New Clear Vision

constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted
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Life Beyond Icons

February 14, 2014 By: NCVeditor Category: Economy, Matt Meyer, Politics

Two Things We Should Remember about Mandela and Seeger

by Matt Meyer

Whether one talks of and worships heroes who we can only hope to emulate, or of the more literal definition of a religious-based or computer-screen-based symbol to follow, the last weeks have not been kind to progressive icons. Death and dismemberment by mass media has caused the splashing of countless smiling images upon us, but blurred the messages which were central to the lives of dear Madiba and Pete.

If we are going to build vibrant, relevant future movements like the ones those two helped to generate for their times, we had best remember some of these central lessons gleaned from decades of lifelong commitment, growth, and struggle.

Here are just two lessons, common and central to both men, which are too often left way out of the central messaging being spread about their lives: (more…)

Spoiler Alert

November 21, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Family, Missy Beattie

Reality Is No Stranger to Fiction

by Missy Beattie

Laura and Erma had a solution for my anxiety. “We’re calling a moratorium on reading news articles after dinner. Start The Walking Dead.”

Pillow-propped in bed, I’ve watched the series on my laptop, via Netflix.

In two frenzied installments, I zipped through Season 1, saying, “Just a little more,” and I’d click another episode as soon as the previous ended, seduced by each cliffhanger ending. I finished Season 2 and then 3, ahead of Laura and Erma.

I had a couple of panic attack symptoms, racing heart for one, and had to talk myself down with, “This isn’t real.” I was without discretion. Because this horror story is frightfully entertaining. Plus, it is plump with metaphors. If you’ve seen The Walking Dead, now in its 4th season, you know this — all those existential questions of morality. (more…)

Love Crowds Out Fear

August 09, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Guest Author, Politics

On Trayvon Martin and the George Zimmerman Verdict

by Valerie Elverton Dixon

I waited. My tears waited…

In March 2012 when the story of Trayvon Martin’s murder became national news, I waited to comment. Like those who took to the streets in hoodies, I could not understand how George Zimmerman could shoot and kill an unarmed teenager who was simply walking home from the store, be taken into custody by the police, and then go home to sleep in his own bed the same night without being charged with a crime.  Zimmerman told the police that he acted in self defense, and that was enough. Trayvon Martin’s family had to hire a lawyer and the lawyers had to contact national civil rights leaders before a prosecutor brought charges. I did not comment.

Trayvon Martin’s parents said they had faith in the criminal justice system. They wanted a trial. The trial happened and a jury of six women found their son’s killer not guilty. When I learned of the verdict on Sunday morning, July 14, my delayed praying tears ended their wait. I wept. I grieved for Trayvon Martin and for all the teenagers whose lives are lost to gun violence, and I grieved for our criminal justice system and for our nation. (more…)

Love in Our Time

May 08, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Brian Terrell, Politics

Security for All as a Requisite for Survival

by Brian Terrell

In the final weeks of a six month prison sentence for protesting remote control murder by drones, specifically from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, I can only reflect on my time of captivity in light of the crimes that brought me here.  In these ominous times, it is America’s officials and judges and not the anarchists who exhibit the most flagrant contempt for the rule of law and it is due to the malfeasance of these that I owe the distinction of this sabbatical.

As I share in the perspectives gained from residing in the federal prison camp in Yankton, South Dakota, it is important to disclose that as a political prisoner sent up on trumped misdemeanor charges for a few months, my situation is not the same as my fellow inmates!  Of  all nonviolent “offenders,” most by far are prisoners of the war on drugs and most are serving sentences of many years.  I also try to avoid the temptation to exaggerate the hardships and privations I’ve suffered here.  Certainly, doing time in a minimum security camp is easier time than in most other kinds of jails.  If basic necessities are barely met, they are met.  I am in good company and time is passing with little drama and without fear.  For me, these months have been more a test of patience than of courage. (more…)

On Forgiving

January 07, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Family, Windy Cooler

All the Foolish Things in This World…

by Windy Cooler

My neighbors across the street lost their house to fire a few days ago and one, an elderly woman, lost her life. Two other neighbors have been displaced because we share walls in our neighborhood, and they share walls with the house that burnt. It took about 20 minutes for most of this to happen. Flames came from the roof. I was home with my six year old. It was horrible.

The following day news reporters came to interview the occupants of our court. What do we have to say? It was horrible? I refused to be interviewed because it felt like participating in tragedy porn to say anything. Other people came and took photos of the shell of a house, where our neighbor had died, on their cell phones. I have no idea why.

And then there is the part where most of the rest of us, people who are really quite close and live together well, did not truly know the people in the home that burnt. They were very quiet. We do not know how to help and the house is a daily reminder of this. There is helplessness in this and some grasping of a lesson and just pain, which varies from person to person. (more…)

A Personal Gift

September 13, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Community, Family, Pat LaMarche

All the Good One Woman Could Do…

by Pat LaMarche

Waterville, Maine is a small town on the Kennebec River. About 16,000 people live there and by Maine standards they are young. You see, Maine’s got the oldest population in the country and Waterville’s per capita elderly population is lower than the state average. These young people have young people, and about 20% of those kids are living under the poverty level. One thing about poor kids — especially the children of the working poor — is that they are usually pretty hungry by the end of the day.

Poverty is directly related to food insecurity, and food insecurity among children — according to Feeding America — is responsible for “health problems, education problems, and workforce and job readiness problems.” (Their report on hunger’s negative effects on society can be read at their website.) (more…)

Breton Fisherman’s Prayer

September 05, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Ecology, Economy, Politics, Robert C. Koehler

Can We Reclaim Our Reverence for the Planet that Sustains Us? 

by Robert C. Koehler 

“Oh God, thy sea is so great and my boat is so small.”

The Arctic ice is melting at a record pace this summer — just one more measurable phenomenon indicating that extraordinary change in the global ecosystem is in progress. As the ice melts, and the vast polar reflecting surface diminishes, the planet absorbs more and more of the sun’s energy and . . . grows warmer. More ice melts.

So what? Sitting at my desk in Chicago, I was tempted to opt out of caring about this — trend Republican, you might say. Put it on the back, ahem, burner. It takes a leap of consciousness to align my own well-being with the fate of the Arctic ice, the ocean, the Inuits, the polar bears. (more…)