March 18, 2011
The ones that get away
Any time you try to work for social justice, you're bound to win some and lose some. And, given the forces you're up against, the odds, statistically speaking are not in your favor.
I usually tell myself not to take things personally, to focus on conditions and act in accordance with them, and if something doesn't work out, to flow into the next technique. And not to be encumbered by hope.
I'm usually pretty good about taking my advice but this week...not so much. I had been marginally hopeful that some things might make it through the WV legislature. One measure, that would have helped people who need unemployment insurance but can't get it now, made it farther than before but died due to "the rich man's frown," to quote an old labor song. I guess that's to be expected, given that the forces of organized wealth have something like an absolute veto power over anything they don't like, whether it makes sense or not.
But another one, which might have taken a step or two towards addressing the major racial disparities in the state, managed to die on the last night despite having made it through both chambers (in different forms that were not reconciled). That one was in the bag until things fell apart for reasons that had nothing to do with public policy. I won't go into the whys, although it had to do with politics in the sense of the saying that in West Virginia everything is political except politics and that's personal.
For a lot of this week, I've felt like the lyric of a John Hiatt song that refers to "throwing up ashes on the floor." Not an attractive image, but it seems to fit. And I kept thinking about those birds in the movie March of the Penguins who went through a winter of hell for an egg that didn't hatch.
Given the fact that the world is going to hell in a handbasket, it probably isn't such a big deal that one decent bill in a small state died, but this one got to me. It seemed like one little thing that could be done in a universe sliding toward entropy or Ragnarok.
I'm starting to get over it, using my preferred medicine of hard physical training. There will be plenty more struggles to come--and, no doubt, plenty of similar outcomes.
AN AGE OF ACTIVISM? Maybe.
FIDDLING AROUND with a fragile recovery could be dangerous.
WASHINGTON SEEMS TO HAVE FORGOTTEN the unemployed.
COAL KABUKI, CONTINUED. This ought to be good for another ruling class hissy fit.
GOAT ROPE ADVISORY LEVEL: ELEVATED