Donald Trump says his strongest qualification for being president is his genius. He cites as evidence his business prowess, great wealth, and amazing success at fixing problems no one else has been able to fix. Since his own statements are his primary source of proof, and many believe whatever he says, a more objective look is needed. Continue reading “What Kind of Genius is Donald Trump?”
I have been perplexed by the claims of people who say they know Donald Trump well that he is not at all racist. Some of those have come from people who are not among his obviously obliged apologists. How could this be true?
To understand Donald Trump it’s important not to forget the narcissism that shapes his persona and drives so much of what he says and does.
As the nation’s social and political fabric is stretched to the tearing point, the call for liberty remains central to all sides in our national debates. A look through the lens of Americans’ pledge of allegiance can provide a focus beyond partisanship on some of our most divisive issues. Continue reading “Whose Liberty?”
Our grandchildren probably won’t remember,
The very young ones never knew
When we loved all our neighbors, or
At least believed we should;
When we were the tide that lifted all boats,
And pulled on the oars together;
When we agreed to disagree;
When capitalism was an economic system,
Not a form of government, or religion;
When democracy was a goal–
An inspiration, an aspiration, an answer.
As the world shrank, so did the tribe.
The communists and socialists were never allowed.
A proudly Christian nation
Sent away the tired and the poor and the huddled masses
And trimmed away the colored and the foreign born,
Those with funny names and accents.
Now it’s the liberal uncles and Democrats,
Scientists and civil servants,
The sick and jobless,
And anyone who questions The Leader,
Who must be excluded.
How quickly the promise of America is yielding,
The ideal fading into naive illusion
With every shrug and each forgiving grin,
Every “Yeah, but…” and “What about….”
In the din of self-protective silence
The aspiration dies, the goal is lost, the answer rejected.
The hard work of caring for all of ourselves
Has been given up to grievance,
The social security of mutual commitment
Replaced by trust in power.
The capitalists and oligarchs are winning,
Have maybe won already.
They’ve always wanted it all.
They divided us and we fell.
As we fail to govern ourselves
We will be ruled…
By Owners and their obsequious servants,
Enabled by our apathy and fear
And a soporific belief in our entitlement.
Remind the children that freedom is hard—
Hard to win, hard to keep, intimidating even,
And hope they reach and pull the long arc back
Toward love and justice.
As Congress takes small steps to re-claim its critical role as an independent branch of government, there is another important check on the Trump Administration’s inclination to autocratic rule that needs protection: civil servants. From my perspective of nearly thirty years working in the federal judiciary, a branch of government built on commitments to accuracy, consistency, and stability, the need for politically neutral fact providers has never looked more urgent. Continue reading “Of the people, by the people, for the people”
With partisan bias running high and political messaging pushing us left and right, how can independent minded citizens fairly assess responsibility for today’s government shutdown? Let’s try looking through the lens of good democratic governance.
Recently I sent an essay, 14 Rules of the Dark Patriarchy, by Larry Pesavento, a psychotherapist specializing in male psychological development, to four smart, highly educated, and enlightened female friends. None of them responded. My wife today explained that women now “just want men to shut up.” The mediator in me always thinks dialogue and collaboration should be central to problem solving, but she says not now; women are tired of hearing from men.
So I write to you, men, to invite your consideration of my friend’s insightful critique of patriarchy Continue reading “Dear Men”
The demoralizing story of Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation process really began when political parties started selecting nominees for their opinions rather than their judgment. In our time, it probably started when President Reagan first broke tradition by imposing a “litmus test” he personally applied in interviews with judicial candidates by asking how they would vote on key issues. Since then, nominations have grown increasingly and more overtly partisan until current times when judges’ rulings can be predicted with embarrassing accuracy based on the Party of the president who nominated them. Continue reading “What Happened to Judge Kavanaugh?”