Monday, March 21, 2011

Prague Spring in America

I understand yesterday, March 20th was the first day of Spring.  I’m really delighted to know, since the snow pile at the end of our cul de sac is only four feet high and spattered with dirt kicked up from the driveway. The grass along our walkway, the part that is no longer covered by dirty snow, is brown with periodic speckles of optimistic pale green. I read that First Lady, Michelle Obama was already planting her vegetable garden at the White House. The University of Minnesota Extension Division says we can start planting our vegetable gardens in 1-2 months, onions and broccoli in April, beans and peas in May, cabbage and eggplant in June.  There is pleasant Spring weather in Benghazi, Libya, 52-66 degrees with occasional sprinkles of gunfire amidst the breeze off the Mediteranian. In a few months the summer temperatures will approach 90 degrees F and Ghaddafi’s air-conditioning may not be working.   

This Spring Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has effectively declared marshal-law in his state, claiming the right to remove elected governments from cities and towns and replace city councils and school boards with his political appointees at will as he chooses. In Indiana, teachers, nurses, rubbish removal workers, janitors, and people who repair roads were called “the privileged elite” by Governor Mitch Daniel.  Privileged elite!  In Wisconsin, where Scott Walker stripped state employees of collective bargaining rights, only 34% approve of his leadership according to the conservative Rassmussen Report.  It is likely at the one-year mark of his appointment he will be recalled by Wisconsin voters.  Eventually justice will prevail and wrongs will be righted.

Perhaps the US will have it’s own Prague Spring, the original was 43 years ago in Czechoslovakia over the repressive Soviet rule. Repression from the Right is no different from the Communists or autocratic dictators. After the Prague Spring of in 1968, renown writer Milan Kundera was dismissed from his teaching post at the Prague Film Academy, and his books were banned and withdrawn from bookshops and libraries. Perhaps that is next in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and other Tea Party bastions. Those who disagree with the repressive policies of their state’s governors and right-wing legislatures will be censured.  Vaclav Havel, architect of the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia’s famous remark is apt, "Truth and love must prevail over lies and hate."

It is six months until the first day of Fall and we start laying in supplies for the Winter.  In the meantime it is time to tend to our gardens, vegetable and political. 

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