March 1, 2021
December 27, 2020
December 11, 2020
Last year, I was asked to write a preface to a forum that my former graduate students, now successful teachers and writers, had put together for the journal Frontiers. It was published in March 2019. Now, in December 2020, as I’m struggling with pandemic weight-gain, I thought others might identify. So, encouraged by Facebook friends, I’m publishing here. Please do tell your own stories in response!
One of us is “pro-choice” and Jewish. One of us is a “pro-life” Christian. We put these labels in scare quotes because we believe it’s time to get beyond labels and move forward on our common humanity. Branding others is Trump territory. We refuse to go there. And we refuse to let our differences blind us to our shared commitment to defeating Donald Trump — a man who violates both of our traditions. Bill Clinton recently said, of Ruth Bader Ginsberg: “She was not a woman to be labelled.” She was clearly not a woman to label others, either. Following her example, we have looked beyond each other’s labels and discovered that despite the political rhetoric that would thrust us on opposing sides of a divide, we share a great deal.
August 25, 2020
For months we had been bombarded on television with horrendous, uncensored images of the war in Vietnam. In March, American soldiers massacred 347 at My Lai. Two weeks later, President Lyndon Baines Johnson, the target of anti-war rage, said he would not seek re-election. In April, Martin Luther King had been assassinated on the balcony of a Memphis Hotel, and the inner cities exploded. Just days later SDS students at Columbia barricaded themselves in the president’s office while black students occupied a separate building. In May, Parisian students went on strike, tearing up the cobblestones of Paris. A few weeks later, moments after victory in the California primary, Bobby Kennedy was murdered in the kitchen of a Los Angeles Hotel. A few days before, a marginal member of Andy Warhol’s circle, Valerie Solanas, also founder of SCUM, the Society for Cutting Up Men, shot him in the stomach. Prior to the shooting, she had written a manifesto calling for “systematically fucking up the system, selectively destroying property, and murder.”
August 24, 2020
Remember that charisma can be just as dangerous as it is compelling. Charisma is subjective. It’s also the appeal of cultists and authoritarians, as well as our greatest leaders. Jim Jones and Hitler, to their followers, were seen as charismatic. And Incredible as it may seem, Trump supporters see him as charismatic.