December 16, 2002
I was a bad citizen in 2002.
First, I did not go shopping with my $300 Bush personal economic stimulus package. Blame me for the state of the economy, but it still sits unopened on the kitchen table. One week I am convinced that I should endorse it to the ACLU; the next, to Medecins Sans Frontières, then the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, Greenpeace, the World Food Programme, the National Organization for Women. My mind simply spins, with so many issues in so much dire need. Ultimately, that check may remain intact and framed as a reminder of our economic demise; a "tax relief program" for the wealthy packaged with the ultimate PR spin, throwing a few bones to the masses to keep us happy. Hush money, anyone? Don't spend your inheritance tax in one place.
I publicly applauded the demise of Martha Stewart -- feminism gone astray, capitalism gone awry. You can't bake your cake and eat it too... Coincidentally, Enron, Qwest, Global Crossing, etc. have been purged from our psyches as we collectively prepare for Christmas and war. The CEOs said their mea culpas, and Administration jobs for the corporate elite are aplenty!
Meanwhile, Silicon Valley anxiously awaits the booming defense industry to pull it out of the dot-com dustbin. Naïvely, I never expected to relive the Reagan Era, Deluxe...
I spoke out repeatedly throughout 2002 against the "war on terrorism." I did not support my local politicians; in fact, sent them many letters, as did those around me, imploring them to let reason prevail. They obviously did not listen, but I have to believe that the opinions are counted, despite the form-letter replies ("Thank you for contacting me regarding [insert issue]. Your opinion on [insert issue] is important to me. Allow me to share my [totally opposing] stance on [insert issue].") We absolutely need to keep inserting issues in the minds and on the radar screens of our elected officials. And then hold them accountable, or elect new ones.
I did not vote the party line in 2002. I voted Green, Green, Green, and was heartened by the success of third-party candidates in the mid-term election. And after 23 years as a registered Democrat, I finally changed my party affiliation (to Green). Blame me if you will for the Republican stranglehold but it is folly to be duped by the slogan that a vote for [insert third-party candidate] is a vote for the status quo. Change is possible, momentum takes time, and the process may be painful. But so is the status quo. Opting for the sub optimal evil is the worst of two evils. Three messages found in Swans' commentaries to end the year with: Attempting to solve problems using the tools, techniques and thoughts which create them is silly. Create change locally; the rest will follow. Criticism is easy; offer solutions.
So 2002 in review? We took so many steps backwards -- on environmental policy, health care, civil rights, human rights, civility, diplomacy, humanity, international law, international relations. And yet...somewhere I feel that 2002 was a defining moment, and I shall enter the New Year as an even worse citizen. I hereby vow to be an annoyance to my elected officials, and a more effective voice for change. I hope you will join me and that collectively we can keep the momentum growing.
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Jan Baughman is a scientist in the Biotech Industry. When Jan does not travel around the world on behalf of the company where she manages a clinical research department, she spends most of her time devouring books like candies and relaxing over the preparation of the finest recipes in Northern California. She started writing at a very young age when she found this mode of expression easier than having to answer the perpetually boring and conservative chit-chat around her. Jan's sense of observation is directly related to her sense of humor. She is a founding member and co-editor of Swans, and brings to the site wit and a lightness of being.
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This Week's Internal Links
More Of The Same - by Gregory Elich
A Fading Vision Of The USA - by Philip Greenspan
2002 Has Been A Grim Year - by Edward S. Herman
And So Goes 2002. . . . - by Milo Clark
Sinking In, Sinking, Then Ascension - by Eli Beckerman
A Case For The Defense - by Aleksandra Priestfield
Whadda Mess - by Michael Stowell
Reclaim The Dream - by Alma Hromic
If You're Happy And You Know It, Bomb Iraq - by Deck Deckert
A Pivotal Year? - by Gilles d'Aymery
Café Espresso - Poem by Sandy Lulay
Empty-Handed Women - Poem by Sabina C. Becker
Letters to the Editor
Jan Baughman on Swans
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