Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Deep Cutz State of the Union Part 3

Deep Cutz - State of the Union
-part one
-part two
(for part 3...a simple reflection on a passage from Howard Zinn...)

but, first... it's important to note that this recent editorial comes, not just from the opinion of one writer, but the ENTIRE New York Times:

McCain / Palin "frightening, intolerable" and running "one of the most appalling campaigns we can remember."

Stay tuned here to Deep Cutz, for a discussion with musician Ted Leo - concerning the protests at the Republican National Convention, the de-fang-ing of a generation, the healing powers of music, and the reinforcement of community!

In the meantime...consider this Deep Cutz State of the Union Part 3...

and here...I can't put my feelings about this election, about the current state of -not only this country, but the world, any more aptly or inspiringly, than "radical" historian Howard Zinn did, in the closing chapter of his memoir, You Can't Stay Neutral on a Moving Train

Zinn, on "The Possibility of Hope"
" demand that America rethink it's beginnings, rethink it's values.

It is this change of consciousness that encourages me. Granted, racial hatred and sex discrimination are still with us, war and violence still poison our culture, we have a large underclass of poor, desperate people and there is a hard core of the population content with the way things are, afraid of change.

But i we see only that, we lose historical perspective, and then it is as if we were born yesterday and we know only the depressing stories in this morning's newspapers, this evening's television reports.

Consider the remarkable transformation in just a few decades in people's consciousness of racism, in the bold presence of women demanding their rightful place, in a growing public awareness that homosexuals are not curiosities, but sensate human beings, in the long-term growing skepticism about military intervention despite the brief surge of military madness during the Gulf War...(this was written around the mid-90's)

It is that long-term change that i think we must see if we are not to lose hope. Pessimism becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy; it reproduces itself by crippling our willingness to act.

We forget how often in this century we have been astonished by the sudden crumbling of institutions, by extraordinary changes in people's thoughts, by unexpected eruptions of rebellion against tyrannies, by the quick collapse of systems of power that seemed invincible.

The bad things that happen are repititions of bad things that have always happened - war, racism, maltreatment of women, religious and nationalist fanaticism, starvation The good things that happen are unexpected.

Unexpected and yet explainable by certain truths which spring at us from time to time, but which we tend to forget: Political power, however formidable, is more fragile than we think. (Note how nervous are those who hold it.)

Ordinary people can be intimidated for a time, can be fooled for a time, but they have a down-deep common sense, and sooner or later they find a way to challenge the power that oppresses them.

Human beings everywhere want the same things; ...they long for peace, for friendship and affection across lines of race and nationality. -Revolutionary change does not come as one cataclysmic moment (beware of such moments!) but as an endless succession of surprises, moving zig-zag towards a more decent society...

...To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places - and there are so many - where people have behaved magnificiently , this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.

And if we do act, in however small a way, we don't have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory."

(Zinn, 207-08)

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