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Numb and Nummer

by Candi Duke Monday, Jun. 21, 2004 at 9:45 AM
candiduke@worldnet.att.net

The draft...it's coming. Let’s put in on the table for discussion BEFORE the election! Ask the questions. Insist on open dialogue. Demand accountability from the Press and the Politicians.

Yes, it’s true. There were no weapons of mass destruction, no link to Al Qaeda…sure, it wasn’t about Oil. So why did the U.S. Administration choose to engage in and fight an Ideological War, at great cost to everyone, when the entire country, and yes the world, was facing economic hardships and transitional difficulties relative to the new Global Economy? Why did Bush stand up before the U.N. and reveal himself as a Bully intent on using the monumental measure of power at his fingertips, regardless of anyone else’s concerns? Why did he declare that anyone apposed to his misuse of power was an enemy?

So now we have an awful mess to clean up. No doubt about it, there will be a draft. Let’s not make the same mistake twice and sit back silently again. Ask the questions, demand some answers. How many will be drafted. Who will be drafted? How long will it last? Do Conscientious Objectors and Pacifists have an option to refrain from participation? What choices will we have?

Don’t let History tell the story that this was the time when a President of the United States executed the singular most reprehensible and irresponsible act and the Nation never lifted a finger to intervene.

The following Editorial was written and submitted in answer to a dear friend’s question, “What do we do?” Never again will the New York Times be able to excuse themselves with an apology and the comment, “We were not informed.”

Lifting a finger is as easy as 1, 2, 3….hit Forward and Send To: any and every editor and journalist, producer, television station, discussion board, Senator, Congressman or Woman, Bush, Kerry, your friends and family, etc. etc….

Insist on dialogue and debate. Ask the questions. Demand accountability from the Press and the Politicians regardless of your opinion.

Remember this.

One person may not be able to change the world

But the world does change one person at a time.

Respectfully Yours,

Candi Duke

(the guppy)

Please, read on...

> ----- Original Message -----

From: "candi duke"

To:

Sent: Wednesday, June 16, 2004 2:14 PM

Subject: OP ED Submission

To Whom It May Concern at the New York Times Editorial Office:

The Opinion Piece I am submitting may not make the cut and be published in your paper as it does not fit the tone your tradition sets. However, it is a well informed Social Commentary and a cautionary tale. So, I do hope you will read it, pass it on to your colleagues, and I invite from you a response.

If you are interested in the appalling state of affairs regarding journalism schools and higher education-at least in Dallas, Texas- just follow the money and check out the faculty lists and funding at Richland Community College and SMU. I'm also willing to bet the farm that this scenario is not limited to my (red) neck of the woods.

What I want most of all, is for you to consider more coverage regarding the potential for a military draft in the year 2005. I want the question raised, why isn't this an election issue?

PLEASE check my sources at vancouver.indymedia.org:

http://www.vancouver.indymedia.org/news/2004/01/105146.php

As far as the case of Armageddon Influenza that has permeated the Oval Office for 16 of the past 24 years; watch "American Experience: Ronald Reagan", which aired on PBS this past week. The first episode makes the point all too clear. Better yet, perform a Google search with the keywords Armageddon and Bush.

Just see what pops up. You will be amazed.

For Runaway Film Production, contact the DGA Political Action Committee:

http://www.dga.org/thedga/leg_rpsb01_dangersofrp.php3

Read the 2001 Department of Commerce Report-

http://www.ita.doc.gov/media/migration11901.pdf

Regarding the comments concerning the perilous status of Roe vs. Wade check out the N.O.W. site:

http://www.now.org/index.html

Here's the site for the March for Women's Lives:

http://www.marchforwomen.org/

I for one appreciate the public apology that the New York Times extended to the reading public recently, regarding your lack of coverage concerning "weapons of mass destruction". But it strikes me as absolutely nuts that NO one at your publication ever raised the question. I certainly was aware of the possibility and had my concerns.

But then again, that is the danger we all must face head on. None of us are immune to bias, arrogance, ignorance or pride. Even liberals can succumb to the threat of becoming too insulated within their environments and fall out of touch with reality.

Here's a quick true story for you. I worked for the New York Times Monthly Magazine about 13 months ago, doing research for an article they wanted to publish about Million Dollar Homes for Sale.

There was an obvious slant and bias from the beginning. The editor wanted me to find homes in the million dollar plus range that had been

drastically reduced in price, been sitting up for sale for over 6 months, with yards overgrown, incomplete construction...etc. etc...the point was supposed to be that all these millionaires had lost their money in the after crunch of

9/11. They wanted great photo's for their spread.

Well, I did find hundreds and hundreds of million dollar plus homes for sale. But due to tax incentives and low interest rates they weren't

sitting up...they were selling! We had a real estate boom going on to match the bull market on WallStreet.

No, the real story was that the Blue Chip folks were doing well and making a profit off of the current economic conditions while the middle class

folks had lost their -70 k jobs as well as their homes and their savings and were begging for work at Home Depot.

I could find only ONE home (out of literally hundreds and hundreds up for sale) that fit the parameters I had been given, yet the editor and her editor insisted that this was the story they wanted to print. Thank goodness the homeowner would have no part in this sort of yellow journalism.

Meanwhile, I'm listening to David Letterman's monologues each night.He's making great fun of the poor slob reporter who has just been outed at

the New York Times for fabricating stories.

And I'm thinking...it's not the reporter, it's the editors who decide what the news should be and then insist on the reporter or the researcher

finding the one single molecule of evidence to support their slant.

Yes, it really happened. I've got my notes and the pay stub to prove it.

Here's my point. We all make mistakes. The Big Guys not only apologize but they also change. Please don't overlook the obvious again...raise the question and the flag. Yes, there will be a military draft. Let's put it on the table for discussion BEFORE the election!

Sincerely,

Candi Duke

Numb & Nummer

By Candi Duke

(1984 words)

Just got off the phone with a dear old friend who lives in New Mexico. She is my touchstone to the liberals of our times and my bygone years.

“Just Do It,” She says when I tell her I feel trapped and isolated here in Dallas.

I want to get out. I miss Taos and the inspiration of living amongst creative thinkers.

“People are lazy,” She says. This is her main comment regarding the voting population’s lack of interest in the truth.

“Are you so surprised?” She asks, with martini dry sarcasm, when I tell her of my experiences at the local community college, about the decidedly conservative influenza masquerading as higher education in the journalism department.

“Of course I shouldn’t be,” I say, “When the department head and most of the professors work at the Dallas Morning News, what can I expect?”

“We are singing to the choir here in Santa Fe and Taos,” She says, by way of explaining her lack of effect on an audience who already agrees.

“What do you mean? We should leave our homes and go out…to…reach out..to them?”

This is her shocked response after I make the suggestion in light of her own situation; living amongst liberals who all agree with one another, who have concerns for the future of our land of the free and the brave.

Hey, since she and her fellow citizens have the supportive environment for liberal views and politics, as well as the time and energy for such things, maybe they could find a way to reach out and share their ideas, you know, inspire those of us who live in less open climes? Open up a dialogue, perhaps, and learn a thing or two.

In no more than a few breaths she has contradicted herself; first by admitting these “liberal pockets” are scarce and scattered, she’s privileged to live in one, then by stating they are plentiful in the U.S. “If I really want the change.”

When pressed for the abundant list of opportunities and affordable locales she becomes vague; signs off with a forgotten appointment to keep, “Oh look at the time,” and, “Well, we all have our own problems to solve. But I’ll give it some thought.”

We’ll talk again. But I don’t know when.

It’s not an easy challenge…for either side of this conversation…keeping the connection open. Tension ripples just beneath the surface of our words. Our friendship is fragile, with distance and time eroding away the fabric of sisterhood like sand washing old bones to dust.

Maybe that is why we only speak to one other every once in awhile.

But I don’t want to lose touch with the sense of freedom I had, actually lived; oh it seems so long ago. I desperately need to reconnect with the perspective, in order to find balance, in order to find hope.

Maybe that is why the call is always on my dime.

I loved living as an iconoclastic artiste’ and armchair philosopher in Ranchos De Taos and other locales in the Land of Enchantment while working part-time as a freelancer in the film industry to support my independence. My dual residency between Austin and New Mexico was a good gig as long as it lasted, from ’89 through ‘96.

But then the new global economy touched the film industry. Approximately two hundred thousand people in the U.S. have lost their livelihoods while productions have run away to Canada and far off places like Russia and New Zealand. In addition, there is always an influx of the younger cheaper generation ready to fight tooth and nail for jobs. Then the dot come market crashed in ’99, followed by 9/11…then the war in Iraq…

Now I find myself a 40-ish year old woman in 2004, struggling to make a second career and barely surviving in a Bible Belt city of commerce with the highest rate of violence per capita in the U.S.

This particular leg of the erroneous journey has long since gone past the phase of shocking the sensibilities and become a mind-numbing grind.

I’m beginning to wonder, however, after this conversation, “Who is numb, and who is nummer?”

She came of age in San Francisco in the 60’s, moved to Taos in the 70’s, raised a family and a business, facilitates the local chapter of N.O.W., volunteers as a rape crisis counselor, doesn’t own a TV or have an internet connection. She only listens to N.P.R. and reads the New York Times. She’s an activist, a pragmatist, and was my first really good strong female role model. I respect her immensely for the life she has created for herself as well as the values she holds so dear.

She recently marched in Washington with her two young adult daughters and a million other women. Now she’s shocked about Roe vs. Wade, the perilous condition of women’s rights. She is asking me, “What do we do?”

That’s on the one hand but then on the other she is telling me, “The draft will be different this time. It won’t be like Vietnam. It won’t be so bad.”

Well, it is going to be different, that’s a sure bet. It’s equal opportunity, for one thing. Women now have the right and will soon have the duty to fight. Pacifists and Conscientious Objectors will not have the option of college or Canada. So, I wonder where she gets her information. What won’t be so bad?

I’ll be the first to admit it. I’ve grown cynical over the past 7 years. Bucking the system aint easy, especially when you’re deeply entrenched, as I am these days. I’m surrounded on all fronts. The outlook is grim from where I stand.

The Patriot Act. Fundamentalist religious views and ruthless values intricately woven into the pattern of power in business and politics; faith-based initiatives, biased education systems, corporate downsizing, hatchet-job managerial tactics, 60-hour work week expectations, hour and a half commute times, high unemployment, high cost of living, tax cuts for the wealthy, budget cuts for social service and the arts, corruption pervasively permeating city government and the police force…oh yes, the list goes on and on…double and triple murders reported nearly every night on the news.

The rats in the maze are going ballistic. The driving force of a cultural identity rooted in Survival of the Fittest and Manifest Destiny has created a climate so aggressive it’s beyond what could be imagined back in the 70’s… we really thought we could make a lasting difference…we were the ones who would make the world a better place…back when.

Dallas is not Shangri-La, not by a long shot. It’s not Santa Fe either. Or Taos, or any of those other friendly places on the long list of “liberal pockets” my dear compadre’ speaks of. I’d really love to see her list.

So, I know my perspective is biased. I’m looking out through the dark glass of a fish bowl filled with the gunk of the tar pits, the by-products of a petroleum-based economy. I am only a guppy, so thirsty for fresh, clean, clear water; gasping for air to breath, exhausted by the constant effort.

These calls I make to my old friend are my way of reaching for a lifeline out of the muck and the murk; just a little hope, please, maybe a better perspective.

But then again- it’s just another fish bowl- isn’t it?

I find her comments have left little slashes, like razor blade cuts, on the skin of what’s left of my sensibilities.

People are Lazy?

It’s not about Lazy. It’s about being exhausted from spending 80 hours a week with the commute, working the job of two people (because that’s what happens with corporate downsizing) just so you can stay afloat and pay the electric bill, which has gone up 20% in the past 9 months; bucks a gallon for milk, .50 for a loaf of bread, or a gallon of gas, and property taxes keep sky-rocketing, insurance rates increase, and taking pay cuts, and constantly worrying about lay-offs, and your kids are faced with guns and bombs and drugs in the schools, and they are angry and belligerent because they don’t have the future we had to look forward to …yes they will be paying the price for the choices their forefathers and mothers have made..and now we are in yet another war….and another draft… it’s coming.

No. It’s not about lazy. It’s about people run out of steam…run out of hope…run out of promises…and options….and time.

She’s asking me? What do we do about Roe vs. Wade?

How do I know? Who has the time or the energy to figure it out?

Most nights I’m in bed before 9 and then up again at half past 4 in the morning. I get home from work around 7 or 8 in the evening. On the weekends I have to catch up with the everyday tasks of living; like going to the grocery store, doing the laundry, cleaning the house and paying the bills. And I don’t have children or a husband to worry about.

If I’m lucky I can save a hundred bucks here and there. But then, since I’m still working temp jobs, the nest egg will go soon enough; towards survival when I’m in between jobs again. And when I’m in between jobs then I’m busy looking for another job…and it looks like there is no end.

Just Do It! She says?

So I go back to college on top of work. I take out loans and get into debt. Aim my sights on blazing a new trail out of the maze; maybe set an example that can make a difference after all. Then I realize a new fact of life. In today’s world, education is more about indoctrination into the status quo than learning to think for oneself.

Journalism School here is not about learning how to find and report the truth but about getting trained to go to work for a corporate conglomerate. De-regulation, thanks to Reagonomics, has left us little chance for earning a living reporting the truth or for learning the truth as consumers, because Clear Channel and mega-monopolies have gobbled up most of the independent venues.

Are you so surprised? She asks?

Now I’m thinking, I’m really thinking.

"This is Elitist Privileged Liberal Bull! Sounds a lot like-Let them eat Cake-to me!”

Here’s my old friend, sitting High on the Hill, looking down from the safe distance, asking me, “What are we going to do,” while shooting down my efforts, as well as my disappointments, and the only encouragement she can offer is this?

Oh well, we all have our own problems to solve.

Sure, I think this draft will be different. We have millions of fundamentalists fighting to overturn Roe vs. Wade while they aim to build up an army of “spiritual warriors” and re-instate the draft explicitly to the purpose of fulfilling a prophecy of Armageddon. Just so they can be righteously right.

My isolated opinion. The one I get from having my ear to the ground smack dab in the middle of the Bible Belt on homeboy Bush’s turf. Not a liberal party’s well rehearsed lines or some sophisticated think tank’s incubated thoughts. So, consider the source and where it comes from. A guppy stuck in the muck.

Besides, after Armageddon, who cares?

Like Bush says in his interview with Woodward, ”…. We’ll all be dead.”

I hope she does give it some thought, since she has the time, allies, and an insulated bubble. I hope they discuss it at length at one or two of their parties. Maybe they’ll take pity on the rest of us, you know, the one’s who are too Lazy to look for the truth. Maybe they will share the insights and inspirations from their City on the Hill.

-----end----

If you're going to be passive, do it in a positive way....pass it on...

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I feel for you A Kindred Soul Monday, Jun. 21, 2004 at 10:02 PM
There's still people saying that shit? Barney Monday, Jun. 21, 2004 at 10:14 PM

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