Monday, October 31, 2011

I've worked in a lot of bars in my life.  One thing I have learned... no matter how many Vodka /7"s you've had, you should always avoid discussions about politics and religion.  Another thing I've learned is that it's easy to avoid them if I confine myself to vodka/7's, but the minute tequilla is involved... all bets are off...
I have strong politcal beliefs... and I'm an army brat who was raised to believe that if you don't take part in the system then you have no right to bitch about it... so I vote.  I was also taught that the voting booth is confidential, and that you have no obligation to tell ANYONE who you voted for. 

I also go to church, but I know people from all backgrounds and religions.  Among my friends I know Athiests, Pagans, Wiccans, Islamics, Buddists, as well as the full spectrum of Christians.   I don't try to convert them... they don't try to convert me.  We get along just fine, If I'm absolutely honest, the church I go to is non-denominational, and several of our members have one or more of those belief systems in their past.  I'm pretty sure that there are very few of our members who found their way to our church on a smoothly paved road.  That's part of our strength. 

The Occupy movement is interesting.  I'm not saying that I agree with it, and I certainly have no intention of pitching a tent in the park... but I find it fascinating to watch. 

I've been keeping track of the local movements... there's one in Dallas and one in Fort Worth... the latter being smaller but also closer, I've probably paid more attention to it.  I also, through their facebook pages mostly, keep track of some of the other movements through the country. 

I agree that there are serious problems with the economy. 

My personal experience is this... there is nothing I'd like better than to get a new job.  I'm over qualified and over experienced to be a courier.  I've been applying for jobs at a rate of at least 2 or 3 a week for over a year.  People want to hire me.  Part-time with no benefits.  And no... they can't give me regular hours or a schedule, because that would mean I'd be able to get another part time job, and they don't want that.  So I'm stuck driving 5 days a week, and working at the flea market one day a week.  At least for the moment. 

And I'm doing better than many people I know. 

I personally know people who have a bachelors degree and are working at McDonalds. 

I know a single mother with a college degree in psychology who is working as a bartender. 

I know someone who has paid his insurance for over 15 years, only to have it cancelled when he was diagnosed with a life threatening condition. 

I know so many of these stories... that they're sadly typical.

Somethings gotta change.  Maybe the Occupy movement will be some sort of catalyst for that.  Maybe it won't, maybe it's just a way for people to express their frustration. 

I do know that I don't wanna hear about any marines who survived two tours of duty in Iraq, getting their skull cracked open with tear gas canisters, as happened in Oakland. 

I know that if Groups can drive in from out of state to stand by the road screaming "God Hates Fags" at people, then the residents of the state should have the right to stand by the road with a sign when they get off work at the warehouse. 

So... I'm watching the movement.  I'll see what happens. 

And I apologise for going off on a political rant. 


  1. I agree that the OWS movement is interesting to watch. But what I'd like to know is, who's paying for these people to be fed and watered regularly? And why is the Tea Party vilified time and again when its members pay their own way, pick up their own trash, pay for their own security, and shell out for the permits and insurance required for protests. The OWS protesters have not, by the way, done any of this in most of the venues, and the required permits and insurance? City officials are being told to look the other way.

  2. Claude,

    I registered the week after my 18th birthday and have voted every election since. And no, I am not one of those every 4 year voters either. I participate in all local and state elections every year. And I to am watching the “Occupy” movements as well. Hoping you have a great Halloween, let’s see, as I remember zombies are your preferred ghouls of choice, have fun. – gary

  3. Walk to Write... The majority of the protestors in the Dallas and Fort Worth movements are there in shifts. This is because they all have jobs. Scott Olson, the marine veteran who was shot with a tear gas cannister in Oakland, worked full time at a computer company, and stayed in the park at night. They are paying their own way. Food, blankets, etc are sometimes donated by local churches, but are also donated by people who just drive up and hand over a box. Requiring a million dollar insurance policy for these groups has been declared unconstitutional by several judges across the country, on the grounds that it places a monetary requirement on the constitutions right to free speach. And Fort Worth avoided it by not accepting the donated port-a-potty, so they weren't required to have insurance anyway. Most of the movements across the country have volunteers on a clean up crew who pick up all the trash. I know in Dallas they have men who work in the factories and stop by to drive it to the dump everyday, and the Fort Worth group has a couple of guys who do the same thing. I can't speak for every movement across the country, and I'm not part of the local movements, so I can't really speak for them either... but I do hope that answers some of your questions.

  4. Anonymous7:29 PM

    Gary - I don't talk much about politics and such usually, but yeah I'm active, usually in a quiet way. I find the occupy movements fascinating primarily because they seemed to happen organically... from out of nowhere. I don't think the Authorities were in any way prepared for them, and I don't think they're reacting in a good way... but only time will tell what happens. BTW... I've played zombies in movies, but really, my Gothic past demands VAMPIRES - claude

  5. Yes, I suppose different folks have different strokes by region. Some are law-abiding, and some are pushing and testing the limits of the law and order. Personally, I don't favor one movement over the other. I do agree that what's been happening in government (local/state/national) over the past 30 years (or more) is outrageous and a travesty. I do vote regularly, but sometimes I wonder if it matters. The people you hope will do a good job usually forget to honor their promises/principles once elected.

    If you want to talk about politics on your blog, I'm not afraid to read or comment. As reasonable adults, we should be willing to agree to disagree.

  6. Not sure why you feel the need to apologize for talking about politics. Politics is important. People *die* from politics. (Often!) Income disparity is bigger now than at any other time in my lifetime, and a lot of that is because of things like deregulation, tax cuts for the wealthy, etc. The governors in several states (most notably Wisconsin and Ohio) have been trying to take away the right of public employees like teachers, firefighters, police, etc., to collective bargaining, leaving them with reduced health benefits, lower pay, etc. There has been a lot of complete bullshit thrown around about how we have to make cuts to Social Security, yet tax increases on the extremely wealthy is so radical it can't even be brought up. Social Security is all that's keeping some people in their homes. There are something like five times as many people seeking work as there are available jobs; it's not that people are just being lazy and wanting to sit around and eat ice cream and collect their unemployment checks: there are no jobs to take. And so on.

    So people are right to be angry, and right to try to get the attention of those in power by protesting. That's what you do. Right of assembly, right of free speech, etc. This is how America is supposed to work.

    Though I think I'm very aware of what's going on, and I read a lot of political blogs, I don't generally talk about politics on PATSP. Partly this is for fear of alienating some of my readership, and partly it's because thinking about politics is exhausting, depressing, and frustrating, and I am already plenty exhausted, depressed, and frustrated without needing to focus harder on the things that make me so. But that doesn't mean it's not a worthwhile topic to write about, or that there's anything to apologize for, and I'm a little puzzled that you felt like you needed to. (Claude: if you are not already familiar with it, I suspect you would enjoy following Slacktivist, as I gather you and he have similar religious/political views and see similar connections between them.)

    Walk2write should be made aware that some of the money to keep people fed &c. is coming from donations; for example, the website Crooks and Liars has been taking donations to buy pizzas for protesters, from businesses near the protest sites. As an example. Googling would likely turn up the answers to other questions of this nature. (Google and ye shall find; Wikipedia and it shall be given unto you.)