2016 election

I, Virginia Bergman, pledge not to vote for a male presidential candidate in 2016 just because he's male.

Friday, September 28, 2007

The Making of a Blogger


A techie, I’m not. Nor am I receiving kickbacks for promoting online services. But about 10 years ago, I fell in love with the Internet — and that’s despite the fact I’m still without high-speed access.

As technologically impaired as I am, even a partial list of the ways my computer helps me manage my life is impressive: online banking, getting directions, keeping up with Minnesota weather, and Googling important stuff for my latest post on Katalusis.

But here’s a secret: online news sources have long intrigued me more than any other magic on the Web.

I’ve been a news junkie from an early age. It all started when my older brother Kenneth shipped out with the 124th Infantry Division for combat duty in Korea. Until the day he returned home, my family listened to the news on the radio every hour on the hour.

By dint of repetition my impressionable young mind retained for years odd bits of trivia; for example, Michael V. DiSalle of Toledo, Ohio was the price administrator under President Harry Truman.

(In between news broadcasts, I followed the Cleveland Indians, but don’t get me started on baseball statistics; that’s not an issue where I care to engage Alan Greenspan.)

Most important, sitting in the family circle and listening for news from the Korean battlefield taught me how events on the other side of the globe affect every waking moment of our lives. I’ve been addicted to knowing what’s going on in the world ever since.

I thought I’d died and gone to news junkie heaven when I discovered I had daily access to online versions of the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Washington Post, CNN, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, the International Herald Tribune, and the London Times, to name just a few.

And that was way before I discovered the blogosphere, a wide-open territory where I’ve not even begun to learn my way around. I’m ashamed to admit I was introduced to blogs on the front pages of the mainstream media where I’ve met the likes of Dan Froomkin and Howard Kurtz at the Washington Post and Mike Nizza at the New York Times.

Incidentally, at the rate it’s going, the MSM may soon co-opt the blogosphere; I hear the New York Times now hosts 30 plus blogs on its pages.

A complete MSM takeover would be unfortunate. The ongoing Alan Greenspan travesty is just one good example why an independent blogosphere is essential. When word of Greenspan’s memoir first broke in the Washington Post with Bob Woodward’s review of The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World, I was as stunned as anyone else by this quote from Greenspan, "I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil."

The 81-year-old former chairman of the Federal Reserve has stifled the nascent controversy by treating his rationale for the invasion of Iraq as if it were just, well, common sense: “What?” the oracle of American finance deftly exclaims, “Saddam Hussein posed a threat to the security of oil reserves in the Middle East!”

For in-depth coverage, I usually begin my day with at least an hour-long fix of breaking news from the wire services and analyses of current events by respected commentators. Since Greenspan’s original remark about the war was first published, I’ve been waiting in vain for the media — mainstream or otherwise — to challenge the ethical and moral right of one nation to invade another to secure their oil supplies.

The Huffington Post came through the other day. While comparing Greenspan’s Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World to Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism,
Huffington notes Klein’s challenge to Greenspan on Democracy Now.

In response to Greenspan’s justification for taking out Hussein to stabilize the world’s oil supply, Klein asks, “"Are you aware that, according to Hague Regulations and the Geneva Conventions, it is illegal for one country to invade another over its natural resources?"

Evidently Greenspan was unaware of the applicable international law. And I’m left wondering how many American citizens are as oblivious as he is. More important, how many care?

I launched Katalusis in late August, so I’ve only been blogging for about a month. But this particular issue seems made to order for an independent blogosphere, and I’m hoping my fellow progressive bloggers will rise to the occasion and sound the alarm.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Sacred Act of Breathing In and Breathing Out


We define and sustain ourselves in community. And whether introverts or extroverts, we’re most likely to experience growth in the midst of our relationships with others.

I participate in community in several areas of my life including my neighborhood, my Unitarian-Universalist fellowship, the seminary I once attended, old friends, my political party, and sometimes even out here on the World Wide Web.

But whatever the community, the stimulus toward growth can sometimes touch tender spots in the depths of our souls. I noticed a little sensitivity in my own soul last Sunday morning as I listened to our speaker talk about forgiveness.

Both the presentation and follow-up discussion were far ranging, from the need for forgiveness between tribal entities and nations at war to the road to recovery for innocent victims of domestic abuse. We agreed that when the victim’s emotional or physical health is at risk, forgiveness does not necessitate reconciliation.

It seemed to me later on that we’d spoken mainly from the perspective of those needing to forgive, rather than from those in need of forgiveness. And as I recall, the difficulty of a child forgiving a parent was mentioned more often than any other relationship.

As one who has lived out the dual roles of parent and child, I’ve experienced from both directions the necessity to forgive and the longing for forgiveness with its heavy burden of unresolved grief.

Mending relationships is a particular gift of Vietnamese Buddhist Thich Nhat Hanh, whose writing is accessible and useful to most readers, regardless of their backgrounds. As mentioned by our speaker last Sunday, Hanh’s book titled Anger teaches the path to forgiveness and “being peace” under the most difficult circumstances.

It seems obvious that we should avoid confrontation when anger is rising within us, but not so obvious are the careful instructions Hanh provides for using mindfulness energy to first privately quench the flames of outrage before attempting to communicate with a loved one.

Hanh tells the story of a young man named David whose behavior has alienated everyone in his life, including family and friends. Now David is entirely alone. He begins communicating with the mythical Angelina who is both beautiful and loving, but eventually, she, too, abandons him. Finally, the young man looks deeply within himself where he finds insight and compassion as he recognizes the damage he has caused to the people around him.

Mindfulness meditation can allow us to examine how we’ve treated the Angelinas in our own lives, whether a friend, parent, child, other relative, or anyone else, to discover why things are deteriorating, Hanh explains. He goes on to say that meditation can tell us exactly what to do and what not to do to relieve mutual suffering and restore harmony.

Wherever we happen to be in one or more troubled relationships, there may still be hope. Hanh advises us to continue meditating, even when communication has been cut off for years, listening deeply to ourselves and taking responsibility for our own actions. He also suggests that we focus the healing power of mindfulness energy on the injured child we carry within each of our own hearts.

So it was last Sunday morning that I took away from our gathering a whisper of hope and a renewed commitment to continue the sacred act of mindfully breathing in and breathing out, while putting one foot ahead of the other on the path to forgiveness and long-awaited reconciliation.

Friday, September 21, 2007

A Matter of Time



Up here in the northern hemisphere, we’ll mark the autumnal equinox this Sunday when the sun heads south across the celestial equator, and the hours of daylight and darkness become nearly equal.

My son Steve is coming for dinner this evening (his wife Nancy is out of town), and the already shorter days and cooler nights demand a pot of spicy chili, salad greens, and fresh-baked apple pie.

Good smells from the kitchen distract me from my work as I sit here at my computer. And I’m thinking if I get time, I’ll run out and get a chunk of cheese and some wine to add to our feast. Wait a minute, I remind myself, I’m in charge here, and my computer can nap until I get back.

I pull out of the parking garage into an early fall afternoon with temps in the low 70s, blue skies, and blinding sunlight. A few trees flaunt newly dyed yellow leaves from among the still mostly green groves along my route.

The supermarket is busy but in no time at all I’ve paid for my cheese and dashed to the neighborhood liquor store for a bottle of red wine. I then stop by the library to return a couple of books I borrowed before the season shifted on Labor Day from the more relaxed pace of summer to the early signs of autumn when kids return to school, Unitarian-Universalists return to church, and Congress returns to Washington.

“The ticking of the clock is the normal measure of experience,” James Carroll reminded us at the beginning of this too rapidly waning year. He said, “You usually move through this sequencing, the way a fish moves through water, unaware of the realm in which you have your being.”

But there’s a difference between the fish and us, Carroll continued: “You can notice the water. Your water is time, but noticing the water is how you swim. The future and the past exist only in your minds, but that does not mean they are not real…we are bodies moving through the world, but our real movement is through the temporal stream of consciousness.”

Mindfulness meditation has taught me how to slow time down as I move though my own temporal stream of consciousness. From the writings of Jon Kabbat-Zinn and Thich Nhat Hanh, I’ve learned to navigate through memories of the past and make imaginative forays into the future while relying on my breathing to anchor me in this present moment.

Slowing time down is no small achievement for one conditioned by the demands of journalism to continually hustle to meet the next deadline. But on this day, I’ve mindfully arranged the bouquet of flowers I picked up at the supermarket, set out the wine glasses, and stirred the chili simmering on the stove.

When all is ready, I turn on the news to catch glimpses of the war-ravaged citizens of Iraq, and I wonder how they experience their movement through time lacking even the most basic necessities of safe drinking water and electricity, while their daily life is disrupted by exploding I.E.D.s and random bursts of gunfire from American troops and/or Blackwater Security Guards.

Not surprisingly, the most recent polls show a majority of Iraqis want Americans out of there like yesterday.

I turn off the TV when the phone rings from the lobby announcing Steve’s arrival. We enjoy our dinner together in the warm atmosphere of home, reminiscing a bit here and there and in contrast to our civilian Iraqi counterparts, speaking confidently of tomorrow.

Loading the dishwasher after Steve leaves, I realize I’ve been unable to completely dispel the ugly shadow of war cast by the evening news.

You could say it’s just a matter of time, but precisely how and when this administration will find the wisdom and courage to admit its mistakes and end our occupation of Iraq is anyone’s guess.

Monday, September 17, 2007

"All We Are Saying Is Give Peace a Chance"



Two Men and a Truck, assisted by my son, helped me move into my new apartment that Labor Day weekend.

A few days later, rushing around to get ready for work, I paused at my second floor east window to watch the breaking of a bright new day in suburban St. Paul.

On the way to my car, I heard the ominous sound of propellers overhead and looked up to see helicopters circling the area. I pulled out of our parking lot and within minutes, I was stuck in a massive traffic jam ― a big tanker had overturned on the nearby interstate.

It took forever to get to work and by the time I parked and walked to my cube in the Communication team’s office, the place was eerily deserted. My co-workers were across the hall staring at a conference room TV. I caught up with them just in time to see the plane slam into the second tower on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.

Life as we knew it, both locally and globally, changed instantly. Formerly reasonable and presumably peace-loving acquaintances became angry and defiant. Still numb with shock, I stood in the corridor as a regional vice-president strode toward me and said, “We’ve got to hunt these people down and kill them.”

Hunt them down and kill them.

I heard that phrase often in the days that followed. The media echoed the refrain and soon the drumbeat began for an all out war on terror that called first for bombing to smithereens already shell-shocked Afghanistan, still struggling to recover from a previous war.

Barely pausing for breath and with unlimited hubris, the Administration geared up to send the people of Iraq into “shock and awe” with a targeted, high tech, pre-emptive strike against their country.

It’s rumored that he who appeared in a video recently with beard trimmed and dyed black is still hanging out somewhere along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In the meantime, the insurgency, once referred to by Donald Rumsfeld as a few dead-enders, demonstrated decisively that an I.E.D. concealed in a strategically placed goat cart on a back street in Baghdad, could effectively checkmate the world’s greatest superpower with all of its technological superiority.

Six years later, it bears repeating until we’re blue in the face: Iraq had nothing to do with the terrorist attacks against the United States on Sept. 11, 2001.

There were in the beginning occasional voices of dissent. The late Susan Sontag published an essay in the New Yorker shortly after 9/11 guaranteed to provoke the wrath of a good number of liberals, conservatives, and those in between. Six years later, her remarks would seem prophetic to any semi-conscious American. Here are a few excerpts:

“The disconnect between last Tuesday's monstrous dose of reality and the self-righteous drivel and outright deceptions being peddled by public figures and TV commentators is startling, depressing…

“A wide spectrum of public figures, in and out of office, who are strongly opposed to the policies being pursued abroad by this Administration, apparently feel free to say nothing more than that they stand united behind President Bush…

“A lot of thinking needs to be done, and perhaps is being done in Washington and elsewhere – about the ineptitude of American intelligence and counter-intelligence, about options available to American foreign policy, particularly in the Middle East, and about what constitutes a smart program of military defense…

‘"Our country is strong," we are told again and again. I for one don't find this entirely consoling. Who doubts that America is strong? But that's not all America has to be.”

Those days I found refuge and sanity at my church where we gathered, not so much to rail at our “enemies,” but to get centered again in the midst of a national mood combining a volatile mix of nationalism, hyped up patriotism, and evangelical fervor rapidly approaching hysteria.

Ignoring the hype, members of our congregation stood fast and for whatever it was worth, a majority of us signed a resolution opposing the invasion of Iraq.

When it was too late to matter, the NY Times, the daily paper that sets the news agenda in the United States, published a front-page apology for its inadequate investigative reporting in the run-up to that ill-fated invasion, including the farce about weapons of mass destruction.

Let it be noted here that from day one, my son insisted: “The war with Iraq is about oil, Mom.”

But even at our most cynical, small incidents occur that nurture our spirituality and keep us going. I was browsing in the local Barnes and Noble one evening, when another customer hesitantly asked my help. Identifying himself as Muslim, he said he was looking for a book on comparative religion; he wanted to learn more about other faith traditions.

As we scanned the shelves in B & N’s skimpy section on religion, another gentleman joined us. Turned out he graduated from a Catholic seminary in my home state of Ohio. He referred our Muslim seeker to a nearby used bookstore that he often frequented.

It occurred to me later that our theologically diverse threesome, representing Unitarian-Universalism, Roman Catholicism, and Islam, had bonded immediately in a common quest. And I found myself wondering just how a Muslim in search of greater religious understanding happened to run into not one, but two seminary graduates at a neighborhood bookstore.

In the spirit of process theology that advocates bridges instead of barriers, religious leaders as disparate as Vietnamese Buddhist Thich Nhat Hanh and evangelical Christian Jim Wallis, editor of “Sojourners Magazine,” began pleading for sanity and calling for peace.

In his book, “Calming the Fearful Mind: a Zen Response to Terrorism” Thich Nhat Hanh wrote: “Many of us claim to be disciples of the Buddha, of Jesus Christ, of Mohammed, but we don’t listen to their teachings. Hatred cannot overcome hatred. Violence cannot overcome violence. The bible, the Koran, the Torah, and the Sutras teach us that. But we don’t always believe in our spiritual path. We must think that our spiritual teachings are not realistic, because we have put so much faith in military and financial power. We think that money and weapons can make us strong. But our country has a lot of weapons and a lot of money and we are still very afraid and insecure.”

The next time I spoke to my son about the prospects for peace, he looked me steadily in the eye and said: “It’s about oil, Mom.”

Jim Wallis reports in "God's Politics," which offers a challenge to both the Left and the Right, that President Bush, who once publicly named Jesus his favorite philosopher, refused to meet with a delegation of U.S. church leaders before leading the nation to war. However, on Feb. 18, 2003, the U.S group was joined by international church leaders in a fifty-minute meeting with Tony Blair. Wallis said they testified in moving personal statements to their conviction that war was not the answer to the real threats posed by Saddam Hussein.

Wallis adds, “We told the prime minister that the answer to a brutal, threatening dictator must not be the bombing of Baghdad’s children.”

Today, the nearly 3,800 American troops who have died in Iraq since the invasion exceeds the number of Americans who died in the attacks on the Twin Towers.

And a recent poll in the Los Angeles Times estimates the death toll of Iraqi civilians at 1.2 million.

As for the children, large numbers of those who have survived the war so far are orphaned, homeless, and malnourished.

UNICEF reports: “Many children are separated from their families or on the streets, where they are extremely vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. Most children have experienced trauma but few receive the care and support they need to help them cope with so much chaos, anxiety and loss.”

9/11, we remember, dawned golden bright. Six years later, the skies over Ground Zero were gray, as raindrops mingled with the tears of survivors gathered nearby.

I wasn’t the only one reminded of where I was and what I was doing on 9/11: Roger Cohen wrote in the NY Times:

“My daughter’s fourth birthday was that morning, and we looked at the billowing smoke from the water’s edge in Brooklyn Heights and she cried. I took the subway to work, one of the last to run, and a woman beside me was sobbing. When, that night, I emerged into Times Square, nobody. I walked for miles through a ghost city.”
Cohen recalls;
“The United States was not previously a homeland, it was just our land, and that unhappy neologism with its Orwellian echoes, its sense of exclusion rather than inclusion, its faint fatherland-like echoes, seems to capture the closing and the menace and the terror-terror refrain with which we have all learned to live.”

Prompted by that refrain, we continue to ask the question that Sen. John Warner asked Gen. David Petraeus in last week’s hearings on Capitol Hill: “Are we safer now?”

And if you were watching, you saw the general, with his chest full of medals, struggle mightily before finally acknowledging, “I actually don’t know.”

Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker offered only a glimmer of optimism in their recommendations for further military engagement in war-torn Iraq based on small signs of success, overshadowed lately by several credible reports of numerous failed benchmarks.

Instead of listening to our president’s speech this Thursday night, I went out to dinner at Culver’s with my son, who had also been following the week’s developments. Pausing between bites of his butter burger, he said, “Mom, it’s about oil.”

The Petraeus report, appended by Bush’s speech, was best described by one commentator as a calculated attempt to kick the can down the road another six months.

According to the transcripts, Bush boasted, “Our troops in Iraq are performing brilliantly. Along with Iraqi forces, they have captured or killed an average of more than 1,500 enemy fighters per month since January.”

And so we continue as we began, determined to hunt down and kill every last one of those whom we fear and label as our enemies.

A brief digression here: In his just released 531-page memoir, Alan Greenspan, a widely respected conservative Republican and former chairman of the Federal Reserve, writes without elaboration:

"I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil."


I knew that.

In words compatible with process theology, Thich Nhat Hanh says:

“We have looked for strength and security in military might. “We have attempted to defend ourselves with weapons of war. We have brought great suffering and destruction upon ourselves and others. Our way of dealing with terrorism is taking us down a dangerous path of distrust and fear. It is time to stop. Let us pause. It is time to seek true strength and true security. We cannot escape our interdependence with other people, with other nations of the world. Let us take this moment to look deeply and find a path of liberation. It is possible to look at each other again with the eyes of trust, camaraderie, and love.”

May it be so.

Note to readers: Today's post is an edited, condensed version of the presentation I gave yesterday at my church fellowship. As always, your comments are welcome.

Virginia

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

More on Teresa and Process Theology

It’s been a week since I posted my take on Mother Teresa’s loss of faith, and the media buzz continues with yet more commentary from atheist and orthodox on Teresa’s bleak life.

In Newsweek’s feature, “On Faith,” atheist Sam Harris offers an unsympathetic response to excerpts of Mother Teresa’s letters. “Christianity,” Harris says, “amounts to the claim that we must love and be loved by a God who approves of the scapegoating, torture, and murder of one man—his son, incidentally—in compensation for the misbehavior and thought-crimes of all others.”

Harris adds: “The notion that Jesus Christ died for our sins and that his death constitutes a successful propitiation of a ‘loving’ God is a direct and undisguised inheritance of the scapegoating barbarism that has plagued bewildered people throughout history.”

Harris diagnoses Mother Teresa’s despair as “run of the mill depression,” and he calls confessors and superiors to account for responding to her pleas for help by encouraging martyrdom.

Immediately after reading Harris’s piece, I turned to an op-ed in the New York Times by the Rev. James Martin, author of “The Lives of the Saints.” And sure enough, the Rev. Martin confirmed that at a confessor’s suggestion, Mother Teresa had apparently found solace in identifying with the suffering of the crucified Jesus.

In a 2006 interview with TruthDig Harris connects his concern about the dangers of martyrdom with those deluded Islamic faithful who chose to fly planes into the Twin Towers on 9/11. Harris says, “We can no longer ignore the fact that billions of our neighbors believe in the metaphysics of martyrdom, or in the literal truth of the Book of Revelation, or any of the other fantastical notions that have lurked in the minds of the faithful for millennia—because our neighbors are now armed with chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons.”

In introducing Harris, Truthdig explains his fame/notoriety: “With the publication of his 2004 New York Times bestseller, ‘The End of Faith,’ a full-throttle attack on religion, Sam Harris became the most prominent atheist in America.”

Truthdig mentions Harris’s degree in philosophy from Stanford, where he’s currently completing a doctorate in neuroscience, and it also suggests that Harris has studied Eastern and Western religious disciplines for 20 years. Regrettably, many of his comments in Truthdig’s lengthy interview indicate that Harris has had little or no formal theological education. For one thing, he seems oblivious to modern day biblical criticism routinely included in seminary curricula. He also appears to be unaware that many thoughtful Christians rejected his interpretation of their tradition, including the element of martyrdom, long before he got around to it.

Some of us even found a spiritual home in process theology. For the uninitiated, process theology is derived from Alfred North Whitehead’s philosophical ruminations. My background in philosophy is limited to the introductory course in undergraduate school; however, I do have a theological education from an accredited seminary, whose instructors were undaunted by Whitehead’s integration of findings from quantum physics with his philosophical principles.

As a refresher, I recently reviewed “Process Thought and Its Applications,” in which theologian John Cobb, Jr. offered two theses: “First, the three dominant intellectual traditions of the modern West ― materialism, dualism, and idealism ― are leading us all to destruction. Second, process thought is the most adequate and promising alternative.”

In this article, Cobb nails materialism, dualism, and idealism for attitudes toward nature that are contributing to the global warming crisis. But he lets the church off the hook for repenting and becoming more ecologically sensitive ― coincidentally, Pope Benedict recently urged young Catholics at a youth rally in Loreto, Italy to take the lead in caring for the planet.

Process theology gets the gold star for an ecological attitude that acknowledges human beings are of nature ― not apart from it ― and we obviously cannot survive outside nature’s web of relationships.

Adherents of process theology believe the ecological web of relationships is the essential context of our faith. Noted process theologian Charles Hartshorne envisioned God’s relationship to the natural world as like that of the psyche or soul to the body, or most particularly to the brain, maintaining that all of life exists within God, and that we are as interconnected as cells within the human body.

To be clear: the God of process theology is not some big, macho guy in the sky who keeps a ledger of our good deeds and our misdeeds, handing out rewards and punishments accordingly. Instead, as process theology would have it, God relates to us in a consistently loving manner, respecting our free will, while continuously inviting each of us to act in the best interests of all of life ― including our own.

That should effectively rule out any kind of propitiating blood sacrifice, as described by Sam Harris, and the related dangers of martyrdom. It might even lead orthodox Christians toward focusing a little more on the life and teachings of the historical Jesus, instead of the cruel manner in which he died.

NOTE to readers: My schedule won’t permit me to update Katalusis again until next Tuesday, September 11, so have a great week and please check back in.

Peace,

Virginia

Saturday, September 1, 2007

A Labor Day Salute to Diversity

Picture this: I’m a young WAF assigned to clerical duties in an office on Scott Air Force Base, near East St. Louis, Ill. On this particular morning I overhear an Air Force major and a colonel, both Caucasian, discuss the qualifications of a civil service employee under consideration for promotion; the colonel apparently likes her resume. Then he asks, “Is she Caucasian?”

“Negative,” the major replies.

Here's the deal: I’m a Caucasian who grew up in lily-white, rural northwestern Ohio, and this was the first time I’d seen up close the ugliness of racial discrimination. Stunned, I sat there at my typewriter, trying to focus on my work.

(In the weeks that follow, I notice the employee in question is not promoted.)

On the upside, my stint in the military provided my first opportunity to make friends with members of other races and ethnic backgrounds.

I’ve not forgotten Hispanic Maria Venegas; African-Americans Katie Harmon, Annie Terry, and Adeline Lincoln; Parisian French Caucasian Monique Horlaville; and New Orleans French Caucasian Priscilla Bertrand.

Years passed before I encountered a comparable diversity in civilian life ― diversity fostered intentionally in the regional office of a large corporation located in a thriving upscale suburb.

Admittedly, the company’s motives were more practical than altruistic. At a department meeting, Tony, our African-American assistant manager, asked if any of us knew what was behind the diversity initiative. He rolled his eyes when I suggested that our company supported diversity because it was the right thing to do.

Tony then explained the business case for diversity: “If we want to sell our products to the Hmong community, African-Americans, Hispanics, Gays, women, or other minority group, we’d best include their members in our workforce.”

Altruistic or not, it’s amazing how quickly people can adapt to an inclusive environment when their livelihoods are at stake and before long, the 2000 plus employees in that huge office building formed a genuine community featuring many of the amenities and rituals of a small town.

Sad to say, our community ― by then a model of diversity ― became a casualty of corporate downsizing when, thanks to technology, our work was moved elsewhere. But for quite a few years each of us had good cause for celebrating Labor Day.

Perhaps the time will come when a majority of Americans will have matured sufficiently to create similar communities, whatever their context, purely because it’s the right thing to do.