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The Sun Magazine

Politics

Civil Liberties

Essays, Memoirs, and True Stories

Please Don’t Vote For Me

The Right claims that Occupy Wall Street is secretly dominated by anarchists, but the real inner cabal is composed of smart academics. This movement has learned from all the failed activism of the last forty years. In the 1960s young hippies attempted to overthrow the established order, but their values were completely opposed to those of the working class. Now the young hippies have signs that say, We Are the 99%. (Besides, the working class is no longer scared of long hair.) The Occupiers also refuse to be pushed to the left. They don’t attack capitalism or even the war in Afghanistan. They just say over and over, “Why did they bail out the banks but not us?”

The Sun Interview

If Only We Would Listen

Parker J. Palmer On What We Could Learn About Politics, Faith, And Each Other

There are people on the far Right and far Left who can’t join in a creative dialogue about our differences — say, the most radical 15 or 20 percent on either end. But that leaves 60 or 70 percent in the middle who could have that conversation, given the right conditions. And in a democracy, that’s more than enough to do business.

The Sun Interview

In Their Backyard

Robert D. Bullard On The Politics Of Where We Put Our Trash

We need a system to determine when a community has already shouldered its fair share. Right now, if someone wants to build a hazardous-waste facility, the EPA or state will assess the risk to nearby residents from that new facility only; the risks posed by the three or four or five polluters already in the area aren’t added to the equation. So there is nothing that might trigger the EPA or state to say that this community is overburdened by pollution.

The Dog-Eared Page

excerpted from
Sonny’s Blues

Then Creole stepped forward to remind them that what they were playing was the blues. He hit something in all of them, he hit something in me, myself, and the music tightened and deepened, apprehension began to beat the air. Creole began to tell us what the blues were all about.

The Sun Interview

By The Color Of Their Skin

Tim Wise On The Myth Of A Postracial America

Some think that racism ended with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Fair Housing Act of 1968. Those were important steps, because they made it illegal to engage in discrimination. But just because you’ve made something illegal doesn’t mean it no longer happens. No enforcement mechanisms existed for the Fair Housing Act until 1988, and evidence suggests there are still millions of cases of race-based housing discrimination every year.

The Sun Interview

In The Jester’s Court

Paul Krassner On The Virtues Of Irreverence, Indecency, And Illegal Drugs

There seems to be a mass awakening in process, comparable to the evolutionary jump in consciousness that took place during the sixties. It gives me a sense of hope, as well as a sense of continuity, that countercultural values have “infiltrated” the mainstream: the peace movement, organic food, protecting the rain forests, environmental sustainability, growing hemp, recycling waste, racial equality, feminism, animal rights, renewable energy. The seeds that were planted then continue to blossom, and the counterculture that began in the sixties continues to be celebrated at such annual events as the Rainbow Gathering, Burning Man, Earthdance, the Oregon Country Fair, and the Starwood Festival.

The Sun Interview

Land Of The Free?

Tram Nguyen On The Backlash Against Immigrants In Post-9/11 America

Really, unless you’re from one of the targeted immigrant communities, you have no idea what’s going on there. Streets are empty. Stores and businesses are closed because people have been detained or deported, or their customers have disappeared, or residents are just afraid to go out. These used to be bustling, vibrant neighborhoods, but if you don’t live there or have reason to visit, you would never know the impact homeland-security policies have had. In the two months following September 11, more than twelve hundred Muslim, Arab, and South Asian men were rounded up for indefinite detention. Then, starting in September 2002, there was “special registration,” where noncitizen males from Islamic countries were required to register with the INS.

Sy Safransky's Notebook

July 2006

When I went running this morning, I thought to myself, Not bad for a man my age. Then, as clearly as if she were running beside me, I heard a recently departed friend whisper: Enough already. The body is just an address. Nice house. Lovely neighborhood. Congratulations. Just an address.

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