Its absence matters more

Windswept [Photo by author]

The collapse of whatever remnants of integrity congressional Republicans have been clinging to since stepping into the black hole of Trump World (its motto must surely be: “Where Truth Is Never Seen Again!”) has been wonderful political theater, if we define “wonderful” as some combination of appalling, perverse, unbelievable in the truest sense, and — increasingly so — more than a bit frightening.

Who knew so many elected officials could jettison principled notions of service to the nation so easily and so quickly? Effortless, shameless hypocrisy is mandatory. They now display it whenever necessary, with a practiced ease many of…


Misguided grievances have their disadvantages

Dusk at Gloucester Harbor [photo by author]

There comes a time when political leaders and ordinary citizens alike must choose to affirm and reinforce the institutions that make a democratic nation possible….

Democracy does not demand that the citizens share a vision of the future. But democracy does demand that they commit themselves to a future that each would find bearable. This future must offer them security, dignity and the capacity to pursue the everyday goals virtually all of us have for ourselves and our families.

In other words, citizens have to commit to a vision of a shared future to have a democracy. — Lorelei Kelly


Dealing with the once-inconceivable

Never know who’s watching…. [Photo by author]

Like it or not, our actions and beliefs contribute to making our society (in the words of Sukhayl Niyazov)

…more polarized, with people on both sides of the aisle increasingly refusing to engage in dialogue with others because they think of them as being irrational and impervious to changing their opinions. Partisans come to believe that the other side is wrong and biased, leading to explanations that political disagreements are due to the irrationality of the other side.

That’s absolutely true!” said partisans on each side of the political and cultural divide which now defines American politics. High-fives to everyone…


There’s no happy ending

What should we expect? [Photo by author]

Because partisan sorting is no longer primarily about one’s policy views but instead about one’s deepest values or identity, the ‘other party’ is no longer just the opposition but the enemy; and politics is no longer about finding compromises that can address common problems but about winning a war for one’s own side. Where does that road take us? — Isabell Sawhill

Are we paying enough attention to how America’s Left v. Right battle plays out?

Carving new routes to provide more Americans with more options to fulfill their own visions of a better future is a nice thought. Unfortunately…


The fine print of Republican Party ambitions

Photo by the author’s father

It’s not a conservative party, or a small government party or an anti-authoritarian party (to the contrary!). It has become the caricature of the left from days gone by — all power, no principle, dismissive of courtesy and reasoned persuasion. Anger, not ideas, is its animating force. We have a nativist party that views America not as a creedal nation, but as a white Christian nation that is diminished by immigrants and is threatened by outsiders. If it possesses any coherent philosophy, it is one of victimhood — which in turn justifies any and all bad behavior.

Washington Post columnist…


Incompatible perspectives widen the partisan divide

Taking It All In [photo by author]

I have learned that although there is significant common ground on the issues facing our country, our perceptions of each other are tearing us apart…. — Diane Hessan

It’s by now well-established (at least as a general proposition), that conservatives assess and then address political or cultural issues by different methods than those relied upon by their liberal counterparts. Conservative thought processes, motivations, policy preferences, cultural tendencies, criteria, expectations, and values share what are by now familiar indicators. Liberals draw from their own — different — resources.

The foundations are not intended to serve as judgments regarding the validity, legitimacy…


The final price may be unknowable

Didn’t Plan On THIS! [photo by author]

In my experience, if Trump supporters are asked to turn their gaze away from their perceived opponents, and instead to focus and reflect on him and on his failures, they respond in a couple of consistent ways. Many shift the topic immediately back to Democrats, because offering a vigorous moral defense of Donald Trump isn’t an easy task. It’s like asking people to stare directly into the sun; they might do it for an instant, but then they look away. But if you do succeed in keeping the topic on Trump, they often twist themselves into knots in order to…


Ed,

Thanks for your kind words. Your reply deserves accolades for thoughtful points as well. You’ve pinpointed a number of legit’ & underlying differences that are playing a big role in our current partisan conflicts.

While it’s perfectly understandable that most voters do not have the opportunity (and in some cases, the capability) to consider contrasting views on their own, that lack of genuine understanding about the political and cultural differences which sustain our partisan conflicts is a critical impediment to resolving at least some of the pressing conflicts. …


The fine print of some guarantees aren’t so fine

Perspective Matters [photo by author]

The greatest challenge to our democracy is not that we hold deeply polarized beliefs, but that one party refuses to operate in a fact-based world that might challenge its beliefs….[W]e are awash with conservatives seeking to exploit the fears, ignorance and prejudices of many Americans. — Jennifer Rubin

That’s the view from the Left *. Anyone who is familiar with my work knows I’m part of that team. Those on the Right side of America’s seemingly-endless conflict between the two factions have a different perspective. The rules of the game and/or the applicable truths aren’t always in synch, either.

*


Ignoring the warning signs will cost us all

Sailing Along To … ? [Photo by Author]

For Republicans, democracy is the problem. If too many voters turn out — particularly nonwhites — Democrats prosper. That’s what Trump truly meant when he told CPAC, ‘We have a very sick and corrupt electoral process that must be fixed immediately.’

Hence the GOP’s electoral playbook: restricting ballot access, passing discriminatory voter ID laws, slashing early or absentee voting, conducting indiscriminate voter purges, limiting voter registration, and shutting polling places in minority precincts. Having lost the presidency, the House, and the Senate in 2020, the GOP has doubled down on rigging elections.

By mid-February GOP legislators in 43 states had…

Richard Turcotte

Partisanship has no good ending. I’d like to do my part to change that. A better future is a choice.

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