Fred McKissack, Jr.

Fred McKissack Jr.'s articles, op-eds, and reviews have appeared in The Progressive Magazine, The Washington Post, Vibe Magazine, and others. He lives in Ft. Wayne, Ind. with his wife, Lisa and their son, Mark. 

There is a familiar pattern in how American’s sit shiva for pop icons.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/donkeyhotey/24527808392/in/photostream/

This presidential primary is now in Mondo bizarro mode, where almost nothing makes sense, particularly black adulation for the Clintons.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1n0ElIYjVo&feature=youtu.be

“I’m always amazed that people take what I say seriously. I don't even take what I am seriously.”

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https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Michael_Sam_final_Mizzou_home_game.jpg

University of Missouri’s black football players showed their power to organize against racism.

If a police officer’s first duty is “to serve and protect” the people, there could be no more damning condemnation than the Ferguson department’s primary goal: to “maximize revenue.”

St. Louis arches. Image credit: Zak Pullen

Hate is a strong word, and its banal use doesn’t do any good. I passionately dislike my hometown. That fits, even though it doesn’t quite capture my deep, fatalistic feelings for a town that I thought was the greatest city when I was, well, my son’s age. Image credit: Zak Pullen

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Every generation has its moment where an older politician brings the fire and brimstone and plays cultural Moses. Invariably, he or she looks like a fool. Image credit: Getty Images

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"Most people think climate change is something happening in the future . . . it’s happening now, in brutal and very...

This ruling is a turning point in the fight to restore reproductive rights for women.

Could the British vote mean the end of the world order as we know it?

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).


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