Category Archives: Columns

ELECTION REVEALS THE SORT OF COUNTRY WE ARE

Four and a half million votes is a substantial margin of victory. And yet it is also true to say that if over half the country is feeling great relief, roughly half the country not so much. If it had been a landslide it would have been easier to believe that the last four years […]

MAGA versus voting the way forward

Nostalgia is a powerful emotion and MAGA—MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN– has been a powerful weapon for Trump and his forces. But of course it doesn’t hold up under more than two seconds’ scrutiny. Just when was that great America we want to go back to? That great period energized, for some anyway, by the pursuit […]

Expanding the Euro-centric “We”

“We” is changing. No, the grammar of that isn’t incorrect. What I mean is that the content of that pronoun –as in “we the people”– is changing. And this election is very much about that change. Columbus Day is still on the calendar. Most of us seem OK about the gift of an extra day […]

State still pushing dangerous Wellfleet Rail Trail extension

There’s good news and there’s bad news about the state’s controversial plan for Wellfleet’s bike path. The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), has for several years been trying to sell the town on the idea of extending the Rail Trail, which since the 1980s has ended at Lecount Hollow Road in South Wellfleet, to […]

The election season of voting dangerously

You could almost thank Donald Trump for lessons about democracy. It’s almost as if he set out four years ago to expose our complacency and naivete and teach us about the vulnerability of our system to the impulses of one man of a certain sort. But that it would come to this, that only two […]

Homeschooling and the babysitting function of public education

One of the biggest effects of our response to the covid-19 virus is to turn us into a nation of involuntary homeschoolers. There’s always been a suspect coincidence between the educational and the babysitting functions of compulsory public education. Kids need to get educated as basic preparation for life and citizenship in a democracy. And […]

“ Queen of Katwe” and movies as cultural weapons

A s the debate about the tearing down of monuments and cancel culture in general has evolved, we’re beginning to see the problem with zero tolerance. If we are going to flush all the people and culture that are flawed with racism, anti-semitism, sexism and other sins, little or no culture would be left standing. […]

The end of the idea of police as peace-keepers

Whether or not policing is abolished, as has been seriously proposed, a cherished concept of policing has probably taken a mortal hit. The weeks since the nine minutes of a cop’s knee on George Floyd’s neck have made it much harder for anyone to seriously entertain the idea of policing as neutral peace-keeping. That’s the […]

Trump fans: how far does your loyalty go?

The world wants to know: can anything finally get to Trump’s loyal fan base? Is there nothing he can do, no insult to the office, no threat to the constitution, no petty vindictiveness, no mendacity, no nastiness, no failure of leadership costing, it would seem, thousands of lives, that will shake their affection for the […]

Getting sophisticated about living with risk

  Is there a five second rule for covid-19? Remember the rule that said if you drop a piece of food on the floor you have five (or is it 10?) seconds to retrieve it before the cooties climb on board? It was always a joke—but not only. It did feel–does feel–safer to eat the […]