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.
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?
You can now get posters, magnets, buttons, or postcards with this image at the very wonderful Syracuse Cultural Workers.
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?
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.
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.