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Friday, September 16, 2011

DANIEL ELLSBERG AMERICAN GANDHI

tony griffin, new river foggy day



This evening I went to bed for a nap around 4:30. Naps always last about 2 hours. This evening I woke at 7:45 and it was dark. I thought about going back to sleep, but felt like getting up. After half an hour it didn't seem right that light wasn't coming on outside. It seemed to be getting darker. I thought about the days growing shorter, I hadn't paid attention to the progression in awhile. Looked at the clock and it was 8:30. Still dark. Didn't compute. I remembered a film from netflix came yesterday and I hadn't seen it yet. Has to be in the mailbox by 10:30. I have 2 hours and it's an hour and a half film, The Most Dangerous Man In America, Daniel Ellsberg and the release of the Pentagon Papers "back in the day." I'd made coffee and sat with a cup of coffee to watch it. At 9 o'clock it was still dark. I'd begun to suspect it was night instead of morning. It was full light yesterday morning at 9. I did notice that. Finally caught on. Still, it didn't seem right. The 3 hour nap felt like an all night sleep.



I remembered times when Jr was living in the bed and the wheelchair, lacking the strength to stand up, sleeping most of the time, mind weak, but still with him. Sometimes he would wake in the evening at sunset and think it was morning. There was no convincing him it was not morning until the darkness settled in. In those times I humored him, let him believe it was morning until empirical evidence ruled otherwise. He would be so convinced it was morning that trying to tell him it's evening was futile. It didn't take. When I saw it meant nothing to him, I'd back off and leave him the space to perceive as he, himself, perceives; especially when absolutely nothing is at stake. Like it doesn't really matter in carrying out our daily lives whether the earth is flat or round, whether earth goes around the sun or the sun goes around the earth. I saw no reason to put conflict in his mind trying to prove to him he's wrong. That would only upset his mind, which didn't need upsetting in the last months of his life.



Daniel Ellsberg had a similar call to make when he put himself in the place where he had to decide whether or not to put conflict into the minds of the sleeping American people and get himself in prison. In his decision, a very great deal was at stake---democracy in America. Whether it did any good? It was instrumental in getting Nixon put out of the presidency. But the Nixon impeachment was instrumental in getting the Reagan Revolution going in reaction, which has been far more dangerous to American democracy than the Nixon administration even dreamed of being. Nixon was indeed dead set against democracy, like Johnson before him, though using the word for smokescreen in the manner scoundrels wrap themselves in patriotism. This is the post-WW2 time of the corporate takeover of our government, dating the coup November 22, 1963.



Ellsberg's story is a good one, like the photograph of the Chinese college student standing in front of a tank during the Tienanmen Square incident, David and Goliath, Gandhi. Ellsberg kept his feet on the ground through the cyclone of active hatred from the people with absolute power, and he knew the fullness of their power. He put his head on the chopping block consciously with conviction to save what little democracy we have left. I know I don't have that kind of guts. The Rehnquist, Scalia and Thomas supreme court would never have allowed the printing of that information Ellsberg gave to the American people. An early Wikileaks service to democracy, he was. He's truly a brave man. After seeing the story of Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson in Fair Game, I went to the netflix Q and ran The Most Dangerous Man In America to the top. I wanted to see it immediately after, the same kind of story, surviving the wrath of Olympus. Ellsberg is Promethean in that way.



Like in Readers Digest stories of people who have survived certain death, I wonder about all the people in similar circumstances who didn't survive. What are their stories? There's no knowing what would have happened had Ellsberg just left his job he found to have no integrity, got another job, walked in peace marches, talked at peace meetings, raised kids and went on. Something like the question Jesus had in Kazantzakis' story The Last Temptation of Christ, whether to have oneself killed miserably for the sake of all the people, in Ellsberg's case We The People, or get married, have kids, a career and be normal, like everybody else, as we say in America. Jesus had a religion follow him for his decision. To a lesser degree, Ellsberg is one of the great freedom fighters for democracy, whose name will forever have a place in American history on the side of We The People. I won't go so far as to say history has proven him right, though it certainly has revealed the chicanery and hypocrisy of our "public officials" at the top of the pile against the American people.



What an honor to be described by Henry Kissinger, "the most dangerous man in America." Another case of projection, which republicans are masters at. All that Ellsberg has been through since his decision has put big bags under his eyes, the bags of sleepless nights, lots of them. He has been the man in the most danger in America, instead of most dangerous. I stepped into that Washington DC furnace for a day in the "peace" march on the Pentagon, 1968. It was the story of dropping a frog into boiling water--it jumps out. That day put an end to me active in politics in any way. Ellsberg's story was the one of the frog in the water with temperature rising will stay until the water boils. Ellsberg was closing in on his own boiling point and had to jump while the others stayed. A conscience was in the decision making room, a traitor. One of the maxims I've given myself to live by is stay out of anything to do with politicians. They serve money and money only, all the way up and down the hierarchy. This is capitalism at its self-destructive extreme, taking with it our form of democracy that is wedded to capitalism such that one is the other. We're in a time of a major change. That's about all that can be said about it with any accuracy. Maybe when this false form of democracy we have dies, a true form will be born. It's the only kind of hope I can find politically.



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