post man all the way. The fact that my husband purposely purchased a Sunday Post for him, didn’t seem to cut the tension produced the Times’ prominence in our Sunday ritual.

As the conversation, inevitably I suppose, turned to politics, the mood darkened. At first I just listened… the dutiful, respectful daughter.
I had vowed long ago… the Easter before the Iraq invasion to be exact, that I would not discuss politics with my Father. That Easter Sunday ended with a table-clearing row between my Father and I over Bush and his lying cronies.

This rant began with a diatribe against the unions (even though both of my parents owe their pensions to unions) and escalated to the demonization of Democrats, Jim McGreevy in particular, and reached its crescendo with a particularly crude remark about John Kerry. My Mother asked him to stop but retreated to the living room with my husband perhaps with the foreknowledge that I was about to go nuclear. My father continued to work himself into such a fit, his face red with anger that I feared for his blood pressure.

“They’re all thieves and crooks…” he bellowed…” every one of them.”

“That may be true, Dad”, I responded…”but which is worse? The politician who lays his hand on the Bible and swears to protect the Constitution even though he’s spent some time in the dog pound and may have some fleas… or the self proclaimed Christian who swears on the Bible to protect the Constitution… invites the dogs to run the Government, turns the Congress into a veritable flea circus and then sets out to destroy this nation and everything it stands for?”

That’s when the lid came off. The ensuing row has become clouded in my memory for all but one moment when everything became clear. Even in his rage that I should have the nerve to disagree with him made a stunning albeit angry admission.

“I don’t know as much about these things as you do,” he ranted. “I just listen to what other people are saying and go along. Don’t EVER TRY TO DISUADE ME.”

There it was. What ever you do, I cannot forgive you for trying to make me think. This is the spell that the Bush Administration has spread over this land. This is the extent to which the propaganda has worked. My father sounded like a drug addict suckered into an intervention. He fought me like a cornered animal because he FEARS my ideas.

How unutterably sad. The whole thing left me drained and desolate. I needed to bounce this off of someone who knew my dad as well as I, so I called my Aunt, his sister, and related the whole awful incident to her. I dearly love my Aunt. She is a big, no bullshit, kind of woman who has had her share of rounds in the ring with her volatile brother. She just listened and soothed my frazzled nerves and told me that on the subject of Bush I would just have to stuff it. Consider, she herself had forbade her best friend (a Democrat) to utter Bush’s name in her house for fear it would destroy their thirty year friendship.

So now we come to it. Families and friends are on the brink of verbal warfare all the time because of George Bush. The Kool-Aid drinkers in our families are exerting emotional blackmail over those friends and family members who will not just get in line.

I think this is why we Democrats are so loath to act out as forcefully as we should to stop this creeping Fascism from taking over our beloved country.
Is this the way it happened in Germany?

FOR THE LOVE OF OUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY WE SHOULD JUST
LET IT RIDE.

There was another war in this nation that tore families apart. I hope we are not heading for another civil war, but not at all certain it can be avoided.
I don’t know about you, but I’m getting awfully tired of apologizing.








We are Democrats. Let's Roar!

I haven’t posted here at DU much. I have been a very loyal reader and lurker for over ten years.
Now, I have to speak up. This internal battle between Democrats has to stop.

Before you start yelling… take a beat and listen to a tale from not that long ago and not that very far away. At the beginning of what I, and many other progressives had hoped would be a new century of enlightened thought, there was a candidate- Al Gore. A lot of Democrats didn’t like him. They decided that they would rather have a “true progressive”- Ralph Nader. It did not matter to them that Ralph had never served his country in battle nor had he ever held elected office. His positions and his promises were enough. There had long been an anti-Clinton schism brewing in the Democratic base and now it came to full flower. Al Gore was tarred with that brush. Many Democrats decided to stay home.

Please don't tell me that Ralph Nader's candidacy did not influence the outcome of the 2000 election. It did. Then as now, the Democratic party was divided.

What happened next was a national tragedy. The election was stolen. It was stolen because the margin of error in the major state of Florida was so razor thin that the state could be had… the results could be contested. Democrats that stayed home, the Democrats that did not vote for the nominee of their party let this happen. We had the numbers. We did not use them

Noses neatly severed from our faces, we watched in horror as the Bush administration destroyed not one but several countries including our own.

I know two things to be true. ONE: A party divided against itself cannot stand.
TWO: History repeats itself.

The Republicans always win… why? Because they never break rank! Until NOW> We are witnessing the probable break-up of the Republican lock step that has been a hallmark of their voter base for forty years. We cannot fall apart now. We have victory within our grasp.
If Democrats get out the vote- every vote- and pull the straight party lever... we can not only put a Democrat in the white house but we can also sweep the DOWN BALLOT TICKET.

If we continue this ideological war against the probable nominee of this party we will loose. Democrats will stay home in droves and history will repeat itself, only now we are in sight of loosing every progressive program hard won in the 20th century. This is a fact!

That being said, I fully support Bernie Sanders for President, but if Bernie Sanders is NOT the nominee of my party I will support the nominee of my party because it is too important that we not loose: social security, medicare, abortion rights, civil rights, voting rights, gay rights, prisoner rights, immigration rights, global climate change initiatives, public education, gun control. I don’t want another war. I don’t want forced conscription. I don’t want a state religion. The list is longer… feel free to add on.

THIS IS WHAT IS AT RISK IF WE STAY HOME.
The sanctity of your vote will not keep you warm and you cannot eat your moral rectitude.
The very moment Barack Obama was sworn into office, a faction of this party dropped their pom-poms and began spit-balling. In 2010 a crucial year for Congressional elections, when we could have stopped the wave of tea-party fanatics in their tracks… Democrats stayed home.
We lost the majority. You know what happened next.

WE ARE DEMOCRATS. WE CAN CHANGE THIS. LET'S RISE. LET'S ROAR!

Open letter to my President

Dear Mr. President,

How was your weekend? Shall I tell you about mine? It was spent getting my 92-year-old mother-in-law settled in the new digs at the Friend’s Home. She has just enough income to cover her one spare room. Want to know a secret? If chained CPI for SS were currently in place, she would not be able to afford this “luxury”.

While helping her move my husband and I slept on the floor of our son’s rented home. My son and daughter-in-law work seven days a week in their dry-cleaning business. A couple of years ago they sold their home in hopes of buying something a little bigger… three bedrooms instead of two, to fit their growing family. That’s when the market crashed and suddenly, they were not able to get a loan. So, they are renting. Recently, my daughter-in law’s mother moved in with them since her job as a mortgage broker dried up and she went broke. Next week she will go into the hospital for a knee replacement and will recuperate on the kid’s couch while her geriatric gentleman friend (also in poor health) takes her room in order to nurse her back to health. Good times.

My parents are both suffering a variety of ailments that have them constantly in and out of hospitals and I know soon, I will have to deal with their future housing. They are 80 and 85- SS is a big part of their independence. With chained CPI in place they would be running through their savings at an Olympic pace.

When our parents die, they will likely leave very little in inheritance, even though they all worked solid jobs in aeronautics, library science, and retail management. They did not live lavish lifestyles. They just never calculated that living to a ripe old age would impoverish them and their children in turn. Inheritance is what created the middle class and the end of inheritance will wipe it out. Chained CPI means the longer you live the less you get, and likely you will deplete your savings chasing immortality through the miracles of modern science. I am already living that reality.

You often talk about the need for fairness and that everyone should have “Skin in the game”. Let’s explore this notion.
Five years ago, exactly two weeks after the economy hit the fan, my husband was made an offer he could not refuse… take a one third cut in salary or hit the bricks. He stayed. There are no jobs for men over 55 unless, of course, you are already at the top of the corporate ladder or in Government, in which case one can apparently fail upwards indefinitely. I am an artist of some little note with two published books under my belt and a wall full of awards. Last year was stellar for me. I made
$12,000.00 selling art. That is the most I’ve made in over ten years, Whoo-hoo. We are hanging on by our fingertips, but at least we can still feel them. My husband’s sister is not so lucky. In January 2009 her husband murdered her with a single bullet to the head as she slept. He then turned the gun on himself. They were facing foreclosure on their home. They were both highly educated. He had a masters degree from Stamford and worked for the State of California in Minority Contracting. She was okay with the coming change to their lifestyle; he could not handle it and took matters into his own hands. Most of their friends were in DC attending your first Inauguration when the tragedy occurred and we postponed the funeral to accommodate their travel home. So, I guess what I’m saying is that I think I already have enough “Skin in the game.” I don’t feel the need to peel off any more.

Mr. President. I’m certain you think that getting a GRAND BARGAIN is going to enhance your legacy. I am here to ask,
for whom is this “Grand” and for whom is this a “Bargain”? I am a fan. I never stopped defending you during this last election cycle. I am done.

The Republicans may hold that gun to the head of the middle class and they may have loaded the chambers, but it is your finger on the trigger.

Will you be playing golf next weekend? Have fun.

Your Pal,
Sue

Once I had A Garden

Once I had a beautiful garden, tended with love and labor that enriched my soul and filled my belly. One summer I added a variety of sugar belle small watermelons. They were hearty climbers and I constructed a trellis to support the fruit as it flourished in the hot sun.

I remember sitting on my patio in the evening shade and watching the fireflies dancing around
the garden like a tiny private fireworks display meant just for me… to lift my weary soul with the promise of magic and the guarantee of a profitable harvest yet to come. A guarantee well deserved and earned by the labor of my hands and prayers of my heart.

But it was the melons that enchanted me, first lovely blossoms then grape sized fruits that expanded daily to near bursting, They were fragrant right through the hard shell and I could not wait to pluck them down and split them open to enjoy and share the sweet ripe red flesh within.

Finally, the day arrived; I took my basket to the garden and made my way through the jungle of tomato plants and bean bushes to the trellis bearing my prize. I put my hand up and turned the topmost melon to twist it off the vine, but something was wrong. The melon, while looking perfectly wonderful was far too light. I plucked it down and examined it. The was a hole about the size of a child’s fist bored into the bottom of the melon and the entire contents of the fruit had been clawed out. I quickly checked the other melons, but they were all the same… a beautiful empty tableau. Only the shells and the outward appearance of bounty remained. They were garbage on the vine. The raccoons had found a way in and stolen the fruit right before my eyes. It is no wonder they are called bandits.

I only recount this story as an allegory for how I felt this Fourth of July holiday as I sat and watched the fireworks on TV. The fireworks swarming in the sky like fireflies, the promise of the sweet juice of Liberty swelling my heart, increasing my appetite. The anticipation of greatness and justice sweet on my tongue as it always is on this most American of Holidays.

On July 5th I went back to actually living in the USA. The fruit is hollow. Garbage on the vine.

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