Posted by: Mark Nielsen | May 22, 2008

Lilac Time, For the Dems & Everyone Else

Anyone who lives in a midwestern neighborhood where there are lilac bushes has had a fun couple of weeks of late. It’s not Twilight Time — as the great singing group The Platters once sang in the 1950s– but it is Lilac Time. The color, the scent… there’s just nothing like it. I’m not the most dedicated of gardeners, but when something is this perfect, it’s just got to be acknowledged. Hurray for lilacs, of any and all varieties.

Meanwhile, politically, the Democrats are grinding their way toward the convention, with the scent neither horribly sweet nor foul, but definitely generating continued interest. And with the other shoe dropping for Ted Kennedy  cancer-wise (click for cancer-sufferer and feminist Elizabeth Edwards’ take on things), an interesting wrinkle now begins to take shape in the national debate on our medical/scientific/financial priorities. Do we want to spend our money and time saving American lives, or taking Iraqi and Iranian lives?

On the campaign: I’m now of the opinion that it’s actually good Hillary did not drop out earlier. All these late primary states finally get to feel like they matter. \Maybe it gets traditional Democratic voters nationwide feeling like their vote and their voice will also matter in November, when hopefully we will get more than the pathetic 64% 2004 voter turnout coming out for a presidential election, to voice their opinion in a context where they feel it actually matters.

Please, people… I KNOW we could do worse than McCain, but God knows WE COULD DO BETTER. We don’t need the working class abandoning the Democratic Party again, like they did when they were duped by Reagan. Sure, Hillary’s competent. But Obama’s a once in a lifetime candidate. Get on board, people, or get left behind. Race and class don’t matter. Progress… that’s what matters.

Apropos of nothing, my family had an intense discussion of our favorite numbers tonight. Here’s how they fell out:

Graham: 5, 11, 100

Sue: 3, 17 (her birthdate), 2002

Mark: 3, 11, 23, 34, 1118 (two of those are Chicago sports related… guess which two…)

Maybe those numbers mean nothing at all. Maybe they mean alot, on some deep spiritual level that none of us understands. Either way: each of us has a favorite number in common with at least one other family member.

Workwise: Sue’s teaching Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities to her freshmen this quarter. She did some background research — Around 1780, in France, the total amount of chocolate available (keep in mind that the New World was the only source of cacao at the time) was 16 pounds. Worse yet, eight pounds of it was owned by one company/family. If that ain’t an indictment of the aristocracy, and the concentration of power and marketable goods in the hands of a minority, then I don’t know what is…

Last but not least, amusement in the Nielsen household has finally degenerated to this: Mom, Graham, Gato and I are each currently wearing a pair of Graham’s pull-up diapers on our heads. It’s a true Solidartity of Silliness. I would post a photo, but it would most likely kill any political aspirations I might ever have, …so we’ll pass on the visual evidence, thank you very much…

Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend. Personally, I’ll be chillin’ in Wisconsin. I’m grateful, to a point, for the courageous sacrifices of our veterans in previous and even current wars. It still doesn’t change the fact, however, that military power is the dumbest and most outdated manner of political and social control known to mankind.

Are we ready to move on yet, friends?



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