Category Politics/Culture

On the Sacking of America…and the Costs of “Moving On”

The images, seared into the brain since the now hallowed day of January 6, retain an appalling power. To encounter them again is to be cast into a stomach-churning grief at the darkness we have endured, all the fears of the past four years fully realized. In the end, we did not escape the bullet millions of us had seen aimed at the heart of our country.

We were not “deranged” after all—merely clear-eyed about who the 45th president has always been, and the dire threat he has represented all along to our democracy.

Today, he remains unrepentant and defiant as ever, even as his second impeachment trial reveals, in stark, still frightening imagery and words, the full savagery of the mob he invited to the nation’s capital to perpetrate his evil deeds.

The one consolation: it all could have been much worse. So terribly worse.

Oh, one more consolation, too: he is no longer the president of the United States.


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Words As Balm: The Joe Biden Inauguration

Listening today to the words Joe Biden spoke (excerpted in italic sections below), how surpassingly important they were, how important the words we speak always are, I was thrown back on the paradoxical notion that nothing exemplifies that truth more than the often cutting and cruel words of the now departed president, slinking off to Florida without so much as a public nod or acknowledgement of the person whose soaring rhetoric at the lectern mere hours later stood as a repudiation-by-example of the finally departed one, and as a kind of down payment on the immense investment it will require to heal America in the coming months and years.


Today, we celebrate the triumph not of a candidate, but of a cause, the cause of democracy. The will of the people has been heard and the will of the people has been heeded. We have learned again that democracy is precious. Democracy is fragile...

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Ten Reasons Why Impeachment Was Necessary…And Conviction Even More So

I  know, I know—it’s a mess, any way we try to slice it. Just days to go, on his way out the door, it will let him play the martyr, further inflame his base, perhaps hamper the new president’s crucial first weeks, shouldn’t we focus on “healing” now?

Thought about those, bought a few of them for a time, tossed & turned about them in sleep that seems to have come in half-hour slices the past 10 days, and have come out, in a slight spin on a then newly elected congressmember’s indelicate, admittedly inappropriate but nevertheless delicious phrase from her victory celebration in early 2019, a full year before Impeachment #1, “We needed to impeach, and now we have to convict the m—–f—-r….” 

I’m also well aware that conviction is not bloody likely to happen in the Senate, but here are ten reasons why it should.

ONE  Because he was the direct, most significant cause of the riot that took five lives and many ...

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Taking America’s Measure: Walt Whitman’s “Years of the Modern”

On this unprecedented day marked by a second impeachment of a sitting president, I could not bring myself to watch or listen much to the all-too-predictable denunciations and defenses of a man with blood on his hands, a man whose dark and chaotic presidency should long since have turned the stomachs of every person concerned with the fate of America.

In times of national tremor such as we are experiencing now, it can sometimes help to pull back and employ a wider angle lens on history, on nation building, and on the relationship of the individual to society.

In other words: the lens Walt Whitman used to sketch a vision of America very much his own, and which he bequeathed to the country as a gift that has resounded for generations, and will likely do so for many more.

Most observers regard Whitman as a grand optimist, lifting up in his imagination a vision for America commensurate with its size and ambitio...

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Jimmy Carter (Our First) Rock & Roll President

In a 2018 interview that opens the recently released documentary, “Jimmy Carter Rock & Roll President,” the now 96-year-old ex-POTUS places a vinyl record on a small turntable at his home in Plains, Georgia. The sight of a record, with the familiar red (“Columbia”) inner circle that tells you the album information, comes as almost a shock, a sudden time-warpy escort into a warm bath of nostalgia for people of a certain age.

And then Carter, with that trademark grin of a genuinely good and happy man, true Christian to his bones, settles into a chair and nods his head in approval as he remarks, “All right! Sounds familiar.” 

The sounds we hear with him are the opening guitar strums of Bob Dylan before he begins, “Heyyyy, Mr. Tambourine Man…”

A hilarious anecdote in this grin-inducing documentary involves bad boy gonzo journalist Hunter Thompson’s visit to the White House, a kind of refr...

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