Most of the time, the atomization of our society makes us feel isolated, far apart from each other. Cyber friends are scoffed at, labeled "not real," while "meat" friends often disappear at the first hint of a desperate situation.
For the past 15 months, my family has been going through a crisis that left me feeling, all to often, isolated and in despair. Many people that I thought I could count on vanished.
I used to participate a lot on Daily Kos. I joined a long, long time ago, and found many wonderful online friends through this blog.
I used to be an activist. I used to be a student at DePaul University in Chicago. I used to be a writer, and I used to work "almost" full time at my local library. I used to speak at political events, and emcee many of them.
I used to do - and be - a lot of things.
My son is 29. He has overcome significant learning disabilities to graduate cum laude from Chicago's Columbia College and to find work in a very difficult field, video editing. He was just about to shoot a behind the scenes for an indie film - a job that could have been a real break for him - when he noticed he was feeling tired. Rest and better eating did not help. He went to the doctor. The doctor thought he was run down. And he took bloodwork. And then we were plunged into a nightmare.
The juxtaposition of the gun violence debate and my sister’s birthday occurs this April 10th. That's her birthday. Well – it would have been her birthday, if she had lived longer than 27 years.
Two Americas, John Edwards said, though he was hardly the first to say it. And while Edwards turned out to be a tragic disappointment, it was refreshing to hear a prominent national Democratic candidate point out the obvious in relatively stark terms. Who was the last high profile national presidential candidate to do so? Bobby Kennedy?
Do other Kossacks imply you are a concern troll? Do you find your "but what about voter suppression!" posts being scorned? Do you remember going to sleep on that Tuesday night in November 2000 having seen Florida called for Gore, only to awaken to an eight year nightmare?
If so, the Coop is your election season home. Bring your fears and anxieties here, and vent.
"When the union's inspiration through the workers' blood shall run /There can be no power greater anywhere beneath the sun / Yet what force on earth is weaker than the feeble strength of one / But the union makes us strong."
It was about an attempt to destroy collective bargaining. It was about furthering the war on one of the last remaining bastions of union strength, the public sector workers. It was about entrenching the idea of education as a corporate tool to create “human resources” instead of educated citizens. It was about destroying another union by pitting the “reserve army of the unemployed” – capital’s most potent tool – against the ginned up image of “union thugs”, worker against worker.
Piece cross-posted at Voices on the Square
I don't want to get into the reasons this child of secular Jews, with no interest in patriarchal religions ended up in a Christian homeschooling group. I've talked about it elsewhere. It happened, and oh, it was my own personal Twilight Zone episode.
And yeah, mine was the only car in the parking lot at our enrichment classes without an anti-abortion bumper sticker. But that was only the beginning. From "creation science" (there is a whole segment of the homeschool/Christian school industry that caters to this market ) to full quiver families to those who practiced "courtship" instead of dating, it was a whole new - and damn scary - world.
But without a doubt, the most horrifying aspect, for me, was the embracing, by many of the group, of "Providential history".
That's what the Illinois state representative told me when I pleaded to be included on the crowded speaker's list for the Illinois General Assembly House committee hearing on the abuse and neglect of people with disabilities.
180 seconds to tell the story of 22 years of neglect, abuse, and rights violations.
But it's more time than anybody ever gave Will to tell it.
It's a pretty old story. The fact that I was surprised by it speaks only to my naivete, much as I realized that only a white person could be shocked that votes were not being counted in Florida in 2000. Remember watching the Black Congressional Caucus plead for support from the Senate for justice? Remember how you felt when there was none? And remember how you watched the consequences of that particular travesty unfold? Were you angry and did you fight on? Did you despair, and give up? That is the choice I'm facing now.
I like reading taglines. There are some great ones here on DKos. They are often inspiring, funny, revealing, creative. For example, Kossack Yameneko2 has this:
"Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball
It's a great thought, and from an unexpected source. There are many treasures to be found in DKos taglines, and I've stolen a number of them for other writing I've done. One of the things I often write about is the dominionist right in the US, and one of my "favorite" sources to monitor is the well known cesspool of political thought, The Free Republic. What might I learn, I wondered, by checking out the taglines there?.....if you enjoy a refreshing dip in the sewer from time to time, follow me below the - well, the orange thing....
"Kibbutz, why do you do this to yourself?", an online friend asked when I was sharing some comments and "news" from a right wing site.
I'm not a masochist, truly I'm not. I monitor right wing sites because I think they provide valuable and interesting insight on how the political right thinks, what their interpretation of events is, and to heed the warning to "know your enemies...."
The wingnut sites range from the almost civil "Redstate" ("civil" being a relative word) to the Palin-worshipping Free Republic and the racist Stormfront. "Stormfront", run by former Republican David Duke, is the least interesting - everything is the Jews fault; a one-trick pony site that is almost a caricature of a hate group.
I've personally found "Free Republic" to be a good bellwether - if the Freepers are against it, it's because Rush has told them to hate it. They are like a focus group for Serious Money Wedge Issue Idiots, and so I have been following with great interest the rise and defense of Herman Cain, the new hero of most Freepers.