We are ALL Disabled Now – Vaccination

Public Health in New York City worked!  As a 1B (never thought I’d like being classified so much as a teacher), I’m eligible.

Not only am I flying from my remote workplace; I’m out here because I needed accommodations and it seemed easier to gain better times than to file another Reasonable Accommodation request. 

Don’t get me wrong: HR at the GC has been wonderful. Marvelous.  I left the building with an amazing accommodation that they put in the hands of the new EO.  But rather than requesting another accommodation, why not do it myself? 

Anyway, now that I’m returning — getting the first shot and then another procedure for a disease that women are prone to get — I’m not even anxious about flying.  

How the world has changed with accommodations. Sure, it’s costly in terms of time to order that wheelchair to get me through the airport.  But Fred’s got this down.  And besides, then he doesn’t have to worry.  I love to talk to those in charge of pushing so that they know how much this has changed in the past 15 or so years since Congress and the President forced the airlines to accommodate their passengers.  The last time I went to Paris (2009) with a cast on, I’m embarrassed to say I created another one of my sitdown big-bottom protests — and at JFK it was to no avail.

The airlines finally got it.  What was the time lag?  Legislation even after being enacted needs federal rules.  So I’d give it a 20 year lag, if you’re lucky.  Now that the airlines finally got it, I can travel again.

Gendering a Traitor

HANDOUT PHOTO:
Ashli Babbitt, 35, was shot and killed in the Capitol Wednesday.
(Courtesy of Timothy McEntee)

When women fought and won the right to fight, it wasn’t to then be romanticized as “poor her.”  She got killed. No.  She — Ashli Babbitt —  was trained by the U.S. military.

She knew the difference between the police — who shoot to kill in America — and enemy combatants. There’s no exception for the U.S. Capitol Police.  So stop gendering the woman’s right to die – by combat — her choice when she stormed the Capitol as a traitor.

It’s shameless for the GOP to invoke “due process” now.  So, Senator Ted Cruz is trying to steal the flag and the constituents who followed Trump.  Hopefully, he’ll thrown out by Texans who are now forming a blue wave in their state.

President Thomas Jefferson’s phrase “we are all Americans” came only after his election to office when he buried the Federalists — temporarily — and caught his own party wave as Jeffersonian Republicans captured both sides.  The United States never planned on having political parties — and their existence is a constant extralegal — potentially disruptive — disastrous force.  The GOP now can finally grab their party back from Trump.  What’s stopping them?  (Oh, the 75 million mob-sters — a gang of misogynistic white supremacists men and women — like Ashli they want to shamefully use and abuse to take power. Mob-ocracy.  What a silly word.)

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.#

*Supreme Court – Finally Watch-able

Lights and Camera — Sunshine Laws and Shining Lights.

Few national political institutions open their doors to audio and camera and then shut them back down again, no matter how long our historic pandemic lasts.

Long before I knew that William Howard Taft designed the 1930 Supreme Court building and helped pass some of the most important reforms as the Chief Justice (his preferred position over the presidency), I got to wander the halls of the House of Representatives as a page in the late 1970s.  I tried not to spend too much time underground (so I got stuck at the end of the day with errands as punishment, which was fine by me).

We went to school in the Cupola of the Library of Congress.  I got to be the M.C. with the majority leader and future (now seen as corrupt) Speaker of the House, Jim Wright — who looked at me like I was “crazy” for suggesting that his tip to me would be to “imagine everyone in their underwear.”

Oh, and Jimmy Carter had already tipped my hat in the Rose Garden after I ratted out the corruption of the Capitol Page School.  At the State of the Union address, my own congressman got drunk and called me “Ruthie” and we all lifted a bit of the new carpet for our scrapbooks, knowing that television was next.

I had to plead with my mother two years in a row, and Congressman William Ketchum finally gave us a couple of minutes and told her to let me apply. I’d never win the essay contest — he had no seniority, he had no standing — and this was the better way to shut me up.

I had the feeling that he felt sorry for my mom, though he was far from the first authority figure trying to shut me up — that distinction goes to the junior-high principal when I was 12, and before that to my mother’s siblings and her father.  Plus I got to interview Ronald Reagan after he got denied the nomination in 1976 and the family thought that was a coup.  I could only see how purple his hair really was.

And by the time I prepared to go to Claremont Men’s College — while our relatives established Brown University (in its pre–Rhode Island days) — Ketchum was dead (dropped dead on the tennis court). Then Congressman Chuck Grassley called my mom to say she should be proud of me.

We got briefed by the CIA, the FBI, and other types of security to watch out for cockroaches tossed down from the galley, and to look out for big and small packages that might carry explosives — we were, after all, overseen by the office of the Doorkeeper.

My mother’s bargain was that I agreed to be banned from going to any “corrupt” East Coast establishment, especially the Ivies.  (Most of the 125 pages chose to go to “the city” or “the country,” which in California means Stanford or Cal, respectively; it had a different meaning on the East Coast.) The agreement was: no application to the dangerous-for-women Stanford, and why would you want to go to a college filled with engineers?  No going to her alma mater, UC Berkeley; I could transfer there, but I decided going to England and Yugoslavia would be more fun than heading up to northern California.

My mom wanted me to go to Scripps (she regretted going to Cal and leaving Mills). It was only by the skin of my teeth on the campus interview that the Claremont-wide student tour guide said Claremont Men’s College was a better place for me, being interested in politics.

So that I don’t digress, let me leave it like a westerner.  Once an institution gets a new carpet, they get new drapes, and the Supreme Court — thank goodness — is opening its doors to video. It’s catching up to the 1970s.

I, for one, will watch this even if I don’t watch the two hours of White House TV, DJT (reverse acronym, since I can’t punish my fingers to type the words).

Identities and Intersections, and Max Tomba’s Glorious “Insurgent Universalities” in Heretical Thought

To call a man feminine is interpreted as insulting. Now, this is different than someone saying “act like a man.” That’s even more insulting. Even worse, you’re “thinking like a woman.” So, David, I can easily concede that my phrase “SLAMs and SCAMs” is blunt, bordering on insulting. Yet that still begs the question of how do we make analyzing, scrutinizing, thinking, critiquing in ways all attributed to women, or feminism, or at least women being woke by feminism, universal? Or rather a language that boys, girls, women, and men will use? What is the vocabulary when we would like to observe and add our kudos to a boy or a man, or anyone of privileged status who acted like a person who made an ethic of care universal? Or that same person who made a “non-manalyzing” scholarly observation?

To be sure, blunt phrases like SCAMs and SLAMs can be off-putting. And perhaps I dampen the dialogue when I list privilege of straight conservative Anglo-Saxon men and straight liberal Anglo-Saxon men (SCAMs and SLAMs), aside from a predilection to try to shock or shake people into thought. These acronyms serve two purposes. Do-gooder liberal men are just as bad as, if not worse than, conservatives in exerting their privilege and reducing access to all those not sharing their privileged identity. Why? We know that by virtue of being, acting, doing what SCAMs do they are predators and probably at least complicit in rape culture. I’m challenging someone to give me a different vocabulary — and it’s more likely to come from SLAMs than SCAMs (unless they see the light).

When women scholars’ scholarship is heeded universally, admired by both men and women, often this proves disappointing too. This time it’s not about hope, but disappointment that so many women join the men in patriarchal thought. In many cases, though certainly not all, women and men use the male-dominated language of scholarship (i.e. “manalyzing”). There is no s/he said. (No need for the He said/She said, since after all it should always be the intersubjective and simple s/he said. All people fight within themselves. No one has a static gender, race, ethnicity, let alone body.

Nor do I like the scholarship that simply says “Well, what about the feminist perspective?” What? First there is no “feminist perspective,” as this scholar got it so wrong last night at the GC in criticizing Max Tomba’s exciting book Insurgent Universality in the Oxford University Press, Heretical Thought Series, which I solo edit. There are feminism(s), as another fascinating scholar of sociology at Hunter and the GC explains, Lynn Chancer, titled her latest book

Identity-speak should be no more exclusionary than Harvard’s “Gov Speak,” the language the Harvard Government Department got criticized for uttering years back that was tantamount to the exclusion of all but SLAMs and SCAMs. Sure, it is easy to say we do not speak who we are. One would be hard pressed to find an essentialist, these days in the academy, at least. At the same time, it’s hard to find a non-essentialist — or a scholar — be they man or woman, who does not “manalyze.” Manalyzing is practiced equally by male and female scholars. It’s a criticism of the academy not having a scholarly language enough to stop universalizing critique with the universality of men analyzing.

David Waldstreicher politely and appropriately called me out on SLAMs and SCAMs being a bit blunt (i.e. rude).