Attorney General William Barr’s answer to a CBS interviewer’s question, “How do you think history will judge [your] decision [to drop charges against Michael Flynn]?” perfectly captures the governing ethos of today’s Republican Party. With the smirk of a cat that swallowed the canary, he gave it all up: “History is written by the winners.” Continue reading “Winning”
As Naomi Klein explained in her 2007 book, Shock Doctrine, extreme circumstances and fear can make choices a society once considered unacceptable suddenly seem necessary and appropriate. For better or worse, these choices can re-set people’s expectations and become a new normal. From such disruption dictators can arise. But valuable lessons and changes for the better can also take hold and possibly endure. We would be wise to notice and cultivate re-sets that lift us, personally and socially. Here are three on my list. Continue reading “Looking Forward from Corona”
As Naomi Klein explained in “Shock Doctrine,” sudden social and economic disruptions provide opportunities to advance deep cultural change. Ideas on the periphery of mainstream thinking can be re-introduced in the midst of distracting turmoil, when standard notions are in flux and maybe not seen as working. The Corona virus is presenting the world, and Americans, with opportunities and choices that will reveal our core values, individually and collectively. It’s a good time to ask what we want. Continue reading “Change In a Crisis”
Maybe it’s only through hindsight that we can see when a society’s slide into authoritarianism becomes inevitable. Historians say democracies die from within. One can imagine ordinary citizens mistaking the increasing drama for politics as usual. And it’s easy to see how those benefitting from the concentration of power would tell themselves they can always stop the authoritarian leader from “going too far.” Until they can’t. At some point their own investment becomes too great, their culpability too obvious, and their own vulnerability to the authoritarian too certain to risk opposing him. Continue reading “Tipping Point”
The inevitable has arrived. With the assassination of Iran’s Maj. Gen. Oassim Suleimani, our country faces an international crisis while dependent on a President who cannot or will not distinguish fact from fiction, or truth from lies. Our security now depends on an administration existentially compelled to support whatever version of reality the President thinks will make him look good in the moment. Ironically, our most trustworthy sources of accurate information are Administration leaks and investigative reporting. Continue reading “Facing the consequences”
When you were a sweet Christian child,
Touched by the compassion of Jesus,
Singing Away in a Manger at Christmas, and
Giving dimes to the missions,
Did you dream you’d be taking children from mothers
To show how unwanted they are,
Sending immigrants away to their deaths, or
Mocking a handicapped man?
What does it mean that Donald Trump believes he would not lose a single vote if he shot a man on 5th Avenue? Or that Mitch McConnell recently said he “can’t imagine anything Trump could do that would cause the Senate to remove him from office?” Or that Republican members of Congress are demeaning themselves with frantic, irrelevant arguments against overwhelming evidence of illegal behavior that put our national security at risk? When both his guilt and the severity of the offenses have been established beyond all reasonable doubt, it’s a fair bet Donald Trump’s base will simply forgive him, as they have done so many times already. A rational mind begs for explanation.
I understand the attraction of authoritarian leaders to people who feel frightened and/or impotent. I understand that Republican politicians are justifiably afraid to cross him. And we all know how bias confirmation can trap people into ways of thinking they cannot or will not change. But this passionate worship of Mr. Trump by almost 40% of the population, this blind loyalty to a man who is loyal to no one but himself, has a cult like feel that suggests something else is going on.
Let’s look on the dark side.
After watching the first two days of the House impeachment investigation, I suspect the only way the Senate will be able conclude the inevitable impeachment trial with integrity, and without upheaval, will be to allow a final vote on each of the articles of impeachment by secret ballot. I know that runs contrary to important values of transparency and personal accountability, but in this single circumstance I believe an exception is warranted. Continue reading “✓ for a secret ballot”