THE JUDEVINE MOUNTAIN EMAILITE #34

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We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for the victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy, for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers and sisters.

–Martin Luther King



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WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?PARALYSIS OR HOPE? DEPRESSION OR ACTION?

 

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In This Issue:

* David’s Notes: The DNC, Howard Dean and
Sister Joan Chittister

 

* Excerpts from “What a Difference a Day Makes”
by Suheir Hammad

* Words of Wisdom and Advice from Lao Tzu for George W. Bush

 

* Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Jeremiah on Love and Faith in the Midst of Darkness

 

* The Great American Cultural Divide excerpts from Harvard Sitkoff’s Letter to His Son Adam

 

* The Soldiers by Howard Nelson

 

*Sister Joan Chittister on “Military Abortion”

 

*Mohandas K. Gandhi on Freedom, Non-Violent Action and Democracy

 

*Hayden Carruth on De Toqueville and H.L. Mencken

 

*Some Words on the Death of Ronald Reagan That Have a Strangely Familiar Ring
by Stephen Kobasa

 

*Vaclav Havel, William Parker and Emily Dickinson on Hope

 

*On the Other Side of Anger by David Budbill

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DAVID’S NOTES:
   The Democratic National Committee

For the good of the country and the survival of the Democratic Party, that gaggle of bunglers and miscreants known as The Democratic National Committee ought to haul themselves off to the nearest high cliff and all jump. Maybe then in their place we could have someone who could speak truth to power and represent the democratic wing of the Democratic Party.

Howard Dean

And speaking of which: we too, like so many others, urge Howard Dean to seek the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee. There is no one better suited for the job.

And should you think that Howard Dean is soiled goods, guess again. He is still drawing huge and wildly enthusiastic crowds wherever he goes. He is obviously a survivor.

Unless the Democrats get back to being Democrats, life-long Democrats, like the editor of this cyberzine, for example, will become enthusiastic Third Party members.

Sister Joan Chittister, O.S.B.

We didn’t know about Sister Joan Chittister until this fall when a couple of friends notified us that she’d been saying good things about the editor of the JUDEVINE MOUNTAIN EMAILITE.

To read what Sister Joan said in March 2004 about my interview in THE SUN go to: https://www.benetvision.org/vision_view/vv4_25_04.html and scroll down to A GREAT READ.

For more comments and her poem of the week on November 3, 2004 go to: http://www.benetvision.org/vision_view/11_03_04.html and scroll down to POEM OF THE WEEK.

Sister Joan publishes a weekly column on the website: https://www.benetvision.org/index1.html

 

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excerpted from

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DAY MAKES

by
Suheir Hammad

November 3rd, On-the-Road in America, One Day After the Election

Do not be depressed. Do not be depressed. Do not be depressed. . . .

I am in Huntington, West Virginia, what the pundits are calling “Bush Country”. . . .

Do not be depressed. There is work to do. There is light to make.

Eleven states will add amendments to their constitutions defining marriage as only between a man and a woman.

We must all love harder, fiercer, in defiance of those who aspire to own and mandate love.

My friends have sent emails from across the nation, around the world. People are aghast.

Does this mean the American people continue to mandate this Administration’s policies, even as the coffins return home, and thousands are buried, nameless to us, in Iraq’s imploding streets?

Does this mean we really don’t give a fuck what the rest of the world thinks?. . . What about Palestine, Sudan, North Korea?

Do not be depressed. Depression is a weight we cannot afford to carry right now. There are plans to make . . . plans to put in action. . . .

We must practice Fortitude. Compassion. We must remember this country has always had a radical tradition of dissent. This will be the legacy we leave.

We will be even louder. Write even better. Live even fuller. We will not be bought into a de-habilitating stupor. We will not be medicated beyond awareness. . . .

My candle is lit. The scent is fig; it smells green and damp, alive. I bathed in rosemary oil, to soften my skin under the armor I will have to don. . . .

Do not be depressed. Be aware. Be awake. Be resistant. Be your ancestors. Be your future. Be alive.

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Suheir Hammad is a poet who is currently touring America performing in Russell Simmons’ DEF POETRY JAM. One of her books of poems is called Born Palestinian, Born Black.

Top

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WORDS OF WISDOM AND ADVICE FROM
LAO TZU FOR GEORGE W. BUSH
 

All quotations are from Lao Tzu’s TAO TE CHING written in about 500 BCE

from Chapter 31:
Good weapons are instruments of fear; all creatures hate them.
Therefore followers of Tao never use them.
The wise man prefers the left.
The man of war prefers the right.

 

from Chapter 46:
When the Tao is present in the universe,
The horses haul manure.
When the Tao is absent from the universe,
War horses are bred outside the city.

 

 from Chapter 61:
Therefore if a great country gives way to a smaller country,
It will conquer the smaller country.
And if a small country submits to a great country,
It can conquer the great country.
Therefore those who would conquer must yield,
And those who conquer do so because they yield.

 

from Chapter 69:
There is no greater catastrophe than underestimating the enemy.
By underestimating the enemy, I lose what I value.
Therefore when the battle is joined,
The underdog will win.

 

from Chapter 76:
Therefore the still and unbending is the disciple of death.
The gentle and yielding is the disciple of life.
Thus an army without flexibility never wins a battle.
A tree that is unbending is easily broken.
The hard and strong will fall.
The soft and weak will overcome.

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Translations from the Tao Te Ching by Gia-fu Feng and Jane English, Vintage Books, isbn: 0-679-72434-6. Excerpts compiled and edited by David Budbill

 

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DIETRICH BONHOEFFER AND JEREMIAH ON LOVE AND FAITH
IN THE MIDST OF DARKNESS

The Nazis jailed Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Christian minister and a pacifist, for plotting to kill Hitler. In August 1943 Bonhoeffer wrote from prison to his fiancée. In the letter he talks about the situation of the world, the complete darkness over our personal fate and my present imprisonment then goes on to say:

Jeremiah says at the moment of his people’s great need “still one shall buy houses and acres in this land” as a sign of trust in the future. This is where faith belongs. May God give it to us daily.

And I do not mean the faith which flees the world, but the one that endures the world and which loves and remains true to the world in spite of all the suffering which it contains for us.

The Nazis executed Dietrich Bonhoeffer in April 1945.

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This Bonhoeffer passage is quoted in Simone Weil: A Modern Pilgrimage, by Robert Coles and was sent to us by our friend, Nancy Neiman-Hoffman who works as a Jungian Analyst in Norwich, Connecticut


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THE GREAT AMERICAN CULTURAL DIVIDE
excerpts From Harvard Sitkoff’s Letter to His Son Adam
4 Nov 2004

Dear Adam,

. . . We need to wake up to the fact that at least half the electorate thinks very differently about some very basic matters from the way we and our friends think. After all, everyone I know reads the New York Times or Washington Post or Boston Globe. None read the Manchester Union Leader and the many local papers of that ilk. Everyone I know watches the news on PBS or CNN. Never on Fox or a Sinclair station. Everyone I know reads The New Yorker, The New Republic, Mother Jones, Atlantic Monthly, etc. None read Guns & Ammo, The Watchtower, The National Enquirer, etc.

Perhaps, if we got out of our comfortable cocoon we would realize that there is an extraordinarily deep, deep cultural divide in this country. It has been there since the late 1960s, and it can even dominate politics in an era of frightening terrorism, two wars abroad, and economic recession. It can even lead to the reelection of an incumbent when a majority in the country does not think the country is going in the right direction, and a majority does not approve the job the president is doing. . . .

Lets face it, this election was a referendum on George W. and he won a resounding vindication despite the many questions and doubts about his economic policies and the war in Iraq. He won the Catholic vote running against a Catholic! . . .

So, how can the Democrats win? The key is to make economic issues more important to the average Joe than cultural/moral issues. . . .

There is a lot of possibility to build on, and one can be sure that the other side will also blunder. We should not despair, because we are needed. . . . Too many in this country are counting on us; too many around the world are depending on us. As Big Bill Haywood said, or was it Joe Hill, “Don’t mourn; organize!”

 

Love, Dad
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Harvard Sitkoff is a Professor of American History at The University of New Hampshire in Durham, New Hampshire.


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THE SOLDIERS

I do think of them, in the chaos and misery of attacking Fallujah,
stronghold of those fanatical and misguided enough to resist liberation,
which they see as invasion, subjugation, violation of holy ground–

our soldiers, with better equipment,
the best, precision bombers vs. suicide-bombers in beat-up cars,
less precise, but still effective, those crazy bastards–our soldiers

fighting, blowing up and being blown up, bravely obeying the orders
of the reckless one back home, the one who smiled “Bring ‘em on,”
and now smiles broadly–almost as if in disbelief–upon his reelection.

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Howard Nelson is a poet and a teacher who lives in upstate New York

 

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SISTER JOAN CHITTISTER ON “MILITARY ABORTION”
On November 12th, Bill Moyers interviewed Sister Joan Chittister on NOW, his weekly PBS show.

Here is an excerpt from the interview in which Sister Joan wonders how right wing, fundamentalist Christians, who oppose abortion, can be in favor of the war in Iraq and what Sister Joan calls “military abortion.”

MOYERS: Depending on the sources, Sister Joan, there have been some 37,000 civilians killed in Iraq, or maybe a 100,000. Why is abortion a higher moral issue with many American Christians than the invasion of Iraq and the loss of life there?

CHITTISTER: . . . I do not understand that, Bill. You see, I’m absolutely certain that some of the people that we’re killing over there are pregnant women. . . . That’s military abortion. . . . Why is that morally acceptable?

To read the entire NOW interview go to: http://www.pbs.org/now/transcript/transcript346_full.html

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Joan Chittister is a member of the order of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie at Mount Saint Benedict Monastery in Erie, Pennsylvania.

 

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MOHANDAS K. GANDHI ON FREEDOM, NON-VIOLENT ACTION
AND DEMOCRACY
To me it is a self-evident truth that if freedom is to be shared equally by all–even physically the weakest, the lame and the halt–they must be able to contribute an equal share in its defense. How that can be possible when reliance is placed on armament, my plebian mind fails to understand. I therefore swear and shall continue to swear by non-violence, i.e. by satyagraha, or soul force. In it physical incapacity is no handicap, and even a frail woman or a child can pit herself or himself on equal terms against a giant armed with the most powerful weapons.

 

. . .
Democracy can only be saved through non-violence, because democracy, so long as it is sustained by violence, cannot provide for or protect the weak. My notion of democracy is that under it the weakest should have the same opportunity as the strongest. This can never happen except through non-violence . . . .Western democracy, as it functions today is diluted nazism or fascism.

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Monhandas K. Gandhi was a pacifist and the father of modern, independent India. Excerpts taken from Gandhi on Non-Violence: A Selection from the Writings of Mahatma Gandhi, edited and with an Introduction by Thomas Merton, a New Directions Paperbook, NDP197.

 

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HAYDEN CARRUTH ON DE TOQUEVILLE AND H.L. MENCKEN

In this depressing, almost paralyzing time, it behooves us nevertheless to think about the huge, frightening, and well-known flaw in democratic society: it can vote itself out of existence. We must remember the number of free people, as we like to call ourselves, who have vanished in the past as a consequence of demagoguery, ideological manipulation, and mere bandwagonism.

At this point our whole redneck country has been brainwashed by Bush’s clever managers and promoters, who know exactly–exactly–how to play on the ignorant insecurity and conceit of the mass. I didn’t think it was possible, but now I remember what De Toqueville said, viz. that the people would vote themselves out of a civil society, and also H. L. Mencken’s perspicacious words about “mobocracy.” I say this while categorically affirming my position against elitism and autocracy. There can be no virtue, however, in supporting the working class when it is bent on self-destruction.

In order to go forward now we must study the conceptual flaws and historical misunderstandings in our immense conglomerate. We must shape our attitudes and feelings realistically. We must reassert our radical origins. And we must work very, very hard.

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Hayden Carruth is a poet. His most recent book of poems is Doctor Jazz.

 

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SOME WORDS ON THE DEATH OF RONALD REAGAN
THAT HAVE A STRANGELY FAMILIAR RING 

by Stephen Kobasa

Taking their instructions from the movies that defined him all his life, commentators on Ronald Reagan’s death have agreed that “when the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”

Illusion was all that ever mattered to Reagan. He understood that one required useful lies when carrying out murderous policies; he was a smiling criminal, always. . . .

The fearful thing about Reagan’s popularity is that people largely knew the truth about him, yet celebrated his deceptions because they shared them. His racism, his hatred of labor, his homophobia, his spitefulness towards the poor, were perfectly mirrored in the society that elected him . . . .

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This is an excerpt from “Dying and Forgetting” which was first published in the Hartford Catholic Worker Newsletter. Stephen Kobasa is a teacher and activist living in New Haven, Connecticut.

 

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VACLAV HAVEL, WILLIAM PARKER AND EMILY DICKINSON ON HOPE

Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy
that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are
obviously heading for success, but, rather, an ability to work for
something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed.
Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction
that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes
sense, regardless of how it turns out.

Vaclav Havel

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IN A NUTSHELL

In order to
survive
we must keep hope
alive.

William Parker

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HOPE IS A THING WITH FEATHERS

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Emily Dickinson

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Vaclav Havel is a playwright, and was the leader of “the velvet revolution” and the first president of the Czech Republic.

William Parker is a multi-instrumentalist and composer. He appears on more than 200 CDs.

Emily Dickinson was a 19th-Century American recluse and poet.

 

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ON THE OTHER SIDE OF ANGER

On the other side of anger,
on the other side of ridicule and sarcasm,
beyond words:

an opening, a field
and in the center of the field
sitting on a stone:

a great sad beast
his head in his hands
weeping

for all of us.

David Budbill

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David Budbill is the creator and editor of THE JUDEVINE MOUNTAIN EMAILITE.

 

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