Thank You, Jane

Fighting for social justice maybe more important than ever. With children at our borders…in crisis. With Veterans roaming the streets (homeless) of the land they fought to protect. With something as simple as, healthcare for all…a silly debate…

With all this, and socialism shouted from the rooftops of aging, life time politicians, where do we turn?

So many quotes on history and how it repeats. How the United States does not learn from her mistakes. Hatred in every corner of every town…red or blue. Again, it is important to look back to see where we need to grow.

It is well to remind ourselves, from time to time, that “Ethics” is but another word for “righteousness,” that for which many men and women of every generation have hungered and thirsted, and without which life becomes meaningless. Jane Addams

So a little history is what I present!

Addams developed three “ethical principles” for social settlements: “to teach by example, to practice cooperation, and to practice social democracy, that is, egalitarian, or democratic, social relations across class lines.”[46] Thus Hull House offered a comprehensive program of civic, cultural, recreational, and educational activities and attracted admiring visitors from all over the world, including William Lyon Mackenzie King, a graduate student from Harvard University who later became prime minister of Canada. In the 1890s Julia Lathrop, Florence Kelley, and other residents of the house made it a world center of social reform activity. Hull House used the latest methodology (pioneering in statistical mapping) to study overcrowding, truancy, typhoid fever, cocaine, children’s reading, newsboys, infant mortality, and midwifery. Starting with efforts to improve the immediate neighborhood, the Hull House group became involved in city- and statewide campaigns for better housing, improvements in public welfare, stricter child-labor laws, and protection of working women. Addams brought in prominent visitors from around the world, and had close links with leading Chicago intellectuals and philanthropists. In 1912, she helped start the new Progressive Party and supported the presidential campaign of Theodore Roosevelt.

Jane spoke, fought for social injustice. She started with conversations on poverty. And, discussed the bias’d idea that the poor simply did not work hard enough (as many were led to believe.) The poor and down trodden were also victims of the state. The state in which they live; genetics, environment, illness, threat.

Why do we view social reform with such disdain? Why is it such a far fetched idea that…all citizens should be treated equally?

I listened to the (below) listed podcast with baited breath. Wondering why had I not known more about Jane Addams and/or her ‘Boston marriage’ to Mary Rozet Smith?

**The fact of relatively formalized romantic friendships or life partnerships between women predates the term Boston marriage and there is a long record of it in England and other European countries.[1] The term Boston marriage became associated with Henry James‘s The Bostonians (1886), a novel involving a long-term co-habiting relationship between two unmarried women, “new women,” although James himself never used the term. James’ sister Alice lived in such a relationship with Katherine Loring and was among his sources for the novel.[2]

There are many examples of women in “Boston marriage” relationships. In the late 1700s, for example, Anglo-Irish upper-class women Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby were identified as a couple and nicknamed the Ladies of Llangollen. Elizabeth Mavor suggests that the institution of romantic friendships between women reached a zenith in eighteenth-century England.[1] In the U.S., a prominent example is that of novelist Sarah Orne Jewett and her companion Annie Adams Fields, widow of the editor of The Atlantic Monthly, during the late 1800s.[3]

Why, why, why is not in the best interest of society (centuries ago and/or today) to treat those we live with, eat with, walk amongst, with dignity and respect?

Ain’t No Man

There ain’t no man that can save me
There ain’t no man that can enslave me
Ain’t no man or men that can change the shape my soul is in
There ain’t nobody here
Who can cause me pain or raise my fear ’cause I got only love to share
If you’re looking for truth I’m proof you’ll find it there

You got to serve something, ain’t that right
I know it gets dark but there’s always a light
You’re gonna have to buy in to get into the club
Trade your worries
You gotta show up if you wanna be seen
If you matters to you, ma, it matters to me
I’m gonna fall hard, yeah I know I am
When the clowns crack up I laugh with them

You say you look funny, I say you’re a star
I say you’re whatever you think you are
Watch your naysayers fall right in line
If we believe it they’ll say she is so pretty
He is so fine

You got to go somewhere, ain’t that true
Not a whole lot of time for me or you
Got a whole lot of reasons to be mad, let’s not pick one
I live in a room at the top of the stairs
Got my windows wide open and nobody cares
And I got no choice but to get right up when the sun comes through

Ain’t no man that can save me
There ain’t no man that can enslave me
There ain’t no man or men that can change the shape my soul is in
There ain’t nobody here
Who can cause me pain or raise my fear ’cause I got only love to share

@theavettbrothers

Give Us Your Tired, Your Poor

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door! @emma lazarus/statue of liberty

My Flag

I took my flag to church…with chimes ringing at noon.

I took my flag to church for healing.

I placed my

red…for the color of my skin

blue…for my mother’s sadness

white…for cleansing my weak mind

upon a ancient altar.

I waited for condolense from a religion I did not choose.

I brought my own incense

my native tongue.

I placed, delicately, the love and duct tape I had been born with.

I laid out the only tools I knew how to use.

I found no tranquility among the brick and mortar confines.

I found my soul crying out for her own mind.

Wrapping my flag about me…I stammered out…wearing a rainbow of colors …I refused to become blind.

I am a liberal because…

This is how I feel.

I’m a liberal, but that doesn’t mean what a lot of you apparently think it does. Let’s break it down, shall we? Because quite frankly, I’m getting a little tired of being told what I believe and what I stand for. Spoiler alert: Not every liberal is the same, though the majority of liberals I know think along roughly these same lines:

  1. I believe a country should take care of its weakest members. A country cannot call itself civilized when its children, disabled, sick, and elderly are neglected. Period.
  2. I believe healthcare is a right, not a privilege. Somehow that’s interpreted as “I believe Obamacare is the end-all, be-all.” This is not the case. I’m fully aware that the ACA has problems, that a national healthcare system would require everyone to chip in, and that it’s impossible to create one that is devoid of flaws, but I have yet to hear an argument against it that makes “let people die because they can’t afford healthcare” a better alternative. I believe healthcare should be far cheaper than it is, and that everyone should have access to it. And no, I’m not opposed to paying higher taxes in the name of making that happen.
  3. I believe education should be affordable. It doesn’t necessarily have to be free (though it works in other countries so I’m mystified as to why it can’t work in the US), but at the end of the day, there is no excuse for students graduating college saddled with five- or six-figure debt.
  4. I don’t believe your money should be taken from you and given to people who don’t want to work. I have literally never encountered anyone who believes this. Ever. I just have a massive moral problem with a society where a handful of people can possess the majority of the wealth while there are people literally starving to death, freezing to death, or dying because they can’t afford to go to the doctor. Fair wages, lower housing costs, universal healthcare, affordable education, and the wealthy actually paying their share would go a long way toward alleviating this. Somehow believing that makes me a communist.
  5. I don’t throw around “I’m willing to pay higher taxes” lightly. If I’m suggesting something that involves paying more, well, it’s because I’m fine with paying my share as long as it’s actually going to something besides lining corporate pockets or bombing other countries while Americans die without healthcare.
  6. I believe companies should be required to pay their employees a decent, livable wage. Somehow this is always interpreted as me wanting burger flippers to be able to afford a penthouse apartment and a Mercedes. What it actually means is that no one should have to work three full-time jobs just to keep their head above water. Restaurant servers should not have to rely on tips, multibillion-dollar companies should not have employees on food stamps, workers shouldn’t have to work themselves into the ground just to barely make ends meet, and minimum wage should be enough for someone to work 40 hours and live.
  7. I am not anti-Christian. I have no desire to stop Christians from being Christians, to close churches, to ban the Bible, to forbid prayer in school, etc. (BTW, prayer in school is NOT illegal; compulsory prayer in school is – and should be – illegal). All I ask is that Christians recognize my right to live according to my beliefs. When I get pissed off that a politician is trying to legislate Scripture into law, I’m not “offended by Christianity” — I’m offended that you’re trying to force me to live by your religion’s rules. You know how you get really upset at the thought of Muslims imposing Sharia law on you? That’s how I feel about Christians trying to impose biblical law on me. Be a Christian. Do your thing. Just don’t force it on me or mine.
  8. I don’t believe LGBT people should have more rights than you. I just believe they should have the same rights as you.
  9. I don’t believe illegal immigrants should come to America and have the world at their feet, especially since THIS ISN’T WHAT THEY DO (spoiler: undocumented immigrants are ineligible for all those programs they’re supposed to be abusing, and if they’re “stealing” your job it’s because your employer is hiring illegally). I believe there are far more humane ways to handle undocumented immigration than our current practices (i.e., detaining children, splitting up families, ending DACA, etc).
  10. I don’t believe the government should regulate everything, but since greed is such a driving force in our country, we NEED regulations to prevent cut corners, environmental destruction, tainted food/water, unsafe materials in consumable goods or medical equipment, etc. It’s not that I want the government’s hands in everything — I just don’t trust people trying to make money to ensure that their products/practices/etc. are actually SAFE. Is the government devoid of shadiness? Of course not. But with those regulations in place, consumers have recourse if they’re harmed and companies are liable for medical bills, environmental cleanup, etc. Just kind of seems like common sense when the alternative to government regulation is letting companies bring their bottom line into the equation.
  11. I believe our current administration is fascist. Not because I dislike them or because I can’t get over an election, but because I’ve spent too many years reading and learning about the Third Reich to miss the similarities. Not because any administration I dislike must be Nazis, but because things are actually mirroring authoritarian and fascist regimes of the past.
  12. I believe the systemic racism and misogyny in our society is much worse than many people think, and desperately needs to be addressed. Which means those with privilege — white, straight, male, economic, etc. — need to start listening, even if you don’t like what you’re hearing, so we can start dismantling everything that’s causing people to be marginalized.
  13. I am not interested in coming after your blessed guns, nor is anyone serving in government. What I am interested in is the enforcement of present laws and enacting new, common sense gun regulations. Got another opinion? Put it on your page, not mine.
  14. I believe in so-called political correctness. I prefer to think it’s social politeness. If I call you Chuck and you say you prefer to be called Charles I’ll call you Charles. It’s the polite thing to do. Not because everyone is a delicate snowflake, but because as Maya Angelou put it, when we know better, we do better. When someone tells you that a term or phrase is more accurate/less hurtful than the one you’re using, you now know better. So why not do better? How does it hurt you to NOT hurt another person?
  15. I believe in funding sustainable energy, including offering education to people currently working in coal or oil so they can change jobs. There are too many sustainable options available for us to continue with coal and oil. Sorry, billionaires. Maybe try investing in something else.
  16. I believe that women should not be treated as a separate class of human. They should be paid the same as men who do the same work, should have the same rights as men and should be free from abuse. Why on earth shouldn’t they be?

I think that about covers it. Bottom line is that I’m a liberal because I think we should take care of each other. That doesn’t mean you should work 80 hours a week so your lazy neighbor can get all your money. It just means I don’t believe there is any scenario in which preventable suffering is an acceptable outcome as long as money is saved.

Author Unknown