If I speak for myself, it is because I have no better point of reference from which to speak. For 40 years I have written songs about social and environmental justice, songs of love and peace and devotion to my God. I write letters to the editor I know in advance will never be published. I call the White House on matters of climate change. I give money to charity from aluminum cans I have collected. I vote my conscience. For the majority of my life, I have moved toward a vegetarian diet. I’ve lost a cousin in Afghanistan, nearly lost one in Vietnam, and my nephew is gay. I give rides to homeless people and offer a smile to those in despair.
If I speak against war, is it enough? If I speak against the horrors of animal abuse, is it enough? If I speak against the injustices placed on those of LGBTQ orientation, is it ever enough?
There are those who consider my random acts of kindness futile, explaining that there is so much pain, violence, corruption and greed in the world that these are but drops of water in an enormous sea. But I look at it this way: Every decent act committed by a human being, large or small, benefits all of humankind. We as a people are made more enlightened, evolved and compassionate by each and every kind deed. If nothing else of the Obama era should stand, let it be a legacy of hope. We must never lose hope.
I look forward to the day when the Republican Party has succeeded in purging itself of its dark side.
My instinct tells me that the hardworking, successful citizens on the right share one massive outrage: They despise slackers. They despise the healthy people who live off welfare, food stamps and unemployment.
I can believe in that particular reservoir of Republican bile. This country, when operating in an ideal fashion, is set up so that all of its citizens have the opportunity to utilize their talents and ambition and earn their way through life in the U.S.
What strikes me as odd is that Republicans are not utterly offended by the phony war in Iraq. Republicans are not utterly offended by the Wall Street looters. Republicans are not utterly offended by the attempt by Republican governors and legislators to take control of women's reproductive issues. Republicans are not utterly offended by manmade environmental degradation. Republicans are indulging in selective indignation. They are correct about the slackers. Slackers are a blight. What's corroding the right is the Republican Party's refusal to confront the jingoism, racism and misogyny that consistently poisons their chances for winning a larger constituency. Without their dark side, the Republicans could have easily taken the White House and the Senate in 2012.
I look forward to all expressions of Republican soul-searching. What I am looking for from the Republicans is a whole new approach, an extraordinary makeover. Your dark side is not serving you well, Republicans. I suggest you embrace a fresh set of issues.
I think the country is in our hands now, the citizens from both sides and all sides who are willing to fix the mess in spite of the infantile bickering that corrodes Washington, D.C., and the media talking heads. It is up to all of us to tell the truth about any given issue—a straightforward, sober assessment followed by straightforward, sober solutions.
[Re: “A Myth, Hatched,” Nov. 8-15] We've been getting chile from Lemitar for the past few years from the Chile Konnection. We like Lemitar chiles because they seem to be thicker. Even if we're just fooling ourselves, it's fun to have a favorite chile.
As far as Chimayo red, we camped out in friend's chile field up there and harvested a handful the next morning. They indeed made the best red chile we've ever had. We saved some of the seed and tried to grow them in our backyard in ABQ. Didn't work.