Pope Francis A Man of His Word

Yesterday we went to an outstanding film whose narrator is Pope Francis.

We saw this just released film at the Edina Theater.  Here is information about the film, including reviews.  We both would give it the highest rating.

Pope Francis needs no introduction on the world stage.  Nor does St. Francis of Assisi, the Saint whose name he chose when elected Pontiff in 2013.  The film, largely and intentionally and very wisely in the Pope’s own spoken words (closed caption), is for anyone.

But this film is much more than a man sitting in a chair talking to a camera.  There are abundant visuals from around the planet, including his speaking to the U.S. Congress.

The film would speak most clearly and profoundly to persons who have any sensitivity to the issues of the survival of the planet, and issues of justice.  This would be expected from Francis, whose 2015 Laudato Si is subtitled “On Care For Our Common Home“.

Its message is not a comfortable one for those of us in the United States, which has less than 5% of the world’s population, and 25% of the world’s gross national income.    Those two numbers say a great deal….

Take the time to see this film.  And pass the word.

World Law Day, May 1, 2018

UPDATE May 22: World Law Day program was a success last evening.  Here is the program: World Law Day Program001.  Supporting materials are linked below.  Video of Louisa Hext talk on Forgiveness can be viewed at the Citizens For Global Solutions website, here.


Today is World Law Day.  Late this afternoon about 40 of us will gather at Gandhi Mahal restaurant in Minneapolis to remember a memorable World Law Day 50 years ago in 1968, and hear Louisa Hext talk on “Hope for a Better Tomorrow – Forging the Path Towards Forgiveness: Breaking the Cycle”.  This is a dinner meeting.  There are still openings if you wish, but please call or e-mail first.  The flier is at the end of this post.

World Law Day?  “May Day” is lots of things.  I remember May Baskets as a little kid, “Mary, Queen of the May” as a young Catholic Boy.  I recall May Poles, for some reason – there must have been a year….  On and on.  No one has a copyright on May Day.  It’s centerpiece has always been, I think, nature centered, a hopefully nice Spring Day in the northern hemisphere: a time of renewed beginnings in nature.

World Law Day” was a creation of Lynn Elling, Martha Platt, Dr. Asher White and others in Minneapolis-St. Paul.  The first event was May 1, 1964.  World Law Day was a simple adaptation of Law Day, proclaimed by President Eisenhower in 1958, and enacted into U.S. Law in 1961.  Law Day was the U.S. “cold war” response to the martial tradition of May 1, May Day, in the Soviet bloc.  Not coincidentally it came only months after Sputnik was launched in October, 1957.  World Law Day dinners went on in the Twin Cities for many years, and were resurrected six years ago by Lynn Elling, before he died.  It now has a history of its own.

The premise of World Law Day was peace through World Law, rather than through constant war or threat of war.

As President Harry Truman said during his time as a public servant, if there is a dispute between U.S. states over water rights involving a river which makes up their border, rather than go to war, they go to court for peaceful resolution.  There should be no difference on the Global stage…where all of us live, after all.  “World Law” makes a great deal of sense; more sense than killing some enemy who will, ultimately, get revenge.

The group gathering today will each get a 50+ page packet called “A Rough Draft For History”.  The title is intentional.  For those interested, here is the entire packet, in two parts: World Law Day 2018001 and Minnesota Declarations 002

(In the “World Law Day” packet, at pages 25-26, I take a stab at summarizing 300 years from 1768 – 2068.  I’d invite your own similar reflections, private or public.  We’re at a crucial point in our history, I think, more so than at most any other time so far.)

The second packet deserves a scroll as well, just to see what’s there.

Here’s the flier for tonights event, should anyone have an interest.

World Law Day 2018-05 Louisa Hext FLYER

UPDATE May 2, 2018

Louisa Hext May 1, 2018

The Korean Peninsula

The handshake and the stepping across the line at Panmunjon yesterday were of more than symbolic significance.  It passes with more than routine notice: a step on a long road ahead, hopefully between two sovereign nations, together, rather than manipulated by some Greater Power(s).

I’ve written about Korea a few times, most recently here.

A while back I made a rough map to orient myself to this part of the world which has, for the past 65 or so years been neither at war nor at peace.

Korea and environs

(The lavender rectangle on the map was a scale of miles.  But think in terms of perhaps 100 miles, east to west.  Pyongyang and Seoul, the two capital cities, are not much more than 100 miles apart.  This is not a place for idle threats or speculation or insults like “nuke ’em”, “rocket man” or such.)

This morning my favorite compiler of opinions about this and that had a collection of opinions about what happened yesterday at Panmunjon.  You can read it here.

The longest leaps often begin with the smallest steps.

Let’s hope those symbolic gestures, yesterday, come to have great historical significance in years to come.

POSTNOTE: This is my first publication since April 11.  First, a problem with my writing platform required a rebuild; then that was done and life has been extremely busy.  I think I’m mostly back in business.  Those who were subscribers will have to resubscribe once a new subscription feature is selected.  It’s good to be back, at any rate.

On a related note to the above, there is still room for persons interested in attending the “Forgiveness” dinner with Louisa Hext on Tuesday, May 1.  This will be a very good evening.  The flier is here:

World Law Day 2018-05 Louisa Hext FLYER


Overnight came an e-mail from a peace person, “strongly support[ing] direct talks between President Trump and the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.” The entirety of the e-mail is at the end of this post.

The comment brought back to mind a memory. I’m one of those odd ducks who don’t mind the label of “family historian”. Each family seems to have at least one of us, attempting to carry forward the story of their group, sometimes uncovering stories someone or other feels are best left untold.

And so it was that in my extended family genealogy I made an entry in the early 1990s: “William 3-13-33 to 3-14-54”, buried in a cemetery in Rockford IL.

I was 13 when William died, 900 miles from our home in Ross ND. So when I did the genealogy, I was a bit curious about William, but not enough to do any actual digging.

In 2011, William’s younger brother, Thomas, died, and his daughter passed along the usual information. It presented an opportunity to ask about William, so I asked, not really expecting a response.

Shortly came a letter from Lisa, born 1967. Somewhere I still have that letter, but its contents stick in my mind: William, the letter said, had been in the Korean War, and came home a very tortured young man. This particular night, March 12, 1954, William once again laid his memories and anxieties on his friends.

This night, one of these friends, probably frustrated by Williams constant laments, made a suggestion: “why don’t you just go home and kill yourself?

William took the advice, shooting himself at home, where he lived with his parents. Thomas, his brother, was 12.


I have just now re-looked at the family history, and noted for the first time that William decided to end it all on his 21st birthday. I wonder how his bar friends reacted on hearing the news. For the first time, I connect a trip we made to Chicago in the summer of 1955, where we stayed overnight with the family. The wife was my mother’s first cousin, a year older, born a mile away in North Dakota in 1908. It was a small family reunion occasioned by a tragedy a year earlier. All I remember is that we arrived at night, greeted at the front door by Irene and Carl, the parents of William.


It was 64 years ago, this very day, that William died in Rockford IL. I was 13, old enough to remember Douglas McArthur, but not the fine points of why the Korean Peninsula has been divided into North and South for all these past years.

Personally, if the Koreans will ever reach rapprochement, it will not be because of the U.S., China or anyone else; it will be the Koreans themselves who decide that enough is enough. The Winter Olympics presented an opportunity for a tiny start, and no one should expect miracles, most certainly not from Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un doing some deal of some sort (while at the same time, Trump is saber rattling to dismantle the multi-lateral negotiated nuclear agreement with Iran.)


Here’s the rest of the overnight e-mail. For the record, I’m a U.S. Army veteran (1962-63) and a Veteran for Peace for many years…as a citizen, what do YOU think?

Veterans for Peace [a chapter]… strongly supports direct talks between President Trump and the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. It is time to end the state of war between the US and North Korea. The prospect of a US attack on North Korea leading to North Korean nuclear retaliation is horrendous. We are appalled at the negative attitude towards these direct talks between North Korea and the US now evident in much of mainstream media. We wish to remind everyone that it was “the experts” who led us into previous disastrous foreign policy actions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. Direct talks and negotiations toward peace on the Korean Peninsula will be a positive step for all of humanity.

March 5, 1968

50 years ago, March 5, 1968 – it was a Tuesday – the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners adopted “A Declaration of World Citizenship”. Three days later, on March 8, the Mayor and City Council of Minneapolis adopted the same Declaration. Less than two months later, on May 1, 1968, a large contingent of suburban Minneapolis mayors, as well as a who’s who of the political and civic leaders of the time, participated in a flag raising at what was to become Hennepin County Plaza.

The actual resolution is here: (click to enlarge, double-click for more)

Declaration of World Citizenship March 5 and 8, 1968, adopted by Hennepin County and the City of Minneapolis.

Details about the events can be read at pages 3-10 here: MN Declarations Mar 18003. (The other pages describe several other significant and analogous events, and you see names like Richard Nixon, and Lyndon Johnson….)

50 years later, today, we’re a country in turmoil, possibly about to see the beginning of a trade war, where positive relationships between parties are a dim memory, and our country is in a state of acute dysfunction. “We, the people” elected the leaders 50 years ago and in more recent times. What has happened to us?

1968 was a worried time, of course. Everyone with access should take time to view the exhibit “1968” at the Minnesota History Center this year.

February, 1968, was the Tet offensive in Vietnam; a display at the exhibit says that the last week of February, 1968, was the deadliest week in the deadliest month for American military losses in Vietnam. Martin Luther King was assassinated April 4, and on and on.

Still, the narrative in Minnesota, then, and other places was much as it was after World War II. We needed to figure out how to get along. War was a waste.

1968 now seems to have been such a quaint time. 2018 by contrast seems in so many ways so bizarre.

Getting to the Declaration in 1968 took citizen work. It was a years long process started by two Minneapolis businessmen, who in 1963 had seen in person the Tokyo government declare itself a World Citizen City. Tokyo in turn had followed the example of other cities, who had “mundialized”. Lynn Elling, one of the leaders, many years later recalled to me that when they took their idea to then-Minneapolis Mayor Arthur Naftalin, his first response was “what the hell is mundialization?” (See it described at the link.)

Of course, each declaration fit each communities circumstances. In Minneapolis/Hennepin County, 1968, the culminating event included raising the United Nations flag beside the American flag, fully in compliance with the U.S. Flag Code. Former Governor Elmer L. Andersen (Republican) gave what he considered one of his most important speeches that day. (page 6-7 at MN Declarations Mar 18003)

The most important subsequent events occurred in 1971 when Minnesota declared itself a World Citizenship State.

All were not happy campers, of course. Mayor Naftalins archive included 16 letters from citizens, 13 of them distinctly anti-United Nations; all but three of them from other states. The protests were vigorous, but hardly overwhelming.

The UN Flag flew at Hennepin Government Center for 44 years, until it was unceremoniously removed by the Hennepin Board of Commissioners March 27, 2012. They could, of course, fly any flag they wanted, but their excuse for taking down the flag – violation of the U.S. flag code – was false, and to this day I am not certain the chain of events which led to the flags demise (though I have some pretty clear ideas, I will not share since my opinions would likely be denied.) Four of the current Hennepin Commissioners were among those voting to take down the flag six years ago. They would know the story.

Two lengthy blog posts remain as a “file cabinet” for this issue, for anyone interested, here and here.

“We, the people”, in our democracy, have a huge responsibility: to elect those who serve us.

If we don’t like what we see from our government leaders at any level, we need first to look at ourselves – were we cause in the matter for change?

There exists today an international organization called Mayors for Peace. Take a look.

(2) “Editors Update” notes” for February 17:

Once again the ‘gremlin’ said ‘no’ to some important updates to the previous post, dated also today (see updates below). This is the fourth post in this “thread”: Feb. 14, 15 and earlier today. When I contemplated the Valentine’s Day post, and the Ash Wednesday connection with it, I could not have conceived of what has happened since then. The temptation is paralysis. But this is a time for action, not passivity. And we all need to work as individuals and together for positive change.

UPDATES to earlier Feb. 17 post
See also February 15 post, “Guns, again” here; and “#MeToo” for Feb. 14 here.

This time of year, in 2001, we heard about a public preview of a new movie, Bowling for Columbine, at a large Presbyterian church in St. Paul. We stood in line, got seats, film producer Michael Moore was there, and talked about the film. The place was packed; they did a second showing that night. The film was released in 2002. Of course, the film garnered controversy. It is worth seeing again, or for the first time.

A year ago, March, 2017, I once again walked up Cross Hill above Columbine High School. There is now a permanent memorial to those who died in 1999. I wrote a letter to the editor of the Denver Post after we returned home: Columbine – Denver Post. They considered publishing it (they contacted me) but to my knowledge it never appeared in the paper.

If you missed the preview week of “The World Is My Country”, and now wish you’d seen it, here’s another opportunity, till February 21. Password: wbw2018 (lowercase)

Today’s Just Above Sunset, The Hammer Drops. The Mueller Indictments of the Russians. Here are the actual indictments as printed.



from Fred: Your daughter’s comments are telling. I hope they get broad circulation.

It is interesting to me, [my friend] Dave as well, that we taught in a “high crime” area in a large metro area for many years. We saw horrible crimes take the lives of our students: the February 1994 gang firebombing of a house across the street from our school that killed five children, including two of our students, and the murder, by their disturbed mother, of six children, again including two of our students, quickly come to mind. Shooting were not common but the a neighborhood grocery clerk, a block from school, was shot and killed in a robbery. Same goes for an SA clerk four blocks north of our building.

Crime was a fact of life at our school and something that we dealt with successfully as a faculty, neighborhood and student body. My use of the word “successfully” refers to the determination of all involved to keep the kids safe and productive while inside the school. We had security in the school—front door monitors, sign-ins, police on duty for night meeting, etc.—from the early ’90s on. Unwelcome outsiders caused problems but not often. Nevertheless, I remember an armed robbery in the parking lot and a few stolen cars from the lot (including mine) over the years.

But we never needed to consider what your daughter contemplates on a daily basis: a well-armed intruder bent on killing. I see columnist Max Boot, no liberal snowflake he, commenting about an American “suicide pact” with the NRA and the gun lobby. I fear that the pact is yet unbroken, but am hopeful that the growing outrage in the nation will finally coalesce and produce change.

from Jeff: Gov. Scott of Florida called for the FBI Director’s resignation because of a field office mistake (NYTimes Feb. 16), to which a letter writer responded: “Please do a full piece setting out all of Florida’s gun laws, especially those enacted under Rick Scott’s “leadership”. Eg. at 18 you can buy an AR-15 but not a hand gun; you can buy a gun without photo ID but you can’t vote with out it; you don’t need a license or permit to buy or sell a gun; you don’t have to register a gun; police can only act if there’s an immediate “mental health crises” at the time of interaction between the “suspect” and the police. Compare the list with the rules and requirements of dog ownership.”

from David: You would think that America valued it’s children, its future, more than anything. Not true. America has decided that children, whether they are in a Florida school or on the mean streets of Chicago, are merely collateral damage in the sacred fight to preserve “Second Amendment Rights.” Politicians have climbed into bed with the NRA ghouls and seem to be able to wash the blood off their hands with “thoughts and prayers.” The public seems to have become numb to whatever latest slaughter turns up on the nightly news. We mumble something to the effect that “someone” should do something but then change the channel and move on. Dead children at Sandy Hook? Dead children in Florida? Dead children on Plymouth Avenue? Someone should do something about this. Meanwhile, I’ve got the Olympics to watch.

from Fred: Well said. I think the general cultural temperature is rising these days thanks, in large part to our leader, AKA The Great Uniter. The center grows restless and sullen, the left angrier, and the right ever more defensive. Raft loads of bad news washes up on the shores of Fortress Maralago. The Emperor has no clothes and even some of his rabid followers are taking notice.

from Carol: Al Hoffman, a big GOP donor in Florida, has notified the Governor and other Rs in the state that he will not be writing any more donation checks until a ban on assault weapons is in place.

from Kathy: Hopefully the young people’s uprising will be big enough to get background checks and not more assault weapons into legislation. Our generation sure has not been able to get it done.

The film “The World Is My Country”. One week to the free week, online

PRE-NOTE: An organization in which I’m active, Citizens for Global Solutions MN, sponsored the very successful World Premiere of this film, “The World Is My Country”, in Minneapolis in April, 2017*. Film Director Arthur Kanegis is offering anyone with internet access one free week access to this film, beginning one week from today, Jan. 26-Feb. 1, 2018. Details follow, as provided by the films producers. This is a unique opportunity. I hope you take the opportunity. Dick Bernard
For years you’ve known that our current path of war and ecological destruction is insane.

You’ve been trying to tell the world: ​”​There is a better way.​”​

Finally, a movie says it all – in ways you never dreamed of!

“The World is My Country,” is the perfect tool to show people there are GLOBAL SOLUTIONS!

It’s the movie that’s getting people out of their doldrums. It’s inspiring people with new hope. It’s the antidote to a world of “politics gone mad!”

It’s the intriguing story of how one little guy, a song and dance man on Broadway, turned his war guilt over bombing civilians into an electrifying action that galvanized war weary Europe and sparked a movement. A mighty movement that helped spark ​recognition that we have ​universal human rights​. A movement that helped inspire people to unite the nations of Europe – which ended a century of wars between its member states!

Now this film can help inspire the world to do ​something even better ​- so​ human rights can truly be honored and​ disputes can be taken to court not the battleground!

It’s a lost piece of history, that gives us what Martin Sheen calls: “A roadmap to a better future!”

The FREE FILM FESTIVAL SCREENING WEEK is January 26th – February 1st, 2018.

Sign up now to get your special viewing code here.

Here’s the deal. This film about World Citizen #1 Garry Davis is so new that it’s not yet being shown on PBS, in theaters or on Netflix or Amazon. It’s only being shown at film festivals​ – where it’s getting sold out crowds and standing ovations!

​T​he director of the film, Arthur Kanegis, wants you to see it — so you can help get it into film festivals in your area. ​ Or ​even make your own GLOBAL SOLUTIONS festival of films!

​After you see it, he’ll tell you how.

​Meanwhile, n​ow is the time ​to share the good news:

1. Forward this post to all your friends and family.

2. Contact other groups and organizations and invite them to send announcements to their members.

3. Here is the ​​Facebook post social media: link here (actual text shown below, click to enlarge).

As one of those special people — who is ahead of your time — don’t miss this opportunity to make a ​huge​ difference.

Of course you have tons of things to do – but this is the time to put them aside — while you take on ​what Einstein thought was the most important thing:

”Mark my words, this boy, Garry Davis, has grasped the only problem to which I myself am determined to devote the rest of my life, up to my very last day: a problem which is, very simply, the problem of the survival of the species. It is a question of knowing whether mankind – the very universe of man – will disappear by its own hand, or whether it will continue to exist” – Albert Einstein​ (​Quoted in the transcript of 10/4/1949 hearing before the 14th Court of Corrections in Paris, as translated by Richard V. Carter in Survival Meetings, Writers Club Press, 2001​)​

​Start now by signing up at: www.theworldismycountry.com/freeweek

Together we can fulfill your lifelong hopes and dreams for a better world!

* – I previously wrote about this film on Jan 5, here.

Oprah, and N. and S. Korea.

Picture an eagle flying with only a single wing, or with simply a head…. photo by Dick Bernard, October, 2008, at dedication of gift by Mary Lou Nelson at Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

In the last 24 hours came two separate and remarkable items of breaking news from the New York Times.

The first was Oprah Winfrey’s statement at the Golden Globes relating to relationships between men and women.

The second about 24 hours later from Panmunjon, Korea, about relationships between nations.

Oprah: To be as clear as I can be: my enthusiasm is not about Oprah Winfrey possibly running for U.S. President, though her personal history is immensely impressive. Rather, her speech Sunday night was about relationships.

N. Korea: Similarly, the action in Panmunjon between North and South Korea I view very similarly. It is about changing a conversation between nations from enmity and bombs to something else. I noted the conversation appeared not to involve the United States.

The Korea’s, and the Golden Globes speech, are calls to every one of us to get involved in the conversation. These are not about her or them. It is about us, all of us, continuing to strive for the community that is all of us..

NY Times bulletins disappear of course; some cannot access them at all. At the end of this post is the text of what Oprah Winfrey said Sunday night. The N. and S. Korea meeting should be routine diplomacy between nations, rather than an international piece of breaking news….

My personal mantra for many years, learned on the fly, has been the need for balance (the eagle, once again). A system does not succeed by careening from “side” to “side” (a dysfunctional eagle is a dead eagle); nor does a system built on a winner with lots of losers succeed either. A healthy system needs balance.

There is much more to be said, perhaps later additions to this post. Why not begin with Oprah and the Korea’s?


On the topic of N. Korea, a couple of months ago I heard an interesting talk by a retired man, not an expert, who simply had an interest in the Korean peninsula. If you’re interested in what an ordinary man seeking to be well informed had to say, you can watch Jay Kvale here.

Oprah Winfrey at the Golden Globes:
Ah! Thank you. Thank you all. O.K., O.K. Thank you, Reese. In 1964, I was a little girl sitting on the linoleum floor of my mother’s house in Milwaukee, watching Anne Bancroft present the Oscar for best actor at the 36th Academy Awards. She opened the envelope and said five words that literally made history: “The winner is Sidney Poitier.” Up to the stage came the most elegant man I had ever seen. I remember his tie was white, and of course his skin was black. And I’d never seen a black man being celebrated like that. And I’ve tried many, many, many times to explain what a moment like that means to a little girl — a kid watching from the cheap seats, as my mom came through the door bone-tired from cleaning other people’s houses. But all I can do is quote and say that the explanation’s in Sidney’s performance in “Lilies of the Field”: “Amen, amen. Amen, amen.” In 1982, Sidney received the Cecil B. DeMille Award right here at the Golden Globes, and it is not lost on me that at this moment there are some little girls watching as I become the first black woman to be given this same award.

It is an honor, and it is a privilege to share the evening with all of them, and also with the incredible men and women who’ve inspired me, who’ve challenged me, who’ve sustained me and made my journey to this stage possible. Dennis Swanson, who took a chance on me for “A.M. Chicago”; Quincy Jones, who saw me on that show and said to Steven Spielberg, “Yes, she is Sophia in ‘The Color Purple’”; Gayle, who’s been the definition of what a friend is; and Stedman, who’s been my rock — just a few to name. I’d like to thank the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, because we all know that the press is under siege these days.

But we also know that it is the insatiable dedication to uncovering the absolute truth that keeps us from turning a blind eye to corruption and to injustice. To tyrants and victims and secrets and lies. I want to say that I value the press more than ever before, as we try to navigate these complicated times. Which brings me to this: What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have. And I’m especially proud and inspired by all the women who have felt strong enough and empowered enough to speak up and share their personal stories. Each of us in this room are celebrated because of the stories that we tell. And this year we became the story. But it’s not just a story affecting the entertainment industry. It’s one that transcends any culture, geography, race, religion, politics or workplace.

So I want tonight to express gratitude to all the women who have endured years of abuse and assault, because they — like my mother — had children to feed and bills to pay and dreams to pursue. They’re the women whose names we’ll never know. They are domestic workers and farmworkers; they are working in factories and they work in restaurants, and they’re in academia and engineering and medicine and science; they’re part of the world of tech and politics and business; they’re our athletes in the Olympics and they’re our soldiers in the military.

And they’re someone else: Recy Taylor, a name I know and I think you should know, too. In 1944, Recy Taylor was a young wife and a mother. She was just walking home from a church service she’d attended in Abbeville, Ala., when she was abducted by six armed white men, raped and left blindfolded by the side of the road, coming home from church. They threatened to kill her if she ever told anyone, but her story was reported to the N.A.A.C.P., where a young worker by the name of Rosa Parks became the lead investigator on her case and together they sought justice. But justice wasn’t an option in the era of Jim Crow. The men who tried to destroy her were never persecuted. Recy Taylor died 10 days ago, just shy of her 98th birthday. She lived, as we all have lived, too many years in a culture broken by brutally powerful men. And for too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dared to speak their truth to the power of those men. But their time is up. Their time is up. Their time is up.

And I just hope that Recy Taylor died knowing that her truth — like the truth of so many other women who were tormented in those years, and even now tormented — goes marching on. It was somewhere in Rosa Parks’s heart almost 11 years later, when she made the decision to stay seated on that bus in Montgomery. And it’s here with every woman who chooses to say, “Me too.” And every man — every man — who chooses to listen. In my career, what I’ve always tried my best to do, whether on television or through film, is to say something about how men and women really behave: to say how we experience shame, how we love and how we rage, how we fail, how we retreat, persevere, and how we overcome. And I’ve interviewed and portrayed people who’ve withstood some of the ugliest things life can throw at you, but the one quality all of them seem to share is an ability to maintain hope for a brighter morning — even during our darkest nights.

So I want all the girls watching here and now to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say, ‘Me too’ again. Thank you.”

“The World Is My Country” , an inspirational film.

One Page flier here:World Is My Country004The World Is My Country002 Jan. 26 – Feb. 1.
Sign up for pass code here. Include “CGS” in registration box.
You can probably watch the film on your home television. Everybody’s system is unique. Ask your nearby tech whiz – grandkids are great sources – to help you connect one to the other. Here’s an on-line tipsheet.
January 26 through February 1, 2018, the new film, The World Is My Country, will be available, free, on-line, in a special password-protected site for Citizens for Global Solutions. You’ll be able to share the CGS password with others, so they can see the inspiring story of Garry Davis, “World Citizen #1”. I strongly encourage you to at minimum view the film, and to share this communication about it.

I first learned of Garry Davis and plans for this film project in 2011, and from early on have remained active as a volunteer in, and contributor to, the project.

In the fall of 2012, I showed a very early draft of the film to a dozen high school students in St. Paul – I wanted to see how they’d react to a story told by a 90 year old man, about his adventures which began more than 50 years before they were born. It was there that I observed that this story would attract and keep the interest of young people. The World Is My Country is a permanent demonstration to today’s and future generations that citizens can and do make a difference.

All ages, I have learned while watching subsequent audiences view the film, find the film both interesting and inspiring.

The World Is My Country is the story of a young song and dance man who enters World War II as a bomber pilot. His experiences caused him to rethink the notion of war as a means to solve problems. Garry Davis is that man, and he tells his story in person at age 90. The film features rare footage of events like the opening sessions of the United Nations in Paris in 1948, and the passage of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. More than half of the film is devoted to addressing the idea of solutions which are open and usable by ordinary citizens as ourselves.

Citizens for Global Solutions (CGS), an organization in which I’ve long been active, has been involved since the beginning and sponsored the very successful World Premiere of “The World Is My Country” at the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival in April, 2017. The filmmakers were very pleased with the success of this CGS sponsorship – as you can see here. That’s why they are offering this free week – to invite others to help sponsor the film at other film festivals, or even hold their own mini-film festival showing three or more uplifting films about global solutions. The free-week movie will state that it is a Film Festival Screener and can’t be copied or reproduced.

I helped arrange for Twin Cities public TV (TPT) to see the screener – and they liked it so much they want to broadcast it. However, TPT can’t do so until the filmmakers raise $35,000 to upgrade rights to the historic footage from “Film Festivals Only” to “All Rights and Media.” Arthur Kanegis, the director of the movie, explained to me that footage houses have preserved all the amazing historic footage in cold storage over the decades. Therefore, they charge high prices for filmmakers to license it. His plan is to raise the money by getting lots of people involved in showing it in film festivals around the country. He hopes viewers will pre-order the DVD and buy screening kits, T-shirts and other items to raise the funds needed to be able to show the film on PBS stations across the country, show it in theaters, and distribute it on sites like Netflix and Amazon.

To pre-register for the free week click here and spread the word. Also, look for the website and password at this blog on January 19. This special film will accessible to anyone with the password and access to the internet from January 26 to February 1.


The most recent newsletter of Citizen for Global Solutions MN can be read here: CGS-MN Newsletter 2018 January final. The national CGS website is here.


Coincident with the film is a year long exhibition entitled 1968 at the Minnesota History Museum in St. Paul. It is a very interesting exhibition.

Directly related to both the film and the exhibit was a project of a bipartisan group of Minneapolis-St. Paul area leaders from 1964 forward which directly connected with Garry Davis, including in 1968. You can read and watch evidence of this project here (Lynn Elling, and the film Man’s Next Giant Leap); and here.

A history of Minnesota’s efforts with World Citizenship can be read here: Minnesota Declarations002, especially pages 3-10.

Related Post, Sunday Jan. 7, here

World War I, and War, generally.

Saturday, Nov. 11, turned out to be a very significant day for me.

The intention was to be at the Veterans for Peace Bell Ringing at the Minnesota History Center (MHS), and that was accomplished. The same day, the 99th anniversary of the end of WWI, at the same place, was the final day of the excellent “WWI America” exhibit. Later that afternoon, the outstanding film The World Is My Country, about Garry Davis, a WWII bomber pilot who gave up his U.S> citizenship, disgusted by war.

Those who lead wars always portray them as necessary and thus good (our “side”) versus evil (theirs). It is politically useful to have an enemy. War is not nearly as simple as that. It is the young who go to die “for our country”; and who are proclaimed “heroes” when they do…. In this modern age, it has been the innocents who are slaughtered.

The entrance to the WWI exhibit at MHS said it pretty well:

(click any photo to enlarge)

The bare basics of WWI are simple: 1914-18, the good guys won, the bad guys lost. The truth is not nearly so simple. Part of another side of WWI came from my friend, Michael, who sent a long article from the Guardian newspaper expanding on the story of WWI. It is not politically correct from those who have written the official narrative of WWI, but it is very interesting. You can read the long article here.

In the hall outside the WWI Exhibit, Vets for Peace remembered Nov. 11 as Armistice Day; elsewhere in the building was a lecture about aspects of the War. In England, the day is now called Remembrance Day.

The local Vets for Peace especially recognizes the Kellogg-Briand Pact, signed 1928, which was supposed to end war permanently. The Vets for Peace podium had this explanation of Kellogg-Briand:

In “The World Is My Country”, Garry Davis went to war on a B-27 as part of the U.S. Army Air force after Pearl Harbor. In the end, his conscience couldn’t square killing innocent German people from a U.S. bomber over Germany to avenge the loss of his own brother, killed aboard a U.S. Destroyer in the European theater in 1943. At 26, he gave up his U.S. citizenship, and became a stateless citizen of the world.

Davis’ story is riveting and keeps everyones attention, and especially well suited for young people of today. The film is not yet fully released, but watch for it when it is.

Back at the Vets for Peace, at 11 a.m. on the 11th day of the 11th month, Bellringers rang their bells 11 times to commemorate the end of a terrible war in 1918. This is a long tradition of the local Vets for Peace. I have been to many such remembrances since 2002.

Back in the nearby WWI exhibit down the hall were three displays which particularly spoke to me: the first of the Treaty of Versailles, which helped lead to WWII; and the second which needs no explanation, coming as it did before woman gained the right to vote in the United States.

At the time of the Treaty of Versailles

Both my mother and grandmother contracted the influenza but survived. The hired man on the farm went to war and died.

The most powerful songs I know, about WWI, and the folly of war are “Waltzing Matilda”, and Green Fields of France. Give a listen.