"Free, White and Twenty
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This prejudicial and bigoted inflection was bandied about quite often during my youth. Most frequently, and you may be surprised to learn this, the speaker of the phrase was my mom. A valiant, dignified and self-assertive woman, there was no seed of superior nastiness in her remark. It was, when she said it, simply an assertion of her right to be however she wanted to be in her own moment of time. That is, she would have applauded any person of any race or creed who asserted their own unique "Free, _____ and Twenty One" liberty.
I think of my mom at this time of year perhaps more than at any other. The 4th of July Holiday during the summer of '61 was when my mom became a widow; when I lost my dad. I look back now, being past the age she was when she had to handle this, my own youngest child being now the age I then was, me being a single-parent now, and I wonder how she got through it. I wonder how she survived.
Of course times were different then. And, she was the single-parent of an only child. And both of her parents (my grandma and grandpa) lived in our multi-generational home.
I, on the other hand, have five living children, four of who reside here with me. Also, I am divorced and *must* work to generate an income whereas my mom, the beneficiary of a considerable widow's dowry, did not.
Still, all these things considered there is some greater difference -- not between she and I or her circumstances and mine (albeit, those exist), but a palpable distinction from then to now in the flavor of our whole society. Something that makes it "harder" to be "a person" now than it was then.
Even though "then" was far from perfect in way too many ways, still I was a child of privilege. Our family lived the Great American Dream. And my vision, as I grew to maturity, was (and continues to be) for ALL peoples of the entire world to experience this sense of "Free, _______ and Twenty One" liberty that was common amongst American white folks when I was young.
Not only has that NOT happened over the decades since then, but factually, looking around at the society I see now, I believe I know what it must feel to be an Iraqi woman who has lived in downtown Baghdad for fifteen years. Life under the old regime may have been greatly less than perfect, but life now is pure hell. Except of course that this transition for my Arab sister has come in a literal heartbeat whereas as mine/ours has crept up on us, unfolding over the years. Essentially, this makes the force of the undertow now gripping us all the more deadly.
Still there is cause to take heart for all of us neighbors, everywhere. People... common people, average people, regular folks (of multi-hued minds) are taking this subject of self-determined liberty (including the imbued right to worship or not worship at the altar of their choosing) very seriously. For one example of this, take a look at The World Tribunal on Iraq which is -- contrary to the LACK of media attention being given to this global "we the people" gathering (because we are all so consumed with Michael Jackson, et al) -- taking place right NOW!!!
CASE FOR HEMP
The "first-ever" federal legislation, titled the Industrial Hemp Farming Act, is slated for introduction in the U.S. House of Representatives this month. This Act would bring federal law into agreement with the consensus among five U.S. states and more than 30 countries, that industrial hemp, defined as cannabis with 0.3% THC, is distinct from marijuana.
At the same time, just today (June 15, 2005), the U.S. House of Representatives voted down an amendment prohibiting the federal government from undermining state medical marijuana laws. Ultimately rejected with 264 votes against, proponents of the legislation sung praises because the repeat performance of this proposal received 13 more votes than last year.
Personally, given the abysmal state of world affairs (yes, I know, in some places things are super-wonderful, but "some places" is just not good enough), I find it appalling that so much public time and energy has been (imho) wasted over the non-resolution of this simple issue. I find it devastating to believe that there are so few people who have a clear grasp of the facts or a modicum of common sense and so many people who are driven by fear and wanton lust for control over the private lives of others.
The only known solution to this quagmire of ignorance and apathy is for folks with brains to get involved. Do something. Take a stand. Commit an action. As I have said before, our national regulatory policies on marijuana/hemp are a cornerstone issue, the effects of which reach far into the social fabric in ways that decay (or enhance) the quality of ALL of our lives.
MORE ABOUT THIS ISSUE AND TAKE A STAND
Greers Ferry Hoop-la
PS: Did I mention that they both won in their respective divisions...? Shawna (see score board at right) stunned everyone, including the sponsors of the event, who had (and I quote) "Never seen a girl win against boys in this race before!" In her second run, with the sled loaded with 200 pounds, she out-pulled ALL of the boys. Her comment: "Girls do everything better."
The conversation continues...
What you said last is best-- a process of consultation, that
arrives at unified agreement.
I'm suggesting a radically different view of the nature of
what's "wrong", hence what needs doing. Something is
lacking. The problem isn't that it's broken, it's
missing. So, there's nothing to "fix"-- but there *is*
something to create. It has at least two parts.
We have developed a worldwide technological infrastructure,
however, such that the entire planet is now "us". Ironically
however, this has come about coincident with a loss of our sense
of national unity. Lacking a confident sense of our
togetherness as citizens of a united nation, we seek solidarity
in our divisions, in our political parties and other internal
splinter groups. Uniting nations, plural, is a dream lost in
chaos, far beyond belief.
Instead we watch as our elected representatives put factional
loyalties before national interest -- and more often than not
cheer for our favorites to do more of the same. "My candidate
can beat your candidate". . . substitute "Dad" in there and ask
yourself the mental age of the speaker.
Wishing for each of us only and exactly what we have earned and deserve, and hoping this proves to be something we richly enjoy.
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