* * * * *


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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WHO ARE WE NOW?WHAT ARE WE BECOMING?

 

 

* * * * *

In This Issue:

David’s Notes: Four Articles and a New Blog

 

Thunderstorms and Landscapes by David Rocchio

Six Quotes

 

Budget Cuts by Madeleine Kunin

 

Untitled by Clarence Milam

 

Two Books to Recommend:
Carthage by Baron Wormser
and
Earth, My Likeness by Walt Whitman,
Edited and with an Introduction by Howard Nelson

 

Hardened Bread by Clarence Milam

 

Molly Ivins, Derrick Jackson, Bob Herbert, Joan Chittister and Gender Gappers

 

Two Poems for Cindy by Verandah Porche and David Ray

 

Contributors’ Notes

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DAVID’S NOTES:
   Four Articles

On September 9th, Bill Moyers gave a talk at Union Theological Seminary in New York. It’s one of the best, clear thinking essays on both the Islamic and Christian radical right that we’ve yet read. It is dense and thoughtful. We recommend it highly to everyone. Read it at:http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0909-36.htm

And when you are done maybe you’ll feel as we do that we should mount a campaign for BILL MOYERS FOR PRESIDENT!

He’s got all the right qualifications to take on the radical religious right and the NeoCons: he’s a Baptist minister; he’s from Texas, he’s an experienced, articulate journalist who has been covering American politics for more than 40 years and he knows what it’s like inside the beltway. For those younger readers of the JME, Bill Moyers was President Lyndon Johnson’s Special Assistant from 1963 to 1967.

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It never ceases to amaze me how someone apparently from out of nowhere inevitably emerges to lead the troops into battle against the status quo. Be it Joan of Arc, John L. Lewis, Mohandas K. Gandhi or Martin Luther King, it is always someone who is not a member of the establishment or the intelligencia. Currently this person’s name is Cindy Sheehan and she is doing for the antiwar movement what no number of articles in The New York Review of Books or The Nation could ever do.

We highly recommend her statement called “Hypocrites and Liars”–written while she was away from Camp Casey and back in California with her mother who had had a stroke. Again, as so often before, Cindy’s essay proves that the main issue here is language.

She speaks a blunt truth to the powers that be and to their maniacal desire to obfuscate everything with the language of deception. To read “Hypocrites and Liars”–first published on August 20, 2005–go to: http://www.truthout.org/docs_2005/082005X.shtml

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Another essay critical to understanding the current situation and our current President is E.L. Doctorow’s meditation called “The Unfeeling President” first published in the East Hampton (NY) Star on September 9, 2004. To read Doctorow’s essay go to:http://www.easthamptonstar.com/20040909/col5.htm

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For a related analysis of The President that may or may not be an over-the-top assessment of The President’s mental state read Doug Thompson’s “Is Bush Out of Control?” at: http://www.capitolhillblue.com/artman/publish/article_7218.shtml Thompson quotes psychiatrist Dr. Justin Frank as saying that George Bush is a paranoid megalomaniac, an untreated alcoholic and someone with a lifelong streak of sadism.

* * * * *

  A New Blog

Philip Baruth of Burlington, VT, has a new blog of national significance. Baruth is hard hitting, satirical and, as satire should always be, very very funny! Check him and it out at: http://vermontdailybriefing.com And don’t miss the entry for Sept. 22nd, “I Will Beer No Evil: Karl Rove Does Burlington.” (web note: this site does not load properly in all browsers)

* * *

Finally, David Rocchio’s meditation as he sits with his son watching a real–yet also perhaps allegorical–thunderstorm approach says a lot about who we are, or at least who we were.

And don’t miss the innocuously titled essay “Budget Cuts” by former Vermont Governor Madeleine Kunin in which she points out that the huge and growing-huger-every-day deficit is exactly what the Shrubites and NeoCons have dreamt of. In short, nothing could thrill them more than the two recent hurricane disasters and endless war and how all that will bankrupt the government.

As you read this issue of the JME, remember that it is the current administration that promised to bring honesty and integrity back to the White House.

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Thunderstorms and Landscapes
by
David M. Rocchio

A thunderhead climbs over a distant mountain. My son and I watch it from behind the house. The cloud stands thousands of feet above everything: us, the house, the fields, the mountain. Its top flattens into a monstrous anvil. The vast landscape is dwarfed by the pending storm. It is exciting; we will wait for it to arrive.

My little boy is thrilled by these storms. They pass over the landscape and change everything while they are here. During one storm we all sat out on the covered porch and let the rain cool us; me, my son, my little girl, my wife, and we listened to the rain and the thunder. Today my son and I lie in the grass behind the house, his head across my belly, me leaning back on my arms.

But this time, my thoughts wander. I cannot simply sit and let the storm approach. I am thinking about scenes worlds away in a parallel universe: Guantanamo Bay; Abu Graib; Bagram Air Base; US military, intelligence, law enforcement, and how government “contractors” abuse and kill Iraqi and other military prisoners. Prisoners are ridiculed, videotaped. We have seen some tapes: shock video-commentary by part-time soldiers; bold expressionism and fifteen minutes of infamy by American youth; defense of homeland. It is not how I view America. It is not how our country treats prisoners of war. What is happening? Who are we? What are we becoming? Surely we are not the people abusing prisoners. Surely we are good and right.

At the beginning of the Iraq War, I argued with my wife about whether it was right or wrong. Our goals are benign and noble, I said. We have an imperative to confront dictators, an obligation to give people a chance to live free. We are trying to help people feel as safe as we used to feel. We want people to be as comfortable with each other as we are. The war will make the world better. The war will make us safe.

“How naïve, arrogant, and immoral,” she said. We stopped talking about the war.

The storm is closer now. The hot air is stirring a bit and the birds are quiet. My son and I can no longer see all of the cloud; its crown is out of sight, its belly is a dark blue and black and gray. My son is excited and worried. It is a big storm. We move to the covered porch, he cradles in my arms and we just sit. We are living proof of what America is.

In a coffee shop one day, the man behind the counter, an actor or a writer probably but just this day a guy selling coffee in a coffee shop, wore an interesting tattoo. Wrapping his lean bicep were words, Hope. Work. Patience. Think. Love. Do. Other words, too. I asked him why he’d had such statements tattooed onto his arm. He pulled up the sleeve of his t-shirt to give me a good look. Each time I face a challenge, or something happens to me, I wear a new word.

  Maybe you should get a pad or a notebook or something, I joked.

  Maybe when I run out of arm, he deadpanned. How American.

We wear our feelings not just on our sleeves; we burn them into our arms. Expressive, irrepressible. The size of the land itself, the vast scale of it, creates optimism. Boundless, unstoppable. The music, the food, the cultural diversity, the ease with which we move about, create an energy and drive that is relentlessly exciting. Italian-American; African-American; Irish-American; Chinese-American. We are more the American than the other.

The summer of 1984 I was in Leningrad. One night a group of Russians grabbed me and a friend and, using sign language and smiles, took us to their home for a party. We have Americans in our apartment, they said into the phone. Someone who spoke English joined us, more friends came, we drank Vietnamese vodka all night long. We answered their questions. We made out with Russian girls. We ate smoked eels. We got drunk, drunk, drunk. They loved us. We were rock stars, Americans, Kings of The World.

Twenty years later, I cannot imagine a place on the globe where Americans would feel so welcome. In 1945 E.B. White wrote in the New Yorker about how the World looked up to America and why: 

The United States is regarded by people everywhere as a dream come true, a sort of world state in miniature. Here dwell the world’s emigrants under one law, and the law is: Thou shalt not push thy neighbor around. By some curious divinity which in him lies, Man, in this experiment of mixed races and mixed creeds, has turned out more good than bad, more right than wrong, more kind than cruel, and more sinned against than sinning. This is the world’s hope and its chance.

Who are we now?

Sixty years after E.B. White wrote his essay for the New Yorker, how many Americans agree with his assessment of this country as a “dream come true”? Is America’s idealized self image a mirage?

An English friend believes that during this war, under this President, Americans have lost the best of who we are. Americans have always been naïvely optimistic and it was always so endearing and admirable, she said. But you cannot be naïve any longer. Willful ignorance is not naiveté.

Respectful, thoughtful, kind; expansive, naïve, optimistic; motivated, curious, proud; expressive, giving, hopeful; driven, irrepressible, unstoppable; loving, dedicated, resourceful; ethical, moral, compassionate; inventive, creative, welcoming; inclusive, decisive, brave; understanding, temperate, colorful. Naïve, arrogant, immoral.

My son and I remain on the porch. The storm is now approaching, shuddering the ground with rolls of thunder, pushing languid, thick air out of its way. We watch the flashes of light eagerly and begin a count. “One, Mississippi; two, Mississippi; three, Mississippi …” We time the roars of thunder, establishing the pace of the storm. Soon it will hit.

We pull the chairs to the edge of the porch. The world starts to go dark. We listen to individual raindrops strike leaves, the roof, the ground. The wind picks up. And now the rain comes in sheets. It makes us nervous, fearful.

As we sit facing east, watching the storm roil above us, from behind us, from the west, the sun drops below the cloud line, casting a warm light into the storm. The sun turns what was a torrent of rain into a kaleidoscope of flashing and streaking individual drops of water. And now a rainbow arches across the entire sky along the ridge across our valley.

My son’s eyes widen. A magnificent grin splays across his face. He leans forward out of the chair. “Look, Daddy! A rainbow! Can we go get the pot of gold?!”

He is so hopeful, optimistic, naïve.

I do not know what to say.

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Six Quotes

Quote #1:

There is no history of ethnic strife in Iraq.

– Paul Wolfowitz, The New York Times, February 28, 2003

Quote #2:

I don’t do quagmires.

–Donald Rumsfeld, July 2003

Quote #3:

If you fall on the side that is pro-George and pro-war, you get your ass over to Iraq, and take the place of somebody who wants to come home. And if you fall on the side that is against this war and against George Bush, stand up and speak out.

–Cindy Sheehan, “Hypocrites and Liars,”
August 20, 2005

Quote #4:

Senator, in everything I said about Iraq, I turned out to be right and you turned out to be wrong and 100,000 people paid with their lives; 1600 of them American soldiers sent to their deaths on a pack of lies; 15,000 of them wounded, many of them disabled forever on a pack of lies.

– British MP George Galloway addressing U.S. Senator Norm Colman, 17 May 2005

Quote #5:

The American occupation of Iraq is something new, but the fundamental error of the United States has a long pedigree. It is the imprisonment of the human mind in ideology backed by violence.

–Jonathan Schell in The Nation, 4 July 2005

Quote #6:

There is still no indication that the Bush administration recognizes the utter folly of its war in Iraq, which has been like a constant spray of gasoline on the fire of global terrorism.

–Bob Herbert, The New York Times, 25 July 2005

* * * * *

 

Budget Cuts
by
Madeline Kunin
 

“Starve the Beast” is the jargon used by conservatives to cut programs that help children, schools, the environment, health care and the poor. The “beast”, of course, is the federal government; starvation is necessary because the deficit has eaten up all the money.

The problem with this rationale is that the budget cuts don’t do much to reduce the deficit. Over five years, these cuts would save about 66 billion per year, reducing the deficit by one-sixth. Meanwhile, further tax breaks for high-income Americans would continue to be expanded.

Program cuts are not about cutting programs to reduce the deficit. Program cuts are about a fundamental policy shift in the role of government itself. Programs such as child care, Head Start and health care for veterans can be cut because they are non-essential, according to Bush policy. The Bush-created deficit is seen, not as a problem to be fixed, but as an opportunity to be seized to downsize government to bare essentials – namely, the military and national security.

The same argument may be applied to privatizing social security. First offered as a fix to a long-term problem of a shrinking social security pie to be served to a growing social security population, it turns out that the privatization scheme is no fix at all. In fact, it aggravates the financial problems faced by social security and the national deficit.

What privatizing social security would achieve is a major change in government policy. We would move from real social security – a check in the mail you can count on after retirement – to a check which may or may not be there, depending on the ups and downs of the market. Government would not have the responsibility of helping you out in your old age; you would have to take the risk by managing the money yourself.

These policy shifts in the role of government in American society are worthy of debate. It is healthy, from time to time, to reconsider the proper role of government. But let’s be honest about the debate and not pretend that we are cutting social programs to reduce the deficit, or pretend that we’re cutting taxes to help middle-income Americans, or pretend that we’re changing social security to make it solvent – when, in fact, we are doing just the opposite: cutting down the size of government into a starved skeletal structure that will have no strength to uplift, motivate or sustain those who look to it for security in their old age, or opportunity in their youth.

—–
This essay first appeared as a commentary on Vermont Public Radio on February 23, 2005. © Copyright 2005, VPR

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Untitled

Politics as usual
the shuffling of egos
leave men on the edge
here so far
from Cold Mountain

  Clarence Milam

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TWO BOOKS TO RECOMMEND:
Carthage by Baron Wormser
and
Earth, My Likeness by Walt Whitman
Edited and with an Introduction by Howard Nelson
In a collection of essays by Albert Camus called Resistance, Rebellion and Death, Camus writes in an essay called “The Artist and His Time: The Wager of Our Generation”:

The artist of today becomes unreal if he remains in his ivory tower or sterilized if he spends his time galloping around the political arena. Yet between the two lies the arduous way of true art. It seems to me that the writer must be fully aware of the dramas of his time and that he must take sides every time he can or knows how to do so. But he must also maintain or resume from time to time a certain distance in relation to our history.

Carthage and Earth: My Likeness taken together make for a bracing pair of books demonstrating both aspects of what Camus sees as the artist’s calling.

Carthage by Baron Wormser

Baron Wormser, the poet laureate of Maine, has written an arresting, insightful and ultimately heart-breaking series of poems about a man named Carthage who is president of a very powerful country. Carthage, as Stephen Dunn has said about these new poems, is “befuddled by events he’s helped create.” Carthage is, I believe, a book Albert Camus would like.

Carthage likes to fly in airplanes, get away from it all, way up there where you don’t even see the rain.

Carthage wishes his life were simpler. He sees a coven of crows/ . . . sparring with one another over the delectable innards/Of a mashed squirrel as if/Death were a birthday party. Carthage wishes he could take out his twenty-two/And put a couple of them down, . . . . He knows, though, that . . ./Presidents have better things to do./The world always needs fixing.

Carthage likes to watch himself on television. It isn’t vanity./On the contrary, his staring stems/From an almost metaphysical doubt./When you live in front of others/You misplace yourself.

Carthage worries about his significance, his importance, his place in history. He’s keeping a diary. Each day finds Carthage loitering/In the vestibules of significance. He thinks about writing in his diary about the waffles he had for breakfast. He has to confess that seems trivial./Everyone eats waffles./He’s given orders to invade a few countries./That’s not something everyone has done./It doesn’t feel like much, though. You’re excited for a few days/And then you’re back to thinking about waffles.

People don’t think much of Carthage’s intelligence. Each day Carthage sees his advisors./They know more than he does but are polite about it./They smile handsomely; their voices are intelligent honey./Carthage gets sick of it./He can make audiences of patriots/And rich Christians go crazy but he gets tired of listening/Like some kind of half-educated monkey.

In “Carthage Plays Cards”–my favorite poem in the series–Carthage plays poker with the boys. He’s just a regular guy. There’s beer and chips and pictures of naked women on the backs of the playing cards. It’s fun. Nothing feels this good.

These poems create a searing and ultimately pitiful portrait of a president lost in a world he’d kind of rather not be in. Well, no, actually, he’s glad to be there. Yes, he’s glad to be there. After all, The world always needs fixing.

Highly recommended. Carthage is available for $10.00, plus 2.25 for shipping and handling directly from Baron Wormser, 3 Getchell Lane, Hallowell, ME 04347.

Earth, My Likeness by Walt Whitman
Edited and with an Introduction by Howard Nelson

And another poet who knew the truth of Camus’s edict, even though he was born practically a century before Camus, is Walt Whitman. Here now is Earth, My Likeness, a new anthology–selections, a compilation of “pieces”–of Whitman’s effusive outpouring from editor and Whitman expert Howard Nelson, who is also a sometimes contributor to the JME.

Nelson’s brilliant Introduction talks about Whitman as the great embracer of everything. The guy with the enormous bear-hug for the entire, the-way-it-is world. In this regard, Whitman, it seems to me, is the American writer most like Lao Tzu. Certainly Whitman created his own American-Taoist view of the world. His desire for natural persons, as Whitman put it, his vision that saw, as Nelson puts it, human beings as every bit as natural as an oak-tree or a warbling bird is pure Wu Wei.

Yet this ability to embrace everything allows Whitman to uncritically celebrate the industrialization of America, and the death of the redwood forests in order to make way for a swarming and busy race settling and organizing everywhere . . . for the flashing and golden pageant of California. Ah, would that Walt could come back and take a ride on an L.A. freeway.

Nelson connects Whitman to his contemporaries Thoreau and Melville saying how all three men were “water writers”–Thoreau: the pond, Melville: the ocean and Whitman: the writer of the places where water and land meet–seashore, creek and river bank.

Whitman delights in his own sexuality, his sexiness, and Nelson delights in it also. John Greenleaf Whittier threw Whitman’s poems in the fire he was so offended by them. Emerson tried to get Whitman to take the sex out of Leaves of Grass. It was left to Gerard Manley Hopkins, an Episcopal priest, to really understand the intensity and worthiness of Whitman’s sexual writing and to recognize in Whitman something wild, elemental, pre-Christian as Nelson says.

Eros and nature are richly tangled in a wet, lush bouquet. . . . quoting Nelson again, Writing about sex as nature and nature as sex is more than a strategy or technique for Whitman. It is a measure of his happiness in being open to and in touch with the ground, the green world, animals, the water, the air and the stars.

I wonder if anyone has ever compared the poetry of Walt Whitman to Hafiz. They are surely brothers across time and cultures.

Both Whitman and his champion Howard Nelson understand that, as Nelson says, Sexuality is a great, flowing force. We don’t have it so much as it has us. In that way it is like the earth, and the instinctual life that we share with the animals.

We don’t have it so much as it has us. Ah, is it not so?

People know by now that Walt Whitman’s political writing makes most of us so-called contemporary left wing radical poets sound like Casper Milquetoast. Whitman can win any in-your-face radical poet slam anytime, anywhere.

Yet here in Earth, My Likeness we have Walt Whitman the great lover of everything: the sky, the ocean, the ferry boat crossing the river, the crush and press of flesh on a Manhattan street, the ox and the ox driver, the dying soldier, the young boys he lusted after, a blade of grass, the compost pile, a blackberry, a wood thrush–this great bear-hug embrace of everything alive in the world, and the embrace of death as well.

Earth, My Likeness is a worthy and necessary antidote to too much NPR, The New York TimesThe Nation and The Judevine Mountain Emailite.

Earth, My Likeness is published by Heron Dance Press and is available for $12.00 at: http://www.herondance.org/studiostore/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=art&Product_Code=6071&Product_Count=&Category_Code

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Hardened Bread

My desk is cluttered,
piled high with papers and pictures.
Rhetoric of doomsayers.
Quoting dictators, naming villains.

I take refuge in the poetry of T’ang,
Han-Shan, Li Po, Tu Fu.
This country is so young.
There are no new subjects for poems.

I will rise on Sunday mornings.
Light my sandalwood incense,
nestled in my meditation grove. Return again
and again to Cold Mountain,

amid sweet smell
of wisteria blossoms.
Feed the bluejay sunflower seeds,
and bits of my family’s hardened bread.

Clarence Milam


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Molly Ivins, Derrick Jackson, Bob Herbert,
Joan Chittister and Gender Gappers
Walt Whitman liked best the penny newspapers–the cheap ones–in New York City because of their lively style. He said, I like limber, lashing, fierce words… strong, cutting, beautiful, rude words.

For my money it’s Molly Ivins, Derrick Jackson, Bob Herbert, Joan Chittister and Gender Gappers–more on them below–who are doing Whitman’s work.

Is it a coincidence that in the list of Ivins, Jackson, Hebert, Chittister and Gender Gappers, there are four women and two black men? What!

All of these tell it like it is, speak truth to power, because they are blunt, direct, and short. As Walt Whitman says, Limber, lashing, fierce words… strong, cutting, beautiful, rude words.

Molly Ivins is a Texas Observer and AlterNet columnist and author of Shrub: The Short But Happy Political Life of George W. Bush. Her columns are available at: http://www.alternet.org/columnists/1406

Derrick Jackson is an African American, OpEd columnist for The Boston Globe. His columns are archived at: http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/jackson

Bob Herbert is an African American, OpEd columnist for The New York Times. His columns are archived at: http://www.nytimes.com/top/opinion/editorialsandoped/oped/columnists/bobherbert

Joan Chittister is a Benedictine nun from Erie, Pennsylvania, and the creator of “From Where I Stand” a weekly column supplied as a free service of the National Catholic Reporter. Her columns are available at: http://nationalcatholicreporter.org/fwis

Gender Gappers is an occasional, short, pithy, hard hitting, no-holds-barred, truth-to-power blog created and sustained by two women known collectively as Twanda. Highly recommended. To subscribe and view archives go to: http://www.gendergappers.org

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Two Poems for Cindy

FIRST LADY: LAST DITCH DELIVERY

No ambush, stand-off, sniper.
No smile in the crosshairs.

Laura Bush,
in your posh compound.

Beyond the concertina wire
a mother who spelled
sacrifice correctly

gets the Gold Star:
a fire scar.

Face her.

Verandah Porche


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LONESOME MOM
for Cindy SheehanA president has to protect himself from emotional predators.
Edmund Morris, “Conservative Compassion,” The New York Times, August 17, 2005

Between Grief and Nothing, I’ll take the Grief.
William Faulkner, The Wild Palms

Camped by the roadside four miles 

from the President’s ranch, 

as close as the public’s allowed 

(after all, we’re only paying the bills) 

you stand by your sign and your ribbon 

with its message, BRING OUR TROOPS 

HOME NOW. Thee speaks my mind 

and that of millions of others, and to me 

you are the Rosa Parks who has boarded 

the bus that George Bush is driving. 

You demand to be heard and respected, 

face to face, an I-Thou encounter, 

although that may not be possible 

with a man who stands by his lies 

and is oblivious to all reason. 

When he showed up for a closed-door 

session with a few families like yours 

he did not know your son Casey’s name, 

although he called you “Mom” as if 

he could for a few minutes replace him. 

Should you not then be satisfied, 

flattered, honored? A chummy, genial 

fellow is our President, addressing 

bouquets of you generic Moms and Dads, 

nothing special, a nuisance, as un- 

welcome a sight as flag-covered 

coffins. After all, now that there are 

nearly two thousand fallen troops 

he can’t recall all their names, and 

a voluntary propagandist, of which 

there are many, now makes a virtue 

of callousness, as if even mothers 

of those he has sent to their deaths 

are nothing but “emotional predators.” 

Then so are we all, and let us proclaim 

our pride in having some feelings left. 

  David Ray

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Contributors’ Notes

David Rocchio (drocchio@threepercentproductions.com) is a free lance writer, film maker and lawyer who lives in Vermont.

Madeleine Kunin (mkunin@smcvt.edu) is a former Governor of Vermont.

Baron Wormser (baronw@gwi.net) is the poet laureate of Maine.

Howard Nelson (nelsonh33@hotmail.com) is a poet and a teacher living in upstate New York.

Clarence Milam (CCmilam@aol.com) is a poet who lives in Lubbock, Texas.

Verandah Porche (http://www.sover.net/~verandah/intro.html) is a poet who lives near Brattleboro, Vermont.

David Ray (www.davidraypoet.com) is a poet who lives in Tucson, Arizona.

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Read More...

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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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HOWARD DEAN:Vermont Phoenix

 


Vermont cartoonist Tim Newcomb penned this prophetic drawing on November 15, 2004, just 12 days after the election.
Copyright © 2004 Tim Newcomb

 

* * * * *

In This Issue:

* David’s Notes

 

* Skiing with Doctor Dean: An Allegorical Tale
by David Rocchio

* A New, More Accomplished, More Tolerant, More Organized and More Self-Disciplined Howard Dean
by Gerry Gossens

 

* Howard Dean Will Sharpen the Political Debate
by Dirk VanSusteren

 

* Brave or Foolish or Wise or Just Stubborn Enough
by Stephanie Woods

 

* Fresh Hope
by Jay Parini

 

*Vermont: The Shadow Administration
by Philip Baruth

* * * * *

 

DAVID’S NOTES:
This issue of The Judevine Mountain Emailite is about Howard Dean. It brings you pieces by people who actually know and have worked with Howard Dean. This decidedly cannot be said of David Letterman, Cokie Roberts, Diane Sawyer and the other media pundits who did so much a year ago to foist off on the American public their distorted and perverted image of Howard. If you want to know what Howard Dean is really like, read the writers here.

What is clear in the pieces below is that Howard Dean is a doggedly determined, focused person with an iron will who can and will jump gladly into what seem like impossible situations. Howard Dean is an honest, blunt–sometimes brutally blunt, straight-forward man with a real vision for the Democratic party–not one concocted by focus groups and opinion polls. As David Rocchio says, below, “Howard Dean is a Teddy Roosevelt in a world of Karl Roves.” It is also clear that Howard Dean is a quick study. He is someone who can and does learn from past mistakes, and who is willing to adapt and change his tactics, while not changing or watering down his vision.

Dean’s biggest problem now that he is Chairman of the DNC is not going to be the Republicans, but, rather, the inside-the-beltway Democrats. Dean’s victory was a genuine coup. This upstart populist stole the chairmanship right out from under the noses of the Democratic establishment power brokers. He was able to do this because American Democrats, those of us outside the beltway, were furious, and still are, with the way the DNC bungled two presidential elections with their willingness to compromise and water down core Democratic values and with their desperate attempts to become Karl Rove wannabees.

Now, for the first time in years, the Democratic Party, led by Howard Dean, the Vermont Phoenix, has someone who can take it and us into the future.

__________

For more articles on the real Howard Dean by people who know him, go to: http://www.davidbudbill.com/jme31.html


* * * * *

SKIING WITH DOCTOR DEAN:
AN ALLEGORICAL TALE
by
David M. Rocchio

The cold rain slanted sideways against us. The wind blew bitterly. A thick fog sank low against the ice covered ground. The chairlift was slow, cranked low to prevent mishaps in the strong winter rainstorm.

“Governor, I’d be happy to stop. We don’t have to ski today.” The ski day was scheduled based upon the Governor’s calendar, not the weather.

“It’s fine,” he said. “I want to ski the woods.”

Skiing the woods on Mt. Mansfield is one of the true joys of skiing in Vermont. There are steep ravines and frozen mountain streams, beech stands and hidden glades formed by land slides, little cliffs dropping into staircases of ice and snow. I have skied many, many places and the woods skiing at Stowe remains among the most challenging skiing there is.

“Today might not be the day, Governor.” The rain and the wind froze me, shook me. The last place I wanted to be was in the woods on Mount Mansfield.

A steely look. A pause. “I want to ski the woods.”

Skiing fast through a wooded forest is dangerous. Trees do not move. A tree with a six inch girth can destroy a car, never mind a pelvis. The terrain is treacherous. Downed branches and hidden rocks, hidden streams and ice falls lie in wait beneath the snow. It is never a good idea to fly through the woods. It is a bad idea to fly through the woods in the rain, in the fog, on ice.

We skied the woods.

Determination defines Howard Dean. He never steers away, never avoids a challenge, never allows external forces to change his course. The Governor does not temper his opinions, does not downplay disagreement, does not use vague words or phrases to shade his views.

Howard Dean would never cut the Community Block Grant program and call the cuts the ‘healthy communities initiative.’ Politicians mostly run our country without saying what they think, without being honest about what they do, without being honorable in how they attack. The industry of getting a politician elected is stultifying, killing the art of governing. Howard Dean brings life back into it, a Teddy Roosevelt in a world of Karl Roves.

To that end, the Governor has found a perfect new role. He will not obfuscate or concede. He will be clear about issues, critical of what he thinks is wrong in this country, articulate about how to make the country better, and offer frank comments on issues instead of pabulum. I do not always agree with him but at least I know what he thinks.

If the Governor can combine his directness with sophisticated mastery of the media and show his extraordinary warmth (which few around the country seem to know that he has) I believe that the distorted view of him will change.

Two years ago I wound up my work for the Governor and chose to go on to live a private life which I love: great family, fun and rewarding work, time to write, time outside, some travel. What drives the Governor to work sixteen or more hours a day, eat dubious food, and deal with relentless stress and schedules, to obtain a job only a fool would want?

The Governor sees a vision for this country. He is willing to work hard to realize the vision. He speaks from the heart about central issues confronting us every day. He is a leader.

On that rainy day a bunch of years ago, the Governor led me into the woods on a massive mountain. We went into the woods during a violent storm with a cold biting wind, away from ice covered trails. Once off the trails and in the woods, the wind abated, the snow held better, the rain stung less. It was a great day.

__________

From 1997 though 1999 David M. Rocchio served as Deputy Legal Counsel and a senior policy advisor to Governor Dean. From 1999 through January 2003, he was Legal Counsel and a senior policy advisor to The Governor. David is a writer and an attorney.


* * * * *

A NEW, MORE ACCOMPLISHED, MORE TOLERANT, MORE ORGANIZED AND MORE SELF-DISCIPLINED HOWARD DEAN
by
Gerry Gossens
 

I knew and worked with Howard Dean during all four of my years in the Vermont House of Representatives in the 1990s and again in the Vermont Senate during Howard’s last term as governor. As governor, Howard Dean, the “Fighting Moderate” as Paul Krugman has appropriately dubbed him, was a bright, frustrating, passionate loner whom you couldn’t help but respect, despite his managerial shortcomings.

Thus, it was exciting when he ran for President. And it was easy to be proud and inspired by his amazing campaign, especially when he began teaching Democrats inside the beltway how to stand up to George W. Bush.

His spectacular flame-out saddened me, as it did most all Vermonters. Yet, many of us were afraid it would happen sooner or later. We held our collective breath, knowing deep down that he would finally put his foot in his mouth at the wrong time, or that his weak, inexperienced staff would finally fail him.

It was impressive to me how Howard handled his fall. Especially how he appears to have withstood the vicious personal attacks launched by the other candidates in the Democratic presidential primary and the even more virulent attacks launched by Karl Rove’s team. After his fall, Howard worked as a Democratic Party team player and campaigner in a manner quite contrary to his track record here in Vermont. It was a side of Howard Dean which we hadn’t seen much of in Vermont.

Then Howard Dean announced his candidacy for the Chairmanship of the Democrat Party. I was truly surprised, especially when he pledged not to run for President in 2008. Facing broad opposition from the Washington Democratic establishment, Howard put together a systematic, organized campaign in which he quietly gathered support and picked off his rivals one by one. That he finally won the chairmanship unopposed is a great personal achievement.

In my view the chairmanship still does not fit the Howard Dean we knew as governor. Yet, I think it’s time to recognize that we are beginning to see the birth of a new, more accomplished, more tolerant, more organized and more self-disciplined Howard Dean. He has become a national figure, probably beyond anything he ever expected to achieve when he began his run for President. He has become controversial in a way which is even more surprising. And Howard Dean the passionate speaker is certainly different from any Howard Dean we knew as governor!

Howard has accomplished a truly impressive political come-back. He appears to have learned a great deal during the last year and to be enjoying himself. He has the talent, the skills, the brains, the ambition and the energy to accomplish much. He just may pull it off and build the foundation for a political miracle in 2008 for the Democratic Party.

I will not be surprised if he does!

__________

Gerry Gossens served four years in the Vermont House of Representatives and four years in the State Senate. He is a retired foreign intelligence officer.

 

* * * * *

HOWARD DEAN WILL SHARPEN THE POLITICAL DEBATE
by
Dirk VanSusteren

I am an unabashed Howard Dean fan. And it’s not because he is a liberal or conservative (as some of the very liberal Democrats in Vermont would argue). But I like him because of the excitement and clarity he brings to American politics. I think as DNC chair he will do the job of raising money for the party, recruiting candidates, getting younger people involved in the political process and articulating “Democratic” values on the Sunday morning news programs. All this will be important for his party, but I also think it will strengthen the two-party system in general, which has worked quite well for this country. In his presidential campaign he showed flashes of liberal populism; and the more he continues as DNC chair to promote populist values in his party, the more clearly the Democrats will distinguish themselves from the Republicans, and the more likely American voters will have real choices when they vote. So, Dean, as a spokesman for his party, will force people–Democrats and Republicans alike–to think: which is a good thing.

My only experiences with Dean have been at a few press conferences that I attended when he was governor, where I always found him to be candid, humorous and to-the-point, which, of course, is most refreshing to see in a politician. I do feel, though, that I know him quite well through the book about him that our paper and Steerforth Press published in 2004: Howard Dean: A Citizen’s Guide to the Man Who Would be President http://www.steerforth.com/books/display.pperl?isbn=1586420755 It covered Dean’s childhood, school years, early political years and his time as governor and presidential candidate. Working with reporters on it, I was struck by how Dean could transform himself to meet new challenges. Of course, he failed miserably in his biggest challenge–his attempt to win the Democratic presidential nomination–but now he has brushed himself off and quite remarkably is head of his party. Talk about The Comeback Kid! No party chairman has ever run for president, however, but it is possible that with a successful term as party chair, Dean will be positioned to run again for president in 2008. But, ironically, if that were the case, that would also have meant that he failed as DNC chairman: He would have failed to organize and unite the party enough for it to settle on a single viable candidate.

Politics is in Dean’s blood. I can’t imagine him practicing medicine again or being president of some university. He will probably figure a way to remain on the national political stage for many years; and if he doesn’t run for president, he may well wind up in the cabinet of some Democratic president, such as Hillary Clinton in four years, or be ambassador to Canada. Or, he just may decide to run for U.S. Senate in the event James Jeffords decides to retire in two years. There, along with Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders, he would be a vibrant spokesman for the progressive politics that have come to define Vermont.

__________

Dirk Van Susteren is editor of the Vermont Sunday Magazine, which is published by the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus and Rutland Herald. He was the editor of the book, Howard Dean: A Citizen’s Guide to the Man Who Would be President (Steerforth, 2004)


* * * * *

BRAVE OR FOOLISH OR WISE OR JUST STUBBORN ENOUGH
by
Stephanie Woods

“Well, what do you think about Dean being DNC chair?” I ask my good friend down the road in South Hero.

“I just hope he won’t do anything to embarrass us.” she says.

So there it is–she names the nervous feeling in my stomach–the one that keeps me from doing things, taking a stand when I just don’t want to embarrass myself.

I want to be fearless, I want to be like Howard Dean was in the campaign. I had hoped I’d be fearless by the time I reached 60. Well, not yet, but I have learned that if you care about something enough you have to be willing to make a fool of yourself over it.

So, was I embarrassed by his scream? Maybe, yes. Angry and indignant at the media, and a bit embarrassed. But if Dean was, he didn’t show it.

Or maybe he was embarrassed. But if he was, he is also brave or foolish, or wise or just stubborn enough to keep speaking the truth–not because he won’t be making mistakes or embarrassing himself, but because he cares enough to be embarrassed.

My prayer for Howard Dean, and for us, is that he remains fearless in following his instincts and speaking truth. And I pray he keeps faith in our ability to recognize the truth when we hear it.

So sign me on for the ride. I believe in the power of truth, and if Dean’s not going to be embarrassed about what happens, I won’t be either.

__________

Stephanie Woods is a resident of South Hero Island, Vermont. She’s lived in Vermont for the past 30 years. She is a wife, mother, stepmother and grandmother, and a painter of gorgeous, vibrant flowers.


* * * * *

FRESH HOPE
by
Jay Parini

I’ve been a fan of Howard Dean’s from the first time I heard his voice on the radio after he first became governor. I was struck at once by the intimacy of his connection to the audience. He seemed like someone who could speak directly about the concerns of the people of Vermont. He appeared honest and willing to take risks. All of these things, during his terms as governor, proved true.

Vermont being a small state, it was not surprising that I ran into Governor Dean on various occasions, and exchanged a few words with him here and there. I was always taken by his practical approach to governance, his willingness to let ideology stand to one side. It was never easy to call him “liberal” or “conservative” or “middle-of-the-road.” Dean was a pragmatist, first and foremost.

I was a strong supporter of his run for the Democratic nomination for the presidency, especially because of his strong and early opposition to the Iraq invasion. More than anyone else in the race, he understood that this war was dangerous, and costly, and potentially catastrophic for the region. He understood that the so-called War on Terror was a bit of a ruse, designed to promote certain interests in Washington, and calculated to aid certain American industries. George W. Bush used the 9/11 tragedy shamelessly to promote his own agenda, to tighten his control over the country, and to frighten the American people, who are among the most easily frightened folks in the known world. Howard Dean seemed instinctively to understand all of this.

Governor Dean was also refreshingly clear on the Middle East, noting that the U.S. has not been even-handed in its treatment of Palestinians and Israelis. This, of course, won him few friends inside the Beltway.

I was not surprised that the mainstream of Beltway Democrats closed ranks to stop Dean’s bid for the nomination. But Howard Dean has persisted, as he will; and he has now triumphed, giving us all fresh hope for the Democratic party and democracy in America itself.

I’m delighted that Dean has taken over the head of the DNC, and I wish him well, as do many of us in his home state.

__________

Jay Parini, a poet and novelist, lives in Vermont. He is editor of The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Literature.


* * * * *

 

Vermont: The Shadow Administration
by
Philip Baruth
When Jim Jeffords switched his party affiliation in 2001, grateful Democrats started buying bumper stickers that read, “Don’t Mess with Texas” – except the word “Texas” had been X-ed out and replaced with the word “Vermont.” It was a reminder to Bush that even a pebble can stop a tank, if it gets wedged in there just right.

But if you step back for a moment and look at the last five years as a whole, something becomes pretty clear pretty fast: Vermont’s oppositional role to this administration, and the forces behind it, is far larger and much more enduring than Jefford’s move alone. Here are the highlights:
In April of 2000, the Vermont Legislature passes landmark civil unions legislation.
In May of 2001, Jeffords makes his move, and the Bush agenda grinds to a halt in the Senate.
In 2003 and 2004, Howard Dean rides a wave of anti-war, anti-Bush sentiment to national prominence.
And in early 2005, Dean will convert that prominence into a Chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee.

What this looks like to me, when I pull all of these seemingly unrelated events together, is a shadow administration, contemporaneous with that of George W. Bush, but in strong and continuous opposition to it. This shadow administration began as a homegrown phenomenon, but the logic and the courage of its local aspects has led to sustained national backing from a center-left coalition across the United States.

In other words, it is no accident that Howard Dean will become the official voice of the Democratic Party establishment. Far from it. Dean’s installation is a logical next step in a process of political clarification, a process underway not just in Burlington and Brattleboro, but in Binghamton and Bakersfield.

What is being clarified is a political vision to contest that being offered by the Republican majorities in the House, the Senate, the Supreme Court and the White House. These majorities preceded George W. Bush, and the vision they represent is larger than Bush the man, although he is their most concentrated expression. Similarly, Dean’s rise is not about Howard Dean the man. Dean has become the clarified expression of the opposing Vermont vision, and that Vermont vision has been ratified in no small part by the rest of the country.

If you doubt that, consider civil unions. When Dean signed the Civil Union legislation in 2000, his critics predicted the fall of civilization. Four years later, civil unions seemed quaint and old-fashioned compared to same-sex marriage, and both Dick Cheney and George Bush endorsed civil unions prior to the vote in November.

How does that happen? It can only happen in response to a vision of America that strikes many Americans as socially and morally just. It can only happen in response to a vision that is aggressive and unafraid to square off against all three major branches of federal government.

It can only happen, to put it bluntly, in Vermont.

__________

Philip Baruth is a novelist living in Burlington, VT. He teaches at the University of Vermont. This essay first aired as a commentary on Vermont Public Radio on 15 April 2005. © Copyright 2005, VPR


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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



* * * * *

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

 

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

 

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

 

* * * * *

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.

__________

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

* * * * *

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.

__________

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

 

* * * * *

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.

__________

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


* * * * *

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
__________

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


* * * * *

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.

__________

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

 

* * * * *

 

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

__________

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

 

* * * * *

 

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.

__________

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.

 

* * * * *

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.

__________

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

 

* * * * *

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 . . . .

__________

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.

 

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

IN A NUTSHELL

In order to
survive
we must keep hope
alive.

William Parker

* * * * *

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

__________

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.

 

* * * * *

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

__________

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

 

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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



* * * * *

A GOOD AND USEFUL LIFEIn Memoriam

DAVID DELLINGER

AUGUST 22, 1915 – MAY 25, 2004

* * * * *

In This Issue:

* David’s Notes: Good-bye to a Friend

 

* Dave Dellinger Remembered by Jay Craven

* A Link to the “Fresh Air” Terry Gross interview with Dave

 

* “The Guardian” Obituary

 

* Cards and Letters of Condolence, Remembrance and Celebration

 

* A Last Word from Dave Himself

* * * * *

 

DAVID’S NOTES:
Our friend David Dellinger died on May 25th. He was 88.

For those of you too young to remember who David Dellinger is: he was a life long radical peace activist. He was a conscientious objector during World War II and every war since then. He is best known as one of the Chicago Seven (actually eight) who were arrested and tried – for . . . for what? – during the riots in the streets of Chicago at the Democratic National Convention in 1968. If you don’t know Dave’s autobiography, FROM YALE TO JAIL: The Life Story of a Moral Dissenter (Pantheon Books, 1993) we recommend it.

We got to know Dave and his wife Elizabeth Peterson when they first moved to Vermont a little more than 20 years ago. We traded dinners back and forth some, hiked in the woods together a little, and went to concerts and performances together. But what I remember most about our friendship with Dave and Elizabeth was how faithful they were to both my wife Lois’ painting and my poetry and plays. Dave and Elizabeth never missed a reading of mine or the performance of one of my plays in central Vermont. And they came to every single opening of Lois’ art shows. They were, as all will attest, gregarious and friendly, interested and engaged.

Toward the end of Dave’s time in public, as his Alzheimer’s disease progressed, it became difficult to have Dave at a performance. He would speak out in a very loud voice whenever he felt like it, and usually from his favorite position in the front row. I finally felt I had to speak to Elizabeth about it.

The next time they came to a performance, Dave didn’t shout out, and afterward he came up to me and said, “Elizabeth told me you said I needed to be quiet.” It was a strange and discomforting position for me to be in, yet there was something sweet and fitting about it also. I thought about Shakespeare’s “Seven Ages of Man,” about this particular man, once so tough and forceful, so commanding and dominant, saying sheepishly, “Elizabeth told me you said I needed to be quiet.”

Well, Dave is quiet now, in a way, and in another way he is still in the front row shouting.

And it’s a good thing too. Dave Dellinger’s vision, his legacy, his non-violent, aggressive action in the name of love and justice is more important now than it ever has been. Especially now when the worst President in the history of the United States–with the sycophantic and disgraceful help of the mainstream media–orchestrates the deification of the second worst president in the history of the United States, it is more important than ever that we have Dave Dellinger’s example of how to speak truth to power.

It was a pleasure and an inspiration to have known Dave Dellinger as a friend. And it’s sad to have to say good-bye.

 

* * * * *

On June 5th at Peace Park in Montpelier, Vermont, about 300 people showed up for a Memorial Service for Dave. Members of the family and friends spoke. The high-point of the memorial service in Montpelier for me was film maker Jay Craven’s personal remembrance of Dave. Jay’s talk is a illustration of what a dynamic, forceful, commanding and influential person Dave Dellinger was. Jay’s talk follows here.

* * * * *

DAVE DELLINGER REMEMBERED
By Jay Craven
I played a role in facilitating Dave Dellinger’s move to Vermont. In 1980, I was working with Doreen Kraft and Robin Lloyd to make a film about the Sandinista’s National Literacy Crusade in Nicaragua. I didn’t have a clue about how to raise the money or mobilize other resources – so I called Dave. Within days, Dave had wrangled Benjamin Spock and Jonathan Kozol to write letters of support. He’d established contact for us with Pete Seeger, who performed a critical benefit concert. And made a link with actor Ossie Davis, who kindly performed the narration.

This man should have been a movie producer!

As always, Dave acted immediately and with his customary generosity-and effectiveness. During our phone conversations, Dave mentioned that he was working on his autobiography – and was looking for a place to get away and focus on it. I was pleased to have the chance to help – and I arranged for Dave to have a two-room former school house on a back road in Peacham. So, he came to Vermont that summer – of 1980 – as I remember. And he established a connection to Vermont that grew over the years, especially when he and Elizabeth bought a house, just a mile away from that old school house. And while they were here, they both have made extraordinary contributions to community life, to the struggle for peace and justice, and to practically every home they’ve met here.

Dave and old Yankee farmer Charles Morrison worked together as extras, sitting together for hours on the porch of the St. Johnsbury House, during the shooting of my film “Where the Rivers Flow North.”

Yesterday, I mentioned to Charles that I’d be here today. He asked me to give his regards to Elizabeth and remarked, “You know, I liked Dave quite a bit. He had his views. But I listened to him and I guess I learned quite a bit. And he listened to me, and well, we simply had some awfully good conversations,” Charles said. “I’ll miss him, if you really want to know the truth.”

Vermont was the right place for Dave and Elizabeth. They gave so much and Vermonters reciprocated, in kind.

I met Dave Dellinger one late night in the fall of 1970. I was a 19 year old student activist at Boston University. I gotten a call the night before from Chicago 7 defendant Rennie Davis who said that he and Dave were assembling a delegation of student leaders to travel to North and South Vietnam, to meet with student leaders there and negotiate a Peoples Peace Treaty that would outline terms for an end to the war – and declare that American student leaders had met with their Vietnamese counterparts to declare that we were not enemies.

Rennie asked if I’d be interested in being a part of this delegation. Travel to North Vietnam? I was completely scared. But I said, “Sure.”

Rennie said that I’d have to come immediately to Washington. He said I’d need to be interviewed by Dave Dellinger, who would make the decision on students who would travel in the delegation.

Frankly, I was pretty intimidated. Although Dave is best and very appropriately remembered for his spiritualism, his grace, and his espousal of love, he could also be pretty tough. After all, this guy had led the siege at the ’68 Chicago Convention, stood down armed troops at the Pentagon, survived solitary confinement at Danbury Prison during two prison terms, and driven an ambulance, unarmed, during the violent upheaval of the Spanish Civil War. And, according to Harry Belafonte, who participated in a series of telephone conversations between Dave and Martin Luther King, many of them heated, it was Dave’s fierce and unyielding persistence that was key in moving King to oppose the Vietnam War – a decision that had a monumental impact.

Anyway, the night after Rennie Davis called and asked me to meet Dave, I flew to Washington. I brought my college roommate with me – unsure what to expect. The taxi dropped us off at Rennie’s Lanier Place apartment and we climbed the stairs and knocked on the door.

One of the strongest images of my lifetime will be the sight when the door opened, of Dave Dellinger sitting in an overstuffed chair, smoking a cigar and drinking a glass of cognac. No one else spoke. Just Dave. He asked me to sit down. And then proceeded to ask me a series of questions. What was my history of opposition to the war? Had I ever participated in civil disobedience? And, finally, if I were to go to Vietnam, would I be willing to devote my next six months, traveling and helping to organize – May Day, – a massive civil disobedience demonstration in Washington the next spring. He told me that the May Day slogan was: “if the government won’t stop the war, the people will stop the government.”

I don’t think I’d ever been so scared. I knew who Dave was. I’d heard him speak to thousands of students at two anti-war rallies. And here he was, smoking a cigar – looking every inch the Godfather – two years before the movie even came out. After what felt like a pretty intense hour of questioning and dialogue, and a very graphic discussion of the current situation in Vietnam, including a blow-by-blow account of Nixon’s escalation of the air war, Dave finally said something funny. Thank God.

I said I would do everything Dave asked me to do that night – and I did. That night changed my life and prompted me to face the fears that I felt, at the prospect of this kind of bold activism. It marked the beginning of an extraordinary journey that would not have been possible without that turn of events. Or the events of May Day 1971 that resulted in the largest non-violent civil disobedient action in U.S. history, with more than 14,000 people arrested.

Dave wielded a singular influence in leading an anti-war movement that grew out of his unique experience of the long and turbulent American 20th Century. No one living today could duplicate that experience. Which is not to say that there won’t be new leaders who have great impact. And who have learned from the strengths and weaknesses of the movements that Dave helped lead. But Dave was an actor on the world stage at a unique time and among an extraordinary cast of characters. His long life provided an opportunity for an historical impact that spanned the entire century. Dave extended his unique articulation of protest, progressivism, and civil disobedience from the 1930’s all the way into the 21st century.

Dave helped launch me and many others along the path that prompted the continual growth and shifting of the American traditions of protest and civil disobedience. He learned from every young activist he met, which always distinguished him from other older activists who often lacked that same ability to easily cross generational boundaries. As a result, he remained forever young in his thinking.

Dave was friendly to his critics and critical to his friends. In 1971, I traveled to Cuba for Dave, when he could not attend the July 26th celebrations, because he was on court restriction related to the Chicago 7 trial. Dave was considered a good friend of the Cuban revolution – and I was looking forward to the trip. But Dave placed one requirement on me for that remarkable trip. He instructed me to present a letter to Fidel Castro that asked very hard questions and was sharply critical of the Cuban government’s treatment of gay people. He demanded that while I was in Cuba, I be given access to leading Cuban writers and artists who Dave knew to be gay. I wasn’t sure that this was not the ideal way to ingratiate yourself. But the Cubans respected Dave; they took his challenge seriously; and did everything Dave asked. I returned with a pretty full and fairly nuanced view of the situation, which Dave continued to press in his writing and correspondence with the Cubans.

So, yes, Dave was a tough guy.

My old Yippie friend Stew Albert, wrote me after Dave’s death to remind me of how Dave was the one non-Yippie to whom he always felt a special bond. Stew described how Dave’s reputation of a lifelong pacifist had many sides. Stew explained how, during the Chicago 8 trial of 1968-69, Judge Julius Hoffman had Panther defendant Bobby Seale bound and gagged. Dave protested the loudest, Stew said, and the life-long pacifist “got in some real shoving matches with the Federal Marshals.”

Stew remembered how, at the end of the day, his co-defendants all asked Dave how he, as a pacifist could be so rough and tough. “He replied with a twinkle in his eye that shoving can be a form of nonviolence if it is done at the right time and to resist evil.”

When his co-defendants teased him about it, the former burly college wrestler then looked around the room, then declared that he could “take” all the defendants except for Bobby Seale. Although Stew wasn’t a defendant, he looked at him and said “but I’m not sure about Stew.”

“Dave was really great,” Stew said, “because every once in a while he could be so magnificently unpredictable.”

And, yes, Dave could tangle with the best of them. In fact a close reading of Nixon’s White House tapes show how Tricky Dick had a running obsession with Dave, that suggests that he harbored a nagging fear of one day having to turn the White House over to him. This is just one example of Dave’s slogan, “more power than we know.”

I want to close, by remembering words spoken by the South African writer, Njabulo Ndebele, at my son’s recent Wesleyan University graduation, just two days before Dave’s death. Ndeble’s words prompted me to think, quite vividly, of Dave.

Ndebele invited the young graduates to consider how his country avoided racial war while throwing off decades of oppression. He mused at how the contending races had resolved their deep conflict without declaring victors and losers.

“What most of us recognized, at the very last moment,” Ndebele said, “was just how much we needed each other. We realized that violent confrontation promised only destruction and a long life of shared misery. It was a choice we made. It was a choice against the habit to march into final battle.”

“The two camps recognized mutual vulnerability through exposing themselves to considerable risk,” he said. “In doing so, both sides resisted the attractive habit to be “tough.” Being tough would have meant going to war, whatever the price. Each would have convinced themselves that truth was on their side. But thankfully, our leaders realized that being tough in this way had caused much misery. Caught in the clutches of danger, they discovered a new meaning of toughness, something much harder to do. They discovered that being tough was not so much about going to war, but in choosing to avoid it.”

Ndebele continued, “In doing so, South Africans gave up one-dimensional ways of thinking about one another. They became more tolerant, more accepting of personal or group faults. That has been the greatest revolution: the transformation of deeply held personal and group beliefs.”

David Dellinger was this kind of tough guy. Dave fought for this kind of revolution. In a world of nuclear arms, terrorism, and pre-emptive war, Dave’s views were considered radical. But they are views that, thanks to his tireless lifetime of work, will live beyond him.

—–

Jay Craven is a film maker and Artistic Director of Kingdom County Productions. His most recent film “The Year That Trembled” (2002) is a coming of age drama that takes place following the shootings at Kent State in 1970.

 

* * * * *

LISTEN TO THE TERRY GROSS “FRESH AIR” INTERVIEW WITH DAVE DELLINGER

To listen to Terry Gross’ interview with Dave:

  • go to: http://freshair.npr.org/day_fa.jhtml;jsessionid=0WG5ZWTMQB1VPLA5AINSFFI?display=day&todayDate=05/28/2004 
  • scroll down to Listen to Remembering Peace Activist David Dellinger and click on the underlined title.
     
  • Then select your preferred audio player and the interview will begin to download. It downloads quickly and begins automatically. 
  • This interview aired originally on 9 April 1993

     

    * * * * *

    THE GUARDIAN’S OBITUARY

    For the Dellinger obituary from The Guardian go to: http://www.guardian.co.uk/obituaries/story/0,3604,1226372,00.html

     

    * * * * *

    CARDS AND LETTERS OF CONDOLENCE, REMEMBRANCE AND CELEBRATION

    Cards and letters of condolence, remembrance and celebration can be sent to Elizabeth Peterson, Dave’s widow, at:
    Elizabeth Peterson
    Heaton Woods
    10 Heaton Street, #7
    Montpelier, VT 05602

    * * * * *

    A LAST WORD FROM DAVID DELLINGER

    Here, finally, we offer an excerpt from a few words Dave penned as an “Afterword” for the 2002 War Resisters League Calendar.

    —–

     

    LOVE FOR THOSE WHO DEFEND THE SYSTEM
    by
    David Dellinger
    Our nonviolent activism would be more positive if we stressed reaching out with love for our fellow human beings – love not only for the victims, but also for those who defend the existing system, including those who think they benefit from it, even toward the police and other security forces.

    Love for those who defend the system, including the police who harass and arrest us? Is that unrealistic?

    Let me testify that this kind of love makes a difference. In 1987, twenty of us invaded the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, protesting against U.S. sponsorship of the terrorist Nicaraguan Contras. When we were arrested and taken downstairs to be fingerprinted, an officer recognized me and introduced me to the other officers. He said, “This is Dave Dellinger, who I want you to meet because his actions are based on love for everyone, including us.”

    I also recognized him: The second time he had arrested me he had grabbed the arm of another officer, who was about to hit me on the head with a club, and said, “Stop. This is a good guy who doesn’t need to be hit like that.”

    Love for every human being is necessary for our individual growth and fulfillment. Those who practice this love benefit spiritually as they help others. While there are still badly needed changes in our anti-democratic society, I see positive signs that acting with love for other people and their needs does succeed.

    * * * * *

    Every act we perform today must reflect the kind of human relationships we are fighting to establish tomorrow.

    David Dellinger

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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



    * * * * *

    In This Issue:

    • Lynching and Torture: Then and Now by David Budbill
       
    • Sign a Petition of Apology and Grief to the Iraqi People


    * * * * *

    LYNCHING AND TORTURE: THEN AND NOW 
    by
    David Budbill

    What is it in the human psyche that would drive a person to
    commit such acts of violence against their fellow citizens?

    John Lewis

     

    in the Forward to
    Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America

    Many of you may have heard the feature on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday (5/8) about lynching, based on an exhibition called Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America. I first came across this exhibit, and book, a few years ago, so I was especially interested to hear what NPR would do with the subject. I was wondering whether they’d make any connection between the lynching photographs and the recent photographs from Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. They didn’t.

    I urge all who read this to go to the Without Sanctuary website at: http://www.musarium.com/withoutsanctuary and spend some serious time there. What you see there will illuminate the pictures you have been seeing from Abu Ghraib prison.

    One of the stunning parallels between the lynching photographs and the Abu Ghraib prison photographs is that there are photographs. Someone thought it necessary and good to record the events on film. In both situations, I believe, the photographs were taken for the same reason: to record a deed well done. In the case of the lynchings, the photographs also served the primary purpose of lynchings, to keep The Niggers in their place and to make them quake in fear before the superiority of “The Great White Race,” as Langston Hughes put it more than once.

    Another parallel is that in many of the photos from both places there are spectators to the crimes. As Leon F. Litwack says in his essay “Hellhounds,” included in Without Sanctuary,“In most lynchings, no member of the crowd wore a mask, nor did anyone attempt to conceal the names of the perpetrators.” The spectators were glad, in fact proud, to be there. Whole families went to see the lynching or the burning. Parents wrote notes for their children to excuse them from school so they could attend the “festivities.” Many of the lynching photographs were manufactured as picture postcards so they could be mailed to friends or Aunt Mary.

    Yet another parallel is the arrogant and celebratory mood of the people in the photographs. Here again is Litwack, “The use of the camera to memorialize lynchings testified to their openness and to the self-righteousness that animated the participants.” In this context, one thinks especially of the photo from Abu Ghraib of the two American soldiers giving the thumbs up sign.

    There is one stark difference, however, between the photos from Abu Ghraib prison and the lynching photos. All the lynching photos are of corpses, maimed and mutilated, scorched and burned. None of the pictures from Abu Ghraib prison are of dead people-at least none we have seen yet.

    The photographs of lynchings and the ones from Abu Ghraib are a grizzly tour through a portion of our collective psyche that George Bush swears does not exist. He said exactly that on May 7th when speaking of the photographs from Abu Ghraib, “This isn’t the America we know. They present a picture that doesn’t exist.”

    Take a look at Without Sanctuary, at what you see from Abu Ghraib, and tell me those pictures don’t exist, tell me they aren’t a part of our collective psyche.

    This administration’s insistence that these atrocities are the actions of “a few bad apples” is yet another way we continue to deny our real past and to buy into the myth of American exceptionalism. It is also a tried and true, classic and transparent, way those in power, the higher-ups, pass the buck to their underlings.

    It’s true that neither George Bush nor Donald Rumsfeld tortured any prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison. Ordinary soldiers did that. Again here is Leon Litwack, “… hate and fear transformed ordinary white men and women into mindless murderers and sadistic torturers.” How did this happen? It must be that the people in those lynching pictures–both the witnesses and the perpetrators–lived in a society that in subtle and obvious ways not only permitted lynchings but condoned, encouraged and approved them.

    Very shortly after 9/11 George Bush announced “Operation Infinite Justice,” his catch phrase for the war on terror. It was, the catch phrase says, sanctioned by “the infinite,” in other words, a Crusade–just like earlier Crusades when Christians went to the Middle East to convert the heathen infidel, the hated Muslim, either by The Book or by the sword.

    As early as a few weeks after 9/11 the Bush administration, by their words, began preparing American society for the pictures from Abu Ghraib prison. It was clear to everyone that this war was to be George Bush’s holy war, a war of good against evil, a war against the infidel, the barbarian, the ultimate threat to the American way of life, a war against The Nigger.

    And Donald Rumsfeld’s announcement, also shortly after 9/11, that the United States would no longer consider the Geneva Convention’s rules for prisoners of war applicable to the United States, also helped prepare us–both our soldiers in Iraq and we here at home–for those pictures.

    Torture of the enemy, the hated other – the “evil doers” as George Bush would say – has always been part of racial or ethnic warfare. The examples are myriad: Japanese against Chinese, Chinese against Koreans, American settlers against Native Americans, Hutus against Tutsis, Israeli Jews against Palestinian Arabs, in the Sudan right now Arab Muslims against African Muslims, and Americans against Iraqis. Denying, as George Bush does, that this kind of behavior has a deep and long standing place in both our past and our present guarantees that the problem will continue.

    Until we can get away from our self-righteousness, until we can stop denying our past and our present, until we stop making excuses for ourselves, until we can openly admit to these crimes–and to that dark place in all of humanity from which we Americans are not exempt–we are condemned to continue down our present path to disaster.

     

    ____________________________________________________________________________
    Editor’s Note: Quotations from John Lewis and Leon F. Litwack come from Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America, Twin Palms Publishers, © 2000, P.O. Box 10229, Sante Fe, NM 87504-1022.
    Quotations from George Bush come from National Public Radio.

    * * * * *

    Visit the Without Sanctuary website at: http://www.musarium.com/withoutsanctuary

     

    * * * * *

    PETITION OF APOLOGY AND GRIEF TO THE IRAQI PEOPLE:

    You can sign a petition of apology and grief for the chaos and destruction America has brought to Iraq. When a good amount of signatures have been collected the petition will be sent to Al Jazeera, and other Iraqi papers. To sign the petition, go to:http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/823718136

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