March 28, 2011

So do all who live to see such times

I mentioned a while back that a "friend" who shall remain nameless, except to say that his first name is Jeff and the initial of his last name is A. and that he is an ordained Methodist minister, pulled a fast one on me. Knowing that I was a recovering Tolkien addict, he loaned me two books about the writer.

I'm sure he knew full well that once I imbibed a little, I'd have to drink the whole thing. Here I am, over 1400 pages later, not counting the books he loaned me. Thanks, pal!

I have often said that The Lord of the Rings struck me as a work of social realism (once you take out the victory). This time around, I made notes on passages that struck me as relevant to working for social justice. Here's the first. Early in the Fellowship of the Ring, the wizard Gandalf lays some heavy news on the hobbit Frodo about the dark times coming and hard work ahead.

Gandalf says, "Always after a defeat and respite, the Shadow takes another shape and grows again."

Roger that! That kind of sums up the US since 1980.

Frodo speaks my mind, saying "I wish it need not have happened in my time."

Ditto! I don't know how many times I felt that way.

Gandalf replies, "So do I...and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."

Yep. But that doesn't make it any easier.

Where's the escapism?

LOSING OUR WAY. Here's Bob Herbert's last column for the NY Times about the dark times we are living through.

AN EXAMPLE OF WHICH is the fact that congressional Republicans are gunning for Social Security and Medicare.

IT'S GETTING TO BE THAT TIME. As we approach the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, here's a Washington Post item on myths about the causes of southern secession. Short version: slavery might have had something to do with it.


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