Ben Sasse: Strengths and Weaknesses

Ben Sasse: Strengths and Weaknesses

Political/Books

Ben Sasse: Strengths and Weaknesses
By Wade Lee Hudson

In Them: Why We Hate Each Other—And How We Can Heal, Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) affirms important values. Unfortunately, his politics contradict his values. 

Sasse declares:

By working to secure for each of our countrymen and women the freedom from coercive power, we help to secure for every American the freedom to live lives of love, worshipping as we see fit, serving our neighbors, and pursuing happiness and friendship….

We share common interests and goals that are more important than just about any question of federal policy—chief among these goals, raising our children to be kind, thoughtful, gritty, respectful adults who use their skills and talents to serve others.

He acknowledges serious social problems, such as “persistent racism in our criminal justice system…, the breathtaking inefficiencies and inequities of our health-care system…, the haphazard funding of scientific research.” His primary concern is “the collapse of the local tribes that give us true, meaningful identity—family, workplace, and neighborhood.”

Our communities are collapsing, and people are feeling more isolated, adrift, and purposeless than ever before…. It has to do with the deep bonds that join people together, that give their lives richness and meaning—and the fact that those bonds are fraying…. It’s about the evaporation of social capital—the reservoir of relationships that help us navigate the world.

These cultural reflections and his stories about the need to serve people in need are sensible. But when he talks about politics, he loses his clarity—both in what he says and what he does not say. He also seems to forsake his honesty. “This book is not going to be about politics,” he declares early on. But the whole book is political. It reads like a campaign memoir. 

Read More

Democratic Equality and Democratic Dialog

Democratic Equality and Democratic Dialog

Systemic/Essays

Democratic Equality and Democratic Dialog
By Wade Lee Hudson

Equality is the goal; dialog, the method. These two forms of democracy are interwoven. When we engage in democratic dialog and form democratic relationships, we democratize society and help establish freedom from oppression and the freedom to the means required for all to live a good life. We build popular movements with supermajority support that sustain meaningful change. Our means are consistent with our end. We achieve our goal, in part, as we pursue it. Democratic equality involves democratic dialog, and democratic dialog nurtures democratic equality. Face-to-face, democratic communities active year-round counter disinformation, help save the planet, and help steadily transform our world — one person, family, community, workplace, institution, nation at a time.

Individuals are not identical; we differ in many ways. Nevertheless, individuals are essentially equal. Democracy affirms this equality. Democrats practice what they preach.  

Read More

The Democrats: Technocrats Rule

Political/Essays

The Democrats: Technocrats Rule
By Wade Lee Hudson

The Democratic Presidential candidates agree. What matters most is Congress and the President; ordinary people merely vote and get others to vote. The government is primary; the people are secondary. The focus is on public policy: How can the government fix a problem? 

At their debates, the Democratic candidates have contrasted their technocratic solutions. Their fine-point distinctions bore most Americans. 

What’s missing is a positive, inspiring vision for the nation as a whole. What kind of community do we seek? What kind of people do we want to be? How do we want to treat each other?

Donald Trump has exposed many of the worst aspects of American culture. This open wound provides an opportunity to highlight, by way of contrast, the best aspects of American culture. Doing so can deepen America’s affirmation of these values. 

The Democratic candidates for President could help with this project.

Read More

Private Authoritarianism

Social/Books

PRIVATE GOVERNMENT
How Employers Rule Our Lives (and Why We Don’t Talk about It)
Elizabeth Anderson

Private Authoritarianism
By Wade Lee Hudson

Americans are sensitive to government curtailing individual freedom. They’re less concerned about employer violations — such as businesses that unjustifiably control workers’ behavior on the job or monitor them off-duty. Widely embraced “free market” ideology proclaims that workers are free. Nevertheless, one in four workers consider their workplace a “dictatorship.” 

In her pathbreaking 1999 article, “What Is the Point of Equality?” (see “The Democrats: What Happened to Equality”), Elizabeth Anderson insightfully examined social equality, authority, esteem and social standing. She follows up on these issues in her powerful 2017 book, Private Government: How Employers Rule Our Lives (and Why We Don’t Talk about It).

Read More

A Stump Speech

Politics/Essays

A Stump Speech
By Wade Lee Hudson

I’d love to see a Presidential candidate say:

I’m running for President because I want to:

  • Help empower the American people.

  • Strengthen patriotism, maintain positive traditions, and change what needs to be changed.

  • Promote the general welfare as affirmed in the Preamble to the Constitution and treat every American equally as affirmed by the Declaration of Independence.

  • Create conditions that enable everyone to make ends meet and pursue happiness as they see fit so long as they don’t violate the rights of others.

  • Protect those who are weaker from being oppressed by those who are stronger. 

  • Encourage everyone to treat others with respect, work together to improve the world, and refrain from oppressing those who are weaker. 

An effective government is essential, but Americans must also ask what we can do with and for each other to protect freedom throughout society — freedom from and freedom to — freedom from domination and freedom to participate in society as full and equal members. 

Society requires cooperation. We need each other. We rely on each other. We’re obligated to:

  • Care for others and help prevent and relieve suffering when we can.

  • Assure basic human rights, living-wage jobs, affordable housing, quality health care.

  • Protect “one person, one vote” and prevent the rich and powerful from dominating the government.

  • Support each other in our efforts to be all we can be.  

  • Respect everyone as human beings who are equal in the eyes of God and deserve to be equal under the law.

  • Respect the basic humanity of those we criticize or punish for violating the rights of others.

Each one of us is different with particular skills and talents, but we’re essentially equal in terms of our human value. We have universal rights that no one can take away. We’re entitled to a voice in shaping our lives and shaping our government’s policies. 

Democracy involves more than voting. If I’m elected President, I’ll use my office as an organizing tool to nurture communities whose members help decide how to promote the general welfare.

We live in a new world. Modern tools open the door to many new possibilities. We can use new communication tools to update our democracy. Without violating the rights of the minority or falling into a tyranny of the majority, we can enable voters to better hold their representatives accountable to the will of the people they represent. 

If you elect me President, I’ll focus on this effort to strengthen democracy. I won’t waste time on getting re-elected, will only serve one term, and will use my office to demonstrate to future Presidents how we can empower the people. No President can be the nation’s Savior. We must save ourselves. We’re in this together.

I’ll act when I need to act and faithfully execute my responsibilities. But when time permits, after Congress allocates the required funding, I’ll wait to hear recommendations from weekly citizen assemblies of randomly selected Americans, whose expenses will be reimbursed. 

Streamed live on the internet, these three-day assemblies will study and discuss various issues in a careful and deliberate manner and formulate recommendations. Scientific polls asking respondents what are the most important timely issues facing the country will shape the issues addressed at these assemblies. I will seriously consider the recommendations that emerge and will usually push Congress to enact those recommendations or take Executive Action myself, as needed.

I will also ask Congress to pass legislation requiring Congresspersons, Senators, and the President to engage with randomly selected constituents in monthly, public two-hour community dialogs on whatever subjects those constituents wish to address. These events, which will also be streamed live on the internet, will help hold representatives accountable to the will of their constituents. 

I’ll also encourage the Democratic Party to become an activist organization that year-round engages in precinct organizing, fights for its platform, and works with “purple alliances” to push for compassionate policies backed by strong majorities of the American people, including a majority of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents — rather than just help candidates get elected or fight for ballot measures.

In these ways, we can strengthen our democracy, empower the people to fulfill our obligations to one another, and make sure that all Americans can participate in society as a full and equal member.

Adam Gopnik: Liberalism. The “Left,” and the “Right”

Adam Gopnik: Liberalism. The “Left,” and the “Right”

Political/Books

A THOUSAND SMALL SANITIES 
The Moral Adventure of Liberalism
Adam Gopnik

Adam Gopnik: Liberalism. The “Left,” and the “Right”

In his latest book, A Thousand Small Sanities: The Moral Adventure of Liberalism, Adam Gopnik rejects “the right” and “the left” and advocates “liberalism,” which, he says, is more “potent” than either “conservatism” or “radicalism.” However, he acknowledges that “radical” and “liberal” traditions are “entwined, entangled, braided one into the other,” and he affirms many aspects of “conservatism.” These complications create confusion and make it difficult for him to clearly distinguish the two ideologies. 

So why not integrate the best elements from each perspective (and others) into an alternate worldview? Gopnik does not consider this option, though a blend of “liberal” economics and “conservative” racism, as evidenced by Tucker Carlson, could prove to be a serious threat as the old categories become outdated. A better blend is called for.

Following are some of Gopnik’s “liberal” principles that make sense to me (except for his “liberal” label): 

Read More

Community Dialogs (Draft)

Social/Proposals

NOTE: Feedback welcome 

Community Dialogs (Draft) 

How can we help improve the world?
Talk, listen, learn, brainstorm
Horizontal, self-regulating, self-perpetuating, peer-to-peer conversations 

Time and location to be determined
Video conference calls are an option

00:00 Social time. Food. Drink. Informal conversation.

00:25 Twelve or fewer participants form a circle. The Facilitator explains the rules:

  • The focus is: How can we help improve the world?

  • Participants speak only if they’re holding the “mic,” which may be an object.

  • The Timer sets a timer when each person begins speaking.

  • Speakers talk for no more than 90 seconds.

  • If the timer goes off, the speaker finishes the sentence.

  • When speakers finish, they recognize the next speaker by handing them the mic.

  • Speakers are encouraged to respond to the previous speaker.

  • Speakers are encouraged to:

    • be respectful and avoid personal attacks and name-calling;

    • avoid going back and forth repeatedly with the same person;

    • call on people who haven’t spoken.

  • People with mobility difficulties can select the next speaker and ask the Carrier to give the mic to that person.

The Facilitator: 1) asks for a moment of silence for people to meditate, pray, reflect, or relax; 2) asks everyone to introduce themselves; 3) recognizes the next speaker.

01:30 The Facilitator asks everyone to give a one-word evaluation of the dialog and then helps the group: 1) decide (or clarify) where and when the next dialog will meet, and; 2) who will serve as Facilitator, Timer, and Carrier.

01:35 The circle adjourns and participants engage in informal conversation.

02:00 If necessary, the participants vacate the room.

The Democrats: What Happened to Equality?

The Democrats: What Happened to Equality?

Political/Essays

The Democrats: What Happened to Equality?
By Wade Lee Hudson

Books and articles often show me new angles, offer new information, or deepen my perspective. Rarely do they change my thinking in a major way. Elizabeth S. Anderson’s 1999 tour de force “What is the Point of Equality?” is an exception. I’m still absorbing the impact of her passionate manifesto. No wonder colleagues have called that 50-page article “path breaking” and The New Yorker described her as “The Philosopher Redefining Equality.”

Anderson wants to end oppression by creating communities “in which people stand in relations of equality” to one another. Her thinking is rooted in numerous grassroots egalitarian movements, such as the civil rights, womens’, and disability rights movements.

Unfortunately, however, most grassroots political movements today don’t clearly reflect those social values. Rather, they focus on material reality. And, as indicated by what they said at the September 2019 debate, neither have the Democratic candidates for President absorbed her insights.

In the following review, which includes extensive excerpts, I place in bold her language that prompted new insights for me, and place in italics points that strengthened my convictions. 

+++++

As Anderson sees it: 

Recent egalitarian writing has come to be dominated by the view that the fundamental aim of equality is to compensate people for undeserved bad luck—being born with poor native endowments, bad parents, and disagreeable personalities, suffering from accidents and illness, and so forth…. This “equality of fortune” perspective [or “luck egalitarianism”] is essentially a "starting-gate theory": as long as people enjoy fair shares at the start of life, it does not much concern itself with the suffering and subjection generated by people's voluntary agreements in free markets…. 

[Their] writing...seems strangely detached from existing egalitarian political movements…[that have fought for] the freedom to appear in public as who they are, without shame, [and] campaigned against demeaning stereotypes. 

Read More

My Story: Peer-to-Peer Community (Part One)

My Story: Peer-to-Peer Community (Part One)

About/Wade Lee Hudson

My Story: Peer-to-Peer Community (Part One)
By Wade Lee Hudson

My first organizing was on sandlot softball fields. Boys would show up and two “captains” took turns selecting teammates, assigned positions, and set the batting order. Two of the better players, which usually included me, served as captain, but anyone could do it, and many often did. There were no arguments about this decision. Each captain was dispensable. The players weren’t dependent on a leader. Little did I realize that this simple, horizontal, self-regulating, self-perpetuating, peer-to-peer structure would become a community organizing model for the rest of my life — though, alas, I followed it imperfectly.

My second project was the high school chess club, which I initiated. After advertising, some fifteen students joined and met weekly. At the first meeting, we randomly determined each student’s initial position on a vertical ladder. Players moved up and down the ladder as they won or lost. Another peer-to-peer structure, this one within a larger, democratic hierarchy: the school administration.

During high school, as is common, I participated in a clique. Mine was a group of five boys who read and discussed iconoclastic literature such as H.L. Mencken and Bertrand Russell and frequently gathered at night to smoke pipes and play poker. That informal structure also nurtured a rewarding sense of peer-to-peer community. As Bob Dylan sings, “I wish, I wish, I wish in vain / That we could sit simply in that room again.”

When I entered the University of California, Berkeley in 1962, I joined a student co-op as a boarder.

Read More

Citizen University Sermons

Citizen University Sermons

Politics/Books

A review
Become America: Civic Sermons on Love, Responsibility, and Democracy
Eric Liu
Sasquatch Books, 2019, 302 pages

Citizen University Sermons
By Wade Lee Hudson

Eric Liu’s latest book, Become America: Civic Sermons on Love, Responsibility, and Democracy, is eloquent and inspiring. His exhortations to be engaged in civic activism, beyond voting, are compelling. In the end, however, he comes up short. He neglects the need for new, holistic structures that nurture an energizing cultural environment. 

The book consists of “civic sermons” that Liu presented at various locations throughout the country as part of a series of “Civic Saturdays,” a project of the Seattle-based Citizen University, which is dedicated to “building a culture of powerful, responsible citizenship.” In the Preface to the book, Liu declares:

We are the counterculture now. In a culture of celebrity worship and consumerism, we stand for service and citizenship. And in the age of hyper-individualism, we practice collective action and common cause. In a time of sentimentalism and showy  sanctimony, we stand for discernment and humility. In the smog of hypocrisy and situational ethics, we still live and breathe the universal timeless values and ideals of the Golden Rule, the Tao, the Declaration, and the Preamble of the Constitution. That is radical.

In the “A Divided Heart” chapter, Liu reports that a friend, Mark, who was a founder of the Tea Party, in so many words said, “Millions of Americans have felt left out and put down, told that they’re deplorable racists and bigots and sexists if they challenge the elites and insiders who are tolerant of everyone but them. They're tired of it, and with Trump, they found a way to say so.” Become America and the Citizen University aim to speak to these people.

Liu has concluded “Americans today lack the coherence and moral clarity and civic self-possession to resist a real Hitler, and that's one thing we’d better work on.”

Read More

Building a “Full-Stack Society” with “New Power”

Building a “Full-Stack Society” with “New Power”

Building a “Full-Stack Society” with “New Power”
By Wade Lee Hudson

Process is important. So is product. Advocates for democracy who focus on mobilizing popular power can forget that the tyranny of the majority is a real threat. New Power: How Power Works in Our Hyperconnected World -- and How to Make It Work for You by Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms acknowledges this reality, and offers a solution. …

They make a strong case for dynamics that are “open, participatory, and peer driven.” Yet they also write: ”As we see with ISIS and the growing hordes of white supremacists,... the tools that bring us closer together can also drive us further apart.” Heimans and Timms argue we can avoid this danger by creating “a world in which all major social and economic institutions are designed so that [all] people can more meaningfully shape every aspect of their lives.” 

According to their vision:

Read More

Identity Politics and Social Movements

Identity Politics and Social Movements

Identity Politics and Social Movements
By Wade Lee Hudson

An important recent Ezra Klein Show podcast is the interview with Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, an associate professor of African-American Studies at Princeton University and the author of How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective, which traces the origins of the term “identity politics.” In the podcast, Taylor argues that the weakening of social movements in the 1980s contributed to a distortion of the term’s original meaning.

…So identity politics in that circumstance 

becomes almost a way of introspection, a kind of internal politics, a kind of way for oppressed and marginalized people to talk to each other, and to really turn away from this idea...of collective and social change [that] was in some ways rooted with the idea that white people would resist the dominant social order and that white people could play some role in a movement to transform society….

Read More

Politicians, Movements, and Democracy

Politicians, Movements, and Democracy
By Wade Lee Hudson

These days Democratic politicians often talk about building “movements,” but they rarely talk about how they want to help build those movements. Most of them only talk about gaining supporters for their campaigns and then mobilizing those supporters from time to time, as did Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders. But to a considerable degree, Massachusetts Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, a member of “the Squad,” is an exception.

During a recent Pod Save America podcast, “Our lawless, wall-less president," at the 42:10 mark, Pressley reported: 

I want to be in coalition…. Evicting this President...is all about movement building. It’s about organizing and mobilizing.… These times demand unprecedented activism and unprecedented legislating. And that’s not work we do alone…. When our democracy is working again on behalf of the American people [we will need] pressure on the outside that activists and agitators continue to exert….

The way I’ve been getting at the issue of housing, which is my number-one constituent concern, is that I’ve been convening, since well before I was in office or elected, the Equity Agenda roundtable discussion where we engage the community. They’re not a traditional town hall. We have breakout sessions. It’s a two-way dialog. I’ve always maintained that those closest to the pain should be closest to the power, driving and informing the policy making. So I take my cue from the community…. I’m cooperatively governing….

Read More

Transforming the Democratic Party

Transforming the Democratic Party
By Wade Lee Hudson

With sustained effort, Party activists can transform the Democratic Party into an activist organization dedicated to democratic equality.  The Party is already a multi-issue, inclusive, relatively democratic, national coalition. Building that kind of coalition is not easy. We need not try. We can transform this one. The Party’s structure includes bottom-up representation, and can be amended to make it even more democratic.

The Party, however, is geared to elections – supporting Democratic candidates and backing or opposing ballot measures. In between elections, the Party forgets about its platform.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) could regularly recommend to all Americans that they communicate a specific message to their Congresspersons, Senators, and President on a top-priority, timely issue. At the local level, the Party could engage in year-round precinct organizing, build face-to-face community among its members, and ask them to address the DNC’s monthly recommendation.

The more Democrats see that the Party means business, the more they will get involved in shaping its direction. And the more involvement there is, the higher the quality of the DNC’s recommendations.

A broad range of organizations that employ a wide variety of political strategies could supplement the DNC’s activities by participating in their own actions. There’s no need for everyone to use the same method all the time. But we could unite to advance a winnable reform, with each individual choosing his or her own method (such as writing a letter, visiting their Congressperson’s office, or engaging in civil disobedience).

 Turning the Party into an activist organization that fights for its principles year-round will not be easy, but this urgent goal is achievable, especially if candidates who call for “movement” building support this project.

 

 

Community Dialogs with Elected Officials

POLITICS/PROPOSALS

Community Dialogs with Elected Officials

As required by federal legislation, on the second Saturday at 10 am, Congresspersons, Senators, and the President participate in separate, two-hour Community Dialogs, whether in person or a video conference call. The Dialogs are carefully structured and moderated to assure that they are orderly and give constituents a fair opportunity to communicate with their representative. The moderator is a neutral, well-respected journalist.

Speakers are selected randomly and have 90 seconds to comment or ask a question on any topic. If their time expires, they can finish the sentence. Then their mic is turned off. Speakers can ask the audience to indicate support on an issue by raising their hand.

The elected representative then has 90 seconds to respond, after which the speaker can respond with one phrase, such as “thank you” or “you did not answer my question.” Then the moderator immediately recognizes the next speaker.

With in-person events, community organizations can distribute literature at tables. Participants stay after the Dialog to discuss issues informally.

The officials are responsible for recruiting the moderator, arranging logistics, publicizing the event, and arranging to have it streamed live on the Internet and/or cable TV.


A Purple Alliance

Purple Alliances
By Wade Lee Hudson

NOTE: The following scenario envision a specific Purple Alliance. Others might very well envision and/or organize other purple alliances. A log of “Purple Points of Agreement” that others might use will be maintained here.

Dedicated to humanity, the environment, and life itself, the Purple Alliance pushes for new compassionate national policies that are supported by a majority of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents.

The Alliance promotes democracy, respects the rights of individuals, opposes the tyranny of the majority, opposes domination based on superficial characteristics such as race, class, or gender.

The year the Alliance started, supermajorities of the American people, usually including most Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, believed:…

Read More

Holistic Support Groups: A Global Network

Holistic Support Groups: A Global Network
By Wade Lee Hudson

Imagine. Throughout the world, small groups meet monthly to support each other with evolutionary, compassionate, holistic transformation — steady personal, social and political growth. This network includes book clubs, political action committees, informal groups of friends and relatives, and other associations that engage in many different kinds of activities. 

Each of these groups have in common:

  • They endorse a brief statement of principles that commits members to:

    • promote compassionate community throughout society and in their daily lives;

    • recognize the essential equal value of every individual;

    • encourage co-equal partnerships; 

    • repair unfair power imbalances;

    • eliminate discrimination based on social identities such as race, class, and gender;

    • establish policies that correct the historic injustice and restricted opportunities that have been imposed on particular groups due to their social identity;

    • avoid oppressive behavior prompted by unconscious bias;

    • nurture self-empowerment and community empowerment, and;

    • assure that everyone can make ends meet and live full, productive, creative lives.

  • They open their meetings with a minute of silence to allow members to meditate, pray, reflect, or relax.

  • Each member then “checks in” with a brief, confidential report on their recent efforts to:  1) become a better person; 2) build community, and; 3) improve public policy.

  • Following these “check ins,” the groups proceed with their other activities, whatever they may be.

  • Each individual defines their own self-development goals.

  • Each group is self-regulating and self-perpetuating, with each member having an equal voice in how the group operates. The network encourages groups to avoid always meeting in the same member’s home.

  • Representative members meet occasionally in regional, national, and international gatherings to report on their activities, share ideas, and support one another.

The network’s statement of principles affirms that personal, social, and political change are each important and can reinforce one another in promoting fundamental, holistic, compassionate change. Concerning the personal, the statement supports those who are dedicated to “spiritual” development, though some members may not use that language. (“Personal” refers to “one's private life, relationships, and emotions.” “Spirit” refers to “the nonphysical part of a person which is the seat of emotions and character.”) Concerning the social, the statement affirms compassionate change throughout society, including informal social interactions, informal institutions such as the family, and formal institutions including schools, religious communities, the media, the entertainment industry, and the economy. Concerning the political, the statement encourages compassionate improvements in public policy at all levels of government and the expansion of popular, democratic power that respects minority rights.

The network was initiated by a person of color, which helped to maximize the participation of persons of color as the project developed. The initiator invited one or more colleagues to work together to draft the founding principles and develop the network.


Racism and Support for Trump

Political/Racism

Racism and Support for Trump
By Wade Lee Hudson

In “We Aren’t Seeing White Support for Trump for What It Is,” Thomas B. Edsall reports on recent studies that examine some of the complexities concerning race, class, and poltics in the United States.

According to these findings, “whites with relatively high incomes — in the top two quintiles of the income distribution — but without college degrees” have fueled the “the surge of whites into the Republican Party.” Many of these relatively well-off individuals probably “fear that in the Knowledge Society their life chances are shrinking.”

However, low-income whites without college degrees “are conflicted in their partisan allegiance.” Though these individuals have shifted toward the Republican Party, “they frequently hold liberal economic views — that is, they support redistributionist measures from which they benefit.” One reason many of them voted for Trump in 2016 is that he took “liberal” positions like protecting Social Security and creating infrastructure jobs.

Low-income whites with college degrees were 1.5 percent of white voters in 1952. Now they are 14.3 percent of all voters and have become “the most loyal white Democratic constituency.”

Concerning racism, one study suggests that bias against groups such as Lithuanians, for example, are “substantively indistinguishable from those measured when Blacks are the target group,” suggesting that prejudice against “the other” is sometimes a large part of the problem with racism.

Another study examined the “multidimensionality” of racist attitudes. “There’s all sorts of feelings, attitudes, and knowledge surrounding issues of racial groups and racial inequality.” People may be resentful, fearful, unaware of structural racism, unwilling to be aware, and/or actually empathetic about inequality. This approach “proved especially effective in identifying voters who backed Obama in 2012 and switched to Trump in 2016.”

Edsall concludes his essay reflecting on a recent Pew poll that found 7 percent of the electorate “undecided.” He argues, to win back the White House, Democrats must address these voters with “pragmatic diplomacy and persuasion — and show a new level of empathy.”

Joy, Anger, Polarity, and Transcendence

Joy, Anger, Polarity, and Transcendence

Personal/Books

A Review
The Courage to Be (Third Edition)
Paul Tillch
Yale University Press (1952), 233 pages

Joy, Anger, Polarity, and Transcendence
By Wade Lee Hudson

How to handle polarities, related opposites, is tricky. In some cases, poles are symmetrical, of equal value, and can be balanced, as with positive and negative poles on a battery. Symmetrical polarity often applies to behavior, as with the tension between work and home. In this case, balance is appropriate. 

But with inner tensions, as with the conflict between love and hate, poles may be asymmetrical. One may be more powerful than the other. 

Paul Tillich, the most influential Protestant theologian of the 20th century, argued that the fundamental polarity between being and non-being, which includes the tension between life and death, calls for integration, rather than balance. This perspective seems to apply to love and hate, as well as trust and fear….

Read More

An Open Letter to Cory Booker

An Open Letter to Cory Booker

After posting Religion, Spirituality, and the 2020 Election, which includes praise for Senator Cory Booker, I watched “The Family,” a five-part Netflix documentary about The Family — the authoritarian, evangelical organization that owns luxurious residences in D.C. where elected officials are invited to live communally at bargain rents and convenes the National Prayer Breakfast, which has been addressed by every U.S. President since Dwight Eisenhower. After viewing that film, I discovered that Booker participates in a Bible study group led by Senator James Inhofe, a leader in The Family.

Given these discoveries, later today at a gathering for his Presidential campaign, I hope to ask Booker: How do you evaluate Senator’s Inhofe’s theology?…

Read More