Monday, January 28, 2008

Plans and Dreams

So, I’ve been thinking of my hopes and dreams for the future. Despite all the nastiness in the world, despite all the problems coming down the pike, I still have dreams. I know that history has no respect for people’s personal hopes and dreams, but that hardly matters. As Wilde said, “A man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?” So, what am I planning to do down the line?

I want a small piece of land. Not too big; between 1 and 5 acres. I want it to be near a small town, but unrestricted so I can have chickens. I want a small house; nothing big, just a modest dwelling. I will probably have to build it myself since I’ll never be able to afford land and house. “Never” is a big word, but at least not for 20-30 years. I can buy an acre of land for $13,000 in the country around here and build a small (about 600 sq ft) straw-bale house for about$15k, doing all but the specialized work myself with friends. Not pocket change, but not out of reach in the next ten years.

When I get this land, I intend to permaculture it –mostly a forest garden, with a small pond, and some traditional garden space. (I have to have my flowers and tomatoes, after all.) What else do I want on this place? Someone to share it with of course. Whether or not that will happen is even less certain than if I can get my land. Love is hard to find in any time, but in this time especially hard. And especially for an odd, non-mainstream lesbian living in the South. Know anyone you can set me up with? I also want to have kids (well, one), and I will probably do that with or without a partner.

Should this vision of the future come to pass, what shall I call my little farm? Why, Paradise, of course. To me it would be.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Walking Away

My last post was a rant about the system in this country. A well deserved rant, but a rant nonetheless. In this post I am going to continue discussing the last theme presented in that post: namely, the issue of walking away, or leaving the system we have set up and mainstream society.

I am not going to discuss at length the reasons why someone would want to do this. Our society has gone completely mad. Look around; the evidence is everywhere. Not only is the culture sick, but no sane animal befouls their own nest. We are forcing 200 species into extinction every single day. Is the sign of a healthy society? Being well-adjusted to a society that is crazy is not a sign of good mental health; quite the opposite, in fact.

When someone actively participates in a system that is wreaking destruction, one becomes an accomplice to and an accomplice in that system. When a well-meaning, sane, rational person sees him or herself participating in something awful, they have four choices: ignore the awfulness, stop it, stop participating in it, or rationalize their participation. Most of the people in the modern world who are remotely aware of world affairs choose the first option: they ignore the fact that something is wrong. The problems are too big for one person to stop all on their own. Of the handful of people that recognize the problems and refuse to ignore them, the vast majority find some way to rationalize their participation. “I have to drive to work.” “I have to fly for my job.” “I need to provide a good life for my kids.” They do this and then leave the question there, without examining the underlying assumptions and what they could to change those circumstances, much less working to change them.

The fourth option –to stop participating in the madness –is either rarely thought of, or quickly dismissed out of hand. No, I am not suggesting anyone go live in a hut in the woods –though that’s fine too. (But I’d like to point out that the average modern city dweller who did this would likely either come running back to the city with his/her/their tails between their legs or starve. I’d roughed it, and it isn’t easy!)

What I am talking about is a gradual, systematic ceasing of participation in all of those destructive activities that are destroying our world. And yes, this involves a change in lifestyle and some self-sacrifice –if trying to save something for your children and their children can realistically be defined as self-sacrifice.

You don’t have to change everything in your life at once. Big leaps are almost certainly doomed to failure. All you have to do is change one thing, and then one more, and then another. Baby steps are fine, but start. Do something. I don’t have to tell you what kinds of things you can do –there are plenty of guides out there. Just start. Now. For all our sakes. And more importantly, for the sake of all our children and the generations yet to come.

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Election Season Hoopla

Well, the election season in full swing. I follow politics like some people follow sports –keeping score and so forth –and for much the same reason. No, this isn’t a post just about the election. I do have a point. I’ll get to it in a minute. For the record, any comments to this post trying to convince me to vote for one candidate or another will be deleted. No exceptions.
Now, to go on. Both parties are in a fury right now since they’ve had two separate winners and no clear leader. Personally, I’m an independent who has always voted democratic. But I wouldn’t vote for Hillary Clinton if she was the last person in the world who wanted to job. I don’t like her, and I don’t want to continue a dynasty that has been going on since three years before my birth. By that I mean that the Bushes and Clintons have been in office as VP or President since 1980. Sure I want to see a woman President, but not her. And that crying fit on tv the other day? That was completely, utterly staged. My vote, for what its worth, will depend on who’s ahead the day of my state’s primary. If Obama is winning, I’ll vote for Edwards (assuming he’s still in the race). The reason is that I think he’s the only candidate in the race who might be the least bit inclined to take the corporations out behind the woodshed like they deserve. Otherwise I’ll be voting for Obama. If Hillary is the nominee in November, I will either cast a protest vote for a third party if any make it onto the ballot here, or I might (gasp) vote for the Republican. No; I don’t like the Republicans. I despise them, in fact. But in some ways I prefer an honest bastard to a lying one.
Therein lies the rub. And the point I’m slowly trying to get to. There’s not really much of a difference between our political parties. Sure, the rhetoric is different, and the Democrats are slightly more liberal. But once they get into office, they serve the interests of the elite and the big business interests. Period. The main difference is that the Republicans are more honest about it, and the Democrats do slightly more pandering to the masses. Don’t believe me? Clinton increased the military budget many fold, cut taxes to the rich and social services to the poor, waged two minor wars, signed NAFTA, and the list goes on. Nor am I picking on Clinton; Carter and JFK were just as bad. Every U.S. President, regardless of party affiliation, has been this way. For a full treatment of the subject, pick up a copy of Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States. It’s an excellent book, and should be required reading.
Voting itself doesn’t matter much, especially anymore. I’m convinced the last two Presidential elections were rigged. I’ve seen all the evidence of vote rigging and its two clear to ignore. I suspect we’ll end up with a Democratic President this time (and probably Hillary) as a way of placating the masses a bit, but I very much doubt it will be because of what the people want.
The system is concerned with two things: serving the interests of the elite, and its own stability. To that end, the system will try to get the leader that will do the best job of both. No, this is not a conspiracy theory; this is simple system dynamics –you don’t need a conspiracy to run a system. Right now the system is trending more and more towards instability. People are losing their jobs, their homes, their healthcare in record numbers. Inflation is running wild, oil is through the roof, the weather has gone crazy. And people are beginning to notice. If things get much worse, there are likely to be large scale rebellions as there have been many times in the past –the 60s and 70s, the early 30s, the late 1800s, etc. To head this off, the system will probably bring in a new leader who will make some cosmetic appearances to give the appearance of change without changing the underlying structure. Hell, we may even get Obama as a result of that.
This is the old pattern, that has been repeated ad nauseum throughout this country’s history: channel rebellion and discontent into the ballot box, elect someone who will make just enough changes to appease enough people to avoid full-scale rebellion –and leave the business interests alone.
You can’t change this system from within. It is too big, too corrupt, too self-correcting. Any attempt at change from within will be dampened out before it does too much damage. No, this system will only change from without and maybe not until it comes down. There are only three ways for that to happen: it will either have to break down on its own, or it will have to be brought down. Or some combination thereof. I don’t recommend trying to actively bring this system down. It treats rebels harshly. But there are simple ways of helping it break down and one is very, very simple: leave it. Walk away. And that will be the subject of my next post.


Sunday, January 06, 2008

Interesting Poem

Here's an interesting little poem. Thoughts, anyone?

This I Swear
I will live to see
The Highways fall silent
The strip malls vacant
Wal-mart roofs cave in
Tangled growths smother fast food stands
Tree roots crack the pavement
Saplings grow where cars once parked
The sick culture die
The corporations fall
Seeds of a new culture
Of healthy ways of living
In newly fertile soil
Begin to grow
In the waiting child
By all that's Holy
This I swear
So help me Goddess