Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Worst of Times

Our living room--comfort in the best and worst of times
I wrote down the phone number for the Thom Hartmann Show the other day. I listen to him in the mornings between 9:00 and noon on our local progressive talk station. I've been wanting to be his 6th caller for a while now. I want to win his book Screwed: the Undeclared War Against the Middle Class--and What We Can Do About It. It's all about how the middle class is being, well you know, screwed. You've got to be his 6th caller and answer a question to win the book. I always know the answer, but keep forgetting to call, then he announces the winner. That's when I remember and think, dang, that could have been me, if I were on my toes. I was that close to calling.

But yesterday, I wanted to call him because he was breaking my heart. His entire show was devoted to the story about the purging of over one million voters from Ohio's voter rolls. My stomach sank. I had a visceral response to that news. Roger kindly suggested that I stop listening to politics. But I know it doesn't matter if I'm listening or not. The truth is the truth. Our democracy is being stolen right before our eyes, and from what I can tell we're not really doing very much about it. I don't know why that is. I also don't know what we can do. What are our political solutions, if our votes don't count?

Imagine this: We no longer trust that our votes will be counted. It's become a simple fact of life, like the cost of gas at the pump, or political corruption. We accept it, and move on. There is an election in 20 days, and I have no confidence in the system. It makes me sick. How did a terrorist attack five years ago lead to this-- our democracy compromised, our constitution shredded, our representatives silent?

But it's not just their silence that bothers me. It's ours. Sometimes I think if we didn't have these great comforts, if we were hungrier, if we didn't sit with our laptops and high speed internets, we might step outside into the streets and scream for honest elections. Instead, I'm writing these words and you are reading them. We're agreeing with each other, nodding our heads, wiping the tears from our eyes. We're in our beautiful homes, living our beautiful lives while our country is dying.

This is so serious, and I don't know what to do.
Rainy fall day in our backyard
So, I look out the window at the muted fall colors in our yard. I remember that this is why we moved to the northwest, where we can live out the bad years if we have to. We already grow a lot of our own food, collect rainwater; we can try to live off the grid. We've always believed that the tyrants, the corporate owners would finally play their hand. We've been expecting it for years, but the arrival is still a shocking, sickening kick in the gut.

Do you believe the vote you cast on November 7th will count? In Washington everyone votes by mail-in ballot. We feel lucky.

We still trust in the absolute beauty of our good planet earth. It's why we collect photos for our Saturday's Good Planets post. Please send us your photos that depict the beauty you see around you-- newdharmabums at yahoo dot com. Thanks everyone.

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