Browsing All Posts filed under »Politics«

A New Civil War?

April 15, 2018

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As the State of California cranks up its resistance to the federal government’s “interference” it its internal affairs, with respect especially to immigrants and sanctuary cities, it might do us well to remember another period in our history when different states took the federal government to task for interfering in their affairs. Let me take […]

Capitalists and Socialists

April 15, 2018

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Putting all other categories aside for the moment—like sexists, misogynists, identity politics, me tooers, supremacists (of all colors), and a dozen or so others hurled around these days in the media—it seems that fundamentally this country has crossed the old taboo boundary between capitalism and socialism. Since the nation was created we are and have […]

Watching the Vietnam War, Redux

November 29, 2017

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I can remember watching Walter Cronkite on the nightly CBS news reporting on the Vietnam War, probably from 1968, the summer it seems that the world was crashing around our shoulders. The Tet Offensive launched by the North Vietnamese and their allies the Vietcong in the South was underway and all South Viet Nam appeared […]

Public Opinion

September 14, 2017

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Today it seems politicians are driven by public opinion polls. Ex-President Bill Clinton famously didn’t do much without consulting the public opinion polls. In one NBC News article published in January 2008, Tom Curry, a national affairs writer, noted that Clinton was one of this generation’s master politicians. Clinton “consults polls as if there were […]

Why Did We Separate Church and State?

July 3, 2017

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We tend to consider the Constitution as almost sacred script, not to be tampered with or changed, like the Bible. But, of course, we must interpret its grand principles since it was composed more than two centuries ago in another age. Today’s crazy world of social media was, for example, not even dreamed about in […]

On Walls

February 11, 2017

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You know, as an historian, one can get cynical about the human condition. A short sampling of modern “wall” phrase making might include the following: Ronald Reagan:    “Tear down this wall!” Donald Trump:    “Build the wall!” Robert Frost:        “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall” And we could add the more memorable line in […]

Nationalism

February 11, 2017

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Nationalism is complicated. One dictionary has seven different meanings, from “spirit or aspirations common to the whole of a nation” to “a movement, as in the arts, based upon the folk idioms, history, aspirations, etc. of a nation.” Sometimes patriotism and chauvinism are associated with nationalism. Perhaps the best definition is #5: “the policy or […]

Election Resignation

November 29, 2016

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I promised myself I would refrain from writing about the presidential elect. But, like all good resolutions, I failed. I can’t resist making a few historical observations, on the premise that we often can see ourselves more clearly through the lens of the past. Or, put another way, we may think we have reached new […]

Reversing the Fall of the Empire

November 5, 2016

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Here’s a snippet of truth I’d like us all to consider. Our American nation is going south similarly to what brought down the Roman Empire in the ancient world. It is reversible, but to do so we have to exercise both wisdom and discipline. There are a lot of signposts to read. Today let’s just […]

The Coup, or Just Another Way to Change Government

September 4, 2016

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I had to chuckle while reading about the aborted military coup in Turkey a few weeks ago. We seem to be surprised, mystified, shocked, and altogether puzzled by a people who attempted to remove their executive—the President in this case–and replace him with a general. Actually, some political commentators here in the U. S. were […]