Monday, December 14, 2009


You can't even begin to imagine how sick I am of the destructive practice of "the politics of personal destruction." And what makes me more sick than even that practice is when it comes from the camp that makes it a point to use the name of God as if they are defending him.

Here is something very profound from Dr. King and Bono, that seems many are in desperate in need of hearing today.

In the book Bono in conversations with Michka Assayas, Bono describes a conversation he had with Harry Belafonte where Harry is describing a meeting he was a part of with Dr. King at the time Bobby Kennedy was named attorney general. Everyone (except Dr. King) was railing on Bobby Kennedy and how terrible of a thing it was that he was named to this position. Dr. King at one point slammed his hand down on the table and ordered them to stop bitchin' and said "Enough of this. Is there nobody here who's got something good to say about Bobby Kennedy?" The response from them all was "NO. There is nothing good to say about him"

Dr. King closed down the meeting and told them, "We will re-adjourn when somebody has found something redeeming to say about Bobby Kennedy, because that my friends is the door through which we will pass." He just wouldn't listen any longer to any negativity about Bobby.

Bono then describes an emotional Harry Belafonte as he spoke of Bobby's death. "When Bobby Kennedy lay dead on that pavement, there was no greater friend to the civil rights movement. There was no one we owed more of our progress to than that man."

Bono then talks about how this story has been so important to him as one of the great lessons he has learned. "What Dr. King was saying was: Don't respond to caricatures---the Left, the Right, the Progressives, the Reactionary. Don't take people on rumor. Find the light in them."


Sue said...

Ahhh, yeah. There's no real redemptive space other than that, even though it costs you. I do think this sort of thing is what Jesus was referring to in taking up your cross and following him.

Because perversely, being in that space can feel sometimes very naked because you don't have your ego things to drape around you. But the joy from that position?

I saw the Dalai Lama the other day - did I mention it here or somewhere else? - and he was talking about George W Bush and how he loved him. Hated his foreign policies but loved him. It's always humblefying to come across those people who are further along the road than you in this regard. And humblefying when you find yourself in that space, responding to people who you disagree with, or who have hurt you, or who need your forgiveness, with compassion. It's the only way forward.

Perplexio said...

What kind of sickens me are those who perpetuate the "battle" mentality of politics. The people who perpetuate the blame game, the finger-pointing, all of the things that are leading us down the wrong path.

Rather than try to find common ground with one another, rather than try to understand one another. There are those on both ends of the political spectrum who seek only to either marginalise or destroy the opposition at any and all costs. The right sees the left as being morally ambiguous and lazy the left sees the right as being unintelligent and uncaring back-country bumpkins who are too stupid to realize they're being "led" or "spoon-fed" their beliefs by evil and manipulative powers that be.

It's all a big bloody mess.

Kent said...

It is a big bloody mess and you are also correct in saying it is being perpetuated by both sides...or however many sides there are.

Kent said...

I love this book

Grace really can make beauty out of ugly things....but it's a good idea to actually leave what causes the ugly behind and to make amends for the ugly when you can.

I read this book probably 4 years ago and some recent developements has sent me back to read it again. This stood out to me today and so reflects the on goin...g ugly that nations create in the world even when the leaders with the big ideas are convinced their plans are brilliant and good and are skilled at convincing the populace that they are also.

Michka has just asked Bono why the Nortern Hemisphere lives in the modern/post modern world and the Southern Hemiphere got stuck in the Middle Age or pre- Middle Age?

Bono, yells for his 15 year old daughter to bring her geography book to him and reads..."Income gap. Two hundred years ago, it appears that very little difference existed in the living standards between the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere. Today, a very wide income gap exists: the North is many times richer than the South. What brought about this gap? The answer seems to lie in colonialism, trade, and debt." They're explaining to this fifteen-year-old kid how the reason why Africa is still in the Middle Age is largely to do with us, and our exploitation through French and British colonialism, but also in their present exploitation of unfair trade agreements, or old debts. You can't fix every problem. But the ones you can, you must. To the degree we are responsible, we must fix. When you ask me to just accept that civilizations are just at a different level, there is a reason why they are. That is my answer."

Michka: OK. But let's try it from a different angle. You know that colonialism in France, in the late nineteenth century, was considered a left-wing idea. It was championed by humanitarians.

Bono: You wanna ask the Africans! Did they feel it was humanitarian?S