Sunday, October 7, 2007

Home and Politics

There has been so much going on in the news lately to utterly exasperate me. Politics. The past several weeks I've been paying more than the usual attention to the news. I feel it is my citizen duty. I worry about the detrimental effects of complacency, but I have to admit, it has taken a serious toll on my peace of mine. The price of vigilance is high anxiety.

I am so grateful to alternative news sources like Democracy Now!, a program I wasn't able to listen to in the past because it seemed so dour and radical and mean-spirited and downright impolite and Amy Goodman seemed like the modern Cassandra. But what she was talking about months ago is now mainstream news. The big networks have caught up with her. So have I. And, lest we forget, Cassandra was right.

Unfortunately, by the time it becomes mainstream news, we are comfortable sipping our tea and discussing the nuances of U.S.-sanctioned torture without it causing any too much personal distress.

There are so many articulate people decrying the hits the Constitution has been taking. I have been chomping at the bit to post about each major issue that makes my blood boil, but I haven't had the discipline to compose my thoughts. Besides, others seem to do it so much better than I do. But is anyone listening?

We don't have cable in our home, so I don't see what the mainstream is dishing out. I have been relying on podcasts of shows like Democracy Now!, To the Point, The Thom Hartmann Show, and On Point.

On the lighter side, there's Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me and Le Show. I also listen to Left, Right, and Center on Friday, because I like the weekend wrap-up format.

Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me offers many hilarious moments, and can be quite refreshingly irreverent.

The long running Le Show out of Santa Monica is so unpolished, it's kind of lame, but that brings to it a kind of intimacy which intrigues me, and Harry Shearer is so endearing, I can't resist. Plus, the spoofs and satirical songs can be very entertaining.

On Point deals with current news as well as sundry other topics, which I love. Recently a show on Rumi inspired me, not because it was particularly well done, but because the sensibility of the great poetry managed to squeak through even in a stale talk show format. Tom Ashbrook's questions can be kind of goofy sometimes. He's strong on politics, but other areas he can be embarrassingly awkward; e.g., his recent interviews of Garrison Keillor and Nellie McKay.

My favorite is KCRW's To the Point, hosted by Warren Olney. His manner and presentation are rather dry, but I find his topics always to be the most timely and his judgment of what is important to talk about spot on. His questions are intelligent and thoughtful, and he does a very good job of balancing perspectives with his choice of guests.

I like Thom Hartmann because he deals with the relevant and urgent issues in the news, but is optimistic and upbeat in his outlook, believing that popular reason and activism will ultimately prevail over injustice. I just find his frequent didactic tirades against the evils of Reaganomics to be tiresome, however valid they may be.

But Democracy Now! answers to no one but its own reputation, and has
the courage to pursue stories that other outlets won't touch. Amy Goodman is a great blessing, and champion and a stunning example of unleashed free speech. I really wish more people would listen or watch her weekday program.

There is plenty to march in the streets about, plenty to fill letters to barrage our representatives about, but daily life is distracting.

I love my family. My wife Meera, and my boys, Julian and Gabriel. I remember clinging to Julian on the morning of September 11, 2001. I wanted to protect this unsuspecting toddler of mine from the horrors of a new and daunting era that was already apparent in the first hours following the Twin Towers' collapse. But I had no idea how this administration would exploit the event. I was uninformed and naive.

The suffering of the world, the outrageous injustices, are all there for the picking, and there's only so much an individual can do. But individuals have done great things, and effected great change. One person can do only so much, and yet so much. It's luck, its timing. When the masses are ready, the masses revolt.

I don't know what the solution to the world's or the country's problems are, but I do think GWB is a dangerous man, and I praise presidential term limits.

I don't know what my role will be to resist what's going on right now, but I am determined to do something.

I don't think our presence in Iraq does anything but cause suffering. I don't buy the argument that we broke it, so we need to fix it. All we are doing is breaking it more. We need to get the hell out of the china shop, and let the sovereign proprietors begin to clean up the shards.

I realize that my private life, the love that binds my family, is the most precious thing to me. It also binds me to the rest of humanity. But, careful, I don't want to think about the shattered families in Iraq, the result of civilian casualties. Who does? Inconvenient.

I need to put my thoughts to blog. It might not make a difference to those who read it, but it will help me to focus and to cope, even if it doesn't effect any real change. And yet, change is imperative. We do what we can and must do.

This post is scattered and ragged, I know. That's my state of mind. There's too much to think about, too much to speak out about. Too much anguish. But I have hope, and I will forge ahead, and kiss the heads of each member of my family every chance I get.


    From Sunday's playlist...

  • J.S. Bach: Jesus Christus Unser Heiland, Choral BWV 688 (Grande Version)─Lionel Rogg, organ─Bach: Organ Works, Disc 11: Catechism Preludes, 2/Schübler Chorales
  • Gregorian Chant: Halleluia + Psalm 117 (116), 1-2 + Doxologie(10 times Alleluia)─Capella Antiqua Munchen; Konrad Ruhland, conductor─Paschale Mysterium
  • J.S. Bach: Aria (Alto I, Chorus) «Sehet, Jesus Hat Die Hand»─Frans Brueggen conducting the Orchestra of the 18th Century─J.S. Bach: Matthaeus-Passion
  • Christe Redemptor omnium─Benedictine Monks of the Abbey of Saint-Maurice & Saint-Maur, Clervaux─Gregorian Chant
  • Vivaldi: Et in terra pax from Gloria in D Major, RV. 588─Wren Orchestra, conducted by George Guest─Magnum Mysterium II
  • W.A. Mozart: Missa brevis, K.220 - 1. Kyrie─Peter Neumann; Collegium Cartusianum, Kölner Kammerchor─Mozart: Masses
  • J.S.Bach: Messe A-Dur BWV234; Gloria. Aria─Chor "Pro Arte", Lausanne/Agnes Giebel(S), Gisela Litz(CA), Hermann Prey─J.S.Bach: Missae Breves
  • Gregorian Hymn: "Veni, creator spiritus" and Thomas Tallis: "Spem in Alium"─Rundfunkchor, Berlin; Simon Halsey, conductor─XL: Rundfunkchor Berlin
  • Aria (Pales): Schafe können sicher weiden─The Parley of Instruments; Roy Goodman; Emma Kirkby; Jennifer Smith─Bach: Hunt Cantata BWV 208, "Was Mir Behagt"
  • Da pacem, Domine, in diebus nostria ─Choralschola of the Niederaltaicher Scholaren; Konrad Ruhland─Gregorian Chant


The Unwelcome Guest said...

Thanks for the rundown of the daily listening, Puzz. We listen to Democracy Now! on almost every evening. Sobering and incredible stuff. Thanks for your thoughts, too. Peace. Indeed!

-la maga

Puzzled said...

Hip, hip, hurray for Amy!

I don't want to tarnish your reputation, unwelcome guest, but your comments are always welcome. :)

Peace back atcha.