Archive | Musings

Words Change Us

I’ve talked before about how shifts in the language have changed the political climate. How, when “opponent” became “enemy,” “debate” became “battle,” and “compromise” was called “selling out” politics went to war. Our minds followed the words, and the climate soured; war words became an accurate description of political life—except to those of us who […]

Continue Reading 0
dreamstime_s_211694006

Respect

  In my last blog, I talked about the power of respect, the effect that being respected as a woman had in my own life as well as the cruelty of mockery and belittlement. In writing it, I realized how central respect is to our democracy. In How Democracies Die, Levitsky and Ziblatt call lack […]

Continue Reading

On Being a Woman—a Long View

I go back a long way. I came of age before anyone questioned the role of women. I welcomed marriage and looked forward to motherhood, delayed until my husband finished graduate school. I believed that my role was the easier one, and one I was trained and well prepared for. It was the men who […]

Continue Reading

Hyper-Individualism and Higher Education

    I talked in my last blog about the degeneration of civic education in our high schools and the consequent absence of any sense of obligation to the community in my college students. The primacy of hyper-individualism has affected—or infected—our higher education institutions as well. I lived most of my adult life either in […]

Continue Reading
Constitution

Educating Citizens

Education has always been a hot topic, and it probably should be. Teaching racial history is the current controversy, and I can’t imagine any justification for not teaching it—which does not mean uncritically adopting anybody’s theories about the nature of the white race. It’s too bad this needed conversation about how we are educating our […]

Continue Reading
heartland

Spreading the Word

    I’ve been writing about the political and social crisis in America for months, and the inevitable question becomes louder and louder in my head. And in yours too, I suspect. What do we do about it? My only answer has been—Write! My gratitude to those who have responded to my blogs, for language […]

Continue Reading
heartland

Fear, the Achilles Heel of the Midwest

My oldest friend with whom I’ve shared a house for almost thirty years was born and raised in Nebraska and insists I’m an Easterner. I’m not. Despite being raised in the community around a university that nicknames itself “Harvard of the West,” I don’t want to be. My mother comes from the prairies of Iowa […]

Continue Reading
Chicago Poems

On Being American

I’ve just opened Wallace Stegner’s Marking the Sparrow’s Fall, a collection of essays published by Stegner’s son after the author’s death. It’s been on my bookshelf for a long time, but never picked up for unknown reasons. In the opening essay, “Child of the Far Frontier,” Stegner writes of the power of certain images, smells, […]

Continue Reading
Tulips

Celebrate Spring!

It’s spring! Around Puget Sound, we just had a three-day storm off the Pacific with winds up to fifty miles an hour, but the tulip fields survived. A few golden ones from our garden, a bit windblown, light the dining table. The cherry trees are at the end of their glory, but the apple trees […]

Continue Reading
dreamstime_s_211694006

Buzz Words and the Power of Mob-Think

                        FREEDOM! REVOLUTION! CHOICE! LIFE! JUSTICE! Words that reach deep into the American soul, the heart of the moral order, even when they are demanding liberation from that order. All express the feeling that something is wrong or has gone wrong with society and […]

Continue Reading
habits of the heart

Talking About Religion and Politics

                    I talked last week about my journey from Protestant to Catholic and back again, and as I look back on experiences that shaped my life, I count the study of culture, especially the interweaving of politics and religion as a major force. Sociology and anthropology […]

Continue Reading
Boston Marathon exzplosion 4/15/13 Boston Marathon

What is it About Extremes?

    What is it about extremes that draw us so irrevocably toward our doom? For four years, we were ruled by a man whose love of power and belief in his own greatness took him, and us, to the verge of insanity. Now we watch Putin pull the world with him toward the same […]

Continue Reading
Find us on Google+