Saturday, September 11, 2004

Three Things to Do Today

1. Turn off your tv. And your radio.
Treat yourself to a régime de jingoisme for one day. Today is a really good day for it.

2. Go to your public library...
...and find out if your local branch is part of the September Project, an international campaign to bring people into public libraries on September 11 to share and discuss about democracy, citizenship, and patriotism through public talks, roundtables, and performances--and register to vote. (And if your library isn't participating this year, you have a whole year to persuade them in time for 2005.)

Progressives often yearn for a way to raise the level of public discourse. Now's our chance.

3. Vote with your wallet...
...for respect, communication, and support. Go and patronize a locally-owned mom and pop business--run by people of middle eastern descent. There is still massive racial profiling against "arab looking" people (whatever that means), there is violence and discrimination against Muslims, and today is an extra scary day for too many people. Show your neighbors that not everyone is a fascist. I'm off for lunch to a Lebanese restaurant I just found on the edge of my neighborhood. It's just a small, compassionate way to say the whole country isn't built on hate.

And the bonus round, for the truly brave among us:

4. Take a book out of the library...
...on learning Arabic, or Middle Eastern history, or Islam. Does the thought send a chill down your spine? Because let's be honest: we know that all those books are likely flagged on the FBI's watchlists through the Patriot Act. In discussions on civil liberties and public surveillance, the common defence of the Patriot Act is "but I have nothing to hide...." If you believe that, then go to your library or book store and bring home a book that will put John Ashcroft's knickers in a knot, knowing that your name (and address, and if you buy the book, your credit card number) is winding up on an FBI list or in a file. And if the idea makes you uncomfortable, you may want to rethink your position on civil liberties...and at the same time, go back to that mom and pop business and spend a little extra money.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Blog Forecast: heavy showers, scattered blogging

Richmond's horrific weather this summer (lots of rain and storms, the tail ends of the hurricanes hitting Florida, flooding) have exacerabted my lethal mold allergies and some other health conditions, and I'm just not lucid enough to be an articulate or steady blogger at the moment. I'm still reading *your* blogs, even if I'm not commenting, and I'm just not posting a whole lot.

Matt Stoller on BOP generously mentioned the women's progressive political blogroll I discussed here earlier. That project is on hold, too--although if anyone else wants to run with it on her own, or would like to work with me on it, let me know.

I'm afraid my minor but insistent health inconveniences are far more immediate demands on my attention than writing for the moment. But I'll be around, in a diluted form, and I'll certainly be back.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

The Most Important (Blank) of All Time!

I perform improvisational comedy on the weekends with ComedySportz. One phrase that people use a lot in improvised scenes is "This is the best (blank) ever" or "This is the most important (blank) ever. For example: "This is the best science project ever!" or "This is the most important board meeting ever!" It's not a very interesting phrase and it never carries the amount of power that you think it will. In fact I've taken plenty of workshops where professional improv comedians have said not to use these kinds of phrases ever. People want to see a regular old science project just as much as the most important science project ever. Trust me.

That being said, I do honestly believe that this election is the most important election of all time. It's improv sacrilige, but it's political truth. The thing that perplexes me is that the other side believes it as well. That just doesn't seem to make sense to me.

President Bush has pushed this country from having record amounts of international sympathy (post 9-11) to having record amounts of international antipathy (post Iraq).

There has been a net loss of jobs since President Bush began his term. That hasn't happened since Herbert Hoover. HERBERT HOOVER!!! Hoover screwed things up so bad in a time of need that he was followed by FDR, one of the greatest progressive politicians EVER.

I could go on. There are plenty of reasons why I feel that changing the current administration is the most important decision the american people can have made for decades, if not ever. But why should Republicans feel the same?

WE'VE CONTINUED DOING A LOT OF THINGS IN THE PAST, BUT NEVER HAS THERE BEEN A GREATER NEED TO CONTINUE DOING EXACTLY WHAT WE'RE DOING THAN RIGHT NOW!!

quoi?

IMAGINE HOW MUCH BETTER THE WORLD WILL BE IF WE REPRODUCE THE EXACT SAME CONDITIONS THAT IT IS CURRENTLY UNDER!!

uhm...

IT HAS NEVER BEEN THIS IMPERATIVE THAT WE PUT OUR GUYS IN CONTROL BECAUSE WE HAVEN'T BEEN IN CONTROL OF THE HOUSE, SENATE, EXECUTIVE, AND JUDICIAL BRANCH FOR NEARLY ENOUGH TIME!!

Forgive me for ranting, but my mother is playing her Evangelical TV Christian Broadcast Network garbage in the next room and Copeland just said that he feels that this is the most important election ever... How? Why? If it's so important that this president be in power, wasn't the last election the most important one ever?


Ugh. I'm so disgusted and perplexed.