Showing posts from October, 2018

An Atmosphere of Bigotry

Not nearly as scary as Trump wants you to think. It's been yet another time-dilated week, a week crammed with presidential verbal bullying, dehumanizing policy proposals, racist fear-mongering, and on top of all that, pipe bombs sent to prominent critics of the Trump regime, an arrest revealing the bomber to be a rabid Trump believer, and finally a synagogue massacre. That last atrocity was committed by a right-winger who believes Trump colludes with the Jews he mowed down with an assault rifle, but it's still of a piece with every other horror that has issued from the putrid mouth and thumbs of our monstrous accidental president. In an effort to escape the horror of the news cycle, Amy and I took advantage of a break in the weather to walk through a new development near our home. The neighborhood was still going up, and we passed several houses under construction. The carpenters' work was lent an air of festivity by the music they had playing: mariachi-style Mex

Stridently Insincere

No, it doesn't make me believe him--but maybe I'm weird. Once or twice a school day, one of the two hundred children I see makes a bad choice that results in another child being in tears. Classmates are quick to finger the perp, who initially will point at innocent bystanders as the true culprits. When that fails to impress me, the child will say something along the lines of "It was an accident" or "I didn't mean to." My response is consistent: whether or not you meant to hurt someone else, you did, and now you need to apologize. In some cases, the denials take on an angry edge, with raised voices and furious eyes accompanying the insistence of innocence. Sometimes this works, to an extent: I'll investigate further, wanting to be absolutely sure who was responsible for the incident. As often as not, though, the stridency of the protest correlates with the guilt of the protestor. The louder they deny, they guiltier they are. For much of my

Prove Me Wrong

First Lady Melania Trump visits Elmina, a Cape Coast slave castle. This means nothing. That's all I could think when I read of Melania Trump paying a visit to a slave castle and being moved by what she saw. I've been to that castle, both in 2014 and, again, three months ago as I concluded my second trip to Ghana. It's a shattering experience, seeing the horrific conditions slaves were kept in even before they were crammed into ships for the middle passage. Knowing about the abuse, torture, and murder experienced by untold millions of West Africans ought, if this were a just world, to transform the way we who are descended from the abusers live our lives every day, opening our hearts to the plight of refugees, immigrants, and impoverished people. If we took these lessons seriously, there would be no question but that our borders should be open, our nation generous, and our world utterly interdependent. Instead, we live in a country whose president makes it a habit t


Neither of these men belongs in public office. Of all the candidates Republican presidents have nominated to the Supreme Court in my lifetime, Brett Kavanaugh is the least qualified. That list includes both Robert Bork, whose nomination was withdrawn once his then-too-extreme opinions became known, and Clarence Thomas, whose more-extreme-than-Bork views were nothing next to the extent of his inappropriate behavior around women. The extent of Kavanaugh's own history of sexual assault and alcohol abuse may never be known, unless the House of Representatives goes Democratic, and a genuinely thorough investigation is launched; but even without a full reckoning of his youthful history of beer-drenched recklessness and aggression, his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee should have demonstrated, to any rational, principled legislator, that he has no business joining the court. Faced with credible accusations of both sexual and alcohol abuse, a qualified candidate w