If you haven’t seen Hacksaw Ridge, see it.

I started to write a simple Facebook post, but thought better of it. There’s more I want to say than I think should go there. So, I’ve decided to write a proper blog post. My first in months.

Generally, I don’t like movies that glorify war. I don’t condone war. Or the death penalty. Or really violence of any kind. But this movie doesn’t glorify war. Not really.

It’s about a man, a Seven Day Adventist, who doesn’t believe in killing. For any reason. But he decides to enlist in the Army during World War II as a medic. His faith and conviction allowed him to save 75 wounded men.

He never picked up a weapon and never took a life.

I admit to a sensitive side (don’t tell anyone), but rarely to I shed more than a tear at the most emotionally wrenching scenes. But I cried at more than one point as I watched.

As the 140-minute movie ended, watching real-life accounts from just a few of the men he saved and of Desmond himself, I thought about my own pacifist convictions.

Unlike Desmond Doss, I don’t believe in the notion of a “just war.” He didn’t believe in killing, but saw the war as justified and wanted to do his part. Without killing anyone. Despite my belief, however, after watching this movie I couldn’t help but wonder about the strength of my own conviction. What would I be willing to sacrifice to avoid committing violence? Or to prevent someone else from committing violence?

The answer is simple; I don’t know.

But if I don’t know the answer to those questions, I’m forced to wonder just how strong my convictions are. Maybe no one really knows until their put in an impossible situation.

In the end, I guess it’s just ethical or philosophical theory. Either way, I’ll close where I began. See Hacksaw Ridge. You won’t regret it.

And if you can get to the end without sobbing, you’re stronger than I.

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Here’s the video I recorded a couple weeks ago, then promptly forgot to post.

Crash Test Dummies has a handful of songs, all of which remind me, one way or another of high school. Though not the happiest time of my life, I discovered much of my favorite music during those formative years.

Perhaps not surprising, there other bands who have written songs about (or that reference) Superman, including R.E.M., 3 Doors Down, Spin Doctors, and the Flaming Lips. It’s likely I’ll cover at least one more of these.

Anyway, enjoy.

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So, I think everyone knows I’m currently a graduate student, online, at George Washington University. It’s been a great experience so far, with only occasional stress.

Well, yesterday I indicated which elective courses I will be taking for the remainder of the program. And I’m pretty excited about it, so I thought I’d share.

State & Local Campaigns – Application of campaign strategy and management principles to electoral races at the state and local levels. Staffing, budgeting, and strategic challenges for what are typically lower-visibility contests that involve state and local candidates. Coordinated campaigns and the impact of the national party’s reputation on these down-ballot races.

Fundraising & Budgeting – Raising and spending money in political campaigns, referenda contests, issue advocacy, and lobbying efforts. Budgeting process, standard controls to check expenditures, accounting procedures, and general strategies for use in effective fundraising.

Digital Strategy – Development of an integrated digital strategy for use in advocacy and electoral campaigns. Introduction to the theoretical concepts, distinctive technologies, applied skills, and managerial challenges associated with digital campaigning. Search engine optimization, GPS, online payment systems, customizing back- and front-end systems to meet strategic goals and budget parameters, working with IT vendors and distance volunteers, legal and cultural considerations in the US and other regimes, site rollout and scaling, security and privacy.

Issues Management – Track, influence, and alter politically significant issue-related discourses and policy developments. Legislative, executive, and judicial venues and processes for policymaking; state referendum, initiative, and recall ballot opportunities; organizational structures, including digital procedures, for issue management.

Campaign Strategy – Orientation to the basic systems and technologies that must be created and managed to produce electoral victory. The campaign plan and campaign budget as the foundation for management of campaigns. Focus on development of a campaign plan.

Grassroots Engagement – Strategies and techniques to build advocacy support among and across general civic populations. Identification of potential supporters through database targeting and individual outreach. Motivation and training of interested supporters for grassroots action in campaigns, at public forums, and before decision-makers. Coalition and protest options; analytics of ongoing efforts.

Cool, right?

These are all the courses I’ll be taking, more or less in order between now and when I graduate sometime early to mid-summer.

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The last few weeks have been hectic, so I haven’t had an opportunity to record any new music videos. But, I graduated from Kuleana Academy this past weekend (I’ll be writing a separate post about that soon), so I may have a bit more flexibility in time going forward.

Today, while walking to and back from lunch, I listened to last week’s Intercepted podcast. There was a portion that talked about Reverend Martin Luther King’s speech given 50 years ago. That particular segment of the podcast was particularly interesting. Both inspiring and a bit sad.

So, in honor of the great man on this anniversary of his “Beyond Vietnam — A Time to Break Silence” speech, as well as the anniversary of his assassination a year later, I’m putting this here for everyone to listen to.

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They Might Be Giants (TMBG); a band from my youth that I continue to love. Back in middle school, you could find them in the “alternative” section of the music store, though these days I would struggle to categorize them.

Excellent live, I have seen TMBG in concert more than any other band.

This song, “Dead,” is from their third, but breakthrough album Flood, released in 1990.

They primarily do kids songs now, so if you have little ones, I highly recommend you check them out for your keiki. Fun and intelligent, TMBG are good for all ages.

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