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.
This San Francisco purveyor of graffiti has it right. When times are bleak -- when country and planet sink under the barely restrained sway of greed, raw power, and fear -- it's time to restate what matters.
I write here to preserve and kindle hope for a national and global turn toward multi-racial, economically egalitarian, gender non-constricting, woman affirming, and peace choosing democracy that preserves the habitability of earth for all. There's a big order -- but what else is there to do but struggle for this? Not much.
Topics range from the minuscule to the transcendent to the global, from dire to delightful. I am not an optimist, but I refuse to allow myself to wallow within the easy bias that everything is going to always be awful. Good also happens; love lives too.
I've been yammering here about activism, politics, history, racism and other occasional horrors and pleasures since 2005. I intend to continue as long as the opportunity exists. In this time, that means activism and chronicling resistance. Perhaps it always has, one way and another.
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. Will work for justice.