I AM IN POCANTICO, NEW YORK, AT KYKUIT, the former estate of John D. Rockefeller for an interesting conference organized by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Carnegie Council for Ethics and International Affairs. I have been extremely busy up here and only now able to find a way on line recently.
I have some longer, more thoughtful posts to get up soon, but I need to edit them and see if they can withstand the scrutiny of those who make it through this blog. But I wanted to post an interesting bit of local trivia that has nothing to do with the Bush-Kerry contest but perhaps something to do with the question of where the American economy is heading.
This is a nice place, obviously. I’m actually staying in Kykuit, John D. Rockefeller’s house, as well as his first son’s house when he died, and then Nelson’s after that. And the topic of this conference is called “Reinventing Globalization.” Gathered here are some extremely impressive funders, progressive NGO leaders from around the world, former journalists, and policy intellectuals who are thinking about ways to empower developing nations in a world where the cards are stacked against them. We also have a lot of people here who are keenly aware that the cards are stacked against working and lesser (or un-) employed Americans.
It’s interesting to do this from the Rockefeller estate, symbollically the home of such monopolistic wealth at one time in history — and I do applaud the philanthropy and vision that allows those that have such wealth to consider soberly what is not going right in the world. I think that the funders of this meeting are working through the right issues.
Andrew Carnegie — you all know him. He probably funded the building and outfitting of a library near you (if you are in the U.S.). He is buried down the road at the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. Washington Irving, Ichabod Crane, and the Headless Horsemen were all from this little nook.
But buried just next to Andrew Carnegie is Samuel Gompers, the first president of the American Federation of Labor.
I find this a fun bit of trivia; ironic on many levels. Perhaps this will help someone unseat the reigning and seemingly unbeatable champion on Jeopardy.
But let me take cemetary placements a step further. At the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C., former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover is buried only three places away (same aisle) from his trusted aide and life long, live-in partner, Clyde Tolson. Just down two or three spots from Clyde is a moving burial sight for a gay Vietnam veteran that reports that he was awarded medals for killing people — and then had them taken away for loving someone.
At Westminster Abbey, Elizabeth and Mary, the two daughters of Henry VIII, who each ruled England but from rival, competitive religious stances are buried in the same crypt.
Nothing more to report on this, but I am getting the sense that odd bedfellows are more important than any of us may think, particularly in politics.
More on Bush/Kerry and the election later.
— Steve Clemons