Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Thoughts On The Death Of Rodney King

I’m sorry for the death of Rodney King. Mr. King drowned yesterday in Southern California.

Mr. King was a fellow human being who was responsible for his many mistakes, and who also very much part of a world that he never made. I’m sorry Mr. King was never able to find a right path in life.

I’m sorry for the police who were so removed from their humanity for some amount of time that they beat Mr. King so severely.

I’m sorry for the many police officers who know a right path, but who sometimes end up engaging in actions that are wrong and who end up defending many of the persons and institutions in our society who profit when we are unable to get along.

I’m sorry that some folks in Los Angeles used the excuse of the not guilty verdict in the trial of the Los Angeles police officers accused of beating Mr. King to attack their own communities and to attack the innocent truck driver Reginald Denny.

I’m sorry for all the self-destructive behavior we see in America.

I’m sorry for the people who leave comments about Mr. King’s death such as the one you see below from the Facebook page of Houston hate speech radio station KTRH 740

“Looks like His baby days are over, the welfare state will have to pay all his babies mothers, to bad it was not a family event. Hes all wet”

I’m sorry that we are never able to come to full terms with the most brutal aspects of our national history.

I’m sorry–and hopeful–for all of us because  for both good and ill Mr. King, the police who beat him, the rioters in Los Angeles, Reginald Denny, and the people who say they are glad Mr. King is dead are  quintessentially American.

I’m hopeful because sometimes progress is made, and because so many of us realize there is better path than the way we so often treat each other in this nation.

Here is an obituary of Mr. King from the Los Angeles Times.

June 18, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 4 Comments

Charles De Gaulle’s Great Speech Of June 18,1940

File:De-gaulle-radio.jpg

June 18, 1940 is the day that General Charles De Gaulle made the speech on the BBC from London that began French resistance to Nazi occupation.

It was a great speech that is still recalled in France and in all places where the great events of World War II are remembered.

(Above–De Gaulle speaking on the BBC during World War II.)

De Gaulle left France in 1940 as an exile and came back four years later to lead France.

France and De Gaulle appeared to have been defeated in 1940. But they were not defeated.

A great two-volume of De Gaulle was written by Jean Lacouture. The first volume is called De Gaulle–The Rebel, 1890-1944Here is a review of that book. The second volume is De Gaulle–The Ruler, 1945-1970.

A good one-volume biography is The Last Great Frenchman–A Life of Charles De Gaulle by Charles Williams.

De Gaulle’s war memoirs are justly well-regarded.

(Below–Some of De Gaulle’s words in French. Photo by Semnoz.)

Here is some biographical information about Charles De Gaulle.

Here is a BBC biography of De Gaulle.

De Gaulle was neither a figure of the political left or right. His loyalty was to France and, sometimes, to the idea of putting on a grand performance on the world stage.  He was often serious and absurd at the same time

What could have been more absurd than the notion of one lone general banished to London after the Nazi overrun of France coming back within a few years as the political master of France?

Charles De Gaulle is a subject that merits your further study. In studying the life of De Gaulle you will learn about French history, World War II, European and Cold War politics of the 1950’s and 60’s, and the bloody battle for Algerian Independence.

You’ll also learn about fighting and winning a fight that seemed at first to be hopeless.

Here is the great speech I referenced above. It is also called the Appeal of June 18—

The leaders who, for many years, were at the head of French armies, have formed a government. This government, alleging our armies to be undone, agreed with the enemy to stop fighting. Of course, we were subdued by the mechanical, ground and air forces of the enemy. Infinitely more than their number, it was the tanks, the airplanes, the tactics of the Germans which made us retreat. It was the tanks, the airplanes, the tactics of the Germans that surprised our leaders to the point to bring them there where they are today.

But has the last word been said? Must hope disappear? Is defeat final? No!

Believe me, I speak to you with full knowledge of the facts and tell you that nothing is lost for France. The same means that overcame us can bring us to a day of victory. For France is not alone! She is not alone! She is not alone! She has a vast Empire behind her. She can align with the British Empire that holds the sea and continues the fight. She can, like England, use without limit the immense industry of United States.

This war is not limited to the unfortunate territory of our country. This war is not finished by the battle of France. This war is a world-wide war. All the faults, all the delays, all the suffering, do not prevent there to be, in the world, all the necessary means to one day crush our enemies. Vanquished today by mechanical force, we will be able to overcome in the future by a superior mechanical force.

The destiny of the world is here. I, General of Gaulle, currently in London, invite the officers and the French soldiers who are located in British territory or who would come there, with their weapons or without their weapons, I invite the engineers and the special workers of armament industries who are located in British territory or who would come there, to put themselves in contact with me.

Whatever happens, the flame of the French resistance not must not be extinguished and will not be extinguished. Tomorrow, as today, I will speak on Radio London.

June 18, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 2 Comments