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beyond resisting

My sister Rachael recently texted me to gloat that Naomi Klein would be in Portland, Oregon to promote her new book. She didn’t type “neener-neener,” but she might as well have.

There’s no way she’s visiting Portland and not L.A.! I thought. I dropped everything and searched her publisher’s events page. Nada.

When I saw an announcement including an L.A. date, I messaged Rache again. “LOS ANGELES!!!” I said.

“I get to see her first,” Rache replied.

(Neener-neener.)

Who is Naomi Klein, exactly? Apart from being author of The Shock Doctrine, she’s an inspiration to both Rache and me.

Klein looks brutality squarely in the face, assesses it, and writes about it without losing either her passion or compassion. For a couple of decades now, she has looked into the abyss without becoming it.

She’s been a light along a very, very dark journey (of history and politics) I’ve been making for about a year. I’ve read her words and heard her podcasts and thought, “I hope I can emulate her someday. I hope I, too, can choose to look upon the darkness and see within it the possibility of greater love.”

My sister listened to Klein speak in Portland on Monday. I listened, alternately tearful and laughing, in Los Angeles on Wednesday.

nine two

Far from resenting my sister for hearing Klein first, I was grateful to listen and know Rache had heard the same heart, the same compassion, the same entreaty.  Read more…

For [our kids]

In his latest post, my husband wrote that I’m worried about the world we’ll leave behind for our children.

It was a side point, and his post wasn’t about politics, but it’s been on my mind since I read it.

I am worried, and it’s a hopeful thing.

I always thought politics was this weird and terrible dark art only a few could practice.

There was the real world, and then there was politics. Politicians politicked while the rest of us lived.

That changed a few months ago. After my siblings introduced me to Bernie Sanders (as more than an impractical joke), I saw that politics and real life could and should converge–that they could converge to start improving right now the world we adults leave to our children.

Before, I didn’t really feel there was cause to hope. Doom and gloom would prevail no matter what I did.

It’s different today when I worry out loud. These political musings aren’t meant to be grim or despairing, though they may sound it.

If there were no cause for hope and catastrophe were truly a foregone conclusion, there would be little point worrying. Doom would be settled and sealed.

But it’s not settled. There is cause for hope.

Hope and worry are woven together for me.

I worry because I still have hope. I choose to use that worry to propel me to work for shaping a better world. To find the steps that will make that possible.

I know only that the first step is finding my voice by engaging in discourse.

The rest will follow.

So for my kids and yours, I’ll seek.

This 9/14/16 post transferred from L2SP 6/21/17

my playlist

I’ve been building and rebuilding a playlist in my mind the last couple of weeks. I’ll write about it someday, I’m sure, I thought. When I’ve finally gotten it right-enough.

Without pressure or hurry, it could have been months before I solidified the playlist. But then I read a post that got me fired up, and I found my playlist.

The post bemoaned how everything is a competition now: singing, playing instruments, sports, politics. Everyone’s in it to win it. Period. Read more…

Knowledge is a quest

When I began striving to speak Politics late last year, I had the notion that “politics” was a separate subject distinct from all others. The first few months, then, it was very easy to practice; everything I read was new to me and fairly easily summarized, and so I wrote almost daily.

After a few months, I started feeling like politics wasn’t really separate or distinct from anything else. Rather, it was a part of everything, and everything was a part of it. The “politics” books on my bookshelf weren’t on separate, discrete topics, but on different aspects of an interconnected everything I could only barely fathom and definitely could not articulate. The books’ covers only created an illusion of disconnectedness between the books themselves, as well as everything they attempted to represent.

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The beginning

I found it much harder to write about politics once I discerned politics wasn’t an isolated body of knowledge. Before, I’d thought politics was one thread running through a quilt. After I saw that politics was made of many subjects, moments, feelings, and experiences, I despaired of distinguishing what was related and what wasn’t, because each thread within the quilt contained elements of different subjects.

Where would I start, and where would I leave off? I had no idea, but that didn’t seem like a good reason to stop. If I persevered, I might get better at seeing which threads ran closest together, and someday expressing those connections with any clarity.

Several times recently, I’ve written about former NYU professor Neil Postman. Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death was required reading for three of my husband’s American Studies courses at Yale. As I began my quest for understanding, Anthony told me I’d really appreciate the book. Read more…

Strategic racism, in quotes

Last week,

I read a book*

that demonstrated

how U.S. political

“colorblind” racist strategy

has been crafted to

achieve horrible ends

by concealed

means

I can’t share

my whole post

on the matter, yet,

so now, I leave you

with a few related quotes

(and a holdover link)

*  Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class

Show Up Today

I drove to LAX last night.

Once there, I joined a crowd of a couple hundred people. They–we–demanded release of Muslims from certain countries detained based on a Trump (read: Bannon) executive order issued yesterday.

A California congressperson informed us one Iranian student had already been deported. She and others were at the airport demanding access to the detainees.

As I stood chanting, hoping that so many people show up for Sunday solidarity at airports, I regretted deeply how I contributed to this outcome.

As I drove home, I thought of a post I wrote in October. In “The could-have-been soul-kin of Anne Frank,” I wrote:

anne frank.png

I thought about the quiet inaction of those who watched as Nazis committed genocide. They likely hoped they’d earn safety for themselves and their own if they remained silent.

I understood that the U.S. coming-for actually began at least fifteen years ago.

I thought of three kids who’d stood chanting opposite me at LAX.

They don’t deserve less than my or your non-Muslim kids. In fact, what we do to protect them will profoundly impact the safety of all our kids … forever.

So if you’re wondering what you, just one person, can do? You can donate to the ACLU, busy fighting this heinous executive order. It was the ACLU that earned yesterday’s stay that, unfortunately, wasn’t acted on quickly enough at some airports.

You can call Congress, multiple times every day. You can show up at city council meetings, and other local political meetings. You can call your friends and bring them with  you.

And today? Today you can drive to your nearest airport, and join others in saying, “Not on my watch!”

You don’t need to know what you’re doing tomorrow. Just … please, please, show up today.

Me, speaking instead of writing

I recorded a video a couple of nights ago. I wasn’t planning on linking it here, but I just listened to it and changed my mind. It reveals so much about where I’ve been, where I want to go, and why I want to go there.

It did originate with politics, so you might want to skip it. Basically, some folks expressed concern with my supporting Brand New Congress, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit that could legally accept dark money. It’s so personal that sitting down and writing it out didn’t feel right. So … I recorded a (respectful!) video, and I’m glad I did.

Just be forewarned: my husband might work in show biz, but you’ll see none of that glitz watching the video here!

maslow

 

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