Category Politics/Culture

I’m Voting for Our Common Humanity

A thought experiment: What if the current presidential election pitted Tim Kaine against Mike Pence? What would be the tone of argument, attack and vituperation between two, by most all accounts, decent middle-aged men who exhibit next to no bombast and would appear to harbor precious few skeletons, legal or otherwise, in their respective closets? Might the entire campaign have been conducted with at least a modicum of respect and focus on the issues of the day rather than the character flaws of the combatants, er, candidates?

What if Kaine and Pence weren’t relegated mostly to defending the figures at the top of their tickets while savagely attacking the other’s, but instead would have been free to wax presidential about their plans for the country?

Or would it have been only a matter of time, in this riven age, before these two decent men were reduced and dragged through the same foul vitriol that h...

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In Defense of Locker Rooms

Many years ago, I wrote an essay called “Locker Room Memories” that got picked up by a couple of small publications and anthologized in a book of essays by and about men. The essay wasn’t very good, in the way such things can be for a writer when coming across a piece from long ago. But the subject matter remains worthy and newly relevant today.

In it, I wrote about the experience of picking up a basketball again for some purely recreational play a decade or so after my playing career ended with my last college game. Rather than write about playing, though, I focused instead on the experience of walking into the locker room beforehand, with all that it represents in the life of an athlete.

Now, Donald Trump has gotten me thinking about locker rooms again. And this is what I want to tell him:

Man, you don’t know squat about locker rooms.


Trump, as surely everyone anywhere near the orbit of thi...

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On Paying Attention: Ryan Lochte and Media’s Junk News

So we are at the end of these Olympic Games. Mammoth undertaking, nearly the entire world enthralled to some degree or other with these contests reflecting intense passion, competitive fire, and, for the most part, a sense of universal brother-and-sisterhood, human solidarity writ large across nations and cultures and even religions of the world, oh my…

All of it reflecting years of effort and training and dreaming for a select few fortunate enough to make it to this pinnacle of the sporting world.

(Yes, I know it also reflects rampant commercialization, politicization, fraud and influence peddling etc.; I’ll get back to you the very moment I find a large human endeavor that is free of those…)

In the midst of it all, a quartet of lunkhead male swimmers, who I’m sure are fine sons and friends and teammates with many scores of good people who can vouch for their essential good character, get too much ...

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Reverend William Barber’s Ancient Progressive Religion of the Heart

Amidst the many soaring/pointed/Trump-eviscerating speeches that piled atop one another throughout last week’s Democratic National Convention, even the powerful call-out by the Muslim couple who had lost their soldier son in the Afghan War didn’t quite match the moment for me when a hulking African American minister with a congenital spinal condition limped out on stage in his clerical collar and in a sonorous voice intoned:

“Good evening my brothers and sisters. I come before you tonight as a preacher, the son of a preacher. A preacher immersed in the movement at five years old. I don’t come tonight representing any organization, but I come to talk about faith and morality. I’m a preacher and I’m a theologically conservative liberal evangelical biblicist...

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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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