Peacemaking is a journey, not a point of arrival

Peacemaking is a journey, not a point of arrival. I never thought my up bringing would lead me to this event. My Evangelical background dismissed anything labeled “inter-faith” – and its stark “saved/lost” dichotomy almost relished the idea of leaving some behind. Continue Reading

The problem with appeasement

It has become the all-too-common political slur de jour: any indication that one is willing to sit down and talk with an adversary is painted with the slanderous epithet used to describe British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain acquiescing to the diabolical ambitions of Adolph Hitler – appeasement. Technically, “offering concessions in order to secure peace” is the definition but modern abuse of the term to slander another seems to involve even recognizing the humanity of the other. Opinion: The problem with appeasementWhen efforts at diplomacy are categorically dismissed as being “weak” or “un-Presidential” or might be construed as too “effeminate,” then the only weapons political leaders are left with are the deadly, military ones. Bombast and bluster become backed by bomb blasts and cluster bombs. Today’s political climate doesn’t even allow for the Manifest Destiny swagger of Teddy Roosevelt: “Speak softly but carry a big stick.” Somehow, even speaking softly to one’s adversary is suspect today. Continue Reading

Why I don’t ‘support the troops’

When conscientious people opposing the present war put up signs “Support the Troops – Bring Them Home”, it sends a mixed message. How does one “support” those, who, for a variety of reasons, chose to be trained to kill others on the basis of orders from a “superior” officer or the “Commander-in-Chief”? Clearly the primary responsibility for the war must lay with those who planned it, ordered it, and voted to pay for it with our tax dollars (or, more accurately, with debt to be placed on future generations). But remember those provocative and attractive posters from the Vietnam era: “What if they gave a war and nobody came?” If no one “volunteered” for our “Volunteer Army”, how could our politicians choose to go to war on false and manufactured evidence? Our politicians know that if we continue to permit many to go uncounted as we claim “full employment” and continue to allow the minimum wage to be set significantly below a “livable wage”, and allow college costs to skyrocket while loans and grants to students expire, there will always be some driven by an economic conscription to “enlist”. Continue Reading

This Is What Democracy Looks Like?

The chants rang out: “Who is a terrorist?” with the reply echoing, “Bush is a terrorist!” “This is what democracy looks like” – with the reply “Bush is what hypocrisy looks like!” Bless their hearts; people are angry and fed up with war and occupation. The need to vent their anger at the geo-political realities certainly seems necessary as the war for oil and domination continues in its fifth year – with signs that it might not abate until our military is completely broken or our political “leaders” grow some spine and stand up to the Administration. I remember hearing Dick Gregory, the great humanitarian, civil rights activist, and comedian say during the protests against the Vietnam War, “If democracy is as good as we claim it is, we won’t have to shove it down others throats with the barrel of a gun. If it is so good, people will steal it!” The notion of going to war to establish “democracy” in the Middle East is preposterous. But chanting epithets on a street corner in south Minneapolis at noon on a sunny October day didn’t make me proud that “this is what democracy looks like” when it is coupled with angry personal taunts at the President or his policies. Continue Reading

Local newspaper fails to cover the local angle of the story

Recently, City Pages, with tongue firmly in cheek, announced that the new Star Tribune Ombudsman was their own Matt Snyder. Maybe City Pages does need to “hire” Matt Snyder as an ombudsman on behalf of the Star Tribune who recently “reassigned” theirs. The Strib editor claimed that the new realignment over the past few months which saw close to half of the real journalists leave the paper with “early retirements”, Susan Albright forced out of her job as the Editorial Page Editor, and moving Kate Parry from Ombudsman to health editor was designed so that the new owners of the local print media “heavyweight” could concentrate on better coverage of the local area. Ha! Two recent examples highlight the hypocrisy of such a claim. Continue Reading