A friend raised interesting points about modern surveillance and our contradictory desires for privacy, security and connection with others . . . and the attempt to  balancing them.  My cell phone is usually off, but the electronic connections are almost constant . . . and leaving a trail.

The FBI was compiling info on us antiwar activists back in the ‘70s.  We just said “Hello, FBI,”  when we heard the clicks on the phone, and sometimes asked if there was anything in particular they wanted to discuss . . .   When we spotted dark-suited, ill-concealed photographers of our demonstrations, we sometimes posed as a group with various hand gestures. I favored the V peace sign.  I’d like to have copies of those reports since I didn’t keep journals.

I shared on Facebook one of my favorite quotes (see below) which resonates within me whenever endangerment of any group is tolerated.

My ex commented, “But you were (a socialist) . . . once, or is that a secret?”  Not any longer, and not to anyone who paid attention to my people-before-property propensities.  Those were the days, my friend. I was a dues-paying member of Young Socialist Alliance and the Socialist Workers’ Party.  Trotskyists were we . . . defenders of human rights everywhere.  I’m more of a political as well as religious agnostic now, but still hopeful and supportive of those trying to make a better world.

Martin Niemöller (1892-1984)

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.



2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mary grace ketner
    Apr 18, 2014 @ 12:11:01

    Former outsiders make the strongest teachers with the broadest, deepest understanding of others’ potentials. Part of your secret, perhaps?


  2. storytellermary
    Apr 18, 2014 @ 15:12:01

    Interesting question . . . I don’t know that we felt like outsiders, more like members of a concerned and caring group. We were in Minnesota, which is a pretty liberal state, and college campuses are open-minded also. I kept much of my political thinking fairly quiet once I began teaching, but couldn’t hide the caring part. I’m sure I sometimes was a bit taken advantage of by wily students, but better that than not helping those who needed help.


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