27 November 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

So, today is Thanksgiving. Between the attacks in Mumbai and the watching of the documentary Why We Fight last night and ruminating on our nation's scary, heart-dropping Capitalistic military industrial complex, it's hard to find big things to be thankful for, let alone to have much hope. But I'll give it a shot.

Today, I've decided to be thankful for people. This is a big step for me, especially in light of so much destruction, perpetrated by people for one reason or another, be it their religion or their greed. One has to keep in mind that for every individual destructive force, there is, hopefully, one for good. I'm thankful for all the people who work to make the world better, less violent and more altruistic. Often, it seems like those people are few, or that their voices are rarely heard above the din of explosions or the gibbering nonsense of mobs. They’re there, though. They feed the hungry, they clothe the needy. They speak to authority and make tiny inroads to right wrongs. And they are frequently derided as being day-dreamers, as if defending the rights and needs of other human beings in light of those ever-present and insidiously undulating ‘needs’ of caustic forces, whether in the form of, say, corporations, or worse, nameless, faceless dogmatic concepts like religion or nationalism, is passé. As if this work is not worth doing, and even if it was, it is useless, or powerless.

I was recently involved on my campus in bringing Mark Rudd in as a speaker. He was a high-ranking member of the Students for a Democratic Society in the 60s, and went on to become a member of the Weather Underground, spending seven years or so as a fugitive. While he regretted the path and the actions of that group, both for moral and logistical reasons, he did not necessarily abandon the impetus for such actions, which I appreciated. Towards the end of the lecture, a friend of mine spoke up and told Mark that, during that time, he considered him as a sort of hero. Mark is a wonderfully affable and humble person, and for a moment, it seemed he didn’t quite know how to take such a statement. My friend, John, clarified with this: Some people care about shapes, and colors, and we call those people artists. Some people care about people. Those are moral artists.” There was a thoughtful silence in the room for a few moments. A moral artist. Someone who cares about people the way an artist cares about, say, the picture he’s painting, or the sculpture he’s shaping—colors as needs, shapes as rights, and putting it all together so that it becomes a coherent image of what we have and what we require to live on this planet.

I am thankful for all of the moral artists out there.

02 November 2008

The 'Undecideds'

I was over at Atheist Revolution, and had my hackles raised by the subject of this post. (Thanks vjack...heh).

Few things irk me more than the fact that I've been up on politics and this election for two flippin years now (I'm stressed, I am tired), and again, like always, when it comes down to it, these self-important nimrods to are 'undecided' get a tremendous amount of attention for being the 'deciding votes.' As far as I'm concerned, if you are really 'undecided' at this point, considering the length and breadth of this campaign season, you just haven't been paying attention and have no idea what's going on. In fact, I will go so far to say that, considering the saturation of the media with this national event, you'd have to have been really going out of your way to avoid information on the election, and if that's the case, how on earth do these shit-for-brains get the 'deciding vote?' It makes me want to say that anyone who says they're 'undecided' at this point, with a stupid giddy smile because they think they're special, should have their voter registration cards taken away, because they clearly have no idea what's going on.

I like the idea that every American has the right to vote--it sounds nice. The fact is that when the Constitution was being argued, Federalists believed that the people were self-serving, antagonistic idiots who couldn't handle the responsibility of voting, and the Anti-Federalists believed that an informed populace that realized the value of being informed and actively taking part in decision-making that affected their lives was possible. Though the Anti-Federalists lost out to the Federalists in many aspects of our Constitution, on the idea of the informed popular vote, they won. Only to have these 'undecided' shitsticks centuries later walk into voting booths with no idea of what's going on, actively participating with no consideration as to the affect of their uninformed vote on the process. Because it's their 'right.' Because they're Americans. It's amazing the kind of crap one can get away with just because one if an 'American.'

I'm not for disenfranchising anyone, but really, I see the uniformed vote as not just a handful of useless votes, but as actual, real, counted votes that affect elections. It's completely contrary to what those 18th century folks who argued on our behalf to get our voices heard intended, and is only proving the point of the votes who didn't want us to have a direct voice in government.