What to Bonnie Raitt, R.E.M., Bruce Springsteen, and Jurassic 5 have in common?

They're playing a concert on my computer right now!

It's the Act4Victory concert, live on the Internet. Pretty sweet.

So my mom just got back from her first of two weeks volunteering for the Kerry campaign in a swing state. She was in Sandusky, Ohio--home of Cedar Point Amusement Park!--and will go to Pittsburgh near the end of the month. So I'm wicked pumped, vicariously, about the election. Not that I won't be voting or anything, but I got jobs and couldn't go with her.

I forwarded her email to most of my readers (ooh! I have readers!), but today she told me the best, if also the saddest/scariest/worst, story yet.

So my mom met this woman in Ohio who had a Kerry sticker and a yellow ribbon magnet on her car. The woman told my mom that this time around, yellow ribbons are not automatically support for the President or for the war. Often the people sporting them are anti-war, but (also unlike the Vietnam era) support the troops and understand better the separation between soldiers and orders. The woman's husband is in the National Guard and currently is in Iraq, and both of them are strongly anti-Bush. Mom liked her new friend so much that she was telling some of the more powerful campaign staffers about her, and one of them thought she'd make an excellent panel member for Elizabeth Edwards's visit yesterday. So the woman was one of three panel members, and did an amazing job. She told the following story, though I'm sure in a completely different way:

Remember in Orwell's Homage to Catalonia, when the Communist/Socialist/Anarchist/Good-guy militia had so few weapons that they had nothing to train with and many first held a gun when they took it from the militia member they relieved? It was kind of funny, when I read it, imagining all those poor anti-fascists having nothing to learn at training besides how to march around and follow orders (well, sort of) from their comrades. Well, it's not so funny when it's one of the best-funded and supposedly best militaries in the world. The War Resisters League says that half of US tax dollars go to pay for past and present wars. One might think this would pay for, say, weapons and transportation, and of course combat pay for soldiers. Turns out, it's not enough, or it's going to the wrong places. Not only has combat pay been cut for National Guardspeople from $250/month to $100/month. The $250 was already too low. They only have health insurance while they're on active duty: come home, no medical coverage. When this woman's husband was training over in Indiana to go to Iraq, they had no weapons. They had no vehicles. They used sticks as guns, aiming them at targets/each other/whatever and only knowing whether or not they'd hit anything by their superiors telling them so. They marched around in groups of six pretending that they were in cars and mimed opening and closing the doors when they had to. Now, this is neither cute nor funny when it's still happening and when it's happening under a President who critiques his opponent for voting against body armor for the soldiers. As much as I disagree with the military-industrial complex and its high funding, I at least think the people who have to go fight should be as best prepared as possible. Fuck space-missile-defense bullshit. Give the soldiers the means to defend themselves.

Bush has to lose this November. I'm feeling a little more hopeful about it these days, what with the latest polls, but it's a scary scary world if Dubya gets a second term.

Of course, if a second term brings about the Revolution, I might reconsider =D

1 comment:

  1. I just wanna say that just because there aren't many comments doesn't mean we aren't reading!! I'd love some commentary on the baseball thing. I've been out of the loop, myself... Speaking of which, I'm going to pack up, say hello to the gals at 7square, and then cross the street and go join jon and crew for the second half of the game. Or something like that.