Balance?

Balance3

We will be hear­ing the word “bal­ance” a great deal with the Ken Burns and Lynn Novick doc­u­men­tary series on Viet­Nam com­ing up this fall. Ques­tion the notion. When a mega pow­er invades a small coun­try and then tells the sto­ry, there is no bal­ance. The telling of the dom­i­nat­ing per­spec­tive is anoth­er war (this time for our minds) even when coat­ed with mis­di­rects, niceties and seduc­tions. If you want to arm your­self before lis­ten­ing to the Burns-Novick work read John Mar­ciano’s The Amer­i­can War in Viet­nam: Crime or Com­mem­o­ra­tion or go to the Vets for Peace Full Dis­clo­sure site.

Common Ground

Let’s remem­ber there are many things we have in com­mon. The need for love, secu­ri­ty, food, shel­ter, health, hous­ing. Watch­ing our chil­dren grow into their amaz­ing possibilities.Working jobs that respect our dig­ni­ty.  Grow­ing into old age hon­ored and pro­tect­ed. How is fan­ning the flames of dis­trust between us block­ing our right to meet those needs?

Who is UnCivil?

civility, political strategy, social movement

I believe it is impor­tant for activists to be dis­ci­plined in our dis­cus­sions about social issues. We need to speak to allies and poten­tial allies in a way that edu­cates, sup­ports, ral­lies and sus­tains peo­ple rather than vent­ing at peo­ple of pow­er. This is not a moral issue, but one of prac­ti­cal strate­gic sense. We need to keep build­ing. How­ev­er, we must ques­tion the source of this cur­rent push to empha­size civil­i­ty, an inces­sant point­ing the fin­ger of con­dem­na­tion at the enraged expres­sions of oppressed peo­ple. It puts the onus of “civil­i­ty” on peo­ple who do not call the shots, rather than on the those who do. Hmm. A mis­di­rect?

Commune (The Verb)

It is easy when doing polit­i­cal posters to focus on our trou­bles. There are many, after all. Some­times, how­ev­er, I nudge myself to con­cen­trate on our vision of a bet­ter life, to remind myself why I got involved in move­ments in the first place. The pow­er and joy of deep con­nec­tion with earth, the nat­ur­al world, with oth­er human beings. The impor­tance of cre­at­ing eco­nom­ic sys­tems and social insti­tu­tions that hon­or and sup­port those con­nec­tions. Doing this poster brought me back to those first excit­ing, very con­nect­ed days way back when.… Sigh.

Make Truth The New Normal

WearWhistle

Any­one remem­ber the sto­ry about George Wash­ing­ton chop­ping down the cher­ry tree, then own­ing up to it when his dad­dy asked who the cul­prit was? “I can­not tell a lie,” lit­tle Georgie said. I don’t know about you but that sto­ry was cen­tral to my ear­li­est social stud­ies edu­ca­tion. Hon­esty the best pol­i­cy. Our heroes the truth-tellers. Nev­er mind it was polit­i­cal mythol­o­gy, not actu­al­ly true, part of the con­jur­ing up of false fronts for those in pow­er. I’m going to run with it.  My heroes are the truth-tellers. The brave ones who actu­al­ly do speak the truth. No mat­ter what, because it’s the right thing to do. In fact, I’m going to take it a step fur­ther. Let’s not admire those heroes. Let’s be those heroes. Let’s all grab a whis­tle.