Saturday, November 11, 2006

State of the Union?

To elect is to choose. Many Americans elected representatives recently. Now the challenge is for those elected to discern what message Americans really sent them. The resident of the White House (whom I like to call Little Shickelgruber) tried to downplay the results by saying that there were many very close elections that went the Democrat's way, but that the cumulative effect was big, but certainly no mandate. Ironic, since I've heard that there are now more Democratic governors than any other time in history, there is the largest Democratic majority in history, and so on. Sounds like a mandate to me.

A friend who happens to be Republican was telling me before the election that he was disgusted with both parties' corruption, and that the G.O.P. was right and the Democrats left and neither one represented most people. I told him I had a different perspective: that the Religious Right and Neo-Conservatives had pulled the G.O.P. so far to the right that the Democrats were in the middle. I told him I didn't want our nation to go any further to the right, and that's why I'm a registered Green. I think radical change is needed, but I expect I'll have to settle for less. I hope for more, and will do what I can to make it happen.

A friend of mine who helped found the Environmental Studies program at Alfred University more than thirty years ago, is involved with an organization that is trying to move things so that corporations don't have more rights than people. They -- the Program on Corporate Law and Democracy -- found that, over the last century and a half, corporations -- by various means -- have gained greater legal status than plain ordinary people -- the general public. In our earliest days as a nation, states granted charters to businesses, and those charters could be revoked if a corporation did something to displease the people of the state. Nowadays, municipal governments have gained the power to seize land for corporate development. That just ain't right, if you ask me.

I recently was introduced to the Network of Spiritual Progressives, and one of the items in their agenda is a social responsibility amendment to our constitution which would provide for citizen panels to judge whether corporations were being sufficiently socially responsible, with the power to revoke charters of deficient corporations.

It was perhaps good to hear Little Shickelgruber say that he would work with the Democrats, but I don't trust it. Not from a man who said years ago that he was a "uniter, not a divider" and promptly took actions that caused divisions not only in our nation but in others. Not from a man who only used the worst terrorist attack on American soil as an excuse to do something that he had planned to do all along. Not from the man who spent a record surplus fuelling a war machine in a nation that didn't want our interference so now we have record deficits, yet he accuses Democrats of wanting to raise taxes. Not from the man who stopped funding for "No Child Left Behind" so he could give the money to his good-buddy contractors in Iraq.

A cousin of ours is an accomplished writer and teacher who has submitted her musings to the local weekly paper for some time, but she wrote a "final column" recently in which she said she thought her musings about birds and pleasantries was not so important. She said we all needed to get busy with changing things for the better. I will miss her column because although she dealt with everyday things, she often added a profundity that made them matter. Anyway, I hope this sort of writing will contribute to what she was talking about.

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About Me

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I've been a number of things over the years: husband, father, environmental technical specialist, college instructor, carpenter, volunteer firefighter and ambulance driver, student of Lakota and Japanese languages, technical writer, process engineer, research technician, IT technician, emergency dispatcher, etc.