The darkness and the light in Portland

An incident that shocked the nation took place on Friday in Portland, Oregon. On a light-rail commuter train, a man stabbed two men to death and seriously injured a third when the three victims intervened to stop the man’s racist and Islamophobic rant directed at two teenage women in the train. The man, Jeremy Joseph Christian, was apprehended by police, and will now face trial for aggravated murder, among other felony charges. My loving thoughts and prayers go out to everyone who has been impacted by this horrific event. Continue reading “The darkness and the light in Portland”

Manchester reflections: Applying the Golden Rule to terrorism

Earlier this week, the world was saddened with news of yet another terrorist attack, this time in Manchester, England. A suicide bomber struck at a concert venue in the center of town, killing 22 and wounding 64. ISIS once again claimed responsibility, though no one really knows if they had any direct involvement. My heart and my loving thoughts and prayers go out to everyone impacted by this horrific event, and my thanks go out to the first responders and police who dealt courageously with the aftermath of the attack. Continue reading “Manchester reflections: Applying the Golden Rule to terrorism”

Should I work with angry activists?

I wrestle with this issue a lot, and perhaps you do as well. My dilemma is this: I follow a spiritual path of love, and I want my activism to be a reflection of that. I’m therefore committed to doing everything I can to be loving and nonviolent in thought, word, and deed, even when I firmly stand up for something that is important to me. Yet we all know that anger often comes with the territory in activist groups. Even people committed to physical nonviolence are all too often violent to one degree or another in their words and attitudes toward those whose positions they oppose. So, should I work with people like that? Continue reading “Should I work with angry activists?”

Can we have a crisis-free day? A few thoughts on how to avoid activist burnout

After that last pessimistic post of mine, I’m sure a few people may want to disappear into their underground bunkers for a while. My partner Patricia and I have an American friend who wants to spend the next four years in Mexico, where it’s safe. 🙂

I can certainly understand. The sheer relentlessness of the strange and disturbing events that have been happening since Donald Trump came into office can be overwhelming. So much is happening so fast that for the dedicated activist, it seems that there are a hundred things to do at once. As Senator Susan Collins of Maine said recently, “Can we have a crisis-free day? That’s all I’m asking.” I think a lot of us are asking that. Continue reading “Can we have a crisis-free day? A few thoughts on how to avoid activist burnout”

A hopeful realism

Donald Trump’s firing of FBI director James Comey has sent shock waves through the nation this week. And as I’ve observed the different reactions, I’ve seen two broad perspectives among Trump opponents, one more optimistic and one more pessimistic.

The optimists say this is the beginning of the end for Trump. The growing evidence of his campaign’s collusion with Russia plus his ham-fisted Nixonian attempt to thwart the investigation into that collusion are going to force him out one way or another. As progressive commentator Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks gleefully said, “He’s done.” The pessimists say that this move by Trump, this “little whiff of fascism” as MSNBC’s Chris Matthews put it, has brought us to a constitutional crisis that puts us in real danger of descending into authoritarian rule. As Jeffrey Toobin put it on CNN, “This is the kind of thing that goes on in non-democracies….This is not normal. This is not politics as usual. This is something that is completely outside how American law is supposed to work.” Or as Bill Moyers and Michael Winship said in an article published yesterday, “With each day [Trump] edges us closer to autocracy….He’s attempting a coup. No joke.” Continue reading “A hopeful realism”

The Golden Rule: What exactly should I do unto others?

The Golden Rule seems so simple when we first hear it: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. What could be simpler than that? But the more I’ve thought about it and actually tried to practice it in real-life situations, the more I’ve realized that as with many general principles, however valid the principle may be, the devil is in the details. Practicing the Golden Rule turns out to be not quite as simple as it looks at first. Continue reading “The Golden Rule: What exactly should I do unto others?”

Keeping the human element ever before our eyes

I appreciate everyone’s kind comments on my first blog entry. I’ve been thinking about what to say in my next entry, and what I keep coming back to something that feels so crucial to what I’m calling Golden Rule activism: keeping the human element ever before our eyes, focusing on the impact that our decisions have on actual flesh-and-blood human beings. I want share a bit of my personal evolution on this idea, using the issue of immigration as an example. Continue reading “Keeping the human element ever before our eyes”

Welcome to Golden Rule Activism!

This is a little blog I’ve created to express some thoughts that I’ve been longing to share with others. I don’t know what will happen over time with it, and I imagine that posts will probably end up covering a wide range of topics. However, I envision it centering mainly around three broad themes, which I’ll call here the foundation, the situation, and the call to activism. Continue reading “Welcome to Golden Rule Activism!”