Pecan Pie

Social Anxiety from the South

Archive for the ‘election’ Category

class matters: bell hooks and the entitlement of those at the top

One of the many reasons that I love reading hooks is her attention to personal, lived experiences.  She applies sociological concepts to her life and uses her own life to explain and explore concepts of race, gender and equality.  For me, it was interesting reading this book while the news of Mitt Romney’s “47%” remarks was making headlines.  We are the 47% and yet, I feel as if I give back as much as I can to my community and to my society…and always ask myself where I can give more.

One of the major points that hooks makes I find particularly poignant is about happiness, necessity and what makes a person successful.  Over the past couple of years, I’ve seen my personal lot in life improve significantly.  I’m now part of a two income household and we even have a little bit of discretionary income.  Yet, when some new expense comes up, we struggle to figure out how to pay for it.  We never talk about being rich…we talk about having enough.  The American Dream has always been this weird dichotomy of wants verses outright greed.  It is touted as this ideal, having enough to support your needs and many of your wants; and yet we encourage this thinking of “the one who dies with the most toys, wins.”  There’s never been a balance of helping yourself and helping others because the marketing of the ideal has always been contradictory.

It is so unfortunate that class has become the basis of loyalty.  It is better to gain a step up on the ladder of social class than it is to dismantle the ladder and level the playing field.  That is the basis of the inequality crisis.  We have enough, we have enough to go around…and around and around and around, but the fear of losing and the fear of being taken advantage of supersede our ability to give a hand up to those in need.  As Michelle Obama so succinctly explained in her DNC speech, we run through the door of opportunity and hurry as fast as we can to slam it in the face of the person behind us.

I think the #Occupy movement has done so much to bring the issue of class to the forefront of American public discourse.  Whether we are running away from “class warfare” and acting as if that is some sort of horrible concept or if we are speaking clearly about the lack of adequacy in the lives of most of Americans, #Occupy put these ideas on cable news, in graduate classrooms and in the vocabulary of my middle school age children.

We have to talk about class.  It won’t just go away.  We can ignore the rungs of the ladder…or we can name the problem in order to fix it.  The privileged call it class warfare but as the idiom goes, that only seems to happen when the poor fight back.  We as a society have to stop acting as if some people by the very nature of their privilege deserve an overabundance of the Earth’s resources.  We have to stop acting as if “America is the greatest nation on Earth” and that this somehow entitles us to 80% of the world’s food, energy and natural gifts.

The poor and middle classes are not the ones who feel entitled.    It is not the younger generation of educated, indebted workers.  It is those who have rarely, if ever, wanted for anything in their lives who feel and act as if they are entitled to the labor of those chasing the carrot known as the “pursuit” of happiness.

Hooks reminds us that there is blessing in hard work, value in traditional ways, there is perspective in come from a background of femaleness or of color.  There is perspective to be gained by those who do not have those experiences, who have never felt the rage of being discounted due to skin shade or exasperated at being called sexist for pointing out the privilege of whiteness or maleness.  Hooks hopes for the egalitarian society we have the potential to be.  I hope one day my children will see that society.

Written by thelittlepecan

September 24, 2012 at 9:57 am

Bringing Faith back to the Democratic Party

So, it’s election season again.  The pandering to every voting bloc by every candidate has me more than a bit squeamish and November 2 can go ahead and hurry up.  I’ve made most of my decisions and it’ll come to no surprise  that they’re mostly liberal candidates.
One candidate that I’m particularly supportive of has made the promise to “bring faith back to the Democratic party.”  I was so disappointed.  Not disappointed because I have a problem with people and their faith, but disappointed that once again, it all comes down to whom you pray and, more importantly,  that you pray, period.

I’m a good person.  I pay my taxes (though, often not on time), I volunteer, and I try to make poignant social commentary that hopefully opens eyes and hearts and fires up passions about injustice.  I try to be a good mommy, a good daughter, a good sister, a good girlfriend and a good student.  I make good grades; I help old ladies cross the street.

And I don’t believe in god.

I’ll pause for the shock to die down.

The party that’s supposed to be for equality, social justice and brotherly love…what could be more faithful than that?  In the United States the non-believing population is anywhere from 1-15% depending on which poll you like.  The chances of the Democratic Party not having faith in god as a whole is well zero, actually.
Which makes me ask:  Why do we need to bring faith back to something that’s already full of it?
While we’re on the topic, why does it even matter?  Is my vote not as important, my volunteer work or campaign canvassing not as useful? I don’t need my party to have faith; I need my party to work for the good of the citizenry it proposes to stand for no matter what any of them believe in.

I never thought the Left would make me feel like less of a citizen because of my religious ideals.  I guess I’m still too idealistic to realize that it’ll be a good long while before the godless are good enough.

Written by thelittlepecan

October 28, 2010 at 7:04 pm

Posted in Christian, election, faith