Sunday, December 19, 2010

Being Home...

When I finally pulled in to my driveway Wednesday evening, I was incredibly happy to be home. But now that I have been home for a couple days, I can feel my soul starting to wither away.

Last night at dinner, my mom and dad were talking about how all of the people who are on the various state funded systems abuse the system.  They completely refuse to acknowledge the reasons behind why people need to abuse the systems, and that only about ten percent of people abuse the system, it just happens that we only hear about that ten percent of the population -- for example, a man in who lives in one of the Carolinas, sent California a check to repay the state the money that he received in unemployment benefits, plus interest.  When I told my Dad this, the first thing that he assumed is that the man somehow got caught cheating the system. Yet there was nothing about him in my local paper, even though it happened the same day that these other people were caught.

They also do not look at the culture of the United States.  They don't realize that we live in a culture that promotes laziness, and exploitation. Look at our foreign policy, where we send our jobs overseas to exploit foreign labor sources, simply because we do not want to pay any more than we have to for a given product.  But when I explain this to my family, I am clearly the person who knows nothing, even though I spend my days studying how society impacts people. 

My entire family is also against the DREAM act, because they  hate illegal immigrants because they apparently take our jobs (even though the jobs that these immigrants work are ones that no one in my  family would ever even consider working, aka working in the fields for 14 hours a day, or working in US sweatshops), and they also hate them because they do not pay taxes.  But this act would allow minors who came to this country illegally to be citizens after the fulfill certain requirements, such as graduating high school, and then graduating from a 4 year university, or serving two years in the armed forces (although I wholly disagree that the armed forces should be part of the requirement for them to become citizens, because we do not need to exploit anymore innocent people to join our war machine), the fact that these people would be given a chance to attend college, and make their lives better and pull themselves up by the bootstraps, become American citizens, is an excellent idea, because then they will be taxpaying citizens (something I thought would make my parents happy) and besides that, the pulling yourself up by the bootstraps idea is totally the American Dream (even though I know that it totally does not exist in the US, people generally do not change classes here, only enough people make it so that people actually think that the American Dream does still exist). 

Needless to say,
it is going to be a long month here at home.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

the following entry has been taken from my friend Lisa Savage's blog, and I feel like everyone needs to read it and truly think about what she is saying.

the following entry has been taken from my friend Lisa Savage's blog, and I feel like everyone needs to read it and truly think about what she is saying. 


See no evil, hear nothing but NPR, say Merry Xmas! 

By Lisa Savage, of Code Pink

'Tis the season of holiday parties, a chance to see people and relax a bit. Mark and I don't get invited to old friends' dinner parties much anymore; no one would ever say why, but I imagine it's because people are afraid we will talk about politics and bum them out. We did get invited to a neighborhood Christmas party last week, and went and had a good time. Tonight we will drive about an hour to attend the annual holiday gathering of a peace and justice group in the western Maine mountains. I'm sure it will be a very different crowd.

At last week's party I wore what my husband affectionately described as "your Bradley Manning schoolgirl look." I put a festive red cardigan over my Free Bradley t-shirt, and then asked myself what a high school kid would wear with such an ensemble (short skirt over leggings plus boots). I love my Bradley Manning t-shirt but don't get to wear it much. It's too cold outside, and I don't dare bring political messaging to my place of work.

Only one person remarked on my shirt, asking me about its cool graphics. When I said it was Bradley Manning he replied, "Who's that?" I said it was the person who supplied WikiLeaks with the info in the first place. Still no recognition. This person has advanced degrees and teaches at a local college. "I am sorry I asked, please stop. I have been depressed lately," he told me. Wow.

I was careful not to bring up politics because NOBODY WANTS TO TALK ABOUT IT! When they ask what I have been up to lately, they do not really want me to tell them. I talked about the weather, holiday plans, people's health, family news, and anything else but. Old friends we have kind of lost touch with avoid us because they are afraid we do not know how to act politely at parties anymore. I was determined to prove them wrong. But I suppose I blew it in advance by wearing my t-shirt.

Anyway, I was in a discussion about the weather for upcoming holiday travel with two people I have known for years. They were wondering if it was snowing in Washington DC that day and I said that it was because I had just seen a video of a snowy scene where "hundreds of people got arrested today for chaining themselves to the White House fence."

The two partygoers turned away from me in unison, as if we were in a dance that had been rehearsed.

Which I suppose we were.

Most of our these local friends started out standing on the bridge with us in '03, '04, maybe '05. Then a lot of people quit coming. I have never challenged anyone on this or asked them to defend their decision, but a ton of them have rushed up to me in the produce department or at the post office to apologize guiltily, mostly explaining either that they were too busy or stopped because "it didn't make any difference -- nothing changed." (The general public in the U.S. has the historical awareness and political sense of very young children.)

Over the years many, many people have thanked Mark and me for continuing to publicly vigil for peace, and to protest the wars. I think the message is: Keep it on the bridge where it belongs, but don't bring it to our parties.

Almost all of these people do charitable works, and a lot of them happen to be artists. Either they do not consider political organizing fun, inspiring, and exciting -- or it's too scary. Maybe some combination of the two.

Maybe there is a lot of guilt for continuing to live well while children in Afghanistan starve and freeze in between air strikes we are financing.

I can't be sure about any of that, but I am pretty sure about this: any literate person with Internet acces who cannot identify Bradley Manning is in a willful state of ignorance.

Bliss? I doubt it.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Bring Our War Dollars Home planning meeting, and BIW Vigil

Hey everyone.
Here's another update on the shennanigans that I've been up too.

I got an email from my friend Bruce Gagnon when I got back to school from Thanksgiving break, inviting me to go down with my friend Alex to be on his local access tv show called the issue.  We talked for half an hour about our feelings on the walk, on our generation, and what is next for us in terms of activism, mainly working on the BOW$H resolution for the town of Farmington.  It was an amazing experience, and watch for the link on here, and on my Facebook page soon.

Today, we went to the vigil at BIW, urging them to convert to creating items to help us move towards a sustainable future.  It was an interesting experience, its seems as though the men and women driving by were pretty evenly split between being pissed off at us, and supporting us.

We then moved to the Addams-Mellman house, and talked about what was next in terms of the BOW$H campaign.

Some of the highlights that we talked about were
Tom's ideas about doing something at the Blue Angels Air Show in August, raising awareness about military show business and how the taxpayers pay for all of this, and how completely unsustainable they are.  There were some great ideas, including us dressing up at the "Green Angels" but this is definitely an event that I am looking forward to participating in.   

We are also going to be doing something on Tax Day, which I have been charged with creating an awesome handout to give to people, probably at the post offices around the state.  So I will be majorly letting my creative juices flow when I get home for Christmas break. 

Alex and I also got a great deal of input on how to pass the resolution in Farmington.  We were told to stand at the dump and outside the post office and have our petition and handouts to give to people.  And they told us to get to know the politicians before we go into the meeting, so that they know us and they will be less likely to steamroll over us.

Right now, I am completely exhausted, and I realize that I probably forgot some awesome stuff we talked about, so I'm going to end up editing this again tomorrow while I procrastinate on some homework. 

So until tomorrow