The New Yorker/Houston
Ezra Klein and Dahlia Lithwick, NYTimes podcast, ‘The Ezra Klein Show.’
The Dobbs Decision Isn’t Just About Abortion. It’s About Power.
The legal journalist Dahlia Lithwick breaks down the Dobbs decision and considers the “raw power” of the Supreme Court’s conservative supermajority.
I’m Ezra Klein. This is “The Ezra Klein Show.”
On Friday, June 24, a Supreme Court majority voted to overturn Roe v Wade. I am recording this on Saturday evening, and abortion is now banned in at least nine states. More likely to follow in the coming days. The way to understand this moment goes beyond any one case. This is a moment of legal regime change. This has made clearest in a concurring opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts. He charges — it’s really an extraordinary document. He charges the other five Republican appointees with abandoning judicial restraint. He writes quote, “If it is not necessary to decide more to dispose of a case, then it is necessary not to decide more.”
Perhaps we’re not always perfect and following that command, and certainly, there are cases that warrant an exception, but this is not one of them. There are now six Republican appointees on the Supreme Court to three Democratic appointees. That is true despite Republicans losing the popular vote in seven of the last eight presidential elections. The Supreme Court is our least Democratic branch, but it has become unbelievably undemocratic, maybe even anti-democratic.
I’m joined today by Dahlia Lithwick. She covers the Supreme Court for Slate, she hosts the legal podcast “Amicus.” she’s a person I turn to whenever I need to understand the court, and she brings her clarity and passion in spades here today. As always, my email is email@example.com.
Well, this is where we get back to that. I remember a couple of years ago, you and I chatted about this minoritarian rule problem that leaches its way not just through the filibuster, which means the WHPA, the Women’s Health Protection Act, didn’t even come to a vote that would have codified Roe or the filibuster rule, the John Lewis Act, which would have reinstated the parts of the Voting Rights Act that Shelby County gutted.
And I think that part of the thing that we need to really wrap our heads around is what do you do when Republicans currently sitting on the court were seated by presidents who, in fact, lost the popular vote but won the electoral college and the electoral college is massively weighted towards rural agrarian states and that in turn is reaffirmed by a Senate that massively, massively malapportioned in the interests of rural agrarian states. And they then, once they get on the court, become a party too exactly what you’re describing, which is shrinking the vote whether it’s Shelby County, or Brnovich last year.
Whatever it is, it feels as though this really does feel like the doom loop of minority rule right now.
Dahlia Lithwick’s three book recommendations:
- Hope in the Dark – – “Profound meditation.”
- Man’s Search for Meaning – – “A lodestar to purpose.”
- You Can’t be Neutral on a Moving Train – – She quotes Zinn:
“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something.
If we remember those times and places, and there are so many where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act in however smaller way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents. And to live now as we think human beings should live in defiance of all that is bad around us is itself a marvelous victory.” Howard Zinn, “You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train.”
The Supreme Court dissenting opinion on Roe v. Wade
The dissent was authored by Justice Stephen Breyer.
“With sorrow — for this Court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection — we dissent.”
-Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan
Full text, 66 pages:
“We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings.”
– Ursula Le Guin
“With sorrow — for this Court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection — we dissent.”
-Justices Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan
Progress isn’t always a straight line.
Today’s Supreme Court decision is wrong
but Congress passing the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act is a modest but real step forward. And the fight will go on, thanks to the activists, survivors, and families who continue to demand action.
Today, the Supreme Court not only reversed nearly 50 years of precedent, it relegated the most intensely personal decision someone can make to the whims of politicians and ideologues—attacking the essential freedoms of millions of Americans.
-President Barack Obama
♡ ‘Culture of Care’ @AnaMariaforNY
Timeline: America’s Long Civil Rights March
By Nikole Hannah-Jones and Al Shaw, ProPublica
Ever since the War of the States, Congress and the Supreme Court have clashed over the question of civil rights. When considering the recent rulings on affirmative action, the Voting Rights Act and the Defense of Marriage Act, it is useful to take the long view of the push and pull between Congress and the Supreme Court when it comes to civil rights. The long arc of history might bend toward justice, but there’s always been a lot of pendulum swinging along the way.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — With the U.S. Supreme Court expected to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision before the end of its 2021-2022 term, Americans’ confidence in the court has dropped sharply over the past year and reached a new low in Gallup’s nearly 50-year trend. Twenty-five percent of U.S. adults say they have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the U.S. Supreme Court, down from 36% a year ago and five percentage points lower than the previous low recorded in 2014.
Abortion is a fundamental right for all women. It must be protected. I wish to express my solidarity with the women whose liberties are being undermined by the Supreme Court of the United States.
-French President Emmanuel Macron
The Kindness Bonus
“Please be kind” sounds like a moral imperative. And in some ways, it is.
But behind the theory of the firm and a key building block of successful communities is the idea that kind interactions are significantly more productive.
When people feel seen and respected, they’re more likely to focus on what needs to be done, instead of taking umbrage or being defensive.
When we leave opportunities and pathways for others, they can move forward with less friction.
And when we’re enjoying our days, we’ve created a posture that spreads.
Hockey games aren’t supposed to be kind. But just about everything else works better when we don’t throw elbows.
“CARE is the antidote to violence.”
– Saidiya Hartman
From Jon Meacham’s podcast today, June 24th, 2022
On June 24th, 1990, The Catholic Church discusses excommunicating politicians who disagree with the church on abortion rights.
Important listen for history, and in this moment.
Reflections of History
From former Governor Mario Cuomo in 1984, at Notre Dame:
“I speak here as a politician and also as a Catholic, raised as a Catholic, pre-Vatican II church, educated in Catholic schools, attached to the church first by birth and then by choice, now by love. […] The Catholic church is my spiritual home. My heart is there. And my hope. The Catholic who holds political office in a pluralistic democracy, who was elected to serve Jews and Muslims, atheists, and protestants, as well as Catholics, bear special responsibility. He or she undertakes to help to create conditions under which all can live with a maximum of dignity and with a reasonable degree of freedom. Where everyone who chooses can hold beliefs different from specifically Catholic ones, sometimes contradictory to them, with laws that protect people’s rights to divorce, use birth control, and even to choose abortion. I protect my right to be a Catholic by preserving your right to believe as a Jew, a protestant, or non-believer, or anything else you choose. I accept the church’s teaching on abortion, must I insist you do, by law? By denying you Medicaid funding, by a Constitutional amendment? If so, which one? Would that be the best way to avoid abortions, or prevent them? […] We should understand whether abortion is outlawed or not, our work has barely begun. The work of creating a society where the right to life doesn’t end at the moment of birth. Where an infant isn’t helped into a world that doesn’t care if it’s fed properly, housed decently, educated adequately.”
“Search for the means of grace, and the hope of glory.” -Jon Meacham
S A N C T U A R Y
California Governor Gavin Newsom:
Abortion is legal in California.
It will remain that way.
I just signed a bill that makes our state a safe haven for women across the nation.
We will not cooperate with any states that attempt to prosecute women or doctors for receiving or providing reproductive care.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
The news coming out of the United States is horrific. My heart goes out to the millions of American women who are now set to lose their legal right to an abortion. I can’t imagine the fear and anger you are feeling right now.
Signal App post today on twitter:
Here is your friendly reminder that we built Signal for private, secure communication. It’s built so you can communicate individually and in groups, through text and calls, without fear of interference or data collection. Free to use and not for profit.
Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman, editor of the essay collection “The Black Agenda,” spoke with Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep about how people should appropriately commemorate the day —
- White people should celebrate this holiday in the way that centers Black Americans. What I mean by that is, if your celebration looks like taking away or speaking over Black Americans and how they’re choosing to celebrate and how they’re choosing to stand in their truth, then I don’t think that’s actually celebrating alongside Black Americans. Just don’t interrupt Black folks who are just trying to have a great time.
- I think it’s great that there’s aspects of the Black American story that are being commemorated in this way. I think that [Ohio State University professor] Dr. Trevon Logan said it best [in a recent op-ed in Bloomberg]: Juneteenth should remind Americans that emancipation was necessary but insufficient. There needs to be an actual grappling with how racial injustice is still shaping the lives of Black Americans and Black folks in America by extension, today.
- Because the reality is, while Juneteenth is being commodified, Black Americans and Black folks in America are still struggling. So you’re making money off of supposed Black liberation and freedom, when that freedom and liberation hasn’t been fully realized.
- Yes, it’s America, so commodification and commercialization is inevitable, right? You know, just go to Times Square, for example. I think my whole point around that is, organizations that really want to deeply engage with Juneteenth also need to deeply grapple with how racial injustice is sort of taking place in their own organizations.
Beautiful re-play of Banjo Player Rhiannon Giddens singing slave narratives with terry gross, an instrument with its own uniquely African American story: the banjo. Originally broadcast May 11, 2017.
W O R L D R E F U G E E D A Y
Al Jazeera English
For the first time in history, over 100 million people have been forced to flee their homes, according to @Refugees.
If the number of forcibly displaced people was a country, it would be the 15th-most populated country in the world.
The plight of Palestinian refugees is the longest unresolved refugee problem in the world. According to @Refugees. By 1952 the number of expelled Palestinian refugees was 867,000. Today, that figure is 5.8 million.
After Ukraine, the biggest population of refugees today are Syrians, followed by Palestinians and Venezuelans. Around 85% of the world’s refugees are hosted by low-and-middle-income countries.
Summer solstice 2022 in Northern Hemisphere will be at 2:13 AM on Tuesday June 21st.
This is a powerful time that marks a transition, a new beginning, the release of the old, and a reset that supports a turning point. Honor something in your life that is ending and something new that marks a beginning. Focus on a completion, even a small one, that can symbolize a larger cycle of change. What is being released from the past? Honor a new beginning by making a change, even a small one, of something in your environment as a reflection of the larger picture. Bring in something new, try something new, and do something you have never done before. It is important to create some kind of ritual for yourself around this solstice by symbolizing an ending as well as a new beginning.
After two long years of Covid restrictions, the great stone circle of Stonehenge reopened for summer solstice celebrations on Monday, prompting pagans, healers, nature lovers and party-goers to head back to Salisbury Plain in their thousands.
“For the last two years we haven’t been able to get to the stones for the summer solstice. It’s so lovely to be back and feel part of this amazing landscape again.”
When Covid lockdowns and restrictions hit in 2020, the free access right to the stone circle at summer solstice was one of the high-profile events that was cancelled. In 2021, people were again asked to stay away, though some defied the request and hopped fences to witness the sunrise from the circle. This year English Heritage’s “managed open access” was back on, and the charity and police planned for 10,000 to attend.
Druid Chris Park: ‘It’s so lovely to be back and feel part of this amazing landscape again.’Photograph: Sam Frost/The Guardian
What if we get this right?
The next generation marine biologist Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, a policy expert and writer, and a Brooklyn native.
Her thoughts on hope…better served as possibility:
‘While I’m not a fan of hope as a guiding principle, because it by definition assumes that the outcome will be good, which I know is not a given, I am completely enamored with the amount of possibility that’s available to us. So that’s the word that I try to embrace when I think about what if we get it right, is how much possibility remains.’
‘And we live in a species moment, is how I think of this. It was probably true, pre-2020, but it is clear, post-2020. And I believe that underlying every grave and wondrous potential that we have as a species, and ratcheting up the panic that leads us away from rising to our highest human capacities, in every sphere of our life together, each of us knows and feels the disarray of the natural world at a cellular level, in our bodies. What is true is that we are not separate from it. It’s not even so much that we are in it — we are of it.’
We are one of 8 million or so species on this planet.
‘(Johnson) is cofounder of the Urban Ocean Lab, a think tank for coastal cities. She co-created Spotify-Gimlet’s podcast How to Save a Planet, on climate solutions. She coedited this beautiful climate anthology, which I had not discovered until now, and I so recommend it: All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis. And also, you’re cofounder of the All We Can Save Project, which I recommend that people look up online. I love how you stress, in the description of that work, that you’re nurturing the “we” in that “all we can save.”’
I’ve always been focused on solutions. I have this extremely practical approach to most things — I’m like, OK, who’s doing what? What’s the plan? Like, let’s not talk about feelings so much; let’s figure out what’s next. And so that is the vibe that I’ve tried to take into my work as it’s broadened from oceans to climate more generally, is we have most of the solutions we need at our fingertips, for all of these climate challenges, whether it’s agriculture or green building retrofits or bike lanes or composting or wind energy in the ocean or farming seaweed or whatever. We know how to do this stuff. We just have to do it. And so figuring out how we can welcome more people into this work, get people excited, help them find where they fit, is really where I’ve been focusing my yammering energies, these days.
I mean, the most depressing thing I can think of is to just watch the world burn and crumble before my eyes while I just wallow in self-pity on the couch. Right? So I don’t have any delusions that I can “save the planet,” but you’ve got to try to do your part.
And that’s how I think about all of this. We know what we’re supposed to do, in that same way that you were describing we know that it’s wrong right now. We know that things are out of balance, on a cellular level. We can feel that sort of friction, with the way that we move through the world. I mean, I dare you to stand in a redwood grove and not be humbled, or to dive on a coral reef and see even just the glimmer of its former magnificence and have some respect for these ecosystems and the fact that we are sharing this planet.
So I think that climate communication has focused too much on the problem. I will admit, I don’t read the details of every UN climate report, because I know the summary is, it is worse than you thought, it is happening faster than you thought, and we really need to get our act together. And I focus on the getting our act together part, because I think that’s the pivot that we need right now. We have more than enough information. I’m grateful for the science, and it’s helping us make more nuanced and clear decisions, but the broad strokes that everyone needs to pitch in, have been there for a long time.
Eunice Newton Foote
There’s a whole lineage that you are in — names we don’t remember, people who’ve contributed. And I wonder, also, just —
It was Dr. Katharine Wilkinson, coeditor of All We Can Save, who introduced me to Eunice. I feel like I’m on a first-name basis with her, even though she was doing her research in 1856, when she discovered that carbon dioxide was a greenhouse gas and would warm the planet. A woman discovered this through experimentation in her backyard and was essentially erased from history. An Irish physicist a few years later came to a very similar discovery and was credited as “the father of climate science.”
Someone with a Y chromosome.
And Eunice also signed the Seneca Falls Convention.
So she was, as Katharine and I like to say, the first climate feminist — although she didn’t really see this whole apocalypse coming, per se. [laughs] She was just like, This turns out it will warm the atmosphere, if we emit all of this carbon dioxide.
This conversation, a must listen, was recorded at the 2022 TED Conference. Click the box above.
“To whom much is given, much is expected.”
Listening to this podcast with Johnson, a marine biologist, I remembered the sweet and very real aspirations of 10-year-old Maite Rodriguez. A student brutally murdered at the school in Uvalde, Texas. Maite was a lover of animals and the environment, and she dreamed of becoming a marine biologist. She often wore a pair of green (her favorite color) high-top Converse shoes with a heart drawn in marker over her right toes. The work I do going forward for our planet, for the oceans, will be in Maite’s memory, a life cut short because of access to automatic weapons in the United States.
Held at press conference in D.C. Maite was wearing green Converse shoes when she was massacred with other students and two teachers in Uvalde. The only way her little body could be identified were by her green high tops. She drew the heart on the right toe.
For Maite. For Uvalde. For our planet. 🌏
[All trees should be ‘heritage’ trees.]
After a virtual hiatus to relocate [sanctuary] from a state quickly and widely falling into oppression, marginalization, nationalism, and White Supremacy, a post to remind us that humans are but one species of 8,000,000, and yet it is the species bent on destroying the planet, the human species. Maybe the arc of survival is tied to the moral arc. We are failing.
Coming soon to Soon to Dayle’s Community
Café beginning two weeks from today:
dayle in limoux ❀
It’s a play on Emily in Paris. J’adore. So fun. Please connect and comment in our community space during my travels. My virtual column will focus on the beloved historic Languedoc region [Occitanie] in south-west France. And! The Tour de France will be passing through later in July. Energies are shifting, moving. Movement. ‘Emovere.’ Possibility, again, possible. And re-imagining what once was into what is.
Limoux, Occitannie, France.
The Arc of History…(and hers)
By every geologic measure, modern human life is a tiny blip, a spark of static on a very long-playing record.
For most of the time that life has existed on Earth, there were no humans. And when there were human-like creatures, they spent much of their time doing not much. Nomads eat when they need to, move around and hang out. It’s not an easy life, but there are none of the modern distractions or problems that urban culture presents.
Grain began to change things, because agriculture produces far more calories per acre, allowing populations to grow… and to store the results of our labor. Stored grain, though, is easier to steal and to tax than something that must be eaten fresh off the tree or harvested.
And so you get markets and wars and governments and the rise of a group of people wealthier than any individual farmer or nomad could be.
This is all mostly irrelevant. It’s irrelevant in the way that understanding how Edison made movies or sound recordings is irrelevant. It’s nice to know the history, but it doesn’t help you win an Oscar or a Grammy.
The two most relevant forces are in a powerful dance right now:
• The carbon-fueled growth of industry.
• The information-fueled growth of ideas and connection.
Industry changed the way the Earth looks from space, it enriched billions of people and it has driven our species to the brink of extinction due to our impact on the climate. It has often been based on caste and coercion, and created both opportunities and problems.
Connection has enabled culture to thrive, and in recent years, amplified by the noise of the internet, it’s also made many people miserable in the short-run.
As we slog through another long, challenging year, one in which these two forces conflict, amplify and engage with each other, I’m remembering what Theodore Parker said more than 150 years ago:
I do not pretend to understand the moral universe, the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways. I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. But from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice.
We really don’t have a lot of choice about yesterday. Here we are, many of us with more leverage and power than any human on Earth had just a hundred years ago.
In the last few decades, so many areas of culture have moved forward that defenders of the status quo are becoming exhausted trying to defend what was. And they sometimes express that exhaustion through anger, division and vitriol.
The good news is that we have exactly what we need to make things better. If enough of us stand up and lead and connect, we’ll continue to get closer to what’s possible.
Here’s to peace of mind and possibility. They go together.
And potential. And purpose. -dayle
Happy Father’s Day, dad.
Robert Dale Ohlau
‘Peace be on them. Peace be on you.’
For the little ones of Uvalde, Sarajevo, Dunblane and every place where innocent souls have been taken!#Uvalde #UvaldeMassacre #TexasSchoolMassacre #Children #innocent #Peace pic.twitter.com/71uLEQZUKB
— Yusuf / Cat Stevens (@YusufCatStevens) May 26, 2022
‘Go in peace.’ -Abraham Lincoln
‘How peaceful do you feel right now? Our nerves, our home and our country crave peace.’ -A. Stoddard
‘What kind of courage is required of us? ~ This is, in the end, the only kind of courage that is required of us: the courage to meet the strangest, most awesome, and most inexplicable of phenomena.’ -Rilke, 1904
[Posted today, May 31, 2022]
‘Our writer argues that students should not return to school in the fall until Congress passes new gun-control laws.’
by Gal Beckerman
‘The argument that we’ve been here before, that the gun lobby has a generation of politicians in its pocket, that our political system, and particularly the structure of the Senate, will always give outsize influence to Second Amendment absolutists—all of it is true. And yet, as awful as it is to say, we’re learning with every killing. We’re moving closer to the kind of movement that might actually make a difference.
Today, I’m left with one conclusion: The children and parents of our country need to take the summer to organize locally, build a set of national demands, and then refuse to go back to school in the fall until Congress does something.
Let me explain. Social movements need two elements to be successful: narrative and tactics. Borrowing from the political scientist Joseph Nye, we might think of these as soft power and hard power, respectively. Activists need to tell a compelling story that brings people along to a new way of thinking and emboldens them to act. But that isn’t enough. There is also the hard work of mustering actual political power to elect different representatives, change laws, and leverage lobbying.
When it comes to narrative, those whose lives are most at risk in mass shootings make for the best storytellers. This has been a strangely hard-won realization. Dave Cullen, who covered the Columbine shooting in 1999 and later wrote a book about it, has said that in the days and even weeks after the attack, none of the survivors wanted to talk about gun control. Though a common right-wing talking point is that speaking about new regulations immediately after a shooting is “politicizing” the tragedy, few people pay this much heed anymore. “Everybody keeps telling us that it’s not the time to be political,” Kimberly Rubio toldThe New York Times, two days after her daughter was killed in Uvalde, Texas. “But it is. It is.”
Las Vegas: AR-15
Aurora, CO: AR-15
Sandy Hook: AR-15
Waffle House: AR-15
San Bernardino: AR-15
Poway synagogue: AR-15
Sutherland Springs: AR-15
Tree of Life Synagogue: AR-15
Emmett’s mom opened his casket and started the Civil Right’s movement.
Show the carnage.
Trying to reinstate the ‘94 ban after Sandy Hook attracted 12 fewer votes in the Senate than Feinstein had mustered to renew it in 2004.
See the photo Emmett Till’s mother wanted you to see — the one that inspired a generation to join the civil rights movement
By Jerry Mitchell Mississippi Center For Investigative Reporting
Emmett Till’s mother, Mamie Till-Mobley, wanted the world to see “what they did to my baby.”
His body looked monstrous, as if the 14-year-old had absorbed every blow of hate delivered by his killers — a photograph that ran in Jet magazine and many other African-American publications, but never appeared in the nation’s mainstream publications.
As a result, many Americans have never seen the photograph.
It is time the world did, his family members say.
In his book, Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965, Juan Williams concluded that decision by Till’s mother “without question … moved black America in a way the Supreme Court ruling on school desegregation could not match.”
“It is insane that we let an 18-year old go in and buy an AR-15. What did we think he was going to do with it?!” A furious Beto O’Rourke railing on TX gun laws after interrupting The Texas Governor’s presser.
[Reporting from Garrett Haake.]
Speaking to reporters after publicly confronting Texas Gov. Greg Abbott today, a furious Beto O’Rourke rattled off four “solutions” to the mass shooting epidemic that he said have “broad bipartisan support right now”:
- Banning the sale of AR-15s
- Universal background checks
- Red flag laws or extreme risk protection orders
- Safe storage laws
‘When you vote ask yourself, who running for office has publicly stated that they’re willing to do anything & everything to protect your children from the criminally insane # of guns in the U.S.?’ -Stephen Colbert
“Deeply saddened by the news of the murder of innocent children in Texas. Sincere condolences to the families of the victims, the people of the US and President Biden over this tragedy. The people of Ukraine share the pain of the relatives and friends of the victims and all Americans.”
New York Times front page for Thursday, May 26th.
“And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.” — Isaiah 1:15
The front page of Thursday’s Uvalde Leader-News.
Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen with Krista Tippett from 2005 and posted again in context of the latest mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, Texas.
This is the story of the birthday of the world. In the beginning, there was only the holy darkness, the Ein Sof, the source of life. Then, in the course of history, at a moment in time, this world, the world of a thousand thousand things, emerged from the heart of the holy darkness as a great ray of light. And then, perhaps because this is a Jewish story, there was an accident. [laughs] And the vessels containing the light of the world, the wholeness of the world, broke. And the wholeness in the world, the light of the world, was scattered into a thousand thousand fragments of light. And they fell into all events and all people, where they remain deeply hidden until this very day.
Now, according to my grandfather, the whole human race is a response to this accident. We are here because we are born with the capacity to find the hidden light in all events and all people; to lift it up and make it visible once again and, thereby, to restore the innate wholeness of the world. This is a very important story for our times — that we heal the world one heart at a time. This task is called “tikkun olam” in Hebrew, “restoring the world.”
Ms. Tippett:Is there a connection between the story of the sparks and tikkun olam in Jewish tradition? Are they bound together?
Dr. Remen:They’re exactly the same.
Ms. Tippett:I did not know that those two come together.
Dr. Remen:Tikkun olam is the restoration of the world. And this is, of course, a collective task. It involves all people who have ever been born, all people presently alive, all people yet to be born. We are all healers of the world.
And that story opens a sense of possibility. It’s not about healing the world by making a huge difference. It’s about healing the world that touches you, that’s around you.
Dr. Remen:Well, I don’t want to talk politics here. I’m not a person who is a political person in the usual sense of that word. But I think that we all feel that we’re not enough to make a difference; that we need to be more, somehow, either wealthier or more educated or, somehow or other, different than the people we are. And according to this story, we are exactly what’s needed. And to just wonder about that a little, what if we were exactly what’s needed? What then? How would I live if I was exactly what’s needed to heal the world? I think these kinds of questions are very important questions.
Rachel Naomi Remen is founder of the Remen Institute for the Study of Health and Illness (RISHI), clinical professor of family medicine at UCSF School of Medicine, and professor of family medicine at the Boonshoft School of Medicine at Wright State University. Her books Kitchen Table Wisdom and My Grandfather’s Blessings have been translated into 24 languages.
From Activist and author Courtney Martin.
We belong to one another
and we can do so much better
I dropped my kids off at school today for their last days of kindergarten and 2nd grade. In a couple of hours, I will go back for a little kindergarten promotion ceremony and party for our Stella. She wore a hand-me-down dress with a suit vest over it—her own transcendent definition of “looking fancy.”
Maya is beyond excited because we are having a playdate this afternoon with her two best friends—Layla and Misgana. They have dubbed themselves the MALS and written an original song, choreographed an original dance, and of course, created the requisite secret handshake. This is a layered expression of their devotion for one another, a sentiment I remember so well from being that age and falling madly in love with my friends and the feeling of belonging to a few people.
The 21 people who were murdered yesterday by someone carrying an AK-47 belonged to so many people. The 10 people murdered last Saturday belonged to so many people.
As I oscillate in and out of being able to think and feel this morning, I keep reminding myself: the 19 children murdered yesterday are no less real than my two girls. Their caregivers are no less real than me. Their teachers—two now dead—are no less real than Ms. Galvin and Ms. Price and all the other teachers I have come to respect so much.
If I sit with that—our equal and shared realness—I feel like a Redwood, burned out from the inside, like I’m here, but there is nothing left inside of me that can be solid in the face of that level of real loss. I imagine what it would be like if I were the mother of one of the murdered children. I can only imagine I would be in a coma—spontaneously or by some kind of medical intervention. I know people survive profound loss, and yet, I am incapable of imagining myself opening my eyes ever again if one of my daughter’s was murdered, much less my heart or my mouth.
And then I think of the parents of the Sandy Hook victims—how they did, somehow, manage to open their hearts and mouths again. And how this day must feel to them.
I think of the teachers—the trauma on top of trauma on top of trauma they have been shouldering. The absence and outburst and tears they have been meeting with resilience and unconditional love and an eternal commitment to learning.
I think of the first responders who had to walk into that school and witness those little bodies, into that supermarket and witness those innocent victims. What will they do with those images burned into their minds?
I’ve been trying to do my work this morning, which I can justify has some linkage with building a better world, a better country, but part of me just feels like we should all be lying in the streets right now, refusing to move one more muscle, toast one more waffle, tweet one more tweet, until our kids can expect to live through a day at school and our aunties and uncles to pick up groceries without fearing for their lives.
Some people in this country, as I understand it, are preparing for a kind of war. A race war. Maybe a war for their own sense of superiority in a country with a changing demographic, their sense of control in a season of so little of it, their sense of invincibility when we are all objectively so vulnerable.
I am preparing for a long-awaited after school play date between three girls whose families come from different countries, speak different languages, and yet their love for one another is evident in hand slaps and coordinated spins. I am preparing to hear 25 five-year-olds sing this song, which may, in fact, prove too tender on a day where I am so excruciatingly tender already.
Which is to say, I am preparing for love and care and a fierce resistance to anybody who tries to normalize this level of loss. Death comes for all of us. We have a lot of work to do in acknowledging that vulnerability.
But death by AK-47 need not come for any of us. We have a moral mandate, long neglected, to make that truth undeniable. If it takes donation, walk-out, laying down in the street to make that clear, whatever it takes, I’m there, beside you, tender as hell.
Take care of yourself today. Gather with others. Rely on your rituals or make them up. We belong to each other.
And a beautiful letter to our collective compassion from faith healer, author, and documentarian Valerie Kaur.
Oh my loves.
What does it feel like in your body? For me – like a primal scream that won’t stop. When the death toll in Uvalde climbed to 19 children, I knew I had to wash the tears from my face and go downstairs and hug my babies and get them to bed. I wondered: Is the heart big enough to hold this? All this grief. All this rage. All the joy in their faces. My ancestors said: Oh my love, Yes. That is the heart we gave you.
That is the heart they gave us.
If you can’t function, it’s OK. If you can’t feel, it’s OK. If you can’t find your breath, it’s OK. Your breathlessness is not a sign of your weakness; it’s a sign of your bravery. It means that you are awake to what is happening right now: that the violence in our country is getting worse, the hate violence and the gun violence. And that the only way we will survive this – the only way we will change this – is together.
So let’s begin with a breath —
Let it come.
Hold for four counts.
Let it go.
Here’s why I believe we can change this:
Ten years ago, I worked on the ground in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, in response to the horrific white supremacist shooting at a Sikh gurdwara. It was the largest massacre of Sikhs on this soil. I remember looking into the open caskets of people who looked like my family, and feeling like I was going to fall into the abyss. Then the doors of the gym opened, and people started to flood in for the memorial. Thousands of people. They didn’t even know us, but they showed up to grieve with us. You don’t have to know people in order to grieve with them; you grieve with them in order to know them. And because they grieved with us, many stayed to organize with us. And together, we changed federal hate crimes policy within the year.
After months in Oak Creek, my husband and I boarded a plane home to Connecticut. I was relieved to go home and ready for rest. But as soon as the plane touched the ground, my phone blew up with the news: A shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. We didn’t go home. We went straight to a church in Newtown to grieve with people we did not know. I had left the site of one mass shooting only to go home to another.
In one massacre, the gunman hated us. In the next, the gunman hated himself. Both men had cut himself themselves off from humanity, others and their own.
This week – the same pattern. The news of Uvalde broke an hour before I was about to speak at an event about solidarity in the wake of Buffalo. Once again, we were all hurled from the site of one mass shooting to another. The gunmen in these shootings weren’t even born when many of us began this work. What do we do with when the violence is generational – and firearms are making killing more efficient?
#1 We need gun safety legislation absolutely. The majority of Americans want background checks. A handful of Senators are holding the nation hostage. But we are not helpless. Other countries have taken dramatic steps to save lives after mass shootings. So can we. Scroll down for immediate actions.
#2 We need to build beloved community where we are. We need a shift in culture and consciousness, block by block, heart to heart. I believe we can make every school, every house, every workplace, every community a place where we where we leave no one outside our circle of care, where we help one another be brave and whole. We can become the medicine that stops violence at its root. We can do this by putting love into practice.
What is your role right now?
GRIEVE: What is the shape of grief in your body? If you feel the primal scream in you, this is the time to make space for healing. Let yourself touch the sorrow, rest and breathe. Don’t isolate. Show up to a healing circle at your school with parents and teachers. Organize one if needed. Go to vigils. Be with people who make you feel safe. Let in softness and love into the places that ache. Make space to just to stop — and feel this together.
RAGE: What is the force of rage in your body? Notice where you are constricted, tense, or numb. Now move that energy – curse, scream, shake, dance, run. Don’t choke down your rage. Or let it fester. Be with people who can honor this rage and process it in safe containers. Your rage carries information – what is it telling you? You have something to fight for. You have a role to play, and no role is too small.
FIGHT: What courageous step are you ready to take? Do not swallow the lie that nothing can be done. You have a sphere of influence. Every choice we make – every word, every action, every encounter – co-creates culture and shapes what happens next. Will you use your voice, your art, your story, your money, your power, your heart?
REIMAGINE: What is the world you want? What does beloved community look like, feel like? We can only live into what we imagine. Protect time and space to dream and dream big. Then take one step toward that dream.
BREATHE: How will you breathe today? This is the work of a lifetime. Our lifetime. Take time to rest, step away from the news, nourish your body and your beloveds. Remember the wisdom of the midwife: Breathe, my love, then push. When joy comes, let it come. In joy, we presage the world to come.
Imagine that one day we look back on this era in our nation’s history with regret that it took so long to save the lives of our children – and relief that we were the ones who finally put an end to the carnage.
I believe that world is possible. Believe with me. Breathe with me – choose one thing above – now push.
In Chardi Kala – even in darkness, ever-rising spirits,
Pathos, compassion, and pleas. Please watch, and share.
Jimmy responds to the tragic school shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and talks about 89% of Americans wanting background checks, our cowardly leaders listening to the NRA instead of the people they actually represent, firearms becoming the #1 leading cause of death for American children and teens, Ted Cruz speaking at an NRA event this weekend, the 27 school shootings so far this year in America, and making sure that lawmakers do something about common-sense gun laws. If you can, please support Everytown in their fight against gun violence. https://www.everytown.org/
“To do nothing about this ongoing carnage is a sin.”
Talk about it, act, in every community, in every state. The politicians, elected, won’t. Have not. Will not. We must.
- Background checks.
- Gun registration.
- Safe storage laws.
- Age limits on possessing and buying w e a p o n s o f w a r.
The least, the least, we can do.
And finally, my prayer remains people will override profit in this country for the safety of people and assault weapons will be completely banned, again. Weapons of war should not be on our streets. The ban worked before, it will work again. I b e l i e v e.
“They call it the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.”
Absolutely brilliant. #MustSee
Directors: Judd Apatow and Michael Bonfiglio
Personally, a microcosm of my own cultural history, from John Davidson, to Ed Sullivan, Merv Griffon, Michael Douglas, Johnny Carson, first SNL in ’75, and every comedian who was influenced by his work and intellect. Fourteen years after Carlin’s death, his material remains relevant and vital, as the directors illustrate with their remarkable editing, and why Carlin often still trends today with his stand-up soundbites. KQED calls the documentary ‘revelatory.’ Indeed.
The examples of just how many things Carlin got right and/or predicted over the course of his nearly 50-year career are too numerous to list here. But as W. Kamau Bell notes in the second half of this two-part, three-and-a-half hour documentary: “I mean we all love Lenny Bruce. But no one’s sharing a Lenny Bruce bit to explain what’s happening in the culture right now.”
“I still refer to him all the time, which for a comic … I mean, comedy is so ephemeral in so many ways. It takes him out of the class of pop star and puts him in the class of Bach and Beethoven and classicists—people that created something that was timeless because it wasn’t based on a moment, it was based on a deeper truth.”
More from KQED: ‘George Carlin’s American Dream will expose you to myriad truths—about life, about comedy, about power, about pain. Some of them hurt, some of them entertain, but all, presented through Carlin’s eyes, feel inspiring, motivating and, frankly, like a kick in the ass. Even 14 years after his death, Carlin’s words still have the power to give us a jolt. It’s up to us now to figure out what to do with them.’
He became his ‘authentic self’ on stage and with his material after, as Stephen Colbert shares in the documentary, he went from the Beatles’ ‘Love Me Do’ period, to the ‘White Album.’ “He is the Beatles of comedy.”
[“He created the scientific method for comics.” Comedians Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, Hasan Minhaj, Sam Jay,Jerry Seinfeld, Bill Burr and many more share how the legendary comic influenced their own work.]
A perfectly beautiful archive of Carlin’s work, what he meant, and still means, to our culture and to all of us.
“There is nothing more tragic in the modern world than the misuse of power and action to which men are driven by their own Faustian misunderstandings and misapprehensions. We have more power at our disposal today than we have ever had, and yet we are more alienated and estranged from the ground of meaning and of love than we have ever been.
Contemplation in a World of Action, 1965
‘…you will see that (we) move almost automatically into a pattern of up or down, in our out, for me or against me, right or wrong, black or white, gay or straight, good or bad. It is the basic reason why the “stinkin’ thinkin'” of racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, religious imperialism, and prejudice of all kinds is so hard to overcome and has lasted so long…’
‘Neuroscience now makes very clear that humans deeply love predictability and fear all unpredictability, which encourages us to make all kinds of absolute affirmations, especially about fearful or dangerous things…’
‘Our religion is not working well: suffering, fear, violence, injustice, greed, and meaninglessness still abound. This is not even close to the reign of God that Jesus taught. And we must be frank: in their behavior and impact upon the world, Christians are not much different than other people. — Christianity is now seen as “irrelevant” by some, “toxic” by many, and often as a large part of the problem rather than any kind of solution. Some of us are almost embarrassed to say we are Christian because of the negative images that word conjures in others’ minds. Young people especially are turned off by how judgmental, exclusionary, impractical, and ineffective Christian culture seems to be. — We must rediscover what St. Francis of Assisi (1182–1226) called the “marrow of the Gospel.” It’s time to rebuild from the bottom up. If the foundation is not solid and sure, everything we try to build on top of it is weak and ineffective. Perhaps it’s a blessing in disguise that so much is tumbling down around us. It’s time to begin again.’
-Fr Richard Rohr
“In a sense, Christians have always lived a different epistemological existence than nonbelievers. But this is something new.”
An expose on Evangelical Christianity leaning into civil war written by Tim Alberta, the chief political correspondent for Politico. His piece was recently published in The Atlantic.
“More than a few times, I’ve heard casual talk of civil war inside places that purport to worship the Prince of Peace.”
‘Southern Baptist leaders covered up sex abuse, lied to members about secret database, explosive report shows
Leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention released a major third-party investigation that found that sex abuse survivors were often ignored, minimized and “even vilified” by top leaders in the nation’s largest Protestant denomination.
The findings of nearly 300 pages include shocking new details about specific abuse cases and shine a light on how denominational leaders for decades actively resisted calls for abuse prevention and reform. They also lied to Southern Baptists over whether they could maintain a database of offenders to prevent more abuse when top leaders were secretly keeping a private list for years.
The report — the first investigation of its kind in a massive Protestant denomination like the SBC — is expected to send shock waves into a conservative Christian community that has had intense internal battles over how to handle sex abuse. The 13 million-member denomination, along with other religious institutions in the United States, has struggled with declining membership for the past 15 years. Its leaders have long resisted comparisons between its sexual abuse crisis and that of the Catholic Church, saying the total number of abuse cases among Southern Bapitists was small.’ [5.22.22]
Full report: https://www.washingtonpost.com/religion/2022/05/22/southern-baptist-sex-abuse-report/?utm_source=alert&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=wp_news_alert_revere&location=alert&wpmk=1&wpisrc=al_news__alert-national&pwapi_token=eyJ0eXAiOiJKV1QiLCJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiJ9.eyJjb29raWVuYW1lIjoid3BfY3J0aWQiLCJpc3MiOiJDYXJ0YSIsImNvb2tpZXZhbHVlIjoiNWUwMDBiYzU5YmJjMGY0MTRmNTNkNDdmIiwidGFnIjoid3BfbmV3c19hbGVydF9yZXZlcmUiLCJ1cmwiOiJodHRwczovL3d3dy53YXNoaW5ndG9ucG9zdC5jb20vcmVsaWdpb24vMjAyMi8wNS8yMi9zb3V0aGVybi1iYXB0aXN0LXNleC1hYnVzZS1yZXBvcnQvP3V0bV9zb3VyY2U9YWxlcnQmdXRtX21lZGl1bT1lbWFpbCZ1dG1fY2FtcGFpZ249d3BfbmV3c19hbGVydF9yZXZlcmUmbG9jYXRpb249YWxlcnQmd3Btaz0xJndwaXNyYz1hbF9uZXdzX19hbGVydC1uYXRpb25hbCJ9.hkvN_HNmvFCt_smR2GkfwgcJb9kpJR0uK-bzs1QfXzs
‘Without the contemplative and converted mind, much religion is frankly dangerous for society.’ Fr Richard Rohr
We all will reach a moment when a voice inside says, “I can’t. It’s too difficult, too dark.” What if these moments were invitations to find another voice inside? The voice that says “You are brave.” The pain of transition is what precedes the beginning of something new. -Revolutionary Love
Dan Rather, journalist and author, “Steady” and the book What Unites Us:
‘As with all that we face, we can find resilience in recognizing the threat and calling it out. We should not let the abhorrent become acceptable. There can be pressure in persistence.
In resisting and organizing against the forces of division, we can secure our democracy in ways that could leave it stronger. The crises we face are not new. Turning back the tide, through the vote and the mobilization of action, can leave this country more just and better prepared for the challenges ahead.’
[Yoichi R. Okamoto, Munich’s Large and Beautiful Fussgangerzone (detail), 1973, photograph, Munich, Public Domain.]
S U R V I V A L S K I L L S
From writer and author Suleika Jaouad:
‘When I think of this, I think of my friend Quintin Jones—aka “Lil’ GQ,” if you’ve read my book [Between Two Kingdoms]. Quin survived a childhood difficult beyond measure, including poverty, abuse, mental illness, addiction, and living on the streets as a young teen. In his two decades on death row, he spent 23 hours a day in solitary confinement, and he could have folded in on himself, given up all sense of hope. Instead he reckoned with his past, sought forgiveness for his wrongs, and committed to becoming a light to others, building meaningful friendships from his cell with pen pals across the world, myself included.
To me, Quin is the embodiment of someone who was forced to plumb the depths of their strength and was continually uncovering new reserves. Here on the one-year anniversary of his execution, I’m resharing his prompt “Survival Skills,” which asks us to reflect on our strength—on our ability to endure.’ [5.22.22]
Ending with a story of light ✨from professor Scott Galloway, who returned to his Los Angeles high school recently.
‘Scott goes back to high school.’
Addendum, May 23, 2022
Center for Action and Contemplation
Christianity’s Violence Problem
CAC teacher Brian McLaren has long asked questions out loud that many have often asked only to themselves. In his new book Do I Stay Christian?, Brian outlines compelling reasons both to leave and stay within Christianity. Today we share his critique of Christianity’s complicity with violence. Such truth-telling can be difficult to read. We invite you to practice the contemplative stance of “holding the tension of opposites”:
Echoing its founder’s nonviolence, the Christian faith initially grew as a nonviolent spiritual movement of counter-imperial values. It promoted love, not war. Its primal creed elevated solidarity, not oppression and exclusion [see Galatians 3:26–28]. . . . The early Christians elevated the equality of friendship rather than the supremacy of hierarchy (John 15:15; 3 John 14, 15).
This commitment to nonviolence rapidly eroded in the early fourth century when the emperor Constantine declared Christianity the religion of the empire. This led to an acceptance of violence and domination against the empire’s enemies, but also perceived “enemies” from within:
What the empire wanted to do, the church generally blessed. . . . This cozy relationship with empire continued long after the Roman Empire had fully collapsed. The church supported the empire’s many reincarnations in French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, British, Russian, German, and American imperial ventures. Each empire could count on the mainstream Christian church to bless its successes, pardon its failures, and pacify and unify its masses.
A community with a history of violence to Jews . . . does not sound like a safe place for non-Christians. But as a chaplain to empire, Christianity was not a particularly safe place for Christians either—at least not those who chose to differ from the authorities of the church or state. Choosing to differ, in fact, was the root meaning of the word heresy. . . .
Historians generally agree: while the records are unreliable and incomplete, at least tens of thousands of suspected nonconformists were prosecuted by church courts between 1180 and 1450; many thousands were tortured; over a thousand were executed by church authorities. . . . In a seventy-year period starting in 1560, 80,000 women were tried as witches and 40,000 were killed. . . .
Today, abuse of Christians by Christians tends to be more emotional and spiritual than physical. But shunning and disowning (forms of relational banishment), public shaming and character assassination, private humiliations, church trials of nonconformists, blacklisting, and other forms of Christian-on-Christian cruelty continue, and more and more traumatized people are coming forward with their stories. . . .
To state the obvious: Jesus never tortured or killed or ruined the life of anyone, but the same cannot be said for the religion that claims to follow him.
Knowing what I now know, if I were not already a Christian, I would hesitate in becoming one, at least until the religion in all its major forms offers a fearless, searching, public moral accounting for its past crimes . . . first, against Jews, and also against its own nonconformist members.
‘The event gets underway at 5 p.m. at Ketchum Town Square with music by Tylor and the Train Robbers. Their music will be followed by a showing of Teton Gravity’s Research’s 25-minute film “Fire on the Mountain” showcasing music by the Grateful Dead.’
[Eye On Sun Valley]