February 12, 2014
Vol: 21 No: 7

Dr. Wes

As victory buoys our spirits, we remain castaways on a red sea of mean policies. Go Hawks!

By Dr. Wes Browning

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That was some parade, wasn’t it?

I heard they found a Ecuadoran fisherman near Safeco field hours after the parade, dazed though healthy, who claimed he became adrift with a young friend at Denny Way. He said his young friend was lost to him because he refused to eat raw birds, but everyone just winked and thought, “Sure, he ate his friend. Why not?”

Until three years ago I lived on the parade route. Had I still been living there last Wednesday, I would have been a prisoner in my building. I walked by during the parade and could tell from two blocks away there was no way in or out.

I was on my way from my new building to Real Change offices at around

1 p.m. and discovered there was no way to cross the parade route at all. This strikes me, in retrospect, as a flaw in the parade planning. I noticed medic vehicles were also unable to get through.

Fortunately the light rail was running. I could take that under the parade route to the other side and walk from there. Unfortunately it took nearly half an hour for the train to make it from the International District Station to the next station, where I could exit. I spent most of that time in a stopped train between stations, chatting with my fellow victims about how life goes for us these days. Most were trying to get to work or escape to home.

No one complained, though. The general sentiment seemed to be, “No, I can’t expect to get to work or home any time in the next many, many hours, and I will probably have to see many horrors on the way, starving castaways, the dead being devoured, and so forth and so on. Yet, I’m just a small speck in the universe, just one Seattleite out of — who knows anymore, what with all these people from the islands shouting “Go Seahawks” our count will always be off — let’s say, out of an ocean of them. I am lucky to live in a tunnel.”

Finally, I managed to get out at Benaroya Hall and made for the west side of the parade to our office. Only once on the way did the stress of being late lead me to shout “You want a piece of me? I’ll give you a piece of me!” to one driver who honked at me for being in a crosswalk. That was how resigned to fate I was and to the new reality of the collective Seattle ascendance to greatness.

“OK, you’re in the big city now, got to chill,” is how I thought of it as I looked for a place to grab a sandwich on the way.

All the sandwich joints were packed, with lines out the doors and around the corners and up alleys, and so I looked around for someone to devour. No one looked appetizing.

Yet, still, I would not complain. Life is good, I thought. Go Seahawks. Someday soon, I will know the joys of eating again, before I rest. Perhaps the crowds will leave morsels behind when they subside.

Speaking of morsels, how about those food stamp cuts?

Congress is cutting $8.7 billion worth of SNAP benefits, and Obama is signing off on it because it’s better than the $20 to $36 billion the Republicans wanted to cut.

Here’s what you need to know about that: The people losing benefits are just those who pay their heating costs as part of their rents instead of separately. State legislators (mostly blue states) gave them credit for that, and the new bill takes that credit away.

That means that the food stamp cut only brings the whole country down to the mean level of the red states, where people aren’t credited with paying utilities indirectly.

So it’s nothing personal, we’re all in this together now, regardless of what state we live in, we’re all in the capable hands of the Republican party.



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