Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Falling for the Maid

What is it that makes the world's most powerful men fall for maids? History? That's part of it. Since the beginning, kings, presidents, and slavemasters have gone after the maid.

Then, there is biology: Women are attracted to powerful men, (just as lionesses are attracted to the strongest lion, and cows to the moose with the largest rack.)

Men, correspondingly, are attracted to women who look up to them. (They are not so much attracted to powerful women. Biologically, such women might be a turn-off.) In that way, the master and and the maid are often a better match than is the king and the queen.

And let's not forget physics: Men perform most effectively on women who are beneath them. That's gravity boys; mechanics that work throughout the universe.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and thousands like them watch their powerful wives traipse off to fundraisers and charity events - women's conference in Gabon - and then return home full of themselves. These men can have sex with these women, but more often than not, the men will have to wait.

All the while, the maid, in her plain dress, stays quietly by the hearth - fixes his supper, sweetens his coffee, and makes his bed. She attends to his most fundamental needs. She will take the time to listen to him as long as he wants to talk. She is there.

She is a natural woman. In the master's most primal moments, she is easiest to love.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Osama bin Laden: Vagabond, Villain, or Valiant?

Born in Saudi, bin Laden seems to have called "home" where he laid his hat.

In that way, bin Laden's attack on the World Trade Center was not so much an act of terror as it was an act of war - retaliation for Clinton's missile strike on that Sudanese pharmaceutical plant, and Clinton's later bombings of training sites in Afghanistan.

It is worth noting that before he took on the Americans, bin Laden took on the Soviets - the same ones Reagan had labelled "the Evil Empire." While Reagan talked at the formidable Russians, he would not fight them; he left that to bin Laden. Reagan did find time, however, to bomb Libya, a nation of barely five million people. In that particular strike, he killed a small child in Khadaffi's back yard. She was Khadaffi's daughter.

Meanwhile, the Russians were killing over a million Afghans and shipping Afghan children back to the the Soviet Union where they were systematically deprogrammed, and taught to think and act like Russian socialists. Bin Laden, along with the Afghan Mujahadeen, fought to stem this tide of mass kidnappings, and finally drove the Russians out of the Afghanistan.

Today, bin Laden is dead. According to a recent poll, many Americans believe he is burning in hell. If he is, then I suggest Ronald Reagan sits to the right of him, there for killing that innocent little girl. And I imagine Barack Obama shall sit on his left for his part in the murder of those nine Afghan boys who gathered firewood outside of their village.

Regardless of what we thing of him, bin Laden fought bravely for what he believed in. He had range. A millionaire born into the lap of luxury, he seemed just as at ease bedding down in a cave.

We admire David for taking on Goliath with a slingshot. Bin Laden took on two Goliaths with the equivalent of a slingshot.

I don't celebrate bin Laden - let his people do that. I simply warn my people against the petty way of belittling qualities and achievements in one man that we would hail in another.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Unbroken Chain

A wave is forming just as sure as the sun will rise. It will shape families and communities for generations to come. Many children will live in its path, and its wake.

They are sons and daughters, nieces and nephews, grandchildren of men held in prison for far too long. These children are of that wave, now - swept up each time their fathers are flopped. "Flopped" is prison parlance for "You can't go home." For the children, "flopped" is
simply despair.

It has become a human rights issue in America - not the locking up of men, but the keeping of men for political and financial gain. (Even in China, long-maligned for its human rights abuses, is pointing the finger at the U.S., and challenging its record.) For, here in American, fellow Americans are being denied their freedom so that other men and women can have jobs. They are caged endlessly so that politicians can appear "tough on crime." They have even become and interstate commodity to be bought and sold like so much c
hattel. These poor Americans are kept in such straits because their fellow Americans do not care, and they, themselves cannot afford real attorneys who might negotiate their release.

These men are pebbles cast upon the waters; their children, the ripples those pebbles create. That those ripples shall become waves is as inevitable as the tides.

These children are bound to their fathers, and by extension, they are bound to the prison system. They know when their fathers have served their minimum sentences ordered by the courts. They know of the disciplined behavi
or that has allowed their fathers to fashion good prison records. They are aware when their fathers have abided by all R&GC recommendations - held jobs, completed educational and rehabilitation programs. If there was more the State could ask of their fathers, they know their fathers would do it. But the State has nothing more - except it has cruelty; except it makes these men stay imprisoned for no other reason than it does not feel like letting them go.

There is the pebble that strikes the water that starts the ripples - those ever-expan
ding concentric circles that touches one child after another - one classroom, one neighborhood - until its currents of bitterness and resentment, by degrees, reaches us all.

But there is an alternative wave, the one whose catalyst-pebble is a father returned to the fold. That wave begins with a smile. And there, too, its ever-expanding circles touch one child after another, until its ripples of joy infect entire schoolyards, and by degrees, travel in all directions to infect the world.

No link in this human chain can be broken. We are one, and shall sink or swim together. Those we would seek to drown will not go before their time; neither will they be left beh
ind. They will cling to this scow until we are all rightly scraping bottom.

There is life in prison - good life; life that has paid its debt, and now eagerly awaits a chance at redemption. Those who would smother that life - out of vengeance; out of might, though they be devoid of right - criminally wrong.

It is one thing to die, it is another to be buried alive. Many of these men cry out of their prison sarcophagi with cries that wake their children in the night. They are not the cries of men whose time of death has come. They are the cries of men with lives yet to live, and more than anyone, their children know the difference.