The Powers That Blog

While we keep track of politics at a certain level, this is not a poliblog, nor a warblog. Maybe "eclectiblog" is a good description, as we note thoughts on topics from art to parenting to whatever comes to mind.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Where Have We Been?

Those of you readers who are still sticking with us have certainly noticed we haven't posted anything in almost two months.

There are a few reasons. Most immediate, summer is our busiest time. I work seasonally in agriculture--that's summer. Because of our desire to be the ones raising the MunchK (not some daycare), I work early mornings and evenings--around Crazy Diamond's more conventional 8-5 workday. This leaves very little time at the end of the day for extras like blogging.

The other reason is we are in the midst of making some major improvements to our property--things like new siding, a sprinkler system and (soon) lawn, a new fence and deck, and various other smaller projects. We are contracting out most of the work, but it still takes time and energy to schedule and manage (and pay for) all those projects. It's certainly a lot of fun.

Finally, I needed a break from all the bad news. I explained earlier how the circumstances surrounding Terri Schindler's court ordered death by starvation wound up leaving me and I believe a lot of people feeling like our voices as citizens had been silenced--certainly rendered ineffective. We could petition our elected lawmakers all we wanted, but in the end everyone who had any real power--even "let's go liberate the oppressed people of Afghanistan and Iraq" President Bush himself--was going to bow to a little probate court judge who wasn't even on the bench legitimately. And our own seriously oppressed citizen didn't have a chance.

After that, I'd read the blogs I normally read, listen to the radio shows I normally listen to, and I'd just learn more about how evil things were becoming more and more institutionalized in our country, while our legitimate rights were being stripped away. Oddly enough, the Supreme Court's latest decision which would basically give my city government the right to forcefully take my property (improvements notwithstanding) away from me and turn it over to a corporation just because they could squeeze more tax revenue out of the corporation was some sort of turning point for me: now I know it's really going to get bad from here on out. Confiscating property has always been a way out of control governments managed to punish citizens for speaking out or in other ways not towing the line. It's going to start happening in this country too. Just watch.

In any case, I needed (and to some extent still need) a break. I'm not quite sure where to go from here as far as political involvement goes. We are contemplating various possibilities. I do know that I need to do what I can to give my daughter every possible advantage and opportunity. And even when I'm not specifically trying to raise the MunchK, just the everyday stuff can take an amazing amount of time. It's what I need to be doing, and I'm enjoying the everyday stuff more as well.

Having said all that, I do hope to get back into blogging here. I enjoy it, and I do like the exchange of ideas, and the ability to coordinate with other people I've never met to accomplish something we all believe in, even if we don't succeed. It's always worth the struggle. It's just a matter of how intensely do you approach it, and how long do you sustain that intensity. Something we are learning and probably will continue to learn.

In any case, it was high time I wrote something here, and I hope it won't be another two months before I post here again.

Stop the Aid?

Crazy Diamond found this Der Spiegel interview with a Kenyan economist. His claim is that all the aid going to Africa from the US and Europe is causing more harm than good, and that if the aid were to be ended, the African people would quickly learn to stand on their own two feet.

I think this is worth thinking about. Are we really helping with all our generosity? Or are we involved in creating a vicious cycle of dependence? In college I took a class on world food supply issues, and the teacher said that food aid has always been more about the rich countries getting rid of their surpluses than it was about truly helping the poor countries. I've since heard several times that the food aid tends to undercut the local food markets, causing the farmers to go under. This economist is making that same claim.

Anyway, something to think about. Do the Africans really need our billion dollar aid packages? Or is there a better way we can support them in their economic development?