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July's Book

#2: July 2002 (Non-Fiction)
Lucaya

July's Book

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Hey everyone,

I am going to pass on this month's book. It is not that I do not have an interest in reading about Native American Indians (my brother is practically married to a woman of Native American descent....Cherokee). It is just that I feel that now is not the time to be reading about our "not so great" history.

I was going to post this in the Politics, History, and World Events forum, but it explains my feelings on why I am passing on this months book. Therefore, I feel that this is somewhat of an appropriate place for it. If anyone wishes to discuss this further, feel free to post it in another forum, I would be happy to hold a discussion on it.

"There is a tendency to think that what we see in the present moment we will continue to see. We forget how often in this (and the past) century we have been astonished by the sudden crumbling of institutions, by extraordinary changes in people's thoughts, by unexpected eruptions of rebellion against tyrannies, by the quick collapse of systems of power that seemed invincible.

To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history of not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.

What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places - and there are so many - where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.

And if we do act, in however small a way, we do not have to wait for some grand utopia future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory." ----Howard Zinn
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Chris OConnor

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Re: July's Book

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Lucaya

I respect your personal views and corresponding decision to not participate in the reading and discussion of this months selection. There will be months when many of us don't feel the Book of the Month is the right choice.

I do feel compelled to say that one could easily argue that much harm can come from not exploring all perspectives. Yes, our country needs to be positive and patriotic and nationalistic...to a certain extent. But I am interested, personally, in the truth no matter how painful the truth may be.

While I wish to be supportive of our nation, especially at a time where none of us really feels safe and secure, I don't want to be a lemming waving the American flag up high - ignorant of the history and true complexity of the issues. As you know, we are no different than any other group or nation of people. We have made mistakes and must examine them so that these pieces of our ugly history don't repeat themselves.

From what I've heard this book is going to stir our emotions deeply. Many of us might question long-held beliefs about how the "west was won." This is what I'm hoping for. I want to learn about the Indians perspective. What did they go through? Were they really the savages many of us believed them to be after growing up watching the old black & white Cowbow's and Indian's movies?

To be honest...I never thought that this book would be objectionable to anyone, but your post was worded well. I can see the logic, but I simply don't hold the same view. I would love if you started a thread in the Politics forum and we could discuss this further. And possibly you could make a thread for an alternative selection. Is there another book you are currently reading or have been considering reading? Maybe make a thread in the Alternative Readings forums and a few of us might get the book and read along.

Chris
greg in the machine

Re: July's Book

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I agree with you, Chris. I'd only clarify by saying that at this time we need to be positive and patriotic without being nationalistic. Patriotism and nationalism are very different things. A patriot loves his nation, accepts its truths, and works to change its shortcomings. A nationalist uses his country as a means to inflate his sense of self-importance, believes propaganda instead of truth, and works to conceal its shortcomings. Patriots seek to understand the contrary viewpoint; nationalists seek to ignore or destroy it.

G
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Chris OConnor

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Re: July's Book

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Greg:

Excellent point. I guess I should pick my words carefully.

Chris
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