How Fragile and Precious, Our Democracy

History and Justice

We Americans are in a world of hurt. The moral life of the country is teetering in the wake of a leader without a moral compass. The morality I write out is not related to personal morals but to civic morals–the shared values, ways of being and acting, that have given rise to a great country that once inspired other nations to follow our example. Well, that was true after WWII but has gradually diminished over the last 70 years. Robert Reich has eloquently outlined “How It Happened” — how the likes of Donald Trump came to occupy the White House.  Its worth, shutting your office door and having lunch at your desk, to listen to this presentation. It most clearly outlines the answer to that question. Its not about one party being better than another; no, its about how both parties are stunned, and have come to realize that Donald Trump as President is a “clear and present danger” to our democracy.

As I write and think about the country I have loved deeply all my life, and whose principles have been the standard by which I’ve tried to lead my civic life, my daughter, after a long 60-70 hour work week, finds the time to still get out on a Saturday to canvass for a candidate she believes in and spends more time signing people up to vote. Her husband was the chair of their voting precinct in the last election and is a leader in his union. These young Americans are making the system work. I admire and love them for it.

We have all got to get out of our normal routines, to stop and consider our situation for what it truly is: we are on the cusp of losing our democracy. At its basis, as Reich points out, is the assault on TRUTH. We have a leader and his cohorts who divert attention from the truth, and tell lies until the public in its confusion begins to question the very foundations of our shared republican life. We must act together–together–to step back from the brink.

For us: 1963 Bob Dylan’s “The Times They are a Changin





A Good Book

A Good Book
A good book

There are few pleasures that reward better than a good book. I read both for pleasure and to learn how authors develop characters and move their plots along. One of my hobbies is reading the first and last lines of books. How does the author grab the reader’s attention, then hold it? How does he or she use language?

Yesterday I stumbled on a $6 copy of Ken Follett’s Edge of Eternity. Many of you may know Follett from his long lasting historical thriller, Eye of the Needle. Follett bases his fictional tales on assiduous research. Edge of Eternity is a contemporary suite of stories happening on several continents. Follett weaves characters active in the Freedom Bus Rides and civil rights movement with characters in East Germany when Khrushchev decides to build the Berlin Wall. It begins in the year 1961 and moves through the ’80s encompassing the civil rights movement, assassination of John F. Kennedy, and our fears and efforts to prevent a nuclear war with Russia. I stayed up very late last night reading.

What are you reading?