Susan B Anthony

Love, like or loathe her, last night’s vote for Hillary Clinton as the first major party female nominee for president of the United States had all the ghosts of women’s rights throughout history cheering loudly, another milestone finally achieved and behind us all now. Whether that results in yet another milestone come November is now in the hands of voters.

The event had me thinking of my own daughter and daughters everywhere, catapulted yet again upon the shoulders of towering historical figures, lionesses who saw so clearly what needed to be done, and who stood proudly, fiercely and defiantly for the righteousness of their cause. Probably chief among them: Susan B. Anthony.

I am indebted here to a fascinating account of Anthony’s arrest and trial (for the “crime” of voting) by Professor Doug Lindner of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law, the complete text of which you can find...

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Hyper-Partisanship Run Amok! (From 1776 Onwards…)

Alexander Hamilton by John Snegowski

Oh my, all that yelling and venom and gloating and ridicule, last week from the Republican convention, soon to be emulated, no doubt, when the Demos convene in Philadelphia starting today. (Though we can only pray their denunciations of the opposing candidate will stop short of calling for his execution or banishment to the gulag or, worse yet, to an everlasting intimate relationship with Lucifer, the very Devil himself, in the fires of Hell. That latter image begs the continuing question that served as a subtext throughout the presidential primary season: Is Ben Carson even a little bit sane?)

I tell you, never have we endured such invective, such boiling anger, such a deep and divisive partisan split between opposing factions of our nation.

Except for that nasty business that began at Ft. Sumter 165 years ago, that is...

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One Step Forward and a Sideways Slide: Racial Politics in the Obama Era

B & W Flower by Michael Whyte

Hardly have time to catch our breath or remember the exact names and places of carnage anymore, do we?

Orlando, San Bernardino, Charleston, Newtown, Aurora…was Columbine even in this century? (It wasn’t; the year was 1999, 38 U.S. mass shootings ago.)

And most recently, Baton Rouge and Dallas.

Begetting the question: Is our country falling apart?

To which the short and direct answer is “No.”

But it takes some doing and a substantial amount of reality testing to get there, given the long and vivid reach of modern media and the potent effect it has on our consciousness. If we look only at the litany of racially tinged events—the multiple killings of unarmed black men by police, and the recent wave of retaliatory murders of police officers—we might surmise we are on the brink of another civil war, with the racial divide as deep as it was in the 1960s...

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Summer Fecundity

Hydrangea by Andrew Hidas

The not unpleasant smell of rotting fruit alerts the senses when one ventures into my backyard on these early summer days. “Our time is now,” that well-known maxim exhorted by coaches in pre-game locker rooms across the land, is nowhere more true than among the two prolific plum and pluot trees in said yard, which, like some urgent stream after a storm, can’t expel their bounty fast enough. I need a crew available at my immediate beck-and-call to scoop up the falling flesh that relitters my yard every day, no matter the removal effort that left it clear just hours before.

Plop plop plop they rain down, even as I am on hands and knees depositing their bruised brothers and sisters into my bucket, their waystation en route to the compost bin and their ultimate return to earth as dirt for next summer’s bounty.

Sorry, soup kitchen, church members, neighbors and friends with whom I otherwise may have sh...

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Fourth Annual “Songs of Summer”

Cuban Beach by I Nandez

Today’s summer solstice accompanied by tonight’s full moon: yes, our cup may just be in danger of overflowing. Whether this confluence signals the beginning or end of some kind of SuperDuperNatural Age of Aquarius or some other magic moment in time, I do not know. What I do know is that I’m happy, at this age, to be offering a “Fourth Annual” anything, and hopeful we can all be upright and ready to boogie again for a few more “annual” this-or-thats still to come.

And so: the envelopes, please, for this ritual of the season, which this year blends wistfulness and nostalgia, pop fun and insouciance, rock spectacle, camp and more. And in case you’re wondering why your own fave summer-themed song isn’t here,  you might check the three previous compilations, to any of which you are invited to sing along while taking a few twirls around your kitchen. I bet you’d look just grand doing so with the full moon.

*...

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