Republicans want you to believe government is a cauldron of incompetence. It’s never been true, and it’s not true now.

Photo by Ben Noble on Unsplash

Since President Biden took office, Republicans have been quick to resurrect that old saw, “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” Biden seems determined to prove them wrong, engineering a comprehensive legislative package to help the nation bounce back from the pandemic, leading a massive drive to get the country vaccinated quickly, and spearheading a substantial effort to repair and improve the country’s infrastructure.

In previous eras, the government also provided solutions. Franklin Roosevelt created…

Make them fear us in the primaries

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As the second impeachment trial of ex-president Donald Trump unfolds, it seems inevitable that the threshold to convict, 67 votes in the U.S. Senate, will not be reached. Despite a meticulously crafted, airtight case presented by the House prosecution team, a number of Republican senators will ignore the evidence, seemingly out of loyalty to the ex-president.

Really, though, they will vote to acquit for a more basic reason: they fear a backlash from Trump-loyal voters if they choose to convict the former president. …

Head back once the pandemic clears, and you’ll find competence and compassion among the nation’s young people

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I’m an advocate of lifelong learning. I think it’s important to stay engaged in society, to keep your mind active, and to make sure you’re growing as a human being, no matter how old you are.

About a year and a half ago, I decided to go back to school at the age of sixty-nine. Even though I already hold three master’s degrees, I enrolled at Glendale Community College in the greater Phoenix area.

I spent my whole career in journalism and public relations, but as a nonfiction writer, I thought I could benefit from taking a fiction-writing course. I…

The pain of being rendered invisible

Media from Green Pastures. Public domain.

Throughout my career, I occasionally ran up against people who were more than willing to volunteer as interpreters for Black people, as in

“What Vera is trying to say is . . . .”

This always struck me as a rude putdown. Just let Vera speak for herself, I thought. As often as not, the “interpreters” were only pushing her aside to make whatever point they wanted to make.

For most of history, that’s what has happened to Black Americans, especially in books, movies, and television programs. With a scarcity of Black voices like James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, and Spike…

Imagine the power of honoring influential Black Americans

Bronze statue of a man from the nineteenth century. He’s looking forward, and stands next to a decorative copper lamp.
Bronze statue of a man from the nineteenth century. He’s looking forward, and stands next to a decorative copper lamp.
A statue of Frederick Douglass outside the New York Historical Society (Photo by Can Pac Swire, Flickr)

The United States is slowly rethinking how to talk about and present our 400-year history of racism. As we do so, it’s useful to see how Germany is addressing the ugliest part of its heritage — Nazism and the Holocaust.

I’ve been to Germany twice within the past decade. I can attest that, like much of Europe, the country loves statues. I’ve seen my fair share of three-dimensional likenesses of Martin Luther, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Schiller, and Otto von Bismarck. Each of these heroes of Germany’s religious and cultural heritage was flawed — aren’t we all? — but…

A masked white man holds a cardboard sign while white onlookers watch. The sign says “White Silence Equals Violence.”
A masked white man holds a cardboard sign while white onlookers watch. The sign says “White Silence Equals Violence.”
Photo by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona on Unsplash

Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell recently asked whether any of his Republican colleagues would declare, unequivocally, that Black lives matter. His Republican colleague, Matt Gaetz, countered by asking whether Swalwell believes all lives matter.

Gaetz might think he’s striking a blow for equality when he voices the “all lives” mantra, but he’s not. His inclusive-sounding sentiment is, often, not-so-subtle racism. If you doubt it, take a minute to watch this clip from NBC News.

Certainly, all lives matter. But championing the point, in our present climate, has the effect of papering over a greater, shameful reality: in America, throughout our history…

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I’ve met a few people who claimed to be “self-made men.” I get that they worked hard, took risks, and made a lot of money. I give them their due. But totally self-made? Really?

First, the few men who said this to me were all white, which, in the United States, has cleared away a few obstacles. Yes, there are black men who have been wildly successful, but not nearly as many, and they almost always had to push through a wall of prejudice not confronted by their white counterparts.

Second, the few men who said this to me were…

Photo by Hasan Almasi on Unsplash

Not much seems certain these days, but one thing seems obvious: America can’t go on like this.

We can’t let people be above the law. Not wrongdoers, of course, but also not the powerful. Not the president, not police, not the wealthy.

We can’t deny due process to anyone suspected of or charged with a crime.

We can’t allow show trials that give the illusion but not the reality of justice.

We can’t turn a blind eye to logic, reason, and facts that feel inconvenient.

We can’t pretend truth is whatever we say it is.

We can’t let name-calling and…

Your parents or teachers probably taught you Aesop’s fable about the turtle and the rabbit, so you know the story. The turtle and the rabbit compete in a race. The rabbit bolts out ahead, but along the way, he gets tired and takes a nap. The turtle keeps slogging along, taking one slow step after another. The rabbit sleeps too long. He wakes up, making a mad dash for the finish line. only to find the turtle has won the race.

The moral, we’re told is that slow and steady wins the race.

Except, why is that the moral…

Photo by Jens Johnsson on Unsplash

Where’s there’s smoke, there’s fire. The idea seems unassailable, right? Yet, like most adages, it’s worth a second look.

In our post-truth, post-fact world, this is a dubious claim. It means, of course, that every rumor has some foundation, that if there’s an indication of something gone wrong, there is an underlying problem.

In our highly divided world, however, people seem to be more than willing to make it seem that “smoke” is coming from an enemy’s camp, whether there’s a fire or not. …

Peter Faur

Writer, reader, runner, moviegoer. Friend of the friendless, foe of the foeless.

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