Susan Ives, Writer

Susan’s Express-News Columns

From 2003-2005 I wrote a weekly op-ed column for the San Antonio Express-News. Although the specific events that sparked most of my passion and ire are long past, I’m amazed at how often the same old topics crop up again and again.

peaceCENTERbooks has collected my columns in a book, “Squint.” From the introduction: “Those with blurry vision, those of us who squint and peer, who don’t always see clearly and know it, who doubt the evidence of our lying eyes: we too have a role. We are skeptics, the name taken by the disciples of the Greek philosopher Pyrrho from the word skeptesthai, meaning to reflect, to look, to view. Not to see clearly, but to keep looking: keep looking even when we think we have found the answer, keep looking even when we think we have seen the truth, keep looking because the one thing we know with absolute certainty is that our sight is imperfect and there is always more to be seen.

Read a few columns . . .

Save the world — on the cheap

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, January 23, 2005 by Susan Ives I've always struggled over the passage in the Bible where Mary of Bethany is about to rub Jesus' feet with expensive oil. Judas kicks up a fuss. "We could feed a lot of poor folks if...

Scholar bridges Islam and West

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, November 28, 2004 by Susan Ives In his 1973 book "The Best and the Brightest," David Halberstam described how firing most of the State Department's Far East experts during McCarthy-era witch hunts left a gap in...

Seeking fair pay, women march on

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, February 27, 2005 by Susan Ives The dishwashing job was hers, I told Margie. Minimum wage, $1.75 an hour, but they throw in breakfast and lunch. Good food: I help cook it. The boss took some convincing. I filled in...

The airwaves belong to the people

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, October 10, 2004 by Susan Ives Repeat after me: The airwaves belong to the people. Say it again: The airwaves belong to the people. Hold that thought. The Sinclair Broadcast Group, which owns 62 television stations...

Proposed ban on gay foster parents bad idea

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, May 8, 2005 by Susan Ives On mothers day we honor mothers. All mothers. Soccer moms who haul their kids to a string activities every afternoon in SUVs and barely-making-it moms who carve out an hour once a week to...

On this day of forgiveness, an example to follow

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, March 27, 2005 by Susan Ives I've always thought that Easter morning must have been a mixed blessing for Jesus' 11 remaining disciples. They spent all day Saturday weeping and grieving and were at it again the next...

Pouring oil on world’s troubled waters

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, September 12, 2004 by Susan Ives So a bunch of us are sitting at Starbucks when there's a lull in the conversation and I pick up a copy of Al-Madar that's lying open on the table. It's not like I can read Arabic,...

In the name of Ashcroft’s drug war, states’ rights take a hit

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, December 5, 2004 by Susan Ives On Monday the Supreme Court heard arguments about the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. The arguments, oddly enough, aren't about whether smoking pot is a legitimate and...

Proposed ban on gay foster parents bad idea

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News May 8, 2005 by Susan Ives On mothers day we honor mothers. All mothers. Soccer moms who haul their kids to a string activities every afternoon in SUVs and barely-making-it moms who carve out an hour once a week to...

Witnessing return of soldiers a nation’s duty

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, May 2, 2004 by Susan Ives There is no privacy in a combat zone. You eat together, sleep together, shower together. You wear your rank on your collar and your unit on your sleeve. You are never alone, even in death....

Closing the polls not an option

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, July 25, 2004 by Susan Ives Earlier this month, Newsweek reported that the federal government is considering the possibility of postponing the presidential election if there is a terrorist attack or the threat of...

Remember yesterday’s nuclear fallout when making policy today

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, August 1, 2004 by Susan Ives This is what happens when you drop a 1-megaton nuclear bomb. Everyone within about six square miles of the blast will be vaporized — turned to dust — by the gamma rays coming from the...

Today, be an extremist for all types of love

I imagine St. Valentine and Martin Luther King Jr. hanging out in heaven, leaning against the pearly gates, trading war stories — no, make that peace stories. The two martyrs had much in common. Like being thrown in prison for civil disobedience. King’s use of...

Installing public toilets downtown the humane way for city to go

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, April 10, 2005 by Susan Ives For the past few weeks I've been talking about nothing but toilets. All toilet, all the time. In February, the City Council passed an ordinance that made public urination and defecation...

Draft is a bad idea — but so is the unfair burden of war

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, January 3, 2004 by Susan Ives My inbox has been buzzing with questions about the draft. A year ago, as it became clear that the Bush administration was headed for a war on Iraq, Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., stumped...

Helping Liberia is a righteous mission for Americans

Originally July 19, 2003 by Susan Ives It's the rainy season in West Africa and the half million Liberians who fled their homes to escape the crossfire of the 14-year-long civil war are living in roofless shacks with muddy floors. "Imagine living in a pig pen," said...

Formula for success at the polls: voters who want to vote

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, May 11 2003 by Susan Ives This is a math moment. When I was in college we were taught "the calculus of voting." Professors recognize that the reason people major in political science is to avoid calculus — if we...

Religion and politics kept apart for a reason

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, June 20, 2004 by Susan Ives It started June 1, when the Pennsylvania arm of the Bush presidential campaign was asked to help identify 1,600 "friendly" houses of worship that might be willing to recruit volunteers...

Celebrate with the pomp befitting a free people

by Susan Ives Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, July 4, 2004 Aunt Lydia would bring hot dogs. Aunt Alma marched through the kitchen carrying her big plastic bowl singing, “Stuck a feather in his hat and called it ...” and we’d all chime in,...

Reclaiming America over a cup of joe

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, October 31, 2004 by Susan Ives At the Wednesday evening drink-latte-and-fight-about-politics club, one of the regulars announced he had decided to vote for President Bush. We all laughed. You'd have to know this...

Activist slows down, but not much

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, February 7, 2004 by Susan Ives It started in the late 1950s, when New York was thinking about routing buses through Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village. Grace Paley should have been basking in the glowing...

Burbank students learning more than the three R’s

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, June 28 2003 by Susan Ives The first project of the fledgling Amnesty International chapter at Burbank High School was a letter writing party. To His Excellency, Mr. Thabo Mabeki: I am concerned about the spiraling...

Shooting down Robertson’s suggestion

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News on August 28, 2005 by Susan Ives When I heard Pat Robertson calling for the assassination of Venezuela's president, Hugo Chávez, my first thought was that the evangelical Christian viewers of "The 700 Club" were...

Kristallnacht a reminder of the horrors we, sadly, do forget

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, November 7, 2004 by Susan Ives By 1938 the Nazis had been in power for five years and were steadily working on their vile vision of a Germany that was Judenfrei, free of Jews. On Oct. 28, 1938, the Gestapo rounded...

Open minds, and dialogues, make for a more peaceful world

Originally published in the San Antonio Express-News, September 26, 2004 by Susan Ives The first presidential election I remember is the one in 1960, when I was 8. I wore my Kennedy button proudly, spouting slogans such as "I'm for the Democrats because they stand up...

peaceCENTERbooks

In 2007, An Helmke and I founded peaceCENTERbooks, a community publishing initiative. We publish selected books that we fervently hope will celebrate peace, teach peace and assist those who are working for peace and justice in our city and other communities across the planet. And , of course, my name appears on a few of the covers.

Books about the Death Penalty
These three books are compilations of classic texts.

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