July 11-13: At Netroots Nation

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  • Thursday, June 6: NEW YORK, NY 7:30pm

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  • Monday, June 10: WASHINGTON, DC 6:30pm

Location: Busboys and Poets, 450 K St NW, Washington, DC

  • Wednesday, June 12: PORTLAND, OR 7:30pm

Location: Powell’s, 1005 W Burnside St., Portland

  • Sunday, June 23: SEATTLE, WA 7:30pm

Location: Town Hall, 1119 8th Ave, Seattle (West Entrance) w/Elliott Bay Book Company

  • Tuesday, June 25: SAN FRANCISCO, CA 7:00pm

Location: First Church, 2345 Channing Way, Berkeley w/The Booksmith

  • Friday, June 28: CHICAGO, IL 7:00pm

Location: Frugal Muse, 7511 Lemont Rd. #146 (Chestnut Court Shopping Center), Darien

  • Saturday, June 29: MINNEAPOLIS, MN 7:00pm

Location: Common Good Books, 38 S. Snelling Ave, St. Paul

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I was watching an old movie (from the 1930's) last night with Loretta [something] in it. She was playing a woman from an immigrant family (Swedish) who gets elected to Congress. In the climax of the movie she nearly loses the election because of a poor decision she made to except a ride from the man who had been painting for her father. During that ride the car breaks down and she is obliged to spend a night in a hotel room with him -- something that immediately brands her a slut to anyone who knows about it in that time period.

What I notice in this story is the unequal field on which she competes with the men around her. In the ethos of the story she is supposed to buck up and fight anyway -- even though she is at a disadvantage.

Even though she is able to win despite the unequal playing field, the result of that playing field on a societal level is obviously that those who are disadvantaged by the playing field will lose more often than those who are advantaged by it. And the strategy of accepting the unequal playing field is to allow its evil to continue.

In our day the unequal playing fields continue via other norms that disadvantage those of us who are not white and male and wealthy. They are the racial profiling, the demand that women be near skeletal to be deemed pretty, the fees we all are charged for speeding or getting a driver's license or going to college. They are the ideal of straight hair for those with naturally curly hair, the valuing of learning via seeing and hearing over learing via touch and movement, the esteem we give to expensive products over less expensive ones. They are the valuing of credientials over direct experience that someone knows what they are doing, the valuing of small perky noses over those of other shapes, the valuing of the ability to do math over the ability to work with other people well.

In countering the evil of these unequal playing fields and the many others that exist but did not make my list there is great movement possible on the internal level. We can choose to change what it is we personally see as valuable in the other people around us. In this very powerful action we are choosing not to feed into the inequality and by our own actions perpetuate it. And each of us has complete authority to make these choices for ourselves.

But as tough and far reaching as the above internal transformation I am suggesting is, it does not touch such issues as racial profiling by our police departments or the manners in which we receive our educations in our schools. For these issues especially it is important to look at who are the puppetmasters in our society who benefit from the perpetuation of our society's inequality.

These people are to some extent known to us. Michael Bloomberg, Donald Trump, the leaders of the megamultinational corporations are the ones I can think of off the top of my head. They are wealthy businessmen -- that fact can be used against them if we choose to avoid doing business with them.

Boycott their firms and you will not stop them nor drive them out of business (because they are protected by the American government), but you will make turning a profit more difficult for them, you will make the American government step in more actively to keep them going. There are political consequences associated with the American government bailing these guys out -- we are seeing it today as nearly everybody now hates the Republicans for bailing out the banks following the crash of the real estate bubble, which is meaning that they are needing to cheat more and more obviously to keep the Democrats from becoming the only electable party. It is now only a matter of time until it is generally known that our American democracy is a sham by which a few insanely wealthy men dictate to the rest of us how we are to live our lives.

That the American democracy is not democratic is not new. Look at the world depicted in the movie I mentioned above. What you see there is not even close to a place where everyone's voice is valued equally, where everyone's needs are valued the same, where everyone's life is valued without reference to gender or race or ethicity or personal wealth.

If that is the world you truely want (and not just for yourself but for all of us), then action is required by you and by those around you to make that world a reality.

Comments

Alberto Ceras 2's picture
Alberto Ceras 2 6 years 16 weeks ago
#1

That was a 1947 movie, The Farmer's Daughter, starring Loretta Young (for which she got an Oscar for best actress) and Joseph Cotton. In the movie her staying in a motel with a man was a false story put out by a political opponent. The fellow who made the false statement later recanted and Loretta won her seat in Congress. But you were using the movie to make a point. Well done.

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