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A salute to departing nazis by Argo (01/18/10)       ⇌ (Michael Williams says ...)       


Last Friday’s lecturer is circulating this photo of me. (Also some pretty good photoshopped versions –see my photos page.) With his usual accuracy and attention to detail, he describes it as “Williams …. expressing his views about a symbol that is sacred to half the population of the entire world.”

If Billy had bothered to look at the picture, he would have noticed I am facing the rear door, not toward his irrelevant display of swastikas.

If Billy had been paying attention during his lecture, he would have seen that I am saluting Marr and his big friend as they exit Agate Hall.

A couple weeks ago a Pacifica Forum Person tried to demonstrate that ancient arm gestures can be inoffensive.

This arm gesture was not meant to be inoffensive.

The better part of me would like to open a window to understand what in a person’s life needs Nazism to fulfill it? to become complete? A window into a soul so very different than mine that might yet let me know more not only about the Other, but also about myself.

But a SIEGHEIL slams that window shut pretty hard. Words can fail in the visceral reaction, The Twin Bird was the strongest non-violent statement I could make. “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

Billy mentions I am a Quaker, and says “His professed values … are just about the opposite of his behavior at the Pacifica Forum meeting.” No, not even close. The doctrines persistently espoused by Pacifica Forum’s representative speakers are the opposite of my values as a human being. I have no desire to take spiritual counsel from an apologist who excuses all excesses by saying “It’s just free speech.” If my behavior was sufficiently unQuakerly, I will be eldered by Friends and we will discern together whether flipping off siegheiling Nazis is an appropriate way to speak Truth to [white] power.

I think today I am more in the mold of George Fox than John Woolman, although not possessing Fox’s clarity and measure of Light. I did the Woolman thing of patient witness for a long time, although a good bit of George would peek through. I am not at all sure that being more like George now is a spiritual benefit. This 6 ½ year experience has been morally corrosive, making it harder for me to see that of the Divine in “those people.” Over the years Pacifica Forum’s warm nurturing environment for bigotry enabled more outspoken expressions and culminates in applause for a self described racialist white separatist who admittedly hates Jews and speaks of women “too ugly to rape.” What kind of people applaud a man like that?

And how can I scrape the scales from my eyes to see that in the deepest best part of those people there is That which is also in the deepest best part of me. George Fox could do that. At one time I could. I have lost something in this process that I hope to recover one day.

      --- Michael Williams

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