Category Archives: Columns

Discriminating between two forms of democracy.

As an English major I’ve been confused by the term “populism” being bruited about recently. It has the sound of democracy, of which I have always been a fan. So why are so many liberals associating it with the drift toward fascism? Turning dutifully to my wikipedia, I discovered that the confusion is not just […]

Outer Cape non-residents pushing to vote locally

When Wellfleet’s non-resident taxpayers began to organize themselves about 20 years ago, they made a big point of declaring their innocence of any ambition for a vote in local affairs. But some, at least, of the growing demographic of second-home owners are now pushing for the vote. The Wellfleet Non-Resident Taxpayer Association (NRTA) recently held […]

Feelings complicate the immigration puzzle

Immigration has even a lot of liberals scratching their heads trying to figure out how we should feel about the various issues around the phenomenon of fellow human fleeing terrible conditions in other counties. The daunting complexity of the issues around the phenomenon of asylum-seekers just got a bit clearer with the outcry over the […]

The fight is on. Which side are you on?

Something’s wrong with our political system when the most unpopular and, in the opinion of most, morally dubious president ever will, via Supreme Court nominees, have one of the greatest influences on American life in coming decades. No doubt Trump idolators are chortling at the irony. Checks and balances? None of the three branches of […]

Roth: hetero guy and great writer

Philip Roth, who died on May 22 at 85, has long been castigated by feminists for sexism, but his case represents a twist on what has, in the MeToo, era become a familiar scenario. The careers of the likes of Morgan Freeman, Garrison Keillor, (or more seriously Bill Cosby) have been seriously damaged by their […]

Roseanne vs. “Roseanne”

Should “Roseanne” have been cancelled because Roseanne is a racist? The MeToo era, in which art is being removed from museums and TV shows cancelled because of the extracurricular behavior of the artists, raises the old question: How should we view the relationship between the art and the artist? Apparently ABC didn’t find “Roseanne” racist. […]

What is causing “Deaths of Despair”?

“Deaths of despair on the rise across state, country” read the headline of a recent story in this paper. Massachusetts is only 34th in the nation in deaths from suicide, alcohol, and drugs, as such deaths are being defined. But the Cape’s suicide rate is twice that of the state, the story noted. Given that […]

Are we dying? Or just changing?

In Wellfleet’s recent town meeting a speaker noted, as shocking evidence of the need for affordable housing, that “in last 25 years we have lost 62% of the young people in our town.” In a column a couple of years ago I raised the question “are Outer Cape towns dying?” I had seen an article […]

Thoreau: liberal or conservative?

173 years ago this March, Henry David Thoreau, age 28, took his axe down to the still chilly shore of Walden Pond and began cutting down pine trees with which to frame his famous cabin. It was an iconic American moment, embodying youth, hope, can-do spirit. It’s my favorite part of “Walden,” the perennial classic […]

Taking the future into their own hands

On March 14th students around the country will leave school to protest the latest school massacre, at the Parkland Florida high school, and all the others. Teachers and administrators are being invited to walk out, too. But the students apparently aren’t asking permission to do this.If this shows disrespect for their elders, so be it. […]