Americans, like human beings everywhere, believe many things that are obviously untrue. . . . Their most destructive untruth is that it is very easy for any American to make money. They will not acknowledge how in fact hard money is to come by, and, therefore, those who have no money blame and blame and blame themselves. This inward blame has been a treasure for the rich and powerful, who have had to do less for their poor, publicly and privately, than any other ruling class since, say, Napoleonic times.
from Nickel And Dimed
What surprised and offended me most about the low-wage workplace (and yes, here all my middle-class privilege is on full display) was the extent to which one is required to surrender one’s basic civil rights and — what boils down to the same thing — self-respect.October 2022
Made To Be Broken
Richard Albert On The Difficulty Of Amending The U.S. Constitution
The way Americans interact with each other now has made it clear that the Constitution was perhaps never deserving of all the praise it’s gotten.July 2022
The red hair and freckles, puffy cheeks / and constant perspiration amplified / his otherness. No one spoke to him. / But why do I see his face so clearly now, / the fear and loneliness in his eyes? / The faces of all the others I’ve forgotten.July 2022
Of History And Hope
We have memorized America, / how it was born and who we have been and where. / In ceremonies and silence we say the words, / telling the stories, singing the old songs. / We like the places they take us. Mostly we do.July 2022
Very few people really care about freedom, about liberty, about the truth, very few. Very few people have guts, the kind of guts on which a real democracy has to depend. Without people with that sort of guts a free society dies or cannot be born.
To earn one’s bread by the sweat of one’s brow has always been the lot of mankind. At least, ever since Eden’s slothful couple was served with an eviction notice. The scriptural precept was never doubted, not out loud. No matter how demeaning the task, no matter how it dulls the senses and breaks the spirit, one must work. Or else.
Last Day On The Factory Floor
We were warned not to complain — / plenty more temps they could call. / Warned, too, to avoid the break room / with its jailhouse camera / swiveling right outside the boss’s office, / his speakers playing only country.May 2022
A Thousand Words
A Thousand Words features photography so rich with narrative that it tells a story all on its own.May 2022
They argued about the weather, sports, sex, war, race, politics, and religion; neither of them knew much about the subjects they debated, but it seemed that the less they knew the better they could argue.