from the ground up

dscf1364found on the beach today!

I’m writing up a series of candidate’s questionnaires for the New Paltz Greens to help us decide whether to endorse non-Green candidates. It’s pretty fascinating, and it’s stretching my brain in all kinds of ways. Based on a suggestion from a fellow Green, I just added this question:

“If elected, would you work to stop the common practice of municipal vehicle idling?”

And my heart just sang for a moment. Talk about building a new and better world, brick by brick—we are doing it! We’re thinking about everything—condoms in schools, Town and Village unification, expanded paper recycling, healthy school lunches, beavers, everything.

It feels good.

Then today on the beach I read the Naomi Klein New Yorker profile and, true to my chosen socioeconopolitico demographic, I adored it and adore her more than ever.


And! How perfectly does this passage fit in with what I was just saying a few days ago? It’s pretty much everything I believe about Obama and the left and life in one tidy paragraph:

Both Klein and Lewis [her kickass husband] are skeptical about Barack Obama. “I’ve been at rallies and seen him speak, and I feel that feeling that one feels,” Lewis says. “It is thrilling. And it’s churlish not to allow yourself to be thrilled. We crave inspiration, and it’s a bleak life to always be dissecting things. But the main feeling that Obama creates in me is fear, because I see people fooling themselves. If you actually look at his policies, what they reflect is the triumph of the right-wing political paradigm since Reagan, and I think he could set things back dramatically, because for young people who are getting engaged in politics for the first time, for them to be disillusioned is very, very damaging.” Because Klein doesn’t expect much from any politician, she doesn’t spend time wishing Obama were more progressive. “I don’t want to appear too cynical, but when I first saw the ‘Yes We Can’ rock video that Will.I.Am made, my first response was ‘Wow, finally a politician is making ads that are as good as Nike’s,’ ” she says. “The ‘Yes We Can’ slogan means whatever you want it to mean. It’s very ‘Just Do It.’ When you hear it, you catch yourself thinking, Yeah! We’re gonna end torture and shut down Guantánamo and get out of Iraq! And then you think, Wait a minute, is he really saying that? He’s not really saying that, is he? He’s saying we’re going to send more troops to Afghanistan. He’s telling regular people what they want to hear, and then in the back rooms he’s making deals and signing on to the status quo. But if people don’t like where Obama is they should move the center.” To this end, Klein has been taking every opportunity to call for the nationalization of the oil companies. “It’s the job of the left to move the center,” she says. “Get out there and say some crazy stuff! And then, suddenly, it’ll seem more reasonable for politicians to take riskier positions.” (emphasis mine)



4 Responses to “from the ground up”

  1. ruby

    I was thrilled by that paragraph, but overall I thought the article was one of the worst-written thing I have ever read in the New Yorker. On the day I got that issue I actually put my bike on the bus so I could read it (it was freezing cold too, but I was on the way to a cycling event so I felt super guilty). Then as I rode and read I kept texting friends my disgust at the poor phrasing. I was pissed.

  2. lagusta

    How weird! I didn’t notice that, but I might have been too blinded by Kleinlove to notice the writing. But! I absolutely hated the tone and style of the article on the very next page, about the “rap cop” dude!

    Hey, did Jacob ever send you your hoodie?? I fear our Sula-cat took quite a liking to it, I hope it wasn’t all cat hairy!!

  3. ruby

    I’m home in the Virgin Islands until the 30th, so for all I know the hoodie may very well be sitting in my lobby in Chicago as I type. Glad your cat got some use out of it – I was gonna wash the weeks-stashed-in-a-tour-bus off it when I got it anyway, so no problem about a few hairs. Such an adventure that hoodie has had!

  4. Heather Lidberg

    The New War Collection: Resistance/Permanence (2007-2009) is a documentary new media project. It is made up of two parts, in brief: a social networking research website that provides a place of empowerment for participants who have experienced military sexual trauma (MST) in Iraq and abroad; and a physical installation that facilitates an experiential space for these testimonies to exist and be heard through audience interaction. Both of these sites work together in carrying knowledge and experience to the audience, participants, and researcher. They act to engage the public in a call to action for ending the violence against women in the armed forces in America and around the world.

    Show your support by sharing your story. Your story is important. Your story will be heard.

    Check out for further information or to get involved in the project!

    Thank you,
    Heather Lidberg


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