Friday, March 16, 2007

More crazy ideas, plus a feminist meme

I was hoping to be useful in getting the Peace First! strategy going again for 2008, and I did spend a couple of weeks working on it. There currently is an event scheduled for April 28th:

Peace First Forum on Sustainability and Justice
Saturday, April 28th, 9-5pm,
Washburn High School,
201 West 49th Street (near I35 and 46th) in Minneapolis

It will no doubt be better and more useful than the meeting that launched Peace First! the last time.

My crazy idea number 1 is this - I should run for U.S. Senate. (still just an idea, not a declaration).

My thinking is that I could inject a few ideas and facts about Northern Minnesota, about foreign policy and national security, disaster response, about biology and conservation that simply won't occur to the other candidates. Also, I can do some of the party building work that needs to be down outstate - getting younger people enthused about caucusing in 2008 and volunteering in DFL organizations, as I am always comfortable driving around in rural Minnesota, chatting up people in bars and coffee shops. And I love the MN State Fair. Basically it is all about me.

That's right, I am a shameless self-promoter, and this is one of the best ways to get my name out there, and sharpen my skills for a smaller future race that I could actually win. It may turn out though that Minnesota DFLers actaully like me enough to nominate me and elect me in which case I would gladly put myself in bondage to them (and all Minnesotans) for 6 years. Who knows? These are weird times, and as Hunter S. Thompson has said, "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro". So I shaved. That is my concession to professionalism. I will also make every effort to not swear on the radio, but I am actually pretty careful with my speech.

It would be a low budget, mythical affair, like Sen. Byrd and his fiddle. Or it would be, looking back on it, if there was any degree of success...

My window for decision making is now until April 1st, so send me an e-mail and tell me what you think. Crazy idea number 2 involves going back to Aceh. I would need as much support from friends and allies to do that than number 1, and there is less obvious personal return for any of us in that.

Five for Feminism: picking it up where Two Knives" dropped it. Two Knives attended Drinking Liberally last night, and impressed a number of us. She got tagged to transmit the meme from a blogger called Stealth Badger, but deigned not to to tag another. I'll continue my foray into the realm of narcissism and self-absorbtion and assume that she really would have tagged me. We simply hadn't met, yet.

1) I learned how to be a radical from feminists. My mom was one of the founders of the Northwoods Coalition for Battered Women which has run a shelter for battered women in Bemidji, MN since about the time my family stopped sheltering battered women in our home. Which was weird, and probably dangerous, but taught me how to keep secrets when lives depended on it, etc. Anyway, I got dragged to a few protests, and once to the tarmac of the Bemidji Airport to meet Geraldine Ferraro, who ended up cancelling and sending Joan Growe in her place. Oh well.

Basically, it has never occurred to me that women should not have a meaningful say in public life in the United States, and it is and always has been obvious to me that violence to women and children committed by men is one of the most shameful realities of our culture. Aspects of our culture are to blame as much as the individual men themselves. Feminism and addressing violence to women are two powerful ways to look at the dehumanizing elements of mass consumerist culture, politics, economics on many scales from households to national budgets, etc.

2) Feminism lead to the female discovery of the clitoris, which men have known about since 1558.

3) Lesbians became even hotter than they were in ancient times.

4) Most men can't have a rational discussion of feminism. which is probably a real shame.

5) The success of the women's rights movement really highlights the need for men to create for themselves an identity, a cultural movement that helps reclaim their humanity and personal power from the nightmare of modern life. Until that happens, men are by and large going to view feminism as a threat to power they see as erroding. Non-violence should be a powerful, male force as much as it is something that gets branded with feminine perjorative terms, instead of hearing that antiwar protestors are "pussies", we should be whispers that the Honorable John Conyers must be "hung like a horse", as he is so brave and "ballsy" to be delivering Articles of Impeachment for consideration on the House floor while that harridan Nancy Pelosi has stated that "Impeachment is off the table". Okay, maybe that doesn't help.

Some links for men that might help them start down this path are the writings of David Deida, and the Mystery Method, which is something of a pick-up manual, and a useful set of world views that identify, respect and value the fact of "female choice", of sexual selection in the human species that can be explained for in terms that are both Darwininian and moral/spiritual.

The twisting of maleness into militarism in American mass media is as horrific as the objectification of women as sex objects. Both are realities in our cultural programming. Both contribute to violence, murder and rape. To the extent that there are gains to be made by peace activists from studying war and informing public policy about weapons proliferation and military investments, there is a value to be had in understanding and improving the conditions of women in porn and the larger global sex industry, in creating or harnessing porn that has a re-humanizing message vs. more of the same schlock and poison.

Another reflection on the impact of feminism is that it is often hijacked by anti-Islamic forces in creating a false impression of Islam as an anti-female religion. Several books could be written about it. The Prophet Mohammed was obviously a feminist, and he cared deeply for the welfare of women and children in a cruel culture and a harsh physical environment.

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