Linda Milazzo: Many Americans, myself included, feel a sense of guilt at being unwitting pawns in Israel’s forty-year occupation and systematic torture, deprivation, and dare I say, ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. Many Americans are further incensed that our legislators have voted annually to award Israel, a wealthy and thriving nation, 3 billion of our tax dollars which go directly into its military.
Paul Hogarth: Despite all the ranting right-wingers make about “terrorists” and how much they accuse liberals of being “un-American,” their worldview has far more in common with Islamic fundamentalism – from a violent jingoism, to the treatment of gays and women, to a rejection of science. American Taliban is a much-needed dose of reality for the upcoming election, as Republicans magnify the non-issue of a proposed Islamic community center in Manhattan.
Robert Reich: We’re unlikely to see a repeat of the disastrous Smoot-Hawley tariffs that worsened and lengthened the Great Depression. But you can forget trade-opening agreements. In Toronto last week, the G-20 leaders dropped their 2009 pledge to finish the Doha round this year. In the U.S., agreements with South Korea, Panama, and Columbia are languishing.
Rev. Irene Monroe: As LGBTQ Americans, our patriotism is not recognized. But one of our community’s greatest moments of patriotism was the Stonewall Riots of June 27–29, 1969, in New York City’s Greenwich Village. We celebrate their heroism every day as out-of-the-closet people who are intentionally visible in various facets of American life.
Tom Degan: That’s what I love about this guy! American history is littered with “Christian” religious leaders. Try as you might, you can’t escape them. The thing that sets Reverend King apart from most of these guys is the fact that he wasn’t a hypocrite. He never tried to twist the words of Jesus of Nazareth into anything other than what they were – a call to love one another and for kindness and gentleness. The Trappist monk Thomas Merton is another celebrated American Christian who took the gospel seriously. So was Dorothy Day. Please give me a day or two and I might be able to name more, but at the moment none come to mind. Both Merton and King died in 1968, Day in 1980. They’re gone and they’re not coming back.
Michelle Alexander: The uncomfortable truth, however, is that crime rates do not explain the sudden and dramatic mass incarceration of African Americans during the past 30 years. Crime rates have fluctuated over the last few decades — they are currently are at historical lows — but imprisonment rates have consistently soared. Quintupled, in fact. And the vast majority of that increase is due to the War on Drugs.