I Didn’t Know It Was an Option

My life has not been the same since Grover Cleveland stole the election from James G. Blaine in 1884. It was a close campaign, “marred,” according to Wikipedia, “by exceptional political acrimony and personal invective,” something quite unusual in American political history. Cleveland, it turned out, had sired an illegitimate child, while Blaine had some […]

Threats and Issues

It was 80 degrees in New York City last evening, which probably shouldn’t come as a surprise since 2015 was the hottest year ever recorded and, said the director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, “2016 has really blown that [record] out of the water.” If the history of this presidential campaign is any […]

From Beirut to Benghazi to Here

Thirty-three years ago next week, a suicide bomber blew up the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, killing 254 American servicemen. It was, wrote Jane Mayer, “the single deadliest attack on American Marines since the Battle of Iwo Jima.” The bomber drove through a gate the U.S. military had ordered kept open, past sentries whose weapons had no ammunition. […]

This Nightmare is Far from Over

“It’s just words,” Donald Trump. “The cancerous con man is determined to take the entire ship down with him!” A Republican friend of mine. Donald Trump is attacking any- and everyone against whom he has ever held a grudge, and that is a lot of people. His object is to (1) humiliate those he attacks and […]

A Good Man

In all his adult life I don’t think my stepfather ever voted for a Democrat – and he lived in Massachusetts where Republicans have long been hard to find. He was conservative in almost all things. He wore gray suits, button-down shirts, and ties with regimental stripes. He became a stockbroker when he married my […]

A Wandering Mind: Thoughts on Language

My mind wandered during Monday’s debate, as I grew weary of listening to one man’s rambling refusal to recognize any source of knowledge or wisdom beyond his “gut.” Doing so is the purpose of education – and Donald Trump seems to have missed a few classes. A friend of mine believes that this election is […]

Reclaiming our Country

Like many others, I experience the tension that Welsh poet Edward Thomas noted between the desire to ‘go on and on over the earth’ and the desire ‘to settle for ever in one place,’ words I recently came across in Landmarks, Robert Macfarlane’s extraordinary book about the intimate connections between language and place. The words […]