Author: The Activist

Salt marching to a better world

I went out for a walk today, New Year’s day—along the river, through Ruth Masters Greenway, along the powerline, by the river. Broken soft white clouds dotted the balmy blue sky. The warm sun reflected off a crunchy few centimeters of snow as white and fresh as the clouds. People smiled in passing and even the dogs seemed friendly. But I was brooding. The news isn’t good. I’ve been watching a documentary on the rise, violence and violent end of the Nazis in Germany. The parallels between the 1930s rise of Hitler and the Nazis in Germany  and the rise of the extreme Republicans under Trump(let’s call them Trumplicans) in the early twenty-first century are terrifying in the least. Both Nazis and Trumplicans are so utterly embedded in their own jingoism and fake news they have no idea of a reality that reflects any kind of objective fact. Clearly Trump had no reason to believe his Birther propaganda about Obama. The only truth that mattered to Trump was that “alternative facts” got an audience by proclaiming blatant lies over and over. Both Trump and Hitler began their terms of office with a relentless war against truth as camouflage for illegal and unbearable affronts to civil society. Both Nazis and Trumplicans blatantly manipulate xenophobia as the solidifying glue of their extremist ideology. The stories Trump manipulated during the election about...

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Growing Pains

“… Gross National Product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them. It counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and counts nuclear warheads and armored cars for the police to fight the riots in our cities. It counts… the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children. Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play.  It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.” Robert Kennedy  University of Kansas, March 18, 1968   A United Nations audit of the Paris Agreement on international efforts to curb emission of greenhouse gasses found that even if signators keep their pledges the Earth will heat to at least three degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels by 2100. But we aren’t on track to...

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Time to hope is past–time to impeach has come

It is time for action. The lack of leadership consistent with American values, common decency being among the most important,  by Donald Trump has lead me to the inescapable conclusion that we can no longer be patient and wait for Trump to become Presidential. We have little time to continue to be patient, as there is no indication he will become something he does not have the ability to become…a leader of the American people who understands the awesome responsibilities of the office and is able to carry out these responsibilities in a manner consistent with the rule of law and decency the position commands. I come to this conclusion after months of certainty that the worst thing would be to Impeach Trump. That it would further inflame his base of supporters, and that the best thing would be to just ride out his Presidency. and that, perhaps worst of all, were he Impeached, he would become a martyr. However, his behavior has become so problematic, some would say crazy, that we really can’t continue down this road of hoping he will become Presidential. There is no indication he is even aware of what that means. It is time to protect our future, the future of our children, grandchildren, all we hold dear. He must be impeached. This an issue that transcends politics. We can no longer sit by hoping this...

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Balm for the heart

I can understand those who see the plot and characters in the—now playing at the Rialto—movie Wonder as being so sentimentally superficial that it makes a good bed time story for children and little else. I could have made that assessment, but sometimes what we see is more about who we are than any objective reality in the world we behold. And, who we are sometimes changes. Thursday night when I went to the Rialto with a friend to see the movie Wonder, I wasn’t looking for a hard hitting, intellectually satisfying narrative about the complex world around us. I was, unbeknownst to myself, looking for exactly what Wonder delivers—a simple-though credible enough, emotionally moving story suggesting there is, yet, something endearing, something—dare I say—noble about human life. The wonderful thing about Wonder is it reminds me of something I didn’t yet know. I have been looking—however unconsciously—for a reason to believe that, even in the age of Trump, Jonathan Swift is—still—wrong. Humanity is not–at least not wholly nor inherently–the equivalent of the garbage eating, quarrelsome, self-absorbed, restive Yahoos that Gulliver meets and learns to detest after being abandoned on the island of Houyhnhnm Land by his mutinous crew. You might say Wonder is medicine—or balm—for the heart.  It tells a simple story of a ten-year-old boy, Auggie, who is starting school for the first time. He has been...

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It’s going to take more than a leap

Clearly something has gone horribly wrong over a broad spectrum of issues. This summer the decade long trend of record-breaking temperatures lead to record breaking fires ravaging BC and California claiming lives and destroying property. This fall saw a hurricane season unprecedented for its intensity and duration; almost half the world’s wealth is in “off-shore” accounts evading taxes that are supposed to support just, and sustaining economies; our oceans are becoming seas of plastic and pollution; the idea of clean water and a warm place to live becomes ever more elusive to much of humanity; even peace as the foundation of a decent, just  and safe world seems to have been abandoned in the mad rush to implement the neo-liberal agenda of enriching the few and entrenching corporate interests over democratic values. In its quest to exploit the natural world for human needs and greeds humanity has developed an intricate understanding of math and science. Complex equations allow us to predict the behavior of social and natural systems in a way that would have left prophets of an earlier age awestruck. Yet, collectively, we cannot seem to grasp the simple concept that the infinite growth of material consumption in a finite world is not possible. Nor can we seem to see the obviously growing deleterious impact of our discarded waste on ourselves and our world. Blinded by the improvident...

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