Return the Children

Statement from the Geoversiv Foundation on the US administration’s ongoing process of forced family separation and child internment — Issued June 23, 2018

No society can be free, prosperous and secure, while power is used to terrorize, dehumanize, or detain vulnerable people on pretext or prejudice.

The Bill of Rights — one of the most necessary and transformational documents in world history — makes it unlawful for any agent of power in the United States to so mistreat the humanity of any person.

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Better Civics Justifies Hope

Remarks, as delivered, by Joseph Robertson on Sunday, June 10, to the 2018 Citizens’ Climate Lobby annual conference:

There is a quiet daring that happens in the person who says “I refuse to accept” what is not right.

Without that quiet moment of daring, the effort to confront the unacceptable cannot get started.

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We Must Empower Each Other to Lead

This Presidents’ Day, we remember those who have served honorably to build and to defend government of the people, by the people, and for the people. We commemorate the service of:

  • General Washington who with his infantry camped through a dangerous winter at Valley Forge, to stage the most improbable victory against the most powerful empire in world history.
  • Abraham Lincoln, who recognized that a free country cannot allow any of its people to be deprived of freedom.
  • Franklin Roosevelt, who when his nation faced total deprivation remained steady, spoke frankly to the people, offered a New Deal, and who later marshaled the nation and its allies to overthrow fascist dictatorship.
  • Ronald Reagan’s demand to the Soviet Premier: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”
  • Barack Obama, and the many ways large and small by which he worked for the dignity of the nation and its people.

And, we recognize the service of all those who serve us every day, at every level, regardless of who holds the nation’s highest office.

We must also remember that central to our nation’s civic life is the moral obligation to work constructively to oppose, outflank and overcome illegitimate forces that seek to undermine the integrity of our democracy.

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We Stand for a Better Way

After President Trump’s disparaging remarks about Haiti and African countries, CCL Global Strategy Director Joe Robertson responds. 

Our volunteers in Nigeria, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Tanzania, in all across 14 African countries and 6 continents, work hard to be principled community leaders whose efforts foster democratic participation. They work to build better societies, where citizens and stakeholders have a voice in making policy, where human imagination, not the inertia of historical injustice, determines future outcomes.

This is not easy work. Volunteers have faced disdain and assault from those who believe citizen volunteers should not have a right to correct against corruption, simply for speaking up. One of our local leaders said, after receiving personal threats, “I will not let people driven by fear and anger stop me from working for good. We have a right to a better future, and we have the tools to empower others. We must do this work.”

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Reject Hate, Every Time

The gift. It is an area of inquiry in deconstructionist postmodern philosophy, that connects to all the human aspirations we might classify as altruistic. The true gift asks nothing in return, not even recognition. At the heart of the act of giving, there lies a paradox: one must have the intention to give in order to do it, and yet awareness of the intention is itself a kind of recognition. Despite the impossibility of the perfect act of giving, a fundamental ethical call requires that we value and aspire to achieve it.

We are always already called.

By the very fact of being able to conceive of a human subject—the first-person singular, the experience of being the “I am” that we are—we establish an ethical relationship to the vulnerability, intentionality, right to be rightful, and ethical value, of all others who have this experience. The Golden Rule—Do unto others as you would have others do unto you—is not a wish or an idea; it is the structurally integral ethical universe that emerges from the fact that any of us is conscious, alive, and in any way vulnerable.

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Stand with Charlottesville

The murder of Heather Heyer was carried out by a neo-Nazi terrorist who went to Charlottesville to join armed militia groups, who despise the core principles of American democracy. The 45th President of the United States then shocked the world by seeming to place blame on law-abiding anti-racist citizens like Ms. Heyer, while exonerating the extremist hate groups that brought about her death.

The founding creed of the United States is:

that all men are created equal, endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Nazis, the KKK, and the Confederacy all used violence and terror to oppose these values and promote enslavement and genocide. The Nazis and the Confederacy murdered hundreds of thousands of loyal Americans. The KKK has waged a terrorist war against the American people for 150 years.

Donald Trump is decisive, specific, and vicious in his criticism of anyone he dislikes or disagrees with. When neo-Nazis attacked Charlottesville and killed Heather Heyer, he said “many sides” were at fault and refused repeatedly to name the racist militants responsible. In his ongoing refusal to condemn white supremacists, and in his efforts to subvert the prosecution of neo-Nazi terrorists, he has shown himself to be aligned with those whose unifying creed is hatred for the Republic he is sworn to serve. 

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The Right Wing is NOT Republican

Republicans should use the Trump debacle as an opportunity to correct course and build a reasoned, principled, inclusive future

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President Reagan meeting with Senator John McCain in the Oval Office. July 31, 1986. Photo credit: Reagan Library Archives.

The 17 months of Donald Trump’s campaign for the presidency subjected the American public and the national discourse to a degrading obsession with personal insults, authoritarian threats, and overt cues to racist fringe politics. Since his election, Republican leaders have hoped he would “moderate his behavior” and begin to use rhetoric more befitting of an elected president.

He did not do this during the transition, and his first three weeks in office have demonstrated a near total disregard for anyone or anything that would limit his authority to act as he pleases, even where all evidence, and the law itself, are against him. Many conservatives now openly wonder what to do with someone who lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes but demands they follow his lead without question, even when he openly defames, dismisses or undermines their core values.

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