Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2014

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Letter from Selma

“The thirty thousand people who at one point or another took part in this week’s march from the Brown Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Selma, Alabama, to the statehouse in Montgomery were giving highly dramatic expression to a principle that could be articulated only in the vaguest terms. They were a varied lot: local Negroes, Northern clergymen, members of labor unions, delegates from state and city governments, entertainers, mothers pushing baby carriages, members of civil-rights groups more or less at odds with one another, isolated, shaggy marchers with an air of simple vagrancy, doctors, lawyers, teachers, children, college students, and a preponderance of what one marcher described as “ordinary, garden- variety civilians from just about everywhere.” They were insulated in front by soldiers and television camera crews, overhead and underfoot by helicopters and Army demolition teams, at the sides and rear by more members of the press and military, and over all by agents of the F.B.I. Most of them were aware that protection along a route of more than fifty miles of hostile country could not be absolute (on the night before the march, a student who had come here from Boston University was slashed across the cheek with a razor blade), yet few of the thirty-two hundred marchers who set out on Sunday morning seemed to have a strong consciousness of risk. They did not have a sharply defined sense of purpose, either. President Johnson’s speech about voting rights and Judge Johnson’s granting of permission for the march to take place had made the march itself ceremonial—almost redundant. The immediate aims of the abortive earlier marches had been realized: the national conscience had been aroused and federal intervention had been secured. In a sense, the government of Alabama was now in rebellion, and the marchers, with the sanction and protection of the federal government, were demonstrating against a rebellious state. It was unclear what such a demonstration could hope to achieve. Few segregationists could be converted by it, the national commitment to civil rights would hardly be increased by it, there was certainly an element of danger in it, and for the local citizenry it might have a long and ugly aftermath. The marchers, who had five days and four nights in which to talk, tended for the most part to avoid discussions of principle, apparently in the hope that their good will, their sense of solidarity, and the sheer pageantry of the occasion would resolve matters at some symbolic level and yield a clear statement of practical purpose before the march came to an end.  (read more)

The Acoustic Outpost is playing an incredible show today for MLK Jr. Day.  Give a Listenhttps://acousticoutpost.com/

Thank you, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for inspiring all of us.

 

Moregonian

MoregonianFrom a FB conversation yesterday about Moregonian…

I have an idea for an article for BlueOregon that I might write. It goes something like this. What if we (Portlanders/Oregonians) lived with a newspaper that had a more even keel to it, instead of reaching off into far right positions as the Oregonian often does. Instead, what if our paper had more of a positive, progressive take on things. Instead of seeing a forest and thinking board feet – once in a while the paper might give environmental/tourism/other species a chance. Instead of mirroring the views of business alliances and conservative religious views we might experience something less op-ed intensive, and more straight news. I wonder how our lives might be different. My guess is that there would be more readership, and perhaps more people would take leadership in the community as they’d have less fear of sticking their necks out and become part of an attack in the editorial pages of the local paper. I think it would probably also lead to more reasoned debate on the issues of the day. Thoughts?

…‎Jonathan: not sure I want to start a new paper. Just wondering “what if”. What if I lived in a town where the paper reflected the zeitgeist of the people who lived there. And it does happen. Eugene has a paper that is very “Eugene”. It’s actually incredible to read. Especially the letters section. Instead of keeping everyone in a constant state of suspense and printing and lot of bullshit, the paper seems to encourage creativity and action.

(Sarah mentioned the great small papers we have here ) I want the main paper to be that good, too. I could be. I was in Las Vegas recently. Their paper is even-keeled, and pleasant and interesting and topical and seems more useful than keeping everyone fighting all the time. There didn’t seem to be a vendetta like the O has with the Mayor, with environmentalists, with Occupy Portland, with some of the City Council members. the paper is a bully. The paper also supported Bush and Gordon Smith which were so unreflective of the people who live here that they just stood out as stupid, and awful. They continue to be that on a daily basis, thus making our City less friendly, less cooperative and more libertarian and crass.

I think we can have better and deserve better. It’s not going to just happen magically. It may be one more area we have to fight for in our lives.

The Fabulous Yes Men, at it again – The War is Over!

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