About John Oliver Mason

I am a freelance writer, having worked for newspapers, magazines and blogs for over twenty-five years, covering neighborhood and working people making their communities and their lives better. I believe in the power of the written word to bring about change, and I put that into practice. I believe that when we become aware of the effect our small actions in the community have in improving lives, we can truly make a difference. I am also one of the leading poets in the Philadelphia area, and I also write fiction. I also act, performing on the public access channel PhillyCAM.

The mason Moment with John Oliver Mason, September 20, 2020

I speak today about the holiday of Rosh ha-Shona; the memory and work of Ruth Bader Ginsberg; the Republican rush to fill her former seat in the Supreme Court, and Mitch McConnell’s unwillingness to do anything for Americans during the pandemic; and the need of working and low-income people to educate, organize, and vote.

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T’shuva for America

We are currently in the Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, the birthday of the world. In this time, we look back at our lives in the past year, and see where we did right, where we could have done better, and find where we can improve as humans. It’s an empowering thing to be able to move away from the errors and mistakes of the past and prepare for a better future. This is, in Hebrew, called T’shuvah, “turning around,” turning from your negative past and moving to a better future.

It’s true with individuals, and it’s true with nations, such as the United States of America. we must continue to move ourselves away from the sin of racism and racial discrimination that has undermined this country’s claim to be the beacon of freedom, democracy and justice. Too many people act as if to criticize the racism in our country is to attack America itself, as if our country is nothing BUT racism. Recently, out alleged “president” has called for a commission, called the “1776 commission,” to oppose the teaching of the racial problems in this country, such as the legacy of slavery and the history of Jim Crow against African-Americans, and to propagate America as nothing but the “sweet land of liberty,” not at all dealing with the discrimination against African-Americans, later Irish immigrants, and people from other lands hoping to find a decent life in America. (https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/516941-trump-announces-commission-to-further-patriotic-education)

This is not ow you deal with racial problems in this country, by denying them. A true T’shuvah for America would be to admit the racism and xenophobia in our country-so eagerly promoted by the strange person in the White House- and to move to live up to the words of the Declaration of Independence about equality and democracy. we need leaders, coming out of the grassroots-our fellow workers, friends, and neighbors-who can do this, and we can do it.

Resolutions for Rosh haShona

Coming up is the holiday of Rosh haShona, the Jewish New year. As is my custom, I have written down my resolutions for Rosh HaShona:

I will continue to conduct myself with self-love, self-esteem, and self-respect,paying attention to the positive aspects of my life, speaking and thinking positively about myself.

I will continue to set aside time for rest, recreation, and fun.

I will continue to set time aside to read books.

I will continue to advance my art and business as a writer, assenting forums, seminars, conferences, etc.

I will continue to advance my various social and political causes.

I will continue to be faithful to Jewish religion, culture, history, etc.

I will continue all forms of education, such as galleries, museums, lectures, forusm, etc.

I will continue to pursue all other forms of artistic endeavor, such as acting.

I bid everyone L’Shana Tova, a sweet, happy, and prosperous new year to all of you.

Aida and the Amici Opera Company

My friends at the Amici Opera Company will perform the opera Aida, by Giuseppi Verdi, on Sunday September 13 at 3:00 PM, and Saturday September 19, at 4:00 PM, at the Redeemer United Methodist Church, 1128 Cottman Avenue, in Philadelphia. It is the story of Aida, an Ethiopian princess enslaved in Egypt; an Egyptian general, Ramades, is in love with her, but he must choose between his love of Aida and his loyalty to the king of Egypt, and the king’s daughter, Amneris, is in love with Ramades, but he does not return her love. When you come to the show, please wear your mask; hand sanitizer will be available.

I urge everyone to support their locally-based arts venues and performances; the arts are for everyone.

Labor Day Rally in Philadelphia

A rally to support sanitation workers in Philadelphia will take place at Dilworth Park, on the west side of City Hall in Philadelphia, starting at 10:00 Am, on Labor Day, Monday, September 7. 2020. This rally is on conjunction with union affiliate with District Council 33 on AFSCME. The rally will call for personal protective equipment (PPE), hazard pay, and no layoffs.

In this situation, where we are faced with a stupid, treasonous, and corrupt “president;” a movement of fanatical, gun-tooting fascists; a pandemic our government doesn’t believe exists; and rampant economic disaster, workers must band together to stand up for ourselves, our neighbors, and our nation. As we continue to practice social distancing and hand-washing,let us continue to show our numbers and our strength.

And, on November 3, get out to VOTE. The vote is our superpower, and don’t let ANY one take it from you.

Woman Holding Mop

The Mason Missile, August 27, 2020

Greetings, Americans!

I have been active in demonstrations to support the United States Postal Service (USPS) from its own Postmaster-General, Louis DeJoy-a big Republican donor and investor in several private delivery services, and who would profit hugely if the USPS was destroyed, and not compete with the private firms. That is the common capitalist tendency, to think that if it can’t make a profit for already rich plutocrats, it’s no good; they can’t think beyond lining their own pockets, no matter what it does for, or to, the public good.  

The Postal Service is OURS, it is the means by which veterans attain their medicines from the VA, people send letters and cards to their loved ones, paychecks are sent out, and businesses send their products. But the charlatans and money-grubbers in the trump regime can’t see that; trump has FLAT OUT said that he wants to prevent mail-in ballots from going out, so people afraid (justifiably) of the COVID still in the atmosphere. The public welfare in being destroyed due to one sorry-ass excuse of a man’s paranoia; just another reason to vote him out, and however you can do it, do it, in person if you have to; the nation’s live is at stake.

People are rallying behind the Postal Service, in localized rallies like the one I participated in. (https://www.inquirer.com/news/philadelphia/usps-mail-voting-delays-ballots-philly-rally-dejoy-trump-20200822.html) The Postal Service is great for hiring veterans at good wages. To find out how you can help save the Postal Service, please contact the real experts on the postal system-the postal workers themselves, in the form of the American Postal Workers Union (https://apwu.org/)

There is the weird movement QAnon, the crazy idea that there is, in the US intelligence apparatus, a person named Q, who passes along information about trump fighting against a global elite of Satanist pedophiles comprised of Democrats and Hollywood stars. (https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2019/04/23/qanon-conspiracy-increasingly-popular-antigovernment-extremists) trump has refused to directly refute it-the believers are his base, after all-and a number of Qanon believers are running as Republicans for congressional seats, such as Marjorie Taylor Greene in Georgia, Mike Cargile and Erin Cruz in California, Theresa Raborn in Illinois, and Lauren Bobert in Colorado, and Jo Rae Perkins, running for the Senate in Oregon. The FBI has declared Qanon a domestic terrorist threat- but our commander-in-chief (gag!) wont’ turn against them or call them out; people carrying Qanon signs, t-shirts, and caps have congregated trump’s rallies. (https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/12/politics/qanon-congressional-candidates/index.html)

The Republican party has sunk to an even lower low; this is a continuation of the tea-party AstroTurf “movement” electing their candidates as Republicans, which the party leadership accepted, just so they can undermine Obama’s Presidency and implement tax cuts for corporations; I also can’t help but remember Arthur Jones, a total, balls-out, Jew-hating Nazi, running for Congress in Illinois as a Republican, and the party leaders not bothering to run anyone against him, instead saying “He doesn’t speak for us.” 

Added to this is the Republican National Convention; instead of drawing up a platform outlining the party’s policies on defense, the economy, and welfare, the convention put out a resolution stating that it would just support trump and everything he does; they would “reassert the Party’s strong support for President Donald Trump and his Administration.” (https://www.huffpost.com/entry/gop-party-platform-2020-trump_n_5f4353bac5b6305f32597ec4?fbclid=IwAR3dua9EViaMQ96Bi06rug56QIUzqrWjesPiHg86qyyLt0vHqJVUy7a3YfQ) The Republican Party, once a breeding ground for great statesmen, has rotted into the Cult of trump.

Contrast this to what going on in the Democratic Party; the progressing wing of the party is growing and making an impact, unseating long-serving placeholders. One is Cori Bush, a registered nurse and leader of the Black Lives Matter Movement in Missouri, who was hit with teargas by police during a BLM demonstration; she beat 20-year incumbent William Lacy Clay in the congressional primaries, in a Saint-Louis-area district. (https://www.huffpost.com/entry/cori-bush-black-lives-matter-activist-congress_n_5f2c32e9c5b6b9cff7eeaded) In New York, in a congressional primary in the Bronx, Jamaal Bowman, a middle-school principal, defeated Eliot Engel, a 32-year incumbent who had largely been absent from his district. (https://www.huffpost.com/entry/bowman-defeats-engel-new-york-democratic-primaries-2020_n_5ef22705c5b663ecc8544563) If they win their general elections, they will join “the Squad” of congress-members already making an impact-Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York), Ilhan Omar (Minnesota), Rashida Tlaib (Michigan), and Ayanna Pressley (Florida).

These and many others were endorsed by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), who, in spite of losing the primary to Joe Biden, has inspired a new generation of young progressive activists, to challenge the system, and that in itself is a victory. The party leadership-Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer come to mind-must pay them attention and respect, for they have ideas and energy we the American people so desperately need.

The fight is on, Americans, for the life and soul of our nation. We must educate ourselves on the issues of the day, and how we got there; we must realize we don’t have to be put down and abused by fools in power, that we have rights and we can and will utilize them; we certainly don’t have to accept our own demise from the Coronavirus, no matter trump’s “It is what it is” attitude showing he care zero about us. AND, we must get out there November 3 and vote, and don’t let ANY one take that right away from you.

Stay safe stay together, and stay strong! America will be free! Bye!  

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Crowd of Protesters Holding Signs