Category Politics/Culture

Dear Senate Judiciary Committee:

Dear Senate Judiciary Committee: I come before you as a survivor of sexual assault when I was a 15-year-old girl. It is a memory of such deep and abiding pain that I have spent a good portion of my life since then attempting to bury it, forget it, put it behind me. None of these attempts have been successful.

As adults we tell stories of our childhood injuries. Falls from bikes leading to broken arms. Bites by dogs. Badly sprained ankles from encountering a gopher hole. All of these stick in our memory. While we may not remember the date or exactly who was there, other details remain crystalline: the furrow on the brow of our father as he leaned over and beheld our ghastly crooked arm; the way the sun glinted off the dog’s back as it came running toward us growling; the squiggled, colorful notes our classmates wrote on our walking casts.

We all know that human memory is imperfect and full of gaps, but ...

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John McCain’s Call to Our Humble Better Angels

So many words now about John McCain. Soaring, eloquent tributes, bitter reminders about his less savory words and stances, implicit rebukes at yesterday’s memorial to the relentless degradation of our democracy and basic decency by he-who-was-not-named.

McCain was many things, but in the end, among the countless stirring images and words from the proceedings of the past few days, what has perhaps struck me most is what a master strategist he turned out to be. Taking the full measure of his own demise, the man orchestrated down to every last dotted “i” and crossed “t” his own powerful rejoinder to the travesty of the current administration while reminding the assembled legislators in particular of the responsibilities they bear in pursuit of the common good.

Not, mind you, “the Republican good,” or the “Democratic good,” but the common, American good, the people’s good.

Toward that end, I ...

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The Vilification of Hillary Clinton

I used to watch Roller Derby when I was a boy. The fastest skaters would race out ahead trying to lap the pack, and if they did, their teammates would work to pick off the opposing skaters with body slams and worse, so that the speedster could pass them and score a point. Pass four skaters, get four points. Meanwhile, if the opposing team’s speedsters were approaching to try scoring some points of their own, the lead skater on your team could pop his or her hands down crisply on their hips and thereby “call off the jam.” This would end that particular play, with all the skaters then cruising a few laps before the referee started the next play.

I’ve found “calling off the jam” a handy metaphor ever since, both for my own private distempers and for larger public activities and conflicts when it struck me that we would all benefit if the main antagonists could only place their hands on their ...

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The Stickiness of Donald Trump’s Base

With the past week’s continued devolution of Donald Trump and everything he represents, one would think at least some portion of his Republican base that had been clinging to him so desperately from one moral and political travesty to the next would finally begin to have their grips loosened. After all, a political party that has built its reputation partly on a fierce anti-communism (“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”) and loud patriotism (“Love it or leave it!”) couldn’t possibly abide a president who chums it up with an ex-KGB dictator who is reveling in the U.S. president believing every lying word out of his mouth, all while the president casts aspersions and doubt on the exhaustively rendered findings of his own intelligence agencies and congressional investigators, could it?

Well, if that president had a “Dem” after his name, the Republican base would most certainly be expressing ...

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Absorbing Trump’s Blows

I’ve noticed a certain weariness setting in among friends, associates, myself. Gotta get on with life, maintain our joy, equanimity, hope. Can’t live in a state of permanent apoplexy and indignation. Please, can’t we enjoy just an hour’s, an evening’s, a day’s activity and conversation without alluding to HIM and all the things that he touches and disparages and tries to ruin?

 

So we quietly avoid the whole subject, or hold our hands in front of our face in mock horror when someone mentions his name, and we proclaim only half-jokingly, “Nooooo, I can’t take any more, please!”

 

And we understand, of course we do, often feeling the same sense of resignation and suffocation ourselves, denied any nearby window that might let in some precious air and light.

 

So we want out, desperately, no longer willing to weigh down our bruised hearts with thoughts of the awfulness that abides.

 

W...

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