Republican Agenda Is Wrong For America

I published the following on an Atlanta Journal-Constitution blog on December 18, 2014:


 Readers, the Republican political agenda is causing much too much stress in young families, through to those productive citizens now in old age. Even children have been adversely affected by the Republican ideological agenda of “Everyman and woman for him or herself,” even in this age of total interconnectedness.

The moguls of corporations have taken their share of pension money from their employees’ pension benefits, in large part, and they have persisted in giving all but management adequate income.  In the public sector, Republican legislators have cut public service jobs to the bone and have reduced the pension and health care benefits of this low paid segment of our society.

They want to repeal Obamacare, Social Security, and Medicare.  Young men and women in their 30s and 40s are dying of cancer, strokes, and heart attacks that usually happen to much older people because of the stresses placed on them by the Republican hierarchial vision of humanity.  This is inhumane treatment of hard working American citizens.

You will, indeed, be foolish if you vote to elect more Republicans to public office throughout our state and nation.  Surely, you have noticed how Republican legislators have all voted in bloc to uphold the puppet masters’ (corporate and legislative Republican leaders) self-serving vision for our nation.  That vision is not democratic.  It is, in fact, inhumane.

Link to the AJC article:

http://jaybookman.blog.ajc.com/2014/12/17/ga-s-tom-price-at-the-nexus-of-ideology-and-policy/

 

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The Dangers of “Group Think” in a Democracy

I posted the following words on December 4, 2014 on Jay Bookman’s blog thread which described the panic of Americans during the Ebola crisis.  Readers may read Bookman’s words as well as my own at this link: http://jaybookman.blog.ajc.com/2014/12/04/what-did-the-ebola-panic-teach-us-probably-nothing/

“Well said.  Bookman did try to lessen the panic and his words were reasonable and they attempted to alleviate panic. 

However, that panic was a result of a free-wheeling ignorance in our nation which has been caused by our giving essentially uneducated media moguls with charisma, like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, validity.  These people are in it for the money and they are rolling in the money at our expense as thinking Americans who analyze for ourselves, individually.

If the population were to become truly educated, as I mentioned recently, they will automatically reject any kind of “group think” which causes panic and irrational thinking (and which caused the lynchings of blacks during Jim Crow as people watched for entertainment of a decadent type.)  We must be sensitive, as individuals, as to when we are allowing the “group mentality” to control our own consciousness, and we must resist that from occurring.  Any deeply educated person is trained to do this.  It does not matter if your vision leans conservative or liberal (as mine does), every person must take it upon him/herself to think and analyze for him/herself alone and stand alone, if necessary, apart from any group, to have a sane society. Higher education will alleviate thinking by shallow and often unhealthy consensus, just as light will alleviate darkness.

Education is an answer for the police, for our multi-cultural communities, and for having an insightful American populace, the type of which Jefferson envisioned when he created the University of Virginia.”

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Cohesion Problem With Too Many Public Charter Schools

http://getschooled.blog.ajc.com/2014/11/23/education-silos-connect-dots-and-funding-so-children-are-better-served/

Readers of MaryElizabethSings may read the outstanding article, written by the former superintendent of the Gainesville, Ga., schools, Dr. Merrianne Dye, which was published November 23, 2014, on journalist Maureen Downey’s “Get Schooled” blog, of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, by referring to the link above. Below is a two-paragraph excerpt from Dr. Dye’s article, followed by my comments in reaction to it.

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“Alabama has training and supports in place in 40 districts and will continue to extend the work over the next three years until all districts are able to sustain and operate in the framework. The process begins with an analysis as to how the state and district are now using program funds and practices, identifies redundancies and waste and then moves to developing a new operational system that focuses on removing and addressing any barriers.

Since the work began, Alabama has seen a 25 percent decrease in their rate of student absentees in the pilot schools.  The work in the learning supports framework has contributed to an increase in the four-year cohort graduation rate from 72 percent to 80 percent statewide.”
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Mary Elizabeth: Outstanding article.  This is exactly what I was writing about years ago on this blog when I mentioned that having public charter schools not aligned with public school districts would create too much instructional, assessment, and financial fragmentation in education in Georgia.  My argument was for more, not less, cohesion in all of the school districts in Georgia for the purpose of serving all of Georgia’s students well and with cohesion.
It is not surprising to me that 57% of Georgia’s students are in poverty.  And, our Republican ALEC-dominated legislature has believed in cutting our “government” public schools’ budgets by 5 billion dollars in the last 8 years.  This must change.

 

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A Tribute to the First Lady of Atlanta’s Theatre, Mary Nell Santacroce

Mary Nell Santacroce, was the driving force behind DramaTech, as far back as 1948.  I believe the present Ferst Center for the Arts at Georgia Tech had its roots in the work of Mary Nell Santacroce at DramaTech.

Below is an oral history by Mary Nell Santacroce for a local interviewer, for any who are interested. (I was fortunate to have seen her perform both as “Miss Daisy” in “Driving Miss Daisy” and as the Dowager Empress in the play “Anastasia” in the Theatre-On-The-Square in Marietta, Georgia in the 1990s.  I had purchased a front row, center seat in that Marietta Theatre. I remember thinking I was in the presence of a great actress. It seemed she looked straight at me at times, as she performed.)  Director John Huston had called Mary Nell Santacroce, of Atlanta and Georgia Tech, one of the 3 or 4 great actresses in the world.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWrHWdKs0pU

Georgia Tech has had an outstanding theatre program in its past.  One of Georgia Tech’s theatre directors, for 17 years, was Atlanta actress and director Mary Nell  Santacroce, who has also been called Atlanta’s First Lady of Theatre.  Her husband, Dante Santacroce, an architect by trade, had been a Georgia Tech student and had also acted at DramaTech.  He and Mary Nell Santacroce formed The Underground Theatre, a community theatre in Atlanta. (Link:http://www.atlantaintownpaper.com/2013/10/underground-theatre-close-44th-season/)

Mary Nell Santacroce, who had played Miss Daisy in “Driving Miss Daisy” at the Alliance Theatre before she died in 1999, had also played a supporting role in Hollywood director John Huston’s, film, “Wise Blood,” from a book by Georgia’s writer, Flannery O’Conner.  Mary Nell Santacroce is the mother of the outstanding Broadway and film actress, Dana Ivey.

(Originally posted on “Get Schooled” blog of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on November 13, 2014 by MaryElizabethSings)
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Why Georgia Remains a Republican State, According to Mary Elizabeth

“. . . . Democrats won approximately 23 percent of the white vote on Tuesday night. Which is about what Roy Barnes did in 2010. Nunn and Carter needed 30 percent of the white vote to be viable.”
(See link here to the full Atlanta Journal-Constitution article: http://politics.blog.ajc.com/2014/11/05/starved-of-white-voters-tuesday-night-was-2010-redux-for-democrats/ )
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There can be no doubt that Georgia is a regressive, racist state. That was true of Georgia 50 years ago, when I left this state because I felt its moral insensitivity and depravity and I did not wish to live in that kind of environment, and it remains so today. Shameful. Not a point of which to be rejoicing.

Conservative Republicans are good winners, but they were poor losers when President Obama won the Presidency. Their obstructionist intransigence will not be forgotten.

White Democrats probably did not vote for Nikki Haley in South Carolina because of a difference in their political ideology and hers; however I look at the overall voting trend as more indicative of movement in the South politically and racially than individual races. The overall red/blue county voting in Georgia is a disappointment to me.

I would like to add that, imo, a large part of the political ideology of white Southerners toward less government, especially less federal government “intrusion,” has a long history – handed down from generation to generation – in most Southern white families against the federal government’s power, especially since the Civil War. Racism, as I see it, is interwoven into that political history in the South. Racism is still prevalent today in the South, but it is diffused from being recognized by many Southerners because of that mixture of the “less government” political ideology with racism.

We must look deeper. Just as it takes generations to build the literacy of African-Americans who were denied literacy during slavery and Jim Crow, the racism toward blacks, as shown through lynchings and murders of blacks only 50 years ago, remains embedded in the hearts and minds of most of white Americans, often a result of perceptions inherited from family members of previous generations. The cruel venom and vitriol directed toward President Obama is exceptional and is indicative of that racism. We must not deny what is.

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Thoughts from the Outstanding Actress, Gena Rowlands

 

Photo of Actress Gena Rowlands

I am presently vacationing on Tybee Island near Savannah, Georgia. Yesterday, I attended the screening of actress Gena Rowlands’ latest film, “Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks,” October 28, 2014, in Savannah. This is an extraordinary film, made with keen sensitivity. It centers upon the growing relationship between the character played by Ms. Rowlands, the widow of a Southern Baptist minister, and her young dance instructor, a gay man.

The film is multi-layered and incorporates many dimensions of human interaction. Several lines, or perceptions, especially stood out to me. The young dance instructor mentions that the relationships one has with one’s family members must continue to evolve even after the death of one member. He says that that must happen or the surviving member will stagnate as will their relationship’s “raison d’etre.” Their sometimes hurtful relationship must be understood with greater depth and wisdom as the survivor of the relationship ages. In other words, human beings are not only able to go backwards in our minds in our memories of our previous relationships, but we can also reach into the future with our minds trying to help the previous relationships heal and evolve, even when one member is deceased. Amazing concept. Yet true.

Another insightful line is that, perhaps, people do not actually change over time, but that they, instead, simply reveal more of who they actually are. Another penetrating line in the film, humorously delivered by Ms. Rowlands, who lies about her age as her character in the film, says, “Shhh, don’t say your real age out loud, or your face will know.”

In the dialogue with the audience after the screening Ms. Rowlands acknowledged that she is now 84 years old, and her irridescent beauty is still evident on the screen. I asked her a rather personal question. I had thought about what I would most like to learn from her if I had one question to ask. In the film, it was obvious to me that Ms. Rowlands had not had facial plastic surgery. She looked like a woman in her late 70s to mid-80s, yet still fully aware and still mobile. I wanted to know why she had not had plastic surgery, but in awkwardly asking this question, my question came out, finally, as “Do you think that aging actresses need to have plastic surgery, especially in light of your response earlier that, ‘love is everywhere, that it is all around us,’ and in light of the director stating that you had never done a dishonest thing on film?” (Before asking this very personal question of Ms. Rowlands, I did have the forethought to tell her that she had been “brilliant” in her Academy Award nominated role in the independent film, “Gloria,” which was directed by her late husband, John Cassavetes. I told her that everything she had done in that film had been “flawless.”)

The director of this film, who had praised Cassavetes as having singularly paved a way for independent films once the U. S. Supreme Court had broken up the monopolies on films that the major studios in Hollywood had established. The director said that Cassavetes was not only an outstanding director and actor, but that he was a man who had the courage, energy, and intelligence to fight the major film studios in Hollywood and win in his battle to produce successful, independent films. This current exceptional director of “Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks” had jokingly answered (when I asked my question of Ms. Rowlands) that it was he who was in need of plastic surgery.

To her credit as a sensitive human being, Ms. Rowlands did not ignore my question as superficial nor laugh it off with the director’s humorous remark thereafter, but, instead, she attempted to answer publicly a rather awkward question of her. She started off saying that she has been afraid of plastic surgery. She said – I believe as her voice was low at times – that no one wants to see a really unattractive person on the screen. She did say that plastic surgery has made great strides in the last few years in being able to do simple and effective procedures. She said that it is very popular in California. So, she said she had nothing against its being done, but she said, “You lose something, too, when it is done.”

Those last few words told me so much about Gena Rolands. It seemed to me that she was implying that you cannot have everything in life. You may be able to look younger by surgery, but, in the process of having plastic surgery, you are denying who you truly are – an older person who has lived many years upon the Earth. I contrasted Joan Rivers with Gena Rowlands, in my mind. Joan Rivers, a consummate comedienne, recently died at age 80, and with the help of plastic surgery, had arguably looked 20 to 25 years younger than her chronological age when she died. Ms. Rowlands, on the other hand, is presently 84 years old, looks close to that age, and is still inspiring and touching souls through the sensitivity and depth of her acting performances – without having plastic surgery.

I would love for Gena Rowlands to have elaborated upon what it is that one may lose by having had plastic surgery, as she had said, but I perceived – as she attempted to answer my question with seriousness – that she is not a woman given to the analysis of the professor, but that she is, instead, a great actress with a heartfelt and sensitive interior life who translates what she has learned in life onto the screen, or stage, through making manifest her deep interior life which shows forth not so much through words (or analysis) but through her eyes, her expressions, her movements, and the rhythms of her sensitive interactions with other characters on the screen.

BRAVA to you, Gena Rowlands, not only for an outstanding performance in “Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks” but for answering my seemingly superficial question with depth, grace, and care. You are truly “one in a million,” as the film declares.

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Why I Will Be Voting for Michelle Nunn for U. S. Senator from Georgia

I will be voting for Michelle Nunn for U. S. Senator from Georgia. I watched the entire Atlanta Press Club debate for U. S. Senator from Georgia on Sunday evening, October 26, 2014. It was blatantly clear to me that Michelle Nunn has intellect, ethics, and wisdom superior to that of the other two candidates. She has inherited her father’s (former U. S. Senator Sam Nunn’s) leadership ability as well as his broad and deep intelligence.

Georgians will be foolish, indeed, to elect anyone but her to serve their best interests in the U. S. Congress. What a wasted opportunity to send an outstanding human being to the U. S. Senate from Georgia, if Georgians do not recognize what command and leadership she innately has and vote her into office. Michelle Nunn will serve Georgians very well. In contrast, David Perdue, in my opinion, will serve his own interests well, using the government to do so

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