Attending the rally outside the ‘Roundhouse’ in Santa Fe on Saturday, February the 26th, in support of public employee unions and the Democratic state senators of Wisconsin, made me remember that the current world-wide wave to reclaim self-determination began with Muhammad Bouazizi in Tunisia.
Bouazizi, a young, once-obscure street vendor despairing of justice, set himself on fire as his protest against corruption, humiliation and the untouchable power of the entrenched few. That desperate, defiant act by Mr Bouazizi, like the fabled beating of the butterfly’s wings that swelled into a tidal wave, seems to have reverberated around much of our planet.
To me, the subsequent non-violent uprising in Egypt--again led by students and lawyers--was the most stirring Asain event of its kind since Gandhi’s march to the sea to collect salt. But now the Egyptian military and the Moslem Brotherhood appear poised to snatch Egypt’s future away from the aspiring progressive youth and professionals who had the guts to demand freedom and democracy.
Where now are the young progressives in the USA? There were about 1000 people demonstrating at the Roundhouse--men and women in about equal numbers, but not many young people.
It isn’t yet evident whether American youth of today or in the near future will rally to reclaim their individual rights and reverse Big Business’ successful campaign to claim human rights for business corporations. Or even whether young people will fight to rebalance the relationship between the governed and those who are supposed to govern in the public interest.
We old progressives and moderates may not be able to present our views more persuasively in the future than we have these past few decades. The case for individual rights, justice and opportunity for all must be made anew in each generation, for it is the young who will have to live with the consequences.
Thanks, Ari Levaux, for the alert about pending legislation S-510. Within limited column space, Levaux rightly warns that S-510 proposes both remedies and risks, and his piece showed Alibi at its best. I would add that one needs to know and trust one's food source and supplier. The best advice is "you get only what you pay for" and "buy local and buy organic." Shopper complaints that organic is too expensive don't always hold up under examination: check the price of organic produce at Smiths and Albertson's and you find that La Montanita Coop and Whole Foods are usually the same price or less expensive and the produce is always fresher (which means less rot to discard because it doesn't spend time spoiling and losing nutritional value during transit from out of state warehouses.
If only the Alibi restaurant reviews were as substantive. Admittedly my family and most of the people I go out to eat with are either vegan or vegetarian, but when omnivores are among us we search for eateries that can satisfy all our choices (places like Taj Mahal, Vivace, Standard Diner, Winning Coffee, Thai Vegan). Whether an eatery caters to vegans, omnivores or carnivores, it should be judged by the quality of many offerings from the menu, rather than the reviewer wasting most of the column space on bar offerings, decor and chit-chat about the owners and waitrons. Too many of the Alibi restaurant reviews get mired in the chic factor. Food faddies like fashionistas and hipsters are so-o-o-o G. W. Bush era.
That said, the recent review of Thai Vegan was a well done exception.