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Rolla Peace News

October 24, 2017


Dear Friends:

          In this newsletter is:

3. THE MISFIT MATHEMATICIAN (Tom's column, http://tomsager.org)
          Vietnam: Deja Vu All Over Again



We vigil for peace in front of the Rolla Post Office THIS THURSDAY, OCTOBER 26, 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.


The Commons, for the purposes of this article, refers to the resources of the earth that we all have in common (though some of us have a whole lot, and some hardly any). It includes every living and non-living thing, animal, vegetable and mineral. What needs to be re-thought is the concept that we (humans) have everything else. Rather, we are a part of, and connected to, all life on earth.

I don't know where the idea came from that a human is “better” or “more valuable” than a tree, for instance. If all humans were wiped off the face of the earth, the trees would still be just fine — better off, in fact — while if all trees were gone, we could not survive. We need the oxygen they produce to breathe. Yet, we think nothing of cutting down trees that are in our way, or that we want to use for lumber, paper, firewood, etc. We don't see them as beings with a right to life.

It's the same with animals; we eat them, without thinking about how they got into the supermarket meat bins. If you look at some of the horrific pictures taken in factory farms, you might want to at least find out where the meat you eat is coming from, if it doesn't make a vegetarian out of you. These are creatures of varying intelligence — by our standards, they are less intelligent than humans, but they have emotions, can feel pain, and when allowed to, have a great capacity to enjoy life. A factory-farmed animal is unlikely to have a single moment of pleasure in its short life.

And what about Earth herself? Not everyone agrees that the Earth is a living, conscious being, but the way we have been treating her has produced the kind of consequences that feel like she is fighting back (hurricanes, fires, floods, etc.). The following quote from Laura Bridgeman's article is something we need to think on.

“...as long as we try to preserve or manage ‘habitats’ and ‘ecosystems’ for human benefit alone, the resulting devastation of the lives of other species will reverberate into our own in increasingly disastrous and unpredictable ways.”

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


Seems like there is a lot of interest in the new PBS series on Vietnam. I haven't watched it, and don't intend to; but here's what Fred Reed has to say:
“People are talking about some Vietnam series by Ken Burns, I think it is. I saw the original, so Iíll pass. But if we want opinions, Iíll contribute from long ago.”
You can read Fred's article of 37 years ago here.

Here Robert Freeman asks whether we Vietnam-era anti-war protesters were heroes or traitors. Neither sits very well with me. We were (mostly) just a bunch of kids “doing our thing.” We thought we could build a better world, full of peace, love and harmony — hardly heroic or traitorous. Well, maybe we could have; but 50 years later, see what our generation hath wrought!

Suppose, 50 years ago, we had just stayed home and smoked dope. Would the Vietnamese have laid down their arms and surrendered? Not a chance. Would our troops not have fragged their officers? Would Vietnam vets not have come home and told the truth about the war? Would Dan Ellsberg not have leaked the Pentagon Papers? I suspect the answer to all these questions is: “This would have happened anyway.”

Anti-war protesters are simply a part of a far larger Peace Movement, albeit the most visible part. From comments we receive at our peace vigils, it is clear that for every protester, there are hundreds who are fed-up with our wars and want peace. Perhaps, we give some the courage to work for peace in their own way.

What is really sad is how little we have learned from Vietnam. Here we are, bogged down in multiple Vietnams, with more to come on the horizon. There is very little anti-war protesting going on now — here in Rolla just the four of us old-timers in front of the Post Office for an hour a week. We still haven't won a war since 1945.

One thing to remember: Donald Trump and Dick Cheney were Vietnam-era draft-dodgers — just like I was; and George W. Bush avoided Vietnam by joining the National Guard. With this level of “leadership,” what would you expect?


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: near the top of rightmost column).

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Wage peace,

helenm (at) fidnet.com