by Bill Kavanagh: We've lost Howard Zinn today. While most of the mainstream political world will have comments about a speech by the President tonight, I'm left much more affected by the reaction that we will no longer hear from the people's historian.
While President Obama delivered another elegant, yet less than progressive address to the Congress and the American people, the country won't have the benefit of one consistently honest and frank voice in response. Howard Zinn understood that, as Americans, we need to celebrate the heroism of those of people who stand up against established interests, especially when those interests oppose democracy and the rights of working people.
I'll reflect more on Zinn's legacy in the coming days. For the moment, the verbiage of State of the Union address pales by comparison to the silence Professor Zinn's absence creates. Until we can deconstruct President Obama's promises of change and hope, and compare them with the unrealized substance of his promises to working people, we will have fallen short of the tough standards to which Zinn held political leaders.
“I think people are dazzled by Obama’s rhetoric, and that people ought to begin to understand that Obama is going to be a mediocre president — which means, in our time, a dangerous president — unless there is some national movement to push him in a better direction.”
—Professor Howard Zinn
Perhaps, in remembrance of Zinn, we should apply a tougher standard to the realization of the democratic ideals the President so often invokes in his rhetoric. We might ask, "Where is the real change and hope we can believe in?"
Meanwhile, whatever the President may or may not really desire, let's take a moment for reflection on the work and life of Howard Zinn, who told the stories democracy must enshrine, not of the powerful or of the well connected, but of those who go forth, day after day, to live out the promise of government for the people, by the people, and of the people. May they not perish with Professor Zinn tonight.
(Bill cross-posts at Bill's Big Diamond.)