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By Angelo Lopez on May 31, 2008

A few weeks ago I received the 75th anniversary issue of the Catholic Worker. The Catholic Worker is a progressive Catholic newspaper that was started by Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin to apply Catholic Social Teaching to the issues of poverty in American society. I’ve always been a fan of Dorothy Day from biographies that I’ve read and from hearing of people who really admire her. I bought a used copy of her book By Little and By Little: The Selected Writings of Dorothy Day 5 or 6 years ago, but only started reading through the whole book last year. Inspired by the book, I subscribed to the Catholic Worker in December through Amazon and received my first issue in January. Since then, I’ve looked forward to looking in my mail and finding a new issue to read.

Dorothy Day kept the company of socialists, anarchists and communists in Greenwich Village when she was young, and she shared their radical views on politics and life. Her abiding passion was to help the poor, and she converted to Roman Catholicism when she found the same love of the poor in Catholic Social Teaching that she found in the radical politics of her friends. She did not forsake her radical political convictions, but melded it with a spirituality that nourished her inner self as she worked to help the outer world.

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By Angelo Lopez on May 30, 2008

During the 1980s, I thought it was funny, and sadly appropriate, for the head of the Catholic Church in the Philippines to be a man called Cardinal Sin.

Certainly, the crimes committed against the Filipino people at that time was a sin. Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos had been ruling the Philippines for 20 years, and they greedily plundered the economy and lived lavishly while much of the economy was mired in poverty. I remember reading news about the Philippines at that time with a certain sense of dread. Benigno Aquino got shot and killed. The Marcos government was cracking down and seemed to have friends in the Reagan administration that would let them get away with murder. The opposition turned to Aquino’s widow, a housewife with no political experience and no desire to lead a country. And the church stood by for 20 years as Marcos terrorized the country. I didn’t have high hopes for the Philippines as Marcos called snap elections in 1986. I didn’t see how things could wind up as anything except tragic.

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By Angelo Lopez on May 26, 2008

A few years ago I first saw the documentary, Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision. It was made in 1995 by Freida Lee Mock, and it documents the career of Mara Lin, the architect who designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C., the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama, the Yale Women’s Table and many other wonderful buildings. Her most famous buildings have political and well as aesthetic motivations, that elicit strong emotions in people based on how they encapsulate their age. Maya unexpectedly won the design competition for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial while a Yale student, and it threw her into a huge storm of controversy. The controversy over Maya Lin’s design showed the raw emotional wounds that still had not healed when it erupted in 1980, and Maya Lin’s finished memorial showed the power of art to affect people and touch upon important issues of society.

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By Angelo Lopez on May 23, 2008

One could say that my life has been a series of debates. This is not to say that I’m argumentative. I’ve just been lucky in my life to have had friends with whom I could talk about issues and debate politics and religion. Although I’m fairly liberal in my politics, I’ve had in my life a fair amount of conservative Republican friends with whom I used to be able to debate on points of disagreement and while still maintaining a sense of respect for each other. Somehow, though, those type of talks have become less frequent in the past couple of years. I’m not sure if people in the past few years have just become more polarized along certain positions and are no longer tolerant of differing opinions. It’s become rare to meet that kind of friend, that friendship of opposites, and I miss those type of conversations.

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By Angelo Lopez on May 17, 2008

I’ve been left of center all my life. My early politics was influenced by my admiration of Martin Luther King Jr., the Kennedy's, and Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, and the social teachings of the time I was in the Catholic church. In the mid 1990s, I attended an evangelical church for 8 years, and I learned to keep quiet about my political views. Since leaving that church due to conflicts, I’ve been on a mission to rediscover myself, to revisit my liberal roots. I’ve written in a Christian progressive site, and discovered the divide between liberals and progressives, and it got me interested in knowing where I stand in the liberal/radical spectrum.

I’ve been reading a lot of books in that time and found a beneficial relationship between liberals and radicals. Though the two groups have at times been hostile to each other, they both were needed to instigate needed social changes in American society.

From what I read, it seems that a basic difference between the liberal reformer and the radical is the extent of the changes that they hope to bring to society.

Read more of this post here ...

By Angelo Lopez on May 15, 2008

My wife has given me many things that I’m grateful for since she came into my life. One of the nicest things she’s given me is a whole new range of music that I never listened to before.

When we first dated, one of the first places she took me to was an Indigo Girls concert in Berkeley. I had heard the name of Indigo Girls, but I never really listened to their music before. Ever since that concert, I really started listening to them, and found out they are deeply involved in progressive activism and promoting issues of peace and sexual equality.

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By Angelo Lopez on May 10, 2008

Back when I was going to college, I watched a low budget film that was different from anything that I have ever seen. It was called She’s Gotta Have It and it inaugurated the film career of one of America’s most important filmmakers: Spike Lee. He was saying things in his movies that no one else was saying about race and class. Since that time, I’ve seen Do The Right Thing, Jungle Fever, Malcolm X, Inside Man, and When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts. The films that I’ve seen of Spike Lee’s made me think about the complexity of the problems of race in America. He comes from a long tradition of American filmmakers, like Frank Capra, Charles Chaplin, and Oliver Stone, who used their films to comment on the ills of American society.

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By Angelo Lopez on May 1, 2008

In today's newspapers, I've been reading a lot about the breach in the relationship between Senator Obama and Reverend Wright. It must be a painful time for both men, as it's tough whenever a conflict occurs. I can understand both sides though. If I were Obama, I'd be angry that any person is assuming that he can speak for Obama's real feelings. I think Reverend Wright should only speak for his own opinions and not assume he can speak for Obama. It must be frustrating for Obama to have to try to defend himself for opinions that he has never espoused. I can also understand Reverend Wright's side too, though. He must be frustrated to have his words be taken out of context by the media and to have his views be caricatured.

Read more of this post here ...

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Want to read more pieces written by Angelo Lopez? We have more here! This page you are on right now is an archive of entries written by Angelo Lopez in May 2008. This author's preceding monthly archive is Angelo Lopez: April 2008.

The next monthly archive, after this one, is Angelo Lopez: June 2008.

To see all entries ever written by Angelo Lopez, see the complete blog archives for Angelo Lopez.

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This is an archive of blog entries written by Angelo Lopez in May 2008.

The preceding monthly archive is Angelo Lopez: April 2008.

The next one in chronological order is Angelo Lopez: June 2008.

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