What is in the meaning of a poem? That question has perhaps never had more import than it does now, as we struggle to grasp both the genesis and meaning of our nation’s identity. Emma Lazarus’ 1883 sonnet “The New Colossus” has been a topic of debate in the last week, after the president imposed … Continue reading Has the American colossus fallen? That’s up to us.
It may seem strange to conflate the whimsical 1957 Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire musical "Funny Face" with the atrocious treatment of children in concentration camps on our southern border. But, the children in those cages were on my mind (they usually are, of late) while my wife, Tammy, and I were watching Hepburn and … Continue reading We need the “empathicalism” of “Funny Face”
“The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because generally they are the same people.” There is more truth than ever to that quote by British writer G.K. Chesterton, as our society becomes increasingly — and I would add gloriously — diverse. Yet, just as in Chesterton’s day, … Continue reading It’s time we made more, and more different, friends
To even a casual observer of American history, it’s obvious we’ve long had a problematic deficiency of empathy in this country. From slavery to the genocide of Native Americans, Jim Crow, segregation, Japanese internment, persistent discrimination against minorities, women and LGBTQ people, and systemic poverty and food insecurity in one of the wealthiest nations … Continue reading The Good Samaritan has no place when compassion is a crime
The absence Tuesday of Martin Luther King Jr., on what should have been his 90th birthday, was made sadder by how far we continue to fall short of his dream. An obvious example came Jan. 10, when Rep. Steve King of Iowa wondered aloud how white supremacy and white nationalism became offensive. Less obvious, but … Continue reading Razors, babies and racists, oh my! The week in an America ruled by fear
The United States has long prided itself on being a leader in international affairs. Unfortunately, American influence today is driving us, and many of our allies, off the path of our ideals. Reagan’s “shining city upon a hill” has become a leader in the ideology of nationalism. The multilateral approach that raised us from … Continue reading The U.S. remains a world leader — we’re just leading in the wrong direction
“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.” That quip from Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the longtime U.S. Senator from New York, was long accepted as truth. You could twist and spin the story all you wanted, but at the end of the day, facts remained facts, and everyone knew it. … Continue reading Immigration: This side of the rabbit hole, do facts even matter?
More than 30 faith leaders were arrested Monday for observing the Season of Advent — the pre-Christmas season in which Christians await the arrival of a brown-skinned refugee child known as Jesus. They were among more than 400 protesters who went to our southern border to await other brown-skinned refugees — some of whom, … Continue reading Faith and fear: Our choice on the border
“Today we affirm a new commitment to live out our nation’s promise through civility, courage, compassion and character.” Those words, from George W. Bush’s 2001 inaugural address, strike a sad note in today’s America. It’s painfully obvious our nation has failed to achieve “civility, courage, compassion and character.” Our nation’s grand incapacity for civil … Continue reading Civility is needed from both ends of our toxic political spectrum
Thoughts on the travel ban and Trump v. Hawaii The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld in Trump v. Hawaii President Trump’s travel ban – many, drawing on the president’s own words, contend it is a Muslim ban. To the president’s supporters, this is an affirmation of sound national security and immigration policy. To his detractors, … Continue reading A gravely wrong decision