Election Day

In her book, The Guns of August, Barbara Tuchman begins chapter 17, “In 1915 a book about the invasion of his country was published in exile by Emile Verhaeren, Belgium’s leading living poet whose life before 1914 had been a flaming dedication to socialist and humanitarian ideals that were then believed to erase national lines. He prefaced his account with this dedication: ‘He who writes this book in which hate is not hidden was formerly a pacifist…For him no disillusionment was ever greater or more sudden. It struck him with such violence that he thought himself no longer the same man. And yet, as it seems to him that in this state of hatred his conscience becomes diminished, he dedicates these pages, with emotion, to the man he used to be.’ Continue reading “Election Day”

A Country That Has Lost Its Way

America has gazed at itself in the mirror, has taken stock of its wealth, power, influence, military might, and is in the process of deciding whether or not to throw it all away. Historians centuries from now will not refer to the United States as an empire in name, but it will be treated as such in fact. They will look back on the 20th century in awe, not just of humankind’s achievements, but for its seeming descent into insanity, for thrusting upon itself a pace of change that the world had never seen, and that has been proved it was not yet ready for. Out of all this, the United States was poised to stand tall for the foreseeable future. No one could seriously challenge the will of its people, or its money. Continue reading “A Country That Has Lost Its Way”

The Guns of August

Forget the news analysis and all the previews leading up to tonight’s third evening of the Republican National Convention. Common wisdom would tell you that the heavy hitters of any political convention traditionally come on Wednesday, with the nominee set to wrap things up on Thursday. But all a person would have to have done is watch the past two nights out of Madison Square Garden to realize that the most powerful presenters of the Republican platform weren’t named Bush and Cheney, but were named McCain, Giuliani, and Schwarzenegger. Continue reading “The Guns of August”

This is What Democracy Looks Like

As I rounded the corner of Broadway and 17th Street yesterday, finishing up a march that had begun almost two hours before, I was unaware that thousands of people were still gathering and waiting for their chance to march at the staging area miles behind me. I had no idea it would still be over an hour before a small group of black bloc anarchists would set a paper mache dragon ablaze in front of Madison Square Garden (the only serious infraction of the day). I had no idea that on that day, more Americans would take to the streets in opposition of a sitting president’s party’s nominating convention than at any time in American history. Continue reading “This is What Democracy Looks Like”

Dissent is Not Patriotic

The life of a city and its residents is one typified by close contact. The rubbing, pulling, pushing, and shoving that goes on one must become accustomed to, whether by birth or by months of constant exposure. Most people grow up with an idea of personal space that is nonexistent in a city the size of New York. This becomes ever more apparent aboard the trains, barreling their way through the stagnant air of the tunnels or lofted above the street, packed fresh and full with souls to or from…wherever. Continue reading “Dissent is Not Patriotic”