Mississippi Review – Fall 2004
Volume 32 Number 3
Entitled “Politics & Religion,” this issue of the Mississippi Review might just as aptly be named the “Stand on the Rooftop and Shout Yes, Yes, Yes!” issue.
Entitled “Politics & Religion,” this issue of the Mississippi Review might just as aptly be named the “Stand on the Rooftop and Shout Yes, Yes, Yes!” issue. I found myself exclaiming aloud more than once as I sat locked in one visceral essay after another. As guest editor Gary Percesepe writes in his dynamite introduction: “The essays, poems, and stories that have been collected here amount to a prophetic call to reexamine the foundations of political life.” What most recommends this issue are the many voices presented in its pages—voices personal, academic, journalistic, religious, political, poetical—all unified in their articulation of what exactly needs to change in the corroded cultural/political fabric of the United States. Bill Moyers gives an earnest, personal appraisal of the widening class-gap accelerated by the profiteering policies of a Religious Right. Noam Chomsky’s detached analysis of the rhetorical and media manipulations used to support the Bush administration’s yen for invading Iraq is shocking and nearly impossible to argue down. Best of all, however, is an essay by Rabbi Michael Lerner entitled “Closed Hearts, Closed Minds,” which deals very sympathetically with the phenomenon of radical conservatism, and calls upon liberals and leftists to adopt a new, whole-hearted perspective with the aim of eventually closing the divisive political chasms of our nation. “…What the Left fails to understand are the rational core of needs that are not being addressed in the larger society which are addressed, albeit in distorted form, in these communities of meaning [read: right-wing communities].” With this issue, the Mississippi Review has in one fell swoop powerfully enriched the essential, indispensable cultural dialogue of a nation at war with itself.