Sunday, January 18, 2009

An accomplice

During recent excavations, a painted bedsheet/banner from Seattle's 2000 MLK Day march turned up. Huck and I and other organizers painted MLK in the corner and his quote, "To ignore an evil is to become an accomplice to it." Kind of hard core. But then we were all about hard core.

So today, I went grocery shopping. And as I walked into the store, the quote came to me. And ten years of food securities study flooded me. And I almost left, determined to starve rather than feed the inequalities of food politics, rather than pay some company to keep citizens of the third world busy growing my food rather than their own, rather than pay the price of global warming for shipping this shit from Chile, rather than condone through my purchase the deplorable conditions many an indentured servant and their children are obliged to live in.

When I was 15 I volunteered in Malawi for 3 months, at the end of a long, hard famine. My neighbors ate one bowl of rice a day. And these were the good times. When our rice pudding burned over the fire, I was instructed to go far into the woods, before dawn, making sure no one saw me, and bury it. It seemed wrong, but if we gave it away, or someone found it, there would be an unmanageable throng at our door the next morning. And thusly, my interest in the politics of food was born.

So... starvation seemed like a great idea this afternoon, given MLK's quote and the current situation of food acquisition in our time. And then I shoved MLK's hard core statement out of the way and just did the best I could with the options I have. I didn't chose to be born here, privileged, yet landless, during a time of food insanity. I eat as local and organic as my food stamps allow not because, as one person accused, it's fashionable and that's what all the movie stars are doing. I do it because it's my best attempt to not be an accomplice in a food system that makes some obese while others starve, giving some life while others predictably die of cancer by 30 (like pesticide applicators on banana plantations).

The MLK banner was unearthed during "The Great Culling of 09." On a search through the storage unit this week, we removed every last box and tool. During this process, I disgorged from that unit no less than 40 boxes labeled: decor, misc, and/or keepsake. Being so happy and satisfied with what I've cleverly fit into our current living space, I wondered what could be in these semi-precious boxes. So I took 20 home, 4 are returning to the storage unit and the rest are trashed or Goodwilled.

When I prepared the Pullman house for sale, I kept out 1/3 of my belongings. I put 1/3 in storage. The other 1/3 went away forever. Then we moved into the apartment, and I sent several more carloads away. Before we moved here, I sent even more away. And now, this. With every move, the garbage becomes more obvious. And I wasn't THAT much of a packrat!

Blue is currently having her first Wenatchee area sleep over. River is here. She can't sleep.

Yesterday I was extremely honored to attend a Blessing Way for a pregnant friend. At this powerful gathering I witnessed abundant love and wisdom. And I also turned to an acquaintance sitting next to me and said we were looking to spend Tuesday morning near a TV and if she knew of any places around town where there'd be a TV cued up for the inauguration (our wireless internet isn't strong here.) Turns out they have a theater room, with theater seats and an enormous screened TV. So we decided to brunch.

It's funny, these people with enormous, gorgeous houses. And I don't feel jealous or bitter about it at all. I'm not even being sarcastic. I promise. I'm happy for them. You'd think I'd resent them. But it's the strangest thing, I don't! I'm happy for them and I hope they're happy too.

Rock Island is an interesting neighborhood, full of horses, orchards, enormous crackling power lines, and 1970's metal trailers. The neighbor kids Blue's been playing with live in one. I was successfully keeping an open mind. And then I found out there's 8 kids. In a single wide. I'm not exactly sure how a woman ends up being a single mom of 8 in a single wide, but the result has got to be pretty predictable. I don't know of any sane mom who could go in to that situation and come out "okay." There are several dads, but none could be said to be involved and at least one is incarcerated. But I was holding out hope, that in the midst of all these tribulations, one could still raise healthy, happy children, right?

Since I haven't met the mom, the rule is that Blue can play in their yard but not their house. They begged Blue to come in, despite knowing the rules. They told her that if she didn't come inside then she didn't believe in god. She said that would be an accurate assessment, as she's not sure there's someone walking around on the air above her. (This is never how I've portrayed the possibility of god to her. Surprisingly, this same child can give an encyclopedic account of fairies and their habits.) Of course this devolved into "going to Hell" -ish-ness and all sorts of uglies. Quite the evangelists next door, eh?! The very best way to get people to join your group is to make fun of them. You should also burn them at the stake as a way to increase membership and validity.

There's so much more to write as the last week has been an intense time of navel gazing, but I'll let you go. I know you have a life too.

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