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Friday, June 23, 2006

Peace Activist William Sloane Coffin Dies at 81

I'm old enough to remember the early civil rights struggles in America and certainly old enough to remember the Vietnam protests (I have some clubbing and gassing experiences I could share here sometime - that is, me being clubbed and gassed).

Reverend William Sloane Coffin died recently (story) He was one of the very public leaders and activists in those times. An establishment man (wealthy, influential family, war veteran, at one time worked for the CIA) - he became a committed, articulate and brave activist, who was able to bring Christianity into democracy in a way that is sadly lacking today.

I remember him saying that people are often 'love things and use people' and should learn to be 'love people and use things'. In the past few decades (since Reagan particularly, there has been a rapid rush to the top of the wealth heap by a tiny minority of Americans - at the expense of the majority sliding to the bottom or being squeezed lower in the middle. Where are the religious voices? What happened to the rich man and the camel and all that?

As for the Democrats - yes, they may win congress and even the Presidency by letting Bush and company self-destruct. But where is the fervor for what is right? Where are the voices for building a real democracy? What about the poor? What about the international disgust with America? What about torture and rendition? What about medicare for all? What about education, and hungry children and reducing the prison population?

May the spirit of William Sloane Coffin enter the discourse in America... and may the fires rage.

Fundamentalist Pagan???
I hate to say it Gary, but I don't even understand why I live in the US anymore. Perhaps it's lethargy that comes with age.
On a more cheerful note - I am convinced now that "the system as we know it" has to completely crumble before anything new can arise. So yes, the Democrats in the US are part of what has to crumble as well; no vision, no stamina, no nothing ... very much unlike Sloane Coffin who could articulate issues in his time.
One of the issues in the US which have to be abolished and destroyed before you even can talk about a Democratic country again, is that those who seek positions in politics presently only win a seat hear or there if they prove to be multimillionaires and use that money to campaign, which in my view could instead be used to improve other things in society. What I mean is, the one who has the "buck" wins. That is not democracy, that is bourgeois hierarchy.
Besides, a democracy needs a minimum of three vital parties - otherwise you remain to be a "Duocracy".
Long live the empire, until it crumbles...
... oh, and by the way - I despise "anonymous" posters
Anonymous despises Zee.
Okay you two - no hate messages, break it up or I'll send you to your rooms until you can blog together nicely.

Zee, some people post anonymous because they don't have accounts - others just because they prefer it.

Anonymous, Zee likes to provoke now and then, but he's an artist and a lover at heart.
Ok, ok - I actually laugh my ass off - and may the fires of importance rage!
If we had a military draft I think you would hear the same roar that the 60's heard.

I have my Vietnam POW/MIA bracelet. Remember those? The guy named on mine was shot down and killed. I didn't find this out until about five years ago. I did some work with the help of a reporter in NY and found his son. I offered the bracelet to him and he said he would like it at some time, but I haven't heard from him again.
POP - you're right about the draft - bring it back and people will marching in the streets.
I do remember the bracelets - it would have been interesting to meet the son (perhaps difficult).
First of all, I want to hear those clubbing and gassing stories! I'll wait patiently (my version of).

Secondly, what an insightful post. You seem to have an excellent comprehension of what's going on here. Are you just super smart or is the distance you have on the subject or both (I'll pick C).

Thirdly, who painted that portrait? It looks like a Rockwell sort of thing. Do you know?

Yes, we could use this man's spirit right about now.
We could also all learn a lot from the spirit of Simon Bolivar!!!
I'll do a post on the anti-war protests soon Jublu. Thanks for the compliments, I'm probably just a good 'gleaner'.

The portrait came from a cool site called Americans Who Tell The Truth and is by Robert Shetterley.
One of his quotes I like is listed below. To day we are obsessed with the idea of protecting freedom, at the expense of personal freedom and liberty !which has the opposite intended effect !!

"It's too bad that one has to conceive of sports as being the only arena where risks are, [for] all of life is risk exercise. That's the only way to live more freely, and more interestingly."
Best wishes
"Doctor doctor, will I die?" "Yes my child... and so will I." (anon) It's true for you and me too. Meanwhile, let's find some meaning for ourselves, enjoy the beauty and do things that won't leave a mess for our kids and their kids.

someone wise has this posted on their blog, and it's good to remember at times like this.
Where are the religious? Majority are busily pursuing the big buck.
are you sure democracy needs christianity, Gary and not the other way around? ;o)

things may change - heard on the news this morning Warren Buffet is giving away his wealth to the Bill Gates charity. that's the top two wealthiest blokes on the philanthropist trail.
Thanks Lindsay, Calooh and Worried.

Ian, it is interesting, isn't it? I wonder if Bill and Melinda Gates will excerpt social and political will at sometime to shift systems in the world - I admire their hard work on causes.
Hello fellow Canuck! Great post and interesting comments. I live in Austin TX (I know I know) and it is a little diverse (politically and otherwise) haven in a red sea of republicanism here. There are some great contributors to the discussion of 'how to get democracy back in the US' by the likes of Jim Hightower, Molly Ivins, Robert Jensen and speaking of 'Christians' who don't support Bush or the Democrat's apparent apathy of sorts; Davidson Loehr. He wrote a book which is really a compilation of sermons that are very insightful, scary and a condemnation of 'Christians' who basically have surrendered to the non questioning, literal thinking of way too many fundamental churches. I highly recommend his book; America, Fascism + God. I posted something on that in June and I suggest this link for reading his sermon on the Fundamentalist Agenda; http://www.uuworld.org/2004/01/feature2.html.
Btw Gary, found you by way of Lindsay's lobes..them lobes are &^% magnets I tell ya!

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