From the Shores of Styx, The Unbroken Circle.

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A baby cries from

The shores of Styx

A child cries from the darkness

Of a ghetto

A baby cries

And a child cries

A mother cries

As a father dies

A war starts

Jobs end

House is lost

A father dies

The child grows

The child says why

But the man knows

Like those before him knew

And so

The child sighs

The man dies

From the shoes of Styx

From the deepest part of Stygian

A baby cries again

Screaming out of the darkness

Crawling out of the gloom

Refusing to keep the circle

The child from the darkest recesses of Stygian

Screams I will fight

For light and though I may lose

And die alone in the dark

I will have created a glimmer

Of hope

As the man cries

The woman dies

And once again

A child rises from darkness of Stygian

Screaming I will create light

And the circle remains

Unbroken.

**In Greek mythology, Styx is a deity and a river that forms the boundary between earth and the underworld(the domain often called Hades, which also is the name of its ruler). The rivers Styx, Phlegethon, Acheron, Lethe, and Cocytus all converge at the center of the underworld on a great marsh, which sometimes is also called the Styx. According to Herodotus, the river Styx originates near Feneos.Styx is also a goddess with prehistoric roots in Greek mythology as a daughter of Tethys, after whom the river is named and because of whom it had miraculous powers.

 

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The Ken Burns/Lynn Novick Documentary on the Vietnam War: The Untold Story  

I almost never watch anything that runs more than an hour except for a movie or a football game. If I can’t see it in one viewing, then I’m likely to not be wherever I need to be when the next part of whatever it was becomes available for watching. But I made an exception for the Ken Burns and Lynn Novick documentary on the Vietnam War. And I am angry, not at the fact that this colossal undertaking took ten years for them to complete or that it consumed 18 hours of my life because, in all honesty, I don’t do all that much from 8 pm–9:30 pm on any given night anyway. No, I am angry at Ken Burns and Lynn Novick for the lopsided interpretation of history that was a sizable portion of my life. Their chronicle of the war itself was misleading enough (and I would love to hear how my friends, my brothers, and sisters who served in Vietnam, felt about how the war was portrayed). But Burns and Novick totally hoodwinked anyone not aware of many facts about the antiwar movement.

We saw violence in video and dialog by people like the Weathermen as well as the protesters who retaliated with violence, we saw a couple of minutes of one man who went to Canada (and there were many of them who did, and that was not making a statement. It was a cop-out). And violence is not a protest, it’s a riot. What took place with people like the Weathermen or the person who just wanted to burn and destroy is a long, long way from the protest of the 1960’s that I knew, and Burns and Novick completely ignored the peaceful resistance that I was a part of.

I would ask Ken Burns and Lynn Novick where the information is about a person like myself who not only began protesting the war in the early-to-mid-1960’s long before it was fashionable, a person who burned his draft card quietly and peacefully. In my case, much to the disappointment of my mother, I had to convince the powers-that-be to reclassify me to 1-A from 3-A—family support/fortunate son and college deferments up one arm and down the other. I also peacefully refused induction and refused alternative service. In short, I refused every way out that they offered me, and I did not run to Canada. If my brothers and sisters were putting something on the line, I had to give what I could, and what I could give was my freedom.

I will never forget the old judge, Judge McClain, who looked at me sitting in my laundry basket. Yes, my laundry basket. Since I had refused to walk and the guards didn’t want to keep carrying me (or in some cases, drag me like a rug they were taking to the junkyard), they decided to dump me in a laundry basket and wheel me about that way. I was pushed into the middle of the courtroom, and Judge McClain pulled himself up on the bench, leaned over, and peering down at me said, “I know what you will not do, Mr. Sanders, your reputation got here before you did. Will you tell me what you will do?” I thought he might burst a seam when I said I believed there are only two choices here and they were his: “The first is, if you believe in the robes you wear and the laws you have sworn to uphold, then you must send me to prison. The other is, if you do not believe in those robes and laws, take off the robes and we will go out to lunch.” He called a court recess, and in about an hour, he sent me to prison for two years with a one-year probation to follow. Not bad, I thought, since I was facing 15 years if all counts were added together.

I have given some of the details of my resistance because I know them, but I am not the only one who took this course of action. There were many more just like me who did not blow anything up or throw bombs or actively participate in a riot (although they were clubbed in places like Chicago in 1968) or run to Canada. We simply said no and gave what we could. We gave our freedom.

I sat through the Ken Burns and Lynn Novick documentary waiting for this side of the resistance to be shown, and it never was. They claim to give all sides of an issue, but in this case, they not only missed the boat, they sank the boat, and I am about as angry as I could be about a documentary. I can’t get my 18 hours back or my two years in prison, but I would like that side of the war resistance to be told for all of those who took a non-violent path and gave all they could and lost friends and relatives and their freedom. That story has never been told.

Certain People

So many fronts on the battlegrounds of dumb and dumber, which one this hour,  as the carousel horses spin backward, and the orange-colored clown breaks every rule known to his government and everyone dangles on some uncertain trapeze suspended high above the Big Top, called DC. The clown is now the Ring Master. And without following protocol regarding acts of war, he spends millions of dollars to blow up an airfield that the next day is up and running again. And on many levels of disgust and anger at Syrian dictator Assad, we Americans shake our heads and say yes, good for you Mr. President. But there are reasons for the line of command before placing your country on the verge of a massive retaliation, however, remote that retaliation may be, there are still reasons, proven, rational reason for those rules. And part of it is to keep a president that thinks he’s Dirty Harry from making a Big Ass mistake with his Big gun. I live in a small town surrounded by water and even in weather emergencies when the mighty nor’easter blows, we are given ample time to leave if we choose to, but we know what’s coming and so we choose. And in acts that could put Americans in harm’s way certain agencies need to let certain people know so that certain people will be able to maybe reach safe places or kiss their ass’s goodbye whichever they choose and you and I are those certain people. And I am certain I would like to have a choice.

1980

As I said in last week’s blog, I’m going to be looking at different years in my life, not necessarily in any particular order and indeed not because they were remarkable due to the fact that I lived in them but simply because I happen to have been alive during those years.

In 1980, I was just getting back into broadcasting after having been in and out of radio and in and out of prison. On November 4th, the actor Ronald Reagan was elected president, and the cost of a gallon of gas was $1.19. In 1980, the “Miracle on Ice” happened, and it had nothing to do with keeping your ice from melting in your Scotch glass. It happened during the Olympics. The US hockey team, which was the underdog, won the gold medal against the favored Soviets. The “Miracle on Ice” is still considered to be one of the greatest moments in sports and one of the best ice hockey games ever played. Speaking of Scotch, there was a song on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart that year that did have to do with alcohol. Do you know what song that was? The answer is in the podcast.

Also in music, at the end of 1980, Billboard’s ratings listed the number one song of the year as Blondie’s “Call Me,” number two was “Another Brick in the Wall – Part Two” by Pink Floyd, and checking in at number three was “Magic” by Olivia Newton-John. On December 8, 1980, I was working the 10 p.m.–2 a.m. air shift when at around 11:25 p.m. the newswire machine went berserk and a bulletin came over from the Associated Press that John Lennon had been shot. I will have more on that in the podcast.

Now let’s try this one: the press has been banned from speeches by someone attempting to take over the country. This person is saying they will start to round up anyone they deem to be unacceptable and send them away.  Because reporters have been banned and free speech and reporting are being taken away, I’m fearful that groups may carry out book burnings of works considered to be contrary to government policies. If this sounds like I lived in Germany in 1933, if you think I lived under Hitler, you’re wrong. This is America in 2016 as a lunatic named Donald Trump has already banned The Washington Post reporters from attending his speeches, which effectively breaks the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which guarantees, among other things, freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Trump threatens to build a wall separating us from countries he doesn’t like and round up people he finds undesirable and send them away. This is not Hitler’s Germany of 1933. This is now. In America. In 2016.

There’s more on music, a little politics, and the answer to that trivia question at the end of paragraph two on the shores of Rambling Harbor. I hope you’ll join me there.

This Way To The Podcast On The Shores Of Rambling Harbor