The End of the World as I Knew It? Or Status Quo?

Yesterday was the day when Christine Blasey Ford testified to Congress about her assault by Brett Kavanaugh. Yesterday was the day when Brett Kavanaugh defended himself against those charges. It was a circus, and it never should have happened. The result will be the deeper impression that the judicial system is more political and more corrupt than it ever has been. At least that will be the view of more than half the nation and a good part of the world.

Yet was justice really the point. It appears not. This whole situation has been twisted into a reason why the FBI is ineffective, and the slippery slope outcome of that argument is that we need to get rid of the head of the FBI. Wouldn’t that be convenient for the investigation about Russian ties to the president?

Yet if Mr. Kavanaugh had been held to account more strongly by Democrats in terms of their line of questioning (see this Slate article), and – more importantly – if Republicans were showing any respect for ethics, today’s testimony would never have been needed. Lives would not have been even more forever altered. The faith in our system may not have cracked further. If, rather than push this nomination through to get ahead of the mid-term elections (which clearly Republicans are nervous about – otherwise, what’s the hurry?), Republicans actually looked into whether Kavanaugh had lied – or was less than truthful – under oath when questioned by Congress for his current appointment, then they would have denied the confirmation earlier in the week.

But clearly ethics don’t matter. What happened to the party of Lincoln?

And Democrats don’t fare much better. By setting up a he said-she said scenario without grilling deeply into what’s already been aired, they have set up a scenario that perpetuates the status quo for women. Information goes nowhere. Rape kits aren’t tested. No evidence. Nothing changes.

I am disgusted by them all. I love what this country is supposed to stand for. But I am disgusted.

There is a complete leadership vacuum. There is a complete ethical vacuum. And this is what our young people know. Because actions speak louder than words. And inaction speaks volumes.

Twenty-seven years ago I was a naïve 22-year old at her first “real” job. The Anita Hill trials were going on. I was being sexually harassed at the time, but I didn’t think anyone would believe me because no one believed her. The culture of the 1980s and early 1990s was very sexist, yet in the guise of sexual freedom for women. That put all the responsibility on women because they now have a choice, but the culture hadn’t changed to expect accountability from men – old or young. I thought no one would believe me, but as I found out later (after he was let go for other issues), I would have been believed because he already had a pattern of behavior. And since he was fired and I was still there, why would I say anything more? So, I didn’t. Anita Hill was not believed by our leaders. And neither was Dr. Blasey Ford, I suspect. It’s politics above all. Of course, like many men led by their super-ego, he tried to move on to more powerful positions – this one also in government. But the people denied him based on his political stance.

The message Congress sends to my own 17-year-old daughter and every other young woman is toxic. President Trump basically said “you are not believed.” This country only gives lip service to equality. Women are equal when they can make me a buck, but when they are not useful, fuck ‘em. And fuck ‘em to make them useful. Either way we’re fucked. I am disgusted.

I am disgusted that we are still here. Twenty-seven years later.

I’d be willing to bet the people – if given a chance – would deny Kavanaugh. But that isn’t our system, and I respect the purpose of the lifetime appointment. If people voted on Supreme Court justices, this sort of spectacle would be the norm. That’s not healthy for our country.

But today the Senate will be voting. They will not just be voting on a new justice, they will be voting on my rights, my daughter’s rights, and potentially my granddaughter’s rights. My own grandmother, who only gained the right to vote when she was in her ‘20s encouraged me to stand tall for women’s rights and the rights of women to choose when they would be mothers. If this right is not upheld, which it most likely won’t by those who don’t respect women as human beings, then this country is not worth shit.

Fuck ‘em.

Examining Violence in the Classroom

It all sounded so interesting . . . looking at this phenomenon called violence in my first-year college writing class. We examine it under the proverbial microscope and discover the sociological, biological, and other factors behind this behavior that people don’t even agree how to define.

But then violence – individual and collective — actually happens. Continue reading Examining Violence in the Classroom

First Editions — Read Them or Mothball Them?

A few years ago, I picked up a copy of the Gabriel Garcia Marquez book — News of a Kidnapping (happened to be a first translated edition — no author signature). A few weeks ago, before I learned of the elections in Colombia, I started reading it. When I purchased this book, I assumed it was another fiction novel, hopefully full of magic realism. But even better than that — and coincidentally — it is about a relevant and real topic: the kidnapping of a number journalists in Colombia during a time in which various factions were at war. Technically they still are, and a couple of weeks ago, the citizens of Columbia voted down the peace treaty — which went to a vote of the people — for a number of reasons. Since then, however, the ceasefire is holding, and more talks are at hand. This week, Colombia’s president, Juan Manuel Santos, won the Nobel Peace Prize; Garcia Marquez won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982. Given all that, not only does this book read like a political thriller, it is also completely relevant (sadly) even though it was published in 1996.

One (translated) quote from the book that Americans should think about, I believe, is:

Easy money, a narcotic more harmful than the ill named ‘heroic-drugs’ was injected into the national culture. The idea prospered: The law is the greatest obstacle to happiness; it is a waste of time learning to read and write; you can live a better, more secure life as a criminal than as a law-abiding citizen–in short, this was the social breakdown typical of all undeclared wars. (130)

This is a lot of verbiage about a good book by a great writer, but the point of this post is that I am READING it. I’m reading it in all of its dust-jacketed, first edition perfection. And I put it in my purse and read it in the car while I was waiting for my daughter. And I feel guilty.

Because somehow, first editions are for collecting, and it’s wrong to mess up something that’s collectible. Collectible books are precious gems to hold onto and take out of their cases very careful. Perhaps turn a page or two, but be very careful not to bend the binding or a corner.

But, then again, the other part of me says, “What good is a book if it’s not read?” Putting a book on a shelf to stay pristine so it remains collectible is antithetical to the idea of writing and repudiates the world of ideas through a willful act of neglect. Reading and writing are a transaction not in the sense that one makes a deposit in a bank and then takes out the thing when it’s useful monetarily. They are a transaction between the self and the world of ideas, of history, of morals, and of art. And that just begins to touch on it. To leave a book on a shelf is to leave ideas unshared, thoughts not thought, connections not made, souls not touched.

I may no longer be able to sell this copy on Abe Books or some other marketplace for top dollar because of the slightly bent dust jacket, but I’ve learned and connected more with the world around me. And that’s worth more than what anyone might pay me for that pristine copy.

 

The End of the World As We Know It, or The Untied Kingdom

Spethorne – Leave                                             Leave 51%     Remain 49%

Blaby – Leave

Tonbridge & Malby – Leave

High Peak – Leave

Hinkley – Leave                                                   Leave 52%   Remain 48%

Hyndburn – Leave

Isles of Scilly – Remain

Kettering – Leave                                                Leave 51%    Remain 49%

Watching the warp and weft of history, economics, geography, and politics shift  — via live election results — is at once a true and false illusion, a sudden perception of electrons and molecules there all along. The strange collusion of event and media that obscures the reality of truth somewhere between policy outcomes and reactionary whim.

Lambeth – Remain

Leicester – Remain

Lincoln – Leave

Liverpool – Remain                                           Leave 49%           Remain 51%

Manchester – Remain

When nations, cities, any sort of state fail to recognize the needs of those they govern, rifts happen, people ally, the shifting balance quickly tears already worn fabrics not cared enough about to patch. Rather, people bet, make fortunes and jump off window ledges citing unhedged losses.

Angus – Remain

St Helens – Leave                                          Leave 50%            Remain  50%

London – Remain

Tameside – Leave

Rochdale – Leave

Trafford – Remain

Oldham – Leave                                             Leave 51%           Remain 49%

Expat Brits on the Continent wonder what does this mean for my family? UK Immigrants wonder, what does this mean for my family? Scots may leave the UK. The Irelands contemplate reunion. Can a faded Union Jack mend itself to become vibrant with all rows of the country’s warp and weft rewoven to support each other? After more than 300 years, the United Kingdom is becoming the Untied Kingdom.