So many books, making amends

When I ask a publisher for a book, I always intend to write about it soon, and/or interview its author. And sometimes I do; authors from John Sayles to Joshua Phillips have given me the opportunity write about and promote their books. The moment that book comes in the mail is still exciting for theContinue reading “So many books, making amends”

“The delicacy and fragility of life hit me”: Kyle Toon’s Journey to Conscientious Objection

It was the police murder of George Floyd, in mid-2020, that got Toon to identify as a conscientious objector.  “The delicacy and fragility of life hit me” after that May 25, he told me. With the national uprising all around him, he realized “I have to create change in myself.”

50 years since veterans swamped the Capitol — but for democracy

They crossed the Potomac — some in wheelchairs or on crutches — to Arlington National Cemetery, where a former military chaplain led a funeral service for the war dead. They refused to stop sleeping on the Mall despite orders from the Supreme Court. The war they hoped to stop didn’t end until four years later, but its course and that of the nation was altered by their movement, many of whom are still fighting for change today.

My Time as a Vietnam War-era Conscientious Objector

Originally posted on 1960s: Days of Rage:
Conscientious objector William White being dragged from his home in Sydney after being arrested, 1966 “When I chose to apply for conscientious objector status in 1969 during the height of the Vietnam War, I was a teenager and in a quandary: How was I to prove my objection…

And so it goes.

There’s the just-passed 30th anniversary of Operation Desert Storm, about which I managed to write exactly nothing and for which I now defer to Kelly Kennedy’s plangent memoir at The War Horse, which ends with Gulf War Syndrome but not before conveying so much more. There’s the 50th anniversary of “The Pentagon Papers,” as the New York Times tagged Daniel Ellsberg’s leak about U.S. misconduct in Southeast Asia. 50th anniversaries are particularly frequent, since 50 years ago the movement against the Vietnam war was at its height.

The wrong kind of dissent

Last fall, I was annoyed that the Oath Keepers were getting so much press while tens of thousands of others were showing up against them. From a news standpoint I guess I was wrong; but so much of the coverage has seemed bedazzled by the military cred these guys claim instead of calling them out repeatedly for the racists they are, Giglio only mentions the Southern Poverty Law Center in reference to the fact that the Keepers’ database was leaked there — not why SPLC finds them so terrifying. And former SEAL Adam Newbold, who stayed behind when his fellow Oath Keepers invaded the Capitol, got to spew his hatred to TV cameras and get profiled in this fawning New York Times piece, which unrolls his growing up in bucolic Lisbon, Ohio without noting that the area was long a hotbed for the Klan and doesn’t bother to explore Newbold’s Facebook networks,

Contagious Courage: Conscientious Objection Around the World

What might an international version of this book look like? Maybe, just maybe, it should focus on where this all began. When people ask me about my next book project, I say a lot of things — my MS memoir, a biography of the long-overlooked Lewis Douglass or Charles G. Bolte. But I also mentionContinue reading “Contagious Courage: Conscientious Objection Around the World”