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Walking with the wind.




~~~

While my time here has now come to an end, I want you to know that in the last days and hours of my life you inspired me. You filled me with hope about the next chapter of the great American story when you used your power to make a difference in our society. Millions of people motivated simply by human compassion laid down the burdens of division. Around the country and the world you set aside race, class, age, language and nationality to demand respect for human dignity.

That is why I had to visit Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, though I was admitted to the hospital the following day. I just had to see and feel it for myself that, after many years of silent witness, the truth is still marching on.

Emmett Till was my George Floyd. He was my Rayshard Brooks, Sandra Bland and Breonna Taylor. He was 14 when he was killed, and I was only 15 years old at the time. I will never ever forget the moment when it became so clear that he could easily have been me. In those days, fear constrained us like an imaginary prison, and troubling thoughts of potential brutality committed for no understandable reason were the bars.

Though I was surrounded by two loving parents, plenty of brothers, sisters and cousins, their love could not protect me from the unholy oppression waiting just outside that family circle. Unchecked, unrestrained violence and government-sanctioned terror had the power to turn a simple stroll to the store for some Skittles or an innocent morning jog down a lonesome country road into a nightmare. If we are to survive as one unified nation, we must discover what so readily takes root in our hearts that could rob Mother Emanuel Church in South Carolina of her brightest and best, shoot unwitting concertgoers in Las Vegas and choke to death the hopes and dreams of a gifted violinist like Elijah McClain.

Like so many young people today, I was searching for a way out, or some might say a way in, and then I heard the voice of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on an old radio. He was talking about the philosophy and discipline of nonviolence. He said we are all complicit when we tolerate injustice. He said it is not enough to say it will get better by and by. He said each of us has a moral obligation to stand up, speak up and speak out. When you see something that is not right, you must say something. You must do something. Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself.

Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble. Voting and participating in the democratic process are key. The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society. You must use it because it is not guaranteed. You can lose it.

You must also study and learn the lessons of history because humanity has been involved in this soul-wrenching, existential struggle for a very long time. People on every continent have stood in your shoes, through decades and centuries before you. The truth does not change, and that is why the answers worked out long ago can help you find solutions to the challenges of our time. Continue to build union between movements stretching across the globe because we must put away our willingness to profit from the exploitation of others.

Though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe. In my life I have done all I can to demonstrate that the way of peace, the way of love and nonviolence is the more excellent way. Now it is your turn to let freedom ring.

When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let them say that it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war. So I say to you, walk with the wind, brothers and sisters, and let the spirit of peace and the power of everlasting love be your guide. ~ John Robert Lewis

~~~

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Together, You
Can Redeem the Soul
of Our Nation

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12 users have voted.

Let's try to help each other
find a better way.

smiley7's picture

@QMS

The truth does not change, and that is why the answers worked out long ago can help you find solutions to the challenges of our time.

Fantastic essay, thank you Robert and RIP.

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mimi's picture

I hope you and all of you can save this nation.

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“Trauma is not what happens to you.
Trauma is what happens inside you,
as a result of what happens to you.”
— Dr. Gabor Maté

smiley7's picture

@mimi

tears raining down. When will we ever learn?

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mimi's picture

nothing to add to this.

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8 users have voted.

“Trauma is not what happens to you.
Trauma is what happens inside you,
as a result of what happens to you.”
— Dr. Gabor Maté

Lookout's picture

Enjoyed the John Lewis essay. I must admit I lost some respect for him when he praised Hillary and shunned Bernie's civil rights efforts. I think he too was bought or succumbed to power, however he was a man of courage in the 60's and 70's.

Got some nice avocados at Trade Day this AM. Bought some non-ethanol gas for my old tractor while in town and went grocery shopping. After a week with the box scrape working the new gravel on the road, and then a few days with the back scoop spreading manure, I'm finally back to a long over due mowing. It will take a few more days to get caught up. Really it is nice to have the chores to keep me occupied and not focusing on the mess we're in.

Hope you are doing well, smiley (and all the rest of the c99 community). Have not been around much this week because of all the activities. Take care everyone.

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18 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

@Lookout
All it does is subsidize Archer-Daniels-Midland. The only emission reductions were for older cars with carburetors that skipped tuneups. For thirty years, cars have been fuel injected with microprocessor controlled feedback controls using an oxygen sensor. Cars no longer run rich and spark plugs have gone from needing replacement every 10,000 miles to 100,000 miles (platinum) to 200,000 miles (iridium). i.e. spark plugs last the life of the engine and the annual tune-up is passe. There is no reason (if indeed there ever was one) to put ethanol in gasoline. It just generates another pollutant (formaldehyde), and a guaranteed market for ADM.

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16 users have voted.

We are so screwed.

@The Voice In the Wilderness

originally sold as an ecological solution to mideast oil
now wrecking havoc on carbs, seals and older engines
especially in the marine environment (absorbs moisture)
now the corn lobbyists are pushing for E15 and E20
this subsidy, like oil, is damaging the planet and enriching
big private interests at our expense.
Put the land back into sustainable farming.
Feed people, not the capital machine.

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17 users have voted.

Let's try to help each other
find a better way.

Lookout's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness @QMS

a screen door on a submarine. Since Iowa is the first primary I doubt we'll see a change in the stupidity.

Hope you're both doing well!

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10 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

smiley7's picture

@Lookout

Agree about the Hillary sycophancy, power can corrupt, especially in the DC bubble.

100 degrees down the mountain where i must return tomorrow, not looking forward to the humidity.

Happy grading, bet you have summer storm gully washers.

Covid's spreading rather rapidly here after months of being more safe than most counties in NC.

Be safe and well.

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Lookout's picture

@smiley7

Here as well. Stay cool (as you can) in the low lands. We have not had temps higher than the low 90's all summer. Most odd, but a nice summer so far.

Take care friend!

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10 users have voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

@Lookout
I refused to go outside. Potentially lethal. A/C ran all day. Temperatures in the house crept up to 79. A/C is sized for typical summer teperatures, not an oven. Hot and Humid. Three days ago I had to turn the heat on! Outside fell to 62. Inside to 69.

Strange Weather!

EDIT:
Europe too

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5 users have voted.

We are so screwed.

earthling1's picture

@Lookout @Lookout
had lost some respect for Lewis over the recent past. But I still felt moved by his last words.
He has redeemed himself in my eyes. I only wish I can rise to the same level of poise and humility on my own death bed.
I will remember John Lewis with the best of thoughts as his younger years of struggle, perserverance, and bravery cancel out any perceived failings later in life.
With respect to the lockdown, I don't know what I would do without the "farm" to keep me busy. We (earthling2 and I) spend about half our time split between there and our home in Vancouver, Wa. We have a garden there also.
We use the Leaf to commute the 152 miles back and forth as it only costs us about $2.60 in electric to do a round trip. Just discovered I can stuff 8 foot long 2"x4"s inside the cab, although earthing2 has to sit in the backseat.
Anyway, keep the faith, Lookout.
And thanks Smiley for the Lewis essay and the Sat. Morning post.

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After six years, still getting robo-calls from Marriot Hotels.
They're like herpes.

Lookout's picture

@earthling1

Can't help but evoke images of troopers swinging billy clubs. My political mentor had a law office overlooking the bus terminal in Montgomery. They saw the severe treatment of the freedom riders when they came into town. I definitely have great respect for that John Lewis.

Glad to hear about your farm and hope it is going well. Take care and be well!

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1 user has voted.

“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

enhydra lutris's picture

must remember & apply:

... each of us has a moral obligation to stand up, speak up and speak out. When you see something that is not right, you must say something. You must do something. Democracy is not a state. It is an act ...

powerful words, thanks again

be well and have a good one.

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

smiley7's picture

@enhydra lutris

Words to live by for sure.

Enjoy your Saturday and be safe out there.

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mimi's picture

and the leading pig was a "sow".
Don't read it. The FBI and DoJ will make you sick.

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12 users have voted.

“Trauma is not what happens to you.
Trauma is what happens inside you,
as a result of what happens to you.”
— Dr. Gabor Maté

blessing the boats

by Lucille Clifton

may the tide
that is entering even now
the lip of our understanding
carry you out
beyond the face of fear
may you kiss
the wind then turn from it
certain that it will
love your back may you
open your eyes to water
water waving forever
and may you in your innocence
sail through this to that

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Let's try to help each other
find a better way.

smiley7's picture

@QMS

may you kiss
the wind then turn from it
certain that it will
love your back

Thank you for sharing.

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7 users have voted.

smiley and all. I have been doing a bit of reading on reading which was inspired by phillybluesfan's essay of yesterday.

One thing that puts me off from reading nonfiction is its preoccupation with what seems to me irrelevant minutiae and is indulgence that is just absurd at this time. I don't find any comfort in it. On the other hand, I want to read authors who at least try to grapple with the serious issues that we are confronting. That approach does give me comfort.

An article in the L.A. review of books brings up this question of relevance of fiction in these times.

Ghosh points out, contemporary novels have been unable to face up to the most urgent human question — that of our survival in a world where we have played fast and loose with these delicate connections. Fiction is supposed to dream up possibilities, so why has it shied away from imagining or presaging this looming reality? Novelists (and he does not always exempt himself) largely come across as self-involved and petty-minded in his coruscating analysis, busy with minute dramas while the earth is falling to pieces.

Anjum Hasan, the author of this article concludes with;

“Art celebrates life and not the other thing, not the opposite of life. And art raises the stakes, increasing the store of what might be lost,” Martin Amis wrote in Einstein’s Monsters (1987) — a collection of stories that, in evoking the everyday dread of nuclear conflagration, also sought to think the unthinkable. Can fiction do both — make beauty by upholding life as well as lament its passing? It seems like a tall order.

https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/world-without-end/

Another view on reading by Alice Blackhurst in the Prospect echos how I imagine many readers feel.

To say that I spent lockdown mostly re-reading would be an appealing lie. As much as I indulged the fantasy of using quarantine to re-acquaint myself with classic novels, most of them stood mutely by my bed, functioning as makeshift coffee coasters as I panic-scrolled through social media, or devoured other people’s “pandemic journals.” Though the latter came to blur into one, sourdough-flavoured unit, reading them seemed preferable to reaching back to Camus, Flaubert, or Defoe. The present moment offered more than enough stimulation. Escaping into other timeframes held not only the appearance of indulgence but demanded an internal ice-sculpture of discipline I did not possess.

Even those not in lockdown because they are considered 'essential workers' are obsessively scrolling through the available online media for information. It makes one wonder if the arts have relevance. I think so but it seems to be a notion that calls for a clearer explanation.

I was amused by this sentence;

the American writer Vivian Gornick’s essay collection Unfinished Business: Notes of a Chronic Re-Reader, published in more innocent times (February) could register as a relic of the old, undistanced world.

https://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/arts-and-books/vivian-gornick-unfinis...

Things have changed so absolutely everything is called into question.

Music can still work?

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smiley7's picture

@randtntx

Things have changed so absolutely everything is called into question.

Really enjoy you comment this morning: we used to discuss nostalgia in theatre when revivals rein over new play production, is it a longing for the past or lack of creativity of the present?

Used to read lots of autobiographies; always astonishes in learning what people have endured.

Thanks for turning the cobwebs, feels good to think Smile

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@smiley7 take good care next week in that heat. As my family always tells me...stay hydrated.

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magiamma's picture

And everyone

Thanks for this !!

Here is the link to him speaking

https://www.democracynow.org/2020/7/31/john_lewis_funeral_rev_james_lawson

Take good care and have a good one all

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Stop Climate Change Silence - Start the Conversation

Hot Air Website, Twitter, Facebook

smiley7's picture

@magiamma

Thanks for the link.

Our poor planet is being ignored in all the covid noise and BS. May our young people hear these good words of Lewis.

Miles to go before ...

Be well and be safe.

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Granma's picture

Can you tell me anything about it?

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smiley7's picture

@Granma

Glad you enjoy the image, but sorry, it's from an imac video library and has no attribution i could find.

Be well and safe.

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Granma's picture

@smiley7

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Anja Geitz's picture

of how the mechanisms of power really work in Washington was still in it’s embryonic stage during Obama’s first administration, but then 2016 happened and changed all that. The fissures that divided the powerless and the powerful suddenly cracked open wide during Hillary’s campaign revealing all the grotesqueness that is our current politics and the character of those in power who sell their constituents down the drain to keep that power.

I don’t doubt that Mr. Lewis did brave things in his youth before he acquired his appetite for power. I also don’t doubt that at the end of our lives we harken back to what really matters. Death seems to have a way of bringing those feelings into full relief. But I saw the true character of John Lewis in 2016 when he was a powerful man holding on to his power. Which, frankly, for me is the litmus test I use to judge a person’s character; What they do when they have all the power, not what they say when their power no longer can be of use to them.

Appreciate the sentimental nature of a dying man’s words as he reflects over his life, but there are plenty of other people whose words don’t make it in the newspaper, who never betrayed their people as a public servant, that I much rather honor.

I’m sorry to speak this way about what was clearly a lovely essay, but I just couldn’t reconcile his final words with the person John Lewis was when it really mattered.

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

smiley7's picture

@Anja Geitz

His parting words and early deeds far surpass his later congressional contributions. I don't understand the position he, Clyburn and others have taken, supporting Biden, for instance, appears for party favor, pure politics, and not for the people.

Thanks for you good comment, be well and be safe.

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Anja Geitz's picture

@smiley7

But they do not for me. True character is forged when those you are helping can do nothing for you. Mr. Lewis showed me the kind of person he really was in 2016, and I believed him.

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

mhagle's picture

and the picture that seems to come from my daughter's favorite Japanese anime.

Thanks! Be well all!

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Marilyn

"Make dirt, not war." eyo

smiley7's picture

@mhagle

good to see you, hope your garden is bountiful this season.

Be well and safe.

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