wmwcjr
 
  5  
Reply Sat 17 Sep, 2011 04:06 pm
This post is a continuation of the thoughts I began to express in my last post above …

Amazingly enough, I didn’t learn about the Holocaust until I was 16 years old. Later that fall I began reading The Bridge at Andau (1957) by James Michener, which was partly based upon interviews of Hungarians who had fled their country in 1956 when Soviet troops crushed the revolt against the brutal Stalinist regime. Their tales of Communist terror were appalling. I couldn’t finish reading the book because it was just too sad. Not many years later I was able to see that individuals living under Hitler who risked their lives to save Jews, political dissidents behind the Iron Curtain, and the civil rights marchers of the early 1960s were all cut from the same cloth.

I know this is history now, but I’ve long held the John Birch Society in utter contempt because of their propensity to falsely accuse some individuals of being Communists. I speak from personal experience. My sister was a college student from the fall of 1961 through the spring of 1965. In either 1964 or 1965, the Houston chapter of the John Birch Society held a press conference in which they publicly accused my sister of being a Communist. On the basis of what evidence did they attempt to blacklist her? What had she done to deserve this? (Incidentally, if this incident had occurred, say, ten years before during the 1950s, my sister’s chances of pursuing a career would have been ruined.)

Well, my sister was a member of a sorority that had racist by-laws excluding blacks and Jews from membership. (No, my sister wasn’t a social climber. She ignored social boundaries imposed by cliques, I’m proud to say.) She had a Jewish girlfriend whom she wanted to be able to join her sorority. So, she started a petition to the national headquarters of the sorority, urging them to drop their racist by-laws. She had also participated in a peaceful demonstration against the “whites only” hiring practices of a leading employer in the town where the campus of the college was located. This was why the Houston chapter of the John Birch Society called my sister a Communist. In contrast to what the Birchers had to say about her, I’m proud of my sister to this very day.

Incidentally, one of her friends who was also a member of that sorority found out about the Birchers’ press conference before my sister did. She called my sister on the phone (if I remember correctly) and cried as she told her. My sister wasn’t fazed, though. Instead of crying, she sarcastically responded, “I’m proud to be a Communist!” Laughing

The John Birch Society’s charge against my sister was despicable. No, she was not a conservative. But she was the sort of caring liberal who would have been among the first to be killed under a Communist regime, not to mention Nazi Germany.

You may think I’m a raging liberal today. No, I’m not. Many changes have taken place in society, as well as in my own life; and as was inevitable with the passage of time, other issues came to the forefront. I am gratified by the changes that have taken place in race relations in this country; and, yes, I’m painfully aware there are black racists who are just as bad as the white ones. In fact, as we all know, there are racists in all races and ethnic groups. Black Americans face problems today that are not like those they faced when I was young.

In case the reader is wondering, what am I politically today? I’m neither a Democratic nor a Republican, and I’m not a Libertarian or a member of any minor political party. That’s why I’ll hardly ever post in the political threads. According to today's ideological litmus tests, some of my views are conservative; but some are still liberal. I have no answers. I could say that my current political views are a curious mixture of early 1960s liberalism and religious right politics, but even that description doesn’t fit. I’m fiercely ideologically independent. I’m just as critical of the religious right as I am of any other political movement. I’ve even given up on politics and no longer vote (a position which I don’t recommend to anyone). In my humble opinion, I’m just one of the powerless sheeple awaiting whatever the political powers that be have in store for us either out of their own incompetence or their outright maliciousness.

Aw, I’ve said enough … Wink
ehBeth
 
  3  
Reply Sat 17 Sep, 2011 04:58 pm
@wmwcjr,
Really interesting set of posts, wmwcjr. Thank you for sharing those. You've painted a really personal picture.
wmwcjr
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Sep, 2011 05:49 pm
@ehBeth,
Thank you for the compliments. Smile
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Sat 17 Sep, 2011 06:18 pm
@wmwcjr,
Excellent, wmwc.


To Msolga, I will be writing, probably a long story.
Some of what others are saying resonates with me. I've reread the thread too. I like the personal accounts from varying viewpoints and like that people generally have held off from partisan attacks. Good thread, for sure.
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Sat 17 Sep, 2011 06:25 pm
I have not posted here before, because I did not know how to answer you. I was aware all my life of the Great Depression and the Korean and WW II wars. I noted while extremely young that racism was strong, even with some people that I loved. I felt the disparity between patriotic rants and my own situation (being dirt poor and having no one to rescue me from abuse). So, as I became an adult, I just naturally took an interest in the thoughts that lead and/or harm the nation. I felt in some way that my interest would help me along in my quest to become consequential in life, while at the same time doing good for my country.
wmwcjr
 
  2  
Reply Sat 17 Sep, 2011 07:33 pm
@ossobuco,
ossobuco wrote:
Excellent, wmwc.

Thank you. Smile

ossobuco wrote:
To Msolga, I will be writing, probably a long story.
Some of what others are saying resonates with me. I've reread the thread too. I like the personal accounts from varying viewpoints and like that people generally have held off from partisan attacks. Good thread, for sure.

I agree. Smile
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Sep, 2011 10:35 pm
@izzythepush,
Thanks, izzy.
Of course I have more questions, but I'll desist.
Otherwise you might think I'm harassing you. Smile

BTW, I "thumbed up" your post, just as I've thumbed up just about every contribution to this thread.
Some petty someone is not playing the game, I'm afraid!Wink
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Sep, 2011 10:45 pm
@wmwcjr,
Thank you, wm, for your really thoughtful and detailed post.
It was a terrific read!
Bravo. Smile
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Sep, 2011 10:55 pm
@ossobuco,
Quote:
I will be writing, probably a long story.

Excellent! That would be really good, osso. I'll look forward to that with great anticipation.
As I recall, some nasty lurgy (lurgi?) gobbled up a lengthy post you attempted to post here, fairly early in the piece?
Good luck with your next try!

Quote:
I've reread the thread too. I like the personal accounts from varying viewpoints and like that people generally have held off from partisan attacks. Good thread, for sure.

Absolutely agree with you.
I've found it fascinating, insightful reading, as I've said before.
And I really hope readers continue to refrain from any partisan attacks, too.
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Sep, 2011 11:06 pm
@edgarblythe,
Hi edgar.
Good to see you made it here at last.
I always hoped you would! Smile

Having read so many of your posts about your early life,in particular, via various threads over the years, I can fully appreciate how this influenced your political thinking.

I have a hunch that you might have more to add to what you've just posted here. I may be right or I may wrong about that.
But, if you feel the inclination to do so, I'd love to hear more of you thoughts on this subject, as I'm sure others would, too.

But definitely no pressure, OK? Smile
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Sat 17 Sep, 2011 11:14 pm
@msolga,
It often takes me a long time to formulate a post. But, I will be back.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 Sep, 2011 11:35 pm
@edgarblythe,
Oh I hope so, edgar! Smile

But I do know what you mean, though ...
I can see that many of the posts here would have involved considerable thought, saying nothing of the amount of time involved in expressing those thoughts.
That's what has made them such excellent reading, though.

So when & if you're ready & you want to, edgar, is fine by me. Smile
0 Replies
 
wmwcjr
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Sep, 2011 12:08 am
@msolga,
msolga wrote:
Thank you, wm, for your really thoughtful and detailed post.
It was a terrific read!
Bravo. Smile

Thank you! Smile
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Sep, 2011 03:39 am
@msolga,
Thank you chuck. I think Bill's posts are really good, anw would make a brilliant short story. I know who is posting me down. He's someone who has gone to all the time and effort to make up a little song about me.

Actually I'm quite chuffed, nobody's ever done that for me before.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Sep, 2011 04:20 am
@izzythepush,
Someone made up a song about you?
I'm jealous.
No one ever made up song about me!

Anyway, whoever this person is, I'd like to cordially invite them here to share their thoughts.
In song form, if they'd prefer.
That's OK. Smile
0 Replies
 
wmwcjr
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Sep, 2011 12:36 pm
@izzythepush,
izzythepush wrote:
I think Bill's posts are really good, anw would make a brilliant short story.

That's high praise. I'm honored. Thanks. Smile
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 Sep, 2011 01:07 pm
@wmwcjr,
I'm just sorry I couldn't spell and.
0 Replies
 
plainoldme
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Sep, 2011 11:55 am
@wmwcjr,
Your story about Clarence was powerful. Thanks for sharing it.
Sturgis
 
  2  
Reply Wed 21 Sep, 2011 08:31 am
@msolga,
I was discussing this the other afterday with somebody (I mean the topic of politicization) and they stared at me and summed it up.

Coal mining.

Early on for reasons still unknown I took an interest in coal miners and their deplorable conditions for work and living. Zthe general lack of concern by most towards them. Then several things happened.

The passage of the Coal Mine Safety and Health act in 1969, the Hurricane Creek (in Kentucky) mining accident of December 1970 and the subsequent lack of real addressing of the matter both before and after (the Bureau of Mines knew that the Finley operation was dangerous but didn't shut it down).

In the years which followed I watched as coal miners were continued to be stepped upon and disregarded. Maybe not disregarded as much as regarded as expendable. Even the leaders of the UMW haven't in general put much effort towards improving things. When they at times began making headway, they'd be stymied. When a good leader was in the wings things would happen to cease them from mobilizing or moving fully forward (notably Jock Yablonski the best of the best, done in by Tony Boyle. Yoblonski had risen far in the ranks; but he wanted better for the workers and paid for it with his life).

So, although I don't think of it in a political sense, I suppose coal mining was what first alerted me to the matter of politicization.


msolga
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Sep, 2011 09:08 am
@Sturgis,
Thank you for a fine post, Sturgis.

It's odd, isn't it, that the working conditions of people in such an essential industry remain almost Victorian to this day?
So out of step with what most workers are required to contend with in the process of doing their jobs.

I have had exactly the same response as you, when contemplating the mining tragedies which occur on such a regular basis ....whether in my own country or in response to the the mining tragedies we regularly read about in other countries.
0 Replies
 
 

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