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"Where is the Love?" Kristof asks in his Thanksgiving column for the New York Times. Thanksgiving is a euphemistic feast. I still haven't found just the right term to describe cannibals bloodlessly and indirectly destroying and consuming their own kind. Some call it "sacrifice," but that too is a euphemism. "Symbolic predation" doesn't work because the injury and destruction are all too real. The culture of obedience preaches that less than lethal force is OK as long as there's an ulterior motive, better yet an ideological imperative. The culture of obedience inflicts force to impose peace. The U.S. is still destroying the village to Read on →
Way back in 1988, I sat across from Strom Thurmond in his Capitol Hill office in Washington, D.C., and listened as he explained his opposition to federal anti-lynching laws and any other federal encroachment on states’ rights during his long career. “I felt it was dangerous to shift it all to Washington,” the then-85-year-old U.S. senator and former Dixiecrat presidential candidate from South Carolina told me. “Lynching was nothing but murder. All states had laws against murder. … I’ve never had any feelings against minorities.” Never mind that Thurmond, who died at 101 in 2003, led the Dixiecrat revolt out of the Democratic Par Read on →
"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me." There is considerable cultural wisdom embedded within idioms, fables and nursery rhymes. Consider "The early bird gets the worm," "The Tortoise and the Hare," and "The Boy Who Cried Wolf." Which makes the "sticks and stones" adage such a glaring exception. As a child, I broke three bones, once turning my forearm into a stair step by slipping from a swing -- at the zenith of its rearward arc -- onto wet grass. Although traumatic at the time, my orthopedic mishaps have long since healed, and I give them Read on →
Last week Americans saw heavy media coverage of the death 50 years ago of President John F. Kennedy. I couldn't help but compare the aftermath and funeral of JFK with that of Abraham Lincoln, both victims of assassins. One reason this came to mind is because I had just finished a year-long project -- reading Carl Sandburg's six volume biography of Lincoln. (Altogether, it was about 2,400 pages, and that in small type. I gave myself a year to read it, and as a reward, could read a shorter book when I finished each volume.) Sandburg's massive biography is a great read, Read on →