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summer_in_TX

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Member since: Sun May 14, 2017, 11:06 PM
Number of posts: 1,269

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Hi everyone.

Thanks for welcoming me to DU and for providing this forum for news and discussion.

About me. I'm the daughter of two Austin progressives, and on my mom's side come from several generations of liberals. Her grandparents hosted Eugene Debs on a swing he made through Austin. Her uncle (my great-uncle) was a noted humorist with a syndicated radio show based in NYC in the 50s until he was added to the blacklist. He became a lifelong activist for the First Amendment after he finally prevailed in his lawsuit that helped break the back of McCarthyism. Mom volunteered in her first political campaign at the age of 13. At 18 she decided to sell her beloved hand-tooled leather saddle with her name tooled on the back to finance a trip to the 1948 Democratic National Convention in Philly where she was a Henry Wallace supporter. My dad was a union activist (in Texas!), but after being blacklisted for trying to organize the printing company he worked for then, he started his own printing company so he could earn a living in Austin. He knew Mom would never marry him if he didn't stay in South Austin. His printshop had one of the only union labels in the state of Texas so pretty much all the Democratic candidates for office (in the days when Texas was a one-party state) got their political printing done there.

Mom was remarkable. She subscribed to and read The Congressional Quarterly and fought for social justice her entire life with civility and facts. (We put that on her headstone when she passed away a few years ago.) Dad's pretty remarkable too. At almost 91 he still moderates a weekly gathering of Yeller Dawg Democrats. He was a staunch Bernie guy (in fact several of us were), but he and all five of his adult children (I'm the eldest) voted for Hillary.

In their home every night the conversation was about politics. Some families talked sports. Not ours. Their hero was Martin Luther King Jr. We went to marches, rallies, and demonstrations growing up (I heard Cesar Chavez in person at one of them), and have continued our activism as adults. Our family boycotted grapes and lettuce for years until working conditions improved and our parents opposed US involvement in Vietnam from the time Kennedy sent a handful of military advisors to the country.

As you can probably tell, I'm a proud liberal. I care very deeply about this country, its promise of liberty and justice for all (especially the marginalized and despised), and the dream of a more perfect union.

The rise of hyper-partisan conservative talk radio and media consolidation efforts, as well as the lies that got us in to Iraq, triggered a new level of my own activism. Deepening interest in media issues led me to go back for a masters degree in media and mass communication about the time I retired after 31 years of teaching.

I took a detour for the last several years into nonprofit work and stepped away from all political activities for a few years. I live in a conservative Texas town, and for the nonprofit to be accepted and supported by the community, as its public face it seemed important to be nonpartisan.

But the election of a venal, crass, paranoid xenophobe bent on destroying all consumer and environmental protections, who is running the country as a kleptocracy for the benefit of himself and his family and friends means none of us can sit on the sidelines. Being quiet in this time is impossible for any daughter of my mom's, not to mention being immoral.

One other thing about me. I'm an adult convert to Christianity. Martin Luther King's faith powered his lifelong work for social justice and equality in the face of danger and obstacles, and mine informs my work although I can't claim to have faced danger or obstacles like those he did. (His words, writings, and actions inspired me as a teen.) Few things upset me more than how the actual nature of Christ is defamed and mis-represented by so-called Christians who distort and ignore his example and teachings on poverty and justice and excoriating those who would harden their hearts or turn their backs on those sick, outcast, naked or in prison. For many years I was very prejudiced towards Christians and Christianity and the last thing I expected to be was one. The fake followers were all I could see for a long time. I thought all Christians were narrow-minded, hate-filled, judgmental prudes. I completely get why many in this forum distrust and despise all religion and especially Christianity. I felt that way myself for a very long time. But I've been transformed by a life of faith in ways that are significant. It's part of who I am now and, along with a lifetime of thinking about what is involved in restoring our country to a vigorous, healthy democracy, is very much a part of what grounds my thinking and understanding.

So there you have the nutshell version of who I am. Glad to be here.
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