Category Archives: ethics

Back to our sick reality

You can’t get away from it.

This afternoon, on NPR’s On Point, I’m listening to a conversation about Trump’s idea to feed low income people meals in a box.. Trump wants to tell us what to eat? How crazy is that; we know what he eats, what he looks like, how much he cares about us. He likes food in a box, he eats MacDonald’s because he figures no one will try to poison him. There’s tons of food waste in America, and he wants children to eat, what? A box of what? No choice of fresh vegetables,fruits, how about canned peaches, Kraft cheese, let’s see who can make a buck on a government contract, junk food? Remember when Reagan tried to convince us that Ketchup was a vegetable?

A war on poverty, that’s right, Republicans want to get rid of low income people. If we make poor people  work three jobs and still need food stamps, then let’s take those stamps away – and then the tax payers can make up for Walmart not giving workers a living wage.

So I’m already ranting, trying to keep focus, trying to write, to make sense of this world by writing a novel where people like me are trying to make sense of this world.

Then Robert walks in. He’s the director of a community action program, he runs the food shelf, he knows about poverty, he’s in the conversation of how distributing food is crucial but also enables people staying in poverty, while taking food away will make poor people  work, even if the work offered is dead end servitude without a living wage. We have to ask why people self medicate? Opioids?  Alcohol? Junk food? Suicide? Prison? Join the military? Become twitter trolls?

What if we offered all our people a decent life? We live in Vermont. We have gleaners, organic eggs, chicks given for families to raise that turn into pot pies. There’s meat in the freezers, whole grains in bulk. All run by volunteers, supported by taxpayers with help from the federal government. This is too good for poor people? The leftovers from non-poor people?

Robert is saying, what a shithole we’ve become. Seventeen teenagers killed at a high school. We can’t bother to keep our kids safe.

He has brought me a valentine’s gift. A recyclable jar of CBD Gummies – 3% THC, great for sleep, inflammation, cancer, arthritis – in a bright red package.

Let’s watch a movie, I say. Let’s eat them all.

What’s in a parade?

Our great leader wants a parade! He deserves one. After all, he stopped our American Carnage, just as he said he would in his  inaugural speech.  And  didn’t he vow to bring back our borders,  (although he never said where they went)? Also to get back the wealth that the world ripped away from the middle class, at least get it back to him, and make “America First”, although this last has not gone over well with some, but hey, they’ll figure it out? And didn’t he invent that great phrase “alternate facts”? Get that old failed Washington Post to add up all his 2000 lies, falsities, misleading statements? Fire an FBI director? Decide to deport a home grown gang? Grab pussy because he could?

So much to celebrate, America.

He didn’t get a military parade for his inauguration, so let’s make up for that. Remember that his inauguration was the biggest crowd ever, that he won the popular vote, but someone stole it, and maybe those are the people who should  pay for the parade, like they will for the border wall, although that’s Mexico.  Beside, that  fatter guy, Kim Jong-un has parades all the time, so why shouldn’t he? Bigger ones, because of his bigger button.

So while it’s will be heartening for us to see all his hardware, and know our great leader and his generals will be there to protect us, I still wonder, is there anyone around to stop him?

Let the people decide

Tonight, avoiding the (not my) president’s State of the Union, I’m realizing (again) that without systemic change, our country’s governance will only sway from left to right, consolidating power from one party to the other; elections will be determined by the party establishment over the will of the people.

I’m writing a novel, part of which takes place in the sixties, so I’m researching, rehashing, reliving the times.

In 1968, after Robert Kennedy’s assasination, his now non-committed delegates which, coupled with those of Eugene McCarthy, had a combined majority. These candidates were the favorites of the anti-war and pro-civil rights left. Instead of acknowledging this, the delegates were assigned to Hubert Humphrey. He was a man of corny wholesomeness with a perpetual smile, he sounded sane on civil rights, but he was associated with LBJ’s highly unpopular Vietnam policy. He had no charisma, had never campaigned in any primary and was unwinnable, even against the equally untelegenic Richard Nixon, who handily won. Another way of saying this was that we got Richard Nixon because of the machinations of the Democratic party.

All these years later, it’s 1968 redoux.  The DNC assigned its uincommitted “super delegates” to another unwinnable candidate instead of splitting them with the increasingly popular Bernie Sanders, and now we have Donald Trump. Of course Sanders might not have beat him, but again, the machinations of the party, turning its back on its growing progressive wing, refused to give his canditacy a chance. Of course one could argue that Bernie was not “really” a Dem (he did call himself a Democratic Socialist.) But his running as a Democrat, rather than as a progressive third party candidate, prevented a splitting of the vote, which could have ensured a Republican win. 

Who are these super delegates? Quoting Mark Plotkin in thehill.com, March 2016,: “The whole deal stinks. It’s wrong, unfair and undemocratic. The central element of democracy is elections. Why, oh why, should the supposed “party of the people” reserve nearly one-thirds of their delegates for a select group of individuals who don’t have to stand for election?” 

Getting rid of the College won’t solve our screwed up election system: there’s still the enormous power of big money, of corporations as people, of special interest lobbying, of corruption, of dispicably immoral candidates, of kleptocracy – in short, what we got.

So, Queen Oprah?

I think of Oprah in the White House, not as a president but as a sort of Matriarchal Queen elected for life.  Opulent, corpulent, magnificent. She won’t govern, she will inspire, bequeath, prophasize, cajole, praise, and propose. Should she start cutting off heads, she will be sent to the space station. Actually running the government will be Prime Minister Bernie, Elizabeth for Labor Secretary, Robert Reich for Economic Development, John Louis running Justice, Michelle Obama heading the  newly formed department of Womanhood. Bill McKibben for the EPA. Barack as State, for Health and Human Services. Congress will morph to a Parliament, the electral college disbanded, lobbying made a felony, all guns banished. And universal health care. A living wage, a minumum monetary guarentee for all paid for by the billionaires. 

Yes, I  do notice everyone named here is a Democrat. Yes. Let us assume that, In this scenario, the DNC has been transformed into a transparent organization no longer able to manipulate candidates via super delagates. In this scenario, Republican party is confined to Alabama until it comes up with an agenda favorable to the human race, the planet and agrees that corporations, really, are not people.

We will be Norway with a better climate.