April 06, 2011

The estrangement that divides

The theme here lately, aside from current events, is The Lord of the Rings and its practical relevance to people interested in social justice. I've just re-read it (for the umpteenth time) and made notes as I went along for this explicit purpose. If you like this kind of thing, click on earlier posts.

If there is any major message in the trilogy, it is about the importance of coalitions, both their potential strength and their fragility. Opposing the Dark Lord takes all kinds of allies: different groups of humans, elves, dwarves, ents, eagles, etc.

But in the books, as in real life, it is all to easy for alliances to wither and fall apart, even between groups that are or should be on the same side. Haldir, an elf, expresses this about 1/3 of the way through:
Indeed in nothing is the power of the Dark Lord more clearly shown than in the estrangement that divides all who still oppose him.
I can remember many struggles when people joined together to accomplish some goal or fight off some threat. When such a campaign is strong, people form bonds and may swear to always stick together and stay in touch. But time does its thing, other issues arise, people drift apart and sometimes find themselves on opposite sides of minor issues.

All this is probably inevitable to a degree, but this makes it harder for people to come together when they really need to. I guess one advantage of having a dangerous opponent is that this makes people join together whether they want to or not.

I guess the trick is to keep relationships intact in the relatively good times--if there are going to be any more of them--so that they will be there when needed.

KILLING MEDICAID. Here are some reasons why this is a really bad idea.

SPEAKING OF BAD IDEAS, here's a brief statement from the Economic Policy Institute about why Republican congressman Paul Ryan's proposed 2012 budget is one.


A BETTER IDEA can be found here.

A YEAR LATER. The milestone of the one year anniversary of Massey's Upper Big Branch disaster brought renewed calls for mine safety reform.


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