Sunday, March 22, 2015

'Feminism Unfinished': Freedom, Justice for All

Review by Bill Doughty –  
This book presents a history of the modern women's rights movement and argues that equality gains for women were not easy and the work is not complete. Ingrained cultural biases against rights for women make progress slow, the authors say:
"Women's subordination is an ancient human practice, ingrained into nearly every major religion and nearly every economic system."
"Feminism Unfinished" focuses on the past 95 years, the status of women's right today, and the ongoing struggle in the future.
"Feminism Unfinished: A Short, Surprising History of American Women's Movements" by Dorothy Sue Cobble, Linda Gordon and Astrid Henry, 2014, W. W. Norton and Company.

The authors acknowledge the achievements toward equality, thanks to women and men activists:
"Since the women's suffrage amendment was adopted in 1920, most legal restrictions on women have been abolished: Women now serve on juries, fight in the armed forces, and can apply for any job or to attend any education institution, for example. Women can wear what they want and love whom they desire."
While that may be true in the United States, what about the rest of the world?
In her essay, "From Mindset to a Movement," author Astrid Henry shows how women's rights movements are being championed in other countries by women drivers in Saudi Arabia, punk rockers in Russia, bloggers in Eqypt, protesters in Spain, sex education activists in Africa and feminists in Mexico.

"Perhaps no one better symbolizes the future of feminism than Malala Yousafzai, the young feminist activist from Pakistan," Henry writes. 
Shot in the head by a member of the violent extremist Taliban because she dared speak out for the rights of girls to get an education, Yousafzai suffered through months of rehabilitation and bravely took up the mantle again for women's rights and the right for all children to be educated. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.
In their afterward, the authors conclude:
"Feminism of the future ... may well be led by women from the poorer countries of the world. They in turn will also invent feminisms that meet their needs and aspirations. It is impossible to understand the world's problems and hopes without taking into account the growing global movements for women's health, education, bodily integrity, sexual freedom, political participation, and economic equality. Just as American feminism transformed American society, so global feminism is likely to transform the world."
Girls from the vocational training program in Khawja Omari, Afghanistan, Nov. 11, 2009.
(Photo by Master Sgt. Sarah Webb, Combat Camera Afghanistan)
This book is not and cannot be all inclusive in showcasing women's rights movements over the past century. Nevertheless, it introduces the reader to some of the key people, currents within the movement and ongoing challenges toward achieving full equal rights.
Continuing progress in the United States is not inevitable, the authors conclude – especially in areas of healthcare access, growing income inequality, parental leave, rape prevention and equal pay. Progress in full equality, they write, relies on cooperation, education and participation by everyone, male and female.
"Looking forward," Henry writes, "the unfinished work of feminism will require a diversity of voices, willing to come together to secure freedom and justice for all."
(It's Women's History Month. Happy Birthday to the late Amalie Emmy Noether, influential mathematician born March 23, 1882.)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

W20: Put Eleanor on $20 Bill?

By Bill Doughty – 
Eleanor's school portrait, 1898.

Eleanor Roosevelt championed civil rights, equality for women and the role of the Navy in the 20th century. She transformed the role of First Lady and was a key communicator between government and the people through her daily newspaper column, essays and broadcasts.

No wonder she's one of the candidates in a grassroots public effort to see a woman pictured on a new twenty dollar bill. Among those being considered are Alice Paul, Soujourner Truth, Elizabeth Cady-Stanton, Rosa Parks, Rachel Carson and Patsy Mink, among others.

Some of Eleanor Roosevelt's writing is included in "Aunt Lute's Anthology of U.S. Women Writers, Volume Two," published in 2008.

In 1943, as Americans of Japanese ancestry served in Europe and the Pacific while others were imprisoned in camps, the First Lady expressed her thoughts. At first wrestling with the contradictions, she ultimately faced the hypocrisy of the War Relocation Act in this conclusion to her essay:
"Japanese-Americans may be no more Japanese than a German-American is German, or an Italian-American is Italian. All of these people, including the Japanese-Americans, have men who are fighting today for the preservation of the democratic way of life and the ideas around which our nation was built." 
"We have no common race in this country, but we have an ideal to which all of us are loyal. It is our ideal which we want to have live. It is an ideal which can grow with our people, but we cannot progress if we look down upon any group of people among us because of race or religion. Every citizen in this country has a right to our basic freedoms, to justice and to equality of opportunity, and we retain the right to lead our individual lives as we please, but we can only do so if we grant to others the freedoms that we wish for ourselves."
In an essay, "Freedom: Promise or Fact," also written in 1943, Eleanor Roosevelt begins, "If I were a Negro today, I think I would have moments of great bitterness. It would be hard for me to sustain my faith in democracy and to build up a sense of goodwill toward men of other races."

She imagines herself a black man facing the injustices of an unequal and segregated society.
"In a comparatively short period of time the slaves have become free men – free men, that is, as far as a proclamation can make them so. There now remains much work to be done to see that freedom becomes a fact and not just a promise for my people.
Eleanor Roosevelt visits a Works Progress Administration Negro nursery school
 in Des Moines, Iowa, June 11, 1936. (Photos courtesy of FDR Library).

"I know, however that I am not the only group that has to make a similar fight. Even women of the white race still suffer inequalities and injustices, and many groups of white people in my country are slaves of economic conditions. All the world is suffering under a great war brought about because of the lag in our social development against the progress in our economic development."
The Aunt Lute anthology is a mind-opening compilation with works from hundreds of compelling women authors and poets.

For more writings from Eleanor Roosevelt, The George Washington University offers a comprehensive site dedicated to her work.

Within weeks of the end of World War II, on October 4, 1945, Roosevelt wrote: 
"Army and Navy nurses are still on duty in every branch of the service. As of June 30, 1945, 65,216 were still on duty with the services."

"These women know better than most of us what war exacts in blood and pain from all young men, and they will continue to be reminded of it. In veterans' hospitals and in civilian hospitals and homes, they are going to meet the aftermath of war as long as this generation lives. In that respect, therefore, they have a great contribution to make to peace. I hope their organizations will be strong and that they will act not only in the interests of nurses, but take their position as citizens of influence in the affairs of the whole nation."
On October 15, 1949 – four years after the war, two days after the Navy's 174th Birthday – and in the midst of the Revolt of the Admirals, she showed her support for sea and air power and encouraged joint cooperation:
"I was brought up by my husband to have a great affection for the Navy. As he had been much influenced in his early days by Alfred Thayer Mahan's books, he naturally thought that a strong Navy was essential to defense.

"There was a time when navies were not considered so important. Armies were more important. Later, the navy came into its own and now perhaps air forces have superseded both armies and navies. But no one will deny, I think, that the proper combination of all three is what really safeguards a nation.

"The decision as to the relative power and kind of power to be given to each one of the services must rest with our military chiefs. There must be a joint decision arrived at by the chiefs of the Army, Navy and Air Force. This is one place where personal jealousies, either for yourself or for your particular branch of the service, cannot be allowed to supersede the overall good of the nation."
Adm. Nimitz briefs FDR, Gen. MacArthur, and Adm. Leahy in Hawaii, July 28, 1944.
On February 23, 1960, on the eve of Fleet Admiral Nimitz's 75th birthday, Roosevelt wrote a glowing tribute to the military statesman.

Reading her essay on the former Pacific Fleet Commander, one can imagine Eleanor proposing Nimitz's visage on our money (an idea that would have been repellent to the proud but extremely humble admiral).

The folks at argue that the $20 bill is the perfect choice to honor women on our paper money. The number 20 has significance as the centennial of women's right to vote approaches in 2020. Also, with respect to Andrew Johnson, currently depicted on the $20 bill, the W2 site notes:
"Andrew Jackson was celebrated for his military prowess, for founding the Democratic party and for his simpatico with the common man. But as the seventh president of the United States, he also helped gain Congressional passage of the 'Indian Removal Act of 1830' that drove Native American tribes of the Southeastern United States off their resource-rich land and into Oklahoma to make room for white European settlers. Commonly known as the Trail of Tears, the mass relocation of Indians resulted in the deaths of thousands from exposure, disease and starvation during the westward migration."
The proposal to replace the face of President Andrew Johnson with that of a woman would be a sea change, since U.S. paper money has featured the same individuals – all white men – since 1929.

Pictured at right: Eleanor Roosevelt and Navy/WWII veteran (and future president) Senator John F. Kennedy in New York, New York, October 11, 1960. (Photos courtesy of FDR Library)

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Sunday, March 15, 2015

'Invisibles,' Led Zeppelin and Loving Your Job

Review by Bill Doughty

Led Zeppelin both opens and closes this remarkable book about "the power of anonymous work in an age of relentless self-promotion" (subtitle of "Invisibles," a 2014 book published by Portfolio/Penguin).
You'll want to crank up "When the Levee Breaks" when you read about the role of sound engineer Andy Johns, who is responsible for the sound of John Bonham's drums, Eric Clapton's and Van Halen's sounds, and the Rolling Stones' "Sticky Fingers."
Johns is one of several invisibles profiled – people who work behind the scenes and find satisfaction in what they they do and create, not in fame, fortune or recognition. 

Invisibles are new master craftsmen who value artisanal workmanship over the limelight. Think of some of the best staff non-commissioned officers, executive officers and assistants, boatswain's mates, and special operators. Their focus is on team success and quiet competence.

David Zweig, author of "Invisibles" quotes a former Navy SEAL who said he prefers the anonymity of the early 90s – prior to the explosion of the Internet – over the "seemingly incessant fascination with the SEAL Teams."

Zweig evaluates three traits of Invisibles: ambivalence toward recognition, meticulousness in their work, and a savoring of responsibility. He shows how "flow" – "the trance-like state mental that occurs when a person is completely immersed in an activity" – brings them joy, satisfaction and pride.

"If you have a pride and confidence in what you do, as Stumpf so clearly does, the rewards you reap come from within, which are, perhaps, the only true and lasting rewards. In this regard pride – and I'm not talking about the biblical connotation of pride as sin, but pride as respect for yourself, your work, your effort – is just an extension of the Invisible core treat of drawing fulfillment from the work itself, not outside acknowledgment of it."

Author David Zweig
Zweig's eclectic examples of Invisibles include a New Yorker magazine fact checker, airport wayfinder, U.N. interpreter, cinematographer, perfumer, architect, guitar technician and piano tuner. He makes references to Homer's "Iliad," Susan Cain's "Quiet," David Foster Wallace's "Infinite Jest," Alice Marwick's "Status Update," Adam Grant's "Give and Take," and Jean Twenge's "The Narcissistic Epidemic," as well as other texts and literature. And he takes the reader to Atlanta, New York, Shanghai and places in between.
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Taking a global perspective, Zweig compares the United States, where the focus is on the "vertical individualist," with much of the rest of the world, where the emphasis is on the overall collective, the entire team.
In the "so-called Confucian Belt" (which includes Korea, China, Vietnam and Japan and other nations in the region), self-promotion and attention-seeking are frowned upon and seen as immature, Zweig reports. The Japanese phrase en no shita no chikara mochi means, loosely, what's beneath the stage has great strength or power. Those behind the scenes make those on stage successful.
Zweig's insights would be useful to any student of innovation, and "Invisibles" would fit nicely on the book shelf of supporters of Secretary of the Navy Mabus's new Task Force Innovation. Zweig shows how countries that shy away from flashy individualism value soft power and quiet influence over aggressive bullying. 
His insights generate questions:

John Paul Jones met by President Obama after Kennedy Center Honors in 2012.
Is narcissism at the root of moral decay in society? Does extreme individualism fuel the wealth gap and crush the middle class? Could growing self-promotion and the need for more election money be damaging the political system and preventing consensus-building? What happens when the levee breaks?

Zweig has his own epiphany while writing this book, finding joy in the work and not in the accolades.

He wraps up with an unintentionally ironic mention of John Paul Jones – not the flashy, flamboyant and forlorn hero of the early American Navy, but the creative British bass player who, along with John Bonham, backed up Robert Plant and Jimmy Page.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

March Madness: Coach K's Philosophy & Found Haiku

Review by Bill Doughty

One foundation for Duke University men's basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski  (along with his family) is his education at West Point U.S. Military Academy, where he learned three disciplines: "respect for authority, personal responsibility and the discipline to be honest."

"Imagine if every person had such a great foundation and then the passion and heart to love what they do. They'd always love their lives," he writes in "Leading with the Heart," written in 2000 and published by Warner Books. "That's what I'd call success."

Fundamental qualities for success in leadership and performance include communication, trust, collective responsibilities, caring and pride, according to Coach K. "In leadership there are no words more important than trust. In any organization trust must be developed among every member of the team if success is going to be achieved."

Pride comes from ownership of the mission; understanding of the mission comes from communication, caring and demonstrating collective responsibility as a team.

Coach K writes about being overly rigid in his early days as a coach, but he learned how to keep his core principles while being flexible, adaptable and innovative, depending on the personalities and situations he faced as his teams evolved. Now, "I want no artificial walls erected that might limit potential, stifle creativity or shackle innovation." Good leaders must be able to think on their feet and react immediately when necessary. And good leaders give their teams freedom to excel.

"At Duke, nobody is a number. Rather, we try to plant seeds that help people grow. We try to give every individual the freedom to develop their full capabilities.

"If you put a plant in a jar, it will take the shape of the jar. but if you allow the plant to grow freely, twenty jars might not be able to hold it. The freedom to grow personally, the freedom to make mistakes and learn from them, the freedom to work hard, and the freedom to be yourself – these four freedoms should be guaranteed by every leader in every organization."

Touring the Pentagon after the 1992 season.
A pivotal moment in the book is his retelling of one of the most memorable plays in college sports history, the East Regional championship game against the University of Kentucky in March 1992. The Duke Blue Devils were down 103 to 102 with 2.1 seconds left in the game. Coach K called up a play for Grant Hill to pass the ball 75 feet down the length of the court to Christian Laettner at the top of the key on the other end.

It's what happened immediately before the play was called and immediately after it was executed that sets Coach Krzyzewski apart as a great coach, leader and human being. It must be read in its entirety to be fully appreciated, and it's too long to excerpt here.

Speaking with Soldiers at Fort Bragg.
In "Leading with the Heart," Krzyzewski offers practical advice for leading teams with exuberance and excitement, always living with integrity, demonstrating confidence, using plural pronouns such as "we" and "our" instead of "me" and "my," and building pride, unity and motivation through traditions. 

Returning several times to examples from his experience at West Point, Coach K writes:

"I find that people, generally, want to be on a team. They want to be part of something bigger than themselves. They want to be in a situation where they feel that they are doing something for the greater good."

Found Haiku in Coach K's Philosophy

This book is filled with Sun Tzu or Confucius-like sayings like, "Never let a person's weakness get in the way of his strength," "Sometimes a loss can be a win," and "The only way you lose is if you don't try your best."

Within some of his words of wisdom are "found haiku," poems or verses generally fitting the rule of three lines of 5-7-5 syllables.

Here are some found haiku in "Leading with Heart":

The deal is [in] the
handshake; the deal is that there
won't be any deals

You hear, you forget;
You see, you remember; You
do, you understand

Confidence can be
an extremely effective
weapon against fear

Confidence shared
is better than confidence
only in yourself

A key principle:
don't worry about losing;
think about winning

People have to be
given the freedom to show
the heart they possess

And at the heart of
character is honesty
and integrity

Help me do my best,
help me be myself, and help
me lead with my heart

"Leading with the Heart: Coach K's Successful Strategies for Basketball, Business and Life" by Mike Krzyzewski with Donald T. Phillips was written 15 years ago, so references to Duke basketball players and others are somewhat dated (no mention of Jahlil Okafor, for example, who was only four years old at the time), but references harken back to some great memories of NCAA seasons and games. Among the names Coach K recounts in hardwood stories: Bobby Hurley, Grant Hill, Danny Ferry, Chris Collins, Trajan Langdan, Steve "Wojo" Wojciechowski, Shane Battier, Christian Laettner, Tommy Amaker and Johnny Dawkins.

Coach K's book is on CNO Adm. Greenert's professional reading list. 

Duke Blue Devils (28-3) are ranked 3 by the AP as of March 8. Coach K's team was victorious yesterday over the University of North Carolina at Dean E. Smith Center, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Down by two points at the half, they ended with a win at 84-77. They are expected to be a number-one seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament bracket.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Selma March II; 'Our Military at its Best'

by Bill Doughty
John Lewis in 1965

President Lyndon B. Johnson, a World War II Navy veteran and Navy reservist, called for Navy divers to help search for missing victims of the civil rights movement in the 1960s.

Fifty years ago, after activists were gassed and beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge on "Bloody Sunday," LBJ called in military resources to protect demonstrators.

The bridge was named for a Confederate general, Alabama Senator and KKK leader. It became a battlefield defended by Alabama state police against people who wanted equality and the right to vote. 
LBJ directed the military to protect the demonstrators who refused to give up their march for democratic ideals.

The second attempt to march across the bridge was a success and, according to Congressman John Lewis, a turning point in what he calls a revolution of values and ideas.

Two weeks earlier, Lewis was among those who were clubbed, gassed and trampled by horses. Recently, he told Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation that he thought he would die. But Lewis expressed his gratitude for the military's protection of the march from Selma to Montgomery. He also told Schieffer how extraordinary it was to hear FBI Director Comey voice his support for transparency and accountability of law enforcement.

LBJ's military was there "all along the way. People inspecting the bridges along the way. Guarding the camps at night. It was our military. It was our military at its best," Lewis said.

Demonstrators, white and black, marched peacefully for equality and against discrimination in the voting process, where African Americans were singled out for tests on literacy, knowledge or character in order to restrict their ability to register to vote.  They were forced to try to answer ridiculous questions like, "How many bubbles are in a bar of soap?" When they attempted to vote regardless, they were blocked or beaten.
In LBJ's speech before Congress on Voting Rights delivered March 15, 1965 he made several references to the military:
"At times, history and fate meet at a single time in a single place to shape a turning point in man's unending search for freedom. So it was at Lexington and Concord. So it was a century ago at Appomattox. So it was last week in Selma, Alabama. 
"... As we meet here in this peaceful historic chamber tonight, men from the South, some of whom were at Iwo Jima, men from the North who have carried Old Glory to the far corners of the world and who brought it back without a stain on it, men from the east and from the west are all fighting together without regard to religion or color or region in Vietnam."
Congressman Lewis, who led the original march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge 50 years ago, and who is marching with Commander in Chief President Barack Obama this week, recounts his experience for young people in a graphic novel series called "March."
Book 1 starts with Lewis as a boy growing up in rural Alabama and takes us through his meeting with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the death of Emmett Till, the activism of Rosa Parks, and interracial lunch counter demonstrations to achieve equality and integration.  Book 2 of "March" was recently published, and Book 3 is on its way.
In 2012, Lewis published "Across that Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change."

Douglas Brinkley, who wrote "Across that Bridge's" introduction, calls Lewis an "apostle of quiet strength." He says, "Every young person should read this homily of civility, a welcome antidote to the noisy chatter of self indulgence exemplified by the surge of me-me-me social media in our lives."

Lewis, himself, lives in the light of Dr. King. He writes with poetic flair:
"Lean toward the whisper of your own heart, discover the universal truth, and follow its dictates. Know the truth always leads to love and the perpetuation of peace. Its products are never bitterness and strife."
Navy veteran President Johnson shakes hands with Dr. King after signing Voting Rights Act.
Johnson seemed to listen to what Lincoln described as "the better angels of our nature" in LBJ's speech 50 years ago. He echoed the nonviolence themes of "we shall overcome," and he called for all Americans to live up to the ideals of the Constitution as he obviously considered his own place in history:
"We must preserve the right to free assembly ... We do have a right to protest. And a right to march under conditions that do not infringe the Constitutional rights of our neighbors. And I intend to protect all those rights as long as I am permitted to serve in this office.
"We will guard against violence, knowing it strikes from our hands the very weapons which we seek – progress, obedience to law, and belief in American values. In Selma, as elsewhere, we seek and pray for peace. We seek order, we seek unity, but we will not accept the peace of stifled rights or the order imposed by fear, or the unity that stifles protest – for peace cannot be purchased at the cost of liberty.
"I want to be the president who educated young children to the wonders of their world. I want to be the President who helped to feed the hungry and to prepare them to be taxpayers instead of tax eaters. I want to be the President who helped the poor to find their own way and who protected the right of every citizen to vote in every election. I want to be the President who helped to end hatred among his fellow men and who promoted love among the people of all races, all regions and all parties. I want to be the President who helped to end war among the brothers of this earth."
United States Congressman John Lewis was 23 years old, about the average age of a shipboard Sailor today, when he helped lead the march in Selma. 

The graphic novel "March" fittingly portrays him speaking to young people and explaining how he came to appreciate life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

His perspective on where we were, how far we've come and the role of the military in the defense of freedom is invaluable.