Blog

  • Jacob Blake and Harriet Tubman

    on
    One can only wonder at the thinking of policemen who, after all the outrage at cops killing unarmed black people, do it again. Have they not, by this time, been instructed touse their weapons only in self defense, to have some sensitivity to Black Lives Matter? Do they think that all of the other killings werejustified and didn't go far enough? Or, when a terrible scenekeeps repeating itself, is this whatsystemic or structural violent racism looks like?
  • The Elusive Truths of Democracy

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    The Fight for the Soul of the Democratic Party: The Enduring Legacy of Henry Wallace’s Antifascist, Antiracist Politics John Nichols Verso, 2020, 286pp Nothing could be timelier than John Nichols’ terrific new book, The Fight for the Soul of the Democratic Party, which begins by examining what happened to the New Deal in the middle and late 1940’s as the crisis of the Depression was abating and World War II ending.
  • Murphy Davis: Surely Goodness and Mercy

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    Surely Goodness and Mercy: A Journey into Illness and Solidarity, by Murphy Davis Open Door Community Press, Baltimore , MD, 2020 Murphy has been dancing with the angels fora long time now, but she still has the grace to think about the rest of us, to teach us some of the steps.
  • White Men in Suits, Original Sin, and  Rumplestiltskin 

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    As a kid growing up in Ohio in the 1950’s and ‘60’s I was taught to admire and respect -frankly, be intimidated by -white men in suits. They were the priests of the High Holy Church of How the World Works, constantly chanting the liturgy of economic expansion, war, consumption, entitlement, white supremacy, American superiority, extraction of profit from nature .
  • The Alchemy of Turning Protest to Affirmation

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    When I try to describe how it feels to be alienated - from a country, a group, a partner, an idea, the past, a culture, an identity - lots of emotions surface. Alienation generates anger and sorrow, confusion and loneliness. Yearning and weariness. Despair. Often that which one feels alienated from and the feelings generated are multiple.
  • After the Lockdown, the Jailbreak

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    What's going on? We had lockdown; we've got jailbreak. But the prisoners aren’t running away; they’re marching, chanting, getting rearrested for the cause of justice. They’re risking infection. Infact, they’re embracing a new infection: people power. Their risk is not in trying to reopen an economy but to rebirth social justice, racial justice,a just economy. Any regime, even a corrupt one, can create a burgeoning economy; only a democracy can build social justice. What’s going on?
  • The Murder of George Floyd: The Longest Running Play in America

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    “The great evil of American slavery was not involuntary servitude, but rather the narrative of racial differences we created to legitimize slavery. Because we never dealt with that evil, I don't think slavery ended in 1865, it just evolved.” - Bryan Stevenson Think of Derek Chauvin’s knee. The weight of it. The sadistic centuries-deep applied weight of it. Its brutality. Its power. Its ball-bearing-like, skull-like, stone-like shape. How the knee’s deadly utility must have given him such pleasure.
  • Thomas Jefferson: One Man, Two Legacies

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    When 75 Americans Who Tell the Truth portraits were shown at numerous locations around Charlottesville, Virginia, from January through April of this year, three of them, Frederick Douglass, John Lewis and Fannie Lou Hamer, were exhibited at Monticello, the celebrated home of Thomas Jefferson. The stately house and grounds, all designed by Jefferson, are exquisite. The rooms of the building are high-ceilinged but not large and the house is far less ostentatious than a contemporary McMansion.
  • The Coronavirus and Why We Have Government

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    The U.S. government’s dismal lack of preparation for the coronavirus pandemic encourages us to ask why people have governments. The answers are twofold: one basic, the other particular to now and to the United States. The basic answer to the why of government is similar to what Robert Frost said about poetry; it’s a hedge against chaos.
  • AWTT/Why Art?

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    The Americans Who Tell the Truth project began with art. Part of the reason for that is obvious: I am an artist. And I choose art because it enables me to communicate most profoundly and honestly. When I say communicate, however, I don’t mean that my first concern is communicating with other people. Art allows me to communicate with myself. I paint an image; the image then speaks back to me, informs me of ideas and concerns beyond what I knew I had.