Kilts

Some severely repressed moron in Missouri is refusing to allow one of his students to wear a kilt to the prom.  He claims that it’s his job to make sure that the boys “learn how to dress like men”.  My loathing and disgust for this idiot know no bounds.  What I’d like to do is ride my Harley to his doorstep in a kilt and kick his ass.  What I did do was send the following letter to him and his school board.  If you want to send one you can.  His contact info is available on the following link: http://markisutherland.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/st-louis-area-high-school-discriminates-against-scottish-culture/ In the meantime, Vayo con Dios and Viva la Revolucion.

Dear Principal Greenwald,

I have recently been made aware of your decision to ban a young man from wearing a kilt at a formal school function.  I expect you might be receiving a number of complaints so I’d like to simply offer three opinions.  I hope they help broaden your rather narrow world view.

First, on a social level, your comments about “dressing like a man” are frankly dismaying.  In this country there is a long and respected tradition of burying both police and firefighter casualties with a pipe band honor guard.  I cannot imagine a more formal occasion than the funeral of a fallen first responder, killed in the service of their community and buried by their brethren.  Are you implying that these everyday heroes are sending their beloved comrade to eternity while playing little girl dress up?

On an educational level your decision is equally saddening.  Growing and learning are necessarily linked to the broadening of one’s world view.  We all know that children learn most deeply by modeling so how can you hope to educate if your actions provide such a poor example?  I spent many years working with severely abused children and understand a little bit about the struggles of outsiders to learn.  I can only imagine how uncomfortable it must be for the members of your community who are genuinely different if the wearing of a respected, traditional garment is too much for your tolerance.

Lastly, I must mention my own personal disgust.  I frequently wear a kilt, unless of course I’m on my Harley or teaching martial arts or weight training.  I have no doubt that, by your own traditional definition, I am more man than you are ever likely to be.  I hope you will reconsider your decision and apologize.  Not to me, but to the members of your community and any others that might have been hurt by your poor understanding of the world you live in.

Sincerely,
Angus McIntosh

  


The Building Storm…

Well, my little chickadees, how about some deeeeep thoughts today?  Sit quietly and listen to the universe.  Do you hear what I do?  Change is coming, and it might not be pretty…

It’s funny how our understanding of history smoothes out the rough edges.  When Americans look back into our past we like to pretend that there’s been a slow, steady march toward progress.  Revolution, consolidation, elimination of slavery, unionization, becoming a world power, on to the civil rights and women’s rights movements.  While that has been the trend the path has been anything but smooth.

A closer examination reveals a much choppier, more violent pattern.  American society, and perhaps most every culture, is ruled by entrenched, self involved and, almost by definition, conservative forces.  Those with the wealth and the power want things to stay just as they are, thank you very much.  In order to accomplish this they use government policy, fear, and religious doctrine to consolidate their power and suppress those that might want a piece for themselves.  Same as it ever was.  In America this approach works just fine, right up until it doesn’t.   Every little while the repressed classes fight back and the culture lurches forward.

That is the true pattern of our history.  The status quo gets stronger and the culture stagnates and then every 30-40 years or so there’s a violent shift.  It starts with the Revolutionary war itself.  The Civil War, western expansion, the union movement at the turn of the last century, the New Deal, and the civil rights movements and  Great Society of the late 60’s are all examples of this pattern.  To put it in the language I use, the Man successfully represses progress through fear for a generation or two until BANG, everything changes and we get a little fairer, a little more democratic, and a little more tolerant.

While the resulting long term arc is positive we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that many of these jumps forward are violent and intensely unpleasant.  Sometimes these changes are largely legislative, as with the civil rights movements, but even these tear the fabric of existing society and give way to riots and police repression.  Other times it takes all out war and blood in the streets.  There are always martyrs.  The revolutionary or civil war soldier, the dock union organizer, the young man in the stream of the fire hose or the students in Ohio at the wrong end of a bullet.  People die, but the culture improves.  It’s a crappy system but I guess it’s the best we can manage.

So where does that leave us today?  Are you sensitive enough to feel the energy building?  Can you hear the cracking and smell the sulfur?  I can.  America has stagnated for almost 40 years.  The Man has ruled with an ever increasing domination.  Look around you.  Voter suppression laws.  Anti-woman rhetoric.  Schools that flat out suck and college education being reserved for the wealthy.  Black men being gunned down in the street or locked up in ridiculous numbers.  All the wealth being moved to a few powerful hands.  Union workers are demonized.  A democratic president that robs civil rights in a way republicans never could.  The very institutions that are supposed to protect us are being turned into instruments of repression.  Fear and anger rule public discourse while money will determine the elections.  And the energy builds.

Open your senses.  The signs are there.  Tea Party anger and Occupy resolve are scaring both political parties.  Unions and women are waking up.  There’s a growing national realization that things are NOT ALL RIGHT.  People are pissed off and, pretty soon conservative misdirection and scapegoating will stop working.  We’re on the precipice of another historical jump forward.  And God only knows what form it will take this time.

The storm is building.  Look a the Arab world.  Look at Greece and  European instability.  I don’t see how the changes can be legislative this time and I fear there will be violence.  Perhaps a lot of it.  I won’t pretend to be able to guess what our society will look like in ten years but I will venture that it’ll be different.  I’ll even go out on a limb and say that it will be BETTER.  That is the American way.  More hopeful, kinder, more democratic and tolerant over time.  But I expect not all of us will be there to appreciate the improvement.

I know, I know, I sound like one of those nutty survivalists you find on right wing blogs.  I apologize for that.  The world isn’t ending and most of us will do just fine but there are big changes in the ether.  All I’m saying is the more independent and self responsible you are the more likely you are to thrive, and isn’t that always true?  And more importantly don’t lose hope or give into fear.  Welcome the chaos.  I’m all for it, no matter how scary it might seem.

There are a lot of people hurting right now, both physically and psychically.  Things MUST get better and that probably means a period of messy change.  So keep working on your self, keep choosing hope and love over fear, and never lose your focus on Joy.  In other words, Vaya con Dios and Viva la Revolucion!