This evening I watched part of a movie on the life of Harry Belafonte. Contained in that movie were images of the extreme poverty in the South that so moved Bobby Kennedy. Contained in that movie were images of fire hoses and police dogs sic'ed on Civil Rights demonstrators, of people being punched and beaten for trying to register to vote, or for sitting at a lunch counter.
I look at some of the hatred and racism and intolerance still a part of our nation and I feel a fire I have not felt for almost half a century.
Yes I am glad that Sec. Panetta has opened up the rest of the military to women - with the unanimous support of the Joint Chiefs. That is progress. Belated, but progress nevertheless.
Watching certain Republicans on the Hill make fools of themselves as they sought unsuccessfully to belittle, demean and diminish Secretary Clinton made me wonder if stupidity was a prerequisite to being a Republican Member of the House or Senator?
Watching the Rand Pauls and the Ron Johnsons and their parallels in the House reminded me that we get the Congress we deserve, because if we sit out elections because we are angry but the other side goes all in, then people who are manifestly unqualified to do low level civil service jobs will somehow be writing the rules and the law for all of us.
Today some of my students worked very hard.
Today one young female (I cannot call her a lady) let loose a string of epithets that would make a Marine Corps drill instructor blush.
Today I accidentally turned on a radio station playing songs whose lyrics might well serve as an inspiration for the tirade of that young lady.
Today more people died unnecessarily, because of our gun madness. We will never hear the names of most of them, the President will not appear at memorials for them.
Today, more than half a century after Bobby Kennedy was shocked by seeing, in his own words, people starving to death in America, we have elites who debate how much we should cut the social safety net rather than discussing how they and their ilk do not pay their fair share for the benefits they receive.
Today my community list serv was burning up because one of the last undeveloped plots of land in North Arlington not designated as a park is going to be converted into more than half dozen McMansions in a neighborhood where the average house size is still well under 2,000 sq. feet.
Today? An ordinary day in the United States. An ordinary day in the northern part of Arlington VA, where I live. An ordinary day in the school in which I teach.
Hannah Arendt wrote about the banality of evil.
Others have spoken or written about the cheapening, the coarsening of life.
Today I am writing this post.
Today I taught my students as best as I could.
Today I spent time with my cats.
Today I made dinner for my wife.
Today was an ordinary day.
Today is an extraordinary day - not merely because of the actions taken by Leon Panetta.
Today is an extraordinary day because I - we - have an opportunity to make a positive difference in the life of at least one other person.
Just a few random thoughts on the day.