Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Ms. Musings; A Winding Road; Interesting Times

Ms. Musings has a tribute to Shirley Chisholm that went up yesterday (http://www.msmagazine.com/blog/archives/2005/01/shirley_chishol.html). It's worth checking out for the writing and for the resources. Links are provided to a documentary on Chisholm (one that will air in February on PBS -- I'll be watching); a link to obits; a link to a list of various recordings (some of which you can listen to online) and to the text of the speech she delivered "on the floor of the House in 1970, arguing in favor of the Equal Rights Amendment."

A Winding Road had a post from yesterday that we linked to this morning: "Endangered: Our Libraries" (http://awindingroad.blogspot.com/2005/01/endangered-our-libraries.html). This is an important topic. AWR addresses the closing of the libraries in Salinas due to the citizens refusing an increase in taxes. Mike Malloy covered this last Thursday on The Mike Malloy Show and, if I'm remembering correctly, the tax hike would have been less than one percent.

It was that or shut down the library system. Voters in Salinas, California elected to do without libraries. If you don't live in Salinas, you may think it doesn't matter to you. It does.

In my city, when we were facing a "shortfall" (for you and I, that would be known as bounced checks) what did they target right away? The libraries and the parks and rec. department. That's what they wanted to go after. Let's reduce the hours at the library, let's lay off people from parks and recreation.

It took us writing our council persons, e-mailing them, calling them and showing up at the council meetings and town hall meetings to save both. This is what gets cut time and again.
And why does that matter?

"I don't use the libary." Well you have the right to. It's there if you do need it. You're lucky if you don't have to rely on it. But there are people who do rely on their libraries. Charlie is a member of our community and he relies on his. I go to my library at least once a week. Librarians were one of the strongest defenders of our rights in the face of the Patriot Act (and they continue to fight for our rights).

Somewhere, in some area, you've got a council person, a city manager or a mayor (or all) watching what is happening in Salinas and thinking, "Hmmm." You need to make sure if they decide to follow Salina's lead in your town that you're vocal. Who's paying for the council's lunches? Is that being cut out? Look through the budget and find out where the money is going.
Things are tight (the Bully Boy economy) but our libraries are too important to allow to wither.
In most areas, they are the first to get funding cuts everytime. That may just mean they lose a few subscriptions, that may mean they lose some funds for books, that may mean that they cut their hours. But four years of the Bully Boy economy hasn't been good.

And you need to see what's going on in your area. I'm sure Salinas has many caring people who, even if they don't use the library itself, appreciate that others do and that it is there if they should need it. But they weren't able to stop this. So you need to be ready to stop it if it happens in your area.

(Disclosure, I worked at two different campus libraries while in college.)

It's an important post and I hope you'll read it. But there's another post that went up today that's important as well: "Drawing a Line" (http://awindingroad.blogspot.com/2005/01/drawing-line.html).

A lot of you have expressed your opinion that Kat (Kat's Korner) has made strong points here about reclaiming our music. In "Drawing a Line" AWR is arguing that point as well and talking about when you do let go.

The post tells you who will be performing at the inaug. (On that, I'll note that announced names didn't all show up in 2000. Van Morrison was announced despite his management repeatedly stating he would not be performing at the inaug. Van Morrison did not perform.) Randi Rhodes noted today that Kid Rock would be performing and how strange (my term) that was since his lyrics (which she quoted with many "bleeps" for language) hardly seem the type that the so-called "values" party could get behind.

A Winding Road is not asking that you bombard the announced people with e-mails, calls or anything else. AWR is asking that you note who is choosing to stand with the Bully Boy (or stand up for him) and that they have a right to do so. But they do not have the right to expect that you will continue to buy their music.

It's not, "Let's get a steam roller and bring our discs to a disc smashing!" It's simply pointing out that we have the power of "yes" and we have the power of "no" (as Erika has pointed out to us) and that we can use those powers when we make our music purchases.

AWR is not attempting to silence anyone's right to speak. AWR is following in the proud tradition that Caesar Chavez and others have led us in the past to put some thought into our purchases and to realize our purchasing power. My opinion is that this is a discussion we all need to be having. The right can support them. They can buy their albums and go to their concerts. They can call the radio stations to get them played. More power to them. We should be doing the same thing.

Interesting Times made a similar point re: James Dobson's attempts at activism:

I think the above reaction is all wrong. We should neither laugh at it, because it is a serious threat. Nor should we condemn it, because Dobson is simply doing what we should all be doing. We should all be using our political influence to put the existential heebie-jeebies into our elected representatives. People like Joe Lieberman and Olympia Snowe should never go to bed without the nagging realization that any of us might bring about their political downfall.

[We'll continue mocking Dobson here. Consider it our "Jon Stewart" moments.]

Interesting Times is right that we should respond with our own activism. And that's what A Winding Road is talking about.

Not harrassment, not threats, not attempts to get the people pulled off the air -- just don't use your money to support them. Remembering (and using) our power of "yes" and our power of "no."