Beltane and the Moon of Shadow Mountain

Friday gratefuls: Snow, a Winter wonderland. Good sleeping. Alan. The Parkside. Back to it. Groceries. Mail. Life beginning to knit itself back together. Gaza. Israel. Biden. Orange one. Trials of. Japan. Korea. Taiwan. Hong Kong. China. The Philipines. The South China Sea. Vietnam. Cambodia. Thailand. Australia. Micronesia and Polynesia. The Pacific Rim.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Oxygen in the blood

One brief shining: Great Sol illuminates this Snowy world behind a cold white Sky, clouds like opaque linen handkerchiefs, my Lodgepole Companion with Snow and Frost on their branches, they do not look surprised, only resigned, not a usual look for mid-May, but not unknown either, the Mountains have their own weather, always, often surprising, one of the joys of living at altitude.


Both Mary and Mark have asked me to comment, compare and contrast the anti-Vietnam protest era against this one. A blue book question for this year’s contemporary Civilization final. I’ll add to it observations about the long decline of what I consider the value of higher education. I believe they’re connected.

Let me begin with some stipulations:

  1. I support Israel as a nation. This is not the same as supporting its recent military decisions. Which I don’t.
  2. I support Palestinian statehood. This is not the same as supporting Hamas. Which I do not.
  3. I have ambivalent feelings about the U.S. support of Israel’s ongoing invasion of Gaza. That is, I appreciate the U.S. helping Israel defend itself against terrorism. But we went along too far.
  4. I absolutely support students on both sides of the divide in having a right to give voice to their anger, their political analysis.
  5. I do not support anti-Semitism of any sort. Like “from the river to the sea.” for example.
  6. I understand the heat of the moment and the narrowing of vision that comes with all in commitment to a cause. It does not absolve any one of the necessity for critical thinking. (One of the values of higher education, btw)

Vietnam was, imho, a simpler issue. We were interfering in a civil war, one that had nothing, nada, to do with the U.S. Except our latter day role as the new France of Indochine. And we played silly buggers with the policy at every step. Including and most consequentially the Gulf of Tonkin resolution.

When we decided to enter the war ourselves, no longer limited to military advisors and weapons sales, we reinstituted the draft. Oh, boy. The Vietnam protests, like the Gaza ones of today, had a crucial flaw. Their flaw was the draft and its exemptions. All of us who protested were covered by a draft exemption as long as we stayed in school. That meant the war and its U.S. victims were going to be poor white and people of color who couldn’t get to college.

The Gaza flaw is a bit more subtle. Championing the rights of Palestinians against the Israeli bombs and tanks and invasionary forces so easily slips over into anti-Semitism. This is not an either/or. It’s not either Israel is put down and Palestinians lifted up or nothing. No. The issue is how to create a Middle East that can be a safe home for all.

That’s another post. Here I’ll just say that when a consensus occurs and forces coalesce the result has the power to shake the foundations of society. But not necessarily in predictable ways.

I feel our protests were more innocent, more focused on culture change, especially as they went on. Hippies and radicals. Feminists. Labor unionists. Religionists. We wanted to stop the US war machine, not the US itself. Though a few of us may have harbored ambitions there, too. I get the sense that the Gaza folks want to eliminate Israel. That’s when the whole effort crashes over into rank anti-Semitism. And is a major difference from the 60’s.

More to say, but enough for  now.