Category Politics/Culture

Why We the People of the United States Must Prosecute Donald Trump

There’s an old half curse/half blessing of unknown origin that goes, “May you live in interesting times.” I was reminded of it the other day while doing some mental wool gathering of my own “times” spanning the second half of the 20th century through nearly a quarter of the 21st. And I was of course thinking, well, they certainly have not been short of interest.

Then I started mentally ticking off some of the notable, dramatic events most readily presenting themselves for consideration. (I should note that this list— stricktly my own, yours might be different—is limited to the crises that most stood out and challenged the very foundation and identity of our nation; many momentous events occurred of a far more positive hue, but that’s another blog post…)

First: the stamping upon the world’s consciousness of the true reach of the atomic age as schoolchildren (I was one of them) dove under desks in regula...

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Squeezing the “Tao Te Ching” Into a Jam-Packed Week

All right, so that is a little joke in the headline, yes? Need I explain it? The ancient Chinese text emphasizing peace, stillness, patience, emptying the Self, the unity of opposites, being rather than doing, or at least being completely there in the doing? Squeezing that into one’s week?

Funny, maybe a little bit? Tiny smile?

I laugh in order not to cry. Or rage.

Dear Tao, help me in my laughter.

It is the tail end of a week that has seen renewedly breathtaking revelations of an ex-president’s overt and relentless attempt at a coup, followed by rapid-fire Supreme Court decisions that on successive days 1) declared open season on gun violence victims by approving open carry across all 50 states of our union, and 2) ruled on a case that will amount to the outlawing of all abortions in probably half the United States almost immediately.

The devastating symbolism of the court’s one-two punch: force women to...

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Watching My Granddaughter’s Gymnastics Class While Congress Debates AR-15s

WATCHING MY GRANDDAUGHTER’S GYMNASTICS CLASS
                     WHILE CONGRESS DEBATES AR-15s

                                   By Andrew Hidas

Everything to live for,
the everything
stretched out
before them,
gamboling like lambs
let loose
to bound
and bound
in the
tall grasses of spring.

Parents on their phones
up above, a half-eye at
most diverted from Facebook,

the glowing faces
of their daughters
lost in the jumble of
limbs below.

“He shot my friend that was next to me and I thought
he was going to come back to the room, so I grabbed
the blood and put it all over me.”

That was Miah the other day,
testifying to a House committee
on the trickery she used to save
her life, though what nightmares still
await that life we can only, grimly,
imagine.

“Sweet Miah,” Uvalde’s only pediatrician
called her, trailing off at the same hearing
after describing the scene at ...

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What Now? From Empathy To Action

“What shall I do now? What shall I do?”/I shall rush out as I am, and walk the street/”With my hair down, so. What shall we do to-morrow?/“What shall we ever do?”

The words are from T.S. Eliot’s “The Wasteland,” published exactly one century ago, when they haunted a world shaken by a barbaric, convulsive war that had upended all received notions of a post-Enlightenment humanity embedded firmly in reason and aiming toward limitless progress and the common good.

The fact that a second, even more destructive and demonic war engulfed the world not even two decades later simply added to the tone of desperation and floundering Eliot had noted.

Today, the same questions are being asked by an almost equally shell-shocked American population, hard off the latest mass slaughter of innocents by a malformed 18-year-old youth armed with weapons of war.

And the question haunts: “What shall we do now?”

***

William Blak...

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A Question From Marilynne Robinson: “What Are We Doing Here?”

So the United States, with plenty of company from around the world, is going through a terrible time. A devastating and wearisome pandemic, renewed inflation, climate change and its associated weather catastrophes, a reinflamed battle over abortion, a fight seemingly unto death over the very nature of how we acquire knowledge, see reality and practice democracy.

It’s hard to find optimists out there, and I wouldn’t claim you’ll discover a raging one in eminent novelist and essayist Marilynne Robinson either.

What you will find throughout her work, though, and quite specifically in the title essay of her 2018 collection, “What Are We Doing Here?”, is a meticulously crafted case for the beauty and necessity of the humanities, and a passionate call for realizing the “grandeur” that, right along with our atavistic struggle for survival as high-functioning animals, is part and parcel of our humanity, if we can ...

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