Thursday, June 17, 2004
Something different today, although I often reference Bill Moyers as a conscience of America. It is evident from his writing that he is a strong believer in the "Fairness Code." This is a little but of a different take on it though, and I cannot completely rationalize the contradictions of the historical actions of even a man so great as Thomas Jefferson. By this I mean: How do you come to grips with having six of your own children kept as slaves? (I wonder if my momma knew about this concept?) There were powerful social forces at work that we can only intellectualize at this time point in Jefferson's future. Great change has come...and unfortunately gone.
Moyers reflects on the return of inequality. Here's an excerpt that may provoke you to read the entire piece:
"Household economics is not the only area where inequality is growing in America. Equality doesn't mean equal incomes, but a fair and decent society where money is not the sole arbiter of status or comfort. In a fair and just society, the commonwealth will be valued even as individual wealth is encouraged.
Let me make something clear here. I wasn't born yesterday. I'm old enough to know that the tension between haves and have-nots are built into human psychology, it is a constant in human history, and it has been a factor in every society. But I also know America was going to be different. I know that because I read Mr. Jefferson's writings, Mr. Lincoln's speeches and other documents in the growing American creed. I presumptuously disagreed with Thomas Jefferson about human equality being self-evident. Where I lived, neither talent, nor opportunity, nor outcomes were equal. Life is rarely fair and never equal. So what could he possibly have meant by that ringing but ambiguous declaration: "All men are created equal"? Two things, possibly. One, although none of us are good, all of us are sacred (Glenn Tinder), that's the basis for thinking we are by nature kin.
Second, he may have come to see the meaning of those words through the experience of the slave who was his mistress. As is now widely acknowledged, the hands that wrote "all men are created equal" also stroked the breasts and caressed the thighs of a black woman named Sally Hennings. She bore him six children whom he never acknowledged as his own, but who were the only slaves freed by his will when he died -- the one request we think Sally Hennings made of her master. Thomas Jefferson could not have been insensitive to the flesh-and-blood woman in his arms. He had to know she was his equal in her desire for life, her longing for liberty, her passion for happiness."
What is the ultimate price of inequality? Historically an investor class of the wealthy has always destroyed itself. Why? because everyone else eventually can't stand it anymore:
"Let's face the reality: If ripping off the public trust; if distributing tax breaks to the wealthy at the expense of the poor; if driving the country into deficits deliberately to starve social benefits; if requiring states to balance their budgets on the backs of the poor; if squeezing the wages of workers until the labor force resembles a nation of serfs -- if this isn't class war, what is?
It's un-American. It's unpatriotic. And it's wrong."
And now he gives us a call to action. Readers of my ravings may recognize a brother in arms:
"What we need is a mass movement of people like you. Get mad, yes -- there's plenty to be mad about. Then get organized and get busy. This is the fight of our lives!"
Read it all...Please!
Talking with a Republican friend yesterday afternoon. He said the insider Repub jokes about the Clinton portrait unveiling were hilarious. I asked for an example and he said,
"The Clintons had to walk through the metal detectors...on the way out of the Whitehouse."
This, of course, is a continuation of the false myth created by Karl Rove. You remember the stolen W's from keyboards and all sorts of other vandalism that was supposed to have taken place. None of it was true. It was a Rovian lie, planted with the most mean spirited of motives. When I confronted my friend with the "fact" of that "Lie" he owned up to it with a "Yeah, I know." He is that rarest of human beings...an honest Republican, and I admire him for it. His must be a difficult way of life.
(Before you get huffy, let me also say that I think honest Democrat officials are pretty rare, too.)
But anyway, my friend came back at me with "They all lie" so that was supposed to mean the Rovian antics were ok, I guess, even though they were unjustly intended to hurt a man's reputation along with that of his wife. So my response was "No they don't! ...
"Name one lie that Clinton told that was not about his sex life?"
He looked me in the eye and his face went into a painful smile of the child confronted with the fact that the dog did not eat his homework..."I can't come up with anything" he said.
This man was a fairly high up Republican operative and he could not come up with anything. He is exactly the kind of man that is going to help us get rid of Bush. When he goes into the voting booth and closes the curtain, he will have to vote against the man who took over the Republican party and is trying to assist the book of Revelations. My friend will have to be honest with himself and put the best interests of his children first.
While I am thinking about it, "Thy shalt not commit adultery" came up in the Clintonian context. If you want something really strange to study in your bible this weekend, search out the biblical definition of "adultery" and the recommended punishments. I have been observing the Southern Baptist Convention get more biblical and I think that they should carry out all the recommended punishments on themselves as an example to all of the rest of us. In addition to the stonings for adultery I would particularly like to see them "punish" all of their devout membership that have broken this little commandment:
"Thy shalt not bear false witness against thy fellow man."
Throw in a few "punishments" for stealing and coveting and the Southern Baptist problem neatly goes away, don't you think? We may have to look over the list of infractions closely to get them all and some may squeak through on technicalities. I don't think we will see many stonings for the "Seething of calves in their mother's milk" for instance. (Had you forgotten that was a commandment? While it is not there on Judge Roy's rock, it is plainly sitting right there in Exodus. I guess God needs a little editing now and then.)
Think about it...I figure they're all gonna be guilty of one or two commandment transgressions and the bible very clearly calls for stoning. Once they are all wiped out there would be several benefits to the community. Right off the bat I can envision how taking back all that non-taxable land they have tied up in those ostentatious churches and freeing it up for gainful reuse would neatly revitalize all our local communities in short order. I like this idea so much I think I will call it "The Emerson Project."
Hey! Just kidding folks! Honest! Gotta go now...there's a veal recipe I want to try.