Showing posts from February, 2020

Checking Diversity Boxes

Not just another old white guy. This happened in my parents' dining room early in 2008. It was around the time Barack Obama's campaign began to pick up the momentum that would ultimately put him in the White House. There were still several other contenders for the Democratic nomination, not least among them Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton. My mother had just expressed her preference for Hillary, saying it was high time we had a woman in the Oval Office. She was also concerned about Obama's lack of experience. "He's my age," I said (actually, I'm about a month older than he is). "Do you feel ready to be President?" she fired back. My answer, of course, was "No." At 47, my lifelong leadership experience consisted of serving as pastor of several Methodist churches, the largest with a membership of 200; directing church choirs; and teaching public school music. Obama, on the other hand, had spent many years as a community organ


Senator Mitt Romney explaining his "guilty" vote. Let's be absolutely clear on this: I am not a Romney fan. I did not, in 2012, vote for Mitt Romney in his presidential bid, nor would I ever vote for Romney for any office, full stop. On issue after issue, I am, and always have been, diametrically opposed to the things Romney stands for. But on Wednesday morning, as he announced why, on principle, he had to vote to convict an outlaw president who was the leader of his own party, my brother Mitt spoke for me. I'm also not a huge Nancy Pelosi fan. In interviews, I've heard her flog Democratic talking points, often ignoring whatever question the interviewer just asked her. When Democrats took the House back in 2018, I very much wanted her to step aside and open up the Speaker position to someone younger and less white. Many of her more institutional positions, particularly on economic and military policy, give me pause. But Tuesday night, tearing

Symbolism Matters

After sitting through 78 minutes of gaslighting, Nancy Pelosi sums up the feelings of the majority of Americans. Tuesday night, Nancy Pelosi spoke for millions of Americans without using her voice. President Trump had started the evening by playing the "psych!" game, refusing her handshake as he arrived at the podium for the State of the Union address on the eve of his acquittal by a cowardly Republican Senate majority for blatant abuse of the powers of his office. She returned the favor with curt dignity, introducing him to Congress without the flowery flourishes traditional to that task. Then for 78 minutes she sat behind him as he spoke to that part of the Union that agrees with him, delivering a campaign speech accompanied by manipulative and sometimes shocking gestures culled from his years in reality TV. (Disclaimer: I did not watch the speech, and have only heard snippets of it from the politics podcasts I listen to. I have lost the ability to hear Trump

The Problem with Heaven

Just how good can that place be? Requisite spoiler alert: if you haven't watched the ultimate (a word I rarely use, but it definitely applies here) sitcom The Good Place , but intend to (and why wouldn't you? It's ultimate!), and would rather not have any of its many wonderful twists and insights revealed prior to watching it, stop reading now, and come back once you're through it. Skipping commercials, it'll take you a little over eighteen hours. I believe that's time well spent. To make sure you don't accidentally glimpse a spoiler, I'll spend the next few paragraphs not  writing explicitly about The Good Place. As a young child, I had a shaky belief in Heaven as an afterlife in the clouds. Good people went there after they died. I didn't outfit this special place with any architecture or landscaping. I just imagined it was nice and restful. I liked to think of the grandparents I never met being up there, smiling down at me. As I gre