Peace and Justice Files
It was a beautiful August day as we gathered in the town square. Two large tubs, one with soapy water and one with clean water, had been set up in front of the speakers’ podium. A good-sized flag hung from a clothesline behind it, its stars and stripes bright in the sunlight. Two more clotheslines hung on either side, plentifully supplied with clothespins. A table held the dishes that had been brought for what I guessed was a potluck to follow.
Everyone had flags. Small ones, large ones, flags hanging from flagpoles, flags stapled to sticks, flags draped across shoulders. Read more
I spent my adolescence in North Carolina, during the storied reign of Dean Smith as basketball coach for the UNC “Tar Heels.” An important part of UNC’s strategy during those years was the “Four Corners Offense.” Having established a lead, four Tar Heel players would stake out the corners of the offensive court and use up as much time as possible just passing the ball back and forth. Read more
World events, no matter where, are no longer “remote,” and haven’t been for some time. Moment by moment, we can follow the search for a vanished jetliner over the Indian Ocean, or watch one country take a bite out of another along the Black Sea. Battles and disasters, once just abstract reports, take on specific human forms, with individual names and faces. Read more
“It’s not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world.
It’s our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.”
― L.R. Knost
Every once in a while (as I may have observed here before), something comes across the Internet, amongst all the kitty-cat videos and trivial “Mmmm, nice lunch!” status updates, that make a reader stop dead for a moment. Read more
For me, 2013 didn’t go out with a bang; it went out with a cough and a wheeze and a snore. After a year-end barrage of long workdays, a persistent chest bug sent me to bed around 9 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, and I didn’t stir till late the next morning. It was just as well; I was perfectly happy to be done with a year that had brought more than its share of challenges. Read more
The days before the recent elections were filled with interesting, heartfelt, and vociferous debates among my circles of online friends and correspondents—not about any of the candidates, mind you, or any of the particular issues involved, but rather about whether or not we should even bother to vote. Read more
Last month I wrote about the difficult effort to find the political “center”—or for that matter, to even define it. For some, this elusive center presents an opportunity, and their search is motivated by a sense that there might be advantage to be gained by formulating an attractive vision of a unifying, centrist politics. They calculate that the right person, with the right set of “non-partisan” positions, could leverage people’s frustrations with business-as-usual and draw a strong following. Read more