Last night’s moon-Jupiter show began with a swatch of blue like new day right along the horizon. Above it was a layer of bluish pink that gradually shifted to full on pink, which turned into a patch of yellowish clouds. That’s where the moon was hiding, peeking out every now and then, awaiting her debut, which occurred when she was well above the water. And all the while sparkly Jupiter was tagging along, below and off to the right.
They created a sparkle on the ocean that turned into a path of light that grew wider, brighter, shinier as the moon climbed higher. Watching it, I could see why a revolutionary movement with the name “Shining Path” would draw people. Who wouldn’t want to follow the kind of ethereal shimmer that stretched before me?
Unfortunately, human structures seem to fall short of natural models. Enroute to the beach, a friend noted and commented on an egret with a hefty chameleon in its mouth. That got us talking about how we humans are essentially working for our food each day, too. But unlike animals, whose search for food and shelter is their lifestyle and life, we humans have it all compartmentalized into job, home, recreation, social life, grocery store that leave us feeling disjointed, harried, out of step with the flow of life.
“And it’s all because of money,” my friend said.
I think what’s separated us most from the natural world, from all the other creatures, is our dual obsession with time and money, both human constructs that allow us to be controlled and regimented, and cause us so much angst.
If we really want to change the world, maybe we need to start by challenging — or at least questioning — the stranglehold of those two concepts.
Another concept that needs challenging is the whole idea of drug prohibition. Democracy Now! has a piece today on how a local newspaper in the town of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, published a front-page editorial directed to the drug cartels following the murder of a photographer:
"Explain to us what you want from us, so we know what to abide by. You are at this time the de facto authorities in this city because the legal authorities have not been able to stop our colleagues from falling. It is impossible for us to do our job under these conditions. Tell us, then, what you expect from us, as a newspaper..."
This is how bad things have gotten in Mexico because of American’s insatiable demand for drugs. Yet instead of legalizing them, which would end the illegal trade and its associated violence, U.S. officials continue to pretend that this problem can be resolved by continuing the utterly failed war on drugs.
Closer to home, the ongoing war on hunger got a small boost when the state Department of Human Services decided to change its administrative rules to eliminate an asset test for those applying for food stamps, or SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) as it’s now known. So effective Oct. 1, people will be qualified based solely on income, whereas before they used to take into account what sort of assets you had, including a car and even a wedding ring. As a result, more people will be eligible for assistance.
Judy Lenthall told me about the change when I was in the Kauai Independent Food Bank the other day. Seems Hawaii is the 39th state in the nation to change its rules, which were stricter than even the federal guidelines.
Yet folks will still need to fill out a 12-page application — unless they go through the pre-qualification that KIFB offers. But since DHS has cut so much of its staff, the agency is already lagging behind in determining eligibility, and a new flood of applications will likely worsen the backlog — even though federal law requires people to be notified of eligibility within 30 days, or seven days in an emergency.
Thirty days or more is a long time to wait when you’ve just lost your job and have hungry kids. Just another kind and caring legacy of the Lingle Administration. Still, the rule change is another step forward in getting more of the federal money that is already allocated for Hawaii. And when people can buy their own groceries with food stamps, it puts money into the local economy and gives them a little space and time to get back on their feet.