Archive for April 2013

God is Justice not Love

April 30, 2013



The option for the poor comes from the first centuries of Christianity. It is the Gospel itself,” said then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio during a 2010 deposition in a human rights trial. He said that if he were to repeat “any of the sermons from the first fathers of the church, from the 2nd or 3rd century, about how the poor must be treated, they would say that mine would be Maoist or Trotskyite.”

The new pope cuts to the chase.

The gospel is social justice. It’s what got Jesus murdered and why he did not live to an old age. The “malkuta Yahweh” commonly called the  “kingdom” or “Godly rule” is about justice, access to the  world’s goods which are skewed in favour of the privileged north. In Jesus time they were captured and hoarded  by the Roman empire and its minions. God’s rule on the contrary  demanded a just reconfiguration, a redustribution—”on earth  as it is in heaven.”

North Americans and conservative Catholics sentimentalize the gospel by  using the word “love” as Jesus’s message. And it’s primarily interpersonal. never structural or global.Well, we love Coke and dogs love Alpo, in other words “love” is a totally bastardized and inadequate word. Nobody gets crucified for “love”—but justice is another problem. God’s will  gets you into trouble.

Love in the New Testament as in last Sunday’s gospel–”Love one another as I have loved you”— is operational not simply emotional.It demands sharing. Contemporary usage born of massive advertising has cheapened the word LOVE.The real meaning is closer  is closer to justice.God is justice.

John Dominic Crossan says, “Think of justice as the body of love and love as the soul of justice”. Alfred North Whitehead’s “Justice is love grown imaginative”  hits the mark as  well. Crossan again, “Justice without love or love without justice is a moral corpse.That is why justice without love becomes brutal and love without justice becomes banal.”

In our privileged lives we don’t want justice. Parishes settle for charity because there is a terrible price to be paid for advocating  justice.The kingdom  will always be a tough sell in North America.We’re a resurrected people aren’t we? Not without the cross, not without justice.

St.Oscar Romero—no kidding

April 27, 2013


The official Vaticanese  language recently  stated that Archbishop Oscar Romero’s sainthood cause has been “unblocked.”

Well who was blocking it in the first place?

The answer John Paul ll, Benedict XVl and the whole curial apparatus who slavishly took their cues from the power centre. Much to their embarrassment these men never grasped the holiness of Romero or the reality of El Salvador. They listened to the wealthy landowning class “who preferred to dine with the military junta than break bread with the poor.”(David Yallop) They  kept repeating the cheap mantra that Romero was a dupe of the Marxists or Communists, a secret proponent of the feared liberation theology. The detractors of Romero inside the church used the canard that there were “theological errors” in his writings. John Paul ll was  persuaded by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith under the Eastern European Cardinal Franjo Seper  to reassign Romero. John Paul ll had the order to do this on the day Romero was martyred. Previously;y the pope had humiliated Romero by making him wait four weeks for an audience. Later it was reported the pope regretted this.

After the Archbishop was murdered while sayinh mass, an italian judge wrote to the paper Corriere  della Sera:

“Why did the traveling pope not immediately set off for San Salvador to pick up the chalice that had been dropped from Romero’s hands and continue the mass which the murdered archbishop had begun?”

The answer was John Paul ll simply failed to understand the stunning oppression of the Salvadoran people and the brave  archbishop who  had become their greatest advocate. Much like he failed to understand the papal sycophant the disgraced founder of the Legionaries of Christ, Marcial Maciel Degollado. The latter, a serial abuser poured millions into Vatican coffers and gained papal trust. In 2004  John Paul ll ordained 60 Legionaries in the Vatican labelling  Maciel as the perfect example of priesthood to be followed by these young priests.  Well maybe not and certainly not Romero.

Within months of his martyrdom Oscar Romero was hailed as a saint by much of the Latin American world but the officials including the pope could not  admit that they had horribly misjudged an authentic disciple of Jesus.

And now within six weeks of becoming pope another Latin American who understands the region and the popular sainthood of Romero has “unblocked” the whole process.

Another nice move by Pope Francis.


BLOWBACK,US and Canada

April 25, 2013

obama_judge-jury-and-executioner-drones-executionerI think we’re living in a world where we are not going to be immune to the payback for some of the things that we’ve done. And unless—unless we, as a society, completely re-imagine what an actual national security policy would look like, one that recognizes the dignity of other people around the world or the rights of people to practice their religion or determine their form of government, unless we’re willing to re-imagine how we approach the world, we’re doomed to have a repeat of a 9/11-type attack or something that’s smaller-scale but constant.

Jeremy Scahill

One recoils in horror at the death of innocents as we saw in the Boston bombing..We shake our head in disgust at the callousness of people who would execute such a heinous crime.

And then we look at the numbskulls who started chanting USA! USA!  when the pathetic teen bomber Dzokhar Tsarnaev was taken away wounded in the Boston suburb. There is a link between these two.

The following report from Boston:

The surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings has reportedly cited the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as a motive behind last week’s attack. According to The Washington Post, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told interrogators from his hospital bed that the U.S. invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan motivated him and his brother to carry out the bombings that killed three people and wounded over 170 more. Investigators say it appears the brothers were “self-radicalized” through the Internet and U.S. actions in Muslim countries. No evidence has emerged linking their acts to foreign militants.

American lawyer and writer for  the Guardian, Glen Greenwald makes the connection:

In the last several years, there have been four other serious attempted or successful attacks on US soil by Muslims, and in every case, they emphatically all say the same thing: that they were motivated by the continuous, horrific violence brought by the US and its allies to the Muslim world – violence which routinely kills and oppresses innocent men, women and children:

it’s crucial to understand this causation because it’s often asked “what can we do to stop Terrorism?” The answer is right in front of our faces: we could stop embracing the polices in that part of the world which fuel anti-American hatred and trigger the desire for vengeance and return violence. 


The brilliant journalist Jeremy Scahill quoted above , the unmasker of the notorious mercenary outfit Blackwater, was a guest on Democracy Now :

We’ve returned to the kind of 1980s way of waging war, where the U.S. was involved in all these dirty wars in Central and Latin America, in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, and beyond. And we’re using—you know, we’re in a world right now where the U.S. is using proxies, that effectively are death squads, in Somalia to hunt down people that the U.S. has determined are enemies. We’re using mercenaries. President Obama continues to use them in various wars, declared and undeclared, around the world. You also have the aiding of dictatorships and other  right-wing governments around the world and propping them up. It’s very similar to what Reagan and company were doing in Central America.


And under both Bush and Obama, the world has been declared the battlefield. You know, the Authorization for the Use of Military Force that was passed after 9/11 is technically the law that President Obama and his administration point to when they say they have a right to drone strike in Yemen, because these people are connected to the 9/11 attacks


I think that we have rolled back the clock, in some ways, to an era where you have multiple covert paramilitary forces that are operating in secret away from—largely away from journalists or congressional oversight, and they’re engaged in actions that are going to cause blowback. This is going to boomerang back around to us. You can’t launch these so-called signature strikes, killing people in pre-crime, you know, in countries around the world, and think that we’re not going to create a whole new generation of enemies that have an actual grievance against us—not that want to kill us for our McDonald’s or our freedom, but have an actual score to settle.

Then there was Stephen Harper,the gung ho militarist Prime Minister of Canada who was all for the disastrous US invasion of Iraq .His response to Justin Trudeau’s “root causes” observation was totally inadequate, cheap and utterly lacking in serious analysis.

“When you see this type of violent act, you do not sit around trying to rationalize  it or make excuses for it  or figure out  its root causes, you  condemn it categorically and, to the extent you can deal with the perpetrators, you deal with them as harshly as possible.”

Harper does not get it and now we have “blow back” in Canada because of our wrongheaded support of Us militarism abroad. We used to be an honest broker, now we are American lapdogs

The United Church and “signs of the times”

April 21, 2013

The great Washington Christian writer from Sojourners Jm Wallis has a rule of thumb which Catholic churches( and (indeed all  churches) need to apply in contemporary church life :

Regarding church meetings—if this meeting is not connected to secular movements outside the church, you are basically wasting  your time and gazing at your navel…..

It seems that the United Church here has a deeper sensitivity to the ‘signs of the times” than the Roman church.The irony of course was that the Second Vatican Council was a “signs of the times” council and one of the most insistent signs was the  cry of the earth…..We have been very slow in integrating this summons into our church life and our liturgies. It appears that other communions are quicker on the uptake.



Friend Alan Baker  a United Church minister apprised me  of the United Church’s approach to Earth Day.


Earth Sunday

Other languages:

• Français

Earth Day is celebrated in communities around the world on April 22 each year. Churches have chosen to mark this time of reflection and action for the care of the environment and the atmosphere by participating in community events and through liturgical celebrations.

New for 2013

• One Earth, One Sea, One SkypastedGraphic.tiff [PDF: 1 p/188 KB]
Plan your Earth Day/Sunday service around the theme “One Earth, One, Sea, One Sky” using this bulletin. Includes take action ideas, prayers, and hymn recommendations.

Additional Resources

Earth Sunday Worship ServicepastedGraphic_1.tiff [RTF: 5 pp/73 KB]

This service, created by Bruce Sanguin of Canadian Memorial United Church, Vancouver, follows an ancient liturgical tradition of the four pathways of the heart.

Earth Day Service: Choosing Life for All EarthpastedGraphic_1.tiff [RTF: 9 pp/209 KB]

This worship service for Earth Day links the resurrection of creation with the resurrected Christ.

• Hymn: “It Is Good!” by Carol GrolmanpastedGraphic.tiff [PDF: 3 pp/89 KB]

• Hymn: “Give Back to the Earth” by Jack WitmerpastedGraphic.tiff [PDF: 12 pp/1.3 MB]
First-prize co-winner of the Earth Day Sacred Song contest.

◦ Give Back to the Earth soprano/alto/descantpastedGraphic.tiff [PDF: 9 pp/424 KB]

• Hymn: “With Respect in Creation” by David KaipastedGraphic.tiff [PDF: 4 pp/136 KB]

Earth Day 2013: Not us!

April 20, 2013


For those who see everything in terms of God  the entire world is one grand sacrament. Every thing and every historical event appear as sacraments of God  and God’s divine will.

Leonardo Boff

One only needs to peruse the websites of the CCCB and the Archdiocese of Toronto to groan at the irrelevance of the institutional church  in today’s world.That’s not to say that  many good things do happen. Money is raised for good causes but  the Church continues to be a charity church far distant from  becoming a justice church demanded by the politics of the kingdom of God. We continue to offer hand outs but lag behind many secular institutions in understanding the seriousness of the present moment.I refer here to the central issue of history today, climate change justice.

Nowhere on the websites named above do we see any necessary genuflection to Earth Day 2013 which takes place this Monday April 22.

One would have thought prescinding from our doctrine of Creation the Catholic Church would be among the global leaders  in the defence of the earth which we seem hell-bent on destroying. One would have thought that the putative  leaders would notice the absence of young people in the pews many of whom have left the church behind as an irrelevant institution in their lives and in particular in the great and necessary adventure of protecting creation.

One would have thought given the prophetic pioneers within the communion, people like Teilhard de Chardin, Thomas Berry, Mary Evelyn Tucker, Fr.Sean McDonagh, Brian Swimme and Matthew Fox, Leonardo Boff, Sister Miriam Therese MacGillis and the list goes on, bishops would have taken the divine hint and moved away from their obsession with pelvic orthodoxy to the fate of the earth.

What we have seen in this regard is a theological dereliction of duty and a catastrophic failure of leadership.

What is so stunning  is that one of the Catholic Church’s greatest strengths is its sacramental nature, its insistence that the holy is apprehended through all things,as Richard McBrien says, “ in other people, communities, movements, events, places, objects, the world at large, the whole cosmos. The visible, the tangible, the finite, the historical—all these are actual or potential carriers of the divine presence. Indeed, it is only in and through these material realities that we can even encounter the invisible God.

We  are watching or central sacrament degraded, stomped on and ignored.Many other citizens  deeply understand this and are acting forcefully to resist this blasphemy, this movement to ecocide and biocide.

Our Catholic school systems have not caught up with this murderous trend.Its curricula is stagnant, lagging way behind the sacramental principles we eschew. Catholic teacher unions have not grasped the seriousness of the situation.

Thomas Berry in challenging the institutional church wondered what it means to baptize with water which is polluted or to celebrate eucharist with bread and wine fashioned from wheat and grapes laced with pesticide and herbicides. Our creeds remain underdeveloped mired  in  ancient theological language which has not come to terms with our evolutionary universe.

In other words the institution seems stuck impervious to the prophetic ecomovements of our time. Great strides are being made in our  race  between extinction and cosmic health. The entertainment weekly NOW Magazine has a marvellous issue this week on “being the change” we need in our world as we move toward Earth Day 2013 . As for the episcopal leadership it’s nowhere to be seen.

A narrow compassion

April 18, 2013


Another “terrorist” bombing (probably home grown) with the typical media response.

First the justifiable horror, the loss of innocent lives, the capture of the public commons and always, always the American exceptionalism, the flying of the stars and stripes, the public tributes and never, never a deeper understanding that it is just not Boston or New York which is resilient. It is the human family. Americans  are not exceptional. Most often too many are continually and self-referentially provincial, refusing to understand suffering beyond their own borders.

The excellent journalist. As Glenn Greenwald wrote “But it was really hard not to find oneself wishing that just a fraction of that compassion and anger be devoted to attacks that the US perpetrates rather than suffers. These are exactly the kinds of horrific, civilian-slaughtering attacks that the US has been bringing to countries in the Muslim world over and over and over again for the last decade.”


And this from  a great American think tank the New America Foundation, a research group that tries to track targeted killing which the United States has carried out. So far “the US has launched  422 strikes in Pakistan and Yemen, 373 of them since Mr. Obama took office in 2009, in addition to a handful in Somalia.” The foundation estimates the number of deaths resulting from the strikes to be between 2,426 and 3,969, of which about 10 percent were of civilians and nearly as many of which were identified as ‘unknown.’ An overwhelming majority of the strikes have been carried out by unmanned drone aircraft, though cruise missiles, fighter jets and helicopter gunships have also been used.”

Writer Robert Koehler asked the impertinent question avoided by the chauvinist American press:

Will we ever reach a point where most Americans choose to absorb such data in the context of our own terrible violence? Will we ever reach a point where we feel the same urgency of grief for the victims of the violence that is a fact of life in the Middle East?

Not much universal lessons to be learned here in canada either.The  Globe offered its usual editorial boiler plate about the people of Boston and democracy ‘enduring” but nothing about the shocking continuance of American violence perpetrated abroad as stated above.

The announcer at the Raptor basketball game summed up our own narrowness. ”Tonight  We are all Boston fans”—but we are never never Iraqi fans  or Afghani fans.

The idol of the Market and Thatcher

April 17, 2013


And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said “The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls
And whispered in the sound of silence

So wrote Simon and Garfunkel in 1966. It’s an old story. The prophet sees clearly much like Amos did (and he was only a “herdsman and dresser of sycamore trees” 7:14).No advanced degrees necessary to out “the neon gods.”

“Prophecy” as Rabbi Heschel reminds us “is the voice God has lent to the silent agony, a voice to the plundered poor to the profaned riches of the world.”

One does not have to be an “expert” to speak truth to power. In fact as Thomas Berry says look at the PHds justifying global warming.How about the doctorates around the table of the  Wanssee Conference in Berlin in January 1942 which produced the Final Solution in Nazi Germany.


Which brings us to Glenda Jackson, the Labour MP who told the truth about Margaret Thatcher in the British House of Commons. The former Academy Award winner stood up among the sycophants and reminded them of “the heinous social, economic and spiritual damage” Thatcher had wreaked upon the UK needlessly— blunt and cruel policies eschewed  Germany and other Northern  nations. She destroyed any semblance of social cohesion.

The Guardian editorial stated this succinctly:

She disdained the public realm and presided over the growth of the cult of marketplace success as the foundation of a good society – a low-tax, home-owning, privatised, high-carbon, possessive, individualist, winner-takes-all financial model whose failure haunts the choices still facing this country today

Dame Glenda Jackson reminded her country of all this.

“I was meticulous in not being personally rude. I didn’t know the woman: I did know the policies. I spoke up because history has been rewritten over the past week. I lived through the Thatcher period. I know what it was like. I know what it was like for my constituents. The reality bore no resemblance to what’s being presented.”

A class act unmasking marketplace idolatry, delivered by a non-expert who trusted her eyes.

More bad religion

April 13, 2013



The CBC nightly radio program As It Happens on April  11 featured an interview with an Israeli woman who was arrested at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. She was one of five carted off by Israeli police  for wearing prayer shawls that Orthodox tradition states should only be worn by men.The women were all members of the Women of the Wall group that opposes police-enforced segregation of worshippers according to sex at the Jerusalem holy site.The arrests occurred during a monthly prayer session organised by the group.

Another case of bad religion.It’s not unlike Catholics worshipping the Church- or the pope and forgetting  the kingdom proclaimed by Jesus.

600 years before, Jesus the Jew appeared on the scene the prophet Jeremiah knocked it out of the park when he told his fellow Jerusalemites, “remove the foreskin of your hearts.”(Jer.4:4) .In other words circumcision is hardly central to the Jewish life.God is not impressed with ritual without justice. S/he wants your compassionate heart. The tip of your penis does not account for much. Here’s a real tip for you: Your identity is compassion

Jesus, another Jew ratified this prophetic message “What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”(Matt 15:11)

Real kosher  is justice for the oppressed.

The group’s monthly gatherings at the Western Wall often end with arrests of women who don prayer shawls or read publicly from the holy scriptures, a rite also reserved under Orthodox ritual for men.

Jewish modernisers have long called on senior rabbis to relax laws in Israel preventing men and women worshipping together at the Wall.

These  women at the wall are praying at the wrong wall. If they had truly internalized Torah, they would be praying and acting to dismantle the apartheid wall which is stealing Palestinian land. They are making a big deal about a peripheral matter, women wearing the tallit, the head scarf. The God of Israel is always the deliverer of the oppressed.The Holy One demands distributive justice God’s holiness is seen in God’s people.This is true Torah. The rest is distraction.

Elvis Costello on Thatcher

April 12, 2013

The song’s not a party political broadcast, there’s no manifesto. It just says, ‘I’ll only be happy when this woman’s dead.’

“And some people no doubt might find that extreme. But it’s meant to be. I make no apology for that song. It’s an honest emotional response to events, and writing it was like casting out demons or something. And the song itself is the result of a form of madness, because when you get to that point of thinking these thoughts, actually wishing somebody dead, it really does become a form of madness. It’s a psychopathic thought. And it’s fucking disturbing to find it in your own head. But it would be cowardly not to express it. Because once it’s there, if you don’t get it out, it’s only going to come back and haunt you some more.

“I also think you have to remember that it’s not only her that the song is aimed at. It’s what she represents. The way she’s changed the way people value things. It’s like some kind of mass hypnosis she’s achieved. People are afraid to speak out. You know, one thing I thought I’d be asked when people heard it was whether I was saying it might’ve been a good thing if she’d died in the Brighton bombings. I don’t think so. It would have made things 10 times worse, because then she would have been a martyr. We would have had a dead queen. So really, in a profound sense, the song is hopeless. It’s a hopeless argument. Because I think it’s a hopeless situation. So, no, it’s not in a large, historical sense, going to change anything.”

Mrs. Thatcher’s hagiography

April 10, 2013



It turns out that i was not the only one in shock at the incredulous encomiums delivered in praise of Margaret Thatcher. I expected people like Conrad Black, the Globe, the National Post and others to rhapsodize about this  neoliberal heroine. It proved to me how potent is the establishment’s grip on the levers of the media. After all in this country 27 of the 28 daily papers promoted the re-election of Stephen Harper arguably the greatest threat to the common good and the environment that this country has ever seen,

I came up for oxygen when I read the brilliant sports writer Dave Zirin. He is one of the few who ply this trade who understands that you can not write about any subject without contextualizing it. As Jesse Jackson said, “any text without a context is a pretext.” Most sports writers never venture out of the sand box.

The shocking praise of Thatcher sent brother Zirin round the bend and he took off his jock hat and simply had to write about her.

First there can be no doubt that Thatcher did have a wide effect on global politics and to be fair not all of it bad—just most of it. The worst legacy of course is Tony Blair, Labor Prime Minister, Thatcherite and American and Israeli lap dog. He and Gordon Brown simply followed Thatcher with the same failed nostrums of neoliberalism—privatization, deregulation etc. Sure the unions needed to be tweaked but we  watch in horror as the sad disappearance of unions has accelerated the race to the economic bottom.

Remember Thatcher was going nowhere till she played the ugliest card of all—war! She primed the pathetic pump of the faded glory of the British Empire and thousands died over an island of penguins, the Maldives or the Falklands.The last gasp of empire for poor old Britain and so what if thousands needlessly died, British honour was restored. Bravo, old chap or in this case Mrs Thatcher.

Here’s Zirin’s column: Why Would Anyone Celebrate the Death of Margaret Thatcher? Ask a Chilean

Never have I witnessed a gap between the mainstream media and the public quite like the last twenty-four hours since the death of Margaret Thatcher. While both the press and President Obama were uttering tearful remembrances, thousands took to the streets of the UK and beyond to celebrate. Immediately this drew strong condemnation of what were called “death parties,” described as “tasteless”, “horrible” and “beneath all human decency.” Yet if the same media praising Thatcher and appalled by the popular response would bother to ask one of the people celebrating, they might get a story that doesn’t fit into their narrative, which is probably why they aren’t asking at all.

I received a note this morning from a friend of a friend. She lives in the UK, although her family didn’t arrive there by choice. They had to flee Chile, like thousands of others, when it was under the thumb of General Augusto Pinochet. If you don’t know the details about Pinochet’s blood-soaked two-decade reign, you should read about them but take care not to eat beforehand. He was a merciless overseer of torture, rapes and thousands of political executions. He had the hands and wrists of the country’s greatest folk singer Victor Jara broken in front of a crowd of prisoners before killing him. He had democratically elected Socialist President Salvador Allende shot dead at his desk. His specialty was torturing people in front of their families.

As Naomi Klein has written so expertly, he then used this period of shock and slaughter to install a nationwide laboratory for neoliberal economics. If Pinochet’s friend Milton Friedman had a theory about cutting food subsidies, privatizing social security, slashing wages or outlawing unions, Pinochet would apply it. The results of these experiments became political ammunition for neoliberal economists throughout the world. Seeing Chile-applied economic theory in textbooks always boggles my mind. It would be like if the American Medical Association published a textbook on the results of Dr. Josef Mengele’s work in the concentration camps, without any moral judgment about how he accrued his patients.

Pinochet was the General in charge of this human rights catastrophe. He also was someone who Margaret Thatcher called a friend. She stood by the General even when he was in exile, attempting to escape justice for his crimes. As she said to Pinochet, “[Thank you] for bringing democracy to Chile.”

Therefore, if I want to know why someone would celebrate the death of Baroness Thatcher, I think asking a Chilean in exile would be a great place to start. My friend of a friend took to the streets of the UK when she heard that the Iron Lady had left her mortal coil. Here is why:

I’m telling [my daughter] all about the Thatcher legacy through her mother’s experience, not the media’s; especially how the Thatcher government directly supported Pinochet’s murderous regime, financially, via military support, even military training (which we know now, took place in Dundee University). Thousands of my people (and members of my family) were tortured and murdered under Pinochet’s regime—the fascist beast who was one of Thatcher’s closest allies and friend. So all you apologists/those offended [by my celebration]—you can take your moral high ground & shove it. YOU are the ones who don’t understand. Those of us celebrating are the ones who suffered deeply under her dictatorship and WE are the ones who cared. We are the ones who protested. We are the humanitarians who bothered to lift a finger to help all those who suffered under her regime. I am lifting a glass of champagne to mourn, to remember and to honour all the victims of her brutal regime, here AND abroad. And to all those heroes who gave a shit enough to try to do something about it.

I should add here that I lived in Chile in 1995, when Pinochet had been deposed but was still in charge of the armed forces. I became friends with those who were tortured or had their families disappeared, so Thatcher’s connection to Chile strikes a personal note with me. I also understand, however, that similar explanations for “why people are celebrating” could be made by those with connections to Argentina, apartheid South Africa, Indonesia, Belfast, Gaza or Baghdad. The case could also be made by those in the UK affected by Thatcher’s Pinochet-tested economic dictates who choose not to mourn.

It also matters because the forty-eight hours after a powerful public figure dies is when the halo becomes permanently affixed to their head. When Ronald Reagan passed away, a massive right wing machine went into motion aimed at removing him from all criticism. The Democrats certainly didn’t challenge this interpretation of history and now according to polls, people under 25 would elect Reagan over President Obama, even though Reagan’s ideas remain deeply unpopular. To put it crudely, the political battle over someone’s memory is a political battle over policy. In Thatcher’s case, if we gloss over her history of supporting tyrants, we are doomed to repeat them.

As Glenn Greenwald wrote so expertly in The Guardian,

There is absolutely nothing wrong with loathing Margaret Thatcher or any other person with political influence and power based upon perceived bad acts, and that doesn’t change simply because they die. If anything, it becomes more compelling to commemorate those bad acts upon death as the only antidote against a society erecting a false and jingoistically self-serving history.

Or to put it even more simply, in the words, of David Wearing, “People praising Thatcher’s legacy should show some respect for her victims.” That would be nice, wouldn’t it? Let’s please show some respect for Margaret Thatcher’s victims. Let’s respect those who mourn everyday because of her policies, but choose this one day to wipe away the tears. Then let’s organize to make sure that the history she authored does not repeat.