Glassing for a Step

THIS IS AN UNEDITED FIRST DRAFT, ONCE AGAIN, RUSHED. It is a misstep to think that one is doing enough at present. Please don’t think that I don’t know that certain people are VERY busy. That said, everyone’s busy these days, I assure you, from one angle or another. The thing is, if you read what’s below, and you come away thinking that what’s not clicking, not kicking into gear is a function of certain people having too much on their table to meet my expectations, you’re way off. Watch your step with me, please. For us all. That has nothing to do with what I’m complaining about, zero to do with the unhealthy dynamic that is touched upon here. Truly, zip. [Pause.] Your move. ASSOCIATES OF DON HENLEY’S… PLEASE TELEPHONE ME, IF YOU WILL, SO THAT I CAN BE VERY SPECIFIC ABOUT WHAT I HAVE TO OFFER YOUR ENVIRONMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS GRATIS.

Glassing for a Step
Dedicated to the ’solidarity potential’ with Khalil, Mitch and Beth on board. [See final note at the very end.]
by Ox

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” — Lao-tzu

“Occupy is out of step with their so-called 99%” — a former General Assembly participant

“Do celebrities and non-profits begin to believe their own publicity at some point?” — a teenager with whom the author has taken many steps

Cormac McCarthy, the Pulitzer Prize winning writer, is fond of having characters glass areas:

“When it was light enough to use the binoculars he glassed the valley below.”

If I remember correctly, that’s from The Road.

Here, I’ll be into glassing the public for you, particularly so-called concerned citizens. The idea will be, ultimately, to move in solidarity with you respecting the first level challenges of our time: apathy, resignation, ignorance, cynicism, habit and atomization. I’ll provide a list below, which I trust will intrigue you enough to have you contact me ASAP at aptosnews@gmail.com. For nothing much (or enough) will be accomplished on (what I call) second levels with the government, corporations and the like… without addressing the daunting half dozen creatures I’ve underscored above.

[Pause.]

I really don’t know why I have to fly off so with language.

My family and I should be an absolute dream for anyone wanting to address the most crucial issues of our time. Just speaking for myself for the moment, I’m highly experienced as an activist, deeply educated and I’ve been working 24×8 recently dealing with our collective crises, pushing new paradigms* for doing so. I don’t require any money, I’m low maintenance, and — as a rule — when I approach organizations or businesses of any kind I always underscore how I’d be willing to serve their personal agenda if we can move in solidarity on a macroscopic scale… dealing with the source of our bleeding.

*One of the major models I advocate carries the imprimatur of the late Howard Zinn and a score of high profile international figures.

I’m into applying necessary tourniquets… like serving soup… raising funds for others… manning phones… washing floors… marketing, you name it has been my mantra. Why, then, am I coming up zero? It’s not my breath, it’s not the clothes I wear. I swear it’s something else in the air that keeps citizens from caring about exploring truly new concepts, or even jumping outside of their atomized corners at all. There is a lot of fun going on in this and that corner, a lot of well-meaning fighting the good fight here and there too, of course. But that’s quietist and microscopic activity… not what I’m talking about, not what I’m about primarily.

I make it clear — always — that what I want to do in solidarity with others (as I simultaneously assist them with their present primary priorities) WILL NOT distract them from their personal agenda, not drain them of energy, not require a single penny.

Again, all this from a guy who’s quite qualified with the best references in the world.

So… the question is begged: Why am I not able to secure time for leisurely discussion from hardly anyone? And if I do manage to grab a moment on someone’s run to throw out a sound bite, why does no one set aside any heartbeats for the obligatory in-depth Q&A which is necessary to make inroads?

I have other questions, though, before I start delineating my list. That is, why do concerned citizens think that what they’re doing is sufficient? And why, if they are engaged at all, do I never come across anyone who has a real sense of deadlines? Why is there virtually no acknowledgement of the need for urgency beyond token comments on that count?

I’ll gladly elaborate on the above, upon request, but let me list a few recent contacts which puzzle the hell out of me. It’ll be good to get a little something off my chest, thanks. It’s hardly the tip of the iceberg, but it should generate some instructive discussion if the reader is open to exploring what I’ve been encountering among concerned citizens.

Among the thousands I’ve made contact with or attempted contact with over the last several years:

1. Tariq Ali emailed me back in response to my first missive, saying that he was intrigued, opening himself up for details I promised. After sending a telegraphic delineation, no reply. And no reply to my follow-up email, asking if he had received my communication. I always ask for confirmation of receipt.

2. Dan Siegel. Met with me, after driving all the way down from Oakland with his attorney wife/colleague… so that we could meet in person, have lunch together. I wrote extenstively, as promised, following our meeting, so as to explore details discussed. Virtually nothing from either one of them to date, even though I had submitted recommendations he requested in a previous post regarding the sad state of law enforcement in his realm; no reply even to that. Once in a blue moon — if pestered — he’ll tell me that he’s just been “so busy.” His wife has never responded to me since our meal. [Could the restaurant I took them too have been that bad?]

3. Arundhati Roy. I’ve never been able to make contact. Derrick Jensen, who — years ago — gave his imprimatur to my Howard Zinn-related project mentioned above appeared locally with Arundhati recently, but was anything but proactive (to put it mildly) respecting my request to be put in contact with her. This from someone who I have a long history with, who has provided a testimonial for my son, and who was, arguably, the biggest fan of my writing early on.

[Why are people so inaccessible? Why do writers of articles -- in so very many instances -- not give contact info, even when they're urging citizens to move in solidarity?]

4. Susana De Anda and Laurel Firestone. Zip, zero response to my offering what I thought was the world… unconditionally.

5. Cinema Libre Studio. I did get some minimal response from Beth Portello, who I connected with briefly in the midst of her being inundated with publicity challenges; she’s promised to follow up when she gets a breather. That said, none of her colleagues have seen fit to respond to date, though invited. And, after so much time passing without any follow-up to lots I’ve put on the table for CLS’ kind consideration — mucho SINGULAR offerings — I’m starting to get a sickening deja vu feeling. I love their work.

6. Roseanne Barr. I’ve had significant positive contact with Cindy Sheehan, who ran for office not too long ago on a ticket with Roseanne. I won’t provide details here, but I’d love to lay out for the reader the incredible stone wall I ran into when politely requesting that she put me in touch with Roseanne at her earliest convenience. Bottom line… no Roseanne to date, even though I’m sure that it would gladden her heart to know what I want to propose for her. Ditto for Arundhati Roy. I did manage to connect with an important person associated with Roseanne’s radio show, and he did say that he passed on what I submitted for Roseanne’s consideration. However, if that happened, I haven’t heard a word back from Roseanne on the proposal. And that’s quite significant. For there’s a lack of people responding with a “Thanks, but no thanks” reply when such is called for, and in my case, clearly, those four words (at the very least) were in order.

Like I noted, I’ve had THOUSANDS of such experiences*. But… exactly what are we talking about here? What is my point? It’s that I have not been able to generate the kind of engagement necessary to have an impact on our horrid momentum.

*Including — inexplicably — frustrating contact or near contact with Cynthia McKinney, Greenpeace, Norman Solomon, Sean Penn’s J/P Haitian Relief Organization, National Resources Defense Council, the Police Departments and Mayors and Chamber of Commerce offices of Ukiah, Salinas and many other cities in California, Professors Peter Watt and Noel Sharkey of Sheffield University in the UK, attorneys supporting whistleblowers, the organizer of the Russell Tribunal, Abby Martin and Max Keiser of RT News (and some of their colleagues and guests), gang members, David Swanson, innumerable union members after union members after undocumented workers, an untold number of bookstores, Bill Blum, scholars like Mike Davis, Angela Davis, Oliver Stone and American University’s Peter Kuznick, RootsAction, LGBT advocate (Olympic skater) Johnny Weir, the wife of Green Day’s lead singer, every single national anti-death penalty organization, Tom Morello (in spite of his ‘new angle’ with The Boss), multiple Project Censored contributors, Radiohead’s Colin Greenwood and all colleagues associated with the Children’s Radio Foundation (including UNICEF participants), the producer of The Invisible War, far flung neighborhood activists, firefighters, a number of organic food co-ops, animal rights groups, Jackson Browne, Keith Harmon Snow, heads of literacy programs, Tom Waits’ life partner, and so on and so on ad infinitum, it seems. ‘Cross the board, across the world, in every conceivable nook and cranny.

Permit me to put that last statement (before the asterisk) into a special perspective. There are, of course, lots of discussions going on among concerned citizens. But they’re all — to a one — focused on little corners. Or they’re conducted on the run, or in a rush… with goals which are not very ambitious. Or highly motivated, experienced souls with deep agendas ARE exchanging ideas at an arthritic snail’s pace with no real acknowledgement of collective deadlines. Like the people at ZNet.

There are other variations of what’s spelled out directly above. Just as there are other kinds of problems not being addressed in the realm of activism.

I humbly and respectfully ask the reader to get down with me concerning this glassing of the country. We can begin talks by dealing with what is most dear to the reader’s heart. Hopefully that’ll be a motivator.

[Pause.]

I’ve got lots to offer pretty much unconditionally, including rare hard goods and — as noted above — 24×8 energy to confront those who operate 24×7 to maintain the status quo.

Oh, I do think that I can be an invaluable asset for your purposes. And keep in mind, if you will, that I haven’t even injected my family members or colleagues into this whole shebang yet.

Afterword: I’d like the reader to know that my contacts have not, by any means, been restricted to the kinds of sweet souls mentioned above, the ones I tried to criticize constructively. In fact, at our yard sale today (16-2-13) I made it a point, as I always do, to engage in dialogue with what’s called ordinary citizens. The aforementioned thousands can be dumped into a larger pot with the “ordinary” Jane and Joe. Meaning, on top of the thousands cited above, you’ve got to add thousands of others who’ve I’ve made contact with over the recent years. The thing is, no one makes time for talk. Fleeting talk, yes. But not the kind I’m obviously after, discussion which can amount to something in solidarity. People will offer up an opinion on a pointed question, but if one tries to take talk to the next level… they’re off and running. Except for a handful, citizens have really given up. Given up on all forms of protest except what’s now obsolete. Neither the Occupy efforts, nor anything else currently on the table is slated to change that. And anyone who is delusional about the proverbial pendulum getting ready to swing in another direction is… delusional. [Pause] I sound presumptuous for good reason. I’ve done my homework. And I’ve been glassing the public ‘cross the board with a new kind of binoculors I made myself… at great cost.

We need to take a new road. A single step in solidarity. Now.

“We haven’t had that spirit here since 1969.” — the Eagles*

*If the Sacred Seat in Sacramento does not draw the interest of the three I’ve dedicated this piece to, perhaps Don Henley (or someone he approves) will; maybe he will understand the organic interrelationship between California’s (potential) actions and all he holds dear, including the efforts of those invested in the Caddo Lake Institute and the Walden Woods Project. It could be that his being on board in some capacity would inspire the three I’ve selected to spotlight here… and others. Grasping at straws, perhaps, but at least I’m not grasping for financial support. That is rare these days, and I know it. And I know the potential impact creating a watershed in history could have, if it’s accomplished on a zero budget. [Pause.] I do pray that one and all will think about that. And chat.