AOC vs. The Left

When Jimmy Dore first attacked AOC, for not putting any pressure on Nancy Pelosi at all to act like a decent human being, I leaped to her defense. That’s largely because I don’t care for Dore’s strident, one could even say hysterical, tone. I find him hard to listen to, and I put Lee Camp and Nikko House in the same category. 90% of the time I agree with them, I just find them hard to listen to.
But, after a day or two, I had to admit that Dore’s argument made sense. It appeared AOC had turned her back on Medicare 4 All, and on a $15 an hour, minimum wage, just to appease Pelosi, who none of us on the left want to see appeased.
Now, there comes the revelation that AOC is actually fund raising for Democratic candidates who don’t support any of our goals at all. The dividing lines are the same as they were before. A lot of people on the left saying AOC has sold us out, and a lot of other people on the left saying we need to stop the AOC bashing, because that is tearing the left apart.
There is little doubt that the left is in disarray. We were crushed in South Carolina and the aftermath, and we are being marginalized in the current congress. We are not likely to accomplish any of our goals soon, or by political means at all, with the possibility of the legalization of marijuana. But even that is very much slowed down to a state by state thing now.
Once again, I find myself siding with AOC’s critics. AOC needs to decide which side she is on. If it is the left, she owes us all a clear and detailed explanation for what she has done, and what her strategy is going forward. Just saying “Don’t bash AOC!” over and over again isn’t going to cut it.

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Christians v. Pagans

Today is Easter Monday, which is when the holiday is actually celebrated here, so it’s as good a day as any and better than most to discuss the differences between Pagan (People Against Goodness and Normalcy) and Christian Holidays. I don’t actually celebrate myself. As far as the whole Christ is Risen thing, I basically think Christianity is nonsense. It’s a spring holiday, a celebration of resurrection, to be sure, the grass is growing, flowers have appeared, there are green buds on all the trees, and it’s possible to go outside without a winter coat. Thousands of years ago, when the holiday was a new thing and clothing was less sophisticated, it was possible to go outside without dying. So, it’s obvious that there would be a holiday at this time of year, and it’s obvious that it would be chock full of fertility symbols, like eggs, and rabbits.
Same with Christmas. The church leaders do not have, nor have ever had, any way of determining Christ’s birthday (and historians have no actual proof that he ever existed, it’s sort of like Robin Hood or King Arthur, a hodge-podge of stories that were written down later, back before photography or DNA tests), but they saw all these pagans they were conquering in the north celebrating with gifts, decorated trees, fires and copious quantities of alcohol, and rebranded it. Smart move, you have to give them credit for that.

Still, if I had to choose to worship anything, it would be trees, rivers, eggs, rabbits, birth, and the sweet, sweet sunshine that comes back around every time this year.

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A Greater Debate

Of course, arguments on Facebook become tedious at times. Most people only read far enough to formulate an answer, and are not at all reading to absorb new information. I’m guilty of this myself, sometimes. I do hate to lose an argument. Some are not even reading deeply enough to form a relevant answer, and satisfy themselves with something they think is clever, like a bad pun on somebody’s name, or some total diversion. Some, especially if they are politicians, will be waiting to give the answer which will most greatly benefit them in the short term, and the hell with the rest of the human race. But most of us, and I’m seriously guilty of this one, are hardened in our positions and will argue with anything that opposes them.
There are no winners, and that is the problem.
I was watching an episode of Star Trek (the original series) in which Teri Garr guest stars as a secretary in an office in 1968, when Kirk and Spock and some weird guy all beam back to try and protect the time line, except Kirk and Spock assume he’s a bad guy right till the very end. She says, at one point “That’s why kids in my generation are kind of crazy and rebellious sometimes. We don’t know if we’re going to be alive when we’re 30.”
The issues haven’t really changed since then. We still have poverty, war, environmental degradation, hostilities between nations, age groups, races, religions, genders, and a whole lot of just plain nastiness.
What we need, in my opinion, is a better way to converse, a better way to debate. Something that will not just be a tit-for-tat, barb for barb, shit flinging contest. Something that is actually designed to get at the truth of the thing, to isolate the best solutions and publicize them to the world.
Scientists do that. If the general public could, I believe we could have a utopian society very soon.

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What a Wonderful World

Most of my time on Facebook is spent arguing about politics and it is largely a fruitless and bitter endeavor, people are shit and the story never changes, but as I scroll through today avoiding any articles about Matt Gaetz, and trying hard not to think too much about the Derek Chauvin trial, I still see posts of natural, and sometimes man-made, beauty from around the world.
From the blooming jacaranda trees in Mexico City’s Chapultepec Park to some flowering cherry trees in South Korea (any day now in Prague, any day now), from a beach at sunset in Angola to the ancient Roman city of Ronda in the south of Spain, with it’s bizarrely high bridges, from a botanical park in the Netherlands, neatly planned beds of glorious tulips and other flowers along the banks of a canal, and I think to myself, in the immortal words of Louis Armstrong, what a wonderful world.

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Quantity v. Quality

Perhaps it’s because of the quarantine, which means I’m spending even more time on-line, and that’s even more than the whole hell of a lot which is what it was before, and perhaps it’s because of our on-line culture itself which grows ever more dominant, but a lot of the poems I have written lately, I’d say 90%, are direct responses to something I’ve read on-line.
Here’s a quick example from yesterday:

Descartes plays a part

in philosophy’s history

in my opinion

a very large part

if we’re looking into

the meaning of meaning

to know we exist is

a good place to start

which was part of a larger philosophical discussion which got into a debate between Spinozians and DesCartesans that was a bit over my head, but I am pleased with the poem.
The strength of this kind of writing is that I’ve been cranking out a lot of poems recently. The weakness is that a lot of them lose their meaning when read by themselves, out of context. Not this one, this will go into my next book, for sure, but probably over half of them.
Quality v. Quantity. It’s an age old debate, in literature and all other pursuits and, as in so many of the great debates, there’s something to be said for both sides.

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