Teens Respond to GIDEON’S ARMY

Note: Edna St. Vincent Millay wrote her incomparable Renascence, for the most part, when she was still a teenager. Here’s an excerpt which she recited to me the year of her death:

The world stands out on either side
No wider than the heart is wide;
Above the world is stretched the sky,—
No higher than the soul is high.
The heart can push the sea and land
Farther away on either hand;
The soul can split the sky in two,
And let the face of God shine through

Teens Respond to GIDEON’S ARMY
Dedicated to Edna and Ruby Dee
by O’Xman

You should read the previous post first.

I have about 25 youngsters who I home school on a regular basis. Their point of departure for touching base with me weekly, if not daily, is our alignment with the thrust of what’s delineated at http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/anonymous-toward-the-destructio n-of-schooling#toc1. It’s not a Bible or main text of any kind for our collective purposes, but it clarifies a lot of what we have in common, a great deal of what their loved ones agree with me on too.

I consider them to be a potential army of sorts… in the sense that Dawn Porter’s film portrays her recent law school graduates as troops in the field, fighting the good fight. Directly below are some comments from them, secured following a showing of Gideon’s Army in our rented red barn in Aptos, California. While waiting to hear back from subjects of my outreach associated with the documentary, I thought I should post this, as I believe when Dawn, Travis, Brandy, June et alia do make contact my ‘particle’ (part article, part poetry) will be of interest… as a supplement to the previous post.

In no special order:

“I wouldn’t want you to interrupt Travis on his rounds at all, but the truth is that he could be effortlessly dealing with issues on a macroscopic plane while continuing to do his fine, necessary microscopic work simultaneously. And should. We need him to do that.”

“I know about the battle over Baal, so the title resonated immediately. I don’t like any references to military actions… like this one which alludes to the Midianites… but this documentary was so wonderful, I can easily accept the reference. The thing is, if you’re going to invoke militaristic terms, you had better acknowledge upfront exactly how deep and widespread ‘the movement’ is going to have to be to be effective.”

“I absolutely loved what Brandy did for that youngster and his family, but what was with that outfit she was wearing in that final courtroom sequence?”

“The victims of the PIC have to be thought of along with the immigrant children who don’t make it here from from Central America and those who are dying from genocide in Palestine and from exploitation in the Congo and elsewhere. And that has to be done in a way that supports efforts like those of the Southern Public Defender Training Center, but which — at the same time — makes them move in solidarity on another level.”

“The film is great partly because it makes it clear that we’re not the ‘good guys’ domestically, ‘we’ being the powers that be. If viewers can extrapolate, be helped to see that ‘we’ are not only not exceptional, but actually ‘bad guys’ in the eyes of most of the world, the greatest danger to peace and justice, it’ll be great to use this film to recruit people… to act together.”

“I had a dream where Travis got everyone to question where they got their news from.”

“I’d like to be a defense lawyer now. I don’t need money for gas, I use a bike.”

I’ll add more as time permits.

Maybe it’ll help to keep the face of God in mind.


Edna would have loved Dawn’s documentary. Ditto for Ruby Dee.



The Defender’s Party
by Their Oxman

I’d call it Gideon’s Party, but — as per what’s below — I don’t think we can get away with that.

In Gideon’s Army there’s one point where lots of public defenders meet with Jon Rapping down South:

“Backed by mentor Jonathan ‘Rap’ Rapping, a charismatic leader who heads the Southern Public Defender Training Center (now known as Gideon’s Promise) they struggle against long hours, low pay and staggering caseloads so common that even the most committed often give up in their first year.”

Now I know very well that our government imposes clear parameters on all non-profits, preventing them as a group from being involved in the electoral process. That’s on the books, by the way, for truly disingenuous purposes. As, I trust, you know.

No matter, in seeking necessary institutional change — so that we can deal with the source of our bleeding, not just be limited to applying tourniquets incessantly — I propose that southern lawyers — as individual concerned citizens, not as reps of any non-profit, join hands in solidarity for the upcoming 2015 gubernatorial election in Mississippi and the later gubernatorial contest in Georgia… following a fresh paradigm for the electoral arena. [I'll be honored to elaborate on the nuts and bolts upon request.]

For a given attorney who’s got no time to spare, whose plate is absolutely too full to take on anything extra whatsoever… NO PROBLEM. Merely saying that they’re on board in solidarity in spirit will be sufficient. Another defender who might have a slight bit of room on that plate, they can step up to the plate to the tune of, say, the amount of time that it takes to attend a session along the lines of that sponsored by Gideon’s Promise… when Jon & Company attempt to reinvigorate young attorneys, respectfully and humbly try to keep them in the fold.

And on that note, I should underscore that this whole proposal stands to motivate, inspire in unprecedented fashion. Stands to give one and all new adrenalin which will resonate deep within the marrow and blood. Culminating, quite possibly, in those defenders moving citizens nationwide to act in their own enlightened self-interest. Rising to the point where the defenders — those rare as flawless chrysolite sweet souls who have their hearts, heads and souls in a healthy place — can actually be in a decision-making capacity, creating the necessary watershed in history which one and all are begging for.

For… for my youngest to have life worth living for will require that The Defender’s Party make that light that’s lost within us reach the sky.


Addendum: What will they defend? Not just the incarcerated, though, arguably, one could consider that quite enough. In fact, my vision has our concerned citizens defending species which are dying out, defend Mother Earth, defend us all against nuclear proliferation and the proliferation of much more that’s unhealthy, threatening… all else being equal. I am NOT advocating a particular political platform. Rather, I simply want unaffiliated, non-politician citizens who are not primarily caught up with career concerns and/or Moloch’s $$$ to call some shots. To enable such valuable citizens to get up off of bended knee begging the powers that be to do the right thing, working only within the rigged parameters allowed them at present. The proposal I’m advocating would cost no money, nor would it have to distract anyone from their present agenda. It could only benefit anyone with whom this resonates. [Pause.] Again, nuts and bolts upon request.