Friday, November 10, 2006

Then and Now

This morning I recalled an essay by Harper Magazine's illustrious editor Lewis Lapham, in which he described the experience at about age ten helping his grandfather--who was mayor of San Francisco at the time--host the delegates from around the world as they worked through such documents as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as they had assembled for the purpose of forming the UN. Watching and listening in the Opera House across from City Hall, Lapham was inspired by the lofty goals of world peace and cooperation expressed over the days and weeks involved.

Today, whenever I walk through UN Plaza leading to the SF City Hall steps through a maze of flags of the world, or pause in front of the bronze plaque commemorating the international delegates' gathering at Muir Woods National Monument just over the mountain from where I live, I think of what they set out to do, and how San Francisco continues to excite our collective conscience. So I guess it doesn't matter where we gather to draft a petition calling for the US government to abide by the Constitution as well as international law, but I think the signing deserves to take place on UN Plaza. We could even invite Lewis Lapham.


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