Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Next Thursday
My dad turns 62 years young. It'll be three days before what I hope will be the Eagles' (latest) shot at redemption in the NFC championship game, assuming they get past the Minnesota Vikings this coming Sunday. And, um... hold on, I know this... oh yeah: Republicans will celebrate our national consignment to four more years of debt, demagoguery and damage, if not damnation, with Bush's second inauguration.

I got an e-mail this morning about one of the several proposed protests for this grim occasion: Not One Damn Dime Day. The idea is that, in the absence of opposition to the war and the Bush agenda from political or spiritual leaders, we can take it upon ourselves to make our views known by spending no money on January 20, 2005. The idea is spreading pretty quickly across the left blogosphere and beyond, as this news story illustrates. (Is it lefty paranoia or just an uncannily sharp eye that I noticed the link to the "Not One Damn Dime" site is incorrect?) But this Snopes piece, while more of an editorial than their usual debunking of urban mythology, makes a fairly compelling argument for why we maybe shouldn't bother.

Myself, I think it raises the more interesting question of what would happen if we did something like this for a week. Or a month. Or six months. It worked for Gandhi, I believe. And the civil rights leaders of the 1950s and '60s put the concept to more than occasional good effect.

RIP, James Forman
Speaking of the civil rights era, one of its heroes died late Monday night. James Forman, organzier of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, passed away from colon cancer at 76. A Freedom Rider and participant in the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party effort to unseat that state's racist Democratic "regulars," Forman was older than SNCC contemporaries like John Lewis and Julian Bond, and for that matter Martin Luther King, Jr., who would have turned 76 next week. Like Bob Moses and many other champions of the movement, Forman became disillusioned with the country's failure to make further progress on racial issues as the 1960s wore on, and became both more radical and more marginalized. He died in a hospice in Washington, largely forgotten and deserving of better; hopefully his death, coming so close to the observance of King's birthday, will refocus attention on one of the prouder chapters in recent history and possibly even spark some critical thought about where we were then, and where we are now.

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