Biden Better Defund the Capitol Police + Do a Mulvaney, Now Please

Boy, was I not thinking.  I turned on the mainstream television news yesterday.  It was hard not to.  The images.*

I don’t know the details yet (the Capitol police are taking their time), but listening to them explain, I have to wonder, “Where were you?”  Then, after 6 PM, how did they clear the Capitol so fast? It’s collusion, of course.  Selfies between the police and the Trump mob say it all. 

Defund the Capitol Police, Biden, for sure. If you can’t protect the Capitol, where you served most of your career, who are you?

By evening, when ABC and CBS were calling the pro-authoritarian, racist, misogynist white supremacists “anarchists” — anarchists,of all things — I went to sleep in defeat.  Being a PwD will sadly do that.

Still, I am a mother, and a teacher of graduate students. I’ve spent my entire career in the only public university that is truly public — CUNY.  This means we teach the very best.  As a result, I’ve had a running argumentative discourse with my sons and with more than one fantastic seminar I taught several times called Contemporary American Political Thought. “Contemporary” means alive.**  And this semester I’m teaching a hybrid version of it under a new name — Women of Color Impacting Politics.

I call it WIP for short, since women of color are included in the larger category of women, and it’s only women of color (which I like to think of as women and) or politicians who have at least two identities that put targets on their backs, like AOC and the rest of the Squad. 

WIP differs from my other seminar, Power, Resistance, Identities and Social Movements (PRISM)***. None of that came to pass after Occupy Wall Street, so I retooled it, though not until I first went out to the more radical campuses led by sociologists to hear what the 18-year-olds had to say about the political time we all occupy — and not before I finally got to team teach with DP David Waldstreicher, a scholar not only of history but of American Studies too boot.

What’s the difference between the two?  The latter seminar looks at social movements, whereas the former spends more time on the only political thought exported to Europe, as well as other nations that are active, such as Greece and a few more. More importantly, though, it shows the way for all those with energy to run for office — the flag wavers.  

There are a tiny few in American politics, such as AOC, who, along with the aspirational Green New Deal and the Squad, are not leading the way, they are flagging it.  Their teeny-tiny foothold in federal government has its consequences.  They constitute the hopeful 1 percenters in this country.  Sure, they can’t pass legislation, let alone a policy like the Green New Deal. That’s not why they’re there. They’re doing flag duty.

As that 1 percent in the House of Representatives, they are flagging the way to the fortress of American political representation — Congress.  Not the Senate, but the House of Representatives, through which — if the corporate capitalist Democrats and Republicans had not been Tweedledee and Tweedledum for so many decades, with the highlight expressed in the 1924 GOP and Democratic platforms that included the KKK, delaying the New Deal for sure, but only by four years — we would have had a different country, a different New Deal.

Now is the moment of truth.  The mob descended. And they took selfies with the Capitol police. What more indictment do we need than that? Biden, better defund the Capitol Police.

You can’t blame Trump for lighting the match, or can you? Well, if you do, quit.  And quit today. Don’t delay.  Stop being complicit in the GOP executive-branch machine.

Trump did not do this alone. I can’t hear that explanation one more time without demanding that all conservatives go back to class — civics, that is.  It’s absurd when the executive branch has more than 4,000 partisan positions alone that have to be vetted and go before the Senate.  Come on. That logic defies credibility in a country of almost 400 million.  We have institutions, national ones at that, that deserve better protection from the police.

*Cleveland Lovett, one of my very best undergraduates that Bard College enticed away from the CUNY Bac program, is playing outside Hannah Arendt’s house.  He understands not only Arendt’s The Human Condition but the triangulation of discrimination, public health, and jazz (or music in general) in New York.  Plus the flood of memories from running errands from hall to hall in the Capitol for two summers and as many months from my junior year until I went off to college.  (Then of course I selected a college with “men” in the title as a youthful rebellion against my mom, who insisted that I come back to California — and could apply and go anywhere except her alma mater, Berkeley, or the university that harmed one of her most beloved cousins, Stanford.). If I was going into politics, where better than into the belly of the beast?  She raised me as a fierce feminist, more by her doings than by her sayings, to be sure.    

**This led to my second solo book series, called Heretical Thought.  Here the bottom line is if you don’t have a fatwa or aren’t in danger of being burned at the stake — or, like me, don’t like to open hate mail or have groups like the Weasel Zippers after you, going so far as to send people to the 92nd Street Y when my Obama book came out — then your ideas are not seismic enough. Gerry Martini was one of the most insightful members of this seminar, as I recall.#

Essential? Whose Body is It Anyway?

Essential is such a funny word.  Having watched doctors fill in forms for my reasonable accommodations since the 1990s you start to get a feel for medicine and why some physicians are M.D.s and some are O.D. or D.Os as well as who is entrepreneurial in the field of medicine starting, for instance, physical medicine (dominated now by Physical Therapy or PT) and even more importantly what doctors contribute to the ever increasing and expansive field of “public health.” Were I home, look at my  neighbor Cornell Tech and its initiatives.

Not surprisingly public health is one of those fields that former Mayor Michael Bloomberg favors. Doing good by algorithm or at least taking the drama (read female) out of who lives or dies. To me, public health is really about what or whose bodies matter. The politics behind it, forget economics, gets translated into law.

I mean with behavioral economics out there like Freakeconomics, we don’t need to think there’s any one rational person that creates a standard for all. Thanks to AI we can quantify irrationality as well as rationality. This is actually quite serious or essential when you think about it. The American rule of law is based on that so-called rational person or human being, yet AI has replaced it with some courts going so far as mandating their judges use algorithms to determine sentencing.

Now that we’ve got “essential” workers (truck delivery, restaurants, meat processing plants, K-12 teachers), as opposed to those on the frontline in public health, what is to become of them?  

The term is perverse, risking your life and the life of your extended family all for minimum wage and life in a gig economy that cements working poverty as well as institutional racism and injustice. 

Checking out careers and professions as I’m won’t to do with two sons in their twenties, I noticed that K-12 teaching as a profession dropped out of the top fifty professions.  What a shame.  Meanwhile, of all things, Political Scientists still don’t beat economists, but one site had them ranked as 47th. I can never get comedian Robin Williams’ pronunciation of the term out of my mind.

Meanwhile, those on the frontline can feel proud as they helped stop death and hindered harm.  

The rest of us, as Harvard’s Ethic Professor Danielle Allen noted, are remote and will be the last to return to work.  I got notice that CUNY is going back. No more remote. I’m happy for what I learned but I can’t wait to get back into the seminar room.  

It’s hard to know how well one connects remotely unless we get great training. Fall 2019, I happened to be teaching one seminar on social justice and the ADA in the workplace at CUNY’s School of Professional Studies (SPS). Being the semester before COVID I happened to have gotten excellent training.  I was so happy to have learned my way around Blackboard. 

One happy surprise was that the post writing aspect of remote work makes the online teaching sometimes profound, more profound than utterances in the seminar room.  I suppose we all have a voice and some integrity late at night or in the wee hours of the morning when we’re composing our thoughts and committing them to our online or remote machine.

2

This category of posts is for all the blogs I write about PwD or Persons or People with disabilities as reflected in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 as well as the 2008 Amendments and the California law for self-advocacy, particularly in opening up public accommodations to PwD.

COVID has made everyone PwD now.

Indeed, the two words taken are “essential” and “remote.”  Essential is no longer the essential functions of a job or position but the actual category of work in terms of being an essential worker or a worker on the front line serving all of us.

Remote work is a stand in term, a proxy, or a substitute for finding accommodations that are reasonable.  Teaching via Zoom is an accommodation and in the case of higher education, which is different than K-12, students may learn well, especially self-motivated doctoral students, for instance.  Whereas children in pre-school or K-third grade are not going to learn as well and will be harmed by the absence of the social aspects associated with learning to boot.

Bound West Three Years Ago

Eugenics 101 more than a centennial earlier, now that we’ve Eugenics.2.o under Anti-Presidency President Trump. Visiting Yellowstone brought back all the memories about how many presidents, let alone social movement leaders from Teddy Roosevelt to Oliver Wendall Holmes (Buck v. Bell, “Three generations of imbeciles is enough” in 1927 and Margaret Sanger of Planned Parent (sterilize the poor immigrants) to Charlotte Perkins Gilman short story – Yellow Wall Paper pitting progressive to radical white women against women of all colors.

Buying and reading “Alice Roosevelt Longgworth, from White House Princess to Washington Power Broker” by Stacy Cordery got me thinking about how her bitterness was reserved not for eugenics but her father on a personal level. Surprise, surprise TR and his New Nationalism were reminiscent of the Anti-Presidency President Trump. Trump’s new nationalism is a bit scarier. While his neglect of Alice reveals his sexism, misogyny and “tough” love which is really code for hating all those who are weak – and not privileged (i.e. SLAMs, SCAMs and SLIMs) Indeed Mary Trump gives evidence of her Uncle Donald’s perversity since in the way he treated his mom, who broke bones all the times, spent alot of it in a hospital bed in their house and in hospitals shows where all his ugly neos and isms come from. Teddy, at least, got his own body in shape. Is this better, I wonder?

Baby, I’m Back

Been quiet for quiet some time. Out of deference to the President? No. Out of respect to this nation, he, Trump, Trumped, No. Borised?  Blond locks unite?  No?  White locks and blond locks unite?  

More mundane than that. Getting lots of my own work done.

Sure, I’m editing books and we’ve got some FABULOUS ones coming down the pike. Indeed, I’m behind in presenting Max Tomba’s Insurgent Universality, which came out just this fall.

Sure, I’m getting my own book written — 385 years of heretical women — my direct descendants or relatives, starting with Penelope who is not only scalped, impaled, left for dead, rescued, all on Sandy Hook where my sons learned their colonial history 400 years later. Then, she is sold or traded back to the Dutch, and marries her second Englishman (her first was scalped beside her and had the audacity to die in Jersey), and the fun begins — she’s one of the original 400 New Yorkers, and she’s got quiet a presence and even gets sued — when few women (certainly not the English) had standing. Good for her. Then, after cultivating the most land in Gravesend with her “man”, bearing two digits worth of children, they decide to skedaddle back to Jersey, when the English invade (again) where again she seeks shelter with the matrilineal, matriarhical, all around good gal tribe that helped her, helps her and her brood and crew, where again as a fam. they cultivate the most land … (Key here is not that they “own” the most as property is theft, or that’s what Penelope’s sisters taught her. To be continued….

No. I’ve been busy practicing my performances — I like to call them 1bottom or 1 body commotions with consequence. A sit down strike against those who bar PwD passage, or access, or acccommodation. It’s so common it’s almost trite.