Reclaiming Democracy

Well, they didn’t pry it out of my cold, dead hands. But my only remaining firearm has just left the premises.

Having grown up and lived in the South I’ve owned shotguns, .22 rifles, and an assortment of handguns. But over the years, my collection had dwindled to one old revolver that I kept in the bottom of my T-shirt drawer, a place where it would be handy if danger arose. My ability to actually use the pistol in an emergency was doubtful, however, since my wife, Shonnie, had only agreed to keep it in the house if it was unloaded.six-gun

What, you might ask, motivated me to hand over the gun to local law enforcement authorities? I got rid of it in response to a well-timed question about my possession of it by Shonnie after we saw Michael Moore’s movie Bowling for Columbine. The question: “What are you afraid of, Bruce?” (more…)

Last evening Shonnie, Gracelyn and I were in the kitchen cooking dinner and listening to This Land is Your Land: Songs of Freedom. Buffy Sainte-Marie and her rendition of “The Universal Soldier,” Bob Dylan and Joan Baez crooning “With God on Our Side,” Cisco Houston singing “This Land is Your Land,” and more. And I got to thinking about this presidential election.Trump-Hillary-Bernie

Now it’s quite clear to anyone paying attention that it’s way past due for a woman to be elected President of the United States. However, this is a highly perilous time for this nation with numerous issues that cry out for action—income inequality, lack of a living wage for many including members of the middle class, two-tiered justice system, institutional racism, militarization of police departments, world-wide militarism (800 military bases in more than 70 countries and territories abroad), and more, plus our lip service toward reining in climate change. (more…)

Pat McCrow

It was, in the end, about a 21st century governor who joined a short, tragic list of 20th century governors. You know at least some of these names, probably: Wallace, Faubus, Barnett. They were men who fed our worst impulses, men who rallied citizens against citizens, instead of leading their states forward. —Charlotte Observer editorial board

North Carolina’s not-so-illustrious Governor Pat McCrory was evidently caught completely off guard by the backlash of outrage and condemnation from individuals, organizations, North Carolina city governments and national corporations that followed his signing of the anti-LGBT House Bill 2 (HB2), sometimes known as the Charlotte Bathroom Bill. The nAll-Gender-Restroom-Signew state law not only overturns Charlotte’s city ordinance barring discrimination and creating transgender accommodation for bathroom use. According to David A. Graham in The Atlantic, “… it also prevents any local governments from passing their own non-discrimination ordinances, mandates that students in the state’s schools use bathrooms corresponding to the gender on their birth certificate, and prevents cities from enacting minimum wages higher than the state’s.” Chris Fitzsimon of NC Policy Watch notes that “the legislation also eliminated the right of workers illegally fired because of their race or religion or gender from suing in state court.”

Of course when you live in a privileged, white, heterosexual, affluent male bubble, it’s easy to lose touch with reality and the fact that homophobia, transphobia and bigotry don’t play too well outside the rural conservative enclaves in North Carolina. Even the governor of Georgia saw the wisdom of declining to sign the bigoted bill that his state legislature recently passed, perhaps not wanting to have his name mentioned in the same breath as extremists George Wallace, Orval Faubus and Lester Maddox. (more…)

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