We are glad to have Kelly Mangan’s firsthand report from Vermont on Bernie Sanders. It is infuriating to watch and listen as the media spends all its time covering the reactionary celebrity candidacy of Trump, and then, even worse, equate Bernie with Trump as fringe candidates, but then still spend their time on The Donald. The topics Bernie is putting on the table are the issues most Americans care about. They are about hope, positive solutions, and challenging the power of corporations and big money in our politics. They are not what the media wants to talk about.
And lately what the media is talking about, and what the events of the world actually are, do not make for pleasant contemplation. The turmoil unleashed by the impact of the weapons trade and the destabilization of nations by overthrows and insurgents driven by a brutal form of religious zealotry play out daily on multiple continents.
These are not natural disasters like hurricanes and earthquakes, floods and disease. These are the result of human decisions, and as these areas move from stability long developed to a brutal chaos of destroyed infrastructure, the recovery will not be quick or easy. It is a paradox of our age that our technology has created such prolific and powerful weapons of war and destruction, and at the same time the ability to see the fruits of those tools; from smashed antiquities, to blown-up bodies, to a 3-year-old refugee child face down in the surf. One can wish for a benevolent collective consciousness to arise, but I’m not holding my breath.
So we carry on, and face what needs to be faced here at home. We strive to keep a positive attitude and still find joy and purpose. The reactionary backlash against the Black Lives Matter movement is very disturbing and needs to be resisted. White people need to be allies and understand this profoundly important movement. This paper has tried to regularly to help in this effort. The readily accepted as fact attack on Planned Parenthood by the media was appalling; women’s rights need to be defended more than ever. We are moving into dangerous times, I am afraid, with a right wing in this country ginned up by Fox News, full of fear, self-righteousness and certitude. We can only counter that by our own commitment and organizing.
As you will read about in following pages, Gainesville progressives lost two beloved figures this summer, Pat Fitzpatrick and Travis Fristoe. Tho’ very different people, of different generations and interests, both had a great and generous spirit and touched many lives. They were the best kind of people; ones who did not settle for how things were but who acted to make things better, and to make the people around them feel better (unless, in Pat’s case, you were an elected official limiting how many people got to eat by putting a meal limit at St. Francis House).
Death’s finality, and its inevitability, is never more profoundly felt as when it strikes close to dear ones. I hate that obituaries are seemingly becoming a regular feature in these pages, but how else can we pay tribute to those who have enriched us by giving others a chance to know and recognize them and their impact on others?