Starita Smith

Please go see "12 Years a Slave." It's a film that makes no apologies for the institution of slavery or the brutality of the "peculiar institution."

The hatred of President Obama has got to stop.

It has little to do with his policies. It is so visceral and ingrained that reason will not dispel it and time has not eroded it. And no matter how much people claim that racism is dead, it is alive and viciously kicking.

At a rodeo in Missouri in early August, a clown in an Obama mask encouraged the crowd to cheer for a bull to run him over. And cheer they did in an embarrassing display of bloodlust toward a sitting president.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings called for 10,000 men to rally with him at City Hall on March 23 to pledge to stop the abuse of women. Although most domestic violence events are spearheaded by women's organizations, this rally is believed to be the first spearheaded by a local male official to call men to action.


The far right is wrong to be holding a National Gun Appreciation Day on Jan. 19.

The timing could not be worse: It comes two days before Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which is also President Obama's Inauguration Day.

It's only about seven weeks after the worst elementary school shooting in U.S. history.

And it comes on the heels of other highly shocking mass shootings, including at the movie theater in Aurora, Colo., at the Sikh temple in Wisconsin, and at the public gathering hosted by then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

The new secessionist movement is bad for America. It represents a refusal to recognize the re-election of President Obama. And just below the surface of it lie some ugly and disturbing attitudes.

More than 700,000 people in all 50 states have signed petitions asking the White House for peaceful secession from the United States. Texas has by far the most signatures -- more than 100,000. (Gov. Rick Perry raised the specter of secession a few years ago, though he has distanced himself from the current campaign.)

Romney doesn’t seem to understand that to ignore the multifaceted richness of humanity in the United States and to win the presidency at the same time is becoming a difficult task.

Now that George Zimmerman has been arrested, right-wingers should cease attacking President Obama over this issue.

Obama, remember, sensibly called the shooting a tragedy and said that if he had a son, the boy would look like Trayvon Martin.

Then, all at once, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Rush Limbaugh, Southern Baptist leader Richard Land and others accused Obama caring about Martin only because the youth was African-American.


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Trump's politics are not the problem.

The fiery Milwaukee Sheriff is on the shortlist to head the Department of Homeland Security.

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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