Happy Juneteenth everyone! How great is it that we have this “new” official holiday?! Of course, in the Black community, there’s nothing new about it — celebrations have been taking place on this day since 1865. I’ve written a Juneteenth piece about one of the scariest words/ideas in white America — reparations. I will share that with you this week and next, along with a few other Substacks I’ve put together, including my thoughts on our corrupt and dangerous Supreme Court, how we should now deal with the whack-a-mole we call Trump, and how to stand against the erosion of LGBTQ+ rights and the rise in homophobic hate. Finally, as a proud member of the striking writers union, the Writers Guild of America, I’d like to share with you what’s going on and why there may not be much to watch on TV for a while to come.
But first, today, I‘d like to share with you a sense of loss and sadness I have felt over the weekend.
My friend and personal hero, Daniel Ellsberg, passed away on Friday at the age of 92. During his remarkable and brave life, he saved our country — not once, but twice. He risked being jailed for life for his role in helping to end America’s mass slaughter in Vietnam. And his very presence helped to bring down Richard Nixon and end his presidency. Not bad for a kid raised in Detroit.
He also inspired me — and millions of you — for decades. This episode of my podcast (attached above here today) is my tribute to him. It includes the interview I did with him on the very first day of my podcast, December 17, 2019. When I decided to launch my podcast I asked Dan if he would be my first guest and he agreed. So in his honor, I thought I’d share that with you now. I spoke to him from his home in California. It was the night before Trump’s first impeachment. Inspired by that conversation with him, we decided to go to the Amtrak station in the morning and head down to DC to see if we could get a seat inside the Capitol to witness the impeachment vote.
Each of us, in our own ways, must be Daniel Ellsberg, taking the nonviolent risks and actions needed to save our Democracy. The threats still loom large, but never forget that there are many more of us than there are of them, those who would destroy what Ellsberg and numerous others have fought for over the years. Let us use this Juneteenth to recommit ourselves to all that is right and just and necessary for a thriving, vibrant society of, by and for the People.
Thank you for allowing me to share my hour with Daniel Ellsberg with all of you.
Our front row seat at the Trump impeachment in the U.S. House of Representatives, Dec 18, 2019, with podcast co-founder Basel Hamdan and my sister Veronica:
The transcript for this episode, Ep. 292: Daniel Ellsberg 1931-2023, will soon be available here (typically the day after release).
Ep. 291: Approval Ratings? Nobody Approves!
Ep. 290: 199 Mass Shootings in 128 Days
…additional past episode transcripts can be found here.
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Photo by: Bettmann / Contributor at Getty Images
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** In order to have a troll-free, hate-free comments section — and because if there’s one thing I know about my crazy haters, they would rather spend an eternity in hell with Marjorie Taylor Greene than send me $5 if forced to become a paid subscriber — my Comments section here on my Substack is limited to paid subscribers. But, not to worry — anyone can send me their comments, opinions and thoughts by writing to me at email@example.com. I read every one of them, though obviously I can’t respond to all. And every few weeks or so I share them publicly here on Substack and on my podcast so that your voice is heard by the multitudes in this wonderful community of readers and listeners. The solution here is not optimal but it has worked and my Comments section has become a great meeting place for people wanting to discuss the ideas and issues I raise here. There is debate and disagreement, but it is refreshing to have it done with respect and civility, unfettered by the stench of bigotry and Q-anon insanity.