April 11, 2023

See a Pattern Here? Will the Country?


The news has been full of some of the worst political extremism imaginable of late, by those in power, mostly at the state level. A few examples:

   – The Texas judge who decided he knows medical safety better than the FDA in ruling against a drug on “safety” grounds, even though it has a solid record of many years. I don’t think anyone buys the subterfuge – this is a veil to impose a view on abortion on everyone. Fortunately, a judge in Washington state did a counter ruling. We shall see how it goes.

     – The Tennessee legislature threw out two young black representatives who stood with the dead children. They threw them out (and spared the one white woman representative charged with them, by one vote) based on “violating decorum.” If you have not seen any of the video, do so. It is cringe worthy. Put everyone in antebellum costume and the dialogue fits right in.

     – Several state legislatures, brought in by jerrymandering, are moving to make America into a live version of the Handmaiden’s Tale, in spite of overwhelming numbers that their people want none of this.

How will all this end? Hard to say. Elections in Wisconsin and Chicago, and reactions in Tennessee give some hope the country sees how evil this is and will clean house in coming elections. Here is what the country has to recognize and act upon: None of this is about whether a position on anything is moral or not. It is about who decides to run people’s lives. If most of this stands, we are largely done for as a civilization. If the people rally and strike back, we may yet be a democracy for at least a bit longer.

Two Valuable Lessons Arise – Again

One, while it is likely that Trump is about to fade into history, we as a nation let him rise for a while and let too much pass us by. Now all that has taken root and will outlast Trump. All of this has been here all along, but we let it loose. The clean up will be painful and long. Hope we are up to it.

Two, you cannot show up every four years and expect to have good outcomes. Some seriously determined ultra conservative facilitators took a 20 years+ approach, worked at every levels, but especially at the state level and in the courts. You see the results. Show up every day or give it up.

None of this is new. We just need to pay attention.

A Revisit of Pronouns

 I wrote some time ago, that I thought the matter of personal choice for pronouns was a mistake and essentially unworkable. Some of you challenged me on this. I disagreed but respect the passion and the sensitivity to others. This really does seem problematic to me, but the question is now being used as a weapon by those who would deny LGBTQ+ individuals, especially transgenders, the right to even exist as human beings. I will not give one iota of ammunition to such people.

So, while this is all cumbersome, count me among those who say people count as people, no matter what moniker they choose. Henceforth, I will do my best to be attentive to such matters and to refer to people as they choose. We always have people looking for those who are different and vulnerable, to make them enemies and seemingly dangerous.

Count me out of supporting that sort of attack in any way. As a species, one would think we were past all this nonsense of creating target populations by now. We surely should be past this, should we not?

 “Supreme” Court

 It is difficult to imagine this court being any more destructive or less respected, but Clarence Thomas is showing us how low they can go. Between his wife’s involvement in the January 6 insurrection and his million dollar vacations (undeclared), one wonders what it takes to get fired on this court. Roberts oversees the worst, most ill-disciplined court in modern history.

I long for the day when we get a presidency and national legislature ready to impose minimum standards of conduct and transparency on the Supreme Court. This can be done without violating separation of powers. That the Court has failed to anything at all itself proves again that self-policing is a farce.

Why No Trump Trial Until December?

I understand Trump’s NY trial is set for December, which is OK with the prosecutors. I wonder why that is. The closer we get to the next national election, the more political overhang we face. I cannot understand why such a delay makes sense.

Let us hope the Georgia and federal cases move much faster, along with the civil cases.


A small historical footnote. This week marks the anniversary of the founding of the Works Progress Administration, by FDR in 1935. Absolutely one of the best things ever done by government, on the basis of economics, social advancement, the arts, infrastructure, and more. Just a marvelous program in so many ways, STILL paying dividends. Biden is emulating it in some ways, with his infrastructure programs. Good on him. The model absolutely works.

1000+ Comments

A closing note.  A while back this blog passed its one thousandth commentary by readers. Many of you are shy about public posting – email notes are way more numerous. Most agree, but happily, not all do, and when you comment you almost always, invariably ,contribute importantly to our common understanding and shared conversation. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and observations.

Most of the readers of this blog are East of the Mississippi in the US, but quite a few are scattered all around the country and some are in other countries. I am more grateful than I can express that you choose to share some of your time with this blog and even more grateful when you share your thoughts. Keep it up. We have much to do yet on a long and often mysterious path.

Glad we are on it together.

Bill Clontz

If you find this blog worthy of your time and curiosity, I invite you to do three things:

(1) Join the conversation. Your voice counts here. If you wish to share COMMENTS anonymously, make the last word in your comment “PRIVATE.” I will assure your privacy via anonymity.

(2) Share the word about this post with friends and colleagues. Share a link in your emails and social media posts (https://agentsofreason.com).

(3) You are welcome to share this post with anyone. It is easy to pass on via email, of course, but also on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, or Reddit; simply click on the links for these services at the end of this article.

Let’s grow our circle.

4 replies to April 11, 2023

  1. When it comes to the hot button issue of abortion, I am VERY CAREFUL. The pro-abortionists (-choice,as a euphemism) has gone to the extremes of late term, partial birth and even proposed new birth abortions; the last of which is undisputed murder. A liberal priest friend of mine said that his fellow liberal classmates at seminary decided that any decision on the subject after conception is political. The Constitution says we have the right to life, liberty (choice), and the pursuit of happiness. Without life there is no liberty and no happiness. The pro-abortion folks have rewritten that part of the document in their priorities.

    • We’ll have to disagree on this one. I very much support people having strong moral beliefs about such issues, as this country does on this issue. I do not support forcing others to accept the positions of others in such matters.

  2. I don’t think I said “forcing others to accept …”. Folks can decide what they want to do, immoral or not. No criminal offenses suggested; except after a live birth killing or partial birth killing as the head exits.

    • Your perspective is duly noted. Thanks for engaging on this from your point of view. I recognize this is important to you, too.

Your Turn to Comment