Twitter was atwitter yesterday, about a big story expected in today's The New York Times. It has five parts; I've only read one so far, and it's well worth your time.
It's a story about Dasani. She's a talented 11-year-old whose parents can't afford rent in New York, the most economically unequal city in the country with the second-highest child poverty rate in the developed world (only Romania neglects more kids than we do).
Dasani and her family dream of moving up in the world into the projects. In part one of reporter Andrea Elliott's story, Dasani starts school at LaGuardia Arts. Almost all the students there are on free or reduced lunch, but they mostly live in the projects. It isn't long before Dasani is exposed to her fellow students as stuck living in a shelter. Six of the middle school's 157 students live in shelters.
At the bottom of part one, you can watch short videos of Dasani dancing and being interviewed by her mother. You can also read the source notes behind Elliott's story, which have been separated in order to keep the main narrative moving—it's not gummed up by "according to"s and statistics, but the notes reveal tremendous amounts of research behind Elliott's descriptions of the conditions and the stories she shares.
To follow talk about the story on Twitter, it's under #InvisibleChild. Interesting questions are arising already.
This is a New York Times story, but it's not a New York-only story.
I would really love it if in honor of all the kids in need of some help, you'd join me in making a donation to Slog's Charity Challenge this year, which we've tried to make fun by including Pearl Jam and Macklemore and whatnot, but which really is a way to keep kids like Dasani hooked up with the most basic needs through YouthCare's Orion Center at Denny and Stewart.
You know who can't wait to get high? Adorable Christmas caroling ladies! As part of the Great Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition, the Beaconettes regaled downtown Seattle passersby this past weekend with everything that's great about legal pot. To the tune of "Mr Sandman," natch:
Let's put this present under the tree: With legalization support this year leaping to 58 percent of Americans, the Obama administration taking a hand-off approach, and songs about taking a "big hit" joining the Christian holiday canon, the war on pot is toast. Lyrics after the jump:
The Macklemore & Ryan Lewis vs. Pearl Jam vs. Slog Holiday Charity Challenge continues! If you're just tuning in, we're pitting the fans of the hometown heroes of music against the fans of America's Hometown Blog™ to raise money to support YouthCare's Orion Center. (And another excellent blog has gotten in on it too, running a pro-Orion-Center, anti-Dan-Savage fundraising campaign! Whatever works, people!)
It's twenty-five degrees out in Seattle right now. Tomorrow, it's supposed to snow. YouthCare and the Orion Center help our city's homeless young people by providing daily hot meals, a clothing bank, a safe indoor place to sleep, GED classes, job training programs, and assistance with finding permanent housing. It's especially important right now, but our goal is to show Seattle cares and raise enough to keep the Orion Center operational for the next calendar year. And look, everybody—we're making it happen!
TOTAL $$$ RAISED SO FAR FOR THE ORION CENTER:
• Macklemore & Ryan Lewis fans have donated: $13,788.14
• Pearl Jam fans: $19,993.27
• Slog fans: $5,550.00
And Seattlish fans are still donating: $800 so far!
TOTAL $$$: $40,131.41
Are Pearl Jam fans the best fans? Will Macklemore & Ryan Lewis fans rally? How about the news that "Same Love" is up for a Grammy for Song of the Year? Forty percent—that's almost half—of the kids that YouthCare and the Orion Center sees left home or were kicked out because of their sexuality. Things are changing (yes!!!), but right now, they need our help. Donate to the Orion Center right now!
And Seattlish fans can go here to give and make a note that it's on behalf of Seattlish/anti-Dan-Savage!
The fans that raise the most for the Orion Center by December 24th WIN the title of the Best Fans of the Best Band or Best Blog in the Universe Forever!
And, of course, if you give at least $25 to the Orion Center, then forward us your receipt and your commenter handle, we'll give you a commenter tag on Slog that says SLOG FAN, MACKLEMORE & RYAN LEWIS FAN, or PEARL JAM FAN! Your choice!
Snowden: A hero in America, and now in Azeroth, Edward Snowden has disclosed a new trove of documents showing the NSA has been spying on players using World of Warcraft and Second Life. "Fearing that terrorist or criminal networks could use the games to communicate secretly, move money or plot attacks, the documents show, intelligence operatives have entered terrain populated by digital avatars that include elves, gnomes and supermodels," reports ProPublica.
Snow Den? "A search is on in the mountains of rural northwestern Nevada for a couple and four children who went to play in the snow Sunday and haven't returned."
Snow Then? Maybe around Seattle this evening.
When Not Complicit, Outraged: AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter, and Yahoo tells federal government to cut back on snooping.
Is This Literally Buying an Election? A hand recount, requested by the losing side, of course, will begin today on SeaTac's $15 minimum wage measure that voters passed by a 73-vote margin. Here's background on King County Elections' recount process, which explains the cost is $0.25 for each of the 6,003 ballot cast.
Blow Hard, Says the Seattle City Council: They're considering bill that would protect whistle-blowers in city government, in part by handing the cases over to the city's ethics commission.
To Be an Undercover Agent: Officers consider a busting a "snuggle-parlor":
MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Wisconsin's ultra-liberal capital city is a place where just about anything goes, from street parties to naked bike rides. But city officials say a business is pushing even Madison's boundaries by offering, of all things, hugs.
For $60, customers at the Snuggle House can spend an hour hugging, cuddling and spooning with professional snugglers.
Snugglers contend touching helps relieve stress. But Madison officials suspect the business is a front for prostitution and, if it's not, fear snuggling could lead to sexual assault. Not buying the message that the business is all warm and fuzzy, police have talked openly about conducting a sting operation at the business, and city attorneys are drafting a new ordinance to regulate snuggling.
A new ordinance to regulate snuggling!
Netanyahu is not going to attend Mandela's funeral because the trip is too expensive. Peres is not going because he is sick. But surely the expense and the illness would be cleared in an instant if the shadow of the long and ugly history between Israel and South Africa was obliterated by the sun of forgetfulness...
One of Nelson Mandela’s richest legacies to the world is his treasure trove of quotes that inspire and encourage. Just look at these from the Daily Beast or these on Brainy Quote – or take a little traipse on Twitter or Facebook and you’ll feel convinced we can all do the impossible, that democracy will overcome tyranny, that the bitterest of enemies can make peace.
Assessing his legacy in this part of the world is a little more complicated. When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office announced on Monday that the premier would not attend the Mandela’s funeral, citing the soaring costs of a last-minute trip, it underscored the less-than-chummy relations between Israel and South Africa. President Shimon Peres is also staying home, because he has the flu.
But tight budgets and sick notes do little to mask the lingering discomfort between the two nations. Jerusalem maintained close military and economic ties with Johannesburg even in the final days of the apartheid regime, when most of the world was backing away, and the then-leader of the African National Congress never forgot it.
To be fair to Israel:
Israel's decision in September of 1987 to join the rest of the world in imposing sanctions on South Africa left the apartheid regime totally dumbstruck, so much so that its leader at the time, president P.W. Botha (long known as the "Great Crocodile"), sent a secret letter to prime minister Yitzhak Shamir accusing him of stabbing him in the back. "How could you do this to us, after so many years of friendship and alliance?" Botha railed. Botha, who died Tuesday night aged 90, was a staunch friend of Israel and the architect of the Pretoria-Jerusalem alliance during the dark years of apartheid. He felt so personally hurt by the Israeli sanctions that he wrote directly to the prime minister. Being a stickler for formalities, like many an Afrikaner gentleman, and also such a loyal friend of the Israelis, Botha didn't make his pain public, and would not release the "top secret" memo to the media.Few alliances in the 20th century are as historically strange (even twisted) as the one that formed between Pretoria and Jerusalem.
The officer who shot a protester in the head this summer is doing everything he can to hide his identity in court...
It gets weirder. At the first hearing in September, there were five people sitting in the defendant’s seating area, so the lawyers for Sarisülük’s family didn’t know which one was Şahbaz [the officer who murdered the protester, Sarisülük]. Sarisülük’s lawyers added that at this hearing, around 80 police officers—not in uniform—showed up at the courtroom. Eventually, the court forced Şahbaz’s cohorts to fall back. But when the real Şahbaz emerged, there was something peculiar about him. “The officer who appeared in the video [of the incident] and the person in the courtroom did not look the same,” says Hüseyin Aslan, one of the lawyers representing Sarisülük’s family along with the state-appointed prosecutor.The weirdness, which does not end there but continues to the end of the post, is not only a symptom of the gap between the two forms of state power—the ideological apparatus and the repressive one—but also between the modern state and the older and deeper order of the family. Turkish society seems to be still tied to the tension we find in the heart of the ancient Greek play Antigone—the tension between the rights of the state (peace, compliance, respect) and the rights of the family (the right to bury and claim the debt on their dead).
The reason: He was wearing a wig and a fake mustache. Both disguises came loose as a scuffle broke out between Şahbaz and Sarisülük’s relatives during the hearing, and the wig wound up on the floor. Neither the police nor Şahbaz have commented about his costume, though some observers say it may be for his protection. Sahbaz’s lawyer said that his client was going to be lynched by Sarisülük’s family.
Of course, this advice was meant for their swimming-in-cash corporate execs, not their drowning-in-cooking-oil poverty-level workers.
The tipping guide from etiquette maven Emily Post on McDonald's website lists several high-ticket suggestions for givers during the holiday season, including "a gift from your family (or one week's pay), plus a small gift from your child" for an au pair, "one day's pay" for a housekeeper and "cost of one cleaning" for a pool cleaner.
The site also lists suggestions for dog walkers, massage therapists and personal fitness trainers.
Via the great QT, who headlined it "Marie McAntoinette Update," which would be a great new Slog category.
Another day, another Catholic school teacher fired for being gay. Says the teacher who was fired...
Today I applied for a marriage license since NJ now has marriage equality. After 12 years together I was excited to finally be able to marry my partner. Because of that, I was fired from Holy Ghost Preparatory School today. I am an alumnus of the school and have taught there for 12 years. I feel hurt, saddened, betrayed and except for this post, am at a loss for words. If you'd like to share your words with my principal or headmaster, please do. firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Seymour Hersh, writing in the London Review of Books:
Barack Obama did not tell the whole story this autumn when he tried to make the case that Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the chemical weapons attack near Damascus on 21 August. In some instances, he omitted important intelligence, and in others he presented assumptions as facts. Most significant, he failed to acknowledge something known to the US intelligence community: that the Syrian army is not the only party in the country’s civil war with access to sarin, the nerve agent that a UN study concluded – without assessing responsibility – had been used in the rocket attack. In the months before the attack, the American intelligence agencies produced a series of highly classified reports, culminating in a formal Operations Order – a planning document that precedes a ground invasion – citing evidence that the al-Nusra Front, a jihadi group affiliated with al-Qaida, had mastered the mechanics of creating sarin and was capable of manufacturing it in quantity. When the attack occurred al-Nusra should have been a suspect, but the administration cherry-picked intelligence to justify a strike against Assad.
Both The New Yorker and The Washington Post declined to run this story, with the Post reportedly expressing concerns about Hersh's sourcing. The Obama administration has called the thrust of Hersh's story "simply false."
I am afraid I have to protest. I do not belong to the circle of philosophers. My profession, if one can even speak of it at all, is political theory. I neither feel like a philosopher, nor do I believe that I have been accepted in the circle of philosophers, as you so kindly suppose.
Arendt is now perhaps best remembered for her book about World War II war crimes, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. It's controversial in part because Arendt tries to strip Eichmann and other Nazis of their bogeyman status, revealing them as nothing so much as bland bureaucrats. She didn't absolve them of their evil deeds, but she did strenuously make the case that they were ordinary people...
Duck Dynasty is in its fourth season (51 episodes!), which is amazing because superhuman strength is required to reach even the middle of a single 20-minute show. The one I watched, "Spring Clean Pong" (it was first screened a year ago), opens with the beards picking berries (Mama, we are told, makes the best pie with these here berries). The men shake a tree, the berries fall, and the men pick the berries from the ground. One of the beards decides to eat a berry he has just picked—but almost immediately he spits it out and wipes his mouth with the back of his hand. "Damn! That berry tastes terrible." Another beard, pointing at something on the ground: "Did you pick it up from right there? You did? Because that's a coon turd [not a berry]." This is entertainment? And why in the world is a city person like me even watching this nonsense? Because the hicks who make the duck calls have decided to make wine.
The Macklemore & Ryan Lewis vs. Pearl Jam vs. Slog Holiday Charity Challenge continues, and Pearl Jam fans have jumped ahead!!! Could it be the energy from Pearl Jam's amazing hometown show on Friday night?! They wouldn't stop playing even when KeyArena turned the lights on—that's how much they love their fans, and rightfully so, because their fans are the kind of people who are coming out in droves to support YouthCare's Orion Center.
TOTAL $$$ RAISED SO FAR FOR THE ORION CENTER:
• Macklemore & Ryan Lewis fans have donated: $13,443.14
• Pearl Jam fans, taking the lead!: $16,228.27
• Slog fans (hearts!): $5,425.00
And Seattlish fans are still donating too, to the tune of $750!
TOTAL $$$: $35,846.41
Then again, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis had a pretty good day yesterday... if you consider picking up a bunch of Grammy nominations a good day. "Same Love" is up for Song of the Year, people. It makes you tear up a little bit, doesn't it?
About 74 percent of those that YouthCare sees were physically or sexually abused at home, while 40 percent left home or were kicked out because of their sexuality. YouthCare and the Orion Center help our city's homeless young people by providing daily hot meals, a clothing bank, shelter beds, GED classes, job training programs, and help finding permanent housing. These are our city's exploited and forgotten kids: We want to keep the Orion Center fully funded and operational for the next year. We're a third of the way to our goal!
Let's do this. Donate to the Orion Center right now!
And Seattlish fans can go here to give and make a note that it's on behalf of Seattlish/anti-Dan-Savage! And, of course, if you give at least $25 to the Orion Center, then forward us your receipt and your commenter handle, we'll give you a commenter tag on Slog that says SLOG FAN, MACKLEMORE & RYAN LEWIS FAN, or PEARL JAM FAN! Your choice!
Now, onward! And remember: the fans that raise the most for the Orion Center by December 24th WIN the title of the Best Fans of the Best Band or Best Blog in the Universe Forever!
Captionless photos run through Aaron Huey's book of photos from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota like an unruly river, some to the edges of the pages, overflowing the banks of what we see. There's beautiful bleakness, mostly free of context—maybe because, as Huey told me, "the more time I spend [at Pine Ridge], the more confused I am about what to do with it."
As a journalist for National Geographic and Harper's, Huey became a righteous advocate, exhorting the federal government to honor the treaties and give back the Black Hills. You may have seen his "Honor the Treaties" poster campaign with street-art mogul Shepard Fairey.
But there are problems.
Brrr: Seattle police are driving around with a van picking up cold homeless people and bringing them to shelters.
Eww: Cops are still monsters, says Gawker.
Jobs: The latest jobs numbers are in from the Bureau of Labor Statistics! To summarize: Older workers are doing ok, the death of manufacturing has been exaggerated, pay hasn't budged for restaurant and hotel workers, and there are still millions of long-term unemployed folks.
Blech: Oh JP Morgan, does your villainy know no bounds? (It appears the answer is yes, as this story is about corruption in China.)
Hah: Morale is down at the National Security Agency.
Boo: The FBI, by installing malware on someone's machine, can "covertly activate a computer’s camera—without triggering the light that lets users know it is recording."
Wow: Some Syrian refugees fleeing war are settling—of all places—in Gaza.
Apartheid: The Israeli military allegedly shot and killed a boy named Wajih Wajdi al-Ramahi in Ramallah and attacked a Palestinian commemoration of Nelson Mandela yesterday.
Filmmaker Jesse Freeston offers a disturbing and comprehensive look at last week's elections in Honduras and argues they're just another piece of the country's unfolding and internationally-backed coupism:
He had thirty sons, who rode thirty donkeys.
Remember the Candlelight Vigil for Nelson Mandela: It's tonight at the International Fountain at Seattle Center, at 6:30 p.m. Goldy explains why Nelson Mandela was such an important man.
Seattle Forms Socialist District: Well, not really, but Kshama Sawant did really well in what will be her home council district. For more district analysis, look here. Plus, you should see this overview of where Seattle's most conservative voters live.
Where's Your Pot At? Check this handy map!
Shape Up or Ship Out: Chief Pugel basically tells the SPD to stop being racist and embrace reform.
Speaking of Cops in Need of Reform: The sergeant who threatened Dominic Holden has been placed on leave.
Fifteen Miles for Fifteen Dollars: Goldy covers the minimum wage march.
Valuing Santa Over the Presidency: Dan Savage says the GOP is blowing itself up over stupid shit.
White Man Insists He's Not Racist: What we need is a Clippy-style software robot who can tell you how to avoid being dumb when you're charged with racism.
Slog Hates Chimps: Or at least, you don't think chimps deserve human rights.
Nobody Loves Slugs: Go die in the cold, invertebrate scum.
You Have Lots of Opinions About Typing: And many of you had suggestions for Jen Graves's typing-related pains.
Give Big to the 2013 Holiday Charity Challenge! All the information you need is right here. If you give more than $25, remember to forward your receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org to claim your fancy commenter tag. Help your favorite band (or blog) win the title of the most givingest musical act (or bunch of lazy, self-hating stoners) in the history of charity!
• Macklemore & Ryan Lewis fans: GIVE HERE!
• Pearl Jam fans: GIVE HERE!
• Slog fans: GIVE HERE!
It's a beautiful statement, brave and necessary. I hope our Olympic athletes—and athletes from Canada and France and Germany and the UK and Australia and Norway and New Zealand and everywhere else—show similar bravery in Sochi. Thank you, Elton, for speaking out.
Remember the Christian radio host who accused Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll of plagiarism?
The Christian Post has a story on the fallout from the accusations, the centerpiece of which is a blog post from a recently departed producer on the accusation-making radio show (bolds mine):
All I can share is that there is an evangelical celebrity machine that is more powerful than anyone realizes. You may not go up against the machine. That is all. Mark Driscoll clearly plagiarized and those who could have underscored the seriousness of it and demanded accountability did not. That is the reality of the evangelical industrial complex.....Those who have the temerity to call out a celebrity have tremendous courage. The easiest thing in the world is to do fluffy interviews with fluffy guests on fluffy books. So hats off to those like Janet who have the courage to ask at all. And my own opinion on Mr. Driscoll is that despite the bravado, despite the near silence of his Reformed peers and enablers, his brand is damaged, and damaged by his own hand.
Read the whole thing here.
(Speaking of Mark Driscoll, have you read Lindy West's exhaustive roundup of his awfulness? You must!)
From this week's I, Anonymous:
Okay, Seattle (I'm talking to you especially, Ballard): Enough with the merchants and others who want our money being SO NICE AND FRIENDLY to us seniors, when the rest of the known universe looks down their noses or looks away at shades of gray. (Hey, sorry I'm a boomer able to retire on a pension, ha-ha.) Anyway, what's with this "How's your day going so far?" question I get from checkout people at different stores? Well, my day goes about like yours—schlepping around doing this and that and trying to avoid phony checkers at the store (yay for self-checkout). I guess what I mean to say is that when it comes to customers, honesty and genuine human behavior wins, so stop with the stroking of the seniors. Stroking is not something we like.
And from the comments section:
The Macklemore & Ryan Lewis vs. Pearl Jam vs. Slog Holiday Charity Challenge continues, and now the fans of Seattlish, America's Second-Greatest Blog™, are throwing in their support for YouthCare's Orion Center too! Of course, fans of Seattlish also want "to stop Dan Savage's tyranny!"—that's one Seattlish donor's own words—which is great—whatever gets you to donate!
Everyone who is giving is helping the Orion Center to provide food, shelter, safety, and alternatives to homeless youth in our city. The high today here in Seattle is going to be a whopping 29 degrees, so you only have to step outside to understand a little bit of the tremendous importance of the work that YouthCare and the Orion Center does. Now, the new totals!
TOTAL $$$ RAISED SO FAR FOR THE ORION CENTER:
• Macklemore & Ryan Lewis fans have donated: $13,143.14
• Pearl Jam fans have donated: $ 8,536.27
• Slog fans have donated: $5,030.00
• Seattlish fans have donated: $410.00
TOTAL $$$: $27,119.41
THIS IS SO GREAT. You are all absolute angels. Haven't given?! Now's the time! Donate to the Orion Center right now!
• Macklemore & Ryan Lewis fans: GO HERE TO GIVE!
• Pearl Jam fans: GO HERE TO GIVE!
• Slog fans: GO HERE TO GIVE!
• Seattlish fans: GO HERE TO GIVE and you can make a note that it's on behalf of Seattlish/against Dan Savage!
Yesterday's winner of the EMP prize package: Macklemore fan and Slog commenter A_Mang, whose story was touching:
WHY I WANT TO EXPERIENCE MUSIC AT THE EMP:
Today is my birthday! I'm turning 36, which means it's my year in the Chinese Zodiac—the year of the snake. This is an important birthday for me, as I just got clean and sober a little over five months ago. I'm a Macklemore fan for obvious reasons, and have been since 2005.
I've always enjoyed the EMP, especially the amazing lighting and video effects in the Sky Church. I've dabbled in lighting design and control as a hobby, so it's always been a joy for me to visit there.
Now that I'm not using (and I was using absolutely the wrong drugs), I seek out and relish opportunities to get into a different headspace while clean and sober. Great music, great lighting, and an all-around sensory experience is a fantastic way to do that. That's why I would be thrilled to get to experience music at the EMP.
Excellent. Now, onward! And remember: the fans that raise the most for the Orion Center by December 24th WIN the title of the Best Fans of the Best Band or Best Blog in the Universe Forever!
P.S. Give at least $25 to the Orion Center right now, forward us your receipt and your commenter handle, and we'll give you a commenter tag on Slog that says SLOG FAN, MACKLEMORE & RYAN LEWIS FAN, or PEARL JAM FAN! Your choice!
Here's a compelling—and depressing—longread for your Saturday morning: young homeschooled adults are fleeing their fundamentalist and, all too often, abusive families. They're also confronting "Christian" activists and legal organizations whose efforts have made it easier for homeschooling parents to isolate, terrorize, miseducate, and abuse their children.
Jennifer’s rescue coincided with the emergence of a coalition of young former fundamentalists who are coming out publicly, telling their stories, and challenging the Christian homeschooling movement. The website that linked to Jennifer’s story was Homeschoolers Anonymous, launched in March by two homeschool graduates, Ryan Stollar and Nicholas Ducote. Their goal was to show what goes on behind closed doors in some Christian homeschooling families—to share, as one blogger puts it, “the stories we were never allowed to talk about as children.”
As of October, Homeschoolers Anonymous had published nearly 200 personal accounts and attracted more than 600,000 page views. For those outside the homeschooling movement, and for many inside it, the stories are revelatory and often shocking. The milder ones detail the haphazard education received from parents who, with little state oversight, prioritize obedience and religious training over learning. Some focus on women living under strict patriarchal regimes. Others chronicle appalling abuse that lasted for years.
Growing up in California and Oregon, Stollar wasn’t abused, but he met many other homeschoolers who were. His parents led state homeschooling associations and started a debate club in San Jose. The emphasis on debate in fundamentalist homeschooling was the brainchild of Michael Farris, the founder of Patrick Henry College, and his daughter Christy Shipe. Farris believed debate competitions would create a new generation of culture warriors with the skills to “engage the culture for Christ.” “You teach the kids what to think, you keep them isolated from everyone else, you give them the right answers, and you keep them pure,” Stollar explains. “And now you train them how to argue and speak publicly, so they can go out to do what they’re supposed to do”—spread the faith and promote God’s patriarchy.
As a teenager, Stollar toured the national homeschool debate circuit with a group called Communicators for Christ, sharpening his rhetorical skills and giving speech tutorials. Along the way, he found himself increasingly disturbed by what he saw. He met families that follow the concept of “Quiverfull,” wherein women are submissive to men and forgo contraception to have as many children as God gives them. He encountered entire communities where women wore only denim jumpers for modesty’s sake, where parents burned their daughters’ birth certificates to keep them at home, where teenagers practiced “betrothal,” a kind of arranged marriage. He met homeschooling kids who dealt with the stress by cutting themselves, drinking, or developing eating disorders—the very terrors their parents had fled the public schools to avoid. “Even as a conservative Christian homeschooler,” Stollar says, “I was constantly experiencing culture shock.”
A decade later, Stollar, who lives in Los Angeles, was still hearing the stories from his peers. The ex-debaters and homeschoolers were now grappling with the fallout from their childhoods: depression, mental illness, substance abuse. “I was starting to see these patterns emerging,” he says, “and we all felt that they came from the same places.”
One passage from Nelson Mandela's writing that I have seen quoted frequently since his death is:
But then I slowly saw that not only was I not free, but my brothers and sisters were not free. I saw that it was not just my freedom that was curtailed, but the freedom of everyone who looked like I did. That is when I joined the African National Congress, and that is when the hunger for my own freedom became the greater hunger for the freedom of my people. It was this desire for the freedom of my people to live their lives with dignity and self-respect that animated my life, that transformed a frightened young man into a bold one, that drove a law-abiding attorney to become a criminal, that turned a family-loving husband into a man without a home, that forced a life-loving man to live like a monk. I am no more virtuous or self-sacrificing than the next man, but I found that I could not even enjoy the poor and limited freedoms I was allowed when I knew my people were not free. Freedom is indivisible; the chains on any one of my people were the chains on all of them, the chains on all of my people were the chains on me.
This rang a bell with me: Eugene Victor Debs, upon being sentenced to prison for anti-War work:
“Your Honor, years ago I recognized my kinship with all living beings, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on earth. I said then, and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.”
Of course, we can honor Mandela, but Debs remains a footnote in American history, because socialism.