Saturday, August 14, 2004

Wish I Could Go To New York

I have a strange and wonderful job. I am a teacher who for last year and this year is working exclusively with one family. Obviously, they have a little money, but they also have three kids who can't make it in regular classrooms due to learning disabilities. Don't get the wrong idea, all three are brilliant; chess champions at various times, the whole deal. But regular classrooms just don't work so I am "homeschooling them".

I mention this, because our school year starts just before the Republican Convention. I would love to go to New York for that, but I just can't take the time off right at the beginning of the year. Not to mention the risk that a striking police force could mean days of waiting to get processed should arrests ensue.

So, somebody go and raise hell in my name, will ya?


I continue to read about the Kerry/Nader debate. This article from Counterpunch is about Clinton but it is EXACTLY the sort of thing I expect from Kerry. Unless liberal democrats dominate the House and Senate (that sound you hear is me NOT holding my breath) it will be Republicans and conservative Democrats he'll be dealing with. Not bad for Kerry, because that seems to be his comfort zone anyway.

The problem here is the "Nixon goes to China" phenomenon. Clinton got away with stuff that, I believe, would have led to far greater protest if carried out by a Republican. The Welfare Destruction Act is the worst of the lot, with the Anti-Terrorism (read Anti-Constitution) law a close second. Of course, any President who starts a war tends to get what he wants anyway, and Iran is looking awful tasty about now.

I am pleased to report that my local NAACP is, in fact, planning some election monitoring for Tennessee. The planning is in very early stages, and having no idea who I am, they aren't involving me in this early phase. I was hoping that members of our local peace group would jump on the chance to work in a coalition with the historic (albeit often a bit conservative) NAACP on such a project as this. I don't know what the thinking of my local group is, but I put this out for other groups out there. Many "left" groups I have worked with tend to complain that nearly all their members are white and then fail to take advantage of opportunities to work in coalition with organizations representing people of color.

It is, I think, the willingness to accept the leadership of, and not just partnership with, organizations like NAACP that can really strengthen the ties between "white liberal" organizations and organizations from other sectors of society.

Usually, white liberals' main interaction with, say, African-American organizations, is insisting that the leadership of those organizations condemn the latest thing that some prominent African American has said, whether it be Farrakhan or Sister Souljah or Ice T or Jesse or whoever the hell.

I hope that I don't get held responsible for everything various dumb ass white people say, or I'll NEVER have time for anything else.

We on the "white left" (I'm sorry, I don't know what else to call it), really need to do better at working with people where they are and not insisting they support all of our agenda.

This includes working with white people to our own right and left. While not, I think, an official act of the leadership of our local peace group, one protester at a recent anti-Bush rally was told to stop bashing Kerry. I'll admit, it is getting so easy to bash Kerry that it's almost not sporting anymore. But still, you get my point.

Meanwhile, the Libertarians, who take some positions I can't stand, are really coming on strong against this and other wars. After all, war is the ultimate abuse of government power. is one of many libertarian sites ripping all kinds of holes in the logic of empire. (That, actually, is not that hard to do either, unless you have U.S. press credentials.)


I enjoyed the opening ceremony of the Olympic games. Obviously, the Olympics are so corporate now that it can be tough to watch, and they interrupted the opening ceremonies plenty with commercials.

It was interesting to watch the reaction of the crowds. Big ovations for Palestine and Cuba, for example. If Katy Couric and Bob Costas had cut out what, I guess, was supposed to be witty banter, the opening production would have been very cool. U.S. sports announcers continue to make the mistake that viewers are tuning into the events to listen to THEM.

The U.S. was received warmly as well, and here Costas did a good job of explaining the Greek hostility to American foreign policy but how they differentiated that from the American people. It was instructive for our highly provincial nation, and also a lesson. You can disagree with a country without hating (or in our case, killing, maiming and otherwise destroying) its people. Imagine that.

I still think that Olympic sports should be held in the nude, however. The games really lost something since the introduction of clothing for the modern games. I guess I'm just old fashioned.


Post a Comment

<< Home