Daily Archives: July 12, 2004

Tell Your Children

Thinking of Richie Havens (thanks to poetbear for dutifully transcribing “Younger Men Grow Older”), I reached into the deep chasm of the archives and pulled out the only Richie Havens-inspired song I ever wrote. It dates from about 12 years ago … imagine all kinds of “Freedom” like strumming … not my usual subject matter, but I was extremely irritated with some right-wing Christofascist ideology at the time, and it sort of just came out … it was probably a combination of Freedom Fighting in Nicaragua, Freedom Fighting in the Falkland Islands, and Freedom Fighting in Belfast.

God, it seems your houses are the very first to fall
Explosive words in your foundations leave most wicked scrawls
And your small children, those you haven’t time enough to save
Are gone, and your own armies lay your sod upon their graves

Please tell your children this is not how it should be
We cannnot kill each other off, and still claim to be free
Each day another heathen soul climbs nearer unto thee
But for myself, here in our hearts is near enough for me

Women and our children are the victims of this war
But that is nothing new, for it has happened here before
Perhaps the grail was something Arthur never should have saved
Before the world believed in You, and by Your will enslaved

Please tell your children this is not how it should be
We cannot hate with hatred and believe in love and peace
Each day another murdered soul cries nearer unto thee
But for myself, inside my heart is near enough for me

We sit upon the left of you, or perhaps on the right
Far from the door so we can ignore wailing in the night
From those gnashing with their gums because their teeth have fallen out
Your word has so deafened us that we can’t hear the shouts
Of your unbroken followers who toil within our jails
And keep our cross-constructors stocked with wood and sharpened nails

Please tell your children this is not what you had planned
We cannot draw the line between two kinds of fellow man
Each day another holy fool runs nearer unto thee
But for myself, here in my heart is near enough for me


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Random Passing Thought

The difference, in a nutshell, between what Michael Moore is saying and what I’m saying:

MM: The emperor is naked!
ME: That naked man is NOT the emperor!


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Rambling on Politics

Democracy is dependent upon a single, basic premise: that those with power as a result of wealth and social standing are willing to reject the advantage conferred by the possesion of this power and reject the use of any such advantage in the defense of their position against others with differing viewpoints and agendas who do not possess similar advantage. In short, democracy demands equality before the law. Despite the obvious fact that individuals are NOT equal with respect to environment, education, race, religion, intellect, physical prowess, social standing and/or graces, financial wherewithal, and so forth, the intention of a TRUE democracy is to ignore those factors and regard each person as legally interchangeable.

There are, of course, safeguards built into our legal system to ensure this. But unfortunately, they do not address the fact that there is in practice, if not in the theory upon which that practice is based, a great disparity between the resources available to some versus others. In our democracy, for example, a defendant is provided with legal counsel in matters of criminal court. In a true democracy, it would be either ensured that this legal counsel vouchsafed an indigent defendant is comparable (in education, experience, and expertise) to the counsel for the prosecution, or that the party prosecuting the case would be no better than the individual produced by the defense. Likewise, for a wealthy defendant, it should be ensured that the quality of their attorney should be correlative with the quality of the prosecuting attorney.

With respect to democracy by representation, true democracy requires that the agent, or representative, be truly of the people they represent. For example, a congressman should be of similar educational background, financial status, cultural milieu and so forth of their average constitutuent. That means no congressperson should being wearing suits that the majority of their district cannot afford. Likewise, the salaries of government officials should never exceed the average per capita income of their “flock”. In regard to campaign contributions, no political candidate should receive from ANY contributor (personal, or corporation — which legally is the corpus or body at the head of which is the representative of any number of stockholders who have chosen to invest their individual monies and/or opinions in the legal person thus incorporated) more than the equivalent of one week’s salary of their average voting bloc. That would eliminate the campaign finance issue altogether, perhaps — and salary increase issue as well — because the only way for a candidate or congressperson or president to get more money (either in salary or contributions) would be to actively improve the living wage of their constituency. Now of course, you might say that will increase the jostling over “prime districts”. Well, I think it only need be sorted out at the smaller district level. Larger districts, such as states or countries (i.e., senators and presidents) typically include a wide range of income, including much that is NOT wealthy. In California, for example, it is probably likely that the district that includes Beverly Hills would have a high median income, versus the district that includes Compton and Gardena. For a Senator, that would probably wash out at some level. For a Representative, however, Beverly Hills represents a cushier spot. However, the basic premise of democracy as defined above can be applied here. The point is that financial, social, etc., inequality MUST not influence legal equality. Therefore, the average amount of campaign contributions from the wealthiest quarters CANNOT exceed the average contribution amounts from the poorest quarters. That means that if Pickens County, Arkansas as a whole contributes only $500, then Los Angeles County, California can only contribute the equivalent per capita amount (for example if there are 500 contributors in Pickens County, Arkansas that roughly equates to $5 per contributor; to apply that to Los Angeles County assuming a population of 5,000,000 means that the most that could be used by that constituency is $5 each, or $25M. But that is a VERY wild theory that probably in five minutes will make no sense.

The point is this, I guess. To me, it’s like televangelism. There are no circumstances when a preacher should be wearing a Rolex unless the majority of the constituency to which they preach ALSO not only can afford Rolexes, but chooses to spend their monies on such things. By the same token, under no circumstances should an elected official be wearing a suit, driving a car, living in a home, that the majority of their constituents could not afford. Not on the distribution of wealth, but the distribution of numbers. Because, you’ll remember, democracy is about legal equality. Which is a numeric base. 1 = 1.

Of course, military service should be determined on the same basis. Particularly in a draft. There is no legal way, in a true democracy, for a wealthy child to get a deferment when a poor child does not. As far as the law of democracy goes, they are absolutely equal. Anyone who bends that system does not believe in democracy. And should NEVER be elected mayor, governor, senator, congressperson, president or even head of a homeowner’s association in so-called democratic nation. Or something like that.

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