Thanksgiving Conversations – A Radio Commentary by Diego Mulligan – 11-25-09
For one long weekend a year, the people of our Land convene as families and feast together. And we can make of these few days, what we will. It’s our time. And the more we use this time together to consider who we are and where we’re at as families & friends on our individual and collective Journeys, the better off we’ll be. OR…We can choose the seemingly safe & easy default of sitting on our duffs in front of the TV and lapping up whatever gruel the centralized media channels are serving; and maybe catch a few quarters of a good old-fashioned college football game, or even a meaningful program – if you search around. But let the consuming of media be in the background, and don’t let the kids just slink off to watch South Park and consume on their own. You can turn down the sound, and turn on your sense of presence… in the current moment and in your greater world. It’s not cliché to be thankful for what ever or who ever the Universe has sent your way, and thankful too, that despite all the huge challenges that exist, the world is getting better.
Real progress is being made on many fronts, and a new clarity is emerging from the fog of hubris: a breath of fresh air in politics, and national leadership. Yes, leadership. And I’ll get back to that in a minute…
But for now, I am thankful that Cynicism can be suspended; And real conversations can happen. IF we choose to connect. So, as we gather this long Thanksgiving Weekend, to cook & eat together, commiserate and compare notes, let’s go a little deeper with our conversations. Ask how is Auntie Gertrude’s diabetes doing? And offer to help her research on the Internet some things she can do to help herself improve the condition. Ask Who’s working where?… and beyond asking “are they hiring or laying off?,”… Ask “Is there passion in the work place? Is the Company forward thinking, ethical as well as profitable? Ask, Who’s doing what to create their own job, and how much help or hindrance are the local state & national governments providing? Rather than focus most of your attention on the rise and fall of Real Estate prices in your neighborhood, ask what’s happening among your neighbors or in the local community that helps you feel a sense of place and belonging? Take the conversation a little deeper, and connect from the heart a little more. Consider your Blessings.
One big thing we can be thankful for is the fact that we can talk openly about what’s important to us and have some real policy debates without being locked up for thinking and expressing our own thoughts. So make the most of it. Speak your mind. Share your stories. Spread your dreams. Speaking of which, I’ve got a lot to be thankful for.
Among the many personal dreams & professional aspirations that have sprouted wings in my life, is an appreciation for the fact that we have new leadership at the national level. There are now more people at the helm of our Ship of State that are there to serve, rather than skim & steal. Finally, after almost a decade of drifting ever closer to the rocks, we are sailing toward a common vision of the common good. Our leadership, despite the adverse propaganda, is looking at the long-term consequences of our actions, and actually formulating strategies that stand some chance of making our nation and the world a better place. The unbridled Corporate greed and personal egos that have so damaged our families and economy are slowly being reigned in, and replaced with a more sensible approach to wealth-generation and meeting real needs of both Person & Planet. The cynics will say, it’s not happening fast enough, or it’s all just imagery… but I’ve personally had enough contact on this radio show and off, with those who are part of this new leadership, to know for a fact that …
There is greater integrity and respect for our Constitution at the core of the crew and captain steering the ship; There is more goodwill rather than felonious intent driving the engines; There is less narrow-minded, self-righteous ideology guiding the course; and there is a higher level of competence and accountability on board in general. And all of this – and so much more I haven’t mentioned – means that we have a real chance to reach the distant shore of the sustainable future we are seeking,… IF we choose to Conceive, Connect, and Create; to Imagine, Dream and Communicate. All this is possible IF we begin talking with one another about the important stuff in our lives… Our children well-being & future prospects; energy, food, health and healthcare… Taking the dialogue a little deeper… Digging into our own sense of right & wrong, not some radio blowhard fear-monger telling you who to hate; But relying on your own core values of what makes sense over the long-haul, and balances the needs of the many, instead of stoking egos of the few.
We can do this. We can have the kind of conversations that could lead us out of the desert and into the Garden. And speaking of the garden, now is a good time to think about planting one this Spring. It will give you & yours much more to be thankful for next Thanksgiving. Oh, by the way, thanks for listening.
I’m Diego Mulligan.
Don’t CYA with our Troops
A DiegoRadio Veterans Day Commentary by Diego Mulligan
Today as WE The People pay tribute to our Veterans we should also take time to reflect on why we have so many Vets today… service men & women who have bravely fought in so many wars since World War 2? And ask ourselves, how many times did our politicians and, yes, even our Generals, commit our troops to combat in order to … cover their ass. CYA, “Cover Your Ass” is a time-honored tradition in so many institutions and companies, and especially the military –bureaucracies in which accountability & responsibility– can be couched by phrases like: “We were just doing what we always do” ..or “It seemed like a safe bet”… or “It really wasn’t my decision. I was only following orders, ” … or “It was in the national interest.” CYA, unfortunately has caused the deaths of many thousands of Soldiers, Sailers, Airmen & Marines… and now we have around 2.3 million veterans in the United States, of which about 500,000 are homeless. On this Veterans day I say as one vet to all the other vets, and all our good citizens it’s high time to stop creating so many veterans, and that means it’s time to stop the wars. There’s the sense that we are winding down the war in Iraq, a war that should have never been fought. … A war over dwindling supplies of petroleum resources that we could have developed from renewable sources, had we had the foresight and moral courage to pursue. It’s hard to know for sure how fast we’re winding down there because there seem to be as many private soldiers & security forces – boots on the ground – as US Troops, and we don’t know the exact count. But on to the BIG Question we should all be asking about Afghanistan: Why are we there? Why is this a war of necessity, as the president has claimed? What realistic goal can be achieved in fiercely independent country that defies the concept of a central government? Of any kind? A country where fixes & favors are the norm. A land so isolated, ungovernable and loyal to their own valleys, traditions and local warlords, that hey have held Great Britain at bay 4 times, defeated the Soviets… and is now poised to become our next Vietnam… only worse.
So, again… why are we there? To cover whose butt? Exactly. When you tear down all the patriotic bunting about catching Osma Bin Laden, and restoring American honor after 9/11, it seems we’re mainly left with the tattered rationale that the President is still too weak to leave. Which is exactly where the Republican leadership wants him. If Obama was politically strong, he would be able to withstand the Republican attacks on him, were he to declare it’s time to leave Afghanistan. That the Republicans would try to demagogue him to his political death is a given. But, Mr. President, you as unfair as that may be, as destructive to our nation and as downright unpatriotic as that would be that would be, you can not let your reason for staying and putting our troops in harms way be to “cover your ass.” Yes, I know that’s how it’s been done in the past. To JFK, to LBJ, until Nixon attempted to atone for other sins and pulled out, after covering his own ass with Kissinger in Paris. But we cannot let CYA rule the day. And we cannot let the main reason the establishment politicians continue to press for one war after another to go unchallenged either. We cannot let the Corporate bottom line of America’s defense contractors be the determining factor in whether we stay home or go to war. It’s the same battle being fought over healthcare reform, and over climate & energy policy … it all about CYA in Corporate board rooms, and CYA in political campaigns… and corporate contributions. But as a nation we can no longer CYA ourselves with the bodies, dead and injured of our troops and veterans. It’s time to leave Afghanistan, before we create any more vets. It’s time to push our President from his CYA stance and do the right thing for America, and our Vets.
I’m Diego Mulligan. To comment on this commentary write to DiegoRadio@KSFR.org
Or visit DiegoRadio.com.
Composting Conservative Values
A Commentary by Diego Mulligan • 09.09.09
It used to be that Conservatives stood for some sound values that aimed to retain economic gains, within an ethical framework… that kept us progressing toward shared prosperity. Conservatives once tempered the results of individual effort with the shared collaborations toward common good. There was also an intellectual basis behind Conservative policies & politics that balanced Liberalism’s perceived excesses. Progress toward a more perfect union was slow, but steady. Together these two wings provided lift toward the American Dream of more egalitarian fairness, more racial justice and equal opportunity. But despite the best efforts of James Madison & Thomas Jefferson who tried to separate Church & State, the current crop of conservatives in Congress – both Republicans & Blue Dog Democrats – seem hell bent on making us afraid of the obvious & positive changes needed, when it comes to common sense regulation of the crooks on Wall Street, the War & Weapons profiteers, and the sorry state of our mish-mashed healthcare delivery nightmare.
Why have Conservatives stooped to exploiting people’s fears with a religious zeal that extols belief in extreme ideology above basic caring for one another, twisting Christian values inside-out, putting fear above love, and corporate wealth above common decency? With over 700,000 Citizens going bankrupt every year because of heath-care costs, many of whom have paid out tens of thousands on health insurance; with 14,000 people loosing what insurance they do have every day… these turn-coat conservatives have placed their allegiance firmly with the high-paid CEOs, directors, lobbiests, stockholders of Big Pharmaceuticals, Big Insurance & Big For-Profit Hospital Corporations who trade in human suffering, ensuring that the status quo of unearned income streams to the wealthiest few will not change, no matter how vital it is to our national interest and moral bearing as a civilized nation.
It’s really that simple: Rather than opting for national unity when it comes to solving common problems and making us a healthier people, they’ve opted for a National Disgrace and a Class War that pits fewer & fewer very, very, very rich elites against the rest of us. Damn the Middle Class. Let them eat Band-aides. Why don’t Conservatives here join the international conservative mainstream, or even return to their own mainstream American roots, and like the rest of the Civilized World, work in good faith to do something that only government is uniquely qualified to do? Why not provide a health safety-net, that actually cares for our sick people, and helps folks prevent unproductive suffering illnesses now costing employers over $12,000 a year per employee, and accounting for 16.6% of our GDP and rising rapidly??
As crazy as it sounds, instead – under the label of “fiscal responsibility”– Conservatives insist on keeping a private scam going that siphons more and more money from the middle class, from businesses… and burdens our people with the highest health costs on the planet… and with the worst outcomes per dollar. Why don’t they want a system that improves the quality of care? Cuts down overheads? … and lets Doctors actually do what they entered Medicine to do in the first place? Help People Heal. Why don’t conservatives start conserving the social fabric our great country, instead of voting for the obscene profits & overblown overheads of privatized healthcare that are making us weaker? Why don’t conservatives compost the “me first,” money uber alles, sold-out-to-the-highest-bidder, short-sighted, insanity that has become the deadwood of today’s conservatism in health policy ….and virtually every other public policy debate from energy to agriculture?
Seriously, we humans are social creatures. Our species could not have evolved without sharing, compassion and deep moral values at our heart. In our natural state, we strive to create things bigger and more lasting than the individual ego: It’s called Society & Culture. As a former Conservative myself, I ask Why Not compost those rotten limbs of reactionary hypocracy. Why Not Compost your fears and find your courage again? Why Not Compost your anti-social ideology and grow your roots again? And stand for something good, wise & decent?
A healthy, caring America where we can work together to fulfill common dreams in a healthy way.
Ted Kennedy: The Hope Will Never Die
A DiegoRadio Commentary by Diego Mulligan
Today as people mourn the passing of Senator Ted Kennedy, I invite us to celebrate the true Spirit of the American Dream that he embodied. And use this moment to reflect on the integrity he brought to politics by the way he practiced the process of collaboration… a genuine bi-partisan – even trans-partisan – legislative legacy that moved our nation toward a more perfect union, and helped many millions of ordinary Citizens gain greater access to the American Dream.
With over 300 bills passed on everything from The National Voting Rights Act of 1965, the National Cancer Act of 1971, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act in 1996, Ted Kennedy put people before politics in the true spirit of service to the greater good, even if it went against the ideology of his own party. Ted Kennedy supported George Bush in the controversial No Child Left Behind Act in June 2001, in which Bush promised to increase funding to rebuild crumbling schools. Of this break in the party line, Ted said “Sometimes a party must sail against the wind.” Unfortunately for our kids, Bush broke his promise, and cut out a crucial $9 billion that had been authorized, leaving Kennedy to lament: “The tragedy is that these long overdue reforms are finally in place, but the funds are not.”
Last year candidate Obama promised Ted that he’d make healthcare his #1 priority. Decency demands that our current president –unlike our past one – makes good on his promise, and takes a decisive leadership role in this legislation, and lets it be known that the Public Option is not negotiable. If there is to be real reform, genuine choice and decent health care, then the HMOs and corporate interests must face the real competition that only a government-sponsored alternative – the public option – can provide.
Having reached across the aisle on many occasions, sometimes having his hand squeezed dry by the grip of dirty politics, Ted Kennedy demonstrated that basic decency, NOT demagoguery, was the key to building a healthy and lasting democracy. Now we need this sort of moral decency more than ever… in the face of widespread Corporate-driven lies, and outright fear mongering in the Healthcare Reform debate, with talk of “Death Panels” directed at our cherished senior citizens, and the so-called “Death Book” aimed at scaring our honored veterans. It’s high time our Conservative brethren returned to ethical principles, stopped supporting corporate profiteering that denies people the healthcare they’ve already paid for, and once again take a stand for Conserving the Common Good. The cost of decent health care, like the cost of waging war, is going to be high, no matter how you slice it. The question is, who’s going to benefit from it? The People? Or Special Corporate Interests? And what is the right & moral thing to do? Understandably, many folks will want to use Ted Kennedy’s death to push healthcare as a tribute to his past service; But why not honor the hope he held for America’s future by passing real health care reform as a tribute to basic fairness, compassion, truth and social justice as the cornerstones of our Democracy? Cornerstones that Ted Kennedy himself – though flawed & fallen – embodied as he redeemed himself, and as he sought to redeem the Hope for the American Dream that must not die.
4/22/09 –– Making Every Day Earth Day:
I wish I could say that I was there when it all began. April 22, 1970…. When we humans woke up to the fact that we lived on a planet, and that our home, the Earth, was under siege by humans. I thought the crystal-clear ocean and teaming reefs of my youth on Grand Bahama would always be there. I was wrong. I was ignorant. It wasn’t until a life-threatening experience in 1975, and those months of recovery in hospital with a lot time when I finally realized how precious life is, and how important it is to live a life with purpose. It was only then that I discovered my true calling, and heard the Earth calling me to action. Under the weight of dozens of books gleaned from the pages of the Whole Earth Catalog by scientists and philosophers like James Lovelock, Wendal Berry, Buckminster Fuller and Hazel Henderson… I began to frame the question that would become the focus of my life’s work. A simple problem in theory, but –unbeknownst to me at the time– the most complex one ever imagined in the real world of politics, profits and people. The question? “How can we humans learn to live in harmony with the environment?” It wasn’t until four years into my study of traditional village technologies and living patterns in Europe, when I learned from a group in Great Britain called Green Deserts, that the Earth was changing color from Blue and Green, to Brown and Gray, and that the planet’s primary life-support systems were breaking down. Before then I had no idea we’d lost so many millions of acres of forests & fertile crop-land, to the desert at the hand of man. Or that the oceans were dying, or that the air was acting like a greenhouse, trapping heat and changing our climate, and creating even more deserts. I was forced to reframe my question to: “How do we humans actively restore our planet’s environment, in course of living our daily lives?”
So, I was a late-comer to the Campaign to Save the Earth, as it was called. But I never really liked that notion anyway, because the Earth doesn’t need saving. We do. Saving from ourselves and our unconsciously wasteful ways and an economic system that values a felled tree more than a living one. After a decade living and working abroad in the as yet un-named “sustainability movement,” I was ready by the time the 20th Anniversary of Earth Day rolled around in 1990. That’s when we opened the Center for Sustainable Community, and the Southwest’s first Green Products store, Pangaea, along with a resource library on Second Street, across from the brewery. Then Operation Desert Storm came, and along with it the first Bush Recession. We sustained our educational center through our entrepreneurial efforts, hand helped to start the CoHousing, Eco-Village and Sustainability movement, continuing an uphill battle for 5 years. But before closing our doors, I opened a radio show… to continue the exploration of restoring person & planet, but now reaching many, many thousands of people, rather than a few hundred.
The point is, it doesn’t matter when you woke up, or what scale your action takes, only that you do something. Everyday. Starting with your own lifestyle. Beginning with something as simple as your own garbage. Recycle. There’s really no excuse not to. Yet few Santa Feans bother to do this one simple act to reduce your personal environmental impact. Do it at home. At the office. Pick up a soda can from the street. If you sponsor an event, get a water cooler with paper cups, rather than plastic bottles. Have a trash can for trash, and another one for recyclables. Compost your kitchen waste and turn it into soil. Grow a garden. Harvest your rainfall. Get a bike and ride it. Consolidate your car trips. Turnoff your lights when you leave a room. Green your home… and then neighborhood… your city, state and nation. Show your love for your kids by caring about the world you’re bequeathing to them. Actively seek out creative ways to restore your environment – the Earth – that you yourself are part of, EVERYDAY. Develop new patterns of living so you can become a personal agent of restoration as part of your daily life.
And know you are not alone. In 1970 there were 20 million of you. Today – this Earth Day – there are over a Billion of us, consciously choosing to do more with less, make millions of small changes that will add up to some big differences, beginning with how we think about – and act upon– our relationship with one another and the wondrous planet we call our home. As long as you live on this Earth, let every day be Earth Day.
4/16/09 –– Quick Comment:
Interesting times we’re livin’ in , eh? Yesterday on the Plaza Our mainly Republican friends came together, about 200 of ‘em to protest … what? Exactly? Taxes? That we pay them so we can have at least a somewhat civilized country? Or to protest the irony that Republican’s squandered our surpluses and have only smoldering ashes to show for it? Progressives, on the other hand, want to invest in this Great Land’s infrastructure, so we can once again lead with pride, instead of being a global pariah, and help put Americans back to work after the “Great Looting Binge” of the previous Republican Administration? Civil discourse is great. Protests are the life-blood of our nation; but come on… Protests against the government because for once, it actually wants to do something for the working people who pay taxes? How about protesting for something that could really unite us, like some new drug policies or prison reform? How about this? Legalize drugs like marijuana and tax them. This would reduce prison populations, which will save money and lives. And then lower income tax on people making less than, say $100 K. Hey it gets government out of our private lives, and we can agree on that; and it lowers taxes, and we can agree on that too. But at this point their posturing is way too hypocritical to accommodate common sense and sound policy. These protests ring too hollow to be taken seriously. Republicans need to do some major introspection and develop a coherent, principled worldview, rather than trying to score a few political points in a game they’ve already lost.
4-08-09 DiegoRadio Commentary– Progressive Change in World Made Cynical
Here, along the Rio Grande we can hear the timeless flow of history, if we slow down and listen. Though we were once one of the most distance outposts of European conquest, we now sit at a cultural nexus, at the intersection of the Old World, New World and the Next World… A progressive world we hope – for the sake of our kids – that will work better than the one we inherited. As the Bush Legacy of corruption & incompetence continues to unfold, and as the first flush of good feeling fades for President Obama, the true depth of the problems he’s facing resembles a precipice more than a mountain. Despite his rise in opinion polls, after 79 days in office, there’s a sense among some that he’s already sold his soul to the Banksters and fraud-meisters of high finance, because of the way the bank bailout and mortgage and credit crisis has played out. It is looking more and more like an inside job, with politicians of both parties going along to get along, playing the game of money and power.
And it’s easy for us to become cynical in the face of such obvious behind the scenes deal-making. But succumbing to cynicism is giving up your power to forces beyond your control. It seems to me that collectively our best choice is to focus our power on what we can command… and that is our own value structure and moral convictions, here and now. Not Global, but intensely Local. The current plague on the planet is – to say it in one word – CORRUPTION, born of fear ….of failure of separation from our true selves; and fueled by greed’s attempt to fill the void inside. This can’t be legislated against – though better regulations of some sectors like finance would help. The only way I know to fight this insidious sociopathic corruptions in which the individual must WIN – no matter the cost – is to live the values we wish to see in the world, to paraphrase Gandhi. And this is something we can all do together, one person of integrity choosing to perform small consistent actions, one at a time… more than grand gestures. This is perhaps, where president Obama’s role comes into focus as a Capitan of progressive change. Sure, he gives big speeches, but beneath the imagery is a man – not unlike any of us – working hard, navigating as best he can, thru treacherous waters and unseen undercurrents, trying to land on the distant shore of the Next World. A world where common sense and basic fairness have more currency than who’s amassed the most stuff, or the most power.
I’ve heard it said that Obama’s put programs ahead of principles; but isn’t that what pragmatism is really all about. His programs are aimed at helping people find new and better jobs, take more responsibility for their own lifestyle choices and personal health. Sure, the deeper principles are important, and I – probably more than most – would like to see the Bush administration crooks, war mongers and human rights abusers brought to justice. But if the choice is between helping our people get back on their feet, and nailing the bastards that tried to destroy our democracy, I’d say let them stew in their own juices for a while. The wheels of justice will grind on and eventually catch up to them, as long as we don’t forget. But we cannot let our love for the rule of law, sour into cynicism while justice runs it’s course.
That Obama has not been able to put every issue on the front burner, or move mountains in a few months, should not be cause to condemn. He is – after all – only human. He’s not the Saviour many have hoped for. If he was he would have already upended the tables of money changer’s and declared all out war on all the Wall Street Banksters, crooked brokers & narco-trafficers. And he – like JFK & RFK who tried to take them on – could already have been crucified by now. But to his credit, Obama’s more of a survivor and a realist than a saint. He has to pick his battles carefully. He’s only the POTUS, not some global dictator who can snap his fingers and make all bad things and bad people go away. So while the cynics are waiting for Mr. Perfection to make a big splash, I’m pushing for 300-million small solutions, each beginning with a commitment for each of us to do better: Live healthier, with more integrity, with more care and attention to our Children, relationships, our communities and Biosphere. Progressive change has always been a long step-by-step process, so let’s keep pushing for future we want, but remember to enjoy the journey.
2-25-09 DiegoRadio Commentary– Writing Between the Lines
In President Obama’s speech last night on the state of our nation, he tried to balance the cool, hard facts of a pseudo reality check with the warm inspiration that things will get better. But there is more to the complex equation of how best to restore the American Dream, that he did not address. Perhaps he’s leaving that up to commentators like me to read between the lines, or people like you to discuss at work around the water cooler, or in churches & synagogues after services… leaving it up to us to fill in the missing words and calls to action.
The President spoke in soaring terms about the push to build a future based on renewable energy, and the technological fixes to improve our electrical grid. He spoke of renewed efforts to provide better education for our kids, and for improving the way medical records are managed and health care is delivered. But what was missing was the call out to all our Citizens to question the assumptions and worldview on which our failed economy is based; He did not question the waste of energy from living, working, learning and shopping in a car-centered culture; The President did not ask us to question why our health care system is not delivering healthy people, or why Big Pharma spends more on marketing than they do on research, or why we’re so unhealthy in the first place. And when he said that dropping out of high school was giving up on not only yourself, but giving up on the country as well, he did not mention that our country had long given up on those very people stuck in poverty, nor that their poverty and hopelessness was a result on us having given up on them.
So, if I could write between the lines, here’s what I would have wanted to hear from our President: A change is needed in the way we see ourselves in the world, and the way we see our way thru this crisis. The days of cheap energy and an unsustainable growth-based economy are over. And the sick-care, drug-centered medical model is finished; And the technology-based fix of our energy infrastructure & supply is insufficient to the task; And education can not be left just to the schools. And that a country willing to spend more on locking people up, than providing community-based educational & employment opportunities, must rethink the whole idea of what it means to be civilized. And what it means to be American.
“We are better than this,” I would have written between the lines, “We voted for sweeping change, and an end to the rip-offs that have ruined our economy and the lives of so many; NOT for sweeping the reality of a failed system under the rug, in the name of bipartisanship; Not for checking the tire pressure as the car goes over the cliff.
I know the common wisdom is that radical changes must happen slowly, incrementally with no ruffled feathers or questions about the basic assumptions… but the truth is America –in it’s present form– is Bankrupt. Not just the economy, but also our bloated consumer-spending model …is over; Our diet of processed foods, high in sugar, fat and carbs, and laced with yummy chemicals has to end now, if real health is the goal of our Heathcare system. The America of our Dreams is waiting to be born, not as a child of denial; but from a union of our deeper folk-soul vision. And it is this Vision I want to hear more about. To evoke a basketball metaphor, President Obama is still dribbling around the edge of the court. He needs to take that 3-point shot; and we need to be under the basket to nudge it in, or grab the rebound. The President needs us all to get into the Game, and by our shear numbers and constructive, creative spirit give us a shot at reinventing the American Dream. We’re ready, and it’s time the Democrats started pushing for the agenda they were elected to pursue. And it’s time for all Americans to start re-imagining a Whole System, a whole nation, a whole planet that works.
DiegoRadio Blog: by Diego Mulligan –Bipartisanship Run Aground 2-16-09
Today, President’s Day, has brought up some surprising feelings for me. At first I thought it was a something to do with seeing a glimmer of green in our local landscape and the red of the cottonwood seed husks about to explode, as an early sign of Spring. But something is different this year. And it’s got more to do with a new season for America, than a transition from Winter to Spring. This feeling – best described as a combination of optimism and relief – centers on the fact that we now have a president worthy of the office… a man who won fair and square, who earned this unique position by demonstrating a real sense of empathy, basic respect… and a willingness to listen to a variety of viewpoints.
In fact, all through the Campaign, the pre-inaugural transition, and now as the political game gets going, President Obama has gone out of his way to reach out to his Republican opponents, include their input and try to unify the country. But after this last week of lock-step posturing, it’s clear that the bipartisan-SHIP is s is stuck in the mud left by an ebbing ideological tide. Dropping anchor on the shoal of failed ideas is no way to get the ship-of-state underway to the new horizon. Not one single Republican Member of the House voted for the Economic Recovery Act, and that to me, is a clear signal that the once Grand Old Party, has put their narrowing ideology ahead of the Country, yet again… not only making a mockery of John McCain’s campaign slogan, but also the whole idea of Statesmanship and the Common Good.
And now that Bipartisan-SHIP – to stretch this pun even further – has been sabotaged by the same-ole, same-ole power trips that ran us aground in the first place, Capitan Obama has no choice but to throw the scurvy greed-heads overboard, and let them swim among their own sharks. President Obama must not forget that he carries a mandate for a change in course… and that a growing majority of sensible, hard-working folks have simply had ENOUGH of the self-defeating, so-called “free market” and war mongering policies that squandered our surplus and corrupted the American Dream… and that we demand a new direction now.
Not that we want to steer our ship into uncharted waters with hopes of finding a mythical Northwest passage or something; Quite the contrary: The most vocal activists have their sextants on the stars that have steered us true for generations. We want a restoration of our economic engines so that the actual production of real goods & services are once again rewarded. And we also want a return to basic fairness, with more justice, and fewer non-violent offenders in prison, and an end to the unjust laws that put them there. Figuratively & literally, we want our ship’s sails and ropes once again manufactured from domestically grown hemp … made from the same plant fibers on which our Declaration of Independence and Constitution were written. This may sound radical, but don’t forget the meaning of that word is about a return to the roots or source of something, not necessarily extreme, but differing from our present course. So here’s a shout out to the farsighted radicals in our audience!
Which brings me back to the early Spring I’m sensing this Presidents Day. And speaking of presidents, remember that George Washington grew hemp on his farm, as did Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison, as did virtually all the founders of our Nation. And they probably smoked hemp’s free thinking cannabis cousin as well. But, back to the feeling of optimistic relief. No, that’s not from smoking weed; It’s from having a President in office that has earned our trust…. at least enough of it so I can feel a sense of confidence in our ability to turn our Country around.
The Economic Recovery is not just something OUT THERE. It begins with our personal state of mind. And it’s time we allowed ourselves to feel the New Spring dawning in America. We don’t need to feel guilty anymore. It’s OK to feel that CAN DO ATTITUDE coursing through our veins, it’s OK to think the worst is now behind us, and that better days lay ahead. There was a SEA-CHANGE in American politics. And though Bipartisanship may not be possible, at least our Ship-of-State is sailing in the right direction for a change.
DiegoRadio Blog: by Diego Mulligan –First Week of Recovery– 1-28-09
We’re now one week into the recovery. And though the patients are still bleeding, at least the power to inflict further injury to our Body Politic has, for the most part, ended. With the Bush Regime now fully discredited, and Karl Rove begging for mercy under Obama’s skirt of “executive privilege,” Congressional Republicans, however, continue to behave as if nothing has changed. I know it’s hard to break old habits –especially when there’s been no accountability for 8 long years – but even so, they run the risk of loosing what credibility they have left and becoming as feckless and impotent as their former fearless –make that fearful – leader, George Bush.
We need a principled, loyal opposition to help ensure the recovery will be effective, but Republicans are on the verge of rendering themselves as simplistic reactionaries. Their pleas supposedly on behalf of small businesses, ring hollow as the party that’s favored Big Business & Globalization uber alles, at the expense of hard-working entrepreneurs & workers. Their cries for continuing tax relief for the wealthy few also don’t jibe with the need for an accelerated recovery: purchasing stockmarket bargains or another home in Thailand, won’t cycle money thru our economy as quickly as giving an extra thousand bucks in tax credits to a family on the edge of poverty. So rather than pushing Obama to make all the concessions, as they’re doing now – consolidating opposition for the sake of opposing – and playing to their base, is the old politics as usual that put the health of our country last for way too long.
So what can be done to speed recovery? Along with a transfusion of cash & credit, the patients themselves –that’s us– have to demonstrate the will to survive and thrive again. And this ain’t easy given all the bad news about layoffs coming down from companies big & small. As I’ve said before, “We are the recovery we’ve been waiting for.” Rather than parroting the bad news we hear on TV, we need to start writing a new story. If you’ve ever dreamed of living a healthier and more sustainable life, now is the time to start taking steps in that direction. If you have a comfortable middle class lifestyle, now is the time to invest in your local community by spending more at local businesses. Now is the time when quality counts more than quantity: Buying locally hand-made furniture, for example, multiplies your dollars spent because they circulate. The big box stores just take most of your money out of town as fast as the swipe of your debit or credit card, leaving only basic wages behind.
Now, in Washington at least we have a team of doctors & nurses that are diligently attending to the needs of the patient, rather than playing golf with his pager turned off. President Obama has the support of huge majority of citizens – about 80% – and has earned the confidence of the people because of his first week I office, and the way he conducted his campaign and transition. He’s doing his part with clear purpose and grace. There’s a new “CAN DO” attitude sweeping the country, as the patients begin to open their eyes and see the caring treatments employed and the prescriptions fulfilled. And as our good Doctor Larry Dossey has written about so much in his books on patients recovery and the power of intention to bring about healing, our attitudes and yes, our prayers – as vessels for focused intention – do make a big difference in the outcome. Now it’s our turn to so our part. If you have an idea that you think would generate jobs or save energy or streamline government and reduce waste: log on to Change.gov. If you want to track the specifics of the Economic Recovery & Investment Act that passed the House of Representatives this evening, then log on to Recovery.gov. Don’t sit back and wait for someone else to do the breathing for you. We each have a vital part to play in restoring the health of our great Nation.
Next week, with the launching of our new website, and the start of our innovative Synergy Home “sustainable living & demonstration” project, my producer and wife, Jennifer, and I will share our dreams, ideas and information as we begin the next phase of our Journey Home. We’ll be inviting your participation thru the Santa Fe Community College’s “Sustainable Technologies Center” and special interactive pods here on The Journey Home Radio Show. So stay tuned, get connected and be positive.
There may yet be a long road to recovery ahead for us all, but the Journey begins now, and we’re taking it together.
I’m Diego Mulligan. E-mail me with comments at DiegoRadio@KSFR.org