Immigration Issues Are Not Just for the Mainland

“These are not normal times.” “If you are not outraged you are not paying attention.” Speaker quotes from the August 2019 immigration forum in Honolulu HI Asylum, border security and comprehensive immigration reform are not just issues for the mainland. In August 2019, three non-profit organizations co-sponsored a forum on issues of immigration and sanctuaryContinue reading “Immigration Issues Are Not Just for the Mainland”

Guilt As a Cornerstone of American Exceptionalism

As I see it, the most significant difference between the United States of America and other developed countries is the public expression of guilt when its ideals are not met, when it slips up in its efforts to become “a more perfect union.” That guilt goes all the way back to the Declaration of Independence.Continue reading “Guilt As a Cornerstone of American Exceptionalism”

Optimism

I continue to be an optimist. I continue to believe that human nature is fundamentally good, regardless of evidence to the contrary. After all, judgment and interpretation are matters of perspective: time and distance are likely to increase my understanding. “Ah, that’s what was going on!” “Ah, those are the consequences of my action orContinue reading “Optimism”

Slouching Towards Fanaticism

Broken Friendships It broke my heart when a dear friend of some 25 years, a soft-spoken, devout pacifist and Buddhist, suddenly began shouting obscene remarks about a political candidate: not just about her politics, but also about her person! It was hard to believe I was talking to the same individual I had known forContinue reading “Slouching Towards Fanaticism”

This Is How He Does It: Buffering as Trump’s Secret Sauce for Control

“Witch hunt!” “Fake News!” “Crooked Hillary!” “It’s a Disgrace!” Few people can sling around incendiary phrases like the current President of the United States. He engages in what seems to be crazy behavior, eventually wresting control of any situation through surprise, redefinition, name-calling, and denial, at least for a time. This shocks the opposition intoContinue reading “This Is How He Does It: Buffering as Trump’s Secret Sauce for Control”

Stranger in a Not Entirely Strange Land

Nothing makes us more aware of our similarities with others in our own country or town than travel abroad. No matter how marginal I felt in the United States for much of my younger life, trips to my West African ancestral home in the 1960’s and 70’s made me intensely and even painfully aware howContinue reading “Stranger in a Not Entirely Strange Land”

2016 Elections a “Stunning Upset?” Nope.

Below is a verbatim text message I sent to a friend dated 24 July 2016 at 3:23PM. Fast forward to 13 November 2016: Mike Pence is now Vice-President Elect, Paul Ryan was “drafted” to be Speaker of the House, and Reince Priebus has just been named White House Chief of Staff in the new TrumpContinue reading “2016 Elections a “Stunning Upset?” Nope.”

Why So Many Dilemmas Right Now?

Unlike almost any other time in recent history we are facing a host of mind-boggling and gut-wrenching dilemmas. Every day forces some impossible collective or individual action, some choice between equally horrific consequences no matter what action we take. Someone has to decide whether or not to treat an Ebola patient; and then someone hasContinue reading “Why So Many Dilemmas Right Now?”

“It’s Only Meat”

The killing, skinning and dismembering of a healthy two-year-old giraffe named Marius in front of child and adult spectators at the Copenhagen, Denmark zoo has haunted me for days. I am still trying to sort out my visceral feelings about this, and trying to understand and share the public outrage and concern on all sidesContinue reading ““It’s Only Meat””

Sochi Games

 The threat of toothpaste and gel-based insurgent attacks on flights to and from the Sochi Winter Olympics could have an interesting twist. What if, in the process of protecting flights by removing predominantly safe products in travelers’ bags, a different sort of threat is actually put into motion? What if the intelligence gathered and disseminatedContinue reading “Sochi Games”

Alternate Futures

We could continue along what seems to be our current path, exhausting the resources on earth and colonizing other planets in the same way we have colonized this one. We could do that and be scientifically thrilled and justified in our behavior from a particular point of view. Alternatively, we could skip into that infiniteContinue reading “Alternate Futures”

All means ALL!

To whom does the right to the pursuit of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness belong? Citizens, non-citizens, certain classes of citizens or non-citizens, certain countries, only the chosen by whatever definition is prevalent at the time? What about the rights, if any, of the unconscious, unaware, and even inorganic, such as the planetContinue reading “All means ALL!”

Many a slip ‘twixt the cup and the lip…

“Resolve” is such a heavy word. No wonder we avoid it like the plague, peeking in once a year to see how far we have fallen or strayed from our good intentions, from our last year’s dreams and last decade’s desires. The very word itself feels like punishment: public humiliation for being weak and imperfect.Continue reading “Many a slip ‘twixt the cup and the lip…”

Choice With a Lower Case “c”

One would think, considering the headlines of the day, that the most significant choice facing us today has to do with elected and appointed leadership of the few over (or for) the many: dictatorships, democracies, courts, political parties, religious expression, economic and territorial imperatives, and varying definitions of terrorism. These apparent choices, however, are justContinue reading “Choice With a Lower Case “c””

Election Accountability With a Twist…

[First published 25 October 2012] I have an idea. What if before electing a President or Senator or Congressional Representative, say every 10 years, we were required to spend every 9th year trading places with someone – ANYONE else – in the country, or better yet, in the world? There would be no loopholes, noContinue reading “Election Accountability With a Twist…”

Europe Divided

From a private email, written by me on 11 December 2011, now formally On the Record: “Europe falls apart. Does not disappear, but falls apart as a coherent identity. There is great fear here, and that fear is well founded. Germanic influence, including Hapsburg control of the British Crown, means that the divide between ProtestantsContinue reading “Europe Divided”

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