Since my election to the Iowa Statehouse in 1992, I’ve kept a “Memorable Letters” folder. It’s a mix of supportive correspondence along with communications filled with enough vitriol to embarrass the crustiest of sailors.
Speaking of crusty, here’s one bit of colorful feedback I received last week: “Drag those crusty misogynist knuckles back from whence you came.”
That definitely qualifies as a “Memorable Letter.” I love the imagery, but I’m pretty certain the comment wasn’t intended as a compliment. My commentator hails from the political Left, not the Right. In fact, over the years, my harshest critics are evenly spread across the political spectrum — although those on the Left tend to use more creative language.
The “crusty” comment was in response to last week’s blog and talk show, where I criticized assault weapons at BLM protests and made the case for nonviolent action along the lines of what Martin Luther King and the late John Lewis advocated and practiced.
While I don’t have a lot of patience for name-calling and insults, I’m happy to have a thoughtful discussion about how best to fight oppression, injustice, and racism. Violence vs. non-violence. Malcolm X vs. Dr. King. Che Guevara vs. Mahatma Gandhi. Simone Weil vs. Dorothy Day. I have great respect for all these revolutionary leaders — but my heart, mind, and experience place me firmly in the camp of those who embrace nonviolence.
I hope you’ll listen to this week’s Fallon Forum program. I’m happy to have your continued feedback, preferably civil. Here’s the summarized bullet points of my argument in support of nonviolence:
- Those of us working to end racism, poverty, injustice, war, and the destruction of our planet need to stand together, despite our differences. If we can’t find a way to unify, there’s not much hope for homo sapiens at large.
John Lewis said it well in the farewell address he wrote before he passed: “When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let them say that it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war. So I say to you, walk with the wind, brothers and sisters, and let the spirit of peace and the power of everlasting love be your guide.”
On this week’s Fallon Forum:
— Breaking the cycle of violence through nonviolent action
— Making sure all our votes count (with Veronica Fowler, ACLU of Iowa)
— Industrial meat boycott gains momentum (with Mike Carberry, Organic Consumers Association)
— Corporate pushback against backyard hens (with Kathy Byrnes, Birds & Bees Urban Farm)
(Click here for Facebook video of our fourth segment)
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