|other personal autobiography|
Especially when I was young, I was involved in left-wing political groups. I retain such affinities to this day, and while I may do so with more reflection and less outward fervor, I have no less outrage at the injustices I perceive. I remember on the eve of the Gulf War taking my teen-age son to an anti-war demonstration and thinking, "It never ends." As I watched civil liberties being torn apart by the GW Bush administration I have despaired at all the work done to build and sustain those liberties that will have to be done all over again--if it can be, given the hysteria about terrorism (the new red-baiting).
While active, I have rarely put myself in danger, and as the years passed I became increasingly an armchair radical and ventured into groups and the streets less and less often. In any event, I always found it hard to join groups because whatever zeal I myself possessed, I found it far stronger in many other activists, and this has usually made me uncomfortable. I have never figured out how to retain solidarity with others when I agree on a specific goal but am dismayed by some of the justifications others produce for that goal. A single example: opposed as I was to the US war in Vietnam and to the proto-fascist dictatorships we supported there, my stomach figuratively turned at the embrace by some in the movement of such North Vietnamese casuistry (in response to pro-war claims that the US was defending the South from invasion by the North) as, "There are not two Vietnams. Vietnam is one, so how can we invade ourselves?"