Saturday, March 27, 2010

Yes we can, we really can

Still feeling very good about health care reform... For some liberals, it was not enough -- no public option, and of course, no single payer. For some liberals, it was enough that we defeated the creepy, reptilian forces of the dark side -- any victory in that sense is worth celebrating for the hope it brings. For my part, the realization that the previously disenfranchised 32 million will now have access to health care services is a source of deep satisfaction. Obama promised change, and this is big change -- very big indeed.

I stand in awe of Nancy Pelosi -- what an incredibly effective Speaker she has proved to be! Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, on the other hand, have never been so loathsome. This video makes the point so clearly; the Republicans stand against the noblest aspirations of people of goodwill in this country. How anyone can still be a Republican today is beyond my limited powers of comprehension.

There is more work to be done, but it is good to know that we really can do it, after all.


Tuesday, March 09, 2010

More Total Praise

Hang in there -- let the guys goof off for about 50 seconds, then give their performance a listen.

This is really deep down good.


Friday, March 05, 2010

Total Praise

I went to a Black History month celebration at New Brunswick High School last night and was moved by one young woman's performance, singing Richard Smallwood's "Total Praise." Her singing was not flawless, but she sang with power and confidence and with such sincere and profound feeling - so much emotion that my dark little atheist heart was overwhelmed. The power of music, the purity of spirit with which it was offered, and the intimacy and warmth of a human voice fully engaged -- it all made for a memorable experience.

And so this morning, I am remembering and it caused me to look for other performances of this beautiful hymn. I posted one on Facebook and here is another. This video is a performance by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. I hope you will enjoy it.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Yoo Who -- The Drink of Forgiving and Forgetting

Reported today, in the New York Times:

After five years of often bitter internal debate, the Justice Department concluded in a report released Friday that the lawyers who gave legal justification to the Bush administration’s brutal interrogation tactics for terrorism suspects used flawed legal reasoning but were not guilty of professional misconduct.

John Yoo, who in a decent country would have been considered a war criminal, escaped even the lesser charges of professional misconduct for harnessing his talents to the waterboarding and "enhanced interrogations" that shocked the consciences of good people around the world, if not here at home in the land of the free and the home of the indifferent. Where war crimes are simply shoved under the rug in the interests of some faux bipartisan amity, of binding up the untreated wounds of the nation, and where such behavior can be expected to occur again. The moral hazard of our exceptionalism.

Shame. Shame.

Monday, January 18, 2010


Connecticut has inflicted Joe Lieberman on the nation; no doubt many in the Nutmeg State regret that choice. Now Massachusetts appears likely to send Scott Brown to Washington. One wonders how Barack Obama can deliver on the promise of change when states like these stand in the way of progress. Can the good people of Massachusetts not know of the burden that is now on their shoulders?

Remembering Dr. King today -- we miss his wisdom and character today, and his practical commitment to the work of making real progress happen. If good men and women do nothing, the liberal agenda of social justice will go down to defeat. I hope that the voters in Massachusetts will be mindful of their responsibility to the nation.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Hope abides

At the end of an awful decade, one so marred by the dismal, disgraceful, and destructive Bush presidency that its stain will not be removed in our lifetime, we entered into 2009 with a spirit of hope. Americans had just elected an African American to the Presidency -- a bold departure from our past that was broader even than the gulf between the previous President's incoherent faux-cowboy belligerence and the soaring rhetoric and highmindedness of Barack Obama. Though we entered upon this last year of the decade of naught with two failed wars still in progress, with a rapidly collapsing economic system, and with the mountain of debt left by the GOP Congress and Mr Bush, nonetheless some of us also felt a deep and reassuring hopefulness -- a sense that we were finally heading in the right direction, that our highest aspirations might finally begin to be met. With such hope and such aspirations came expectations that have not been met.

This last year has been disappointing. We are more deeply engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan than I had hoped. The health care reform bills have fallen short of my expectations. The economic program has been too timid -- too much of a trickle-down Republican model, and too little has been done to help the unemployed and those in real difficulty in these hard times. Watching the Democrats in Congress take their lead from blue dogs, "moderate" Republicans, and Joe Lieberman, has been profoundly disheartening.

Yet, even on the darkest days, hope abides. It is a hope that I cannot explain or defend, but at its center is the belief that a nation that could elect Barack Obama is a nation that can come to understand the righteousness and wisdom of the progressive agenda, and to support that agenda so that Congress and this President can bring its benefits to our children and the generations of Americans who will inherit the America we leave behind when we go.

Wishing you all a happy new year. May all your highest aspirations be realized in the year to come.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Progress: The Best Gift

Progress is slow, and has many enemies. They fear the cost; they see only the sacrifice and worry that something important is being overlooked. And so they wait and suffer for the waiting: the poor, the uninsured, the unemployed, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free. The dream that is America - a dream of equality and human dignity expressed in the words of our Declaration of Independence but has taken two centuries and more to even approach realization. How far we still are from realizing that dream for all of us, for the least of us.

And yet, there are days when you can feel the progress, and sense the dream in motion, like a moving river or the shifting plates of the Earth herself. It may be naive, but I believe in progress. I believe in that dream. This is the Christmas spirit flickering brightly in the heart of a nation born to be a light unto the world.

Merry Christmas to all of you.