Diane Lefer: In South LA, the pressures of gentrification and loss of income now have two and three families sharing apartments that would be a tight squeeze for one. Even so-called “affordable housing,” is beyond the reach of most when you consider that Los Angeles considers a living wage to be $12/hour.
Norman Solomon: We need to build a grassroots progressive movement — wide, deep and strong enough to fight the right and challenge the corporate center of the Democratic Party.
Tom Hall: “Restoring honor” for today’s Tea Party Republicans means trying to return to the days when a man could sit and watch Father Knows Best, while his wife did the laundry, kept the kids under control and fed and satisfied him, without the worry that Chet and David would warn him about uppity coloreds demonstrating in someplace he couldn’t identify.
Brad Parker: It is only fitting that the avatar of the extreme right-wing political, cultural and economic prevaricators should stand in the shadow of the Dreamers nearly a half century since the eclipsing call to peace delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Where better to expose the Elmer Gantry of all things hateful, angry and victimized?
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.
H. Scott Prosterman: Those of us who came of age in the late ’60’s did so at a time of painful soul-searching for our nation, but we benefited from the new era of openness and spiritual exploration that followed. I learned from Rabbi Wax that one’s politics is defined by one’s sense of humanity, or the lack thereof.
John Delloro: State rights and individual freedom have an important place in our society but so does the values and beliefs informing the lives of Ella Mae, my father and I. Our narrative of community and compassion yearns and demands to be included in the larger story of America. Although the health care reform bill is imperfect, it communicates to us—“we are beginning to be heard.”
Ron Wolff: Oh, by the way, country and western music will be studied as a cultural movement. High school freshmen will probably be assigned the task of writing lyrics to twangy melodies — when they’re not studying about the Contract with America, the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority, and the National Rifle Association. Yes, they’re all “in.”
Friday Feedback: Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream doesn’t just belong to any one particular group. It belongs to all of us. The civil rights struggle is a human rights struggle, and the LGBT community should be a part of it.