Tuesday, July 3, 2007

My Strange Nation (Susan Werner)

[ I was working on this blog post last night when a horrendous lightning/thunder/rain storm came through, knocking out my DSL/router - I've called my computer consultant but, since it's a holiday, told him tomorrow was fine to fix it. In the meantime, I'm up at Kinko's publishing this and the next entry - I'm going to cheat a bit and postdate this one for yesterday, since I hate to ruin my consecutive streak! ]

Given the upcoming Fourth of July holiday (and I promise to write about the "pretty" side of it tomorrow), I had a discussion the other day with some friends - the question at hand was... can change occur without a revolution? I tend to think not - I was raised to believe "if you don't fight for what you want, you deserve what you get". Civil rights and women's rights and human rights have never been handed over on a silver platter - they (continue to) take time to unfold... with reminders and demonstrations and legislation. The only people happy with the status quo are the status privileged - since the personal is the political, it's our duty to speak up and act out because, until all of us are free/equal, none of us are...

SONG: My Strange Nation by Susan Werner

BOOK: Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellion by Gloria Steinem

POEM: Patriotics by David Baker

Yesterday a little girl got slapped to death by her daddy,
out of work, alcoholic, and estranged two towns down river.
America, it's hard to get your attention politely.
America, the beautiful night is about to blow up

and the cop who brought the man down with a shot to the chops
is shaking hands, dribbling chaw across his sweaty shirt,
and pointing cars across the courthouse grass to park.
It's the Big One one more time, July the 4th,

our country's perfect holiday, so direct a metaphor for war,
we shoot off bombs, launch rockets from Drano cans,
spray the streets and neighbors' yards with the machine-gun crack
of fireworks, with rebel yells and beer. In short, we celebrate.

It's hard to believe. But so help the soul of Thomas Paine,
the entire county must be here--the acned faces of neglect,
the halter-tops and ties, the bellies, badges, beehives,
jacked-up cowboy boots, yes, the back-up singers of democracy

all gathered to brighten in unambiguous delight
when we attack the calm and pointless sky. With terrifying vigor
the whistle-stop across the river will lob its smaller arsenal
halfway back again. Some may be moved to tears.

We'll clean up fast, drive home slow, and tomorrow
get back to work, those of us with jobs, convicting the others
in the back rooms of our courts and malls--yet what
will be left of that one poor child, veteran of no war

but her family's own? The comfort of a welfare plot,
a stalk of wilting prayers? Our fathers' dreams come true as
So the first bomb blasts and echoes through the streets and shrubs:
red, white, and blue sparks shower down, a plague

of patriotic bugs. Our thousand eyeballs burn aglow like punks.
America, I'd swear I don't believe in you, but here I am,
and here you are, and here we stand again, agape.

QUOTE: "So keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin' ass and celebratin' the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was." ~ Molly Ivins

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