Susan Livingston's blog

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I'm still at the Kucinich site, and I'm reading Mike Berst, an administrator, chastizing a contributor for fostering divisiveness, and this guy really has his head screwed on right. He presents the clearest political picture of this country I've ever seen. I think this is brilliant stuff. This is what non-partisanism is about. I want to excerpt some of his comments here.

"My observation is that each "side" has half of the spiritual picture. The Republicans can hear the music, but they have forgotten the words. The Democrats know the words, but they can't hear the music. The Republicans have lost their reason, the Democrats their heart. A healthy body politic cannot stay divided this way and survive. Not only are the two camps increasingly estranged from each other, but each camp is increasingly estranged form its own spiritual foundation. read more »

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When I first became involved in the Campaign for the DoP, I printed out the Bill from www.thepeacealliance.org so that I could prepare myself to answer any questions that were addressed to me regarding its provisions. I got a two-page summary that says very little and 14 pages of dry legislatese. Actually, Article 1 (Findings) is quite inspiring; it reads like an essay/history lesson. The rest, though, is pretty dry. Tonight, in the course of a forum discussion on the Kucinich site (www.kucinich.us), I wrote a summary of the Offices that would be created by the DoP, and it took HOURS of poring over my printout. Rather than waste all that effort, I thought I'd reproduce it here.

The DoP Bill (H.R. 1673) organizes the Department as follows:

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My study efforts of the past few days have been spent on the Lakoff framing model and related topics. There are several things that have been disturbing me about this model and the way it is being used, some of which I hinted at in the Forum in response to Jason's blog entry on the framing workshop. At http://forum.rockridgeinstitute.org, progressives are trying to use the Lakoff model to produce a comprehensive list of progressive values upon which to base a political platform. I will attempt a preliminary dissection of that last statement, and then I will make some suggestions that might make the model a bit less fuzzy yet at the same time richer. Disclaimer: I will NOT attempt to build the platform; I believe it is clear that the values must be defined and adopted first, then successfully framed into platform planks.

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I edited the press release for the Peace Wants a Piece of the Pie event and got it out to two newspapers (Post&Courier - mainstream; Skirt! - alternative) and six radio stations. The "City Paper" only comes out every two weeks, and they just released one. I googled "Charleston, SC media" to get my leads, and my criterion was that they have email contact information without joining anything. Not too scientific! read more »

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Four of us had a meeting today at my house as planned. I opened the meeting with a reading of highlights of Julia Ward Howe's biography and the complete text of her proclamation in order to set the stage for our discussion of participation in the Peace Wants a Piece of the Pie event. We studied the mass mailing I sent out 4/30 and the budgetary pie charts, and I made available other materials I have accumulated such as the copy of the DoP Bill and a copy of the US Constitution and Amendments. We also reviewed literature from The Peace Alliance, Syracuse Cultural Workers (especially their poster on building global community), and War Resisters (the publisher of that other pie chart that takes "trust funds" such as Social Security out of the equation.) read more »

The Evening with Marianne Williamson at the A.M.E. Church was well-attended and well-received. Her speech was less than an hour long and mostly promoted her books about her views on spirituality. I was surprised to learn that she came from a Jewish background; she talked about Jesus a lot - not the guy the local fanatics pound their pulpits about, but the radical who preached about love and forgiveness and feeding the poor and healing the sick. She spoke of the crucifiction and resurrection as a metaphor, and about how differently the story would have "played" if Christ had condemned his persecutors instead of asking forgiveness on their behalf. This illustrates the radical nature of her pacifism; to her, pacifism extends even to language - a topic after my own heart - and to oneself.

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The following is from Utne's headline service, to which I subscribe:

By Paul Kingsnorth, The Ecologist
For decades, West Papuans have been denied independence -- both by neighboring Indonesia and by a global community that refuses to recognize their home as a sovereign nation. In recent months, in response to increasing resistance from West Papuans, Indonesian soldiers have stepped up the violence, prompting international groups to warn of ethnic cleansing and/or genocide. So where's the media coverage? read more »

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Did I mention that an editorial appeared in the Charleston Post & Courier under my name about Military Recruiting in the Schools? I temporize because it was a very watered-down version of the article I wrote for this site, but then I guess they have their space limitations. There was no mention of the Military Free Zone link or the devious tactics used by the recruiters or the backwards nature of having to take an action to deny permission instead of to give it. There WAS just the hint of the invasion of privacy issue. Oh, well, that's SC. I did at least have a satisfying discussion with the editor; his son is in southern CA following the b*****ds around to give the other side of the story. I wish they had used my ending, though; I thought it was pretty good!

These people just don't get it. It took me about four hours of intensive internet research to finally find an Earth Day event so that I could follow my own advice and hand out some flyers.

There is an official Earth Day website, www.earthday.net, (or maybe .com), but a search for Charleston came up blank. Then I searched by state and came up with about a dozen events, one of which was in Charleston! It probably didn't show up on the city search because the only contact listed had a Washington address and phone. The date of the event was given as the 17th, there was no location other than Charleston County, and the last attendance figures given were from 2001. read more »

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This week, I've targeted churches with some additional printed materials I developed myself: a letter to the congregation explaining that Mother's Day was originally intended as a Day of Peace (the letter ends with a call for action), and an information sheet on the biography of Julia Ward Howe with the full text of her Proclamation. The letter is meant to be displayed beside or beneath the DoP poster on the church bulletin board with the flyers on the table or rack beneath or beside the board, and the information sheet is meant for whoever will deliver the Mother's Day sermon. Both were emailed to Dot Maver, who was very appreciative and promised to distribute them on the national level.

Yesterday, I did an outreach at my chiropractor's office. I explained about the DoP bill and the services the Department would provide for all Americans, both nationally and internationally. He accepted the materials for display in his waiting room. His response was, "Who could be against THAT?" My first thought was, "He's more naive than I was," but upon reflection, my jubilant realization was that we've finally done it: We've come up with some rhetoric that nobody can counter, just like the other side has done, for example, with "Support Our Troops." We are taking back our language, our country, our ideals!

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