We get what we deserve

This is not a Republican or Democrat thing….it is about all of us.

I had alluded to this topic in an earlier post, but I think it is clarified in my mind.

It seems like most of us just accept the fact we are in America and don’t think about how lucky we are to be here, and there is no way we should pay or sacrifice for the privilege.

It goes back to the 2nd World War when the government made us aware that we had to contribute to be part of the effort to save America and the free world.  If you were the right age and physical condition you were either drafted or volunteered for the service.  You joined organizations that helped the war effort from neighborhood air wardens to the USO.  And all essential items were rationed, from gasoline to food to clothing to cars (no new ones for 4 years), and taxes ran as high as 90%, and everyone saved stamps in savings bond books until we got enough to get bonds.  And bond drives were constant, to get as much money as possible out of circulation.

The draft was in effect through the Vietnamese War, then it was stopped.  These police actions, ranging from Korea to Vietnam to Granada to Serbia to Iraq and Afghanistan were so frequent, and the government went under the policy of we could have guns AND butter, that wars could go on at huge costs but we could keep on shopping.

Of course our dollar has devalued, our kids grow up thinking that the desert wars are great inspiration for video games, and we can ignore when 30 of our finest are killed in one day and concentrate on meaningless celebrity foibles, etc.

So  no wonder so few volunteer for services that would help America or feel the need to contribute more or to help get our service people out of harms’ way or do anything for anyone else , as all the spending and wasting and wars don’t affect us personally unless we are related to some tragedy that occurs.

Will someone have the guts to make us the America I knew growing up?

Photo by footthumb from stock.xchng.com

You’re a what?

My dad was not particularly liberal in his politics, but he was reflective of his era.  However, he was very much of a humanist and I don’t think he ever discriminated against anybody because of color or sexuality.

There were black, asian, latin and Samoan skaters in Roller Derby and we never thought about it.  And even when we played in the South in the 60’s and 70’s no attempt was made to change the skaters so the visitors would have the non-whites on them.

And I know there were gay skaters, both men and women, from the 40’s on.  I can’t say that there weren’t incidents, because there were, but management never came down on the players because of their sexual preference.  And one irony is that one of the strongest and fiercest of our teams (who won a championship) were as far as I could tell all queer except for two, and I am talking about the men and women squads.  By the way, are queer and gay both acceptable or should I even care?

Photo by Ali Farid from stock.xchng.com

The reason that I even bring this up now is that I was listening to one of the Bay Area’s leading sportstalk hosts the other morning and I could tell he was trying to be “hep”.  His new on-air sidekick was a woman and he was asking about her background, etc and she mentioned that she and her wife liked to do some activity together.  And he immediately went into a dissertation about how great it was that she just said it and it was accepted and how did people like it, etc.  She was bright enough to say they should move onto something else as people were probably bored with the whole conversation.

A whole election was affected by the Republicans shouting “gay marriage!” because of  San Francisco’s decision to legalize it, and much bigger issues were ignored as the scare tactic effectively elected George Bush.  And look at the banks, the mortgages, the wars, the disenfranchisement of so many Americans (and why the hell isn’t Obama doing more to help?) and all that has followed.

America loves red herrings:  get the public focused on communists, minorities, gays, pro-choice, contraceptives, religion, etc and we can sell them whatever we want to get our selfish interests taken care of.

Roller Derby is its own society.  The  participants are drawn to this cult because there is an empowerment, a sister and brotherhood, and  so  damn much fun that just doesn’t seem to exist elsewhere.  The biggest discrimination (mostly in fun) is what to  do about Merby or dangle derby

I’m a dangler, but it doesn’t make any difference and most of you accept me as I am,  and I have no right not to  accept anyone else, nor does any person on earth.  And to be honest, as Groucho Marx said when asked to join a country club: “I wouldn’t join a club that would have me as a member.”

The party’s over

Photo by Philip MacKenzie from stock.xchng.com.

I think everyone pretty well  knows my politics.  I believe we are here to help everyone we can, and we should all pay our share.

The main issue now is our country is broke.

Today I heard the CIA has been secretly helping opposition in Syria since 2003 (courtesy of Wikileaks).  We still have tens of thousands of troops in Germany (war ended in 1945), tens of thousands in Japan and about 15 other countries.  And we are muddled down in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We can’t be the world’s police anymore;  I thought that was why the United Nations was formed over 60 years ago.

Our people can’t get work; yet we spent almost a billion in a few days bombing Lybia; our social and educational programs are being sliced, yet we spend 1/2 billion on a fighter plane.

The threat from major nations is not the same; we have to guard against terrorists here in the US and not create more by helping unpopular governments.

Get our military home, let them spend the money in the US and help when they are needed here.

Our credit rating is about to disappear, our population has no money or employment……We need radical action now!

I am frustrated.

I found Mort Sahl again today……too many of you have no idea who he is.  In the 50s and 60s he did his best to get us to realize what was happening in America.  He would get a newspaper in the morning, make some markings, and in the evening he would perform  at the Hungry I in San Francisco and in other clubs across America.  We saw him as often as we could.  He did not do stand up:  there were no jokes, per se, but some very ironic and funny situations.  He would take you around hills and valleys and to your amazement tie everything in at some point……His “comedy” would be considered liberal and very American.  Ironically, the last time I saw him perform in a club was at Jeff Pollack’s  Old Waldorf in San Francisco.  Jeff owed me a favor and had Sascha and  Yuri open for Mort.  Mort went nuts, said he never had an opening act, but still did a great show.

Then came Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin and Robin Williams and Kevin Pollock and all the new and flashy comics and Mort kind of disappeared for me.  And then today I discovered he has started up on twitter (mortsahlsays).  Two tweets from today:  Our President hasn’t sold out, he has sold in……..When you die you get to meet your maker, but first you have to meet your banker…..  Pick up on him.

I  am discouraged about Obama.  Ever since I started voting in 1956, I only voted for a Republican once, and that was Eisenhower.  Many or most of my contemporaries who are great friends are Republicans, but I just cannot be for the policies which I consider selfish.  Even when I was making a lot of money I believed it was important to pay my fair share in taxes to keep our country strong and take care of our own.

Original version of this image by Pop Catalin (stock.xchng.com).

We were very excited when Obama was voted in.  His speech was brilliant, he said all the things we wanted to hear, set an agenda which he is trying to get done, but there is something missing.  Is he so professorial and such a lawyer that he thinks giving in and compromising is the only way to achieve his goals?  To bring two combatants on the opposite side of a racial dispute to the White House and solve it by having beers in the garden?

The Republicans are united and if they lag behind, the Tea Party is right there to whip their ass.  Every where in the country they are trying to take bargaining rights away from the unions, women’s rights from women, cut pensions and health care for people making $50,000 a year who teach our children, fight fires, police the streets and more.

I have lived through about 14 Presidents so far.  And boy you knew the ones that used the Bully Pulpit of the Presidency.  Would Harry Truman sit in the Oval Office if had promised to march with the workers?  FDR knew how to squeeze his opponents in submission.  And LBJ, he would just pick up the phone and scare the bejesus out of anyone who was against what he was doing or summon them to his office.

So many of my friends have lost jobs, or are just at that level where it could turn tragic.  The economy has definitely turned positive, the private sector has more jobs, and if Obama and the Democrats allow the Republicans to make cuts which will only benefit the rich, then the country continues to suffer and the confidence to go out and buy which drives our economy does not appear.

There are so many lies:  Obama socialized GM;  goddamnit he saved it and a lot of jobs for Americans.  The Democrats control the Senate and the Presidency and are running scared.  Can’t  Obama stop being so cool and show us some real passion and anger and go after the bastards.  That’s why we voted for him after what Bush and his gang did to the country.  The Financial institutions stole our money, created much of the pension funds depletion, so the Republican Governors take it out on the middle class….no tax hikes for the rich.  And if Obama and the Dems would push for the restitution of the 2% raise in taxes for the rich, that would be equivalent to the rate they paid when Reagan was president.

Why are the Democrats such pussies?  Someone fight to save our country.  And prosecute Karl Rove, the heads of Goldman Sachs and the other companies which stole from everyone and are doing better than ever, and prohibit BP from drilling in our waters….they are the ones that pressured the Brits to release the man who murdered the 183 on the plane from Lockerbie.  Stop letting everyone get away with these horrible crimes.