Archive | Musings

flag split

Now Comes the Test

Election 2022 is all but over. A few races are yet to be counted, and we don’t yet know the final count of the US Senate, but we have enough to see the road ahead. We are an evenly divided country with an evenly divided government, but the Democrats have escaped decimation. Will we have […]

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Paula Portrait 2

In Memoriam–Paula

In Memoriam     Paula Oct. 22, 1962-Jul. 23, 1982   Autumn is here. The air has cooled, the breeze turned brisk, the green world begun to color, the lethargy of summer transformed into the energy of expectation. It’s Paula’s month. Yesterday, her sister, Miriam, and I agreed that the air is full of her. […]

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It’s Time to Act: VOTE!

I was browsing through my blogs today, looking for topics and wondering why nothing seemed appropriate. Then I realized I’d committed the chief failing of my academic upbringing—analyzing causes when the time has come for action. So enough reflection. The upcoming election is more vital to the nation’s welfare than any in history. It’s time […]

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Take Back the Flag

One of the saddest developments of the national crisis is that we’ve come to identify the American flag with the far right, and assume that residents of houses flying the flag must be Trump supporters. It’s hardly new that the far right believes they are more American than liberals. Calling opponents “Un-American” was a favorite […]

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To My Fellow Midwesterners

    I’m a Midwesterner. It’s been a long time since I left, but I’m still a Chicagoan—from Carl Sandburg’s “Hog-butcher of the World” Chicago. The Chicago of my day was the rail center that brought the farm to market. Though I was born, raised, educated, and married there, my roots are in the small […]

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Tom segmented bowl

Celebrating My Brother

      Tom Kenyon   Today I received an email from my brother—my baby brother—announcing that he will be a demonstrator at the national symposium of Segmented Woodturners (https://segmentedwoodturners.org/). If you don’t know what a segmented woodturning is, here are a few pictures of Tom’s work.                  […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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