Saturday, May 25, 2019

Buskers at Eastern Market


Courtesy Kerry C. Duggan

It Runs Through Me - Tom Misch (featuring De La Soul)

So Bernie Wrote an Essay

My Facebook friends include ardent Bernie Sanders supporters as well as those who think his time has come and gone and he needs to sit down and shut up. One in particular – a local politician who constantly pronounces and pontificates and will fight you if your opinion differs – recently slammed Sanders by bringing up the yucky essay that the U.S. Senator from Vermont wrote back in 1972.

I guess it doesn’t matter that Sanders, the 2016 and 2020 presidential candidate who some think was shafted by Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the Democratic National Committee if not Hillary Clinton herself the last time around, supports the Green New Deal, Medicare for All and a living wage.

Or that he wants to expand social security, legalize marijuana and end the resource-wasting “War on Drugs.” Or that he supports Roe v. Wade, wants to repeal the Patriot Act and supports same sex marriage.

Supports net neutrality? Who cares?

Believes climate change is real and we must address it? So what?

Wants to reform student debt and provide free or affordable college to all? Whatever.

What apparently matters is that the guy wrote a one-page essay almost 50 years ago – when a new house cost $28,000, a gallon of gas was 55 cents and five guys were arrested for burglarizing the offices of the Democratic National Committee in the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. – for an alternative publication that’s disconcerting. Even nauseating. This and the fact that he’s not really a Democrat (even though he’s caucused with the Democrats for years) are seemingly enough to disqualify him from the office that’s currently being defiled by an orange oaf with zero intellect who’s on tape and on record degrading women and encouraging disrespect and molestation.

Given the anti-Sanders sentiment out there on the left as well as the right, I’m not sure he’s the Trump-annihilating candidate we need right now. What we don’t need, though, are lazy swipes and tabloid-level attacks at politicians who don’t strike our fancy. We don’t need more slime, more mud, more spurious accusations and prurient implications. If you’re going to oppose Bernie Sanders, let it be because you don’t care about campaign finance reform or disagree with the idea that we should only use the American military as a last resort.

Let it be because you think he’s wrong to want to break up the big banks or because you resent that he organized and protested against segregated housing or was at the March on Washington back in 1963. Let it be because you don’t want to tax the rich and close corporate tax loopholes or you don’t support unions or you’re against affordable housing or lowering drug prices.

Don’t base your case on 14 paragraphs of crap that he wrote the same year that Richard Nixon visited China and Mark Spitz won seven gold medals in swimming, for Pete’s sake. You can do better than that.

Sources: Kaiser Family Foundation, The People History, pro-Sanders Facebook groups.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019


Take Me to the Alley - Gregory Porter

Here's a Blog Post

Depression is a motherfucker.

It saps your drive, energy and will to live. It takes away your future and makes you feel hopeless and unmoored. You don’t know where you’re headed so you don’t know how or what to prepare and you’re too tired to prepare for anything or make plans or accept invitations or explore opportunities anyway. It’s a funk indeed.

I’m depressed. I have it. Or I am it. Or I suffer from it or live with it or am learning to survive it. I’m not sure of the correct terminology. But as they say and sing, there’s a memory around every corner and with each memory comes heartache and pain. A lot of pain.

In my case, I’m reeling from the changes that come with an unexpected breakup that wasn’t my choosing and took away my family, home and identity. I played a role – I helped bring about the end, albeit unintentionally – but still, I had no control of the outcome or the process. Nothing’s perfect and that included my relationship with my partner but the sudden removal of her and the kids from my life has been worse than I could have imagined. No one has cancer or has been murdered, I keep telling myself as if that will ease the pain, but it doesn’t matter. I can’t get out of bed. I don’t care if I eat. I don’t make plans or do anything, even things I need to do like update my resume or figure out my next step. It hurts to look at pictures and hear songs and take certain shortcuts and drive on certain roads.

I’m clinging to the thought that this is temporary, that it’s a transitory phase just before something positive happens again. I’m distracting myself by playing Pool Practice and getting lost in the Land of Lord Zuckerberg (aka Facebook) on the new laptop that my parents and sister gave me for my birthday a few weeks ago. I hang out with friends occasionally but not often because that requires energy, teeth-brushing and smiling. I’m not young anymore as at other times in my life when sudden or major changes resulted in upheaval. This time it feels like there’s not a lot of time left for the next phase or incarnation or life event or however you describe what comes next to arrive and settle in.

Add to this anxiety, loneliness, fear (no home or health care), regret, frustration and financial instability and sprinkle some news about the Orange Asshole and the divided states of America on top and you’ve got where I’m at right now. I know there are others having a bad or worse time but that doesn’t heal my wounds. The fact that I could have prevented some of this doesn’t stop me from feeling betrayed and hurt by the results.

I’m not sure why I’m writing this. “What’s the Diehl?” needs fresh content, to be sure, and I haven’t been able to sit down and write about issues or politics or current events because when I come back from my crappy, low-wage job as a service worker, all I want to do is flop onto my bed and pull a blanket over my head. (Did I mention that I’m fortunate to have two fantastic friends who’ve enabled me to escape homelessness by living in their basement rent-free and indefinitely?) I resist doing anything that might lift me out of the place I’m in. No energy to walk upstairs and outside, let alone hit a gym. Yes, I desperately need a better, different job but I’ll get to that tomorrow. There are 20 things I need to do but I’ll get to them later. For now, here’s a blog post.

Life is full of highs and lows, I know. I’ve had some remarkable experiences and come in contact with some really special people. I’ve seen breathtaking beauty. I’ve made babies laugh. I’ve eaten jumbo shrimp while sitting on Dolley Madison’s sofa in the White House as the President of the United States stood nearby. (Don’t worry, I was invited.) I’ve ziplined and danced and hugged and won shit. I’ve stroked purring cats on my lap and hiked through the woods and held hands with the love of my life.

There have been bad times too, of course. I hope this is just one more of them and not the way things are going to be from now on because depression is a motherfucker.