It is humankind's loss that Howard Zinn is no longer alive. Zinn, most famous for his A People's History of the United States, fought tirelessly for the rights of minorities, for an end to war-mongering, and for skepticism of power. Never one to censor himself, his words break through that boundary of time, as if he were still here:
"Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens."
Los Angeles got to be with Zinn on his last day on Earth. He was traveling in Santa Monica today when, as all hearts will one day, his gave out. His life ended abruptly, and he is no longer here to tell us how important it is to fight, to have faith (the kind based on evidence, that is), to defend truth, to stand up for those principles in which we believe. It is most important in these times of loss that we, as freethinkers, remember that our heroes have brief moments on Earth that, when they die, are over -- really over. There is no Heaven for them. No place to bury our obligations to the world by expecting our idols to do all the work for us.
We must be the next Howard Zinns.