Category Archives: Politics

History Doesn’t Repeat Itself…

My Dear Friends,

In a recent coffee klatsch with my new very best friend, Voltaire, he reminded me, “Sally-Jane…

In light of this very wise and prescient statement, I am all too aware of how little we know of American History.  Of course, it didn’t help that history books until a recent time had a very one-sided version of what happened before, during and after the founding of these United States of America.

I am old enough to remember that my history books taught that many American Indian tribes were our enemies, but not how the enmity originated.

I don’t remember reading about President Andrew Jackson forcing them off their ancestral lands in the East onto the infamous march West… The Trail of Tears.

I don’t remember reading about President Andrew Johnson shredding Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation promises, aided and abetted by Confederate officers and soldiers into proclaiming Jim Crow as the law of the South and founding the KKK.

I could go on but I think I would rather present you with a cornucopia of gifted artists and writers who will, through document and performance, enlighten your way .

It has been spoken.  It has been written.  You cannot grow… You cannot know…

Where do I come from…?

How did I get here…?

Read on MacEveryone….  

Don’t ask me why I chose this book, She Would Be King: A Novel by Wayétu Moore. I knew nothing about it.  Maybe because I was celebrating my bookstore having finally  come out of its pandemic hibernation.  And the title was definitely quirky.  I chose a winner.  The author is black and beautiful and she writes like a dream.  In fact dreams have a lot to do with this magically and very realistic story.  I never understood what it meant to read a book of magic realism.  I’m not sure I do now but I am beginning to understand this category mixes the reality of the founding of Liberia in the 19th Century and the fantastical but oh, so real journey of the three main characters towards their destiny.  Their imprint is indelible in my psyche, my soul, but most of all, my spirit. 


In the PBS program, Twilight: Los Angeles, award-winning director Marc Levin weaves, Anna Deavere Smith’s powerful one-woman theater piece of the same name with news footage and interviews to create a portrait of rage, sorrow, loss, and battered hope surrounding the 1991 Rodney King beating, the violent aftermath of the 1992 verdict, and the lasting impact of the L.A. riots on America’s conscience.


I have a confession to make. I am usually not a podcast listener.  But I have an investigative reporter feeding me with brilliant podcasts.  She also happens to be my daughter.  

Here is what Dianne wrote to me about Jonathan Capehart’s podcast with Carol Anderson about her book White Rage:  The Unspoken Truth of our Racial Divide.

“Mom, Bottom line is all these policies that have kept black people down have kept all of us down in many ways.”

From the mouths of babes… she was one once… I have the pictures.

Love, Sally-Jane

P.S. The best way to combat all racial inequalities is to use your voting power!!

P.P.S. Keep your sense of humor and your distance…

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr: “The other America” 1967

My Dear Friends,

By accident or fate, take your pick, I YouTubed upon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaking at Stanford – “The other America” 1967 – a year before he was murdered.

This is part of the history we need to know.  

For me, it was as if he was alive and writing about the race relations of today, hopefully, not tomorrow.

Listen, my friends, just LISTEN.

Love, Sally-Jane

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee where he was shot on April 4, 1968.

Phooey! You are NOT Powerless!

My dear friends, 

I don’t know about you but with recent events, I have been witness to friends and relatives clucking of tongues, sighing, and head shaking, saying things like… “This is terrible.”  “Shocking!”  “What can I do?  I feel so powerless.”  Then, like the air going out of a balloon, nada!  We are not only tongue tied. We are idea tied.

Give me a break! You know about David slinging rocks at Goliath, right?  You heard how Joshua outplayed Louis Armstrong at the battle of Jericho, right?  Please my friends, use these metaphors to create a new reality of what you, you alone, can do.

Here is an example of what one citizen of the town of Northampton, MA did upon hearing that the town council in response to the recent protests was voting to increase the budget of the police department. OK, OK, so there is a whiff of nepotism in the air, the writer, Pamela Schwartz is my daughter.  Hey, leave us not forget, it’s my Blog and I gave myself permission.  All right?  All right!

So read on and hopefully we all can understand the many ways that we, as individuals, can make a difference and try to change this racist world we live in.

Click Here to Read Pamela’s Letter to Northampton Town Council

There is no quick fix.  There is, however, a very easy and simple way to slow our country’s downward spiral.  VOTE!        

If you are in doubt about the uselessness of your vote, please go to your PBS Streaming Channel (It’s as easy as it is important to add this app to your TV) and Tune in to the PBS Documentary ‘PBS’ American Experience: “The Vote

Cluck your tongues, sigh, shake your heads, but understand, the VOTE, is in your not really powerless hands.  Right?  Of course, right!

P.S. I leave you with a quote from Margaret Mead who struggled against world opinion and condemnation to provide safety and health for women and children …

P.P.S. And here’s another example of creative citizenry:

Me? A Racist? You’ve got to be kidding!!

I feel compelled to send this to my near and dear.  I am going to do something I rarely do – allow you to determine for yourselves what you think and feel about the two articles I am sending.  The first by Courtney Ariel titled:  For Our White Friends Desiring to be Allies

The second is an opinion piece by George Will from The Washington Post.

It so happens that the second article is a major solution to the problems of the first article.. that solution is VOTE!

Regardless of your party affiliation, please remember a vote for anyone other than the democratic candidate, whoever he or  she may be.  … would count as a vote for “you know who”. 🙀😬

Love, Sally- Jane

P.S. I cannot force you to listen to Reimagining Policing in the Wake of COntinuing Police Violence with President Obama at 5 pm ET on June 3… But, just know there will be a quiz after the program. 

P.P.S. For those interested in understanding the difference between the peaceful protests and the violence and looting, Google Boogaloo Bois.

A Special Friday Update

Attention Friends and Family:

As it is written:

CLARITY, LIKE CLEANLINESS, IS IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER.

Love, Sally-Jane

Toilet Paper??? Really???

Bob Moran | Telegraph

My Dear Friends,

If you have a computer you have already received many emails concerning the whys and wherefores and how-tos of the coronavirus.

I’ve put together my own list with my own introductions to my nearest and dearest. I am sure there will be much duplication.

I think of these emails as the trajectory, the progression, if you will, of my own very late awareness of the virus. And what it means to me and my loved  ones and even not to just my loved ones but to all humans everywhere. Yes, even those politicians and leaders who refused to lead us into global awareness as to what was happening.  I do not wish anyone ILL. However, it is important to see how the world is leaderless… Oh, yes, there are health workers, and disease agencies that are tirelessly working to correct the politicians-of-every-nation’s inability to gather globally to stem the tide of this virulent virus.

Borders closed. Countries in lockdown. I ask myself. Is that what had to happen before attention was paid?

I do not think you have to be brilliant. I am not. It is now the middle of March and I don’t know all the facts (I truly don’t think anyone ever will) but the Chinese Government began talking about the Corona Virus in the beginning of January. The first reports I ignored. After all, no leader anywhere, except China was saying anything. From my perspective, China is very far away. I keep forgetting. We are all globally connected. In today’s world, Wuhan is next door to Brooklyn.

In this forwarded mélange of advice, take what you want and leave the rest.


1. Important New Dispatch:Dr. Jordan Shlain Reporting From the Front Lines

This article, makes a lot of sense to me…

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE:

https://tincture.io/dispatch-3-dr-shlain-reporting-from-the-front-lines-a86bca27847b


2. Coronavirus: Deserted Italian street rings out with song as people lean out of windows to sing together during lockdown

Cry if you must…but don’t just stand there…isolate! 

Watch the Video


3. Not Another Recipe…

To my nearest and dearest – Yes, another recipe for continued good health. And if you do nothing else do like it says and keep lubricated. (Take your mind out of the gutter) and drink water. That’ll teach that virulent virus to bugger off.

And always remember. Love will keep us together as long as you don’t touch me…


4. 👆🏼That Widely Circulated List of COVID-19 Tips Is a Hoax

Ok. That does it! No more advice! There’s too much hysteria and panic which looks for answers that just aren’t there. Hey, guys, there’s no magic bullet! Use you common sense until a leader comes along that can lead us out of the wilderness or through the parting of the Red Sea.

Remember when we had leaders who told the truth and in dire circumstances such as we are experiencing now could be there to support, encourage and help? I wish one and all good health as we try to chart a course to safety. 

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: https://www.lamag.com/article/coronavirus-hoax-stanford


5. Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now

So, I lied! Here’s one more from me to youse. It’s because it kind of explains where I am in thought.

I’m already limited by age and its attendant physical limitations and now I’m being asked to be limited voluntarily in terms of social engagement. I think it requires a major life rethink for me (change my behavior) and if you will help me, I am sure I can do it.

Using numbers paralyzes me. Statistical charts don’t really make a lot of sense to me. But with this article I finally understood what it is that I can do.

READ FULL ARTICLE WITH CHARTS HERE: https://medium.com/@tomaspueyo/coronavirus-act-today-or-people-will-die-f4d3d9cd99ca


MY CONCLUSION:

Now that you are on information overload let me wish you well on your life journey.

I think if we are careful we can survive and most importantly I think there are some very profound life lessons to learn.

There’s been a great deal said about the human condition. Not all of it very positive.  

The worst is the tale of toilet paper. Toilet paper? Really! I never thought toilet paper would be the arbiter of what makes for a civilized society. Who knew?????

I do not want to be thought of as a bleeding heart sentimental fool (all of which admittedly I am), but what an opportunity this presents for us to go beyond the base (toilet paper, really?) human condition into an atmosphere of service and caring and, yes, love.

Of course, I could be writing this because I am vulnerable and if they decide to take us elder vulnerables and put us on ice floes that take us out to sea never to return (of course, because of global warming – which of course “does not exist” – there are no more ice floes).  

Here is where I harken back to inspired leadership.

Two Presidents and their speechifying come to mind. Historically flawed, like all of us, they understood the need and the desire to help their citizens aspire to a higher code of conduct. 

“We have nothing to fear but fear itself”

Franklin D. Roosevelt

“Ask not what your country can do for you.  But what you can do for your country.”

~ John F. Kennedy

Right???? Of course, right!   

Love, Sally-Jane

P.S. Without humor, with or without the virus… we’re dead!

GIRLS, GUYS AND GUNS

O.K. so I don’t read the news. I don’t listen to the news. Except for periodicals and books, I am beholden to the kindness of friends and strangers for current events.

I think even the stratosphere reverberated with these last mass murders and I heard and felt the earth move.

The Universe spoke: ENOUGH! ENOUGH!

Without moral leadership, what is to be done???

Do I fall back on the “keeping of my sanity” rationale that this is all part of the human condition?

IMG_2189

I want any young men who buy a gun to be treated like young women who seek an abortion. Think about it: a mandatory 48-hours waiting period, written permission from a parent or a judge, a note from a doctor proving that he understands what he is about to do, time spent watching a video on individual and mass murders, traveling hundreds of miles at his own expense to the nearest gun shop, and walking through protestors holding photos of loved ones killed by guns, protestor who call him a murderer.

After all, it makes more sense to do this for young men seeking guns than for young women seeking an abortion. No young woman needing reproductive freedom has ever murdered a roomful of strangers.

~ Original Author Unknown

Or do I take this seriously and send it out to my friends and family and pray we can get a groundswell going to press for legislation to prevent the next mass murder.

I opt for the groundswell (whatever that is), right? Of course, right!

Love, Sally-Jane

IMG_2192

Not Again!

When the stock market takes a 600 point dive and there is no depression and there is no war… and there is also NO REASON… EXCEPT????

Time to get out the old movie from 1997, Wag the DogSimply put it is about a President just prior to election time becoming embroiled in a sex scandal.  The brilliant spin doctor of the administration and a major Hollywood producer collaborate to create and promote a war against Albania.  This will take the heat off the Scandal and the oversexed President will be elected.

It is a brilliant movYou think I'm lying_Why would I do that_ie and ridiculously relevant.

From the door of the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Turkey, which the Crown Prince’s assistants walk through with their body saw in full view, to the Campaign of Bombs on Broadway, to accusing Democrats of doing-in Democrats.  

They’re coming at us along with every other trickster.  Wait a minute! Two weeks before the mid-term election???

This is very familiar.  Did this happen before?  Wait, let me think!  Two weeks before the election 2016, the guy from the FBI… forgot his name. Didn’t he do something similar concerning Hillary Clinton which the next day he took back… something like that.

If you remember what it was, would you remind me?

Could it be happening again?

If you believe you cannot fool all the people all of the time, please, have a good laugh, and then go out and VOTE!

Love ~ Sally-Jane

Humanity Doesn’t Mix with Politics (so far)

As I watch the leaves change and fall, mostly fall without changing this year, I hear two questions consistently from friends, relatives, and passers-by:

  1. How did this happen?
  2. Are people ever going to be nice again?

There are plenty of pundits that give chapter and verse concerning both of these questions. Answers are about economics, racism, politics as given reasons for the way the vote went and for the lack of civility. Yes, I think they are connected… somewhat. But that is not all of it.

Alright already, so what happened??? Phew! I never thought you’d ask.

Sub-CMS_VietnamV2The following thoughts were provoked by my viewing the PBS series by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick – The Vietnam War. And over the course of very intense viewing, my thoughts began to brew and now they are spilling over. Ready or not, I want to share because I believe we can be better and nicer, no matter who we voted for.

My thoughts before viewing: I was a 30-year-old unpolitical wife, mother of 3 babies, and a professional actor, singer, dancer living in Washington, D.C., a city that had no rights and an 80 percent black population. In this city of political shenanigans, I was innocent, which is another word for dumb. I read newspaper headlines and scripts. Viewing this series  began my late education of Vietnam. My passion for movies gave me somewhat of a head start.

Two films. Indochine, a French movie starring Catherine Deneuve and an American cult classic, Medium Cool. The French film gave me a history of Vietnam – brilliant and devastating. The second was shock treatment for this American, thinking it couldn’t happen here – the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago with the world watching as Mayor Daly’s storm troopers beat the anti-war demonstrators. I remember running around the house screaming “This can’t be happening! This can’t… someone is going to stop it… Isn’t someone, please, going to stop it?!” I was awakened from a deep sleep. And it wasn’t by anything as gentle as a sweet kiss. It was the rudest awakening ever!

To begin with, I began my viewing with one chapter (2 hours) a night. However, after the first five chapters, I had difficulty sleeping. I also noticed I was holding onto my chair like I was being sent to the moon. Such tension! And though at this point I knew what was happening and what was going to happen, I kept talking to the television and telling it, “No, don’t let it happen, please, don’t!”

I fell in love with all the foot soldiers – American, North and South Vietnamese – that were interviewed so many years later. Every one of the grunts, airmen, seamen… and all the others who, as Westmoreland and Lyndon Johnson kept increasing the draft, were being sent to Vietnam and I wondered how Ken Burns had found them. They came to do what their fathers did in World War II and when they got to Vietnam, recognized this wasn’t Europe or even Japanese occupied islands… this was a Political Swamp... Having nothing to do with helping anyone except politicians in their quest for elected office. Sound familiar???

And that’s when I decided I had to pace myself. From number 6 to the last of the series, I watched one every three days. Not only was I able to sleep, but I was able to think through each one I had seen and slowly, as I said at the beginning, my thoughts took me to new places that connected dots in a way I had not previously been aware of.

nixon_thieu

As Nixon became the spokesperson of The Silent Majority, (I had forgotten that one), everything I believed in, all the brilliant history of The Founding Fathers, our Constitution, our Declaration of Independence, were being used as kindling for a fire that is still raging.

Then there was Kent State. The National Guard and State troopers shot and killed college students on their own campus during an anti-war demonstration. I don’t think I was the only one who walked around afterward in a disbelieving daze. But did you know that in a poll 58 percent of the American people approved of the shooting?

All of this and more came out in this series. And I am thinking, “This is not new.”

Here’s what I need to know…  how do these beautiful soldiers, sailors, airmen, POWs on all sides… how do they make sense of a war where so many died, were wounded and when they returned were shunned and shamed. These are the true poets of this series.

Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, in the last installment, throw us a life raft. And if you choose to, you can climb into it with me… It involves the selection and building of the Vietnam Memorial.  The meaning of it to the veterans who make a constant stream of visits to touch a name, to say a prayer, to be where a buddy they lost can for the moment be found. And even more thrilling, the story of the many Vietnam veterans who returned to Vietnam to redeem and reconcile their tours of duty to help rebuild a destroyed country.

Nelson Mandela and Bishop Desmond Tutu created an environment in South Africa of reconciliation and truth-telling.

The first President of the first all-German Parliament after World War II, Richard  von Weizsäcker had this to say,

“The desire to forget prolongs the exile, and the secret of salvation is remembrance. We cannot save ourselves, nor can we undo what has been done. We have lived through unfathomable and abysmal events and take part in them. But one thing we can and must do. Look at our past steadily, recognize its truth. We owe it to ourselves and to future generations.”

OK guys… all praise to PBS, Ken Burns, Lynn Novick, and all who made it possible to help us look at our past without punishment or judgment.  Yes, you can disagree with various points in this series, but you cannot disagree that it is time to look at this most divisive war and how it ruptured the country.  With the direction our country is moving, along with the lack of civility I referred to at the start of this blog, it’s worth looking at…

Do not look away.

Do not say that was then.

Do not say now is now.

Because, my dear friends, now is then.

The men and women in this film give new meaning to forgiveness, redemption, reconciliation.

If they can make nice, what’s your problem?

Love, Sally-Jane

 

A July Weekend of Streaming Thoughts

My Friends,

  • Churchill and Orwell by Tom Ricks
  • Reckless Endangerment by Grethen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner (And old/new story of the 2008 Financial Debacle)
  • Texas in The New Yorker

What do these three subjects have in common?

My brainball!

These disparate topics indicate (and by the by, something I have always known but kept hidden from friends, family and passersby) that this mind of mine is a gathering place for wool, webs, and much flotsam on the jetsom.

It is also a repository of eclectic interests and sadly, there is no connective tissue.

~~~

First, let us look at the new book Churchill and Orwell by Tom Ricks. I must admit I stared at it on my coffee table for a good two weeks before I picked it up to read.

Talk about no connective tissue… Orwell… Churchill… The author was surely stretching the point by putting them together in one book. And yet, as I read further, it was there.

They were as distinctly different. Churchill was a public school, inherited wealth product and supporter of The Empire. Orwell, on the other hand went to fight along with the communists and Republicans against Franco’s Spain. They both almost got themselves killed. They were politically divided, but brilliant wordsmiths and extraordinary writers; they believed in freedom of expression, both of them willing to put their money where their mouths were.

It was interesting as I read the book, approving of Churchill and then disapproving. And following the same pattern with Orwell. The pages of the book came alive as Rick wrote their stories.

In this day and at this time, I don’t remember reading any modern writers equaling the passion and commitment of these two men. To make a difference and to persuade people to our way of thinking or allow others to persuade us, we might consider doing so not with loud words and name calling, but with arguments, reason and  most of all, WORDS.

Novel idea, isn’t it?

~~~

Reckless Endangerment

OK, in 2010, Michael Lewis wrote what I had thought was the defining book on the 2008 financial debacle, The Big Short. I barely understood the book and I loved the movie but I had to see it twice to only begin to understand how they did it. (They being the financial community…banks, investment houses, and everyone else from Wall Street to Washington to strip mall storefront financial entities.)

In 2011, Gretchen Morgenson – New York Times business reporter – and Joshua Rosner – expert on housing and mortgage – finance issues wrote Reckless Endangerment, a detailed report on the cast, characters and plot of the worst financial crisis of our time.

I am asking you. Have you ever heard of the book? I never heard of the book. I was in a discussion with a friend… all right it was a heated discussion – about the 2008 debacle. Not to worry, we kissed and made up. But in response to our discussion, he sent me this book. Now I love Michael Lewis… great writer, interesting subjects, but Morgenson and Rosner…. they nailed it.

They started at the very beginning – 1995 – and probably even before that. You do not know the heroes and heroines of this saga. Why? Because they were unknown Government watch dogs that took their jobs seriously and had to pay the price for that dedication when they went against the big guys. Their work was buried. The shocking revelation of those who were supposed to be our heroes… Clinton, Barney Frank, and many more, were asleep at the wheel or were looking out a different window. Facts and shocking. Why? Because they got away with it.

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to find out about where Larry Summers, Tim Geithner, Robert Rubin, and hundreds of others are in the world of finance today. None of them had to pay the price for their collusion and corruption.   Hey, guys, it’s 2017… if not now, when?!?!

~~~

Texas in the New Yorker

The latest New Yorker July 10-17 contained an article by Lawrence Wright titled, America’s Future is Texas. Many things, events, people and Presidents have been frightening me. I have been trying to bring my heart rate and blood pressure to normal levels. So I have devised different plans to hold back on the rhetoric and calm the spirit. As a reader of history I try to understand that nothing that is going on hasn’t already happened at one time or another in the very short history of this country. Different cast, different hair cuts, different inventions, but essentially naysayers, rumor and hate mongers. Bile is bile. That’s the truth of it. From the Old Testament to Twitter, nothing new.

And then I read the article. And I am thrown. So if you decide to read it…. (which I really recommend you do) you will understand why I am back being frightened again.

In 1961, I went to Houston, Texas to perform in a cabaret. Now, I’m a Brooklyn girl. And way back in 1961, I thought everyone thought the way I did. What can I tell you guys… I was young… very young. I had never been to Texas. I checked into the hotel where I was staying in the evening and when I awoke in the morning and looked out of the window of my room there was this big billboard with a huge sign that read, “IMPEACH EARL WARREN”.

At first I thought I must have taken a wrong turn and ended up across the border in some foreign land. Once it was established I actually was in Houston. I silenced my head and got to work rehearsing for the opening that night.

The show seemed to go well. There was an opening night party. I was talking to a very nice Houstonian and before long I just had to share what I saw that morning. I asked her if she saw the sign outside the hotel that said, “IMPEACH EARL WARREN”. She said she had. I asked her if it wasn’t illegal. She asked me why. And I said, it’s almost as if Texas isn’t part of the United States. She took another sip of her bottle from her paper bag and with a big Texas grin said, “It isn’t!”

My friends, that was 1961. It is now 2017. Nothing has changed. I mean nothing.

~~~

I am always telling my friends, “The human condition doesn’t change. History doesn’t repeat itself. People do.”

But secretly I want someone to tell me I am wrong. A leopard can change its spots. A human can change his or her mind.

I am trying to figure this one out!  It isn’t easy!

July Blog Pic

And I can’t afford to lose any more hair.  Any suggestions???!!!!

Love, Sally-Jane