Category Politics/Culture

George Orwell and the Perils of a Post-Truth Society

Celebrating Biden victory

I’ve been struggling with the question of whether to allow Donald Trump to take up any more mental space in my head (and yours, if you’ve read at least this far). After all, Joe Biden is the president-elect!

This is a fact and has been for some time now, one that was acknowledged even this morning in a tweet by the current (for 65 days and counting…) president, who sounded every bit the first-grade schoolboy muttering barely out of hearing to his bigger, more muscular opponent who just vanquished him in a game of tetherball: “Yeah, but you CHEATED!”

If that were so, what does it say about him, the most powerful man in the world, whose government apparently couldn’t even oversee a free election on his behalf in a country with a 240-year record of standing as a worldwide beacon of freedom?

Whether to ponder Trump yet again is a dilemma he has visited upon everyone concerned about the hard and sustained veeri...

Read More

Elation and Exhaustion

What a week. I went to bed (very) late Tuesday night feeling disconsolate, woke a couple times to take a peek at my phone, put my head back under the pillow wondering whether it was possible to keep it squeezed hard enough to succeed in self-suffocation, awoke just a bit later having not tried to find out, then felt even bluer in cranking up my laptop and observing the yawning vote gaps separating frontrunning Donald Trump from Joe Biden in key battleground states, including my own here in North Carolina.

“Is this really happening?” I asked myself and the fates themselves. “Could it be?” 

Already, my mind was projecting darkly ahead, wondering how the country would survive four more years of this horror show, and what I would do with the despair already wrapping itself around my insides, like a snake set to slowly squeeze the life out of me.

“Big hill to climb for Biden...

Read More

Brilliant Songs #16: Zoe Mulford’s “The President Sang ‘Amazing Grace'”

We are a nation rent asunder, in a horrible mess, increasingly hard and loud at each other and dismissed—or worse: pitied—by our former allies, while our enemies busy themselves with furthering the work of our Mad King in undermining the very foundations of our democracy. Millions of us are voting frantically, in fear and trembling that it won’t be counted, will be challenged, hidden away or burned while armies of lawyers descend on a newly stolen Supreme Court with petitions to sow yet more chaos and perpetuate the reign of an obviously demented Divider-in-Chief.

What kind of man summons his followers to tightly packed worship rallies that expose them to a potentially deadly virus, all the while denying its very existence and ridiculing those who seek to keep us safe us from it? One can’t help but feel we are not so much approaching but are now fully submerged in lunacy under the most wreckless man ...

Read More

What a Wondrous Time To Be Alive

So we lurch from crisis to crises, seeming to come in multiples now. Pandemics, hurricanes and fires. Protests erupting anew with each same-old same-old death-by-police of a black person. A mad king’s 98-minute prime time tantrum giving way to a shocking mid-of-night revelation, and before the sun descends again, a 5-minute helicopter lift straight to a fabled army hospital’s “presidential suite.”

Things falling apart, the center (was there ever a center?) no longer holding, dark possibilities going darker with the coming winter and its portents of an ever greater discontent.

We gasp at the news, the world going freeze-dried, suspended, instantly unforgettable as we take quick stock and begin to consider the implications, vast and sprawling and mind-bending as they are.

Up against that dismal constellation, just why is it that I walked out into the slightly chill October air yesterday morning and discovere...

Read More

Joe Biden’s Statement on Declining Future Debates

(How Joe Biden might consider following up today in the aftermath of last night’s historic—for all the wrong reasons— presidential debate…)


My fellow Americans,

If you watched my “debate” last night with Donald Trump, you were perhaps as horrified at what you beheld as I was. I will not belabor all the ways in which the president of the United States degraded his office, himself, and most importantly, you, the people of our beloved democracy. It was a performance so over the top as to leave observers not only stunned, but grasping for commentary that would befit the unprecedented spectacle they had just witnessed.

As difficult as I know it was for you to watch, and as excusable as it was if you simply gave up early in the proceedings and curled up with a good book or your children or the family dog, I will tell you it was a very challenging circumstance for others in that hall last night as well—inc...

Read More