Yesterday someone made the totally obvious yet utterly profound observation that Trump never wanted to be The President. What they meant was that he didn’t have any interest in leading our nation or in governing in the true sense of the word. Most people seek the highest office because they have a profound desire to serve the public, or out of a sense that they are uniquely qualified to lead the country at a pivotal time in our history, or because they want to move the country in a certain direction. But Trump had no such desire. He has never had a political philosophy or any meaningful agenda beyond Make America Great Again, which isn’t so much a presidential agenda as it is an advertising slogan, one about as meaningful as “Where’s the Beef?” What Trump wanted was to be the most talked-about person on the planet. And for the last four years, that’s exactly what he’s been.Continue reading “Ghosting the Orange Menace”
Today is Memorial Day.
Today we honor and mourn the more than one million Americans who died while serving in the US armed forces. Today we pause to reflect on them and their service. They remind us that sometimes the welfare of our nation requires sacrifice. Sometimes, it requires the ultimate sacrifice.
It’s a fact that as members of a society we are sometimes called on to make sacrifices for the good of our fellow citizens. And doing so is noble noble and patriotic. That’s the reason for this holiday; that’s the reason for the parades and the flag waving. And that’s the reason that (under normal circumstances) we have this day off from work: to allow us to pause and reflect on the sacrifices made by others on our behalf.
Because that’s the American way. And not only during times of war, but always. Surely so: after every national tragedy or natural disaster, we’re fed hours of news footage of Americans pitching in and helping one another: filling sandbags, making donations, digging out, coming together.
And now, millions of Americans across the country are being asked to make a similar sacrifice to protect and defend their fellow citizens. We are being asked to stay home. To forego the BBQ or a day at the beach. And an extreme sacrifice: to wear a piece of cloth over our nose and mouth when we go out in public.
It’s hard to fathom the audacity of a society that would ask so much of its citizens.
Indeed, in an upending of everything we’ve been taught about what is required of us as Americans, we are now being told that in being asked to wear a mask out of concern for our neighbors, our rights are being irretrievably infringed upon. Can one think of anything more infringing than a face mask? Certainly not being asked to button on a uniform, strap on a weapon, and fight and die in a foreign land.
Remember when Americans believed that with rights come responsibilities? That Freedom isn’t Free? How did the Republican party (and for sure, this pre-dates the Trump Republican party) manage to make such a mockery of the concept of shared sacrifice? of caring for our neighbors and putting others ahead of ourselves? When did thinking about the welfare of our fellow Americans become such an infringement on our God-given rights? When did looking out for others become so un-patriotic?
On this day of reflection, I’m reflecting on what seems to be a new era of selfishness that I see growing in this country. It’s a sad day indeed.
Last week we learned that world leaders all think that Donald Trump is doing a great job handling this pandemic. “I spoke with Angela Merkel today, I spoke with Prime Minister Abe of Japan; I spoke with many of the leaders over the last four or five days. And so many of them, almost all of them — I would say all of them, not everyone would want to admit it — but they all view us as the world leader, and they’re following us.” That was a bit of a surprise to a lot of people, including the world leaders themselves. Because they don’t actually think that.Continue reading “File Under “Dishonesty”: Presidential Love”
On Wednesday, the Michigan state legislature cancelled sessions until next week. Why? Because guns are scary. Specifically, guns wielded by angry protesters. And that’s exactly what showed up at Michigan’s capitol building on Thursday. Dozens of conservative protesters descended on the state capitol to protest the governor’s stay-at-home order.
Not surprisingly, the majority of Michigan’s legislators didn’t want to be in the way of the protesters who were exercising their freedoms. Another word for in “the way” is “crosshairs.”Continue reading “File Under “Hypocrisy”: Guns Are Scary”
On Monday Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell informed America that the reason the Trump administration’s response to the current health “situation” has been so dismal is not actually due to any fault of the Trump administration. Rather it is the fault of the Obama administration for failing to adequately prepare them for it. “[C]learly the Obama administration did not leave to this administration any kind of game plan for something like this,” McConnell said.
This is a pretty big whopper, even by current whopper standards.Continue reading “File Under “Dishonesty”: the Game Plan”
This is my sixth week living in our new paradigm. For the most part I’m doing okay, but there are times I feel an overwhelming emotional exhaustion. It isn’t brought on by fear of contracting COVID -19 or anxiety for the future or even the demands of social distancing. It’s because I feel like we’re walking a long road while at the same time those who should be leading us forward have tied a rope around our waists and are pulling us backwards. It’s like swimming against the tide. An uphill climb. Or walking into a headwind. Pick your metaphor. But it’s wearing me out.Continue reading “My Worst Symptom: I’m Weary Of It All”
What do you say to people who tell you that universal health care doesn’t work? What do you say when people tell you that private insurance and for-profit health care is the best alternative?
What do you say when they argue that systems like Britain’s NHS (National Health Service) or Canada’s public system are inefficient, unsustainable, produce substandard results, and that people hate it?
What do you say? You say this:
If anything positive can come of this terrible COVID pandemic, let it be that the United States has finally learned that universal health care works. Every person deserves health care. Universal coverage is the only morally acceptable solution.
Is “majority rule” the gold standard of decision-making? Is it always best for us to be governed by the 51%, or should there be some consideration given to the opinions and rights of the minority? That’s a question nobody is asking as political attention Continue reading “Majority Rule: Is It Always Best?”
There’s an important debate going on in the Democratic party right now. The careers of three men in Virginia hang in the balance. And even if you don’t live in Virginia, it matters. Let me explain why.
People often liken politics to sports. There’s a certain appeal in that analogy for Continue reading “Virginia: A Possible Spoiler for the Dems”
I’m so saddened by what I’ve seen in the news and on social media this week. The rush to judgment, the hard lines drawn, the accusations. I really feel as though we have reached a new low.
The discourse surrounding the now-infamous events in Washington DC between Kentucky’s Covington Catholic High School students and an indigenous activist and Marine veteran Omaha Elder Nathan Phillips have highlighted divisions and biases in America that are deeper and uglier than I ever imagined. In an era where we are exposed to a daily dose of deeply depressing and disturbing events, this is the most deeply depressing and disturbing thing I have seen.Continue reading “I Thought We Were Better Than This”