Archive

January 24th, 2017

The Women's March didn't resolve all feminist debates. It didn't need to.

    They drew inspiration from Princess Leia, "Hamilton," and Leslie Knope, and Beyoncé's "Sorry," and "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt," and the late Fred Rogers. They walked down to the Mall carrying signs that said "Three Doors Down Hasn't Had a Hit in Ten Years," "We Are The Granddaughters Of The Witches You Weren't Able To Burn," and arguing for universal health care and Black Lives Matter and the integrity of science. They chanted "Hands too small! Can't build the wall!" They waltzed in the crowd to "A Change Is Gonna Come." They drove Lexuses with "Run The World (Girls)" blaring out the windows, and they pushed themselves in wheelchairs.

    In Washington, where hundreds of thousands of women gathered to protest Donald Trump's young presidency and to show solidarity for causes ranging from keeping Planned Parenthood open to supporting protesters at Standing Rock, the Women's March was a lot like the feminist Internet from which it sprang: huge, varied, pop culture literate, a little bit disorganized and hugely promising.

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

The cat in the hat certainly understands that: At a Women's March, the men mattered most.

    Women everywhere. Pink hats, black hats, hard hats, no hats. A crushing polite crowd, well prepared with healthy snacks and tissues. A crowd so sprawling, it nearly covered the march route end-to-end. It was mighty and powerful.

    Best of all, there were men there. Thousands of them. Some wore the pink p---yhats. Some were just there to condemn President Trump.

    "I just hate him. I am totally against Donald Trump," one guy told me, when I asked why he'd come to the Women's March. "The women are fine; they're strong."

    No worries, dude. We'll take you. We're all going in the same direction, anyhow. Come along.

    And that's the key.

    "We are all the same," said 8-year-old Asa Bergander's sign. He gets it.

    When I asked him why he came to the march, he said, "Girls don't get as much money as boys when they do the same work."

    Asa for president!

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

Our President Speaks

    The word popped up in the opening sentence of Barack Obama’s first inaugural address and in the opening paragraphs of George W. Bush’s.

    “Humbled,” each man said of himself, and while it was pure cliché, it was also what we wanted and needed: a sign, no matter how rote, that even someone self-assured enough to pursue the presidency was taking the measure of that responsibility and asking if he was worthy of it.

    Does that question cross Donald Trump’s mind?

    I don’t think so. I certainly didn’t get that sense from his inaugural remarks, and not just because “humbled” went missing. As he stood just feet from four of the last six presidents, he trashed them, talking about a Washington establishment blind and deaf to the struggles of less fortunate Americans.

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

Trump's clenched fist address

    This will be the presidency of the raised fist, not the outstretched hand.

    Inaugural addresses are traditionally occasions of inclusion and healing. In that transformative moment, the new president sheds a partisan identity and assumes the mantle of national leader, president of and for all the people. If any new president should have sounded that soothing note, it was President Trump. If any nation needed to hear it, it was America today.

    The state of our union is dangerously frayed. The country is in a volatile and fragile condition that requires attending to, not ignoring. More citizens voted against the new president than for him, and the reports since Election Day about Russian efforts to install Trump in the presidency have only served to deepen those anxieties. The 45th president takes office with less popular support than any president in the history of polling.

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

January 23rd

Trump turns a JFK phrase against his message

    The crucial passage in President Donald Trump's inaugural address Friday tracked John F. Kennedy's swearing-in speech, with one huge difference: Trump's America First message was 180 degrees away from Kennedy's Cold War embrace of global leadership.

    The combination of homage to Kennedy and subversion of his liberal internationalist vision tells you a lot about what Trump's presidency is going to look like -- much more than the populist rhetoric about giving America back to the people.

    The key Kennedy allusion came in Trump's issuance of a "new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power. From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it's going to be only America first."

    The setup of the new decree heard far and wide echoes Kennedy's lines: "Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike … "

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

Today, let Lincoln be our guide

    Last year gave us one of the most unusual elections in our political history. In the electoral college, a political outsider upset an establishment insider who won the popular vote but did not achieve the necessary distributed majority across states. What's more, Russian pot-stirring helped agitate the whole yeasty brew to a well-het-up boil.

    This means that as we celebrate an inauguration today Friday - and celebrate we should - we do so with an unusually indigestible medley of emotions - euphoria for some, and for others, despair.

    Why should we celebrate the inauguration of the 45th president of the United States? Because in doing so, we celebrate the world's oldest representative democracy and 44 peaceful transfers of power from one executive to another. The 15th transfer,from James Buchanan to Abraham Lincoln, was, of course, gossamer tissue stretched across already existing ruptures and percolating hostilities.

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

Not Exactly a Walk in the Park

    Except for the cold weather, Barack Obama’s first inauguration reminded me a lot of Woodstock. Throngs of revelers wandering around with no idea whatsoever of where they were going. The crowd was so big, you worried that there’d be a stampede. But no. People bumped into one another, smiled and bumped on. One big beaming community. Peace, love and thermal underwear.

    Kind of knew Donald Trump’s day would be different. One hint came when the inaugural committee’s communications director said, “We are not putting on Woodstock.”

    You cannot blame our new president for the relatively small number of violent demonstrators who showed up in Washington. You can totally blame him for the crowd that shouted “Lock her up!” when Hillary Clinton appeared at the swearing-in. In between you had a ton of peaceful protesters and cheerful celebrators, doing their best to move forward with their respective missions.

    “Those are tears of joy coming from heaven,” one man in the inaugural audience announced when it started to rain the moment Trump began to speak. Other quarters envisioned the judgment of a depressed deity.

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

Marching to ease the pain of Trump

    As an African-American woman, I find the 2016 campaign - and now the 2017 inauguration - doubly painful. Donald Trump's victory revealed inconvenient and ugly truths about the United States and its political system, including the persistence of racial discrimination and the continuing sting of misogyny.

    From D.W. Griffith's "Birth of a Nation" to the "birther" effort championed by Trump to delegitimize President Barack Obama's citizenship, racial hatred has played an invidious role in this land of unequal rights and opportunities.

    Once, it was possible to think that Obama's presidency proved that the United States had entered a post-racial era in which color no longer defined one's character or value. Trump shattered that illusion.

    Trump's campaign also exposed the degree to which all women, black and white, remain at risk of mistreatment - and the hypocrisy of the notion that white men hold white women in special reverence.

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

Inauguration boycotts are an American tradition

    The news media is making a huge fuss over the several dozen Democrats who are planned to boycott the inauguration of Donald Trump as president. But there is less here than meets the eye. Politicians skipping the swearing-in ceremony of a candidate they opposed is a tradition almost as old as the Constitution.

    In 1801, John Adams did not show up for the inauguration of his successor, Thomas Jefferson, and although Adams said the reason was that his son had just died, some historians believe he was angry and wounded by the election outcome. So was Theodore Sedgwick, who with the Federalists out of power suddenly was no longer speaker of the House. His decision to attend to urgent business elsewhere can be put down to nothing but political pique.

    Adams was not alone among 19th century presidents in missing his successor's inauguration. John Quincy Adams did not attend Andrew Jackson's; Martin Van Buren did not attend William Henry Harrison's; Andrew Johnson did not attend Ulysses S. Grant's. (Some historians think Grant did not invite him.)

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

I want to go home now

    This creepy parallel universe is a pleasant enough place to visit, but I think I would like to go home now.

    Don't get me wrong, it has its charms.

    There is a certain unified aesthetic to it, and I like the simple words that are used. It was fun and wild to hear "carnage" and "tombstones" in an inaugural address!

    Imagine an inauguration where it would be regarded as a mean, pointed critique to state that one of the things that makes America America is the First Amendment! But that is what makes this parallel universe, in which we have elected Donald Trump the president of the United States, so exciting.

    Trump could not stop waving, almost as though he could not believe it either. He gave his usual rally speech and said the phrase "radical Islamic terrorism." (I think this ended terrorism, although I would have to check.)

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!