A bit cooler this morning and supposed to get more so. The weather guy said the temperature could drop as much as 30 degrees in some parts of town. I’ve drunk my cafe latte and eaten my fruit and granola and am still chortling over a letter to the editor in this morning’s New York Times that begins “Your [column] was so vacuous I can’t help but feel you’ve stepped into my area of expertise.” The letter was written by Jerry Seinfeld, in response to a column criticizing use of the expression ‘Really!’–a Seinfeld trademark.
The paper also had an article about a Pennsylvania judge striking down an attempt to restrict voting rights, part of a wide-spread effort to undo the Voting Rights Act. The attack is being waged on the pretense of safeguarding our electoral system–not from the corruption of big money, as one might expect, but from the untold hordes of lying, cheating people who are swarming the polling places trying to cast their illegitimate lying cheating votes (never mind that the majority of eligible voters don’t even show up at the polls for most elections). It’s actually aimed at disenfranchising black and Hispanic voters, out-and-out racism, no different from the poll taxes and literacy tests in the South before the civil rights movement got them overturned, a movement I was very much a part of. I don’t have a whole lot of faith in our electoral system these days, what with PACS and super-PACS and corporate personhood, but the efforts to disenfranchise people based on race or country of origin absolutely enrage me.
Afternoon now and cool enough to close some windows and turn off the fans. I’ve been to see my youngest granddaughter, nine months old, who’s just come back from a visit to her other grandma in Turkey. Despite jet lag and a cold, she was full of smiles and talky sounds and delight.
Another child of the 21st century, which stretches rather ominously before us. The first presidential debate is tonight, on domestic issues. The Democratic and Republican candidates are the only ones deemed worthy of participating, thereby guaranteeing that the major environmental and climate threats of the century will not be touched upon. Nor any serious attempt to discuss vast wealth inequality, domestic or world-wide, or the anticipated scarcity of water and its privatization across the globe. As Wendell Berry wrote 35 years ago, the mass of consumers has been “deprived of any independent access to the staples of life: clothing, shelter, food, even water.” Even air, if it comes to that–clean air, anyway, with rampant pollution and soaring rates of asthma and emphysema.
No wonder there’s so much interest in gardening and urban farming these days. It’s at least a modicum of control over one staple. Raj Patel wrote a very interesting book on the food supply, Stuffed and Starved, where he discusses the domination by a handful of companies of the world’s food system. It’s a real eye-opener. (For the sake of disclosure, Raj is a personal friend–but I wouldn’t plug his book if it weren’t good.)
Enough doom and gloom. I look forward to Jon Stewart’s take on the debates. At least we still have access to mockery, and plenty of fodder for it.
An election is coming. Universal peace is declared, and the foxes have a sincere interest in prolonging the lives of the poultry.–George Eliot