Sunday, August 31, 2008

Notes from the Underground

I'm only posting in this blog right now because I feel like I should, but I have no idea what to write or how to log my thoughts down. It's because I have no idea what my thoughts are. I can't even wrap my mind around what's happening. What is happening?!

Tomorrow by noon, Gustave is supposed to hit. Katrinaville is in the critical path, on the strongest side of the storm. I live with my parents in Long Beach, MS since April. Most of my clothes and things are scattered between my aunt's house in New Orleans, my parent's house, and my storage unit around the corner from there. I am poised to lose my things again, just like last time. I don't have a job or car to lose this time, however.

My feelings of failure and inadequacy, that sense of life having come to standstill since Katrina and being stuck in the mire and unable to rebuild, are personified in this eerie repetition of events. What am I do? How am I to make decisions on where to go, what to do? No one can help me; I am a face among many, with no unique thoughts of my own. Oh, my people!

Bottom line: am I stupid for my decision to move back after Katrina? Will my blocks get knocked down like a Jenga tower? As apt as the example is, my life is not a game! As my sister says, this is a new nightmare that starts the same as an old one; as much as you want to believe that things can end differently, you can't avoid the flashbacks and echoes of old pain.

So here I sit, my face a frozen mask. Waiting, waiting.

Post Theme: Tsunami by Res

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Palin for VP.... WTF?!

I tried to resist posting a note about this because IT'S TOO DAMN EASY. John McCain picking Sarah Palin as a running mate is the equivalent of abandoning a baby wrapped in bacon and drizzled in honey in a forest filled with wolf-bears. Horrifying, pitiless, and wrong.
WTF, man.

I've spent all day blogging, googling, gossiping, and best of all... giggling. When I found out about McCain's VP pick, it was a giant "WTF?!" moment in my life. After the slack-jawed silence the last night of the DNC pressed on me, I did not expect to be reduced to silence again by this election. Two periods of silence sound alike; however, there was a world of difference in the quiet. Before, I was too full, too impressed. Now I am stupefied! And for good reason...

1) Who is this lady? He's picked a complete nobody. He might as well have picked me! After all, I was almost senior class president (lost by 8 votes), publicity chair of Stanford Gospel Choir, a graduate chapter SGA representative at Tulane, and interned in the New Orleans Office of Emergency Preparedness. I, however, would have declined, as should she, if she were responsible. Making a gimmick dark horse pick worked in Head of State with Chris Rock, but the movie took place in Hollywood, aka Fantasyland. Need proof? Bernie Mac was his VP and Nate Dogg was his official hype man!

2) This is a gimmick hoping to pick off women voters who may be undecided or have supported HRC. Speaking as a woman voter, there is no undecided or disappointed woman out there worth her salt that isn't completely insulted. Hillary was qualified! This pick shows that McCain thinks anyone with a vagina will appease our quest for true equality. For another thing, feminist voters are overwhelmingly pro-choice. Palin is not. How does this make sense?

3) Palin has no experience pertaining to any of our country's fore-runner issues: the economy, foreign policy, etc. For that matter, she has no experience in any of the lesser issues either. Besides passing sweeping state-level ethics reform legislation, she's never passed a law in her life. She did, however, try to move the state capitol of Alaska from Juneau to Anchorage. What a legacy! Her acceptance speech sounded like me trying to get hired as CFO of Microsoft! It was laughable, with her referring to her time as a MAYOR of a Alaskan town with 9,000 people and calling herself "commander-in-chief of Alaska's National Guard". That deserves nothing less than a "bitch please!".

4) She's under investigation. And make no mistake, she did it. She did exactly what they are accusing her of: abusing her power to get her sister's ex fired so that she could swing their messy custody battle towards her sister. Miss ethics will probably get away with it, however, because she is a good baby Republican and got some minions to do all the calling and dirty work. She suspended some people and.... bye bye scapegoats. They won't be able to pin it on her.

5) McCain is 7,000 years old and has battled cancer four times. He, like all humans, will eventually shuffle off his mortal coil. It could happen in the next four years. How will Palin lead this country? How can she, who has never performed any governmental work in DC, be ready to lead as Commander-in-Chief? It's simple; she can't. I'd sooner expect Bin Laden to show up on cable as a Christian televangelist. I'd sooner expect America to be annexed by China. I'd sooner expect a 10th season of Flavor of Love!

How out of touch can one party be? And let me be clear: it is not just McCain that has done this. He has an entire VP selection committee to prevent any "senior moments" that may lead to something like this being decided by him independently. In doing this, they have single-handedly dismantled all of their arguments for why Obama is a bad choice and why Mccain is best, namely experience and being ready to lead. They can never go there again. Gramps and the GOP may have just gift-wrapped the election for Obama. Thanks guys!

Post Theme: We Are the Champions by Queen

Friday, August 29, 2008

DNC Historic Montage

I just had to preserve this for safekeeping. I guess it's the scrapbooker in me!

DNC Historic Montage

I just had to preserve this for safekeeping. I guess it's the scrapbooker in me!

Notes from Katrinaville

As Gustave stares us down, memories from Katrinaville are inevitable. Today is the third year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and here in the Coastal South, you can cut the tension with a knife. The real question is less what's going to happen than is it going to happen again, and so soon. Can we handle being wiped out again, or will we become an American Pompeii after these storms are through?

What a way of life! We sit at the end of nature's natural lane in the sea; we wait like striped pins for God's bowling balls. Every generation of people who has built a life here has had one storm story, but global warming has given us the dark gift of two or three this generation. Older people from New Orleans will tell you about Hurricane Betsy in 1965, Gulf Coast residents will tell you about Hurricane Camille in 1969, but now those same people have more than one catastrophic storm in their lifetime. How are we to adjust?

As New Orleanians our families are already scattered, our recovery in its infancy. There is no end to the depth of emotional and psychosocial damage we've sustained. We are a resilient and strong people, but there is arduous and unexplored territory ahead. It's like hacking your way through a new jungle with an old machete.

Yesterday the displaced portion of my family was interviewed by a local news station in Atlanta. They spoke on memories of Katrina and the oncoming storm, and possible onslaught of evacuee relatives, of which I am one. I couldn't speak as I was seized with emotion. How strange to see relatives you know and love once in awhile, or on television, living in another place, when just three short years ago, they were seen so often we took it for granted, daily even, living around the corner. That is Katrina's greatest, most merciless theft, and Katrinaville's most haunting legacy: ghosts of memories.

Post Theme: Black Rain by Ben Harper

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Open Letter to Fox News: Enough is Enough

Dear Fox News,
On behalf of myself and all the other thinking people in the world that are aware of what you are doing, enough is enough. Your super-biased "news coverage" is an affront to the size of our cerebral cortices. The sting of your condescension and the magnitude of your insults cannot be exaggerated. It is a simple fact, and by constant repetition is made into law: Fox news is not news at all and cannot be counted on to provide a factual account or objective commentary on anything.

Time and time again, you have failed in your solemn charge as a member of the fourth estate. Instead of policing our leaders, you are bought and paid for -- the drooling, mindless minions of rich men with despicable agendas. For the unaware, Fox may just seem a bit cheeky and make a lot of "errors" for which it inevitably fails to apologize, but I am not one of the unaware. Like many, I have had enough of Fox and I'm making it my personal mission to challenge every single one of your patrons and viewers to wake and up and demand better.

How much lower can you sink? I'm not going to tally every single one of your outrageous lies, slipshod reports, or racist statements, but I will talk about the one that pushed me over the edge. For the duration of this election, Fox news has insisted on painting Barack Obama as Osama bin Laden, a despicable, racist mud-slinging tactic. But wait! Crawling around in the muck and mire is not enough, and so you get on your belly and slither. Obama/Biden = Osama bin Laden?! What are you implying? That Osama has a way of possessing certain senators' parents and forcing their hands in the signing of their birth certificates, the choosing of names? That with this time-traveling evil plan he has fixed decades of elections and votes, and will now infiltrate our country and somehow perpetrate his jihad without our notice? In what universe is this supposed to be possible? These wild, astrological conjectures and conspiracy theories are pathetic, and unworthy of any American. Even implanting these ideas, like a faux-Shakespearian Iago, is a crime.

Which brings me to my conclusion. I am fighting you, Fox news, with everything that I have. I am challenging every person I know to do the same. Far from being a mere complaint, this has become another theater for the great battle of right vs. wrong, good vs. evil. What I'm trying to say, what I've said over and over again, is: Enough is Enough!

Post Theme: Sly Fox by Nas

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Talkin Bout a revolution: Proud to be an American

As I was watching the Democratic National Convention tonight, I had a totally sobering and honest thought. A thread of conscious consciousness separated itself from the 90+% of me that was paying attention to Gov. Mark Werner, and I realized: I have been far more inclined to be embarrassed to be an American than proud. How debilitating but true! I would never have made the discovery, as I had not ever made a habit of examining my state of allegiance to America. Frankly, I was too busy wrestling with the mandatory bi-cultural identity I needed to develop to survive. I don't mean to make my life out to be some lost episode of Survivor, because I had it really good -- I didn't struggle with being black or being female as a rule until I got exposed to the way other people think, and that didn't happen for me until high school. I was protected; I had quite the blissful childhood. Nevertheless, I never thought of myself as an American first per se. Sounds weird, but I am sure some of my sisters and brothers out there can concur.

My revelation took place not because I suddenly noticed my embarrassment, but because I suddenly felt its complete and utter lack. That is to say, I was suddenly fiercely and unapologetically proud to be an American. Not from a song, a poem, a speech or a flag either. (In fact, corny displays like those often provoke the embarassment.) Not from learning the white man's history lessons, or the African-American version in college.
It was the sight of so many different people, gathered together under one roof and one cause, engaged in the political process, for the purpose of changing this country. It was hearing my own thoughts and feelings echoed by so many people with different accents and ways of living that made me feel like the patch in the American quilt that I truly am. I understood that it was this and only this that had the power to lock me in willingly. I am unable to feel patriotism looking at images of war and destruction, and feel more proud as a black person than an American when I see or hear Obama speak, so I'm sure you can understand the fact that it took this long to make me feel good about it. When I traveled around the world (literally) I could not escape my nationality, but it was less a proud denomination than an albatross. I had seen our global image, heard horrible tales of previous interactions with Americans from during my travels, and saw war-torn countries unable to recoup or rehabilitate after coming into contact with our "war for peace". At those times I would have traded in my American passport for a Canadian one in a heartbeat.

I realize that I am supposed to feel guilt or shame for my admission, but I can't help but feel that it is what it is; I am a generation late to the culturally confused, label-crazy baby boomers, and there is no draft-dodging, protesting, and flag-burning in my past. And so there is no sense of shame, no pointing fingers, no embarassing pictures. It's simply a cloud of identity confusion out of which I've walked today, whole and proud, American and strong. There are people all across this nation who look and think like me, who've been shaped by the same set of circumstances, of values, of faith. They are not all black people, not all women, but they are all Americans. It is to this nation that I proudly belong. That's right: I am claiming this problem-ridden, bloody historied, effed-up foreign policied, racist, classist, age-ist, discriminatory, materialistic, mindless, God-less nation as my own! (My country is a fixer-upper!) And so, today...

I pledge allegiance
to the flag
of the United States of America

and to the Republic
for which it stands
one nation
under God
with liberty and justice for all.

Obama/Biden 2008

Post Theme: Talkin Bout a Revolution by Tracy Chapman

Sunday, August 24, 2008

They Got Me Pegged

The Wind Says Soon

Hurricane Fay is just kissing Long Beach, Mississippi today, and I am here. The breeze is blowing every which way, and the rain is so light that the drops swirl into mists like Starry Night. There is no sun, but no angry clouds either. The temperature is just right for a windbreaker, although if I had my druthers I would select a violently patterned, swirling caftan. It's a day for drama; the gulfcoast equivalent of a Cornish moor. It makes me contemplative, and a little sad.

I have opened the all the doors and the windows and the blinds, and I am inviting the weather right in for a chat. It's been whispering secrets all day and night, and I can't help but think that if I were a better listener, a dearer friend, I might learn a powerful secret. It will be a night for spells, I can already tell.

Without a car I must scheme and deal for a ride to the beach. I long to be there today, walking in the sand, my caftan blowing about, the scritchy grains dusting my toes and between. I'll stop to pick up rocks, shells, and other detritus, all while getting the pedicure I can't afford. It's there, at that time, I'll sit and stare and The Story might begin, might take me over. It's become not only a dream of mine to write, but also my salvation, the swift boat rescue after years adrift at sea. When will it come? I must admit, probably not during my fanciful imaginings.

The wind frees the strands of my hair from its queue one at a time, and they blow against my face in time with the breeze, and ghostly fingers skim my cheek. Comfort and hope bloom while patience grows. "Soon", Fay says. "Soon."

Post Theme: Clarity (acoustic) by John Mayer

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Come the Storm

Hurricane Fay, come blow your horn!
the boards on the window, the cows in the barn
where are brave citizens on coastal streets?
"under their blue tarps starting to weep."
Will you help them? "No not I;
I'll wash all away, with none left dry."

What is the nature of a storm? Is there an evil sentience, or only the focused energy of a thoughtless minion of higher principalities, of deities? Is it sent, or allowed? Believing either is your choice, and the only thing you can control.

Bring it on.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sisyphus Speaks

It's been awhile, but I've been busy at my task you see. I have become my namesake, Sisyphus, cursed to a backbreaking, soul-stripping, ubiquitous task... survival. I don't even ask why anymore. Or when this will end. It feels like they've got me right where they want me, impervious to well-meaning exhortation, to pie-in-the-sky notions like "someday your prince will come". It's funny, I've never been defeatist, but I don't know what else to call this.

I'm not unaware that my problems and situation are laughable, and that makes me laughable. It's been great for my self-image. I mean, what am I really complaining about? Joblessness? Quarter-life crisis? Even knowing the meaning or spelling of the words marks my place as pampered and middle class. I'd love to pull myself up, but I sold my boots, and so I have no bootstraps.

Nowhere to turn, nowhere to run, no rescue plot afoot. There exists only this continual uphill battle. What kind of mountains are these, with no peaks, no valleys, no sheltering caves, just inclines?