Come Home, America


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. knew well of what he spoke when he addressed a meeting of Clergy and Laity Concerned at Riverside Church in New York City on April 4  (1967) in regards to the Vietnam Conflict:

“Come home, America.”

In Harper’s Magazine, Andrew J. Bacevich made the connection between Dr. King’s words and the current war in Afghanistan. I wholeheartedly agree, and would press further this point by taking a look at the heading-titles from the speech itself:

1. “The Importance of Vietnam [Afghanistan]

I believe it well past the point in terms of the expenditure of American Treasure to the nation of Afghanistan to set a clear withdrawal strategy, and then hold to it.

2. “Strange Liberators

We are not the nation to spread liberty and justice for all across the Mid-East. Whatever preconceptions one may have, the fact remains that stabilization efforts that operate outside U.S. Military influence remain intact while U.S. facilities are destroyed and rebuilt in a constant cycle within Afghanistan.

3. “This Madness Must Cease

We cannot afford to throw lives and money into a nation with no clear estimation on how long it will take to achieve this lofty goal of a “terrorist safe-bed” being prevented from being formed. The bottom line is we are pointlessly infrastructure-building and policing Afghanistan, and this madness must cease. Sooner rather than later.

4. “Protesting The War

At this stage, in November of 2009, I do not believe there is a valid anti-war protest platform to take. President Obama is weighing the decisions carefully. However, should his decision-to-come be something to nature of huge troop increases with no time line for withdrawal I believe the voice of the people should be known in the streets.

5. “The People Are Important

The people of Afghanistan are who are important in this issue. The constant fighting takes more and more innocent lives every day. Without a time line and an attainable mission statement, the continued occupation of Afghanistan is nothing but a quagmire. A quagmire that not only costs American lives, but the lives of those caught in the crossfire.

If truly we seek to build up nations that have systemic problems that may effect our national security agenda then as Bacevich reminded us the nation of Mexico would be of primary interest to those in Washington D.C.

The U.S. could take part in other “humanitarian invasions” under these same circumstances.

The entire concept that we can “fix” another nation with increased troops and increased involvement is absurd.

Andrew J. Bacevich:

Fixing Afghanistan is both unnecessary and impossible. Rather, we should be erecting and maintaining a robust defense.

I find it rare to find people willing to make the pro-defensive military argument. I applaud Bacevich for this recent article in Harper’s. Worthy of your attention, to be sure.

If Women Ruled the World…

’Women’s Liberation’ Aims to Free Men, Too

 Gloria Steinem, The Washington Post, June 7th, 1970

“Simply Incorruptible”

“ONE FINAL myth that women are more moral than men. We are not more moral; we are only uncorrupted by power. But until the old generation of male chauvinists is out of office women in positions of power can increase our chances of peace a great deal.”

“I personally would rather have had Margaret Mead as President during the past six years of Vietnam than either Lyndon Johnson or Richard Nixon. At least she wouldn’t have had her masculinity to prove. Much of the trouble this country is in has to do with the masculine mystique: The idea that manhood somehow depends on the subjugation of other people. It’s a bipartisan problem.”

***

I do not fully subscribe to Steinem’s logic that women are uncorrupted by power. I believe absolute power corrupts absolutely, with no exceptions. However, it may very well be true in the time the words were first spoken that if the so dubbed ‘masculine mystique’ were removed from the scenario that many atrocities committed in Vietnam might have been averted.

The greater issue, in my mind, is always resources and the means of production. Such matters supersede the confines of gender and gender roles. I am, however, quite willing to commit to the idea that if only women were allowed to hold administrative offices that there would indeed be far less warfare in the world as a whole.

Ultimately, there would be no end to wars and subjugation of one over the other. I envision a world of more practical wars and even more decisive moves than those we see in leaders both of the past and today. The War Machine would continue, but take a form it has known before. A much more humble machine.

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Gloria Steinem is a free-lance writer and a contributing editor of New York Magazine. The accompanying article [above quote] is excerpted from a commencement address at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Miss Steinem says that it “was prepared with great misgivings about it’s reception, and about the purpose of speaking at Vassar.”

 

http://scriptorium.lib.duke.edu/wlm/aims/

Just Call Me a Populist-Christian

A liberal, sure. First and foremost.

But I’m not running from being labeled a populist. Red-baiting doesn’t phase me anymore. Let those who attempt and fail at political understanding call me what they will. I am unashamed. With the change of a single word in a historical quote from the first American Populist to run for president in 1896 you can sum up everything I have to say about the current condition of the American Economy:

You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns, you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold [credit].”  – William J. Bryan

The bloody cross of the middle-class and the working-poor should be bore no longer! The whips of old exchanged for bare hands.

This yoke of “credit” and “credit approval” has far too long strangled the workforce of North America from advancing in social class and status. The burden by no means stops there.

The very integrity of the American-worker has been bought and sold on the open market for far too long.

The largest of institutions have had ultimate sway on matters pertaining to them for an age and a day too long.

The era of protectionism has taught us well. No market is isolated. No economy is independent of the strongest economy known to exist. Recent events have shown us this beyond any reasonable doubt.

But the era of “Deceptionism” has yet to be fully addressed, or even understood. No industry is without accountability. No private incorporation is fit to possess a majority share of any highly successful venture.

The essence of mass-deregulation and “trickle-down economies” have only benefited the highest levels of the business world up until now and will only ever benefit the rich at the cost of the poor.

I do not support a return to the Gold Standard as those like Congressman Ron Paul who I have much respect for propose. The credit system and the existence of “credit lines” themselves are not the source of the crown of thorns.

Those who sought to lead us blindly into this recession cannot be fully trusted. Those who hide the truth become party to a much greater misdeed. We should stand silent no longer.

To those who came before us in days of Vietnam. We say to them we have seen your sorrows and known your pain. But we are not shedding blood nor issuing violence as our battering ram against authority.

We demand recognition that our tools are but words, protests and non-violent actions. Choked of our very means of ways by the ever-expanding, all powerful monopolies across our markets. Let all who allowed this to transpire as such come only but to apologize before the public.

Let the regulators who took part in this only shamefully resign. Let the business leaders who did nothing to tell of the coming recession when many Americans, including my father and myself, were fully aware of its coming onslaught only plead for willingness to allow them near our political structure.

I say these words as member of the Progressive Movement and a registered Democratic voter in California. Let us never forget the modern progressive, or alternatively the modern liberal, was forged in the first Progressive Reform Movement of one hundred years past. And the Populist Movement stands the father of the Progressive.

While we do not resemble our forerunners we are much the same as they. There is no tolerance for “absolutism” in the control of the means to better ourselves.