Flag Waving

Flag Waving

I’ve signed at least two on line petitions this week to abolish the Confederate Flag. Though my husband says, “why would you do that? “what about free speech?” Me, I’m thinking it would be great never to see that symbol of divisiveness and bigotry waving like a slap in the face to any African American person. And in fact, I’ve never forgiven the ACLU for supporting the Nazi’s right to march in Skokie all those years ago. I’d be only too happy to attend a ceremonial Confederate Flag burning. After all, waving a Confederate Flag isn’t that much different than waving a Nazi flag. If you think that’s an exaggeration, just check out what was happening when each of these flags were in their hey days!

dknz-SwastikaFlag confederate flag
Nazi Flag   Confederate Flag
Jew is a non person, can’t own property Black is a non person, can’t own property
Jews work as slave labor for a variety of industries: Bayer, Grumann, etc. Blacks work as slave labor on plantations
War to declare Jews non-people War to uphold slavery
Miscegenation illegal  Miscegenation illegal
Families Split up  Families split up
Women raped by soldiers    Women raped by slave owners
Mixed race differentiations i.e. Mischling  Quadroons, Octoroons

The lists truly go on and on.

That’s why I like those multi colored New Age flags for sale in Tibetan Shops, and yoga studios. And the peace flag too! Let us not forget that nice looking peace flag.

Isn’t it time the South just gives it up and says “we’re sorry, =our ancestors were brutes.. We won’t wave that revolting symbol of everything that’s wrong with this country ever again. And take the damn thing down and put it quietly away?

flag2What have we got to lose? A proud tradition of hatred, murder, national divisiveness?

The Battle Hymn of the Republic has always been a much better song than Dixie, which my friend Andre thinks is the reason why the North won the war.

Think of what would have happened if the South won the war.

Think of what would have happened if the Nazis won the war.

(I for one wouldn’t be sitting here typing on my computer!)

May all beings everywhere be happy and free from suffering.


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Golden Calf/Golden Dog

Golden Calf/Golden Dog

I’m more than halfway convinced the golden calf slain by Moses was really a golden dog. An effigy of the tribe’s favorite dog, the one who wagged his tail, laid his ears back, stuck out his tongue and smiled—and made everyone worship him. Of course the golden dog is male. As in the sacrifice of Isaac, the prized object, be it animal or human is always male.

When Moses destroys the golden calf as he does in the bible story, (he’s a cat person) it’s meant to be the beginning of monotheism—and the emergence of Judaism as an intellectual philosophical force. Down with polytheism (all those sexy female deities!). Up with an-eye-for-an-eye and the one and only male God.

I’ve been thinking along the lines of the golden dog ever since we got Henry and began to worship at the universal church of canine, probably the largest single group of true believers on earth.

My little golden idol is presently curled up at my feet. It’s a hot day, the first hot day since I arrived on Long Island a couple of weeks ago. He’s lying across the quarry tile floor because it’s cool there and he’s hot after barking his head off at the guys who were blowing leaves outside the windows. You can’t get away from the leaf blowers. And their evil fumes. Though here where there are trees and a relative lack of air pollution, the noxious fumes dissipate quicker than they do in Los Angeles. And for that I and my sinus cavities are grateful.

I’ve just spent the past hour helping my friend pick up her beloved golden dog (actually a white Samoyed named Natasha) who has been in the deep freeze at the vet’s since last winter. For the past week, L. has been digging a hole in her back yard for her dead pet. Every morning when we meet very early at the beach to let the dogs run, she tells me about the hole. “It’s two feet by now,” she says. “It’s at least three feet.” This morning she said it was “up to my waist.” And could I go this afternoon to help her carry Tashi from the car to the backyard.

I could.

All the way over on the drive to the vet, L told me something I’ve heard from other worshipers of the golden dog, that “Natasha is in heaven.” Also, the bizarre and beautiful fact that Natasha chose to die on the same day in December her brother Stoli had also died some years ago. “Three hundred and sixty-five days and why would they both go on the same one?” L mused.

You get to know all the names of the dogs who people have worshiped. The living and the dead. I never met Tashi, who has been too ill to come for the early morning walk at the beach. Nor did I meet Stoli, the brother who died on the same day, or Hammer, the American Bulldog who weighed more than I do.

Frozen Natasha, who we carried in a plastic cradle, (I thought as we were lugging the thing of Hiawatha’s linden cradle) was wrapped in a white cotton blanket. Underneath the blanket was plastic, the body bag where she’d been stored at the vet’s office. When we got back to L’s house, we lugged the plastic cradle to the back yard. And then we lifted Natasha’s frozen body onto the grass. I’ve never understood how all these dog lovers eat meat. Tashi certainly felt very akin to a large frozen roast. But no one would think of defrosting her, studding with garlic and perhaps some rosemary and cooking her at 360 degrees, a little pink in the middle. No one I know anyway.

“I’ve got to make sure they didn’t give me the wrong dog.” L said with a little laugh, and gently tore into the plastic. “It’s not gruesome, don’t worry.”

And it wasn’t. I saw a bunch of white hair, a little face, and my friend bending over the dead frozen dog, who would no doubt, soon be defrosting on the first hot day of the season. And kissing her.

Is it the golden calf/dog or is it just love? I don’t rightly know. But it’s a beautiful thing to see that kind of love. It’s what unites man, woman and beast and makes the humans among us, more human.

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My Short Lived Life As A Political Undercover Agent

My Short Lived Life As A Political Undercover Agent

I’m a mother. And the candidate is my only child. So when I heard the other side was having a breakfast to do, I couldn’t resist taking a look at his opponent. I put on my new blue jean jacket, a clean shirt and drove myself to Southampton a few mornings ago to the church where the speakers were going to be. I had a few questions of my own.

I was shocked that I couldn’t get in the door without paying. I even tried to talk myself out of the fee. But no go. They wouldn’t let me in without my 25-buck contribution. I gave my name and my cash, they gave me a name tag, and I went in. I should mention I go by my maiden name—and vote that way.

My son is a a Republican. I’ve never voted Republican and neither has the candidate’s father. Nor did either of my son’s dead (rolling in their graves) Grandparents on either side. I’ll leave it at that.

I chatted around for a while. Shook some hands. I met the head of the Town Democratic Party, a silver-haired gent with a mellifluous voice who could easily have been an actor. I also met the man my son hopes to replace, who maxed out on term limits and now seeks a different office; he was genial and pleasant, if slightly disengaged.

Everyone was very cordial. Everyone was friendly, I was asked to sit down and join several different tables. Not so bad, I thought, and actually felt a bit better that my son wasn’t going to be facing a pack of wolves, and might not get the proverbial knife in the back we always hear about politics these days.

Then I met Her, the woman my son is running against. We shook hands. We looked each other in the eye. She’s a tall pleasant- looking woman at least twenty years older than my son. I extended my hand and introduced myself. I even said I was having a book signing that night at the East Hampton bookstore.

Since she didn’t know who I was, I couldn’t resist. I looked her in the eye, and said as innocently as I could, “Now tell me about your opponent.”

The tall woman turned cold and mean.

“I don’t speak his name,” she said emphatically. I was shocked, and asked, “why ever not?” As if she hadn’t heard me, she added menacingly, “if anyone speaks his name at Headquarters, they are fined! They have to put a quarter in the jar.” Surely she must be joking, I thought, but her face was steely and devoid of any irony or humor.

Oy, I thought, as the mother of He-Who-Cannot-Be-Named. This is going to be a nasty race. I felt immediately protective of my son, who while being a tough customer, also has a really soft heart. It was upsetting and frankly bizarre to hear a fellow mother speak of my son in such a dehumanized way. I’ve certainly heard my son speak her name: with some bravado sure, but always with respect. I wished I had a roll of quarters, like I used to get from the bank before I had a washing machine. His name is ____, I imagined yelling, before plunking down quarter after quarter.

I drifted around the room some more. The breakfast buffet looked sort of crummy, cold bagels and runny eggs; some greasy potatoes. I’d been there about forty minutes. I was curious what they’d say in their speeches. Were they going to say something awful about my son? Would I be able to stand it?

The gent who looked like an actor approached me. And he didn’t look so friendly anymore. “you’re ______’s mother aren’t you?”

I admitted I was and I couldn’t have been more surprised. Flabbergasted is a better word.

In fact, I hadn’t felt so busted since Nodie Williams and I got caught smoking cigarettes in the men’s bathroom at St. Vincent’s Academy at least five hundred years ago. I could feel my face turning red just as it had when Sister Paula Marie forged through the door and suspended us both on the spot.

“I’m sorry!” I said and I was. I think I might also have said something about wasn’t this a free country? Hadn’t I paid my twenty-five bucks to see what the candidates said? Wasn’t I a voter too? I felt his eyes watching me carefully.

I talked to some other people. Presumably word had not spread through the entire crowd as to my dubious bona fides. A pretty woman about my age and I talked about fashion, I smiled at several other folks.

Feeling decidedly unwelcome, I decided to go back to the Chairman of the party and bid my adieu. “I’m a mother,” I said to the guy, “I meant you no harm. If you like, I will go now before the speeches start. You may be mad at me, but now I have to go back and tell my son what I did.”

“Yes, that’s probably best,” he said.

Several hours later when I told my son, he laughed and thought the whole thing was highly amusing and told me he loved me. He was much nicer than the politicos of the party I’ve always voted for.

I didn’t get to hear the speeches. And I didn’t have the chutzpa to ask for my money back. I wish I had though.

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