+' Rolla Peace Newsletter, April 18, 2017

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Rolla Peace News

April 18, 2017


Dear Friends:

          In this newsletter is:

3. THE MISFIT MATHEMATICIAN (Tom's column, http://tomsager.org)
          Violence Is What Defines Us



We vigil for peace in front of the Rolla Post Office THIS THURSDAY, APRIL 20, 2017, (and all subsequent Thursdays until peace is established) from Noon to 1:00 PM. Please try to join us. The temperature is predicted to be in the 60s. If you do not feel comfortable standing with us in front of the Post Office, please consider driving by and showing your support for our message by honking your horn and flashing a peace sign.


Just over 50 years ago, Martin Luther King spoke out against the Vietnam war, saying it was “but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit.”

The same could be said about President Trump today. What most people don't see (and that includes most so-called “progressives”) is that Trump and the mayhem he's committing on the people and the planet is different only in degree from what our “American way of life” has been cranking out for a long time. As Ira Chernus says, “In many ways, the current wave of regressive change and increasing chaos in Washington should be treated as a caricature of the system that we all have been living under for so long.”

Trump was elected because he promised change, and many people recognized that the status quo was not benefiting them. Of course, all his promises were lies — but if the Democrats had won, we would still be sliding down a slippery slope to chaos and extinction, just slower.

King's anti-war speech of April 4, 1967, also spoke of “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government.” Still true. And no wonder — American culture is filled with violence, from the news, from TV programs, from video games. Our habit of violence extends even to nature. Is there a plant in the wrong place? Kill it! A bug on your kitchen floor, or even on the sidewalk? Stomp on it! Is there coal in the ground, or oil, or precious metal or gems? Dig it up, blast it out! Children are exposed to violence from an early age, and grow up tolerant to it. That's how a person can push a button that hits a wedding party with a missile, and not feel a thing. Dr. King had an answer for this, too: “Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door... The first hope in our inventory must be the hope that love is going to have the last word.”

That was 50 years ago. Many of us who were young then had high hopes that a change in the collective consciousness of our country, and then the world, was really going to happen. It didn't, at least not in the spectacular way we had hoped for, but some good things have happened. Overt racial segregation was ended, although racism is still alive and well in America. At least, there are many, many more people who see others first as fellow humans, and welcome them in their communities and neighborhoods. Many concepts that were not even thought about before the sixties, such as raising consciousness, empathy, meditation, etc., are now part of the collective jargon.

Dr. King was right about love being the key. It's pointless to say we should all love President Trump — I doubt many people would want to (although he probably needs it more than most). But what anyone can do is to act from love in their daily life. The more people that do that, the more love ripples out into the collective. This is what will shift the consciousness from hate, fear and violence, to loving one's neighbor as oneself.

So what is Trump the symptom of? Absence of love, in my view. We can change that. Here's the link to Ira Chernus's article; it's a good one.

3. THE MISFIT MATHEMATICIAN (Tom's column, http://tomsager.org)

“Violence upon violence, deceit upon deceit:
They refuse to know me—oracle of the Lord.”
          —Jeremiah 9:5 (NABRE)

Every once in a while, there comes an event that seems to define society in all its ugliness. I think such an event happened last week. David Dao, a 69 year old Vietnamese-American doctor refused to give up his seat on a United Airlines airplane stating that he had patients to see in the morning. This was right and proper. Doctors are supposed to put their patients first — even before the profits of United Airlines.

For refusing to give up his seat, Dr. Dao was beat up and dragged off the plane by three airport security goons who knocked him unconscious and broke his nose and two teeth. Dr. Dao also suffered a concussion and sinus injuries.

It seems unlikely that there will be any criminal charges, much less convictions or jail time for this brutal assault. Only after videos of the incident went viral did United Airlines CEO, Oscar Munoz, apologized for having to “re-accommodate” customers. So, in this ultra-violent society we live in, getting knocked unconscious and having your nose broken is simply being “re-accommodated.”

It's not like violent acts like this don't happen every day — they do. But, here we have a well-respected doctor being beat up by law enforcement in front of an airplane full of people for nothing more than demanding that he be permitted to fly home and see his patients in the morning.

For what it is worth, it has been around eight years since I've been on an airplane. I don't expect to ever fly again. Ever since 9/11, I've felt very uncomfortable around airports. Maybe, I saw this coming.


We're well into the 16th year of our War Against Afghanistan — 38th year if you want to count from 1979 when the CIA hired, armed and trained some thugs like Osama bin Laden to destabilize the Soviet-leaning government of Afghanistan. Those were the good ol' days. It's been down hill for Afghanistan ever since.

Last week, for the first time, the US military exploded its 11 ton bomb, dubbed the Mother of All Bombs. Purportedly the bomb killed some “militants,” in Afghanistan. If 16 years of bombing Afghanistan just creates more and more resistance, then — obviously — what we need is a bigger bomb.

More and more violence — that seems to be what defines us as a nation and a society.


Rolla Peace News is distributed by email once a week on Tuesday evenings (except on rare occasions) and is posted on the web at http://tomsager.org (click on Grassroots Rolla: top of rightmost column).

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Wage peace,

helenm (at) fidnet.com