Barack and roll!

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Barack Obama Wins!

Barack Obama Wins! (Photo credit: BenSeese)

I am SO HAPPY and relieved that Obama won re-election. I haven’t been into politics for quite awhile. I used to rant about it  a lot on this blog awhile ago. But that fire has turned into a few smoldering embers at the bottom of the pit. On the eve before election day I suddenly felt very anxious at the very real possibility that Romney could actually be president. I did not like it. Not at all. Not after hearing him speak during the debates and realizing how completely out of touch he is with my hopes, dreams, and desires as an American.

So I chewed my nails down to the quick during election returns. When Obama won it felt like the biggest exhale ever. What a relief! I am so happy.

Unfortunately I quickly found out that there was a vast number of citizens who are not happy. Not at all. Not even close. There are tumblr blogs  that are chronicling the tears of Romney supporters. News sites with lists of epic Conservative meltdowns.   sigh.

The thing is that I know exactly how the other side feels. I felt exactly the same way 8 years ago. I had the same fears (except I was afraid we would go fascist) and I seriously considered moving to Canada.  I even said some of the same words I am seeing conservatives using. So I feel compassion for them. It hurts badly when your team loses. Especially when there is so much emotion wrapped up in it.

But the fact of the matter is that we got through the last of the Bush years intact. We didn’t turn fascist, like I feared. We ended up pretty much o.k. as a nation. Maybe a little scarred but we are o.k.

I  noticed that lots of the fear is rooted in the fear of our country becoming socialist. I am hearing conservatives say things like “We elected a Socialist president.” We did not elect a socialist president. Having Obama in office is not going to cause our country to become socialist. We will never, ever (in a million, trillion) years become a socialist nation. Ever. We are a capitalist country with some socialist philosophies and institutions. We will continue to stay that way. You know why? Because Americans, no matter what side of the fence we are on, like our choices.  All of us do. I, personally, like that we have some government regulated institutions (like the public library for example). I would like to continue to have these institutions, as an American. I don’t want them taken away from me. Does having government-run institutions threaten capitalism? Absolutely not.

Anyway, just some post-election thoughts. I am happy that we have four more years of Obama. Very happy. I am sad that there are many people in this country who feel that we are divided because of it. I don’t want us to be divided. I want us to work together. We all want the same things, ultimately.

Flickr Time Machine

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Burning bush

No deep thoughts running through my head today. Instead, here is an episode of Flickr Time Machine! This was not taken on October 4th. It was actually taken on October 2nd, 2008. However, I saw this photo and it triggered memories of the last Presidential Election. I took this photo on my way to the car at work. The library I worked at has beautiful, colorful trees in the fall and I took  every opportunity to photograph them. I was anxious to get home that evening to watch the presidential debate between Obama and McCain, and that is what I was thinking about when I took this.

Presidential debates are upon us again and, four years later,  feel anxious. I don’t want a repeat of the Bush years. 

I am donating these books to the OWS People’s Library

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I am donating these books to the OWS People's Library

I felt moved to donate books to the OWS library. So I perused my shelves, looking for the right ones. These jumped out at me immediately. What could be more subversive than art, poetry, and writing? And I had to include the ukulele book because it has been established that it is the instrument of peace. May they find themselves in the hands of those who will enjoy them and not in the dumpsters of NYC.

Information on where to donate can be found on this post.

On the Destruction of the OWS Library and The attack on UC Davis students

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Image via Wikipedia

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about how stoked I was that libraries are sprouting within the Occupy Movement, most notably, the Occupy Wall Street People’s Library. A couple of days ago the People’s Library was  destroyed by NYC police officers at the order of Mayor Bloomberg.

NYC police destroyed a public library. Honestly, I don’t even know what to say. I am totally appalled that this is happening in America. This is a blatant, obvious, in-your-face repression of free speech.

Frankly I am too upset to write anything coherent. I think the actions of the NYC Police and Mayor Bloomberg speak for themselves. And I think, as Americans, we should all be appalled. Here are some really good blog posts I’ve found that explain the situation and  sum up how I feel:

Please support the OWS People’s Library. They also have a Facebook page and Twitter account. They accept monetary donations here. Donate books by sending them to the address found here.

There are many rights being violated. The right to free speech hits me hard, being a librarian. There are also reports that journalists are being arrested for merely reporting on the OWS movement!

The right to peaceably assemble is also being violated. Here is a video of college students being callously pepper sprayed while they are peacefully protesting:

Here is an open letter calling for the resignation of the UC Davis Chancellor’s resignation. 

I am upset. You should be too. I want to do something but I don’t want to do anything out of anger. A Facebook friend mentioned that she is proud of the students for continuing to stay peaceful in the face of such brutality. I am proud of them, too. Watch the video to the end (I didn’t the first time). It is absolutely moving. Here are some really good blog posts that articulate what happens:

the answer

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After a few days of staying away from the news and getting some distance from the horrible news story on Saturday, I’ve realized the answer to my question. It came as a result of watching this video:

Keith Olberman pretty much sums up everything I’ve been thinking about the situation very eloquently and succinctly. He says it much better than I ever could. Granted, it’s a little over the top, but still. The point is made.

There is a ubiquitous quote by Gandhi has almost become cliche, it’s quoted so often.

Be the change you want to see in the world.

It is a very profound statement.

I can only control what I do. I can’t control others. I can’t expect anything from others. All I can do is be the change. So I will.

However, am not a media personality. So my behavior isn’t going to have much of an impact on the media, really. But I am so happy to hear people like Keith Olberman, who is a media personality, come out and say that he isn’t going to participate in this violent rhetoric. That is a good step in the right direction.

On the assassination attempt of Congresswoman Giffords

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Gabrielle Giffords, Democratic nominee and gen...

Image via Wikipedia

I haven’t written anything political on this blog for a very long time but today I’m very upset. Yesterday the Democratic Congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords, was shot in the head at close range, along with several other people, six of them killed. One of them being a 9 year old child.

Am I jumping the gun by saying this was an assassination attempt? Maybe I am. I’m sure people could accuse me of that since “the facts aren’t in yet.” But there are facts that are in. And some of those facts are that the person who committed this terrible act posted anti-government ramblings on a website (according to the New York Times).

Just a little observation here: I do wonder why the media isn’t immediately calling this an assassination attempt. If this were a male congressman would it be different?

These events have shed some light on something that has been in the shadows of our culture for a few years now. This culture of hate that has been lingering underneath the surface. It was brought to light yesterday in the form of an image that appeared on Sarah Palin‘s website earlier this year. It is the image of the United States of America with cross-hairs over those districts that Palin wants to “take back.” This image was accompanied by tweets that used violent rhetoric to make her point. Example:

It is interesting to note that Congresswoman Giffords, herself, commented on Palin’s crosshair graphic in an interview, and was concerned with what it implied.

“We’re on Sarah Palin’s targeted list,” Ms. Giffords said last March. “But the thing is the way that she has it depicted has the cross hairs of a gun sight over our district. When people do that, they’ve got to realize there’s consequences to that.”

Palin was caught in the beam of the light-shedding yesterday, and was the focus of it. But it’s not just Palin. It’s our media culture. It’s bigger than just Palin, though Palin should be held responsible for her actions. It is this idea that it is o.k. to incite the pubic in this way. It is this idea that it is o.k. to use violent rhetoric to make a point. Sure, most people can read Palin’s tweets and not go out and commit murder. But, obviously, there are people who take this language to heart and will go out and literally point the crosshairs at the target, aim, and fire. This is not acceptable. A fucking 9 year old child was killed yesterday.

So what is the answer? I don’t know. I’m angry and I’m not sure how to direct this anger. Obviously, spewing more hate is not the answer. You can’t get rid of hate with more hate. But the good thing about anger is that it does spur action. The question is, what action needs to be taken? How can we move away from this culture of hate that seems to be getting worse?

President Obama on YouTube

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I have yet to jump on the Youtube bandwagon. However, I just bought an iPod Touch and thought I check out the built in YouTube application. I noticed that one of the most watched videos was President Obama’s weekly video address. How freaking awesome is this? Obama is doing a weekly address on YouTube. I love it! I imagine Roosevelt had the same idea with his “Fireside Chats.” Just another reason why I really like Obama. I like that he is trying to connect with people where they’re at.