In my newspaper today was a column by Richard Cohen, arguing that the American people have been lulled to sleep by the presidential election. He claims that the only important issue is the economy, and that neither Obama nor Romney is terribly magnetic or charismatic, so people are not paying attention to the election and don’t care. He concludes,
This is a campaign of immense consequence and, paradoxically, torpor. It’s as if it is being conducted by men who will not — or cannot — control events but are waiting for events to control them. They campaign dutifully but dully, going through the motions until Election Day. Maybe then they’ll get the audience back. In the meantime, America has gone for a beer.
I would disagree with Mr. Cohen. I don’t think Americans are torpid, I think they have already made up their minds. Now, having decided, all they have to do is wait for November and vote. In the meantime, there is much more important stuff to do — finding and keeping employment and income in this terrible economy, housing and foreclosures, the hot weather, and summer vacations.
Posted by Lizbeth on July 7, 2012
Summaries of a few news and opinion stories from around the web that I found interesting:
Why you shouldn’t panic about pesticides in foods: Pesticide residues are generally at much lower levels than would be harmful. No mention is made of how pesticide use affects farmworkers. Notable quotation from the article: “No one should stop eating fruits and vegetables because of fears about pesticides.”
How To Stop Science Alienation Syndrome (Split K-12 science education into two tracks, for majors and non-majors): Instead of treating science and math as subjects that children either love or hate, and expecting all of them to pass the same classes, split classes, especially in high school, into specialized classes for children who want to become scientists, and general classes about science in every day life (in cooking, sports, and more) for everyone else.
Up to 27 million people living in slavery: The end of legal slavery did not end trafficking in people, and 27 million people around the world are forced to work for someone else in degrading conditions, deprived of their human rights.
Posted by Lizbeth on June 21, 2012
That we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a
pair of shoes; yea, and sell the refuse of the wheat?
Amos 8:6 King James Bible
Posted by Lizbeth on May 17, 2012
Primaries are upcoming here in Idaho, and the general election will be here before we know it (however much we seem mired in campaign slog right now). Many states have passed new laws requiring identification at the polls. This identification must be current and up-to-date, with your current, legal name and address. And before you say that doesn’t apply to you, of course you have current, updated photo identification, an article by The Nation came out last week, and it quotes a Brennan survey that 10% of Americans don’t have it. Most of that 10% are women, who have last name changes due to marriage and divorce. Read the entire article.
Posted by Lizbeth on May 7, 2012
We sleep, safe in our warm houses
Who do we think we are?
We have forgotten the struggle
For our lives and voices.
Who do we think we are,
Scribbling away, warm and safe?
For our lives and voices
We did not pay the price.
Scribbling away, warm and safe
While other women scrimp and hide
We did not pay the price
They still suffer and die.
While other women scrimp and hide,
We have forgotten the struggle
They still suffer and die,
We sleep, safe in our warm houses.
For more information on what this poem is about, see Who are We? a post I wrote earlier this week.
Posted by Lizbeth on May 3, 2012
Who are we to be so safe? We sit in our safe, warm rooms, writing, and we think nothing of it. Women fought and died for our rights, to speak as the men speak, freely and without fear. We gather, we protest, we write.
Do not forget those who do not have these same freedoms, who hide their writing, and their voices. Remember those who live in fear, whose still small voices are all they have.
“In Afghanistan, poetry is the women’s movement from the inside.” Safia Siddiqi
“They’re behind high walls, under the strong control of men.” Ogai Amail
When women listen to each other’s stories and share their own, growth happens and confidence grows. As harmless as such an endeavour may seem to women who like the idea, this may be a threat to the established order. Men in authority worry about women talking freely to each other.
Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D. in Urgent Message from Mother: Gather the Women, Save the World
Posted by Lizbeth on April 29, 2012
Statue of Liberty, New York (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
The lines above are the concluding lines to the poem written on the Statue of Liberty. Almost all of us who live in the United States have stories in our backgrounds of how our ancestors came to this country. Most were immigrants.
Every once in a while, the politics of this country lean towards protectionism and nationalism, resulting in laws to keep out more immigrants. But these laws are a slap in the face to the founding premise of this country, that we would welcome all who come here.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear opening arguments on Arizona’s anti-immigrant law. I participated in a witness vigil against the law tonight. If you are so moved, there will be more vigils in communities across the U.S. in the coming days, and rallies and vigils outside the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
I don’t often discuss politics on this blog, but I feel moved to write on this topic — it is not a matter of mere politics, but of justice and human rights. For everyone whose ancestors immigrated to this country, I believe it is our duty to keep the doors open for more immigrants. We can’t slam the doors shut just because we got our chance. There is plenty for everyone.
Posted by Lizbeth on April 22, 2012
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I just returned from a candlelight vigil for Trayvon Martin, the young man whose life was tragically cut short last month in Florida.
What kind of a world do we live in, that teenagers are not safe walking home after dark? What kind of a world do we live in, that teenagers who dress like their peers, just trying to fit in, are labelled as thugs?
I thought we had moved beyond the world where African-American teenage males must be told to be careful how they act, or they will be arrested or worse. All teenagers annoy their elders, but that African-American males must fear for their lives is just plain wrong.
I want to live in a world where no one dies because of fear, where being black (or brown, or some color other than white) is not a crime, where law-abiding teenagers don’t have to fear the police, or vigilantes, where love and justice prevail.
How long must we wait for Dr. King’s dream to come true?
Posted by Lizbeth on March 31, 2012
Image by Puzzler4879 via Flickr
I struggle with how much of my faith to reveal in public. I realized last night that
a lot almost all my passion for justice and compassion truly stems from my Buddhist faith. And yet, I don’t like to talk about my faith, and I am realizing that that amounts to hiding my light under a bushel as far as communicating my passion for justice & compassion is concerned.
But even to write, in a public forum, that I am coming from a faith perspective, and what that faith is, feels like too much.
I don’t know how to feel comfortable with talking about my faith, and still let people know how strongly I feel about justice and compassion in the world.
I think about all the people whom I know might read this entry, and what they will think of it, and I am tempted not to publish it. I feel more daunted by the people I know, than all the strangers I don’t. But if I cannot talk about my passion without discussing my faith, then I must be comfortable discussing my faith. This cryptic, half-revealing, half-not blog entry is a first step, I suppose.
- Sunday Service: Compassion (lizbethsgarden.wordpress.com)
Posted by Lizbeth on March 25, 2012