Desire to Have Good Will Makes for More Feeling
Studying now in classes taught by Ellen
Reiss, I am learning what every person, and certainly nations need to know:
what kind of feeling do we want to have. In one class, when I was
speaking in a complacent manner about a friend I care for, Ms. Reiss asked
me questions that had me know myself better and make choices that expressed
me truly. She said:
As you think about people, is there a deep
feeling--'God, I want this person to succeed!'....Do you want who you are
to really be engaged in having a person be all they can be?....Do you think
As I thought about the meaning of "staying power,"
I saw it's the thing I want most: to think about a person steadily and
deeply. Really thinking about what my wife hopes for and where she wants
to be better, has enabled me to respect myself and has made for passionate
feeling between us.
MP. I like to avoid controversy.
ER. But before you really say anything,
there is how you think. Do you think Ms. Abel misses anything from
you here--your staying power in terms of being deep?
the end of the war, Charles De Gaulle headed a provisional French Government.
Writes biographer Charles Williams:
he immediately declared that the major sources
of wealth must be exploited, not for the profit of a few but for the advantage
of all....that all French men and women had the right to live, work, and
bring up their children in 'security and dignity.'
De Gaulle nationalized utilities, the coal fields,
the major banks, improved the social security system, medical care, unemployment
pay. Said Williams, "It was as near to socialism as it could
be without the name itself." And De Gaulle promised to work toward
having all of France's colonial possessions, including Vietnam, gain freedom.
He wanted to start a dialogue with Ho Chi Minh. But the plans were
short-lived. After the war ended, the old French Republic was restored,
with little power for its leader and a frustrated De Gaulle retired.
But l2 years later, in 1958, with France on the brink of civil war over
the future of Algeria, where native Algerians had been fighting for their
independence, the country once again turned to De Gaulle. He proceeded
to work for Algerian independence, barely escaping two assassination attempts.
He called for a referendum, asking the people for:
an emancipated Algeria...an Algeria
which, if the Algerians so wish--and I believe this to be the case--will
have its own government, its own institutions, its own laws.
In a landslide vote, Algeria got its independence.
In the next
years, as President of a new French Republic, De Gaulle had some of his
strongest feeling as he criticized the U.S war in Vietnam, calling it "unjust,
detestable...lead[ing] a great nation to ravage a small one." He also refused
to take part in this country's cruel and unjust embargo of Cuba, and was
angry at what he felt was the U.S.'s desire to dominate Europe thru NATO,
eventually ejecting NATO from Paris.
In a lecture,
Mr. Siegel said,
We would like to be of everything and get
into things as deeply as possible, but we should also like to be away from
things and above them.
While showing large and important feeling
in world affairs, De Gaulle, as time went on, went too much away from the
feelings of his people. In 1968, ten years into his Presidency, riots
broke out in Paris, by students whose needs had been neglected. It soon
spread to workers. Throughout history people have had this question--"how
much am I going to give myself to justice, how complete do I want to be?"
It is equivalent to having more feeling or going for less. After
order was restored, a badly shaken De Gaulle called for a referendum to
give greater governing participation to the students and workers.
It was too little and too late, and was rejected in a close vote.
De Gaulle decided to step down, and a year later, this man who had survived
two World Wars, the Nazis, two assassination attempts--died quietly in
his home, at age 80.
In his will
he asked that he have no public funeral, no orations or fanfare.
But on the day of the private funeral, tens of thousands walked in a heavy
rain to the Arc de Triomphe in honor of the man who had walked with them
some 26 years earlier on that emotion-filled day of liberation.
shows that our deepest hope is to have large, accurate feeling about other
people and the world itself, and this knowledge has never been more needed.
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