Friday, January 25, 2008

give them bread and circuses

The Democrats appear to be completely caving in again (which is not surprising in the least) and basically giving Bush everything he wants on the new economic stimulus package. In reality the package is nothing more than a cheap bribe to the American people. Most of us working stiffs will get a $300 tax rebate - whoop-de-fucking-doo! Richer citizens will get bigger rebates and the poor (many of whom don't pay taxes) are left out in the cold.

Our so-called leaders just want us to go on blindly consuming shoddily-made, unneeded products and keep watching our "reality" shows while they and their corporate cronies continue to rape and pillage the economy and the government into oblivion.

You can read real analysis by people who know they're stuff here:

Thursday, January 17, 2008

time for a national trans member org?

My guess is that far smarter people than me have thought and maybe even tried some of this but...

I've been contemplating the idea of a broadly conceived, inclusive, national transgender membership organization lately. It seems to me that perhaps part of the problem with getting our message out there (and separated from the G&L messages) and our causes heard, is that we don't have an umbrella organization that a large percentage of trans people (or at least out trans folk) belong to and participate in.

In my profession as a librarian, there are lots of associations and professional societies, but the biggest and most useful in promoting library causes on the national level is the American Library Association (ALA). While this behemoth organization has more than it's share of shortcomings, it is very effective in lobbying Washington for causes that it's membership directs it to promote.

It seems to me that if such a trans organization were somehow put together from the grassroots, with fair and periodic elections for leadership positions and a bottom-up way of communicating needs and platforms, such an organization could eventually grow to be a force of good for trans causes. Of course, it's mission would have to be broad enough to incorporate the needs of the whole spectrum of gender variant individuals and existing groups, and their partners, families, and allies, but I think it is possible. Perhaps it's initial vision/mission statement might be kept simple and along the lines of the likes of the NAACP or AARP. Here is a simple one off the top of my head (I'm sure there are gaping holes in it, but bear with me - I've also named my made-up organization NGEA - National Gender Expression Association):

NGEA is dedicated to improving the quality of life for people of all gender expressions, and building a society in which all individuals, regardless of gender expression, are afforded equal rights and protections and can be free from hatred and violence.
Given that so many of my trans sisters and brothers are deep in the closet and an even larger percentage are in dire financial situations, would such an organization be impossible to construct? Is there a way to get closeted people involved while maintaining their privacy? Is there a way to realistically fund such an organization? I'm not sure, but perhaps if savvier people than me take up the cause and plan for the longer-term, such a dream might become reality...

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

hey buddy, can I get change for this penny?

Change lays not her hand upon truth.
Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837–1909)

So, when a raging fever burns,
We shift from side to side by turns;
And ’t is a poor relief we gain
To change the place, but keep the pain.
Isaac Watts (1674–1748)

To hear people all over the country speak about who they support in the current presidential race, you'd think we are on the brink of a massive political revolution. Change seems to be thick in the air - every candidate and pundit seems to be bending over backwards to argue they are the true agent of change (Obama just latched onto that message first). But what kind of change are we talking about? Do the people and pundits and politicians that mouth these words incessantly even know what specific changes they are talking about? Or are they simply reflecting the deep depressive nature of today's US citizenry and a deep desire, in the face of the seemingly endless corruption and callousness of our current leaders, for change, any change? Have we wholly bought into a snake oil solution - one made simply of our own fears and feelings of helplessness? Has any previous president who ran on a message of change
(which non-incumbent president didn't?!) actually institute any real institutional change?

In my humble opinion, people need to get over this lazy desire for the candidate offering the most generic version of "change," and instead take the fucking time and devote some deep thought to look at each candidate's specific proposals for change. Do you agree with those changes or just want change for the sake of change? Is your candidate of choice offering real, achievable, concrete changes, or just a pipe-dream, feel-good, marketing ploy? I am not totally sure if any of the top candidates out there are offering much of anything real, but I fear for the viability of our country if a strong proponent of the latter vision prevails (Romney, Huckabee and Obama come most prominently to mind in this vein)...

But then again, that's just my opinion - what's yours?

Saturday, January 05, 2008

middle child syndrome

I have to say right up front that while at first I was excited that a woman was running for president, and during Bill's reign, I thought Hilary got a bad rAP. She's smart and confident. However, ever since, as I've watched her policy stances develop into more and more complex slices of pseudo-neocon triangulation, I've come to think she would make a poor president. The same thing happened with Obama as he seems to be the empty vessel candidate - great way of speaking but with little reflection of the realities of politics. Having said all that, I've been a form Kucinich supporter since the beginning, even knowing that he has zero chance of winning anything. If he's still around by NY primary time, I will vote for him nevertheless. I am sick of voting for someone just because they might win.

But that leaves John Edwards, who I've also long been a fan of. His fight against corporate greed and recognition of the huge impact of poverty and the need to battle it on many fronts really resonates with me. So I have been rooting for him. However, for the last couple months I feel he's gotten lost in the celebrity candidate crush. Despite polling levels on a par with Obama and Hilary, his share of media coverage has, in my opinion, been small. And now flash forward to the day after the Iowa caucuses. On NPR (of which I am a huge supporter because they are generally even in their coverage of any topic) there was barely a mention of him. Story after story, politico analysis after analysis discussed Obama and Hilary despite the fact that Edwards finished second, ahead of Hilary! I fear the media's treatment of him as a forgotten middle child will mean he does not stand a chance. It's too bad the media and the handful of rich and mostly conservative owners of those outlets play such a large part in electing our leaders...