Thursday, December 30, 2010
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary entitlement is defined as: the state or condition of being entitled: Right. (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/entitlement)
Entitlement is not a four letter word, except in the gaping maws of slick and oily politicians who have managed to slither into national office on a wave of carefully cultivated selfishness and fear in an ignorant electorate. For instance, take my Social Security which I will start collecting at the end of the year. Am I entitled to it, you’re damned right, for the same reason I am entitled to live in my house; enjoy the beauty of the roses I have nourished for two decades; or benefit from the comfort of a great marriage that my husband and I have built over a good part our lives.
I have worked for 47 years and paid into the Social Security Fund. FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act) was taken out of my check every week without so much as a howdy do, kiss my ass, have an apple. I didn’t trash the fund, that would be the power drunk idiots in Congress, and I see no reason why the short fall should be my problem. Every American who has ever paid one dime into the fund has the same right to get it back as I do. Social Security is not a handout; it is a return on an investment. Accordingly, when any citizen who has paid taxes has need of a social program they are utilizing a return on their investment. When a poor person takes foods stamps into a grocery store they are making use of a return on our investment. I have always understood, without qualification, that some part of my tax dollars go to help the needy. If the bloody frauds in Washington have changed the rules then by my reckoning they still owe me 47 years of dividends to the poor starting in November. Our government is perfectly capable of understanding the concept of investments and returns when it comes to every bloated showboat on Wall Street, felonies and compound felonies notwithstanding. Why don’t they get it when it comes to working people?
We must reframe, as the Jungians would say, the debate on social programs. Entitlements aren’t charity. We aren’t parasites sucking on the government tit. That would also be Congress. Those who expect returns on their investments are within their rights, particularly when those returns are underwritten by years of work and a hope for a better future. In whatever way, large or small, that we can begin to insist that the word entitlement be returned to its true definition – a definition that works for the people rather than robbing them – we must try. It is and always has been ineffective to ask the leaders we respect and admire to do for us what we won’t do for ourselves. It is and always has been dangerous to allow leaders who do not deserve respect and are beneath contempt to set the criteria for what must be done.
Language is to meaning as watercolor is to canvas, a fragile often vague image of reality. In a watercolor landscape if the blush of a rose is too close to the sky without proper perspective or definition there is no rose and there is no sky. When the proper perspective and definition of language is used to distort reality then meaning becomes a shill for petty politicians and their lobbyist thugs to rip off the American people at knife point using the Constitution as the weapon.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
“For the good of all, according to the free will of all,” my grandmother and her many sisters in the Craft taught me. To honor the free will and free mind of another person is to honor the highest good of all people. Pagans carry their freedom like a sacred fire. We follow only our path, the God and/or Goddess of our heart – never gurus or mindless mobs. Our fire burns in our soul, keeping us warm in a cold and angry world. We have all moved through a particularly cold and angry time. Soon, with a darkening of the Moon, we will step into the midnight of the year. The earth sleeps. The bright promise of spring awaits its time in the Goddess’ womb. Now we honor the dark and look forward to the light.
The rose featured here is John F. Kennedy. It sits in my sacred circle surrounded by red roses. Some say that a bouquet of eleven red and one white rose means goodbye. So goodbye to the old year, and in the spirit of our beloved 35th President we look forward to Camelot.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
I have always been fascinated by the case of Jack the Ripper. After seeing all the movies (including the silents) and reading everything I can get my hands on the desperate search for information has never abated. Certainly I am not alone in this obsession. From the FBI and some of the finest working detectives in the world to crime fiction and mystery writers like America’s very excellent Patricia Cornwell people have presented themselves at Scotland Yard’s museum to evaluate the evidence and render an informed opinion about the identity of the Ripper. All of this notwithstanding, the mythology of Jack the Ripper as a smoke screen for a series of politically motivated murders refuses to die.
The legend holds that a Royal impregnated a prostitute. Afterward he went through some type of marriage with her while five of her friends, Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly, witnessed. These five women were the Ripper's victims. The woman who married the Royal died in an asylum, and the child disappeared.
According to the allegory the Ripper was actually one of Queen Victoria’s court physicians acting on behalf of members of the government who were part of a secret society. The motive for the murders was to keep the five women silent.
I believe that this hasn’t been about Jack the Ripper for decades. This is a morality play, a cautionary tale for all those who would suffer an upper class or aristocracy without boundaries and above the law. At the time the Ripper was killing much of London’s East End was slum. Whitechapel was one of the worst. Disease, overcrowding, poverty, starvation, unemployment and crime shaped the environment were the five tragic women lived and died. Sometime after the Ripper vanished from the scene the monarchy and the City of London began to clean up the slums. However, by that time the image of a black-caped aristocrat riding in a Hansom cab, sporting a long blade and stalking prostitutes was already deeply ingrained.
The poor people of Whitechapel and everywhere passed the story from generation to generation until it had the full force of a folk myth. We are on the verge of moving back to a time when we have two classes – the very rich and the very poor. Let the Myth of Jack the Ripper be a lesson – if it is a myth.
Saturday, December 4, 2010
I went traveling about in my world today. Two Salvation Army Stores around my area are closing. Apparently, the landlords have increased the rent to the point where it is unaffordable. These property-owners gave no warning, but just waited until the little stores’ leases were up. Salvation Army community projects, food banks and drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs will suffer accordingly. In the Dollar Store I met a man who said he was a fork-lift driver. I don’t know what that is, but I suspect that it is a fairly high paying job for a skilled laborer. He has been out of work for two years. I met him in front of the coloring book display where he stood selecting a dollar book for his little daughter’s birthday. I see this where ever I go as the Middle Class crumbles and the ever growing poor slip deeper and deeper into despair. Will the American people have to see starving children begging in the streets before their anesthetized social conscience comes up from under layers of deceit, duplicity and delusion?