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Front Page » Authors » Bio for Mike Maggio » Archives for Mike Maggio

By Mike Maggio on March 7, 2010

There are poems and there are POEMS. The kind you learned in elementary school and remain with you, for good or bad, defining, for many, a genre that should be avoided at all costs. Or the kind that hit you straight in the gut and remind you, if you are lucky enough to have gotten this far, just how powerful words can be.

For those of you who are in the latter group – clinging to those gut-wrenching, mind-bending poems you just can’t get out of your mind – Split This Rock Poetry Festival, to be held right here in DC, you’ll want to put on your literary calendar.

Billed as a celebration of “poetry’s power as an agent of change,” Split This Rock brings together poets, artists and social activists from across the country – indeed, from across the globe – in a gathering whose goal is to pull the rigid chains of the political establishment. And what better place to do this than at the gravitational center of world power.

Read more of this post here ...

By Mike Maggio on November 24, 2009

Since the Washington Post refused to print my letter in response to an article in their Sunday paper a week and a half ago, I've decided to publish it here.

Read more of this post here ...

By Mike Maggio on January 15, 2009

On Friday, January 16, the ANSWER Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) is calling for residents of the Washington DC area to gather in front of the Washington Post headquarters to protest their coverage of the Israeli war on Gaza and their silence regarding the numerous demonstrations that have taken place around the world to protest their disproportionate aggression.

For those of you who cannot make these protests, I am asking that they submit letters of protest to the editor of the Washington Post. Perhaps if we bombard them with letters (as the Israelis are bombarding the Palestinians with bombs), they will hear our cries and start doing their jobs.

The following is a letter I wrote this week to the Washington Post, a letter which, so far, they have refused to print.

Thanks for your vigilance.

In solidarity and peace,
Mike Maggio

Read more of this post here ...

By Mike Maggio on January 14, 2009

Because I cannot remain silent
Because Goliath has once again
raised it ruthless hand
against a beleaguered population
Because the world has lost its tongue
the media its righteous arm
in blind complicity
Because the Christian and Moslem
population of Palestine
has suffered too long
I offer you this translation
of Nizar Qabaani.

May peace shine down
like a soothing ray of sun.
May the forces of justice reign strong
on a region rent by rage.
May the bleeding stop
the killing cease
the bombs lie down
and rest forever
in their fettered bunkers.

5 AM, January 13, 2009
Herndon, Virginia

Read more of this post here ...

By Mike Maggio on January 6, 2009

Ever since the creation of the State of Israel, established by non-indigenous Europeans at the expense of the native Arab and Jewish Palestinian population, the Middle East has been in constant conflict. The Palestinian Diaspora, chased away by fear and threats and, yes, terrorism, has fought for its legitimate right to return to their homeland, and the Israeli population has striven to live normal lives in a land they consider historically theirs, a land surrounded by neighbors with a different point of view.

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By Mike Maggio on August 24, 2008

Over the past couple of weeks, we have seen a reprise of the now infamous Swift Boat campaign that was waged against John Kerry in 2004. Fighting an upward battle against a candidate that exhibits more charisma and more interest than he is able to muster, John McCain, the purported Republican maverick, has resorted to the same tired and underhanded tactics that George W. Bush utilized in his fight against his Democratic rival four years ago. Whereas in 2004, Kerry’s recognized service in Vietnam was twisted to make it look like something that was fabricated in a Hollywood studio, this year’s approach involves taking Obama’s populist stand and his commanding popularity among voters and blurring it into a vortex that has people wondering if he is nothing more than a vapid celebrity with no viable political or leadership credentials.
As in 2004, these tactics are beginning to have an affect on public opinion. Obama’s lead in the polls is slowly being chipped away at and, while he may still be slightly ahead, his previous advantage over McCain is now nothing more than a statistical tie.
While some commentators, such as CNN’s James Carville (“Why Obama has to get mad to win”), have suggested that it’s time for Obama to get negative or even exhibit a modicum of anger, the fact remains that these kinds of tactics undermine the democratic process and only lead to further cynicism among the electorate. Attack ads, created by “independent” groups whose associations with the candidate are often murky, blur fact and fiction together so that the average viewer, who might not be all that interested in politics to begin with and who might not otherwise have the time or inclination to ferret out the truth, serve merely to pull the wool over society’s collective eye. Their ultimate affect: is to turn voters against the candidates or to keep them home on Election Day altogether.
The use of dirty tricks in elections, particularly by candidates who might not otherwise have a reasonable chance of winning, is nothing new. Richard Nixon was famous for them. Nor are they limited to any one party. The affect, however, that is has on the electorate and on the very fabric of our democracy is nothing that should be brushed aside lightly.
The United States is often touted as the world’s greatest democracy. While I often take exception to this notion (how many other democracies, after all, systemically shut the door on, what we like to call, third party candidates or, in the more sanitized version, independent candidates? Just look at Italy and France and some of the other western democracies and you’ll see Communists, Socialists, and other “marginal” groups openly participating in and often winning elections) – so while I may not believe that our country is the epitome of democratic rule, I do believe in the fundamental basics of our system of government. And while the United States may be forever locked in to a two-party system, we must make every effort to guarantee that the mechanisms that have been put in place to assure a say in that system by every citizen in the country are not, at best, minimized, or, at worst, destroyed. And two of the most dangerous elements currently at work at undermining that system are lobbyists and their bastard child, Swift Boating, both of which go hand in hand and both of which are systemically allowed, if not imprimatured, by the powers that be.
This is what allowed George W. Bush, who lost the popular vote in 2000, to ultimately occupy the presidency. This is what allowed the defeat of John Kerry in 2004 who, until the Swift Boat campaign was waged against him, was holding a solid lead against his Republican rival. And, what is worse, this is what allowed the electorate to remain complacent in both instances.
So what is to be done to restore the people’s confidence in the system so that we may truly believe that whoever wins the election in November ultimately deserves the victory?
We’ve already seen our elected officials, including John McCain, attempt to address the lobbyist issue. This is a truly thorny matter because those who are entrusted with the task of unraveling this tightly knit ball, are themselves under the influence. How, then, can we expect them to fix a problem that they themselves are a part of if not addicted to? Unfortunately, there are not enough “independents,” such as Kucinich and Sanders (both of whom are Socialists, though God forbid the media try to use that word) to effectively untangle the knot.
As for Swift Boating – well it is, after all, protected by “free speech.” Waging a war against it would be tantamount to waging a war against the constitution, as un-American, it would be argued, attacking our free market system. Though, truth be told, I did think deceit (and John McCain did approve those messages) was against the rules.
So maybe the commentators are right. Maybe Obama needs to get mad. Damn spanking mad. That way he can regain his lead in the polls again and, perhaps, win the election.
Still, if the current status quo in American electoral politics is allowed to fester, the ultimate loser will be our most cherished national treasure: democracy.

By Mike Maggio on August 24, 2008

Over the past couple of weeks, we have seen a reprise of the now infamous Swift Boat campaign that was waged against John Kerry in 2004. Fighting an upward battle against a candidate that exhibits more charisma and more interest than he is able to muster, John McCain, the purported Republican maverick, has resorted to the same tired and underhanded tactics that George W. Bush utilized in his fight against his Democratic rival four years ago. Whereas in 2004, Kerry’s recognized service in Vietnam was twisted to make it look like something that was fabricated in a Hollywood studio, this year’s approach involves taking Obama’s populist stand and his commanding popularity among voters and blurring it into a vortex that has people wondering if he is nothing more than a vapid celebrity with no viable political or leadership credentials.

Read more of this post here ...

By Mike Maggio on September 22, 2007

This week the Washington Post printed a letter of mine which responded to an article on Representative Jim Moran (Democratic-VA-08) and his supposedly anti-semitic comments. Here is the letter in its entirety.

Read more of this post here ...

By Mike Maggio on April 28, 2007

Once, I dreamed of sunshine. There was a big, bright ball of yellow swelling in the sky, and there was I, illuminated in the light, like a saint crowned in halo, ready to perform the most testing of miracles. That's the way I viewed my life when I was a budding youth: nothing was too big or too difficult to be accomplished. I knew that, one day, I would use my skills and talents to help change the world, make it a better place for all.

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By Mike Maggio on March 19, 2007

One of the greatest mistakes made by the left during the Vietnam War was the way we treated the soldiers as they returned from the conflict. Instead of embracing them and recognizing them for what they were - collateral victims of a war many did not support and were forced to fight - we rejected them outright as if they were responsible for what had gone on.

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