How Do We Choose Our Personal and National Priorities?

This is a Missing Link in What Passes for National Dialogue and Personal Reflection

What We REALLY Are Asking…

I learned an important lesson a long time ago. It’s one that comes to mind today as I look at how we talk with each other as a nation. The lesson? People often ask a leader “What is the number one priority I should focus on?” What they were often really asking me was “Give me one thing I can focus on and drop everything else.”

I see a variation of that on a national level now.

Three Important Benchmarks You May Have Missed


Big Events Grab Headlines. Sometimes the more important back story gets lost

Benchmark 1: The Resignation of Kirstjen Nielsen as Secretary of Homeland Security

We expected this one for some time. Besides this change of personnel, three more points worth noting as national benchmarks:

  • There has been much commentary that Nielsen was holding back Trump’s worst instincts. There has also been much discussion that in the end, she sold her soul. Whatever protests she might have mounted, she did the president’s dirty work. She did it in an area that stains this country forever.

Two Updates + New Thoughts on an Old Topic – National Service


National service would be a fitting addition to the upcoming political season

First, a Look Back at Last Week

 I would like to revisit the idea of national service as a rite of passage. But first, let’s update two topics discussed last week

First- We discussed earlier a shameful 5-4 Supreme Court decision. The Court allowed Alabama to execute a man without a representative from his faith (Muslim) being with him at his execution. The rationale? He waited too long to ask, and the state did not have a Muslim cleric on its staff roster.

In Politics, Peripheral Vision is Key to Staying Alive


Any number of political figures are feeling pressure from unexpected directions

As we advance into America’s political season, and watch dramas overseas, an old lesson is inflicting itself on would-be leaders: Trouble comes from unexpected directions.

Roll, Brittania

Let’s start with overseas. Prime Minister May has been slugging away for what seems like years to find a workable Brexit formula. If it feels like years to us, imagine what it must feel like to her. The struggles were proceeding along when suddenly, Parliament took control of the agenda. The Prime Minister was given a time out.

Welcome to My Precinct – County, District, etc.


I Came Out of a Weekend Immersed in Politics- and I Liked It

This past weekend I attended my first county political party convention. I did so as a new Precinct Chair. I did not know what to expect. Curiosity was high and expectations hopeful. Some eight hours later I left more encouraged and inspired than I might have expected. Given the division and anger in American politics today, this was a pleasant surprise.

So why the happy face conclusion? There were moments of eye rolling and periods of concern,

That First Grade Teacher – An Homage to Teachers


Reflecting Back Reminds Us of the Powerful Role Teachers Play in Our Lives

Unless you have children in school, you may forget about teachers for long stretches of time. You don’t see them, don’t have the opportunity to talk with many of them. But over the last year or so, teachers have reminded us they are here. Teachers have been on strike from coast to coast, in a desperate effort to get justice on many fronts. For the most part, the tactic has worked. It is forcing governors and legislators to recognize the vital role these people serve.

Dunn vs Ray is a Low Mark, Even for This Supreme Court

Common Compassion and a Modicum of Decency Would Have Gone a Long Way

The Background

There have been a lot of high visibility news stories in recent weeks. Perhaps lost in the din of events, a legal case was settled in a result that is unworthy of us as Americans.

In February of this year, the US Supreme Court ruled on a freedom of religion case, Dunn vs Ray. The issues were narrow as these things go, yet this case should go down as one the court will carry with shame.

To be clear,

Marley’s Ghost is Coming Now?


Two BIG Votes Are Coming Up – Are Republicans About to Be Haunted?

Remember that great opening scene in A Christmas Carol? Jacob Marley’s ghost stands before Ebenezer Scrooge. He calls upon him to face the choices he has made and the consequences that followed. Great literature, powerful theater.

Beware, Member of Congress– A Ghost is Looking for You

I find myself wondering how many Republicans in Congress have seen that play or read that book. Their Marley ghost is coming closer to call upon them and to call them out.

A Clarion Call for The Just Right Candidate


Give Us Youth, Please –and Experience

Anyone Else Want to Run, or is About 20 Candidates Enough?

We are now into double digits for declared Democratic candidates for president. At least as many may yet make the run. The count could well surpass the 17 that the Republicans fielded last time. You might recall how well that went for everyone.

All things considered, it is natural that so large a group is signing up to be our next leader. To a degree, this is a healthy thing. It is a time to expand our vision and to consider a wide range of options about policies and candidates.

Thinking 3rd Party, True Believer, or Independent Candidate?

Don’t. Just don’t.

The 2020 elections are off to an early start. On the Democratic side, the candidate roster is creeping up on double digits already. The calendar mark of “too late to get in the race” is likely to come early this time around. For the Republican, there are scenarios involving Trump’s impeachment or resignation. The hunt is on for viable candidates to challenge Trump in the primaries. If someone like the governor of Maryland takes that leap, the challenge could be substantial. Team Trump is hard at work trying to short circuit challenges in the primaries and at the convention.