Fascinating, deep. Has true poetenchill. I will be depending on you to keep this up and running.
February 20, 1995
MeMail: Cool zine -n
I have just finished reading all of the back issues of Meanderings, and WOW!
The Newt Gingrich piece really bothered me, largely becaused I have dismissed him and everything he says out of habit. Now I realize that I actually have to learn what the man says so I can make up my own mind. I preach 'think for yourself' all the time, and it just came back and smacked me.
I am really glad y'all are on the Net, and it means enough to me to have to send in a submission. Thank you for being here...
February 20, 1995
MeMail: Congress dumps the 4th amendment
You are left wondering why?
"It's not clear whether members knew they were voting against the 4th Amendment at the time of the vote. "
It's never been clear whether a mob knows anything or not. I've heard several theories on this:
- The intelligence of a mob is less than or equal to the intelligence of it's least informed member.
- Once a runaway train has started down a track the only thing that will stop it is a) running out of fuel b) meeting another train headed in the opposite direction -- which must also be a runaway since no one would dare pilot the other train.
Basically it's like this. There is no rift in the Republican party when it comes to taking away rights, freedoms, and entitlements of those who don't make as much money as they do or who want to consider more than one point of view.
History contains many lessons. "Those who don't learn the leasons of history are doomed to repeat them." I don't know who said that.
"Those who teach that history has but one lesson are doomed to live out that delusion." I said that.
Richard Katz <firstname.lastname@example.org>
February 22, 1995
MeMail: The Politics of Meaning are Mere Semantics
I am writing in response to the piece on the politics of meaning. It seems that the writer of this piece has mistaken shallow semantics for real, substantive meaning. What he and many others fail to realize is that what are really at issue are the politics of inclusion and exclusion.
White liberals and conservatives are playing a game of "good cop, bad cop." White conservatives play the bad cop, with their shameless attack on otherness through exclusion. Meanwhile, white liberalism is made more palatable in contrast, by means of inclusion. In reality they are simply two means which work in conjunction to reach one end. That end is to maintain the structure and function of the marketplace as well as the socio-economic status quo in this country.
Let us not be so naive as to believe that Bill Clinton's supposed politic of meaning was ever anything more than a means of getting into office. His politics did not lose meaning. They never had any. Likewise, the Republican Revolution has nothing to do with moral or spiritual strength or well-being. It is about fear and loathing. They loathe those who are not among the WASP core of society. They fear that those whom they loathe may actually exercise some mobility socially, economically, and politically.
The political right wing screams "family values," without refrain. The values taht they uphold are those which made this country the embattled social climate that it is today. The conservative agenda is fraught with ruthless capitalism, rampant racism, mindless sexism, and a very subtle brand of classism. What kind of family upholds those values? Obviously, the average American family does. Or at least they think that they should.
In this day and time, there can be no politics of meaning. Many of you reading this may think me cynical for my opinion. However, as a person who exists on the American periphery, among the "other," it is imperative for me to recognize this fact. It would be wise for all of us in that position to do the same.
Stephanie Mason <email@example.com>
March 8, 1995
MeMail: The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same
I am sorely disappointed to find out just how naive many Americans are. It seems that in this age of post-modernist rhetoric, many people have deluded themselves into believing that race doesn't matter any more and that we can trust employers to be fair without government intervention and regulation. That is simply not true. Even under the umbrella of Affirmative Action, African-Americans (I cannot speak for other minorities) have seen extremely limited progress. During the Reagan-Bush era, we actually regressed economically.
I have done fairly extensive research on what Lee Pinkney calls The Myth Of Black Progress. What I have found is that, in purely quantitative terms, African-Americans have remained in the same position with regard to whites for over twenty-five years. We still make 60 cents to the dollar for the same jobs as whites. There are still 3 black adults living in povertyfor every 1 white adult living in poverty. The ratio for children is a disheartening 4 to 1. African-Americans only account for about 1.2 percent of all business receipts. However, we spend over 400 billion dollars per year. That is to say that we are contributimg to the free-market, but we're not getting anything back. That is only in quantitative terms.
Afro-America has actually deteriorated as far as substantive qualitative progress is concerned. The breakdown of the black family has snowballed in the last 25 years. The disintegration of the black polity has become apparent with major fracturing along lines of gender and class becoming increasingly detrimental to our collective well-being. African-American students have suffered, being left behind in primary and secondary schools and falling prey to attrition in the sphere of higher learning. Black-on-black violence is at an all-time high, as is teen pregnancy. I want to know where and when all of this supposed progress has taken place. I also wants to know excatly what has conservative whites so worried. African-Americans have not really gone anywhere in 25 years. Where do you think we're going now, in 1995?
The attack on Affirmative Action will only crush the black underclass and diminish the numbers of the black middle class. Such an attack is nothing more than a tool of fear used by the right wing to keep their white constituents "in perspective." Bob Dole was right on the money when he said that there's a reason that "64 per cent of white men voted Republican." That reason is fear of actual black progress.
As for my African-American brothers and sisters, I have a warning. Do not let complacency make us blind to what is going on right before our eyes. Nor should we become so complacent that we forget those that are coming after us who will have to live in void left by the death of Affirmative Action.
Stephanie Mason <firstname.lastname@example.org>
March 10, 1995