Tuesday, June 3, 2008

What Have We Become?

By Michael True

(675 words)

This commentary is unpublished.

The U.S. Constitution is a promise to the American people that we will enjoy freedom of speech and other basic human rights. For over two centuries, that promise has generally been kept, though threatened by forces within and without.

Under the Bush administration, that promise has been broken, in a manner that undermines the welfare of the American as well as the world’s people. “Shock and awe,” torture, and the Patriot Act have been approved and funded by congress and upheld by the courts. Although Americans worry about threats from abroad, we seem less concerned about threats to the Constitution and “the $3 trillion war” on Iraq, originating with neo-conservatives and their think-tanks....

....Americans reveal who we are not by our intentions, but by our relationships and our performance. Rightfully concerned about threats to our country from without, we often forget that how we treat others eventually affects how we define ourselves. To prevent our drifting toward cruelty, we must refuse to tolerate the slighting of any human being....

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Michael True, author of People Power: Fifty Peacemakers and Their Communities, lives in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Racism Embedded in the Political Conversation about Sexism

By Jacqueline Haessly, Ph. D.

(677 words)

This commentary is unpublished.

The national conversation this past week, stimulated by morning and evening news shows, radio and TV talk shows, and local and national newspapers, has centered on the role of sexism during this current primary election season, and its role in diminishing the possibility of nominating and ultimately electing the first woman to the position of President of the United States.

There is ample evidence -- backed up by both media and academic research -- that sexist practices abound during this campaign season. I deplore the focus on the attire of one candidate over two others; the use of language that demeans and denigrates; the inability of investigative and news reporters and commentators to hold candidates to a single standard when it comes to the manner in which candidates express their positions on security threats and war. I further deplore the failure of candidates themselves to speak out against such practices...

...The women who challenge the sexism that permeates this primary season do important work. Now, they need to look deeper into their own language and images and begin to examine and challenge their own assumptions about who decides the needs of all women, and to make certain that their vision goes beyond the needs of only white working-class women, because otherwise their concerns about sexism only serve to cover the underlying racial dimensions and even racial prejudice that continues to surface during this primary race.

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Jacqueline Haessly, President of Peacemaking Associates, Peace Education Specialist, Consultant and Coach. Contact her at jacpeace@earthlink.net