Blog

  • 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.
  • George W's Innocence Project

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    I’ve got a stone in my shoe. It’s been there for 18 painful years. I can’t seem to accommodate myself to it. Because every so often it grows another sharp edge. Those familiar with the Americans Who Tell the Truth portrait project know that the stone planted itself in my shoe shortly after 9/11 when the Bush administration launched the propaganda for attacking Iraq. This was a war crime. At Nuremberg after World War II we hung Nazis for similar crimes against humanity.
  • To Stand Up a Stone

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    The following blog post originated as an address given byRobert Shetterlyat the Brunswick [Maine]Peace Fair, August 3, 2019. I was talking with my friend Roger Kirby recently about his work. He’s a painter. He’s English and summers in Brooksville [Maine] near me. He told me he’s become fascinated with the ancient standing stones located in over 1,000 sites around the U.K. and Brittany.