Posts Tagged ‘inequality’

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…

The New Jim Crow & the Nightmare River

When I started reading The New Jim Crow a couple of years ago, I felt my world rippling. I don’t mean this allegorically. I felt the smoothness disturbed by something else clawing to be let in.

Before I picked up the book, I’d been floating along on the smooth, clear water of U.S. life. I assumed all was (mostly) good and well straight down to the river’s bottom.

Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow‘s author, invited me to stop floating and actually dip a finger into the water. Beneath the thin veneer of calm, her recounting of recent American history informed me, I’d find turbulence and boiling water that was scalding people alive.

I dipped in one finger and discovered she was right. Horrified, I returned my hands to the surface. I set Alexander’s book aside and enjoyed my onward drift.

Over the summer, little burning bubbles began emerging from the water around me. They were uncommon and only a little painful, so I ignored them at first. Why would I go seek out more pain?

But then I saw bigger bubbles roiling below the surface and understood: the U.S. is a world in which only a few are allowed to float at the surface. Others are forced down, trapped in the murky, hot water beneath and struggling to reach the surface for even a moment’s gasping breath.

I understood: they suffer so that I might stay comfortably afloat. “Oh, shit!” I started shouting to those floating near enough to hear me. “People are drowning below us! We have to see the whole river beneath us, not just the sparkles up top, or they’re going to keep on drowning!”

Alone, I saw, I could pull very, very few people up to the surface. If I could enlist other surface-floaters to reach down, though, I knew we could together evacuate this nightmare river and seek out one with cleaner, genuinely smooth waters where all were equally able to experience the river in its fullness.

“Shhh, you’re disturbing our ride,” fellow floaters admonished in return.  Read more…

Bernie, Because I Was Poor

I care about Americans

“Why do you care so much what happens to some people in Yemen?” several people have asked me. “Don’t you care about Americans?!”

“All injustice is interrelated,” I’ve fumbled in reply. “The injustice Yemeni people experience is symptomatic of the same illness many Americans endure. To care about one is to care about all.”

I haven’t satisfied a single person–myself included–with this vague answer, so I’ve kept searching for a better one. As a former negotiator, I know I won’t receive any concession I can’t describe.

I sought and found a story, something that might breathe real life into the abstraction that “all injustice is interrelated.”

Imagine the earth is a single enormous iceberg, and all who live upon it are penguins. Some penguins live nearer the center, and others nearer its edges.

Penguins in the center are doing very, very well. In fact, 1% of the penguin population has managed to hoard for itself almost half of the iceberg.

[ please click here to continue reading ]

kids outside 792

Once you’ve lived near the edge, you know it’s never very far

The Iceberg

I’ve learned a lot recently, and learned much of it very quickly.

Unfortunately, this means my ability to understand the U.S. political landscape has far exceeded my ability to explain it. Fortunately, I started practicing a lot, so I’m better now than I was even a month ago.

My passion still exceeds my skill, but the gap between the two gets a little less cavernous every time I practice.

Never (yet) has the gap been clearer than when I expressed horror over what’s happening in Yemen.

Once I recognized my passion-skill gap there, I sat with it a while.

I spent a long time thinking about how to explain–sans antagonism–why I care so much about strangers in Yemen.

Finally, I found a way to explain with a better balance between passion and skill.

Please click the image below to read my second Progressive Army piece. For more context, you might also want to read this illuminating Bill Moyers piece.

I hope you’ll read, reflect, and share your thoughts with me.

Thank you.


What do you dream beyond 2016?

I received a DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL STRATEGY SURVEY a few weeks ago. I immediately placed it in my shredding bin, but pulled it out for inspection this weekend.

There’s so much I could say about this survey. Had I more time, I could write thousands of words on all the false dichotomies it presented, and all the ways in which it ridiculously limited choices while painting Democrats as heroes and Republicans as villains.

After sitting with it for a while, I struck through a prominent concluding paragraph*:

YES, LEADER PELOSI… I will help Democrats protect the progress we’ve made from attacks by Donald Trump and the radical Tea Party Republicans, and deliver the positive change America needs by putting more Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives and electing Hillary Clinton to the White House!

I replaced it with much shorter text: Read more…

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