Café Communication

Vernon E. Jordan ’57

March 2, 2021

DePauw mourns the death of civil rights leader Vernon Jordan ’57

Vernon E. Jordan ’57, a tenacious civil rights leader and a trusted adviser to American presidents, died last night. He was 85.

Jordan grew up in Atlanta but chose to come north to attend DePauw University for his higher education. He knew he would stand out as an African-American matriculant from the segregated South, and he was the only Black student in the Class of 1957 and one of only five African Americans in the student body when he first stepped onto campus.

While at DePauw, Jordan immersed himself in the student senate, excelled in oratorical contests and, by his own reckoning, was something of a big man on campus.

He later said of DePauw: “I love this place – DePauw – because it prepared me to lead the life I have been blessed to live. If I were to enumerate all the great gifts this university gave me, everything I learned, or all that my education made possible, I would need at least another four years.

“But, in the interest of time – and the desire to avoid additional tuition payments – I’ll say this: DePauw University nurtured my growth and maturity. I made lasting friendships here. And if I had my life to live over again, I would return to this place.”

Said DePauw President Lori S. White: “Our community mourns the passing of Vernon Jordan, a member of the Class of 1957.  DePauw University has lost a dear friend and the world has lost a determined leader. He spoke loudly – through words and deeds – as a civil rights activist and quietly as a trusted counsel to presidents. DePauw is better for having had him as a beloved alumnus, and the country and the world are better for having him as a leader.” 

After DePauw, Jordan graduated from the Howard University School of Law and quickly established himself as a leader. He became a close adviser to President Bill Clinton and one of the most powerful Black executives in America, known as “the Rosa Parks of Wall Street.”

He was first in the public eye soon after graduating law school, when his law firm won a lawsuit on behalf of two Black students – including Charlayne Hunter, who would add “-Gault” to her last name and go on to be a renowned journalist – to be admitted to the University of Georgia. A year later, he became Georgia field director for the NAACP, organizing voter-registration drives and boycotts of businesses that refused to hire African Americans. In 1964, he became director of the Voter Education Project of the Southern Regional Council. He became executive director of the United Negro College Fund in 1970, followed by nine years as president and chief executive officer of the National Urban League. He joined Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP in Washington D.C. in 1982, where he most recently was senior counsel; he also worked as senior managing partner at Lazard Frères & Co. LLC in New York since 2000.

In political circles, Jordan was best known as a close friend and adviser to President Clinton, for whom he ran the transition process in 1992. He had relationships with other presidents for virtually his entire professional life: President Johnson tapped him in 1966 to participate in the White House Conference on Civil Rights. President Nixon invited him to the White House in 1971, when Jordan informed the president he intended to be as candid as his Urban League predecessor had been. President Carter offered him two cabinet positions – both of which Jordan declined – and visited Jordan in the hospital in 1980 after the civil rights activist was shot by an avowed racist in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Jordan met regularly with President George H.W. Bush during negotiations over the Civil Rights Act of 1990. President George W. Bush took friendly jabs at Jordan when speaking to the Economic Club of Washington, of which Jordan was president. And President Obama, a long-time friend, celebrated Jordan’s 80th birthday in 2015.

Jordan wrote an autobiography, “Vernon Can Read: A Memoir,” and a compendium of his speeches, “Make It Plain: Standing Up and Speaking Out.” He was among the civil rights leaders interviewed at length and featured in Robert Penn Warren’s 1965 book “Who Speaks for the Negro?” He recently was the subject of a documentary, “Vernon Jordan: Make It Plain,” a chronological retelling of his life.

Jordan returned to the DePauw campus often and was the commencement speaker in 1973, 1993 and 2018. He received numerous awards: in 2018, the Anti-Defamation League’s Lifetime Achievement Award; in 2017, Harvard Law School Center on the Legal Profession’s Award for Global Leadership; in 2014, The American Lawyer magazine’s Lifetime Achievement Award and the Hubert H. Humphrey Public Leadership Award from the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs; in 2009, the W.E.B. DuBois Medal from Harvard University; in 2003, the Trumpet Award; in 2001, the Joel E. Spingarn Medal from the NAACP; in 1993, the McNaughton Medal for Public Service from DePauw University; and, in 1969, the Old Gold Goblet from DePauw. He has received honorary degrees from more than 70 colleges and universities, including DePauw.

Jordan sat on a number of boards of corporations and organizations and was an advisory member of the DePauw Board of Trustees.

 

www.depauw.edu/stories/details/depauw-mourns-the-death-of-civil-rights-leader-vernon-jordan-57/

 

Dear DePauw Alumni,

It is with a heavy heart that I share the news that Vernon Jordan, a proud DePauw graduate and globally renowned civil rights leader, has passed away. He was beloved by not only the DePauw family, but by countless people the world over whose lives he profoundly changed or influenced.

We are blessed to have called him one of our own. Below is a link to our news announcement.

Sincerely,

Lori S. White, Ph.D.

President

When Jordan attended DePauw, due to segregation and racism, Jordan could not go into the local bar in Greencastle, Indiana for a beer, or join a fraternity.

Yet, Jordan wrote in his memoir:

“I was the only Black participant and was not at all uncomfortable. This as the way it was going to be. I had chosen this path.

“One of the good things about going to a school in a small town is that everything that happens there commands great attention. There’s no competing entertainment. When the four of us gathered to give our speeches in East College, we were before a capacity crowed. My topic was “The Negro in America,” a subject I’d been talking about since I was fifteen years old. I feel comfortable with that. I did my best, and I won.”

“Although Indiana is above the Mason-Dixon line, it has a tough history regarding race. For a time, it had the largest and most active chapters of the Ku Klux Klan in the country. It was a mess in the 1920’s and 1930’s. When I was there in the 1950’s, it wasn’t exactly a racial utopia.”

“There was, of course, the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1954 ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, and a year later, in December of my junior year, word came from Montgomery, Alabama, of the boycott of city buses in response to Rosa Park’s refusal to move to the back of the bus. Leading the boycott was the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., the young preacher from Atlanta. King’s reputation had grown considerably since the day he had officiated at my brother Warren’s weeding. With Montgomery, he became a figure of world-wide renown.”

Later, Jordan would say of DePauw:

“I love this place – DePauw – because it prepared me to lead the life I have been blessed to live. If I were to enumerate all the great gifts this university gave me, everything I learned, or all that my education made possible, I would need at least another four years.”

 

Cathars

February 28, 2021

“Lo Boier” is a mysterious Chant left for us by the Gnostic Cathars, when they were killed and annhiliated by religious powers in the 13th/14th century. It is highly symbolical and contains a hidden message for spiritual seekers. Singer: Patrick Lenk.

a, e, i, o, u

Along with Se Canta, it is possibly the most known old Occitan song. It was studied by Gérard de Sède and performed by artists like Corou de Berra, Jean-Bernard Plantevin, André Ricros and Gacha Empega. It was also utilized by Radio Toulouse during World War I as a resistance song.

 

‘If you are not listening breathe slowly and begin the vow to listen.’ -Mark Nepo

‘Most people who reach out for let are really asking for us to listen.’ -Heidi Green

~

‘He has told you, O mortal, what is good, and what does the lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?’

-Micha 6:8

‘We are all just walking each other home.’

-Ram Dass

Sophia.

February 26, 2021

Cynthia Bourgeault, An Introductory Wisdom School: Course Transcript and Companion Guide (Wisdom Way of Knowing: 2017), 2. Please note: Today is the last day to register for Cynthia’s Introductory Wisdom School online course.

Sophia: Koinē Greek: Σοφíα “Wisdom“, Coptic: ⲧⲥⲟⲫⲓⲁ “the Sophia

W I S D O M

Center for Action & Contemplation

Fr Richard Rohr:

‘Wisdom is clearly more than mere intelligence, knowledge of facts, or information. Wisdom is more synthesis than analysis, more paradoxical than linear, more a dance than a march. In order to grow in wisdom, we need to move beyond cerebral, rational knowing. As wisdom teacher Cynthia Bourgeault puts it: “Wisdom is not knowing more, but knowing with more of you, knowing deeper.” I’ve created a list of seven “ways of knowing” that together can move us toward greater wisdom. Here are the first four:

Intellect: The lens that we most associate with knowing is intellectualknowing. It’s the result of formal education and it has to do with science, reason, logic, and what we call intelligence. Most of us are trained to think that it is the only way of knowing or the superior way of knowing. Yet that isn’t necessarily true. Seeing intellectual intelligence as the best or only way of knowing is actually a great limitation.

Will: The second way of knowing is volitional knowing. It comes from making choices, commitments, and decisions, then sticking with them, and experiencing them at different stages. Anyone who has made and then kept vows knows what I’m talking about. It is a knowing that comes from making choices and the very process of struggling with the choices. This knowing is a kind of cumulative knowing that emerges over time. The Franciscan scholar John Duns Scotus (1266–1308) felt that volitional knowing, or will, was higher and closer to love than intellectual knowing.

Emotion: Great emotions are especially powerful teachers. Love, ecstasy, hatred, jealousy, fear, despair, anguish: each have their lessons. Even anger and rage are great teachers, if we listen to them. They have so much power to reveal our deepest self to ourselves and to others, yet we tend to consider them negatively. I would guess that people die and live much more for emotional knowing than they ever will for intellectual, rational knowing. To taste these emotions is to live in a new reality afterward, with a new ability to connect.

Senses: Bodily or sensory knowing comes through the senses, by touching, moving, smelling, seeing, hearing, breathing, tasting—and especially at a deep or unconscious level. Becoming aware of our senses in a centered way allows us to awaken, to listen, to connect. It allows us to know reality more deeply, on our body’s terms instead of our brain’s terms. It is no surprise that Jesus touched most of the people he healed. Something very different is communicated and known through physical touch, in contrast with what is communicated through mere words.

Also,

‘Here are the three further “ways of knowing” that can allow us to access greater wisdom:’

Images: Imaginal knowing is the only way that the unconscious can move into consciousness. It happens through fantasy, through dreams, through symbols, where all is “thrown together” (sym-ballein in Greek). It happens through pictures, events, and well-told stories. It happens through poetry, where well-chosen words create an image that, in turn, creates a new awareness—that was in us already. We knew it, but we didn’t know it. We must be open to imaginal knowing because the work of transformation will not be done logically, rationally, or cerebrally. Our intellectual knowing alone is simply not adequate to the greatness and the depth of the task.

Aesthetic: In some ways, aesthetic knowing is the most attractive, but I think it’s often the least converting. Art in all its forms so engages us and satisfies us that many go no deeper. Still, aesthetic knowing is a central and profound way of knowing. I’ve seen art lead to true changes of consciousness. I have seen people change their lives in response to a novel, a play, a piece of music, or a movie like Dead Man Walking. Their souls were prepared, and God got in through the right metaphor at the right time. They saw their own stories clarified inside of a larger story line.

Epiphany: The last way of knowing, which I’d think religion would prefer and encourage, is epiphanic knowing. An epiphany is a parting of the veil, a life-changing manifestation of meaning, the eureka of awareness of self and the Other. It is the radical grace which we cannot manufacture or orchestrate. There are no formulas which ensure its appearance. It is always a gift, unearned, unexpected, and larger than our present life. We cannot manufacture epiphanies. We can only ask for them, wait for them, expect them, know they are given, keep out of the way, and thank Someone afterward.

“A universal pattern can be found in all societies and in fact in all of creation. We see it in the seasons of the year; the stories of Scripture; the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus; the rise and fall of civilizations; and even in our own lives. In this new version of one of his earlier books, Father Richard Rohr illuminates the way understanding and embracing this pattern can give us hope in difficult times and the courage to push through messiness and even great chaos to find a new way of being in the world.”

Adapted from Richard Rohr, The Wisdom Pattern: Order, Disorder, Reorder (Franciscan Media: 2020), 121–127

‘Kindness of the soul.’

February 25, 2021

Lawrence Ferlinghetti passed this week. He was 101. [1919-2021]

Ferlinghetti was a publisher, poet, and bookseller in San Francisco, publishing the controversial “Howl” by Allen Ginsburg that embraced and argued for our First Amendment rights.

F R E E D O M   O F    S P E A C H

‘Holy forgiveness! mercy! charity! faith! Holy! Ours! bodies! suffering! magnanimity! Holy the supernatural extra brilliant intelligent kindness of the soul!’

-Howl, 1956

From Jelani Cobb: “Not many people can say they both built an institution and become one.”

“There is a voice that doesn’t use words, listen.” -Rumi

It was in Ferlinghetti’s passing this week I gravitated to a film exemplifying the ‘kindness of the soul.’ Incredible filmmaking. ‘Nomadland’ [Hulu]. Here’s the trailer:

“What’s remembered, lives. I maybe spent too much of my life just remembering.”

This film broke me about seven different ways; it is extraordinary. It is beautifully written, directed, edited, and produced by Chloé Zhao.

[Frances McDormand and director Chloe Zhao.]

The film stars Francis McDormand and actor David Strathairn has a role, too. Remarkably and seamlessly, Zhao uses real folks to tell the story, their story, of the ‘workampers.’ They will find your heart, and stay.

The impetus for the film came from a Harper’s Magazine article by Jessica Bruder, “The End of Retirement: When you can’t afford to stop working,” published in 2014.

Later, Bruder would drive more than 15,000 miles in the camper van on a mission to follow the wanderers who would become the stars of her 2017 book “Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century.

See it. Share it. And maybe, even live it.

“Energy is like a muscle; it grows when we use it. We grow in our capacity to do the right thing each time we do the right thing.” -Rolph Gates

There is an expectation that the pandemic to create more nomads with an interest in the van-dwelling surge after the 2008 crisis, hardly letting up. Cost of housing being one major factor, but suggests another: disillusionment and dissatisfaction — with the American Dream and the evaporation of pensions. “The golden years were not going to be golden.”

“Nomadland” is nominated for four Golden Globes on Feb. 28: best picture, director, screenplay and actress, and is a strong contender for the Oscars in April.

https://www.nj.com/entertainment/2021/02/nomadland-is-an-oscar-contender-meet-the-nj-author-behind-the-film-and-her-van.html

Silence, whispers and love.

February 22, 2021

‘In the Bhagavad Gita we are told that we transcend our suffering to the degree that we are able to passionately employ our gifts in the service of others.’

-Rolph Gates & Katrina Kenison

‘Let us be silent so we may hear the whisper of God.’

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

“One day, if you ever write a book, tell them you got this from your dying dad: ‘Love big, forgive always, do good, and don’t be an asshole’

L O V E. Let love lead your life and your choices. Let it become who you are, and just be grateful. For all of it. Life is really heard, but it’s also really good, and it’s all yours, my baby. So grab it hard, hold it tight, learn all you can. Experience everything, and when it comes time to let go, like I need to now, just be thankful for it all.’

-Seane Corn’s dad

(Seane’s dad passed from cancer around 10 years ago.)

Past and Present. A community dialogue.

February 21, 2021

To understand the world knowledge is not enough, you must see it, touch it, live in its presence.

—Teilhard de Chardin, Hymn of the Universe

The American Lie.

No. Not the election.

The big lie in the United States is racism only effects people of color.

Heather McGhee’s book is brilliant. She is brilliant. Her book is incredibly researched and synthesized. A must read book for every journalist, politician, policy creator, and student. Actually, you know what? Everyone should read Heather’s book. And she speaks like she writes, clearly, foundationally, and directly. We need to listen. -dayle

NPR/Fresh Air

The heart of McGhee’s case is that racism is harmful to everyone, and thus we all have an interest in fighting it. Drawing on a wealth of economic data, she argues that when laws and practices have discriminated against African Americans, whites have also been harmed. When people unite across racial and ethnic lines, she argues, there’s a solidarity dividend that helps everyone.

Heather McGhee is the former president of the progressive think tank Demos, where she spent much of her career. She holds a BA in American Studies from Yale and a law degree from the University of California, Berkeley. She currently chairs the board of Color of Change, a nationwide online racial justice organization. Her new book is “The Sum Of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone And How We Can Prosper Together.”

Heather McGhee:

This to me is really the kind of parable at the heart of the book. It’s what’s illustrated on the cover. In the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s, the United States went on a building boom of these grand resort-style swimming pools. These were the kind that would hold hundreds, even thousands, of swimmers. And it was a real sort of Americanization project. It was to create a, like, bath-temperature melting pot of, you know, white ethnic immigrants and people in the community to come together. It was sort of a commitment by the government to a leisure-filled American dream standard of living. And in many of these public pools, the rule was that it was whites only, either officially or unofficially. And in the 1950s and ’60s when Black communities began to, understandably, say, hey, it’s our tax dollars that are helping to support this public good, we need to be allowed to swim, too, all over the country, particularly in the American South but in other places as well, white towns facing integration orders from the courts decided to drain their public swimming pools rather than let Black families swim, too.

Now, I went to Montgomery, Ala., where there used to be one of those grand resort-style pools and where effective January 1, 1959, not only did they back a truck up and pour dirt into the pool and pave it over, but they also sold off the animals in the municipal zoo. They closed down the entire parks and recreation department of Montgomery for a decade. It wasn’t until almost 1970 that they reopened the park system for the entire city. And I walked the grounds of Oak Park. Even after they reopened it, they never rebuilt the pool. And that, to me, felt like this just tangible symbol of the way that a population taught to distrust and disdain their neighbors of color will withdraw from public goods when they no longer see the public as good.

Interview with Dave Davies on NPR:

https://www.npr.org/2021/02/17/968638759/sum-of-us-examines-the-hidden-cost-of-racism-for-everyone

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah

“The Sum of Us,” and underlines the importance of having honest conversations about past and present racism at a community level.

Ezra Klein/NYTimes

What ‘Drained-Pool’ Politics Costs America

I asked McGhee to join me on my podcast, “The Ezra Klein Show,” for a discussion about drained-pool politics, the zero-sum stories at the heart of American policymaking, how people define and understand their political interests, and the path forward. This is, in my view, a hopeful book, and a hopeful conversation. There are so many issues where the trade-offs are real, and binding. But in this space, there are vast “solidarity dividends” just waiting for us, if we are willing to stand with, rather than against, each other.


Also from the NYTimes.

opinion

The book That Should Change How Progressives Talk About Race

Heather McGhee writes that racism increases economic inequality for everyone.

by Michelle Goldberg

McGhee’s book is about the many ways racism has defeated efforts to create a more economically just America. Once the civil rights movement expanded America’s conception of “the public,” white America’s support for public goods collapsed. People of color have suffered the most from the resulting austerity, but it’s made life a lot worse for most white people, too. McGhee’s central metaphor is that of towns and cities that closed their public pools rather than share them with Black people, leaving everyone who couldn’t afford a private pool materially worse off.

One of the most fascinating things about “The Sum of Us” is how it challenges the assumptions of both white antiracism activists and progressives who just want to talk about class. McGhee argues that it’s futile to try to address decades of disinvestment in schools, infrastructure, health care and more without talking about racial resentment.

[…]

“Communicators have to be aware of the mental frameworks of their audience,” McGhee told me. “And for white Americans, the zero-sum is a profound, both deeply embedded and constantly reinforced one.”

This doesn’t mean that the concept of white privilege isn’t useful; obviously it describes something real. “What privilege awareness does, at its best, is reveal the systematic unfairness, and lift the blame from the victims of a corrupt system,” McGhee said. “However, I think at this point in our discourse — also when so many white people feel deeply unprivileged — it’s more important to talk about the world we want for everyone.”


Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Theologian Howard Thurman, from Walter Brueggemann, The Message of the Psalms: A Theological Commentary [1984].

Thurman takes what is personal and makes it universal. Walter Brueggemann calls this “the scandal of particularity.” [1] We “get it” in one ordinary, concrete moment and wrestle and fall in love with it there. It’s a scandal precisely because it’s so ordinary. What is true in one place finally ends up being true everywhere.

From Barbara Holmes and her lecture Race and the Cosmos, unpublished Living School curriculum.

As I considered it, the truth of the matter was that we were living within an old story; and a new story needed to be told, but we didn’t have the language for it.  

The old story was of victimization, marginalization, oppression, oppressors; and the new story would see all of us evolving, self-expanding, and finding a new place in this wonderful cosmology that is a reality we have not paid attention to. So, in order to get to that point—and here is where my transformation begins—I had to reconsider what I thought about people, because I had hardened my view of others and who they were and what they meant. I had spent my time raising two little African American boys who had to be taught how to survive in society. In doing that, I taught them to view the world in only one way; and I myself was hardened into a position that either you were with me or you were against me or us. 

All of that had to change. I had to begin to think of us as spiritual beings having a human experience, and not bodily, embodied folks without spirit or soul. . . . That’s a very limited view of humankind, and I wanted to expand the story. . . . 

The physics and cosmology revolution that is 100 years old has not been translated into the ordinary world of any of us, and specifically not in communities of color. The world that scientists describe now is so different than the world that I grew up in or even imagined. According to physicists, this is what the world is like: it is a universe permeated with movement and energy that vibrates and pulses with access to many dimensions. . . . We are all interconnected, not just spiritually or imaginally, but actually . . . and the explicate [or manifested] order that’s all around us makes us think that we’re separate. Finally, I learned that ideas of dominance are predicated on a Newtonian clockwork universe. So, like dominoes, you push one and they all fall down, and everything is in order. But quantum physics tells us that the world is completely different. Particles burst into existence in unpredictable ways, observations affect the observed, and dreams of order and rationality are not the building blocks of the universe. 


A compilation piece: 2-part documentary on PBS, The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song, from executive producer, host, and writer Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

It traces the 400-year-old story of the Black church in America, all the way down to its bedrock role as the site of African American survival and grace, organizing and resilience, thriving and testifying, autonomy and freedom, solidarity and speaking truth to power.

It is now available online.

https://www.pbs.org/show/black-church/


Cicely Tyson December 19, 1924 – January 28, 2021

Kennedy Center Honors, December 2015.

Radical social change.

Radical Tea Towel

The Manouchian Group

by Pete Morgan

77 years ago today, Missak Manouchian and twenty-one comrades were shot at Fort Mont-Valérien, on the outskirts of Paris. 

‘Missak was an intellectual and a radical. He read his way through the libraries of the Latin Quarter, and developed a real talent for poetry, as well as translating Baudelaire, Verlaine, and Rimbaud into Armenian, all while working to survive and organizing for revolution!

He was a trade unionist in the General Confederation of Labour (CGT), and in 1934 he joined the French Communist Party (CPF) – a popular home for interwar radicals, from Sartre to Camus.

Under constant threat of arrest, torture, and execution, these anti-fascist heroes were the cutting edge of the Resistance to Nazism and its French collaborators.

77 years ago today, Missak Manouchian and twenty-one comrades were shot at Fort Mont-Valérien, on the outskirts of Paris.

After the executions, the Nazis circulated a propaganda poster in France denouncing the Manouchian fighters as an “army of crime” and emphasizing their foreignness and Jewishness. It was a desperate attempt to turn the French people against their own liberating forces.

As a measure of its ineffectiveness, many of these posters – which showed photos of all the executed Manouchian group members – were graffitied with “MORTS POUR LA FRANCE”.’

They died for France.

Author Victor Hugo may have lived a century before Missak but he too used his position to fight for radical social change in France.

Dan Rather

February 11, 2021

I am shaken, and I like to think I don’t shake easily.

I am moved to a deep and profound sadness, and I don’t like to think I am prone to melancholy. 

But I am also emboldened and determined that what we saw today, the overwhelming evidence presented by the House Managers in the impeachment trial of Donald Trump, shall not, must not, be a portent for where this country goes. Rather it must be a wake-up call to centuries of injustice and false grievances that a would-be despot, bolstered by no shortage of confederates, weaponized and catapulted into an assault on American democracy. As I write these words I still cannot quite believe what really happened. Nevertheless, there can be no denying the reality.

The evidence is damning, chilling, and overwhelming. Only cowardice and complicity stands in the way of conviction.

I have tried to get into a rhythm for these Steady posts with a morning publishing schedule. But I feel strongly that the events of today warrant an evening edition. 

January 6 was a coordinated attack. It was built atop a foundation of lies doled out with precision over days and weeks. From a different perspective, you might say this was months, years, and even generations in the making. Will it be the last gasps of a discredited white supremacy and the other forces of intolerance that weaken our nation? Will we be able to successfully fight off the lies and propaganda? Or will this be part another major strike of the sledgehammer that’s fracturing our democratic experiment? 

I firmly believe that the vast majority of American citizens will see this clearly for what it is. But our voices are on the sidelines for now, other than the pressure of conscience we can bring to bear on the 100 senators who will stand in judgement. That these same women and men were also in the crosshairs of the murderous mob and that the trial is taking place at the scene of the crime, makes the events transpiring today on Capitol Hill even more surreal. 

  • For the senators, there can be no hiding from this historic decision… silence or procedural excuses equal complicity.  
  • For the rioters, there can be no leniency… terrorists are inspired by weakness. 
  • For the instigators, there can be no immunity… to drum up a mob hellbent on violent injustice is to encourage insurrection. 
  • For those in the right-wing media who aided and abetted the lies, there can be no normalizing… their role in setting the stage for the insurrection is cemented by hours of television and thousands of tweets. 
  • For those who have dabbled in the false equivalence framework so prevalent in Washington, this must be the end of that… there can be no comparison between the actions of the previous president and his enablers, abetters, and cheerleaders, and any “other side.” Thankfully, I think many in the press have long ago realized this and have reported accordingly.

Some might argue that this is a rush to judgement, that the president’s counsel has a right to present their case. That is indeed true. But you would have to be willfully ignorant, or cynical to the point of malevolence, to not see and hear with clarity the evidence as it stands.

Seeing the Confederate flag being carried into the Capitol as a battle emblem for insurrectionists is especially chilling and makes the historical analogies all the more clear.

I have seen my country brought low before. I have reported on the injustices and inequalities that have weakened our national purpose since its inception. I witnessed cowardice and complicity. But never before have I seen all of these undercurrents so focused in a single event. 

We have clarity. We have proof. We need accountability. And we need a justice that will ring forth for the generations that follow. We cannot speak of unifying this nation without reckoning with all that is tearing it apart.

—Dan

https://steady.substack.com

Prayer, meditation, and a new moon.

February 9, 2021

Rilke:

‘Let the farthest, oldest, most ancient 

ancestors speak to us!

And let us be listeners at last, humans

finally able to hear.’

 

 

 

Power Path

New Moon in Aquarius is Thursday at February 11th, Mountain Standard Time at 12:05PM (MST)

This New Moon invites us to explore our emotional freedom. Emotional freedom is being free of what we think we should have done, could have done, are sorry we did not do, are sorry we did, are shameful or resentful about a past situation, or just simply out of sorts and not feeling good about something we cannot do anything about. If you are not emotionally free, you are stuck. And if you are stuck you cannot move forward.

This is an amazing time of movement, thinking outside the box and finding new solutions to old challenges. Instead of being mired in the past and feeling bad about something, use the momentum to spark a creative idea, project or collaboration. Share your visions with others to give them voice and expression. Take some time to sing and dance and move your body in expressive ways.

Pay attention to your feet, hands, ankles and forearms. They are the extremities of your body that propel you forward and symbolize your ability to move yourself along your path. You may want to say hello to them and actively support them in movement.

If you are feeling stuck, reflect on what is keeping you emotionally imprisoned through disappointment, regret, shame and blame, and do whatever you can to forgive and forget.

Blessings,

Lena

Green seedling growing on the moon and stars. Elements of this image furnished by NASA

 

This day.

February 8, 2021

“I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in my life.

-Sylvia Plath

In between the now and not yet. – Rev. Masando Hiraoka

The theological virtue of hope is the patient and trustful willingness to live without closure. – Fr Richard Rohr

Prayer enables us to tap into the healing power of the universe. -Rolph Gates

I listen to the wind, the wind of my soul. -Cat Stevens

ℒℴve❥❥☆҉ this book.

To all the health care workers. And the care workers. Thank you.

The middle.

Bruce.

https://www.ign.com/videos/jeep-super-bowl-55-commercial-the-middle-ft-bruce-springsteen

Yeah. Even the middle is polarizing for America now. Still. We loved it.

“The middle has been a hard place to get through lately. Between red and blue; between servant and citizen; between our freedom and our fear.”

“Our light has always found its way through the darkness, and there’s hope on the road ahead”

YHWH

February 6, 2021

The YHWH Prayer

You shall not take the name of God in vain. 

-Exodus 20:7

Many Christians think the second commandment is a prohibition against swearing. But I believe the real meaning of speaking the name of God “in vain” is to speak God’s name casually or trivially, with a false presumption of understanding the Mystery—as if we knew what we were talking about!

Many Jewish people concluded that the name of God should not be spoken at all. The Sacred Tetragrammaton, YHWH, was not even to be pronounced with the lips! In fact, vocalizing the four consonants does not involve closing the mouth.

A rabbi taught me that God’s name was not pronounceable but only breathable: YH on the captured in-breath, and WH on the offered out-breath!

We come from a very ancient, human-based, natural, biological, universally experienced understanding of God. God’s eternal mystery cannot be captured or controlled, but only received and shared as freely as the breath itself—the thing we have done since the moment we were born and will one day cease to do in this body. God is as available and accessible as our breath itself. Jesus breathes the Spirit into us as the very air of life (see John 20:22)!

And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

Our job is simply to both receive and give this life-breath. We cannot only inhale, and we cannot only exhale. We must breathe in and out, accept and let go.

Take several minutes to pause and breathe mindfully, surrendering to the mystery of wordless air, the sustainer of life. Part your lips; relax your jaw and tongue. Hear the air flow in and out of your body:

Inhale: YH
Exhale: WH

Let your breathing in and out, for the rest of your life, be your prayer to—and from—such a living and utterly shared God. You will not need to prove it to anybody else, nor can you. Just keep breathing with full consciousness and without resistance, and you will know what you need to know.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality (Franciscan Media: 2008), 129‒131.

 

Re-visiting Fairness in Power for Attention

February 5, 2021

During the Nixon administration in the 1970’s, the FCC called the Fairness Doctrine the “single most important requirement of operation in the public interest” (Becker, 2017, para. 8)

Becker, W. (2017, Feb. 23). What’s behind Trump’s war with the press?  Huffpost.

Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/whats-behind-trumps-war-with-the-press_us_58addf5ce4b0598627a55f9e

Seth Godin:

The internet clearly has a trust problem. As with most things, it helps to start with the Grateful Dead.

After their incarnation as the Warlocks, they became more than a band. It was a family on the road. There were people who gave up their careers to follow them around, living on buses… they were seeing thirty or forty shows a year. You traded tickets, did favors, built relationships. People in the family knew that they’d be seeing each other again soon.

And then, in 1987, Touch of Grey went to #1 (their only top 40 hit) and it attracted a huge (and different) crowd to the shows. Reports were that the intimacy and trust disappeared.

Glen Weyl points out that the internet was started by three tribes, as different from each other as could be. The military was behind the original ARPA (and then DARPA) that built and funded it. Professors at universities around the world were among the early users. And in San Francisco, a group of ‘hippies’ were the builders of some of the first culture online.

Because each of these groups were high-trust communities, it was easy to conclude that the people they’d be engaging online would be too. And so, as the tools of the internet and then the web were built out, they forgot to build a trust layer. Plenty of ways to share files, search, browse, chat and talk, but no way to engage in the very complicated things that humans do around identity and trust.

Humans have been in tribal relationships since before recorded history began. The word “tribe” appears in the Bible more than 300 times. But the internet isn’t a community or a tribe. It’s simply a technology that amplifies some voices and some ideas. When we don’t know who these people are, or if they’re even people, trust erodes.

When a site decides to get big fast, they usually do it by creating a very easy way to join, and they create few barriers to a drive-by anonymous experience. And when they make a profit from this behavior, they do it more. In fact, they amplify it.

Which makes good business in the short run, but lousy public policy.

Twenty years ago, I wrote that if someone goes into a bank wearing a mask (current pandemic aside) we can assume that they’re not there to make a deposit.

And now we’re suffering from the very openness and ease of connection that the internet was built on. Because a collection of angry people talking past each other isn’t a community. Without persistence of presence, some sort of identity and a shared set of ideals, goals and consequences, humans aren’t particularly tempted to bring their best selves to the table.

The system is being architected against our best impulses. Humans understand that local leadership, sacrifice and generosity build community, and that fights and scandals simply create crowds. Countless people are showing up, leading and pushing back, but algorithms are powerful and resilient, and we need some of them to be rebuilt.

Until there’s a correlation between what’s popular or profitable and what’s useful, we’re all going to be paying the price.

Freedom Forum

Opinion by Nicole Hemmer

‘The Fairness Doctrine, a regulation from the late ‘40’s until 1987, dictated balanced coverage of controversial issues on broadcast radio and television. After its repeal, Rush Limbaugh & Fox News quickly became two of the most influential political institutions in the US.

George Orwell

Want to reinstate the FCC’s  Fairness Doctrine to help curb the spread of disinformation? Conservatives and liberals both may well want to reconsider that idea, argues a Columbia University scholar.’

What America needs instead is a creative, comprehensive effort by both the private sector and the government to disincentivize conspiracies and misinformation on the many platforms on which they flourish. Some social media companies have begun this work, clearing out QAnon sites and banning some far-right and White power users and communities who pose a threat.
That work needs to continue, with careful attention to the biggest offenders who game algorithms and media structures to spread misinformation. But sources of misinformation also need to be demonetized, whether they are YouTube channels or national cable networks, and algorithms tweaked to slow down the spread of extreme content.’
Full article:

https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/27/opinions/fairness-doctrine-wont-solve-disinformation-hemmer/index.html

NYTimes

I Talked to the Cassandra of the Internet Age

The internet rewired our brains. He predicted it would.

Posted on twitter 2.4.21:

“I’m going to spend more time writing on this because this is not only a digital detox story. it’s a story about power. And it’s at the center of everything.”

“Michael Goldhaber is the internet prophet you’ve never heard of. Here’s a short list of things he saw coming: the complete dominance of the internet, increased shamelessness in politics, terrorists co-opting social media, the rise of reality television, personal websites, oversharing, personal essay, fandoms and online influencer culture — along with the near destruction of our ability to focus.

Most of this came to him in the mid-1980s, when Mr. Goldhaber, a former theoretical physicist, had a revelation. He was obsessed at the time with what he felt was an information glut — that there was simply more access to news, opinion and forms of entertainment than one could handle. His epiphany was this: One of the most finite resources in the world is human attention. To describe its scarcity, he latched onto what was then an obscure term, coined by a psychologist, Herbert A. Simon: “the attention economy.”

Advertising is part of the attention economy. So are journalism and politics and the streaming business and all the social media platforms. But for Mr. Goldhaber, the term was a bit less theoretical: Every single action we take — calling our grandparents, cleaning up the kitchen or, today, scrolling through our phones — is a transaction. We are taking what precious little attention we have and diverting it toward something. This is a zero-sum proposition, he realized. When you pay attention to one thing, you ignore something else.

The idea changed the way he saw the entire world, and it unsettled him deeply. “I kept thinking that attention is highly desirable and that those who want it tend to want as much as they can possibly get,” Mr. Goldhaber, 78, told me over a Zoom call last month after I tracked him down in Berkeley, Calif. He couldn’t shake the idea that this would cause a deepening inequality.

“When you have attention, you have power, and some people will try and succeed in getting huge amounts of attention, and they would not use it in equal or positive ways.”

More than a decade later, Mr. Goldhaber lives a quiet, mostly retired life. He has hardly any current online footprint, except for a Twitter account he mostly uses to occasionally share posts from politicians. I found him by calling his landline. But we are living in the world he sketched out long ago. Attention has always been currency, but as we’ve begun to live our lives increasingly online, it’s now the currency. Any discussion of power is now, ultimately, a conversation about attention and how we extract it, wield it, waste it, abuse it, sell it, lose it and profit from it.

While Mr. Goldhaber said he wanted to remain hopeful, he was deeply concerned about whether the attention economy and a healthy democracy can coexist. Nuanced policy discussions, he said, will almost certainly get simplified into “meaningless slogans” in order to travel farther online, and politicians will continue to stake out more extreme positions and commandeer news cycles. He said he worried that, as with Brexit, “Rational discussion of what people stand to gain or lose from policies will be drowned out by the loudest and most ridiculous.”

[Alex Kiesling]

Full article:

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/04/opinion/michael-goldhaber-internet.html?campaign_id=39&emc=edit_ty_20210204&instance_id=26748&nl=opinion-today&regi_id=70741652&segment_id=50984&te=1&user_id=5d9c9eabf9816d109d9967758c859575

💚

February 3, 2021

“You are in the time of the interim 
Where everything seems withheld. 
 The path you took to get here has washed out. 
 The way forward is still concealed from you. 
 The old is not old enough to have died away. 
 The new is still too young to be born.”  

-John O’Donohue

~

“To know anything fully is always to hold that part of it which is still mysterious and unknowable.” -Fr Richard Rohr

~

What has happened to our ability to dwell in unknowing, to live inside a question and coexist with the tensions of uncertainty? Where is our willingness to incubate pain and let it birth something new? What has happened to patient unfolding, to endurance?

These things are what form the ground of waiting. And if you look carefully, you’ll see that they’re also the seedbed of creativity and growth—what allows us to do the daring and to break through to newness. . . .

Creativity flourishes not in certainty but in questions. Growth germinates not in tent dwelling but in upheaval. Yet the seduction is always security rather than venturing, instant knowing rather than deliberate waiting.

-Sue Monk Kidd

When the Heart Waits: Spiritual Direction for Life’s Sacred Questions 

We must speak to it.

Kindness
Naomi Shihab Nye
Art by Lucienne Rickard

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to gaze at bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

From Words Under the Words: Selected Poems. Copyright © 1995 by Naomi Shihab

Here comes February…

February 1, 2021

Mercury will be in apparent retrograde motion during:

  • January 30 to February 21
  • May 29 to June 22
  • September 29 to October 23

Three or four times a year, the planet Mercury is said to go retrograde — that is to say it moves in an opposite direction to planet Earth. Planets move from east to west around the sun, and when Mercury turns to move from west to east instead, that’s when Mercury is in retrograde.

Treehugger:

Illusion or not, astrologers believe when it happens, Mercury retrograde has an effect on life here on Earth, specifically within the realm of communication and technology. In astrology, Mercury governs communication, travel and learning.

Buzzfeed:

To get through:

  1. Take a deep breath; this won’t last forever.
  2. Slow down, take your time and pay attention to details.
  3. Take care of anything that requires reevaluation and revision; this is a good way to channel this energy positively.
  4. Do you need to heal something from the past or connect to someone from the past? This is a good time to do it. This phase gives us a chance to retrace our steps and go revisit old ground.
  5. Observe, review and release. Remember to breathe!

Power Path:

We might have just kicked off a new year, a time we tend to think of as ripe for progress and plowing ahead, but the planets have a different game plan in mind. Well, one planet in particular: the messenger planet, Mercury, which will soon begin its first retrograde of 2021 in fixed air sign Aquarius, symbolized by the Water Bearer. From January 30 through February 20, the ruler of communication, transportation, and technology will appear to move backward through the sky.

The Push-Pull of the month can leave us confused, irritated, reactive and depressed. We may judge that things are not happening fast enough or smoothly enough especially during the first 3 weeks when Mercury is retrograde. We can be impatient with ourselves and with others, and we can be stubborn as we hold on to past attachments of old dreams, intentions and expectations. Consider all the structures that have been forced to be flexible during the pandemic.

They will likely never go back to the way they were.

We are being offered an opportunity to go inward, and to reevaluate our attachments and do some work to actively release them.

We also have the opportunity to embrace and accept change as it shows up. Be open to right timing and accept circumstances just the way they are. Being present, neutral, and available is the best way to manage and navigate these times as there are many unknowns and nothing is predictable except change itself.

Mitákuye Oyás’iŋ

January 31, 2021

The most important question we must ask ourselves is, “Are we bing good ancestors?”

-Jonas Salk

 

What did you do while the earth was unraveling?

-Drew Dellinger, PhD/Poet

 

When you look at electrical things you can see that they are made of small and big wires, cheap and expensive all lined up. Until the current runs through them there will be no light. Those wires are you and me and the current is God. We have the power to let the current pass through us, use us and produce the light of the world or we can refuse to be used and allow darkness to spread.

-Mother Teresa

 

 

Thought man has acquired the power to do almost anything, he has at the same time lost the ability to orient his life toward a spiritual goal by the things that he does. He has lost all conviction that he knows where he is going and what he is doing, unless he can manage to lunge into some collective delusion which promises happiness (sometime in the future) to those who will have learned to use the implements he has discovered.

-Thomas Merton

I ask all blessings,

I ask them with reverence

of my mother and the earth,

of the sky, moon, and sun my father.

I am old age: the essence of life,

I am the source of all happiness.

All is peaceful, all in beauty

all in harmony, all in  joy.

-Anonymous Navaho, 19th-20th century

Soham.

January 30, 2021

It may help your hearts.

I first noticed this film because someone said it’s executive produced by Evie Colbert…that’s Stephen’s wife. Interesting. And the title, so intriguing. And then about a week after that, I read a post sharing not to read anything about this film, don’t talk to anyone about it, just see it. And turn off your phone before you begin. I did.  Hope you can watch. Might be a good time for it. ❥

[Hulu]

Truth. Power. Fact?

This is been going on for while.

1965.

American Trappist monk, writer, theologian, mystic, poet, social activist, and scholar of comparative religion, Thomas Merton:

Man today has lost consciousness of his need for truth. What he seeks is power. Truth is made to serve the ends of power. Truth is of no value unless it is expedient. When truth is not expedient, then it is deliberately manipulated and twisted to serve the aims of the powerful. Objective truth is considered irrelevant. It is dried by the powerful, who can change truth to suit themselves, and bend it this way and that for the sake of ambition and fortune. -Seasons of Celebration

Sound familiar? Only now, social media platforms amplify and exponentially grow disinformation and alternate truth.

Next level?

How do we fix this, repair the deep fractures, the disinformation? Not rhetorical.

‘Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, who was on the other end of the “perfect phone call” that led to President Trump’s first impeachment:’

“I could not even imagine something like this was possible in the United States of America. … We are used to thinking that the U.S. has ideal democratic institutions where power is passed calmly, without war, without revolutions. That it could happen in the United States, no one expected that. … After something like this, I believe it would be very difficult for the world to see the United States as a symbol of democracy in the world.” [AXIOS]

🌕

January 27, 2021

Power Path:

Full Moon in Leo is Thursday, January 28 at 12:18 PM Mountain Standard Time. (MST).

‘Also known as the “wolf moon”, this full moon is a perfect time to anchor your passion into something, someplace, and someone that you love. Consider the well being of the collective and community as they are up front and visible as you stretch your container to receive and give support. If you expect magic and miracles, you may just get them. There are many gifts to be had during this time.

Ask for clarity, courage, right action, a good path, loads of support and lots of deserving of the love of spirit.

Blessings,

Lena

https://thepowerpath.com

~

KTVB-TV

‘Regardless of what time of the month it rises, January’s full moon is often called the Wolf Moon, as people may believe they hear wolves howling more often during this time of the year.

“It was traditionally thought that wolves howled due to hunger, but we now know that wolves use howls to define territory, locate pack members, reinforce social bonds and gather for hunting,” The Old Farmer’s Almanac explains.

The full moon will serve as a great reference point for stargazers trying to find Sirius, the brightest star in the sky.

Sirius will rise around the same time as the moon and will be visible in the same region of the sky, appearing below and off to the right of the Wolf Moon.

In addition to being known as the Dog Star, Sirius is sometimes referred to as the rainbow star because it appears to flicker with different colors as opposed to appearing as a steady white, according to EarthSky.

This colorful flickering is caused by Earth’s atmosphere, and not the actual star changing colors, and can be seen with the unaided eye on a cold, crisp night.’

Holding steady.

January 25, 2021

Falling asleep last night, feeling the hopelessness of our entire political system and corrupt players; this piece I read earlier today is a needed reminder to hold steady. Hope-full. #36 The propagandist is out. Thought about this everyday. -dayle

Washington Post

50 things that are better already

Opinion by Jennifer Rubin

1. You can ignore Twitter

2. The White House briefing room is not an Orwellian nightmare of lies

3. We are now confronting white domestic terrorism

4. We are not paying for golf trips

5. There are no presidential relatives in government

6. The tenor of hearings is sober and serious

7. Qualified and knowledgeable nominees have been selected for senior spots

8. We have a first lady who engages with the public

9. We have not heard a word from presidential children

10. We are now tough on Russian human rights abuses

11. We get normal readouts of sane conversations between the president and foreign leaders

12. The White House philosophy is to underpromise and overdeliver, not the other way around

13. Manners are in, bullying is out

14. You feel calmer after hearing the president

15. Fact-checkers are not overworked

16. Quality entertainers want to perform for the White House

17. We have seen the president’s tax records

18. The president is able to articulate policy details, coherently even

19. The worst the press can come up with is the president’s watch

20. We have a White House staff that looks like America

21. We have a national covid-19 plan

22. Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony S. Fauci is liberated, sounds happy and even looks younger

23. Fauci, not the president, briefs on the science of covid-19 and efficacy of vaccines

24. Masks and social distancing in the White House

25. The White House has policy initiatives and proposals, not merely leaving it all to Congress

26. The administration is committed to releasing information, not covering it up, on the slaughter of journalist Jamal Khashoggi

27. The Muslim ban is gone

28. It is the Republicans not the Democrats who are in disarray

29. The national security adviser has not been fired for lying to the FBI

30. No Soviet-style fawning over the president by his subordinates

31. The president takes daily, in-person intelligence briefings

32. The president does not care about Air Force One colors

33. We have a president familiar with the Constitution

34. Real cable news outlets get high ratings, others not so much

35. President Andrew Jackson is out of the Oval Office, Benjamin Franklin is in

36. Voice of America is back in the hands of actual journalists

37. We get memes about Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), not crowd size

38. We are back in the Paris climate accord and the World Health Organization

39. Instead of running it like a business, the new administration will try running government competently

40. We have a president who doesn’t think military service is for “suckers” and who doesn’t send his “love” to people assaulting law enforcement

41. The secretary of treasury nominee has her own Hamilton lyrics

42. Amanda Gorman is a household name

43. More than two-thirds of Americans approve of the White House covid-19 approach.

44. No more work-free “executive time” in the presidential living quarters

45. We have a churchgoing president “who has spent a lifetime steeped in Christian rituals and practices.”

46. We have first dogs

47. The vice president’s spouse does not teach at a school that bars LGBTQ students

48. The White House takes the Hatch Act seriously

49. The administration wants as many people as possible to vote

50. The president will talk more to our allies than to Russian President Vladimir Putin

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/01/25/fifty-things-that-are-better-already/

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