Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Single Mothers of New Orleans

It Sucks Being Black Sometimes

I am off on another tangent here that will tick people off but bear with me until the end. There is a method to my madness.

I am sick and tired of the media images that I keep seeing coming out of New Orleans and elsewhere that depict the 'American Family' and how it is suffering.

In the past few weeks I have seen news story after news story showing black mothers with their 3 to 6 children (all under 10 years of age) lamenting about their loss, and how their 'babies ain't got no food or shoes'.

On a local news channel last week I got so see an Hispanic mother whining about the State not paying for her daughters eye cancer surgery because it was 'experimental' and not covered by publicly funded state health care. The mother didn't speak English and had to complain through an interpreter.

Needless to say, that the fathers of this little sea of humanity were no where to be found. They are all single women that have managed to have multiple births (possibly through multiple fathers) and they are lamenting their situation now that they have run into difficult times.

Now, I realize that a lot of these women had little choice in the matter. The sad truth about today's society is that women in low economic classes don't have much opportunity outside of childbirth and are often the victims of domestic violence or rape. They are often denied the 'choice' of having a child and the type of man they end up with. So we can't necessarily blame the women for the plight that they are in. We have to give them kudos for at least caring for the children and not abandoning them.

What has me upset here is the way in which the media feasts on these images and uses them to perpetuate the norm. The media is not about information; it is about imagery and normalcy. Here in Phoenix, Arizona, the morning news shows morning traffic backed up for miles and commute times of 45 minutes to travel 10 miles and speak of it in terms of, "Wow, I-17 sure is backed up this morning, consider an alternate route to work."

It is the same with these single mothers. "Oh, well, mommy got knocked up and daddy ain't around no more, so let's all pitch in and help poor Tonisha and her 6 kids."

Where is the media responsibility to show that this is incorrect? I don't see the media reporting on all the affluent 'nuclear' black families (with fathers) in New Orleans that saved their money and planned for the disaster. They aren't holding these people up as examples to be followed. They show the poor down trodden and say 'What a shame'. Where is the media pressure on fathers to be responsible? None of these news stories even asked the mothers about the children's fathers or if they were helping out or doing anything. It was just 'assumed' that the biological fathers weren't around and accepted as a norm. Instead of eliciting sympathy from the American Public in Minnesota or Arizona, why isn't the media tracking down the deadbeat dads and saying to them, "YOUR kids are starving. You remember Tonisha? The woman you 'popped' five years ago....she had your baby."

Instead of showing the interstate backed up for miles every morning, where is the social responsibility and editorial content to say, "Why the hell isn't government looking into alternate transportation systems?" Instead, they are telling us to 'put up with it and be happy' instead of telling us to 'get angry and think different'.

The media is becoming the Prozac of modern society. It is perpetuating a norm that is neither healthy nor beneficial for society. They are glossing over or ignoring the issues that make up the fundamental problems in the modern world. Instead of acting to change the norm, they are 'teaching' us to 'react' to the consequences.

This is nuts!!!


(All Pictures Taken with my Palm Pilot)

Dodge Theater

There is the randomness of nature. The leaves, the roots, the flowing of the steams, the gusting of the wind. Then, I see the repetition of society. The way we strive to make everything the same, over and over again.

Auto Body Shop

I have to assume that there is something deep in our brains that craves this repetition. We always want things to be the same, never changing, predictiable. We line things up in rows. We think ourselves brilliant for coming up with mass production, where thousands of little rubber duckies roll off of assembly lines, one just like the next. The lines produce cars, widgets, action figures, guns, etc. All the same, with interchangable parts.

Bathroom Floor

This past weekend I spent a good part of Sunday trimming trees. Untangling the intertwined branches, cutting them off with anvil sheers and then slicing them all into neat lengths so they would fit into garbage bags. The end result? All that randomness of nature arranged in a neat row of 33 gallon Hefty bags.

Closed Storefront

If we had control over nature how would we make it look. Would all of the rivers be arrow straight? Would all of the forests have trees the exact same height? Would it ALWAYS be 72 degrees and sunny? It seems that this is the mindset that we have when we create the world that we live in.

Building, Phoenix

We know from experience that a curved surface can have more strength than a flat one. Adverstity and randomness requires adaptability. There are no straight lines in nature for a reason. Nature wants only those that can pass the test in order to move on. It does not keep making the same plants and animals millenia after millenia. Yet we strive for mediacracy. We roll thousands of Dodge Chargers off the assembly lines and make ourselves think each one is 'unique' because of their different colors, better stereos or choice of wheel covers.

Building, Phoenix

Maybe the fact that all things are the same gives us a sense of normalcy, a sense of security. But it also paints us into a corner and gives us a narrow view of what is possible. It scares me that there is a whole generation of children that actually see McDonald's as food yet have never peeled an orange. They have ridden in cars and buses all their lives but never had to ford a stream or climb a tree.

Court House Steps

For some reason, I think we are ill prepared for our future.

Thursday, October 6, 2005

Don't Vote

Fear The Future

This is going to sound awfully un-American. I am sure it will not go over well in an era where the media is telling us to pour out our hearts and pocket books for the poor ignorant illiterate uninsured people in Louisiana, the brave young men and women fighting for cheap oil in Iraq and all those middle class gay couples that can't get a valid marriage license.

But in case you have not figured out the 'BIG PICTURE', the system does not work. It hasn't worked for a long time and the fact that folks are still telling you that it does is the biggest shame of all.

Allow me to start with a little background here. Let's set the way-back machine to 1776 and look at how this whole thing started and how it was 'supposed' to work. If you are like me, you probably realized around the time you were 25 or 30 years old, that most of the stuff they taught us in social studies and US History was a bunch of crap.

The founding fathers of this nation basically had a plan to go into business for themselves. Sure they had lofty ideals, based on the Greek model of democracy and the Roman concept of Republic. But they also owned slaves, cheated on their wives and were looking for fast and cheap ways to get more land to make them selves rich. You might remember that there weren't too many founding fathers that were cobblers or fisherman. They all had homes called Mt. Vernon or Monticello. They didn't live at 127 Back Alley Road, Boston. Along these lines, they set forth a government that was going to be centered on perpetuating their 'click'. That meant that women didn't vote, ethnics didn't vote and in fact, unless you were a land owner, you couldn't vote. Sure they wrote down things about 'We The People' and 'all men created equal', but that was just to get Joseph Cobbler or Ichabod the fisherman to go along with it.

This all worked pretty well, as long as there were resources, land and native people to slaughter. Expansion drives an economy, and when folks are making money (or at least think they are going to), they don't tend to get too restless with the government.

So for about 150 years, politics worked well for those that had created it; Middle to upper class white men. You had the Chicago Machine and the Tammany Hall boys on the east coast and the land barons in the west. They pretty much greased the palms of the politicans that got elected and in general things went the white folk's way. Not a bad deal, as long as you can keep the races pure and keep the ethnics doing the menial labor. The majority had the power and they used it to advance the interests that 'generally' were good for the rest of us.

After World War II, there was a movement that started the rise of the 'ethnics'. All those black people that went off to war, and the Chinese gardeners and the Mexican farm laborers all started to complain about not having part of the 'dream'. This gave rise to the 'new' Democrats. The champions of the down trodden. Prior to the Second World War, Democrats were just like Republican's are today. But the new Democrats, the Kennedys, and the Humphreys, and the Johnsons all wanted to make a new powerbase. One built on sheer numbers of voters, and not money and influence. So we got the civil rights act, social security, the 'New Deal', and so on.

This in turn, over time gave rise to a new class of politician, 'The bureaucrat'. That made money and power by overseeing the vast bureaucracy that stemmed from the glut of social programs brought about to service the down trodden. Ever since this rise of the bureaucracy, the gap between the good of the common people and the governments desire to perpetuate itself has become wider and wider.

With the fall of the Soviet Union and the collapse of the military industrial complex, there was a little unforeseen problem. Without unlimited government deficit spending we had to start finding ways to pay for things. And that is when the economy went global. Resources started to get scarce, powerbases across the globe started to shift, and all of a sudden third world princess had all the oil and upstarts like China and the 'United' Europe started making things better and cheaper. This gave rise to the 'Service Economy ' in the United States. With the exception of specialized production (Stealth Bombers, Fast Attach Submarines, Space Shuttles, etc.) everything we own and want started to come from somewhere else.

This leaves us with the government that we have today.

In the early 1980s there was the Arab Oil Embargo and gas prices soared and there were gas lines and the economy went into depression. This was unexpected to a certain degree. Today, we 'know' that gas is running out. There is not enough supply or infrastructure to supply all the developing 3rd and 2nd world nations with the fuel to run their Toyotas and portable generators so they can watch SKY television. The US government knew this was coming. They could see it in the bar graphs, but have they tightened gas mileage restrictions on new cars? Have they mandated more mass transit? Have they required heavy investment in alternate fuels? We didn't see this coming in the 1980s and we did all these things. We saw it coming in the 2000s and did nothing. Why? Because the politicians and their 'backers' wanted it to happen. There is money to be made in chaos, but only if you can stay above the fray.

There has been a fundamental shift in the concept of government and what it does in the modern society. Instead of an entity by and for the people it has become an entity unto itself and it's primary goal is not to serve the good of the populace but the good of itself. Government now self-perpetuates itself and those elite that run and control it.

In any major presidential campaign of the last 20 years, Boeing and IBM have all given money to candidates to try and influence the laws and regulation that govern their business. The smart corporations give 49% of their campaign money to one party and 51% to the one they really want to win. The end result is, it does not matter who wins, and either candidate is indebted to Boeing and IBM. As in any good mystery or who-done-it novel...you follow the money.

We have been lead to believe that since the turn of the last century (the 20th one), this is a two party government and you either have to be a Democrat or a Republican. Obviously it is felt that these two political parties will cover all the possible issues that we will be concerned about. What it really tends to do, is make politics a black or white issue. Sort of like a football game. You can only root for one side to win. Only problem is, this isn't a game. It is our future and the future of the world. The development and fostering of 3rd or 4th political parties in this country has been repressed, not for lack of interest, but because it would upset the playing field. Boeing doesn't want to divide up its campaign spending by giving 19% to one person and 22% to another and 33% to a third.

In case you have not seen the reality of all this, the awful truth is that you have no say in your government. You are told that you have the right to vote and that you are given various candidates that will represent your views. Sorry folks, this is bull shit. Your vote is meaningless. Always has been. This is not a democracy, it is a republic. Which is to say; it is a 'representative democracy' where you choose others to vote for you. The choices that we are given are not choices at all. Our choices are those that can get enough backing from the current power brokers who have determined that the candidate does not scare the public and that the candidate won't upset the apple cart that big government rides in.

Telling the American public that we had a choice between George W. Bush and John Kerry is like saying you have a choice between Joseph Stalin and Benito Mussolini. Stalin is a great motivator and Mussolini is very charismatic....and owww, yea...they are both Dictators! Bush and Kerry are both just hand puppets of the money machines that keep them in power. This is not a choice.

In the last presidential election, Bush won over Kerry by only a little over 50% of the vote. Wow....close race. Hardly! Only about 1/4 of the American populace bothers to vote in Presidential elections. Of this 1/4 of the populace only HALF voted for Bush (that would make it 1/8 of the populace ... what a mandate!) And this 1/4 of the populace voted for the electors that went off to Washington to rubber stamp Bush into office.

The bottom line is; Politicians are 'appointed', they are not elected. I have seen this in the lowest forms of state and local government and I would be ignorant to think that it does not exist on a larger scale at the federal level. If you need a good example, just look at 'Brownie'....Bush's choice to head up FEMA prior to Hurricane Katrina, Rita. Never mind that this man had NO experience in the job. He helped Bush out somewhere back down the road and this was his pay off. Only problem was those damn storms! Brownie just went to prove, it isn't what you know, it is who you know. Try telling that to the folks in Louisiana.

So my only solution here is, Don't Vote. You are wasting your time. You wont' make a difference. If no one voted, we would still get the same presidents and they would still tell us that they are working on our behalf.

Forms of government are like organisms. They have life spans. They are young and energetic, mature and reserved and eventually, old and disturbed. I have to say that we are in the beginning stages of the latter. Governments only leave town in two ways; slow decay or violent over throw. Given the compressed situation in the world, both with population and connectivity, I doubt that the next change in regime will come from slow decay.