Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Liberals are losing another sure bet

Where is Mother Theresa when we need her?
The New York Times, in an article entitled, "Liberal Hopes Ebb in Post-Storm Poverty Debate" is a perfect illustration of the shell game going on among the rich in this nation. Jason DeParle gets all the sound bites I have been hearing too:
"We can't raise taxes now when the economy is hit so hard by Katrina."
"The programs we would cut to pay for Katrina are broken anyway"
Is it really so political to help the poor? I did not know that I had to be liberal to be compassionate. I thought economic prosperity was a conservative value, too.
I am not convinced we as a nation have to divide over this issue. Perhaps it is not an issue that can be solved at the federal level. Maybe this is a "Mother Theresa" problem. By that I mean that the possible solution is to start with our own voices speaking about what we see that disturbs us, articulating why it is wrong, and inviting others to conversation. Then with those thoughts articulated, act on them in local, tangible and personal ways. Instead of getting caught up in the politics, walk down the street to a shelter and offer one person help. People locally can start to organize around individual people, acting out of a spiritual personal connection to people in need -- like Macy Gray or Michael Moore did in their way -- by just listening to someone's story, by helping someone network to find a job, by feeding someone physically and spiritually.
I think the liberal are losing the war because they don't know how to fight the battle. There is still time left before daylight to change our plan of attack. It's poverty and hopelessness and isolation the liberals need to fight. Not the conservatives in Congress.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Rescuing our culture before it is bulldozed away

NOLA's Ark? ...In this case, after the flood.
I was dreaming this morning and somehow (maybe it was from celebrating Rosh Hashanah last night) Noah's Ark floated into my mind. Honestly I thought about Noah after the Tsunami, also, but I didn't have anywhere to talk about it.
Could there be a "NOLAs Ark" as a part of this effort? A place to put things we want to save and renew or restore when there is "dry land" again in New Orleans? This cultural community ark could be anything. I see it as a keeper of links to cultural icons (however we define culture and icon!) during their restorations, as a place to document architectural culture, as a place to keep up with our musical icons and places...It could also be a place to say "Hey! What happened to X?" and alert people to find out and recover those things.
The idea is that when we finally land, we don't want to look around and say "Oh, we forgot the Unicorn!"

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Jumbo Roll

'Just wondering if anyone else can call up the scent of Charmin toilet paper on demand and if it invokes in them the same sense memory that it does for me....
I have many many memories associated with smells--Granma's Shalimar, Papa's kitchen, Mom's gardenias--but none so readily available as those associated with a roll of Charmin. It is not a complicated nostalgia: an image of my childhood home, the second floor bathroon by my room, a feeling of total security, that all was right and would ever be so.
I just have to think that all of us - humans, at least - might have a sense memory for something that invokes feelings of simple childhood well-being. A scent, a texture, a sound, a color can take us to a place where we were once safe from and safe in the world.
Within our hearts - even the adult ones - there must surely be a recognition that every child has the capacity for and human right to feel well-being. Can we all agree that, all children get at least a moment or two of physical and psychological safety?
Can that include safety from
ex-secretaries of education de-valuing the lives of generations yet unborn? Can we extend that particular right to the rest of us?
Whether we are black or white or Indian or Pakistani or Jewish or Muslim or Tibetan or Chinese, certainly there was a time for each of us when were pre-hatred -- from others and for others. Can we all take a sec and remember when that was, what it felt like, maybe associate that memory with something that surrounded us at the time, a mother's arms, sunlighton summer grass, a wooly blanket, gospel music on the radio? Pre-hatred, folks...for those who simply can't get back there on their own, I am offering a coupon for a jumbo roll of Charmin...Let's try this. O.K?