peace love and hippie stuff

Sometimes I can’t believe it when people don’t do things in the way that I think is so obvious.

One such thing: when our can’t-be-ex-soon-enough-president sent all of our bright and shiny young men to bomb the hearts and minds out of the Iraqi people, and left them all sitting on a big pile of rubble that used to be their infrastructure, and then told us that paying to rebuild it all was the right thing to do, well, who could say no to that? I mean, look at those poor broken people–we’re just going to leave them like that? So we said yes! Rebuild their infrastructure! It’s the least we can do!

So I thought, yes, we will send them the money to rebuild, and they will be busy for a while. They’ll be rebuilding their infrastructure, and they’ll all be working, taking home food for their children, rebuilding their roads and their electric companies and their waste treatment facilities, replacing their bomb-damaged public works, too busy and too happy with the nice new facilities they’ll be taking such pride in building to have time for anything other than work and home and family and buying food and stuff. Too busy to bother thinking about bombing some American hearts and minds in return.

So then I heard that the king of the cronies was giving all those jobs to his good ol’ boys, and paying them wayyy more than necessary to do them. And “losing” a bunch of money in the process. “Oops! $9 million? Umm, gee, I dunno what happened to it!” And when those good ol’ boys went to do all those jobs, and grab all that cash, well, those poor broken Iraqi people sitting on their pile of rubble with nothing better to do than watch the good ol’ boys must not have realized that the good ol’ boys were taking all the money “for the good of the Iraqi people.” Because then those poor broken people with no jobs and no electricity and no running water started grabbing their rubble and throwing it at the good ol’ boys. They started surging in. What else were they gonna do? Sit around and applaud?

So is it just that the repugnanticans didn’t know that the Iraqi people already knew how to rebuild their own infrastructure? Was it that they didn’t know that the Iraqi people didn’t have any jobs to go to because we bombed the shit out of everything in sight, and that they just might kind of like to have a say in the rebuilding? Were they really that stupid? Or was it that they were blinded by the shiny shiny money? Or were they just plain evil? Planning all along to line each other’s pockets with the guilt money of the American people?

And now the good ol’ boys lost a bunch of money gamblin. Who’s gonna bail em out? Ah, but of course! One last massive and sustained squeeze on the teat of the cash cow before the cronie king bows out. Jesus.

Wake me up when Obama’s president. He’s got a heart and a mind, and isn’t afraid to use either one. Bet he woulda done it my way. Too bad all he’ll have left to work with is a dried-out old husk of a cow and a whole lotta pissed-off Iraqis.

When I was in my first apartment and going to OSU, I used to answer my phone (very professionally and cheerfully) “Planet Earth!”

I did it mostly for fun, and to see how people would react, but also, on some level, because I related more to being a denizen of this planet than to our country, state, city, school, or any other affiliation.

So I guess that’s why, for me, the most moving political speech I’ve heard was the one Obama gave in Berlin. He seems to understand that feeling of wanting to be a good world citizen. Of caring what the rest of the world thinks of us, and of feeling a sense of responsibility that comes along with being such a Goliath. That feeling has been missing for a while in our government.

I remember when Bush got elected the second time. I had gone to bed the night before, with the issue unresolved, thinking that surely the American people (gack! I can’t even type that phrase any more without hearing that idiot’s drawl) would do the right thing. When I woke up early and saw the results, I was terrified. I thought that surely the rest of the world would think we were idiots, and could not be trusted to wield the power that we hold. I fully expected airplanes to start smashing into government buildings, shopping malls, and schools within the hour.

The owner of the software company I’m once again, if temporarily, calling my employer, was the only person on Messenger at that hour, so I turned to him in my panic. He’s originally from another country, so I thought he might have some insight on what the rest of the world might think of us (and do to us). He calmed me down and let me know that the rest of the world knows that even if a lot of Americans are idiots, a lot of us aren’t, and that it’d be all right. I don’t remember exactly what he said all these years later, but I do recall it as being the best conversation I’ve ever had with him. He’s scary-intelligent, so I trusted his insights, and was really glad that he was there.

I didn’t completely calm down about it until I saw Desmond Tutu on the Daily Show. I can’t imagine why that seven-minute clip is NOWHERE to be found on the internet. It was extremely moving and heartwarming. (Actually, it must have been a rerun or something, because October of ’04 doesn’t jibe with the timeline my faulty memory is supplying.) At any rate, when Jon Stewart asked Bishop Desmond Tutu if the rest of the world thought we were idiots and wanted to bomb us, he said that the rest of the world is puzzled about our choices in government, but mainly judges the American people on their actions. Whenever anyone has a crisis anywhere in the world, Americans dig into their pockets and send money, they volunteer to help and send food and clothing to those in need. So no, they don’t hate us. They’re just puzzled.

So anyway, after all these digressions, we went and saw Barack Obama last night at a high school in Dublin. I really love that man. He gives me hope, and will reestablish us as a role model for other countries instead of a corrupt power to be feared. If not, if for some reason more of us go for “Bush Lite,” well, I guess the rest of the world will once again scratch their heads in puzzlement.

And if that happens, I will once again answer my phone “Planet Earth.”

Well, exactly a week ago, I was sitting in the playshop tent at the All Good Festival deciding whether I was ready to hike back to the RV. I was supposed to be teaching a Kundalini yoga class, but a morning rain combined with a four a.m. ending of the Dark Star Orchestra set the night before saw a lot of people thinking more about packing for the trip home than hiking back up to the village to do yoga in the steamy heat. I was happy with that situation. Cabana Boy and I had gotten back to our RV to the accompaniment of birdsong, so just showing up at the playshop tent at noon was about all I had left in me. It was a pretty good deal for me, teaching one yoga class and showing up to teach a second one in exchange for a free weekend pass plus early entry. Come to think of it, that was nearly $200 bucks for an hour and a half of actual work. Nice!

This year, Keller Williams was my favorite show. Instead of doing his usual one man show using looping, he plays with a different band every year at the All Good. Last year we got to hear bluegrass Keller, which was fun, and this year it was more of a rock band Keller, which was a blast. We have one of his DVDs, Sight, and he’s just such a likeable dude that he could do just about anything and we’d love him.

We usually discover some new band there, and this year was no exception. The most interesting band we saw had to be All Mighty Senators. They played on the Magic Hat stage, which is the thing that makes the All Good so much better than the bigger festivals. More on that later. The thing about All Mighty Senators, aside from musical talent, was that they were so much FUN! Their lead singer drew the audience into their groove, and was totally into the All Good spirit of things with his fuschia silk pajamas, huge white-framed sunglasses, black fedora, and at the end, showed us he was ready for the pajama party by shrugging into his Sponge Bob back pack. I have no idea what songs they did, but they were all fun and drew people in. A lot of us were just hanging out after the Grace Potter & the Nocturnals show, and some were waiting for Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood, but I think all of us had a good time.

Grace Potter was strong and soulful, as usual, but this time she showed her temper too. She was in the middle of pouring her heart out into an a capella song when a stage tech on the Magic Hat stage decided to do a sound check on the drums that went on and on and ON, to the point that half the audience was looking over there, distracted. Grace sang louder and harder, but still the drums kept on, and not even in rhythm with what she was doing. She finally punctuated her song with a mighty hurl of her tambourine in the general direction of the Magic Hat stage that had the audience roaring in support. Someone must have stopped the clueless stage tech at that point, but Grace stayed angry (naturally) through the end of the song, which was Nothing But the Water. She apparently hadn’t gotten past it yet though, because she had her whole band join their drummer in “our own drum solo.” That was kinda fun, but she never did seem to let it go, which is what the All Good Festival is all about. Anger really has no place there, which is why we love it so much.

Peace, love, and hippie stuff.

Well, I could write for a week about the All Good, but I’ve got a bored daughter with no one to play with, so I’m going to play. To be continued…