Save the Earth Tour

Saw Neil Young and Crazy Horse in concert last night — Save the Earth Tour. No jumbo screens, no electronic images, not even back ups — just one of my favorite Canadians with two other guitar players — one was one of Willie’s sons —and a drummer. His voice was clear and still young. The guitar playing was riffing great. And his set list combined old and new songs. Neil did acoustic too. Reverend Billy & The Church of Stop Shopping opened up. My son in law and I were blown away. A great evening of music!

Small circle thinking

To reduce the left in Congress to the “Squad,” and maybe Bernie, is mistaken and counterproductive. It’s an example of small circle thinking. The term left, if it is serviceable for this moment, should be capacious enough to capture the significant movement and shifts in Democratic Party at all levels in a left-progressive direction.

A glass of beer on Memorial Day

  • MAY 31, 2021

(I post this on my blog every Memorial Day to remember my two friends who died in the Vietnam War. SW)

Today, I will again drink a glass of beer in memory of my two friends and their comrades who died in Vietnam.

I honor them without honoring the aggressive and unjust war in which they fought. I don’t know their reasons for joining the military, maybe it was simply that the draft gave them no choice, but it really doesn’t matter now. What I do know is that their lives were cruelly cut short.

As a young peace activist in the late 60s, I probably didn’t always make a distinction between the soldiers fighting the war and the war itself. The soldier and the general were equally responsible as I saw it. But I think differently now. I place the main responsibility for war on its architects in high places and a social system – capitalism – whose logic is to expand, dominate, and, when necessary, make war.

Ricky and Cotter were near the bottom of the food chain of war making, nothing but cannon fodder. They were working class kids whose lives didn’t count for much in our government’s war plans. Neither was born with a silver spoon in their mouths, which is why they ended up with a gun in their hands so far away from their hometowns.

I will always wonder what kind of lives they would have lived had they safely returned. With no hero’s welcome, no counseling waiting for them, no easy slide into a well paying job, I can’t help but wonder if they would have had the internal resources and external support to come to terms with their war experience and live productive lives?

After all, they were not that much different than me, and I have no confidence that I could have. It was hard enough to grow up at that time without a tour of duty in Vietnam on my emotional resume. I wish, though, that they had that chance. I wish their lives hadn’t been senselessly erased doing things that no one should do. I wish they had the opportunity to live long and joyful lives.

I miss them. I celebrate them. They were “my buddies.” I wish they could join me for a beer today, although knowing them a single beer wouldn’t quite satisfy them. Or me.

I also hope that we could toast to the millions in our generation who opposed the war as well their comrades who also never made it back from Vietnam. Both deserve to be honored.

Finally, I like to think that the three of us could clink glasses to the people of Vietnam who suffered so much during and after the war, and are now rebuilding their country in conditions of peace. Maybe that would be too much to expect. Unfortunately, I will never know. They will join me only in memory this afternoon, as I wash down a glass of beer.

Pause on weapons to Israel

I wish President Biden would have done it sooner, but I welcome it now!!! It’s a step in the right direction. And sets the stage for further actions.

Martin Luther King and tactics

MLK deftly combined the fierce urgency of now with an unvarnished look at the readiness of people to act in particular ways. He understood better than most, maybe anyone else, that in an elaboration of tactics both sides of this dialectic, that is, demands, forms of struggle, moments to advance and retreat, when to compromise and when not to, etc., are of great consequence. He had little patience with people and organizations that see only one side of this dialectic.

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