Wednesday, February 3, 2010

In Defense of Dreamers

I have to admit that I, too, was bummed out after the State of the Union Address, but not because of Obama like so many of my bloggy buddies were. I was bummed because a lot of people believe there is no hope for change at all ever.

Undoubtedly, there is reason for despair. The Power of the Assholes in America is so strong, entrenched and pervasive that it's enough to make anyone suicidal or homicidal. I can see why many people believe that returning Power to the People is such an enormous, overwhelming task that it can't be done. Nevertheless, we certainly will be doomed to live as slaves under the rule of our corporate overlords if we stay in our comfortable homes preaching to the choir.

Maybe these folks are right and Obama is The Bitch of the Rich, and as much of a whore and pawn as Joe Lieberman. Even so, I take issue when Progressive Fundamentalists act like those of us who believe change is worth the fight are uniformed and naive.

I can't speak for anyone but myself, but I submit that I am not naive. My Great Uncle in Beaumont was such an influential crook that LBJ had to suck up to him for votes in the Golden Triangle area of Texas which is an armpit drenched in petrochemicals if one ever existed. That's is why LBJ came to Beaumont and bounced me on his knee when I was a baby. Furthermore, when you grow up along the Sabine River, you develop a certain perspective. Business is Business can mean something like: If I take the fall for this business and go to jail, I want unsupervised visits with your 10 year old daughter when I get out. Don't care if she is my niece (That's what happened to Gayle the Hillbilly Hustler, not me).

The only difference between petty crooks along the Sabine River and major crooks like Lobbyists, Legislators and Banksters is that those guys have more money. They are all the kind of people who get their kicks from sticking lit firecrackers up the asses of bullfrogs to make them blow up. Could be that is where Dick Cheney got the ideas for enhanced interrogation techniques. Those people are twisted.

I'll admit that I do not know as much about legislative rules and sociopolitical history as most militant progressives, but it's like Margaret Mead said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

**Aside**When Velvet was a baby, I read somewhere that nobody ever told Margaret Mead "no" when she was exploring her environment. I concluded that her parents arranged her environment so that she wouldn't get hurt or get into grown-up stuff like knives and cayenne pepper. As she grew, her environment also expanded to include things like cayenne pepper, but by then her folks fixed it so she had enough sense not to shake it into her eyes. So I applied this thinking to Velvet's home environment and I apply it in my preschool classroom today.

Now, it's distinctly possible that I am a hopeful individual because I spend my mornings fooling around with little people who are human nature in it's most pristine and privileged state. Occasionally a two year old enters school with emotional baggage, but when that happens you can bet it came from his/her parent since shit trickles down hill. More than once, I have had a direct impact on those parents so that they realize they are grown-ups who have to deal with their own shit so it doesn't fuck up their kids for life.

Since I've had this experience, and since there are few things that are as much fun as introducing a room full of Twos to sunbeams and prisms - I live in a world where all sorts of things are possible. Not everything, of course, because there are the limits of reality. Physics and shit - not Ass-Wholes. Ass-Wholes should not be allowed to Dominate our Reality, although there is no doubt that they are dominating it now.

It's just that when somebody tells me that it's impossible to change the system and we're fucked for all time, I can't keep this song out of my head:

I freely admit that there is no Prince Charming or Fairy Godmother. I know because I've spend a lifetime looking for them. I also know that even if there is a God, there will be no divine intervention with the Teabaggers. My mom and dad drove this message home to us kids with a plaque we had to see every time we went out the door. It showed some fishermen in a rowboat in a storm and the caption reads: Pray to God, but row toward shore. With or without God, the only way you're ever going to get anywhere is to do the damn work. It's much the same as, "Wish in one hand, shit in the other. See which one gets full first."

I have many wishes. The only ones that will come true are those I work for. Maybe my cynical friends have seen so many hopes and dreams dashed on the rocks of reality that they have surrendered to the Ass-Wholes. I can't blame them because watching this bullshit is exhausting and depressing, and when you've been working for a while without getting anywhere, you eventually need a damn rest. That's when another song comes into my head:

To me, this video says that the spirit that lived inside us back when citizens took it to the streets during Vietnam and the Civil Rights Movement beats on today. As old hippies, or Menopausal Stoners if you will, we are understandably exhausted and disheartened by reality that took hold of America about the time Ronald Reagan took office.

College students today have only seen his picture and heard the stories. They don't feel the oppression like we do because they are young and in many ways, we have worked to protect them from the Bull Shit. Now that recent graduates can't find decent entry level jobs because so many mid-level workers with mortgages and medical bills are doing two jobs for the price of one - if they even have a job at all - the college kids are going to start feeling the oppression, too.

Velvet is coming home for the weekend and all the kids will be over. When I listen to them talking, I feel as hopeful as when I see the sun shining through the school window onto a room full of twos. The big kids haven't quite started seeing Reality through adult eyes because their reality is still very cloistered, but they have open, questioning minds. They're more into philosophy and history right now than politics and current events because they are learning the back story which will enable them to look at current events with a bit of perspective. But it's cool to hear them talk about what they read and heard at school. Velvet is, of course, is being taught by radical hippie environmentalists, but Buzz Kill and I planned it that way. One of his best friends is at Dartmouth and spent last semester teaching English in Cairo. He's a smart kid with interesting insights.

I'm thinking it's time somebody fires up these college kids and sends 'em marching. Last week, I read somewhere that one of the big problems facing Progressives is that many of us are entirely too long in the tooth. It's true - our gums have retracted or we're missing teeth. And many of us have been resisting the consumer culture for nearly a life time, hanging onto the hope that one day we'll make a difference, just to watch the damn supreme court hand over elections to corporations. There is plenty of reason to feel beaten and defeated, especially when Ass-Wholes in SUVs have been saying for years, "The Sixties are over and You Lost," while the stock market went up and up and up.

That's why it's such a good thing that the beat really does go on. I see it in my living room with Velvet, and I see it in my classroom where a certain demographic is paying a fortune to make sure their kids grow up with the ability to analyze situations and find the connections.

Maybe the Sixties were lost when Ronald Reagan told white people to forget the civil rights movement, return to the suburbs and shop, but I don't think so. I think the spirit was hibernating. We need to rouse ourselves like the Ents in Lord of the Rings. A little cleavage could help the progressive agenda, though, which is why I still like the idea of Menopausal Stoners in Les Mis outfits with a mini-guillotine on Wall Street. I'm also thinking we need an Herb Tea Party to promote the public option and legal marijuana . I have a fantasy where we brew up some weed tea, mix it with blueberry juice and honey and hand out samples from an ice cream truck on the DC Mall.


Anonymous annie said...

Wow -- I've been reading you for several months and I've read you archives -- this is the best post I've read here and honestly one of the best blog posts I've ever read. It is powerful.

February 3, 2010 at 8:16 PM  
Blogger PENolan said...

Thanks annie
I needed that.

February 3, 2010 at 8:48 PM  
Blogger Claire said...

I'm with Annie, that was great, and inspiring, too.

February 3, 2010 at 9:02 PM  
Blogger intelliwench said...

I can't live without hope; what would be the point?

February 3, 2010 at 9:44 PM  
Blogger intelliwench said...

And another thing...watching the SotU address, I was struck (depressed?) by how many old white men are sitting in seats of power. I dare to dream that will be a more balanced picture one day!

February 3, 2010 at 9:48 PM  
Blogger Cali said...

I agree with everything you wrote, except for one thing: does it have to be blueberry juice? I hate blueberries.

February 4, 2010 at 2:23 AM  
Blogger PENolan said...

Cali, my old friend the Rebbe Mohammed McCrory mixed up that recipe once and it was delicious - but I envision a line of drinks in convenience stores like Snapple. Most likely I'm going to need your help with Bail Bonds one day.

Intelli - Not only were they old and white, they stand up, sit down, fight fight fight. Do you remember that cheer? Lean to the Left/Lean to the Right/Stand up, sit down Fight! Fight! Fight!

It's like they are stuck in junior fucking high school. CDP, glad you liked it. Hope things are going well in your happy little world.

February 4, 2010 at 7:04 AM  
Blogger Gail said...

Hi Yrish-

One of your best, indeed. And the song by 'Sonny and Cher', excellent!!

I am so in awe of your intelligence - I mean, you know a lot of stuff!!!! And you can string it all together to make sentences and points that honestly, I couldn't begin to do.

Thanks for being my favorite female CNN news reporter and life coach on many levels.
My Sis is back in the hospital- has to have another heart catheterization - she had left-arm pain and she is not getting the right blood flow to her heart. We are all so worried. And so the shift, shifts on.......

February 4, 2010 at 9:42 AM  
Blogger VV said...

Oh my gosh, that's a brilliant idea! Herb Tea Party to counter the tea baggers, brilliant. Sign me up. I was just trying to get into college when Reagan came into power and I got fucked over financially because of his policies. College had to wait another 10 years as a result. So no thank you. His policies didn't work for me and I don't see him as a god. I have a friend who's a conservative, evangelical, Republican who almost worships Reagan. I try to explain the realities of Reagan's policies on poor people like me, but he thinks a few individuals may have been sacrificed, but the greater good was served through Reagan's policies. We never agree on this.

Oh and I noticed the same thing intelliwench did, all the white guys still in power. Part of that is our own fault, some of us being unable to see women in positions of power, and also failing to support other women's ascension to positions of power rather than competing and cutting each other down.

February 4, 2010 at 11:38 AM  
Blogger Kulkuri said...

Your tea sounds good. Blueberries are my favorite fruit.

I'd like to see a movement started to change the name back to Washington National Airport. Naming it after St. Ronnie was a slap in the face to everyone that worked aircraft because he fired the Air Traffic Controllers in '81. Also all workers after he showed business how to break the unions.

February 4, 2010 at 2:14 PM  
Blogger Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

Another fine bit of work here, Miz Nolan!

I think moms HAVE to have the 'hope" gene. It's part of the post partem experience. Men, otoh, because they are pretty much expendable--and know it--are less likely to be 'hopeful." Are, in fact, more likely to be 'pragmatic,' in that detached way.

I take a risk of incurring opprobrium for it, but I admit I do not conceive any hope for anything LIKE a "soft landing" from all the crises which beset us on all sides, today.

The banksters are being resupplied to begin the next bubble cycle. The Congress cannot move to restrain the polluting, climate-destroying predators of the corporat energy cabal. CorpoRats now possess the means to ensure that they can put people in positions of power who are entirely their creatures.

Imho, it's going to get fuuking AWFUL, pretty soon, and there is not a goddam thing that anyone can do about it other than endure as long as you can.

February 4, 2010 at 3:18 PM  
Blogger PENolan said...

Woody, you spent twenty years trying to point college students in the right direction - or left, as the case may be. Before that, you were a Vietnam Vet protesting the war.

I'll admit that it looks like things will get worse before they get better - actually it looks like we'll be dead before they get better. But that still doesn't mean we should give up - and as much as you grumble like an old curmudgeony bear, I know you think so too or you wouldn't have three blogs where you discuss politics and society.

Silly old bear.

February 4, 2010 at 7:32 PM  
Blogger PENolan said...

Kilkuri - excellent point. That traffic controller episode was total Reaganite Bullshit.

VV, I'd say we can hope that when those old guys die or retire, we'll have representation that looks more like reality, but with the Court's decission, I don't know how that's possible. The worst part is that those Justices aren't as old as John McCain.

No wonder I smoke weed.

Gail, sending love and light to you and your sister.

February 4, 2010 at 7:45 PM  
Anonymous Jennifer said...

Oh gawd I loathe being called uninformed and naive. The last thing I am is uninformed, and I "naive" is just a term used to denigrate in a nice voice.

I see the beat going on in my kids too. And in my sister's kids. It doesn't stop.

It's just that the teabaggers yell louder and louder every year. Lately they're having a big old extended temper tantrum because one of their white old guys didn't get into the White House. Man are they mad.

And they do things like buying up all the media so they can control what goes in the papers in the news reports. But guess what - we stopped buying papers and the WWW happened and we started looking for alternative places to find our news.

So now they're looking for ways to get their hands on that too - but hard to rein in as something as big and invisible as the WWW.

And they try to seduce us with fun stuff and fast food and "the good life" but people are turning away from that in droves. (Funny, do you think it's a coincidence that this happened when alternative media got let loose?)

The beat will go on as long as we're willing to take the steps. And keep finding those forums to tell our side of things.

February 5, 2010 at 10:47 AM  

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