Sunday, June 22, 2008

"Heroic Actions" - and The Military

I was listening to Air America Radio yesterday and was bothered by the repeated references the program host made to essentially saying that soldiers and veterans of the U.S. military are heroes whom we should honor. Given that repeatedly on Air America one hears of the need to end the War in Iraq and how President Bush was totally wrong in sending troops there for the current War, such references - stand out in my mind.

Obviously it was wrong for Americans to disrespect and do worse towards veterans returning from Vietnam in the late 1960's and early 1970's. The soldiers are not responsible for the war policies that our "leaders" repeatedly take. We should not criticize the soldiers, but rather the "warmakers".

There is a difference between trashing veterans and making them into heroes in one's statements.

Saying that soldiers and veterans are "heroes" glorifies their "sacrifices" and indirectly makes the military and through them Wars out to be a Logical place for young people to go seeking heroism and similar.

IF we really believe in ending racism, sexism, domestic violence, rape, economic injustice and similar we really need to view those who do a lot in such areas as our true heroes. Marion Wright Edelman who founded The Children's Defense Fund in 1973 is a good example of someone I would call a "hero". She has done an incredible amount of wonderful work to help others over many years. Paul Robeson, Cesar Chavez, I.F. Stone, Bayard Rustin and many others - often not famous are some of my heroes.

A civil-rights fixture in Louisville for more than five decades, Anne Braden fought tirelessly for desegregated schools, open housing, equal policing, gay rights and racial tolerance. .... Braden and her husband, Carl Braden, gained national attention in 1954 when they bought a house for an African-American couple in an all-white neighborhood near Shively. .....Since then, she's spoken out on a range of issues, including gay rights, Rubbertown pollution and police shootings of black residents. She taught classes on civil rights and social-justice history at Northern Kentucky University and at the University of Louisville. ....Even after turning 80, Braden continued to show up at local council meetings and protests. She attended an antiwar march in Washington last fall, riding in a wheelchair amid thousands of marchers.
(from her obit - 2006 - Anne and Carl Braden - were true "heroes".

Many heroes do incredible things in their lives despite facing abuse as a child or as an adult, or simply doing "simple" (complex really) things like caring for a severely handicapped child or helping others in many, many ways. Many such heroes give an incredible amount to others seeing how giving helps them within their spirit - their soul - their essence. Often they see the interconnectedness of many issues and don't see their lives and causes in isolation from the larger worlds around them.

I wouldn't want to say that a soldier could not be a Hero. I would, though say that saving the lives of others and similar in war, while certainly is honorable, supporting the killing of others by being a soldier is Not always "good". It is sad that joining the military is seen by so many as either an economic necessity or as a The Way to be Heroic. Someday I hope that people will see being a nurse or teacher or many other things as being "the way to be heroic" -
in the ways that so many of our young and others see being a soldier and veteran today.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Looking Towards the Election - "Dirty Tricks?"?

In thinking of the coming months towards the election I come back time and again to seeing two related but different paths of Dirty Tricks that might allow McCain to defeat Obama. Guessing specifics are hard, but thinking of possibilities is fairly easy.

It looks to me like it's likely that Obama will be the heavy favorite to win in November. The economy, The War, McCain's - weak base of support and similar make a sizable win by the Democrats including Obama seem likely.

Such a scenario leads me to see a likelihood of Something Major to shake things up.

Iran - an attack on it - making it into a "Gulf of Tonkin" - type - Necessary Defensive Act - to rally the "patriotism" (sic) - behind McCain seems the most logical path for the "necessary drastic" type of situation.

Some other type of dramatic act that creates a warlike fervor - seems quite possible.

I could imagine some trumped up bombing or stopping of a "major plot" - that somehow was building up Bush and through him McCain - and making Obama look - "too radical" - or otherwise out of the mainstream - in the fall.

Related to this or the second scenario - I could imagine - suddenly in about October the Saudi's dramatically increasing their oil production and the price of gas suddenly dropping at least 40 cents to a dollar a gallon.

Assuming that the election is much closer it seems more likely that there would be multiple smaller things that might help McCain.

"Election irregularities" - in Florida - or some other state with a Republican Governor and legislature - could happen again. Ohio - would need to be more guarded - because the Democrats are in power now there.

Right Wing - attacks on Obama - from the Limbaugh types - will of course be there in any case - accusing him of being Muslim and worse - will be there in any case.

Getting the campaign - against Obama - rather than exposing McCain's weaknesses - will of course be a prime aim of the Republicans and their supporters.

We are fortunate that McCain - lacks a clear support - except as: "not a Black man" and "Not a Democrat" - among so many of his potential supporters.

I hope for the best, but....


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Loving Day - Some Thoughts

Today is Loving Day.

For many people including myself until a few years ago, I’d not have had a clue what this might signify (wondering if it related to “loving”). Being a White Man partnered with a Black Woman, it has become meaningful to me.

Mildred and Richard Loving were married in Washington, D.C. in 1958. They returned home to Virginia where their marriage was illegal. He was White and She Black. Six months later they were arrested and their one year prison sentence was suspended with the agreement that they would leave Virginia and not return. After Mildred Loving wrote Robert Kennedy (then Attorney General of the U.S.) and much legal effort on his part The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 12, 1967 that states could not deny the right to marriage based upon Race. This invalidated the laws of 16 states in 1967.

“On November 7, voters in Alabama erased from that state's Constitution a provision dating from 1901 that declared that "the legislature shall never pass any law to authorize or legalize any marriage between any white person and a Negro, or descendant of a Negro." (The Nation: December 7, 2000) Alabama was the last state to eliminate a (by then non-enforceable) ban on interracial marriage less than eight years ago after multiple efforts over the years.

In thinking of this, I think also of how we live insular lives, forgetting parts of history that are often omitted from the stories we hear, as well as Never Knowing that which is not deemed “relevant” to our lives. Paul Robeson, once the best known Black Man in the U.S. became “forgotten” because he was a Communist and otherwise “bad” in the minds of many. Many Black people don’t know of him (as well as most of us White Folks). Pele, the great soccer player, was unknown to most USians until relatively late in his career because soccer didn’t used to be important here. I am certainly ignorant about many icons who my step-sons know much of.

Hopefully over time we will learn more of others who have changed the lives of others in important ways! Thanks!