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B o r d e r l a n d s   D i g e s t
Reading and Writing about Social Justice
Craig Rock, editor, duniterock@gmail. com



Photo by Craig Rock

Seeking direction from the Knowledge Keepers of our nations, 
an indigenous perspective.
We have left our spirit behind, our spirit that defines our true identity and destiny as human beings, 
which is to be stewards of the earth.  We need to understand this part of our nature, 
that deep part of us that we refer to as the spirit. Cultural Survival, April 5, Click here for more


  
From March, 2019 Issue


North Stars in the Southwest
by Martha Baskin

The north stars on the southwest border are what drew the Seattle Peace Chorus to take its “Music Crosses Borders” tour on the road. They'd heard of the work faith communities were doing on behalf of refugees who'd survived the journey from Central America and detention and release by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), but they didn't fully grasp the breadth of support being provided until arriving on the front lines themselves.


Tijuana shelter.  Photo by Molly Ryan


Many refugees arriving in Tijuana and several checkpoints in Texas are currently forced to wait in Mexico for their asylum claims to be heard in immigration court because of Trump administration policies denying them the right to remain in the U.S. Exceptions are made at other southwest border checkpoints when one or both parents are travelling with children although these exceptions may be cancelled soon. (See news article in column one.)

It's these refugees who are finding a quiet security initiative that has little to do with building a wall. It's not unlike the North Star escaped slaves followed in search of the underground railroad. In this case it's a constellation of faith communities on both sides of the border who actively seek and welcome refugees with food and shelter, trauma counseling and navigation support for the next leg of their journey.

Take the Honduran woman with three young children who found shelter at San Antonio's Mennonite Church after fleeing gang violence that claimed three of her siblings and poverty aggravated by crop-destroying droughts. She shared her story with the Seattle Peace Chorus, who were on the first leg of a benefit tour to raise money for and volunteer at shelters in San Antonio, El Paso, Ciudad Juarez, Tucson, Nogales and Tijuana. Sofia, not her real name, crossed into Texas at the Eagle Pass checkpoint, was detained by ICE, held in a heladera or icebox for several days, and later released with an asylum court hearing number that would likely not be heard until 2020. She was left on the street.  After being stalked and harassed she remembered the name of a shelter she'd heard about in detention and found her way to the Mennonite' shelter, La Casa de Maria y Marta. 

Pastor John Garland said Sofia was terrified when she arrived. The trauma was stunning, he says. “The first response to trauma is creating felt safety.” (“Felt-safety: a principle from Trauma Competent Care referring to the degree of safety one feels. One may be safe without actually feeling safe.”)

“We create that felt safety with welcoming homes and words of very clear affirmation. You are beloved. You are a child of God. And then trauma healing moves into correction.” By which he means correcting the idea people have been told that “they don't deserve anything else in life; that they don't belong here. That needs to be corrected and challenged.” Other refugees have found shelter after release by ICE through San Antonio's Interfaith Welcome Coalition who've worked with women and children seeking asylum from violence in Central America for years.


 Shelter poster on the right to seek asylum. 
Photo by Cristina Tamer.

Music Crosses Borders” was originally conceived to celebrate the nation's multicultural roots with music from Latin America and the Middle East. As militarization of the border intensified and the right to asylum challenged, the chorus made a collective decision to take the tour to the southwest and bear witness. New songs were written, including Requiem for Felipe and Jakelin, to honor the two Guatemalan children who died in ICE custody. Choral director Fred West wrote it “with the hope that all good people will pause and reflect on how these innocent children were caught up in the chaos and tribulations of immigrating to the US.” 

A picture of Jakelin Caal Maquin sits on the desk of Father Bob Mosher with El Paso's Columban Center. Mosher, who runs the Catholic mission, “welcomes the stranger,” as he does the chorus, and steeps the group in “border awareness”. “We tend to take positions because of this or that logical conclusion we've arrived at”, he says. “But when we see a woman who's trying to take care of her children or a father with a small child, we say that person is doing exactly what I would do and probably doing it better than I would. Then something clicks when you see the decency and delicacy of these people and the way they treat each other so humanely.”

Over the following days, choral members volunteer at a shelter run by El Paso's Catholic Diocese, Centro San Juan Diego, and drive into Ciudad Juarez to sing at another. An intake counselor at the El Paso shelter, Sue Morrison, a volunteer from Seattle, says they've seen a “surge of immigrants. Yesterday four hundred were released by ICE and dropped off.” Those who are released have official papers showing the name of sponsors who've agreed to provide for them. Without a sponsor, often a relative, an immigrant could remain in detention indefinitely if they don't arrive with children. At the shelter they get showers and hot meals, while waiting for a sponsor to send money to purchase a bus or plane ticket to the sponsor's home.

Father Bob's “border awareness” includes showing the chorus a portion of the wall, a few miles from the Columban Mission. Built three years ago under the Obama administration, the wall is 18 to 30 feet tall, depending on the terrain, and cost about $73 million, according to the El Paso Times. As the choir breaks into words from the song, “Bridges Not Walls”, written by the Assistant Director, Doug Balcom, a group of children on the Mexican side of the wall listen as they climb the steel girders: 

“They tell me I should fear you; they tell me 'lock the door'. They tell me to reject you, when you come to our door, but what if my ancestors were also turned away? I would not even be here and this is what I say: you are my sister, you are my friend, your right to come here I will defend, my southern neighbor now hear my call, it's time to build bridges not walls.”

Soon a Border Patrol drone is seen circling overhead. Father Bob, who rarely uses his surname, says the Border Patrol also monitors the border by dragging tires behind a vehicle, returning every so often to see if there are any footsteps in the sand.

Walkway between Juarez Mexico and El Paso Texas. 
Photo by Lindsay Fallert.


He calls the wall “a brutal symbol of our attitude to other people, an expression of hatred, intolerance and racism.” He says it's no solution to the flow of migration from the south because “it fails to examine why people feel forced to flee their countries and what role the U.S. has in creating those conditions, such as the purchasing of illicit drugs which finance the drug cartels and all the weapons. You can't buy weapons in Mexico. There's only one gun shop in the whole country and that's in Mexico City. So obviously all the weapons are coming from the U.S. as well.”

The chorus wouldn't see another border wall until it reached Arizona.  But first it was privileged to pick oranges in a small grove on the grounds of a Benedictine Monastery in Tucson. The former monastery began opening its doors to refugees in late January. The shelter, Casa Alitas, was offered to Catholic Community Services on a temporary basis by a developer until the property is rezoned. 

In the meanwhile the community is taking full advantage of the fifty rooms available for families. The chorus helped assemble beds with sturdy spring mattresses and new bedding, sort through large donations of clothing, stock the kitchen, and even pick some of the oranges --- a rare treat for choral volunteers from the cold and rainy Northwest.

They were joined by Tucson volunteers including Frances Wheeler, a community organizer, who'd read about the effort in the Arizona Daily Star. “I've always been concerned about people being afraid of 'the other', she says, “of people who are different. You read what's going on in the mainstream media and it's not the full story. I thought if I could work with an organization helping people to get on their way and show some empathy and kindness then I'd  be representing the way I think America should be represented.”

That night the chorus perform at the Tucson Unitarian Universalist Church to a packed house. All proceeds (nearly $2,500) went to housing asylum seekers at Casa Alitas and the Inn Projects.  Local bicultural songwriting troubadour, Pablo Peregrina opened the concert. Peregrina has done his own share of border volunteerism throughout Arizona and border lands. His CD, “Traveling Shoes” has sold over 1,600 copies. It tells the story of Central American migrants on the move.

Shelter Signage explaining human rights under 
international laws. Photo by Cristina Tamer.

In its own journey, the chorus found that the north stars on the southwest border aren't only those shelters run by US faith communities; many are in Mexico,  Cuidad Juarez, Nogales and Tijuana. In Nogales, sixty miles south of Tucson in Mexico's Sonoran desert, the chorus sang and volunteered at a food kitchen, El Comedor. Run by the Kino Border Initiative, a non-profit with Catholic roots, Kino provide shelters and food kitchens throughout the area.  

When the chorus arrived at El Comedor, 100 migrants sat at long tables for a meal. A painting on the wall depicted Jesus seated at the table, not with his apostles, but with refugees. Some would soon try their luck at crossing the border, while others had recently been deported. Meanwhile, Sister Maria Ingrasia Robles asked  if they knew what their human rights were and if anyone wanted to tell their story. Rick Saling, a volunteer, translated. He said Sister Robles does a “human rights educational” daily. All thirty of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are listed on a large bulletin board. Article 14 is the right to asylum.

As the chorus traveled from San Antonio to El Paso, then Tucson and Tijuana, often by plane, they encountered many refugees heading to sponsors. Most had never been in an airport. Choral members fluent in Spanish helped with logistics, often writing notes in English which refugees could show airport personnel. The majority were young women with children. All adults wore GPS ankle bracelets, showing they'd been fingerprinted and vetted by ICE. None could be certain if they'd find a welcoming home, but at least their humanity had been restored for a time, as Father Bob put it, and they'd escaped the violence they'd fled in their home countries. For that, there was no doubt, they were grateful.

Earlier this month, the ACLU and two other groups sued the administration on behalf of migrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, who are forced to wait at the San Ysidro port of entry, near San Diego. They said the policy, introduced last month, violates U.S. and international law. Meanwhile, San Antonio's Interfaith Welcome Coalition has assisted 3,702 families released from detention to date in 2019. While Casa Alitas in the former Benedictine monastery in Tucson, received five hundred plus refugees in a recent three-week period. 




The Great Wall of Los Angeles

(From the Editor: Below you will find two video links on Judy Baca's mural project which is about the history of California, and to some extent, the history of the United States. The first YouTube video captures the entire length of the half-mile wall.
The second video describes the why and how in the making of the mural.  The videos are several years old but they still hold up over time.)


Exploring Child Labor and Poverty
in the U.S. (1915)
through the Lewis Hine Collection
at the Library of Congress, click here
(text from the Library of Congress)


About this Collection

Working as an investigative photographer for the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC), Lewis Hine (1874-1940) documented working and living conditions of children in the United States between 1908 and 1924. The NCLC photos are useful for the study of labor, reform movements, children, working class families, education, public health, urban and rural housing conditions, industrial and agricultural sites, and other aspects of urban and rural life in America in the early twentieth century.

The collection consists of more than 5,100 photographic prints and 355 glass negatives, given to the Library of Congress, along with the NCLC records, in 1954 by Mrs. Gertrude Folks Zimand, acting for the NCLC in her capacity as chief executive.

Background and Scope

Founded in 1904, the National Child Labor Committee set out on a mission of "promoting the rights, awareness, dignity, well-being and education of children and youth as they relate to work and working." Starting in 1908, the Committee hired Lewis W. Hine (1874-1940), first on a temporary and then on a permanent basis, to carry out investigative and photographic work for the organization. The more than 5,100 photographic prints and 355 glass negatives in the Prints and Photographs Division's holdings, together with the often extensive captions that describe the photo subjects, reflect the results of this early documentary effort, offering a detailed depiction of working and living conditions of many children--and adults--in the United States between 1908 and 1924.

Hine later referred to his photographic work for the NCLC as "detective work." Photo historian Daile Kaplan offers this picture of how Hine conducted his work, which was frequently regarded with suspicion by business owners, supervisors, and workers:

Nattily dressed in a suit, tie, and hat, Hine the gentleman actor and mimic assumed a variety of personas--including Bible salesman, postcard salesman, and industrial photographer making a record of factory machinery--to gain entrance to the workplace. When unable to deflect his confrontations with management, he simply waited outside the canneries, mines, factories, farms, and sweatshops with his fifty pounds of photographic equipment and photographed children as they entered and exited the workplace. (Photo Story: Selected Letters and Photographs of Lewis W. Hine. Ed. by Daile Kaplan. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1992).





Text prepared by: Barbara Orbach Natanson, Reference Specialist, Prints & Photographs Division

Read more about this collection at the Library of Congress, Click here

Or check out this photo display on flickr, click here

452 Children Died from Workplace Injuries 2003 - 2016
Washington Post, Dec 20, 2018, Click here

____________________________________________

NY Times Photo Story on the 1,900 Border with Mexico

Along the U.S.-Mexico Border

As the president fights to build a wall between the United States and Mexico, correspondent Azam Ahmed and photographer Meridith Kohut drove the approximately 1,900-mile border and sent dispatches from crossings along the way.

_________________________

Just Keep Going North, At the Border
Harpers Magazine, July 2019, click here
article by William T. Vollmann

Feature article about refugees on the both sides of the Mexican - U.S. border near Nogales Arizona and Nogales, Sonora: the refugees, 
(The refugees, the relief workers, the mafia, the border patrol, and others)

From March 2019 Edition

The Politics of Place
An Interview with Terry Tempest Williams
(from the book Voice in the Wilderness)
This book is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-
NonCommercialNoDerivatives4.0 International.
 To view a copy of this license, 
visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/. 

The connection between language and landscape is a perennial theme of American letters. Nature has been a well-spring for many of our finest writers—from Whitman and Thoreau to Peter Mathiessen and Edward Abbey. Terry Tempest Williams belongs in this tradition. A native of Utah, her naturalist writing has been richly influenced by the sprawling landscape of the West. It also draws on the values and beliefs of her Mormon background. Terry Tempest Williams is the naturalist-in-residence at the Utah Museum of Natural History in Salt Lake City. She was thrown into the literary spotlight in 1991, with the release of her sixth book, Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place. It tells of how the Great Salt Lake rose to record levels and eventually flooded the wetlands that serve as a refuge for migratory birds in Northern Utah. Williams tells the story against the backdrop of her family’s struggle with cancer as a result of living downwind from a nuclear test site. 

For Williams, there is a very close connection between ourselves, our people, and our native place. In the words of the Utne Reader—who recently included her The Politics of Place among their 100 leading “visionaries”—her writing “follows wilderness trails into the realm of memory and family, exploring gender and community through the prism of landscape.”




The New Spirit by H.M.M.
(from the Overland Monthly magazine, January 1920)

No longer raise I sword in angry fight
No longer do I kill.
I’ve put the War God’s image from my sight, 
No longer do his will.

The world has had enough unhappy woe.
I turn to home and wife,
To rice fields or to trading, now I go, 
To lead a quiet life.

Great Buddha grant all my children’s sons,
And mine, will never cease,
To greet a distant stranger as he comes,
With friendship and with peace.





From th April 2020 Edition

Let there be hope in this month of April
by Craig Rock, editor

There is nothing to joke about on this April Fools Day.  Yes, President Trump didn't react fast enough on several fronts, obviously costing many lives.  Yes, we should never again have such a selfish and psychologically unfit person as president. But we probably will, someday, hopefully hundreds of years into the future. Right now though, we have to work together to bring this Covid-19 to an end.

Six feet apart or six feet under

Can we do something as simple as keeping six feet apart? Will citizens, private industry and government realize that we have to work together as partners not customers and clients for increased sales opportunities. Will we help provide and protect medical staff, equipment, and supplies to deal with this and future world-wide emergencies.  And this is a virus. 

What about the way we treat our planet, our air, our water, and our people?  For example, Trump continues to use his power during this crisis by attempting to roll back fuel economy standards for new auto production (see links and info in the column to the left). What will we do when our air is so deadly that masks aren't sufficient, that we have to wear oxygen rebreathers to make our air acceptable. I'm sure the latest model of rebreather will be very stylish and compact for those who can afford it.  And a new model will come out every year! Or will the wealthy simply be self-quarantined to higher elevations with even more restricted neighborhoods than we have now.

Am I being an alarmist about air and water quality? Would we even have guessed that this Covid-19 virus would be anything but a plot in a fictional movie or TV series. Can we even afford a president who determines his actions and measures his effectiveness by his news shows ratings? Or by his cronies who so easily choose the health of the economy (actually their personal fortunes) over the health and welfare of our people! Or lawmakers with "insider" information about when to sell or buy certain stocks! 

Just maybe we can learn from this disaster, and the sick will get well, the unemployed will go back to work, and those who illegally tried to take advantage of this tragedy will go to prison for a very long time.

Related Articles

Pelosi announces new select committee to oversee coronavirus response, setting up clash with Trump over $2 trillion law, Move comes after Trump sought to limit powers of new inspector general, Washington Post, April 2, click here

Read a recent NY Times Article on how the EPA is using the Coronavirus pandemic to relax many environmental laws by "allowing power plants, factories and other facilities to determine for themselves if they are able to meet legal requirements on reporting air and water pollution."  Click here


From the March 2020 Edition
Honest Ground in Critical Times
by Craig Rock, Editor

Welcome to the March issue of Borderlands Digest.  As you will see, Borderlands Digest is being redesigned to be more concise with only one news feature story of the day along with special reports from news outlets and non profits organization involved in human rights issues especially the environment, immigration, and criminal justice. We will also have more commentary, poetry and art.

Many of us are disappointed after the March 3 not-so-super Democratic Party primary. We know why most Republicans are against universal health care. But why are so many Democrats opposed to it. The Democratic Party is failing to address some major issues that should be taking the health and welfare of the planet and its people more seriously than party power struggles. People are tired of corruption whether it be from the political parties or from the unethical business practices of some private enterprises that support the parties and/or misrepresent the goods and services they provide to the consumer. Voter suppression of impoverished groups by local and state governments is another issue not being addressed as are frequent killings of unarmed "suspects" by local police.

We also have hundreds of thousands of people fearful of government regulations. Some perhaps because those government bodies that enforce regulations are mismanaged by appointed bureaucrats and/or by unmotivated civil servants. Thus, the cost in taxes is high.  A good number of other people depend on the lack of regulations (or poor enforcement) for high profit margins in their private businesses. Members of Congress and the executive branch hide behind the power of their positions by "stonewalling" when they face investigations (see the recent report in ProPublica, click here).

Biden isn't addressing these related issues. Sanders isn't detailing his noble plans for such reforms as the right of all citizens to decent medical care, adequate housing and food, and access to education and job training at a reasonable cost. All of these reforms are affordable if we have honest and well-trained people in control of the government and the private sector. Many of these ideas are detailed in the Green New Deal.






Watch the viral video about the Green New Deal, narrated by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.


(From the September, 2019 Issue)

A Report from Cultural Survival

RADIO MUK’UL LUM: INVOLVING WOMEN IN COMMUNITY JOURNALISM IN OXCHUC, CHIAPAS

Cultural Survival Photo

From its origins, Radio Muk’ul Lum of Oxchuc, Chiapas, Mexico, was intended to be a community radio station governed under the principle of equity among its members. This principle has allowed for the active participation of several women radio journalists. Over time, women’s participation has increased thanks to an open call and personal invitation made by the radio station. Five women volunteers began to have a presence at the radio. Through an internal training process, they developed their own capabilities, delving into issues related to Tzeltal community life and were involved in decision-making processes as serving on the secretariat.

Throughout this community journalism project, the young journalists have been participating both in the training modules and in the process and preparation of materials. One of the most significant results has been the creation of radio scripts and programs by the women such as spots on the celebration of International Women's Day, both in Spanish and in Tzeltal.

New Programs Address Justice Issues 
and Community Health

Now programs such as: “Pearls of Great Value” are transmitted, discussing topics on community health, gender violence, women's rights and treatment with dignity, as well as sexual health for adolescents. Similarly, "Planet Alert" is a program that addresses the care of the environment, recycling, natural disasters, and climate change. Another program, “Cupid's Hour,” addresses the issue of dating and falling in love, reflecting on the attitude and rights of young people. This program is specifically aimed at young people, providing them with a space to discuss their romantic relationships. The program is accompanied by musical themes. Finally, "Positive Vibes" is a program aimed at youth with low self-esteem, presenting reggae music, and encouraging and motivating them to find the meaning in their lives.

Involving women has been fundamental for the development of the radio station. One of the participants, Mariola Santiz López, gives the following testimony: “My participation in this project has been pleasant, there has been no mishap with the partners, although most are men. Women are still few, perhaps because they are afraid to do new things or because the family does not give them permission. However, I think that little by little they will be more and more integrated into the project. As for the type of participation, as women we have had the opportunity to create programs aimed especially at the female audience, created from our way of seeing life, from our own ways of thinking. In these programs, we try to focus on women's rights, on the freedom we have as people and the things we can do beyond being locked in the home, aspiring to something more than that. The message is also aimed at men because we are in a constant coexistence. I want to mention that a partner, Rosalba, has already been in charge of coordinating this project. We believe that this has also been a great step for us.”

The efforts made by Radio Muk’ul Lum have been supported by the Boca de Polen Network of Communicators, who facilitated the training modules related to community journalism and who have contributed to promoting the participation of women in community radio stations. These training processes have helped Radio Muk’ul Lum consider the importance of various radio formats for our daily activities. As radio journalists they have helped us generate new content.

The involvement of women in community journalism at Radio Muk'ul Lum has strengthened our research capabilities and increased access to information. The example of Rosalba, who was elected to the position of coordinator of the group of communicators, is an example for other community radio stations that do not yet have the initiative to promote the participation of women, to begin to do so.

Cultural Survival advocates for Indigenous Peoples' rights and supports Indigenous communities’ self-determination, cultures and political resilience, since 1972.

For more information about Cultural Survival, click here
_______________________________

From April 2019 Edition

Improving Village Life in Guatemala
Two Pedals at a Time

Project: Maya Pedal

(Interview with Dave Renfrow by Craig Rock)


Members of the women's co-op (Un Mokaaj Ixmucane) along with Dave Renfrow.

(Editor's note: I interviewed Dave Renfrow, project manager for Maya Pedal (MP) USA, in mid-March 2019 in between his frequent trips to Guatemala. I heard of the recycling project using discarded bicycles in the United States for a local power source in Guatemalan villages while researching other issues about Guatemala.) This article was in the April edition; it now can be found attached to the bottom of the page.




View the many posters created by Rachael Romero and the 
San Francisco Poster Brigade
_____________________________________

From the May/June 2020 edition of Borderlands Digest

What Will It Take?
by Craig Rock, Editor

(Update: June 4) The failure of the U.S. criminal justice system in protecting the human rights of all our people, the greed and ineptness displayed in the management of our health system in dealing with Covid-19, and the intentional dismantling of federal agencies responsible for clean air and safe water are three major issues that have  descended upon us at the same time. The killing of George Floyd and the rushed re-openings of "business as usual" in many states are tips of the iceberg that have a long history involving corruption, greed, and racism. 

Installation by West African artist Kwame Akoto-Bamfo. 
National Memorial for Peace and Freedom, Montgomery Alabama

For example, the murders of Black people stopped or jailed by police have been in the news forever. Before that, lynchings of Black men have been documented for more than a hundred years, with law enforcement often looking the other way or even instigating the hangings. These murders occurred (occur) in towns and cities, North and South, because people in white communities often looked the other way, unwilling to challenge the racist faction that rule their community.  It didn't affect their personal lives and it was more comfortable to keep your mouths shut.  Articles and links in this publication explore only some of these issues.  

(Related Readings: "Duluth's 1920 Lynchings, Zenith City Press originally published in the Ripsaw News in 2000, click here)

More information to come in future issues. Check out articles on Covid-19 and Clean Air on this page, an older review of two "fictional" books exploring our current conflict of human rights and dictatorial rule in the U.S. (page 2), and a report by the Committee to Protect Journalists on threats to reporters around the world (page 3).
Covid-19, Corruption and Greed

In many ways, these are unusual and crazy times. On one hand, we have scientists, medical professionals, volunteers, and others working together to stop this slaughter of thousands of people around world from the coronavirus, Covid-19. These are people from every sector of society who are  risking their lives on a daily basis.

On the other hand, we have people fighting for the right to go back to work, the cost of human lives is secondary. They must make a living now. They also have the right to their usual form of recreation. which may include crowding the beaches and the malls, maskless. It appears to be the only way they know of being free, of being "American." 

Then we have politicians on every side of the pandemic issues. It seems there is an interest or identity group that think their group is the center of this virus. In the battle for funding, prestige and power, their interests come first, others come next if there are any leftovers. Meanwhile, the virus is working hard, knocking down all borders to take our last breath away.

There are certainly the con-artists as well, waiting for their chance to profit. There is cause for alarm if we explore the many people and corporations that have perfected that art and who are ready to exploit the pandemic for all the gold it is worth. With the lives and a world economy that have been decimated by Covid-19, we simply do not have room, in the recovery, for the flimflam man who takes where he can, whether its fraud in consumer purchases and services, banking, real estate and insurance schemes, or manipulation of the market for medical services and supplies.

On the plus side of this corruption, we have a counter force that can create a new economy. An economy based on honest government and business interests. Imagine a society where businesses work along with government and community groups to root out corrupt politicians, judges, and corporations who already are hard at work pilfering away the trillions of dollars supposedly dedicated to getting us back on our feet. 

What have we learned? How can we reorganize to insure a sane and safe response to the current health and environmental disasters and the new ones that we are sure to face in the future? 

One thing I realize is that we should never have a government in charge of our health and welfare like the one we have now. The outrageous and, some would say, criminal performance of the Republican-controlled Senate in checking the abuse of power of the U.S. Executive Branch is leaning our government towards the right-wing dictatorships that we supported over the last 65 years.  If the Republican party can't clean up its ranks, clean up its corruption, change its callous disregard for human life, it shouldn't exist as a party that competes to govern our country. In some respects, these concerns go  for the Democratic Party as well. 

Historian Robert Kagan states,“The founders (of the U.S.) hoped that Congress would be jealous of its prerogatives and the independent judiciary would be jealous of its role, and that each actor would have a certain devotion to the republican spirit—little ‘R’—and defend it against potential threats from a President more concerned for his own interests than the rights of the general population.......The amazing thing is that, throughout our history, that really has sort of been the case.” No longer, he added. At the direction of President Trump, the core institutions that once insured the daily functions of the state and the peaceful transition of leadership have been seriously eroded. (quote from Robin Wright's article in the June 4 issue of The New Yorker, Is America Becoming a Banana Republic?)

Can we reform soon enough to make a difference? Or is nature waiting for our demise? Will this Sara Teasdale poem have special meaning when years from now, the poem is found by a chimp swinging from a tree, trying to figure out what it all means and how it all happened.


There Will Come Soft Rains 
Sara Teasdale - 1884-1933

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

And frogs in the pools singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white,

Robins will wear their feathery fire
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree
If mankind perished utterly;

And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,
Would scarcely know that we were gone.


Related Articles

Is America Becoming a Banana Republic, The New Yorker, June 4, click here

A Closer Look at Federal COVID Contractors Reveals Inexperience, Fraud Accusations and a Weapons Dealer Operating Out of Someone’s House, ProPublica, May 27, click here

The Coronavirus is rewriting our imaginations,
What felt impossible has become thinkable. the spring of 2020
 is suggestive of much, and how quickly we can change as a civilization
New Yorker, May 1, click here




ĉ
Craig Rock,
Apr 28, 2019, 10:06 AM
ĉ
Craig Rock,
Apr 28, 2019, 10:27 AM