It was a rough year.
Amid intense global conflict, a full calendar of celebrity deaths, and a political climate that rivaled The Jerry Springer Show, we somehow have made it to the final moments of 2016. Around this time everyone decides what to carry into the next year—and what to leave behind. The idea of each year as a “fresh start” is a flimsy concept at best, but it gives us a real chance to reflect on what we want to change, and what we will need to continue moving forward. Here are my intentions for 2017:
Continue reading “7 for 2017”
Every household in America knows someone who was running around on Nov. 9 with their hands in the air going “How could this have happened?”
But this didn’t just “happen.” Most of us have read a litany of material on that subject by now. This didn’t emanate over the course of a year, a decade, or even a lifetime. In grade school we learn that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. This is true in physics and in history, and we see this zig-zag pattern on numerous occasions in our nation’s past.
After the post-Civil War amendments ended the institution of slavery (at least in the official sense) and subsequently gave black men the right to vote, six former Confederate soldiers birthed the first Ku Klux Klan, beginning a reign of terror whose ideology would violently end more than four thousand lives over the next hundred years and silencing many more. Most lynchings were events witnessed by thousands of people, some of who severed and collected body parts for souvenirs. This sent powerful messages—do remain silent, do not attempt to vote. As we’ve heard, progress isn’t a straight line.
Continue reading “A thread of what brought us here.”
Every family has holiday traditions. Some of them fall around or outside of what might be considered the “American Christmas Narrative,” a definition growing more and more narrow and contentious by the day. One consistent tradition with my family—and one of my favorites—is passing around my grandfather’s bible, and reading the Christmas story.
Some of us have nativity sets—miniature figurines of the quintessential scene; Joseph, Mary and the happy, healthy and clean Baby Jesus, surrounded by well-behaved livestock, three wise men, and shepherds—also three, to create a perfect symmetry.
The Christmas story. The birth of Jesus. The reason we bring trees inside to hang electric and plastic stuff on them. The reason we leave Thanksgiving dinner early to spend the night in the garden section of Wal-Mart for our chance to get the 72” TV. The precious and profoundly significant narrative that is so interwoven into the fabric of American culture that it requires defending from a wayward Starbucks cup.
Continue reading “Luke 2:1-20”
This government was created by a bunch of white men, most of whom owned slaves. They demanded we be released from our status as a faraway colony of England, free to express our own virtues, tend to our own problems, meet our own needs. We declared such in 1776, and the ball got rolling.
Continue reading “Why Do We March on Washington? [Part Two]”
We are baffled in ways to conceive the future of our own friendships and familial bonds—how can I stand the guys at work now? How can I continue to spend holidays with Uncle So-And-So? Will my friendship with those women ever be the same?
Continue reading “Tread lightly”
To those who offered the curt snub, Give him a chance: he’s invited a renegade neo-Nazi into the White House, openly championed by multiple evil-based groups and despite the rebuke of tens of thousands of educated, powerful individuals.
To those who puffed, It won’t be that bad: he’s offered Health & Human Services to a man who opposed the Violence Against Women Act, who is mired in personal investments with the pharmaceutical industry, who would (and has repeatedly tried to) revoke a woman’s right to decide what happens to her own body, who is committed to dismantling the infrastructure of Medicare.
Continue reading “A moment of clarity”
For many of us, election night 2016 will be one of those occasions that, for the rest of our lives, we’ll remember exactly where we were and exactly how we felt as we watched the states, one by one, trickle in with results that horrified and disgusted us.
Continue reading “Why do we march on Washington? [Part One]”