Last fall during the bookapalooza, I found myself whiling away an afternoon in a tiny rural Wisconsin cemetery. The people of this place remember their menfolk by their wars, even if they died years after serving.
The dates of these two suggest their war was the Rebellion, the Civil War. Wisconsin raised 91,000 soldiers for the Union Army, one in two eligible voters (all male in those days.) Thirteen percent died in the war.
In the World War I era, the troops of the Wisconsin National Guard first served along the Mexican border, chasing the revolutionary Pancho Villa in 1916. A total of about 120,000 state residents, including some women among the nurses, served in the European war after U.S. entry in 1917.
There are not so many World War II vets buried here. Perhaps they made their subsequent lives elsewhere -- or are even still alive. The Wisconsin Veterans Museum reports:
°332,200 Wisconsinites served in WWII: 9,300 women and 322,900 men.
°8,149 Wisconsinites died while in the Armed Forces, 48 of them at Pearl Harbor.
°13,600 Wisconsinites were wounded.
°15 Wisconsin men were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for their actions during WWII.
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."