Saturday, October 25, 2008

Remembering Emma Lazarus
Uptown Klezmer's Ashnelerando is the perfect music for the election season. Ashnelerando means "double-quick" in Yiddish and Italian. It's a soundtrack for the election schtick that entertains us every four years.

It's music for the magic show that keeps us believing in our country. The magician saws democracy in two--Republican and Democrat--causing the crowd to gasp and choose sides. On November 4th, (s)he will step out from the ballot box MADE WHOLE. Everyone will congratulate the winner, a stunning Republicrat named __________. Wild applause!!!!

Why is a magic trick required to fool us? On a recent cover, Newsweek sells gullible Americans the lie that we are a nation of conservative war-mongers, so any leader must govern from center-right because only this constituency "pays the bills" and determines the winners. Happily, that means lots of security cameras, detention facilities and "faith" based fortresses at home and abroad. If Fortress America weren't so profitable they might call us what we truly are:

"huddled masses yearning to breathe free."

Emma Lazarus knew who we were: an immigrant nation who knew how it felt to be "homeless and tempest-tost." Here's where our readers incarcerated in the County Jails of this country and those who serve them come into the picture.
Like every other huddled citizen, we shout the words of Emma Lazarus. "Keep ancient lands, your STORIED POMP." We remain vulnerable and in need of real governance, not the tactic of slapping people down, favored by some in our government. Michael Ledeen, a Bush adminstration official, learned this as a student of Italian Fascism. And we listen to him, not Emma Lazarus?

What makes inmates vulnerable, you might ask? The same things that place us all at risk: an unresponsive job market with over-priced CEO's and wages few can live on; a lack of broad public work programs or a comprehensive safety-net combining public health, rehab, education and welfare; a judgmental society where religion exploits vulnerabilities instead of reaching out to humbly acknowledge our shared goals and needs. 

Abram Maslow's hierarchy of needs applies all the way from the bottom where vulnerable people get stuck in their daily struggles to the top where self-made men and women preach about "success." Emma's heirs understand that people are not just huddled victims, they are huddled people with ambitions and dreams. BAIL OUT the American Dream. Fund social renewal, rather than fiscal removal.