Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Letter to Bob Herbert: Bob Herbert's editorial in the New York Times today entitled "When Democracy Weakens" (link below) was particularly meaningful to me because it included a quote from the Boston University professor and activist Howard Zinn. I knew Bob Herbert quoted Prof. Zinn correctly because Prof. Zinn said the same thing to me as well. I wrote the following:

Dear Mr. Herbert. I was so happy when you mentioned that lunch you had with Howard Zinn. Prof. Zinn was my mentor at BU during the turbulent 60's. He was instrumental in forming the perimeters of my political belief. When I became disabled five years ago because of post polio issues he and I corresponded via email many times. I began to write opinions on my blog and in letters columns as well. The questions I have on things political are endless and I barraged them endlessly to him.

I also saw Howard Zinn in a restaurant in Newton, MA and we chatted a bit. He told me that he had had lunch with you and considered you to be one of the finest journalists he knew. I concurred with him on that point. When I became saddened or depressed over the political right wing trajectory of our nation he infused me with hope by saying the very same thing about which you wrote and that is that change, when it comes, will do so NOT from the top down but from the bottom up. He also said to me it was more important who was in front of the White House than who was in it.

I wonder now what he would have thought of Egypt. I am sure he would have loved it. But more importantly for this country, whose braggadocio is endless, what would he have thought of the "bottom up" Tea Partiers, Republican takeover and Democratic bloodbath in the House and all that you iterated in your opinion. I think the Tea Partiers were NOT the type of grass roots change he had in mind.

These people do not see how the corporatocracy has co-opted their American Dream. The blind war-like patriotism and racism, too, are the corporatist weaponry of choice which appeals to the mostly white, red state and older part of a fragmented nation . I fear it is working and that group has no idea what the oligarchy has in store for them. Quoting in pertinent part, George Carlin who said "Don't expect anything. The game is rigged. ... It's a club ... and you ain't in it!"

My politics has wax and waned over the years but I TRY to remember the prescient advice Prof. Zinn bestowed upon me although sometimes it is difficult to believe what he maintained and helped orchestrate all of his life. His death was a personal intellectual tragedy for me. Some people cannot be replaced and he, to me, surely is one!


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