Updated blog is now at Interference Patterns. Sorry for the inconvenience.
Electric City pub'ed my "letter to the Editor" responding to a Gene Padden column from two weeks ago (not currently available on-line):
You live in an interesting universe - one where if protest and dissent is so widespread and committed as to have "web-rings" created for it - that it must therefore be pointless and trivial.
Somehow your belief in predestination helps inform this - but other dissenters and protesters have not been so limited - protesters such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Mahatmas Ghandi, and Jesus of Nazareth.
"Love thine enemy" and "turn the other cheek" are difficult principles to put into action in a world plagued by weapons of mass destruction. But when faced by maniacs who view war as "cleansing" or an "honorable" method to dispose of masses of people, sometimes principles are all that we can cling to and, perhaps, strive for.
It's interesting that you like that 50's expression "cool" while denigrating those like the next decade's "hip" - because the "hippies" are those most-often credited with the phrase "make love, not war." And the thought behind that is at least as old as Aristophanes' "Lysistrata" - 400 B.C. The women of Athens, under the leadership of Lysistrata, unite with the enemy women of Sparta in their disgust for an unending war. The women "withold their favors" from the eternally fighting men, until the men realize there is something much more productive they prefer to making war.
Perhaps you are at peace, compassionate Mr. Padden, knowing that the poor and the hungry are poor and hungry because they are being punished, and that the coming war will cleanse the world of masses of people. But not all of us are at peace with these issues. On Monday, March 3rd, 2003, communities around the planet will raise their collective voice for peace by producing readings of Lysistrata in order to provide a humorous entree into a healthy community dialogue: What CAN we do on a local level to stop "diplomacy by violence" in our world? Please join us at the Afa Gallery, 514 Lackawanna Ave, on March 3 to participate in NEPA's reading of Lysistrata - and to think about making something other than war for a change. You can find out more about the reading by visiting www.AlternativeToNoise.com.
Sorry Mr. Padden - no web-ringPeacefully yours,
Gene Padden responds:
Michael, thanks for reading - I know you to be one of the faithful. We support everyone's voices, not just my maniacal rants and I will try to attend your meeting. It sounds like you misread some things. I never detracted from King, Christ, etc. I am speaking strictly of today's anti-war protesters. Further, dying for one's country in a war is indeed honorable. It should also be known that I do think about issues other than war. In this situation, however, I believe it's a last resort that must be considered. We can agree to disagree on that.
I think I could have been briefer and more coherent. So it goes.