Saturday, August 16, 2008

An Aboriginal Nation's Surrender

A sovereign nation of aboriginals were given checks for lands stolen that have never been cashed. In their pride they refused, a deep understanding that by cashing those checks they would have accepted to become a part of this government. They hadn't. They were independent. They were free. And they knew it.

Eighty years later this same nation has a new generation, so dislocated from its heritage, from its culture, that it sells their way of life that is the very truest definition of who they are as a people, for a government hand out. Hunters and gatherers at your heart, core and soul - whose charge is stewardship of the resources of this very land - what does the present stewardship of the land have that safeguards it? Where are the salamanders? The tree frogs? The bees and butterflies? Where are the fish? By what right do you forfeit it? On whose behalf do you surrender?

Yet, these Indians, the first stewards, the natural stewards, the only stewards, are given fish sticks for ceremonies and told that they will be allowed "government" recognition, if they eat the handouts and keep their mouths shut. They can have their bingo parlors and their casinos, painted fish on their chips, a made up language with made up stories.

And the white men praise the little Indian boys who sign, and clap one another on the back. Good boys, they say, good boys! Let’s smoke the pipe of peace, and pass the bottle of lightening. The occupiers smile and the paternals smile back. No one notices the tears shed by the maternals. Who notices the woman’s tears? The woman’s memories of where the fish runs are, where the best wapato roots lay, where the bones of ancestors rest?

The impostors come with their braided hair. They wa-wa and wear leather. They play politics and follow “government criteria.” And fat white men in newspaper offices praise them and life is good. For them. For awhile. Until they die. And there is no tomorrow, for those who don’t. But it doesn’t matter. The Chinooks have a bingo parlor and maybe a casino. They have forgotten how to fish and white men always like to gamble. There is a government payroll for a few at the top, and maybe a reservation to drink on for those at the bottom. The average lifespan for an Indian woman on a res is 54. This is good. She doesn’t have too long of a life to remember what was, or suffer what is, or watch what her children become.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Time for Socialism Has Come

Either by turns in the economy or by personal misfortune, we often find ourselves in a pickle while trying to maintain a life style; even modest life styles. There are very few people that are able to walk through life without financial care.

Americans have always been known to lift themselves up by their boot straps and this is commendable, however one could wonder if this is the most civilized way of living. Through fiction we are promised that money will no longer be used in the future, which must surely agitate those who believe in less government. Centralized goods and services would be considered as government handouts to the extreme by a population that wants to see all goods and services privatized.

The anti government people have found disappointment and abundant reasons why our government doesn’t work. Oddly, being a government of the people, for the people and by the people; this reflects poorly on the citizenry. Those who complain about the government failing are not doing enough to remedy the problems. There is a lot of them out there and one would think that a population of that size should be a force to reckon with and would have solutions at the ready.

Getting back to the haves and the have nots and especially those who suddenly find themselves struggling in a sea they never anticipated swallowing them. Is there anything that a government could do to make all of its citizens more secure?

There are countries in Europe that embrace Socialism where the needs of their citizens are met from cradle to grave. All medical, educational, transportation needs are met. Even in retirement the needs are met weather one chooses to live at home or in a facility. Imagine a life where the government pays students to stay in school through graduate school. It pays doctors very well to take care of their patients. Residents never have to worry about if they can afford the medicines they need to live healthy lives.

As stated earlier this all comes from the feared Socialism. The evils of Socialism were drummed into our heads all through the Cold War. If we start down that path we would be giving up our freedoms, our God (gods) and we would soon be living in box like, gray room apartments that are illuminated by a single 25 watt light bulb.

The European model of Socialism never looked like the Soviet model. It is based on a high tax rate, around 50 percent. Most people in the United States presently pay around 18 to 25 percent in income taxes. Would it be worth it if the citizens were to pay 50% and never have a care from cradle to grave? If this question already has a negative answer in your head, consider the present economy and what your chances of retirement are. Where will you be living if health becomes an issue? How will the present economy with down turning financial markets change how you will pay for your childs education? Wouldn’t this all be a lot easier if you paid it up front and shared the burden? Wouldn’t we be a more productive society if we spent less time worrying about how we are going to accomplish all we are expected to do in society? Wouldn't there be less crime if basic needs were met?