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What do you do?

What do you do when the choices that seem to be offered to us are working together or dying separately or together? Not much of a choice. But there is a large group of people, the predictable rump of 25% who would be opposed to breathing if they had to make the effort, who think calling people “socialist” or “Marxist” is a coherent argument.

How do you tell your children “I’m sorry” when what you are apologizing for is failing to leave the world in better shape than we found it?

The old saw that everybody saw what needed to be done, anyone could have done it but no one did it is as true as it ever was. But the simple fact is today, more than ever, it’s easier than ever to get involved, become informed, and make your voice heard. And it has never been more necessary. For too long, we have seen too much power in the hands of too few but the pendulum is swinging back.

The opposition message machine is going on and on about how President Obama is a “Socialist”, but it’s clear neither they nor their audience know what that means nor how their lives are already impacted by socialist policies. And they don’t stop to define it, other than to say “the government is taking over our lives.” What it really means, in the current debate, is that government is trying to give us back control of our lives, with respect to access to healthcare.

Maybe they’re not worth listening to.

Michelle Bachman wants us to think that the 1% AM radio listening audience who regularly tune into Limbaugh’s show is a majority of people. They’re louder but since when does that count in a democracy? Everyone votes once, no matter how they press down with their pencil, and last November, people voted. It’s time to collect on the promise of that election.

The opposition, the small fringe who are beholden to a few large corporate interests, don’t care that we live in a democracy. They probably don’t want a democracy if it means they have to make policy and defend their positions. They certainly don’t want to live in a democracy if they can’t really claim to have the support of the majority anymore. I keep thinking about what country they could move to if they don’t want to live in America anymore. I can’t think of one.

I watched Al Gore’s talk to the 2006 TED conference yesterday. It’s on Youtube and the TED.com website the TED.com website. He quoted a scientist’s statement that the current climate crisis is the test whether an opposible thumb and a cerebral cortex is a viable combination on planet Earth. The scientist gets it. Al Gore gets it. Most strong progressives get it. We’re not talking about food prices going up. We’re talking about stores being empty. We’re not talking about electricity costs going up. We’re talking about the electrical grid going dark. We’re not talking about sending our kids to their room for getting bad grades in school. We’re talking about sending them to their graves.

What are we really supposed to do? Read. Ask questions. Think for yourself. Talk to each other. Go knock on your neighbors’ door, and ask them over for dinner. Turn off your television and radio, and turn on Facebook, Twitter, and any number of other social networking sites. Express your fears and worries. Get answers.

Vote. It matters who you vote for, but just casting a vote is a huge step in the right direction. Get involved. Go to volunteer.gov, and see what the opportunities are. Ask the person sitting next to you at work if they voted. Go out to lunch and talk about who they voted for.

Teach your children well. Tell them that you love them and that you are doing everything possible to make their future possible. Then do it. Whatever you can do. Whatever it takes.

What do you do? What will you do? Start.

[original here]

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observations

that’s gonna leave a mark

from comments on TBogg » Janeane Garofalo is like Stokely Carmichael, Malcolm X, Angela Davis, and Ron Karenga times infinity .

As a member of the African diaspora that is now successful and stable in the US, I’d like to answer your question about African Americans. Unlike African Americans, I did not face structural and institutionalized racism in my own country, my father was not lynched for loving a white woman, my mother was not beaten for trying to vote, my grandparents were allowed to read and write and own property. Thus, my family had knowledge, skills, wealth, and pride to pass down to each generation. The question is not really why African Americans are the way they are, history answers that. African Americans still struggle to be treated as equals. The real question is why are the poor white trash still poor white trash hundreds of years after the Mayflower and institutionalizing superiority based on the color of your skin. If America gave you every opportunity to succeed based solely on the color of your skin, white people, ask yourself why you are now a failure and scared that “those people” are taking over your country and your government?

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observations

Where you’ll find me

Facebook was fun but I’m going back to posting here and letting these get published as Notes or updating through Twitter.