For all the joy of this election season past, we do need to keep this in mind.
The deeper hurtful reality this election campaign has revealed is that Arabs and Muslims are the new Jews and Blacks in America, because they are treated today in the same way that Jews and Blacks (then called Negroes) were treated throughout the early- and mid-20th Century.
Legal action, political agitation, and civic activism brought an end to the public vilification of Jews and Negroes in the United States -- though racism and anti-Semitism continue to operate quietly in the hearts and minds of some Americans who refuse to see all their brothers and sisters as equal before God and the law.
It is neither legally possible nor politically acceptable today to treat Jews and Blacks in a racist, condescending manner in the United States, and that is now a considerable source of pride for Americans as a whole.
It is possible and permissible, though, to slander Arabs and Muslims in public -- even by candidates for president and vice president. ...
The new president will inherit this world where racism against Arabs and Muslims is the last permissible form of wholesale slander and denigration. This must be addressed through spirited collective activism in law, politics and society, so that Arabs and Muslims, like Jews and Blacks, can live like human beings in America, not like animals that can be caricatured, hounded, herded and hunted at will. The presidential campaign confirms much that Americans can be proud of today, along with some things that [should] still cause them real shame.
My musings on current events, current projects, current anxieties and current delights.
I started this under the Bush regime when any grain of sand thrown into the gears of the over-reaching imperial state seemed worthwhile.
I have worked to elect more and better Democrats -- and to hammer the shit out of them once we get them in office so they do the things their constituents want and need. It's a big job.
I have endured the dashed potential for a more transformational regime under Obama. The man has made himself an accomplice in the imperial crimes of his predecessor as well as committing his own. He has also almost certainly been the most progressive president most of us will live to see. I fear we'll look back on his years in office with mild gratitude for a respite from national leadership that was habitually stupid and vicious, as well as wrong.
Visitors here will find a lot of commentary on books I'm reading. I am very intentionally reading intensively offline these days. When it feels hard to find direction, it's time to learn something new.
I'm a progressive political activist who runs trails and climbs mountains whenever any are available. I've had the privilege to work for justice in Central America (Nicaragua and El Salvador), in South Africa, in the fields of California with the United Farmworkers Union, and in the cities and schools of my own country. I'm a Christian of the Episcopalian flavor; we think and argue a lot. For work, I've done a bit of it all: run an old fashioned switch-board; remodeled buildings and poured concrete; edited and published periodicals, reports and books; and organized for electoral campaigns. I am currently an independent consultant to organizations seeking "help when you have to make a fight."