Sunday, October 9, 2011

History and Me

I think I may have noted somewhere that I majored in History at FSU. I had planned on teaching community college; nice classes of people learning Western Civ that I could regale with the stories of the 6 wives of Henry the 8th, court gossip, old scandals that help today's students remember the important parts...That's not where I ended up but my interest in social/intellectual history colors my view of the world even now.
That facet of my personality made this week's trip to DC even more exciting than usual.
I was going with colleagues because of a Microsoft Foundation grant we are operating, which meant meeting at DC's Microsoft HQ. That, in itself, would have been plenty exciting for most people. What I was focussed on were my two wishes: an aftershock from the earthquake that had rocked DC a few weeks earlier and the opportunity to gather with a group related to the Occupy Wall Street protest.
My few days were dwindling away and I feared I wouldn't get either wish - I comforted myself with the fact that I had finally tasted Iberico Ham at Jaleo and that it was all I had hoped it would be - silky, melt-on-the-tongue cured ham that I will eat again.
On the last morning, the USA Today paper had an article about Occupy DC along with its location. At Last!
The protesters were at Freedom Plaza on the corner of 14th and Connecticut Avenues. My hotel was on New York Ave, a long trek away for a fat woman with a bad ankle. Oh, yes - the ankle I twisted on the same foot as the toes I had broken! I had twisted it again the previous morning when we climbed to the Russel Building to meet some Senators. I was determined to get there and really needed to walk off a few of the calories I had so eagerly consumed in the previous days.

This was the first picture I took. See the foot under the bench? That belongs to the woman holding the sign. She had it facing the street when I first saw her, looked over her shoulder and saw me and understood my turn-the-sign-around mime efforts and did so.
I've been saying for a long time that people need jobs that pay a living wage. I'm not talking communism/gimme, I am talking about paying people what their labor is worth. The CEOs are skating off with not just the biggest piece of the pie, but the VERY biggest piece.

This poster vilifies some CEO who got a big-ass bonus while foreclosing on homes - not really sure about the details but my contention has always been, even before this crisis, "how many islands can you own? How much do you really need to have a luxurious life?"
I think a lot less than they have now. I am not in favor of direct wealth re-distribution (i.e. take the rich folks' bank accounts and divvy them up) but restructuring the tax system so the middle class pays less, the rich pay more, and business and industry can't have a profit margin greater than 20% of payroll after you subtract operating expenses. People used to be able to have one breadwinner in a household and still have enough money (in all cases but the poorest) to own a house. I know abut the exceptions, this is a sweeping generalization.
My focus was on the piece of Occupy DC that concentrated on the economic side of the nation's problem. There were lots of other parts of the protest, threads to make a whole tapestry. The people against the Tar Sands pipeline, many elderly and wealthy-looking, were present along with the anti-war folks (which included quite a few veterans) as well as others; all of whom made up the consensus of the whole: Government should be about US, not the corporate interests who can line the pockets of Congress.
I came home Friday night. It was my eleventh wedding anniversary, 17 years total of being with the exactly right man for me.
My beloved Charlie had a vase of a dozen of my favorite roses, secured by a small box on the base to prevent any cat-astrophe, waiting for me. The cats twined around my ankles and sang "give us treats!" while I read my anniversary cards. I hugged and kissed my darling and decided that I had had enough "going" for a few days and would indulge in a little "staying" for the next few days in my perfect little corner of the world.

1 comment:

  1. Aww, so glad you and your darling had a great anniversary. What beautiful flowers! Love to you both <3


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