I was just reading Johanna's blog "Hugging is Now Illegal", or at least against school rules. It seems this kid's school has a zero tolerance policy for public displays of affection (PDA's) and hugging (and I assume physical contact) of any kind is banned. The 13 year old little girl give her girlfriend a weekend "goodbye" hug...apparently the "half hug" one arm around the shoulder squeeze variety. The kid took detention in lieu of suspension - the american educational system's equivalent of pleading guilty to avoid jail time. (Note that I refused to capitalize the "a" in america as a small protest.)
Johanna's post reminded me of a YouTube video a friend sent me several weeks ago. It's about a guy, Juan Mann, ...here is the blurb from the video...."Free Hugs" is the real life controversial story of Juan Mann, a man who's SOLE mission was to reach out and hug a stranger to brighten up their lives.
Here's the article I read on MSNBC the other day about the little girl.http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21661718/
I am struck by the multiple meanings of the words "Free Hugs". It can mean what Juan Mann meant - a hug from a stranger at no cost or obligation. "Free Hugs" can also mean the same thing as "free association". It have a meaning similar to "Free Leonard Peltier" (from prison)...are the hugs of our american society imprisoned? What about "free thinking"? What about "free-dom"? What about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as our forefathers envisioned it?
We should represent tango not only as a dance, an art form, a free expression of our selves and our creativity - but a place to get "Free Hugs"...
I'm not finished quite yet...
america sucks in so many areas - international relations - energy policy - consumerism - materialism - crime (all varieties) - violence against our fellow humans - even worse violence (physical and emotional abuse) against our kids and our wives and daughters and sisters - racism - discrimination - general intolerance - environmental destruction - just to name a few. Let's face it, at least thirty percent of us are so fucked-up-in-the-head that we in turn spread this insidious "fucked-up-ed-ness" through generation after generation. It spreads through our society like a virus.
I have long believed - formulating my beliefs when I went through the system back when I was 16 or 18 years old - and refining them in the thirty years since - that america sucks because of the sole suckage of our educational system. When we are graduating students from high school who can't think or read or write or count change at McDonald's or make a consistent triple mocha from day to day - there is something terribly wrong.
We can address so many of society's ills...simply by addressing the issues of our educational system.
It's not the folks working in the system - I think most of them have their hearts and souls in the right place - some of them aren't worth a shit (oops, was that discrimination?) and need to be cut loose. It's a systemic problem - the system is too big and cumbersome and slow moving - we are throwing too much money at it as nation. We could do more with less.
I can't keep going...there is to much to say on this issue...but we need to address it...if we are to return to the freedom loving, freedom living, freedom talking the and freedom walking, society, country, nation and government of the people, by the people and for the people. Along the way somewhere, we lost what our forefathers envisioned for us.
But we are all too busy chasing the american dream...chasing the dollars to pay our bills and break even this month...to have the time to organize and show up at our schools and...do something about it.
Ghandi said it best...."BE the change you wish to see in the world..."
Okay, now I'm done with my diatribe...thanks for listening...
Here is Juan Mann's Myspace profile:: http://www.myspace.com/freehugscampaign