A Long Strange Trip

Feb 1, 2007 by

I sit in my home and listen to the rain outside my windows as I contemplate the concept of loss. We have lost the will of the majority to political posturing and partisan games in DC. We have lost any sense of faith in the social contract due to the ongoing game of fizzbin being played with recovery funds for New Orleans. We have lost the illusion that things will turn out well.

Now, to add to the list, we have lost Molly Ivins. A nobel, educated and observant voice has now been stilled, a voice that was my inspiration when Katrina and the Federal Flood forced political writing upon me. (Ye gods I miss just writing music reviews!) Coupling solid logic with a ferocious wit and and a conversational tone she was a true jewel in the firmament.

In an effort conceived by Ivins herself The Nation has launced The Molly Ivins Tribute Project.

O’Malley’s idea is that Ivins’ colleagues in the journalism world should take over and intensify her campaign to make every effort to end the war. “It would be nice,” O’Malley adds, “if a lot of these columns could be funny, since skewering serious subjects with humor is what Molly does best, but that’s not required.” Who, after all, can write about serious subjects as amusingly as Ivins without trivializing them?

The Berkeley Daily Planet has created a special mailbox to receive the offerings. Please send submissions to [email protected]. The paper will publish them as they come in at berkeleydailyplanet.com. The best ones will also be published in the paper’s Tuesday and Friday print editions. The suggested length is 600 to 800 words. Please also forward this call for contributions to any columnists you read regularly, and to any publications which might circulate the results or highlight the project.

No matter your leanings politically this is important. We are dumping funds at a rate of billions in Iraq to help rebuild, but in the meantime my home lies in ruins. A jewel on the Mississippi River has been buried in mud and slime (both literal and figurative) and sees but the tiniest trickle of aid by comparison. What does that say of our nation? We are rich. We are a superpower. We abandon our own. My guts clench everytime I see new figures on what we are spending in Iraq and how it dwarfs the finances directed towards the decimated City of New Orleans.

This especially hard to take if you watch mainstream media. With the sound off there is little to differentiate the aftermath of the latest bombing in Baghdad from the majority of our neighbrhoods (even 18 months later). The parade of numbers showing our national resources draining away into no bid contracts and layer upon layer of middlemen is similar, the main difference being the vastly larger sums involved with Iraq. I switch off the TV in disgust and try not to beat my head against the wall.

Liberal, conservative, moderate, who cares? The one thing that should be on everyone’s minds is why we are letting a major American city suffer and expire while we throw money like carnival beads at rebuilding another nation. I know we are responsible for a lot of what needs to be done over there, but we as a nation are also responsible for the abandonment of our own people. Which is more of a priority?

A hot catchphrase these days is that we, “are a christian nation.” If that is the case then where, oh where, are the tenets of that long dead Nazarene now? What has happened to the concepts of compassion, mercy, and care for those who lack? It seems, like eveything in this media driven age, to have been politicized and used as a club rather than an olive branch.

Oh Molly, I wsh I had your facility with words! I wish that common sense would become a common thing. I wish my own disillousionment were not so strong in the wake of recent years. An important voice has been stilled. It is up to us to watch the watchmen now.

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