In the last 36 hours, this great photo spread all over the world. The central figure is Ieshia Evans, a mother and nurse in Baton Rouge, where citizens are protesting a recent police killing of an innocent black man. The message is pretty clear: an unarmed woman stands with pride and dignity as a couple of overprotected Robocop gladiators threaten her, backed by a phalanx of drones.
United States President Barack Obama visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial and met several hibakusha (survivors of the atomic bomb blast) this week. Most of the world seemed to understand why this was important, and the gesture was welcomed in Japan. Here in the USA, the ready-made controversy was over whether or not Obama would apologize for August 6, 1945.
I'm used to being the most liberal person in any room I'm in. Maybe that's why I was so excited and refreshed by Left Forum 2016, a dizzyingly busy and well-attended three-day annual gathering in New York City.
We’re all trying to figure out how a crude clown like Donald Trump — a man so ignorant of history and political science that he doesn’t even understand why he is a fascist — could become a major-party candidate for President of the United States. Many blame the Republican party, which has been demeaning itself since Barack Obama became President, and now must endure the boorish slob it deserves. Others look past party politics towards the inborn American affection for ostentatious wealth and television celebrity.
Since launching Pacifism21.org six months ago, I've often found myself explaining to friends or strangers just what the hell I think I'm doing. I should probably prepare a stock answer to this question, but the truth is I'm still trying to figure it out for myself. I suppose I find new words to explain it every single time I talk about it ... and I suppose I learn something new myself every time I hear my answers.
Do words matter? Or should we only concern ourselves with what the words signify?
I hope it's clear to everyone who visits Pacifism21.org that this site is not meant to be a placid celebration of pacifism (as if pacifists have anything to celebrate), nor some kind of artistic or spiritual experience. This site is designed to be a platform upon which original arguments can be constructed, debated, examined and improved. If we're not building something new and noteworthy here, and if we're not changing people's minds (including our own), what's the point?
Six months after launching this beta website, I'm starting to get an idea what it should look like. I've simplified the front page layout, finalized a working version of the new "Peaceful Thoughts" blog, and added consistent "Read More" pages for both blog posts and articles. I'm not happy with the overall look yet, but is a web designer ever really happy with his or her work? I don't think so. I'm always willing to settle for "good enough", and that's what Pacifism21.org is aiming for today.
I'm feeling depressed about the negativity between the Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton campaigns. I like both candidates very much, and I think they are both important positive influences for the future of this country. I assume that Hillary Clinton will be the nominee (after all, Nate Silver says so, and he's usually right), and I will support her as enthusiastically as I supported Barack Obama in the last two elections.