The Spirit of the Times

Animated Gif of President Trump shoving his way through a group of men
Corruption is arrogant.

1.

Corruption is arrogant.

It presumes we are weak.

It presumes our apathy.

Corruption insinuates itself into every day life.

If we do nothing corruption breaks our spirit and makes us slaves.

 

Animated gif of Trump saying Get him the Hell Out of here found on GIPHY
Get him the Hell Out of here

2.

When I speak of the spirit of the times, I speak of the collective vision
of the people.

In this picture, for instance, found at the internet archives:


Freedom of Worship

Norman Rockwell captured the vision of Franklin Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms.

As I understand the history of World War Two, the average person thought he or she was fighting to keep a way of life based on respect for independent thought, free speech,  tolerance for religious differences, basic economic security, and freedom from war.

In his January 1941 State of the Union Address President Franklin D. Roosevelt enumerated four essential freedoms for which we as a Nation stand and for which we will fight.

“The first is freedom of speech and expression—everywhere in the world.

The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way–everywhere in the world.

The third is freedom from want—which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings, which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants—everywhere in the world.

The fourth is freedom from fear—which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor—anywhere in the world.”

In 1941 the United States went to war with the evil called fascism.

The Allies rallied around human rights:

Copy of the announcement of the establishment of Social Security
Before government was demonized the people used it as a tool to improve their lives.

The Fascists focused on fear and global dominance.

Copy of a Nazi Soldiers fighting rat like Jews.
Fascist movements always demonize immigrants and minorities

Many of us would not have been born had the fascists won that war.

3.

What is faith?

In the cynical version of history Roosevelt lied about his four freedoms; cynics point to the racism, and the homophobia of that generation, and they are right.

The people who followed a president into a war to protect essential
human rights were flawed.

But they paid their taxes and voted to spent their money to build a
working democracy.

They had vision and hope.

Hope and a working democracy gave birth to the civil rights Movement, to
the gay rights movement, to feminism and the mid 20th Century explosion of art and ideas that lead to the internet and social media.

What is a working democracy?

A working Democracy is one in which we as a Nation talk to each other and use reason; it is one in which the people and their leaders live by and respect the rule of law.

A working democracy is one in which we have faith in our ability to make
the right choices and faith in our ability to eventually do what is just, what
is right and what is good, regardless of the cost.

Good and evil are the choices we make as a people.

Will we allow a corrupt tyrant to usurp our government and our
freedoms  or will we demand the removal of his puppet and those
who work to protect him.

The choice is ours

(c) Rob Goldstein 2014-2017 All Rights Reserved

 
First written and posted in 2014 as ‘Broken’.

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The Struggle for Human Rights

You won’t find perfection in the United States but you will find the freedoms and tools to work with your government to strive for it.

That’s our history.

People from every nation in the World built the United States.

Below are excerpts from a speech by Eleanor Roosevelt to the United Nations on the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

 

Her differences with the former Soviet Union are especially interesting
in light of Russia’s recent attack on the U.S. election.

“The Soviet amendment to article 20 is obviously a very restrictive statement of the right to freedom of opinion and expression. It sets up standards which would enable any state practically to deny all freedom of opinion and expression without violating the article. It introduces the terms “democratic view,” “democratic systems,” “democratic state,” and “fascism,” which we know all too well from debates in this Assembly over the past two years on warmongering and related subjects are liable to the most flagrant abuse and diverse interpretations.”

“We in the United States have come to realize it means freedom to choose one’s job, to work or not to work as one desires … people have a right to demand that their government will not allow them to starve because as individuals they cannot find work … and this is a decision … which came as a result of the great depression in which many people were out of work, but we would not consider in the United States that we had gained any freedom if we were compelled to follow a dictatorial assignment to work where and when we were told.”

“The final expression of the opinion of the people with us is through free and honest elections, with valid choices on basic issues and candidates. The secret ballot is essential to free elections … I have heard my husband say many times that a people need never lose their freedom if they kept their right to a secret ballot … Basic decisions of our society are made through the expressed will of the people. That is why when we see these liberties threatened, instead of falling apart, our nation becomes unified and our democracies come together as a unified group in spite of our varied backgrounds and many racial strains.

In a recent speech in Canada, Gladstone Murray said:

The central fact is that man is fundamentally a moral being, that the light we have is imperfect does not matter so long as we are always trying to improve it … we are equal in sharing the moral freedom that distinguishes us as men. Man’s status makes each individual an end in himself. No man is by nature simply the servant of the state or of another man … the ideal and fact of freedom — and not technology — are the true distinguishing marks of our civilization.

This Declaration is based upon the spiritual fact that man must have freedom in which to develop his full stature and through common effort to raise the level of human dignity. We have much to do to fully achieve and to assure the rights set forth in this Declaration. But having them put before us with the moral backing of 58 nations will be a great step forward.”

Excerpts from, Eleanor Roosevelt, The Struggle for Human Rights – Sept. 28, 1948

Public domain photo of Eleanorr Roosevelt hoding a Spanish Language copy of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
This is how Eleanor Roosevelt fought bullies

 

The ‘Bird of Human Rights’ (c) Rob Goldstein All Rights Reserved

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Six Months in San Francisco and the Gettysburg Address

“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

Re-processed digitized image scanned from an oil painting by Eastman Johnson, A Ride for Liberty, The Fugitive Slaves
A Ride for Liberty – The Fugitive Slaves

American Democracy is a living political system, it evolves.

In 1776 ‘all men are created equal’ meant all wealthy white men who
owned land; by 1863, it meant most white men regardless of class and
a war with the South to abolish slavery.

American Democracy continues to struggle and evolve.

“Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.”

Below is a slideshow made of photos taken at four of the major national and international marches against fascism in the past six months.

International Woman's March in London
International Woman’s March in London

The photos were taken at the International Woman’s March, the San Francisco March for Science, and the San Francisco National Tax March.

I included San Francisco’s Pride Day because it was really a huge anti-
fascist rally.

I’ve set the photos to a reading of Lincoln’s Address at Gettysburg, found at the Internet Archives.

The reading is by Britton Rea.

We are the future those honored dead fought to preserve.



The Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln

It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

 

Photo from San Francisco's Pride day 2017
Pride


Images of from the International Woman’s March by alans1948,  Mobilus In Mobili, and FollowYourNose, free to use with attribution.

All other images (c) Rob Goldstein 2017

 

 

 

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11 Beautiful Minds of The 20th Century

Eleven of brilliant and courageous men and women who took us forward.

1.

Pablo Neruda
July 12, 1904-September 23, 1973

Art by Rob Goldstein
Pablo Neruda Ricardo Reyes as a young man

I want to eat the sunbeam flaring in your lovely body,
the sovereign nose of your arrogant face,
I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes,

and I pace around hungry, sniffing the twilight,
hunting for you, for your hot heart,
like a puma in the barrens of Quitratue.

~ Pablo Neruda

2.

Norma Jeane Mortenson
June 1, 1926-August 5, 1962

Art by Rob Goldstein
Portrait of Norma Jeane Mortenson

I am not a victim of emotional conflicts. I am human.
Norma Jeane Mortenson

3.

Harvey Milk
May 22, 1930 – November 27, 1978

 

Art By Rob Goldstein

“All men are created equal. No matter how hard they try, they can never erase those words. That is what America is about.”
Harvey Milk, The Harvey Milk Interviews: In His Own Words

4.

el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz
May 19, 1925 – February 21, 1965

 

Art by Rob Goldstein
Malcolm X


“I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it is for or against. I’m a human being, first and foremost, and as such I’m for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.”
Malcolm X

5.

Nina Simone

February 21, 1933 – April 21, 2003

Art by Rob Goldstein
Nina Simone

“I am just one of the people who is sick of the social order, sick of the establishment, sick to my soul of it all. To me, America’s society is nothing but a cancer, and it must be exposed before it can be cured. I am not the doctor to cure it. All I can do is expose the sickness.”
Nina Simone

6.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy
May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963

Art by Rob Goldstein
John Fitzgerald Kennedy

“If by a “Liberal” they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people-their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights and their civil liberties-someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a “Liberal”, then I’m proud to say I’m a “Liberal.”
John F. Kennedy, Profiles in Courage

7.

Martin Luther King, Jr.
January 15, 1929- April 4, 1968

Art By Rob Goldstein
Dr. Martin Luther King

There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right.  Martin Luther King, Jr.

8.

Jean Maurice Eugène Clément Cocteau
July 5, 1889 – 11 October 11, 1963

Art by Rob Goldstein
Jean Cocteau

The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth.
Jean Cocteau

9.

Frank O’Hara
March 27, 1926 – July 25, 1966

 

Art by Rob Goldstein
Frank O’Hara


“I wonder if the course of narcissism through the ages would have been any different had Narcissus first peered into a cesspool. He probably did.”
Frank O’Hara, Early Writing

10.

Simone de Beauvoir
January 9, 1908 – April 14, 1986

 

Art by Rob Goldstein
Simone de Beauvoir


Life is occupied in both perpetuating itself and in surpassing itself; if all it does is maintain itself, then living is only not dying. Simone de Beauvoir

11.

Jean Genet
December 19, 1910-April 15, 1986

 

Art by Rob Goldstein
Jean Genet

What I did not yet know so intensely was the hatred of the white American for the black, a hatred so deep that I wonder if every white man in this country, when he plants a tree, doesn’t see Negroes hanging from its branches.  Jean Genet

 

Disclaimer: To the best of my knowledge the images on this page are in the public domain.

Header photo, Portrait of Malcolm X, by Rob Goldstein (c) 2016

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