Impressions: July 19, 2016


Like many people, Facebook has pulled me away from my daily blog as a source of expression. I still post here, but so much of what I think and feel about what is happening in the world gets lost in the fleeting panorama that is Facebook.

So I thought I would start posting some of my shorter thoughts and essays, as well as my responses to particular articles or others’ comments and commentaries. When separate thoughts are contained in one space, they often reveal a much larger, deeper narrative. If nothing else, they tell a story. So long as my own story continues to unfold, I’d like to share more of it here.

From July 19, 2016:

Continue reading “Impressions: July 19, 2016”

Impressions: July 19, 2016

Gun-Control & The Dangerously False Narrative Of Incrementalism


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Here’s why incremental politics doesn’t work for me: We’ve been fighting for gun control laws for decades now. Organizations like the NRA and the people they pay off keep guaranteeing that nothing changes. After this most recent horrific gun massacre here in the U.S., we talk again about maybe trying to ban certain semi-automatic weapons. Mainly the AR-15. But since we can’t find a way to make that happen, we try and at least pass a law that would keep anyone on the terrorist watch lists from being allowed to legally purchase a semi-automatic weapon.

And IF we manage to get that law passed – after YEARS of trying – we will celebrate our success. Our incremental success. We ask for so little – we aim so low – and we celebrate the smallest concession the NRA and other conservatives will give us. And people will still be able to purchase semi-automatic weapons in the U.S.

From where I stand, it seems like we’ve confused our goals with what we’ve “settled” for as being all we deserve or can attain. If you FIGHT to repeal the Second Amendment – with everything you have to give – then it’s the NRA and conservatives that will eventually have to make concessions and THEY can celebrate when we give them just a little tiny bit of what they have asked for. It is THEY who will have to settle. So much more will get done. So many more lives will be spared. Remember, the majority of Americans support this. It’s powerful moneyed organizations like the NRA and their lobbyists that have managed to completely control the direction of these issues and laws, despite public desire and outrage. That’s our current system of government in a nutshell.

Continue reading “Gun-Control & The Dangerously False Narrative Of Incrementalism”

Gun-Control & The Dangerously False Narrative Of Incrementalism

A Challenge to Democrats to be more Democratic


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One of the more unfortunate accusations that I’ve been hearing lately is that Bernie Sanders supporters are tearing apart the Democratic Party. That Sanders needs to “back down” so we can unite. But Sanders supporters are fighting for the Democratic party to be more democratic. The media and others, however, have done a bang-up job framing real political challenges from the people (which Sanders represents) as “selfish” and “hurtful.” And a good number of Democrats are taking up those pitchforks and torches and joining the chorus without truly understanding what it is they are attempting to self-righteously snuff out.

John Nichols’ article in The Nation, A Contested Convention Is Exactly What the Democratic Party Needs, (an article widely forwarded by Bill Moyers) speaks directly to why it is so very crucial to continue to challenge not just Hillary Clinton, but the entire Democratic Party. THIS is what Democracy is all about! This is our job description! But so many people have lost sight of that – or never really knew what they could or should do beyond just casting a vote – or what the Democratic Party used to be, its history, and so they don’t recognize what it has the potential to do right now. Hillary might be the nominee in the end (though that’s STILL not a guarantee), but there’s more to be done and more to be gained by continuing to challenge her and those she surrounds herself with. At the very least to the Convention. Hopefully, a lot farther.

John Nichols:

“Prospective nominees tend to favor weaker platforms; Harry Truman would have preferred milder civil-rights commitments than were made in his party’s 1948 platform, and it took steady pressure from unions, liberals and Ted Kennedy to get Jimmy Carter to finally embrace spending on jobs programs. It will take similar pressure to get Clinton and her inner circle to accept a Democratic platform that Sanders says must include “a $15-an-hour minimum wage, an end to our disastrous trade policies, a Medicare-for-all health-care system, breaking up Wall Street financial institutions, ending fracking in our country, making public colleges and universities tuition-free, and passing a carbon tax so we can effectively address the planetary crisis of climate change.” Clinton stalwarts may want to keep things vague, but look for the Sanders team to demand specifics, such as an explicit endorsement of a national $15 minimum wage instead of the $12 proposal that Clinton initially offered, and an unequivocal rejection of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal that President Obama supports and that Clinton once championed but now criticizes.”

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A Challenge to Democrats to be more Democratic

Understanding “Bernie Or Bust” and the Theory of Critical Realignment


 

Bernie or Hillary

I understand why the “Bernie Or Bust” movement has left a lot of people bewildered and resentful. But like so much out there in our political orbit, an ability to momentarily alter perspective is required, in earnest and without caveats, in order to even begin to understand the thinking of others. It’s a difficult thing to do and something we are, as a culture and society, not often propelled to do. Achieving this requires a degree of separating immediate emotional responses and impulses from the “bigger” picture. That’s a hard thing to accomplish under normal circumstances. It’s a seemingly near-impossible one when there are institutions and organizations whose very existence is not only dependent on, but who are wholly dedicated to keeping you in a reactive state of near-constant emotive retaliation.

However, empathy is fostered in many areas of our culture, and it thrives in pockets despite many attempts to deride or discredit it as a form of “weakness.” Artists, art, and artistic communities, for example, are dependent on a measure of empathy for art to exist. By definition. But even within those communities and those cultures, there is the notion that one must become “hardened,” that success is dependent on learning to be cut-throat, a shark. Walk into any art class with an industry bent and you have a 50/50 chance of being taught that those who “make it” are the ones willing to walk over the bodies of their classmates. Ask any actor who has made the rounds of acting classes in Los Angeles.

Continue reading “Understanding “Bernie Or Bust” and the Theory of Critical Realignment”

Understanding “Bernie Or Bust” and the Theory of Critical Realignment

Gender-Shaming & Scapegoating: It’s Not Just For Republicans Anymore


6a0148c7b55aa3970c019b028bfea0970dThe presidential “race” in America has turned into something that has been brewing for decades and is finally coming to a head. But it’s not just the Republican Party that is crumbling under the weight of its own shifts to the right and its years-long stoking the flames of discontent and anger.

The Democratic Party has also been wildly divided this election cycle and age-old resentments and indignations are surfacing and the vitriol surrounding it is immense. Which isn’t to say that the anger isn’t justified. It is. On all sides, if you ask me. It’s what we do with that anger, that outrage, that will define our future.

We’ve seen the anger and discontent on the Republican side play out in the form of racism, homophobia, xenophobia, fascism/intolerance, and misogyny. This is, in my opinion, a wildly misdirected and highly manipulated response. But the emotions that lie at the base of it – the social, cultural, and political disaffection – isn’t imaginary. But where the powers-that-be point their fingers and exclaim “It’s their fault!” is. That kind of manipulation has been with us since the dawn of recorded history. From Aaron using fear and distrust to convince the Israelites to embrace false idols and reject Moses at the base of Mt. Sinai, to the Salem Witch Hunts to Adolph Hitler to Joe McCarthy to the age-old gross manipulation by entire governments and political and religious parties across the globe that so effectively and efficiently turn neighbor against neighbor.

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Gender-Shaming & Scapegoating: It’s Not Just For Republicans Anymore

IS THERE MORE TO BEING A DEMOCRAT THAN TOWING THE PARTY LINE? To Vote Or Not To Vote…


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In the continued expression of ideals, values, disappointments and frustrations being shared and vented across the internet and elsewhere surrounding America’s presidential election, I have found many voices calling again and again for unity. But not unity as a country. Unity for the party.

The problem I see with this that I don’t think is being expressed or articulated properly – or is simply falling of deaf ears – is that the two major parties that represent the presidential race no longer speak for a vast number of this country’s citizens. I’m talking millions of people.

I’ve been told by friends that if Hillary is the nominee and I don’t vote for her and instead decide to write in “Bernie,” they don’t think they could ever talk to me again, that our friendship would be over. Understand, I haven’t made up my mind yet about my vote in the general if Hillary is the choice. And yet that indecision alone is SHOCKING, unforgivable even, for many.

Continue reading “IS THERE MORE TO BEING A DEMOCRAT THAN TOWING THE PARTY LINE? To Vote Or Not To Vote…”

IS THERE MORE TO BEING A DEMOCRAT THAN TOWING THE PARTY LINE? To Vote Or Not To Vote…

Double G & Hal Masonberg on Chet Hanley’s “JAZZ IN THE MODERN ERA”


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New doc JAZZ NIGHTS: A CONFIDENTIAL JOURNEY’s sax player and composer extraordinaire, Geoff “Double G” Gallegos and JAZZ NIGHTS’ director Hal Masonberg were this week’s guests on Chet Hanley’s 3-hour TV show JAZZ IN THE MODERN ERA from April 5, 2016.

There’s a lot of music and extraordinary archival video to listen and watch on this episode. And weaving in and out of those, Chet Hanley interviews Double G and Hal Masonberg about both JAZZ NIGHTS and Gee about the saxophone and his lifelong influences.

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Double G & Hal Masonberg on Chet Hanley’s “JAZZ IN THE MODERN ERA”